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This Way Out Radio Episode #1880: "Stranger Than Straight" Redux

Updated: Apr 14


Somewhere between Radio Hall of Famer Barry “Dr. Demento” Hansen and Billie “Glinda” Burke, queer activist and audio producer David Fradkin found “Nurse Pimento” and her pop culture novelty treasures in the late 1970s. Featuring: Carroll O’Connor, Jack Lemon and Joe E. Brown, Groucho Marx, Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, Noel Coward, Sandy Dennis and George Segal, Carl Reiner and Mel Brooks; music by Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Judy Garland, Perry Como, Edie Gorme, Tommy Smothers and Martin Mull.


“Are you better off today than you were four years ago?” Emma’s Revolution reminds us what life “From a (Social) Distance” was like.


And in NewsWrap: Uganda’s Constitutional Court declines to nullify the “Kill the Gays” Anti-Homosexuality Act in its entirety, the owner of Orenburg, Russia’s queer-friendly Pose nightclub is now in jail with two staffers being held on charges of “extremism,” the United Nations Human Rights Council specifically addresses the rights of intersex people for the first time, Wisconsin’s Democratic Governor Tony Evers refuses to deny trans student the right to compete in high school sports based on their gender identity, Florida Republican state Representative Fabiбn Basabe sues Miami Pride for disinviting him due to his hypocritical record and need for massive police protection, and more international LGBTQ news reported this week by Ava Davis and Michael Taylor Gray (produced by Brian DeShazor).


All this on the April 8, 2024 edition of This Way Out!

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Complete Program Summary
for the week of April 8, 2024

“Stranger Than Straight” Redux

Hosted this week by Greg Gordon and produced with Lucia Chappelle

NewsWrap (full transcript below): Uganda’s Constitutional Court upholds most parts of the East African nation’s horrific Anti-Homosexuality Act 2023, which extends prison time for people who engage in consensual adult same-gender sex, punishes “aggravated homosexuality” with execution, and outlaws the “promotion of homosexuality” … the owner of Pose, the drag show-hosting Orenburg, Russia nightspot, is arrested for violating the country’s “no promo homo” law and for being an “extremist conspiring with the [non-existent] international LGBTQ movement,” joining the club’s manager and art director, who were each netted in a raid on the club in late March and face up to 10 years behind bars … the United Nations Human Rights Council for the first time specifically addresses discrimination and violence against intersex people and questionable medical practices many of them endure as babies … Wisconsin’s Democratic Governor Tony Evers vetoes a bill passed in the Republican-majority legislature that would have prevented trans student-athletes from competing in school sports based on their gender identity … Republican Florida state Representative Fabiбn Basabe, a vocal supporter of the state’s speech-muzzling “Don’t Say Gay” laws and bans on family-friendly drag shows, who was mercilessly heckled at last year’s Miami Pride Parade, ironically threatens to sue the nonprofit organizers on free speech grounds for refusing to allow him to participate in this year’s upcoming celebration (written by GREG GORDON, edited by LUCIA CHAPPELLE, reported this week by AVA DAVIS and MICHAEL TAYLOR GRAY, produced by BRIAN DeSHAZOR).

 

Feature: Radio Hall of Famer Barry Hansen still reigns as the maestro of novelty records and kitsch comedy online with his internationally famous Dr. Demento Show. His passion for pursuing the peculiarities of pop culture was queered in the late 1970s by activist and audio producer David Fradkin.  Somewhere between Dr. Demento and Billie Burke, Fradkin found “Nurse Pimento” (introduced with the original Dr. Demento radio show opening, and featuring the words of Carroll O’Connor, Jack Lemon and Joe E. Brown, Groucho Marx, Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, Sandy Dennis and George Segal, and Carl Reiner and Mel Brooks, with music by Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Judy Garland, Noel Coward, Perry Como, Edie Gorme, Tommy Smothers, and Martin Mull).


Feature: Republican challengers to Democratic incumbent U.S. presidents have used it as a weapon since Ronald Reagan pummeled Jimmy Carter in the 1980 campaign: “Are you better off today than you were four years ago?” It seems like a cruel joke for a certain someone to be posing that question today … as though we could forget what life was like around the world and when he led the U.S. in 2020. The lesbian social justice activist-folk singing duo Emma’s Revolution helped make the best of bad times with this four-years-ago-this-month adaptation of a song by Julie Gold, originally recorded by Nanci Griffith in 1987, and popularized in a cover by Bette Midler in 1990 (From a (Social) Distance).


NewsWrap

A summary of some of the news in or affecting
global LGBTQ communities
for the week ending April 6th, 2024 on
Written by Greg Gordon, edited by Lucia Chappelle,
reported this week by Ava Davis and Michael Taylor-Gray,
produced by Brian DeShazor

    “We decline to nullify the Anti-Homosexuality Act in its entirety, neither will we grant a permanent injunction against its enforcement.” Deputy Chief Justice Richard Buteera announced the decision of Uganda’s Constitutional Court on April 4th.

A coalition of Ugandan queer advocacy groups quickly reacted to the ruling. Their statement acknowledges that “some sections” of the law were found to violate “the right to health, right to privacy and right to freedom of religion.”  The ruling struck down the requirement that citizens report “suspected LGBTQ people” to the police, and a provision threatening property owners with jail if they knowingly sell or rent to them, according to Mother Jones. However, advocates say that in most cases the Constitutional Court “failed to identify the numerous ways the law violates Ugandans’ substantive rights to equality, dignity, speech, association … health, and freedom from discrimination.”

The activists will almost certainly take their challenge to Uganda’s Supreme Court.

This Anti-Homosexuality Act 2023 is the latest version of what came to be known as the East African nation’s “Kill the Gays Bill.” It punishes what’s defined as “aggravated homosexuality” with execution.  An earlier incarnation was overturned by the Constitutional Court on a technicality in 2014.

The death penalty remains in the current Act. It also punishes “attempted homosexuality” with up to 10 years in prison, and the “promotion of homosexuality” with up to 20 years.  Pride events and any other pro-queer public demonstrations are effectively banned.

The Court’s validation of the Anti-Homosexuality Act defies warnings from the U.S. and other Western nations. They’re threatening economic sanctions if Uganda allows it to take effect -- threats that likely helped derail previous efforts.  The World Bank announced in March that substantial International Monetary Fund loans have been suspended because the legislation contradicts the Bank’s core values against discrimination.  United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk said that the measure “must be repealed in its entirety.”


    The owner of Orenburg, Russia’s queer-friendly Pose nightclub is now in jail with the two staffers being held on charges of violating the country’s “no promo homo” law and conspiratorial “extremism.” He was picked up at a Moscow airport this week.

Pose was raided by security forces during a drag show in late March. A local ultra-nationalist group tipped off and assisted the police officers, harassing patrons and drag artists with degrading demands.

The unidentified owner, manager Diana Kamilyanova and artistic director Alexander Klimov each face up to 10 years in prison. Russia’s “no promo homo law” makes “the promotion of non-traditional sexual relations” a crime. Late last year the country’s high court defined “extremism” as “conspiring to support the international LGBTQ movement.”  Unfortunately, “the international LGBTQ movement” is only a figment of Vladimir Putin’s conspiratorial imagination.

Escalating security force raids on queer and queer-friendly venues across Russia since that high court ruling have had a chilling effect on both LGBTQ activism and queer-related business.


    The United Nations Human Rights Council is specifically addressing the rights of intersex people. A first-of-its-kind resolution approved on April 4th will open discussions about discrimination and violence against people born with variant gender characteristics.  It also targets medical practices considered harmful to intersex people, like surgical interventions performed on babies to make them definitively male or female.  Many activists have been fighting against such non-consensual surgeries.

About 1.7 percent of babies born around the world every year are intersex, according to Human Rights Watch.

Australia, Chile, Finland, and South Africa co-sponsored the resolution. It was narrowly approved.  The Human Rights Council voted 24-to-zero in favor, but 23 members abstained.

The Office of the High Commissioner must now prepare a report on the issues for the Council’s further discussion at its next session in September 2025.

A coalition of more than 35 queer and human rights groups jointly praised the U.N. action. They say it raises “awareness of the issue in a way that States can no longer ignore and will have to act upon.”


    Wisconsin’s Democratic Governor Tony Evers is refusing to deny trans student-athletes the right to compete in high school sports based on their gender identity.  He forcefully vetoed a bill that would have forced schools to assign each competitor to male or female teams based only on their birth certificate gender.  The measure passed the Republican-controlled House strictly along party lines, with one Republican defector in the state Senate.

Evers had, in his words vowed to “veto any bill that makes Wisconsin a less safe, less inclusive and less welcoming place for LGBTQ people and kids and I will continue to keep my promise of using every power available to me to defend them, protect their rights and keep them safe.”

In his veto message this week, Evers wrote, “This type of legislation, and the harmful rhetoric we get by pursuing it, harms LGBTQ Wisconsinites’ and kids’ mental health, emboldens anti-LGBTQ harassment, bullying, and violence, and threatens the safety and dignity of LGBTQ Wisconsinites, especially our LGBTQ kids.”

Last year Evers vetoed a Republican-led bill that would have outlawed pediatric gender-affirming healthcare.


    Finally, Florida Republican state Representative Fabiбn Basabe wants to be in this year’s Miami Pride Parade so much, he’s suing the sponsoring organization that declined his application. Basabe’s district includes the highest concentration of queer votes of any in the state, and he campaigned as a pro-LGBTQ rights moderate. Once in office, he vocally supported the expansion of the state’s infamous “Don’t Say Gay” law.  He also backed a ban on family-friendly drag shows.

A phalanx of armed guardians accompanied Basabe in last year’s parade, where he was mercilessly booed and heckled for his anti-queer record. He’s still determined to participate in this year’s parade on April 14th.

The nonprofit that runs Miami Pride told him he could watch the procession from the sidelines, but he couldn’t be in it.  Chairperson Bruce Horwich told Basabe by text according to the Miami Herald, “We can’t risk having you in the parade this year. Last year you had to be surrounded by police officers in riot gear [with] several more plainclothes officers surrounding your vehicle.”

In defending his markedly hypocritical politics, Basabe is just as muddy as he is about his own sexuality. “I am of an adult age therefore entitled to live any lifestyle I choose as is reinforced by all this legislation we passed,” he told Queerty.

Basabe won office in his heavily LGBTQ district by a mere 240 votes. Every vote counts.


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