DOZENS DEAD IN DONETSK
Dozens of separatist fighters and civilians were killed after violent fights against Ukraine’s armed forces around Donetsk airport. The exact number of victims is unclear because there is conflicting reporting between Western and Russian media. According to AFP, the mayor of Donetsk said that “two civilians and 38 participants” had died in the fights, while RT quotes the prime minister of the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic as saying that “more than 50 self-defense fighters” were killed. The state-backed Russian channel also reports that three civilians died in a mortar attack in the city of Sloviansk, citing local media. Yesterday, newly elected Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko promised to restore calm in Donetsk in “hours” as the military were launching air strikes on the airport.
“Many people see Sweden as a kind of paradise for women In Europe. But that’s a myth,” Sweden's Feminist Initiative head Gudrun Schyman said two days after the group became the first formal feminist party to be elected to the EU Parliament.
KIDNAPPED NIGERIAN GIRLS LOCATED
The Nigerian government has located the nearly 300 schoolgirls abducted over a month ago by Boko Haram but decided against using force to rescue them,Vanguardreports. “The good news for parents of the girls is that we know where they are, but we cannot tell you,” an official says. “Just leave us alone to do our work. We are working to get the girls back.” Meanwhile, the BBC reported late yesterday that an agreement was close between the Islamist group and the Nigerian government for an exchange of prisoners but that the latter pulled out of the negotiations after President Goodluck Jonathan attended a conference about the crisis in Paris.
As Le Monde’s Alain Frachon writes, more people have been killed during the current Syrian war than during all Israeli-Arab wars combined. And now the government of President Bashar al-Assad, who is most to blame, is gaining ground against the opposition, in large part thanks to the help of Iran. “The Islamic Republic is the architect of the conflict's current evolution,” Frachon writes of Iran. “It supervises the Syrian forces. It ordered Lebanon's Hezbollah troops to take part in the fight. Thanks to its ties with the government in Baghdad, it also called upon Iraqi Shiite militias to join the ranks. And finally, it offers financial support to Damascus, spending billions of dollars while the Iranian economy is struggling under the weight of international sanctions.”
Read the full article, As Iran Plays The Nuclear Card, Syria Is Left To Burn.”
VIETNAM BOAT CAPSIZES
A Vietnamese fishing boat sank after a collision with a Chinese vessel near a Chinese oil rig in disputed waters of the South China Sea, though the crew was rescued. The territorial dispute sparked violent anti-Chinese protests over the last two weeks, and this latest incident is likely to reignite tensions between the two countries. According to AP, Vietnamese media say that the sunken boat and a few others were surrounded by 40 Chinese fishing vessels and that one rammed into the Vietnamese boat. But China’s Foreign Ministry and Chinese media accused the Vietnamese, saying their vessel “forcefully rammed” the oil rig. Read more from South China Morning Post.
Thousands gathered in Brockworth, UK, Monday for the annual cheese-rolling competition down Cooper's Hill, with participants chasing a double Gloucestershire down a very steep slope.
SYRIAN REBELS ATTACK UN INVESTIGATORS
A convoy carrying six members of the UN’s Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons were ambushed as they traveled to investigate the site of an alleged chlorine attack by the Syrian army. According to the BBC, the crew is “safe and well.” An earlier AP report quoted the country’s Foreign Ministry as saying that the six investigators and their five Syrian drivers were abducted by rebel fighters.
MY GRAND-PÈRE'S WORLD
FRENCH PARTY LEADER RESIGNS
Jean-François Copé, the leader of France’s center-right opposition party UMP, announced this morning he would step down June 15 amid a mounting financial scandal linked with Nicolas Sarkozy’s 2012 presidential campaign, Le Figaro reports. The party, which finished second behind the far-right National Front in Sunday’s European Parliament elections, allegedly asked a communications agency to produce fake invoices worth over 10 million euros to cover up campaign expenses that exceeded the allowed amount. Read more in English from France 24.
OBAMA TO MOVE ON CARBON
President Barack Obama is expected to announce next Monday a new regulatory system to reduce carbon emissions. The Wall Street Journal describes it as a “cornerstone” of his climate change program. According to sources familiar with the project, the move will give states flexibility in how they enforce the new regulations and will “enable states to move forward in a way that works best for them with the energy resources they have,” the newspaper quoted a presidential advisor as saying.
WORLD CUP CONSTRUCTION BEHIND
The FIFA World Cup starts in 16 days, and though the stadiums should be ready for the competition, other infrastructure will not be completed in time. An article from the city of Cuiabá published inThe New York Times shows that tourists and teams traveling there will see a city that looks like “a construction site of partially completed overpasses, underpasses, road expansion projects, bridges and light-rail lines.” A local described the $1.4 billion plan to turn the city into a modern hub as “too extensive.” A similar report in Brazilian daily Folha de S. Paulo explains that Rio de Janeiro road upgrades for major bus routes to and from the airport — as well as the subway and train station at the Maracanã stadium — will likely not be ready in time for the first game in the city.
Happy birthday, LOL! May 1989 was the first time we saw the three letters used to abbreviate "laugh out loud" (though its use to denote "lots of love" goes back even further). Here’s to 25 years of blissful abridging.
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LGBTQ+ International: Sports Bans Tipping Point, Indian Uterus Transplant — And The Week’s Other Top News
All things LGBTQ+, from Peru, Morocco, NYC, Uganda ...
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
At the Tokyo Rainbow Pride parade
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
Irish rugby player Nick McCarthy (right)
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.
- “Traveling as a trans person: It’s complicated”: Screenings, ID documents … an insightful read on the hurdles faced by transgender people upon traveling, courtesy of CNN.
- Crop Tops, Saris, and Unlearning Gendered Fashion: A great piece by Bangladesh-born and Brooklyn-based writer Padya Paramita.
- A 10-year-old Louisiana girl has created a free library offering LGBTQ+ books to fight book bans: Read about her story here.
- Check out this collection of 27 photos of the queerest tattoo art from around the world.
- Growing old in Mexico brings uncertainty, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation. However, being LGBTQ+ brings additional challenges, which the pandemic accentuated. Read “LGBTQ+ Seniors In Mexico: Between Aging, Identity And Isolation,” originally in Buenos-Aires-based, Spanish-language news agency Agencia Presentas — and now in English on Worldcrunch.
- Transgender Athletes: The Fairness V. Inclusion Debate - Worldcrunch ›
- LGBTQ+ International: Marriage In Thailand, Trans Teacher Suicide ... ›
- LGBTQ Plus - Worldcrunch ›