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This Way Out Radio Episode #1871: San Francisco's 2004 Equality Valentine

The pressure for marriage equality had been building for years when San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom hit the release valve just ahead of Valentine’s Day, 2004. An archival report featuring Newsom, President George W. Bush, California Governor Arnold Schwartzenegger, U.S. Congressman Barney Frank, S.F. Recorder-Assessor Mabel Teng, S.F. Supervisor Tom Ammiano, attorney Clyde Wadsworth, S.F. Chief Deputy District Attorney Therese Stewart and the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus.

And in NewsWrap: Russians are now being convicted of “extremism” for petty violations like wearing rainbow earrings, Alberta Premier Danielle Smith announces planned anti-trans policies on Twitter/X, Idaho’s ban on gender-affirming healthcare for transgender minors is blocked again by a federal appeals court, trans people in Utah can now use bathrooms and locker rooms based only on their birth certificate gender, Florida will no longer allow trans people to change gender markers on their driver’s licenses, Switzerland gets is first gay male yodeling club, and more international LGBTQ news reported this week by John Dyer V and Kalyn Hardman (produced by Brian DeShazor).

All this on the February 5, 2024 edition of This Way Out!

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Complete Program Summary
for the week of February 5, 2024

San Francisco’s 2004 Equality Valentine

Hosted this week by Lucia Chappelle and produced with Greg Gordon

NewsWrap (full transcript below): Russian courts have their first “LGBTQ extremism” convictions against three defendants who each committed the “horrific crime” of sharing rainbow images … the government of the politically conservative Canadian province of Alberta proposes measures to essentially persecute transgender youth … the San Francisco-based Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upholds a lower court’s ban on the enforcement of draconian anti-trans laws in Idaho while they are being constitutionally challenged … Utah’s Republican governor signs the Republican-dominated legislature’s bill banning trans people from using bathrooms that match their gender identity … Florida officials reverse previous policies that allowed post-transition people to change the gender marker on their state drivers licenses and other government documents to now punish such “fake ID fraud” with hefty fines and prison time … Switzerland gets its first gay yodeling club (written by GREG GORDON, edited by LUCIA CHAPPELLE, reported this week by JOHN DYER V and KALYN HARDMAN, produced by BRIAN DeSHAZOR).


Feature: The first wedding of a gay couple in California was performed in 1968, shortly after the founding of the LGBTQ-based Metropolitan Community Church in Los Angeles. A few couples slipped through the marriage inequality cracks of other U.S. states in the 1970s. Conservative political panic ensued after a Hawai’i lawsuit for marriage rights, and that led to the passage of the 1996 federal Defense of Marriage Act. California voters passed a ballot initiative in 2000 that defined marriage for heterosexuals only. Pressure continued to build from several quarters, until someone in the City of San Francisco decided to hit the release valve just ahead of Valentine’s Day, 2004, as This Way Out’s CINDY FRIEDMAN and BRYAN GOEBEL  reported (featuring San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, U.S. President George W. Bush, California Governor Arnold Schwartzenegger, U.S. Congressman Barney Frank, San Francisco Recorder-Assessor Mabel Teng, San Francisco Supervisor Tom Ammiano, Clyde Wadsworth (for Lambda Legal and the National Center For Lesbian Rights), San Francisco Chief Deputy District Attorney Therese Stewart, and the San Francisco Gay Men’s Choir, with additional music by COUNT BASIE and NELSON RIDDLE).


A summary of some of the news in or affecting
global LGBTQ communities
for the week ending February 3rd, 2024
Written by Greg Gordon, edited by Lucia Chappelle,
reported this week by John Dyer V and Kalyn Hardman,
produced by Brian DeShazor

   Russia has started claiming prisoners of war in its heated battle against the global LGBTQ “conspiracy” dreamed up by Vladimir Putin and his acolytes. Apparently the pettiest of “violations” can bring convictions for “extremism.”

A man in the southern region of Volgograd posted a photograph of a rainbow flag online. He pleaded guilty last week to “displaying the symbols of an extremist organization.” He admitted guilt, apologized for acting out of what he called “stupidity,” and was fined 1,000 rubles – about 11 U.S. dollars.

The queer activist group Aegis tells the story of a woman who was in a cafe in Nizhny Novgorod, east of Moscow.  A man demanded she remove her frog-shaped earrings that included a rainbow. He filmed the encounter, posted it online. The woman was required to report to the police station and was sentenced to five days in jail.

A photographer is also being tried in Saratov in southwestern Russia for posting images of rainbow flags on Instagram – this according to the independent Russian news outlet Mediazona.

Russia’s rolling crackdown began with the 2013 enactment of a law banning ‘the promotion of non-traditional sexual relations” to minors. In 2022 it was expanded to apply to Russians of all ages. Last July lawmakers also banned medical or legal changes of gender. Finally the country’s Supreme Court outlawed any public expressions in support of Putin’s imaginary “international LGBTQ movement” in November. Any expressions of positive support for LGBTQ people are now essentially against the law in Russia.

    Alberta Premier Danielle Smith used a seven-minute Twitter/X video to trumpet the persecution of transgender youth this week. In it she explained the rationales for banning access to hormone therapies and puberty blockers for Albertan transgender people under the age of 16.  She announced a push to also ban gender-affirming surgeries for minors, which are rarely recommended anyway.

An under-16 transgender student will need written parental consent to change their name or pronouns if they differ from their legal name in school records.  The parents or legal guardians of students 16 and over must be notified of a child’s requested name or pronoun change.

Parents will also be able to keep their children out of any classroom discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity.  The province’s Education Ministry will have to formally approve any “third party materials” dealing with sexuality or gender.

Based on the notion that trans girls and women have an “unfair advantage” because they were once biologically male, the new guidelines block them from participating in school sports.

The new policies were quickly denounced by Women and Sports Canada and by the Alberta Teachers Association.  The nation’s leading queer advocacy group Egale said in a press statement, “The government of Alberta is playing politics with some of the most vulnerable members of our society: trans and gender diverse youth, attacking them for cheap political points. We will not stand for it.”

Egale and the Canadian Civil Liberties Union will be filing a legal challenge to the new policies.

Alberta joins other politically conservative Canadian provinces. Policies requiring transgender students to be “outed” to their parents or legal guardians were introduced last year in Saskatchewan and New Brunswick.  The governments of Ontario and Quebec announced plans to follow suit, but neither province has acted since then.

They may be dissuaded by the fact that Saskatchewan's effort has been blocked by a judge who thinks it will likely be declared unconstitutional.

    Idaho’s ban on gender-affirming healthcare for transgender minors has been blocked again. A three-judge panel of the San Francisco-based U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has refused to reverse a lower court’s temporary injunction.  The measure even targets medical professionals who offer gender-affirming pediatric care for criminal prosecution and the potential revocation of their licenses to practice.

Federal District Court Judge B. Lynn Winmill issued the injunction blocking enforcement of the draconian measure in late December, just days before it was set to take effect on January 1st.  The appeals court’s January 30th ruling maintained the injunction while a challenge to the law’s constitutionality is being litigated in Winmill’s court.

The American Civil Liberties Union represents two families and their transgender children.  ACLU of Idaho legal director Paul Carlos Southwick applauded the appeals court decision. As he said in a press statement, “transgender youth and their families throughout Idaho … will continue to have access to the health care they need and deserve.”

    Trans people in Utah can now use bathrooms and locker rooms based only on their birth certificate gender. Republican Governor Spencer Cox signed the bill to restrict sex-segregated public facilities the day after the Republican controlled state legislature approved it on January 26th.

The wide-ranging measure defines gender based solely on reproductive organs.  Anyone who uses “changing rooms” that don’t match their birth certificate gender could face criminal penalties. It covers government-owned and run buildings, including public schools, libraries, recreational centers, airports, and courthouses.

Pediatric gender-affirming healthcare is already against the law in Utah.

Courts have blocked another measure that prevents trans girls and women in the state from competing in school sports.

    Florida residents can no longer “say trans” on their driver’s licenses, by order of the state Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Department.  The edict reverses a policy that allowed a person to change their gender marker after they had fully transitioned. Now making that change will be a third-degree “fake ID” felony punishable by up to a $5,000 fine and up to five years in prison. Even trans people who already have corrected driver’s licenses could be found in violation.

As per a letter to state agencies from the Department’s Deputy Executive Director Robert Kynoch, “The term ‘gender’… does not refer to a person's internal sense of his or her gender role or identification but has historically and commonly been understood as a synonym for ‘sex,’ which is determined by innate and immutable biological and genetic characteristics.”

Veteran activist Nadine Smith leads the advocacy group Equality Florida.  In her words, “The DeSantis administration’s obsession with scapegoating transgender Floridians has escalated into an outrageous attack that further erodes freedom and liberty in our state. This cruel policy … blocks [transgender Floridians] from obtaining the critical government-issued identification necessary to continue their daily lives. … Now, an abrupt policy reversal has thrown their lives into chaos."

    Finally …

[SOUND: yodeling, fades under …]

… the age-old Swiss tradition of yodeling is “going gay.”  Queer yodeling virtuoso Franz Markus Stadelmann told local reporters that it’s been his long-held dream to form an out yodeling club.  He and his boyfriend talked it over with a few friends in the Swiss yodeling community for more than a year. Now Jodlerklub Männertreu is officially recruiting members. 

Stadelmann says the group will be similar to queer choirs around the world.  Members don’t need to be gay, nor do they necessarily need to be able to yodel.  As he explained, “in a yodeling club, only two or three singers [actually] yodel.  Everyone else sings, just like other choirs.”

The club is made up of men primarily from Bern and Lucerne, and held its first monthly rehearsal on January 27th.  Stadelmann says that their goal is to perform at the Federal Yodeling Festival in Basel in 2026.

[SOUND: yodeling]

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