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LGBTQ Plus

LGBTQ+ International: UK v. Scotland On Gender, Uganda Ends “Vagabond” Laws — And Other News

Photo of LGBTQ+ flag in front of the parliament tour

LGBTQ+ flag in front of UK's parliament tour

Laura Valentina Cortès Sierra, Riley Sparks, and Hugo Perrin

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:

  • Canada helps hundreds of LGBTQ+ Afghan refugees
  • Kenyan activist Edwin Chiloba’s funeral
  • Homophobia on Airbnb

… and more

✉️ 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.

🇬🇧🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 UK-Scotland Feud Over Law On Changing Gender

The UK government has blocked a Scottish law on changing gender — the first time London has used its legal powers to block a law in Scotland. The law makes it easier for people 16 or older to change their legal gender marker. The Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon denounced a "frontal attack on our democratically elected Scottish Parliament and its ability to make its own decisions" on Twitter. The issue is expected to add to growing calls for a referendum on Scotland leaving the UK.

As Scotland moves to make legal gender recognition less complicated, the UK government is now threatening to make it more difficult for trans people from other countries to have their gender recognized when they move or travel to the UK.

Currently, trans people whose gender has been legally recognized in one of 41 countries can go through a fast-tracked process to have their gender recognized in the UK.

Many of those countries, including 10 EU members, Canada, Mexico, Uruguay and the U.S., use the same self-determination system that the vetoed Scottish law introduced — a standard that has been widely adopted around the world, and is less onerous than the current UK model.

But UK equalities minister Kemi Badenoch said this week that the UK government would review that list of countries and remove those with a less “rigorous” gender recognition process, which could make it harder for trans people to travel to the UK, advocates say.

🇲🇽 Mexico Recognizes Non-Binary Identity Of A Minor For First Time

Photo of Emiliano Citlalli

Emiliano Citlalli

tabascohoy

In a first for the country, last week Mexico recognized the non-binary identity of a minor on their birth certificate. The decision was made possible for Emiliano Citlalli, 17, thanks to strategic litigation, as the Tabasco state (like most other Mexican states) doesn't have a trans identity law.

Citlalli explained the significance of the move to Presentes: “Today, in my certificate, my gender identity is reflected with an X. It's relevant because I am going to access rights such as health, education, or work, with my identity being recognized.”

🇬🇹 Guatemala Gives Historic Sentence To Murderer Of Indigenous Trans Activist

A man was condemned to 21 years in prison for the transfemicide of Nancy Sacul, an indigenous trans woman and migrant from rural Guatemala. The unprecedented sentence for a homicide — of 15 years and an added six for "contempt for the offended party" — is particularly significant because transfemicide is not a defined concept in Guatemala.

Nancy Sacul was a 24 year-old trans woman from the Q'eqchi community and an activist. To escape poverty, she moved to the country’s capital at age 14. She faced discrimination based on her ethnicity, gender identity and migrant status. She turned to sex work and entered a collective of trans women sex workers, which led to her receiving death threats.

🇺🇸 Trans Woman Banned From Praying At New York Synagogue

Talia Avrahami, a Jewish trans woman and active member of the Modern Orthodox synagogue, was forbidden from praying in the women’s section at the Shenk Shul synagogue, part of New York’s Yeshiva University, after the current rabbi discovered she was a trans woman.

As the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reports, the previous rabbi had been accepting of her identity.

Avrahami’s husband, Bradley, said: “A rabbi should not take a position knowing that that position will cause someone to want to harm themselves.” He also said the ban had caused his wife to have suicidal thoughts.

🇺🇸 New Arkansas Governor Sarah Sanders Bans Use Of “Latinx”

Photo of Sarah Huckabee Sanders

Sarah Huckabee Sanders the newly appointed Governor of Arkansas

sarahhuckabeesanders

Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the newly appointed Governor of Arkansas and former press secretary under President Donald Trump, has signed an executive order banning the word “Latinx” from official documents. The term, considered more LGBTQ+ inclusive, has been widely adopted by the Hispanic LGBTQ+ community.

On her first day in office, Sanders signed seven executive orders, among which was the “Executive Order To Respect The Latino Community By Eliminating Culturally Insensitive Words From Official Use In Government.”

The decision was deemed hypocritical by many. In 2019, Sanders claimed that building a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico was essential, as nearly 4,000 “known or suspected terrorists” were stopped in the southern border, a statement that turned out to be completely false.

🇬🇧 UK To Include Trans People In Conversion Therapy Ban

The UK government is again promising to introduce legislation to ban conversion therapy in England and Wales. In a policy shift, the proposed law is now also expected to cover trans conversion therapy.

The UK government has promised to introduce the bill since 2018, but previously said it would only ban efforts to change sexuality. No timeline for introducing the legislation has been announced, but the government is aiming to do it before the next election.

🇺🇬 Uganda Strikes Down Law Used To Target Sexual Minorities 

A recent Constitutional Court ruling in Uganda struck down “rogue and vagabond” laws used by police to harass, arbitrarily detain and arrest members of the LGBTQ+ community, sex workers, and people living in poverty. Human rights organizations and activists praised the decision.

Quoted in RightsAfrica, Adrian Jjuuko, the executive director of the Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum, declared that “The police loved this law. All they had to do was look at someone, size them up and arrest them. The poorer one looked, or the more one diverged from […] the norm, the better.”

🇵🇱 Workers’ Rights Victory For Self-Employed LGBTQ+ In Poland

After a gay freelancer posted a YouTube video promoting tolerance for same sex couples, Polish broadcaster Telewizja Polska ended his shifts despite the fact that he had worked for them for several years. The freelancer then sued them for discrimination. Seeking clarification on the scope of EU worker protections, a Polish court referred the case to the CJEU, which ruled that existing EU laws that cover LGBTQ+ rights for staff include self-employed workers.

Arpi Avetisyan, head of litigations at LGBTQ+ rights organization ILGA-Europe said that there is a “hostile attitude towards LGBTI people by Polish authorities” and a “poor track record of implementation of human rights judgments”.

🇰🇪 Transgender Kenyans’ Fear Grows Amid LGBTQ+ Backlash

Photo of funeral ceremony of of  LGBTQ activist Edwin Chiloba

Funeral and Burial ceremony of LGBTQ activist Edwin Chiloba

eldoretplus

Transgender Kenyans are sharing testimonies of renewed persecutions after the killing of LGBTQ+ rights activist and fashion designer Edwin Chiloba, whose funeral took place this week in his family’s village. Chiloba’s body was found earlier this month in a metal box on the side of the road, mutilated and asphyxiated.

Kenyan transgender woman Arya Ram Kenyan says requests for shelter and protections have increased in the country over the past week, as a new wave of backlash against Kenyan lesbians, gays and transgender people has erupted following Chiloba’s death. "People were going through other gay people's social media saying, 'Have you seen Chiloba? You are next,'" Arya said.

🇨🇦 Canada Helps More Than 600 LGBTQ+ Afghan Refugees Resettle

The Canadian government has promised to help resettle 600 more LGBTQ+ Afghans fleeing the Taliban.

Rainbow Railroad, a Canadian NGO which helps LGBTQ+ people around the world facing persecution to find safety in other countries, says that after almost a year of lobbying, the Canadian government has agreed to help the organization resettle 600 vulnerable Afghans.

About 200 Afghans have been able to move to Canada under a refugee program for LGBTQ+ people, established after the Taliban took over the country in Aug. 2021. Rainbow Railroad and other refugee advocates have criticized Canada’s refugee process as too slow and bureaucratic, but the organization says the new announcement is an important step.

🇺🇸 Gay Couple Denied Airbnb By Dallas Host

Upon confirming with his Airbnb host in Dallas, Texas, that he would be staying with his boyfriend, Curtis Kimberlin Jr. received the following question: "So I'll be hosting two men sleeping together...right?" The host denied Kimberlin Jr.’s request shortly thereafter.

Curtis took to Twitter to post a screenshot of the conversation, commenting: "Love trying to book a [Airbnb] with my bf in Dallas and having this be the response to our booking."

Although Airbnb reached out after the tweet went viral, Kimberlin Jr. described their response as “corporate”. "They basically said ‘We will look into this’ and left it at that." Meanwhile, NBCDFW reports that Airbnb suspended the host from its platform pending investigation, saying “We enforce a strict nondiscrimination policy, and when a potential violation of this policy is brought to our attention, we investigate and take action, up to removal from our community."

OTHERWISE

Here’s a roundup of the best LGBTQ+ reads from around the web this week:

• From LGBTQ Nation: "A trans woman founded a group to help trans people leave the U.S. due to rising hate"

• From Out.com: "It's time to talk about gay steroid use"

• From Them.us: "11 LGBTQ+ TV shows we can’t wait to watch in 2023"

• From The Guardian: "Let me tell you what it’s like being gay in the straightest town in England and Wales

"

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Society

The HIV-Positive Ugandans Putting Anti-AIDS Campaign At Risk

“Elite controllers” are those who have HIV but show no symptoms. They’re proving a roadblock to the country’s otherwise promising anti-infection campaign.

The HIV-Positive Ugandans Putting Anti-AIDS Campaign At Risk

A woman in Kampala, Uganda, holds her HIV treatment drugs. The government estimates that about 200,000 Ugandans living with HIV are not taking antiretroviral medication.

Nakisanze Segawa

LWENGO, UGANDA — Ahmed was certain the test result was wrong. It was 2003, and he and his five months-pregnant wife were at a health facility where she was getting a checkup. As staff did for all expectant parents, a worker prodded them to get tested for HIV. Ahmed’s wife tested negative. He did not. “I thought it was impossible, that my results must have been mistakenly switched with another person’s,” he says. That week, he took two more tests. Both confirmed he was infected with the virus that causes AIDS.

Health workers and Ahmed’s four wives begged him to start antiretroviral therapy, a cocktail of medications that prevents the virus from multiplying and reduces a person’s likelihood of spreading HIV and developing AIDS. At the time, Ahmed was in his early 40s; to his family, forgoing treatment seemed like courting a premature death. But he didn’t feel sick — no fever, chills or other symptoms — so he refused. Accepting treatment would have meant accepting a diagnosis he didn’t entirely believe, and the stigma that came with it.

Ahmed lives in Lwengo, a town about 165 kilometers (102 miles) southwest of Kampala, the capital. Amid a sweep of banana, cassava and coffee fields, small, white-roofed houses, and tarmacked roads, HIV is something to hide lest neighbors shun or mock a person as a “walking dead.” (That’s why Ahmed asked to be identified only by his first name.)

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