Complete Program Summary
for the week of March 20, 2023
Asians on Parade at World Pride Mardi Gras
Program #1,825 distributed 03/20/23
Hosted this week by LuciaChappelle and produced with Greg Gordon
NewsWrap (full transcript below): Italy’s farthest-right-since-Mussolini Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni orders Milan Mayor Giuseppe Sala to stop registering the children of same-gender couples … an Iranian queer rights group reports that activist Elham Choubdar, once sentenced to death for “promoting homosexuality” and “depravity,” has been released from prison after supporters helped raise her one-billion-Rial bail, but that Sareh Sedighi Hamedani, who was arrested on similar charges and has also escaped execution, remains behind bars pending the payment of her two-billion-Rial bail … Minnesota Democratic Governor Tim Walz issues an executive order to protect the rights of the U.S. state’s transgender citizens, including young trans people, to access medically-approved gender affirming healthcare … a vote by the students of Massachusetts’ prestigious women’s liberal arts Wellesley College asks school officials to consider admitting non-binary and transgender male applicants … and trailblazing transgender New Zealand politician/activist Georgina Beyer succumbs to kidney disease at the age of 65 [with a snippet from an August 2005 interview on This Way Out with then-Brisbane correspondent John Frame] (written by GREG GORDON, edited by LUCIA CHAPPELLE, reported this week by MICHAEL TAYLOR-GRAY and MELANIE KELLER, produced by BRIAN DeSHAZOR).
Feature: Florida is exactly where you don’t want to be if you’re a transgender kid and your family. The “Don’t Say Gay State” is also becoming the “Don’t Be Trans” state. A ban on gender-affirming healthcare for trans children went into effect on March 16th. It was devised by state medical boards at the behest of Governor Ron DeSantis, but the legislature is still not satisfied. A bill is moving through the state Senate that would make it a felony to treat gender dysphoria for people under 18. That would put both doctors and parents in jeopardy. President Joe Biden expressed his view of the anti-trans campaign in an interview on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show. As a coalition of LGBTQ organizations prepare a lawsuit on behalf of parents with trans kids, prominent advocates are speaking out. Lesbian star Lily Tomlin took on the issue during a Yahoo Entertainment interview about her new trans-friendly film, “ Moving On. Lesbian White House Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre sees the Florida fever as a plague that’s spreading across the country. Meanwhile, the Georgia House passed a ban on gender-affirming care the day that Florida’s ban went into effect. It was already clear that her side would lose when out Representative Karla Drenner took the floor (with music by THE CHARLIE DANIELS BAND and THE L PROJECT).
Feature: World Pride brought a vast array of flavors to the Sydney Gay And Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade. This Way Out correspondent BARRY McKAY explored one region of the queer globe as he wandered among participants waiting for the parade to begin [chats with members of contingents from The Philippines, Thailand, and Japan, with intro/outro music by ELECTRIC FIELDS, and traditional music bridges introducing each country’s float riders).
A summary of some of the news in or affecting
global LGBTQ communities
Written by Greg Gordon, edited by Lucia Chappelle,
reported this week by Michael Taylor-Gray and Melanie Keller
and produced by Brian DeShazor
The children of Milan’s same-gender couples will no longer be automatically registered to both parents. An order to halt the practice was delivered to center-left Mayor Giuseppe Sala directly from the government of Italy’s far-right Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni this week. Queer couples were allowed to enter into civil unions in 2016, but adoption rights were consciously left out of the legislation. Some courts have allowed lesbian and gay couples to adopt each other’s children, even if they were born through a surrogate. Surrogacy is specifically banned in the heavily Roman Catholic country.
Milan has been one of the few Italian municipalities where both members of a queer couple could be registered as the parents of the children they are raising together.
Current laws make it necessary for the non-birth parent to spend years navigating the legal system to adopt their spouse’s child.
Meloni is Italy’s first far-right Prime Minister since Mussolini. She won election in late 2022 as a “defender of Christian values” with a campaign that targeted “gender ideology” and “the LGBT lobby.” Her promise to “govern for everyone” was clearly worth less than the “position paper” it was written on.
Alessia Crocini of Italy’s Rainbow Families told the Associated Press, “This government is the maximum expression of homophobia … It is insulting to hundreds of thousands of families with two same-sex parents.”
Former Turin Mayor Chiara Appendino told A.P. the new ban “is only the latest slap against these families.” Appendino was the first mayor to recognize the rights of both same-gender parents without seeking court approval. She joined Milan Mayor Sala in calling for lawmakers to codify the parental rights of queer couples. Sala told a podcaster that he would obey the federal government’s edict, while continuing to fight politically for the rights of queer parents and their children.
Leading LGBTQ campaigner Fabrizio Marrazzo thinks Sala should do more. He told Reuters, “When a law is unjust and discriminatory those who engage in politics must have the courage to disobey it.”
Iranian LGBTQ rights activist Elham Choubdar has been released from prison, according to a report this week from The Iranian Lesbian and Transgender Network. The group also known as 6Rang says she was bailed out for one billion Rial – that’s equivalent to about 24,000 U.S. dollars. Choubdar was arrested late last year on charges of “corruption on earth for promoting homosexuality and depravity.” Her sentence was death. Activist Sareh Sedighi-Hamedani was arrested on the same charges about a month before Choubdar, but 6Rang says that she continues to languish in prison, unable to post a two-billion-Rial bail – close to 50,000 U.S. dollars.
Both women were additionally charged with “promoting Christianity” and “communicating with the media opposing the Islamic Republic”.
6Rang announced in mid-January that the Iranian government had rescinded both death sentences. Their spokesperson told Pink News that the “tireless efforts” of people campaigning for their release had overcome the threats of execution.
Iran’s Islamic Republic is one of the world’s most anti-queer countries, where several gay men have been executed in recent years. Hundreds of anti-government protesters are currently under arrest and many are facing the death penalty while Sedighi-Hamedani waits for her bail to be raised.
Transgender Minnesotans now have the pro-active support of their governor. Democrat Tim Walz’s executive order directs all state agencies, “to the fullest extent of their lawful authority, pursue opportunities and coordinate with each other to protect people or entities providing, assisting, seeking, or obtaining gender affirming health care services in Minnesota.” The order additionally directs agencies to investigate any health care organizations that have been charged with denying a trans person’s access to such care.
Walz is flying in the face of mounting efforts to roll back trans rights in several other U.S. states – all Republican-controlled. He underscored the motivation for his action, saying, "By outlawing gender affirming health care, states across this country are working to prevent people from receiving safe, medically necessary, evidence-based treatments. We know this urgency is real, thus the need of an executive order today."
Trans children have been especially targeted in the attacks on gender-affirming care. The queer advocacy group OutFront Minnesota praised the governor in a statement that said, "with the rights of our neighbors under threat this order sends a strong message to trans people, supportive families, and care providers — you are welcome here."
Students at Massachusetts’ historically women’s Wellesley College have approved a referendum calling for the consideration of applications from non-binary and trans men, regardless of their gender assigned at birth. Applications from trans women have been accepted there since 2015. The ballot measure also proposed that the college’s communications “replace all gender-specific language with gender-neutral language in reference to its student body,” according to a report by CNN. That would include replacing “women” with “students” and using “they/them” instead of “she/her” pronouns.
The vote of the approximately 2300-member student body is not binding on the institution that was founded in 1870, one of the prestigious “Seven Sisters” colleges. It will be presented to the Board of Trustees for consideration to formally expand the college’s admissions policies.
The Wellesley News campus paper offered its “unequivocal support for transgender, non-binary and gender non-conforming people – at Wellesley and everywhere – who enrich all communities they are part of.”
However Wellesley’s director of media relations Stacey Schmeidel said in a statement, “Although there is no plan to revisit its mission as a women’s college or its admissions policy, the College will continue to engage all students, including transgender male and non-binary students, in the important work of building an inclusive academic community where everyone feels they belong.”
I’ve done it all, of course. I started out was on the streets, see … not willingly I might add, at all. But this is where you ended up being forced and pushed by … um … a society that wanted to, in fact, eliminate you really – out of sight, out of mind.
New Zealand M.P. Georgina Beyer was never “out of sight, out of mind” – certainly not when she spoke with “[This Way Out Brisbane, Australia correspondent John Frame in August of 2005. The trailblazing transgender politician died on March 6th in hospice care after a long battle with kidney disease. She was 65.
In 1999 Beyer became the world’s first elected transgender parliamentarian. She served until 2007.
As she told John Frame, Beyer worked as a sex worker and then a nightclub performer in her younger days, but got involved in local politics in 1995. She was elected mayor of the small North Island town of Carterton that year, and went on to represent Wairarapa in Parliament as a member of the liberal Labour Party. The indigenous Maori lawmaker campaigned tirelessly for queer rights and the decriminalization of sex work in New Zealand. She was instrumental in the passage of the Prostitution Reform Act in 2003. She helped enact civil unions legislation for queer couples a year later. Beyer lived to see the passage of full marriage equality in her native land in 2013.
Longtime friend Malcolm Vaughan and his husband Scott Kennedy issued a statement soon after her passing. Vaughn said, “Georgie was surrounded by her nearest and dearest 24/7 over the past week; she accepted what was happening, [and] was cracking jokes and had a twinkle in her eye, right until the final moment.”
We say, “Rest in power Georgina Beyer.”
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