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This Way Out Radio Episode #1875: Sydney’s Qtopia Museum Opening (Part 1)

Qtopia Sydney opens its Queer Centre of History and Culture, the world’s largest LGBTQ museum, is located in the former police station where the arrestees of Australia’s Stonewall were abused (part 1 of 2 produced by Barry McKay).

And in NewsWrap: Ghana’s legislature passes the “Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill” that would criminalize coming out or being an ally, a compromise bill to let registered queer partners adopt each other’s children passes the Czech Parliament’s lower house when marriage equality fails, an appeals court lifts an injunction that was keeping pediatric gender-affirming healthcare available in Indiana, the American Psychological Association condemns all state bans on gender-affirming healthcare for minors, New South Wales police officers will march in this year’s Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras despite the controversy over a cop who killed his ex-boyfriend, Washington lawmakers pass the “Stripper’s Bill of Rights” to repeal antiquated “lewd conduct” statutes, and more international LGBTQ news reported this week by David Hunt and Tanya Kane-Parry (produced by Lucia Chappelle).

All this on the March 4, 2024 edition of This Way Out!

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Complete Program Summary
for the week of March 4, 2024

Sydney’s Qtopia Museum Opening (Part 1)

Hosted this week Lucia Chappelle and produced with Greg Gordon

NewsWrap (full transcript below): Ghana lawmakers pass a bill that rivals Uganda for the harshest anti-queer laws in Africa … Czech lawmakers approve minor adoption rights for same-gender couples in registered partnerships but reject a marriage equality proposal … the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals allows Indiana's pediatric gender-affirming healthcare ban to take effect even as its constitutionality continues to be challenged in a lower court … the American Psychological Association strongly condemns all U.S. state pediatric gender-affirming healthcare bans … New South Wales cops controversially participate in the March 2nd Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade, but in a “compromise” with opponents are not allowed to march in uniform … and Washington state lawmakers overturn antiquated "lewd conduct" offense statutes in venues that serve alcohol after the queer community howls over intrusive police raids on several Seattle gay nightspots earlier this year seeking “offenders” (written by GREG GORDON, edited by LUCIA CHAPPELLE, reported this week by DAVID HUNT and TANYA KANE-PARRY, produced by BRIAN DeSHAZOR).


Feature: Reclaiming and repurposing relics from a painful past is a delicate business. Words like “queer” and “dyke” have been turned into positives by many LGBTQ people, but they still trigger traumatic memories for others. Reclamation is the name of the game for Sydney, Australia’s newest community landmark. It’s a venue that’s keeping history alive while respecting the feelings of the ones who lived it. In the first of a two-part series, This Way Out Sydney correspondent BARRY McKAY takes us there (featuring comments by Anthony Albanese, Greg Fisher, Ian Roberts, Barry “Troughman” Charles, George Savoulis and Elaine Czulkowski; intro/outro music by THE TOM ROBINSON BAND).


A summary of some of the news in or affecting
global LGBTQ communities
for the week ending March 2nd, 2024 on
Written by Greg Gordon, edited by Lucia Chappelle,
reported this week by David Hunt and Tanya Kane-Parry,
produced by Brian DeShazor

   Ghana’s LGBTQ people are waiting to see whether just coming out will soon be a crime. The legislature unanimously approved the horrific “Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill” on February 28th. Queer allies could be charged with “willful promotion, sponsorship, or support of LGBTQ+ activities,” and face three to five years in prison. If the so-called “promotion” targets minors, advocates can be jailed for up to 10 years. Knowingly allowing same-gender sexual activity on properties they “own, occupy or manage” could get a person a six-year prison term.

Private consensual adult same-gender sex is already illegal in the West African nation, punishable by up to three years behind bars.  The new bill makes it five.  It also encourages citizens to report “suspected” LGBTQ people or their supporters to the police for what it calls “necessary action.”

The legislation received almost universal backing from Christian, Muslim, and Ghanaian traditional leaders.  A few opposition party MPs were met with jeers for proposing community service and “counseling” instead of prison terms, and they were shouted down.

To United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk, the legislation is “profoundly disturbing.”  Not surprisingly, courageous groups in Ghana advocating for queer equality, several global human rights groups, and a number of Western leaders have roundly condemned the bill’s passage.  Along with Uganda’s draconian Anti-Homosexuality Act, the new anti-queer legislation in Ghana will be among the harshest in Africa – if President Nana Akufo-Addo signs it into law. He has avoided taking a public stand on the highly charged issue. Most observers do expect him to sign it.

   Opening civil marriage to same-gender couples was rejected by the lower house of the Czech Parliament on February 28th. A so-called “compromise” bill tweaking registered partnerships by allowing those couples to adopt each other’s biological children passed in the lower house by a vote of 118-to-33 with 23 abstentions.  That right was not included in the partnership option that passed in 2006.

An effort to grant queer couples complete adoption rights equivalent to those of heterosexual married people failed.  It required 93 votes to pass, but got only 66 votes, with 54 against and 64 abstentions. People in registered partnerships in the Central European country do not have the right to jointly own property or to even get survivors’ pensions.

Even the “compromise” queer couples rights bill is predicted to face an uphill battle in the more politically conservative Senate.

Lawmakers in the Czech Republic are significantly lagging behind public opinion. The most recent polls show widespread support for marriage equality.

    All pediatric gender-affirming healthcare in the state of Indiana has come to a halt. The Seventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals lifted a preliminary injunction issued by a lower district court that has stopped enforcement of a ban on treatment.  Republican Governor Eric Holcomb signed the Republican-dominated legislature’s bill in April 2023.  It had originally been scheduled to take effect in July.  As of the February 27th appeals court ruling, providing reversible puberty blockers and hormone therapies to transgender patients under the age of 18 is outlawed – this regardless of consultation with medical professionals, parents or legal guardians.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana is challenging the constitutionality of the measure in that lower U.S. district court. They represent four transgender young people and their families, a doctor and a healthcare clinic.  The judge there had issued the temporary ban on the law’s enforcement believing that the constitutional challenge would be successful.

An ACLU press statement calls the appeals court action “beyond disappointing.”  The organization vows to “continue to challenge this law until it is permanently defeated and Indiana is made a safer place to raise every family.”

    Fighting state bans on gender-affirming healthcare for minors is the right thing to do, according to the American Psychological Association. The Council of Representatives of the world’s largest group of psychologists condemned all such bans in a February 28th resolution. With one abstention, the staggering vote of 153-to-9 advances the organization’s support of pediatric gender-affirming healthcare.

The resolution says those bans, “disregard the comprehensive body of psychological and medical research supporting the positive impact of gender-affirming treatments.” It calls the bans, “a direct threat to the mental health and emotional well-being of transgender, gender-diverse, and nonbinary youth.” The psychologists warn, “Misinformation further creates distress and confusion for families and loved ones of transgender, gender-diverse and non-binary individuals.”  Practitioners are encouraged, “to unite in their support for access to psychological and all appropriate healthcare services and treatment for transgender, gender-diverse and non-binary individuals.”

The American Psychological Association counts more than 157,000 members, including clinicians, researchers, consultants, educators and students.

   New South Wales police officers will be marching in this year’s Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras – but not in uniform, and not without controversy.

Friction over the police participating in the parade is traditional. The event actually commemorates Australia’s “Stonewall,” the peaceful 1978 LGBTQ Pride march that turned into a police riot.

Officers have been marching since 1998 as a gesture of respect and support.

However, the issue heated up in the past few weeks after the murders of popular Australian TV reporter Jesse Baird and his flight attendant boyfriend Luke Davies. Their bodies were found buried under rocks and debris on a rural property. Baird’s active-duty police officer ex-boyfriend has been charged with shooting and killing the couple in what authorities describe as a “crime of passion.”

The Mardi Gras Board at first banned the police contingent entirely from marching in the March 2nd Parade, but relented after New South Wales Police Force Commissioner Karen Webb protested.

Webb wrote in a statement, “I am delighted that our LGBTQIA+ officers, as well as our other police who are allies and supporters, will be allowed to march this year as they have done for the past 20 years.” She acknowledged the agreement to march in plainclothes, “in consideration of current sensitivities.”

The group Pride in Protest criticized the Board for what it called, “crack[ing] under police pressure and is prioritising appeasing the state government and the police commissioner over the safety and wishes of the queer community.”

Australian Federal Police officers opted not to march this year.

    Finally, Washington state’s legislature has stripped decades-old “lewd conduct” laws off the books.  Those statutes covering venues that serve liquor were cited in sudden disruptive late January raids on several queer nightspots in Seattle.   The “lewd conduct” charges amounted to a few patrons wearing jockstraps at a leather bar, and the exposed nipple of a bartender at another establishment.

Openly gay Democratic Majority leader of the Washington state Senate Jamie Pedersen added a provision to the “Strippers’ Bill of Rights” that included repeal of those antiquated “lewd conduct” laws.  Adult entertainment industry performers have been lobbying for legislation to improve their working conditions for many months.  Strippers and erotic dancers also wanted their venues to serve liquor to bolster profit margins, which would lower their fees and protect their jobs.

The measure passed the Senate by a vote of 29 to 20 on February 21st. There were doubts that it was going to be approved in the House because Speaker Laurie Jenkins had expressed opposition to allowing strip clubs to serve alcohol.  However, the inclusive bill passed in the lower chamber on February 27th by a comfortable margin of 58-to-36.

The bill now awaits Democratic Governor Jay Inslee’s signature. To quote Rich Smith of the alternative media outlet The Stranger, it would “free the nipple and the jockstrap at gay bars, allowing the LGBTQ+ community to go-go dance without fear of the goon squad busting in with flashlights and cameras.”

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