A court in India ordered state and federal officials to draw up plans for sweeping reforms to respect LGBTQ rights, in a ruling that went far beyond the terms of a case brought by a lesbian couple who said they had been harassed by police, Reuters reported. Judge N. Anand Venkatesh of the Madras High Court ruled in favor of the couple, who had complained that police had subjected them to harassing questioning after their parents filed a missing persons report. But the judge also used the opportunity to issue a broad ruling that called for the elimination of what he described as illegal discrimination against members of the LGBTQIA+ community, ordering state and federal government departments to report back with steps they intend to take to comply.
Transgender Salvadoran Zashy Zuley del Cid Velasquez, 27, was shot dead April 25, sending shockwaves through the close-knit LGBTQ community in San Miguel, the largest city in eastern El Salvador, the Los Angeles Times noted, citing the AP. One day after Velasquez's murder, U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris identified anti-LGBTQ violence in Central America as one of the root causes of migration in the region during a virtual meeting with the president of neighboring Guatemala, Alejandro Giammattei. Transgender migrants were present in the Central American caravans that attempted to reach the United States border in recent years, fleeing harassment, gang extortion, murder and police indifference to crimes against them.
Two members of Guatemalan civil society who work with the LGBTQ community and people with HIV/AIDS participated in a roundtable with U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris when she visited the country, the Washington Blade reported. Visibles Executive Director Daniel Villatoro and Ingrid Gamboa of the Association of Garifuna Women Living with HIV/AIDS were among the 18 individuals who participated in the roundtable that took place at a Guatemala City university. Villatorowho also attended a virtual roundtable with Harris on April 27after the most recent meeting said corruption and "the political crisis in terms of justice with which we live in Guatemala" were two of the issues raised with Harris.
Hong Kong's anti-discrimination watchdog criticized two pro-Beijing politiciansPriscilla Leung and Junius Hofor recent comments warning that next year's Gay Games would "divide the city" and bring "dirty money," france24.com reported. Equal Opportunities Commission chairman Ricky Chu issued a rare rebuke, accusing politicians of "making a mountain out of a molehill." The financial hub will host the 11th Gay Games in November 2022the first time the sporting and cultural event will be held in Asia.
New Zealand Sports Minister Grant Robertson, who is openly gay, said that inclusion should be the starting point for any discussion about the participation of trans people in the gender of their choice, Reuters reported. Robertson was responding to an open letter from 43 former Olympic champions and athletes calling on the government to widen consultation on Sport New Zealand's guidance on the participation of transgender players in sport. The letter, sent to Robertson and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, said a draft of the guidance had not been shared with stakeholders outside the LGBT community disregarded women's rights and raised issues of "fairness and safety." Trans weightlifter Laurel Hubbard has qualified to compete in the women's competition at the Tokyo Olympics and is awaiting nomination to the New Zealand team.
Male teachers and students across Spain wore skirts in solidarity with students who were bullied or punished, according to out.com . When 15-year-old Spanish student Mikel Gomez wore a skirt to school last October, he was hoping to challenge gender norms and support women's rights; instead, he was pulled out of class and brought before a psychologist who grilled him about his gender identity, he said on TikTok. Gomez's video sparked a movement in which hundreds of boys (and, eventually, teachers) in the country wore skirts to school in solidarity.
Hungary's ruling nationalist party submitted legislation to ban content it sees as promoting homosexuality and gender change to minors, the BBC reported. The draft law would ban LGBTQ literature for those younger than 18, including educational material and advertisements deemed to be promoting LGBTQ rights. Several human-rights groups denounced it, saying it was similar to Russian restrictions on LGBTQ activities.
A video promoting June as Pride Month coupled with a push to end the gay "blood ban" is what the Conservative Party of Canada looks like under Leader of the Official Opposition of Canada Erin O'Toole as he works to prove once and for all it stands for LGBTQ rights, CTVNews.ca reported. The video came as a handful of O'Toole's own MPs oppose a Liberal government bill that would ban conversion therapy. Bill C-6 aims to make it a crime to force someone to undergo a "practice, treatment or service," meant to change or suppress their sexual orientation, gender identity or expression.
Also in Canada, a gay Manitoba couple have lost their fight to have their marriage of nearly five decades registered by the province of Manitoba, CBC.ca reported. Chris Vogel and Richard North got married on Feb. 11, 1974, becoming the first gay couple to get married in a Canadian church. When they tried to register the marriage with what is now the Manitoba Vital Statistics Agency, they were denied based on the fact they were both men. In 2018, a human rights adjudicator ruled he was bound by the 1974 ruling; the Manitoba Human Rights Commission and North sought a judicial review of that decision in April, but their application was dismissed June 1, 2021.
In more Canadian news, a group tasked with making sports safer and more welcoming for members of the LGBTQ community compiled information and resources in time for Pride Month, Coast Mountain News noted. Canada's Sport Inclusion Task Forcesteered by the Canadian Olympic Committee, Canadian Women and Sport and several other partnerslaunched a new website, www.sportinclusion.ca, on June 2. The website is meant as a hub for resources to support sports teams and associations in prioritizing equity, diversity and inclusion for LGBTQ people.
In Ghana, a court denied bail to 21 LGBT-rights activists arrested weeks ago for what police described as an unlawful gathering, Reuters reported. The 16 women and five men were told to reappear in court on June 16 for their next hearing. Some were seen weeping after the ruling in the city of Ho. LGBT people face widespread persecution in the African nation, where same-sex relations are punishable with up to three years imprisonment.
In Lithuania, the local authority of Kaunas denied a permit for an LGBT Pride march in the center of the citythe country's second-largestsaying it was necessary for the sake of the participants' safety, The Baltic Times noted. "Pursuant to legislation, we cannot restrict the freedom of self-expression and prohibit such marches. The local authority is neither in favor nor against such an event. However, first and foremost, we have to ensure and take care of the safety of all Kaunas residents and guests," Paulius Keras, deputy director of the Kaunas Municipal Administration, said. Organizers have said that plans are in place to hold the Kaunas Pride parade on Sept. 4.
The Osaka Convention & Tourism Bureau (OCTB) announced that the Japanese city has become a featured destination of the International LGBTQ+ Travel Association (IGLTA) for 2021, according to a press release. In addition to the LGBTQ information portal "Visit Gay Osaka," the OCTB has created a promotional video for the gay male market, and will release another one in the near future. The OCTB is the first tourism bureau in Japan to launch LGBTQ campaigns and events during Pride Month, courtesy of the "One Cup Rainbow" sake from Ozeki Corporation; a portion of sales will be donated to Osaka's pride event "Rainbow Festa!" that's held every October.
In China, a lesbian couple sued the Chimelong Safari Park, a zoo in Guangzhou, and online travel giant Ctrip after they were barred from using a discount package offered for couples, the South China Morning Post reported. The lawsuit was accepted at the Shanghai Changning district court, one of China's top courts, because the two sides could not settle the case. The couple, who went to the park on May 21the unofficial Valentine's Day in Chinasaid they had bought a "couple's package" from the park, which was supposed to offer a discount of 90 yuan (US $14). When they went to the park, they were denied entry and told they were not allowed to use the couple's package because the discount was only meant for "a man and a woman."
BAFTA has joined Time's Up UK to call for a high-level summit to address historical sexual misconduct allegations amid a growing #MeToo movement in television, Deadline noted. In a statement sent to Deadline, BAFTA CEO Amanda Berry said: "We join Times Up UK in calling on the industry to come together at a high-level summit to address the urgent need for a consistent and trusted industry-wide approach to responding to allegations of bullying and harassment." Berry stopped short of endorsing the idea of an independent sexual-misconduct unit, but said she wants the industry to make "meaningful changes to the culture and working practices to support people making complaints and better safeguard all those working in the screen industries."
Double Olympic silver medallist Madeline Groves pulled out of Australia's swimming trials for the Tokyo Games, citing "misogynistic perverts in sport," the New York Post noted. "Let this be a lesson to all misogynistic perverts in sport and their boot lickers: You can no longer exploit young women and girls, body shame or medically gaslight them and then expect them to represent you so you can earn your annual bonus. Time's UP," she tweeted.
In London, a grand townhouse on Highbury's Aberdeen Road that once belonged to the legendary fashion designer, Alexander McQueen, has hit the market with an asking price of 2.5 million pounds ($3.5 million U.S.), Tatler noted. The designer lived at the four-bedroom residence at the peak of his fame, between 2001 and 2005. For more information, see www.themodernhouse.com/sales-list/aberdeen-road/ .