LGBTQ History: Laughing, Maybe Crying!

The pivotal moment in LGBTQ history when President Barack Obama completed his “evolution” to support marriage equality with a push from his Vice President, Joe Biden!

Stephen Colbert gave a wink and a nod to a queer-inclusive Campbell’s Soup ad facing an onslaught of right-wing criticism early in his “transition” to late night show host.

A “Rainbow Minute” recalls how “Director, John Schlesinger” set new standards for gay-themed films!

The ”Nigerian 47” cases are dropped but not dismissed, Manila enacts anti-queer bias protections, an Estonian Greens’ petition forces a marriage equality debate, a Chilean LGBTQ group ditches its government equality pact, and more international LGBTQ news!

Complete Program Summary and NewsWrap Transcript for the week of November 2, 2020

LGBTQ History: Laughing, Maybe Crying!

Program #1,701 distributed 11/02/20

Hosted this week by Lucia Chappelle and produced with Greg Gordon

NewsWrap (full transcript below): A Nigerian federal high court judge strikes down (but does not totally dismiss) charges against all 47 men rounded up in a raid on a Lagos hotel room birthday party in 2018 and charged with participating in an “initiation into a gay club” … the Philippines capital city of Manila bans all forms of anti-LGBTQ bias … Estonian petition signers force the country’s lawmakers to consider marriage equality despite outrageously homophobic pronouncements by the government’s Interior Minister … Chile’s leading LGBTQ advocacy group MOVILH withdraws from an agreement with the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights and the Chilean government that promised, but has yet to deliver, marriage equality … orders from the Texas Governor and Attorney General to remove code of conduct rules banning bias by the state’s social workers based on sexual orientation, gender identity or disability are reversed, but the battle may not be over … and the U.S. State Department’s homophobic Trump-appointed Secretary Mike Pompeo abandons efforts to deny U.S. citizenship to the children of married queer parents born via surrogate abroad (written by GREG GORDON, edited by LUCIA CHAPPELLE, reported by TANYA KANE-PARRY and MICHAEL TAYLOR-GRAY, produced by BRIAN DESHAZOR).

Feature: His name may be on the tip of your tongue, but the character the name represents changed dramatically this time five years ago. Early on in the persona transition, This Way Out’s GREG GORDON reported on how Stephen Colbert still out-flanked the right — just from a different direction (with intro/outro music by PAUL SIMON).

Feature:  Our LGBTQ history reflections continue with a Rainbow Minute about a movie director so famous you might forget how gay he was (Director, John Schlesinger, read by DAVID RYDER, produced by JUDD PROCTOR and BRIAN BURNS, with intro music by JOHN BARRY.)

Feature: We don’t know how the U.S. elections will turn out when all is said and done, but we do know the impact two key players in the current campaign had on LGBTQ history. This Way Out’s GREG GORDON reported in May of 2012 on Vice President Joe Biden’s expression of support for marriage equality, forcing President Barack Obama to do the same sooner than he had planned (with additional comments by Freedom To Marry founder Evan Wolfson, and segment instrumental music by TRIUMPH, intro music by MARY HOPKIN, and outro music by VICTOR GARBER).

NewsWrap

A summary of some of the news in or affecting global LGBTQ communities
for the week ending October 31, 2020
Written by Greg Gordon, edited by Lucia Chappelle,
reported this week by Tanya Kane-Parry and Michael Taylor-Gray,
produced by Brian DeShazor

The case against the “Nigerian 47” is over – but it may not really be over.  Federal High Court Judge Rilwan Aikawa struck down all charges against the men on October 27th based on “lack of diligent prosecution.”  However the cases were not “dismissed,” and the defendants could be re-arrested and charged with the same “crime” at a later time.

The 47 men were arrested for being gay in a raid on a Lagos hotel room in 2018. All the defendants claimed that they were just attending a birthday party. They pleaded innocent to police charges that they were participating in an “initiation” into a gay club.

The “lack of diligent prosecution” ruling was a judicial understatement: no witnesses appeared over the course of several postponements, and the prosecutor failed to show up to argue the case in the latest court hearing.

Homophobia is entrenched in Nigerian society, condemned by both Muslim and Christian leaders.  The West African country passed laws banning marriage equality in 2014, and made same-gender sex punishable by up to 14 years in prison. Anyone who “registers, operates or participates in gay clubs, societies and organizations, or directly or indirectly makes public show of same-sex amorous relationships” is also subject to up to 10 years in prison. This was seen by some as a “test case” because it was the first prosecution under those laws.

In view of the court ruling, Emmanuel Sadi of the Initiative for Equal Rights urged the government to “remove or repeal” those laws as unenforceable.

The “Nigerian 47” are free, at least for now, but the scars from their experiences will last a lifetime.  Each man has been stigmatized ever since they were identified by police in a televised news conference the day after the raid.  Taxi driver Onyeka Oguaghamba says he merely drove people to the party. He’s glad the case has been struck down, but since it was not dismissed entirely and he can still be re-arrested at any time under Nigerian law, he told Reuters, “I am not happy, because I’m looking for the matter to end in a way that people will see me and believe what I have been saying from the beginning.”  Chris Agiriga was also caught up in the raid, and has been ostracized by his family.  He told Reuters, “This has caused a lot of damage in my life.”

An ordinance that “protects the rights of lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgenders, queers and intersex [people] in the city of Manila against any and all forms of discrimination solely on the basis of sexual orientation, [or] gender identity [or] expression” is now in effect. Mayor Isko Moreno signed the law on October 29th. A number of other municipalities in the Philippines have already enacted similar legislation, but passage of the ordinance in the nation’s capital city is seen as a significant advance.  First-time violators in Manila face up to six months in jail, heavy fines, or both.

The mayor and members of the city council wore rainbow-themed facemasks to mark the official announcement of the new laws.  Mayor Moreno said, “Everybody should be treated equally, respected, understood and be shown compassion. … “We are all equal here. We will not allow discrimination.”

The ordinance also creates the Manila Gender Sensitivity and Development Council.  Its members are appointed by the mayor and charged with monitoring complaints of violations and assisting victims of anti-queer bias.

In the wake of Manila’s move, equality activists are turning up the heat on the government of President Rodrigo Duterte to pass similar legislation at the national level.  According to PhilStar.com, an LGBTQ anti-discrimination bill has been stalled in Congress since it was introduced more than 2 decades ago.

More than 14,500 people have signed an online petition published by Estonia’s Green Party to amend the country’s Family Act to open civil marriage to gay and lesbian couples.  The petition can still be signed until December 24th, but it’s already surpassed the 1,000- signature-threshold and must now be debated in the legislature.

Green leader Kaspar Kurve marveled at how quickly the petition qualified for legislative debate, and at the support voiced by members of other parties.  He said, “Society has given an extremely clear message which can no longer be overlooked.”

However, a public opinion poll conducted in June found 55 per cent of Estonian respondents voicing opposition to marriage equality.  During a recent interview with Deutsche Welle’s Russian-language news service, Interior Minister Mart Helme advised LGBTQ people to all move to Sweden.  He called anyone opposed to civil marriage being limited to one man and one woman a “heterophobe.”   But President Kersti Kaljulaid and Prime Minister Jüri Ratas quickly condemned Helme’s inflammatory remarks.

A referendum on amending Estonia’s Constitution to create marriage equality is reportedly set for sometime next year.

Chilé’s leading queer advocacy group has pulled out of a marriage equality and adoption rights agreement with the government – this according to the Washington Blade. Tired of waiting for the government of equality-resistant President Sebastián Piñera to act, the Movement for Homosexual Integration and Liberation, or MOVILH, announced its formal withdrawal on October 16th. That was the very day a Chiléan Senate committee held a hearing on the languishing bill.

It began in 2012 when MOVILH filed a lawsuit at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights demanding marriage equality on behalf of three queer Chiléan couples.  The group subsequently signed onto an agreement with the Commission and the government of then-President Michelle Bachelet charting a path to marriage equality.  A civil unions bill took effect in 2015, with the promise of full marriage equality legislation the following year.

Then in January 2018 the Inter-American Court of Human Rights ordered all 20 members of the Organization of American States that had not already done so to open civil marriage to lesbian and gay couples.

Legislation in Chilé is still stalled.  MOVILH Spokesperson Oscar Rementeria said in a press release that if the Piñera administration “reverses course, we are willing to resume the dialogue with the government to reactivate the agreement that the State signed with MOVILH.”

The Texas Behavioral Health Executive Council voted unanimously on October 27th to restore anti-bias provisions to the code of conduct for the State Board of Social Work Examiners. Those anti-discrimination protections were removed in mid-October under pressure from Texas Republicans Governor Gregg Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton.

The Council vote came after an immediate national uproar, including a petition posted by the Texas chapter of the National Association of Social Workers that was signed by more than 24,000 people.

However, the Council also asked Attorney General Paxton for his legal opinion on the issue. That drew concern from

Equality Texas, the state’s leading queer rights group. They describe Paxton as “an attorney general who has built his career in part on promoting discrimination against LGBT+ Texans.”

Texas laws do not protect LGBTQ people from discrimination.

Democrats State Senator José Menéndez from San Antonio and state Representative Jessica González from Dallas both pushed the Council to restore the protections.  They said they’d file legislation next year to protect marginalized groups from discrimination.

 

Finally, the Grimm’s fairy tale with Trump henchman Mike Pompeo as the villain ends happily. The U.S. State Department has given up trying to deny citizenship to babies born abroad via surrogate to married gay and lesbian parents.

Two couples had lawsuits in federal court challenging the State Department’s claim that their children had been “born out of wedlock” even though their parents are married same-gender couples.  U.S. citizenship under similar circumstances is automatic if the parents are heterosexual.

In August the State Department appealed a federal court decision affirming the U.S. citizenship of Chevy Chase, Maryland fathers Roee and Adiel Kiviti’s child. Little Kessem was born in 2019 to a surrogate in Canada.  The Department was expected to appeal a similar ruling involving married Atlanta, Georgia gay dads Derek Mize and Jonathan Gregg, whose surrogacy child was born in England.

Both couples were represented by the queer advocacy groups Immigration Equality and Lambda Legal. Their attorneys announced on October 27th that the appeal in the Kiviti case had been formally withdrawn, and that no appeal would be pursued in the Mize-Gregg case.  A statement issued by the Mize-Gregg family said of their daughter that, “All we ever wanted was for Simone to be treated fairly. … This process has reaffirmed for us that standing up for equal treatment is always right, no matter how difficult it is or [how] long it may take.”

© 2020 Overnight Productions (Inc.)

© 2020 Overnight Productions (Inc.)
 “Satisfying your weekly minimum requirement of queer news and culture for more than 30 years!”

One thought on “LGBTQ History: Laughing, Maybe Crying!”

  1. “Transgender” is an adjective, not a noun. Transgender people are not “transgenders,” we are transgender people.

    I heard your program for the first time just now on WRFI-FM in Ithaca NY, after that station carried Democracy Now!’s Election Night coverage. Ithaca may well be the best city on Earth to transition gender, being found the most LGBT-friendly city in America. It’s not perfect, but amazing nonetheless.

    Thank you for your attention.

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