LGBTQ+ International: The Queen’s Mixed Legacy, Acceptance On Ukraine Frontlines — And The Week’s Other Top News
Welcome to Worldcrunch’s LGBTQ+ International. We bring you up-to-speed each week on a topic you may follow closely at home, but can now see from different places and perspectives around the world. Discover the latest news on everything LGBTQ+ — from all corners of the planet. All in one smooth scroll!
This week featuring:
- Elizabeth II’s controversial queer legacy
- Arab countries v. Netflix
- Suing Oklahoma over “Bathroom Bill”
- … and more
🇬🇧 Looking Back On The Queen’s Mixed LGBTQ+ Legacy
When Queen Elizabeth II ascended to the throne in 1952, homosexuality was still illegal in the UK. Under her 70-year reign, which ended with her passing last Thursday at age 91, LGBTQ+ rights radically transformed in the UK. Although she did not officially interfere with politics, she did give royal assent — a formality where the reigning monarch approves changes to the law — to many pieces of LGBTQ+ legislation.
This includes the 2004 Gender Recognition Act (GRA), which allowed trans people to legally change their gender for the first time, and the 2010 Equality Act, which outlawed many forms of discrimination against people based on sexual orientation or gender identity. And a landmark achievement for LGBTQ+ rights came in 2014, when the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act legalized same-sex marriage in England and Wales.
However, her legacy remains controversial. As late as 1995 royal household staff were forbidden from bringing same-sex partners to Buckingham Palace’s Christmas ball. A protest outside the palace and bad publicity prompted the Palace to drop the ban. And in 2012, prominent British gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell accused the monarchy of being homophobic by default because of its refusal to officially utter the words “gay” or “lesbian”. And when the Queen’s cousin married a man in 2018, no member of the inner royal family was in attendance.
🇺🇦 In Ukraine, Foreign LGBTQ+ Soldiers Find Acceptance On Frontlines
Hanna Volkova, a LGBTQ soldier of the Ukraine Territorial Defense in Irpin, Ukraine on April 20
In March, President Volodymyr Zelensky said an influx of foreign fighters — more than 16,000 people — had signed up to join Ukraine's "international" legion, helping to defend the country from Russia's invasion. Many of them were members of the LGBTQ+ community.
Dallas Casey, a gay man from Tennessee, said his sexuality had not been an issue for the soldiers he is fighting alongside, and that he hasn’t experienced any hostility.
"[Ukrainians] have been accepting, or ambivalent but supportive — which is how it should be," he said.
Before the war, Ukraine often had conservative outlets speaking out against rights for LGBTQ+ people. Still, Russia under Vladimir Putin is considered far more dangerous for gay rights, and a threat to democracy everywhere.
For former U.S. Marine Eddy Etue, who is fighting alongside Ukrainian army reservists east of the Black Sea port of Odessa: "People need to know that Ukraine right now is not only the shield for all of the rest of Europe, but the world. They're standing up for a lot here — and you know, even the ones that aren't part of the LGBTQ+ community; they still stand up for us. I can say that confidently."
🇳🇱 Feminist Organization Under Fire For Opposing Dutch Transgender Act
Dutch feminist organization Voorzij is under fire after voicing its opposition to the introduction of a new transgender-friendly law, arguing it would be "the biggest threat for women" in the country.
The Transgender Act, which is expected to be discussed by the Dutch Parliament in a few weeks, aims at making it easier for trans women to transition and allow them to access women's facilities, such as prisons, changing rooms or saunas.
The transgender community and other feminists reacted to Voorzij’s opposition, calling the organization "TERF" (Trans-exclusionary radical feminist). Banking entities Paypal and the Bunq bank blocked the organization's accounts, saying they did not support discrimination against trans women.
🇺🇸 “Drag Kids” Event At Boise Pride Postponed Due To Political Pressure
Participants at the 2022 Boise Pride Festival
This year’s Boise Pride Festival attracted particularly unwelcome attention from right-wing groups as it attempted to set up a “Drag Kids” program as part of its three-day long festival. The event planned to encourage children to have fun lip-syncing and sporting sparkly dresses on stage. But Idaho Republican Party Chairwoman Dorothy Moon condemned the event’s organizers and sponsors for “the perverse idea that children should engage in sexual performances with adult entertainers.” The Idaho GOP also wrote on Twitter that “Idaho rejects the imposition of adult sexuality & adult sexual appetites on children.”
Far-right websites and podcasts, a conservative pastor from California and a group of armed protesters rallied to publicly denounce the show. The show’s co-producer received death threats on social media and many sponsors, including the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, pulled out their funding. Organizers eventually decided to postpone the kids' performance until they found a safer venue.
🇺🇸 Trans Students Suing Oklahoma Over “Bathroom Bill”
Andy Bridge, a 16-year-old Oklahoma student, and two other peers are suing state and school officials over the latest state Senate bill limiting transgender students’ use of school facilities.
Senate Bill 615 forces all pre-kindergarten through 12th-grade public schools and public charter schools in the state to restrict transgender students’ use of school restrooms and locker rooms to those in line with the gender they were assigned at birth.
“I am a boy, and while living authentically hasn’t always been easy, it’s given me a sense of relief and happiness,” said Bridge. “Being able to use the boys’ restroom might seem like a small thing to others, but it is a vital step in my transition.”
🇸🇦 Arab Countries Demand Netflix Take Down LGBTQ+ Content
In a statement, Saudi Arabia and Gulf Arab countries such as Qatar or Bahrain have demanded U.S. giant Netflix to remove “visual materials that violate the media content controls in the GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council] countries and contradict Islamic and societal values and principles.” They threatened to take legal measures if necessary.
The type of the content was not specified in the statement, but it is believed that Netflix shows depicting LGBTQ+ characters and relationships were the target as homosexuality remains illegal in Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E.
🇭🇳 Honduras Teachers Bully Non-Binary Student For Not Wearing "Normal Clothes"
Honduran NGO Reportar Sin Miedo reports that teachers discriminated against a non-binary 17-year-old student who was wearing a crop top for not dressing in "normal clothes". School uniforms have not been compulsory in Honduras since February of this year.
Teachers reportedly insulted the student with humiliating comments that were caught on video. The student has said: “They [the teachers] want to hide everything but they will not be able to, I do not intend to remain silent.”
In Honduras, 30 violent deaths of LGBTQ+ people have been reported this year alone, according to the figures from the Observatory of Violent Deaths of the Cattrachas organization.
🇦🇷 Buenos Aires Hosts LGBTQ+ Summit With Focus On Hate Speech
The Coalition for Equal Rights meeting in Buenos Aires
Facebook page Cancillería Argentina
Buenos Aires recently hosted the global LGBTQ+ meeting of the Coalition for Equal Rights. Chaired by Argentina and the UK, the meeting aimed to listen to the experiences and commit to actions that help improve the lives of LGBTQ+ people. The conference also aimed to confront the advance of anti-gender movements. The city welcomed more than 140 organizations and representatives from 42 countries as well as the UN and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.
Alba Rueda, the Special Representative for Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, a role that exists only in five countries, said that "although we have not paid off all the debts, the Global South has some good practices to share on inclusion."
On the first day of the event, the Argentine foreign minister Santiago Cafiero made reference to the assassination attempt of Vice President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. "The attack demonstrates the urgency of ending hate speech and its spiraling,"
🌐 4chan Trolls LGBTQ+ Youth Suicide Prevention Hotline
A group of homophobic 4chan users organized on Tuesday a concerted flood of the Trevor Project digital crisis hotlines, which provides support to suicidal LGBTQ+ young people in the U.S. The far-right trolls saturated the lines with fake pleas for help, increasing the waiting time for genuine callers until counselors noticed what was going on.
“These people's intent was literally that more young people would kill themselves. How sad is that?” said Kevin Wong, a spokesperson for the organization.
The trolling campaign was launched from 4chan’s /pol/ message board, with users encouraging to “f*ck up the queue" so that young LGBTQ+ people are "unable to receive assistance," and “waste as much of [the hotlines'] resources as possible.”
In a piece for Advocate.com, Kevin Wong pointed out that this event occurred at the beginning of National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. Reminding that LGBTQ+ young people are four times more likely to attempt suicide than other groups, he encouraged people to fight the mass misinformation targeting this community, and to reconsider how “they talk about — and treat — LGBTQ young people.”
🇸🇨 Seychelles President Meets With LGBTQ+ Organization
President Wavel Ramkalawan met with leaders of a local LGBTQ+ organization. The members of “LGBTI Seychelles” briefed the president on their work and future objectives. "We should live in a society where anyone is free to live their lives as they please regardless of gender or orientation," said Ramkalawan.
LGBTI Seychelles reported on Facebook that they had a "good discussion" with the head of state: "The president welcomed our comments, and was very receptive to the work that needs to be done to further equal rights.” Six years ago, Seychelles repealed its law against same-sex intimacy, a huge step for the LGBTQ+ community.
🇮🇹 “Peppa Pig” Features Same-Sex Couple, Italy’s Far-Right Demand Ban
Screenshot from a new Peppa Pig episode featuring a same-sex couple for the first time.
The British children’s TV show Peppa Pig introduced its first same-sex couple in 18 years. In the new episode, Penny the Polar Bear sketches the portrait of two female polar bears and tells her classmates “I’m Penny Polar Bear. I live with my mummy and my other mummy.”
The episode enraged Italy’s far-right party Fratelli d’Italia that has appealed national broadcaster not to air the “unacceptable” episode. A nationalist party spokesman said, “We can’t accept gender indoctrination. Political correctness has struck once again and it’s our children who pay the price."
It is not yet known when the episode, which aired last week in the UK, will be shown in Italy.
• PinkNews discussed how The Great British Bake Off could do more for the LGBTQ+ community with Michael Chakraverty and David Atherton, the cooking show’s iconic queer duo who marked its 2019 “turning point” edition.
• Meet Dr. Demetre Daskalakis, the Biden administration’s monkeypox response deputy coordinator and gay advocate who’s been throwing the conservatives into a panic.
• Advocate.com looks back proudly on 17 groundbreaking LGBTQ+ politicians and public officials who have been paving the way since the 1970s.
• On National Suicide Prevention Week, here is some advice to support LGBTQ+ elders who struggle with suicide.