Thursday, 1st September 2022
Welcome to the very first issue of the LGBT Great News Digest, a short brief on the 5 LGBT+ news stories you need to know about right now.
We hope you enjoy the Digest and welcome any thoughts, comments or feedback.
The LGBT Great Team
|5 LGBT+ News Stories from Around the World|
|1. ‘Don’t say Trans’: New Texas school board policy sparks outcry|
The Grapevine-Colleyville Independent School District (GCISD) in Texas has launched a new policy, which includes a total ban on all classroom discussions of “gender fluidity.” The GCISD President justified the decision by saying that the policies “are a reflection of Texas law and community values”.
However, the new policy stands to prohibit genuine and valid discussions around gender and identity until children enter the 6th Grade (age 11 or 12).
Our View: Recent figures from The Trevor Project show that LGBT+ youth who find their school to be LGBTQ-affirming reported lower rates of attempted suicide. There is, therefore, clear empirical evidence that policies like that proposed by the GCISD will have a negative impact on LGBT+ youth.
This follows a wave of anti-LGBT+ sentiment, bills and rhetoric across the US over the past year. Organisations have a role to play here in providing opportunities to empower and upskill parents to support their LGBT+ children, which becomes even more important if the safe spaces at school are threatened.
|2. 377A law to end ban on gay sex in Singapore|
Singapore will repeal a law banning consensual sex between men, effectively legalising homosexuality. With this move, Singapore becomes the latest country in Asia to take a positive stride forward concerning LGBT+ rights, following India, Taiwan, and Thailand.
The decision was announced by Prime Minister Lee Hsein Loong following several years of fierce debate.
The law was viewed as being antithetical to Singapore’s lively multinational and diverse culture. However, it is also important to note that Prime Minister Loong doubled down on marriage as an institution, by stating that they would introduce better legal protections to define marriage as between a man and a woman only.
Our View: Singapore’s ban on this law is a moment of celebration and happiness for many and signifies a new level of freedom of expression possible for the LGBT+ community in Asia.
As an important financial centre, this decision also stands to positively impact organisations and employees by legitimising the visibility of LGBT+ people. That being said, there is clearly still a long way to go before marriage equality is achieved in Singapore.
|3. Olympic rugby player Ellia Green comes out as trans|
The past year has seen a swathe of “debate” and anti-trans rhetoric concerning the inclusion of trans people in sports. It is therefore even more inspiring that Ellia Green, an Australian Olympic rugby player has come out as trans. His announcement comes a week after the Irish Rugby Union banned trans women from contact rugby, and a month after they were banned from the sport in England.
Our View: Eliia's visible success in his sport and winning an Olympic gold medal will inspire future generations of what is possible. Having visible trans and non-binary role models in any organisation, helps to improve inclusion and the feeling of psychological safety.
|4. Liz Truss doubles down on anti-trans intentions in UK leadership campaign|
Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak are now in the final weeks of their campaign to become the new Prime Minister of the UK. Both campaigns have been filled with anti-trans sentiment and Truss’ recent statements around her intention to ban trans women from single-sex spaces, such as hospital wards and domestic violence shelters have caused significant concern amongst the LGBT+ community and activists.
This comes at a time where activists and critics have even questioned the legality of such bans, given that the Equality act of 2010 explicitly cites “gender reassignment” as a protected characteristic here in the UK.
Our View: These statements are concerning and follow a wave of anti-trans decisions made by the UK Government over the past year. Failing to ban conversion therapy for gender identity, the rise of transphobic “gender debates” across media channels are two examples.
Truss’ statements underscore the open transphobia currently being perpetuated across media and political channels. It is, therefore, crucial that organisations and allies speak up for trans and non-binary people and that they do so visibly.
|5. Vietnam adopts global LGBT+ health standard|
On 3 August 2022, Vietnam’s Health Ministry officially declassified same-sex attraction and being transgender as “mental health condition”. The directive follows a civi-run petition which gathered more than 76,000 signatures and a letter from the World Health Organisation's (WHO) Vitenam office, confirming that the WHO is against any effort to 'convert' non-heterosexual people. Until now, the Vietnamese government’s stance on homosexuality as a “deviant” behaviour has fuelled more anti-LGBT+ discrimination.
Our View: This wave of legal acceptance for the LGBT+ community in Asia is really encouraging. Many countries have had staunch anti-LGBT+ views due to legacy colonial laws. Now that the West has repealed such laws, it is great to see that this is being reflected more widely across the Global South.
This declassification will open the door to improved and safeguarded conversations around LGBT+ identities at work in Vietnam. This will start the process of better protection, although we expect cultural change and socital acceptance to be slow.
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