Exiled Zimbabwean activist Rikki Nathanson of OutRight Action International, U.S. Assistant Secretary for Health Admiral Rachel L. Levine, co-founder of the Colorado Transgender Educators Network Sam Long and gender-fluid multi-disciplinary artist Dorian Wood commented on the importance of visibility in our special 2022 series “Queerly Yours, Profiles in Courage with Roger Q. Mason.”
And in NewsWrap: Uganda’s “Anti-Homosexuality Bill” criminalizes coming out, Namibian Supreme Court strips citizenship of bi-national gay couple’s child, Banja Luka queer activists assaulted by Serbian opponents, high courts in Bolivia and Nepal open doors to marriage equality, more U.S. states pass anti-trans bills, anti-trans bigots in Australia and the U.S. violently protest Drag Queen Story Hour, and more international LGBTQ news!
Complete Program Summary
for the week of March 27, 2023
International Trans Day of Visibility
Program #1,826 distributed 03/27/23
Hosted this week by Greg Gordon and produced with Lucia Chappelle
NewsWrap (full transcript below): Uganda lawmakers celebrate passage of the 2023 version of their “Anti-Homosexuality Act” that reinstates the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality” and even makes it illegal to come out … Namibia’s Supreme Court disallows the citizenship of the son born via surrogate in South Africa to gay bi-national couple Namibian Philip Luhl and his Mexican spouse Guillermo Delgado [with brief comments by their attorney Uno Katjipuka] … thugs attack Pride-attempting LGBTQ activists in the Bosnian city of Banja Luka … the Supreme Courts of Bolivia and Nepal each order the full legal recognition of same-gender couples … the World Athletics Council bans trans-female competitors from all elite track and field events … Wyoming becomes the latest U.S. state to ban trans female students from the eighth to twelfth grade from participating in school sports … Arkansas’ Republican-controlled government enacts two anti-trans bills, one allowing anyone who received gender-affirming care as a minor to sue their doctors for malpractice, and the other requires trans students and staff to use campus bathrooms based on their birth certificate gender … Nebraska advances a bill to ban gender-affirming healthcare for trans young people [with comments by State Senator Megan Hunt] … Kentucky’s Democratic governor vetoes bills to ban gender-affirming care for minors and requiring all trans people to use bathrooms based on their birth certificate gender, but a Republican-dominated legislature could override them … Kansas’ Democratic governor vetoes a young trans sports ban bill for the third consecutive year that this time could be overridden by the majority Republican legislature … Utah’s Republican government bans conversion therapy for minors … anti-queer rightwing thugs assault peaceful LGBTQ protestors in a Sydney suburb outside a speech by one of Australia’s most outspoken trans-phobic MPs [with day-before violence planner Christian Sukkar in a social media post, and on-scene sound of the melee]; meanwhile, British anti-trans campaigner Posie Parker (AKA Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull) gets supportive Nazi salutes outside Parliament House in Melbourne, while independent Aboriginal M.P. Lilia Thorpe gets roughly arrested trying to storm the stage of a Parker speech in Canberra … members of the far-right U.S. militia group The Proud Boys get out-protested by defenders of a “Drag Queen Story Hour” being held at Manhattan’s LGBTQ Center and hosted by state Attorney General Letticia James [with brief comments by attending gay New York City Councilman Erik Bottcher] (written by GREG GORDON, edited by LUCIA CHAPPELLE, reported this week by SARAH MONTAGUE and DAVID HUNT, produced by BRIAN DeSHAZOR).
Feature: March 31st is the International Transgender Day Of Visibility. The four featured guests from our 2022 series on trans issues hosted by Roger Q. Mason and produced with BRIAN DeSHAZOR and DAVID GONZALEZ -- exiled Zimbabwean activist Rikki Nathanson of OutRight Action International, U.S. Assistant Secretary for Health Admiral Rachel L. Levine, co-founder of the Colorado Transgender Educators Network science teacher Sam Long and gender-fluid multi-disciplinary artist Dorian Wood -- embody the “visibility” theme (with music by DORIAN WOOD and David Gonzalez).
A summary of some of the news in or affecting
global LGBTQ communities
for the week ending March 25, 2023
Written by Greg Gordon, edited by Lucia Chappelle,
reported this week by Sarah Montague and David Hunt,
produced by Brian DeShazor
Uganda has once again passed an “Anti-Homosexuality Bill,” the lowest point yet in its long-running campaign against LGBTQ people. MP’s applauded passage of the 2023 version on March 21st. Speaker Anita Among demanded a roll call vote to expose any lawmaker who opposed the measure, so the tally was almost unanimous.
Private consensual adult same-gender sex is already punishable by up to life in prison in the East African nation. The new bill even criminalizes coming out as LGBTQ. Anyone found guilty of the “promotion recruitment and funding” of queer-supportive activities faces jail for up to 10 years. Citizens are required to report LGBTQ people or same-gender couples to the police.
The death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality” that sparked a global outcry in 2014 is resurrected in the new bill. Back then Uganda’s Supreme Court overturned it on a technicality.
President Yoweri Museveni is expected to sign the bill into law. His unconstitutionally elongated tenure has become infamous for his anti-queer remarks. Most recently he accused Western nations of “trying to impose their practices on other people.”
Prominent queer activists in Uganda like Frank Mugisha
condemned the bill, but like now U.S.-based Kasha Nabagesera they may need to consider leaving Uganda for their safety. Nabagesera told Pink News that the queer community there is “shaken, worried, and scared.”
Namibia’s Supreme Court has overturned a lower court ruling that granted citizenship to the son of a bi-national gay couple. Namibian native Phillip Lühl and his Mexican husband Guillermo Delgado have a child born in South Africa via a surrogate.
The March 20th decision denied the child Namibian citizenship based on technical grounds. The couple did not register the birth with Namibian authorities within one year as required by law.
Attorney Uno Katjipuka expressed her disappointment for the parents outside the courthouse:
All they’ve done is push the can, or kick the can down the road to live to, I don’t know, to consider these things another day. But in my opinion it’s very unfortunate, and not the sort of thing we expect to see from our Supreme Court.
LGBTQ rights activists were assaulted in the Serbian-run Bosnian city of Banja Luka on March 18th. Officials had banned a planned Pride event for “security reasons.” The activists were leaving a meeting at the local office of the Bosnian branch of the global anti-corruption group Transparency International. They were chased down and assaulted by a few dozen men.
Their attackers caught them and shouted anti-queer epithets as they punched several of them. At least one activist required medical attention. Police claim to still be looking for the perpetrators.
Bosnian Serb President Milorad Dodik denounced activists trying to express LGBTQ Pride. He urged “official bodies” to “prevent them from gathering both in closed venues and in the open.”
Banja Luka Mayor Drasko Stanivukovic said that the LGBTQ community should stay in Bosnia’s multiethnic capital, Sarajevo. He says that Bosnian Serbs cherish “patriarchal, traditional families and are clear about our faith and our identity."
The Supreme Courts of Bolivia and Nepal have each ordered the legal recognition of same-gender couples.
Bolivia's Constitutional Court approved "free unions" on March 21st. They carry all the rights and obligations of marriage for same-gender couples. Some observers predict that between the Bolivian constitution and the rulings of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights since 2017, activists would be able to win full marriage equality in the future.
Nepal’s Supreme Court ordered the government to open civil marriage to same-gender couples on March 20th. Local sources say the judges decided the Constitution of Nepal does not discriminate on the basis of gender or sexuality regarding the enjoyment and practice of any rights or privileges.
The World Athletics Council banned transgender women from elite track and field competitions this week. It was predictable based on the recent action by its counterparts in swimming.
Meanwhile this week, Wyoming became the latest U.S. state to ban transgender students from competing in girls or women’s sports. The Republican-dominated legislature approved a bill to ban trans female athletes in the eighth through twelfth grade-levels. Republican Governor Mark Gordon called the measure “draconian,” but let it become law without his signature.
Arkansas’ Republican Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders signed two anti-trans bills this week passed by her state’s Republican-controlled legislature. One allows anyone who received gender-affirming care as a minor to sue their doctor for malpractice up to 15 years after they turn 18. Under current Arkansas law, medical malpractice claims must be filed within two years of a perceived injury.
The second bill forces trans students and staff to use campus bathrooms and other gender-segregated facilities based on their birth certificate gender.
This bill harms me in an unforgivable way, and you’re doing harm to the body and to Nebraska as well.
A bisexual Nebraska lawmaker with a transgender son did not mince words this week. When a bill to ban gender-affirming care for young trans people advanced in a legislative committee, Democratic State Senator Megan Hunt vowed to filibuster every bill that comes to the floor in her chamber in retaliation:
Don’t say “Hi” to me in the hall. Don’t ask me how my weekend was. Don’t send me Christmas cards – take me off the list. You aren’t welcome in my space. You aren’t a safe person for my child to be around … or any child, frankly.
Kentucky’s Democratic Governor Andy Beshear vetoed two anti-trans bills this week: one to ban gender-affirming care for trans young people, and another to force trans people of all ages to use public bathrooms that correspond to their birth certificate gender. However the Republican-dominated state legislature could override his vetoes in the coming week.
Kansas Democratic Governor Laura Kelly vetoed a bill this week to ban trans girls and women from athletic competition -- for the third consecutive year. The Republican-dominated legislature could also override her veto.
Utah Governor Spencer Cox signed a measure to ban conversion therapy for minors that was unanimously approved in both chambers of the legislature this week. It’s a rare departure for Republican-controlled states. Violators face a hefty fine and jail time.
Rightwing opponents of both transgender existence and drag queens are becoming increasingly violent.
When anti-queer M.P. Mark Latham was scheduled to speak at St. Michael’s Church in the southwest Sydney, Australia suburb of Belfield on March 20th, peaceful LGBTQ-supportive protestors gathered outside. They were assaulted by a group of violent far-right men in “Christian Lives Matter” T-shirts. The attack went down as promised by attacker Christian Sukkar in a social media post the day before the event:
There is only one way, and that way is to f*g grab them … and you drag them by their f*g hair, and you f*g get them out of there. You go there tomorrow, and you f*g shake ‘em up, you drag ‘em by the f*g hair, and you remove them from St. Michael’s Belfield.
The local activist group Community Action for Rainbow Rights posted scenes from the violent confrontation on social media:
[SOUND: crowd, violent shouting]
Police officials confirmed a few arrests of the violent far-right Christian men. Others are still being sought.
Meanwhile, inflammatory British anti-queer campaigner Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull has been touring other Australian cities to promote her anti-trans rhetoric. Several Victoria officials expressed their shock to see black-clad Nazi-saluting supporters with the woman known as Posie Parker when she spoke outside Parliament House in Melbourne on March 18th.
Aboriginal Australian independent Senator Lidia Thorpe tried to storm the stage when Parker headlined an anti-transgender rally in Canberra. Thorpe was wrestled to the ground by police officials. On-scene video shows the rough arrest, which Thorpe calls an assault that should be criminally prosecuted.
[sound/Thorpe: “Oh my God, oh my God…”]
She told The Guardian Australia, “As a sovereign black woman I’ve come to let these people know that they are not welcome in this country.”
Finally, members of the far-right U.S. militia group Proud Boys got more than they bargained for this week. They tried to protest a “Drag Queen Story Hour” reading at a Manhattan-area LGBTQ Center hosted by New York state Attorney General Letticia James.
The violent rhetoric from the anti-drag mob pales in comparison with the message coming from the presentation inside and the drag defenders in attendance:
Proud Boys: God only knows what you’re reading to them. Are they twerking? Are the drag queens twerking in front of them?
Drag Queen (reading): You will meet many people, and go to many places. You can always find something to love about yourself, the world, and everything in it.
Proud Boys: You’re a groomer! You’re a pedophile
You’re spreading pedophilia!
Drag Queen (reading): Love yourself, love the world. The end … Love, Todd.
Counter-protestors: Go home! This is New York City! Go back to Long Island where you came from!
We’re here, we’re queer, you bigots are nor welcome here! We’re here, we’re queer, you bigots are nor welcome here!
Proud Boys go home! Nazis go home! Proud Boys go home!
At least one anti-drag protestor was arrested.
Gay New York City Councilmember Erik Bottcher was there to celebrate the drag queen-defending activists:
Thank to all the supporters that came out today. … we are overwhelming their hate with love and support and positivity.
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