A look at the newly-restored film Before Stonewall, and a reflection on California’s federal Prop 8 trial ten years ago this month!
Australia’s proposed Religious Discrimination Bill ignites protests across the country, as Prime Minister Scott Morrison takes the heat for his own bias — and for the raging bushfires!
Retired NBA All-Star Dwyane Wade is still making points for his gender-variant child!
United Methodists plan to divorce over queer ordination and marriage, Pakistan offers free transgender healthcare, Croatian and Belize courts support queer rights, a Utah 5th grader loves his new gay dads, and more international LGBTQ news!
Complete Program Summary and NewsWrap Transcript for the week of January 6, 2020
Before, During, and After!
Program #1,6585 distributed 01/06/20
Hosted this week by Greg Gordon and produced with Lucia Chappelle
NewsWrap (full transcript below): The United Methodist Church, with some 80 million followers worldwide, announces plans to split into two churches: the liberal wing that supports ordaining queer clergy and blessing same-gender church weddings, and the conservative traditionalist wing that opposes both Donald Trump’s Interior Department cuts “sexual orientation” from the agency’s non-discrimination ethics guidelines Brazil’s “Trump of the Tropics” President Jair Bolsonaro lashes out at critical reporters by telling one of them that “you have a homosexual face” homophobes pick Christmas Eve to firebomb the offices of the Rio producers of a “gay Jesus” Netflix movie parody Pakistan’s PM announces that his government is “taking responsibility” for the country’s trans community by offering them ID cards entitling them to free healthcare, including transition services a Croatian court rules in favor of a gay couple’s request to be foster parents a Belize appeals court upholds a lower court decision overturning the Caribbean nation’s anti-gay sex laws responding to the demand of Zambia’s government, the U.S. recalls Ambassador Daniel Foote, who was sharply criticized by the African nation’s government officials for saying that he had been “horrified” by long prison sentences given to an adult gay couple who had consensual sex in what they thought was a private hotel room gay Saudi refugee couple “Sultan” and “Nassar” are finally both out of Australian immigration detention while their asylum requests are being processed and 11-year-old Cedar Hills, Utah 5th grader Daniel Van Amstel, shamed by a substitute teacher over his rainbow family, defends his gay dads during an appearance on the TV program CBS This Morning [with some of Daniel’s comments] (written by GREG GORDON, edited by LUCIA CHAPPELLE, reported this week by JOHN DYER V and LAURA DICKINSON-TURNER, produced by BRIAN DESHAZOR).
Feature: U.S. National Basketball Association All-Star Dwyane Wade retired as the Miami Heat’s all-time top scorer last season, but he’s still making points for his gender-variant child, Zion. Wade has been fending off taunts on social media after posting about his support for Zion. He told hosts Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson of Showtime Basketball’s All the Smoke podcast that he thought the focus should be on the kids, not the critics.
Feature: There’s more than one kind of fire burning in Australia. The government’s proposed Religious Discrimination Bill is igniting protests across the country. The Bill would allow providers of many health and public services to use their religious beliefs to harass or refuse clients, and it’s backed by Prime Minister Scott Morrison, an evangelical Christian. The civil rights group Equality Australia is encouraging people to contact their MPs to oppose the Bill with this online promo (featuring celebrities Ian Thorpe, Lauren Jackson, and Benjamin Law) [2:03] + Meanwhile, Prime Minister Morrison is being accused of fiddling while his country burns. Eamon Sandwith of the Queensland punk band The Chats sings about Morrison’s religious bias and his response to the disaster in a new YouTube video (we have an excerpt).
Feature: Marriage equality had come and gone in the state of California, and the next chapter of the legal battle was beginning ten years ago this month. A challenge to the constitutionality of the equality-banning Proposition 8 was going to federal court — the first federal trial over marriage for same-gender couples in the United States. Federal District Court Judge Vaughn Walker heard opening statements and the first witnesses in the Perry versus Schwarzenegger case in mid-January 2010 in San Francisco. Pacifica Radio’s CHRISTOPHER MARTINEZ reported on the first day’s proceedings (includes comments by Shelly Dales and Ellen Pontak, Andrew Cumio, and John Lewis).
Feature: The 1984 documentary Before Stonewall recovered memories of the rich history of LGBTQ life before June 1969. Those recovered memories have been restored in a new release of the film, and (with audio clips) This Way Out’s JOHN DYER V thinks they’re more important now than ever.
A summary of some of the news in or affecting global LGBTQ communities for the three weeks ending January 4, 2020 Written by Greg Gordon, edited by Lucia Chappelle, reported this week by John Dyer V and Laura Dickinson-Turner produced by Brian DeShazor
The United Methodist Church’s LGBTQ-inclusion supporters and its traditionalist conservative wing are about to split. Officials of the worldwide 80 million-member Christian denomination announced the amicable separation on January 3rd. Ordinations of queer clergy and same-gender weddings have roiled the third-largest denomination in the U.S. for several years. The divide would occur later this year.
Officials said that the split between pro- and anti-LGBTQ wings would affect the entire denomination around the world. The Church claims more than 13 million members in the U.S., and some 67 million members in other countries. A substantial number of congregations are in Africa.
Under the planned Protocol of Reconciliation & Grace Through Separation, the queer-inclusive branch would adopt official policies affirming queer clergy and lesbian and gay marriage ceremonies. Twenty-five million dollars would be allocated over four years for the traditionalist group to establish itself.
The plan still needs to be approved at the Church’s next General Conference, scheduled for May 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. New York Conference Bishop Thomas Bickerton was on the planning committee. He said that, “The protocol provides a pathway that acknowledges our differences, respects everyone in the process, and graciously allows us to continue to live out the mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ.”
In his seemingly obsessive goal to overturn all things Obama, U.S. President Donald Trump’s Interior Department has removed “sexual orientation” from its ethics guidelines about workplace discrimination. The Obama administration’s 2009 guidelines had called for “equal opportunities for all Americans regardless of race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, or disability.”
Trump’s revision means that “gender” now most likely refers only to being male or female. “Gender identity” is also noticeably absent from the new version of the agency’s “14 principles of ethical behavior.”
Internal documents obtained by the nonprofit Friends of the Earth through the Freedom of Information Act in November have “sexual orientation” crossed out in red. Just who did the editing remains a mystery.
Interior Department spokeswoman Carol Danko called the revised guidelines just a simplification of terms. She told the Huffington Post that a number of courts have ruled that federal civil rights laws already protect LGBTQ people. Danko did not explain why the Trump administration has argued against that interpretation in three queer employment rights cases now before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro made sure that journalists and LGBTQ people had an uncomfortable holiday season, and a Christmas Eve firebombing provided the homophobic exclamation point.
During a press conference at the end of December, Bolsonaro was complaining about how he’s being treated by the media – he is sometimes called “the Donald Trump of the Tropics” after all. In response to one reporter’s question about corruption allegations against his lawmaker son Flávio, the president snapped, “Your face looks an awful lot like a homosexual’s.”
Bolsonaro is infamous for his racist, sexist, and anti-queer remarks, including his oft-quoted claim that he would rather have a dead son than a gay son. Another one of his actual sons recently tweeted an image of himself with an assault weapon next to his “kill” – an image of the already famous drag queen son of Argentina’s new president.
Bolsonaro later issued a lame apology for his press conference outburst that many of his critics lampooned. Jean Wyllys is a former Brazilian Congressman who had to flee the country after escalating death threats. He tweeted, “An awfully homosexual face. With pride!”
Anti-queer violence was already common in Brazil, but it has mushroomed since Bolsonaro’s election. That mushroom exploded on Christmas Eve when several Molotov cocktails were hurled into the Rio de Janeiro offices of the comedy group behind a Netflix movie parody. In Porta dos Fundos’ The First Temptation of Christ, Jesus brings home his boyfriend, Orlando, to meet the Holy Family.
Happily, a security guard on duty December 24th was able to extinguish the flames. There were no injuries. A defiant tweet by the production company said the attacks made them “more united, stronger, more inspired, and confident that the country will survive this storm of hatred and love will prevail along with freedom of speech.”
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan [ihm-RAHN KAHN] began the New Year declaring that his government is “taking responsibility” for the nation’s transgender community. A new medical identification card makes them eligible for free government-paid healthcare services, including transition-related care. Trans activists have been increasingly vocal about routine denial of medical treatment, or “at best” harassment and ridicule from hospital staff and patients.
Dr. Zafar Mirza is a special health services aide to the prime minister. He said the government plans to “cure” that problem by establishing separate hospital wards for transgender people.
Pakistan legally recognized transgender people in 2012 with a “third gender” option on government forms and other official documents. However trans activists say that only about 2500 trans people are currently registered. Human Rights Ministry trans rights consultant Aisha Mughal said that, “The first step is to spread the word … It is just the beginning.”
Croatian activists are calling the Zagreb Administrative Court’s December 19th ruling for a same-gender couple’s right to foster children a “historic decision.” The Rainbow Family Association has a lawsuit pending in Croatia’s Constitutional Court challenging a law passed late last year that banned same-gender couples from foster parenting. The advocacy group hailed the ruling as the first time a Croatian court has upheld “international case-law and rulings of the European Court of Human Rights.” That Court has ruled that queer couples must be treated the same as heterosexual couples under the law.
The Ministry of Demography, Family and Social Policy denied the application of Ivo Segota and Mladen Kozic to be foster parents in late 2017. That led to the couple’s lawsuit. The court gave the Ministry 60 days to reverse that action and issue an unbiased decision.
Segota told local reporters that the couple had received a positive review after interviews and psychological assessments, but were eventually told that government policy prevented their approval.
A three-judge panel of Belize’s Court of Appeal has unanimously upheld a 2016 Supreme Court ruling that overturned the ban on consensual adult gay sex. That ruling called the ban a denial of the constitutional right to dignity, privacy, equality before the law, freedom of expression, and protection from discrimination on the basis of sex.
Activists applauded the December 30th conclusion of a nearly ten-year battle and a final appeal by both the Caribbean nation’s government and the Roman Catholic Church. One of the veteran soldiers in that battle, Caleb Orozco, celebrated “a renewal of hope in the substance of the chief justice’s decision in 2016, which still stands.”
U.S. Ambassador to Zambia Daniel Foote has been officially recalled. Foote had issued a statement in early December saying he was “horrified” by the sentencing of a consenting adult gay couple to 15 years in prison. The south-central African country’s homophobic President Edgar Lungu said he would refuse to work with Foote and demanded that the veteran diplomat be removed. In what has become the rule rather than the exception in the Trump years, an administration source told Bloomberg News that the State Department has no immediate plans to replace Foote.
We’re happy to report that a gay Saudi Arabian journalist in Australian immigration detention has finally been released after more than two months. He and his partner are known by the pseudonyms “Sultan” and “Nassar” for the protection of the couple and family members back home. “Nassar” was released on December 13th, but “Sultan’s” release was delayed for four days due to what authorities called a “clerical error.”
The couple fled Saudi Arabia after their worst fears about being outed seemed to be materializing. Same-gender sex can be punished by execution in the Islamic nation.
Both men have now been granted what are called “bridging visas” that allow them to live in the country while their asylum requests are being processed.
Finally, an 11-year-old Cedar Hills, Utah fifth-grader defended his gay dads during their mid-December TV appearance on CBS This Morning.
Ahead of the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday, a substitute teacher asked Daniel van Amstel’s class to say what they were each thankful for. Daniel said he was looking forward to his adoption by his dads. The teacher responded that “homosexuality is a sin” and that “two men living together is wrong.” She even asked the child if he thought he would become gay.
Three of Daniel’s classmates complained to the principal. The substitute teacher was fired on the spot and escorted off the school premises, still reportedly spewing homophobia.
While one of the dads hoped for dialog, Daniel would have none of it:
[sound: Dad: I would love to have lunch with her …
Dad: … and sit down with … why not?
Daniel: I do not like her. If I ever saw her again I’d probably have a heart attack.]
Daniel made a simple case for the beauty of Rainbow families:
[sound: Daniel: It doesn’t matter what family you have … it just matters if you love them or not. And yes, I do love them.
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