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This Way Out Radio Episode #1881: Ann Bannon, Beebo Brinker's BFF

Updated: May 19

Back in the days when we liked Ike and loved Lucy, Ann Bannon’s “Odd Girl Out” and the other pulp novels in the “Beebo Brinker Chronicles” gave pre-Stonewall lesbians some reading that mattered (interviewed by Steve Pride).

And in NewsWrap: Germany passes a Self-Determination Act to make it easier for trans people to legally change gender, the Vatican’s Dicastery for the Doctrine of Faith publishes a document on “Infinite Dignity” that compares gender affirmation treatment to human trafficking and war, the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics establishes rules to exclude trans students from sports at smaller U.S. colleges, Idaho’s legislature ends its session with three more bills to restrict the human rights of trans people, a U.S. district court judge in Florida allows a math teacher to tell her students to use her preferred pronouns, far-right homophobes protest outdoor clothing company The North Face’s support of the Brave Trails camp for queer youth, and more international LGBTQ news reported this week by David Hunt and Lucia Chappelle (produced by Brian DeShazor).

All this on the April 15, 2024 edition of This Way Out!

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Complete Program Summary
for the week of April 15, 2024

Ann Bannon, Beebo Brinker’s BFF

Hosted this week by Greg Gordon and produced with Lucia Chappelle

NewsWrap (full transcript below): Germany makes it much easier for trans people to change their legal gender on government documents, and gives them more than binary options … Pope Francis endorses the Vatican’s “Doctrine of Faith” declaration condemning gender-affirming healthcare, especially surgery, and claiming that transgender identity blurs “the sexual difference between man and woman” … the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), an organization of some 250 small mostly privately-run U.S. colleges, bans trans female competitors from school sports and orders its member schools to report to the national office any student athlete who is getting masculinizing hormone therapy … Idaho’s Republican-dominated legislature ends its latest legislative session by passing three more measures to restrict the human rights of transgender people — defining “gender” only as a synonym for biological sex, denying trans students the ability to use their preferred names and pronouns and allowing educators to “deadname” them, and banning state funding from covering any type of gender-affirming healthcare — all of which are quickly signed by Republican Governor Brad Little … a federal judge in Florida sides with a transgender female high school math teacher and the first amendment and against the state’s notorious “Don’t Say Gay” laws and rules that she must be allowed to tell students to use her preferred pronouns … far-right self-hating homophobes and their Christian nationalist allies call for a boycott of the Denver, Colorado-based outdoor clothing company The North Face because it supports Brave Trails, life-affirming summer camps in California and Maryland for LGBTQ young people (written by GREG GORDON, edited by LUCIA CHAPPELLE, reported this week by DAVID HUNT and LUCIA CHAPPELLE, produced by BRIAN DeSHAZOR).


Feature: Dwight Eisenhower was the President of the United States.  I Love Lucy was the most watched show on the nascent medium called “television.”  And in the late 1950’s if you wanted to read about lesbians, you either screwed up the courage to ask the librarian to see something that was kept behind the counter, or you bought a pulp novel by Ann Welby — though that wasn’t the name she used on her book covers. STEVE PRIDE’s 2009 conversation with Ann Bannon provided not only a portrait of the writer, but a picture of the times (with a midway reading from Odd Girl Out by LUCIA CHAPPELLE, music by SAM COOKE, DESI ARNAZ and DORIS DAY, and a brief excerpt from June 2023 comments by Ann at the Sacramento, California Public Library).


A summary of some of the news in or affecting
global LGBTQ communities
for the week ending April 13th, 2024.
Written by Greg Gordon, edited by Lucia Chappelle,
reported this week by David Hunt and Lucia Chappelle,
produced by Brian DeShazor

    German trans people will now have an easier time changing their legal gender -- and they won’t need a medical certification, court approval, or other “expert opinion” to do it. The Self-Determination Act passed the Bundestag on April 12th by a vote of 374 in favor, 251 against, and 11 abstentions. The debate in parliament was “both contentious and sometimes emotional” according to the German news outlet Deutsche Welle.

The new law takes effect in November and will allow trans adults over the age of 18 to go to any registry office and change the gender marker on their official government documents.  The options “male,” “female,” and “diverse” are offered, or the gender identification can be left blank.  Trans minors aged 14 to 18 can also change their legal gender with the consent of their parents or legal guardians.  For children under 14, parents or guardians must request the change.

Germany’s Constitutional Court had already removed the requirement for gender-affirming surgery in legislation enacted in 1980. The new measure also penalizes anyone with a hefty fine for “deadnaming” – referencing a trans person’s previous registered name or gender without their consent.  There’s an exception for police investigations or court proceedings.

Operators of bathrooms, changing rooms and other gender-segregated public facilities are allowed to set rules for access.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz backed the legislation. He said, “We show respect to trans, intersex and non-binary people – without taking anything away from others.  This is how we continue to drive the modernization of our country.  This includes recognizing realities of life and making them possible by law.”

    It ranks gender affirmation with “violations of human dignity,” comparable to poverty, human trafficking, abortion, surrogacy, assisted dying and war.  Dignitas Infinita  – Infinite Dignity – is the latest edict from the Vatican’s Dicastery for the Doctrine of Faith, the office responsible for Roman Catholic religious discipline.  It was officially announced on April 8th, after Pope Francis reportedly signed off on its publication on March 25th.

The declaration specifically condemns gender-affirming healthcare of any kind, especially surgery.  Any attempt to blur “the sexual difference between man and woman” is rejected.

It says, “any sex-change intervention, as a rule, risks threatening the unique dignity the person has received from the moment of conception.”  In the Vatican’s view, “gender theory” is intended “to deny the greatest possible difference that exists between living beings: sexual difference,” which is “the most beautiful and most powerful of them.”

Transgender leaders and organizations around the world have lambasted Infinite Dignity.  In the words of Equality Australia’s TransEquality Chair Ymania Brown, the declaration “takes us back to the dark ages” and “ignore[s] the diversity of the human population and the growing scientific evidence about sex and gender. … As a trans woman and devoted Catholic I see myself as God’s creation and deserving of support, respect, and love.”

    As of August 1st, “Only NAIA student-athletes whose biological sex is female may participate in NAIA-sponsored female sports.”  The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics governs student athletics at some 250 small colleges in the United States – 80 per cent privately-run.  Twenty members of its 25-seat Council of Presidents present unanimously approved the new policy on April 8th.  It applies to almost all NAIA events, except cheerleading and competitive dancing.

Any school with a trans male student-athlete who has begun masculinizing hormone therapy is required to inform the Association’s national office. What happens next is unclear.

A wide range of trans and other human rights activist groups stridently condemned the move. One called it “shocking and devastating … based on ignorance, prejudice, and ginned-up public hysteria.”

The much larger National Collegiate Athletic Association does not include any NAIA member institutions. The NCAA’s governing body announced in 2022 that it would let the officiating organizations of each individual sport determine their own policies regarding transgender competitors.

    Three more bills to restrict the human rights of transgender people wrapped up the Republican-dominated Idaho state legislature’s session this week.  Republican Governor Brad Little quickly signed each of them.

House Bill 421 declares gender to be strictly binary and synonymous with biological sex.

House Bill 538 requires schoolteachers and staff to use the “legal name or a derivative thereof” for students, unless alternatives are certified by their parents in writing.  It also frees educators to misgender or deadname a student with impunity.

House Bill 668 forbids state funding like Medicaid from being used for gender-affirming healthcare of any kind.

All three take effect on July 1st.

A federal appeals court has blocked a 2023 Republican-approved measure that banned pediatric gender-affirming care and would jail violating providers for up to 10 years.

   Trans rights fared better with a U.S. district court judge in Florida, who ordered the state to allow a math teacher to tell her students to use her preferred pronouns. The decision is another blow to Republican governor and failed presidential candidate Ron DeSantis and his infamous “Don’t Say Gay” laws.  Students and staff have been forced to address plaintiff Katie Wood as “Teacher Wood” rather than her preferred “Ms. Wood.”

Judge Mark Walker said, “The question before this court is whether the first amendment permits the state to dictate, without limitation, how public-school teachers refer to themselves when communicating to students. The answer is a thunderous ‘no.’”

However, Walker’s April 10th ruling applies only to Wood, who teaches tenth-grade algebra in west-central Hillsborough County.

He rejected a separate complaint by Av Schwandes, a non-binary teacher who was fired for insisting on using “Mx.”

    Finally, far-right homophobes are going south on The North Face outdoor clothing company. The latest boycott is due to its longtime sponsorship of Brave Trails, summer camps in California and Maryland for queer young people between the ages of 12 and 17 and their allies.

Brave Trails describes itself as a place where “LGBTQ+ youth find what they need most to thrive: their people, their place, and their passion.”

Rightwing wacko Gays Against Groomers calls Brave Trails a place where “kids as young as 12” learn how to “perform in drag.”  The Christian nationalist Daily Wire website amplified the absurd drag indoctrination allegation. It expressed horror that “The camp boasts that children as young as 12 have gone on to start LGBT clubs at their middle schools after attending the camp.”

And hence the infection spread across far-right social media platforms.

The Denver, Colorado-based North Face is a well-established queer ally.  It was targeted by boycotters last year when drag queen Pattie Gonia starred in its Instagram ad announcing its “Summer of Pride” collection.

[SOUND -- Pattie Gonia:]

Hi! It’s me, Pattie Gonia, a real, live homosexual, and today I’m here with The North Face. We are here to invite you to come out … in nature with us! … That was pretty gay.

At the time the company said, “The North Face has always believed the outdoors should be a welcoming, equitable, and safe place for all. …Creating community and belonging in the outdoors is a core part of our values and is needed now more than ever.”

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