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LGBTQ+ International: Istanbul “Hate March,” Non-Binary London Marathon — And The Week’s Other Top News

Runners during the 2021 London Marathon​

Runners during the 2021 London Marathon

Laura Valentina Cortés Sierra, Lila Paulou, Emma Albright, Chloé Touchard, Meike Eijsberg and Lisa Berdet

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:

  • Don't Ask, Don't Tell reparations in California
  • Clashes and hope at Belgrade’s first Pride
  • Mormons v. “gayest” doormat
  • … and more

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

🇹🇷  Anti-LGBTQ+ Rally In Istanbul Draws Thousands

Thousands of people took part in an anti-LGBTQ+ rally in Istanbul this past Sunday demanding that a number of LGBTQ+ associations be banned. The demonstration, dubbed “The Family Gathering,” was reportedly the largest demonstration of its kind in Turkey.

According to Turkish daily Cumhuriyet, the Istanbul Governor's Office, which gave permission for this march, is also responsible for banning the city's Pride Week Parade in June.

Kursat Mican, a spokesperson, said protesters had gathered more than 150,000 signatures to demand a new law from Turkey’s parliament that would ban LGBTQ+ associations, which they accused of spreading "propaganda” across social media, as well as in arts and sports.

The march sparked outrage online, with the hashtag #NefretYürüyüşüneHayır (“No to hate march”) trending on Twitter.

🇲🇹  Malta’s Prime Minister Announces Free Gender-Affirming Surgery

\u200bMalta's Prime Minister Robert Abala at the Pride March

Malta's Prime Minister Robert Abala at the Pride March


Malta’s Prime Minister, Robert Abela, personally attended the country’s Pride march in Valletta to announce the government’s commitment to reforming LGBTQ+ legislation, promising more reforms for the community including free gender reassignment surgery for trans people.

In tandem with the recent lifting of a ban on gay men donating blood, this new legislation will include a five-year strategy for the LGBTQ+ community and the establishment of a one-stop shop to streamline public and social services for its members.

🇷🇸  Right-Wing Protests Mar Landmark Belgrade EuroPride

Clashes between police forces and right-wing protesters broke out Saturday at Belgrade’s first ever EuroPride as several thousand people marched through Serbia’s capital city to mark the end of the event, held in a different European city each year.

Tensions rose as nationalists and protesters from religious groups tried to disrupt the march, leaving 10 police officers slightly injured, five police cars damaged and 64 protesters arrested, according to Prime Minister Ana Brnabic, Serbia’s first openly lesbian prime minister.

Despite the protests, LGBTQ+ activists and allies remained optimistic and said they believed the event marked a turning point in the conservative country’s attitudes toward the community.

🇵🇾  Pioneer Trans Activists Call Out Paraguay For Not Acknowledging Name Changes

Two prominent transgender activists presented their complaint against Paraguay to the UN Human Rights Committee, arguing that the country fails to recognize the names with which they identify.

Human rights defender and founder of Casa Diversa-Casa Trans, Yren Rotela, together with Asociación Panambí's trans rights activist Mariana Sepúlveda are both pioneers: They were the first transgender activists to file a request for a name change in their documents before a court in Asunción, back in 2016 — a process that is usually quick and simple, but the two trans women faced delays, had to undergo several psychological tests and overcome countless legal obstacles.

As Rotela told the Human Rights Committee: “We are not asking for privileges, we are asking for access to our rights”.

🇩🇪  Soccer Fans Rally Around Trans Community After Münich Pride Murder

Supporters of the Bundesliga team SV Werder Bremen hold up rainbow flags and banners\u200b

Supporters of the Bundesliga team SV Werder Bremen hold up rainbow flags and banners


After a violent attack at a Münster pride event during which a trans man was murdered, German soccer fans showed their support for the trans community during a recent game: As their team played against FC Augsburg, the supporters of SV Werder Bremen held up rainbow flags and banners with messages such as “Queerphobia kills!”, “Against all transphobia!”, and “Rest in peace Malte.”

Malte, a 25-year-old trans man, died a week earlier from injuries sustained at the Christopher Street Day parade in Münster, the city’s annual Pride march.

🇬🇧  London Marathon Adds Non-Binary Category For First Time

The organizers of the London Marathon confirmed last week that entrants for the 2023 race will have the option to choose “non-binary” as their gender.

Elite runners, as well as those competing in the “championship” and “good for age” categories, however, will not be able to do this, as they operate under World Athletics rules, which as of yet do not include a non-binary option.

🇺🇲  Virginia Restricts Trans Students Rights

Virginia Republican governor Glenn Yougkin released new school guidelines aimed at transgender students, which will require them to only use the bathrooms and locker rooms that match the sex they were assigned at birth and will forbid them to use the name they identify with. Also, school officials and teachers will not be required to use the students' preferred pronouns, and will be allowed to disclose information related to gender identity and sexual orientation to parents.

The new rules will be implemented in the state's 133 school districts, which count more than 1 million students. The state's administration defended the policy by saying that it "reaffirms the rights of parents to determine how their children will be raised and educated."

The new guidelines will undo policies implemented by former governor Ralph Northam, who had required schools to accommodate trans students and respect their gender identity.

🇺🇸  California To Aid Veterans Wrongfully Discharged Under “Don't Ask, Don't Tell” Policy

\u200bThe LGBTQ+ flag flies over the State Capitol in Sacramento

The LGBTQ+ flag flies over the State Capitol in Sacramento

Paul Kitagaki Jr./ZUMA

California has enacted a new law aimed at helping military service members who were wrongly discharged due to their sexual or gender identities.

Members of the LGBTQ+ community were completely banned from joining the military until the 1993 approval of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, which allowed them to serve if they did not openly acknowledge their sexual orientation. Until its repeal by the Obama administration in 2010, it is estimated that 14,000 service members were discharged on the basis of gender or sexual identity.

The Veterans Discharge Upgrade Grant Program was implemented to help said soldiers by updating and correcting their records, and reestablishing their eligibility for Veterans Affairs benefits.

🇲🇽  Mexican State Of Durango Says “Sí!” To Same-Sex Marriage

Durango became the 28th Mexican state to allow same-sex marriage. A decree presented by the government stipulates that from now on, celebrating marriage is guaranteed following non-discriminatory principles that include "ethnic or national origin, gender, disabilities, social status, health conditions, religion, opinions or sexual preferences.”

According to the Spanish-language media Altavoz LGBT+, this means that same-sex couples who want to get married in Durango will no longer need to process an appeal and seek permission from the Civil Registry, but should instead be able to tie the knot in the same way as other couples.

🇹🇿  Tanzanian Government Cracks Down On LGBTQ+ Content

During a press conference on Sunday, Tanzania's Information Minister Nape Nnauye warned that action would be taken against social media administrators who allow users to share pro-LGBTQ+ messages. "It is better now that Tanzanians refrain from it," the minister said, arguing that such content was used to promote same-sex relationships among children.

Same-sex acts are illegal in Tanzania and can carry sentences up to life imprisonment. Since 2018, the government has intensified the repression against the LGBTQ+ community and even created a surveillance squad charged with arresting LGBTQ+ people.

🇮🇳  Indian Trans Women Seeking Same Protection Against Dowry Harassment

In the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, a trans woman filed a criminal complaint against her spouse and his parents for "dowry harassment," i.e. attempts to obtain more money or goods from a wife's family after the marriage.

But the spouse's family counter-filed a petition seeking to cancel the complaint, arguing that the Dowry Prohibition Act, enforced since 1961, is only applicable to cis women.

In response to the petition, the court has stayed all proceedings in the criminal complaint made for a period of eight weeks.

Although last month India's Supreme Court widened the definition of what constitutes a family, the country does not recognize same-sex marriage or civil unions.

📺  Is Lisa Simpson Queer? The Simpsons' Showrunner Answers

In a recent interview with Digital Spy, The Simpsons showrunner Al Jean addressed fan theories that Lisa Simpson may be queer by saying, “In my opinion, and this is just my opinion, that is definitely a possibility for Lisa's life. She is open and, you know, somebody who loves everything. Why not?” Jean went on by saying that she could be “polyamorous.”

Throughout the show’s history, several scenes have made fans believe that the character belonged to the LGBTQ + community. In the Season 23 flash-forward episode “Holidays of Future Passed”, Lisa holds hands with two female characters, although no context is given.

🚪  Mormon Missionaries Just Walk Away From “Gayest” Doormat

TikTok user Jamie Foust went viral with a doorbell camera footage of two young Mormon missionaries walking away from her house in the U.S. state of Indiana after noticing her rainbow-framed doormat. The colorful item proudly signals that Jamie and her wife Melissa’s house is the “gayest place in town.”

“Gayest?” one of the missionaries reads out loud before turning away with a defeated “Nope.” Jamie commented on how satisfied she was with her purchase, noting in the caption that the doormat came with ”the added benefit of keeping religious zealots from knocking on our door to tell us about their god.”


Kuchi Times tells the whole saga of Uganda’s popular electronic music festival Nyege Nyege, and how it was nearly cancelled by anti-gay lobbyists.

• Ukrainian LGBTQ+ refugees have shared with LGBTQ Nation accounts of how they were welcomed in Poland, where homophobia is rampant: from harrowing tales of discrimination to heartwarming support from local activist groups.

• Seema Guha paints a worrisome picture of the impact the rise of right-wing politics around the world is likely to have on LGBTQ+ rights.

• Read Shelly Jay Shore’s poignant testimony of what she went through as a nonbinary abortion activist planning a pregnancy.

The Advocate questions the limitations of Lady Gaga’s anthem song “Born This Way”, with some critics arguing that the song does not reflect the fluidity of some people’s gender identity and sexual orientation.

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Not Just Paris! Mongolia Is Also Battling Bedbugs (And Cockroaches... And Centipedes...)

Public extermination services were halted during the pandemic. Residents have embraced cheaper DIY solutions — but there are risks.

Photo of a bed bug

A bed bug photographed in the Biology Institute at the Technical University (TU) in Dresden, Germany

Khorloo Khukhnokhoi

ERDENET, ORKHON PROVINCE, MONGOLIA — Oyuka dresses for domestic battle. Mask. Gloves. Hair shrouded under a black hood. A disposable white gown reminiscent of a surgeon. It’s 2 p.m. on a Tuesday; her husband is at work and their two young children are at school. She shoves the oven, freezer and washing machine away from the kitchen walls and grabs a lime-green spray can from behind the bathtub, where it’s out of the children’s reach. “Magic Cleaner,” the bottle says in Chinese. A pesticide.

Oyuka — who asked to be referred to only by her nickname, out of fear of being criticized by her neighbors — lives on the eighth floor of a 10-story building in Erdenet, Mongolia’s second-largest city, where towering apartments cram together like subway riders. Lots of people means lots of trash, which means lots and lots of bugs. Cockroaches. Bedbugs. Centipedes. And what Mongolians call black bugs, speck-like insects that Oyuka fears will bite her children and make them sick.

Over the past year, Oyuka started noticing them in corners, under furniture, on windowsills. She increased how often she sprayed Magic Cleaner, from occasionally to every three months — even though the smell makes her stomach lurch. “Because I don’t know any other good poison, I use this poison often,” she says.

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