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LGBTQ+ International: Chile's Same-Sex Marriage Boom, Algeria v. Rainbows — And Other 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!

Photo of a person wearing rainbow-colored shoes

Algeria wants people to stop buying products with rainbow colors, which it says aren't compliant with Islamic precepts

Laura Valentina Cortes Sierra, Renate Mattar, Riley Sparks and Shaun Lavelle

This week featuring:

  • U.S. executes first known transgender woman
  • Indonesia’s “anti-LGBT” city
  • The Black Eyed Peas’ NYE show of support in Poland

✉️ You can receive our LGBTQ+ International roundup every week directly in your inbox. Subscribe here.

TW: This content may address topics and include references to violence that some may find distressing.

🇺🇸 First Openly Transgender Prisoner Executed In The U.S.

A Missouri woman was the first openly transgender prisoner to be executed in the U.S.

Amber McLaughlin, 49, was put to death by lethal injection. She was found guilty in 2003 of murdering her ex-girlfriend Beverly Guenther. “I am sorry for what I did,” her final statement read. “I am a loving & caring person.”

Last year, McLaughlin’s lawyers asked Missouri governor Mike Parson to grant clemency. They cited mental health problems and childhood abuse at the hands of foster parents, issues which weren’t considered during her trial.

McLaughlin’s lawyer said the prisoner’s life had been marked by “systemic failures,” and warned that her execution “would highlight all the flaws of the justice system and would be a great injustice on a number of levels.”

🇩🇿 Algeria’s Crusade Against “Non-Sharia Compliant” Rainbows

The Algerian government wants people to stop buying products with rainbow colors, which it says “undermine the moral values of Algerian society” and are not compatible with the Islamic Sharia precepts. A new PR campaign, launched by the country’s Ministry of Commerce on Jan. 3, will target displays in markets and public squares, as well as sending mass text messages to Algerian cell phones.

In June this year, police in Biskra, Algeria seized 81 copies of a rainbow-colored Koran. Homosexuality remains illegal in the country and can be punished by up to three years in prison.

🇮🇱 Israel Rabbi Insults Gay Member Of Parliament

Photo of Rabbi Meir Mazuz, leader of Tunisian Jews in Israel

Rabbi Meir Mazuz, leader of Tunisian Jews in Israel

Israel Reports Facebook page

On Dec. 31 during an online lecture, Rabbi Meir Mazuz, leader of Tunisian Jews in Israel, called openly gay Israeli Parliament speaker Amir Ohana “diseased” for being part of the LGBTQ+ community. Ohana is the Knesset’s first out gay speaker elected last December, alongside many anti-LGBTQ+ politicians. Mazuz insinuated that Ohana’s sexual orientation was the cause of the Meron stampede disaster in April last year, which saw 44 people killed. At the time of the stampede, Ohana was public secretary minister and in charge of overseeing the event’s planning.

The Rabbi also commented on Jerusalem Pride, calling its participants derogatory and dehumanizing insults. Ran Shalhavi, head of the Association for LGBTQ Equality in Israel, said to Times of Israel that Mazuz’s comments against the LGBTQ+ community enable violent acts against it.

🇻🇬 British Virgin Islands To Hold Same-Sex Marriage Referendum 

The British Virgin Islands will hold a referendum to decide if same-sex marriage should be legalized. The referendum, the first of its kind in the British overseas territory in the Caribbean, will take place after a challenge by a same-sex couple who wish to have their union recognized. A date has yet to be set for the referendum.

The Virgin Islands government, led by Premier Natalio Wheatley, has said it will oppose the move. Wheatley said the law “clearly provide[s] that marriage should be between a man and a woman.”

🇪🇨 Ecuadorian Cis Father Changes Legal Gender In Attempt To Gain Custody Of Daughters

An Ecuadorian father changed his gender marker in the national identity document to claim legal custody of his daughters. He claims that the law favors mothers and wants the authorities to stop treating fathers only as providers.

Trans groups have expressed concern, saying they are "surprised that a visibly cisgender man has passed the optional gender change on the identity card with apparent ease, even when we have said that in the same city of Cuenca, there have been problems for the recognition of the gender of trans people.”

🇺🇬 Ugandan Government And Church Accuse LGBTQ+ People Of “Recruiting” Children

Ugandan LGBTQ+ advocates are warning that government and church officials are spreading dangerous homophobic messages. Annet Kezaabu, chair of a government anti-pornography committee, recently claimed – without evidence – that LGBTQ+ people are “recruiting” children in schools.

The archbishop of the Church of Uganda made a similar claim in his Christmas address, in which he quoted a Bible verse that suggested people believed to be “recruiting children into homosexuality” should be drowned.

“This ‘homophobic’ slur not only threatens but also puts this already vulnerable community in mortal danger,” Ugandan LGBTQ+ activist Frank Mugisha wrote in response.

🇺🇸 U.S. Sees Record Number Of Married Same-Sex Couples

Nick Carvounis

The number of married same-sex couples in the U.S. has never been higher, according to new census data.

The survey found more than 1.2 million same-sex couples living together in the U.S., including 700,000 married couples – a number that has gone up since federal marriage equality became the law in the U.S. in 2016.

🇮🇩 Mayor Of Medan Declares Indonesian City “Anti-LGBT”

The mayor of the city of Medan, Indonesia, stated that the city is "anti-LGBT,” adding that that “there are no homosexuals here” after seeing gay couples ring in the new year in the streets. The mayor also expressed his desire for all single people in Medan, a city of 5 million inhabitants, to find heterosexual partners, get married and have children.

Indonesia doesn’t allow same-sex marriage, while same-sex sexual activity is criminalized in two provinces. The Indonesian parliament recently passed a new penal code that criminalizes sex outside marriage. When it comes into force in 2025, the amended code will effectively criminalize gay sex throughout the southeast Asian country.

🇮🇪 Ireland Vows To Ban “Conversion Therapy” By 2024

The Irish government has promised to introduce legislation to outlaw so-called “conversion therapies” by 2024.

Ireland’s Integration Minister Roderic O’Gorman said that “a process that seeks for somebody to change their sexual orientation or gender identity is extremely exploitative, particularly if undertaken on someone under 18.”

🇨🇱 Chile Registers More Than 1,600 Same-Sex Marriages

A year ago, Chile became the eighth country in Latin America to legalize same-sex marriage, along with countries such as Costa Rica, Ecuador, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Uruguay, and Mexico. This year, Cuba also joined the list. According to EFE, Chile registered 1,644 same-sex weddings in the first 12 months after equal marriage was approved.

🇵🇱 Black Eyed Peas Wear Rainbow Armbands At Poland NYE Show, Draw Conservative Ire

blackeyedpeas via Instagram

At a New Year’s performance in Poland, all four members of U.S. hip-hop group Black Eyed Peas wore rainbow armbands in solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community.

After thanking the Polish audience for “being so open-hearted and open-minded” and for supporting the people of Ukraine against the Russian invasion, Black Eyed Peas frontman Will.i.am dedicated the song “Where Is the Love?” to victims of hate in 2022, including Black people and members of the Jewish and the LGBTQ+ communities.

The ruling conservative Law and Justice Party (PiS) voiced its discontent, with Marcin Warchoł calling the armbands a “disgrace”.


• As we ring in the new year, Openly takes an in-depth look at the challenges LGBTQ+ people around the world will face in 2023.

• A Chicago-based writer and sex educator ranks the eight times strangers misread their gender identity.

AZ Magazine, which showcases underrepresented LGBTQ+ voices, features this great piece, “From Addis Ababa, With Love”, a conversation between a Sudanese writer and LGBTQ+ activist and a queer singer from Ethiopia.

• HIV Plus magazine has a heartwarming story of how HIV-positive gay men found a community.

• The BBC highlights an initiative from a school in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, giving free dance lessons to transgender people.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

A "Third Rome": How The Myth of Russian Supremacism Fuels Putin's War

Tracing the early roots of the concept of the "Russian world" that sees the Russian state as eternal and impervious to change. Its primary objective is the establishment of a robust national state, a realm of expansionism where autocracy is the only form of governance possible.

Russia's President Vladimir Putin gives a gala reception at the Grand Kremlin Palace

Russia's President Vladimir Putin gives a gala reception at the Grand Kremlin Palace

Alexei Nikolsky/TASS/ZUMA
Vazhnyye Istorii


Looking back at the start of the 16th century, the Grand Duchy of Moscow had emerged victorious over its Orthodox rivals, including principalities such as Tver and the Novgorod Republic. At the time, a significant portion of the eastern Slavic lands was under Catholic Lithuania's control.

So, how did Moscow rise to prominence?

On the surface, Moscow appeared to fill the void left by the Mongolian Golden Horde. While Moscow had previously collected tributes from other principalities, it now retained these resources for itself. There was an inclination for Muscovy to expand further eastward, assimilating fragments of the Genghisid empire. However, aligning the descendants of ancient Rus’ with the heirs of Genghis Khan would necessitate a fundamental shift in the state's identity. This was particularly complex due to the prevalent ideology built around religion, with the Tatar khans, unlike the Russian princes, adhering to Islam.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

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In the early 16th century, a Pskov monk named Philotheus introduced a new idea: that Moscow represented the "third Rome."

According to Philotheus, the first Rome had succumbed to Latin heresy (Catholicism), and the second, Constantinople, had fallen to Turkish conquest. He believed Moscow was now the capital of the only Orthodox state remaining in the world. Philotheus presented his worldview to Grand Duke Vasily III, advocating for the unification of all Christian kingdoms into one.

The descendants of ancient Rus’ sought to trace their lineage back to Prus, the legendary brother of the first Roman emperor Augustus Octavian, establishing a link between Russia and the first Rome. Even though historical evidence doesn't support these claims, Ivan IV, better known as Ivan the Terrible, proudly asserted his connection to Augustus Octavian. He took the concept of the third Rome very seriously and became the first Russian ruler to take on the title of the tsar.

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