Australian religious abuse campaigner Anthony Venn-Brown talks about the psychological trauma suffered by LGBT people subjected to supposedly “Christian” conversion therapy (interviewed by Barry McKay).
And in NewsWrap: Finnish lawmakers approve reforms to the process for transgender people changing their government identification documents, Canadian study finds no competitive advantage for transgender female athletes, Utah bans gender-affirming care for transgender young people, Lithuania fined for censoring queer-related children’s book, Slovenia’s same-gender marriage law takes effect, Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene tells a fanciful tale about COVID relief funds for Drag Queen Story Hour, Rhode Island Rep. David Cicilline challenges Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz on patriotism in the U.S. House, and more international LGBTQ news reported this week by M.R. Raquel and Michael Taylor-Gray (produced by Brian DeShazor).
All this on the February 5, 2023 edition of This Way Out!
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Complete Program Summary
for the week of January 30, 2023
Coping with Conversion Therapy-Caused PTSD
Program #1,819 distributed 02/06/23
Hosted this week Greg Gordon and produced with Lucia Chappelle
NewsWrap (full transcript below): Finnish lawmakers overwhelmingly approve major reforms that will allow trans people to change their legal gender on government documents without medical or psychiatric intervention, including no longer needing to be sterilized; a comprehensive Canadian study finds that trans girls and women do not have a competitive advantage in elite female sports; Utah’s Republican-dominated state government bans all gender-affirming care and treatment for transgender young people; the European Court of Human Rights fines Lithuania for censoring a children’s book with queer characters under the country’s “no promo homo” law; Slovenia’s lesbian and gay couples begin walking down the aisle as the October-enacted marriage and adoptions equality laws come into effect; infamous “Jewish space lasers” Georgia Republican MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE fabricates COVID relief funding for a Pennsylvania drag queen story hour, while out Democrat from Rhode Island DAVID CICILLINE’s amendment to a motion by Republican Florida Republican MATT GAETZ about who can lead the House Judiciary Committee’s PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE loses in the GOP-majority chamber (written by GREG GORDON, edited this week by DAVID HUNT, reported by M.R. RAQUEL & MICHAEL TAYLOR-GRAY, and produced by BRIAN DeSHAZOR).
Feature: “Life Song” by MASON WILLIAMS + “This Way Out” I.D. by famed writer EDMUND WHITE (with “An American in Paris” music excerpts conducted by LEONARD BERNSTEIN) + “This Way Out” Donor Thanks/E-Newsletter Promo (with music by THE MARSHALL TUCKER BAND).
Feature: ANTHONY VENN-BROWN, who’s based in SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA, is well known around the world for his work engaging in dialog with evangelical churches to create a better world for LGBTQ+ people - and everyone else. Through his wealth of lived experience, he’s also helped many LGBTQ+ people find self=acceptance and peace in the face of challenging religious backgrounds. Our Sydney correspondent BARRY McKAY spoke with Anthony via Skype recently to discuss some of his specific work with LGBTQ+ people who suffer from psychological trauma due to a damaging Christian upbringing (intro music by MARCIA HINES and outro music by ARGENT).
Feature: U.S. Library of Congress Preservation Project selection “Good News” Promo [announced by Overnight Productions (Inc.) C.E.O. BRIAN DESHAZOR, and introduced with music by SAM COOKE]
A summary of some of the news in or affecting global LGBTQ communities
for the week ending February 4, 2023
Written by Greg Gordon, edited this week by David Hunt,
reported by M.R. Raquel & Michael Taylor-Gray,
and produced by Brian DeShazor
Finland’s Parliament approved legislation February 1st to let trans adults, 18 and over, change their legal gender without a psychiatric assessment. The new law also did away with the requirement that trans individuals undergo sterilization or present proof that they’re infertile.
Activists lobbied for over a decade to overturn that requirement, which was designed to prevent transgender people from having children.
One of the country’s leading queer advocacy groups, Seta, called it “a victory for human rights,” but noted that there’s still work to do. “The rights of children and young people must be secured next,” it said in a statement following the vote.
Passage of the bill was a priority for Prime Minister Sanna Marin as her government prepares for a general election in April. Marin was raised by her two moms in what she calls “a rainbow family.”
Transgender girls and women do not have a competitive advantage in elite-level sports. That’s the conclusion of a comprehensive review of all the scientific literature published on the topic in the last decade in the English language.
Contrary to what passes for “prevailing wisdom,” the researchers concluded that there is little evidence to show that factors relating to male puberty – such as lung size and bone density – produce an advantage for trans athletes. Trans girls and women who have begun testosterone suppression have no clear biological advantage, they found.
A number of elite sport governing bodies have established restrictions or outright bans on trans girls and women. The researchers found “strong evidence” that those policies are based on transphobia, not science.
The study was commissioned by the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport.
Utah has become the first state in twenty-twenty-three to ban gender-affirming care for minors. Republican Governor Spencer Cox signed the bill on January 28th to deny young people access to puberty blockers, hormone therapy, and surgical procedures – although such surgeries are very rare. Virtually every professional physical and mental health organization in the United States opposes legislation like this for doing real harm to trans young people and to the people who love and care for them.
According to Shannon Minter of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, the Utah law uses “an absurdly complex set of restrictions” to enact what is essentially “a blanket ban on treatment for all future patients.”
Civil rights groups are expected to challenge the law in court, as they have a similar law in Arkansas.
The European Court of Human Rights ruled in late January that a “no promo homo” law enacted in Lithuania in two-thousand-nine violates the European Convention on Human Rights. Children’s book author Neringa Macatė challenged the law in twenty-nineteen after authorities censured one of her books because it features two same-gender couples. The government accused her of disseminating information to minors that “expresses contempt for family values.”
The book, “Amber Heart,” features characters confronting social exclusion and discrimination. They include people with disabilities, migrants, and nomadic Roma people. Two of the six stories describe romantic relationships between characters of the same gender.
The Euro-Court ruled, “Equal and mutual respect for persons of different sexual orientations is inherent in the whole fabric of the Convention.” The unanimous 17-judge court rejected the Lithuanian government’s claim that the book contained sexually explicit passages.
After Macatė died in twenty-twenty, her mother continued the legal case on behalf of Macatė's estate. The Court ordered Lithuania to pay 17,000 euros – about $18,400 U.S. dollars – in damages and legal costs.
Slovenia has officially become the first Eastern European nation to open civil marriage – including full adoption rights – to gay and lesbian couples. Lawmakers approved the legislation last October after Slovenia’s Constitutional Court ruled that denying those rights to same-gender couples violated the nation’s Constitution. The law went into effect January 31st.
Labor Minister Luka Mesec hailed the historic law at a news conference that day. “From today,” he declared, “all same-sex marriages enjoy the same rights as everyone else. … I think we made a big step forward as a country.”
Finally this week, we have two stories from the new Republican-dominated U.S. House of Representatives that suggest how the next two years may unfold.
Georgia Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, who made headlines in twenty-eighteen for suggesting that Jewish space lasers caused California wildfires, kicked off her tenure on the powerful House Oversight and Accountability Committee with more absurdities. The committee was reviewing how the Biden administration dispensed COVID-pandemic funding. Comptroller General Gene Dodaro was dumbfounded by a question from Greene about a favorite G.O.P. target: drag queens:
[sound/Greene and Dodar]
For the record, according to the Pennsylvania Humanities Council website, The Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Center was one of 92 recipients of a total of 1.4 million dollars in twenty-twenty-two to sustain humanities-related programs and organizations during the pandemic. Responding to Greene’s wild claim, the center said in a statement this week that it ”has never used government funds to operate this program. … Our Story Hour programming has always been and remains underfunded.”
[sound: “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America…” audio fades out quickly under:]
The momentous question of who should lead the Pledge of Allegiance sparked a fierce debate in the House Judiciary Committee this week.
After far-right Florida Representative Matt Gaetz proposed starting each session with the patriotic pledge, Democrat David Cicilline of Rhode Island, who is both patriotic and proudly gay, offered an amendment.
The ensuing debate showed that the committee is anything but “indivisible.”
[sound/Cicilline and Gaetz]
It’s not difficult to understand the resistance by majority Republicans on the committee to Cicilline’s amendment – some of them have been accused of at least encouraging the January 6th insurrection. They defeated Cicilline’s amendment in a 24-to-13 vote. With reluctant Democratic support, the committee then approved the Gaetz Pledge of Allegiance proposal – with no restrictions on who can lead it.
[sound fades up quickly: “… with liberty and justice for all.”]
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