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This Happened

This Happened—December 18: An Arab Monarchy Samples Democracy

The United Arab Emirates, a monarchy, had not allowed elections in its political system. On this day in 2006, that changed.

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Why did the Arab Emirates decide to hold elections?

The aim was to increase political participation among Emiratis through a “political empowerment program”, which the Federal National Council, the country’s advisory body, would be the perfect way to hear the concerns of the country’s citizens.

Who was allowed to run in the UAE elections?

The number of people who could run for elected positions was small, based on a number of qualifying factors. The first Electoral College was small with a total of 6,595. The 40 members of the Federal National Council consisted of 20 elected members and 20 members appointed by the rulers of each Emirate. Almost 300,000 citizens over 18 years qualified to vote, 1,163 of which were women.

Following the elections, the new Federal National Council began on February 12, 2007, led by President Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. One woman, Amal Al Qubaisi in Abu Dhabi, was elected and eight others were appointed as members.

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LGBTQ Plus

Mayan And Out! Living Proudly As An Indigenous Gay Man

Being gay and indigenous can mean facing double discrimination, including from within the communities they belong to. But LGBTQ+ indigenous people in Guatemala are liberating their sexuality and reclaiming their cultural heritage.

Photo of the March of Dignity in Guatemala

The March of Dignity in Guatemala

Teresa Son and Emma Gómez

CANTEL — Enrique Salanic and Arcadio Salanic are two K'iché Mayan gay men from this western Guatemalan city

Fire is a powerful symbol for them. Associated with the sons and daughters of Tohil, the god who bestows fire in Mayan culture, it becomes the mirror and the passage that allows them to see and express their sexuality. It is a portal that connects people with their grandmothers and grandfathers, the cosmos and the energies that the earth transmits.

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