Thursday, 29 September 2022
Welcome to the latest issue of the LGBT Great News Digest, a short brief on the 5 LGBT+ news stories you need to know about right now.
We welcome any thoughts, comments or feedback.
The LGBT Great Team
|5 LGBT+ News Stories from Around the World|
|1. Cuba legalises same-sex marraige in historic referendum|
|2. Virginia attempts to roll back protections for trans students in schools|
On 16 September 2022, the Virginia State Department of Education announced they are to overturn a series of policies formulated by the previous administration, which had granted protections to transgender young people in schools. The policy reversal now requires students to use bathrooms and lockers that “match” their biological sex. In addition, the use of preferred names and pronouns has been made more difficult; minors may now only change their preferred names and pronouns if explicit parental consent has been given.
What is clear, however, is that trans inclusion remains a grey area of policy implementation particularly within the school and broader educational environment, making it hard for parents, policymakers and, most importantly, trans and gender diverse youth to drive positive change.
|3. Kurdish woman killed by Iranian morality police over Hijab law|
On 13 September 2022, the Iranian Gasht-e-Ershad (Guidance Police) detained a Kurdish woman, Mahsa Amini, as she was travelling to Tehran. The police alleged Amini was improperly wearing the hijab under the country’s mandatory dress code. Witnesses reported that she was beaten by police, which left her in a coma. She died three days later from her injuries. Her death has sparked a wave of widespread protests Iran’s regime and treatment of women.
Our View:This tragedy is yet another infringement upon women’s rights, as well as a conspicuous case of police violence in a regime infamous for oppressing women and other marginalized communities. Not even a month has passed since the Iranian court of law sentenced two gay women to death for “spreading corruption on earth.” A pattern of intersectional struggles against power can be clearly observed here, and protests demanding justice for Amini have now erupted throughout the nation of Iran and the Iranian diaspora, painting a grim picture for women and LGBT+ folks alike.
|4. Maltese Prime Minister promises free gender-affirming surgery as part of pro-LGBT+ reforms|
On 10 September 2022, Malta’s Prime Minister, Robert Abela, attended a Pride March held in the capital city of Valetta to share news about the government’s commitment to implementing LGBT+ rights reforms. Quoting the party’s manifesto, Abela stated that the next step would be to make gender-affirming surgery freely available and sponsored by the state. This announcement follows new legislation allowing queer men to donate blood as of 2 September 2022.
Our View: The 2010’s has seen Malta become a beacon of hope for the LGBT+ community. Amongst the most progressive pro-LGBT+ places in Europe, the island has consistently prioritized LGBT+ rights and protections; for example, Malta was the first country in Europe to ban conversion therapy. It has also altered legalese and implemented gender neutral language for official documents. Such shifts in policy and perspective have also led Malta to claim and remain on the first position of the rainbow index for seven consecutive years (2016-2022). The Rainbow Index is a continental index that measures how LGBT+ friendly European countries’ laws are.
|5. Thousands march in anti-LGBT+ demonstrations in Istanbul|
On 18 of September, a massive anti-LGBT+ demonstration entitled “Big Family Gathering” took place in Istanbul. The rally was motivated by the claim that “family values” were under attack in the Eurasian nation. A speaker for the event, which was supported by Turkey’s media watchdog, claimed that the organisers received 150,000 signatures on a petition calling for a ban on so-called “LGBT+ propaganda” in sports, media, arts etc.
Our View: Critics and human rights’ organisations have claimed this demonstration to be an act of hate speech against the LGBT+ community. The kicker has been the widespread media support and propagation of anti-LGBT+ rhetoric and broadcasts by the government, claiming the matter to be of “Public Interest”, which speaks volumes to the anti-LGBT+ current running through Turkish politics and media. Unfortunately, these sentiments aren’t unprecedented. During Pride in 2022, the Turkish police shut down metro stations, arrested attendees and journalists, and prohibited any digital recording of the event. As anti-LGBT+ incidents are seemingly increasing in prevalence, there is a critical need for private organisations to ensure safe spaces for their LGBT+ employees.
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