Connect with us

News

Daniela Vega seeks meeting with Chilean cardinal

Trans rights bill comment sparked widespread outrage, condemnation

Published

on

Daniela Vega, gay news, Washington Blade

Daniela Vega has requested a meeting with Chilean Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati after he made a transphobic comment about a trans rights bill. (Screenshot courtesy of YouTube)

SANTIAGO, Chile — The transgender actress who starred in “A Fantastic Woman” has asked the archbishop of Santiago to meet with her after he spoke against a trans rights bill that is currently before Chilean lawmakers.

Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati, who sought to defend his position on minors’ ability to legally change their sex, argued the bill raises “something deeper” given that “a cat will not become a dog just because I give it a dog’s name.” Daniela Vega, the trans actress who starred in “A Fantastic Woman” that recently won an Oscar and reignited the public debate around gender identity in the country, asked Ezzati to meet with her.

“Ezzati, come and talk with me. You dare?” she wrote on her Twitter page.

Ezzati made his comments after it became known that President Sebastián Piñera’s government would propose an amendment to the trans rights bill that would allow people as young as 14 to legally change their sex with their parents’ approval.

The leader of the Chilean Roman Catholic Church’s comment was strongly rejected.

Piñera on his Twitter page signaled that “comparing the situation that affects people with animals is not the same thing” and added “respect and high-mindedness are essential when talking about gender identity.” Piñera also said Ezzati should apologize for his comments.

Cecilia Pérez, a spokesperson for Piñera’s government, described the archbishop’s comments as “unfortunate.”

“Today, Chile moves forward with greater inclusion and requires all of us to discuss the issues facing our society with respect, without prejudices or disqualification,” said Pérez.

Opposition leaders also criticized Ezzati.

Senator Alejandro Guillier, who ran against Piñera in 2016, invited Ezzati to “walk the path of non-discrimination” after considering that his words directed at trans children had been offensive. In the same manner, Juan Ignacio Latorre, a senator with the leftist Democratic Revolution Party who is a member of the commission in the Chilean Congress that is debating the bill, maintained that “sometimes it is better to keep quiet before saying stupid things.”

“Aside from being an offense to the dignity of people with diverse sexualities, it only increases the institutional loss of prestige of the Chilean ecclesiastical hierarchy,” he added.

Chilean LGBTI advocacy groups also criticized Ezzati.

Organizado Trans Diversidades, an association that advocates on behalf of trans Chileans, on Twitter said the archbishop’s comments are “an ecclesiastical cowardice” by “brutally referring to the most vulnerable and at the same time protecting pedophile priests,” referring to the sex abuse scandals that have rocked the Chilean church over the last few years.

Rolando Jiménez, president of the Movement for Homosexual Integration and Liberation, said Ezzati “once again crossed the line of everything tolerable.” Jiménez said that the archbishop “has mocked and dismissed without piety or mercy any drama suffered by those who see their right to be called and treated by their name or social sex made impossible everyday.”

Juan Enrique Pi, president of Fundación Iguales, said that “if the church wants to participate in a public debate in the secular state, we demand that it to do so with respect.” Pi added, “Does Cardinal Ezzati know how many trans people are killed each year in Latin America? Does he know the gaps in access to employment, education and health for trans people? The cardinal owes the trans community an apology, because his words are a mockery.”

After the controversy, the archdiocese on Saturday issued a statement that succinctly said Ezzati “regrets that the use of an allegory to refer to the concept of nominalism had been interpreted as an offence to those who deserve all due respect and appreciation.”

Protagonista de ‘Una mujer fantástica’ pide reunión con Ezzati

SANTIAGO, Chile — La protagonista de “Una mujer fantástica” ha pedido una reunión con el arzobispo de Santiago, Ricardo Ezzati, después de sus declaraciones en contra del proyecto de ley de identidad de género que se discute en comisión mixta en el Congreso chileno.

El cardenal, que buscaba defender su postura sobre el cambio de sexo registral en menores de edad, argumentó que el proyecto plantea “algo más profundo” dado que “no porque a un gato le pongo nombre de perro, comienza a ser perro.” Daniela Vega, la actriz trans que protagonizó la película chilena recientemente ganadora del Oscar “Una mujer fantástica” y que detonó la intensificación del debate público por la identidad de género en el país, emplazó a Ezzati a reunirse con ella.

“Ezzati, ven a conversar conmigo. ¿Te atreves?” escribió en su cuenta de Twitter.

Los dichos de Ezzati se hicieron después de que se conociera que el gobierno del presidente Sebastián Piñera enviará una indicación al proyecto de ley para permitir que el cambio registral sea desde los 14 años, con autorización de los padres.

La posición del líder de la iglesia católica en Chile fue enérgicamente rechazada.

En su cuenta de Twitter, Piñera señaló que “comparar la situación que afecta a las personas con animales no corresponde” y agregó que “en materia de identidad de género, el respeto y la altura de miras son esenciales.” El mandatario confió que Ezzati pidiera disculpas por sus dichos.

Una reacción similar fue la de la portavoz de gobierno, Cecilia Pérez, quien calificó la cita del arzobispo como “desafortunada.”

“Hoy Chile avanza con mayor inclusión y nos exige a todos que dialoguemos los temas de nuestra sociedad desde el respeto, sin prejuicios ni descalificaciones,” detalló la ministra.

Las críticas también llegaron desde líderes de la oposición.

El ex candidato a la presidencia, el senador Alejandro Guillier, invitó a Ezzati a “caminar por la senda de la no discriminación” tras considerar que sus palabras dirigidas a niños y niñas trans habían sido ofensivas. De la misma manera, Juan Ignacio Latorre, senador por el partido de izquierda Revolución Democrática y miembro de la comisión mixta que discute el proyecto, sostuvo que “a veces es mejor guardar silencio antes de decir estupideces. Además de ser una ofensa a la dignidad de las personas de la diversidad sexual, solo acreciente el desprestigio institucional de la jerarquía eclesiástica chilena.”

Los grupos LGBTI chileno también criticaron a Ezzati.

Organizando Trans Diversidades, una asociación que vela por la protección de las personas trans en Chile, señaló en Twitter que el actuar del arzobispo es de “una cobardía eclesiástica” al “referirse brutalmente de los más vulnerables y a la vez amparar a curas pedófilos,” haciendo referencia a los escándalos de abusos sexuales que la iglesia chilena ha protagonizado durante los últimos años.

Rolando Jiménez, el dirigente de Movilh, indicando que Ezzati “una vez más ha cruzado la raya de todo lo tolerable.” Jiménez dijo que “el arzobispo ha burlado y despreciado sin piedad ni misericordia alguna el drama padecido por quienes ven día a día imposibilitado su derecho a ser llamados y tratados por su nombre y sexo social.”

Juan Enrique Pi, el presidente ejecutivo de Fundación Iguales, opinó que “si la Iglesia quiere participar del debate público del Estado laico, le exigimos que lo haga con respeto.” Pi añadió: “¿Sabe el cardenal Ezzati cuántas personas trans son asesinadas al año en América? ¿Conoce las brechas en el acceso al trabajo, educación y salud de las personas trans? El cardenal le debe una disculpa a la comunidad trans, porque sus dichos son una burla.”

Tras la polémica, el arzobispado emitió una declaración pública el sábado en la que se aclaró sucintamente que Ezzati “lamenta que el uso de una alegoría para referirse al concepto de nominalismo haya sido interpretada como una ofensa a quienes merecen todo su respeto y aprecio.”

Continue Reading
Advertisement

National

Anti-LGBTQ Colorado baker loses Trans birthday cake court case

Phillips violated Colorado’s ant-discrimination law citing the fact that at issue was a ‘product’ not freedom of speech or expression

Published

on

Screenshot via CBSN Denver

DENVER – A Colorado State District Court Judge ruled against the baker who had previously refused to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding and won at the U.S. Supreme Court a partial narrow victory in that case in 2018.

CBSN Denver reported that Denver District Judge A. Bruce Jones order that Jack Phillips violated Colorado’s anti discrimination law Tuesday citing the fact that at issue was a ‘product’ not freedom of speech or expression.

In court documents, Jones said that Phillips refusal to make the plantiff, Autumn Scardina a cake made with blue icing on the outside and pink on the inside to celebrate her gender transition on her birthday because of her transgender status but without a written message, was in violation of the law. Phillips was ordered to pay a $500 fine.

Jones noted in his ruling that Phillips testified during a trial in March that ‘he did not think someone could change their gender’ and he would not celebrate “somebody who thinks that they can.”

“The anti-discrimination laws are intended to ensure that members of our society who have historically been treated unfairly, who have been deprived of even the every-day right to access businesses to buy products, are no longer treated as ‘others,‘” the judge wrote.

The Scottsdale, Arizona based Alliance Defending Freedom, an anti-LGBTQ legal group that has been place on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Hate Watch List for spreading propaganda and lies about LGBTQ people, told CBSN that the group would appeal Jones’ ruling.

“Radical activists and government officials are targeting artists like Jack because they won’t promote messages on marriage and sexuality that violate their core convictions,” ADF’s general counsel, Kristen Waggoner, said in a media statement.

The maximum fine for each violation of Colorado’s Anti-Discrimination Act is $500. But it was not clear from the ruling if the fine was for the two attempts that Scardina made to order the cake or just one.

Continue Reading

National

Supreme Court rules for religious agency rejecting LGBTQ families

A key portion of the Roberts decision that could limit its reach is language specific to Philadelphia’s contract with the city

Published

on

Blade file photo by Michael Key

WASHINGTON – In a ruling released Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled decided in favor of a religious-affiliated foster care agency seeking to refuse child placement into LGBTQ homes, determining the City of Philadelphia’s enforcement of a contract with non-discrimination provisions violates freedom of religion under the First Amendment.

In a surprise twist, the ruling was unanimous with nine justices on the court agreeing to the result in favor of Catholic Social Services, with Chief Justice John Roberts writing the opinion. As noted by SCOTUSblog, the court seemed much more divided in oral arguments, although inclined to rule for the foster care agency.

“The refusal of Philadelphia to contract with CSS for the provision of foster care services unless the agency agrees to certify same-sex couples as foster parents cannot survive strict scrutiny and violates the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment,” Roberts writes.

Although Catholic Social Services had also contended a freedom of speech right under the First Amendment to reject same-sex couples, Roberts adds the court didn’t reach a conclusion on that part of the argument.

Marianne Duddy-Burke, executive director of the Catholic LGBTQ group DignityUSA, condemned the decision in a statement immediately after it was handed down.

“Today, the well-being of our country’s most vulnerable children has been sacrificed to preserve tax-payer funded discrimination for a powerful group of religious institutions,” Duddy-Burke said. “The Supreme Court just decreased the number of homes available to our youth in foster care, making what was already a crisis worse. Same-sex couples are seven times more likely than straight couples to adopt or be foster parents and are more likely to have trans-racial families. This ruling means tens of thousands of children may never have a family to love and support them.”

The Supreme Court reversed and remanded decision of the U.S. Third Circuit of Court of Appeals, which had ruled in favor of City of Philadelphia enforcing its contract with Catholic Social Services. Both the appeals courts and the lower trial court had come to the opposite conclusion of the U.S. Supreme Court.

A key portion of the Roberts decision that could limit its reach is language specific to Philadelphia’s contract with the city allowing for discretion on enforcement, which he says means the measure isn’t generally applicable measure.

“Section 3.21 of the contract requires an agency to provide services defined in the contract to prospective foster parents without regard to their sexual orientation,” Roberts writes. “But section 3.21 also permits exceptions to this requirement at the ‘sole discretion’ of the Commissioner. This inclusion of a mechanism for entirely discretionary exceptions renders the non-discrimination provision not generally applicable.”

David Flugman, a lawyer at the New York-based Selendy & Gay PLLC whose practice includes LGBTQ rights, said in a statement the technical nature of the Fulton is “sure to invite even more litigation.

“Today the Supreme Court held, on narrow, technical grounds, that the City of Philadelphia’s attempt to ensure that Catholic Charities abide by the same non-discrimination provisions applicable to all other city contractors could not withstand Catholic Charities’ religious right to refuse to screen loving same-sex couples to act as foster parents,” Flugman writes. “The Court did not take up Catholic Charities’ invitation to scuttle the 30 year-old test for free exercise claims that was announced in Smith v. Employment Division, which held that a neutral law of general applicability could survive even if it burdens religious practice.”

Notably, although the City of Philadelphia in addition to the contract it struck with Catholic Social Services has in a place LGBTQ non-discrimination ordinance, the Supreme Court determines that measure doesn’t apply in the context of foster care services because it’s limited to the services “made available to the public.”

“Certification is not ‘made available to the public’ in the usual sense of the words,” Roberts writes. “Certification as a foster parent is not readily accessible to the public; the process involves a customized and selective assessment that bears little resemblance to staying in a hotel, eating at a restaurant, or riding a bus.”

Fatima Goss Graves, CEO of the National Women’s Law Center, said in a statement the decision from the Supreme Court is a harmful loss to the children in the foster care system in Philadelphia as well as the countless LGBTQ parents.”

“Weakening the government’s ability to protect their civil rights is hardly in their best interest, and we’re committed to ensuring this loophole is not stretched to further justify hatred or prejudice,” Graves added. “We must protect the right of every person to live without fear of discrimination because of who they are or who they love, and we must hold that value particularly close when it comes to the best interest of LGBTQ youth and the families who love them.” 

Continue Reading

National

U.S. Senate to consider apology for past anti-LGBTQ discrimination

Report shows 70-year history of gov’t persecution, purges of ‘sex deviates’

Published

on

Pioneering activist Frank Kameny, who was fired from his government job for being gay, received an apology from the government decades later, but that apology did not extend to the thousands of other LGBT Americans persecuted by their government. (Blade file photo by Michael Key)

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.) and Tim Kaine (D-Va.) are preparing to introduce a first-ever resolution calling on the Senate to acknowledge and apologize for the federal government’s discrimination against LGBTQ federal workers and members of the military over a period of at least 70 years.

The two senators have agreed to introduce the proposed resolution at the request of the Mattachine Society of Washington, D.C., an LGBTQ group that specializes in archival research into the federal government’s decades-long policy of banning LGBTQ people from working in federal jobs and serving in the U.S. military and purging them when found to be in those positions.

The Mattachine Society, in partnership with the international law firm McDermott Will & Emery, prepared a 28-page white paper reporting in extensive detail the U.S. government’s history of what it calls discrimination and persecution of LGBTQ federal workers and LGBTQ military service members.
The white paper is entitled, “America’s Promise of Reconciliation and Redemption: The Need for an Official Acknowledgement and Apology for the Historic Government Assault on LGBT Federal Employees and Military Personnel.”

In a statement, the Mattachine Society says the paper is the product of a two-year research project involving a team of five attorneys with the McDermott Will & Emery firm and Mattachine Society.

“Over many decades, the United States government, led by teams within the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), and nearly every agency and branch of government, began the process of investigating, harassing, interrogating, court-martialing, terminating, hospitalizing, and, in some cases, criminally prosecuting LGBT Americans for no other reason than their sexual orientation or gender expression,” the paper says.

“This wholesale purging left tens of thousands in financial ruin, without jobs, with personal lives destroyed, and, in many cases, completely estranged from their own families,” the paper states.

“A straightforward acknowledgement of the mistreatment of these military and civilian employees and an official apology is overdue,” the paper continues. “Both the Congress and the Executive Branch were complicit in this pervasive mistreatment of LGBT citizens.”

The paper points out that over the past 30 years Congress has officially acknowledged and apologized on six different occasions for U.S. mistreatment of other marginalized groups.

Among the subject areas of those apologies were the enslavement of African Americans, the failure to enforce anti-lynching laws to protect African Americans, the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, the mistreatment of Native Hawaiians, the mistreatment of Native Americans, and government polices of exclusion of Chinese immigrants.

The paper says the time has come for the federal government to issue its own “acknowledgement and apology” to the LGBT community by following the precedent established by Congress with respect to apologies to the other marginalized groups.

Jeff Trammell, a Mattachine Society board member who led the project to prepare the white paper, said Baldwin and Kaine were in the process of lining up other senators to sign on as co-sponsors of the resolution.

Baldwin is the Senate’s only out lesbian member. Kaine is a longtime supporter of LGBTQ rights.
Trammell said Mattachine of Washington considers the Senate resolution the first step in an ongoing effort to obtain a similar resolution in the U.S. House of Representatives and a possible similar statement of acknowledgement and apology from the executive branch, including the Biden administration.

He said he and the resolution’s supporters were hopeful that most senators, including Republicans, would view it as non-controversial and as a nonpartisan measure because it seeks only the acknowledgement of historical facts. Trammell noted that unlike other resolutions of apology pertaining to other minorities approved by Congress in the past, the LGBT apology resolution does not call for any financial reparations.

The eight-page proposed resolution addresses that question by stating, “Nothing in this resolution…authorizes or supports any claim against the United States or serves as a settlement of any claim against the United States.”

Trammell noted that under the Obama administration, John Berry, the director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, issued an official government apology for the firing of D.C. gay rights pioneer Frank Kameny from his government job in the late 1950s. But Trammell said the apology to Kameny, which was considered important and groundbreaking, did not extend to the thousands of other LGBTQ employees fired or harassed in the years before and after Kameny’s firing.

The white paper also points out that at least seven U.S. allied nations have issued apologies for past mistreatment of their own LGBTQ citizens. Among them are Spain, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, Germany, Brazil, and The Netherlands.

“We believe the time has come to understand and acknowledge the historical animus that LGBT federal employees and military personnel faced for generations from their own government to ensure it can never happen again,” Trammell said.

The white paper can be accessed here.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement

Follow Us @LosAngelesBlade

Sign Up for Blade eBlasts

Popular