Aussie Politics Queered

A leaked report that targets LGBTQs in Australian religious schools fuels a dramatic power shift with an independent lesbian breaking the conservative Prime Minister’s parliamentary majority.

Pro-gay leftist chases far-right homophobe in Brazil’s presidential race, Honduran and Cuban presidents split on marriage equality, Uruguay’s trans people win broad rights  bill, cops and courage characterize Pride in Lublin and Montego Bay, Trumpsters tearful over “oppression” of white men, and more international LGBTQ news!

Complete Program Summary and NewsWrap Transcript for the week of October 22, 2018

Aussie Politics Queered!

Program #1,595 distributed 10/22/18
Hosted this week by Greg Gordon and produced with Lucia Chappelle

NewsWrap (full transcript below): A misogynistic, racist, homophobic “Donald Trump of the Tropics” dominates Brazil’s presidential campaign  Honduras’ president opposes marriage equality  Cuba’s president supports marriage equality but the island nation’s evangelical Christian churches unite to stop it Sydney’s Anglican diocese – the largest in Australia – bans any queer or indigenous ceremonies in some 900 buildings it owns, and even meditative yoga  Uruguay advances trans rights, including the ability to change legal gender without legal or medical intervention about a thousand LGBTQ people and their allies march with Pride for the first time in the eastern

Polish city of Lublin after police use teargas, concussion grenades, and water cannons to disperse about 300 far-right homophobes trying to block the route more than 100 brave Jamaicans exceed organizers’ expectations by marching with Pride along a deserted road in Montego Bay and one in five Trump voters believe white cisgender men are more discriminated against in the U.S. than LGBTQ people, women, and virtually every ethnic and religious minority (written by GREG GORDON, produced with BRIAN DESHAZOR, and reported this week by MONIQUE LUKENS and MICHAEL LEBEAU).

Feature: Partisan political upheaval is changing the face of key Western democracies, from Europe to the U.S. to the “Land Down Under.” Australia’s parliamentary rollercoaster lurched into a religious freedom-fueled curve on queer kids and teachers, which then careened into the election of independent lesbian Dr. Kerryn Phelps over Liberal Dave Sharma to upset new Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s balance of power.

With Labour’s Bill Shorten and Teri Butler speaking out, Red Rock Christian College principal Kevin Muslayah defending discrimination and broadcasters Andrew Bolt and Catherine Gregory providing comments, This Way Out’s Sydney correspondent BARRY McKAY takes us on the two-week ride, tracking the story’s complex interconnections as the events unfolded (with intro/outro music from School’s Out by ALICE COOPER).

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 October 20th, 2018
Written by Greg Gordon, produced with Brian DeShazor, reported this week by Monique Lukens and Michael LeBeau

A far-right presidential candidate in Brazil, whom some describe as the “Donald Trump of the Tropics,” fell just short of winning a 50 percent majority among a field of 13 candidates in the first round of voting on October 7th. Jair Bolsonaro of the oxymoronically named Social Liberal Party received 46 percent of the vote, and will face the runner-up, left-wing candidate Fernando Haddad, who got 29 percent.

Haddad is the Workers’ Party candidate endorsed by former president Lula Da Silva, who remains a highly popular figure. Haddad replaced Da Silva as the party’s candidate in September after a court barred Da Silva from running for reelection because of his conviction on money laundering and corruption charges.

Haddad will need votes from most of those who did not choose Bolsonaro in the first round to overcome the steep deficit.

Their policy positions couldn’t be more different. Bolsonaro has implied that women who are raped “asked for it,” and said he would be “incapable of loving a homosexual son.” Haddad has championed LGBTQ rights, and is promising to criminalize homophobia and transphobia. He has condemned Bolsonaro’s offensive comments on the rights of women, ethnic minorities, and LGBTQ people, saying that his rival has a “psychological problem.”

But Bolsonaro, a former Army officer and longtime lawmaker with an undistinguished record, has also promised to bring hardline military people into his administration to “restore law and order” to Brazil. He’s successfully using fear of “the other” to rally voters already disgusted by rampant government corruption, a floundering economy, and rising crime rate. One supporter tweeted that “Today we’ll start to make Brazil great again.”

The run-off election between Bolsonaro and Haddad is scheduled for October 28th.

Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez spoke out against marriage equality this week, but said LGBTQ people should be “treated with dignity, no matter what their inclination,” and invited all citizens to engage in the debate. “Personally, as a Christian,” he told reporters, “I am against the marriage of people of the same sex. Obviously, it is the judiciary that, according to Honduran law, has to pronounce on it.”

A lawsuit challenging the “one man and one woman” definition of civil marriage in the Central American nation is pending in its Supreme Court.

Perhaps more importantly, as one of almost two dozen nations to sign on to the Inter-American Convention on Human Rights, Honduras is bound by a January ruling of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights that ordered all signator nations in the region that haven’t already done so – and that’s most of them – to open civil marriage to same-gender couples.

But Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel has declared his support for marriage equality. He took over the presidency from Raúl Castro in April. Castro’s daughter Mariela has for several years been one of the country’s leading proponents of queer equality.

During a national television interview in September, Díaz-Canel said that, “recognizing marriage between two people, without limitations, responds to a problem of eliminating all type of discrimination in society.”

Cubans will go to the polls in February to vote on a draft constitution approved by the National Assembly to replace the 1976 national charter, which defines civil marriage as exclusively heterosexual. The new document includes a provision making marriage gender neutral, thus opening the institution to queer couples.

The island nation’s powerful Roman Catholic Church, which claims more than 60 percent of the Cuban population, is against the change, of course. And leaders of more than 20 different evangelical Cuban Christian denominations are doing more than voicing their opposition: they’re collecting signatures on a petition to oppose Article 68 in the draft constitution because it eliminates the “one man, one woman” definition of marriage.

Cuban Evangelical League Church President Alida Leon Baez says she expects more than 500,000 signatures will be gathered in the island nation of almost 12 million people.

It’s not yet clear what impact the petition might have on the pending February referendum.

Meanwhile, despite the overwhelming approval in an Australian referendum for civil marriage equality, Sydney’s Anglican diocese – the country’s largest – is building on its opposition to church weddings of queer couples by adding sacred practices by indigenous people, and even meditative yoga, to a list of activities it’s refusing to host.

The upcoming 51st Synod of the Sydney diocese will debate the introduction of policies that church-owned buildings – there are reportedly about 900 of them – are used only for “acts or practices which conform to the doctrine, tenets and beliefs of the diocese.” The new ban includes “advocacy for transgender ideology (e.g., gender fluidity)” and “advocacy for expressions of human sexuality contrary to our doctrine of marriage.”

Other activities to be banned on church property include “abortion advocacy,” traditional indigenous Australian smoking ceremonies “where the purpose is to cleanse a place from the residual spirits of those who have died,” “promotion of non-Christian religions” or Christian groups “whose basis of faith differs from” Anglican principles, and even yoga classes “that involve spiritual practices … derived from Hinduism.”

Bishop Michael Stead, the major sponsor of the new initiatives, said that “The principle is simple: churches should not be compelled to use their property for purposes contrary to their doctrine.”

Critics are calling the proposals direct attacks on minority Australians, and because the policies would forbid Anglican pastors in Sydney who support marriage equality from expressing that belief, an assault on freedom of speech.

But Uruguay lawmakers have approved a measure to allow trans people to change their gender designation on official documents without a judge’s approval. The South American country’s lower house, the Congress, approved the legislation on October 18th.

The wide-ranging measure, which had already passed in the Senate, also guarantees government-paid reassignment surgery and hormone treatments. In addition, it requires that a minimum of one percent of government jobs be given to trans people during the next 15 years, and offers trans people born before December 31st, 1975 a monthly pension to compensate for being targeted and persecuted during Uruguay’s 12-year military dictatorship that ended in 1985.

Formal announcement of passage this week in Congress prompted jubilant cheering from trans advocates who’d packed the galleries for the vote.

The new laws take effect immediately.

In other news, police had to use teargas, concussion grenades and high-pressure water cannons at the first-ever Pride parade on October 13th in the eastern Polish city of Lublin. But the targets were a violent crowd of some 300 right-wing extremists who were trying to block the procession. Some of them pelted the police with rocks and bottles before running away. About a thousand LGBTQ people and their allies then hoisted rainbow flags and banners to joyfully parade undisturbed.

The event got final approval only the day before, when Lublin’s Court of Appeals overruled a ban by Mayor Krzysztof Zuk, who had cited “security concerns.”

Despite frequent opposition from government officials in the deeply conservative mostly Roman Catholic country, Pride marches have also been successfully held in Warsaw and a few other cities.

And queer Jamaicans and their supporters chose a deserted road in Montego Bay this week to march with Pride. Jamaica is one of the most dangerous places on the planet to be openly queer. Physical violence against people who are LGBTQ, or are perceived to be, is routine on the Caribbean island.

“Walk for Rights” organizer and leading Jamaican queer activist Maurice Tomlinson told reporters that the turnout more than doubled the number he expected. “At the outset there was fear,” Tomlinson said. “We hoped to get a least 50 LGBT Jamaicans to bravely walk despite the very real fears that the community feels … However, more than 100 persons showed up.”

A large police presence guaranteed the safety of what local media described as a well-organized march.

And finally, perhaps because of the male-bashing they thought characterized the confirmation hearings of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, people who say they voted for Donald Trump in 2016 believe that men face far more discrimination in America than LGBTQ people.

A survey of 1,500 U.S. adults conducted from October 14th to 16th by The Economist and the polling company YouGov found that nearly one in 5 Trump voters say that there’s a lot of discrimination against men in the U.S., while only nine percent agreed that LGBTQ people face much discrimination. They also think that men suffer more discrimination than women, Jews, Hispanic Americans, African Americans, Asian Americans, Arab Americans, and immigrants.

People who voted for Hillary Clinton were essentially the mirror opposite in their responses. Only eight percent said that queer people don’t face a lot of discrimination, and less that one in 10 thought that men face substantial bias.

Peter Boykin, founder of Gays for Trump and a GOP candidate for the North Carolina House of Representatives, agreed with other Trump voters. He told NBC News that “the market is more open for people to be of color or gay,” and “the tables now have turned where it’s now hurtful to your personal prosperity to be a plain, cisgender white male.”

Break out your hankies and miniature violins for the poor, put-upon, white American male.

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