The LGBTQ+ community stretches far and wide and it’s important to know what’s happening beyond our own borders. Here are some important developments happening with the international LGBTQ+ community.
In Singapore, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong recently announced that the government would move to strike down Section 377A of the Penal Code which criminalizes sex between men. The law dates back 84 years and was established during British colonial rule. However, no steps forward will be taken at this time to ease the way for same-sex marriage in Singapore.
Two LGBTQ+ rights activists Zahra Sedighi Hamedani, 31, and Elham Choubdar, 24, have been sentenced to death by a court in Iran. The two have been accused of “promoting homosexuality” and breaking Sharia law. Hamedani has been in custody since October 2021. According to Amnesty International, Hamedani appeared in a 2021 BBC documentary where she spoke out against the treatment of LGBTQ+ individuals in the Kurdistan Region of northern Iraq. Not much is known about Choubdar at this time, but News is Out will update when more information becomes available.
For Russia’s already targeted LGBTQ+ community, things could move even farther into erasure and persecution. Russia’s nearly decade old anti-gay propaganda law may become even more strict. In 2013, Russian lawmakers passed a propaganda law to discourage LGBTQ+ activism and events like Pride marches. The law was initially intended to ban LGBTQ+ material and “promotion of nontraditional sexual relations” from being accessible to minors, however, this week a group of Russian parliamentarians have proposed expanding the law to including any mentioning of LGBTQ+ people or issues and a total ban on portrayal of LGBTQ+ life in film and television.
St. Kitts and Nevis
Dual-island nation, St. Kitts and Nevis has become the latest Caribbean country to strike down a colonial-era law criminalizing gay sex. Justice Trevor M. Ward of the High Court of Justice ruled that Sections 56 and 57 of the Offenses Against the Person Act is no longer the law of the land. This follows Antigua and Barbuda’s July repeal of its own sodomy laws.
Canada’s government is investing in the LGBTQ+ community. “Canada’s first Federal 2SLGBTQI+ Action Plan” will provide 100 million over five years to help fight against discrimination and increase diversity and inclusion for the community in Canada and abroad. Canadian government will also be adopting the acronym, 2SLGBTQI+, to better represent the community. The acronym stands for “Two-Spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and additional sexually and gender diverse people.” Learn more about the new initiative here.
2022’s EuroPride was set to take place in Belgrade, Serbia in September, but Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic has announced the cancellation of the event. Vucic spoke of concerns of violence and attacks as a reason for the cancellation, but EuroPride organizers are pushing back. In a statement available in full on its website, EuroPride said “Neither the hosts of EuroPride 2022, Belgrade Pride, nor us as the licensor will cancel EuroPride in Belgrade.” To further the point, EuroPride’s board president Kristine Garina said, “President Vucic cannot cancel someone else’s event. EuroPride is not cancelled, and will not be cancelled. During the bidding process for EuroPride 2022, Prime Minister of Serbia, Ana Brnabic promised the full support of the Serbian government for EuroPride in Belgrade, and we expect that promise to be honoured.”
Hungary’s National Media and Communications Authority is investigating whether Netflix has violated their anti-gay propaganda law with a same-sex kiss shown in the animated series, “Jurassic World Camp Cretaceous.” Hungary’s law is very similar to Russia’s and bans all depictions of LGBTQ+ people in television, film and entertainment aimed at younger audiences. Hungarian LGBTQ+ activists have been sounding the alarm over increasing tensions for the community for some time.
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