Veteran Ugandan LGBTQ activist Frank Mugisha lobbies for support against the world’s most draconian legislation, an infamous measure that’s been circulating in various forms for more than a decade (interviewed by Amy Goodman of Democracy Now!).
Plus: U.S. President Joe Biden serves humor at White House Correspondents Dinner.
And in NewsWrap: Hungarian President Katalin Novák vetoes an Orban-backed bill bill that allows citizens to report same-gender couples with children, Tokyo Rainbow Pride returns to press the Japanese government on marriage equality, NBA Miami hero Dwayne Wade has left Florida for his trans daughter’s safety, Disney Company files suit against Florida Governor Ron DeSantis over his efforts to punish the company’s criticism of the “Don’t Say Gay” law, 300 drag queens and their supporters storm the Florida statehouse, lawsuits stall gender-affirming healthcare bans in Missouri and Tennessee, Montana’s transgender state Representative Zooey Zephyr keeps making her point despite being barred from speaking, and more international LGBTQ news reported this week by David Hunt and Melanie Keller (produced by Brian DeShazor).
All this on the May 1, 2023 edition of This Way Out!
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Complete Program Summary
for the week of May 1, 2023
Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Redux
Program #1,831 distributed 06/01/23
Hosted this week by Lucia Chappelle and produced with Greg Gordon
NewsWrap (full transcript below): Hungary’s President Katalin Novak vetoes a bill that calls on citizens to report queer couples who are raising children to the authorities in a rare rebuke of ham-fisted far-right autocratic P.M. Viktor Orban - but a simple legislative majority can override it … an estimated 200,000 people celebrate the first full Tokyo LGBTQ Pride festival after a four-year COVID-caused absence, and press their conservative federal government to open civil marriage to same-gender couples … U.S. NBA multi-champion Dwayne Wade tells Showtime’s Headliners why he and his wife Gabrielle Union moved their family out of Florida (hint: they’re proudly parenting trans-daughter Zaya) … the Walt Disney Company, an outspoken corporate opponent of Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law, sues power-hungry Republican Governor Ron DeSantis for “retaliation” after his thus-far failed efforts to eliminate their self-governance of the Orlando property in and around Walt Disney World … about 300 drag queens and their supporters invade the Florida statehouse in Tallahassee to protest the DeSantis “anti-queer agenda” … a Missouri judge places a temporary “hold” on the edict issued last week by the state Attorney General outlawing gender-affirming healthcare for all trans people regardless of age, while the U.S. Justice Department joins three families’ lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Tennessee’s state ban on gender-affirming healthcare for trans young people under the age of 18 … the Montana House’s overwhelmingly Republican majority banishes the state’s only transgender lawmaker, Missoula-area state Representative Zooey Zephyr, for the rest of the legislative session for her unapologetic “breach of decorum” “blood on your hands” remarks against measure to ban trans under-18’s gender-affirming healthcare (written by GREG GORDON, edited by LUCIA CHAPPELLE, reported this week by DAVID HUNT and MELANIE KELLER, produced by BRIAN DeSHAZOR).
Feature: Comedy Quickie: Snippets from Joe Biden’s self-deprecating “stand up” at the April 29th White House Correspondents Dinner also targeted Marjorie Taylor Greene and Ron DeSantis.
Feature: If you thought Uganda’s infamous anti-homosexuality legislation was a thing of the past, think again! The so-called “Kill the Gays” measure is back with a vengeance [This Way Out’s MARCO NAJERA reports]. Veteran Ugandan LGBTQ activist Frank Mugisha has been in Washington, DC, lobbying for support against the bill that has been circulating in various forms for more than a decade. Mugisha was interviewed on April 17th by AMY GOODMAN of Democracy Now! - and we have highlights (with an update and intro/outro music from the Uganda National Anthem).
A summary of some of the news in or affecting
global LGBTQ communities
for the week ending April 29th, 2023
Written by Greg Gordon, edited by Lucia Chappelle,
reported this week by David Hunt and Melanie Keller,
produced by Brian DeShazor
Hungarian President Katalin Novák is taking a rare stand against far-right anti-LGBTQ Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. Novák vetoed a bill this week that allowed citizens to file anonymous reports to the police fingering same-gender couples who are raising children. The measure backed by Orbán also restricted the rights of a child “to an identity appropriate to their sex at birth.”
The President is usually in lockstep with the Prime Minister. However her veto letter to the National Assembly asked lawmakers to remove those provisions. The measure’s purpose is to facilitate crackdowns on corruption under Hungarian law by adapting European Union statutes. She said that the extraneous provisions “[do] not strengthen but rather [weaken] the protection of fundamental values.”
President Novák‘s veto can be overridden with a simple majority vote.
The European Commission has taken legal umbrage with Hungary over its increasingly anti-queer laws, including constitutional bans on marriage and adoption, and laws banning so-called “gay propaganda.” The European Parliament and more than a dozen individual member states have joined a case against Hungary before the Court of Justice of the European Union -- the largest human rights infringement procedure ever brought there.
SOUND: Crowd cheers, “Happy Pride!”
A full-fledged Tokyo Rainbow Pride burst out of COVID restrictions for the first time in four years to parade through the city’s major Shibuya and Harajuku districts. An estimated 200,000 marched on April 22nd and attended related Pride events.
“Press On ‘Til Japan Changes” was the theme at the festivities. Pride participants demanded that Prime Minister Fumio Kishida allow lawmakers to consider full marriage for same-gender couples, or at least some form of civil unions. The most recent public opinion polls support them, but Kishida’s conservative administration has blocked any efforts in court and the legislature to open the civil institution to queer couples.
Kishida is hosting the Group of Seven economic consortium in Hiroshima in May. Even though close to 300 local jurisdictions symbolically recognize same-gender couples, Japan is the only member of the G-7 without national marriage equality.
You won’t find three-time U.S. National Basketball Association champion Dwayne Wade strolling down the boulevard that bears his name anymore. Wade had lived in Florida since he led the Miami Heat to NBA championships in 2006, 2012 and 2013, but his family no longer resides in Miami-Dade County – the place his fans still call “Wade County.”
Wade and his actress wife Gabrielle Union sold their Miami Beach property in 2021 and moved to Los Angeles. He explained why on the Showtime interview series Headliners this week.
I had to make decisions for my family … not just personal individual decisions. Obviously the taxes are great, having “Wade County” is great, but my family ain’t … would not be accepted or feel comfortable there. So that’s one of the reasons I don’t live there.
Wade and Union are the outspoken parents of a transgender daughter named Zaya. They expressed their love and support for Zaya again when they accepted the President’s Award at the 54th annual NAACP Awards in February. An Instagram post has the family proudly posing ahead of Zaya’s first Winter Formal.
Considering the anti-queer “culture wars” of Republican presidential wannabe Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, their move is not a shocker.
Governor DeSantis is falling behind both in his undeclared race for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination and in his Mickey Mouse War.
The Walt Disney Company filed suit against DeSantis this week over his efforts to punish the company’s strong corporate criticism of the infamous “Don’t Say Gay” law.
The Company and its Orlando-based Walt Disney World is one of Florida’s largest employers. Employee and public pressure pushed the Mouse to show its might.
DeSantis then tried to usurp Disney’s special district authority over the area where Walt Disney World is located. He got the legislature to replace the district governing board with a state board made up of his own cronies. Disney called that “a targeted campaign of government retaliation” in the suit filed on April 26th in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida.
Meanwhile the state ban on classroom discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity up to third grade that was the original bone of contention has gotten worse. Last week the DeSantis-loyal Florida Board of Education expanded the censorship laws to apply all the way through high school graduation.
[SOUND: Crowd chanting, “Drag is not a crime!” and “Hey hey, ho ho! Ron DeSantis has got to go!”]
That’s the sound of an estimated 300 drag queens and their supporters storming the Florida statehouse on April 24th. They came to Tallahassee to protest Governor Ron DeSantis’ efforts to virtually erase all public existence of LGBTQ people.
In addition to the “Don’t Say Gay” law, the attention-craving DeSantis has pushed through bills that force trans people to use bathrooms according to their birth certificate gender, ban drag performances and gender-affirming healthcare for minors, and prohibit transgender females from competing in school sports.
Orlando drag queen and queer activist Darcel Stevens was one of the Drag Queen’s March organizers. She condemned the anti-queer laws passed by this session’s Republican-majority lawmakers and signed into law by DeSantis, calling them “cruel, unjust, full of hypocrisy, and … counter to the very values Republicans claim to uphold.”
Despite the colorful protest, there’s now an official travel warning from the queer advocacy group, Equality Florida. They say it’s no longer safe for LGBTQ tourists to visit “the Sunshine State.”
We will never, ever surrender to the “Woke mob.” Florida is where “Woke” goes to die!
Republican-controlled U.S. state governments are guaranteeing lots of work for district and federal courts. Of the more than 450 bills to restrict or deny rights to LGBTQ people introduced just during the first four months of this year, two came to the docket this week.
Last week’s over-the-top edict by Missouri’s Attorney General banning gender-affirming healthcare for all transgender people regardless of age has been halted. 21st Judicial Circuit Judge Ellen Ribaudo issued a ruling on April 27th temporarily stopping its enforcement. Lambda Legal and the ACLU are leading the legal challenge in the “Show Me State,” as they are with similar litigation across the country.
The U.S. Department of Justice filed suit on April 26th to challenge Tennessee’s law banning gender-affirming healthcare for trans kids under the age of 18. That law also places parents and doctors who attempt to provide care like puberty blockers and hormone therapy in legal jeopardy. The D.O.J. joined three local families in their lawsuit against the measure.
Finally, was this a “breach of decorum?”
[I]f you vote “yes” on this bill, I hope the next time there’s an invocation, when you bow your heads in prayer, you see the blood on your hands.
Montana’s transgender state lawmaker Democrat Zooey Zephyr was speaking in strong opposition to a bill to outlaw gender-affirming healthcare for transgender young people. The bill predictably passed this week.
Zephyr’s remarks were criticized by the Speaker of the Republican-dominated state House last week, and this week the necessary two-thirds majority voted to prohibit her from entering the House chamber or participating in the legislative process for the rest of the current session.
Before the vote to kick her out of the House, the Speaker had to clear the gallery of Zephyr’s supporters before letting her speak. Several were arrested.
[SOUND: crowd chants, Zephyr]
CROWD: Let her speak, let her speak, let her speak, let her speak …
ZEPHYR: It is my honor today as with every day in this body to rise on behalf of my constituents in House District 100 from Missoula, Montana. Today I rise in defense of those constituents, of my community, and of democracy itself. This legislature has systematically attacked that community. We have seen bills targeting our art forms, our books, our history and our healthcare. I have had friends who have taken their lives because of these bills, I have fielded calls from families in Montana, including one family whose trans teenager attempted to take her life while watching a hearing on one of the anti-trans bills. So when I rose up and said, “There is blood on your hands,” I was not being hyperbolic. And when the Speaker asks me to apologize on behalf of decorum, what he is really asking me to do is be silent when my community is facing bills that get us killed. When the Speaker disallowed me to speak, what he was doing is taking away the voices of the 11,000 Montanans who elected me to speak on their behalf. And when the Speaker gaveled down the people demanding that democracy work, demanding that their representative be heard, when he gaveled down what he was doing is driving a nail in the coffin of democracy.
Montana state Representative Zephyr was pictured this week sitting on a bench outside the chamber with her laptop, doing her best to represent her Missoula constituents under the circumstances.