The West Coast all-trans woman rock band of the early 2000s responds to the nationwide epidemic of anti-trans fever with a stellar comeback (Lipstick Conspiracy interviewed by Eric Jansen of Out in the Bay Queer Radio and Podcast).
And in NewsWrap: Britain’s National Health Service limits trans young people’s access to gender-affirming therapies, Iceland bans conversion therapy, Queensland drops surgery prerequisite for gender and name changes, Australian Capital Territory protects intersex rights, Arizona governor vetoes trans student bathroom bill, Texas expands trans female sports ban to higher education, Illinois governor signs book ban ban, Tony winner Arden reclaims “F” word, and more international LGBTQ news.
All this on the June 19, 2023 edition of This Way Out!
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Complete Program Summary
for the week of June 19, 2023
Lipstick Conspiracy Reunited!
Program #1,838 distributed 06/19/23
Hosted this week by Lucia Chappelle and produced with Greg Gordon
NewsWrap (full transcript below): The United Kingdom’s National Health Service, claiming that their use has not been fully proven to be beneficial, drastically restricts access by transgender patients under the age of 18 to puberty blockers … the U.K.’s Home Office announces an expansion of a program allowing gay men convicted of now-legal same-gender sex to apply for pardons to women convicted of lesbian sex, military service members, and men convicted of “solicitation of men” … Iceland bans conversion therapy, the debunked claim that LGBTQ people - notably including the "T" - can be made straight … the Australian state of Queensland drops reassignment surgery as a prerequisite to trans people as young as 12 changing the gender marker on their birth certificates and other government documents … the Australian Capital Territory becomes the first in the country to enact laws protecting intersex people from surgical intervention without their informed consent … Arizona’s Democratic Governor Katie Hobbs vetos an anti-trans “bathroom bill” … Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott signs a bill expanding his state’s ban on trans girls and women from competing in school sports under their gender identity to colleges and universities … Democratic Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signs a first-in-the-nation bill banning book bans … Best Director of a Musical Michael Arden steals this year’s even-more-queer-than-usual Tony Awards on June 11th by reclaiming the “F” word [with brief excerpts from his acceptance speech, and our “fill-in-the-blank” voice-over replacing almost all of the comments bleeped by CBS during its telecast (written by GREG GORDON, edited by LUCIA CHAPPELLE, reported this week by WENZEL JONES and NICO RAQUEL, produced by BRIAN DeSHAZOR).
Feature: The music of the all-trans woman rock band Lipstick Conspiracy lives again! They first made their mark on the U.S. West Coast in 2004, and toured for about six years. The nationwide epidemic of anti-trans fever is bringing them back together. From San Francisco, ERIC JANSEN of Out in the Bay Queer Radio and Podcast greeted their reunion.[featuring comments by Lipstick Conspiracy’s Sarafina Maraschino, Shawna Love and Marilyn Mitchell, excerpts from Call, Just A Girl, Locked Away, and You (Do x 3), and audio editing by DAVID KWAN].
A summary of some of the news in or affecting
global LGBTQ communities
for the week ending June 17th, 2023
Written by Greg Gordon, edited by Lucia Chappelle,
reported this week by Wenzel Jones and Nico Raquel
produced by Brian DeShazor
The United Kingdom’s conservative Tory government offered good news and bad news this week. We’ll start with the bad news.
Britain’s National Health Service announced on June 9th that trans young people’s access to gender-affirming therapies will be drastically cut. An NHS statement says, “Outside of a research setting, puberty-suppressing hormones should not be routinely commissioned for children and adolescents.” The agency claims that more evidence is needed about the benefits and potential harms of puberty blockers on patients under the age of 18. Demand for the drugs far exceeding supply in the U.K. has seemingly contributed to the policy change.
Puberty blockers prescribed to help treat gender dysphoria are widely available in other countries, including the United States. The NHS described the policy change as “interim.”
The new policy was quickly condemned by Stonewall, one of the U.K.’s major queer rights groups. They said, “This cannot be right. … Trans and gender questioning children and young people in the U.K. deserve the best possible standard of care … from well-qualified, effective and compassionate professionals. And they deserve to get that care in a timely manner.”
The new policy is set to take effect later this year. In the interim, healthcare providers can still offer puberty blockers to transgender young people under the age of 18 – if they can find them.
The good news from Britain is that women who were convicted for having lesbian sex can now apply for a formal pardon. The Home Office announced an expansion of efforts to erase convictions for now legal same-gender sex that began more than a decade ago. Members of the Armed Forces who were convicted under military anti-queer sex laws can now also seek pardons. Men can also apply for pardons if they were found guilty of “solicitation by men” – also known as “flirting.”
Deputy Chief Executive Rob Cookson of the LGBT Foundation lauded the expansion, saying, “People should never be criminalized simply for who they are and who they love.”
Iceland has joined the growing list of nations to outlaw “conversion therapy.” Parliament approved the legislation on June 9th with a vote of 53 in favor and three abstentions.
One of the Nordic country’s leading queer rights groups applauded the vote. Samtukin ’78 said, “There is no cure for being gay and any attempt to do so is violence.” The claim that sexual orientation or gender identity can be changed through counseling and prayer has been medically discredited.
Not all national laws banning conversion therapy include transgender people, but Iceland’s does. Countries that ban at least sexual-orientation-based conversion therapy include Brazil, Canada, Cyprus, Ecuador, France, Germany, Malta, New Zealand and Spain.
Trans Australians in the state of Queensland can now change the legal gender and name on their birth certificates without having to undergo reassignment surgery. The state parliament approved laws on June 14th that allow adults to legally change their gender on government documents without surgery. People 16 to 18 years old can change their gender with a supporting statement by an adult they’ve known for at least a year. Trans young people 12- to-15-years of age can also make the changes with parental permission and court approval. The legislation also allows same-gender and gender-diverse parents to be listed as “mother,” “father” or simply “parent” on their offspring’s birth certificate.
Trans advocacy group Transcend Australia said the reforms will “have an enormous impact on the lives of trans, non-binary and gender-diverse young people and their families for years to come.”
The surgery prerequisite for trans people to legally change gender and name has already been removed in other jurisdictions Down Under, including the Australian Capital Territory, North Territory, South Australia, Tasmania and Victoria.
Bodily autonomy has also taken a step forward in Australia. The government of the Australian Capital Territory has become the first in the nation to enact laws that protect intersex people from medical procedures without their consent.
Vik Fraser of the advocacy group A Gender Agenda expressed their appreciation for the trailblazing move. They said, “Children born with innate variations of sex characteristics should be able to make their own decisions about their own bodies, based on individual values and in accordance with human rights.”
Parents of intersex infants will receive treatment advice about variations in sex characteristics from panels of experts including doctors, ethicists, human rights and psychosocial advocates. The panels will include at least one intersex person.
Anna Brown of the national advocacy group Equality Australia joined the celebration, saying, “It’s now time for the rest of the country to commit to protecting future generations of intersex Australians from medical procedures that can be deferred until they are old enough to decide for themselves.”
Governor Katie Hobbs of the U.S. state of Arizona says she intends to reject every “discriminatory act” that reaches her desk if it restricts the rights of LGBTQ people or “aims to attack and harm children.” That’s what she did on June 8th when she vetoed a bill that would force trans students to use sex-segregated campus facilities based only on their birth certificate gender.
Republicans passed the measure with their majority in the legislature, but do not have enough votes to override Democrat Hobbs’ veto.
The Texas ban on transgender girls and women competing in kindergarten-to-twelfth grade school sports now covers colleges and universities. Republican Governor Greg Abbott signed the expansion of the law this week.
Trans women do not exactly dominate women’s sports, and scientific studies have concluded that they have no competitive advantage. However Abbott claimed during the signing ceremony, “Women’s sports are being threatened. Some women are being forced to compete against biological men.”
The new law is scheduled to take effect on September 1st. It’s likely to face a constitutional challenge before then.
Illinois is now the first U.S. state to ban book bans. Governor J.B. Pritzker signed a bill on June 12th that denies state government funding to public libraries if they restrict access to materials “because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.” The measure passed along party lines in the Democratically controlled Illinois legislature. Beginning January 1st, public libraries and library systems will be required to adopt the American Library Association’s “Library Bill of Rights.” It says, “materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation.”
The favorite target of would-be book burners are stories about or by LGBTQ people and people of color. Even classics like To Kill A Mockingbird have been removed from library shelves after just one complaint.
Ahead of signing the bill, Pritzker said: “Book bans are about censorship, marginalizing people, marginalizing ideas and facts. Regimes ban books, not democracies.”
Finally, LGBTQ and non-binary performers made the annual Tony Awards ceremony even more queer than usual on June 11th. Out actress Ariana DeBose hosted with panache for the second year in a row -- “live and unscripted” this time due to the ongoing Writers Guild of America strike.
Gay former Will and Grace co-star Sean Hayes took home the Tony for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play for Goodnight Oscar, a celebration of the life and times of the brilliant, multi-talented queer wit Oscar Levant.
Two gay men took home Lifetime Achievement Awards. Joel Grey was honored for his wide-ranging career that exploded with Cabaret. That was one of fifteen musicals scored by John Kander, who was also awarded for his outstanding career.
Non-binary performers made history. Glee alum Alex Newell won the Tony for Best Featured Actor in a Musical for their performance in Shucked, and J. Harrison Gee was named Best Leading Actor in a Musical for their role in Some Like It Hot.
But in many respects the night belonged to the Best Direction of a Musical award-winner Michael Arden. Reflecting the anti-Semitism theme from his revival of Parade, he denounced all forms of hate during his speech, including homo-and-trans-phobia. He tipped his hat “to our beautiful trans, non-binary, queer youth [whose] queerness makes you beautiful and powerful.” However the best part of Arden’s speech was missing from the Tony TV broadcast on CBS because the network censored his reclaiming of the “F-word”:
Growing up I was called “the F-word” more times than I can remember. [And all I can say now is I’m a f----- with a Tony!] (cheers and applause) So … so keep raising your voices, standing up against intolerance of any kind, anywhere you see it. Keep loving and uplifting each other, standing up for each other, continue making challenging art, and vote every chance you get. (cheers and applause) And to Andy and Jay, I love you, thank you. I can’t wait to come home to you. God bless you.