The week in LGBTI news
12 – 18 November 2021
Written by Maddalena Tomassini
Edited by Daniele Paletta
We are more than numbers and statistics. Behind each piece of data and report, there are our lived realities, our stories, our struggles. As we celebrate our trans and gender-diverse siblings during Trans Awareness Week and - on Trans Day of Remembrance - we prepare to remember those whom we lost, we keep calling for societies all over the world to acknowledge our right to existence and happiness.
Data collected by TGEU’s Transrespect versus Transphobia Worldwide research project show that at least 375 trans and gender-diverse persons were murdered in the past 12 months. These numbers are just a small glimpse of the reality on the ground, as data is not systematically collected in most countries. In the United States alone, at least 46 murders were reported – making 2021 the deadliest year on record for our trans siblings in the country.
More reports are casting a light on the struggles our communities keep facing every day. According to a recent survey, LGBTQI+ people of colour in the United Kingdom experience higher levels of discrimination and abuse, at times even in community spaces. In Argentina, concerning data cast a light on the trans community’s hardships in accessing the formal labour market. In Aotearoa New Zealand, the results of a survey which included people of diverse gender identities and sexual orientations have showed ongoing inequalities in their economic status, housing situation, and mental health outcomes.
Meanwhile, our fight goes on. In Thailand, the Constitutional Court put a roadblock on the path to marriage equality, ruling that the definition of marriage as being only between “man and woman” is constitutional. In Namibia, a court ruled in favour of a trans woman who was beaten and verbally abused at the hands of police.
Read this week's news from...
Europe and Central Asia
United Kingdom: LGBTQI+ people of colour face higher levels of discrimination and abuse, study shows
LGBTQI+ people of colour in the United Kingdom feel “unwelcome” and experience higher levels of discrimination and abuse, a recent study revealed.
Conducted by UK Black Pride, the We Will Be Heard report involved over 1,400 people. The survey inquired participants on community spaces, safety, media, mental health, and the work environment.
According to the research, only 25 percent of respondents felt that their local LGBTQI+ spaces were welcoming for Black people and people of colour. Almost half of them reported facing insults, intimidation, and harassment. As a result, 61 percent say they avoid certain streets because they feel unsafe, while almost half of respondents reported adjusting their clothing choices to escape discrimination.
“The voices and experiences of Black LGBTQI+ people and people of colour are essential to understanding what life is really like in the UK, but we are often overlooked,” said Lady Phyll, UK Black Pride co-founder and executive director. “Whenever anyone in our communities reports harassment, abuse or fears for their safety, it’s heartbreaking.”
More news from Europe and Central Asia
Following the landmark results of the referendum on marriage equality, all couples will be able to wed in Switzerland from July next year.
A week after listing a prominent LGBT group as “foreign agent”, the Russian Justice Ministry has added the group’s chairperson to its “foreign-agent media” registry.
A trans woman and activist has been elected chair of the Equal Opportunities Commission of the city of Bologna, Italy.
Thailand: law defining marriage between “man and woman” is constitutional, Court rules
The law stipulating that a marriage can only be between a man and a woman is constitutional, the Constitutional Court of Thailand ruled, as the path to marriage equality in the country hit a major roadblock.
Section 1448 of the Civil and Commercial Code establishes that a marriage “can take place only when the man and woman have completed their seventeenth year of age.” According to the unanimous ruling, the law “does not contravene the Constitution”.
The verdict sparked criticisms from rights groups. “Although the Court made an observation that relevant authorities should enact a law to ensure the rights of people with diverse sexual identities, this ruling still marks a huge backsliding for our fights towards the recognition of same-sex marriage and the equal rights of the LGBTIQ+ community in Thailand,” Manushya Foundation commented.
More news from Asia
ILGA Asia and All Out launched a fundraising campaign to bring emergency aid to LGBT people in Afghanistan.
Taiwan will host World Pride 2025: this will be the first time that the event will be held in the East Asia region.
A panel of judges of the Indian Supreme Court recommended an openly gay lawyer as a judge of the Delhi High court. If appointed, he would reportedly be the first out LGBTI judge in the country.
A mini docu-series shines a light on the lived realities of LGBTI people in the Philippines.
North America and the Caribbean
(trigger warning: violence) United States: 2021 deadliest year on record for trans and gender-diverse people
Since the beginning of 2021, at least 46 trans and gender-diverse people have been killed in an “epidemic of violence” ramping up in the United States, Human Rights Campaign reported.
The number is the highest recorded since the group started collecting data in 2013: a grim milestone the US trans community faces for the second year in a row, after 44 murders had been reported in 2020. Similarly to last year, Black and Latinx people have been disproportionately affected: out of 46 reported victims, 29 were Black and eight Latinx.
“The rhetoric and stigma aimed by anti-equality political leaders and public figures at transgender and non-binary people have led to an unprecedented level of horrific violence against our transgender community,” said Joni Madison, Interim President of the Human Rights Campaign.
“We must fight for change. We must dismantle this stigma. We must bring this epidemic of violence to an end,” she added.
More news from North America and the Caribbean
Disabled LGBTQI+ workers in the United States face more barriers to obtaining and maintaining employment, a study has shown. This results in difficulties in obtaining economic security.
In Canada, Canadian Blood Services are reportedly set to soon recommend an end to the ban on gay and bisexual men from donating blood. Currently, men volunteering to give blood are asked if they have had sex with a man in the last three months.
Aotearoa New Zealand: Household Economic Survey casts a light on inequalities for our communities
According to the annual Household Economic Survey, 4,2 percent of the adult population in Aotearoa New Zealand identifies as LGBT.
Interviewing more than 31,000 people aged 18 and over, the survey collected data on sexual orientation and gender identity for the first time, casting a light on the inequalities faced by our communities in the country – including on their economic status, housing situation, and mental health outcomes.
Compared to their peers, people of diverse sexual orientations or gender identities were more likely to report experiencing anxiety (26,3 against 11 percent) and depression (9,8 against 3,4 percent).
According to the findings of the survey, LGBT people are also less likely to own their home, are more at risk of poorer housing conditions, and they reported significantly higher annual housing costs. Moreover, sexual minorities have reported a lower average disposable income (NZ$ 36,331, around EUR 24,000) compared to their heterosexual peers (NZ$ 42,453, around over EUR 26,000).
“This is not a surprise to anyone working in this area,” wrote John Fenaughty, senior lecturer at the University of Auckland. “What is new are the questions that this data will raise. Do these findings, on top of the longstanding documented disparities for our communities, finally mean the time has arrived for our population to be a named priority in health policy?”
More news from Oceania
The LGBTI community in Australia expressed concern on the upcoming Religious Discrimination Bill, which is due to be presented next week, as they claim that community groups and opposition MPs have not been included in detailed consultations.
The Australian Medical Association (AMA) published a Position Statement on LGBTIQA+ Health 2021, affirming the right to bodily integrity. The document follows a statement approved in September 2021 by the Public Health Association of Australia, calling for an end to human rights abuses affecting people of diverse sex characteristics in medical settings.
Namibia: trans woman wins police abuse case
A trans woman won a court case against the Namibian Ministry of Safety and Security after she was beaten and verbally abused at the hands of police.
In July 2017, Mercedez Von Cloete was unlawfully arrested, beaten, and assaulted by a plain-clothes police officer. She was never charged with any crime. A few months later, Von Cloete accused the officer of kicking and insulting her, as other officers allegedly witnessed without intervening. Now, the High Court has awarded the woman 50,0000 Namibian dollars (around EUR 3,000) in damages.
Von Cloete voiced her joy for the ruling, saying it made her “a little more optimistic and hopeful that justice does, in fact, exist in Namibia.”
For the Namibia Equal Rights Movement, this represents “a landmark verdict for the trans community; that in Namibia hate and violence will not prevail, that we’re all equal.”
More news from Africa
(trigger warning: violence) In a Yaoundé neighbourhood in Cameroon, an intersex person was assaulted and lynched by a mob: they filmed the assault with their mobile phones, in videos that later circulated on social media. A local NGO has filed a court case for "assault and battery, degrading and inhuman treatment".
In the context of the 2021 International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa, Pan Africa ILGA and partners organised a pre-conference on the difficulties queer men experience daily.
An activist from Reunion Island was awarded with the title of Miss Trans France 2021 for her efforts to give the LGBTI community visibility.
Latin America and the Caribbean
Argentina: trans persons excluded from formal labour market, report shows
A new report has cast a light on the hardships Argentina’s trans community faces in finding employment.
Presented by consultancy firm Nodos at an IDEA (Instituto para el Desarrollo Empresarial de la Argentina) meeting, the research reports that 70 percent of trans women and 36 percent of trans men have never had a job interview. Further, only 12 percent of trans women and 48 percent of trans men take part in the formal labour market.
The over 80 company representatives present at the meeting pledged to find new shared strategies for trans employment inclusion. Among these, participants discussed building partnerships with trans advocacy groups.
“Companies have a decisive role in creating employment in our country, with the responsibility to include and integrate all groups, focusing on those who are systematically marginalised,” said Inés Cura, head of IDEA Diversity and IBM executive.
More news from Latin America and the Caribbean
Almost two months after the local congress approved the reform, marriage equality came into force in Querétaro, Mexico.
Our communities in Chile took to the streets of the capital for its 21st Pride March, calling for equality, an end to violence, recognition of rainbow families, accessible abortions, and comprehensive law on trans rights.
Photo of the week
After two years of consultations, the International Olympic Committee released its new “Framework on Fairness, Inclusion and Non-Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity and Sex Variations”. The framework, which would leave individual sports to determine their own policies, “recognises both the need to ensure that everyone, irrespective of their gender identity or sex variations, can practise sport in a safe, harassment-free environment, and the interest of everyone to participate in fair competitions”.
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