High courts consider marriage equality in the Philippines and Peru, a bi-national pair sues the Caymans for the right to marry, Czech Republic lawmakers consider a marriage equality proposal, South Africa’s Equality Court rejects a religious right to hate, Love, Simon star dresses for MTV Award success, and more global LGBTQ news!
Complete Program Summary and NewsWrap Transcript for the week of June 25, 2018
School for Stonewall!
Hosted this week by Greg Gordon and produced with Lucia Chappelle
NewsWrap (full transcript below):
The Philippines Supreme Court and Peru’s Constitutional Court each begin hearing marriage equality cases, while a lesbian couple files suit against the Cayman Islands to let them marry, and the Czech Republic appears headed for marriage equality through legislation … a South African court punishes a hate-spewing anti-queer preacher, ruling that such speech is not protected by “religious freedom” … the World Health Organization finally removes transgender people from its list of the mentally disordered … KEIYNAN LONSDALE, the out bi co-star of the hit mainstream gay coming of age romantic comedy Love, Simon, “rocks a skirt” at the MTV Awards – hear his joyfully affirmative acceptance of the movie trophy, with unable-to-be-there co-star Nick Robinson, for “Best Kiss” (written by GREG GORDON, produced with BRIAN DESHAZOR, and reported this week by WENZEL JONES and MONIQUE LUKENS).
On the last weekend of June in 1969, it was illegal in many U.S. cities to serve alcohol to homosexuals, or for two men to dance together. Gay bars were often run by organized crime, drink prices were inflated, and police raids and subsequent public ruination were routine. There were “homophile” rights groups in a few major U.S. cities as early as the 1950’s, and even earlier in the 20th century in Russia and Germany before those progressive movements were crushed by fascism. Everything changed when the queer patrons of the STONEWALL INN on CHRISTOPHER STREET in NEW YORK CITY’s GREENWICH VILLAGE finally had enough. Sadly, comprehensive accounts of the pivotal event in the contemporary queer movement for equality still won’t be found in many history textbooks, and too many LGBTQ people — especially the up-and-coming-out younger generation –- know little about what the annual Pride celebrations commemorate. This Way Out combed the rich audio archives at our disposal to assemble this LGBTQ Pride Primer. Included: snippets from Living Out Proud by SUGARBEACH; No Hiding Place by MARY WATKINS, and DEBBIE LEMPKE’s Gay and Proud performed by the BERKELEY WOMEN’S MUSIC COLLECTIVE (the latter two from the herstoric 1977 Olivia Records compilation album Lesbian Concentrate); excerpts from a January 1969 gay radio program somewhat evasively called The New Symposium – just six months before the Stonewall Riots — on Pacifica Radio’s WBAI in New York City, during which BAIRD SEARLES and KERMIT LAMB lament the lack of courage – let alone “pride” – in “the homosexual community”; excerpts from a 1970 audio documentary about the Stonewall Riots, narrated by BRETT ARTERY and featuring an eyewitness account by trailblazing activist CRAIG RODWELL; a This Way Out-edited version of Long Hot Summer, a raucous ode to the Stonewall Riots by legendary British rockers THE TOM ROBINSON BAND (from their groundbreaking album Power In The Darkness); The Birth of the Gay Pride March is remembered in a Rainbow Minute (produced by JUDD PROCTOR & BRIAN BURNS and read by DUSTIN RICHARDSON); This Way Out on-the-street reporter GABRIELLE ANTOLOVICH quizzes celebrants about their heritage at a recent Pride parade in West Hollywood; and Gay History Rap, a queer hip-hop retelling of the Stonewall tale by AGE OF CONSENT, wraps up this Primer on Pride.
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 23rd, 2018
As broadcast on This Way Out Program #1,578 distributed 06/25/18 Written by Greg Gordon, produced with Brian DeShazor, and reported this week by Wenzel Jones and Monique Lukens
Marriage equality is on the march in several countries around the world.
The Philippines Supreme Court began hearing oral arguments on a petition to open the civil institution to same-gender couples on June 19th. Jesus Nicardo Falcis III, who became a lawyer just 3 years ago, filed the petition. Two of the Justices warned him about what one called “this very dangerous case [that] will require a very intimate reading of the provisions of the Constitution.” Falcis acknowledged that he was fighting a “very powerful hetero-normative” culture by initiating the case.
Controversial President Rodrigo Duterte has previously voiced his support for changing the law in the predominantly Roman Catholic Southeast Asian nation. But presidential spokesman Harry Roque told a press briefing late this week that, “the Supreme Court and the country are not yet ready for same sex marriage,” adding that it may still be “too revolutionary.”
The government is expected to formally argue its opposition at the Supreme Court on June 26th. There is no time limit for the high court to issue its decision, and some say it could literally take years.
Peru’s Constitutional Court heard a case on June 20th filed by Óscar Ugarteche demanding the legal recognition of his marriage in 2010 to Mexican citizen Fidel Aroche. A lower court in the South American nation had rejected the case on a legal technicality. According to an English- translated report in “El Comercio”, the court has 30 days to issue a ruling.
And on June 21st, Cayman Islands lawyer Chantelle Day and her partner Vickie Bodden Bush, a nurse from Britain, filed a writ with the Grand Court challenging the government’s decision to refuse their application to marry. Their lawyers argue that the laws of the western Caribbean British Overseas Territory defining marriage as between “one man and one woman” violate a number of rights guaranteed under the Caymans’ Constitution.
Marriage equality may come to gay and lesbian couples in the Czech Republic through legislation rather than the courts. Equality advocates are celebrating the announcement by the Czech government on June 22nd that it was supporting a bill to open civil marriage to same-gender couples. A cross-party collection of 46 lawmakers drafted the bill. An opposing bill sponsored by 37 lawmakers calls for a heterosexuals only definition of marriage to be enshrined in the country’s constitution.
The eastern European nation has offered registered partnerships to same-gender couples since 2006. With the government’s backing, it now seems poised to become the first former Soviet bloc country to grant all the rights of civil marriage to those couples.
However, major parties have been struggling to create a fully functional government since last October’s divisive elections, so it’s uncertain exactly when parliament might begin to actually debate the opposing marriage proposals.
In other news, South Africa’s Equality Court has ruled that hate speech is not a protected religious right. It found Cape Town preacher Oscar Bougaardt of Calvary Hope Ministries in contempt of court for continuing to spew hateful anti-queer rhetoric in public pronouncements, on social media, and in widely distributed email messages. He had promised the South African Human Rights Commission in 2013 to stop distributing what it called derogatory and offensive statements following formal complaints lodged against him.
Bougaardt has written that homosexuals are an “abomination to God” and should be locked up in cages. He’s falsely claimed that 99 percent of pedophiles are homosexual. And after he read about the execution by the co-called Islamic State in Syria of nine men and a boy for homosexuality, Bougaardt appealed to ISIS to “come rid South Africa of the homosexual curse.”
South African culture is still catching up with the laws of the land, which ban sexual orientation-based bias in the Constitution, and prohibit public comments that are hurtful, harmful, or promote hatred against gay people. Entrenched societal prejudices still prevail, however, and can be expressed violently, even in major cities, but especially in outlying townships.
The Equality Court ordered Bougaardt to spend 30 days in jail, but suspended the sentence for five years. If he makes hateful comments about LGBTQ people in public again during that time he could go straight to jail.
The World Health Organization has finally removed transgender people from its list of mental disorders. It announced on June 18th that what’s generally called “gender dysphoria” is now “characterized by a marked and persistent incongruence between an individual’s experienced gender and the assigned sex.”
“While evidence is now clear that it is not a mental disorder,” the United Nations health agency press release said, “there remain significant health care needs that can best be met” if what it called “gender incongruence” is reclassified as a “sexual health condition.” The statement says that the change was made, in part, to combat the stigma that transgender people face, and to “reduce barriers to care.”
Some trans activists, however, remain unhappy about what they consider to still be negative connotations about them in the new classification.
Progress even to this point has been a long time coming. France was the first country to declassify gender dysphoria as a mental disorder 8 years ago. A few other countries have since followed. The European Parliament called on the W.H.O. to declassify gender dysphoria as a mental disorder in 2011. And the American Psychiatric Association declassified it in 2012.
One day after the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights denounced the Trump administration’s immigration policy of separating children from their parents who’ve illegally crossed the southern border as “unconscionable,” America’s U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley announced that the U.S. was withdrawing from the world body’s Human Rights Council. It’s the first country ever to do so. She charged that the Council was anti-Israel, “a protector of human rights abusers, and a cesspool of political bias.”
LGBTQ groups joined the chorus of human rights organizations across the country to condemn the move. Ty Cobb of the Human Rights Campaign wrote that, “In recent years, the U.N. Human Rights Council advanced a number of initiatives focused on LGBTQ human rights — including a 2016 decision establishing an independent expert on sexual orientation and gender identity. … With this decision, the Trump-Pence administration is leaving a vacuum at the Human Rights Council that may well be filled by countries that have little or no commitment to universal human rights.”
OutRight Action International released a statement saying, in part, that, “Withdrawing from the Council sends a message to other countries that it is acceptable to walk away from the system when it doesn’t suit you to be there.”
Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez didn’t pull any punches, criticizing the Trump administration for “sending a signal to the world that we’re too weak to lead, and too cowardly to fight for our foundational values. Trump’s withdrawal is especially disturbing given his persistent praise for despots and dictators with abysmal human rights records, not to mention his administration’s cruel mistreatment of immigrant families seeking asylum.”
But finally …
[kiss on the Ferris wheel scene from Love, Simon :16]
That’s the now award-winning kiss – generally cheered around the world – from the hit mainstream gay romantic coming-of-age comedy Love, Simon. Exceptions include India, which banned the film on the day of its planned release earlier this month because of its depiction of gay relationships.
But at the MTV Awards on June 16th in Santa Monica, California, the object of “Simon’s” affection, “Bram”, played by out bisexual Australian actor Keiynan Lonsdale, was a clear audience favorite – especially because, as one fashion critic put it, the 26-year-old actor “rocked a skirt … and looked absolutely fabulous doing it:”
[Lonsdale acceptance speech :55]