OutCasting Overtime queer teens conclude their two-part conversation about coming out and going out in high school.
The Trump resistance gains an emerging warrior and a potential weapon.
Germany’s “third gender” pitch falls short, Trump trashes job rights as a Colorado baker nixes a new cake, an Oklahoma trans 12-year-old is terrorized by other kids’ parents, Nigerian men busted for kissing plead “not gay,” calling homophobe Scott Lively a “crackpot bigot” is upheld on appeal, and more international LGBTQ news!
Complete Program Summary and NewsWrap Transcript for the week of August 20, 2018
Q Dating Class & Counter-Trump
Program #1,586 distributed 08/20/18
Hosted this week by Greg Gordon and produced with Lucia Chappelle
NewsWrap (full transcript below): Germany’s government proposes a first-in-Europe “third gender” ID option for intersex, but not transgender people, and it would still require medical “proof” that the person is intersex … a directive issued by Donald Trump’s Labor Department virtually rescinds an Obama era executive order banning anti-LGBT workplace bias by companies and nonprofits doing business with the federal government, and replaces it with a policy stating that employers’ religious beliefs trump the civil rights of their queer employees … schools in the tiny Oklahoma town of Achille are shut down for two days following ugly threats posted to a parents Facebook group against a 12-year-old transgender student because she used the girl’s bathroom … six young Nigerian men are charged with kissing at a hotel bar and having sex with each other in one of the rooms and paraded before local news outlets, while two teen girls are reportedly expelled from a private Christian boarding school in the South African city of Durban for kissing … and a U.S. federal appeals court says that while a lower court ruling describing anti-queer zealot Scott Lively as a “crackpot homophobe” who clearly “aided and abetted efforts to demonize, intimidate, and injure” LGBTQ people in Uganda isn’t binding law, it refuses Lively’s request to remove that language from a district court judge’s reluctant decision that he had no jurisdiction to rule on charges of fomenting anti-queer hate against Lively filed by Sexual Minorities Uganda, but only because it involved issues of international law (written by GREG GORDON, produced with BRIAN DESHAZOR, and reported this week by TANYA KANE-PARRY and JOHN DYER V).
Feature: Queer teens are rewriting the rules for dating in high school. They have to, because the progress of the LGTBQ movement in much of the world has brought them new complications along with new freedom. Alex, Andrea and Lauren of public radio’s queer youth OutCasting Overtime talked about some of their special challenges in Part 1 of a conversation about dating. Here’s the conclusion (produced by MARC SOPHOS; we added brief lifts from Part 1 and intro music from And I Love Him performed by BENJAMIN GIBBARD).
Feature: Resistance to the anti-LGBTQ policies of the Trump Administration saw the rise of a new warrior and the revelation of a potential weapon this week. In the state of Vermont, Christine Hallquist won the Democratic Party’s primary for governor (a snippet from her election night comments). If she defeats incumbent Republican Phil Scott, Hallquist will become the country’s first transgender governor. She told CNN’s Don Lemon why she’s running.
Meanwhile, queer advocates are working hard to expose the anti-LGBTQ biases demonstrated throughout the career of Trump’s U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. In June 2016 remarks at a tribute to Antonin Scalia uncovered by MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show this week, Kavanaugh praised the late Justice for his opposition to marriage equality and a woman’s right to choose as “new rights” not found in the U.S. Constitution.
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 18th, 2018 Written by Greg Gordon, produced with Brian DeShazor, reported this week by Tanya Kane-Parry and John Dyer V
Germany is poised to become the first country in Europe to add a third gender option to government ID documents.
The Federal Constitutional Court decided in a November 2017 ruling that not having that alternative violates individual rights and anti-bias laws, and that “gender” should be eliminated altogether unless another option was offered. The “third gender” proposal was okayed by the Cabinet this week but still awaits parliamentary approval.
However, while it offers an alternative for intersex people, who have had to declare “no gender” on government forms, it doesn’t help transgender people at all. Markus Ulrich of Germany’s Lesbian and Gay Federation told Reuters that “For trans people, nothing has changed regarding the [medical and legal] obstacles they face to change their registered name and gender.”
And Richard Koehler of Transgender Europe said the new category would still require medical certification to “prove” that a person is intersex. “Those who cannot or do not want to submit themselves to such invasive medicalization will remain excluded and without legal recognition,” he said.
Some queer rights groups still hailed the proposal as a step in the right direction.
The Trump administration has effectively rolled back yet another Obama-era policy favorable to LGBTQ people.
An executive order issued by President Obama in 2014 banned anti-LGBT bias in the workplace by companies and nonprofits doing business with the federal government. One report said that the order covered some 34 million employees, about 22 percent of the U.S. workforce.
While a directive issued this week by Trump’s Labor Department doesn’t directly revoke that order, it claims to “incorporate recent developments in the law regarding religion-exercising organizations and individuals” that essentially accomplishes the same thing. The directive cites the recent Supreme Court ruling in the case of Colorado cake baker and devout Christian Jack Phillips, who won a narrow victory upholding his right to refuse to make a wedding cake for a same-gender couple, and says that an employer’s religious beliefs now “trump” the rights of their sexual and gender-variant employees.
It was no surprise that Mat Staver of the far-right Liberty Counsel praised the action in a press release, saying that “People of faith should not have to set aside their sincerely held religious beliefs to appease others.”
And Sharon McGowan of the queer advocacy group Lambda Legal told the Washington Blade that she “was not surprised to see this administration seize on the [Supreme Court] decision as a way to justify its ongoing assault on the civil rights of the LGBT community.”
Colorado baker Jack Phillips was himself back in the news this week – this time for refusing to make a cake for Autumn Scardina to celebrate her birthday – after she told Phillips that it would coincidentally be celebrating her transition. After being rebuffed, the transgender Denver attorney filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, who ruled in her favor, stating that bias based on sexual orientation and gender identity by businesses open to the public is clearly prohibited by state law.
The Commission reached the same conclusion about Phillips’ refusal to make that same-gender couple’s wedding cake, but the U.S. Supreme Court cited anti-religious bias by one of the commissioners to rule in Phillips’ favor when the case reached them on appeal earlier this year. The high court ruling nevertheless expressed strong support for the state’s right to establish laws that ban anti-LGBT discrimination.
Attorneys for Phillips filed a lawsuit challenging the latest Commission ruling against him in federal court on August 14th. “For over six years now,” the court filing asserts, “Colorado has been on a crusade to crush Plaintiff Jack Phillips because its officials despise what he believes and how he practices his faith.”
The baker is seeking restitution for legal fees and $100,000 in punitive damages.
Students returned to schools in the Oklahoma town of Achille on August 15th after police shut down the campuses for two days following threats by parents to take a “good sharp knife” to a 12-year-old transgender student named Maddie.
The threats popped up in a Facebook group for parents in the town of about 500 people after it became known that the seventh grader had used the girl’s bathroom. Posts referred to Maddie as “it”, “this thing,” and a “half-baked maggot.” One suggested telling kids to just “kick [its] ass in the bathroom and it won’t want to come back!”
Maddie came out as transgender in the fifth grade, and has been using the staff bathroom. But it was her first day in seventh grade at her new school, and she didn’t know where it was. So when she had to go, she went to the nearest girl’s bathroom.
Several high-profile individuals and human rights groups have expressed their support for Maddie and her family, and an online fundraiser has exceeded the goal of $15,000.
According to a Condé Nast report late this week, Maddie’s mother Brandy Rose said she’s using the money to move her family to the hopefully more hospitable city of Houston, Texas.
In other news, the manager of Aba’s City Global Hotel in the southeastern Nigerian state of Abia phoned the police this week to report men kissing at the hotel bar and having sex with each other in one of the rooms. The local news outlet Punch called the manager’s action a “distress call.”
Six young men were paraded before local reporters – and identified by name in a photo accompanying the Punch story. Each faces up to 14 years in prison under the central African country’s harsh laws against private consensual adult gay sex. According to the police report cited by Punch, “the suspects were interrogated and it was discovered that they were members of a gang who came into Abia from nearby states to practice the unnatural act in the hotel room.”
One of the detainees, Anyanwu Chidera, said that they were all in one room because separate rooms at the hotel were not available. He said they were there to celebrate their friend’s birthday, and that “There was nothing like kissing or making love in the room and we are not gays.”
This is far from the first time that Nigerian authorities have trumpeted multiple arrests of gay people. Forty-two men at an HIV/AIDS education workshop were infamously arrested in the raid of a hotel conference room in Lagos last year and charged with committing “homosexual acts.”
Meanwhile, two South African girls have been expelled from school for kissing. Pink News reported that the teens were caught committing the “offense” at a private Christian boarding school for girls in Durban. The eighth and ninth graders denied the allegations, but the mother of one of the students said that the school’s matron phoned to tell her to pick up her child and not bring her back.
Officials at Inanda Seminary, which was founded by U.S. missionaries in 1869, said that one of the girls’ mothers appealed, but that “the verdict and sanction were upheld.”
Entrenched homophobia has yet to catch up with South Africa’s progressive laws that are supposed to constitutionally protect LGBTQ people from discrimination.
And finally, updating a story we’ve been following for the past 6 years, a blatantly anti-queer Massachusetts minister tried to claim victory this week in a U.S. federal lawsuit brought against him by a leading Ugandan queer rights group.
Scott Lively wanted the First U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to remove language in the lower court decision sharply condemning his homophobia. U.S. District Judge Michael A. Ponsor reluctantly dismissed the lawsuit filed by Sexual Minorities Uganda – or SMUG – charging Lively with international human rights violations for spreading anti-queer hate during several trips to the east African country.
According to Lively’s book, The Pink Swastika, which he peddles wherever he goes, gay men ran Germany’s Nazi Party. He also claims that gays “recruit” through pedophilia, and that “butch” gay men embarrassed by their effeminate counterparts, and not straight homophobic thugs, are responsible for the surge of anti-queer violence in Russia.
While deciding that he had no jurisdiction in the case because it involved international law, Ponsor took great pains in his ruling to condemn Lively’s anti-queer positions as “crackpot bigotry … ranging from the ludicrous to the abhorrent,” and that there was no question that Lively, “aided and abetted efforts to demonize, intimidate, and injure LGBTI people in Uganda.”
Even though the appeals court refused to remove that language from Ponsor’s decision, it said it wasn’t “binding in future litigation between the parties.” That’s what Lively called his “legal victory” this week.
But one of SMUG’s lawyers, Pamela C. Spees of the Center for Constitutional Rights, told the Advocate that “they can spin it all they want,” but Lively “clearly wanted the language taken out.” She also said they didn’t expect the language in Ponsor’s decision to be legally binding … and that her clients are considering filing a new lawsuit against Lively in Massachusetts state court.