Grassroots Guatemalan lesbian-feminist Congresswoman Sandra Morán takes off the gloves!
LGBTQ refugees forced back into queer-bashing Kenyan camp, Malaysia’s P.M. spurns marriage equality, top U.S. homophobe to take “religious freedom” global, the latest Gallup Poll reveals pro and con opinions on U.S. trans rights, and more international LGBTQ news!
Complete Program Summary and NewsWrap Transcript for the week of June 24, 2019
Morán’s Politics & Pre-Pride Pictures!
Program #1,630 distributed 06/24/19
Hosted this week by Greg Gordon and produced with Lucia Chappelle
NewsWrap (full transcript below): The Kenyan government forces dozens of LGBTQ asylum seekers (some with children) to return to the life-threatening Kakuma refugee camp, where many suffered anti-queer assaults, because they lacked documents allowing them to stay in “safe houses” that rights advocates had arranged for them in Nairobi Malaysia’s long-serving Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad rejects marriage equality because queer couples “can’t procreate” certifiable homophobe Tony Perkins, who leads the far-right Family Research Council, has been chosen to head up U.S. President Donald Trump’s “religious freedom” commission Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosello reverses his support for a so-called “religious freedom” bill after sharp criticism in an open letter published by proudly out married gay dad and global entertainment icon Ricky Martin the latest Gallup Poll finds more than 7 in 10 people in the U.S. support military service by qualified transgender troops, but split almost 50-50 over trans people being allowed to use public restrooms based on their gender identity U.S. House Democrats symbolically refuse to fund the implementation of Trump’s military trans ban Pose writer/director/producer Janet Mock’s exclusive three-year deal with Netflix makes her the first trans-woman of color to ink a creative contract with a major mainstream TV content distributor (written by GREG GORDON, edited by LUCIA CHAPPELLE, reported this week by CHRISTOPHER GAAL and JESSICA ANDREA, produced by BRIAN DESHAZOR).
Feature: Seeing history through a lesbian lens is a superpower bestowed on This Way Out queer life and lit commentator JANET MASON after she read Vanda’s fourth Juliana novel called Heaven Is To Your Left (with intro music by DORIS DAY and outro music by KD LANG).
Feature: Queer pioneers Standing Tall Before Stonewall are celebrated in a Rainbow Minute (produced by JUDD PROCTOR and BRIAN BURNS, read by JOHN PORTER).
Feature: Sandra Morán was drumming up the movement for equality long before she became the first openly LGBTQ person elected to the Guatemalan Congress. Morán spoke at the international Women Deliver conference in Vancouver, British Columbia earlier this month, where she introduced herself to WINGS producer/This Way Out correspondent FRIEDA WERDEN (with intro/outro music by SANDRA MORÁN).
A summary of some of the news in or affecting global LGBTQ communities for the week ending June 22, 2019 Written by Greg Gordon, edited by Lucia Chappelle, reported this week by Christopher Gaal and Jessica Andrea, produced by Brian DeShazor
Kenya’s government has returned dozens of LGBTQ refugees to the anti-queer internment camp from which they had fled.
According to multiple reports, armed police officers rousted 76 refugees from safe houses in the capital city of Nairobi on the evening of June 19. LGBTQ people and several children were among the refugees who were put on buses back to the camp in Kakuma. The government claims that refugees “should be living in camps, and if they reside outside of camps, it should be with appropriate documentation” — that according to the United Nations Refugee Agency.
The Agency had helped move the refugees out of the Kakuma camp, where many had suffered violent anti-queer attacks by other refugees. Tens of thousands are housed in the sprawling camp in the northwestern part of Kenya, many from other countries in the region with homophobic societies.
A small group of queer refugees held a Pride gathering in the camp last year that ignited a wave of violent assaults. Camp officials told the LGBTQ people in December that they could no longer protect them.
Many relocated refugees experienced anti-queer threats or violence in Nairobi, and were forced to flee to other “safe houses” in the city before this week’s roundup. One widely quoted refugee fleeing anti-queer violence in his native Burundi used the pseudonym “Frank.” The BBC noted scars on “Frank’s” face that he said came from vicious attacks in the camp.
He said, “Wherever we have lived we face homophobia because of our orientation. We don’t know where to flee to.”
The UN Refugee Agency has promised to protect the LGBTQ people who have been forced back into the Kakuma camp. Applying for asylum and permission to resettle is an arduous process that can take more than a year. Interviews are reportedly only scheduled every six months.
Kenya’s High Court upheld the criminalization of consensual adult gay sex in late May. Convictions can bring up to 14 years in prison.
World Refugee Day was observed on June 20th.
The Prime Minister of Malaysia told an audience at the UK’s Cambridge Union on June 16th that he didn’t “understand gay marriage.” Dr. Mahathir Mohamad said in response to a question after a speech, “Marriage is about producing children. … I think rights have … limits. There is no such thing as [an] absolute right to do everything.”
Mahathir has been in power off and on in Malaysia since 1981. He retired in 2003, but was returned to office in 2017. He’s repeatedly called LGBTQ rights a “Western value.”
Pink News reported that Mahathir also drew the ire of Jewish groups for anti-Semitic remarks during his speech.
Mahathir leads a Southeast Asian, Muslim-majority country that is becoming increasingly more repressive in its treatment of LGBTQ people. Inflammatory rhetoric from several government officials and high-profile religious leaders has fueled the fire. Violent police raids of known gay establishments are becoming more frequent, and there have been public canings for violations of Islamic law for expressions of consensual adult same-gender affection.
Long-time Mahathir political rival Anwar Ibrahim was jailed from 1999 until 2004 on allegedly trumped up charges of having sex with one of his male staff members. It’s widely believed that Anwar will eventually replace the 94-year-old Mahathir as Prime Minister. According to Gay Star News, Anwar said in a speech last month that Malaysia must never “bow down” to Western pressure on LGBTQ rights.
U.S. President Donald Trump now has a certifiable homophobe to lead a little-known federal commission on “religious liberty.” Family Research Council president Tony Perkins has been elected to chair the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.
Perkins’ Family Research Council has been identified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as an anti-queer hate group. Its agenda includes support for the debunked “conversion therapy” that promises to make queer people straight.
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom was established in 1998 as part of the International Religious Freedom Act. Its purpose is to use “international standards to monitor religious freedom violations globally,” and to make “policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State, and Congress.” Members of the commission are appointed by the President and Congressional leaders from both parties. Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell nominated Perkins to the Commission, and its members voted him chair.
During his long tenure with the Family Research Council, Perkins condemned the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and claimed that the U.S. Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling would lead to the teaching of “immoral sexuality” in public schools. Perkins lines up with conservative Christians who strongly oppose a woman’s right to choose. He has also made inflammatory anti-Muslim comments that lead some to question just which religions he wants to defend.
Nick Fish of American Atheists noted that, “Tony Perkins cares about two things: cementing Christian supremacy across the globe and protecting the ability of religious fundamentalists to weaponize their religion against atheists, LGBTQ people, women, and religious minorities.”
The Human Rights Campaign’s David Stacy charged that, “Once again, the Trump-Pence administration has taken a nonpartisan commitment to religious freedom around the world and turned it into another weapon in their anti-LGBTQ crusade.”
Democrats in the U.S. House have introduced the Do No Harm Act to protect all minorities – including religious minorities – while also upholding anti-discrimination laws. Even if the symbolic effort passed in the House, it would likely not get the blessing of the Republican-controlled Senate, let alone be signed into law by the president.
Meanwhile, Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Roselló has retreated from his support for a “religious liberty” bill. NBC News reported that Roselló told lawmakers to shelve the bill within hours of a critical letter in the local press by global entertainment icon and gay married dad Ricky Martin. Roselló said the bill “provokes the division of our people.”
The measure would have allowed government workers to refuse to serve someone if they felt that doing so would violate their religious beliefs.
The well-known Gallup Poll has published the third in a weekly June Pride month series examining U.S. views on LGBTQ rights. This week’s findings show a clear majority in favor of qualified transgender people serving in the U.S. military. However opinions were mixed on gender-related bathroom policies.
The poll was conducted in mid-May. Gallup notes that, “As President Donald Trump’s ban on most transgender military service members continues to face legal challenges, 71 percent of Americans support allowing openly transgender men and women to serve in the military.”
The survey results come on the heels of a U.S. House vote to deny funding that would be used in any way to implement the Trump trans ban. But as with other pro-queer measures, Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is not likely to allow a vote on the measure from the Democratic Party-controlled House.
Trump continues to falsely cite exorbitant medical costs for transgender enlistees as the main reason for the ban. But numerous reports have noted that the Pentagon spends more on Viagra than it does on transgender-related healthcare costs.
As would be expected, women were more likely than men to support trans military service, Democrats were more likely than independents or Republicans, and younger people were more likely than older respondents.
However, slightly more than half of those surveyed said that people should use gender-specific public restrooms that correspond with their birth gender. Forty-four per cent supported trans people using the facility that corresponds with their gender identity. The Gallup press release noted that opinions on that issue have remained generally static since the company first asked about it in 2016.
And finally, one of the writers, producers and directors of the smash TV hit Pose has made industry history. Announcing her first of its kind deal for a trans woman of color with a major content distributor, Janet Mock said in a video tweet that, “There’s potential now with Netflix’s worldwide audience to introduce hundreds of millions of viewers to trans people.”
Mock said that there are “a few hush-hush projects that I can’t really talk about.” But she revealed that one of them is a half-hour drama series, and another features a trans woman in college. There’s also series set in New Orleans soon after slavery was abolished, and “a reboot of a classic sitcom.”
The showbiz publication Variety reported that the 3-year contract gives Netflix the exclusive rights to television projects from Mock, along with a “first look” option on feature films. Netflix Vice President of Original Content Cindy Holland called Mock “a groundbreaker and creative force who we think will fit right in here at Netflix.”
TV hitmaker Ryan Murphy is proud of his mentee. Murphy said, “Janet is a cultural force, and the world needs her stories.”
Mock has also written 2 best-selling memoirs. She tweeted that her three-year multi-million-dollar agreement with Netflix is “so bonkers!”
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