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This Way Out Radio Episode #1846: Nana Miss Koori’s Guringai Drag


Australia’s aboriginal legacy is well-represented by the drag alter ego of Graham Simms, performer and activist Nana Miss Koori (interviewed by Barry McKay).


And in NewsWrap: the World Bank will put a pause on new loans to Uganda because its Anti-Homosexuality Act undermines inclusion and non-discrimination principles, Iraq’s Communications and Media Commission proposes a policy for a “Don’t Say Homosexuality” country, Malaysia outlaws Swiss watchmaker Swatch’s rainbow products, China’s government forbids Taiwanese pop star A-Mei’s “Rainbow” anthem at Beijing concert, Texas federal district judge selects an identified anti-queer hate group to provide “religious liberty training,” the rural Oklahoma town of Prague celebrates its first LGBTQ Pride, and more international LGBTQ news reported this week by Ava Davis and Marcos Najera (produced by Brian DeShazor).


All this on the August 14, 2023 edition of This Way Out!

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Complete Program Summary
for the week of August 14, 2023

Nana Miss Koori’s Guringai Drag

Program #1,846 distributed 08/14/23
Hosted this week by Greg Gordon and produced with Lucia Chappelle

NewsWrap (full transcript below): The World Bank pulls development funding from Uganda over its draconian Anti-Homosexuality Act 2023; Iraq media regulators announce a requirement that all media platforms operating in the country replace the word “homosexual” with “sexual deviant” and ban the use of the word “gender” altogether because they all have “undesirable connotations within Iraqi society”; anyone wearing, or even possessing rainbow-themed Swiss-made Swatch watches can now be jailed for up to three years in Malaysia; China bans Taiwan pop star A-Mei’s performance of her LGBTQ ally-ship song Rainbow from her Beijing concerts and requires fans to remove any rainbow attire, and to trash rainbow flags they may be carrying, before they can enter the venue [with an excerpt from the song]; a Trump-appointed federal judge in Texas orders lawyers for Southwest Airlines to take at least eight hours of “religious liberty training” conducted by the rabidly anti-queer legal group Alliance Defending Freedom because he didn’t like how they responded to his demand for a statement declaring that the company does not discriminate against employees based on their religious beliefs in a case involving an anti-abortion flight attendant; and about 30 people enjoy the first-ever Pride event in a park in rural Prague, Oklahoma (home to less than 2,500 people) [with brief comments via Oklahoma City public radio station KGOU by organizers Rebecca LaFollette, Bryan Paddack and Jacob Jeffery] (written by GREG GORDON, edited by LUCIA CHAPPELLE, reported this week by AVA DAVIS and MARCOS NAJERA, produced by BRIAN DeSHAZOR).


Feature: The story of white colonialism and the attempted eradication of Black and Indigenous People of Color’s cultures has repeated itself around the world for centuries. In the part of the Land Down Under known as Guringai the Aboriginal legacy is well-represented by the drag alter ego of Graham Simms, Nana Miss Koori. Her performance and political namesake is Greece’s Euro-pop icon Ioanna “Nana” Mouskouri, and she talks about her art and activism with This Way Out Sydney correspondent BARRY McKAY (with intro/outro music by MIDNIGHT OIL).


NewsWrap

A summary of some of the news in or affecting
global LGBTQ communities
for the week ending August 12th, 2023
Written by Greg Gordon, edited by Lucia Chappelle,
reported this week by Ava Davis and Marcos Najera,
produced by Brian DeShazor

Uganda is paying a price for its Anti-Homosexuality Act 2023. The World Bank announced on August 8th that it’s pausing all new loans to the country. Global human rights groups label the latest version of the law “deeply repressive,” and the Bank expressed its position in a press statement that reads, “We believe our vision to eradicate poverty on a livable planet can only succeed if it includes everyone irrespective of race, gender, or sexuality. This law undermines those efforts. Inclusion and non-discrimination sit at the heart of our work around the world.”

Uganda’s high court struck down the 2014 iteration of its “Kill the Gays” law in on a legal technicality. This year’s version again punishes “aggravated homosexuality” with execution.

Entrenched, autocratic President Yoweri Museveni signed the draconian measure in May. In response to the World Bank’s sanctions, Museveni insisted, “Uganda will develop with or without loans.” The East African nation’s Foreign Affairs Minister Okello Oryem complained to Reuters that no similar actions have been taken against several Middle Eastern and Asian countries with equally harsh anti-queer laws.

However, other government officials admit privately that the loss of development funding could have a significant impact.

Queer Ugandan activist Frank Mugisha applauded the World Bank action. He called on his country’s high court to repeat history and overturn the current version of the ”Kill the Gays” law.


Iraq will become the “Don’t Say Homosexual, Homosexuality or Gender” country if the Communications and Media Commission has its way. The agency is confining all media outlets and social media platforms to the use of one term only: “sexual deviance.”

Phone and internet companies licensed under the Commission would be required to stop saying “homosexual,” “homosexuality” or “gender” on their mobile apps, “due to the negative connotations of these terms in Iraqi society.”

Human rights groups like Amnesty International call the move, "the latest in a series of attacks on freedom of expression under the guise of respect for 'public morals.'"

The Commission’s directive has not yet been “green lighted” by the government. No specific penalties have been announced, although significant fines are likely to be attached.

Private consensual adult same-gender sex is technically not against the law in Iraq, but violence and discrimination against LGBTQ people is commonplace in the socially conservative, primarily Muslim West Asian nation. A bill to officially criminalize homosexual acts was introduced in Parliament last month.


Malaysia’s Home Ministry has banned all products by Swiss watchmaker Swatch that include rainbow colors or any overt or covert LGBTQ elements, “to ensure public safety and peace.”

The Ministry calls the timepieces “possibly detrimental to morality, public interest and national interest by promoting, supporting and normalizing the LGBTQ movement, which is not accepted by the general public of Malaysia.” Same-gender sex is against the law there, and punished by up to 20 years in prison.

Anyone found wearing or simply in possession of those watches or their packaging could spend up three years in prison or fined the equivalent of about 4,400 U.S. dollars.

The government raided Swatch Watch shops across Malaysia in May and seized hundreds of “suspect” products. That prompted a lawsuit by Swatch demanding the return of hundreds of confiscated watches and other items that the suit says have no connection to LGBTQ activism.

The attack on what are perceived to be queer-supportive Swatch watches is just the latest example of increasing anti-LGBTQ repression in the Muslim-majority, Southeast Asian nation.

The government recently shut down a “Good Vibes” music festival in Kuala Lumpur after British rocker Matty Healy of The 1975 railed against the laws on stage, and defiantly kissed the band’s male bassist.

Swatch Group Chief Executive Nick Hayek wonders how “peace and love could be harmful.” He asked Al Jazeera whether government officials would try to ban rainbows in the sky.


China’s government has no love for the rainbow, either – especially in this chart-topping song out of Taiwan:

[SOUND: Rainbow excerpt]

That’s A-Mei performing her hit song Rainbow in concert – but not in Beijing, where it was directly forbidden. The artist and queer ally says that she specifically wrote the song for her LGBTQ fans. They frequently wear rainbow attire and wave rainbow flags at her concerts in anticipation of hearing what has become a queer rights anthem in Taiwan. But security officials ordered concert-goers to her gigs at Beijing’s Cadillac Center to remove their colorful clothes and trash their rainbow flags and paraphernalia before entering the venue.

China officially decriminalized same-gender sex in 1997 and removed it from psychiatric diagnostic manuals in 2001. However, President Xi Jinping has led a far more hostile government since he became Communist Party leader in 2013.

Singapore authorities did allow A-Mei to perform Rainbow at her July concerts there, but according to Asia One news attendees’ rainbow flags were confiscated.


Another judicial appointment of the disgraced and indicted former U.S. president has come back to bite progressive legal precedent. Trump-appointed Texas Federal District Judge Brantley Starr has ordered lawyers for Southwest Airlines to take “religious liberty training” from an organization identified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as an anti-queer hate group. Judge Starr calls the Alliance Defending Freedom “an esteemed non-profit organization … dedicated to preserving free speech and religious freedom.” He failed to acknowledge that the A.D.L. is a leading legal foe of LGBTQ and women’s rights.

Starr’s directive comes in the case of Southwest Airlines flight attendant Charlene Carter. Carter successfully won a federal discrimination lawsuit against the company and the union in 2021 after she was allegedly fired for “expressing her pro-life belief to her union president.” Along with ordering Carter’s reinstatement, Starr told the company and union to “inform Southwest flight attendants that, under Title VII, they may not discriminate against Southwest flight attendants for their religious practices and beliefs, including – but not limited to – those expressed on social media and those concerning abortion.”

Southwest changed the words “may not discriminate” to “does not discriminate,” and Starr considered that a breach of his order. The judge cited both the Lord of the Bible and The Lord of the Rings in commanding Southwest lawyers to take at least eight hours of “religious liberty” instruction from the Alliance Defending Freedom. Spokespeople for the A.D.F. were surprised to be named in Starr’s order, since they were not involved in the flight attendant’s lawsuit. They certainly welcomed the chance to provide what they called “training on … applicable laws barring religious discrimination.”

Both the company and the union have appealed the judge’s original ruling and say they’ll also appeal his latest sanctions. The training is to be completed no later than August 28th.


Finally, the rural Oklahoma town of Prague celebrated its first LGBTQ Pride on August 5th.

Oklahoma City-area public radio station KGOU had a reporter on scene to capture the festivities, which drew about 30 of the town’s 2,500 people to Prague Park.

[SOUND: LaFollette]

I really wanted there to be something closer to home, where I live here in Prague.

Rebecca LaFollette was one of the local organizers:

[SOUND: LaFollette]

And we’ve gotten a lot of, you know, backlash, some death threats, some people saying that if we hosted a Pride here, you know, we wouldn’t be leaving alive.

Bryan Paddick and Jacob Jeffrey have led the group Rural Oklahoma Pride for the past two years. They helped to bring their latest event to Prague, and joined LaFollette in the celebration:

[SOUND]

Paddick: We both come from smaller communities, and in our smaller communities, we don’t have the support for the LGBTQIA communities. We hear you.

Jeffrey: We see you, we love you, and know you’re never alone.

LaFollette: We’re here, we’re queer, we’re not going anywhere.

[Pride cheer]


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