LGBTQ+ International: Iraq Homosexuality Ban, Bhutan’s Beauty Queen — And The Week’s Other Top News
Italian police, Brazilian soccer, Japanese politics, and plenty of other stories from around the world
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:
- The first Queer Miss Bhutan
- A Brazilian referee coming out just before Qatar World Cup
- Life as an Argentine trans dad
- … and more
🇮🇹 Italian Police Equate Gender Identity With Mental Disorder In Job Application Form
Italy’s Ministry of Interior is looking to hire 1,381 new police agents, but as part of their eligibility criteria, they class “gender identity” in the list of mental health disorders, as reported by Open media.
The call, published on May 16, on the Ministry’s website, indicates the procedures and requirements to apply. Under the heading "mental disorders" that the candidates cannot have, the words "current or previous gender identity disorders" appear, last in the list with "schizophrenia, current or past mood disorders, current or past dissociative disorders, current or past anxiety disorders,” and other ailments.
According to La Stampa, this part of a 7-page application process was flagged by an aspiring policeman, who was “offended and humiliated” and turned to a lawyer. “It seems to me as a wrong reference in a wrong context.”
🇧🇷🇶🇦 Referee Igor Benevenuto Comes Out Just Months Before World Cup In Qatar
Brazilian referee Igor Benevenuto
FIFA Referee Igor Benevenuto came out in an interview with theGlobo Esportes podcast "Nos Armários dos Vestiários" (in the locker's closet), a journalistic series that exposes homophobia and machismo in Brazilian soccer. Benevenuto talked about the pain of living in a culture and a religion that rejected homosexuality, as highlighted by Out Sports LGBT+ media.
“For a while, I believed that there was something very wrong with me, because while I respected the Church, its doctrine failed miserably with what I felt. I remained the same, only without the right to express myself,” said the 41-year-old.
FIFA welcomed Benevenuto’s decision to come out, stating that “Igor striving to be true to himself is an important moment for football in Brazil and in other countries around the world.” FIFA has been criticized by LGBTQ+ groups after choosing Qatar as its 2022 World Cup host, a country where homosexual sex is illegal.
🇧🇹 Miss Bhutan Speaks Up For The LGBTQ+ Community
Tashi Choden, crowned Miss Bhutan 2022 in June, is the first-ever public figure in the country that publicly came out as lesbian. She will also be the first openly gay to represent the conservative country at Miss Universe 2022 in December.
She spoke up for the LGBTQ+ community and told AFP, “I'm not only speaking for the Bhutanese community but I'm speaking for the minority community on a platform like the Miss Universe pageant.”
🇫🇷 France Excludes Transgender Men From Medically Assisted Procreation
The Constitutional Council in France approved the exclusion of transexual men from medically assisted procreation (MAP). The July 6 decision has sparked many reactions from LGBTQ+ associations to politicians.
SOS Homophobie, a non-profit French organization that fights against homophobic and transphobic crimes, expressed its "anger" and "dismay" at this decision, and qualified it as "a missed opportunity to immediately address the inequality of reproductive rights between citizens.”
🇷🇺 Russia May Extend Law Against “Gay Propaganda” To All Adults
A senior Russian legislator said that the country’s so-called “gay propaganda” law, banning the promotion of any “non-traditional” sexual relationships among minors, could extend to adults later this year. According to Reuters, if the ban extends, anyone seen as promoting homosexuality could be subject to fines. Alexander Khinshtei, the head of the State Duma’s information committee, wrote on Telegram that “We propose to generally extend the ban on such propaganda regardless of the age of the audience.”
Russia’s existing “gay propaganda” law, introduced in 2013, has been used as justification to stop pride marches and detain activists. Last week, parliamentary speaker Vyacheslav Volodin said that because Russia had quit the human rights watchdog group Council of Europe, “Demands to legalize same-sex marriages in Russia are a thing of the past.”
🇮🇶 Iraq’s Proposed Law To Ban Homosexuality Causes Uproar
Iraq's government has taken steps to criminalize homosexuality, the country’s Parliamentary Legal Committee met on July 8 to create proposals targeting the LGBTQ+ community. In an interview with the Iraqi News Agency, State of Law coalition MP Aref al-Hamami confirmed that “It was agreed within the parliament to collect signatures after returning to session to legislate a law prohibiting homosexuality in Iraq”. Homosexuality has been legal in Iraq since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein.
Despite it being legal, politicians and religious leaders have constantly attacked the LGBTQ+ community, which has also been subjected to death threats, attacks and murder by armed groups, as well as targetting through laws punishing "immodest acts" according to Middle East Eye. The current government has even proposed the creation of an annual day against homosexuality.
Amir Ashour, head of the IraQueer LGBTQ+rights group, told Middle East Eye that the new law would provide cover for such attacks. "This will allow the Iraqi government to legally get away with murder and provide legal protection for armed groups and other criminals who continue to target LGBTQ+ citizens."
🇿🇦 South Africa’s Celebrated Film Critic Barry Ronge Dies At 74
One of the most prominent openly gay personalities in South African media, film critic Barry Ronge has died at age 74. Ronge led a decades-long career as a journalist, writer, columnist, and broadcaster. Despite his life in the public eye, Ronge kept a very private life.
For 45 years, he shared his life with his partner Albertus van Dyk, whom he cites as his biggest inspiration.
🌎 UN Renews LGBTQ+ Rights Watchdog
The United Nations Human Rights Council adopted a resolution in order to renew the mandate of the Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) for three more years. The vote on Thursday was adopted with 23 in favor, 17 voting against and 7 abstaining.
In addition to the renewal of the mandate, the resolution also confirmed fundament LGBTQ+ human rights. Since its creation in 2016, the UN expert has raised awareness worldwide about the impact of the criminalization of same-sex relations and the lack of affirming legal gender recognition procedures.
🇺🇸 Burning Book, Hateful Tags: LGBTQ+ Harassment in New England
Boston’s mayor Michelle Wu reacting to vandalism in the city
A group of conservative mothers in Connecticut are demanding that a collection of books be burned, after their local library put up a display in honor of Pride during the month of June. On June 22, the group which included a “Christian taxpayer” saw the display and removed the books. They proceeded to demand that the books be removed and burned, using slurs at the front desk of the library.
In the neighboring state of Massachusetts, an LGBTQ+ friendly senior home which is under construction in Hyde Park was vandalized. Messages included: “Die slow”, “your fairytale is over”, “Die by fire”, and “There are 2 genders”. The graffiti was discovered in the Boston suburb on July 10, but was quickly covered by residents with pro-LGBTQ+ messages. Boston’s mayor Michelle Wu tweeted: “Hate and acts of vandalism will not be tolerated … anywhere in Boston.”
🇯🇵 Record Number Of LGBTQ+ Candidates In Japan’s Election
In Japan’s House of Councillors election that took place on Sunday, history was made with a record number of 4 out of 545 candidates aiming to enter Japan’s male-dominated political circle identify at LGBTQ+. Japan’s political landscape was criticized for being unable to reflect the society’s diversity, and it only ranks 147th in political empowerment among 156 countries in the World Economic Forum’s Gender Gap Index.
With transgender candidate Karen Yoda, Shunichi Murata who identifies as bisexual, and Daigo Matsuura who is openly gay, talks on “diversity” and “coming out” and visibility on the LGBTQ+ population in Japan’s political world creates a watershed.
🇦🇷 Argentine Trans Dads Fight For More Visibility
Network of Trans Dads's first meeting
Last year in Argentina, about 20 trans men came together to create the network “Paternidades Trans Argentina.” This online community is helping people share their stories, feel understood, inspired and supported while taking the medical and legal steps to become trans dads. Since the creation of the network, several members have become parents and are contributing to making trans parenthood visible, which is also helping to fight the stigma associated with it.
Members advocate for a much needed cultural change by achieving personal accomplishments and through in-person events like conferences and campaigns. They hope to bring awareness on the reality of “trans and non-binary men who gestate, adopt and accompany” children. Argentine trans men (and particularly those who get pregnant) still have to face hostile depiction by some part of the media as well as difficulties to be supported by the health system. The network thus brings them much needed comfort and relief.
• The authors offers a reflection on how David Fincher’s 1999 Fight Club helped him come to terms with his sexual orientation and gender identity.
• The Crown actress Emma Corrin becomes the first nonbinary person to be featured on the cover of Vogue.
• Independent online magazine Autostraddle has put together a list of 49 queer and feminist books coming out in the summer. Enjoy!