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This Way Out Radio Episode #1876: Sydney’s Qtopia Museum Opening (Part 2)

Updated: Mar 15

Take a tour of Sydney’s new Queer Centre of History and Culture, with a special look at its inclusion of women and how it handles the AIDS years (part 2 of 2 produced by Barry McKay). Featuring Aunty Nadeena Dixon, Dr. Liz Bradshaw, Greg Fisher, Ian Roberts and Elaine Czulkowski.

And in NewsWrap: international pressure makes Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo think twice about signing the “Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill,” Serbian queer activists and allies protest the victimization of a young gay man and a bisexual woman during a police raid, U.S. President Joe Biden gives unequivocal support to LGBTQ and other marginalized communities in his State of the Union address, U.S. federal judge in North Dakota allows providers and employer-controlled health plans to cite religion as an excuse to refuse gender-affirming treatment, P-FLAG wins a temporary injunction to stop Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton from rifling through its files for information about member families with transgender children, a bill in the Republican-dominated Missouri legislature would turn teachers who support transgender students into registered sex offenders, and more international LGBTQ news reported this week by Ava Davis and Michael LeBeau (produced by Brian DeShazor).

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Complete Program Summary
for the week of March 11, 2024

Sydney’s Qtopia Museum Opening (Part 2)

Hosted this week Greg Gordon and produced with Lucia Chappelle

NewsWrap (full transcript below): Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo uses a Supreme Court challenge and warnings of billions of dollars in lost economic aid to delay signing the horrific anti-queer “Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill” passed overwhelmingly in Parliament at the end of February … Serbian activists in Belgrade protest police brutality against a young gay man and his bisexual female roommate during an alleged drug raid on their apartment in mid-February … U.S. President Joe Biden does a brief “shout out” to freedom to learn advocates and LGBTQ people, especially transgender people, during his wide-ranging State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on March 7th [with brief audio excerpts] … a U.S. federal district judge rules that North Dakota businesses and healthcare providers can refuse to serve or treat transgender people based on their religious beliefs … a U.S. federal district court judge blocks the effort by rabidly anti-queer Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton to get information from the national queer rights group P-FLAG about their advocacy for pediatric gender-affirming healthcare and member families with transgender children … and some members of Missouri’s Republican-dominated legislature want to send supportive teachers and other school staff to prison and force them to register as sex offenders if they “contribute” to a transgender student’s social transition (written by GREG GORDON, edited by LUCIA CHAPPELLE, reported this week by AVA DAVIS and MICHAEL LeBEAU, produced by BRIAN DeSHAZOR).

Feature: Australian LGBTQ activists are getting the rare treat of seeing the record of their accomplishments proudly preserved. What was the former Darlinghurst Police Station in Sydney where they were abused the night of their own Stonewall is now a museum to house their history. This Way Out’s BARRY McKAY took us to the opening of Qtopia in the first part of his visit to the new facility. Now he takes us on a tour of a couple of Qtopia’s prominent collections and gives us a look behind the scenes (featuring comments by Aunty Nadeena Dixon, Dr. Liz Bradshaw, Greg Fisher, Ian Roberts and Elaine Czulkowski; music by THE TOM ROBINSON BAND).

Feature: This Way Out Library of Congress Preservation Project Update (with BRIAN DeSHAZOR, with intro music by SAM COOKE).


A summary of some of the news in or affecting
global LGBTQ communities
for the week ending March 9th, 2024
Written by Greg Gordon, edited by Lucia Chappelle,
reported this week by Ava Davis and Michael LeBeau,
produced by Brian DeShazor

Ghana’s nightmarish anti-LGBTQ law will remain a bad dream for now, with pressure mounting on President Nana Akufo-Addo from within and without. Virtually every major domestic and global human rights group has roundly condemned the “Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill” since it passed overwhelmingly in Parliament in late February. On March 6th Ghana’s Finance Ministry urged Akufo-Addo not to sign the bill because the country could lose the equivalent of nearly $4-billion U.S. in economic support from the International Monetary Fund of the World Bank.

Meanwhile activists are challenging the legislation in Ghana’s Supreme Court. Officially Akufo-Addo has said that it’s prudent to “await the decision of the Court before any action is taken.”

He may be off the hook. His two-year term is about to end, and most observers believe it’s unlikely that the high court will issue a ruling before voters choose members of parliament and a new president in December’s national elections.

The bill would criminalize simply coming out, and imprison anyone who publicly expresses support for queer rights. If minors are within earshot the penalty increases to 10 years. Property owners could face jail time for selling or renting to LGBTQ people. Citizens are encouraged to report “suspected” LGBTQ people to the police for what the bill obliquely calls “necessary action.”

Private same-gender sexual activity is already punished in Ghana with a three-year prison term. The new bill ups the sentence to five.

In explaining the World Bank’s objection to the legislation, their spokesperson said, “We believe our vision to eradicate poverty on a livable planet can only succeed if it includes everyone irrespective of race, gender or sexuality. This law undermines those efforts. Inclusion and non-discrimination sit at the heart of our work around the world.”

Queer people and their allies protested police brutality in the Serbian capital of Belgrade on March 6th. They’re responding to the victimization of a young gay man and a bisexual woman during a drug raid on their apartment in mid-February. Police officials claim they did find drugs in the flat, but the demonstrators from queer activist groups charge that the force used during the arrests went well beyond what was necessary.

Sanja Malinovic is the arrested man's mother. She told the Associated Press that her son was “violated and brutally attacked,” and called the police overreaction “sadism.” Protest organizers say the assault began after the officers saw symbols of LGBTQ equality on display in the flat. The two “suspects” were then physically abused and forced to simulate sexual acts. The demonstration was called after police officials rejected demands that the police officers involved be criminally prosecuted.

Serbia wants to join the European Union, but hostility toward LGBTQ people stoked by the politically powerful Serbian Orthodox Church stands in the Balkan nation’s way.

[SOUND: House Sergeant-At-Arms]

Mr. Speaker, the President of the United States. [cheers]

In a feisty and fiery March 7th State of the Union address, U.S. President Joe Biden was unequivocal in his support for the communities his opponents would like to marginalize for political gain. Biden linked foreign policy issues like the wars in Ukraine and the Middle East and the safety of Taiwan to domestic issues such as bodily autonomy, and economic, legal and social equality.

[SOUND: Biden]

Stop denying another core value of America: our diversity across American life.

His message to the joint session of Congress included a wish-list of needed reforms to protect civil rights, the LGBTQ community in particular:

[SOUND: Biden]

Banning books is wrong. Instead of erasing history, let’s make history. I want to protect fundamental rights. Pass the “Equality Act.” [applause] And my message to transgender Americans: I have your back. [applause]

The “Equality Act” is the bill that would enshrine LGBTQ rights in federal law. Various versions of it have been passing in either the Senate or the House for years -- but never both at the same time. If Biden wins a second term, he’d probably need Democratic majorities in both chambers for it to become law.

Religious belief can be used by healthcare providers or by an employer-controlled health plan as an excuse to refuse gender-affirming treatment – so says a U.S. federal district judge in North Dakota.

The Christian Employers Alliance had challenged the federal policy that interprets the Supreme Court’s Bostock ruling as forbidding employers from discriminating against transgender people in health insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act. District Court Judge Daniel Traynor ruled on March 4th that such an interpretation violates First Amendment constitutional religious freedoms. His ruling grants members of the Christian group and individual providers the right to decline transgender patients.

The Christian Employers Alliance was represented by the far-right anti-queer legal organization Alliance Defending Freedom, labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. An appeal of the ruling is expected.

And the national queer advocacy group P-FLAG has stopped Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton from rifling through its files for information about member families with transgender children – at least temporarily. A U.S. federal district court has halted rabidly anti-queer Paxton’s supposed “investigation” into “possible violations” by gender-affirming healthcare practitioners under the state’s Deceptive Trade Practices Act. That law allows victims of alleged fraud or misleading business practices to sue for damages. Paxton and fellow Republican Governor Greg Abbott have been waging war against LGBTQ rights in the Lone Star State for years. Highly vulnerable transgender kids and their families are their favorite targets.

P-FLAG’s lawsuit calls Paxton’s demand for information about the group’s strong support for pediatric gender-affirming health care, “a gross invasion of privacy” and “a clear and unmistakable overreach.”

District Court Judge Maria Cantú Hexsel agreed and granted the request to stop Paxton in his tracks. Her ruling said, “immediate and irreparable injury, loss, or damage will result to P-FLAG and its members from the Defendant’s wrongful actions.”

Four queer legal advocacy groups teamed up against Paxton: the Transgender Law Center, Lambda Legal, the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, and the national ACLU. Their joint statement thanked Hexsel for protecting their clients, “from having to respond while we continue to litigate the legality of the office’s requests.”

Judge Hexsel scheduled a hearing for March 25th to give Paxton’s office the chance to challenge the temporary restraining order.

Finally …

[SOUND: Chubby Checker’s Limbo Rock]

How low can you go?

… Missouri teachers who “contribute to [the] social transition” of a transgender student could face stiff penalties under a bill being considered by their Republican-dominated state legislature. “Violators” could be charged with class E felonies, be fined up to $10,000, be imprisoned for up to five years – and would even have to register as sex offenders.

“Social transition contributions” include respecting a student’s preferred choice of names and pronouns, their general appearance, and providing supportive information if a student asks for it. To first-term Republican Representative Jamie Gragg, those issues should only be addressed by parents. His House Bill 2885 ignores the fact that some trans youth can’t safely find that support at home.

Observers don’t think the proposal will make it out of committee and predict that it will fail on the House floor if it makes it that far.

Attorney and activist Alejandra Caraballo’s one-word legal critique of the bill on social media was simply, “insane.”

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