Botswana's Court of Appeal upheld a 2019 ruling that decriminalized gay sex, effectively striking off two sections of the penal code that had outlawed homosexuality, according to Reuters. Before the 2019 High Court ruling, which was praised by international organizations and activists, engaging in gay sex in Botswana was punishable by up to seven years in prison. Reading the unanimous decision by five judges, Court of Appeal Judge President Ian Kirby (who was slated to retire Nov. 30, shortly after the ruling, AllAfrica.com noted) said the criminalization of consensual same-sex activities violated the constitutional rights of LGBTQ+ persons to dignity, liberty, privacy and equality.
The Delhi High Court asked the Union government to respond to a new application seeking permission to livestream the court proceedings on a bunch of petitions for recognizing same-sex marriages, The Hindu reported. A bench of Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh, which is currently seized of five separate petitions of several same-sex couples, posted the hearing in the case on Feb. 3, 2022. Senior advocate Neeraj Kishan Kaul, appearing for the applicants, said the issue raised in the petitions was of national importance, particularly regarding the LGBTQ community, which composes nearly 8 percent of country's population.
The Dutch government publicly apologized for a now-defunct law that required transgender people who wished to change the gender on their birth certificates to undergo surgery and sterilization, The Hill noted. "For decades, people underwent medical procedures that they did not want at all. But they knew they had no other choice," said Dutch Minister for Education, Culture and Science Ingrid van Engelshoven in a speech. "Others have waited because of this law; they were forced to postpone becoming themselves for years."
Trans political candidates made history with Bangladesh and Chile, per Xtra. A small town in Bangladesh voted to elect the country's first trans mayor, as Nazrul Islam Ritu won an election for chair of Trilochanpur Union in Kaliganj Upazila, Jhenaidah, by a landslide. Chile elected its first trans official to the national legislature on Nov. 21, just as the country heads into an election cycle that could put LGBTQ+ rights at risk. Activist Emilia Schneider Videla, who won by more than 26,000 votes, will represent District 10 of Santiago in the National Congress of Chile when she is sworn in next March. The Dec. 19 presidential runoff election is between far-right populist Jose Antonio Kast (who opposes marriage equality and abortion) and leftist Gabriel Boric.
The third annual edition of a Pride event celebrating Black queer people around the world online will be presented in a hybrid format in Toronto in 2022, giving folks an opportunity to participate in the festivities in person for the first time, according to Gay City News. After the first two events were entirely virtual, Global Black Pride organizers hope the millions of online viewers who attended in the past will come to the weekend-long in-person/virtual event slated for July 28-31, 2022. Global Black Pride is spearheading the event with support from a Toronto-based organization called Blackness Yes! as well as Pride Toronto.
In England, two young gay men were viciously attacked and robbed with a hammer, fists and hateful words by a group of other young men recently, according to out.com. Ryan Winnard, 21, told the Manchester Evening News he and his boyfriend, Max Green, 18, were walking and holding hands in Radcliffe when they were jumped by five to six assailants wearing balaclavas. The LGBTQ+ community has suffered a string of attacks recently in England.
The European Commission (EC) began the second phase of its infringement procedure against EU member state Hungary due to discriminatory amendments adopted in June in the country that ban the "portrayal and the promotion of gender identity different from sex at birth, the change of sex and homosexuality, an ILGA-Europe statement said. The commission said that it found Hungary's official response to its initial notification insufficient, so it started the second phase of the infringement process by sending Hungary a letter known as a "reasoned opinion," outlining the parts of the new Hungarian statute that are breaching EU law, and demanding that these be changed. If Hungary doesn't abide by the reasoned opinion, the case will be referred to the Court of Justice of the European Union.
In Canada, an Anishinaabe two-spirit woman filed a human-rights complaint against the London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC), alleging discrimination at southwestern Ontario's largest hospital and hoping to bring systemic change to the healthcare system, CBC.ca reported. Hollee George, 44, described her two-day experience at LHSC in November 2020 as terrifying and dehumanizing. What began as an appointment for a routine endoscopy ended with the hospital wanting to discharge George in the middle of the night with no personal belongings and nowhere to go. She also said she overheard offensive comments and was treated with a lack of trust. LHSC was unable to comment specifically about George's case, but told CBC News it is committed to improving the patient-care experience and creating an environment that is inclusive.
Tennis player Samantha Stosur, 37, said she will play the Australian Open and then is likely to retire during next season, tennis.com noted. The Aussie wants to play in front of her home crowds before ending her career. The 2011 US Open champion became a mother last year, when partner Liz Astling gave birth to the couple's first child.
A spokesman for Sydney's Sea Life Aquarium revealed the famed same-sex Gentoo penguin couple Sphen and Magic will celebrate the third anniversary of their partnered relationship with a special frozen fish cake, out.com noted. Penguins can only hatch one egg at a time, so extra eggs are routinely given to empty-nested couples; Sphen and Magic have already hatched two eggs together. Last year, lesbian penguins Electra and Viola incubated and hatched a penguin chick at the Oceanographic Aquarium in Valencia, Spain.
Leftist opposition candidate Xiomara Castro declared victory in the Honduran presidential election, with early results giving her a commanding lead and putting her on track to become the first female leader of the Central American country, Reuters reported. Castro, the wife of former President Manuel Zelaya, was competing in a field of more than a dozen candidates, and supporters hailed a triumph that would end a dozen years of conservative rule and return the left to power for the first time since Zelaya was deposed in a 2009 coup. According to The Guardian, Castro has pledged to loosen the country's draconian abortion laws; Honduras is one of only four countries in Latin America that prohibits abortion under any circumstance.
Barbados cut its last remaining bonds to the British monarchy after nearly 400 years, CNN.com noted. In a ceremony, Prince Charles acknowledged the "appalling atrocity of slavery" as the nation removed Queen Elizabeth II as head of state and inaugurated its first-ever president. Official events marking the island's historic transition took place in National Heroes Square, decorated in the national colors of gold and ultramarine, in the heart of the capital of Bridgetown.
Egyptian soccer legend Mohamed Aboutrika recently delivered a two-minute homophobic rant in his current role as a pundit on the Qatari television network beIN Sports, calling homosexuality "dangerous" and an affront to humanity, out.com noted. "This phenomenon is not only against Muslim nature but it's against human nature," Aboutrika said, according to a report in Deadline. "Allah says in the Quran that we have to honor the children of Adam but by doing this homosexuality we are not honoring humans, we are humiliating them." The former soccer player's ire was raised when queried about the UK Premier League's recent Rainbow Laces campaign.
Mexican regulators approved Canadian Pacific's $31-billion deal to acquire Kansas City Southern, which could create a railroad linking Mexico, Canada and the United States, The Hill noted, citing the AP. The deal includes 2.884 Canadian Pacific shares and $90 in cash for each shareholder, as well as Canadian Pacific assuming $3.8 billion of Kansas City Southern's debt. Canadian Pacific beat Canadian National's (CN's) $33.6-billion bid due to the U.S. Surface Transportation Board (STB) declining to approve a part of CN's bid.
The European Film Awards canceled its plans for a physical ceremony this year due to rising COVID numbers in Germany, Deadline noted. A small ceremony for nominees only was due to take place in Berlin on Saturday, Dec. 11. Instead, it will now take place in a hybrid of digital formats, including pre-produced and live online.