Thursday, 8 December 2022
Welcome to the latest issue of the LGBT Great News Digest, a short briefing on the 5 LGBT+ news stories you need to know about right now.
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|5 LGBT+ News Stories from Around the World|
|1. Trans woman wins workplace harrassment case in Japan|
The Kanagawa Prefecture in Japan has awarded a trans woman compensation in a landmark workplace harassment case. The court acknowledged that her depression was caused by her supervisor’s repeated refusal to refer to her using the right pronouns.
Our view: This award represents a step forward for trans protections in Japan. However, Japan still has a long way to go in this area. Indeed, Japanese only allows trans folk to legally change their gender upon appeal to a family court, undertaking invasive surgical sterilization, and following an in-depth psychiatric evaluation.
Whilst this ruling in Kanagawa does not fix the root issue of outdated and anti-trans laws, it suggests that some space has been unlocked to begin the conversation.
|2. Russian law banning "LGBT propaganda" passed|
On 24 November 2022, the Russian parliament passed the final reading of a law which bans "LGBT propaganda" among all adults. The bill criminalises the promotion of "non-traditional sexual relations" with individual fines up to £5,400 and organisational fines up to £68,500. "Foreigners" can also face up to 15 days’ arrest and expulsion from the country.
Our View: The crackdown on LGBT+ expression has now moved from sentiment to law, placing Russian LGBT+ folks in a serious and highly vulnerable position.
Even for organisations, the fines for “propagandising non-traditional sexual relations” are massive, impacting an organisations’ ability to create genuinely safe spaces for their LGBT+ employees. This will be particularly hard to navigate for small organisations that would not have the funds available to cover those fines.
|3. US Senate passes bipartisan bill protecting same-sex marriage|
On 29 November 2022, the US Senate voted 61 to 36 to pass the Respect for Marriage Act, a bill intended to enshrine protections for same-sex and interracial marriages in federal law. The bill also "repeals and replaces" all federal language which defines marriage as between individuals of the opposite sex.
Our View: This bill comes at a time of unprecedented social unrest in the USA, following the overturning of the federal right to abortion earlier in 2022.
With the highest number of anti-LGBT+ bills introduced in US state legislatures in a single year, in addition to the sheer number of horrific anti-LGBT+ hate crimes, the Respect for Marriage Act is a very welcome addition to LGBT+ protections in the USA, cementing LGBT+ marriage as a non-negotiable in the U.S. legislature.
|4. HIV groups slam hate speech at Malaysian Ministry of Health's World Aids Day event|
Our View: Misinformation surrounding HIV/AIDS is a real problem and occurs far too often. These comments not only propagate misinformation but seek to castigate the LGBT+ community. When a person in a position of authority – like a professor – disseminates misinformation in this way, real people stand to suffer.
This also serves as a reminder of the continued relevance and importance of World AIDS Day and other HIV/AIDS awareness campaigns.
|5. Singapore passes two new laws impacting LGBT+ people|
On 29 November 2022, the parliament of Singapore passed two laws. The first one officially decriminalises gay sex via the repeal of law 377A; the second, however, reaffirms the traditional definition of marriage between two opposite sexes by amending the constitution to prevent court challenges in the future.
Our View: While the decriminalisation of gay sex is a vital advancement in LGBT+ rights in the city-state, the parliament of Singapore has also clearly conveyed that same-sex marriage will never be a normative equivalent of traditional opposite-sex marriage.
The repeal of 377A was an initial step forward, but the second bill has brought Singapore two steps back, highlighting the level of marriage inequality the Singaporean LGBT+ community will continue to face for the foreseeable future.
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