Canada takes on “conversion therapy” for minors.
Queer youth OutCasters give Disney’s LGBTQ inclusion a “D” for deceptive.
An almost-forgotten black queer artist is honored in a Rainbow Minute.
Coronavirus kills queer events worldwide, Ghana bans West Africa’s first LGBTQ conference, Australia’s top Anglican opposes the Religious Discrimination Bill, U.K. appeals court rejects gender-neutral passports, Swiss “swing” wrestling champ frees himself from closet fears, and more international LGBTQ news!
Complete Program Summary and NewsWrap Transcript for the week of March 9, 2020
Curing Canada & Mousy Inclusion!
Program #1,668 distributed 03/16/20
Hosted this week by Greg Gordon and produced with Lucia Chappelle
NewsWrap (full transcript below): The world has COVID-19, and the international LGBTQ community is feeling the impact, with cancellations or postponements of dozens of public events and celebrations it’s conservative religious groups, not COVID-19, that pushes the government of Ghana to cancel what would have been Pan Africa ILGA’s historic first conference in West Africa Dr. Philip Freier, the top Anglican cleric in Australia, adds his voice to other religious and secular groups opposing the Morrison government’s proposed Religious Discrimination Bill the U.K. Court of Appeal rejects non-binary Christie Elan-Cane’s bid to have an option to “M” or “F” on passports champion Swiss “swing” wrestler Curdin Orlik comes out at the age of 27 because he’d finally “rather be free than fearful” (written by GREG GORDON, edited by LUCIA CHAPPELLE, reported this week by JOHN DYER V and CAROLE MEYERS, produced by BRIAN DESHAZOR).
Feature: The Canadian government is moving on a campaign promise to the LGBTQ community made by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. This Way Out’s LUCIA CHAPPELLE reports on the introduction of a bill to ban so-called “conversion therapy” for minors (featuring comments by survivors Matt Ashcroft and Erica Muse, Justice Minister David Lametti, and Minister for Diversity, Inclusion and Youth Bardish Chagger, and with intro/outro music by LAURA BELL BUNDY).
Feature: Almost-forgotten Starving Artist Beauford Delaney is remembered in this extended Rainbow Minute (produced by JUDD PROCTOR and BRIAN BURNS, read by CHRISTOPHER MURPHY).
Feature: Walt Disney CEO Bob Chapek went mouse ear-to ear with an anti-queer campaigner at a company shareholders meeting last week. Chapek defended the entertainment mega-giant’s mission to, in his words, “tell stories that our audience wants to hear that reflects their lives.” The LGBTQ media advocacy group GLAAD gives Disney a not-so-ringing “E” for effort, but our OutCasting Overtime friends (THORN, CHRIS and AMALEE, produced by MARC SOPHOS) think it should be “D” for deceptive (with intro/outro music by PHIL PALONEN).
A summary of some of the news in or affecting global LGBTQ communities for the week ending March 14, 2020 Written by Greg Gordon, edited by Lucia Chappelle, reported this week by John Dyer V and Carole Meyers, produced by Brian DeShazor
The world has COVID-19, and the international LGBTQ community is feeling the impact. As activists take on the challenge of providing for the most vulnerable, several LGBTQ community events have either been cancelled or postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Gone are the Houston, Los Angeles, and Nashville galas of the Human Rights Campaign, one of the leading queer advocacy groups in the U.S. GLAAD has cancelled its March 19th Media Awards ceremonies in New York City, and it seems likely that April’s Los Angeles event will also be axed. Equality Florida has cancelled or postponed all of its large public events through at least mid-April. The mid-June 50th anniversary LGBTQ Pride Festival and Parade in West Hollywood, California has been postponed. The three-day Palm Springs White Party that would have begun on April 24th has been re-scheduled for late October. Leaders in nearby Cathedral City also cancelled the annual LGBT Days.
Other cancellations or postponements because of the COVID-19 pandemic include the early May RuPaul’s DragCon in Los Angeles. Broadway has gone dark for the foreseeable future. Virtually every U.S. professional and college sporting event has been postponed or cancelled, including the college basketball tournament known as “March Madness.” Colleges, universities and many high schools around the world are switching to online classes, and public schools are increasingly being closed down. Even Mickey Mouse has gone into self-isolation, as Disneyland and other major amusement parks shut down.
A special event called Rainbow Holi would have come to Australia on March 14th. Holi is a major celebration in India and other South Asian countries that extols friendship and camaraderie. Participants playfully throw multi-colored powder at each other. Before the novel coronavirus struck, queer groups were going to import Holi to Sydney – but not now. A new date has yet to be announced. And go to one gay sauna in Sydney, and they’ll take your temperature along with all other customers before you’re allowed to enter.
These are just the reports we’ve seen this week about how the COVID-19 pandemic is disrupting daily life in the queer community and around the world. They are almost certainly the proverbial tip of the iceberg … so – as we always say – “follow the news in your community!” … and you can let us know what’s going on!
An LGBTQ rights conference in Ghana is not being held — not because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The government has banned the event after an outcry from conservative religious groups. Pan Africa ILGA is a regional component of the global queer advocacy group the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association. Its 2020 annual conference was scheduled for July in Ghana’s capital city of Accra, and would have been the organization’s first-ever event in West Africa.
However the government caved in to a campaign led by conservative religious groups that launched a petition against the conference. According to Reuters, the petition gathered more than 19,000 supporters in just one week. One of those groups is Advocates for Christ Ghana. They wrote a letter to President Nana Akufo-Addo pointing out that same-gender sex is a criminal act in the country, and saying that, “it is clearly illegal for ILGA to hold a conference here in Ghana representing a group that promotes these activities.” A presidential spokesperson confirmed the government ban without further comment.
Human rights groups criticize Ghana for a government and society that tolerates routine abuse and discrimination against LGBTQ people, including extortion and violent physical assaults. It’s clear which side of the debate the government of Ghana is on. While it’s now banning Pan Africa ILGA’s conference, it happily hosted an international conference of the U.S.-based World Congress of Families in Accra last year. That group’s so-called “pro-family” agenda is in reality rabidly anti-queer.
Primate of the Anglican Church of Australia and Archbishop of Melbourne Dr. Philip Freier has penned an opinion piece for The Age opposing the Morrison administration’s Religious Discrimination Bill. It’s just the latest blow to the Coalition government’s effort to pass what critics call a “license to discriminate” against LGBTQ people. The country’s top Anglican cleric wrote, “People of faith, and Christians in particular, need not rush into believing that we need legislative authority to ensure our freedom to practice our faith.”
Quoting a statement from the Uniting Church, the bill fails to “get the balance right. … Privileging statements of religious belief [over] other’s dignity and wellbeing.” That’s not something the church supports, according to Church President Dr. Deidre Palmer. She said, “Christians in Australia aren’t persecuted. … To cultivate some kind of victim status is disingenuous.”
The Australian nonprofit law and policy organization Public Interest Advocacy Centre pushes for social justice for marginalized groups. Its Chief Executive Jonathon Hunyor warns that religious groups could become too powerful under the proposed legislation. He wrote, “It is absolutely telling that we now have mainstream faith-based religious organizations saying that this is not the bill that they are looking for.”
The National Association of Catholic Families has expressed specific concerns, too – but they’re questioning one apparent protection for LGBTQ people. They find a clause in the bill against speech likely to “harass, vilify, or incite hatred” as being “too vague.”
Public comments about the bill were accepted through January 31st. According to the Pink Advocate, the government received close to seven thousand submissions from individuals and groups during that consultation period. Seventh Day Adventists and the Australian Christian Lobby expressed support. A number of queer and HIV groups submitted statements in opposition. Equality Australia warned that passage of the bill among other things would “compromise access to healthcare” for LGBTQ people. That goes especially for transgender people, as Trans Action Warrang and similar advocacy groups pointed out.
Equality Australia wrote that, “Australians do not want our workplaces, schools, and services diminished by people who wish to take advantage of special protections in order to demean our lives or beliefs.”
Attorney-General Christian Porter is expected to introduce the latest draft of the Religious Discrimination Bill in Parliament later this year.
The U.K. Court of Appeal has rejected Christie Elan-Cane’s request for a gender-neutral passport.
Elan-Cane is a non-gendered activist who’s been campaigning for more than 25 years against having to choose between an “M” or “F” designation on passports. Elan-Cane wants a “third gender” option.
Elan-Cane called the ruling “devastating”, and said that it was “bad news for everyone who cannot obtain a passport without the requirement imposed by the UK government that they should collude in their own social invisibility.”
Elan-Cane had challenged a 2018 dismissal by the High Court. The government maintained that it has no obligation to offer alternatives to male or female. Elan-Cane’s attorneys told the Court of Appeal hearing in December that, “There is little which is more fundamental and deeply personal than an individual’s gender identity.” They say that they’ll challenge the latest ruling at the Supreme Court, Britain’s highest court.
Gender-designation options other than male or female are already offered in the nations of Argentina, Bangladesh, Canada, Germany, Iceland, India, Malta, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, and Uruguay.
Finally, Curdin Orlik has become the first openly gay active professional athlete in Switzerland. The 27-year-old is a champion in the unique Swiss sport of “swing” wrestling. Its roots are in folk wrestling, where the competitors wear special clothing that can be grabbed for holds and throws inside a circle covered in sawdust. According to Outsports.com, champions tend to become household names in Switzerland, and collect lucrative product endorsement deals and other perks. That’s one practical reason why Orlik said he’s stayed in the closet until now.
He said he’s known he was gay since the age of 12. But like many other suppressed gay men, he felt that heterosexual marriage was his only realistic path. He said he truly fell in love with the woman he married a few years ago. They’re amicably separated now, and share a 2-year-old son.
Why come out now? Orlik said, “I’d rather be free than fearful.” He hopes to become a better wrestler now that he’s less stressed.
Orlik’s public coming out has been greeted by almost universal support on social media. He said he’s been “overwhelmed” with the positive response, writing that, “With your wonderful feedback, I’m now starting a new, open and free period of my life.”
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