LGBTQ high school kids dissect the distinct dilemmas of their social lives!
The secret song of famed Broadway lyricist Lorenz Hart!
Costa Rica’s top court orders slow-motion marriage equality, activists survive violent attacks in Armenia and Lithuania, a Russian teen is convicted of posting “gay propaganda,” St. Petersburg’s rainbow rally ends in arrests, belligerent Belfast Pride demands marriage equality, leading LGBTQ Danes snub the Trump appointed ambassador’s Pride reception, and more international LGBTQ news!
Complete Program Summary and NewsWrap Transcript for the week of August 13, 2018
Queer Teen Dating Distress!
Program #1,585 distributed 08/13/18
Hosted this week by Lucia Chappelle and produced with Greg Gordon
NewsWrap (full transcript below): Costa Rica’s Supreme Court of Justice rules for marriage equality, but gives lawmakers until early 2020 to pass enabling legislation; nine Armenian LGBTQ people are injured in a violent assault after peacefully gathering at an activist’s home, while arsonists set the offices of the Lithuanian Gay League in Vilnius on fire; 16-year-old queer activist Maxim Neverov of Biysk may be the first teenager convicted of violating Russia’s laws against “dissemination of gay propaganda,” while more than two dozen people are dragged to police vans for “attempted Pride” in St. Petersburg’s Palace Square; a record crowd of some 50,000 march with Pride in Belfast, and demand action by the British government to enact marriage equality in the face of Northern Ireland’s paralyzed government; and two of Denmark’s leading LGBTQ advocacy groups are snubbing a Pride week reception in Copenhagen at the residence of the new U.S. Ambassador because she’s a Trump appointee [with a brief cameo by Donald Trump] (written by GREG GORDON, produced with BRIAN DESHAZOR, reported this week by BRIAN DESHAZOR and MICHELE YEATER).
Feature: Dating! Be honest, is it ever easy? Queer, straight or figuring it out, whether you’re 15 or 50, no matter what you may have heard, there is no standard textbook for dating. For LGBTQ teens, the challenges can be even more daunting than they are for alleged adults. The threat of outing can arise — even the potential for violence. What is it like to be queer in high school, trying to navigate all the usual difficulties of dating … and handling so much more? OutCasting Overtime’s Alex, Andrea and Lauren share some of their experiences in this first of a two-part conversation that is both enlightening and entertaining (produced by MARC SOPHOS; we added intro music from And Then She Kissed Me by ST. VINCENT and teases from Part 2 near the end of this segment).
Feature: In pre-liberation days, true love could really be out of tune. Sadly closeted Songwriter Lorenz Hart is remembered in this Rainbow Minute (produced by JUDD PROCTOR and BRIAN BURNS, read by JENNIFER CATTON; we dropped in a snippet of SAM SMITH singing Hart’s My Funny Valentine).
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 August 11th, 2018. Written by Greg Gordon, produced with Brian DeShazor, reported this week by Brian DeShazor and Michele Yeater.
Costa Rica’s Supreme Court of Justice ruled in favor of marriage equality this week, but it was a two-edged sword. The justices gave lawmakers 18 months after their decision is officially published to pass enabling legislation. Queer advocacy groups are not happy about having to wait until some time in 2020 to be able to walk down the aisle.
Recently installed President Carlos Alvarado supported equality during an election campaign that was dominated at one time by an anti-queer evangelical preacher and singer. Alvarado announced that he’d be calling the Legislative Assembly into special session to expedite the advent of marriage equality. However, a minority caucus of evangelical Christian lawmakers has already signaled that it will do everything it can to block, or at least stall, the process.
Costa Rica’s Supreme Court of Justice really had no choice but to rule for marriage equality. A decision by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in January ordered all 20 nations that are signatories to the American Convention on Human Rights to open civil marriage to same-gender couples. Four had already done so: Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, and Uruguay. In addition to Costa Rica, the remaining countries currently without marriage equality are Barbados, Bolivia, Chilé, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, and Suriname – though queer couples can legally wed in Mexico City and 12 of Mexico’s 31 states.
Meanwhile, Costa Rican queer activists say they’ll file a complaint with the Inter-American Court contesting the Supreme Court of Justice’s 18-month delay in implementing its ruling.
LGBTQ activists came under attack this week in Armenia and Lithuania.
In what Armenian queers are calling the worst homophobic attack in memory, 9 activists who’d gathered at the home of one of them were surrounded by a group of some 30 men and a few women and children, all shouting anti-queer slurs and threatening to break in. Rainbow Armenia Initiative founder Hayk Oprah Hakobyan, who hosted the gathering, said he called the police, but the group decided to try to escape. “In the beginning, they were just shouting that homosexuals can’t live in this village, but it became violent very fast. We started running for our lives,” Hakobyan said. “They followed us and started to beat us up and throw rocks. We all got hurt, but two of my friends are seriously injured and had to go to the hospital immediately. We ran up to the highway where they couldn’t follow us anymore.” He said that even though the nearest police station is less than 30 minutes from his home, police didn’t show up until more than an hour after they were first called. Hakobyan told Pink News that he can’t go back home. “I’ll get killed if I go back,” he said. He believes the attack was orchestrated by the village’s former mayor, against whom Hakobyan’s family has filed corruption charges. “It’s common practice in Armenia to use people’s sexual orientation to cover other political motives,” he said.
The offices of the Lithuanian Gay League – the Baltic nation’s only non-governmental organization advocating for LGBTQ people – were hit by arson in the early morning hours of August 10th. A passing taxi driver who noticed the front door and door blinds of the offices ablaze stopped to put it out with a portable fire extinguisher, preventing substantially more damage. Happily, no one was inside the building at the time.
The League’s Executive Director Vladimir Simonko said that, “It is disappointing to see such horrific crimes still take place in 2018 in the heart of our beautiful capital, Vilnius.”
The group also expressed concern that the arson attack would not be treated as the obvious hate crime that it was – their office windows are adorned with rainbow flags – because authorities typically dismiss anti-queer attacks as simple “hooliganism.”
A photo on the group’s Facebook page showing some of the members holding small rainbow flags standing outside the charred office door was captioned “standing proud and strong.”
A report late last year by Amnesty International lays at least some of the blame for anti-queer sentiment in several post-Soviet countries like Armenia and Lithuania on Russia’s aggressive laws against LGBTQ people, especially it’s so-called “no promo homo” law that bans “dissemination of gay propaganda” to minors.
Sixteen-year-old Maxim Neverov, who lives in the Russian town of Biysk, may have become the first teenager to be convicted of violating that law this week. According to the Russian LGBT Network, the activist group that provided a lawyer for him, Neverov was arrested for posting on a Russian social network “some pictures of young men whose appearance – partly nude body parts – had the characteristics of propaganda of homosexual relations.”
The group said the teen may have been targeted because, even at his young age, he’s a high-profile activist who’s attempted to organize a local Pride parade, and was spotted at a highly-publicized protest in May called “Gays or Putin.” His lawyer is appealing the conviction and fine of 50,000 rubles – about 750 U.S. dollars – and says the authorities failed to prove that Neverov was even responsible for the posts after he refused to testify.
Vladimir Putin happily signed the “no promo homo” law in 2013. It criminalizes the exposure to minors of “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relationships.”
More than two-dozen Russian LGBTQ activists were arrested on August 4th for staging an unsanctioned rally for freedom of association at Palace Square in St. Petersburg. One photo of the action shows a man holding a sign adorned with a rainbow and reading “My mom loves me, my dad loves me, my friends love me, why can’t you?”
Each activist was dragged to a police bus after unfurling a rainbow flag or displaying a pro-queer sign – though there was no violence and no one was hurt. The action, in defiance of local authorities’ refusal to issue a permit for it, was described as an effort to join similar demonstrations of Pride being held around the world at this time of year.
Technically it’s not illegal to be LGBTQ in Russia, but that “no promo homo” law has allowed anti-queer sentiment to flourish. A recent poll found that, across all age ranges, 83 percent of the Russian public thinks that gay sex is “always reprehensible” or “almost always reprehensible.”
The global queer advocacy group Outright International issued a report this week naming Russia as one of 85 countries in the world – out of 194 – where LGBTQ people are banned from public organizing. “When states suppress LGBTIQ organizations,” it concluded, “they are really trying to stop LGBTIQ people from gaining basic human rights and equality.”
An estimated 50,000 people took part in the annual Pride parade in Belfast on the same day, August 4th. As we often report these days, it was the largest Pride crowd ever.
The political message this year focused on continuing calls for British Prime Minister Theresa May and her government to open civil marriage to same-gender couples in the face of the paralyzed government in Northern Ireland.
Amnesty International’s Northern Ireland Director Patrick Corrigan told reporters that the Belfast march is still very much a protest. “People on the streets of Belfast today,” he said, “are sick of a second-class citizenship based on who they are and where they live.”
The Parade capped off a 10-day Pride festival that involved more than a hundred events, making it one of the city’s biggest annual celebrations.
A group of about 50 die-hard religious fundamentalists gathered at Belfast City Hall to protest the event, reading Bible verses and singing hymns.
And finally, the organizers of Copenhagen Pride, and the nation’s largest advocacy group LGBT Denmark, have each publically rejected their invitation to a Pride reception at the residence of the U.S. Ambassador on August 15th. The event was, until this year, considered to be one of the highlights of Pride week during the tenure of Rufus Gifford, who served as U.S. Ambassador to Denmark during the Obama Administration. The openly gay Gifford, one of a number of out Obama appointees, was highly visible and quite popular, and even hosted his own television show, I Am The Ambassador, that prominently featured his husband Stephen. The couple married in Denmark in 2015.
President Donald Trump replaced Gifford with Carla Sands, who had run a private equity firm. There was no reception in June 2017 because Trump had yet to fill the position. And the ambassadors from Australia, Canada, and the U.K. are co-hosting the new U.S. ambassador’s first Pride reception this year. Copenhagen Pride had been the co-host in years past.
While some activists have said they’ll be attending, statements from both Copenhagen Pride and LGBT Denmark explained why they were giving this year’s Pride shindig a frosty reception
While the statement by LGBT Denmark expressed a similar rationale, the comments of Thomas Rusmussen of Copenhagen Pride were perhaps the less “diplomatic” of the two. He told the queer Danish publication Out & About that “It would sound pretty hollow if on the one side you criticize the Trump administration for their reluctance to accommodate LGBT people and the rolling back of LGBT-inclusive legislation, and at the same time stand around drinking champagne with the ambassador who represents that administration.”
[Trump: “It’s a little bit sad.”]