LGBTQ+ International: Rainbow Flag On Putin Peak, Lula Relief — 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:
- Halloween arrests in Malaysia
- Mounting tensions ahead of Qatar World Cup
- A defiant Johannesburg Pride
- … and more
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TW: This content may address topics and include references to violence that some may find distressing.
🇧🇷 Brazil’s LGBTQ+ Community Let Out Sigh Of Relief As Lula Beats Bolsonaro
Lula in Rio de Janeirocommons.wikimedia.org
The election of left-wing politician Luiz Inácio “Lula” da Silva as the new president of Brazil has been welcomed by the country’s LGBTQ+ community.
Although Lula has not been outspoken about LGBTQ+ issues, he has previously attended Pride events and spoken in support of LGBTQ+ rights. According to Pink News, for Brazil’s LGBTQ+ community, anyone would be better than Bolsonaro — a politician who openly said he’d rather have a dead son than a gay one.
Juanita Goebertus, Americas director at Human Rights Watch, said President-elect Lula should start working on a plan to "reverse Bolsonaro’s harmful policies in the areas of public security, the environment, and women’s, LGBTQ+, and Indigenous rights, among others," particularly as the country has experienced a significant rise in anti-LGBTQ+ violence.
🇺🇦 The Unexpected Effect Of The War In Ukraine On The Country’s LGBTQ+ Rights
A petition requesting the legalization of same-sex marriage in Ukraine has garnered more than 28,000 votes on the government’s online platform, out of the 25,000 required to be examined.
In spite of being currently in the middle of an open war with Russia, Ukraine is becoming more and more aware of LGBTQ+ issues. According to Maksym Potapovych, the representative of the NGO KyivPride, the context of military operations has actually materialized issues surrounding the equality of LGBTQ+ people, or lack thereof. Under current rules, if an LGBTQ+ soldier gets admitted to intensive care after a bombing, then “their partner won’t be allowed to gain access to the wounded."
Still, Potapovych notes signs of progress. The army’s high command, for instance, has pledged to ensure that there is no discrimination in the military. Iryna Nirsha, the coordinator of the NGO Ukrainian LGBTQ+ Military for Equal Rights, highlights that more than 200 military personnel wear a military chevron featuring a unicorn — a symbol of being LGBTQ+ in the army.
The Ukrainian military isn’t the only beacon of hope in such dire times. Even the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches, a staunch opponent of the LGBTQ+ community in the country, has stopped open homophobic rhetoric during the war.
⚽️ As Qatar World Cup Nears, Anti-LGBTQ+ Rhetoric And Calls For A Boycott Rise
Outgoing Brazilian President Bolsonaro visits a Qatari stadium in November 2021www.flickr.com
Ahead of the 2022 Soccer World Cup, which is scheduled to kick off in Qatar on Nov. 20, anti-LGBTQ+ voices within the country are being met with increased calls for a boycott:
• Qatari journalist looks forward to “clean” event amid LGBTQ+ boycott
In light of calls from members of the LGBTQ+ community to boycott the World Cup, Abdulla Alemadi, a Qatari journalist, claimed the country is “not honored to welcome such abnormal ideas and tendencies” and that he is looking forward to watching a “clean sporting event without homosexuals”. He added that it was a “blessed moment” that members of the LGBTQ+ community would not be attending.
• Australian team voices concerns
Australia has become the first country to publicly voice its concerns about Qatar’s poor human rights record, including the criminalization of LGBTQ+ people in the country, saying the “suffering” felt by migrant workers and their families caused by the World Cup “cannot be ignored”.
• LGBTQ+ supporters told to limit PDA
Fahad bin Mohammed Al-Attiyah, Qatar’s ambassador to the UK said football fans should be “mindful of the norms and cultures of Qatari society” during the World Cup, and can engage in hand holding, but should refrain from more intimate public displays like kissing.
This message was echoed by British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly, who suggested on Wednesday that gay fans should keep the public displays of affection to a minimum while in Qatar for the upcoming games. He added that Qatar was making “some compromises in terms of what is an Islamic country with a very different set of cultural norms to our own,” and that “fans should ‘be respectful of the host nation.”
🇨🇴 Colombia Sees Rate Of LGBTQ+ Homicides Double From Last Year
Between Jan.1 and Oct. 20, there have been111 homicides and femicides against LGBTQ+ people in Colombia, according to the country’s Prosecutor’s Office. The number is more than double the murders in 2021 (47). The prosecutor emphasized that in Medellín alone, 13 homicides of gay men had been reported, which the authorities relate to online dating portals.
The shocking statistic was revealed at the launch of the first good practice guide for the investigation and prosecution of cases of violence against the LGBTQ+ population. The guide aims to outline a new, prejudice-free approach to investigation in Colombia, where such crimes are underreported.
🇦🇲 Despite Azerbaijan Clashes, Armenia’s LGBTQ+ Activists Carry On
Sx weeks after Azerbaijan’s Sept. 12 attack on Armenia, which resulted in nearly 300 deaths on both sides, activists from the association Pink Armenia gathered to discuss ways to protect and fight for the country’s LGBTQ+ community in spite of tensions escalating in the region. The NGO decided to proceed with its three-day Rainbow Forum, which saw more than 140 people meet in the country’s capital of Yerevan.
Formed 15 years ago to support members of the LGBTQ+ community, Pink Armenia has made it its mission to protect human rights and advocate for public policy changes in the country. Asked during the Rainbow Forum whether this was the right time to engage the Armenian government in LGBTQ+ activism, Lilit Avetisyan, chair of the NGO answered, “When is an appropriate time to talk about human rights?”
🇲🇾 Malaysian Police Arrests Crossdressing Halloween Partygoers For “Encouraging Vice”
In Kuala Lumpur, officers belonging to Malaysia’s Federal Territories Islamic Religious Department raided an LGBTQ+ Halloween party held at club RexKL in the capital, on Oct. 29.
After splitting the attendees into muslims and non-muslims, authorities arrested 20 people from the first group over offenses under Sharia law by crossdressing and “encouraging vice.” They were then taken to the religious police’s headquarters to establish their identity before being detained.
Among them, 18 were questioned about the LGBTQ+ event and have been asked to return for further questioning. An activist described the raid as "traumatizing and harrowing" and reported abuses during the arrest and at the station on his Twitter account. Several LGBTQ+ and human rights organizations, as well as Malaysian political personalities, have expressed their outrage and concern following what they consider to be a targeted operation on the community.
🇸🇰 Thousands Gather In Slovakia And Czech Republic To Honor Murdered Gay Men
Thousands joined protests to honor the memory of Matúš Horváth, 23, and Juraj Vankulič, 26, on the day of their funerals. The two gay men were fatally shot outside an LGBTQ+ bar in Slovakia on Oct. 20. Slovakia's president Zuzana Čaputová said, “I'm sorry that our society was not able to protect your loved ones.”
The killings led to several protests in the neighboring Czech Republic, with thousands of people gathering on Prague's Wenceslas Square on Oct. 26. The gun attack also prompted a member of Parliament to come out as gay. According to Pink News, protesters also placed blame on governments in both the Czech Republic and Slovakia for not moving fast enough on protecting LGBTQ+ people.
🇿🇦 Johannesburg Pride Draws Thousands Despite Terrorist Threat
Johannesburg Pride via Facebook
Thousands of people took part in the 33rd edition of Johannesburg Pride in Sandton last Saturday, the first in the South African city since the coronavirus pandemic. It took place despite warnings from the U.S. government of a possible terrorist attack targeting the event. Organizers chose to hold the Pride as planned, with heavy police and security presence, but the day passed without any disturbance.
“Someone threatening to kill us is very, very scary, but it's not the first time and sadly will not be the last,” Lethuxolo Shange, a 24-year-old doctor told Reuters. “So we're not going to let people terrorise us.”
🇹🇼 Taiwan Welcomes Back Pride After Two Years
An estimated 120,000 people participated in Taiwan’s first Pride event in two years, as the country relaxed strict COVID-19 restrictions.
The march, held on Oct. 29, was the 20th such event in the country and is one of the biggest Pride celebrations in east Asia.
🇷🇺 Russia’s First Trans Politician Resigns After Crackdown On LGBTQ+ “Propaganda”
Russia's first transgender politician, Yulia Aleshina, announced she was retiring from politics after deputies of the Russian Parliament unanimously supported a bill on a complete ban on "propaganda of non-traditional sexual relationships." The law makes it virtually impossible to protect LGBTQ+ rights in Russia.
"I have never been involved in this kind of propaganda, but I can't imagine how to continue my public political activity as an openly transgender woman," Alyoshina wrote on her Telegram.
🇰🇬 Activist Climbers Hoist Rainbow Flag On Kyrgyzstan’s “Vladimir Putin Peak”
A group of mountain climbers recently planted a rainbow flag alongside a Ukrainian flag on Vladimir Putin Peak. Located in the mountains of Kyrgyzstan, the landmark was named after the Russian leader in 2011. The group said this was an act of protest against Putin’s “homo- and transphobic, imperial and neo-colonial regime.”
The group is part of the Pink Summits visibility campaign. Its aim is for mountain climbers to carry a rainbow flag to the highest mountains of each continent. Last year, the mountaineers took photos of themselves waving a rainbow flag at the top of Mont Blanc in the French Alps. The initiative began in August 2018, when the Pink Summits team climbed Mount Elbrus, the highest peak in Eastern Europe and Russia.
The protest comes as Russian lawmakers voted last Thursday to expand the country’s anti-LGBTQ propaganda law. First introduced in 2013, the law bans the “promotion” of “non-traditional” families to minors. It also outlawed Pride marches and LGBTQ+ representation on TV or in books that might be seen by kids. Lawmakers have now voted unanimously to expand the ban to all ages. Russian citizens found guilty of breaking it face fines of up to 400,000 roubles ($6,500).
🇬🇧 "Heartstopper" Star Kit Connor Says He Was “Forced” To Come Out As Bisexual
UK actor Kit Connorcommons.wikimedia.org
Kit Connor, the star of Netflix’s LGBTQ+ hit drama Heartstopper, has revealed on Twitter that he was forced to come out as bisexual. The English actor posted: "I'm bi. Congrats for forcing an 18-year-old to out himself. I think some of you missed the point of the show. Bye."
After Connor rose to stardom in Heartstopper, some social media users had accused him of “queerbaiting” — i.e. claiming to be part of the LGBTQ+ community for publicity.
The Gay Times has encouraged more nuance in discussions around sexuality: “The Twittersphere often attacks those playing queer roles but who aren’t open and loud about their sexuality. This leaves little room for nuance. And it’s a hell of a lot of pressure.”
🇺🇸 New Commercial For Sports Network ESPN Gives LGBTQ+ People A Courtside Seat
Professional sport is not the first thing that comes to mind when people think of acceptance for LGBTQ+ people. But a new commercial by sports network ESPN is trying to change that.
Titled “There’s No Place Like Sports: A Seat for Everyone”, the advert highlights the power of sport to bring diverse groups together. It prominently features LGBTQ+ people, a drag queen, and the rainbow pride flag.
🇦🇷🇵🇷 Miss Argentina And Miss Puerto Rico Get Married
Fabiola Valentin via Instagram
Mariana Varela and Fabiola Valentín, respectively Miss Argentina and Miss Puerto Rico, announced on Instagram that they had tied the knot in San Juan, Puerto Rico on Oct. 28.
Varela, 26, and Valentín, 22, said they’ve been dating for two years. The pair first met in 2020 during the Miss Grand International competition.
• Autostraddle asked its readers how they would define their sexual or romantic orientation, and my oh my, they did not disappoint.
• If you’re looking for LGBTQ+-friendly content to binge on Netflix, Gay Times has you covered.
• What exactly is queerbaiting, Out.com asks, and why are so many celebrities accused of it?
• In LGBTQ Nation, Missouri high school teacher Rodney Wilson reflects on how he founded LGBTQ History Month nearly 30 years ago, and what he’s doing now to keep raising awareness.
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