Monday, 9 January 2023
Happy New Year!
Welcome to the first 2023 issue of the LGBT Great News Digest, a short briefing on the 5 news stories you need to know about right now. This issue features many positive stories around the world, shining a light on the progress being made. While we remain optimistic for this year, we must acknowledge the challenges, barriers, and discrimination our community continues to face.
We look forward to engaging with you in 2023 and here is to a year of empowerment and of progress!
The LGBT Great Team
|5 LGBT+ News Stories from Around the World|
|1. Colonial-era law criminalising gay sex scrapped|
On 12 December 2022, the Barbados High Court struck down colonial-era homosexuality laws by removing Sections 9 and 12 of the Barbados Sexual Offence Act. The punishment for engaging in same-sex intimacy ranged from 10 years in jail to life imprisonment.
Our view: Following Antigua and Barbuda and St Kitts and Nevis, Barbados has joined the Caribbean wave of legislators that have decriminalised same-sex acts, making the country a protected space for more LGBT+ folks.
This is a prime example of the ripple effect exerted by positive steps in neighbouring cultures and countries. We hope that the 6 remaining Caribbean nations, which still penalise same-sex acts, will soon embark on their own journey of LGBT+ equality and make the entire Caribbean region a haven for the LGBT+ community.
|2. US President Biden signs same-sex marriage bill into law|
On 13 December 2022, US President Joe Biden signed the Respect for Marriage Act into law which protects the federal rights of same-sex and interracial couples. However, the amendment still enables religious organisations to choose whether or not they wish to perform same-sex marriages.
Our View: With LGBT Great’s Digest #8 covering our thoughts on the passing of the Respect for Marriage Act, the signing of the bill into law was expected, yet remains an imperative step in cementing LGBT+ marriage as an inalienable right for US citizens and provides hope for 2023 to be a trailblazing year for LGBT+ equality in the United States.
|3. Gender recognition reform passed in Scotland|
On 22 December 2022, the Scottish parliament passed the Gender Recognition Reform Bill with an 86-39 vote. The bill allows trans folks to gain legal recognition for their gender identity without a medical diagnosis and lowers the age limit to apply for a Gender Recognition Certificate from 18 to 16.
Our View: A UK-wide survey in 2018 revealed that a majority of people did not support the invasive, arduous and time-consuming procedure of obtaining legal gender recognition.
Scotland has become the first country in the UK to reform the GRA, paving the path for progressive LGBT+ legislation for other UK nations to adopt and follow.
|4. AAP’s Bobi Kinnar becomes Delhi’s first transgender councillor|
On 7 December 2022, Bobi Kinnar, a transgender leader from the Aam Aadmi Party, which governs the state of New Delhi, contested the Municipal Corporation of Delhi elections and emerged victorious in the Sultanpuri-A ward. She has now become the city’s first transgender councillor.
Our View: India’s transgender rights have progressed over the last decade, but much remains to be accomplished, especially in moving beyond legislation on paper to real-world impact. Many trans and gender-nonconforming people disproportionately face harassment and discrimination, which pushes them into adverse socioeconomic conditions, as reported by a survey conducted in 2017 by the Swasti Health Resource Centre. That being said, the election of Bobi Kinnar is a crucial example of trans excellence and trans representation as leaders in the public arena; it serves as a testament to the slow yet steady shift in the Indian public sentiment toward trans folks.
|5. Spain approves transgender bill|
On 22 December 2022, the Spanish Congress of Deputies passed a transgender rights bill which will ease the process for trans folks to legally update their gender marker. The bill was approved by 188 votes to 150 and will now move to the Senate with the expectation that it will be passed unchanged.
Our View: Previously, the Spanish law only let folks change their gender after they had received a medical report “proving” a diagnosis of gender dysphoria, followed by two years of continued hormone therapy.
With the introduction of this bill, trans folks can now request a change with a single statement, effectively simplifying the procedure and removing all unnecessary hindrances. Such legislative amendments are crucial in protecting trans identities and represent a substantial and deliberate statement of support for trans and gender non-conforming folks from legislators.
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