September 21, 2023
The world is witnessing a precarious trend of wealthy democracies collapsing. Freedom House has identified several causes for this troubling trend, including political polarization, economic inequality, coup attempts, voter disenfranchisement, and theocratic influence. Under authoritarian rule, violence and discrimination against racial and ethnic minorities are prevalent, and the LGBTI community is often the first group to suffer. History has shown that the tip of the spear of authoritarian takeover hits the LGBTI community first, with Turkey, Venezuela, and Thailand as prime examples.
East Bay Reporter – Religious leaders and members of parliament are protesting a ruling by Kenya’s Supreme Court that dismissed a challenge to its earlier decision this year upholding LGBTQ organizations’ right to register with the government. At issue was Kenyan Member of Parliament George Peter Kaluma’s challenge to the court in February about its decision siding with the National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission’s right to register as a nonprofit with the country’s government.
Mamba Online – The Constitutional Court of Uganda has confirmed that it will review three petitions challenging the constitutionality of the country’s Anti-Homosexuality Act. The court announced that all legal arguments must be submitted by September 19, with the conference hearing scheduled for October 2. One of the petitioners, Chapter Four Uganda, expressed their appreciation, stating, “We welcome this opportunity to present our case to the Court.”
Deutsche Welle – Maily Isaro, a transgender woman in the Central African nation of Rwanda, has faced various forms of discrimination since publicly coming out as trans. She lives in a country that is considered progressive on LGBTQ issues — particularly when compared to its northern neighbor, Uganda, which earlier this year enacted one of the most draconian anti-LGBTQ laws on Earth.
NTV Kenya – The Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya (CIPK) wants President William Ruto to declare his position on the registration of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Community (LGBTQ). In a statement issued on Thursday, Music Copyright Society of Kenya (MCSK) CEO Ezekiel Mutua voiced his opposition to what he perceives as attempts to legitimize homosexuality through the Kenyan court system.
Openly News – From Lebanon to Iraq, politicians in the Middle East have stepped up their anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric, raising concerns about an increase in homophobic violence and even tougher penalties for same-sex relations in the region. Most countries in the Middle East, with few exceptions such as Israel, Jordan and Bahrain, already ban gay sex and curtail the rights of transgender people. Several – Iran, Saudi Arabia and Yemen – retain the death penalty for same-sex relations, according to a 2020 report by the ILGA World LGBTQ+ advocacy group.
The Irish Times – Ireland is deeply concerned at the “alarming pushback against LGBTI rights and the rise of violence and hatred towards LGBTI people at home and abroad”, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said. In a speech to an event at the United Nations in New York on Monday, he said “draconian laws” were being re-introduced in some countries. He said these included “the threat of the death penalty, openly discriminatory laws” while there was an increasing backlash against transgender people, and heightened polarisation, including at the United Nations.
Euronews – Surveillance and the threat of imprisonment: Euronews spoke to Russian queer activists who have chosen to stay in the country, despite increasing hostility towards the LGBTQ+ community. In the heart of St. Petersburg, Sof, a volunteer at Centre-T, helps Russia’s trans community get care. He is currently inundated with a stream of desperate pleas for aid. “I had to learn how to help people in completely different states of despair”, he told Euronews.
NBC News – Mexican transgender rights activists Kenya Cuevas and Andrea Luna sat in front of their longtime friend Paola Buenrostro’s pink grave in Mexico City. “You don’t have to pay rent anymore. You will have your own home now,” Luna sadly joked to her late friend, a transgender woman slain in front of Cuevas in 2016. Buenrostro will be the first woman to be moved to a mausoleum a short distance away entirely dedicated to transgender women that was inaugurated on Thursday.
The Canadian Jewish News – Younger generations may find it hard to believe that less than 50 years ago LGBTQ Jews in Montreal were denied space at the Jewish community centre—and even the most liberal congregation waffled on giving them a platform. That relatively recent period is illuminated in a new zine entitled Not Going Anywhere: History and Continuity in Queer Jewish Montreal, which its creators hope will spur scholarly treatment of this largely forgotten chapter.
The Guardian – A transgender woman won election to a seat on Nashville’s city council, becoming the first openly transgender person to be voted into political office in Tennessee. Olivia Hill, 57, secured one of the four open at-large seats on the metro council of Nashville, a politically liberal city in an overwhelmingly conservative state. Her triumph made her the first transgender woman to be elected in Tennessee, according to the LGBTQ+ Victory Fund.