This week saw the International Transgender Day of Visibility celebrated across the world, with hundreds of events taking place in all four corners of the globe. In the latest edition of the LGBTQ+ news round-up, Tom Ana presents the stories you might have missed from the last seven days.
Two gay men were violently assaulted during a homophobic attack at their home in Morocco. The men were attacked by a group of men who used knives against the pair, believed to be a couple. The attack was filmed and later shared online by a member of the self-styled vigilante group. In Morocco, there are no legal protections for LGBTQ+ individuals, and homosexual relationships can be punished by up to 5 years in prison.
A Saudi Arabian man was arrested for flying the rainbow flag outside his home in Jeddah. The man was detained by local vice police for his ‘use of a homosexual symbol’, but later claimed he was unaware of what the flag represented. The arrest came in the same week that religious figures called for the death penalty to be issued for ‘coming out’.
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has pledged a new series of legislation aimed at expanding the country’s gender recognition laws. The new laws, which are to roll out from 2016 to 2021, will allow trans and intersex individuals to self-declare gender, and will also allow under-18s to legally change their gender. The plans also include the implementation of an ‘X’ gender on passports, and will aim to introduce a pro-LGBTQ+ curriculum into primary school education.
Earlier in the week, Scottish Police also launched a new training scheme aimed at preventing LGBTQ+ hate crimes. The initiative, run in partnership with the Equality Network, will train over 60 officers in recognising and preventing hate crimes against LGBTQ+ individuals.
In New York, a transgender woman was sexually assaulted in the bathroom of the historic Stonewall Inn. Local police are currently on the look out for a man in his late 30s who is apparently known to regulars at the bar. The incident came just days after Los Angeles mayor, Eric Garcetti, wrote an open letter to Barrack Obama calling for the bar to be made into a national monument. The famous building was the site of the 1969 Stonewall Riots, considered by many to be the beginning of the American queer rights movement.
Also in America, Governor of Georgia, Nathan Deal, vetoed an anti-gay ‘religious freedom’ bill that would have allowed businesses and individuals to discriminate against LGBTQ+ minorities. Governor Deal claimed that the proposed bill did not reflect his state’s values after widespread criticism and potential threats of a boycott were raised by activists and campaigners.
In the country of Georgia, the first round of public hearings has begun for proposed legislation that would ban same-sex marriage. The new law would mean a constitutional amendment that would define marriage as a union between a man and a woman. The proposal currently has the support of 80 members of the country’s parliament, but still requires the support of a majority of the current ruling coalition.
Human Rights Watch has reported that anti-sodomy laws in Tunisia continue to be used to oppress and persecute gay men. The group reports that gay and bisexual men, as well as transgender individuals, face violent persecution and unjustified arrests thanks to an ongoing climate of bigotry that is supported by the country’s legal system. In the last 6 months it is believed at least 7 men were arrested for engaging in same-sex relationships.
Swedish authorities have announced the world’s first stamp to commemorate the LGBTQ+ equality movement. The rainbow flag-inspired stamp will go into circulation in May and is intended to mark the past and ongoing achievements of LGBTQ+ individuals in Sweden and across the world.
A UK survey commissioned for Transgender Day of Visibility reported that one in three trans people have left their jobs because of discrimination related to their gender identity. Among other areas, the survey also concluded that trans people routinely faced difficulties in the workplace and their private lives because of discrimination and stigma.
A report by the Pew Research Centre showed that 21% of all temporary Facebook filters were used to mark marriage equality. Facebook launched the application in 2015 to commemorate the passing of same-sex equality laws across the United States and have since expanded to allow memorials and sports teams to also be included.
Post-revolution Ukraine is failing its LGBTQ+ community, according to a report by local activists. According to pro-equality campaigners, human rights in the nation rely heavily on Western influence, while a divided political landscape is leading to ongoing persecution of sexual and gender-diverse Ukrainians. The report, published on Coda, comes less than a week after an LGBTQ+ festival was targeted by far-right protestors in Lviv.
More than two million Colombians joined a campaign calling for their government to repeal same-sex adoption rights in the country. Passed in 2015, the current law gives equal rights to same-sex and straight couples with regards to adopting children. The decision to pass the law upset conservative elements of the nation’s population and led to an ongoing backlash among opposition government members.
Ugandan activists launched the second edition of Bombastic, an LGBTQ+ magazine published by pro-equality campaigners. The new edition features a cover story on FTM gender transition and is available free online. As well as drawing attention to the persecution of LGBTQ+ Ugandans, campaigners at the Kuchu Times Media Group also hope that real-world stories of individuals will help change opinions in a country where sexual minorities face widespread and often violent persecution.
An Israeli transgender woman has been jailed for refusing to take part in the country’s compulsory military service. Aiden Katri, 19, was sentenced to a week in prison for protesting against the conscription, which she claims is used to oppress Arab minorities in Israel and Palestine. Following a court decision, local LGBTQ+ activists raised concerns over Katri’s safety, claiming that she would face violence and harassment if housed in a male facility.
Indian documentary Breaking Free was this week given a national award for best editing. The film, by Sridhar Rangayan, focuses on the experiences of LGBTQ+ Indians under the country’s anti-gay ‘Section 377’ law. The film was created from over 400 hours of interview footage and is believed to be the first pro-LGBTQ+ film to ever win an award at national level.
Amy Stanning became the UK’s first trans continuity announcer after her appointment for national broadcaster Channel 4. Stanning, who will be the voice of the channel every Thursday evening, made her début on the International Transgender Day of Visibility.
The Federal High Court of Nigeria ordered police authorities to pay compensation to an LGBTQ+ activist for his unlawful arrest and detainment. Ifeanyi Orazulike, who is the executive director of the International Center for Advocacy on Rights to Health, was arrested in 2014 in a suspected anti-gay police raid. The court decision marks one of the first times authorities have sided with a member of the LGBTQ+ community over police and was welcomed by activists and campaigners as a progressive step towards equality.
Same-sex couples in Greenland were this week granted full marriage equality. The new laws, which came into place on 1 April, allow same-sex couples to marry within the autonomous region, bringing it into line with Danish law, which legalised the practice in 2012.
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