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This Way Out Radio Episode 1869: ILGA's First Asian Foray & Egypt's Queen Boat Bust

The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA) started organizing globally in 1978, and in 2004 its 22nd World Conference was held in Manila — the first event of its kind in Asia. One major issue on the table was Brazil’s United Nations resolution against sexual orientation discrimination, which finally passed the UN Human Rights Council ten years later. (Michael Schemer interviews attendee Uma Kali Shakti, both of Sydney, Australia.)

The biggest queer news story out of Egypt in 2001 was the raid on The Queen Boat, a well-known gay venue in Cairo. Twenty-eight-year old Mazin was one of 23 men arrested for “debauchery” who served time in prison (interviewed by Jonathan Groubert of Radio Netherlands).

And in NewsWrap: the United States Supreme Court declines to review an appeals court’s decision to allow a transgender student to use the bathrooms that match his gender identity, U.S. state legislatures have spawned a record number of deeply alarming anti-queer bills, Missouri legislators debate eight anti-trans bills while the rabbi dad of a trans boy testifies to the truth, Idaho House struggles to define what they want to censor, appeals court upholds injunction against Texas book ban, Taiwan elects its first queer to the the Legislative Yuan, Irish Cabinet Minister Jack Chambers comes out, and more international LGBTQ news reported this week by Joe Boehnlein and Sarah Montague (produced by Brian DeShazor).

All this on the January 22, 2024 edition of This Way Out!

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Complete Program Summary
for the week of January 22, 2024

ILGA’s First Asian Foray & Egypt’s Queen Boat Bust

Hosted this week by Lucia Chappelle and produced with Greg Gordon

NewsWrap (full transcript below):.). The U.S. Supreme Court ducks an anti-trans bathroom law case, so an Indiana trans boy -- and other trans students in Illinois and Wisconsin -- win the right to use campus bathrooms that match their gender identity; more than 275 anti-queer bills have already been introduced in Republican-controlled U.S. states just in the first half of January 2024; eight anti-trans bills are debated in one day alone this week in Missouri [with testimony on Jewish history by RABBI DANIEL BOGARD, who has a transgender son]; an Idaho Republican-dominated state House committee advances a books ban bill that includes tomes portraying queer couples simply holding hands, hugging, or kissing; the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upholds a temporary enforcement ban on parts of a Texas books ban law because they are likely to be found unconstitutional; Taiwan has its first out queer federal lawmaker: 30-year-old now former Kaohsiung City Council member Huang Jie; and Irish Cabinet Minister Jack Chambers comes out in an Instagram post that notes how such "revelations" are "becoming increasingly unremarkable" (written by GREG GORDON, edited by LUCIA CHAPPELLE, reported this week by JOE BOEHNLEIN and SARAH MONTAGUE, produced by BRIAN DeSHAZOR).


Feature: From its modest beginnings in 1978, ILGA has emerged as an influential human rights organization with official standing at the United Nations. The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association is made up of more than 1900 organizations from 160 countries, divided into six regions: Pan Africa, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, North America, Oceania and Asia. Manila was the site of ILGA’s 22nd World Conference in 2004 — the first such event in Asia. This Way Out Sydney, Australia correspondent Uma Kali Shakti attended the conference, and told her 2SER-FM Gaywaves compatriot MICHAEL SCHEMBRI about the issues it covered. (with intro/outro music from We Are Unity by JOELLE).

Feature: The biggest queer news story out of Egypt in 2001 was the raid on The Queen Boat, a well-known gay venue in Cairo. Twenty-three men were arrested for “debauchery” or offenses against “public morality.” Their sentences ranged from one to five years hard labor. Twenty-eight-year old Mazin was one of them. When he got out of prison 15 years ago this month, he spoke with Radio Netherlands human rights reporter JONATHN GROUBERT (with thanks to ERIC BEAUCHEMIN, and intro/outro music from Call to Prayer Egyptian Style by IDRIS MARICAR).


A summary of some of the news in or affecting
global LGBTQ communities
 distributed 22 January 2024
Written by Greg Gordon, edited by Lucia Chappelle,
reported this week by Joe Boehnlein and Sarah Montague,
produced by Brian DeShazor

 The United States Supreme Court ducked a chance to consider the rights of transgender young people on January 16th.  The Justices declined to hear a challenge to an appeals court ruling that allowed a transgender middle school boy to use the bathrooms that match his gender identity.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana represented the Martinsville, Indiana adolescent and his parents. They sued the Metropolitan School District of Martinsville in December 2021 for denying him access to the boys’ bathrooms.  The Chicago-based Seventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last August. It found the school district in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment and federal Title IX laws that prohibit discrimination in education based on gender.

All trans students in Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin will benefit from the Supreme Court’s refusal to hear the case in the Seventh Circuit’s jurisdiction.

Law Dork editor Chris Geidner is a former Washington Blade reporter. He thinks it’s now unlikely that the high court will consider any trans bathroom case until at least 2025.

    We’re only halfway through the first month of 2024, and Republican-controlled U.S. state legislatures have already spawned a record number of deeply alarming anti-queer bills.  The American Civil Liberties Union and other rights groups estimate the number between 275 and 300.  The vast majority target the country’s most vulnerable citizens: transgender young people.

Several bills ban gender-affirming healthcare for trans patients under the age of 18. A few even limit trans adults’ access to that care.  There are bills to deny trans students access to bathrooms that match their gender identity, and bans on trans girls and women competing in school sports.  Still other bills restrict or ban the use of LGBTQ-supportive educational materials, or silence classroom discussions.

The legislative avalanche is already outpacing some 500 anti-queer proposals that were introduced in Republican dominated states last year.  More than 80 of those became law, according to the ACLU. State and federal courts struck down gender-affirming care bans last year in Arkansas, Florida, Indiana, and Montana, The Hill reports. However, courts upheld bans in Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Texas.

    The Republican-controlled Missouri state legislature was anti-trans ground zero on January 17th. On that single day, eight anti-trans bills were debated – measures affecting access to gender-affirming healthcare and appropriate sex-segregated public facilities, as well as legal recognition of gender transitions.  The “Show Me” state has shown its transphobic agenda with a total of 49 anti-trans bills in the House and Senate so far in January 2024.

Rabbi Daniel Bogard has a 10-year-old transgender son.  He came to testify against a bill, as he has visited the state capital many times. This time, he said it was “so that [my son] can … poop at school without being bothered.” He told the committee he was “desperately” trying to avoid moving his family from their ancestral hometown. He said, “I am begging you just to leave us alone.”

Then Bogard was asked to speak not as a dad, but as a rabbi.

[SOUND - Bogard:

If you look at Jewish history, you will see that there has always been history of queer Jews. For as long as there have been Jews there have been trans Jews. We have normative understandings, the normative, regular exegetical understanding of Adam – like Adam and Eve – is that Adam was born as one intersex, non-binary being, with all the private parts. We have stories that suggest that Abraham and Sarah -- these are 1500-year-old Jewish texts I’m talking about – had fertility issues because they were intersex. There’s a 1600-year-old Midrash, Jewish sacred text, that suggests that Dinah was originally going to be a man, and her mother prayed and God transitioned her into a woman. There have always been queer Jews. We have stories of Jews in the shtetl, in Ukraine 200 years ago, transitioning, and being accepted as men in a place where women wouldn’t even count in a prayer quorum. You just have to look at Jewish history to see this.  [L]ook the Mishnah, the basis of Jewish faith today, 1800 years ago describes six, seven or eight different sexes that humans are, because being trans is just another way of being human.

That was Rabbi Daniel Bogard of Missouri.

   Just what kind of smut does the Republican-controlled Idaho state House want to “protect” students from? The Committee on State Affairs advanced a bill this week to delineate materials that “depict nudity, or … sexual excitement, sexual conduct or sado-masochistic abuse that, taken as a whole, is harmful to minors,” and ban “any other material harmful to minors.” Republican state Representative Julianne Young argued that “material harmful to minors” means books that depict what she called “acts” of homosexuality – and that includes such shocking conduct as handholding, hugging, or … kissing!  Other representatives called all LGBTQ-supportive educational materials “grooming books” that might teach children to be queer.

Last year the vague “any other material harmful to minors” provision led Republican Governor Brad Little to veto a similar book ban. That language remains, but lawmakers are hoping that the more explicit House Bill 384 will pass Little’s muster.

    Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott also claims that he’s “protecting” students from “sexually explicit and vulgar materials” but a three-judge panel of the New Orleans-based Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals disagrees. It affirmed a lower court injunction this week to temporarily block enforcement of a law Abbott signed last June. The law requires vendors to rate each of their books for “sexually explicit” and “sexually relevant” content to the Texas Education Agency. Of course, anything LGBTQ-supportive is a prime target. At his bill-signing ceremony last June, Abbott crowed that he was “signing a law that gets that trash out of our schools.” The Fifth Circuit upheld U.S. District Court Judge Don Willett’s August ruling that a challenge to those provisions is likely to succeed on constitutional free speech grounds.

A plethora of plaintiff organizations, businesses and individuals engaged in the case called the appeals court affirmation “a good day for bookstores, readers, and free expression.”

    Taiwan now has its first proudly queer federal lawmaker. Thirty-year-old Huang Jie won Kaohsiung’s 6th District seat in the Legislative Yuan in national elections on January 13th. Huang is a member of the leftist Democratic Progressive Party like newly elected President Lai Ching-te, a vocal LGBTQ ally.

Huang was elected to the City Council in the southern Taiwanese city in 2018.  She leaped into the public spotlight with her reaction to statements made by the mayor during a Council session a year later – she’s been thereafter known online as “the queen of eye-rolling.”

Huang promised in her victory speech “to safeguard [the well-being of] Kaohsiung and work to make it a place that shines internationally.”

    Finally, Irish Cabinet Minister Jack Chambers came out in an Instagram post this week.  He’s a member of the center-right Fianna Fáil Party, and his ministerial portfolio includes the Departments of Transport and Environment, Climate, and Communications.

Accompanied by a slide show with a soundtrack from Coldplay’s A Sky Full of Stars, Chambers proclaimed, “I am fortunate that Ireland is a country that has made so many strides in recent years – becoming a much more inclusive and equal society … to the extent that the sharing of this information is becoming increasingly unremarkable.”

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