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This Way Out Radio Episode #1845: August 2003: Then As Now

Twenty years ago this month, Canada’s top court had just ordered marriage equality, civil unions hit the agenda in New Zealand, the U.S. Congress took up a bill to secure rights for lesbians and gays in bi-national relationships, and the long fight for transgender rights was just getting underway. Reports from August 2003 feature U.S. Representatives Jerrold Nadler and Mary Gay Scanlon, New Zealand M.P. Tim Barnett, U.S. President George W. Bush, California State Assemblymember Mark Leno and Shannon Minter of the National Center for Lesbian Rights. (Correspondents: Hugh Young, Jim Waters, Cathy Sanchez and Bryan Goebel)

And in NewsWrap: eight followers of an Islamic splinter group are arrested outside a Kuala Lumpur shopping center for an LGBTQ-supportive protest, a U.S. House subcommittee’s hearing on pediatric gender-affirming care turns into a platform for the Republican majority’s bigotry, U.S. federal appeals courts weigh in on trans rights and drag bans, Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt executive orders transgender women out of existence, armed neo-Nazis join Gays Against Groomers to disrupt a Wisconsin town’s Pride in the Park, and more international LGBTQ news reported this week by Michael Taylor-Gray and Sarah Montague (produced by Brian DeShazor).

All this on the July 31, 2023 edition of This Way Out! Join our family of listener-donors today at

Complete Program Summary
for the week of August 7, 2023

August 2003: Then As Now

Program #1,845 distributed 08/07/23
Hosted this week by Lucia Chappelle and produced with Greg Gordon

NewsWrap (full transcript below): Eight men are arrested in Malaysia for peacefully demonstrating for queer humanity outside a Kuala Lumpur shopping center with such “criminal” placards as “Being Gay Is Not A Crime”; Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives conduct yet another bogus “hearing” attacking gender-affirming healthcare for transgender young people [with scathing critiques of their GOP colleagues by Democrats Jerrold Nadler of New York and Mary Gay Scanlon of Pennsylvania]; the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals orders access by Indiana trans students to campus bathrooms that match their gender identity, but the 6th U.S. Circuit allows Kentucky to continue to enforce its ban on gender-affirming healthcare for trans minors while its constitutionality is being challenged; a federal judge rejects efforts by a rightwing group to force an Ohio school district to remove specific protections for trans students from its anti-bullying policies, while another federal judge temporarily blocks enforcement of Montana’s “vaguely worded and confusing” ban on drag; Oklahoma’s Republican Governor Kevin Stitt issues an Executive Order essentially erasing transgender people from his state’s official documents [with comments by Stitt and Nicole Mcafee of Freedom Oklahoma]; and chanting armed and masked neo-Nazis piggyback on a protest by the questionably queer group Gays Against Groomers at an otherwise festive family-friendly Pride in the Park in the Wisconsin city of Watertown [introduced by on-scene audio of threatening chants by the neo-Nazis] (written by GREG GORDON, edited by LUCIA CHAPPELLE, reported this week by MICHAEL TAYLOR-GRAY and SARAH MONTAGUE, produced by BRIAN DeSHAZOR).

Feature: It’s usually said that the LGBTQ movement’s successes have come with lightning speed, but not if you take the long view. Twenty years ago this month, Canada’s top court had just ordered marriage equality when civil unions hit the agenda in New Zealand. This Way Out’s GREG GORDON introduced an interview with sponsoring openly gay M.P. Tim Barnett by HUGH YOUNG and JIM WATERS (with intro music by THE EARLS); before marriage equality in the U.S., in August 2003, Congress took up a bill to secure rights for lesbians and gays in bi-national relationships. Correspondent CATHY SANCHEZ reported from Los Angeles (with intro music by NEIL DIAMOND); a vintage TWO ID by TERENCE (“Bernadette” in Priscilla Queen of the Desert) STAMP; then, introduced by a quick reprise of The Earls intro music: in August 2003, the long fight for transgender rights was just getting underway. This Way Out’s BRYAN GOEBEL reported from SAN FRANCISCO (with comments by U.S. President George W. Bush, California lawmaker Mark Leno, and Shannon Minter from the National Center for Lesbian Rights, with production assistance by PAUL JAFFE, and intro/outro music by HUEY LEWIS & THE NEWS).


A summary of some of the news in or affecting
global LGBTQ communities
for the week ending August 5th, 2023
Written by Greg Gordon, edited by Lucia Chappelle,
reported this week by Michael Taylor-Gray and Sarah Montague,
produced by Brian DeShazor

Eight men were arrested outside a shopping center in Kuala Lumpur for holding up placards with statements such as “Being Gay Is Not A Crime” and “Only God can judge.” The detainees are followers of the Ahmadi Religion of Peace and Light, an Islamic splinter group that claims Imam Ahmed al-Hassan as its divine guide to the teachings of Imam Mahdi. They believe that only God can punish human beings.

The eight taken into custody on July 29th ranged in age from 18 to 56. Kuala Lumpur Police Chief Datuk Mohd Shuhaily Mohd Zain told reporters they were charged with “promoting things against the teachings of Islam,” and that they were released on bail after two days in jail. A court hearing is scheduled for September.

Malaysian government official Dato’ Setia Dr. Na’im condemned the defendants in an August 1st statement that called being LGBTQ “a perverted lifestyle.” The arrests are part of an increasing crackdown on LGBTQ people in the predominantly Muslim Southeast Asian nation.

Private consensual adult same-gender sex has been illegal in Malaysia since British colonial rule in the late 19th century. Punishments can range from public caning to up to 20 years in prison.

The U.S. House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution and Limited Government held a hearing on August 3rd on “The Dangers and Due Process Violations of ‘Gender-Affirming Care’ for Children.” Republican Congressman Mike Johnson of Louisiana launched the opening salvo saying, “No parent has a Constitutional right to injure their children.” Johnson called gender-affirming care “barbarism” and demanded that “the mutilation of children … should be prohibited by our law.”

That’s right out of the transphobic playbook that’s been working so well for state-level Republican lawmakers this year. Democratic New York Representative Jerrold Nadler was ready to meet the distortions head on:

[SOUND: Nadler]

Today’s hearing is an all-time low for the Republican majority. In my three decades in Congress I have taken part in plenty of hearings where I did not agree with the choice of topic, to say the least. But I am absolutely disgusted by the Republican majority’s bullying, bigoted framing of an issue that would otherwise be worthy of serious discussion. What we are witnessing today is nothing less than a tax-payer-funded platform for congressional Republicans to bully transgender kids, who are already some of the most vulnerable members of our community.

Virtually every professional medical association in the United States agrees that gender-affirming healthcare for transgender young people can literally be lifesaving. However, to Texas Republican Wesley Hunt such unanimity must mean that “the American medical establishment have absolutely lost their minds.”

Democrat Mary Gay Scanlon of Pennsylvania reminded her Republican colleagues that they are not doctors:

[SOUND: Scanlon]

Let’s be clear. Congress has no business interfering in parents’ freedom to make decisions about appropriate medical care for their children. The idea that politicians are more qualified to judge the medical value or necessity of gender-affirming care than every major medical organization is absurd. Make no mistake. Today’s hearing is not about protecting children or parents’ rights. It’s a cynical and frankly dangerous political attack on transgender children and their families, driven not by science or facts, but by polling and political strategists determined to mobilize conservative voters through fear.

On the U.S. state level this week, laws denying the rights of transgender people and “the right to drag” continue to be addressed in federal courts.

The Chicago-based U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Indiana’s trans young people and school staff should be able to use sex-segregated facilities on campus that match their gender identities. That includes bathrooms and locker rooms.

Justices cited the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. States are barred from “abridging the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States,” and “denying to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

The court’s opinion acknowledged that the U.S. Supreme Court could intervene in this or similar cases. The claimants were represented by the ACLU of Indiana.

Kentucky’s ban on gender-affirming healthcare for transgender young people will remain in effect even as its constitutionality is being challenged. So says a three-judge panel of the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals. The same three judges had already allowed a similar measure in Tennessee to stay in force during a constitutional challenge. The Cincinnati, Ohio-based 6th Circuit is one of the country’s most politically conservative appeals courts.

Temporary injunctions are blocking comparable bans in Alabama, Florida and Indiana.

The rightwing group Parents Defending Education has lost its bid to delete anti-bullying protections for transgender students at Ohio’s Olentangy Local School District. The policy also bans harassment or bullying on campus based on race, national origin, sex, and a number of other immutable characteristics.

U.S. District Chief Judge Algenon Marbley noted in his ruling that trans youth “are threatened or physically injured in schools at a rate four times higher than other students.” He went on to write, “Intentional misgendering has the effect of creating a hostile environment for transgender students on account of their gender identity and thereby causes a substantial disruption.”

In a statement, the Olentangy District said that the decision “affirms our commitment to maintaining a safe learning environment where all feel welcome and supported.”

“A male or female performer who adopts a flamboyant or parodic [female or male] persona with glamorous or exaggerated costumes and make-up” will not be arrested in Montana – for now. U.S. District Judge Brian Morris temporarily blocked enforcement of the anti-drag measure this week.

Republican Governor Greg Gianforte signed the law in May. A trans woman and an independent bookstore are taking the lead in a legal challenge that says it infringes on free speech. Their lawsuit claims the measure is so vaguely worded “and confusing” that it could be used “to ban many types of performances.”

Judge Morris is expected to review his temporary injunction later this month to see if it should be extended.

Oklahoma’s Republican Governor Kevin Stitt virtually erased the existence of his state’s transgender citizens on August 1st. With an ironically titled “Women’s Bill of Rights” Executive Order, Stitt is limiting definitions of gender in state law to a person’s “biological sex” assigned at birth.

[SOUND: Stitt]

There are some who don’t want to recognize the distinction of biological womanhood. Today we’re taking a stand against this out-of-control gender ideology.

Nicole McAfee of the advocacy group Freedom Oklahoma called the order “a thinly veiled attack on codifying discrimination against transgender women.” As she told local Oklahoma City TV station KOCO:

[SOUND: McAfee]

It seems to open several pathways to harm It seems to further sex-based discrimination in our state, and in a place where outcomes for women as a whole are sort of … on all of the “worst” lists.

Governor Stitt’s anti-trans executive order is almost certainly going to face a legal challenge.

Finally …


Pedophiles get the rope [four times] …

There will be blood, blood, blood [twice]

“Pride in the Park” was supposed to be a celebratory, family-friendly afternoon in Watertown, Wisconsin, a city of about 23,000 people located halfway between Milwaukee and Madison. The July 30th event included food trucks, artisans and other vendors, a drag performance and a drag queen story hour – the armed and masked neo-Nazis were an added attraction.

The swastika-brandishing invaders “ambushed” an already-planned protest by the group known as Gays Against Groomers, which quickly distanced itself from the threatening and uninvited neo-Nazis. Gays Against Groomers bills itself as an anti-trans LGB organization that seeks to “protect” children from seeing drag performers. It purportedly has ties to notoriously anti-queer Republican Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.

Wisconsin’s Democratic Governor Tony Evers called the neo-Nazi’s appearance “a disgusting and direct attack on our state’s LGBTQ community, communities of color, and Jewish Wisconsinites.”

Local police officers prevented any violent confrontations. An estimated 4-to-5-hundred people had an otherwise enjoyable afternoon at Watertown’s Riverside Park.

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