Belgian queer rights academic/advocate Remy Bonny unmasks Putin’s anti-LGBTQ power play!
Emmy-nominated YouTube star Randy Rainbow crucifies Trump’s messiah complex in Cheeto-Christ, Stupid-Czar!
Philippines marriage equality lawsuit fails on a technicality, gay U.S. husband sues for Japanese spousal status, British Columbia court backs trans-teen’s hormone therapy, Boston judge punishes “Straight Pride” protesters, thousands join Bermuda’s first LGBTQ Pride Parade, and more international LGBTQ news!
Complete Program Summary and NewsWrap Transcript for the week of September 9, 2019
Putin’s Plot & Stupid-Czar!
Program #1,641 distributed 09/09/19
Hosted this week by Greg Gordon and produced with Lucia Chappelle
NewsWrap (full transcript below): The Philippines Supreme Court rejects a marriage equality lawsuit, but only on technical legal grounds a gay U.S. citizen married to his Japanese husband demands the same legal resident status in Japan that’s automatically given to heterosexual spouses Japan’s Immigration Bureau allows a trans-woman to stay with her partner after she’d been living in the country illegally for 26 years a British Columbia court tells a father that he cannot stop his trans teen son’s hormone therapy former Zimbabwe dictator and despicable homophobe Robert Mugabe dies at the age of 95 in Singapore courtroom drama follows the battle over the “Straight Pride Parade” in Boston and Bermuda’s first-ever LGBTQ Pride Parade is an overwhelming success (written by GREG GORDON, edited by LUCIA CHAPPELLE, reported this week by CAROLE MEYERS and MICHAEL LEBEAU, produced by BRIAN DESHAZOR).
Feature: U.S. President Donald Trump may claim the power and the glory, but Emmy-nominated YouTube star Randy Rainbow brings the parody and the “gotcha” with his Cheeto-Christ, Stupid-Czar.
Feature: Belgium-based political scientist and LGBTQ activist Remy Bonny specializes in the queer movement’s impact on international relations. His current research focuses on the interactions between the Russian Federation under Vladimir Putin, the European Union and the former Soviet Republics. This Way Out correspondent WILLIAM BROUGHAM in Sydney caught up with Bonny in Brussels via Skype in this first of a two-part feature interview.
A summary of some of the news in or affecting global LGBTQ communities for the week ending September 7, 2019 Written by Greg Gordon, edited by Lucia Chappelle, reported this week by Carole Meyers and Michael LeBeau, produced by Brian DeShazor
The Philippines’ Supreme Court has dismissed a marriage equality lawsuit on technical legal grounds, not on the merits of the case. The plaintiff was openly gay attorney Jesus Falcis III. The September 3rd ruling said Falcis lacked standing because he had not applied for a marriage license with a male partner himself. The Justices also chastised him for not respecting the hierarchy of the court system.
Falcis’ petition argued that even though he had not personally submitted a marriage application, the Philippines’ Family Code violated his constitutional guarantee of equal protection as a gay man. Civil marriage is defined as for heterosexuals only in the Southeast Asian nation.
However, the written ruling left the door open. It noted that, “From its plain text, the Constitution does not define, or restrict, marriage on the basis of sex, gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression.”
On the other hand, the Justices suggested that, “official recognition of [such] partnerships, for now, [is] a matter that should be addressed [by] Congress.”
Danton Remoto of the LGBTQ political party Ang Ladlad told the Jakarta Post that, “the great stumbling block will be the Senate, peopled by Christian fundamentalists who have forgotten that there is separation of church and state in the Philippines.”
Falcis the plaintiff called the high court ruling a “temporary setback.” He told reporters that, “In other countries, from the U.S. to Australia to Taiwan, they had to lose before they won marriage equality. The Philippines will be no different.”
A gay man from the U.S. who married his Japanese partner in the states is planning to sue the Japanese government for resident status – this according to The Asahi Shimbun. Resident status would allow Andrew High to continue living in Japan with his husband.
High says his “temporary visitor” status prevents them from planning their lives together.
Under Japanese law a foreign national in a heterosexual marriage to a Japanese national is automatically granted spouse status upon entering the country. Japan does not recognize legally married queer couples, so same-gender spouses are not eligible. High’s lawsuit demands long-term resident status.
The couple met in 2004 when the unnamed Japanese man was studying in the United States. The Japanese national found work back home in 2009. High has been living off and on with him in a Tokyo condo his Japanese spouse purchased. High is unable to legally work in the country, so the couple must survive on the Japanese man’s wages.
The breadwinner told The Asahi Shimbun that, “Because I am Japanese I cannot maintain our life as a family because of Japanese law.” A lawyer for High pointed out that “The Japanese man would be able to live in Japan with High if he lost his Japanese citizenship. The situation is one that goes beyond irrational.”
Japan’s Immigration Bureau has granted long-term residency status to a transgender woman based on her 17-year relationship with a Japanese citizen. The Sydney Star Observer reported this week that it was the first decision of its kind. The unidentified now 58-year-old woman had been living illegally in the country for 26 years. After being unable to have a partnership agreement with her spouse drawn up in 2017, she turned herself in.
According to the Star Observer, lawyer Miho Kumazawa told CNN that the trans woman would not have been granted the visa if she were single. Kumazawa said, “The government considered the reality of her relation to her partner, rather than its legality on paper.”
Japan has allowed trans people to change gender on their official documents since 2002. However, they must undergo gender reassignment surgery and sterilization to qualify. The trans woman in this case apparently did not qualify.
The Court of Appeals in the Canadian province of British Columbia has upheld the right of a 14-year-old trans teen to continue hormone therapy as part of his female-to-male transition. The Vancouver teen has identified as male since the age of 11, even though his birth certificate says otherwise. Canadian law prohibits publishing his name, or the names of any family members or experts who testified during the 3-day hearing.
The teen began hormone therapy in March following a suicide attempt and a recommendation from medical professionals. His mother supports the treatment. But the teen’s father filed a lawsuit demanding that the treatment be stopped. In his affidavit, the teen wrote that the hormone therapy makes him feel “amazing”. He said that without it, “I will be stranded between looking and sounding feminine and looking and sounding masculine. I would feel like a freak.”
Attorneys for the father insisted that the case was about freedom of speech, “and the freedom to parent.”
A lower court ruled that the Infants Act permits the teen to receive hormone therapy at a Vancouver hospital. The Act’s parameters involving a minor’s ability to consent to medical procedures are generally lax. The province’s highest court is the Court of Appeals, and a three-judge panel there agreed with the lower court.
The father’s attorneys also argued that too little is known about the effects of hormone treatment for the decision to be made by a minor. Medical experts disagreed, and told the court that the teen is already about halfway through the hormone therapy. Many of the effects are irreversible.
The queer world can finally bid a not-so-fond farewell to Robert Mugabe. The former dictator of Zimbabwe has died in Singapore at the age of 95.
Mugabe ruled the southern African nation formerly called Rhodesia with an iron fist after it gained independence from the U.K. in 1980. He was overthrown by the military in 2017.
Mugabe’s despicable disdain for queers outdid just about every other tyrant in the world. He’s notorious for saying that LGBTQ people were “worse than dogs and pigs” who “should rot in jail.”
He called same-gender attraction a “filthy, filthy disease.” He warned that if Zimbabwe accepted homosexuality, “the dead will rise against us”.
Unfortunately, Mugabe’s successor Emmerson Mnangagwa has continued his mentor’s queer-phobic legacy. When pressed about LGBTQ rights, he told CNN that proponents could canvass, but “it’s not my duty to campaign for this.”
The dust has yet to settle after the aborted “Straight Pride Parade” in Boston on August 31st. An estimated 200 mostly Alt-right supporters of Donald Trump clashed with many times their number of queer and anti-fascist counter-protesters. Thirty-six counter-protesters were arrested. A number of them appeared in court this week. Many had been pepper sprayed by police. A statement by the Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association charged that those arrested assaulted officers, with at least one counter-protestor throwing urine at them. Four officers were injured during the scuffles.
Prosecutors had recommended that disorderly conduct and/or resisting arrest charges be dismissed for anyone with no prior record. However Boston Municipal Court Judge Richard Sinnott dismissed only two of the cases to come before him. Some press reports claim that Sinnott refused to dismiss charges against any of the 36 defendants he saw. He required many of them to post bail, even when prosecutors argued that none was needed. Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins said in a press release that by compelling arraignment across the board, “the judge punished the exercise of individuals’ First Amendment right to protest.” She said Sinnott was acting as a prosecutor himself instead of a judge.
Defense attorney Susan Church told the judge that he had no authority to completely disregard prosecutorial decisions to drop the charges. Church was reading portions of the relevant case law when Judge Sinnott had her jailed for about 2 hours for contempt of court.
The legal wrangling will continue.
Finally, even organizers where overwhelmed by the number of people who turned out to support the first LGBTQ Pride celebration in Bermuda. More than 6,000 people paraded in the British island territory’s capital of Hamilton on August 31st. Bernews.com reported that, “The summer clothes were as bright as the rainbow flags carried by some revelers … and even a police vehicle accompanying the marchers had been decorated in a temporary rainbow wrap.”
The parade was followed by a rally with speeches and a wide range of musical performances that lasted into the early evening. Activists demanded that the government finally file its threatened appeal of the island’s top court marriage equality ruling. An appeal would be heard by the Privy Council in London, the court of last resort for British Overseas Territories. Many believe that the government is only delaying what is probably inevitable. Queer couples have been allowed to marry while the appeals process may — or may not be — underway.
According to The Washington Blade, activists from Barbados, Jamaica and other English-speaking Caribbean nations joined the celebration in Bermuda.
Bermuda legal eagle MaryEllen Jackson told the Royal Gazette newspaper that the turnout was “amazing. Did I ever think I would see a rainbow flag flying in Bermuda? No. Did I expect to see a sea of rainbows? I thought that would never happen, but here it is.”
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