Friday, March 31, 2023

Most Americans in new poll oppose laws restricting drag shows

According to a new poll, most adults said they oppose laws restricting drag shows or performances as Republicans in several states push to block the shows from being seen by children. 

The results of the poll show 58 percent of respondents said they oppose laws restricting the performances, while 39 percent said they support them. Democrats are the most likely to oppose such laws, with almost three-quarters of them saying they are opposed, but 57 percent of independents and 37 percent of Republicans also said they do not support them. 

In addition, 54% of Americans oppose a proposed bill which criminalizes gender transition-related medical care for minors. Democrats (68%) and independents (56%) drive opposition to such legislation. Republicans (63%) bolster support for criminalizing gender transition-related medical care for minors. 43% of Americans, overall, support this legislation.

Tennessee became the first state in the country earlier this month to prohibit what the state law calls “adult cabaret performances” from happening within 1,000 feet of schools, public parks or places of worship. Republicans have introduced bills to restrict drag performances in more than a dozen other states. 

Check the survey data here.

The White House condemned “hateful
and dangerous” attacks on LGBTQ rights

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Kamala Harris supports Africa’s LGBTQ community in Ghana

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris has spoken out in support of LGBTQ people in Africa, during a press conference in Ghana, and following the introduction of a devastating new law in Uganda that bans queer identities entirely.

Standing alongside Ghana’s president, Nana Akufo-Addo, Harris said she felt “very strongly” about supporting the development of LGBTQ rights in Africa.

“I will also say that this is an issue that we consider and I consider to be a human rights issue and that will not change,” she continued.

“A great deal of work in my career has been to human rights issues and equality issues across the board including, as it relates, to the LGBTQ community,” Harris added.

In the same press session, President Akufo-Addo mentioned that a proposed anti-LGBTQ bill was currently making its way through the Ghanaian parliament, but that it “hasn’t been passed”. 

Check a report about LGBTQ rights and issues in sub-Saharan Africa here.

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Madonna adds Nashville concert to protest Tennessee anti-drag and anti-trans laws


Madonna has added a Nashville concert to her upcoming tour in protest of Tennessee’s recently passed anti-drag and anti-trans laws.

After Tennessee introduced a law categorising drag as “adult-oriented” entertainment, effectively banning public drag performances, as well as legislation banning gender-affirming healthcare for young trans people, Madonna issued a statement labelling them “unfounded and pathetic”.

“The oppression of the LGBTQ community is not only unacceptable and inhumane; it’s creating an unsafe environment; making America a dangerous place for our most vulnerable citizens, especially trans women of color,” Madonna said, announcing a special show in Nashville that will raise money for trans rights organisations. 

Tennessee’s anti-drag bill was signed into law on 2 March by governor Bill Lee. Performers who violate the new law could face misdemeanour charges, and repeat offenders could be charged with a felony, which could incur time behind bars. 

Saturday, March 25, 2023

Disney World will host a big LGBTQ summit in Florida

Disney is pushing back against Florida’s rightwing Republican governor Ron DeSantis’s crackdown on LGBTQ rights by hosting a major LGBTQ conference in Orlando.

The Out & Equal Workplace Summit has touted itself as the “largest LGBTQ conference in the world” and draws more than 5,000 attendees annually. For the next two years, the Out & Equal non-profit which focuses on LGBTQ workplace equality will be held at Walt Disney World in Orlando.

Over more than 20 years, Summit has grown to become the preferred place to network and share strategies that create inclusive workplaces, where everyone belongs and where LGBTQ employees can be out and thrive.

Out & Equal lists the Walt Disney Company as one of its top partners alongside other major companies including Apple, Bank of America and Uber, according to the non-profit’s website. Multiple government agencies including the state department, CIA and Food and Drug Administration have also been listed as event partners and are expected to set up booths at the summit.

DeSantis is moving to expand ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law to all grades, to ban on classroom discussions of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Friday, March 24, 2023

Republican DeSantis wants to expand "Don't Say Gay" law in Florida

Florida's Republican governor Ron DeSantis is moving to expand his state's prohibition on classroom discussions of sexual orientation and gender identity to all grades.

Known as the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill by critics, it was signed off in March 2022. The law prohibits classroom instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity from kindergarten to grade 3 in Florida public school districts.

It also prohibits instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity in a manner deemed not “age appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students.”

The proposal, introduced by DeSantis' Department of Education, would prohibit all discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity across all grades, including 4-12. Teachers who violate the rules face suspension or losing teaching licences.

Florida’s Board of Education will vote on the proposal next month, and it will not require legislative approval.

Recently, President Biden denounced Florida legislation restricting LGBTQ rights.

It's time to change, Florida!

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Against the new bill criminalising LGBTQ people in Uganda

Uganda's Parliament just passed a new bill, known as ‘2023 Anti-Homosexuality Bill’. The new law criminalises those who promote homosexuality or attempt to commit the offence of homosexuality, so this deeply repressive legislation will institutionalise discrimination, hatred, and prejudice against LGBTQ people.

The newly-passed bill criminalises same-sex activities between consenting adults as well as the promotion of homosexuality. Anyone caught committing this “crime” could face up to 10 years in prison.

It is not the first time the Parliament of Uganda has attempted to recriminalise homosexuality since the abolition of Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Act, a colonial-era provision from the 1950 Penal Code Act, in 2014. 

Several years ago, Parliament passed the Sexual Offences Bill, which sought to criminalise any sexual act between persons of the same gender. However, President Museveni rejected the law, stating that many provisions in the proposed law were redundant as they were already provided for in existing legislation such as the Penal Code Act. 

Responding to news of Uganda’s Parliament passing a law that criminalises consensual sexual activity between adults of the same sex, Tigere Chagutah, Amnesty International’s Director for East and Southern Africa, said: 

“President Yoweri Museveni must urgently veto this appalling legislation, which was passed following a rushed vote on Tuesday evening.

“The law, dubbed the ‘2023 Anti-Homosexuality Bill’, amounts to a grave assault on LGBTI people and is contemptuous of the Ugandan constitution. 

“This ambiguous, vaguely worded law even criminalises those who ‘promote’ homosexuality or ‘attempt to commit the offence of homosexuality’.

“This deeply repressive legislation will institutionalise discrimination, hatred, and prejudice against LGBTI people - including those who are perceived to be LGBTI - and block the legitimate work of civil society, public health professionals, and community leaders. 

“Instead of criminalising LGBTI people, Uganda should protect them by enacting laws and policies that align with the principles of equality and non-discrimination enshrined not only in Uganda’s Constitution, but also the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.” 

We have to stand for LGBTQ rights everywhere, but especially in those countries where the situation is worst.

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

President Biden denounces Florida legislation restricting LGBTQ rights

President Joe Biden denounced Florida legislation restricting LGBTQ rights as "cruel" and "close to sinful" in an appearance on TV.

Gov. Ron DeSantis, and the state's Republican-dominated Legislature, have enacted laws that ban classroom discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity in primary schools. They are also considering bills to block medical care, including puberty blockers, hormone therapy and surgery, for transgender youths and to grant courts emergency jurisdiction over children who might receive gender-affirming care. 

Florida state Legislature passed bill banning LGBTQ-related conversation in schools, the known “Don’t Say Gay" bill. At the start of its 2023 legislative session, the state is considering several other bills to further chip away at LGBTQ rights.

"What's going on in Florida is, as my mother would say, 'close to sinful,'" President Biden said. “It’s just terrible what they’re doing."

“It’s not like a kid wakes up one morning and says, ‘You know, I decided I want to become a man' or 'I want to become a woman,'" he added. "I mean, what are they thinking about here? They’re human beings. They love, they have feelings, they have inclinations. It’s cruel," he added.

A poll commissioned by GLAAD revealed broad concerns of LGBTQ and ally voters in Florida about legislation stripping away their rights. LGBTQ and ally voters have to mark the difference in the future of their state.

It's time to change Florida!

Saturday, March 18, 2023

Protest in Milan against Meloni's last attack to LGBTQ rights

Italy legalised same-sex civil unions in 2016 under a centre-left government. However, stiff resistance from Catholic and conservative groups meant that the law stopped short of granting adoption rights to same-sex couples as well.

In 2017, the Higher Regional Court of Trento, in northern Italy, ruled two gay men could be registered as parents to their twin boys, who were born in Canada with the help of a surrogate.

In 2018, Maria Silvia Fiengo and Francesca Pardi were among Italy's first same-sex couples to be registered as parents. The centre-left mayor of Milan, Giuseppe Sala, took a progressive stance and allowed children born to parents of the same gender to be acknowledged in the absence of clear national legislation.

This week, however, what was then seen as a major victory for equality and acceptance by the LGBTQ community was reversed.

The Italian interior ministry has demanded that Milan’s city council stop registering children of same-sex parents under both parents' names, in the latest move of the far-right government to undermine the rights of LGBTQ people in the country, reigniting a debate around Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni's conservative agenda.

Meloni, who leads the far-right Brothers of Italy party, made anti-LGBTQ rhetoric a cornerstone of her electoral campaign, promising to protect traditional values.

Children who are denied the right to have both parents recognised on their birth certificate are left in a legal limbo.

Thousands of people took to the streets in Milan in protest against moves by Italy's far-right government to restrict the rights of same-sex parents.

Milan's mayor Giuseppe Sala allowed same-sex parents to register their children

Friday, March 17, 2023

Michigan expands Civil Rights Act to protect LGBTQ community

Michigan's Democrat Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed an expansion of the Civil Rights Act into law. The expansion prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender or identity or expression in employment, public accommodations and public services, educational facilities, housing and real estate.

On March 8, 2023, the Michigan House of Representatives passed the bill expanding the language of the Civil Rights Act’s protected categories to include sexual orientation and gender identity or expression as prohibited categories for discrimination. The state senate had approved the bill on March 1.

The amendment defines “gender identity or expression” as “having or being perceived as having a gender-related self-identity or expression, whether or not associated with an individual’s assigned sex at birth.” Sexual orientation “means having an orientation for heterosexuality, homosexuality, or bisexuality or having a history of such an orientation or being identified with such an orientation.”

Gov. Whitmer called it a "new day in Michigan" that's "been a long time coming" during the signing ceremony. "Michigan is a state where we stand up for people's fundamental freedoms," she said. "I am so proud to be here, and I’m excited to put our state on the right side of history."

Congratulations Michigan!!!

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

The White House condemns “hateful and dangerous” attacks on LGBTQ rights

The White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre has spoken out against the “hateful and dangerous” attacks on LGBTQ rights taking place in the U.S.

Speaking to reporters, she referenced Republicans calling to ban same-sex marriage in Iowa and Tennessee, as well as attempts to limit protections for said couples in Florida. “In Florida, just Florida alone, Republicans introduced 20 bills, 20 bills on a single day to roll back the rights of LGBT community,” Jean-Pierre said.

She added that more than 450 anti-LGBTQ bills have been introduced across Republican states in the U.S., and stated that President Joe Biden’s administration will continue to call out attacks on LGBTQ people.

Jean-Pierre continued: “Just think about a kid who’s sitting at home in this community, who’s listening and hearing elected officials talking about how they want to take away their rights, or how they want to even threaten their parents with felony charges for seeking healthcare for their children.”

The Democrat-dominated House voted to pass the Equality Act in 2019, but it has been held up in the Senate, where it needs 60 votes to pass and overcome a Republican filibuster. Many republicans lawmakers refused to vote for the bill, saying it would infringe on religious rights, even though a majority of Americans support its passage. Until when?

LGBTQ identification in U.S. ticks up to 7.1%, by Gallup 

Monday, March 13, 2023

The best directors, "The Daniels", slam anti-drag bills at Academy Awards

Directing duo Daniel Scheinert and Daniel Kwan raised their voices in defence of drag when they took to the stage at the 95th Academy Awards to accept their Oscar for best director.

The duo, who are known as “the Daniels” in the industry, won prizes for both original screenplay and best director at the Academy Awards in Los Angeles, for their lauded superhero comedy Everything Everywhere All At Once.

The film, which stars the newly crowned Oscar-winning actress Michelle Yeoh, tells the tale of a Chinese-American laundrette owner navigating a tax audit, family relationships and interdimensional time travel.

Taking to the stage, Scheinert gave a moving tribute to his own parents for not suppressing his creativity. Referencing the rising tide of anti-drag legislation that is currently being pushed by Republican lawmakers across the US, he thanked his parents for permitting “dressing in drag as a kid”, which he fiercely declared is “a threat to nobody”.

Kwan also shared an inspiring message celebrating the beauty of difference. “There is greatness in every single person,” he added. “Thank you so much to everyone who has unlocked my genius.”


Watch the movie's trailer below:

Saturday, March 11, 2023

Megan Rapinoe toasts transgender community at Time’s Women of the Year gala


Soccer star Megan Rapinoe has dedicated her honor as one of Time’s 12 Women of the Year to the transgender community.

“I am only here because of them. We all know what’s going on in our country with the attempted erasure of trans people,” Megan said at Women of the Year gala, held at the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills

That includes hundreds of bills introduced in state legislatures around the nation, and several that have been passed into law, to ban gender-affirming care for trans youth or bar trans athletes from playing on the school sports teams that align with their gender identity.

“The way they refuse to live their life any other way than completely whole is so inspiring. I’m inspired by the invitation to be completely myself,” Megan said of trans people. “They offer us a full view of what it means to be a human in the world. A whole opportunity to be the crazy-ass human beings that we are. That’s a great gift,” she added.

Time' s other Women of the Year are Ukrainian LGBTQ rights activist Olena Shevchenko; Iranian journalist Masih Alinejad, who has spoken out against oppression in her country; Mexican abortion rights activist Verónica Cruz Sánchez; Suntory Beverages CEO Makiko Ono, an advocate for women in business; Anielle Franco, Brazil’s minister of racial equality; professional boxer Ramla Ali, a refugee from Somalia and activist for Muslim women; Ayisha Siddiqa, a poet and advocate for climate justice and human rights; Quinta Brunson, creator and costar of Abbott Elementary; queer singer and abortion rights advocate Phoebe Bridgers; and actors Cate Blanchett and Angela Bassett, both nominated for Academy Awards this year. 

Congratulations to all the winners!!!

Megan Rapinoe is the captain of U.S. women's soccer team

Friday, March 10, 2023

We all have to stand with LGBTQ rights in Hungary

In a new report on Hungary, the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) expresses concern over important issues, such as the adoption of restrictive laws and legislative changes that seriously undermine the human rights of LGBTQ people.

According to the report, political and other public discourse in Hungary has become “increasingly xenophobic” and has taken on “highly divisive and antagonistic overtones” in recent years, especially targeting refugees, asylum seekers and migrants, and LGBTQ persons

ECRI requests “priority implementation” for two recommendations addressed to the Hungarian authorities, necessitating follow-up action within the next two years: 

  • to commission an independent review of legislative measures adopted during the period of “state of danger”, their impact on groups of concern to ECRI, including LGBTQ persons, and their compliance with Council of Europe and other human rights standards in the fields of equality and non-discrimination;
  • to enhance the capacity of law enforcement agencies to identify and address racist and LGBTQ-phobic hate speech and hate crime by providing more targeted and practical training on the 2019 police hate crime protocol.

Other report recommendations include the following: 

  • to organise a nation-wide awareness-raising campaign on the avenues of complaints available to victims of discrimination;
  • to take urgent steps at legislative level to ensure legal recognition of a person’s gender through procedures that are quick, transparent and accessible to all and based on self-determination; 

You can read the report here

Thursday, March 9, 2023

Justin Trudeau says trans women are women

Justin Trudeau, the Canadian Prime Minister, has reaffirmed that trans women are, in fact, women.

Trudeau tweeted his support for trans women, as part of a post marking International Women’s Day, the annual celebration that aims to create awareness for women’s rights. 

Trudeau wrote that he wished to celebrate the women and girls in Canada who are fighting for their right to equality. And, in a separate tweet, he noted the rise in anti-transgender hate in Canada as well as around the world.

"I want to be very clear about one more thing: trans women are women,” he wrote. “We will always stand up to this hate, whenever and wherever it occurs,” he added.

Monday, March 6, 2023

Japanese opposition submits bill to approve same-sex marriage

Japan's Democratic Party, the main opposition party in the Japanese Parliament, submitted a bill to approve same-sex marriage, hoping to pile pressure on the government before the country hosts the Group of Seven (G7) summit in May.

The bill, which would revise the Civil Code of laws, is effectively a symbolic measure because the ruling coalition wields a significant majority and has struggled even to agree on measures outlawing discrimination against sexual minorities.

Japan is the only G7 nation that does not recognize same-sex marriage and Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has come under increasing scrutiny over LGBTQ protections in recent weeks.

Kishida has taken heat for expressing hesitation in legalizing same-sex marriage saying that it would fundamentally change society and people's values.

Japan's 1947 constitution stipulates that "marriage shall be only with the mutual consent of both sexes," although recent polls show a majority of Japanese favor recognizing same-sex marriage.

It's time Japan!!!

Saturday, March 4, 2023

Panama's Supreme Court rules against same-sex marriages

The Panamanian Supreme Court has ruled that same-sex marriage is not a human right and the country therefore does not have to recognize such unions, according to a judgment.

The high court of the Central American country ruled the phrase “between a man and a woman” in Article 26 of Panama’s family code is not unconstitutional. The ruling also upholds a provision of a 2015 law that states “marriage between individuals of the same sex is prohibited.”

The court finally concluded “the norms that provide that marriage should be voluntarily arranged between a man and a woman who are legally able to join to make and share a life together, and those that concomitantly prohibit people of the same sex from each other are objectively and reasonably justified in the general interest of giving precedence to those unions with the potential of establishing families, giving continuity to the human race and, therefore, to society.”

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights in 2018 published a landmark ruling that recognizes same-sex marriage and transgender rights in the Western Hemisphere. However, this is clearly a ruling that has the intention to not only deny our human rights, but it is an activist-type of ruling if you think about it.

Bad news...

Views on same-sex marriage in Latin America by Pew Research Center

Thursday, March 2, 2023

Trans athlete wins discrimination suit against USA Powerlifting

USA Powerlifting lost a two-year court battle after a state court ruled that it had discriminated against Minnesota powerlifter JayCee Cooper by banning her from competing in women's competitions.

The ruling also mandated that the sports organization "cease and desist from all unfair discriminatory practices" because of sexual orientation and gender identity and that it revise its policy related to sexual orientation and gender identity within two weeks.

Cooper's claims against USA Powerlifting date to 2019, when she filed a discrimination claim with the Minnesota Department of Human Rights. In it, she alleged the sports organization had violated the state's Human Rights Act by banning her and other transgender athletes from competing in women’s competitions. 

In a statement, Cooper said that she “fought as hard as I could to ensure that every trans athlete has the opportunity to compete, and be recognized with full dignity and humanity."

“I am thrilled that this ruling recognizes our rights and our humanity and hopefully opens doors for transgender athletes everywhere to participate fully in sports,” she added.

However, USA Powerlifting President Larry Maile said his organization disagrees with court decision and will be exploring options, including a possible appeal.

Congratulations JayCee!!

Wednesday, March 1, 2023

The situation of employment non-discrimination in the U.S.

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Equality Act in 2019. The Equality Act bill would provide protection to people living in states where it’s legal to discriminate based on sexual orientation and gender identity. This protection would extend across education, employment, housing and public spaces. During his State of the Union speech, President Biden called for the passage of the Equality Act as a way to protect LGBTQ rights.

MAP's map shows the current state laws or policies that prohibit discrimination against state employees on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender identity in the U.S. As a result of a 2020 U.S. Supreme Court ruling, state employees can seek recourse for employment discrimination based sexual orientation and gender identity through the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and federal courts.

Citations and more information here.