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Youth on Alert & Tenor on Time!

Troubling talk from U.S. Supreme Court justices give “OutCasting Overtime’s” LGBTQ youth cause for concern about the future of equality!

Former “America’s Got Talent” contestant Branden James opens up in his new memoir, “Lyrics Of My Life: My Journey With Family, HIV, And Reality TV”!

E.U. moves against anti-queer bigotry, Brazil’s Bolsonaro dismisses COVID fears as “fag stuff,” Northern Irish “cure” group sues Barclays for bias, Sydney scales down Mardi Gras for COVID safety, Black gay man is California’s first out non-white top court Justice, and more international LGBTQ news!

Complete Program Summary and NewsWrap Transcript for the week of November 16, 2020

Youth on Alert & Tenor on Time!

Program #1,703 distributed 11/16/20

Hosted this week by Greg Gordon and produced with Lucia Chappelle

NewsWrap (full transcript below): The European Union announces a five-year plan to combat homophobia and transphobia on the continent, taking aim in particular at Poland and HungaryFinland’s Parliamentary Ombudsman exposes military training materials that suggest gay people need not apply, but those sections have been removed … Norway adds bisexual and transgender people to anti-hate speech laws that already protect gays and lesbians … Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro continues to poo-poo COVID-19 and warns his citizens to not be “a country of fags” about it … a Northern Ireland group that supports so-called “conversion therapy” to make queer people straight sues Barclays Bank for closing its accounts without explanation … the pandemic forces organizers of Sydney’s Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras to move the parade to the city’s Cricket Grounds for the 2021 edition … and proudly gay African-American Martin Jenkins’ assent to the California Supreme Court makes him that bench’s first openly-LGBTQ Justice and its first queer Justice of color (written by GREG GORDON, edited by LUCIA CHAPPELLE, reported this week by MARCOS NAJERA and CAROLE MEYERS, produced by BRIAN DESHAZOR).

Feature: We thought we were on the right track, but are LGBTQ rights about to hit a wall in the U.S.? The flow of legal challenges to queer protections is unending, and our OutCasting Overtime colleagues are alarmed about what the changed configuration of the Supreme Court portends (“Outcaster” LIL, produced by MARC SOPHOS; with brief intro music by ABBA).

Feature: A new memoir, Lyrics Of My Life: My Journey With Family, Hiv, And Reality Tv, by America’s Got Talent alum Branden James, proves that he’s truly a tenor for our times. In the first of a two-part interview, our JOHN DYER V shows his talent is for getting behind the scenes with the rising star (with music by BRANDEN JAMES and BRANDEN & JAMES).


A summary of some of the news in or affecting global LGBTQ communities
for the week ending November 14, 2020
Written by Greg Gordon, edited by Lucia Chappelle,reported this week by Marcos Najera and Carole Meyersproduced by Brian DeShazor

The European Union’s executive branch is issuing its first-ever plan to combat anti-queer bigotry – this in response to rising homophobia in Poland and Hungary in particular.  Criminalizing hate speech and guaranteeing LGBTQ parental rights across the continent are included in the five-year blueprint.

E.U. Commission Vice-President Věra Jourová pointed directly at Poland’s President Andrzej Duda and Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban at a news conference this week. In her view, recent actions taken by their governments “belong to the authoritarian playbook and [do] not have a place in the E.U.”  Jourová said E.U. funds could be withheld from anti-queer governments as a means of “enforcement.”

Duda rode a wave of anti-queer rhetoric to narrowly win re-election earlier this year.  Local governments in about a third of Poland have declared themselves to be “LGBT-Free Zones.”  Duda has vowed to ban any public school instruction that affirms LGBTQ rights or equality.  A rightwing group called the Life and Family Foundation submitted a proposal to Poland’s Parliament this week called “Stop LGBT.” It would ban Pride parades and any other public gatherings that “promote” equality.

In Hungary, homophobic far right Prime Minister Viktor Orban squeezed the elimination of gender identity into laws aimed at combating the COVID-19 pandemic.  New proposals camouflaged in pandemic restrictions include banning LGBTQ people from adopting children.

Deputy Prime Minister Zsolt Semjen is proposing the addition of a ban on “gender propaganda” to the country’s constitution.

And Justice Minister Judit Varga proposed a constitutional amendment this week that would require families based on “Christian culture” that will “protect children’s right to the gender identity they were born with.”

Commission Vice-President Jourová announced the E.U.’s five-year plan to combat homophobia and transphobia at a November 12th press conference. She declared that, “Everyone should feel free to be who they are – without fear or persecution.  This is what Europe is about and this is what we stand for.”

How much influence the new E.U. initiative will have on the continent’s entrenched anti-queer governments remains to be seen.

Finland’s Parliamentary Ombudsman routed its Defense Department this week in a skirmish over homophobic training materials. The Ombudsman sharply criticized the Department’s holdover claim that homosexuality is an obstacle to military service. Finland removed homosexuality from its list of mental disorders in 1981. The training manual’s discriminatory sections have now been eliminated.

Finland is one of the most queer-welcoming countries on the planet.  A public opinion survey conducted last year found that 80 percent of the population believes in full equality for LGBTQ people.

Newly elected Prime Minister Sanna Marin is the proud daughter of lesbian parents.  She’s said that her rainbow family’s bedrock beliefs in equality inform all of her political views.

Norway’s bisexual and transgender people now have protections against hate speech under its Penal Code – something lesbians and gay men have had there since 1981. Parliament made the additions this week.  Offenders can be fined or jailed for up to a year for private remarks, and up to three years for public comments.  A judge can increase the penalties for people charged with violent crimes based on their victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

Norway is another Scandinavian country with high marks for its support of LGBTQ people.  Its government announced earlier this year that it would prioritize LGBTQ asylum seekers as part of a new three-year refugee resettlement plan.

“The Donald Trump of the Tropics” is trying to top his namesake in blatant bigotry and COVID-19 carelessness.  Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro gave a rambling speech at the presidential palace on November 10th in which he proclaimed, “We’re all going to die someday.  There’s no use fleeing reality. We have to stop being a country of fags.  We have to face up to it and fight.  I hate this faggot stuff.”

Self-described “proud homophobe” Bolsonaro had already mocked wearing a facemask during the pandemic as “too gay.”

With more than 162,000 Brazilians dead from complications of COVID-19, the South American nation trails only the United States in the number of deaths around the world from the virus.  Bolsonaro is also among a handful of world leaders who have yet to acknowledge the election of the next U.S. President, and issued a veiled threat against Joe Biden in the same speech.

A group in Northern Ireland that promotes “conversion therapy” is suing one of the world’s leading banks for closing its accounts.

Core Issues Trust calls the action a human rights violation, and is reportedly seeking thousand of pounds in compensation from Barclays Bank.

Barclays has not announced a specific reason for closing the group’s accounts. Their press release only says, “Our terms and conditions – like other banks – allow us to end a relationship with any customer, provided we give two months’ notice.”

Core Issues Trust founder Mike Davidson disagrees. He claims that it was the result of a “coordinated campaign” by LGBTQ activists.  The group insists that it only provides “support” to people with “homosexual issues” who want to change their sexual orientation, but does not directly offer any alleged treatment to make queer people straight.

Michael Phelps of the religious legal organization Christian Concern charged that Barclays is “acting as a moral arbiter of what views in society are acceptable and not acceptable.”

The irony of supporting faith-based discrimination against LGBTQ people while calling out the bank’s action apparently escapes Core Issues Trust Chief Executive Andrea Williams.  She demanded immediate government action “to put a halt to this kind of mob rule and to assert the rights of Biblically-faithful Christian organizations to be serviced by businesses without facing such intolerant discrimination.”

There will be no glittering nighttime parade down Oxford Street next year.  COVID-19 has forced the world famous Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras to take shelter at the Sydney Cricket Ground. Organizers announced this week that the encapsulated event would be held on March 6th, 2021.

In order to “ensure the safety of parade participants, spectators and the community at large,” a limited number of parade entries will circle the stadium, which holds a capacity of 23,000 people. Organizers say there will be fewer large floats, and the procession will center instead on “the outlandish pageantry of costumes, puppetry and props that make it such a phenomenon to witness.”  The event will still be nationally televised and viewable on social media.

February’s 2020 Parade was one of the last large-scale events held in Australia before lockdown restrictions were imposed.  The Mardi Gras committee quoted Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore in a press release issued this week saying, “I know many in our community, myself included, have held onto our happy memories of Mardi Gras 2020 to get us through this challenging year.”

Organizers expressed hope that the Parade can return to its Oxford Street roots in a post-COVID-19 2022.

Finally, out gay Martin Jenkins is the newest justice on the California Supreme Court. He was praised as eminently qualified and unanimously confirmed by the independent Commission on Judicial Appointments this week.

Jenkins grew up the son of a janitor who helped his father clean buildings.  He abandoned dreams of becoming a professional football player to pursue the law.  Jenkins spent several years as a civil rights attorney before moving up the judicial ladder, climbing rungs on both sides of the aisle.  Democratic President Bill Clinton made him a federal judge in 1998, and California Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger put him on the state Courts of Appeal in 2008 [two-thousand-eight].

Jenkins only began coming out five years ago. Now in his mid-60s, he has met the love of his life, real estate broker Sydney Shand.

Jenkins says that he is “truly humbled and honored to be asked by [Governor Gavin Newsom] to continue serving the people of California on the Supreme Court.”

Martin Jenkins’ new job has made history in three different ways. Only the third African-American man to serve on the California Supreme Court, he becomes its first out LGBTQ justice, and its first LGBTQ person of color.

© 2020 Overnight Productions (Inc.)

© 2020 Overnight Productions (Inc.)

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