Complete Program Summary and NewsWrap Transcript
for the week of November 7th, 2022
The Big Lie & Early RuPaul
Program #1,806 distributed 11/07/22
NewsWrap (full transcript below): The latest raid by Islamic police in Malaysia turns a Kuala Lumpur queer nightspot Hallowe’en party from treat to trick, netting some 20 Muslim patrons for illegal cross-dressing, “encouraging vice,” and “indecent acts in public places” … Brazil voters fire anti-queer, anti-woman, anti-minorities rightwing President Jair Bolsonaro in favor of left-leaning former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva … LGBTQ people and their allies defy terrorist threats in Johannesburg and drenching rain in Taipei to march with Pride (with sound from both parades) … all queer couples in the greater capital area of Tokyo, Japan can now get partnership certificates that, while far less than marriage, give them the right as couples to access local housing and healthcare services … Patrick Haggerty, believed to have been — in 1973 — the first country artist to release an overtly-queer album, Lavender Country, succumbs to a severe stroke at the age of 78 (with excerpts from the album’s title cut) … and two misses — Miss Argentina Mariana Varela and Miss Puerto Rico Fabiola Valentin, who met at a 2020 beauty pageant and began secretly dating — reveal their less-than-secret relationship after getting married at the San Juan, Puerto Rico courthouse on October 28th (written by GREG GORDON, edited by LUCIA CHAPPELLE, reported by TANYA KANE-PARRY and MICHAEL LeBEAU, produced by BRIAN DeSHAZOR).
Feature: From Save Our Children to Don’t Say Gay, conservative politicians have tried to hide their trans- and homophobia’s behind protection of the young — protection from what, exactly? As this month’s OutCasting Overtime reveals, their efforts don’t protect queer kids from the damage of living a lie, the kind of damage that’s most poignant as the holidays – and family gatherings – approach (OutCaster JAMIE intro’s OutCaster BRIANNA, produced by MARC SOPHOS, with TWO-added intro music by THE THOMPSON TWINS).
Feature: These days it’s all the rage for whacked-out far-right radicals to attack family-oriented drag shows — sometimes even violently. It may seem like a strange place to be in 2022, especially so long after RuPaul’s Drag Race became a family fan favorite on TV. RuPaul has been challenging norms for even longer than that. Two years before Drag Race debuted in 2009, Mama Ru stepped off the runway to chat with This Way Out correspondent Dixie Treichel about the life that would eventually lead to international fame (with music from the Starrbooty soundtrack).
A summary of some of the news in or affecting global LGBTQ communities
for the week ending November 5, 2022
Written by Greg Gordon, edited by Lucia Chappelle,
reported this week by Michael LeBeau and Tanya Kane-Parry,
produced by Brian DeShazor
When the authorities knocked on the door of a queer nightspot in Kuala Lumpur on the evening of October 29th, they were not yelling “trick or treat!” Royal Malaysian Police and the Federal Territories Islamic Religious Department raided a Hallowe’en Party and searched about 60 people, dividing them into two groups. A police official said that 20 local Muslims were detained on charges of violating Islamic laws against cross-dressing, “encouraging vice,” or “indecent acts in public places.”
The group ranged in age between 22 and 34. Queer rights activist Numan Afifi described being arrested as “traumatizing and harrowing.” In his words, the authorities “isolated the Muslim participants, and identified anyone that did not dress according to the gender that they thought them to be." It’s “outrageous state oppression” according to Numan, since some of those unjustly detained were simply in Hallowe’en costumes.
Private consensual adult same-gender sex is illegal under Malaysia’s secular laws as well. Transgender people are not recognized. The government encourages and funds “conversion therapy clinics” in major population centers.
More than a dozen civil society organizations have condemned the raid, timed perhaps not so coincidentally ahead of national elections. According to a 2021 Ipsos public opinion poll, Malaysians’ views on LGBTQ people are among the worst in the world.
Opposition M.P. Charles Santiago denounced the raid and the attitudes behind it on Twitter. His post read, “This is harassment against a marginalized community. I urge authorities to cease hunting them down as if they are criminals. When will we learn to respect and accept people for who they are?”
“The Donald Trump of the Tropics” has been fired. Brazilian voters rejected the unabashedly misogynistic, racist, anti-queer bullying President Jair Bolsonaro after one term. He lost his run-off election on October 30th to leftist former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva by about two percentage points.
A self-described “proud homophobe,” Bolsonaro had become an embarrassment to many Brazilians for his machismo pronunciations that belittled women, minorities, and those trying to fight the COVID pandemic.
Lula DaSilva is a former metalworker and union leader who served as President from 2003 to 2010. He was credited with establishing social welfare programs that boosted millions of poor Brazilians into the middle class. His administration, unfortunately, was rife with corruption. Lula himself was convicted of corruption and money laundering, but the convictions were overturned by Brazil’s Supreme Court last year. It found that the original judge in Lula’s trial had colluded with prosecutors. That decision cleared the way for him to challenge Bolsonaro.
Lula has attended queer events and spoken generally in support of the LGBTQ community, although he has never backed it up with legislation. As more than one rights activist put it, anyone would be better than Bolsonaro.
Lula will be inaugurated on January 1st.
In other Brazilian election news, Rio Grande do Sul Governor Eduardo Leite will return to office. The centrist Social Democrat is the country’s first out governor. According to the Washington Blade, Leite beat a Bolsonaro-backed challenger by more than eight points.
Terrorist threats and drenching rain did not deter LGBTQ people and their allies from parading with Pride on October 29th in Johannesburg and Taipei.
[SOUND: Johannesburg crowd]
That’s Johannesburg, where tens of thousands of South Africans marched in their first post-COVID Pride parade. The U.S. Embassy had warned of a potential terror attack earlier in the week involving the area where the Pride Parade was to take place – although the parade itself was not mentioned.
Organizers met to assess the situation, and decided to go forward under the defiant theme of “We Will March.” Their media statement stressed that it was important for the community to “assert our visibility” because, “We are marginalized in South Africa.”
South Africa opened civil marriage to gay and lesbian couples in 2006, the first country on the continent to do so. Still queer South Africans routinely suffer discrimination, hate-based harassment and physical assaults.
There was a heavy police presence to guard against any violence. The joyful event was celebrated peacefully.
[SOUND: Taipei crowd]
Marching on to Taiwan, an estimated 120,000 people braved a heavy downpour for the sake of Pride in the capital city of Taipei – another comeback after a two-year COVID-induced hiatus. Several huge floats blared music as drag queens strutted and scantily clad riders undulated – all in the pouring rain.
Taiwan scored a marriage equality- “first” in Asia in 2019, but the job is incomplete. Activists continue to push the government to eliminate the ban on Taiwanese citizens marrying same-gender partners if they’re not from a marriage equality country.
A contingent from Kyiv Pride also defied the downpour to march in Taipei. Taiwanese and Ukrainians share a common bond of being threatened by much larger neighbors with trumped-up historical claims of dominance.
Tokyo’s government began issuing partnership certificates to queer couples on November 1st. It’s not close to the rights of civil marriage, but couples with certificates can use them when they apply for local services like housing and health care.
Any couple over the age of 18 who lives or works in Tokyo can apply. Some districts in Tokyo have already been issuing partnership certificates, but the new metropolitan-wide initiative will now cover the entire capital area. Eight other Japanese prefectures have been issuing similar partnership certificates to same-gender couples.
Japan is the only country in the G7 group of developed nations without marriage equality. Public opinion polls suggest a healthy majority support giving queer couples the right to marry. Only Japan’s conservative federal government continues to fight what most people see as the inevitable.
[SOUND: clip from Lavender Country]
The man behind the first overtly queer country music album has joined the heavenly band. Patrick Haggerty and Lavender Country’s 1973 album Lavender Country was actually funded by Gay Community Social Services of Seattle. A thousand copies were originally printed, but it has been re-released several times over the decades.
Haggerty was rarely seen out of full “cowboy drag,” from his iconic black and purple Nudie suit to his classic, ornate boots. His activism dated back to the days of the Gay Liberation Front, he belonged to ACT-UP, and even made an unsuccessful bid for public office.
Haggerty and husband retired Navy officer Julius “J.B.” Broughton began dating in 1987 and, as Haggerty put it, they were “madly and gayly in love” from then on.
The trailblazing country crooner died on October 31st several weeks after suffering a severe stroke. A Lavender Country Facebook post announced, “We lost a great soul … He was able to spend his final days at home surrounded by his kids and lifelong husband.”
Patrick Haggerty was 78.
[SOUND: clip from Lavender Country]
Finally, a story fit for a rom-com … with a twist. Miss Argentina Marianna Varela and Miss Puerto Rico Fabiola Valentin merged their lives -- if not their titles -- in a San Juan, Puerto Rico wedding ceremony on October 28th. An Instagram post with the couple posing outside the courthouse read, “After deciding to keep our relationship private, we opened the doors to them on a special day.” Reaction to the nuptials has been almost universally positive.
Varela and Valentin met at the Miss Grand International Pageant in Bangkok two years ago and started dating in secret, although calling it a “secret” may be a stretch. For example, Valentin posted videos of them together at the beach in August saying, “How blessed I am to have a person in my life like you. I LOVE YOU.”
That’s some secret!
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