On Dec. 22, Scotland's parliament approved disputed reforms that make it easier for trans people to change their legal gender, including removing the need for a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria and lowering the minimum age to 16 from 18, Reuters reported. The Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) bill passed 86-39, making Scotland the first region of the United Kingdom to approve a self-identification process for changing gender.
Ukraine lawmakers unanimously approved a bill that will ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, The Washington Blade reported. "It's a big step for Ukraine, to start adoption of our legislation to European values," Olena Shevchenko, chair of Insight, a Ukrainian LGBTQ and intersex rights group, said. "We hope our government will recognize LGBTQI people as equal as soon as possible." President Volodymyr Zelenskyy recently said he supports a civil partnerships law for same-sex couples.
Prominent Chilean trans activist Claudia Diaz Perez was recently found dead, The Washington Blade noted. Ricardo Castillo of the Investigations Police of Chile (PDI)'s Homicide Brigade told local publication El Lider that the head injuries that Diaz had were "compatible with the action of third parties" and she suffered them less than 24 hours before authorities discovered her body. Authorities have not determined whether Diaz's murder was a hate crime; however, her friends and fellow activists have said it was.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) issued an update to its "Framework on Fairness, Inclusion, and Non-Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity and Sex Variations," Out noted. The IOC's original framework, published in November 2021, was a huge win for transgender and intersex athletes. It stated that "Everyone, regardless of their gender identity, expression and/or sex variations, should be able to participate in sport safely and without prejudice." The framework's 10 sections, or "principles," prioritized bodily autonomy, harm prevention, and privacy; however, the framework has been criticized for its lack of specificity, leaving many decisions to individual sports federations.
A leading advocacy organization for LGBTQ+ refugees is partnering with the federal government to resettle hundreds of Afghan refugees fleeing persecution because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, CBC reported. Rainbow Railroad has received nearly 3,800 pleas for help from LGBTQI+ Afghans following the Taliban seized control of the country in August 2021, but has only been able to facilitate the resettlement of 180 vulnerable people in Canada so far, with another 20 more expected by the end of the year. Now, the partnership will allow the organization to help another 600 LGBTQI+ Afghan refugees find safety in this country.
The Islamic police force in northern Nigeria's main city, Kano, arrested 19 Muslims, accusing them of attending the wedding of a same-sex couple, the BBC reported. The force raided the marriage ceremony after a tip-off, spokesman Lawal Ibrahim Fagge said. Same-sex acts are illegal under both Islamic and secular legal systems throughout the country, where those living in the north are mainly Muslim and people in the south are largely Christian. Fagge told the BBC that the police force did not intend to punish the 15 male and four female wedding guests arrested.
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) has agreed with LGBTQ+-rights activist Maurice Tomlinson's argument that Section 18 (2) of Jamaica's Constitution possibly violates several of his rights guaranteed under the American Convention on Human Rights, Loop News noted. Tomlinson, an attorney who is based overseas, published his reasons for challenging Jamaica's Constitution in a foreign jurisdiction and his personal tragedy on the website Erasing 76 crime. Tomlinson filed his petition with IACHR after planning to move back to Jamaica to take care of his parents but faced the possibility of leaving his husband behind, as their marriage would not be recognized locally.
A Polish same-sex couple lost their long-running effort to have their overseas marriage recognized by Poland's legal systembut have vowed to take the case to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France, according to Notes from Poland. Agata Kowalska, a journalist, and Emilia Barabasz, an attorney, married in Germany in 2018; when they returned to Poland, they tried to register their marriage certificate in the Polish civil registry. However, the registry office refused, saying same-sex marriage is not recognized in Poland.
Four gay couples have asked India's Supreme Court to recognize same-sex marriages, setting the stage for a legal face-off with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government, which has refused to legalize such marriages, Reuters reported. In a historic verdict in 2018, India's top court decriminalized voided a colonial-era ban on gay sex. LGBTQ+-rights activists say that while 2018 ruling affirmed their constitutional rights, they are still deprived of legal backing for same-sex marriagesa basic right enjoyed by heterosexual married couples.
The Vatican defrocked the anti-abortion U.S. priest Frank Pavone for what it said were "blasphemous communications on social media" as well as "persistent disobedience" of his bishop, The Guardian reported. A letter to U.S. bishops from the Vatican ambassador to the United States, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, said the decision against Pavone, who heads the anti-abortion group Priests for Life, had been taken and that there was no chance for an appeal. Pavone had been investigated by his then diocese of Amarillo, Texas, for having placed an aborted fetus on an altar and posting a video of it on two social-media sites in 2016. The video was accompanied by a post saying that Hillary Clinton and the Democratic party would allow abortion to continue, and that Donald Trump and the Republicans wanted to protect unborn children.
One of Iran's best-known actresses was arrested days after she criticized the execution of a man who was involved in the nationwide protests that have swept the country since September, CNN reported. Taraneh Alidoostiwho starred in the 2016 Oscar-winning film The Salesmanhad condemned the hanging of Mohsen Shekari, who was killed this month in the first known execution linked to the protests. State media outlet Fars News Agency (affiliated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guards) said Alidoosti had been arrested because there was a "lack of evidence for her claims."
South African filmmakers were shocked, angry and disappointed after the country failed to submit a film for the international feature Oscar race for the first time in 15 years, Variety noted. Nine films were submitted to South Africa's National Film & Video Foundation (NFVF) for consideration for the 95th Academy Awards, which will be held March 12 at the Dolby Theatre; however, none were put forward. In a letter sent to the snubbed filmmakers, a copy of which was obtained by Variety, the NFVF said that the nine films were rejected by the selection committee "due to either non-compliance with the [Academy's] selection criteria and/or a concern regarding the representation of marginalized communities."
British personality Jeremy Clarkson issued a statement following his inflammatory comments about Meghan Markle in a column for tabloid The Sun, Variety noted. He tweeted, "In a column I wrote about Meghan, I made a clumsy reference to a scene in Game of Thrones [in which Lena Headey's Cersei is publicly degraded] and this has gone down badly with a great many people. I'm horrified to have caused so much hurt and I shall be more careful in future." In the column, which Clarkson writes weekly for The Sun, he suggests that Prince Harry has no "control" over his actions anymore, largely thanks to Markle.
Australian actor Jacob Elordi (Euphoria) ruffled some feathers when he used the American spelling of 'colour' in a social-media post, The Daily Mail noted. He was discussing some of the things he was grateful for this Christmas, which included his new movie role in Sofia Coppola's Pricilla Presley biopic and the "color" of money. Even though some were upset by the spelling, one person wrote Elordi has previously said he was a fan of the Tom Cruise movie The Color of Money, which uses the U.S. spelling in its title.