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This Way Out Radio Episode #1879: This Way Out, Born 1988: “Thens” Making “Nows”

Sounds of the LGBTQ movement during the first six months of This Way Out’s existence — the program that debuted on April 1, 1988 — and how those historic sounds continue to echo in the issues facing queer communities today.

And in NewsWrap: a landslide vote sends Thailand’s marriage equality bill from the lower House of Parliament to the Senate, nine men convicted on suspicious sodomy charges by a Houthi court in Yemen will be crucified or stoned to death, trans patients under the age of 18 in Wyoming can no longer get gender-affirming healthcare, P-FLAG’s confidential information about Texas member families with transgender children are still protected from state Attorney General Ken Paxton, Dutch trans darts player Noa-Lynn van Leuven’s back-to-back victories over both men and women in the same week ignite a firestorm, a “Drag Queen Story Hour” at the Lancaster, Pennsylvania Public Library is canceled due to a bomb threat that forces a neighborhood evacuation, and more international LGBTQ news reported this week by Joe Boehnlein and Melanie Keller (produced by Brian DeShazor).

All this on the April 1, 2024 edition of This Way Out!

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Complete Program Summary
for the week of April 1, 2024

This Way Out, Born 1988: “Thens” Making “Nows”

Produced and hosted this week Greg Gordon and Lucia Chappelle

NewsWrap (full transcript below): The lower house of Thailand’s parliament overwhelmingly approves a bill opening civil marriage to same-gender couples and sends it to the Senate for likely concurrence and then to the King for royal assent, although activists are concerned that parenting rights might not be included … a Houthi Islamic court in Yemen sentences nine “sodomites” to crucifixion or death by stoning, and almost two dozen other defendants to up to 10 years in prison, with three of them also facing public flogging … Wyoming becomes the 24th U.S. state to ban gender-affirming healthcare for trans patients under the age of 18, and also threatens violating doctors, pharmacists and other providers with the loss of their license to practice … Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton loses another round in court to the venerable queer families advocacy group P-FLAG when a judge overseeing its challenge to Paxton’s demand for detailed information about their member families with trans children extends her temporary injunction preventing his invasion of their privacy and suggests that P-FLAG is likely to win its constitutional challenge to the state law banning pediatric gender-affirming healthcare … transphobia comes to the world of competitive darts with a mostly online backlash against Dutch player Noa-Lynn van Leuven after the trans woman wins titles at a mixed male-female tournament in Germany and a women’s tournament in the U.K. … bomb and other threats of violence force the cancellation of a “Drag Queen Story Hour” at the Lancaster, Pennsylvania Public Library because opponents don’t seem to understand that those affirming and entertaining events for kids and their families are vastly different than often more risqué drag shows for adults (written by GREG GORDON, edited by LUCIA CHAPPELLE, reported this week by JOE BOEHNLEIN and MELANIE KELLER, produced by BRIAN DeSHAZOR).


Feature: There are leaders in the LGBTQ community, and perhaps many of you in our listening audience, who were not yet born when This Way Out first went on the air on April 1, 1988.  We share a few glimpses of what our world looked like during our first six months (which include comments by Perry Watkins, Robin Tyler, Kate Clinton, Svend Robinson, Maxine Waters, Michael Hardwick, and SUSAN McGrievy, the sounds of 50,000+ people protesting the U.K.’s “no promo homo” Clause 28 in London, the AIDS Memorial Quilt’s visit to Phoenix, Arizona, kids reacting to an LGBTQ rights demonstration in Garden Grove, California, the Disneyland gay slow-dancing civil rights lawsuit, a unique cookbook benefitting housing for people with AIDS in Chicago, protests of an anti-queer court decision, and with reports by TIM RICHARDSON, ROBIN McCALL, CHRISTOPHER McPHERSON, ANDREW ROSS EXLER, BARRY WICK, ANTHONY PRICE,  ROBB ATKINSON, ALAN ROSS and JOHN ZEH, and music from Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf, and by TERESA TRULL, RE-FLEX, HOLLY NEAR, KENNY BALL, DIANA ROSS, BOB MARLEY, THE BOBBY FULLER FOUR, JANICE LEBER & CHOPPED LIVER PRODUCTIONS, and MARY WATKINS, with poetry by PAT PARKER; a vintage TWO ID by City of Night author JOHN RECHY).


A summary of some of the news in or affecting
global LGBTQ communities
for the week ending March 30th, 2024 on
Written by Greg Gordon, edited by Lucia Chappelle,
reported this week by Joe Boehnlein and Melanie Keller,
produced by Brian DeShazor

   Thailand is now a major step closer to marriage equality.

Amendments to the Civil and Commercial Code that would open the institution to same-gender couples advanced in the lower House of Parliament on March 27th. The vote was a stunning 400 in favor and only 10 against.  Three MPs did not vote, and two abstained.

The legislation consolidates different bills proposed by each of the chamber’s four major political parties.  It changes references to “men and women” in the Code to “individuals,” and “husband and wife” to “marriage partners.”  It grants lesbian and gay couples full financial and medical equity. However, parental rights are not spelled out. Activists worry that not changing “father and mother” to “parent” in the Code might limit queer married couples’ access to adoption and related rights.

It should be smooth sailing for the measure going forward.  The Senate rarely contradicts such an overwhelming majority in the House.  If approved the bill would go next to King Maha Vajiralongkorn for his royal assent. That could take months, according to CNN.  After the king’s presumed signature, the legislation would take effect in 120 days.            

Thailand would become Asia’s third marriage equality nation after Taiwan and Nepal, and Southeast Asia’s first.

Thailand has a reputation for being a queer-welcoming nation. Public opinion polls show widespread support for marriage equality, but it’s still been a long road.  The Constitutional Court upheld an exclusively heterosexual definition of marriage as recently as 2020.

Prime Minister Sretta Thavisin made marriage equality a key component of his election campaign last year. He’s continued to promote the legislation since taking office in September. Thavisin has also endorsed Thailand’s bid to bring World Pride to Bangkok in 2028.

    In Yemen, nine men convicted of sodomy by a Houthi court will be crucified or stoned to death.  Twenty-three more defendants are going to prison for up to 10 years. Three of them will also be publicly flogged.  It’s not clear how many of them actually engaged in gay sex. Opponents of the Houthi insurgency are often charged with “immoral acts” in Islamic courts, as Human Rights Watch has observed.

The Houthis are Shia militants who overran Yemen’s capital city of Sana’a in 2014. They now control large parts of the nation’s territory on the Arabian Peninsula.  Earlier this year they tried to impact the Israel-Hamas war by attacking commercial ships in the Red Sea.

The proceedings were "egregious violations of Yemen’s own criminal procedural code," according to Human Rights Watch. The group says that the men were denied adequate legal representation and other standard due process guarantees. The sentences were handed down in late January, but are only coming to light now.

Human Rights Watch charges that, “The Houthis are using these cruel measures to distract from their failure to govern and provide people in their territories with basic needs.”

    Trans patients under the age of 18 in Wyoming can no longer get gender-affirming healthcare. Both chambers in the Republican-dominated legislature approved the bill in early March, and Republican Governor Mark Gordon signed it into law on March 23rd. It’s the 24th U.S. state with such a ban.

Supporters claim that offering that care to transgender minors is dangerous and “experimental.”  Under the law, doctors, pharmacists and other healthcare providers could lose their licenses to practice in the state if they provide minors with puberty blockers or hormone therapy, both of which are reversible.  Similar medications have been safely used since the early 1990’s to treat cisgender children with certain cancers and early-onset puberty. Wyoming’s ban also forbids gender-affirming surgeries for minors, which are virtually unheard of.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Wyoming vows that ‘this fight is far from over,” hinting at a constitutional challenge to the law.  Their statement charges Republicans with choosing “fearmongering, misrepresentations, intimidation, and extremist policies over the rights of families and the lives of transgender youth in Wyoming.”

    P-FLAG’s confidential information about Texas member families with transgender children continue to be protected from state Attorney General Ken Paxton. Travis County Judge Amy Clark Meachum extended her temporary injunction this week that blocks Paxton from peering into how those families are meeting their children’s special healthcare needs.

P-FLAG attorneys have insisted that Paxton is retaliating against the global queer families advocacy group because of its legal challenge to the Texas ban on pediatric gender-affirming healthcare.  The A.G. alleges that medical practitioners are “committing insurance fraud as part of a scheme to evade the law, such as by prescribing hormones for a pretextual medical diagnosis unrelated to gender transition.”

In extending the injunction, Judge Meachum wrote, “there is a substantial likelihood that [P=FLAG] will prevail … on the merits.”

P-FLAG CEO Brian Bond says, “Trans youth and their loved ones deserve better, and we will continue to fight to protect our families, because loving your LGBTQ+ kids is always the right thing to do.”

The trial is set to begin June 10th.

    Trans journalist-activist Erin Reed responded to the latest social media firestorm, writing, “Transgender women have a biological advantage at … Darts? … There is no evidence transgender women are better at angles and throwing a dart.”

The controversy arose when Dutch player Noa-Lynn van Leuven scored back-to-back victories in late March over both men and women in the same week.

First, the 27-year-old won the mixed male and female PDC Challenge Tour in Germany. She’s the first woman to win an event in the series, one level under the sport’s top tier.  Van Leuven then bested two highly regarded veteran women’s players at a women’s tournament in the United Kingdom.

Two of Van Leuven’s Dutch Women’s teammates quit. One of them complained, “a biological man is playing on the women’s team.”

Van Leuven herself has been mostly mum about what she considers an “insane” primarily online debate. She responded, “I think the only unfortunate thing about this issue is that a lot of people forget that I am also a human being. … I just go out and do the thing I love.  It gives me joy.”

    Finally, fabulously attired drag queens entertaining children with life-affirming books at libraries or bookstores continue to threaten bigots in the U.S., Australia, and the U.K.

A “Drag Queen Story Hour” at the Lancaster, Pennsylvania Public Library drew a bomb threat this week. The building and surrounding areas were evacuated “in an abundance of caution.”  State police sent in bomb-sniffing dogs, but a suspicious package turned out not to be a destructive device.  Sponsoring organization Lancaster Pride called off the event after city officials announced more emailed threats had been received. Lancaster Pride wrote in a social media post, “The safety and well-being of our community are of utmost importance to us.”

Of course, “Drag Queen Story Hours” for kids are vastly different than drag shows for adults, but opponents fail to see the difference.  They’ve been coming to Lancaster County Commission meetings waving biblical passages in their attacks on the event as inappropriate for children.  To one it was “degeneracy” seeping into the community. Another suggested renaming the event “Sodomite Story Hour.”

Christopher Paolini was to read in drag as Miss Amie Vanité. He told LancasterOnline he thought the threats and cancellation were “insane.”

Many businesses in the politically conservative area posted messages of support for the event on social media. One said, “Hate has no home here.”

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