Thursday, 10 November 2022
Welcome to the next issue of the LGBT Great News Digest, a short briefing on the 5 LGBT+ news stories you need to know about right now.
This week's Digest includes a range of news stories reflecting steps by policy, and lawmakers, to improve protections for LGBT+ people around the world.
You can also see our upcoming community events below at the bottom of this email. Be sure to check these out and share them with others.
As always, we welcome your thoughts, comments and feedback.
The LGBT Great Team
|5 LGBT+ News Stories from Around the World|
|1. Maura Healey becomes the first woman and out gay person elected governor of Massachusetts|
Democratic candidate Maura Healey has become the first out lesbian governor of a US state. Healey, the state of Massachusetts’ attorney general, defeated the Republican candidate Geoff Diehl. Throughout the election campaign, Healey’s pledges covered enhanced job training and support programs, improving the accessibility to affordable childcare and the modernisation of the state’s public schools.
Moreover, Maura Healey is the first LGBT+ woman elected to lead a US state. Her historic win comes at a pivotal moment for the community in a much-divided America and sends a clear signal that LGBT+ people can become senior public leaders.
|2. Russia’s first trans politician quits politics due to potential expansion of anti-LGBT+ law|
On 27 October 2022, Yulia Alyoshina decided to step down from politics. She represented Russia’s first trans politician and was the leader of the Civic Initiative Party’s office in Altai Krai. Alyoshina’s decision was reportedly directly influenced by the recent backing of a bill by Russian lawmakers that stands to expand the existing ban on “LGBT propaganda” from children to people of all ages.
Our View: This bill appears to be a successor to the 2013 gay propaganda law introduced by the Kremlin, which considered the distribution of any information regarding homosexuality to minors as equivalent to promoting suicide, violence and extremist behaviours. Since the ban, research has clearly shown that, in the years 2013-2018, hate crimes against LGBT+ people in Russia doubled. If the new bill passes, it is expected that the LGBT+ community would be even more vulnerable and subject to aggressive censorship across formal and informal platforms of expression.
|3. Tokyo starts issuing same-sex partnership certificates|
On 1 November 2022, Tokyo’s government began issuing partnership certificates to same-sex couples that allow LGBT+ partners to be treated as married couples in public service areas such as welfare, housing and health. The governor, Yuriko Koike, said that 137 couples had applied for the certificate as of 28 October 2022.
Our View: As the only G7 country that does not fully recognise same-sex partnerships, this marks a huge step forward for LGBT+ rights in Japan, and its impact should not be underestimated. Same-sex partnerships have been somewhat of a wedge issue in Japan with a visible disconnect across prefectures and districts. For example, on 20 June 2022, Osaka’s District Court ruled that the same-sex marriage ban was constitutional. Tokyo, on the other hand, is leading the charge with expanded rights for same-sex couples. We hope to see this graduate to federal law in the near future. However, Tokyo represents an important pilot and, with sufficient positive action and support, should hopefully represent an important catalyst across Japan.
|4. South Australia appoints first LGBT+ advisory council|
On 3 November 2022, Premier Peter Malinauskas’ Government set up South Australia’s first LGBTQI Advisory Council. Nat Cook, the Minister for Human Services, has been appointed Head of the Council. The Council is tasked to directly engage on the issues faced by the LGBT+ community in South Australia.
Our View: Formed just days before the Adelaide Pride March on 5 November, the Council’s role is to hold the Australian Government accountable to the LGBT+ community. Australia’s recent push for LGBT+ equality and justice is worth noting. It includes new probes investigating historical hate crimes against the LGBT+ community (1970-2010), as well as the ACT introducing a pioneering policy protecting intersex children from “corrective” surgery.
|5. UK Prime Minister reportedly ready to remove legal protections for trans people|
On 27 October 2022, The Telegraph reported that Rishi Sunak, the leader of the Conservative Party and the newly appointed Prime Minister of the UK, is planning to review the Equality Act “to make it clear that sex means biological sex rather than gender”. Critics are concerned that this could result in the withdrawal of the rights of trans and non-binary people for self-identification and recognition.
Our View: As recent reports have demonstrated a 56% rise in anti-trans hate crimes from 2021 to 2022 across England & Wales, Sunak’s oscillation from pro- to anti-trans and back throughout the leadership campaign and the early days of his premiership raise real concerns.
His stance on LGBT+ rights lacks a clearly articulated foundation. Allyship towards our trans and non-binary siblings cannot be performative, especially by law- and policymakers; instead, it should be built on sustained commitments and positive actions.
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