With the stroke of a pen, Russian President Vladimir Putin formally enacted a series of anti-LGBTQ+ amendments banning marriage equality and transgender adoptions, and centering “a belief in God” as a core value of the country. The homophobic and transphobic amendments were passed last July in a national referendum, with over 77 percent of voters casting their ballots in support of the measures. The new rules also reset Putin’s term limits as president, meaning he can serve an additional two six-year terms in office. Religious themes play an important role in society in the nation and often drive anti-LGBTQ+ sentiments. The campaign in support of the constitutional amendments against LGBTQ was particularly offensive. One notorious television commercial featured a gay couple adopting a young boy from an orphanage. When the boy asks the man adopting him about his new mother, the man points to his car where a second man emerges wearing makeup and clothing that is meant to appear feminine. The ad, entitled “Why amendments to the Constitution are important,” ended by asking viewers if “this is the Russia you choose.” Video of the ad was later pulled from YouTube. Life for the LGBTQ+ community has grown even worse since then. As a modern Western country, Russia is the most anti-LGBTQ of any nation in this category.
The three-night cruise, which will depart from Sydney on November 4, 2022, will be a “celebratory weekend” for the LGBT+ community and their friends, families and allies, and will “honour pride in self, the diversity of the community and the endless variety of talented artists, entertainers and educators in it”. Australian LGBT+ organisations will be onboard, including the Bobby Goldsmith Foundation, Australia’s longest-running HIV charity, and Queer Screen, which will be putting on its first Queer Screen @ Sea Film Festival. The Princess P&O cruise will also feature a queer entertainment line-up “with plenty of feathers, sequins and flamboyance”, featuring America’s Got Talent star and self-described “international superstar, sex symbol, accordionist and Berlin boy-wonder” Hans the German. The cruise will also be welcoming LGBT+ sports stars and “diversity trailblazers” like Simon Dunn, the world’s first openly gay bobsledder, and queer Australian rugby league player Meg Ward. It seems this is a perfect opportunity to travel to Australia.
Six years after the passage of a law affirming the rights of same-sex mothers, two women in Ireland have become the first to be legally recognized as the parents of their children from birth. Geraldine Rea and Niamh O’Sullivan welcomed their daughters Réidín and Aoibhín O’Sullivan Rea. Both moms’ names appear on the babies’ birth certificates as parents. Ireland granted limited civil partnership rights in 2010 but did not address parenting until a constitutional amendment was approved in 2012. That amendment was delayed until 2015 due to legal challenges. Public support in Ireland for adoption by same-sex parents of any gender is around 70%, according to a survey in 2015 when the bill passed. The same year, an overwhelming 62% of Irish voters approved a historic referendum extending legal recognition to same-sex couples. The numbers in the predominantly Catholic country have gone up another 10 points since 2015.
From police raids to lawmakers hoping to further criminalise being LGBTQ+, A social media thread highlighted how Ghana’s LGBTQ+ community has, with increased intensity, endured hostility this year. The thread was part of an online campaign called #GhanaGetsBetter to raise awareness of what is happening to LGBT+ people in Ghana. Supporters are encouraged to change their social media profile pictures to the colour red in solidarity. LGBTQ+ Rights Ghana knows this hostility all too well. Throughout 2021, government officials denied the humanity of LGBTQIA Ghanaians and declared our existence as criminal. Ghana has become one of the world’s most dangerous nations on earth for LGBTQ community.
Twenty years ago, Dutch couple Gert Kasteel and Dolf Pasker made history when they tied the knot in the world’s first legally-recognized same-sex wedding in the Netherlands. They were among four gay couples — three male and one female — to be married shortly after midnight by the mayor of Amsterdam on April 1, 2001. This week, they celebrated their 20th anniversaries in small groups or at home due to COVID-19 social distancing rules that prevented large gatherings. All four gay marriages have passed the test of time. One of the men, Frank Wittebrood, died of a heart attack in 2011 at 55. Those who participated looked back with pride at having made legal history. Henk Krol, a lawmaker who supported the bill when it passed the Dutch parliament in 2000 said “People told me that the Netherlands would be the first and the last country (to pass same-sex marriages), the rest of the world won’t follow you. Almost 30 countries in the world followed the Dutch example”. He then smiled. Most European Union countries, Britain, the United States, Australia, Mexico and South Africa are among 29 nations to have legalized same-sex marriage since 2001. Kasteel said “I’m very proud that it’s possible,” swho before he could complete his sentence had Dolf jump in and finish it: “that we could play a little part of it. We made world history.” They surely did. It is one of the most important moments in LGBTQ would history.
This week A homophobic slur was found spray-painted on the street outside of Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson’s home and it’s making national headlines in Canada. Watson said “It was a little disconcerting. You go home and you want to feel safe and comfortable in your own home, but look, I’m not the only one. There’s, unfortunately, such an increase in hate crimes. We’ve seen it in Ottawa and we’ve seen it around the world.” Watson, 59, is the first out gay mayor of the Canadian capital. He was elected in 2010 and came out in an open letter in 2019. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau commented on the hate crime saying “I’m appalled by the news that homophobic graffiti was written outside Mayor Jim Watson’s home. There is no place for this ignorant and inexcusable hate in this city or anywhere in our country. Jim, know that Canadians across the country are standing with you.” Mayor Watson, everyone at Queer News Tonight wish you to know that the American LGBTQ community stands with you in solidarity for you and Canada’s capital city.
In a move similar to Chicago’s Boys Town, Montreal’s famous Gay Village is getting a new name and it has some locals angry and hurt. The queer enclave known worldwide will drop the word “gay” from the name in an effort to be “more inclusive.” Instead, the area’s business owners say it will become “the Village of Montreal, the largest 2SLGBTQ+ village in the world.” The group then had to explain the meaning behind the list of letters and numbers reminiscent of a license plate. 2SLGBTQ+ adds 2S for Two Spirit and a plus sign at the end of the typical LGBTQ acronym for the community. “Two spirit” is a modern, pan-indigenous term for a person who fills a social role in their cultures that’s outside the gender binary. The move hasn’t gone over well with some residents who have accused the group of erasing the area’s longstanding association with the queer community in favor of a generic name that will encourage gentrification and more commercialization. Lee-Anne Millaire Lafleur, a Montreal Village Business Development Corporation board member said “We’re not discriminating against anyone that associates themselves with gay. It’s for sure part of the community. We’re just trying to include the rest of the people that don’t feel that the word is associated with them. The word gay represented a lot of people that today may not still find themselves represented by that one term”. Journalist and activist Richard Burnett said “On the one hand, I understand why there’s a push not to call it the Gay Village because the word gay is now almost exclusively for gay men and it’s only one word in the LGBTQ acronym. But on the flip side, I fear that there’s a de-queering of the gay movement. Spaces like the Gay Village are important and we need to maintain them and we need to support them. And by erasing its identity, it can be a very dangerous thing.”
All 27 representatives from Poland’s homophobic ruling party PiS voted against the EU’s LGBTQ FREEDOM ZONE proclamation on this week, which was passed by 492 votes to 141. The move came two years after the first Polish authority signed a pledge against LGBT+ “ideology”, sparking a wave that now covers around a third of the country. PiS Parliament Member chairman Jacek Saryusz-Wolski said “No one is bothered about the fact that the LGBT-free zones are based on fake news. The EU is combating disinformation while permitting it at the same time. The message based on falsehoods has been confirmed by Poles in the European Parliament. This is partially a cynical move, but also an element of psychological warfare to dishearten their opponent. An undeclared war is raging within the European Parliament.” The MEP went on to claim this false narrative has been strengthened by MEPs from the Polish opposition and used by the EU as a form of “psychological warfare” against Poland.
Actor Leslie Jordan wanted to let the Duchess of Sussex know “The gays have got your back” in her “royal battle.” HE ADORABLY SAID “Leslie Allen Jordan, reporting for duty,” AFTER WATCHING OPRAH’S INTERVIEW WITH THE PRINCES AND DUTCHESS. Now people online are worried that the Royal Family may retaliate against her and her husband, but Leslie Jordan wants her to know that she has support from an unlikely corner: the gays. “I hope those kids know what they’re getting into, but I will say this: listen, gays, we gays, we know drama better than anybody. We got her back. Yes, ma’am.” And it seems that is what a large segment of the LGBTQ community is thinking today.
Bangladesh has its first openly transgender news anchor, with 29-year-old Tashnuva Anan Shishir making her on-air debut Monday. Shasir appeared for a three-minute segment on the news broadcast Boishakhi TV. After she read the day’s top stories, Shasir was reportedly met with applause and cheers from colleagues in the studio and she began to cry tears of joy. Tashnuva said on the historic Trans moment “I was very nervous. I was feeling so much emotion, but I had in my mind that I must overcome this ordeal, this final test.” Shasir said the milestone, which coincided with International Women’s Day and the 50th anniversary of Bangladesh’s independence later this month, was a long journey for her. In an interview with U.K. newspaper The Independent, she claimed that she faced harassment, bullying, and sexual exploitation while growing up in the south Asian country. Her father cut off contact with her, and she endured thoughts of suicide. As an anchor at Queer News Tonight, and a LGBTQ show that has Trans anchors and Trans advocates, we congratulate Shasir and wish you to know that all of LGBTQ America is cheering for your accomplishment. The world … is now watching. We know you will do the Trans community, and all of us… proud.