The queer cross-country journals of “This Way Out” veteran producer JD Doyle capture a slice of pre-AIDS gay male culture in the U.S. (interviewed by Brian DeShazor).
And in NewsWrap: Brazil’s Supreme Federal Court rules that purveyors of anti-queer hate speech should face significant jail time, Germany’s Cabinet proposes a “Self-Determination Act” to help trans and non-binary people officially change their name and gender on government documents, a Beirut drag show is raided and a popular children’s board game is banned in Lebanon, the first four people are arrested under Uganda’s “Kill the Gays” law, Ethiopian police raid suspected queer venues in Addis Ababa, anti-transgender laws in Idaho, Alabama and Georgia receive positive and negative action in federal courts, bi sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson breaks records for the 100-meter title at the World Athletics Championships, and more international LGBTQ news reported this week by John Dyer V and Tanya Kane-Parry (produced by Brian DeShazor).
Complete Program Summary
for the week of August 28, 2023
1981-My Gay American Road Trip
Hosted this week by Lucia Chappelle and produced with Greg Gordon
NewsWrap (full transcript below): Brazil’s Supreme Federal Court orders homophobic slur-spouting offenders to jail …Germany’s Cabinet finally approves proposed legislation to make it far easier for trans and non-binary people to change their legal name and gender … so-called “Christian” thugs invade a queer-friendly Beirut night spot during a drag show and verbally and physically assault several patrons … Lebanon’s Education Minister orders Snakes and Ladders, a popular children’s board game, removed from summer schools because it features colors similar to the LGBTQ rainbow flag … Uganda officials announce the arrest of four people at a massage parlor outside Kampala for “acts of homosexuality” under the recently-enacted Anti-Homosexuality Act 2023 … Ethiopian police raid hotels, bars and other “suspect” venues searching for violators of strict laws against same-gender sex … a U.S. federal appeals court upholds a lower court’s temporary injunction barring enforcement of Idaho’s ban on transgender girls and women competing in female sports … another appeals court allows Alabama’s ban on gender-affirming healthcare for trans young people to stay in force while its constitutionality is being challenged, but a federal judge blocks enforcement of a similar trans youth healthcare ban in Georgia … happily bisexual U.S. sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson wins the women’s 100 meter race at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest to be named “the fastest woman on earth” (written by GREG GORDON, edited by LUCIA CHAPPELLE, reported this week by JOHN DYER V and TANYA KANE-PARRY, produced by BRIAN DeSHAZOR).
Feature: A veteran This Way Out contributor has added “author” to his list of credits. JD Doyle won awards for his work with the team that produced our long-running, monthly queer music feature, Audiofile. He earned just as much acclaim as curator of the Queer Music Heritage online collection. This Way Out’s BRIAN DeSHAZOR welcomes him home to celebrate his latest endeavor, 1981-My Gay American Road Trip: A Slice of Our Pre-AIDS Culture (with music by CHARLIE MURPHY and THE TOM ROBINSON BAND).
A summary of some of the news in or affecting
global LGBTQ communities
for the week ending August 19th, 2023
Written by Greg Gordon, edited by Lucia Chappelle,
reported this week by John Dyer V and Tanya Kane-Parry,
produced by Brian DeShazor
The purveyors of anti-queer hate speech in Brazil will now face significant jail time – thanks to a near-unanimous ruling of the Supreme Federal Court. The law already punishes racist hate speech, with convicted offenders sentenced to up to five years in prison.
The same high court equated homophobia with racism in a twenty-nineteen ruling. That decision applied to slurs against the queer community in general. A queer advocacy group asked the high court to extend the law to verbal attacks against specific individuals. The 9-to-1 ruling announced on August 21st agreed.
Anti-queer violence is rampant in Brazil. Two hundred and twenty-five LGBTQ or perceived LGBTQ people were murdered in 2022 alone, according to police reports. Many more probably went unreported. Transgender Europe called the South American nation the most dangerous place on the planet for transgender people in particular. In a country of more than 203 million people, the group counted more than 1,740 trans people killed from 2008 to 2022.
The latest high court protections come just eight months after queer-supportive Luiz Inбcio Lula da Silva replaced the rabidly homophobic Jair Bolsonaro as Brazil’s president.
Germany’s Cabinet has green-lighted legislation to make it far easier for trans and non-binary people to change their name and gender on official government documents. They dithered over the proposed “Self-Determination Act” for almost a year.
The current law dates back to the 1980’s. It requires people who want to change their legal gender to provide formal assessments by two medical experts “sufficiently familiar with the particular problems of transsexualism,” followed by a judge’s approval. The changes proposed on August 23rd would only require the applicant to notify the registry office of their intentions three months ahead of time. Trans minors at least 14 years of age can also use the same process to change their legal name and gender with the approval of their parents or guardians. Trans teens whose parents disapprove can ask a court to support them. Parents or guardians of trans youth under the age of 14 can also apply for the name and gender change on behalf of their child, according to the Associated Press.
Queer German activists are praising the proposal, although some criticized the three-month waiting period. The legislation must still receive the formal approval of parliament, and it’s not yet clear when consideration will begin.
Patrons enjoying a drag show at a queer-friendly bar in the Lebanesecapital Beirut became victims of invading so-called Christians who call themselves Jnoud al-Rab, or Soldiers of God. They stormed into the popular venue on August 23rd yelling anti-queer slogans and roughing several people up.
Videos of the incursion shook social media. One thug can be heard shouting, “This is Satan’s place … promoting homosexuality … this is forbidden … This is only the beginning.” Footage also shows destroyed tables and chairs piled outside the bar.
One patron described the scene for Pink News. “[A] mixture of terror, anxiety and an uncertainty that [we would] make it out alive. … we were all crammed up against the wall in the backroom, anticipating like sitting ducks waiting to be exterminated, watching our friends getting physically beaten up by monsters.”
The assault went on for about an hour and the violence had pretty much dissipated before security forces finally arrived, according to Amnesty International. There were reportedly no arrests.
Another sign of anti-queer animosity on the rise in Lebanon is rather absurd. Education Minister Abbas Halabi has ordered a ban on a popular children’s board game. Snakes and Ladders is being seized from summer schools because it uses rainbow colors.
Halabi is fully aware that the game colors reflect what he called “the natural phenomenon” of a rainbow and are not really queer-related. Nonetheless he told the An-Nahar newspaper that he wanted “to avoid any misunderstanding.”
The game is part of a project supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development.
Private consensual adult same-gender sex is illegal in the Middle Eastern country, and to be proudly out there is risky at best.
The crackdown on Snakes and Ladders comes on the heels of Culture Minister Wissam Murtada calling for a ban of the Barbie movie. It features trans actress Hari Nef, and Murtada says it promotes, “ways of life that are in violation of religion and morals.” Barbie cleared the country’s media regulator anyway. Lebanese General Security decided to allow screenings in local theaters, with a premiere date of August 31st.
Police officials in two East African countries hunted down violators of their laws against consensual adult same-gender sex this week.
In Uganda, four people were arrested at a massage parlor in Buikwe, a town about 35 miles east of the capital city of Kampala. Two men and two women were charged with “acts of homosexuality,” among the first such arrests under the recently enacted Anti-Homosexuality Act 2023. Aside from lengthy prison terms, they could also get 20 year-sentences for “promoting homosexuality.”
In one of Uganda’s northern neighbors, police in the Ethiopiancapital of Addis Ababa raided hotels, bars, and other venues suspected of promoting or allowing same-gender sex. Private consensual adult same-gender sex is punishable by up to 15 years in prison in the civil war-torn country. Current anti-queer persecution is part of the Peace and Security Administration Bureau crackdown on “institutions suspected of committing homosexual acts in the city.” Tips from the public are encouraged. One tip led to the recent raid on an Addis Ababa guest house.
Many queer Ethiopians are fleeing the country, according to the German news outlet Deutsche-Welle.
State laws targeting trans young people and their families continued to face constitutional challenges in U.S. federal courts this week.
On August 24th the San Francisco-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld a lower court judge’s block against Idaho’s law banning trans girls and women from competing in female sports in public schools and colleges.
Twenty-two other Republican-controlled states have similarly banned trans girls and women from competing in female sports. Some of those only apply to public schools.
Most provisions of Alabama’s ban on gender-affirming healthcare for transgender young people will stay in force. A three-judge panel of the Atlanta-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit lifted a temporary injunction. They compared the bodily autonomy issue to the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision that allowed states to eliminate a woman’s right to choose. They questioned whether healthcare for transgender youth is “deeply rooted in [our] history and tradition” and “essential to our Nation’s ‘scheme of ordered liberty.’”
The challenge to the law’s constitutionality continues in federal district court.
Meanwhile, a federal judge has temporarily blocked enforcement of a similar trans youth healthcare ban in Georgia.
District Judge Sarah Geraghty’s 83-page decision said that the law forbidding licensed medical professionals from providing hormone therapy to patients under the age of 18 is “likely” to be ruled unconstitutional. Her order maintains provisions of the law banning surgical intervention for transgender minors, which virtually never happens anyway. Attorneys for the plaintiffs called it “an incredible victory for Georgia families.”
Enforcement of trans youth healthcare bans has also been blocked in Alabama and Florida. Temporary injunctions have been reversed on appeal in Kentucky and Tennessee. A federal court overturned Arkansas’ law in June, saying it violated both free speech and equal protection guarantees of the U.S. Constitution.
Legal eagles expect most laws limiting transgender rights to wind up at the U.S. Supreme Court.
Finally, the fastest woman on planet Earth is queer.
U.S. sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson won the 100-meter title at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary on August 21st in a record-breaking 10.65 seconds. The bisexual runner has talked about her girlfriend on social media for years.
This was a triumphant comeback. Richardson was banned from the Tokyo Olympics in 2022 after testing positive for T-H-C, one of the active components of cannabis.
The victory this week underscored her mantra since then: “I’m not back. I’m better.”
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