LGBTQA+ representation was proud and loud when activists returned to the Lincoln Memorial on August 26th for the 60th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Highlights include Hope Giselle (National Black Justice Coalition), Kierra Johnson (National LGBTQ Task Force), Stacey Stevenson (Family Equality), Sheila Loretta Emerson (P-FLAG/Philadelphia) and Peppermint (GLAAD).
And in NewsWrap: nearly 70 people arrested in an Ekpan, Nigeria raid will be prosecuted for “conducting and attending a same-sex wedding ceremony,” two Ugandan men face charges of “aggravated homosexuality” under the Anti-Homosexuality Act, Global Affairs Canada warns LGBTQ citizens about travel to the United States, hundreds protest Saskatchewan order for students to get parental permission to change their preferred name or pronouns, California’s Attorney General sues school district for anti-trans policies, a Maryland judge rejects religious parents’ bid to pull their children from classes featuring LGBTQ-related storybooks, a temporary restraining order blocks a Texas drag performance ban, and more international LGBTQ news reported this week by Kalyn Hardman and Wenzel Jones (produced by Brian DeShazor).
All this on the September 4, 2023 edition of This Way Out!
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Complete Program Summary
for the week of September 4, 2023
60th Anniversary March on Washington Queer-Lights
Hosted this week by Greg Gordon and produced with Lucia Chappelle
NewsWrap (full transcript below): Sixty-seven of up to 200 people netted in a raid by Nigerian police at an alleged “gay wedding ceremony” face several years in prison for violating the West African nation’s 2013 Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act; two men have become the first to face execution for “aggravated homosexuality” under Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Act 2023, one of whom is a 20 year old man who allegedly had consensual sex with a 41-year-old disabled man; Global Affairs Canada warns its queer citizens about traveling to several U.S. states with seriously oppressive anti-queer laws [with brief comments by Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland]; Saskatchewan Education Minister Dustin Duncan draws vociferous protests from parents, healthcare professionals, teachers, organized labor, and civil rights groups for issuing new policies in the Canadian province requiring parents or guardians to be notified if their child is transgender, non-binary or gender-nonconforming; California Attorney General Rob Bonta sues the Chino Valley Unified School District for requiring staff to “out” trans, non-binary or gender-nonconforming students to their parents or guardians; a U.S. federal judge rejects a lawsuit by religious parents who want the right to opt out their children from Montgomery County, Maryland elementary schools whenever a storybook with LGBTQ characters is read aloud in class; and another U.S. federal judge temporarily blocks enforcement of a Texas law banning drag shows where minors could be present one day before it is scheduled to take effect (written by GREG GORDON, edited by LUCIA CHAPPELLE, reported this week by KALYN HARDMAN and WENZEL JONES, produced by BRIAN DeSHAZOR)
Feature: Queer folk among the quarter of a million people at the Lincoln Memorial for the August 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom were for the most part invisible. Not true today! LGBTQA+ representation was proud and loud when activists returned to that site on August 26th for the 60th anniversary of the historic march. Hope Giselle (National Black Justice Coalition), Kierra Johnson (National LGBTQ Task Force), Stacey Stevenson (Family Equality), Sheila Loretta Emerson (P-FLAG/Philadelphia), and Peppermint (GLAAD) provided some highlights (with music by BAYARD RUSTIN and SISTER SLEDGE).
A summary of some of the news in or affecting
global LGBTQ communities
for the week ending September 2d, 2023
Written by Greg Gordon, edited by Lucia Chappelle,
reported this week by Kalyn Hardman & Wenzel Jones,
and produced by Brian DeShazor
Between one and two hundred people were detained in Ekpan, Nigeria during the early morning hours of August 28th. Sixty-seven of them will be prosecuted for “conducting and attending a same-sex wedding ceremony.”
Convictions for same-gender sex carry prison terms of up to 14 years. Under Nigeria’s 2013 Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act, the 67 detainees face up to 10 years for “participating in a same-sex wedding.”
The “suspects” were put on parade in a live television broadcast. A police official in the southern Abuja state town said, “[W]e cannot copy the western world … we are Nigeria and we must follow the culture of the country.” Dozens of alleged “gay wedding” guests have been arrested in recent years in the West African nation.
Amnesty International is demanding “an immediate end to this witch-hunt … In a society where corruption is rampant, this law banning same-sex relationships is increasingly being used for harassment, extortion, and blackmail ...”
It’s been confirmed that two Ugandan men are facing charges of “aggravated homosexuality” under the Anti-Homosexuality Act 2023. That charge carries a potential death sentence according to what critics call the “Kill the Gays Law.” The law also punishes same-gender sex in general with up to life behind bars. “Aggravated homosexuality” is defined as same-gender incest or sex with someone who is HIV-positive, a minor, an elderly person, or a disabled person.
A 43-year-old man was arrested in mid-July for performing “a sexual act with a child aged 12 years of the same sex,” according to National Public Radio. In a more recent case, a 20-year-old man is being charged with “aggravated homosexuality” for having consensual sex with a disabled 41-year-old man.
There has not been an execution in Uganda since 2005, according to Pink News. President Yoweri Museveni has held power since 1986 in the East African country. In 2018 he called for the resumption of the death penalty to combat a crime wave.
The 20-year-old defendant’s attorney Justine Balya told Reuters that a constitutional challenge to the Anti-Homosexuality Act has been filed, but that judges have yet to take up the case.
“We have professionals in the government whose job is to look carefully around the world and to monitor whether there are particular dangers to particular groups of Canadians.”
With those words Canada’s Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland explained this week that Global Affairs Canada has updated its travel advisory for the United States. Its LGBTQ citizens are being cautioned about travel to their southern neighbor because anti-queer laws in many states could ruin their visit.
A media statement didn’t specify any states by name but warned, "Since the beginning of 2023, certain states in the U.S. have passed laws banning drag shows and restricting the transgender community from access to gender affirming care and from participation in sporting events. …[This] information is provided to enable travelers to make their own informed decisions regarding destinations. Outside Canada, laws and customs related to sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics can be very different from those in Canada."
Deputy P.M. Freeland:
“Every Canadian government, very much including our government, needs to put at the center of everything we do the interests and the safety of every single Canadian, and of every single group of Canadians. That’s what we’re doing now. That’s what we’re always going to do.”
U.S. LGBTQ advocacy groups like the Human Rights Campaign have already warned travelers to avoid Ron DeSantis’ notoriously anti-queer state of Florida.
Global Affairs Canada may need to look to its own backyard and warn queer people about Saskatchewan. Provincial Education Minister Dustin Duncan has announced school policy changes that require students under the age of 16 to get written permission from a parent or guardian before changing their preferred name or pronouns. Parents can also keep their children from attending all or parts of sexual health courses they object to.
Opposition to the new policies mushroomed quickly. Healthcare professionals have joined civil rights groups, teachers, and parents in angry protest demonstrations against targeting trans and non-binary students. More than 400 rallied to oppose the new policies in Saskatoon on August 27th.
Saskatchewan’s opposition leader Carla Beck told the Canadian Broadcasting Company that Duncan’s new policies were rooted in “divisive politics,” and called it a “new low” for the provincial government. Beck said, “We fear [that] it will put already vulnerable kids at greater risk. We don’t support outing kids.”
Reporters could not get Duncan to name any experts he consulted to craft the new policies. The Saskatchewan Teacher’s Federation warned that they were sacrificing student safety and education to meet political needs. The Saskatchewan Federation of Labour called “outing children as part of a political gamble … violent and despicable.” To the Canadian Civil Liberties Association the new policies are simply “repulsive.”
California’s Attorney General Rob Bonta is suing the Chino Valley Unified School District. A newly enacted policy requires outing transgender, non-binary, or gender-non-conforming students to their parents or guardians. It also requires teachers or other school officials to notify families if a student asks to use campus facilities or to participate in programs that don’t match the gender on their official records.
Bonta charges in the lawsuit filed on August 28th that the policies violate California’s constitutional equal protection clause and privacy rights. The state’s education and government codes also ban bias based on gender identity or expression. During debate some board members called being trans, non-binary or gender non-conforming a “mental illness” and a “perversion.” The lawsuit claims that they were motivated by the desire to “create and harbor animosity, discrimination, and prejudice towards transgender and gender non-conforming students.” The suit asks the San Bernardino County Superior Court to issue a temporary injunction to prevent the policies from taking effect.
A Chino Valley School District official told the Los Angeles Times that they were “working with … legal counsel to review the lawsuit and its contents.”
There will be no opt-out policy when storybooks with LGBTQ characters are read aloud in the Montgomery County School District. Judge Deborah Boardman of the U.S. District Court for Maryland has rejected a lawsuit by several Christian, Jewish and Muslim parents demanding to pull their elementary school children from classes featuring such stories. She wrote that the plaintiffs had failed to show that schools not having an opt-out policy would “result in the indoctrination of their children or otherwise coerce their children to violate or change their religious beliefs.” In Boardman’s words, “parents remain free to pursue their sacred obligations to instruct their children in their faiths.”
One of the books in question is Love, Violet, about a girl who develops a crush on her classmate. A mother in My Rainbow makes a colorful wig for her transgender daughter. Montgomery County school officials insist that the books are developmentally appropriate. They’re not a mandatory part of the curriculum, merely among recommended books that teachers can choose to read to their classes.
The parents’ attorney Eric Baxter said they plan to appeal.
Finally, a temporary restraining order blocked a Texas drag performance ban on August 31st, a day before it was scheduled to take effect. U.S. District Court Judge David Hittner agreed with attorneys for local and state human rights groups and drag entertainers that “there is a substantial likelihood that [the law] as drafted violates the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.”
Republican Governor Greg Abbott signed the law in June. It bans “sexually oriented performances” in places where minors could be present. Hosting venues can be fined, and individual performers can be charged with misdemeanor offences.
Critics call the wording of the law vague and overly broad and say it could be used to prohibit other forms of costumed entertainment.
For Republican Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, it’s a “push back against the radical left’s disgusting drag performances.”
Plaintiff drag artist Brigitte Bandit told the Associated Press, “Our community will not be used as a scapegoat or a distraction by politicians who do not know who we are or what we do.”