Shows: September 11, 2017

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LGBT and API under the Trump Administration: the Ban on Trans Military Service, and more

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On August 25, 2017, President Trump signed a directive banning trans individuals from serving in the military and leaves the service status of current trans service people at the discretion of the Secretary of Defense.

The directive has evoked a variety of responses from the Left. Senator Tammy Duckworth of Illinois criticized the ban stating that when she was severely injured in Iraq in 2004 she “didn’t care if the American troops risking their lives to help save me were gay, straight, transgender, black, white, or brown. All that mattered was they didn’t leave me behind.” For others who support the rights of trans folks, but are also anti-war or anti-US militarization, the ban represents something more complicated. The US has a long and current history of military occupation in Asia. The US military currently occupies nearly a third of the island of Guam and has military bases in Asian countries such as Japan, Korea, the Philippines, and Thailand.

Sasha W of the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance discusses the ban, and the intersection of Queer Asian Identities with other issues such as the anniversary of 9/11 and the repeal of DACA.

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Myanmar's Refugee Crisis with Maung Zarni

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Hundreds of thousands of refugees from Myanmar’s persecuted ethnic Muslim minority, the Rohingyas, have fled mass violence since late August. Though the government has dismissed their mass exodus as the fallout of a crackdown on terrorism, the survivors who have escaped the country report that both the state and the militant Buddhist majority have gone on a rampage of genocidal violence, military impunity, and vicious displacement. The aggression, say human-rights observers, is rooted in a systemic pattern of ethnic cleansing that has deep historical roots. So far the government, headed by the de facto civilian leader Aung Sang Suu Kyi, has framed the conflict as a clash between two militant factions.

We speak to London-based human rights activist Maung Zarni, observing the horror unfolding in his homeland from afar, about what’s really happening in Rakhine state.

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Defending DACA for immigrant youth

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Immigrant youth across the country have been mobilizing to defend DACA, the-Obama era reprieve that has for several years protected hundreds of thousands of undocumented young people from deportation and enabled them to work legally in the US. Trump has moved to repeal the policy, and a rising migrant youth movement is resisting. Protesters in New York took to the streets to fight for equal rights for all.

A version of this story was also featured on the Belabored podcast at Dissent Magazine.

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