LGBTQ voices in early 1970s Los Angeles were brought to the radio airwaves by a young gay volunteer broadcaster whose historic recordings have been found after 50 years “in the closet.” We share excerpts from programs on healthcare, politics and building the nascent movement (produced by Brian DeShazor).
And in NewsWrap: the leader of Thailand’s progressive new post-military coup government reiterates a pledge to pass marriage equality legislation at Bangkok Pride, a fifth Japanese district court rules that banning civil marriage for same-gender couples is unconstitutional, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signs a bill to deprive trans youth of gender-affirming healthcare, Missouri’s Republican legislature and governor deny transgender healthcare for minors and block trans student athletes, a U.S. federal judge derides Florida’s ban on trans youth healthcare, a U.S. judge pans Tennessee’s drag show ban, out gay Congressman Robert Garcia crowns RuPaul “the queen of drag” in a Pride month speech to the U.S. House, and more international LGBTQ news reported this week by Melanie Keller and Allan Tijamo (produced by Brian DeShazor).
All this on the June 12, 2023 edition of This Way Out!
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Complete Program Summary
for the week of June 12, 2023
Pioneering Gay Recordings Rediscovered
Program #1,837 distributed 06/12/23
Hosted this week by Greg Gordon and produced with Lucia Chappelle
NewsWrap (full transcript below): Thailand’s new Prime Minister, set to take power in July, vows to usher in civil marriage for same-gender couples within his first 100 days in office … a fifth district court in Japan rules on the constitutionality of the country’s ban on marriage equality … Republican governors in Texas and Missouri each sign bills banning healthcare for transgender minors, and Missouri’s also signs a bill banning trans athletes from competing under their gender identity in all school sports … a federal judge in Florida rules that the state’s ban on healthcare for trans patients under the age of 18 is unconstitutional … a federal judge in Tennessee decides that that state’s ban on drag shows also violates the U.S. Constitution … and Robert Garcia, the first openly gay immigrant elected to the U.S. Congress, celebrates the art of drag and its leading light, RuPaul Charles, in a Pride season kick-off speech on the House floor [brief excerpts] (written by GREG GORDON, edited by LUCIA CHAPPELLE, reported this week by MELANIE KELLER and ALLAN TIJAMO, produced by BRIAN DeSHAZOR).
Feature: They wanted gay and lesbian voices on the air, and Richard Gollance answered the call. It was 1972, and Gollance volunteered to produce a series of commentaries for Pacifica Radio station KPFK-Los Angeles on behalf of what was then called the Gay Community Services Center. He was just 20 years old. Queer audio treasure hunter BRIAN DeSHAZOR talks about how he found Gollance and his cache of forgotten recordings, and shares clips from those vintage LGBTQ broadcasts.(with thanks to DAVID SEUBERT and UC Santa Barbara Libraries; also featuring Dick Nash, Rosalind Allen, Morris Kight, Dr. Ben Teller, and Roberta Messo).
A summary of some of the news in or affecting
global LGBTQ communities
for the week ending June 10th, 2023
Written by Greg Gordon, edited by Lucia Chappelle,
reported this week by Melanie Keller and Allan Tijamo,
produced by Brian DeShazor
Thailand may become the second in Asia to open civil marriage to gay and lesbian couples. Thailand’s Move Forward Party won a majority of seats in May‘s parliamentary elections, and its leader Pita Limjaroenrat is expected to be named Prime Minister in July. Limjaroenrat participated in the Bangkok Pride Parade on June 4th, just the second celebration since 2006. Bangkok Governor Chadchart Sittipunt told Reuters that more than 50,000 people joined this year's parade, more than double the attendance of last year's event.
Limjaroenrat vowed on Facebook to usher in marriage equality within his first 100 days in office. He wrote: “Diversity is not a weakness, but a strength of this country. Love is love and love must win. It’s about telling the world about the values we share. … We all have equal human dignity and must have equality before the law and receive public services from the state fairly and equally, [and] not be discriminated against.” He has the backing of all eight parties in his governing coalition. He’ll succeed former army chief Prayuth Chan-o-cha, who has ruled the country since leading a military coup in 2014.
Taiwan became the first Asian nation to enact marriage equality in 2019.
The Fukuoka District Court ruled on the constitutionality of Japan’s ban on civil marriage equality -- the fifth such court to do so. Two have decided that the ban is unconstitutional, and one ruled that it is not. Fukuoka joined Tokyo’s court on June 8th in upholding the ban while it decided that the denial of some form of legal protections for same-gender couples violates their human rights. More than a dozen queer couples filed suit on Valentine’s Day in 2019 in district courts across the country to challenge the ban.
The most recent public opinion polls show up to 70 percent support in Japan for marriage equality. Hundreds of local municipalities have created mostly symbolic registries for lesbian and gay couples. Despite mounting pressure, the conservative government of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has been intransigent. It has fought against equality in both the courts and the legislature. Their weak promise to pass a law to promote “understanding” of LGBTQ people ahead of hosting the G7 economic nations summit in Hiroshima in May fell flat. Japan remains the only member of that exclusive club without marriage equality.
With his signature on June 2nd, Texas Governor Greg Abbott stopped gender-affirming healthcare for transgender young people under the age of 18. Texas joins more than a dozen other Republican-controlled U.S. states where the medically approved care is prevented, including reversible puberty blockers and hormone therapy. There are a few exceptions, but critics say that it’s not entirely clear what they are. Violators could lose their medical licenses, so doctors are likely to err on the side of caution when it comes to young transgender patients.
It’s just as likely that legal challenges will be filed in court well before the new law takes effect on September 1st.
Missouri’s Republican Governor Mike Parson doubled down on the oppression on June 7th. He signed bans on gender-affirming healthcare for transgender minors and trans students competing in school sports under their gender identity.
The transgender sports ban covers all grades in both public and private schools, as well as colleges and universities. It requires student athletes to compete under the gender listed on their birth certificate. Schools that violate the law would lose state funding and could face civil lawsuits.
Missouri allows trans patients already receiving hormones or puberty blockers to stay on them. The ban takes effect on August 28th.
The Movement Advancement Project says Missouri is the 22nd state to ban trans participation in school sports. The “Show Me State” also becomes the 21st to ban most gender-affirming healthcare for trans patients under the age of 18.
There are court challenges to virtually every ban on trans healthcare and sports that have been enacted in almost two dozen Republican-controlled U.S. states.
In one of those cases, Judge Robert Hinkle of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida derided “The Sunshine State’s” trans youth healthcare ban. His June 6th ruling belittled that state’s arguments as “a laundry list of purported justifications for the statute and rules” that were “largely pretextual and, in any event, do not call for a different result.”
Hinkle granted the parents of three transgender children who challenged the law’s constitutionality an emergency preliminary injunction request to allow their trans kids to continue getting healthcare. The judge wrote that their lawsuit is likely to succeed, and that, “Gender identity is real.” He noted that “proper treatment” can include mental health therapy, puberty blockers and hormone therapy. His decision said, “Florida has adopted a statute and rules that prohibit these treatments even when medically appropriate.”
Essentially all professional medical associations endorse gender transition care. Hinkle ridiculed the state’s claim they have done so for political reasons. He wrote: “If ever a pot called a kettle black, it is here. The statute and the rules were an exercise in politics, not good medicine.”
To Judge Thomas L. Parker of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee, the country’s first ban on drag shows as “adult entertainment” is an unconstitutional infringement of free speech. After a two-day trial, the Trump appointee handed down his ruling on June 2nd. Parker had previously issued an injunction preventing enforcement of the law.
A queer theatre company in Shelby County called Friends of George’s had sued Tennessee over the ban, which specifically outlawed “male and female impersonators” from performing in public spaces accessible to minors. In finding for the plaintiff, Parker called the Adult Entertainment Act, “an unconstitutional restriction on the freedom of speech.” He called the law “both unconstitutionally vague and substantially overbroad.”
Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti said his office will probably file an appeal “at the appropriate time.” He claims that the ruling only applies to Shelby County, and that the drag ban remains in force everywhere else in the state.
Finally, Representative Robert Garcia may be the first lawmaker in history to celebrate drag in a speech on the floor of the U.S. Congress. Garcia is the first out gay immigrant to serve in the House. The Democrat from Southern California’s 42nd Congressional District is a well-known fan of the art of drag. He honored drag’s unquestionable leading light on June 7th:
Mr. Speaker, I rise to commemorate the start of Pride Month by honoring the one and only “queen of drag,” RuPaul -- an artist, a philanthropist and a barrier breaker. The LGBTQ+ community continues to fight for equality and acceptance. The world needs more love, and yes, more RuPaul. This Pride season, as you re-commit to celebrating diversity, difference and self-love, you must always remember what RuPaul so famously says, “If you can’t love yourself, how the hell are you gonna love somebody else?” Thank you, and I yield back.