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This Way Out Radio Episode #1892: Justice and D’Arcy Drollinger, Drag Laureate (Part 1)

San Francisco Drag Laureate D’Arcy Drollinger sashays through those Golden Gates with a message of fabulousness in times of “drag panic” and performance bans (Part 1 of a two-part interview with Eric Jansen of “Out In The Bay”).

Families of trans kids are fleeing the U.S. south, but founder and president of GRACE: Gender Research Advisory Council and Education Alaina Kupec is using their stories to inspire change (reported by David Hunt).

And in NewsWrap: Budapest’s successful LGBTQ Pride Parade highlights the conflict between gay U.S. Ambassador David Pressman and far right Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, ten queer Hong Kong couples celebrate a legal mass wedding through a registered officiant in Utah, U.S. President Joe Biden pardons thousands of queer veterans discharged under previous discriminatory regulations, Texas’ ban on pediatric gender-affirming healthcare is upheld by the state Supreme Court, Arkansas’ Supreme Court decides to deprive driver’s license applicants the right to choose X as their gender marker instead of male or female, Utah’s new law Equal Opportunities Initiatives forces the closure of LGBTQ Centers and all DEI programs at state colleges, and more international LGBTQ news reported this week by Michael Taylor-Gray and Kalyn Hardman (produced by Brian DeShazor). 


Complete Program Summary
for the week of July 1, 2024

Justice and D’Arcy Drollinger, Drag Laureate (Part 1)

NewsWrap (full transcript below): Some 30,000 people celebrate LGBTQ Pride on the streets of Budapest, including U.S. Ambassador to Hungary David Pressman, who’s raising twin sons with his husband, and used the occasion to lambast the repressive anti-queer actions of right-wing autocratic Prime Minister Viktor Orbán [with on-scene sounds from the Budapest Pride Parade and excerpts from Pressman’s remarks] … ten queer Hong Kong couples celebrate their legal Pride Month marriages conducted digitally by a certified officiant in the U.S. state of Utah — although, of course, they won’t be recognized in China’s “special administrative region” … President Joe Biden pardons thousands of U.S. veterans who were kicked out of the military under since-repealed military laws against consensual same-gender sex or the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy … the Texas Supreme Court near-unanimously upholds the state ban on any form of pediatric gender-affirming healthcare … the Arkansas Supreme Court restores a ban on applicants choosing an “X” gender marker on their state driver’s licenses or other government documents … a new “anti-woke” law in Utah forces the closure of LGBTQ Student Support Centers on college campuses across the state, but leaders at the now-disbanded Center at the University of Utah vow to find ways to continue their work (written by GREG GORDON and LUCIA CHAPPELLE, produced by BRIAN DeSHAZOR with technical assistance by Daniel Huecias, reported this week by MICHAEL TAYLOR-GRAY and KALYN HARDMAN).

Feature: Can anything change conservative hearts and minds in the southern U.S.? One transgender girl’s family is escaping from South Carolina to safeguard her medical care, and they’re going public in hopes of making a difference. This Way Out’s David Hunt reports on their story, and a new trans-centric support group, GRACE (with intro music by BEYONCE, outro music by MARTIN SOLVEIG and DRAGONETTE).

Feature: Sashaying through San Francisco’s Golden Gate comes D’arcy Drollinger, crowned by the city as the world’s first Drag Laureate. Once upon a time such a title might have been all in fun, but in these days of “drag panic” and performance bans, the job has more political significance. In the first of a two-part series, Out In The Bay’s ERIC JANSEN chats with Drollinger, and reveals his own secret passion (with intro music by THE VILLAGE PEOPLE, outro music by CYNDI LAUPER, and teases for next week’s concluding Part 2; original interview co-produced with PORFIRIO RANGEL, and with sound design and audio editing by DAVID KWAN).


A summary of some of the news in or affecting
global LGBTQ communities
for the week ending June 29th, 2024
Written by Greg Gordon and Lucia Chappelle,
reported this week by Michael Taylor-Gray and Kalyn Hardman,
and produced by Brian DeShazor with technical assistance by Daniel Huecias.

[SOUND:  crowd cheering and music]

  Budapest’s LGBTQ Pride Parade brought more than 30,000 people to the streets, and set gay U.S. Ambassador David Pressman once again in direct conflict with far right Prime Minister Viktor Orbán.

Forty-four foreign embassies issued a joint statement ahead of the 29th annual march in the Hungarian capital. Their declaration supported LGBTQ people’s rights “to equality and non-discrimination, freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, and freedom from violence.”

Pressman was among the signatories.  He hosted a pre-Parade, family-friendly gathering at the home he shares with his husband and their twin sons on June 22nd. There he delivered a scathing critique of autocratic Orbán’s “machinery of fear” and his increasingly repressive crackdown on sexual and gender minorities in Hungary since taking power in 2010.

    Orbán and his sycophantic cronies have fostered blatant societal animus against LGBTQ people, even though same-gender sex is technically not illegal in Hungary. Anti-bias protections based on sexual orientation are on the books. However, the Eastern European nation has its own version of Vladimir Putin’s Russian “no promo homo” law, and bans gender-affirming healthcare, legal gender change, and adoptions by queer couples.

At his Family Pride Event, Ambassador Pressman said that he was originally scheduled to speak at the Hungarian Parliament building until a senior member of Orbán’s ruling party blocked it.

Here are some of the words they did not want to hear Pressman say:

“We’ve gathered for a celebration of families, of freedom, and of love — all things that are increasingly under attack for LGBT people in Hungary … at a time when democracy itself — in this country and around the world — is confronting unprecedented and serious threats. … The fact that LGBT people and democracy are both under increasing attack is no coincidence.

Fear is something that those who seek to undermine democracy trade on, and their currency is too often you and your families. … These attacks – whether legal, rhetorical, or reputational erode the liberties of the Hungarian people, of the Hungarian soul. Their currency may be fear, but ours is love.  And in the end, freedom and love will defeat division and fear.” [applause]

U.S. Ambassador to Hungary David Pressman.


   Ten queer couples in Hong Kong celebrated Pride month to legally marry through a registered officiant in the U.S. state of Utah.  Since the COVID pandemic, the Beehive state instituted the practice of processing digital marriages without requiring the couples to appear in person.  The Hong Kong Ten are the latest queer couples in marriage inequality countries to take advantage of the opportunity.

The couples met in a hotel wedding hall on June 25th in Hong Kong’s Kowloon district. They exchanged rings in front of families and friends, and toasted their unions.

Of course, their unions will not be recognized in Hong Kong, a “special administrative region” of China.

    Thousands of queer discharged U.S. veterans got a long-awaited reprieve this week. President Joe Biden announced on June 26th that he was “righting a historic wrong by using my clemency authority to pardon many former service members who were convicted simply for being themselves.”

Private consensual same-gender sex was criminalized under the Uniform Code of Military Justice from 1951 until its repeal in 2013. About 2,000 service members were convicted under those statutes, according to the queer advocacy group Modern Military Association of America. Queer service members forced out of the military under the Bill Clinton-era “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy may increase that number.

Their dishonorable discharges made it difficult for them to find meaningful work and access veterans’ benefits.  Biden called it “a great injustice.”

The Pentagon has launched a web page with instructions on how to apply for the pardons. Detailed restrictions could eliminate a veteran’s eligibility, such as a potential power imbalance between ranking members that suggested a genuine lack of consent.

Questions still remain after the discharges have been upgraded to honorable.  For example, will the federal government be able to compensate those service members who have been denied years of veteran’s benefits, including access to favorable home loans, educational assistance, and Veterans Administration medical care? How about back pay?

    The Texas ban on pediatric gender-affirming healthcare has been upheld by the state Supreme Court.  Their June 28th 8-to-1 ruling ignored briefs from medical and mental health professionals who testified to the efficacy of such treatments. It reversed a lower court’s decision that had blocked the legislation from taking effect.

The law prevents transgender people under the age of 18 from accessing reversible hormone therapies and puberty blockers.  It also bans surgical procedures, which are virtually never performed on minors.  Children who are already taking the medications are being forced into gradual withdrawal.

Justice Debra Lehrmann stood alone among the Court’s Republican-appointed justices. Her dissent called the law “not only cruel – it is unconstitutional.” She charged the state with “[legislating] away fundamental parental rights.”

The families of close to 30,000 trans people between the ages of 13 and 17 live in Texas, according to The Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law. Now they have no access to gender-affirming healthcare.

   The Arkansas Supreme Court decided that applicants for driver’s licenses or government ID’s should not have the right to choose “X” as their gender marker instead of male or female. Applicants have had that option since at least 2010, but an emergency rule issued by the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration on March 15th halted the policy. A lower court’s ruling had allowed that option to continue while the emergency rule was challenged. That stay was lifted by the justices’ one-page June 24th order. The court failed to explain its rationale.

The emergency rule itself is set to expire on July 14th.  Republican-majority lawmakers in Arkansas are said to be working on a measure to solidify the “X” ban.

    Finally, the state of Utah calls a new law Equal Opportunities Initiatives. In reality it’s forcing LGBTQ Centers and similar services on the state’s college campuses to disband.  The legislation specifically targets diversity, equity and inclusion programs, and mandates that student services be available to all, rather than based on what it calls “personal identity characteristics.”

Student groups supporting woman and ethnic minorities are also impacted. They will all be renamed or reconfigured into more generic Centers for Student Access and Resources or Community and Cultural Engagement Centers.

The University of Utah’s LGBT Pride Center gave it a positive spin on Instagram, writing: “Let’s come together to honor the Center’s legacy of support, advocacy, and resilience, as well as to honor the 21 years of commitment that went into creating a safe environment where everyone is valued, not despite of their identities, but because of them. The work and legacy of the LGBT Resource Center will continue at the University of Utah.”

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