A tuneful queer time-travel tour traces holiday traditions with over two dozen out performers and plenty of This Way Out Music Focus tinsel!
Chile’s Supreme Court rules that marriage is a human right, South African lawmakers stop marriage officials from “opting out” of equality, Hungary and Poland quash a queer-inclusive E.U. declaration, Trump picks a new Justice mouthpiece from an anti-gay hate group, a fundamentalist Iowa fire-bug is charged for queer kids book-burning, and more international LGBTQ news reported this week by John Dyer V and Carole Meyers (produced by Brian DeShazor, written by Greg Gordon).
Complete Program Summary and NewsWrap Transcript for the week of December 10, 2018
Bartsch On Top & Holiday Music!
Program #1,602 distributed 12/10/18
Hosted this week by Greg Gordon and produced with Lucia Chappelle
NewsWrap (full transcript below): Chile’s Supreme Court declares that marriage equality is a human right South Africa lawmakers remove the “opt out” for government marriage officers that had been allowed to refuse to wed same-gender couples for “conscience or religious belief” Hungary and Poland scuttle a queer-inclusive E.U. declaration about human rights in the digital age Donald Trump names Kerri Kupec, a key figure from the Alliance Defending Freedom, which the Southern Poverty Law Center has called an anti-queer hate group, as top spokesperson for the U.S. Justice Department a record one in eight adoptions in England this year have been by same-gender couples a university study of students in the southern U.S. finds bisexuals to be the most politically liberal the fundamentalist Christian preacher who burned queer-supportive children’s books outside an Iowa public library is criminally charged [with brief audio from the Seinfeld Library Cop TV episode guest-starring PHILIP BAKER HALL] (written by GREG GORDON, produced with BRIAN DESHAZOR, and reported this week by JOHN DYER V and CAROLE MEYERS).
Feature: Suzanne Bartsch: On Top is a dream-like montage documentary on the queen of New York City nightlife, whose self-expression has set the trends for a host of artists and for the city itself. This Way Out cultural correspondent JOHN DYER V caught a screening, and it inspired his own self-expression (with brief audio snippets from the film).
Feature: If you find yourself eating too much during the holidays, This Way Out Music Focus correspondent STEVE SIMS knows how you feel. Steve decided to take on the history of Christmas music using proudly out performances, and discovered how easy it is to bite off more than one can chew!
Satisfying your weekly minimum requirement of queer news and culture for more than 30 years!
A summary of some of the news in or affecting global LGBTQ communities for the week ending December 8th, 2018 Written by Greg Gordon, produced with Brian DeShazor, reported this week by John Dyer V and Carole Meyers
Equality advocates in Chilé are celebrating a decision by the country’s Supreme Court that access to civil marriage is a human right. The text of the high court ruling, translated from a report in El Desconcierto, reads in part that, “Constitutional norms and international convention provide that every person who lives in the State of Chilé is the holder of the right to marry and found a family.” The Court also specifically held that marriage rights are open to all eligible citizens regardless of nationality, gender identity, or sexual orientation.
Juan Enrique Pi is President of the Equality Foundation, an N.G.O. promoting the full inclusion of LGBTQ people in Chiléan society. “The government cannot ignore this definition when talking about human rights,” he said, “especially in the face of the injustices that are still committed in the regulation of families made up of same-gender couples.”
Chilé is in the jurisdiction of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, which ordered in January that civil marriage be open to same-gender couples in every nation in the region without equality – and that’s most of them.
And the Inter-American Court ruling seems to make equality a forgone conclusion in every country that signed the American Convention on Human Rights. Along with Chilé, that includes Barbados, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, and the Dominican Republic.
The African News Agency reported this week that South African lawmakers have passed a bill that removes the “opt out” choice for government marriage officers that allowed them to refuse to wed same-gender couples on the basis of “conscience, religion and belief.” That provision was seen as necessary to getting the original marriage equality legislation approved in 2006. But the Home Affairs Department found in a recent review that almost 88 percent of its marriage officers had claimed the exemption, which a spokesperson for the ruling African National Congress called “disturbing.”
According to the news report, the measure passed in the National Assembly on December 6th after it had been approved in the upper house, with the support of most parties in both chambers. An M.P from the Democratic Alliance Party said that, “If you are an employee of the State you must serve all citizens … [you do not] have the right to pick and choose which law [you] want to follow.”
Critics, however, lamented concessions that were made to secure passage, most notably that the Home Affairs Department be given a 24-month “transition period” for its officers to be “re-trained” before the Civil Union Amendment Bill can take effect. But, such as it is, the bill awaits an expected presidential signature.
The governments of Hungary and Poland scuttled a queer-inclusive equality declaration by the European Union on December 6th when they insisted on the removal of “LGBTIQ” from the draft version. The joint statement by the body’s Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council about equality in the digital age now only refers to “gender equality” and “youth.”
This is not the first time that one or both eastern European countries have forced equality declarations by the E.U. to be watered down to, at best, include “sexual orientation” – if any reference to LGBTIQ people is made at all. The Hungarian and Polish governments insist that their positions simply reflect the values of their conservative heavily Roman Catholic societies.
Austria now holds the revolving presidency of the Council of the European Union. It responded to the outrage expressed by the representatives of 19 countries because the two holdouts had doomed the well-intentioned document that required unanimous approval. Austria issued a statement that calls on E.U. countries “to support young people in strengthening their digital competences and self-confidence in using digital technologies as well as in improving their online and social media literacy by … taking steps to create and support an inclusive, safe and non-discriminatory online space for all, including … young LGBTIQ persons.”
But it’s only classified as a “presidential conclusion,” which doesn’t carry the official weight of a formal Council resolution.
U.S. President Donald Trump appointed as spokesperson for the Department of Justice a woman who comes from what the Southern Poverty Law Center calls an anti-queer hate group. The Alliance Defending Freedom represented that Colorado Christian baker in the Supreme Court case that ruled narrowly in their favor. U.S. Solicitor General Noel Francisco represented the Trump administration in oral arguments he delivered in support of the baker. The A.D.F. recently submitted a brief in a pending case to the high court supporting the segregation of transgender students at public schools with their own bathrooms and locker rooms to alleviate any discomfort among their cisgender peers. Kerri Kupec was named Director of the Office of Public Affairs at the U.S. Justice Department as part of the reshuffling necessitated by the ousting of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who himself was an entrenched homophobe. Kupec represented the Alliance Defending Freedom at an anti-LGBTQ rally in November last year, telling the assembled homophobes that “the belief that marriage is a man-woman union has been held since the beginning of time,” and claimed that enforcing anti-discrimination laws would “drive out” Christians, Muslims and Jewish people from the public square. She also reportedly spent time at the White House helping to get Brett Kavanaugh confirmed in the U.S. Senate as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. Pink News charged other A.D.F. leaders with supporting the long-debunked view that all gay people are pedophiles, and claimed that the group actively supported the criminalization of same-gender sex in Belize. Kupec has attacked the “hate group” label by calling the well-respected Southern Poverty Law Center a “radically left-wing, violence-inciting organization.”
But England’s Department for Education released statistics in mid-November revealing that one in eight adoptions this year have been by same-gender couples. In raw numbers, 450 of the 3,820 children adopted in England in 2018 are being raised in same-gender-couple-headed households. While the number of over-all adoptions in the country has gone down since 2015, adoptions by lesbian and gay couples this year are the highest on record.
Same-gender couples more often than not also adopt older or “special needs” children who are difficult to place. Tor Docherty of the advocacy group New Family Social told reporters that, “We’re thrilled to see agencies consistently recognizing that LGBT people play a key role in helping transform the lives of our most vulnerable children. … While negative attitudes still persist in some quarters,” Docherty added, “over three thousand children and young people in England now live with their LGBT adoptive parents – proving that we can and do parent successfully.”
The U.K. granted same-gender couples the legal right to adopt children in 2002. According to the British adoptions site Pink Parents, it’s one of only 14 countries in the world to do that.
In the results of another study, released this week, a University of Oklahoma sociologist found bisexual people to more likely be politically liberal than other groups. The survey by Meredith Worthen, published in Sexuality Research and Social Policy, looked at political perspectives among lesbian, gay, bi, and heterosexual students. It further divided heterosexual people into “mostly heterosexual” and “exclusively heterosexual” in its review of the attitudes of students in the southern United States.
It’s no surprise that social justice was more important to lesbian, gay and bisexual people than those who claimed to be exclusively heterosexual, whom the study named as tending to be the least politically liberal. It also concludes that the reason queer people are more likely to be politically liberal is because of their collective experience of oppression.
Worthen also said the “mostly heterosexual” group of people are a growing and visible group on college campuses.
She believes accounting for this group of people fills a gap in the existing literature in this area of study.
And finally, the man who made a Facebook Live video burning queer-supportive children’s books that he’d borrowed from the Orange City, Iowa Public Library has been criminally charged. Court documents allege that Paul Dorr, a Northwest Iowa fundamentalist Christian activist, burned the books on October 19th to protest the first day of the city’s LGBTQ Pride festival.
According to local TV station KCRG, Dorr was seen in the 30-minute video preaching, and burning the books Two Boys Kissing, This Day in June, Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress, and Families, Families, Families. Library documents prove that Dorr checked out the four books on October 6th. He’s been charged with 5th Degree Criminal Mischief, a misdemeanor. While what Dorr did is no laughing matter, one can’t help but think of that hilarious Seinfeld TV episode guest-starring Philip Baker Hall as the appropriately named Mr. Bookman, Library Cop:
Book-burning Dorr’s initial appearance is scheduled for January 22nd at the Sioux County Courthouse.
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