“This Way Out” debuted on April 1, 1988, bringing LGBTQ programming to community radio stations around the world. In observance of our 35th anniversary, CEO and NewsWrap Producer Brian DeShazor talks to Josh Shepperd of the U.S. Library of Congress Radio Preservation Task Force about the show’s historic legacy and the project to maintain it.
And in NewsWrap: Scotland’s new First Minister Humza Yousaf is Muslim and an LGBTQ ally, U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris presses Ghana’s government to abandon a draconian anti-queer bill, British anti-trans campaigner Posie Parker gives up on New Zealand, Republican controlled U.S. state legislatures continue the rash of anti-trans laws, Miley Cyrus and Dolly Parton’s "Rainbowland" is "too controversial" Wisconsin first-graders, and more international LGBTQ news reported this week by Ava Davis and John Dyer V (produced by Brian DeShazor).
All this on the April 3, 2023 edition of This Way Out!
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Complete Program Summary
for the week of April 3, 2023
35 Years of This Way Out: Preservation Now!
Program #1,827 distributed 04/03/23
Hosted this week by Lucia Chappelle and produced with Greg Gordon
NewsWrap (full transcript below): Queer ally Humza Yousaf is elected First Minister of Scotland, making him the first Muslim to lead a European democracy; U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris pushes Ghana President Nana Akufo-Addo to quash a horrific anti-LGBTQ bill now being considered in Parliament [with comments by each at a March 27th joint press conference in the West African nation]; outraged Kiwis end the New Zealand speaking tour of British anti-trans campaigner Posie Parker before she’s able to say one bigoted word [with sound from the estimated 5,000 protesters in Auckland]; Republican majorities in the U.S. states of Iowa, Georgia, West Virginia and Kentucky enact bills to ban most gender-affirming care for transgender people under the age of 18, while Republican majorities in Iowa, Idaho, Kentucky, and Florida approve bills to require the use by transgender people of sex-segregated public facilities, like bathrooms and locker rooms, based only on their birth certificate gender [with opposition testimony in Florida by trans-man Kaleb Hobson-Garcia and a trans-teen’s father, Jeff Walker]; and a right-wing-pressured school superintendent in Wisconsin bans kids at Heyer Elementary School from singing their version of Rainbowland, the 2017 duet by Miley Cyrus and Dolly Parton, because it “could be perceived as controversial” [with excerpts from the song and brief comments by Sarah Schindler, the parent of a seven-year-old at the school] (written by GREG GORDON, edited by LUCIA CHAPPELLE, reported this week by JOHN DYER V and AVA DAVIS, produced by BRIAN DeSHAZOR).
Feature: Around the world in 35 year! This Way Out: The International LGBTQ Radio Magazine debuted on non-commercial community stations on April 1, 1988, and at last count it’s broadcast on almost 200 local terrestrial and internet outlets in Canada, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, the Philippines, and the USA, as well as on the World Radio Network in English for North America, Africa, Asia-Pacific, the Caribbean and Europe. Thirty-five years of recorded LGBTQ life is worth preserving. Later this month This Way Out CEO and NewsWrap Producer BRIAN DESHAZOR will be a presenter at the gender and sexuality caucus of the Radio Preservation Task Force of the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. In observance of our 35th anniversary, Brian talks to Radio Preservation Task Force chair Josh Shepperd about the show’s historic legacy and the project to maintain it. But first, Coordinating Producer Greg Gordon tells NewsWrap anchor MICHAEL TAYLOR GRAY how This Way Out was born. And later, LYNN HARRIS-BALLEN (from Feminist Magazine on KPFK/Los Angeles) chats with Associate Producer Lucia Chappelle for some more memories (with instrumental intro music by TRIUMPH).
Feature: Brief promo for next week’s conversation with Ukrainian LGBTQ activist Olena Shevchenko.
A summary of some of the news in or affecting
global LGBTQ communities
for This Way Out #1827 distributed 3 April 2023
Written by Greg Gordon, edited by Lucia Chappelle,
reported this week by John Dyer V and Ava Davis,
produced by Brian DeShazor
Humza Yousaf will be First Minister of Scotland, and queer equality advocates are expressing relief. The LGBTQ ally defeated two socially conservative rivals to lead the Scottish National Party on March 27th. He was confirmed as the next First Minister in the formal parliamentary election the following day. Yousaf is the first Muslim elected to lead a major U.K. political party, and the first Muslim to lead a European democracy.
One of the critical decisions he’ll need to make involves the U.K.’s decision to block Scotland’s pro-transgender legislation passed in December. It allowed trans Scots to change their legal gender without medical intervention, and lowered the eligibility age to 16. The Scottish government has until mid-April to contest the unusual U.K. override – an action that has further fueled the movement for Scotland’s full independence from the United Kingdom.
During his campaign Yousaf pledged to fight for the rights of all minorities, a pledge that included banning medically debunked queer conversion therapy – whether or not the conservative U.K. government finally does. Yousaf also supports “embedding LGBTQ rights in an independent Scotland’s constitution.”
U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris has LGBTQ rights on her agenda as she tours three African nations that criminalize same-gender sex.
At a joint press conference on March 27th with President Nana Akufo-Addo, Harris pressed Ghana’s government to abandon the draconian anti-queer bill currently moving through Parliament. It would enhance laws that already make private consensual adult same-gender sex illegal. Prison time for “offenders” would be increased, and “conversion therapy” would be mandated in some cases. The measure also includes up to a decade in prison for LGBTQ rights advocates. It outlaws cross-dressing and public displays of affection by same-gender couples, and requires citizens to report suspected LGBTQ people to the authorities.
Let me clear about where we stand. First of all, for the American press who are here, you know that a great deal of work in my career has been to address human rights issues, equality issues across the board, including as it relates to the LGBT community. And I feel very strongly about the importance of supporting the freedom and supporting and fighting for the equality among all people, and that all people be treated equally. I will also say that this is an issue that we consider and I consider to be a human rights issue, and that will not change.
Without providing specifics, Akufo-Addo claimed that the worst parts of the bill had been toned down. However he failed to express his government’s direct opposition to the bill:
I have no doubt that the Parliament of Ghana will show as it has done in the past one, first of all, its sensitivity to human rights issues, as well as to the feelings of our population, and will come out with the responsible response to the proposed legislation. This is legislation that has been provided as a private members bill, it’s not an official legislation of the government. It is one that has been voted by a handful of private members. So we will see what the final outcome of it … but my understanding from a recent discussion I had with the chairman of the committee that substantial elements of the bill have already been modified as a result of the intervention of the Attorney General.
Bill sponsor M.P. Samuel Nartey George disagrees with the President’s outlook. He insisted in a television interview the next day that the proposed legislation remains “rigid and tough.”
[AUCKLAND CROWD SOUNDS]
Fresh off her problematic tour of Australia, British anti-trans campaigner Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull got a less-than-welcomed response when she tried to speak in New Zealand. The rabble-rouser known as Posie Parker gave up and left the country after up to 5,000 people turned out to protest her anti-trans rally in Auckland. She was pelted with eggs, and someone threw tomato soup on her as she was hustled out of the venue by her bodyguards before she could even begin her speech.
Thousands celebrated her absence in joyful demonstrations when her scheduled speeches in Christchurch and Wellington were clearly cancelled – Posie had already been spotted by reporters in the departure area at Auckland International Airport.
U.S. Republicans are continuing their assault on transgender existence in several states in which they hold legislative majorities.
Laws banning most forms of gender-affirming care for transgender people under the age of 18 have been signed into law by Republican governors in Iowa, Georgia, and West Virginia. Democratic Kentucky Governor Andy Beshears’ veto of similar legislation was overridden by Republicans.
They also overrode his veto of a bill to require trans people to use the sex-segregated public facilities that match their birth certificate gender. Republicans in Idaho also banned trans people from using bathrooms and locker rooms based on their gender identity.
This anti-trans crusade is all politics, no brains and no heart. Florida’s legislature passed a bill to ban trans people from using bathrooms that match their gender identity despite the factual arguments made by this opposition witness:
My name is Kaleb Hobson-Garcia, I’m a student at Florida State University, I’m about to graduate with my Bachelor of Science. If this bill passes, you’ll be requiring trans men like me to use the women’s restroom or face criminal punishment. This is rooted in trans misogyny, which is a hatred of trans women, it’s rooted in your hatred on non-passing trans people, because being faced with trans people makes you uncomfortable. That being considered what me following the law would look like. It looks like me in the stall, next to the females with my low voice and my facial hair. It looks like me bringing discomfort and potentially traumatic experiences to women. If I follow the law when this bathroom ban passes, it also puts my safety at risk. What happens when husbands see me following their wives into restrooms? This law would open the door to aggressive behavior inside and outside of bathrooms as strangers demand other people prove their gender, making all people less safe. That includes cis people who don’t conform to stereotypical appearances.
Republican lawmakers were equally unmoved by the testimony of the father of a transgender child:
Uh, I had not planned to speak today. My name is Jeff Walker, and what I’d like to speak about today is my lived experience as the father of a trans kid. Several years ago my daughter came to us, and she believed she was trans. So what did we do? We went to our trusted pediatrician, and he referred us to a gender clinic. And as we’ve gone through this journey, they have every step of the way – even through the pandemic – been there beside us. No one’s pressured my kid to do anything they weren’t comfortable with. She is thriving with a group of friends who love and accept her. And when I look at her, all I see is just a happy teenager, and that’s all I want for my kid, is to be happy in who they are. So if you vote for this, you’re voting for people like me to no longer be able to help my kid, and go to people I trust as medical professionals. No matter what’s going on, you should believe in doctors. How are they right about everything else – about diabetes, about cancer, about a broken arm, about strep throat, about the flu – but wrong about this? I implore you to vote No, and vote this down, so that kids like mine can continue to grow up happy. Thank you.
Florida’s ambition-driven Republican Governor Ron DeSantis is expected to gleefully sign the anti-trans bathroom bill.
Meanwhile, the nation’s first ban on drag shows has been put on hold. A federal judge is questioning the constitutionality of the Tennessee law. It was set to take effect on April 1st.
Finally, a song that was released in 2017 has suddenly become controversial in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin county of Waukesha.
Superintendent Jim Sebert has decided that Heyer Elementary School’s rendition of the Miley Cyrus-Dolly Parton duet Rainbowland “could be perceived as controversial”:
[SOUND: Rainbowland song excerpt]
Tell me why a song about rainbows isn’t appropriate for a
first grader to sing?
Sarah Schindler says her daughter Audrey “could barely contain her excitement” about singing that song in her school’s Spring Concert. Schindler told “Fox 6 News Milwaukee” that she thinks Sebert felt pressured by his school board, which tilted farther-right after recent elections:
I think for some reason the district and administration sees rainbows as a political symbol.
[SOUND: Rainbowland song excerpt]
To me, that is a message that I want my child to feel. Seven-year-olds should be free to be themselves.