Poland’s top court rejects a printer’s refusal to make LGBT banners, another U.S. federal court continues to block Trump’s military trans ban, St. Croix activists ignore death threats to celebrate their first Pride, Rome, Warsaw, Bucharest and Shanghai take Pride in stride, an Anchorage preacher gets the boot after invading PrideFest, Tony winners rally for the Resistance, and more international LGBTQ news!
Complete Program Summary and NewsWrap Transcript for the week of June 18, 2018
Faderman on Milk!
Hosted this week by Greg Gordon and produced with Lucia Chappelle
NewsWrap (full transcript below):
Poland’s Supreme Court rules that a business open to the public that refuses service based on anti-LGBT animus violates the nation’s guarantees of equal protection under the law, while another U.S. federal court refuses to lift its order preventing President Trump’s proposed ban on military service by qualified transgender enlistees from taking effect … LGBTQ Pride is celebrated for the first time in St. Croix, large crowds renew their celebrations in Rome, Warsaw, and Bucharest, and Shanghai activists skirt possible Chinese government interference to celebrate Pride for the 10th time, while a phobic pastor in Anchorage, Alaska is booed by kids and their parents out of a public library’s “Drag Queen Story Hour” [with sound of evangelical preacher DAVE GRISHAM’s unscheduled disruption] … the first reports of feared anti-queer violence mark opening day at the FIFA World Cup in Russia, but “Angels In America” wins big at this year’s Tony Awards [with comments by Best Lead Actor in a Play ANDREW GARFIELD, Best Featured Actor NATHAN LANE, and Pulitzer-winning playwright TONY KUSHNER accepting the Best Revival of a Play Tony] … and more LGBTQ news from around the world (written by GREG GORDON, produced with BRIAN DESHAZOR, and reported this week by JESSICA ANDREA and MICHAEL LEBEAU).
“Charismatic, eloquent, a wit and a smart-aleck.” That’s how LILLIAN FADERMAN describes one queer icon in her latest book, “HARVEY MILK: HIS LIVES AND DEATH” (from Yale University Press). Those same words could be said of Faderman herself, who is a queer icon in her own right. The renowned LGBTQ historian talked about how she created a different kind of biography of Milk with RALPH RADEBAUGH and RITA GONZALES of the KPFK-Los Angeles podcast “The Out Agenda”.
Satisfying your weekly minimum requirement of queer news and culture for more than 30 years!
A summary of some of the news in or affecting global LGBT communities for the week ending June 16th, 2018
As broadcast on This Way Out Program #1,577 distributed 06/18/18. Written by Greg Gordon, produced with Brian DeShazor, and reported this week by Jessica Andrea and Michael LeBeau.
Poland’s Supreme Court ruled this week that a print shop employee violated the principle of equality before the law when he refused to make banners for the LGBT Business Forum because he didn’t want to “promote” gay rights. The nation’s top court upheld a lower court decision that the printer did not have the right to withhold services based on sexual orientation or other personal characteristics.
Poland’s Justice Minister and Attorney General Zbigniew Ziobro of the ruling rightwing Law and Justice Party brought the appeal. He angrily told reporters that the Justices had served “the ideology of homosexual activists.”
Many people, especially in the U.S., were quick to draw comparisons to last week’s ruling by America’s Supreme Court that upheld a Colorado baker’s right, on narrow religious grounds, to refuse to make a wedding cake for a gay couple. Jaroslaw Jaruga, a lawyer with the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, sees some similarities. But he noted that religious belief was not a specific factor in the Polish high court decision. He said that while ruling that sexual orientation can’t be the basis for refusal of service, the Justices also said that there can be exceptions based on the nature of the service being rendered. “Sometimes freedom of conscience and religion will be a legitimate reason for the refusal to perform the service,” Jaruga explained, “and at other times may constitute a manifestation of unauthorized discrimination.”
Yet another U.S. federal court continues to deny President Trump’s attempted ban on military service by qualified transgender enlistees from taking effect. Judge Marsha Pechman of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of [the state of] Washington issued a preliminary injunction against the ban in December, and on June 15th denied the Trump administration’s request to lift it. She said that the administration had not shown that it would suffer irreparable harm if the ban remained blocked, but that current and aspiring transgender service members would be hurt if it went into effect. “The status quo shall remain ‘steady as she goes,’” she wrote, “and the preliminary injunction shall remain in full force and effect nationwide.”
Three other federal judges around the country have also blocked the ban from becoming a reality.
June’s LGBTQ Pride Month is in full swing around the world.
St. Croix, in the U.S. Virgin Islands, celebrated Pride for the first time on June 9th – despite anonymous social media threats that participants would be gunned down en masse. Local police, and agents in the FBI field office in San Juan, Puerto Rico, are reportedly investigating the threats.
Anti-queer protesters, who were far outnumbered by Pride marchers, were kept at bay by a strong police presence. Police Chief Winsbut McFarland told local media that, “At the end of the day these individuals pay taxes, work in our community, and are members of our community, and because of that my obligation is to the safety of this community, and that’s what we did today.”
“The Advocate” spotted a few dignitaries in the crowd, including the territory’s delegate to Congress Stacey Plaskett, and gubernatorial candidate Albert Bryan. Bryan said that people in the Caribbean, many of whom are of African descent, should be able to relate to the fight for LGBT rights. He told “The Virgin Islands Consortium” that, “67 years ago we were the ones … who were hosed when we were marching … So we have to realize that in this world people have a right to be who they are.”
Organizers said that 500,000 people attended Rome’s annual Pride celebration on June 9th. With the theme of “Rainbow Brigade, Liberation Continues”, marchers demanded that civil marriage replace the currently available but inferior civil unions and protested the denial of adoption rights to those couples.
Thousands also celebrated Pride on June 9th in two countries that are considered to be less than friendly to LGBTQ rights. According to “The Associated Press”, “A party-like atmosphere prevailed in Warsaw as people waved rainbow flags and danced.”
A festive mood also characterized the Pride parade in the Romanian capital of Bucharest. Activists there were especially celebrating the recent European Court of Justice ruling on behalf of a Romanian gay man and his American-born husband that requires all member states to grant residency to same-gender spouses, even if the country itself – like Romania – doesn’t offer civil marriage to its own lesbian and gay couples.
China’s largest city, Shanghai, celebrated its 10th year of Pride on June 9th. According to a report in “Time” magazine, more than 40 individual events began with a 3-mile fun run, and included a Pink Brunch, a film festival, and a trivia night.
China’s communist government has not been consistent in its treatment of LGBTQ people or issues, allowing some queer cultural events to go on while censoring or shutting down others, most recently some popular queer-focused web sites. Brian Song, who helped organize Shanghai Pride’s The Journey of Light Choir Concert that featured English and Chinese songs performed by 7 LGBT-friendly choirs from across the country, told “Time” that “We were a little bit worried that maybe our concert would get canceled because of the current environment regarding LGBT in the media.”
A phobic Christian minister in Anchorage, Alaska failed miserably in his effort to preach at what has become an increasingly popular new wrinkle on Pride celebrations. Pastor Dave Grisham of Last Frontier Evangelism posted video of himself bursting into the Loussac Public Library during a private Drag Queen Story Hour. It was an official event during Anchorage’s PrideFest celebration. His unscheduled appearance didn’t go over well with the children – or their parents …
[:31 sound = Pastor Dave gets booed out of the library]
Grisham is well known in the Anchorage area for disrupting queer-positive events. He’s even tried his homophobic and trans-phobic preaching at LGBT Christmas parties where children were present.
Queer fans who planned to go to Football’s World Cup in Moscow this week were repeatedly warned to keep a low profile. Anti-queer violence has more than doubled in Vladimir Putin’s Russia since he signed a law in 2013 making the dissemination of “gay propaganda” to minors a crime. And his government has denied numerous credible reports of a brutally murderous anti-queer purge in Chechnya, claiming that there are no LGBT people at all in that mostly Muslim region of the country.
Social media has been filled with threats by thugs to attack any perceived-to-be-queer fans at the World Cup. Members of the Cossack militia announced that they’d be patrolling a number of the games to help police prevent gay men from kissing.
The first reports of homophobic violence came on opening day. A gay couple who had travelled from France to cheer on their national team was targeted and attacked in St. Petersburg after they caught a taxi. One of the men, identified only as “O. Davrius”, was hospitalized after the assault with severe brain trauma and a fractured jaw. His partner, who wasn’t named, was less seriously injured. They were also robbed of their money and cell phones. Two suspects are reportedly already in custody.
Veteran British LGBT rights activist Peter Tatchell was arrested in Moscow on June 14th – and released a few hours later – for his solo protest against Vladimir Putin and the anti-gay persecution in Chechnya.
[Andrew Garfield soundbite ca :11]
That’s Andrew Garfield accepting the Best Lead Actor in a Play trophy at the annual Tony Awards on June 10th for his performance as Pryor Walter in the Broadway revival of Tony Kushner’s “Angels in America”.
The multi-talented Nathan Lane took home the award for Best Featured Actor in a Play for his role as slimy closeted gay lawyer Roy Cohn in “Angels”, and Tony Kushner himself accepted the Tony for Best Revival of a Play. For each of them, the personal was also political:
[Lane and Kushner soundbites ca 1:10]