In Turkey, four students were arrested over artwork that reportedly depicted LGBT rainbow symbols alongside an image of a sacred Islamic site, the BBC reported. Students at Bogazici University in Istanbul have been protesting against the appointment of a rector. The Istanbul governor's office said the artwork was an "ugly attack" that "mocked religious beliefs." Throughout the country, public opinion is generally conservativeand the LGBTQ+ community has reported widespread discrimination and harassment.
In another Turkey-related item, President Tayyip Erdogan said his government would not allow month-long demonstrations at a Turkish university to grow into anti-government protests similar to those in 2013, calling the protesters "terrorists," Openly News reported. Defying a government ban on demonstrations, students and teachers at Istanbul's Bogazici University have protested Erdogan's appointment of Melih Bulu, an academic and former political candidate, as rector. (Bulu said earlier that he would not step down despite growing calls.) Also, Erdogan said "there is no such thing" as LGBT, adding, "This country is national and spiritual, and will continue to walk into the future as such."
A lesbian couple in Gibraltar are trying to change the law in time to allow both to appear as parents on the birth certificate of their first child expected later this month, according to Out.com . Natalie and Katie Perez-Muldoon have been in an official partnership since 2014; however, Gibraltar law will only allow Natalie's name on the certificate, since she is carrying the couple's child. The couple told the Gibraltar Chronicle they are hopeful the proposed Surrogacy Billwhich will make the necessary changes to existing lawwill be passed in time for the birth of their child.
Britain's first openly lesbian lawmaker, economist Maureen Colquhoun, died at age 92, Reuters reported. Colquhoun was remembered for the way she ignored negative press and attacks by other politicians to pave the way for other LGBT+ MPs (members of Parliament) to live openly. Colquhounwho represented the Labour Party in Northampton North in central England between 1974 and 1979was a noted campaigner for women's rights, particularly for access to abortion and the decriminalization of prostitution.
Gay conversion practices have been banned in the Australian state of Victoria following a lengthy debate in parliament, during which two Liberal MPs broke with party ranks to vote against the bill, The Guardian reported. The Change or Suppression (Conversion) Practices Prohibition Bill passed the legislative council 29 to nine. Those found to have engaged in conversion practices that result in serious injury will face penalties of up to 10 years' jail or up to $10,000 in fines.
Two Albanian LGBT organizations called for changes to be made to the Family Code to provide legal recognition for same-sex partners, Exit.al reported. The alliance Against LGBTI Discrimination and Pro-LGBT have made a number of recommendations to the authorities regarding the legal recognition of LGBTI couples and families. Currently, same-sex marriage or civil partnership is not legal in Albania and such couples are unable to adopt.
The Russian LGBT Network reported that Russian police have allegedly detained two gay men who escaped from the republic of Chechnya and handed them over to authorities in their home region, according to The Moscow Times. The LGBT Network had helped the two menSalekh Magamadov and Ismail Isayev, who had allegedly been arrested and tortured by Chechen special police in April 2020flee from Chechnya and relocate to the city of Nizhny Novgorod in June 2020. Multiple reports of mass detentions, abductions, torture and human rights abuses against gay men in Chechnya have surfaced in recent years. Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov denies the reports as well the existence of LGBT people altogether in the predominantly Muslim region of Russia's North Caucasus.
Tens of thousands of people have signed Christian Arroyo's petition asking NASA to name a newly discovered planet in the late trans musician/producer Sophie's honor, according to a change.org item. Signatures skyrocketed after Charli XCX, one of Sophie's frequent collaborators, voiced her support for the campaign on Twitter. Arroyo had stated, "Sophie released an album in 2018, titled Oil of Every Pearl's Un-Insides. On the cover art for the album, Sophie sits surrounded by water in an ethereal setting. Recently revealed images TOI-1338 b, a planet discovered in the Summer of 2019 by Wolf Cukier, bear a resemblance to the setting pictured on the cover of Oil of Every Pearl's Un-Insides." See https://www.change.org/p/nasa-nasa-name-toi-1338-in-honor-of-sophie.
Norway, Iceland and Lichtenstein cancelled a major grant to Poland's Carpathian Mountains after the region passed a resolution against "LGBT ideology," Reuters reported. The grant was withdrawn in September, but the decision only came to light recently, when a Polish LGBT+ activist published on his website three letters exchanged between Norwegian and Polish officials.
Canada formally labeled the Proud Boysthe far-right extremist group that has been gaining notoriety in the United Statesas a terrorist group, NBC News reported. The Proud Boys were recognized as a "terrorist entity," meaning the government may seize property and other belongings connected to the group and financial institutions "are subject to reporting requirements" with respect to the group's property under Canada's Anti-Terrorism Act. Proud Boys activists have been arrested in connection with the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.
The American Girl Doll brand has caused controversy by introducing a doll with LGBTQ family members, LGBTQ Nation noted. The Mattel-owned imprint created a backstory for its 2021 Girl of the Year Doll, Kira Bailey, who is 10 years old and has visited her two married aunts (Mamie and Linette) in Australia. Although this is the first American Girl Doll to have an out family member, it is not the first time anti-LGBTQ people have attacked the brand. When a 2019 book, Understanding Families, made mention of diverse families, outrage ensued as well.
British comedian Eddie Izzard completed her 31-day virtual marathon run by raising over more than 200,000 pounds for charity, the BBC noted. Speaking from her treadmill after the double marathon (called "#Make Humanity Great Again"), she said she felt "very honored" by the support. Actor George Clooney helped Izzard cross the finish line in London and urged people to stay COVID-safe; the Hollywood star joined a host of celebrities including Russell Brand, Michael Palin, Dame Judi Dench and Ewan McGregor, who supported Izzard through video calls during her daily runs. Izzard recently adopted the pronouns "she" and "her."
Hundreds of protesters marched in Switzerland against coronavirus restrictions after the health minister said the current restrictions will stay in place through the end of February, The Hill noted. Approximately 500 protesters marched through the Swiss city of Zug to protest against what they see as unfair restrictions, Reuters reported. Switzerland tightened its rules last month, closing nonessential stores, requiring masks in stores that remain open, having employees work from home if possible and limiting gatherings to five people.