Tag: ban

Taika Waititi on why Lightyear’s LGBT love story is essential after UAE ban

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Taika Waititi has opened up on the importance of Lightyear’s LGBT love story after the film was banned in the United Arab Emirates.

The Thor: Ragnarok director lends his voice to the new Toy Story spin-off film, focused on Chris Evans’ Buzz Lightyear.

The movie features a sweet romance between Uzo Aduba’s Alisha Hawthorne and another character in a series of scenes that has led to Lightyear becoming the latest movie to be banned in the UAE.

Speaking to Metro.co.uk at the Lightyear red carpet, Taika said of the same-sex love story: ‘I think it’s so awesome.

‘It would be wonderful to one day get to a place where it doesn’t have to be a talking point. The idea that, to go and watch a movie and that’s your big problem? That’s crazy!

‘You never hear people going, “Oh, did you see that movie where that man and that woman kissed?!” If we can just let that go, love is love, if we can normalise it, then we’re moving towards a good space.

‘And when studios make these tiny little steps towards that, just like having a same-sex relationship, it’s just steps towards normalising it and I think you can’t ask for more than that.’

Taika and Chris had a blast at the Lightyear premiere in London (Picture: Getty Images Europe)
He voices the new version of Buzz (Picture: Invision/AP)
Taika opened up about the same-sex love story (Picture: James Veysey/REX/Shutterstock)

While the UAE’s Media Regulatory Office did not give a specific reason for its decision, it stated vaguely on Monday that the Disney and Pixar film was banned for its ‘violation of the country’s media content standards’.

The country criminalises consensual same-sex sexual activity between adults.


Lightyear follows Buzz’s adventures as a marooned Space Ranger (Picture: PIXAR)
Fans are set to see a whole new side to him (Picture: Pixar)
Uzo Aduba’s character Hawthorne is featured in a sweet same-sex love story (Picture: Getty Images for Turner)

Taking to Twitter, the UAE’s Media Regulatory Office posted an image of Buzz Lightyear in the new film, crossed out with a red line.

This action was taken despite the country declaring it would stop censoring cinematic releases and would introduce a 21-plus age rating for films it classifies for older audiences just six months ago.

Keke Palmer also has an important role in the film (Picture: Karwai Tang)
(L-R) Taika Waititi, Tim Peake, Keke Palmer and Chris Evans at the UK premiere of Lightyear (Picture: Karwai Tang/WireImage)

The same-sex scene was reportedly originally cut from the film by Disney.

It was reinstated following the uproar surrounding a statement from Pixar employees claiming that Disney had been censoring ‘overtly gay affection’ and the company’s CEO Bob Chapek’s handling of Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill.

Last year, Pixar’s Onward, a 2020 American computer-animated urban fantasy adventure film, was also reportedly banned by several Middle Eastern countries because of a reference to lesbian parents.

Lightyear follows Buzz on his adventures as a marooned Space Ranger, in the movie a young Andy could have watched before the events of the Toy Story films.

Lightyear is released in the UK on June 17.

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MORE : Nicola Adams’ girlfriend Ella Baig bares baby bump at Lightyear premiere as couple prepare to welcome first child

MORE : Lightyear review: Toy Story spin-off remains earthbound, but there is a cute cat

Taika Waititi on why Toy Story spin-off Lightyear’s same-sex love story is essential after UAE ban

LGBTQ groups ready to fight Florida over Medicaid ban for transgender treatments

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TALLAHASSEE — National and state legal and LGBTQ-advocacy groups are preparing to fight a move by Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration to deny Medicaid coverage for treatments such as hormone therapy and puberty-blocking medication for transgender people.

Lambda Legal, the National Health Law Program, the Florida Health Justice Project and Southern Legal Counsel issued a statement Friday, a day after the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration announced it would start a rule-making process related to treatment for gender dysphoria.

The groups sharply criticized a report that the Agency for Health Care Administration is using as a basis for the expected effort to deny Medicaid coverage for the treatments. The statement called the report “disingenuous” and said it “draws on junk science and cites discredited so-called experts to justify denying Medicaid coverage for hormone therapy and other accepted medical interventions, as well as for gender-confirming surgery.”

“Should AHCA (the Agency for Health Care Administration) follow through on its clear intent to engage in a sham rulemaking charade, rather than conduct a robust and substantive process that incorporates valid science and is not predetermined, we stand ready to defend the rights of transgender people in Florida, including the right to nondiscriminatory health care coverage,” the statement said. “The lives, health and well-being of transgender Floridians are at stake.”

As of Monday morning, AHCA had not published the proposed rule in the Florida Administrative Register, an initial step in the process. But in the report released Thursday, the agency targeted treatments that it said are “not consistent with generally accepted professional medical standards and are experimental and investigational.”

“Following a review of available literature, clinical guidelines and coverage by other insurers and nations, Florida Medicaid has determined that the research supporting sex reassignment treatment is insufficient to demonstrate efficacy and safety,” said the report, which was signed by state Medicaid director Tom Wallace.

State Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo, who doubles as secretary of the Florida Department of Health, followed later Thursday by asking the state Board of Medicine to review the AHCA findings and “establish a standard of care for these complex and irreversible procedures,” according to a copy of the request posted online by NBC News. The Board of Medicine regulates the state’s medical doctors.

The moves by AHCA and Ladapo are part of series of political battles in Florida and other states about transgender issues. As an example, DeSantis in 2021 signed a law that prevents transgender females from competing on high-school girls’ and college women’s sports teams. Also, he signed a measure this year that restricts teaching about gender identity and sexual orientation in public schools.

The health-care part of the debate centers on treatment for gender dysphoria, which the federal government defines as clinically “significant distress that a person may feel when sex or gender assigned at birth is not the same as their identity.”

Prominent medical groups and the Biden administration support treatments for gender dysphoria. In the statement Friday, the legal and LGBTQ-advocacy groups said the state’s expected proposed rule would “deny Medicaid coverage for what is widely acknowledged to be medically necessary care for gender dysphoria.”

The AHCA report said Florida’s massive Medicaid program has not had an “explicit policy” about covering puberty-blocking medication, hormone therapy and sex-reassignment surgery to treat gender dysphoria. Other states have a mixture of policies, with some banning coverage and others allowing it.

By law, services provided in the Medicaid program must be deemed “medically necessary.” One test of medical necessity is whether services are consistent with “generally accepted professional medical standards” and are not “experimental or investigational.”

The report’s conclusion that the gender-dysphoria treatments fail that test opens the door to coverage being denied.

Publishing the proposed rule would start a process that could lead to challenges before a state administrative law judge.


‘My future was destroyed because of conversion therapy:’ Survivor speaks out as ban is challenged

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The Attorney General’s Office appeared before the U.S. Court of Appeals Tuesday to uphold Washington’s law that bans conversion therapy. 

According to Washington state law, children under the age of 18 are protected from being subjected to “conversion therapy”, which is described as being a discredited and harmful practice that seeks to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. In 2018, Washington passed SB 5722 banning conversion therapy. 

On Tuesday, Brian Tingley, a state-licensed marriage and family therapist, appealed the dismissal of his lawsuit challenging the law. Senior U.S. District Judge Robert J. Bryan dismissed Tingley’s case in August 2021, recognizing Washington state’s interest “in protecting the physical and psychological well-being of minors, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth, and in protecting its minors against exposure to serious harm caused by conversion therapy.” 

Judge Bryan ruled that the law does not infringe on licensed health professionals’ First Amendment rights, but appropriately prohibits a form of harmful, unprofessional conduct. 

However, in federal appeals court Tingley’s lawyer argued that professional speech is less protected. “What we would see is no self-inflicted pain, no coercion or compulsion of any sort. We would see nothing but listening, asking and talking,” said lawyer Roger Brooks of his client’s session(s). “Speech is all we would see.”

Assistant Attorney General Cristina Sepe countered by saying the law prohibits treatments that engage with the fixed outcome of trying to change sexual orientation or gender identity. 

“Efforts to change sexual orientation and gender identity are ineffective and puts minors at significant risk of harm, including elevated risks of suicidality, depression and anxiety,” said Sepe.

Marcus James is an author, queer rights activist and considers himself a survivor of conversion therapy. When he was just 14-years-old, he was sent away to live with a family member and undergo religious conversion therapy. His testimony of the painful experience helped pass SB 5722 in 2018. 

“My planned trajectory in my life was completely destroyed in that moment. My future was irrevocably, in terms of going to college, anything, my future was destroyed because of conversion therapy,” said James. “Conversion therapy, all it breeds is shame, self-harm and suicide.”

James said he was part of creating Washington State’s first high school Gay Student Alliance (GSA), and his activism would continue on with fighting for same-sex marriage rights and banning conversion therapy.

“I have been an activist my entire life. That’s the thing is what got me sent to conversion therapy was my activism. Starting the state’s first and GSA in a public high school in the 90s,” said James. “It is mortifying, and we should all be screaming out against this. I’m terrified this is going on today.”

This is the third time the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals will be asked to uphold a ban on conversion therapy for minors. The court rejected similar challenges to the regulation of conversion therapy in 2014 and 2016.

James shares this message with the community, “There is nothing wrong with you. Nothing. You are perfect and exactly who you are meant to be.”

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