Revisit the main Californian news of 2021

WASHINGTON – The Biden administration’s commitment to championing LGBTQ rights overseas was the dominant international story in 2021, but anti-LGBTQ crackdowns and efforts to expand rights also made headlines in the world over the past year. Here are the top 10 international stories of 2021.

#10: Botswana Court of Appeal decriminalizes same-sex relationships

Botswana Court of Appeal

On November 29, the Botswana Court of Appeal upheld a ruling decriminalizing same-sex consensual sex in the country.

Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Botswana (LEGABIBO) challenged the colonial-era criminalization law.

In 2019, the High Court of Botswana unanimously ruled that the law was unconstitutional. The government of Botswana has appealed the decision.

“Today is an important day in history, a victorious victory in determining the freedom, privacy and dignity of LGBTIQ people in Botswana and, definitely, this judgment sets a priority for the world at large. “, said the CEO of LEGABIBO, Thato Moruti, after the decision of the Court of Appeal. .

#9: LGBTQ athletes compete in the Summer Olympics

Tom Daley via Team Great Britain Twitter

A record number of openly LGBTQ athletes have competed in the Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

Laurel Hubbard, a New Zealand weightlifter, has become the first trans person to compete in the Olympics. Quinn, a non-binary trans person who is a member of the Canadian women’s soccer team, won an Olympic gold medal.

Tom Daley, a British Olympic diver married to Dustin Lance Black, also won a medal in the games.

#8: LGBTQ activists, journalists arrested in Cuba

Maykel González Vivero (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

LGBTQ activists and journalists were among hundreds of people arrested during anti-government protests in Cuba on July 11.

Maykel González Vivero, director of Tremenda Nota, the Washington Blade’s media partner in Cuba, was violently arrested near Revolution Square in Havana during one of the protests.

Yoan de la Cruz, a gay man who broadcast live the first protest that took place in San Antonio de los Baños, remains in detention. He faces a sentence of 8 years in prison.

The protests took place amid a growing food shortage, worsening economic crisis, human rights violations and criticism of the government’s response to the pandemic. On July 26, thousands of Cuban Americans marched to the Cuban Embassy in Washington to support the protesters.

#7: The Gay Games in Hong Kong remain uncertain

Hong Kong

The 2023 Gay Games set to take place in Hong Kong remain uncertain amid growing concerns over China’s human rights record.

Gay Games Hong Kong in September postponed the event until 2023 due to the pandemic.

Hong Kong’s National Security Law, which human rights activists say makes it easier for authorities to punish anyone in the former British colony who defies the Chinese government, came into effect in 2020. More more than 2 million Hong Kong people took part in pro-democracy protests the year before.

The Women’s Tennis Association has suspended tournaments in Hong Kong and across China in response to the disappearance of Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai after publicly accusing former Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli of sexual assault. Diplomats from the United States and other countries will also boycott the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics.

“The Gay Games Federation continues to monitor the situation in Hong Kong regarding COVID-19, the National Security Act and all other aspects that affect the safety and security of our event,” Sean Fitzgerald, co-chair of the Federation of Gay Games. The Blade said in a statement after the Women’s Tennis Association announced that it had suspended all of its tournaments in China. “We are committed to hosting the Gay Games 11 in Hong Kong in November 2023.”

#6: Anti-LGBTQ crackdown continues in Hungary and Poland

Sopot, Poland, Deputy Mayor (right) Magdalena Czarzyńska-Jachim and LGBTQ marchers in Sopot, during Pride 2021.
(Photo credit: Magdalena Czarzyńska-Jachim)

The governments of Hungary and Poland continued their anti-LGBTQ repression in 2021.

The European Commission announced in July a lawsuit against Hungary after the entry into force of a law banning the promotion of homosexuality and gender reassignment surgery for minors. Hungarian lawmakers approved a resolution in November that paves the way for a referendum on LGBTQ issues.

The European Commission threatened in September to withhold funds from five Polish provinces that have set up LGBTQ “free zones”. Polish lawmakers have also sought to ban pride marches and other pro-LGBTQ events.

#5: LGBTQ candidates elected around the world

Israeli Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Idan roll, who is gay, is the youngest in his country’s new government. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

LGBTQ candidates won elections around the world in 2021.

Two transgender women – Tessa Ganserer and Nyke Slawik – won seats in the German parliament in September. Emilia Schneider became in November the first openly trans person elected to the Chilean congress.

Victor Grajeda in November became the first openly gay man to win a seat in the Honduran congress.

Openly gay Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Idan Roll is the youngest member of his country’s new government formed in June after the long-standing ousting of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Israeli Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz is also openly gay.

#4: efforts to ban conversion therapy are gaining ground

Canadian House unanimously passes ban on conversion therapy (Screenshot via CBC)

More and more countries have decided to ban the so-called conversion therapy in 2021.

A Canadian law banning the widely discredited practice in the country will come into force in January.

French lawmakers approved a bill on December 15 banning conversion therapy in their country.

Measures to ban conversion therapy are also before Finnish and New Zealand lawmakers. The British Parliament is expected to debate a bill in 2022 to ban conversion therapy in England and Wales.

Brazil and Malta are two of the countries that already ban conversion therapy.

# 3: Vice President Harris recognizes anti-LGBTQ violence as a cause of migration

Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff and his wife US Vice President Kamala Harris at the Pride of March June 2020 in Washington (Screenshot via WJLA)

Vice President Kamala Harris has acknowledged throughout 2021 that anti-LGBTQ violence is one of the “root causes” of migration from Central America.

Harris in June raised the issue during a meeting with Visibles Executive Director Daniel Villatoro, Ingrid Gamboa of the Association of Garifuna Women Living with HIV / AIDS and other members of Guatemalan civil society that took place in Guatemala City. State Department spokesman Ned Price, who is openly gay, told the Blade weeks earlier that protecting LGBTQ migrants and asylum seekers was one of the Biden administration’s global priorities. on LGBTQ rights.

Immigrant rights activists who remain critical of the Biden administration’s immigration policy brief, Title 42, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention rule that has closed the southern border to most asylum seekers and migrants due to the coronavirus pandemic, remains in place. The so-called Stay in Mexico policy that requires asylum seekers to continue their business in Mexico has also been reinstated by court order.

“Being a trans person means teasing, harassment, violence and even death,” Venus, a transgender woman from La Ceiba, Honduras, told Blade in July in an interview in the town.

#2: LGBTQ Afghans desperately seek to flee after Taliban regains control

Two men in Kabul, Afghanistan, in July 2021 (Photo courtesy of Dr Ahmad Qais Munzahim)

LGBTQ Afghans are desperate to flee after the Taliban regained control of the country on August 15.

Two groups of LGBTQ Afghans that Stonewall, Rainbow Railroad and Micro Rainbow evacuated with help from the British government arrived in the UK in the fall. Some of the Afghan human rights activists that Taylor Hirschberg, a researcher at the Columbia Mailman School of Public Health and also a Hearst Foundation scholar, have been able to help leave the country since the Taliban took over are LGBTQ.

A Taliban judge said in July that the group would execute gays again if they returned to power in Afghanistan. Rainbow Railroad and Immigration Equality are among groups that continue to urge the Biden administration to do more to help LGBTQ Afghans who remain inside the country.

#1: Biden urges US to promote LGBTQ rights abroad

President Joe Biden has a telephone interview with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday, December 30, 2021, at his private residence in Wilmington, Delaware. (Official White House photo by Adam Schultz)

The Biden administration issued a memorandum in February committing the United States to promoting LGBTQ rights abroad.

State Department spokesman Ned Price, who is gay, told the Washington Blade in May that decriminalizing consensual same-sex sex was one of the Biden administration’s top five global LGBTQ rights priorities. .

In June, the White House appointed Jessica Stern, executive director of OutRight Action International, as the next United States special envoy to promote LGBTQ rights abroad. The State Department announced in October that it would issue passports with an “X” gender marker.

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