LGBTQ+ International: Good And Bad News From Singapore, Great Gatsby Makeover — 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:
- A first in Pakistan, as a trans woman addresses National Assembly
- Copenhagen Pride with Oslo and Kyiv as guests of honor
- F. Scott Fitzgerald’s seminal novel getting an LGBTQ+ & POC retelling
- … and more
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🇸🇬 Singapore To Decriminalize Gay Sex, But Moves Against Same-Sex Marriage
Singapore will decriminalize sex between men, becoming the latest Asian country to move toward ending discrimination against members of the LGBTQ+ community. The announcement was made during Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s annual national speech. According to Lee, Singaporean society is becoming more accepting of gay people: "I believe this is the right thing to do, and something that most Singaporeans will now accept," he said.
LGBTQ+ groups welcomed the decision but also expressed concern as the government is taking steps to amend the constitution to forbid same-sex marriage. Singapore’s Prime Minister said his government “would protect its definition of marriage, that of being between a man and a woman, from being challenged constitutionally in the courts.” As of now, Taiwan is the only Asian country that legalizes same-sex marriage.
🇮🇩 Bali Police Reacts To Death Of Transgender Rights Activist In Custody
Rodrigo Ventocilla, a Peruvian 32-year-old student at Harvard Kennedy School and transgender rights activist, died on Aug. 11, five days after being arrested at Bali's Denpasar airport, Indonesia.
Ventocilla had travelled to Bali for his honeymoon when he was stopped by customs authorities because of the presence of "suspicious items" in his belongings. Ventocilla then spent five days in detention on drug possession charges, before being taken to a hospital when he started vomiting. Bali police denied any wrongdoing and say his death was not caused by physical abuse.
On Thursday, Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesperson Teuku Faizasyah said that the investigation into Ventocilla's death "must be handled by the police," in reaction to the activist's family calling on Indonesian authorities to authorize an independent post-mortem.
🇻🇳 Homosexuality No Longer Considered A Disease In Vietnam
Walking on Vietnam's Golden Bridge
Vietnam's Ministry of Health has announced that homosexuality is no longer considered a "disease" in the country and outlawed conversion therapy in a big win for the LGBTQ+ community. The official declaration also states that educating the population and inspecting medical facilities will be stepped up.
Vietnamese LGBTQ+ organizations have fought for years to end the stigmatization of homosexuality and raise awareness. The organizations are now expected to focus on the "I agree campaign" in favor of the legalization of same-sex marriage in the country.
🇯🇵 Japan’s Pop Star Rina Sawayama Gives Powerful LGBTQ+ Speech
Japanese-British singer and model Rina Sawayama advocated for LGBTQ+ rights during her performance at the Summer Sonic Festival in Japan. She called for the legalization of same-sex marriage in the country, where it is still deemed unconstitutional: "Out of the G7 countries, it's the only one that doesn't have that protection," she said on stage.
Rina came out as bisexual and pansexual in 2018 and told the crowd to "fight together" for queer people's rights. Acclaimed for her debut track STFU in which she tackled micro-aggressions against Asian people, the pop star is set to release her second album Hold the Girl on Sept. 16, and described its production as a "healing" process.
🇺🇸 More U.S. College Students Identifying Beyond “She” And “He”
Students filling out their college applications are not solely identifying as “she” or “he.” According to an analysis of more than 1.2 million applications submitted for the school year 2022-2023, more than 3% of the incoming students use a different set of pronouns.
The percentage is equal to about 37,000 students and is indicative of a growing number of young people who identify outside of the gender binary. The analysis found that 2.2% of all students identified as transgender or non-binary — although that number is likely to be higher, according to researchers, since some students may be reluctant to indicate their gender identity on an admissions form.
🇺🇸 Florida Christian School Will Only Use Students’ “Biological Gender”
Grace Christian School in Valrico, Florida
A religious school in Florida has declared that it will only refer to students by their sex assigned at birth and those belonging to the LGBTQ+ community “will be asked to leave the school immediately.”
An email from Grace Christian School in Valrico, about 20 miles east of Tampa, was sent to parents before the beginning of the school year by Administrator Barry McKeen. The email cited scripture and announced that the students will be referred to “the gender on their birth certificates”.
It continued: “We believe that any form of homosexuality, lesbianism, bisexuality, transgender identity/lifestyle, self-identification, bestiality, incest, fornication, adultery and pornography are sinful in the sight of God and the church."
🇺🇸 The Great Gatsby Gets LGBTQ+ And POC Update
F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 1925 novel The Great Gatsby is getting a makeover. Jeremy Holt and Felipe Cunha’s Gatsby, an eight-issue graphic novel series debuting in November, will feature LGBTQ+ characters and people of color.
In this version, the protagonist is a Singaporean student who spends his summer with his rich cousin in Long Island. The characters will deal with 21st-century temptations and problems. Just like in the original, the graphic novel will portray the corruption of wealth and the illusion of the American Dream.
🇺🇸 Utah Reverses Sports Ban For Transgender Kids
The state of Utah announced it will now allow transgender girls to participate in female sports when school resumes. Under the new terms, a state commission will determine if a student can compete in a female team depending on their weight and height and whether or not they represent an unfair advantage to other participants.
Utah implemented a sports ban for transgender children in July, and reversed it after three families filed a lawsuit underlying the consequence of the ban on the students' mental health. In the U.S, 12 Republican states have passed laws banning transgender girls from sports. Judge Keith Kelly blocked the legislation and called it an "unfavorable treatment" for transgender students.
🇳🇱 Oslo And Kyiv Lead The Way As Copenhagen Pride Focuses On Freedom
2022 Copenhagen Pride Parade
Copenhagen’s multi-day Pride came to a close on Aug. 21. The theme of this year’s pride was freedom, focusing on “injustice globally and locally.” It was chosen to to highlight how LGBTQ+ people face discrimination in Denmark and abroad.
The parade on Aug. 20 was led by a delegation from Oslo, as a tribute to those who lost their lives and were injured in the shooting outside the London Pub in Oslo in June. A Ukrainian delegation also joined to mark the human rights abuses currently being committed by Russia.
🇪🇸 Rural Spain Fights Depopulation By Becoming LGBTQ+ Haven
Arenas de San Pedro, a typical small Spanish town, is trying to combat depopulation by becoming a safe space for queer people. Just before the pandemic, the Arenas Arcoíris collective emerged with a goal of bringing together LGBTQ+ people from Arenas and other neighboring small towns.
According to Romina Cabreras, who belongs to this group, it is difficult to grow up queer in rural communities. Most people eventually leave for the big cities. “In rural areas, there are no leisure or meeting spaces for LGBTQ+ people either,” which makes mutual support difficult. The loss of anonymity is also an added difficulty.”
The group is trying to make living in rural areas attractive again by building communities and diversification. Art exhibitions on queerness have been travelling from town to town, and they host LGBTQ+ movie screenings and teaching activities. Ultimately, they want to create a safe space without judgment — whether that's in a metropolis or a small town.
🇰🇪 Kenya’s Lesbian Soccer Players Fight For Right To Play
In Kenya, lesbian soccer players report widespread discrimination and homophobia and say they are being bullied and harassed over their sexual orientation. All of this has an impact on their career when their only desire is to play football.
Interviewed by the Thomson Reuters Foundation, Kenyan football player “Imani” — who chose not to reveal her real name — said she even overheard remarks while in the middle of a game. This led her to decide to stop her career as she worries about her own safety as a member of the LGBTQ+ community in a not so tolerant country.
🇦🇷 LGBTQ+ Cultural Spaces Struggling To Weather Argentina’s Economic Crisis
As of July 2022, Argentina has a year-on-year inflation of 71%. Cultural centers for sexual and gender diversity managed to get through the ravages of the pandemic and the economic crisis by networks, reinventing their financing methods, and the support of a faithful community. Promoters from different LGBTQ+ cultural centers pointed out the importance of these spaces to LGBTQ+ media Presentes.
Associations like Alto Valle Diverse function without their own space or the funds to pay for one. They provide workshops on theater, singing, photography and Argentine Sign Language The cultural LGBTQ+ spaces that have survived the economic crisis stressed the urgent need for support and state investment to continue their operation
🇵🇰 Trans Woman Addresses Pakistan’s National Assembly For First Time
Transgender woman and activist Bubbli Malik interrupted the Pakistan’s National Assembly Speaker Pervez Ashraf on Friday, requesting him to adress people by saying “Hazreen-e-Mehfil” that means “people present at the gathering” instead of using the greeting “ladies and gentlemen” (Khawateen-o-Hazrat).
🇲🇱 Mali Justice Minister Announces Plans To Criminalize Homosexuality
Mahamadou Kassogué, justice minister for the west African nation of Mali, declared over the weekend that he will push for a law criminalizing homosexuality. He made the announcement in a short video published on Twitter. “Homosexuality is an unnatural relationship. There is no specific [law against it at present in Mali]. We are going to pass laws to prohibit it in our country.”
Alice Nkom, a prominent attorney and LGBTQ+ rights defender in Cameroon objected: “If such a law were to be passed in Mali, it would be in violation of the African Charter on Human Rights.” She referred to Resolution 275 of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights deals with the protection against violence and other human rights violations on the basis of their real or assumed sexual identity or orientation. Of Africa’s 54 nations, 32 currently have laws against homosexuality and 22 don’t, as reported by Rights Africa.
🌎 Player Banned For Removing Pride Flags In Spider-Man Video Game
Like many recent video games, the new PC version of Marvel’s “Spider-Man Remastered” allows its users to create mods: alterations to the game that can be shared and downloaded by other users. But this possibility was used for an LGBTQ+phobic agenda when a user created a mod in which he replaced the few Pride flags of the game with U.S. flags. He was subsequently banned from the websites Nexus Mods and ModDB, and his mod was removed.
Nexus Mods director Robin Scott addressed the issue in a blog post, saying the website’s policy is “for inclusivity, we are for diversity.” He encouraged users upset by this policy “to delete [their] account.” The second website, ModB, expressed a similar view when it had to deal with several homophobic mods this week: “ModDB is an inclusive environment for all, and we do not permit targeting marginalized groups.”
• Read the testimonies of two advocates’ efforts to bring the HIV community together and fight against depression and isolation, as part of HIVPlusMag’s HIV Heroes series.
• Terrorism expert Juliette Kayyem explains how attacks on the LGBTQ+ community are fueled by “stochastic” terrorism: targeted hate speech online that risks inspiring acts of violence in real life.
• Gaysi has compiled a great list of queer photographers’ Instagram accounts.
• For Pink News, historian Florence Scott responds to a controversy surrounding I, Joan, a new play centered on a gender non-conforming Joan of Arc, explaining how the medieval heroin deviated from the gender norms of her age.