We honor gay American playwright, poet, lyricist, short story writer and novelist Robert Patrick, who passed away on April 23rd in Los Angeles. The tribute includes Patrick reading from his 1994 novel, Temple Slave. (Produced by Brian DeShazor.)
And in NewsWrap: Uganda’s Parliament returns the revived Anti-Homosexuality Bill to President Yoweri Museveni without most of his requested revisions, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan falls back on homophobic rhetoric in his reelection campaign, the Seoul Queer Culture Festival loses its venue to a Christian youth concert, Montana’s Republican governor signs a gender-affirming healthcare ban for trans minors as Missoulans march in support of their ousted trans state Representative Zooey Zephyr, Oklahoma governor nixes trans youth gender-affirming healthcare and defunds the state’s public television broadcaster, Maryland governor signs protections for reproductive rights and gender-affirming care, Illinois legislature passes a bill denying public funding for book-banning library boards, Pennsylvania’s House passes a bill prohibiting anti-LBGTQ bias, hundreds protest more anti-queer legislation pushed by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, Victoria Premier Dan Andrews decries anti-drag protesters, and more international LGBTQ news reported this week by Ava Davis and Joe Boehnlein (produced by Brian DeShazor).
All this on the May 8, 2023 edition of This Way Out!
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Complete Program Summary
for the week of May 8, 2023
Robert Patrick Memorial
Program #1,832 distributed 06/08/23
Hosted this week by Lucia Chappelle and produced with Greg Gordon
NewsWrap (full transcript below):. Ugandan lawmakers send the horrific Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2023 back to President Yoweri Museveni for his signature after spurning most of his requested revisions … far-right Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan stokes usual anti-queer fears on his reelection campaign trail … Seoul’s city government snubs South Korea’s premier Pride event and issues a permit for a Christian youth concert instead of to organizers of the long-running on that date and in that venue Seoul Queer Culture Festival … Montana’s Republican governor signs a bill banning gender-affirming healthcare for trans minors as Missoulans march in support of their ousted trans state Representative Zooey Zephyr [brief audio], the Republican super-majority sends a slew of other anti-queer bills to the governor for his probable signature; Oklahoma’s Republican Governor Kevin Stitt also signs a trans youth gender-affirming healthcare ban, and then vetoes what is usually routine funding for the state’s public television broadcaster because it’s “indoctrinating” kids … Maryland’s Democratic governor signs measures to guarantee a woman’s right to choose and gender-affirming healthcare for trans people in his state … Illinois’ Democratic governor is expected to sign a bill passed this week by the state legislature that denies public funding for book-banning library boards … Pennsylvania’s House passes a bill to ban LGBTQ bias in employment, housing, and education [with “the political is personal” remarks by state lawmaker PAUL TAKAC], but it faces an uphill battle in the GOP-controlled state Senate … hundreds protest the anti-queer agenda of Florida’s Republican Governor Ron DeSantis [with sounds of the sit-in at the governor’s office], while his GOP legislative lackeys approve several anti-queer bills, including a measure that allows trans minors to be removed from their families if they are getting gender-affirming healthcare … and in “the land Down Under”, Victoria state Premier Dan Andrews suggests that violence-prone anti-drag protestors, who most recently forced the cancellation of a sold-out “Drag Queen Story Time” sponsored by the Monash City Council, should take their hate to a more-appropriate place [Florida] (written by GREG GORDON, edited by LUCIA CHAPPELLE, reported this week by AVA DAVIS and JOE BOEHNLEIN, produced by BRIAN DeSHAZOR).
Feature: Robert Patrick O’connor died peacefully on April 23, 2023 at his home in Los Angeles. He was 85. This Way Out’s BRIAN DeSHAZOR (with thanks to VOJISLAV RADOVANOVIC and JASON JENN of L.A. Art Documents) pays tribute to the gay American playwright, poet, lyricist, short story writer and novelist, perhaps best-known for his award-winning Broadway play Kennedy’s Children (with comments by compatriot Bonnie Young and music by ODIUS ARI DESANO).
Feature: Promo for next week’s Number 96 feature celebrating the groundbreaking queer inclusive Australian TV series and a new documentary about it (produced by BARRY McKAY, with the show theme music).
A summary of some of the news in or affecting
global LGBTQ communities
for the week ending May 6th, 2023
Written by Greg Gordon, edited by Lucia Chappelle,
reported this week by Ava Davis and Joe Boehnlein,
produced by Brian DeShazor
The latest version of Uganda’s “Anti-Homosexuality Bill” is on its way back to President Yoweri Museveni. The president had sent it back to Parliament with some suggested “revisions” on April 20th, and it passed for a second time on May 2nd. They adopted Museveni’s request to drop a provision that would have made it a crime to simply come out publically as LGBTQ. However, the rest remains the same as the version passed in March despite Musevini’s requests. It still jails property owners who knowingly rent to LGBTQ people, it calls for up to life in prison for “engaging in acts of homosexuality,” and it also jails anyone who “advocates or promotes” LGBTQ rights in the East African nation. It charges repeat offenders with “aggravated homosexuality,” and they can be executed. Musevini has 30 days to sign the bill into law, veto it, or return it to Parliament again for further “revisions.”
Turkey’s far-right President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is stoking anti-queer fears again in his bid for reelection. The entrenched leader hopes his incessant anti-LGBTQ campaign rhetoric will cajole conservatives to the polls. In Izmir he proclaimed, “In this country foundations of the family are stable. LGBT will not emerge in this country.” He urged younger voters in Bursa to reject opposition parties because they are “pro-LGBT.” He assured his supporters in Giresun that, “We are against the LGBT.”
Erdoğan’s opponent is leftist Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, who has made government corruption a key campaign issue. The two are running neck-and-neck. Kılıçdaroğlu is also promising to eliminate the Erdoğan-backed law that makes it illegal to "insult the president." Thousands have been prosecuted under that statute, mostly teenagers for social media posts. Kılıçdaroğlu says, "Young people, I promise you that when I sit in the presidential chair, you will be able to criticize me freely."
Turkish voters go to the polls on May 14th.
Seoul’s city government has shut down South Korea’s largest LGBTQ Pride celebration. The Seoul Queer Culture Festival has drawn tens of thousands of celebrants to City Hall Plaza on July 1st every year since 2014, except for the COVID years. Organizers have been competing with fundamentalist Christian groups for an event permit in recent years and this time a Christian Youth Concert won.
The youth concert is being hosted by a group affiliated with the Christian Television Service. CTS routinely rails against the Festival and against LGBTQ people, but its spokesperson claimed that requesting a permit for the same day and venue as the annual queer event was just a coincidence.
Queer Culture Festival organizers announced the insulting snub on social media this week. They are trying to find an alternative venue for the celebration.
[SOUND: Missoula marchers chanting Let her speak!]
Hundreds of people marched through the streets of Missoula, Montana on April 28th to protest the ouster of their elected representative, Zooey Zephyr. The state’s only transgender lawmaker went viral with her impassioned arguments against the legislature’s bill to ban gender-affirming healthcare for transgender young people. Republican Governor Greg Gianforte signed that bill into law on the same day.
The ACLU filed suit on behalf of Zephyr and several constituents to challenge her expulsion by the House Republican super-majority during the waning days of the legislative session. District Court Judge Mike Menahan said that he had no jurisdiction to override legislative actions. The session has since ended.
Republican lawmakers also sent a bill to the governor that essentially bans “Drag Queen Story Hour” at public schools or libraries. Another measure defines gender only as either male or female, virtually erasing trans and intersex people. The queer advocacy Human Rights Campaign also lists several more bills. One would “allow medical providers to deny services to patients based on their personal beliefs.” Another “allows parents to withdraw students from public school if they disagree with the lesson plan of the day.” Yet another bill “would allow schools to out transgender and non-binary students.”
Governor Gianforte will probably sign all of them.
Oklahoma’s Governor Kevin Stitt made his state the latest to ban gender-affirming healthcare for minors, signing that bill on May 1st. The Republican governor went on to veto funding for the state’s public broadcasting service, the Oklahoma Educational Television Authority.
Stitt was not shy as to why he refused to continue the previously routine funding of the state’s public broadcaster:
I don’t think Oklahomans want to use their tax dollars to indoctrinate kids. And some of the things that they’re showing, it just over-sexualizes our kids. There’s “Parents Defend Child Transition” on PBS that’s being played. There’s “Elevating LGBTQIA2S+ Voices.” But the big picture here is, why do we use taxpayer dollars to fund a system that competes with the private sector?
Unless the majority Republican legislature overrides Stitt’s veto, the state’s public television provider will be off the air.
Majority Democrats in more “blue” U.S. states are pro-actively countering Republican efforts in “red” states to roll back LGBTQ rights.
On May 3rd, Maryland’s Democratic Governor Wes Moore signed protections for a woman’s right to choose and guarantees for Medicaid’s joint state and federal coverage for gender-affirming healthcare.
Illinois’ Democratic Governor J.B. Pritzker is expected to sign a bill to prohibit book bans passed by lawmakers on May 3rd. Library boards that refuse to stock books due to their “origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation” will be denied public funding.
Pennsylvania’s Democratically controlled House of Representatives approved the “Fairness Act” on May 2nd. The measure to protect LGBTQ people from discrimination in the workplace, housing, and education passed by a vote of 102 to 98. It’s the first time a queer anti-bias bill has been approved by Pennsylvania’s legislature since the first one was introduced 47 years ago.
State Representative Paul Takac takes it personally:
What if it was your child being discriminated against, and disrespected day in and day out? And how would you feel, knowing that all of that was legal? That it was not only accepted, but it was actually celebrated and defended. What if your child had no right, no legal right to stand up for themselves or to seek justice? I’m the parent of a transgender child. I know my answer to those questions — I’ve lived them.
Opposition to the “Fairness Act” awaits in the Republican-controlled Pennsylvania state Senate. If it reaches his desk, Democratic Governor Tom Wolf would almost certainly sign it.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ Republican legislative lackeys rushed through several anti-queer bills for him as their session ended this week. Hundreds protested the anti-queer legislative avalanche at a raucous sit-in on May 3rd at the offices of Governor DeSantis:
[SOUND: DeSantis protesters]
(chanting) Ain’t no power like the power of people ‘cause the power of people won’t stop.
(chanting) Where is Ron?
(singing) Which side are you on, my people, which side are you on?
The state Senate confirmed the House’s lopsided Republican majority vote on May 3rd to expand the “Don’t Say Gay” law from third to twelfth grades. It also voted to force trans students and staff to use school bathrooms that match their birth certificate gender. Other bills ban diversity programs in state colleges and universities, and allow students and teachers to refuse to use a trans person’s preferred pronouns or otherwise recognize their gender identity. Both chambers also agreed on a shocking bill that will allow Florida officials to remove transgender minors from their families if they are receiving gender-affirming healthcare.
Fourteen activists were arrested at the anti-DeSantis demonstration. All 14 have since been released on bail.
Finally, rightwing protests of “Drag Queen Story Hours” are spreading internationally. The often-testy confrontations between pro- and anti-drag demonstrators have hit the U.S., the U.K. and Australia.
Threats of violence Down Under forced the cancellation of a sold-out “Drag Queen Story Time” at a local library on May 4th. The event was sponsored by the City Council of the Victorian city of Monash. Victoria Premier Dan Andrews urged drag detractors to go elsewhere.
It is a disgrace, it’s shameful, and my message to those people is very clearly, if you want to behave like the worst elements of the Floridian Republican Party, well get to Florida. This government and this community remains committed to every single Victorian, no matter who they are, or who they love.