On Jan. 21, members of the Honduran Congress voted to amend the constitution, making it much harder to reverse existing hard-line bans on abortion and same-sex marriage, as lawmakers double down on socially conservative priorities, Openly News reported. Lawmakers voted to require a three-quarters super-majority to change a constitutional article that gives a fetus the same legal status of a person, and another that states that civil marriage in the Central American nation can only be between a man and a woman. The proposal will still need a second vote in the unicameral legislature next year before it is enacted.
A U.S. woman and self-described digital nomad was slated to be deported from Indonesia after posting tweets that sparked a social-media backlash over perceived Western privilege and lack of cultural awareness, after she said Bali was "LGBT-friendly," Reuters reported. In a series of tweets, Kristen Gray wrote about the perks of her decision to move to Bali with her girlfriend, describing it as the "perfect medicine," a place that was LGBT-friendly and where the low cost of living afforded her a luxurious lifestyle. Gray's tweets were slammed by many Indonesians on social media for various reasons, including allegations she may have cheated the system by dodging taxes, exploited Western privilege and showed an apparent lack of awareness about Indonesia's conservative society.
A community in Canada has come together for a young trans girl whose brutal assault at her middle school was captured on a video that went viral, out.com reported. The 14-year-old trans girl was violently attacked by two fellow students at the Ecole Heritage Park Middle School in Mission, British Columbia. Her alleged assailants, two cisgender girls, were arrested following an investigation. When the citizens of Mission learned of the incident, they banded together with a massive car rally to show their support and draw a line in the sand against hate.
Swiss professional basketball player Marco Lehmann came out as gay in an article he wrote for FIBA.com as well as a video posted to YouTube, out.com noted. "My name is Marco Lehmann," he wrote. "I'm a 27-year-old professional 3x3 basketball player and I decided I would not wait until I retire to announce that I'm gay." As a youth progressing through the ranks of Swiss league play, Lehmann realized he was gay. Fearful of being discovered, he began to lead a double life as he progressed into a successful pro career as an adult.
LGBTI-rights organizations ILGA-Europe and Transgender Europe (TGEU) lauded a judgment in the cases of X and Y v. Romania, ILGA-Europe noted. The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) found that Romania violated Article 8 of the European Convention by lacking a clear and foreseeable legal framework for the legal gender recognition. The applicants in the case, Mr. X and Mr. Y, spent years in the national courts requesting the authorization of gender reassignment from female to male as well as administrative changes of name and personal digital identity code, among other things. The relevant administrative corrections were refused on the grounds that persons making such requests had to provide proof that they had undergone gender-reassignment surgery.
The United Nations' Human Rights Office condemned moves by Venezuela's Maduro regime to launch a renewed wave of oppressive measures against journalists and other human-rights defenders, OCCRP noted. In a recent development, military counter-intelligence and regional police officers in the western state of Zulia raided the offices of NGO Azul Positivoan organization that works with HIV-positive and LGBTQ people. The UN Human Rights Office noted that documents had been seized and that at least five staff members remained in detention, preventing them from seeing their lawyers or their families.
On its website, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said that Saint Lucia as well as Saint Kitts and Nevis should decriminalize same-sex relations and adopt comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation protecting LGBTQ individuals. During the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of the two countries' human rights records on June 19-20 at the United Nations Human Rights Council, United Nations member states expressed serious concern over the nations' laws that criminalize same-sex sexual conduct, in violation of international human rights law. Both countries prohibit "buggery," imposing sentences of up to 10 years; Saint Lucia also criminalizes "gross indecency" in private between consenting persons of the same sex. A 2018 HRW report "'I Have to Leave to Be Me': Discriminatory Laws against LGBT People in the Eastern Caribbean" documented discrimination, violence, stigma and prejudice against LGBTQ people in these island nations.
In South Korea, Seoul education office's push to protect LGBT students and eradicate discrimination at schools is facing opposition after the office released its 2021-23 draft plan to protect the human rights of students, The Korea Herald reported. The education office's inclusion of protecting "LGBT students" in the plan became a source of contention, with opponents claiming that such a clause would "encourage homosexuality" in schools. A petition against the draft plan for human rights protection was uploaded on the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education's website on Jan. 12, garnering thousands of signatures.
Kanav Narayan Sahgal wrote an op-ed, "India must legalize same-sex marriage," that The Japan Times published. In part, Sahgal wrote, "We need to take stock of these developments and ask ourselves why Indians of all faiths still seek religious approval for homosexuality and same-sex marriage, even though religious opinion on these issues is evidently antiquated and out of step with modern times. Even today, possibly the only issue that unites people of faiths (including the RSS) is opposition to gay rights in general and same-sex marriage in particular." Sahgal stated that religious opposition and "the erroneous myth that homosexuality is a mental disorder" are reasons why marriage statutes around the world continue to exclude same-sex couples.
Australia will award tennis great Margaret Court the country's highest honora decision that has stoked controversy because of her history of anti-gay views, Openly News reported. Court is to be awarded a Companion in the General Division of the Order of Australia (AC), the highest category of honor, after previously receiving recognition in 2007. She won 24 singles Grand Slam titles in her career (one more than superstar Serena Williams) and 40 doubles Grand Slams before retraining as a Pentecostal pastor. Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he had no "official knowledge" of Court's award.
Immigration authorities in the Cayman Islands have recognized the marriage of a same-sex couple who legally married outside of the British territory, according to The Washington Blade. Last month, The Cayman Compass newspaper reported Paul Pearson and Randall Pinder legally married in Ireland. The Caymanian Status and Permanent Residency Board denied the couple's application to have Pinder acknowledged as a "spouse of a permanent residency holder" on grounds the Cayman Islands' Constitution defines marriage as between a man and a womanbut the Immigration Appeals Tribunal overturned the board's decision.
Hungary's government ordered a publisher to include a disclaimer warning of LGBTQ+ content in a children's book of fairy tales, out.com noted. According to Reuters, the lesbian publishing group Labrisz must now include the disclaimer in the book Wonderland Is for Everyone, saying it contains "behavior inconsistent with traditional gender roles." The order also requires Labrisz to place the disclaimer in all books containing similar LGBTQ+ themes.
Lithuanian MEP Viktor Uspaskich was removed from the European Parliament group Renew Europe after calling LGBT+ people "perverts," PinkNews noted. Uspaskichwho represents Lithuania's centre-left Labour Partyhad been ordered to apologize for the "despicable remarks" that sparked outrage. Referring to LGBT+ people as "deviants," he said in a live Facebook video, "Most of these people do not advertise, but those who put their d**k under a skirt and go into the street and shout. They are perverts, and such things must not be tolerated." Uspaskich complained that his words had been taken out of context or lost in translation because Lithuanian is not his mother tonguebut also said he had a right to criticize LGBTQ+ people.
Passport Magazine teamed with the IGLTA (International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association) to discover traveler's confidence in the COVID-19 vaccine and assess their travel plans for 2021. A survey was sent out to more than 94,000 travelers subscribed to PASSPORT Magazine along with IGLTA subscribers and asked when they plan to travel, where they plan to go, how they plan to get there and more. Key findings included that 79% of travelers plan to get vaccinated before the summer and that 58% of travelers plan to make their first trips before the fall of 2021, among other results.
Torchwood star Gareth David-Lloyd responded to Russell T Davies' remarks on why straight actors shouldn't play LGBT+ characters in film and television, PinkNews noted. Davies waded into the ongoing debate in an interview for the Radio Times, where the showrunner explained why "authenticity" is key when casting gay roles. The debate resonated with David-Lloyd, who is straight but was cast by Davies as the gay character Ianto Jones in the 2004 series Mine All Mine and as bisexual in the Doctor Who spinoff Torchwood. "Ianto's sexuality was complex, but interesting that I got the role partly based on the strength of a gay character I played for Russell T Davies in Mine All Mine. But then I suppose we all make mistakes," David-Lloyd tweeted.
UK-based consumer technology news and reviews site TechRadar recently held its LGBTQ+ Gaming Week 2021a week-long celebration during LGBTQ+ gamers were invited to tell their stories and explore topics within that community, according to the site. Features included issues such as LGBTQ+ representation in mobile games; how playing The Sims can help one understand sexuality; and queer parents finding validation in games.
Out actor/musician Juan Pablo Di Pace released "Fall On Me," the first single from his upcoming EP, a press release announced. The music video for the adult contemporary ballad was shot in Madrid during the pandemic and directed by Manolo Pavon, photographer on Academy Award-winning filmmaker Pedro Almodovar's films. The EP, available in March, is Di Pace's first music project in two years and includes several songs: five originals, one cover and one Spanish-language tune. His first-ever single, 2010's "We Wanna Rock," reached number one on the iTunes Spanish Charts.
Parasite director Bong Joon-ho was selected as jury president of the 78th Venice International Film Festival on Sept. 1-11, USA Today noted. The Oscar-winning director will preside over seven jurors to hand out the festival's top awards, including the prestigious Golden Lion. The Venice Film Festival was one of the only major film festivals to proceed in person last year amid the pandemic.
Teenage global climate-change activist Greta Thunberg welcomed President Joe Biden's return to the Paris climate accordand she didn't let a chance to rib Sen. Ted Cruz, who called resumption of U.S. membership anti-American, slip by, according to MarketWatch. Cruz said that "by rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement, President Biden indicates he's more interested in the views of the citizens of Paris than in the jobs of the citizens of Pittsburgh." Thunberg responded, "So happy that USA has finally rejoined the Pittsburgh Agreement. Welcome back!"
In Venice, bisexual U.S. designer Rick Owens unveiled his latest collaboration, out.com noted. Debuted as a part of the fall 2021 men's collection, the style is a partnership with footwear icon Converse. The collaboration marks the first time that Converse has ever had a style with a square toe. It is a part of Owens' Drkshdw line and includes two TurboDrk Chuck 70s in black. (They will later be available in lily white.) The styles, which are unisex, will be priced at $165-$170.
Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen thought it was "bizarre" the BBC added a discriminatory language warning to an episode of The Royle Family that described him as a "Nancy boy," PinkNews noted. The '90s sitcom is the latest TV series to be tagged with a warning that it "contains discriminatory language which some viewers may find offensive." Llewelyn-Bowen, who is straight, told The Times, "I mean, for God's sake, what was he going to call me? That's exactly what people thought I was in the '90s, and appearing on The Royle Family was an iconic moment for me. I certainly didn't take offense."
Hong Kong authorities are investigating recent videos showing two naked men engaging in sexual actsincluding masturbation and anal sexin full view of passengers on a moving public train, according to out.com, citing The South China Morning Post. The two viral clips appeared to be filmed on the Tung Chung line, although a spokesman for the Mass Transit Railway said little else was known about the two men or the videos which were posted to Twitter.