Aussie drag diva Penny Tration and her alter ego Daniel Floyd penetrate the COVID quarantine, streaming laughs and wisdom on Facebook!
Inter-American Court finds Peru guilty of queer torture, Panamanian trans people fall between COVID-19 quarantine cracks, gay Irish P.M. switches hats to fight pandemic, more U.S. activists lost to coronavirus, Lesbian/Woman Phyllis Lyon climbs her last Ladder, Malaysia’s “essential” condom factories re-open, Fauci praises queer AIDS activists, and more international LGBTQ news!
Complete Program Summary and NewsWrap Transcript for the week of April 13, 2020
Tration in Isolation!
Program #1,672 distributed 04/13/20
Hosted this week by Lucia Chappelle and produced with Greg Gordon
NewsWrap (full transcript below): The Inter-American Court of Human
Feature: Like millions of workers around the world, countless entertainers
A summary of some of the news in or affecting global LGBTQ communities for the week ending April 11, 2020 Written by Greg Gordon, edited by Lucia Chappelle,reported this week by John Dyer V and Michael LeBeau,produced by Brian DeShazor
Queer news marches on in spite of the COVID-19 crisis.
The Inter-American Court of Human Rights found Peru’s government responsible for the arbitrary arrest, detention and torture of a trans-woman.
Azul Rojas Marin has since transitioned, but identified as a gay man in 2008 when the incident occurred. She was beaten and raped with a truncheon by three officers at a northern Peru police station. They also refused to return her belongings when she was finally released. Human rights activists went to the Inter-American Court after Peruvian courts dismissed her complaints.
The Court called Marin’s jailing arbitrary, discriminatory, and illegal. The decision is particularly notable because it’s the first time the Court has ruled in a case involving the torture of an LGBTQ person.
The justices ordered the government of Peru to pay Marin unspecified financial damages and to provide her with psychological counseling. It further ordered Peru’s government to begin full investigations into attacks against LGBTQ people, and to compile statistics about such attacks.
The Inter-American Court is the judicial branch of the 35-member Organization of American States. Its rulings are considered binding on member countries in North, Central and South America and the Caribbean.
Trans people in Panama are facing twin perils during the COVID-19 pandemic. The tiny Central American nation has thus far had more than two thousand confirmed cases and more than 55 deaths. Under strict government lockdown rules issued on April 1st to blunt the spread of the virus, citizens are allowed to go outside just two hours a day. Panamanian women can go out to buy groceries and other needed staples on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Men are allowed to go out on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. No one is allowed out on Sundays.
Where does that leave transgender Panamanians? They can only change the gender marker on their ID documents if they can prove that they’ve had gender-confirmation surgery.
The advocacy group Association of New Men and Women of Panama is sounding the alarm. Its leader Ricardo Beteta told Agence France Presse that, “there are still police patrols who use the argument that God only created Adam and Eve … what does a transgender person do in this situation?”
Human Rights Watch has already documented the cases of four trans people caught in the crossfire. Bárbara Delgado has not had the required surgery to change her official gender. After she was stopped on the way to work with a male gender marker on her ID card, Delgado was taken to the police station and held for what she described as three “humiliating” hours. She was finally released after paying a fine equivalent to about 50 U.S. dollars for “not being a woman.”
The global rights watchdog noted that some of the trans people who’ve been arrested went out on the day dictated by the gender on their ID card. Others went out on the designated day for their self-identified gender. Human Rights Watch calls that “damned if you do [and] damned if you don’t.”
The group is urging the Panamanian government to clarify the lockdown rules, so that transgender citizens can go out when they need to without being harassed by over-zealous police officials.
Ireland’s caretaker Prime Minister has put on his medical hat again to help fight COVID-19. Leo Varadkar worked as a doctor for 10 years before he went into politics. His party lost in February’s general elections, but the victorious parties have not yet been able to form a new government. So there’s a chance that Varadkar might still at least share head-of-government duties when the partisan wrangling is settled.
Meanwhile the versatile inter-racial gay P.M. has re-joined the medical register. According to the Irish Times, Varadkar is working one shift a week conducting phone assessments for people who are showing symptoms of the virus. That frees up other doctors to conduct in-person work.
Varadkar’s spouse Matthew Barrett is also a doctor. A spokesperson for the P.M. said that Varadkar “wanted to help out even in a small way.”
One of this week’s queer dead from COVID-19 complications was the first Florida law enforcement official to contract the disease in the line of duty. Broward County Sheriff’s Deputy Shannon Bennett died at the age of 39 a week after testing positive and being hospitalized. Social media filled with praise for Bennett from students and parents of the school where he was a school resource officer. He’s survived by his fiancé, Jonathan Frey, his mother and brother.
South Florida transgender trailblazer Henrietta Robinson may have contracted COVID-19 in the hospital awaiting hernia surgery. She passed away this week at the age of 79. On Facebook Miami Beach Pride called Robinson “one of the first transgender individuals to live her life in Miami Beach,” one who became “a mentor to so many who struggled through the years.” Michael Góngora is its first openly gay Miami Beach Commissioner. He told the New Times that, “She kind of was the godmother of all of us.”
A leading HIV/AIDS activist in Los Angeles has also died. Garry Bowie was the Executive Director of Being Alive, which provides mental health counseling and other forms of support to people living with HIV. Bowie’s widower Jeff Wacha announced the news on Facebook, calling his husband “my reason for living.”
Natural causes took the life of U.S. lesbian pioneer Phyllis Lyon at the age of 95 this week at her home in San Francisco. Lyon and her partner of 59 years Del Martin were founders of the Daughters of Bilitis, the first political and social group for lesbians in the U.S. They began distributing a companion publication called The Ladder in 1956.
In 2004 Martin and Lyon were the first same-gender couple in California to get a marriage license – issued by then-Mayor and now Governor Gavin Newsom. They were the first queer couple to legally marry in the state in 2008. Martin died at the age of 87 two months later.
Recounting the “activist resumé” of Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin would fill an entire newscast. Google them!
Condom makers have been declared an “essential business” during the spreading COVID-19 lockdowns. One in five condoms produced globally come from the owner of three factories in Malaysia – and all three were shut down in March. Now the condom marketed in several countries as Durex is back in production, but with only 50 percent of its work force trying to catch up to the backlog of orders – orders that have only ballooned since “stay at home” restrictions were issued in several countries. In an email to Reuters, a company spokesman noted that even if local shops are closed for now, “our Durex online stores remain open for business.”
Finally, as the Director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci was not always thought of as the queer community’s best friend during the early days of HIV/AIDS. Now he appears at the daily, campaign rally-like COVID-19 briefings of President Trump.
[Trump:] “No I don’t take responsibility at all … States are supposed to be doing testing. Hospitals are supposed to be doing testing. We’re the federal government. We’re not supposed to stand on street corners doing testing.”
Once accused of providing cover for an unresponsive President Ronald Reagan, Fauci frequently tries to un-do the current commander-in-chief’s blatant misstatements as diplomatically as he can.
At one of those briefings this week, the doctor discussed alarming recent data — the disproportionate number of COVID-19 infections in the African-American community. Fauci praised the response to HIV/AIDS during the height of that epidemic by the queer community while standing an unsafe distance away from Trump’s pandemic pointman and certifiably anti-queer Vice President Mike Pence:
[Dr. Fauci:] “The coronavirus really does ultimately shine a very bright light on some of the real weaknesses and foibles in our society. And as some of you know, the greater proportion of my professional career has been defined by HIV/AIDS. And if you go back then, during that period of time when there was extraordinary stigma, particularly against the gay community, and it was only when the world realized how the gay community responded to this outbreak with incredible courage and dignity and strength and activism, that I think really changed some of the stigma against the gay community very much.
So I see a similarity here because health disparities have always existed for the African-American community. But here, again, with the crisis, how it’s shining a bright light on how unacceptable that is.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci.
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