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International Swimming’s top ruling body FINA voted last weekend to ban transgender athletes

Welcome to Worldcrunch’s LGBTQ+ International. We bring you up-to-speed each week on the latest news on everything LGBTQ+ — a topic that you may follow closely at home, but can now see from different places and perspectives around the world. Discover the latest news from all corners of the planet. All in one smooth scroll!

Featuring, this week:

  • A flurry of sports governing bodies reviewing their transgender policy
  • A Bolivian Indigenous’ critique on “western” Pride
  • Moroccan lesbian makes history at UN
  • … and more

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

🌏 Sports Transgender Policy, A Tipping Point?

It’s been something of a domino effect since International Swimming’s top ruling body FINA voted last weekend to ban transgender athletes, excluding anyone who has been through male puberty from competing in women’s competitions. FINA promised to create a working group that would aim to establish an “open” category for trans swimmers at some of its events.

Since FINA’s decision, a growing number of professional sports bodies have indicated that they will review their transgender policy. They include:

• The International Rugby League, which ruled this week that transgender women will be barred from women’s rugby.

• World Athletics' president, Sebastian Coe, praised FINA’s decision, suggesting that track and field could soon follow suit.

• Soccer body FIFA said it is reviewing its gender eligibility regulations.

However, German soccer is bucking the trend. The German soccer federation passed a regulation on Thursday to allow gender non-conforming individuals to choose to play for men’s or women’s teams. “Football stands for diversity,” they said.

🇵🇪 Peru Court Refuses To Recognize Same-Sex Marriages

The Constitutional Court of Peru has refused to recognize two same-sex marriages that were held abroad.

In one case, a Peruvian congresswoman and LGTBQ+ activist and her partner had married in Miami, and had been seeking recognition of their union in Peru since 2016. In the second case, dating back to 2012, Peru refused to recognize the marriage of two men who had wed in Mexico.

The top national court ruled against the plaintiff’s claim that their rights to equality, non-discrimination and the free development of the personality had been violated. In the Peruvian legal system, legal acts carried out abroad can be registered in Peru as long as they do not violate public order or “good customs.” Marianella Ledesma, the only magistrate who dissented from the majority, said that her Constitutional Court colleagues were acting like a “Court of the Holy Inquisition.”

🇧🇴 A Bolivian Critique On “Importing” Pride

Juan Pablo Vargas, a gay Bolivian journalist has written a fascinating essay for Muy Waso independent media asking if the struggle for sexual diversity in Latin America suffered from “importing social struggles from northern countries.”

Vargas encourages fellow Bolivian LGBTQ+ to seek “understanding from the Indigenous knowledge, beyond following the rules of the developed world on 'how to be gay'.”

He notes that Andean thought has its own understanding of the matter. “Juan de Santa Cruz Pachacuti wrote at the beginning of the 17th century that due to a crisis in the succession of rulers, the Inca summoned a God who has disappeared today: Chuqui Chinchay or the Apu of the Otorongos. A deity who was patron of the 'Indians of two sexes". It is a middle space between masculine and feminine. The space of the q'iwa, what Western culture calls queer."

Vargas cites Michael J. Horswell, who has studied how qariwarmi shamans (men-women) performed ceremonies for this God while crossdressed, “being a visible sign of contact between the two sexes (but also between the present and the past, life and death)”.

According to Vargas, there is an Andean understanding of the q'iwa that has survived colonialism in the form of bodies, dances and experiences. “It is our task to think about the social place that corresponds to us and demand it in laws and rights. But we must do it from a reflection of Andean thought that allows us to overcome the colonized mentality with which we do it today.”

🇲🇦 UN Hears Moroccan LBT Voice For First Time

On June 20, for the first time in Moroccan history, LGBTQ+ people were spoken about in a public intervention at the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of the Discrimination against Women. Activists submitted a shadow report on discrimination, violence, exclusion, and criminalization of Moroccan lesbian, trans and bisexual women. The shadow report was presented by the NGO Kasbah Tal Fin for freedom and equality, and ILGA World.

Mariyem Gamar, founder of Kasbah Tal Fin, spoke to the chair: “I am a young leader for freedom and equality, who happens to be a woman and a lesbian and a Moroccan. In Morocco.” She explained that Moroccan lesbian, bisexual and transgender women live between the weight of two oppressions, the legal criminalization of their existence and the lack of protection from social stigma.

Gamar spoke from her personal experience: “At the age of 16, I remember walking on an afternoon in my village, a group of boys threw a big rock on my back because they knew I am a lesbian. I felt fear and since then, I wanted peace. I chose to be out and visible as an equal individual of society, but that came with social stigma and violence.”

The activist demanded urgent legal reforms to protect women on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity and the removal of article 489, which punishes "homosexual conduct" with fines and prison terms. She delivered the speech while Moroccan government officials were sitting in front of her, and risks persecution and prosecution for speaking out about this taboo and “illegal” topic.

🇺🇸 New York To Build Statues To Transgender Icons At Stonewall Landmark

New York will be the home of the first transgender women statues in the U.S. Placed at the site of the 1969 Stonewall riots, the statues will commemorate activists Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, leaders of the uprising. Johnson and Rivera, who died respectively in 1992 and 2002, were founding members of the Gay Liberation Front and the Gay Activists Alliance. They also helped create a refuge for LGBTQ+ people living on the street.

🇯🇵 Japan Court Upholds Same-Sex Marriage Ban

\u200bParticipants hold a banner as they march during the 2016 Tokyo Rainbow Pride parade

At the Tokyo Rainbow Pride parade

Alessandro Di Ciommo/ZUMA


The Osaka district court ruled this week that a ban on same-sex marriages is constitutional after three same-sex couples had argued that the ban violated their right to equality. The decision deals a significant blow to LGBTQ+ activists, and the plaintiffs will be appealing the ruling.

The court argued that the constitutional definition of marriage does not extend to couples of the same sex, though they indicated thatJapan may be able to create a new system that recognizes same-sex couples separately from traditional marriages.

Japan does not currently offer national protections against anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination, and gay and transgender people in Japan regularly experience obstacles in employment opportunities, housing, education, and healthcare. Some 200 municipalities offer some form of recognition for same-sex couples which allow them to get housing together and receive some of the other benefits associated with traditional marriage in Japan.

🇺🇬 Ugandan Activists Call Out Criminalization Of HIV Transmission

Human rights defenders in Uganda have filed their final arguments in a landmark Constitutional Court petition challenging sections of the HIV/AIDS prevention and Control Act 2014 that criminalize HIV transmission. According to the executive director of the Uganda Health and Science Press Association, this law has been used to justify the application of forced anal examinations on homosexuals in recent arrests, to establish their HIV status.

More than 50 civil society organizations, led by The Uganda Network on Law Ethics and HIV/AIDS (UGANET), are challenging the Act 2014, which they allege is discriminatory and an impediment to the fight against AIDS.

According to the website Rights Africa, human rights organizations have called the law “flawed, and deeply troubling and in contradiction of science and human rights.”

🇮🇪 Irish Rugby Player Speaks For First Time About Coming Out

Photo of \u200bIrish rugby player Nick McCarthy

Irish rugby player Nick McCarthy (right)

Ettore Griffoni/LPS via ZUMA


Irish rugby player Nick McCarthy has spoken about his coming out journey. In his first interview since revealing his sexuality, the 27-year-old Leinster scrum-half said his experience had been “entirely positive”. However, he did reveal he had contemplated quitting the sport.

Even though gay players are still extremely rare in professional sport, particularly in rugby,

McCarthy said he has received support from his teammates. Leinster club captain Johnny Sexton said: “By speaking openly about his sexuality, Nick will be a role model for others and we couldn't be prouder of him.”

🇬🇧 Harry Styles Helps Fan Come Out During A Show In London


British singer Harry Styles helped a fan to come out during a concert at London’s Wembley Stadium earlier this week. Matti, from Italy, held out a sign reading “From Ono to Wembley: Help me come out.” Styles thanked him and picked up the sign and a rainbow flag, saying, “When this flag goes over my head, you are officially out. I think that’s how it works: When this sign goes over the head, you’re officially gay, my boy.”

The audience cheered and sang Matti’s name as Styles progressively raised the flag and declared Matti a “free man”. The singer has been both hailed for its longstanding support of the LGBTQ+ community and accused of queerbaiting for embracing queer aesthetics while refusing to identify as such. Styles had already helped a young fan come out to her mother during a show in Milwaukee in November 2021.

🇮🇳 Indian Surgeon To Transplant Uterus On Transgender Woman

A surgeon in India is planning to perform a uterus transplant on a transgender woman. The patient plans to then undergo IVF treatment to carry a baby. If successful, the procedure could pave the way for trans women to bear children.

The operation will not the world’s first uterus transplant (though it is still rare for cisgender women to receive such transplants). But, it could be the world's first successful uterus transplant performed on a trans woman. There is only one other recorded case of a trans woman receiving a uterus transplant was Danish artist Lili Elbe in 1931, but she died later of complications.The surgeon, Dr. Narendra Kaushik, is optimistic about the procedure. “The way to do this is through a uterine transplant, similar to a kidney or other transplant," he told The Mirror.

OTHERWISE:

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Geopolitics

Inside Putin's Deal For Iranian Drones

Outgunned by Ukraine's Turkish-made Bayraktar drones, Russia has reportedly started importing armed drones from Iran, which may have explained Vladimir Putin's recent visit to Tehran, which is looking to flex its muscles internationally. But it could prove to be a dangerous turning point in the war.

At an underground drone base, in an unknown location in Iran

Christine Kensche

The satellite images show a hangar. The rough outlines of two geometric shapes are visible — a triangle and an elongated object with wide wings. According to intelligence information from the United States, this is the Kashan airfield south of Tehran, where Iran is training its regional militias.

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

The geometric objects are drones: the Shahed-191 and the Shahed-129, both considered capable of carrying weapons. Their name translates to martyr. According to U.S. information, the picture also shows a transport vehicle for visitors from Russia. If what the White House recently said is true, the "martyr" drones could soon be circling Ukraine, controlled remotely by Russian soldiers.

Tehran's drone army

According to national security adviser Jake Sullivan, Iran wants to deliver "several hundred" drones to Russia and train Russian soldiers on the devices. Training may have already begun, Sullivan said. In June, Russian delegations traveled to the Iranian airfield twice. Russian President Vladimir Putin was in Tehran in person on Tuesday.

It's a turning point for Iran as an international arms dealer.

"This is a significant turning point for Iran as an international arms dealer," says Israeli drone expert Seth Frantzman, who has published a book on the subject (Drone Wars). So far, outside the circle of its allies in the region, Tehran has only sold its technology to Venezuela and built a drone factory in Tajikistan. "The deal with the world power Russia finally makes Iran an international player in the drone business, with its influence reaching as far as Europe."

In terms of technology and trade, the world's drone powers are the U.S., Israel, China and, by some margin, Turkey. Indeed, the Turkish-designed Bayraktar drones are deployed by Ukraine against Russia, which initially gave Kyiv important strategic successes.

There are two key reasons why Russia is now apparently buying from Iran: its own drones cannot keep up. And Iran's drones are technically less sophisticated than those of Western competitors. But they do the job – and are quicker and cheaper to make. Even Iran's nemesis Israel recognizes the powerful potential of Tehran's drone army.

"Iran has massively upgraded its drone program in recent years," says Frantzman. The Shiite regime introduces new types of drones almost every week. According to information from the Israeli army, Iran has a complete production chain, from missiles to navigation systems. The parts are often copied — for example, from U.S. drones that Iran shot down in the past. It now has a variety of different series and types — from unarmed reconnaissance devices to combat drones and those called kamikaze drones (small unmanned aerial vehicles with explosive charges that ram their target). The damage Iranian technology can do has been demonstrated by the regime's devastating attacks in recent years.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei receiving Russian President Vladimir Putin in the presence of his Iranian counterpart Ebrahim Raisi (right) in Tehran

Iranian Supreme Leader's Office/ZUMA

Attacks by Iranian drones

Iran's arsenal of remotely piloted aircraft stretches from Lebanon, Syria and Iraq to the Gulf and Yemen. The technology is used by Iranian allies — by Hezbollah and Hamas against Israel, by Yemen's Huthis against Saudi Arabia, by Shiite militias against the U.S. Army. Or, indeed, by Iran itself.

The "Pearl Harbor" of the drone war happened three years ago: Iran used drones and rockets to attack the Abqaiq refinery of the world's largest oil company Aramco in Saudi Arabia. The Saudi air defenses were powerless. The attack shut down Saudi Arabia's oil exports for several months. Global oil production collapsed by six percent.

Iranian drones were used in the last Gaza war.

Since then, Iran has systematically relied on weapons. Drones are said to be responsible for at least five attacks on U.S. bases in Syria and Iraq in May and June last year. Iranian drone technology also played a role in the last Gaza war. Hamas not only fired 4,000 rockets at Israel last May. It also deployed a new explosive-laden drone.

Last year, Iranian drone attacks claimed human lives for the first time: Kamikaze drones attacked the Mercer Street oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz, one of the world's most strategically important choke points between the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. Two crew members died, including the captain. Then, in the spring, drones attacked tankers and Abu Dhabi airport. Three people lost their lives. The Houthi rebels in Yemen, who are supplied with weapons and technology by Iran, said they were responsible for the attack on the U.A.E.

A military unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV or drone) launched from an Iranian navy vessel in the Indian ocean

Iranian Army Office/ZUMA

No war is won by drones alone

There is no precise information on exactly which drones Russia could acquire. The types shown by the U.S. on the satellite images are among Iran's most important reconnaissance and combat drones. The Shahed-129 is the country's oldest combat drone. It can stay in the air for up to 24 hours and can be armed with eight guided missiles. Also known as the Saegheh (Thunderbolt), the Shahed-191 is a combat drone whose specialty is great mobility. It can be mounted on the back of a truck and launched while the vehicle is in motion.

Kamikaze drones are easier and cheaper to produce.

This combat drone, which can be equipped with two remote-controlled anti-tank missiles, is therefore extremely flexible. However, it is doubtful that Iran can actually deliver hundreds of these types in a hurry. A deal with Russia is therefore likely to include kamikaze drones, which are easier and cheaper to produce.

If Russia were to use Iranian drones in the near future, it would not be a turning point in the Ukraine war, says expert Frantzman: "You don't win a war with drones." However, Russia could use them to damage Ukraine's strategic infrastructure comparatively cheaply, without having to put expensive war equipment at risk.

And another target could become the focus of Iranian drones — Western war equipment, such as the HIMARS multiple rocket launchers, which the U.S. supplied to Ukraine and which play a central role in defense against Russia.

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