The LGBTQ+ news roundup: 29 May 2016

Following his two-week hiatus, Tom Ana returns with his regular summary of the most important stories and headlines from the last seven days.

A transgender activist has died in Peshawar, Pakistan, after being shot multiple times earlier this week. The activist, known as Alesha, was coordinator for the Pakistan Trans Action Board and is believed to have been targeted by criminal gangs attempting to extort money from transgender individuals.

The Trans Action Board also reported that Alesha had suffered transphobic abuse and taunts from hospital staff shortly before dying. The group have also called upon local authorities to take action against the targeting of transgender individuals.

A South Korean filmmaker and activist has failed to gain legal recognition for his same-sex marriage after a court case was dismissed earlier this week. Kim Jho Gwang-Soo and his partner Kim Seung-Hwan married in 2013 but have no legal recognition due to South Korea’s lack of equal marriage laws. The couple began legal proceedings in 2015, hoping to force the government into legislative change.

A survey published by The Irish Times has revealed that more Irish people than ever are open about their sexuality following equal marriage legislation passed in 2015. According to the survey, more than half of people surveyed knew someone who had ‘come out’ since marriage equality was passed.

A company in India has become the first in the world to offer saris designed with transgender individuals in mind. Mazhavil, or ‘The Rainbow’, this week launched their new line using two transgender models. Sharmila Nair, the line’s designer, said she wanted to create a traditional fashion line that was inclusive of India’s transgender and Hijra community.

A proposed anti-LGBTQ+ bill in Kyrgyzstan has this week stalled in the legal process after lawmakers called for another reading. The bill, which would outlaw the public support of ‘non-traditional’ sexualities was modeled on infamous Russian legislation. Despite the apparent support for the bill within parliament, this stalling at the second stage is not often seen, and has been welcomed by the LGBTQ+ community a sign of hope.

Italy became the latest country to allow same-sex unions after a bill was voted into law this week. The new legislation, which will be implemented later this year, will allow same-sex couples to register as a couple, allowing many of the same benefits married couples receive.

The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office will shortly begin offering next-of-kin evidence to same-sex couple travelling abroad. The decision makes the UK the first country to offer this service, and comes shortly after Australian authorities failed to recognise the marriage of Marco Bulmer-Rizzi on a death certificate after his partner David died during an accident on their honeymoon.

Bajan national newspaper has issued an official apology after an article published earlier this month was accused of making fun of the ‘corrective’ rape of a lesbian woman earlier this year. The article in question also featured images of the woman in question, published against her will. The article, published in the paper’s gossip column, led to widespread anger from readers, and was condemned by policy makers and the Caribbean office for the UN.

Turkish LGBTQ+ group Kaos GL published an annual report on the human rights violations and discrimination against LGBTQ+ individuals in Turkey. The report stated that violence and humans rights abuses were ongoing in Turkey, including at least five murders and 32 attacks targeting the LGBTQ+ community. The report called for authorities to do more, and criticised the political apathy shown towards the oppression of minority groups in the country.

Two men have been shot and killed in a suspected hate crime in Jamaica. The men, believed to have been a couple were targeted by anti-gay gang members in the latest incident of ongoing violence towards the LGBTQ+ community. Following news of the attack, Jamaican campaigners criticised the media response to the incident, which they believe is contributing to discriminatory and hateful attitudes across the country.

Nauru has become the latest nation to decriminalise homosexuality following new laws, which will come into effect this month. Under previous laws, homosexuality could potentially lead to prison time under colonial-era ‘anti-sodomy’ laws. Despite the recent legal victory, LGBTQ+ Nauruans still face many difficulties and have no legal protection from anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination.

Protests in London have criticised London Pride’s links to the military, after it was announced that the RAF Red Arrows display team were scheduled for a flypast during the event in June. Those protesting against the decision claim that the decision to include military involvement is against the spirit of Pride, and that military and arms groups were using the event to pinkwash their image. Event organisers however argue that the inclusion of the military marks a significant step towads eqauality across British society. London Pride have previously been targeted by ‘bullying activists’ who oppose the group’s corporate nature and failure to fully represent the LGBTQ+ community.

Two incidents of homophobic violence have been reported by activists in Tbilisi, Georgia, following a high-profile protest held for the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia earlier this month. On May 17, activists targeted the World Congress of Families, an anti-gay Christian group, who had held their annual conference in the city to support the Georgian Orthodox Church’s anti-day ‘day of families’, which was launched in 2013 to counter LGBTQ+ activism on the day. Protestors involved in the event have since reported violence and threats, which is believed to be on the rise since the demonstration earlier this month became widely reported in the Georgian media.

Canon Mpho Tutu-Van Furth, the daughter of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, has had her Reverend’s license revoked after marrying another woman earlier this year. Despite legal recognition in South Africa, the South African Anglican Church does not recognise same-sex marriage. The decision to revoke the license is believed to have been made without consultation and has angered many South African Christians.

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