The week in LGBTI news
5 – 11 November 2021
This newsletter provides the lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex community and their allies with the week in LGBTI news of the world
Written by Maddalena Tomassini
Edited by Daniele Paletta
No progress is linear - as a global community, we are perfectly aware of it. Every hard-won advance is always at risk of being rolled back.
In Namibia, authorities decided to appeal a recent landmark ruling that recognised a same-sex couple's child his right to citizenship by descent. In South Korea, the National Assembly is stalling on the discussion on four separate anti-discrimination bills.
However, what seems lost can be reclaimed back. In Spain, the Health Ministry announced that single women - as well as lesbian and bisexual women – can now access in vitro fertilization through the National Health System: not only this decision reverses a ban that had been into force since 2014, but now includes also trans people with gestational capacity. The United States is planning to rescind a rule, introduced by the previous administration, that had expanded religious exemptions from anti-discrimination laws for federal contractors.
All the time, we need to remember the long road that brought us here, and the lives we have lost along the way. In Argentina, thousands of people took to the streets of Buenos Aires for the capital’s 30th Pride March, celebrating the community's achievements and struggles over the years. Meanwhile, New South Wales (Australia) announced it will launch a judicial inquiry into the historic hate crimes that occurred between 1970 and 2010 in Sydney.
Read this week's news from...
Europe and Central Asia
Spain opens free IVF to single women, lesbian and bisexual women, trans people with gestational capacity
Lesbian and bisexual women, single women, and trans people with gestational capacity in Spain will now have access to free in vitro fertilization (IVF) services through the country’s national health system, the government has announced.
Rainbow communities celebrated the news after the country’s Health Minister signed an executive order, reversing a 2014 policy that restricted access to the service to cis straight women in a relationship and to individuals with infertility. Activists have ever since fought to see assisted reproduction benefits return, and had considered this as “a ’red line’ in the negotiations for the LGBTI and Trans Law currently being discussed”.
“We have always understood that achieving rights such as assisted reproduction would benefit lesbian, bisexual women and trans people with gestational capacity, without harming anyone,” said FELGTBI+ president Uge Sangil during the signing ceremony. “It is an example of how recognising LGTBI rights means recognising human rights for society as a whole”.
Other groups echoed their appreciation. “Finally, assisted reproduction is included for single women, lesbians, bisexual women, and trans people with gestational capacity,” Arcópoli wrote in a tweet. “This is the way to continue expanding rights and not leaving anyone out.”
More news from Europe and Central Asia
The Russian Ministry of Justice listed an LGBTI organisation as a “foreign agent”, a move that could hamper its advocacy work.
The European Sex Workers’ rights Alliance launched a petition, calling on the Spanish government to refrain from attempts to criminalise sex work.
Italy’s Senate approved a law banning ads on streets and transports containing sexist or discriminatory messages. A few days later, the government also established the position of Special Envoy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the Human Rights of LGBTIQ+ people.
United Kingdom’s main broadcast service decided not to renew their membership to Stonewall’s Diversity Champions programme.
Rights groups call on South Korea to approve anti-discrimination law, as bills stall
Civil society groups are calling on South Korea to adopt an anti-discrimination law, as four separate bills on the matter are stalling.
Filed since June 2020 at the National Assembly of South Korea, the draft laws are pending for discussion at the Legislation and Judiciary Committee. Earlier this year, an online parliamentary petition garnered over 100,000 signatures, echoing rights groups’ request to move the discussions forward.
However, any immediate progress on a law seems now to be unlikely, as the Committee announced it would extend the review period until the end of the current parliamentary term in May 2024.
In a joint statement released this week, ILGA Asia and ILGA World have joined other organisations in calling on the government to take the necessary steps to fight any kind of discrimination.
“This is the 11th time draft legislation on anti-discrimination has been submitted to the National Assembly since 2007,” groups said. “Any further delay or failed attempt to pass a strong anti-discrimination law consistent with international human rights standards will only perpetuate the institutionalised suffering, stigmatisation and even violence against victims of discrimination in the country.”
More news from Asia
Amidst concerns for an increasingly repressive climate in China, a prominent LGBTI rights group has shut down.
Hackers exposed highly sensitive data from an Israeli LGBT dating app, including the sexual orientation and HIV status of its users.
On Intersex Solidarity Day, Intersex Asia celebrated the first batch of activists who graduated from its Fellowship program after a year-long training program.
North America and the Caribbean
United States to revoke expansion of religious exemptions
The United States plans to rescind a rule that expanded religious exemptions from anti-discrimination laws, the U.S. Department of Labour announced.
Approved by the previous administration, the rule broadened the exemptions for federal contractors from a narrowly defined set of religious groups to employers who “hold themselves out to the public as carrying out a religious purpose”.
LGBTI groups had then criticised the change, warning it could open the door to discrimination. According to Jenny Yang, director of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, the rule is “unnecessary and problematic”.
“The proposed rescission would also promote economy and efficiency in federal procurement by preventing the exclusion of qualified and talented employees on the basis of protected characteristics,” Yang said in an interview. “This ensures that taxpayer funds are not used to discriminate.”
More news from North America and the Caribbean
A vandal damaged a temporary memorial in honour of the 49 people who were killed at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida (United States) five years ago.
Following a Court’s order, the province of Manitoba (Canada) announced it will amend legislation that forces parents who conceived children through assisted reproduction to go through court processes to be legally recognised.
Rights groups are challenging a law in Tennessee (United States) that limits student athletes’ participation in school sports based on the sex listed on their original birth certificates.
Australia: New South Wales launches an inquiry into historic hate crimes
The New South Wales government will launch a judicial inquiry into hate crimes that occurred between 1970 and 2010.
In May this year, the Legislative Council’s Standing Committee on Social Issues had recommended the investigation, marking the end of a three-year research. Between 1970 and 2010, around 88 gay men and trans women died in Sydney in suspected hate crimes, 23 of which remain unsolved.
“For decades, sexuality and gender diverse people in New South Wales were subjected to horrific hate crimes,” said Nicholas Parkhill, CEO of ACON. “This epidemic of violence, along with the slow and inadequate responses to many of these crimes, has left a painful legacy for the loved ones of victims, survivors, their families, and the broader community.”
“Those responsible for these crimes are now middle aged and many remain unpunished,” commented Shayne Mallard, chair of the Legislative Council Inquiry. “This inquiry is the right way to address the concerns of the community and hopefully bring some of the offenders to justice.”
More news from Oceania
The Dunedin Airport in Aotearoa New Zealand installed a rainbow crossing to show support to the LGBTI community.
The Sydney Mardi Gras Parade will be aired on Australia’s public broadcaster for three years, thanks to a deal that will include the 2023 World Pride.
Namibia: authorities appeal against landmark ruling on rainbow families
Namibian authorities will appeal against a recent landmark ruling that recognised the son of a same-sex couple his right to citizenship by descent.
The child was born in South Africa via surrogacy to a Namibian man, Phillip Lühl, and his Mexican husband, Guillermo Delgado. Authorities in Namibia had rejected Lühl’s request to grant his son citizenship, even though he was named as a parent on the birth certificate of the child.
Earlier this month, a High Court ruled that the decision violated the country’s Constitution, as it guarantees equality for all citizens. The Ministry of Home Affairs, Immigration, Safety and Security, however, announced it would not accept the ruling, reasserting their “belief that the High Court erred in law and in fact.”
“The Ministry of Home Affairs has admitted that their approach to an application for citizenship by descent for the two-year-old son of a Namibian citizen was influenced by the parent’s same-sex marriage status,” tweeted the Namibia Equal Rights Movement. “Ministry is abusing the public office and tax-payer funds to target LGBTQ+ persons, their family and children. That’s not a Born-Free Republic.”
In a separate case this year, the couple had to go to Court to take their two youngest twin daughters home to Namibia, after the ministry had refused to issue travel documents for them following their birth in South Africa.
More news from Africa
Civil society and government representatives met in South Africa, as the country is considering a reform to reportedly either remove gender markers from its documents or add a third gender-neutral option.
In Ghana, the National Assembly started auditions on the proposed anti-LGBT bill.
Latin America and the Caribbean
Argentina: thousands in Buenos Aires celebrate the city’s 30th Pride March
Thousands of people took to the streets of Buenos Aires for its 30th annual Pride March, deemed by organisers as the biggest in the capital’s history.
The rainbow community celebrated its history of struggles and achievements, while still calling for the government to address unsolved issues. Many in the march called for redress and reparation for historic case of discrimination against trans people, as well for as a comprehensive trans law.
“We ask for the law as historical reparation. We have elderly women who have been persecuted. They have not been able to study or access health care,” Mary Robles, an activist of ATTTA (Asociación de Travestis, Transexuales y Transgéneros de Argentina), told AFP.
Many participants were also chanting and holding signs calling on authorities to cast a light on the case of Tehuel de la Torre, a 22-year-old trans man who went missing in March after he had left home for a job interview.
More news from Latin America and the Caribbean
Hate crimes against the LGBTI community in Honduras continue unabated: according to reports, at least 22 people in our community were killed this year.
Colombia has recently updated its rules for blood donations, eliminating a question to men on whether they had had sex with other men, or with trans women, over the past 12 months. However, the National Health Institute explained that the rule may still be subject to updates or revisions.
A study in Brazil analysed how lesbian women experience situations of discrimination and prejudice that require them to constantly negotiate the disclosure of their sexual orientation – something which may also impact their mental health outcomes.
Photo of the week
We’re happy to announce that the next ILGA World Conference will go ahead as planned! The largest global gathering of LGBTIQ changemakers is confirmed to take place from 2 to 6 May 2022 in LA Long Beach, California, United States – hosted by the It Gets Better Project under the theme “LGBTIQ youth: future present change”. “Our World Conference will be going ahead, and the health, safety and well-being of all will be at the highest priority,” said ILGA World Co-Secretaries General Luz Elena Aranda and Tuisina Ymania Brown. Registration is open!
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