In India, the Centre unveiled the roadmap for mainstreaming transgender persons under the umbrella scheme SMILE, or Support for Marginalized Individuals for Livelihood and Enterprise, The Times of India reported. The scheme of the ministry of social justice and empowerment has two components focussed on comprehensive rehabilitation of transgender persons and rehab of persons engaged in begging. As far as the component on mainstreaming transgender persons is concerned, the national portal for transgender persons launched in November 2020 will be the interface between the government and the community for availing the benefits under the central scheme.
Kuwait's Constitutional Court overturned an article of the penal code criminalizing the so-called imitation of the opposite sex in a move welcomed by Amnesty International as a "major breakthrough" for transgender rights in the Gulf Arab region, Openly News reported. The court said in a statement on its website that article 198 was unconstitutional because it did not provide "objective standards" to identify the offense, and that the general phrasing risked violating personal freedoms. IN 2018, nearby gulf state Oman amended its penal code to punish a man who "publicly appears in the likeness of women in his dress or guise" with imprisonment of between one month and a year, along with a fine.
Cuba's leaders have launched a series of neighborhood meetings across the island to debate a measure that would legalize same-sex marriage and adoption, a measure that pits the daughter of former President Raul Castro against a growing evangelical movement, per the National Catholic Reporter, citing the AP. The planned 78,000 meetings, which officially started at the beginning of this month but are only now being seen in practice, were called by Cuba's parliament to discuss the content of a proposal and gather public comment by the end of April. That will be used to draft a final version to be put to a public referendum at a date to be determined.
In Thailand, Brahmasara "Fah" Viradhammajari and partner Titat "Peter" Kuantrakul led a demonstration at the CAT Telecom building in Bangkok after being denied a marriage license, Thai PBS World noted. Viradhammajari said the couple are upset by the decision, as they have tried very hard to get same-sex marriages officially recognized, noting that the government does not understand gender diversity. He also said that with the same-sex marriage bill stalled in parliament for at least a few more months, many LGBTQ+ couples are being denied the rights they deserve.
Out gay French designer Simon Porte Jacquemus took to Instagram to shut down a homophobic, supposed fan of his label, out.com noted. The shopper, Russian social media influencer Anya Safarova, commented on a photo on Jacquemus's Instagram account of the designer kissing his husband. "I used to want your bag," Safarova wrote. "Now" and she finished the message with vomiting emojis. Jacquemus responded directly to the comment writing "My bag don't want you." The designer then screenshot the comments and posted them to his Instagram stories writing "If you know how many [gay people] are working at Jacquemus. We don't want you as [a homophobic potential client.. You don't deserve our products. Period."
Andrew Blaserthe lone athlete competing for Team USA in the men's singles skeleton in the Beijing Olympics, and the only out gay player on the skeleton squaddid not advance to the final in that discipline, NBC New York noted. Blaser rode with a rainbow saddle on his sled and finished his third run with a time 5.49 seconds behind the leaderleaving him in 21st place and one spot out of the finals qualification.
At least seven of the Canadian women's hockey team that won gold at the Beijing Winter Olympics are openly LGBTQmaking it the queerest Olympic team of all time, NBC News reported. (The Dutch women's soccer team also had seven publicly out players who competed in the Tokyo Summer Games.) According to Outsports, half of the 10 women's hockey teams in Beijing included at least one out player.
Authorities in Wellington, New Zealand, played Barry Manilow's greatest hits in an attempt to dislodge protesters camped outside the parliament building, the BBC noted. In addition to deploying sprinklers, songs by the out gay U.S. singer were being played on a 15-minute loop along with the '90s Spanish dance tune "Macarena." The demonstrators, angry at COVID-19 vaccine mandates, responded by playing songs such as Twisted Sister's "We're Not Gonna Take It." New Zealand has reported just 53 virus deaths among its population of 5 million, but some have grown weary of the restrictions, according to OregonLive.com .
Tom Daley was joined by Eddie Izzard as the openly gay Olympic diving champion while completing a four-day journey across his homeland of England to raise money for the Comic Relief charity, out.com noted. Dubbed "My Hell of a Homecoming," the event featured Daley rowing, cycling, swimming and running more than 270 miles from London to Plymouth in just four days. "I am honestly exhausted; I don't think my body has felt this kind of pain," Daley told Plymouth Live after two days of the event. "I've never had to do anything like this ever before."
Speaking of Daley, he, Lady Gaga, Dua Lipa and British Vogue editor-in-chief Edward Enninful are among the stars who have been shortlisted for the British LGBT Awards, Yahoo! noted. The celebrity ally nominees include Harry Potter actor Daniel Radcliffe, singer Ellie Goulding, Little Mix member Jade Thirlwall, Doctor Who actress Jodie Whittaker, Formula 1 star Lewis Hamilton and Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp. Gaga; The Crown actress Emma Corrin; and Pose stars Billy Porter, Indya Moore and MJ Rodriguez are up for celebrity of the year. The British LGBT Award ceremony is due to take place in London on June 24.
In Canada, for the second straight weekend, a nightclub defied orders to shut down and opened its doors to dancers, per CBC.ca. Lambda Cabaret identifies itself as a "safe space" for the LGBTQ2 community in northern British Columbia, but lately has adopted the language of inclusion to include people who are unvaccinated, saying it does not "discriminate" against people who have not received COVID-19 vaccines. A sign posted near the front door says it doesn't follow the province's vaccine-passport policy and doesn't mandate masks.
Isabelle Huppert, recipient of this year's Honorary Golden Bear, was unable to attend the Berlin Film Festival in person due to testing positive for COVID, Deadline reported. The festival's Homage is dedicated to the French film and stage star who is also the recipient of the Honorary Golden Bear for lifetime achievement.
Britain's Prince Andrew reached an out-of-court settlement in respect of his sex-assault case, Variety noted. The case was brought against the prince, who is also known in the U.K. as the Duke of York, by Virginia Guiffre. She claimed the prince had sexually assaulted her three times when she was 17. The allegations date back to Prince Andrew's friendship with convicted sex abusers Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell. Prince Andrew has repeatedly denied the allegations.