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WORLD Japanese bill, 'HRC Equidad CL,' center closes, UN expert, amFAR gala
by Andrew Davis
2023-05-26

This article shared 4057 times since Fri May 26, 2023
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LGBTQ+-rights activists criticized a new bill submitted to the Diet (Japan's national legislature) aimed at "promoting understanding" of equality issues as a "meaningless gesture," Japan Today noted. Japan's coalition government has debated the wording of the new bill for months, with conservative politicians saying an anti-discrimination clause could deepen social divisions or subject companies and individuals to lawsuits. Advocacy group Sexualities and Human Rights Network ESTO said the changes to the bill showed it had been "gutted" by the ruling Liberal Democratic Party.

The Human Rights Campaign Foundation (HRC) launched the fifth annual HRC Equidad CL: Programa Global de Equidad Laboral, per a press release. Implemented in partnership with Fundacion Iguales and with the support of Pride Connection Chile, the survey evaluates LGBTI+ workplace inclusion within major Chilean businesses and multinationals. This year, 57 organizations earned the maximum score in the 2023 HRC Equidad CL report, and the total number of participating companies has increased from last year's total of 135 to 157. The HRC Equidad CL program is modeled after HRC's Corporate Equality Index, which measures LGBTQ+ workplace equality in the United States.

The government of Chinese President Xi Jinping continued its crackdown on the country's LGBTQ+ community, abruptly forcing closure of the Beijing LGBT Center, The Washington Blade reported. The center was founded in 2008. In a call to an activist in the Chinese capital who declined to be identified, the Blade was told that there was an accelerated push by Xi's government to rein in LGBTQ+ groups and activists.

UN Independent Expert on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Victor Madrigal-Borloz warned that abusive rhetoric by politicians, the media and social commentators has led to increasingly abusive and hateful speech against LGBTQ+ persons in the United Kingdom, according to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). "I am deeply concerned about increased bias-motivated incidents of harassment, threats, and violence against LGBT people, including a rampant surge in hate crimes in the UK," said Madrigal-Borloz. "All of this is attributed—by a wide range of stakeholders—to the toxic nature of the public debate surrounding sexual orientation and gender identity."

amFAR— the organization founded by the late Dr. Mathilda Krim and Dame Elizabeth Taylor (the international founder) that has been dedicated to funding AIDS research since 1985—held its annual Cannes Gala at the Hotel du Cap at the Cannes Film Festival, per Deadline. Queen Latifah (who held hands with Eboni Nichols on the red carpet, per ET) hosted a crowd that included Alex Pettyfer, Eva Longoria, Fan Bingbing, Heidi Klum, James Marsden, Jeremy O. Harris, Joel Kinnaman, Kate Beckinsale, Matt Smith, Odell Beckham Jr, Petra Nemcova, Rebel Wilson, Sadie Frost, Shay Mitchell, Storm Reid, Teyana Taylor and many more. The live musical performances were by Adam Lambert (including one number in memory of Tina Turner), Halsey, Bebe Rexha and Gladys Knight, who performed "Midnight Train To Georgia."

The European Court of Human Rights ordered Romania to legalize same-sex civil unions, Openly News reported. Twenty-one same-sex couples took Romania to court, arguing the lack of legal recognition of their relationships "deprived them of their dignity as spouses." The court ruled the country had violated Article 8 of the European Convention, which protects the right to respect for family life. Activists welcomed the ECHR's judgement, saying they hoped to see a bill concerning civil partnership—which has stalled in parliament since 2019—finally becoming law.

Brazil joined the 34 countries that are part of the Global Partnership to take action to eliminate all forms of HIV-related stigma and discrimination, according to UNAIDS. The country's action was announced at a celebratory event of the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia, held in the country's capital of Brasilia. The announcement was organized in partnership by UNAIDS, the International Labor Organization, and the Ministry of Human Rights and Citizenship.

In an unusual display of open disagreement, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Italian counterpart Giorgia Meloni criticized each other over LGBTQ+ rights while at the Group of Seven (G7) summit in Japan, WION noted, citing Bloomberg. "Canada is concerned about some of the positioning that Italy is taking in terms of LGBT rights, but I look forward to talking with you," said Trudeau. The comment irked Meloni; later, while talking with reporters, she accused Trudeau of being a "victim of fake news" and said he was a "bit rash" in his comments.

Ten new cases of mpox have been detected in the UK (all in London), prompting a call for the vaccination campaign to be extended, PinkNews reported. Half of the 10 infected had no smallpox vaccination (which is effective against mpox) and two had only received one dose of the required two to ensure protection from the infection, the UK Health Security Agency said. The government is winding down its targeted vaccine program after saying in March that it was "no longer needed." The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the 2022 outbreak as no longer a public health emergency on May 11.

Non-binary Ugandan LGBTQ+-rights activist DeLovie Kwagala said they had planned to return to their home country even though they fear they could be arrested, according to Africa News. Anyone who "knowingly promotes homosexuality" faces up to 20 years in jail under a new bill passed by the Ugandan parliament that is awaiting approval by President Yoweri Museveni. Police threatened to detain the activist last year, forcing Kwagala to abandon returning home.

In Tanzania, Muharami Hassan Nayonga was recently sentenced to 30 years in prison after a court convicted him of violating the country's sodomy law, according to The Washington Blade. The organization LGBT VOICE Tanzania said Nayonga was a security guard who lived in Masoko Ward; he was arrested on April 13 "after he used his phone to persuade a young man known as Zalafi Selemani to be intimate with him." The organization criticized the country's government, stating, "Using Sections 154 and 157 of the Penal Code to persecute LGBTQIA people is a violation of human rights and a violation of the Constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania."

In Malaysia, two Perikatan Nasional (PN) MPs—Jamaluddin Yahya and Dr. Halimah Ali—said the LGBTQ+ community should be considered as suffering from mental-health illnesses, Malay Mail reported. The Bill to amend the Mental Health Act was tabled for its second reading by Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department (Law and Institutional Reform) Ramkarpal Singh. In its first edition published in 1952, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders had listed homosexuality as a mental disorder; however, in 1973, a revision had removed it from the list.

And also in Malaysia, authorities seized Pride-themed Swatch watches—reportedly due to "LGBT symbols" on the timepieces, PinkNews noted. The raids happened in mid-May and around $14,000 worth of stock was seized, according to various media reports. The watches were part of the brand's 2023 Pride collection, launched May 4, which features six different watch faces in Pride hues; each watch strap consists of two bands containing colors that make up the full Pride flag.

A new study shows that young LGBTQ+ people in Scotland feel less safe and supported in the healthcare system than in 2017, according to Yahoo! Sport. Twenty-nine percent said they did not feel safe or supported by their GP, with 38% stating that they did not know where to go for information and help with sexual health. In 2017, 81% of respondents said they felt that Scotland was a good place to be LGBTQ+—but that has fallen to 65% in the latest edition.

Prague Shakespeare Company is accepting applications for its 2023 Summer Shakespeare Intensives, taking place in Prague, Czech Republic, per a press release. There is one scholarship to cover full room and board, and there will be dozens of instructors involved, including actor/director/LGBTQ+-rights activist Lisa Wolpe, baroque dance specialist Andrea Miltnerova, actor David Huynh and fight director/motion-capture specialist Leraldo Anzaldua. Information about applying is at pragueshakespeare.com/apply-now-shakespeare-intensives.html .

Paris 2024—the host committee for next summer's Olympic Games—announced its partnership with Pride House in addition to a commitment to advancing LGBTQ+ inclusion, according to Outsports. (Pride House is an installation that has taken place at most Olympics since 2010, in addition to other events like the Commonwealth Games.) Also, athletes will have the opportunity to speak out about injustices, including homophobia, transphobia and other issues facing the LGBTQ+ community in sports.

LGBTQ+ actress Rebel Wilson is adding "director" to her resume, as she is helming her first feature film with musical comedy The Deb, a big-screen adaptation of an Australian musical set in the Outback, per Yahoo! Entertainment. The project was launched around the Cannes Film Festival at a private event aboard billionaire investor Len Blavatnik's yacht, where cast members from the Aussie musical performed a number of songs on the vessel's upper deck.

In the UK, Sam Smith apologized to fans for cancelling their Manchester concert four songs in, and confirmed that two more of their shows will not go ahead as planned, according to NME. The "Unholy" singer was just shortly into their concert in Manchester's AO Arena on May 24 when the remainder of the show was suddenly cancelled. While some audience members initially took to social media to speculate if the issues were due to a power cut (via Manchester Evening News), they were later informed that the show had ended due to "vocal issues," and were instructed to leave the arena.

Humanists UK announced the death of its longtime member, activist, trustee and former chair David Pollock, per a release. His involvement with Humanists UK began when he was a student at Oxford University; there, he helped the Oxford University Humanist Group to flourish and grow while campaigning on issues from women's admission into the Oxford Union Society to global poverty and LGBTQ+ rights. Outside his life as a professional humanist, Pollock also had a successful career as a manager at the UK's National Coal Board before being the director of the pressure group Action on Smoking and Health and then of the Continence Foundation.


This article shared 4057 times since Fri May 26, 2023
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