LGBTQI+

Diversity & Inclusion
UK School removes JK Rowling as house name stating she is not a "suitable representative"
J.K. Rowling reads from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone at the Easter Egg Roll at the White House in 2010.
J.K. Rowling reads from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone at the Easter Egg Roll at the White House in 2010. Credit: Daniel Ogren (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0)

Following a decision made by students at Seaford Head School in East Sussex, United Kingdom, one of the houses will no longer be named after JK Rowling. The reason named is "her recent words about the trans community".

In addition, former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill has been removed as name-giver as "a figure who promoted racism".

Diversity & Inclusion
185 LGBTQ actors and actresses come out in german Newspaper
185 LGBTQ actors and actresses come out in german Newspaper
Credit: Courtesy of SZ

185 lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, non-binary and transgender actors and actresses have come out in the current SZ Magazin of the Süddeutsche Zeitung, one of the biggest German newspapers. "We are here and we are many!" - with these words begins the manifesto of the #actout group. The group emphasizes that there is no incompatibility between one's sexual and gender identity and the ability to embody roles convincingly and believably.

They wanted to initiate a debate, create visibility and break taboos. Actor and director Godehard Giese ("The spoken word counts") emphasized that the group's main concern in the run-up to the event had been to "make themselves visible".

Regional News • Europe • Russia
Russia sends gay men back to Chechnya
Russia sends gay men back to Chechnya
Credit: unsplash.com / Tim Bieler

Russian rights group The Russian LGBT Network has come forward saying that Russia has sent two gay men, who fled to Russia to escape torture, have been returned to Chechnya.

The group said that the men are in "mortal danger".

Reports say the pair were forcibly returned to Chechen authorities.

Lifestyle • Religion
German Pastor Olaf Latzel sentenced for incitement of the people
German Pastor Olaf Latzel sentenced for incitement of the people
Credit: Courtesy of St. Martini Gemeinde zu Bremen

The Bremen District Court has convicted the Lutheran pastor Olaf Latzel of the regional church St Martini parish in the Hanseatic city, of incitement of the people. The fundamentalist pastor had made homophobic and sexist remarks at a marriage seminar in October 2019, and a recording was posted online in March with his consent on his YouTube channel, which has nearly 25,000 subscribers.

According to the court, the statements are incitement and could emotionally justify violence against homosexuals.

Bernd Kuschnerus, the senior theologian of the Bremen Protestant Church, said he was "deeply saddened that a pastor of our church has been convicted of incitement of the people." The statements on which the verdict was based were unacceptable and damaged the reputation of the church, he said. There had been strong opposition to Latzel from the congregations of the Bremen Protestant Church for years. The church leadership has initiated disciplinary proceedings against the pastor, but these are suspended until a legally binding judgment is reached. Latzel's defense filed an appeal.

Regional News • Europe
Hungary passes new laws expanding executive powers and barring same-sex couples from adopting
Hungary passes new laws expanding executive powers and barring same-sex couples from adopting
Credit: Steffen Prößdorf, via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

The Hungarian Parliament has passed a new law on Tuesday that will expand the executive powers, making it harder for the opposition to challenge PM Viktor Orbán and his party, and lowering the legal threshold for the government to declare a state of emergency.

Further, it introduced a redefinition of the concept of "family" in the country's constitution, stating that the "foundation of the family is marriage and the parent-child relationship. The mother is a woman, the father is a man", resulting in effectively barring same-sex couples from adopting children.

Lifestyle • Religion
Religious leaders call for end of gay conversion therapy
Religious leaders call for end of gay conversion therapy
Credit: Jmquez, via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0)

Over 370 religious leaders from around the world are calling for an end to the criminalisation of LGBT+ people and a ban on gay conversion therapy, the pseudoscientific practise of trying to change an individual's sexual orientation. The leaders stated that "certain religious teachings have often, throughout the ages, caused and continue to cause deep pain and offence" to LGBTQ+ people and further have "created, and continue to create, oppressive systems that fuel intolerance, perpetuate injustice and result in violence."

Among those who signed are eight archbishops, including South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu; over 60 rabbis, including former Chief Rabbi of Ireland David Rosen; the Catholic former president of Ireland Mary McAleese and various senior Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhists and Hindus.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Pete Buttigieg announced as Joe Biden's pick for transportation secretary
Pete Buttigieg announced as Joe Biden's pick for transportation secretary
Credit: Gage Skidmore from Surprise, AZ, United States of America, via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0)

President-elect Joe Biden will nominate former Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg to lead the Department of Transportation. If Buttigieg's nomination makes it through chambers, he would be the first Senate-confirmed LGBTQ Cabinet secretary.

Regional News • Americas • South America
Bolivia recognizes the first same-sex union
Bolivia recognizes the first same-sex union
Credit: Sharon McCutcheon

Bolivia's Civic Registration Service (Sereci) has for the first time recognised the "free union" between two people of the same sex in the country, following a long legal battle between the couple, according to a resolution made public on Friday.

Sereci decided to "arrange for the registration of the free union between David Víctor Aruquipa Pérez and Guido Alvaro Montaño Durán", according to this document which cancels another resolution adopted by the same institution in 2018. The deputy of the right-wing party Creemos Samantha Nogales also said that this is an issue that will be evaluated, but that "it is fundamental to understand that human rights move forward and not backward and that in this case, we can show that Bolivians are all equal before the law."

Diversity & Inclusion
French minister for Europe Clément Beaune comes out as gay
French minister for Europe Clément Beaune comes out as gay
Credit: Courtesy of Instagram

According to a preliminary report by the magazine "Têtu" and a summary by Politico, French Secretary of State for European Affairs Clément Beaune has revealed himself to be gay in an interview for the latest issue of the queer magazine.

"Today it seems trivial to say it, but it is not a matter of course", said the 39-year-old, who also put the coming-out into a social context and declared: "Beatings, violence, rejection, all this will happen in 2020. Reporting my sexual orientation today is not indecency or staging intimacy".

Diversity & Inclusion
Discriminated gay soldiers in Germany to be rehabilitated and compensated

Until the year 2000, soldiers of the German armed forces were discriminated against because of their homosexuality. The Cabinet has decided to rehabilitate the soldiers involved. Convictions of the military courts are to be overturned and compensation paid, confirmed the federal government on Wednesday the 25th.

Diversity & Inclusion
Actor Elliot Page, known for 'Juno' and 'The Umbrella Academy,' comes out as transgender
Elliot Page
Elliot Page Credit: Gage Skidmore (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0)

Elliot Page, who earned Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations for his starring role in "Juno" after breaking out in the 2005 film "Hard Candy," came out as transgender on Tuesday, sharing the news in a long social media post.

Page, who has been credited in film and TV roles as Ellen Page, currently stars in Netflix’s hit superhero series "The Umbrella Academy".

Shortly after Page's announcement, GLAAD (the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) posted a tweet noting that the actor "has given us fantastic characters on-screen, and has been an outspoken advocate for all LGBTQ people".

Diversity & Inclusion
Germany will compensate homosexual soldiers for past discrimination
Germany will compensate homosexual soldiers for past discrimination
Credit: unsplash.com / Daniel Stub

The German Cabinet adopted a draft law that provides for the revocation of rulings by the military courts on consensual homosexual acts. For every relocated ruling Germany will pay 3000€ to the affected soldier and the same sum will also be paid to soldiers who have been dismissed because of their sexual orientation, who have not been promoted or who have not been entrusted with responsible duties. Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer had already recognized the importance of rehabilitation before the cabinet meeting and apologized to those affected.

Diversity & Inclusion
Norway extends legal protection for queer people
Norway extends legal protection for queer people
Credit: unsplash.com / Alexander Sinn

Since 1981 hate speech against gays and lesbians has been a punishable offense in Norway. Now the Scandinavian country extended its protection law to include bisexuals and trans people. In the hate speech prohibition, the category "homosexual orientation" was changed to the category "sexual orientation" and so among other things also Bi- and Pansexual humans were included. Furthermore, "gender, gender identity or expression" was added. Under the law, hateful comments in public can be punished with up to three years imprisonment.

Education • School Education
First school for transgender people opens in Bangladesh
First school for transgender people opens in Bangladesh
Credit: unsplash.com / MChe Lee

In Bangladesh the first Islamic school, where 150 trans people can attend courses free of charge, opens. This is a further step to support the queer community. In 2018, a new law was passed that gave trans people of the "third gender" named there the right to vote and to take up political positions.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Sarah McBride (Delaware) becomes first openly transgender state senator in US history
Sarah McBride (Delaware) becomes first openly transgender state senator in US history
Credit: @SarahEMcBride, Screenshot via Twitter

Sarah McBride (Delaware), national press secretary for the Human Rights Campaign, becomes the first openly transgender state senator in US history.

"We did it. We won the general election. Thank you, thank you, thank you," McBride tweeted. "I hope tonight shows an LGBTQ kid that our democracy is big enough for them, too."

Lifestyle • Religion
Pope Francis endorses same-sex civil unions
Pope Francis
Pope Francis Credit: Long Thiên (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Pope Francis as made his most explicit endorsement of same-sex civil unions since becoming pontiff while being interviewed for the feature-length documentary “Francesco,” which premiered Wednesday at the Rome Film Festival.

"Homosexual people have the right to be in a family. They are children of God," Francis said in one of his sit-down interviews for the film. "You can't kick someone out of a family, nor make their life miserable for this. What we have to have is a civil union law; that way they are legally covered."

Regional News • Americas • United States
Two U.S. Supreme Court Justices Question Ruling That Allowed Same Sex Marriage
Two U.S. Supreme Court Justices Question Ruling That Allowed Same Sex Marriage
Credit: U.S. government. / Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain)

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has published an opinion piece in support of Justice Samuel Alito questioning same-sex marriage. Both had voted against the ruling in 2015 that permitted same-sex marriage.

Thomas stated that "those with sincere religious beliefs about marriage now find it increasingly difficult to be a part of society. The verdict would label those who believe that marriage can only exist between a man and a woman as fanatics. And this although they would only refuse to bend their religious attitudes to current legal beliefs".

Regional News • Americas • Canada
Trudeau’s Liberal Party has reintroduced a bill to ban "gay conversion therapy"
Trudeau’s Liberal Party has reintroduced a bill to ban "gay conversion therapy"
Credit: unsplash.com/Elyssa Fahndrich

Trudeau’s Liberal Party has reintroduced a bill that would ban "gay conversion therapy", a pseudoscientific practise of trying to alter someone's sexual orientation or gender identity, on Thursday.

The legislation was previously introduced back in March before parliament had to close due to Covid-19.

"Conversion therapy is harmful, degrading, and has no place in Canada … I hope that all parties will do the right thing by supporting this bill," so PM Justin Trudeau on Thursday.

Regional News • Europe • Germany
Friedrich Merz 'regrets' controversial gay chancellor remarks
Friedrich Merz
Friedrich Merz Credit: Olaf Kosinsky (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0)

German politician Friedrich Merz says he now "regrets" comments made when asked whether he would have reservations if an LGBT+ chancellor were to lead Germany.

During a video interview for the Bild newspaper, Merz replied to the question with: "No. Concerning the question of sexual orientation, as long as it is within the law and does not affect children — which at this point, for me, would be an absolute limit — it is not an issue for public discussion."

Merz is the leading candidate for the position of chair of the centre-right Christian Democrats (CDU). Whoever is selected for the role would likely become the party's candidate to replace Angela Merkel as chancellor.

Merz' answer sparked an outcry from German politicians, especially as one of his rivals for the position of CDU chair, Health Minister Jens Spahn, is openly gay.

Another gay politician, deputy chair of the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD), Kevin Kühnert tweeted: "This is how someone works who cannot hide the fact that he cannot deal with the normalization of homosexuality."

Arts, Entertainment, Culture • Literature
Australian bookshop to no longer stock Harry Potter books after JK Rowling's transgender controversy
Screenshot of Rabble Books & Games' post, announcing they will stop stocking JK Rowling's books
Screenshot of Rabble Books & Games' post, announcing they will stop stocking JK Rowling's books Credit: Rabble Books & Games, Courtesy of Facebook

Perth bookshop Rabble Books and Games has announced they will stop stocking JK Rowling's Harry Potter books to make the shop a "safer place" for its customers. This comes after Rowling came under fire for her comments about transgender people and her misleading portrayal of cross-dressing in her recent book "Troubled Blood".

"While stocking a book isn't an endorsement (good grief, that would be a minefield), and we will always take orders for books that aren't in stock, there are more worthy books to put on the shelf – books that don't harm communities and won't make us sad to unpack them," so the store's statement. "We know that HP means a lot to a lot of people and that often you want to share them with the youngsters in your life. We will always be happy to order them in for you, as with any books we don’t stock," they wrote and added that all the profits of those sales will be going to the Australian organisations TransFolk of WA.