Sydney’s Start & Culture Cons!

Sydney’s 1978 march melee remembrance and the recollections of veteran activist Peter de Waal rally the community for future fights (correspondent Barry McKay on-scene)!

Thorny questions about cultural appropriation are considered by Outcasting Overtime queer youth broadcasters … as cultural controversy breaks out at Birmingham, UK’s Pride Parade (and gay comedian Kevin Yee chimes in)!

Banned Pride dodges cops in Istanbul, newly-minted Pride marches in newly-named eSwatini, marriage lawsuits pump up Panama and Ecuador Prides, a Hong Kong lesbian wins her final spousal visa battle, Bermuda’s government “re-appeals” a marriage equality “re-ruling,”  Maine’s governor defends “cures” for queer kids, and more global LGBTQ news!

Complete Program Summary and NewsWrap Transcript for the week of July 9, 2018  

Sydney’s Start & Culture Cons!

Hosted this week by Greg Gordon and produced with Lucia Chappelle

NewsWrap (full transcript below): Hundreds of activists in Istanbul brave a fourth consecutive government ban on marching with Pride to unfurl rainbow flags and rally instead in a popular upscale area of the city before being dispersed by police using dogs, tear gas and rubber bullets; the tiny southern African nation of eSwatini (formerly Swaziland) hosts its first-ever Pride march despite death threats, while a Christian group asks for forgiveness for religious-based homophobia at the Manila Pride march; organizers of London Pride are under fire for allowing a small anti-trans group to lead the parade instead of the scheduled Mayor Sadiq Kahn; P-FLAG is one of the more popular contingents among Pride celebrants in Panama City, where activists celebrate the Inter-American Court of Human Rights ruling earlier this year ordering all countries in the region to open civil marriage to same-gender couples, while marchers in Quito celebrate rulings by two different local judges that the Inter-American Court order requires marriage equality in Ecuador; Hong Kong’s highest court orders the Immigration Department to issue dependent visas for legally united foreign same-gender spouses of city residents, just as the agency already does for similar heterosexual couples; Bermuda’s government appeals the second Supreme Court ruling in the past 13 months to open civil marriage to same-gender couples; and far-right Republican Paul LePage of Maine wins the dubious distinction of being the first governor in the U.S. to veto a bill to ban so-called “conversion therapy” for minors (written by GREG GORDON, and reported this week by LUCIA CHAPPELLE and JOHN DYER V).

Feature:  What’s the difference between cultural appreciation and cultural appropriation? The queer youth Outcasting Overtime crew takes a crack at explaining it (DHRUV introduces Andrea, produced by MARC SOPHOS). Meanwhile, cultural controversy breaks out at Birmingham, UK’s Pride Parade. Plus intro music from Cultural Appropriation, a YouTube video by KEVIN YEE.  [mfpg.org; kevinyee.com]

Feature:  Back in 1978, Sydney, Australia’s Gay Solidarity Group planned a day of events intended to energize queer culture and political activism. They held a traditional march and public meeting in the morning and a nighttime street parade. The violent police response to the parade brought national attention … and that’s how Sydney’s world-famous Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras was born. This Way Out’s BARRY McKAY joined about 100 people commemorating that fateful night, and captured these recollections by now 80-year-old veteran activist Peter De Vaal (includes intro/outro music from a popular tune of the time, Glad To Be Gay by the TOM ROBINSON BAND).

Satisfying your weekly minimum requirement of queer news and culture for more than 30 years!

NewsWrap

A summary of some of the news in or affecting global LGBT communities for the week ending July 7th, 2018 
(As broadcast on This Way Out Program #1,580 distributed 07/09/18) 
Written by Greg Gordon, reported by Lucia Chappelle and 
John Dyer V

Queer Pride continues to be celebrated around the world. Nowhere was that more significant this week than Istanbul. An estimated one thousand Pride celebrants rallied in defiance of an official government ban, and police responded with an assault that included the use of dogs, tear gas and rubber bullets. Amnesty International counted at least 11 arrests.

The July 1st rally was an attempt to circumvent a fourth straight Parade ban issued by Istanbul’s governor for “security” reasons. Activists assembled on a side street near Taksim Square, a popular upscale local and tourist destination. They unfurled rainbow banners, and read a media statement before police closed in to disperse the crowd. Dozens of activists zig-zagged through side streets in a cat-and-mouse game with police to avoid arrest – or worse. The organizers’ statement read, “Our marches went on peacefully without being banned for 13 years. We LGBTI [people] are here with our pride despite all vain attempts to prevent us, and we do not recognize this ban.”

In the days before Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan took power, Istanbul hosted hundreds of thousands of people in what was arguably the largest LGBTQ Pride parade in the Muslim world. Consensual same-gender sex is not illegal in Turkey, but sexual and gender-variant minorities face rampant discrimination, social stigma, and violence.

The king of Swaziland – the continent’s lone remaining absolute monarchy – changed the name of his country to eSwatini just 2 months before the southern African country hosted its first ever LGBTQ Pride march. About 500 people braved death threats to parade through the capital of Mbabane on June 30th.

A full-page ad in the “Sunday Observer” a week before accused organizers of promoting “pedophilia and bestiality.” Same-gender lovemaking in eSwatini is against the law, and King Mswati III has reportedly called LGBTQ people “satanic.”

Melusi Simelane of the national queer advocacy group The Rock of Hope told reporters before the event that they would not be deterred. “This is the first event of its kind, our first opportunity to show our faces to the world and to our country,” Simelane said. “I am not scared.”

Happily, there was no visible opposition to the march.

One participant described it as a “beautiful, colorful parade that was literally exploding with joy.”

Marchers waved rainbow flags and held rainbow banners up high. Many wore T-shirts printed with the message “God is Love.”

Marchers at the Pride Parade in Manila were greeted by members of the Church of Freedom in Christ Ministries carrying signs that read, “I’m sorry Christians have shunned you,” “Jesus didn’t turn people away, neither do we,” and “Can we hug you?”

Thousands of celebrants braved some anti-queer protesters and heavy rain to parade with Pride on June 30th. Police estimated the crowd at about 7,000 people. “Agence France Presse” reported many were dressed in drag or in Mardi Gras-like costumes, most waving rainbow flags and flying rainbow balloons.

The political message of the march was a demand for marriage equality, but most activists acknowledged that it would be an uphill battle in the socially conservative, predominantly Roman Catholic country, where both abortion and divorce are illegal. The march came just a few days after the Philippines Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a lawsuit challenging the Southeast Asian nation’s heterosexuals-only definition of marriage. According to recent opinion polls, some 61 per cent of respondents oppose marriage equality.

The annual Pride Parade in London got off to a bumpy start on July 7th when a small contingent of women carrying banners reading “Transactivism Erases Lesbianism” and handing out anti-trans leaflets unexpectedly led off the march. It was supposed to be headed by London Mayor Sadiq Kahn and representatives of the National Health Service in honor of the agency’s 70th anniversary.

The anti-trans demonstrators first blocked the start of the parade by lying on the ground until police convinced them to get up and move. Pride organizers first blamed the 10-person contingent marching first on “the hot weather.” “We do not condone their approach and message,” a statement subsequently read, “and hope the actions of a very small number of people does not overshadow the messages of the 30,000 people marching today.” Kahn and a number of other politicians issued statements criticizing what the mayor called “unacceptable transphobia.”

On a more positive note, while other branches of the British Armed Forces have celebrated Pride for the past decade, the elite Royal Marines marched this year for the first time.

Thousands marched through the Old Town area of Panama City on June 30th to cap off a week of Pride events that included lectures, concerts, and art exhibits.

World Pride Panama organizers proclaimed the motto of the parade to be “If there is love, there is a family.”

As it is in many Pride marches around the world, one of the more popular contingents was Panama’s P-FLAG, which in their case stands for Parents, Relatives and Friends for Diversity. President Mirian Sánchez is the group’s president, who founded Panama’s P-FLAG in 2004 after her daughter came out to her. Sánchez told local media, “I am proud of all the young people of diversity, because they are good, hardworking and talented.”

Activists noted that this was the first Pride march since the Inter-American Court of Human Rights ordered marriage equality throughout the region earlier this year. That decision bolstered lawsuits by three same-gender couples currently challenging the government’s refusal to open civil marriage to them.

Organizers counted some 18,000 equality supporters celebrating historic marriage equality rulings by two different judges in Ecuador just hours before that annual Pride march kicked off on July 3rd in the capital city of Quito. Each judge cited the January Inter-American Court of Human Rights order as the basis for their ruling.

Social prejudices against sexual and gender-variant people prevail in the tiny conservative South American nation. One man had “I am not your joke” painted across his chest. Others carried a banner that read, “I do not want to die for being trans.” Many marchers chanted, “Nobody gets tired of diversity.”

The government is appealing the marriage equality rulings, even though most observers believe the Inter-American Court’s ruling will ultimately require it. The appeals court has already rejected the government’s request for a stay of the original rulings and ordered the Civil Registry to issue marriage licenses to the 2 couples involved in the lawsuits as soon as the original decisions are officially published.

In other news, the British lesbian identified in court documents as QT has won a final victory in her roller-coaster effort in Hong Kong to be granted a spousal visa to reside with her wife, identified as SS, and work permanently in the city. The landmark unanimous July 4th ruling by the Court of Final Appeal should pave the way for other legally united expatriate spouses of lesbian and gay Hong Kong residents to get the same dependent visas automatically granted to heterosexual spouses.

Goldman-Sachs and Credit Suisse were among more than thirty financial institutions and major law firms with offices in Hong Kong that supported the lesbian couple as their case moved up the judicial ladder. The 5 Justices ultimately decided that it was counterproductive for the Immigration Department to encourage workers to come to the city, and then deny dependent visas for the spouses of same-gender partners.

Speaking of rollercoasters, the government of Bermuda can now claim the undisputed title as the world’s leading opponent of marriage equality. Home Affairs Minister Walton Brown confirmed on July 5th that his government is challenging in the Court of Appeal a June ruling by the Supreme Court that ruled for the second time that civil marriage should be opened on the Caribbean island to same-gender couples.

The same court first ordered marriage equality in May 2017. But soon after elections swept a more conservative government into power, religious fundamentalists pressured lawmakers into passing a bill overturning that decision in December and creating domestic partnerships instead for those couples. Another lawsuit challenged that move, with Chief Justice Ian Kawaley ruling on June 6th – and again – that unequal treatment of same-gender couples violates Bermuda’s Constitution.

OutBermuda led a chorus of queer and human rights groups to condemn the latest government move. “We will never surrender equality for all Bermudians,” a statement read, “especially the LGBTQ families and couples who deserve it.”

 

And finally, Paul LePage of the U.S. state of Maine won the dubious distinction this week of being the only governor to ever veto a bill banning so-called “conversion therapy” for minors. Governors of both major parties in 13 other states have signed similar legislation.

In his veto message, the far-right Republican LePage claimed that the bill’s enactment could be interpreted as a threat to religious liberty.

Demanding that Maine lawmakers override the veto, Marty Rouse of the Human Rights Campaign called the governor’s action “shameful”, and described the medically debunked efforts to make queer kids straight “nothing less than child abuse.”

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