This Way Out Radio Episode #1692 August 31, 2020 “Stonewalling COVID & Jamie’s Proposal”

The Stonewall Hotel is keeping it alive in Sydney Australia during the pandemic thanks to its Promotions Manager Glenn Hansen/Candy Box!

Singing lesbian comic Jamie Anderson confesses her cable news crush in “Marry Me”!

The Australian Capital Territory and Anchorage, Alaska each act against conversion therapy, it’s the “End of the Rainbow” for ShanghaiPride, a Bosnian imam gives thanks for COVID over Pride, Hungary’s Orban marches with Poland’s homophobic Duda, another win for Virginia trans student Gavin Grimm’s school bathroom case, and more international LGBTQ news!.

Complete Program Summary and NewsWrap Transcript for the week of August 31, 2020

Stonewalling COVID & Jamie’s Proposal!

Program #1,692 distributed 08/31/20

Hosted this week by Lucia Chappelle and produced with Greg Gordon

NewsWrap (full transcript below): The ACT becomes the latest Australian jurisdiction to make the practice of so-called “conversion therapy” on minors a crime … Anchorage, Alaska’s largest city, becomes the first in the U.S. state to bar “the cure” …  COVID-19, but more likely government pressure, forces organizers of ShanghaiPride to announce “the end of the rainbow” … a Bosnian imam thanks Allah for the pandemic because it has forced the postponement of Sarajevo Pride … Hungarian homophobia escalates, led by Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who wants to follow Poland in its campaign against LGBTQ people … transgender male student Gavin Grimm wins his discrimination lawsuit in U.S. federal court again against his Virginia school district for denying him access to boys’ bathrooms on campus … and Spanish Gentoo female penguin couple Electra and Viola welcome the new chick they’ve incubated at the Oceanografic Valencia aquarium (written by GREG GORDON, edited by LUCIA CHAPPELLE, reported this week by MICHAEL TAYLOR-GRAY and JOHN DYER V, produced by BRIAN DESHAZOR).

Feature:  In the days before COVID-19, it was always party time at the Stonewall Hotel, one of Sydney, Australia’s most popular queer bars. Promotions and Marketing Manager Glenn Hansen and his alter ego Candy Box are working hard to maintain the fun — and the community — through it all. He shared some fond memories with Sydney correspondent WILLIAM BROUGHAM, and talked about adapting to the difficult present, and planning for a “new normal” future (with intro/outro music from I Will Survive by DEMI LOVATO).

Feature:  Is your TV news anchor crush keeping you warm during quarantine? Lesbian singer-songwriter-comic Jamie Anderson is ready to make a serious commitment — well, not that serious — with her dream MSNBC journo-diva (Marry Me, from her new album Songs From Home).

NewsWrap

A summary of some of the news in or affecting global LGBTQ communities
for the week ending August 22, 2020
Written by Greg Gordon, edited by Lucia Chappelle,
reported this week by Wenzel Jones and Melanie Keller,
produced by Brian DeShazor

The Australian Capital Territory is the latest Down Under jurisdiction to make subjecting a child to so-called “conversion therapy” a crime.  Henceforth in The ACT, practitioners of the bogus therapy can get prison terms of up to a year, and fines up to $24,000.  The new law also protects adults with impaired decision-making ability from those who claim to put LGBTQ people on the straight and narrow.

A majority of 14 votes from Labor and Green Members of Parliament bested the 11 Liberals in opposition.

Lawmakers in the state of Queensland passed similar legislation last week. Their bill was criticized for covering only healthcare professionals, even though the most egregious forms of the “therapy” are often performed in religious settings.  However, the ACT’s legislation covers professional and religious or other informal settings.

Faith-based critics expressed concerns that freedom of religion would be restricted under the measure.  A government statement said the law “will not prevent religious schools from teaching the tenets of their faith, including teachings on homosexuality or gender identity.  It is aimed only at practices that actively seek to change the sexuality or gender identity of a person.”

Australian queer advocacy organization Just-Equal says it’s a vast improvement on the Queensland law, and rated the ACT law “7 out of 10.”  Where the ACT law fails according to spokesman Ivan Hinton-Teoh is that it does not ban promoting false claims about conversion therapy through advertising or referrals, nor any other “attempts to suppress sexual orientation and gender identity.”

Anchorage is now the first city in the U.S. state of Alaska to ban conversion therapy on minors.  By a vote of 9-to-2 this week, the Anchorage Assembly banned medical professionals from trying to turn queer people straight or cisgender.  Unfortunately like the law in Queensland, Australia the ordinance applies only to licensed doctors and therapists — clergy members acting in a religious capacity, unlicensed counselors and parents are specifically exempted.

Nevertheless, gay Assembly Chair Felix Rivera told the Anchorage Daily News that, “One day, this practice will be banned throughout the United States.”

Alaska’s largest city now joins dozens of others across the country that ban the practice in one form or another.  It also makes Alaska the 40th state in which at least one jurisdiction has banned the discredited “therapy”.

ShanghaiPride has come to “The End of the Rainbow.” Shanghai has stood out among Chinese cities for successfully hosting the country’s longest-running annual LGBTQ Pride celebration. But the organizers announced in an open letter posted online this week that they were regretfully “cancelling all upcoming activities and taking a break from scheduling any future events.”  Only a vague need “to protect the safety of all involved” was cited as the reason.

COVID-19 social distancing restrictions have largely been lifted in the city after a sharp drop in cases.  ShanghaiPride did hold a number of successful in-person events in mid-June – although nothing as “in your face” as a Pride parade has ever been attempted.  Their celebrations have consisted of art exhibits, fun runs, films, dances, job fairs, and other relatively low-key events.  However CNN reports that there’s been increasing government pressure aimed at individual group members, “to the point of where it was disrupting their day jobs and normal lives.”

The cancellation of ShanghaiPride has been widely lamented on social media according to Reuters.  The subject has been viewed more than 17 million times on China’s Twitter-like Weibo.

The COVID-19 pandemic has delayed the second-ever LGBTQ Pride March in the Bosnian capital of Sarajevo — prompting a high-profile imam in the city to “thank Allah.”  Muhamed Velic told his 75,000 Facebook followers, “In every misfortune and tragedy there is also a grain of happiness, goodness and beauty. … [M]ay … the gay parade never return to our city and country!”

The spiritual hierarchy of Bosnia’s Muslims quickly distanced itself from Velic.  An Office of the Grand Mufti spokesman told Radio Free Europe, “This is his personal position and it is not the position of the entire Islamic community.”  Velic clearly speaks for a segment of that community, as his post has been “liked” more than four thousand times.

Sarajevo’s first Pride March was held in September 2019, marching to the cry, “Ima Izac!” roughly translated as “Coming Out.” Volatile protests organized by conservative religious leaders preceded the march, and there was heavy security presence.

The second march was scheduled this year for August 23rd.  A statement by defiant organizers stressed that the march was only being “postponed … due to the epidemiological situation.”

The government of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán seems to be following in the homophobic footsteps of neighboring Poland.  During Budapest’s COVID-created virtual Pride celebration in mid-August, a hardline soccer fan tore down a rainbow flag from a municipal building and set it on fire.  The leader of a far-right fringe group was seen 2 days later in a social media post proudly removing a rainbow flag from a municipal building and throwing it in a trash bin.  Police detained both perpetrators.

Far-right Orbán has been stoking anti-queer sentiment in recent public appearances.  Queer rights groups say his outspoken hostility to LGBTQ people has increased since he won a third term in 2018.  His close ally the Speaker of Parliament has equated adoption by LGBTQ people with pedophilia.

Orbán used an event commemorating the end of World War I this week to lament the erosion of what he called “Christian values” and decried Western Europe’s “experiments with a godless cosmos, rainbow families, migration and open societies.”  He declared that the new monument dedicated to the end of the “Great War” would be a call to central European countries to rally around the so-called “Polish flagship.”  Orbán seems to be sealing his bond with Poland’s recently reelected Law and Justice Party President Andrzej Duda. Duda has de-humanized LGBTQ people as “an ideology worse than the Soviet Union’s.”

U.S. federal courts have delivered transgender rights victories for the third consecutive week. In Richmond, Virginia, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruled that the Gloucester County School District violated the Constitution when it denied transgender male student Gavin Grimm access to boys’ bathrooms.

The same court ruled in Grimm’s favor in 2016, and the U.S. Supreme Court was set to consider the School District’s appeal in 2017.  But then the Trump administration overturned the rule that trans-students be given access to sex-segregated facilities on campus that match their gender identity under federal civil rights laws governing public education. So the high court sent the case back to the Fourth Circuit.  Democratic Presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden, has promised to reinstate that Obama era rule, along with several others that the Trump administration has spent the past four years trying to undo.

Gavin Grimm started the legal ball rolling when he sued Gloucester High School for denying him the right to use the boys’ bathroom in 2015.  Now he’s a 20-year-old college student. The August 26th Fourth Circuit reaffirmation of Grimm’s bathroom rights noted the Supreme Court’s recent LGBTQ right to work decision.  Using its clarification of “sex,” Justice Henry F. Floyd wrote for the 2-to-1 majority that, “We have little difficulty holding that a bathroom policy precluding Grimm from using the boys restrooms discriminated against him ‘on the basis of sex’.”

Grimm issued a statement through his representatives at the American Civil Liberties Union.  “All transgender students should have what I was denied: the opportunity to be seen for who we are by our schools and our government.”  He said the ruling was “an incredible affirmation for not just me, but for trans youth around the country.”

Finally, the stork has visited another same-gender penguin couple.  Female Gentoo penguin couple Electra and Viola hatched another penguin’s egg this week at the Oceanogràfic Aquarium in the Spanish city of València.

Australian male penguin couple Sphen and Magic went viral after hatching baby girl Sphengic in 2018 at Sea Life Zoo in Sydney. They received a second egg to foster last year.

Penguin moms Rocky and Marama at Sea Life Aquarium in London made news last year after adopting what was described as the world’s first “genderless” penguin chick.

Like their predecessors in Australia and England, pictures of the Spanish penguin couple and baby chick have gone viral.  The València aquarium captioned its photos this week, “Welcome to the world little one!”

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