In a highly polarized political atmosphere and democracy itself in the balance, successful LGBTQ candidates scored a record number of “firsts” as part of a progressive surprise with huge implications for the country and the movement.
And in NewsWrap: Poland’s Supreme Administrative Court rules that the recognition of same-gender marriages legally performed abroad does not violate the Constitution, Qatar’s official 2022 World Cup Ambassador worries queer players and fans when he calls homosexuality “a damage in the mind,” the return of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the right-wing coalition he’ll need to form a government concerns queer Israeli activists, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will be the first world leader to appear on a “RuPaul’s Drag Race” show, Russia transfers lesbian WNBA star Brittney Griner to a remote hard labor penal colony, Florida’s two state medical boards deny transgender people under 18 access to gender-affirming care, a New York Marathon winner salutes Florida’s persecuted trans kids, and more international LGBTQ news reported this week by Allan Tijamo and Sarah Montague (produced by Brian DeShazor).
All this on the November 14, 2022 edition of This Way Out!
Complete Program Summary and NewsWrap Transcript
for the week of November 14th, 2022
U.S. midterms LGBTQ Report
Program #1,807 distributed 11/14/22
NewsWrap (full transcript below): Poland’s Constitutional Court opens the door to marriage equality - but will lawmakers step in? Peril for queer competitors and spectators at the upcoming global football (soccer) tournament is confirmed during a German public TV interview with Qatar’s World Cup Ambassador Khalid Salman and a follow-up SKY news interview with the Gulf nation’s Foreign Minister Mohammed Bin Abdulrahaman Al Thani … the re-emergence of just-elected-again rightwing former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to a new term, and the anti-queer minority parties with whom he’ll be forming a new coalition government, worries many rights activists … Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau becomes the first world leader to appear as a guest on a RuPaul’s Drag Race show … lesbian U.S. WNBA All-Star Brittney Griner is suddenly moved to a penal colony to continue serving her nine-year-sentence on trumped up drug smuggling charges … Gerald Bostock, the Georgia man who won a queer workers’ rights case at the U.S. Supreme Court, settles his discrimination lawsuit with the Clayton County Commission for $825,000 … Florida’s two medical boards, with each member handpicked by anti-queer “Don’t Say Gay” Republican Governor Ron DeSantis, votes to deny trans young people under the age of 18 any physician-approved gender-affirming care, including puberty blockers and hormone therapies … but Jacob Caswell, winner at the November 6th New York City Marathon in the non-binary division, and the first in that division to win a monetary prize, dedicates his victory to NB and trans kids in Florida - and everywhere else [with a hat tip to gayusatv.org] (written by GREG GORDON, edited by LUCIA CHAPPELLE, reported this week by ALLAN TIJAMO and SARAH MONTAGUE, produced by BRIAN DeSHAZOR).
Feature: In a highly polarized political atmosphere and democracy itself in the balance, who won in the contentious U.S. midterm elections? Votes had to be cast by November 8th, and ballots are still being counted. Contrary to dire warnings, Democrats have narrowly maintained control of the Senate. It remains to be determined as to which party controls the House. Pacifica Radio's CHRISTOPHER MARTINEZ provided a roundup of the victorious and the vanquished as of November 9th (featuring comments by U.S. President Joe Biden, Senator-elect from Pennsylvania John Fetterman, defeated gay New York Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney, and Republican House Minority Leader KEVIN McCarthy). This Way Out’s MICHAEL TAYLOR-GRAY, MELANIE KELLER, MICHAEL LeBEAU, TANYA KANE-PARRY and BRIAN DeSHAZOR then review some key local, Congressional and state races, focusing on a record number of “firsts” (with comments by California Congressman-elect Robert Garcia and newly re-elected Colorado Governor Jared Polis); ANN NORTHROP and ANDY HUMM of GayUSA offer some analysis, “soiled” by brief comments by re-elected Republican Governor Ron DeSantis; and Massachusetts Governor-elect Maura Healey gets the proverbial “last word” (with music by OSCAR BRAND, ANI DIFRANCO, BOB MARLEY, and LEONARD COHEN).
A summary of some of the news in or affecting global LGBTQ communities
for the week ending November 12, 2022
Written by Greg Gordon, edited by Lucia Chappelle,
reported this week by Allan Tijamo and Sarah Montague,
produced by Brian DeShazor
The recognition Polish citizens’ same-gender marriages legally performed abroad does not violate their country’s Constitution, by ruling of the Supreme Administrative Court. Poland’s highest court issued the decision on November 3rd, although the conclusion was actually reached earlier this year according to “Notes from Poland.”
Article 18 of the Constitution reads, “marriage as a union of a man and a woman, family, motherhood and parenthood are under the protection and care of the Republic of Poland.”
However in the court’s view, Article 18 “cannot in itself constitute an obstacle to transcribing a foreign marriage certificate if the institution of marriage as a union of persons of the same sex was provided for in the domestic [legal] order.”
The decision went on to say, “the provision of the constitution in question does not prohibit the statutory regulation of same-sex unions.” So while they could, the court noted that Polish lawmakers have yet to consider marriage equality.
Gay couple Jakub Kwieciński and Dawid Mycek legally married in Portugal five years ago. They’ve been fighting to have their marriage recognized in Poland ever since. The Court officially refused to accept their case, but equality activists call the ruling “monumental.” It proves that the Constitution does not specifically forbid marriage equality.
No amount of public relations spin could hide the potential risks for LGBTQ participants and fans at the 2022 World Cup when former player Khalid Salman put his foot in his mouth. Qatar’s official World Cup Ambassador gave an interview to Germany’s public TV broadcaster ZDF, and talked about same-gender sex as “haram,” or “forbidden,” and a mental disorder. He’s heard here in an English voice-over of the German translation of the original Arabic:
[SOUND – Salman, with interviewer and translator:]
INTERVIEWER: This “haram” …
SALMAN: Yes, “haram” … he will say for me.
INTERVIEWER: Do you think “gay” is this “haram?”
SALMAN: Yes. It is a damage in the mind!
Foreign Minister Mohammed Bin Abdulrahaman Al Thani tried to smooth things over during a subsequent interview on Britain’s SKY News. It was not exactly an apology:
[SOUND - Al Thani:]
We have our cultural norms. We have our society and what they like and what they don’t like. We are not going to change our society for four weeks event. Yet we are respecting everyone and expecting from everyone to respect our laws.
LGBTQ people and their allies have been warning ever since Qatar was chosen to host back in 2010 that queer players and spectators could face hostile treatment. Islam is the country’s official religion, so private consensual adult same-gender sex is illegal, and social attitudes make being out a dangerous proposition.
Gay Australian footballer Josh Cavallo has expressed deep concerns about competing in Qatar, as have other out players.
FIFA insists that queer players and spectators will be safe. Football’s global governing body and organizer of the World Cup just recommends that they simply not be … well, “blatant.”
The tournament runs from November 20th to December 18th.
The re-emergence of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu concerns some LGBTQ activists. Netanyahu is charged with forming the country’s new government after three-and-a-half years of political turmoil and five election campaigns. To do that he’ll need far-right, anti-queer minority parties to form a workable coalition, according to WDG, an Israeli media partner of the Washington Blade. The once and future P.M. is still under investigation for corruption.
Results of Israel’s November 1st parliamentary elections saw the number of out lawmakers in the Knesset reduced from five to three. The Meretz Party is historically the country’s most progressive, pro-queer party, and it suffered crushing losses.
A strong complement of opposition lawmakers are still expected to challenge any Netanyahu administration proposals that infringe on the rights of LGBTQ people, women, or the Arab population. Significant legislative advances are unlikely.
Putting the stiletto on the other foot, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will be the first world leader to appear on a RuPaul’s Drag Race show. He surprised contestants in the work room as they prepared for the debut of Canada’s Drag Race: Canada versus The World.
An online trailer teases Trudeau’s stint as a guest star on the new series, but whether he’ll serve as a guest judge on the show remains to be seen.
Canada’s Drag Race: Canada versus The World premieres on November 18th on the worldwide all-things-drag WOW Presents Plus subscription streaming service.
Out U.S. WNBA Basketball All-Star Brittney Griner has been transferred to a Russian penal colony. She was arrested at a Moscow airport in February for possession of medically prescribed cannabis oil vape cartridges. Pleading guilty, she said she had accidentally left them in her luggage, calling it “an honest mistake.” She was sentenced to serve nine-years at hard labor.
Griner was arrested just a week before Russian President Vladimir Putin’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. There’s been widespread speculation that Griner’s situation gives the dictator a “bargaining chip” to challenge U.S. military assistance.
The Biden administration has been attempting to arrange a prisoner swap to bring Griner home along with former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan, who’s been in a Russian prison since 2020 on trumped-up espionage charges. In exchange the Russians would get their infamous arms dealer Viktor Bout. He’s currently in a U.S. federal prison for doing business with anti-U.S. terrorists. Putin may be in no hurry to cut a deal as long as he continues to wage war on Ukraine.
Griner met with U.S. Embassy officials on November 3rd, just ahead of her sudden transfer. White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters that, “She’s doing as well as can be expected under the circumstances.” Griner’s wife Cherelle paints a more urgent picture of Brittney’s deteriorating mental and physical condition.
The Georgia plaintiff in a 2020 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in favor of queer workers’ rights has finally received financial compensation. In early November the Clayton County Board of Commissioners approved an award of $825,000 to settle Gerald Bostock’s discrimination lawsuit.
Bostock was fired from his job as a County Child Welfare Services Coordinator in 2013 after his superiors discovered that he played in a gay softball league.
After such a long and winding road, Bostock told a press conference, “words can hardly express how happy I am that this is now over. As I said from the beginning, no one should go to work fearful of losing their job because of who they are, who they love or how they identify.”
Florida’s trans kids under the age of 18 are now being denied access to gender-affirming care, specifically puberty blockers and hormone therapy. The new rules also ban surgery for trans minors, but that’s rarely performed, if ever.
The only silver lining is that trans minors who are already getting gender-affirming care in the “Don’t Say Gay” state are exempt from the new restrictions.
It’s hardly a surprise that the state’s two medical boards each approved the rules. Infamously anti-queer, anti-immigrant, anti-woman Republican Governor Ron DeSantis personally appointed each member of the Florida Board of Medicine and the Florida Board of Osteopathic Medicine.
Equality Florida trans rights director Nicole Parker said that what Florida officials have done is put “toxic politics over people’s health and wellbeing.”
Finally, Florida’s trans kids were on Jacob Caswell’s mind at the New York City Marathon. They won the 26.2-mile race through the city’s five boroughs on November 6th in the new non-binary division. The division was established last year, and for the first time this year awarded a $5,000 first place prize:
[SOUND – Caswell:]
This is for all the trans and non-binary children, especially those in Florida, who were just told that they can’t have, you know, gender-affirming care, where healthcare is a human right, yet their peers are still going to be able to access guns. So this is just for all of them. We’re here, we’re queer, we’re not going anywhere. And this is for you … all of you … just all of you.