Founding father Mo B. Dick drags gender politics into king performances!
YouTube’s fabulous musical satirist Randy Rainbow reams the Suckers who toady for Trump!
Japan elects a gay activist to its Upper House, U.K. Tories pick Trumpish Boris Johnson as Prime Minister, an Australian-French couple’s case pushes Bulgarian marriage equality, Dominica’s anti-gay sex laws are challenged, Polish police protect Bialystok’s first Pride march, and more international LGBTQ news!
Complete Program Summary and NewsWrap Transcript for the week of July 29, 2019
King Dick & “Suckers”!
Program #1,635 distributed 07/29/19
Hosted this week by Lucia Chappelle and produced with Greg Gordon
NewsWrap (full transcript below): Taiga Ishikawa wins election to Japan’s Upper House to become the country’s first openly gay lawmaker former London Mayor Boris Johnson, who has a mixed record at best on LGBTQ issues, succeeds Theresa May as British Prime Minister Bulgaria’s top court says the government must recognize the legal marriage of an Australian-French lesbian couple who now live in the Eastern European nation an anonymous gay man files suit against the government of Dominica demanding repeal of the Caribbean nation’s harsh laws against same-gender sex riot police bust more than 20 homophobic hooligans attempting to disrupt the first-ever LGBTQ Pride march in the Polish city of Bialystok Britain’s House of Lords endorses a measure passed in the House of Commons to force marriage equality on Northern Ireland if regional lawmakers can’t legislate it themselves by January 2020 a U.S. federal court approves a settlement in the long-running legal battle over North Carolina’s “bathroom bill” that will allow trans people to use the public restroom, locker room or similar facility that matches their gender identity – but only in buildings under control of the state’s executive branch continuing mass street protests finally force embattled Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello to resign and Texas Governor Greg Abbott signs a bill to “Save” the fundamentalist Christian owners of the Chick-fil-A fast food chain from being discriminated against for their financial support of notoriously homophobic groups and programs (written by GREG GORDON, edited by LUCIA CHAPPELLE, reported this week by JESSICA ANDREA and CHRISTOPHER GAAL, produced by BRIAN DESHAZOR).
Feature: Drag queens get most of the spotlight, but drag kings have been on stage for just as long. Mo B. Dick, a founding father of the new drag king generation, spoke with This Way Out’s MICHELLE-MARIE GILKESON about the scene’s performance and politics (with music by THE CRAMPS).
A summary of some of the news in or affecting global LGBTQ communities for the week ending July 27, 2019 Written by Greg Gordon, edited by Lucia Chappelle, reported this week by Jessica Andrea and Christopher Gaal, produced by Brian DeShazor
Japan has its first proudly gay national lawmaker. Taiga Ishikawa rode his activism for LGBTQ rights to his election to the Upper House of the nation’s parliament, or Diet. He’s a member of the opposition left-of-center Constitutional Democratic Party. Marriage equality was one of his major campaign themes. He said he “… was calling for the acknowledgement of LGBT people in the election.”
He proclaimed that his victory, “acknowledges that we are here.” The country’s first transgender Assemblywoman is also from his party.
Even though consensual adult same-gender sex has been legal since 1880, it still challenges the socially conservative country’s norms to be openly queer. Japan’s governing right-leaning Liberal Democratic Party has consistently rebuffed any effort to expand LGBTQ rights. The 45-year-old activist-turned-lawmaker said he would push for federal anti-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people. The Japan Federation of Bar Associations joined Ishikawa’s call for marriage equality in an opinion paper submitted to the government on July 25th. In it the prestigious group charged that denying civil marriage to same-gender couples is a serious violation of human rights. Ishikawa told news agencies that he’s certain that marriage equality will come to Japan within the 6 years of his term.
Kanako Otsuji is Japan’s first out lesbian lawmaker. She introduced a marriage equality bill in the Diet in June.
Several queer couples who have been denied the right to civil marriage are taking the judicial route to challenge the federal government.
The latest polls reveal overwhelming public support for marriage equality in Japan. More than 75 percent of respondents favor it.
The Conservative Party named Boris Johnson to succeed the United Kingdom’s outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May this week. The Tories’ pick has been compared to U.S. President Donald Trump for his often-bumbling ways, his sometimes hard-right positions – and his hair. May’s inability to get approval for a deal for the U.K. to exit the European Union led to her resignation. Johnson was an avid supporter of Brexit. He vows to work out a deal with the E.U. by the October 31st exit date.
Johnson referenced LGBTQ rights in his first speech as Prime Minister, but critics are calling his newly appointed Cabinet “the most anti-human rights” in decades. He replaced 17 ministers from May’s administration mostly with socially conservative Brexit supporters. The Guardian newspaper said that five of his Cabinet members had voted against marriage equality in 2013.
While Johnson’s Cabinet does include openly gay MP Conor Burns as Minister of State for International Trade, that may not help. Burns made waves in 2012 by opposing marriage equality on religious grounds. He claimed that there was “no clamor for this at all within the gay community.”
Former London Mayor Johnson has referred to gay people as “tank-topped bum boys.” He’s accused the opposition Labour Party of “encouraging the teaching of homosexuality in schools.” He’s compared the weddings of lesbian and gay couples to “three men and a dog.”
Veteran British human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell said that Johnson’s “past insulting utterances count against him.” Tatchell called Johnson’s record on LGBTQ rights mixed at best.
The first step toward marriage equality may have been taken this week in Bulgaria. The country’s Supreme Administrative Court ruled on July 24th that the 2016 legal marriage of a lesbian couple in France must be recognized. Australian Kristina Palma and Frenchwoman Mariama Dialo now live in Bulgaria, a member of the European Union. E.U. regulations state that all countries must recognize the legal marriages of same-gender couples in other member states, even if marriage equality is denied domestically. The Supreme Administrative Court ruling cannot be appealed.
The couple lodged their demand for legal recognition in their country of residence almost two years ago. They applauded Bulgarians for giving them “more than they expected.” In a media statement they said, “People have been warm, supportive, and received us like a family in so many ways.” They added, “Love moves, courage leads, and hope should always prevail for the changes that are in our hands!”
Their attorney told reporters that the Court’s recognition of the legal overseas marriages of same-gender couples could make a case for marriage equality for the Eastern European nation’s own citizens. A major LGBTQ equality index has ranked Bulgaria 37th among 49 European countries.
A gay man is suing the Caribbean nation of Dominica over its laws criminalizing same-gender sex by consenting adults. The island is home to about 73,000 mostly Christian people of African descent. Dominica gained its independence from the U.K. in 1978. Convictions under the laws enacted in 1873 against “buggery” and “gross indecency” can bring up to 12 years in prison and forced psychiatric confinement.
The plaintiff charges that those laws violate Dominica’s Constitutional rights to freedom of expression, privacy, and freedom from inhumane or degrading punishment. Those charges are dramatized by his decision to protect his safety by remaining anonymous.
The gay plaintiff is getting help from the group Minority Rights Dominica. Canadian groups including the HIV/AIDS Legal Network and the University of Toronto’s International Human Rights Program are also lending support; so is the global human rights group Lawyers Without Borders.
The plaintiff’s advocates charge that he has experienced “homophobic hostility, discrimination, harassment, threats, and physical and sexual assaults fueled by these hateful laws.” They cite one specific incident when he was “savagely attacked in his own home, yet police refused to investigate and allowed his attacker to remain free.”
There was a refreshing change from the frequent arrests of LGBTQ people trying to hold peaceful Pride events in former Soviet satellite nations. Police in Białystok, Poland arrested more than 20 homophobic hooligans on July 20th who were throwing rocks, bottles and flash bombs at the city’s very first Pride parade. About a thousand Pride participants marched. Close to four thousand people protested. Opponents shouted, “Białystok free of perverts.” Pride marchers countered, “Poland free of fascists.”
The city in northeastern Poland is considered to be an especially conservative area in the predominantly Roman Catholic country.
According to a report by Gay Star News, many of the Białystok anti-queer protesters are planning to go protest the first Pride march in the central Polish city of Płock. It’s scheduled for August 10th.
Here’s the latest on some stories we’ve been following: On July 22nd Britain’s House of Lords endorsed a bill that forces marriage equality in Northern Ireland by January 2020, if local lawmakers fail to do it themselves. The bill had already passed in the House of Commons. The contentious and dysfunctional Northern Ireland Assembly has stalemated over marriage equality and relaxing abortion laws.
Northern Ireland-born M.P. Conor McGinn sponsored the original Commons measure. Celebrating with other queer rights activists this week, McGinn proclaimed that, “In just a few months, LGBT people will be able to marry in Belfast, just as they already can in Cardiff, Edinburgh, London, or Dublin.”
Transgender people and their advocates won a significant legal victory in the U.S. this week. A federal judge has signed off on a legal settlement regarding North Carolina’s infamous “bathroom bill.” The original measure passed by the state’s Republican-dominated legislature forced trans people to use public bathrooms and similar public facilities consistent with their gender at birth. The new agreement allows trans people to use the facilities that match their gender identity. However, it only applies to buildings under the control of the executive branch. The deal was struck with Democratic Governor Roy Cooper, who replaced anti-queer Republican Pat McCrory. Local anti-bias ordinances are still prohibited by state law.
Puerto Rico’s embattled Governor Ricardo Rosselló has finally resigned. Rosselló said in a video posted on social media that he would leave office on August 2nd.
The governor has been the target of massive, historic protests in the streets of San Juan and elsewhere. It began with leaked internal communications between him and some of his Cabinet members and inner circle. They revealed offensive comments about Puerto Rico-born pop star Ricky Martin and other crude references to gay male sex. There were also misogynistic comments that included calling New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito a “whore.” Protestors also condemned Rossello’s complicity in the Trump administration’s failed response to Hurricane Maria in 2017.
Ricky Martin’s high profile participation in the street protests may have elevated coverage of them. There’s been a suggestion that Martin himself should run for Governor.
And finally, Republican Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed a bill this week that purports to “Save Chick-fil-A.” The Republican-majority legislature passed the measure to protect the fundamentalist Christian-owned fast food chain from discrimination based on its owners’ religious beliefs.
Rejections of the multi-billion-dollar chain’s bids for franchise space in at least two major airports in the U.S. and bans or evictions on a few college campuses prompted the move. The bill will “protect” the chain’s major donations to notoriously anti-queer groups and programs, including screeds against marriage equality. It forbids government entities from taking “any adverse action” based “wholly or partly on a person’s … sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction, including beliefs or convictions regarding marriage.”
Pink News wins this week’s Headline Award: “Texas Governor … Signs Bill Banning Discrimination Against Homophobes.”
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