A State Department official on Friday said the U.S. has raised LGBTQ and intersex rights with the Qatari government ahead of the 2022 World Cup.
The World Cup begins in Qatar on Sunday.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken will travel to the country on Monday in order to open the fifth annual U.S.-Qatar Strategic Dialogue.
State Department Spokesperson Ned Price in a statement he released on Friday said Blinken will meet with Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani and other officials. Blinken is also scheduled to attend the U.S. men’s soccer team’s match against Wales that will take place on Monday in Al Rayyan.
Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Daniel Benaim on Friday during a virtual briefing that previewed Blinken’s trip said he would “not going to get ahead of Sec. Blinken on his specific plans.” Benaim, in response to the Washington Blade’s question about whether Blinken plans to raise LGBTQ and intersex rights with Qatari officials, added they are “certainly an issue that we have raised with the Qatari government at depth and will continue to do so.”
Qatar is among the handful of countries in which consensual same-sex sexual relations remain punishable by death.
Human Rights Watch last month published a report that noted “arbitrary” arrests of LGBTQ and intersex people between 2019 and September 2022 and several cases of “severe and repeated beatings” and “sexual harassment in police custody” during the aforementioned period. World Cup Ambassador Khalid Salman earlier this month described homosexuality as “damage in the mind” during an interview with a German television station.
Peter Tatchell, a British activist, on Oct. 25 protested the country’s LGBTQ and intersex rights record while standing outside the National Museum of Qatar in Doha, the country’s capital. British comedian Joe Harry Lycett has challenged David Beckham to walk away from a £10 million ($11.84 million) deal to be a World Cup ambassador.
Ten captains of European soccer teams that will compete in the World Cup have said they will wear “one love” armbands to show their support for LGBTQ and intersex people. The U.S. men’s soccer team while in Qatar will have a redesigned logo with the Pride flag in its badge.
President Joe Biden in 2021 signed a memo that committed the U.S. to promoting LGBTQ and intersex rights abroad as part of his administration’s overall foreign policy.
The anti-LGBTQ One Million Moms (OMM) is circulating a petition against the beloved British children’s show Peppa Pig after it aired an episode featuring a young polar bear child with two polar bear moms.
The petition tells families to “Beware! Peppa Pig is now boldly glorifying gay marriage.”
It states that OMM is “concerned with the normalization of a sinful lifestyle choice during a children’s show.”
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“This type of sexuality should never be included in a cartoon designed for children, much less praised. It is especially distressing since this popular children’s program is viewed in 180 countries,” the petition said.
The petition is asking Hasbro, which owns the rights to Peppa Pig, to “stick to entertaining and providing family-friendly programming instead of pushing an agenda.”
The Peppa Pig episode in question aired back in September. The show has been on for 18 years but this was its first time featuring an LGBTQ couple.
In its episode called “Families,” a character named Penny introduces her two moms.
“I live with my mummy and my other mummy. One mummy is a doctor and one mummy cooks spaghetti,” Penny says.
The episode came about in response to a petition to include a same-sex couple in the show that garnered almost 24,000 signatures.
And the episode caused international panic among conservatives. Far-right politicians in Italy denounced it, as did Russian lawmakers, one of whom called the cartoon pig a “tool of hybrid war.”
Federico Mollicone, culture spokesperson for the conservative Brothers of Italy party, declared that the nation “cannot accept gender indoctrination” and claimed that “once again the politically correct has struck, at the expense of our children.”
Senator Isabella Rauti, a member of the party, called the episode “gender propaganda” and stated that the “Brothers of Italy have long denounced the attempt at indoctrination by supporters of gender theories.”
In Russia, it was member of Parliament Alexander Khinshtein who denounced the show.
“LGBT is nowadays a tool of hybrid war, and in that hybrid war, we must protect our traditional values,” said Khinshtein during a speech. “We must protect our society and our children. Let me very quickly demonstrate what kind of propaganda is already being waged against our society.”
Now, seemingly a bit slow on the uptake, OMM is getting in on the action. The group is a division of the American Family Association, a Southern Poverty Law Center designated hate group.
The group routinely campaigns against LGBTQ representation in commercials, television shows, and the media and states on its website that the goal is to “stop the exploitation of our children, especially by the entertainment media.”
Likud Chairman Benjamin Netanyahu said in private talks on Friday that “There will be no harm to pride parades nor to the status-quo on LGBTQ rights,” following statements made by lawmakers from the Religious Zionism slate that they intend to work to cancel pride parades around the country.
Sources in Likud said Thursday the party intends to cancel measures by the outgoing government promoting LGBTQ rights, although it remains unclear what reforms could be targeted.
No decision has been made on which decisions could be walked back, but a reversal of the health ministry’s order banning “conversion” therapy, removing insurance coverage for gender-affirming healthcare, and reimposing a ban preventing gay men from donating blood are all under consideration.
MK Avi Maoz, head of the anti-LGBT Noam faction which ran as part of Religious Zionism, told Army Radio that his party would “investigate canceling the pride parade from a legal point of view.”
Noam burst onto the political scene in 2019 with a series of provocative highway billboards and video ads with the slogan “Israel chooses to be normal.” It merged into Religious Zionism, alongside Otzma Yehudit, under intense pressure from Netanyahu before the 2021 election.
The far-right Religious Zionism slate soared to 14 seats in the November 1 election and is expected to be a crucial partner in a governing coalition led by Likud chair Benjamin Netanyahu.
The Supreme Administrative Court of the Republic of Poland (Naczelny Sąd Administracyjny, NSA) issued a ruling on Nov. 3 that same-sex marriages of Polish citizens legally married in other countries were not expressly forbidden under the country’s constitution.
Article 18 of the constitution states: “marriage as a union of a man and a woman, family, motherhood and parenthood are under the protection and care of the republic of Poland.”
“Article 18 of the constitution cannot in itself constitute an obstacle to transcribing a foreign marriage certificate if the institution of marriage as a union of persons of the same sex was provided for in the domestic [legal] order,” the court ruled.
“The provision of the constitution in question does not prohibit the statutory regulation of same-sex unions,” said the court, adding that it was simply the case that “at present the Polish legislature has not decided to introduce such solutions” into Polish law.
The suit had been brought by Jakub Kwieciński and Dawid Mycek, a gay couple who are popular vloggers and social media celebrities who had legally married in Portugal. The case was litigated in the lower courts after the governor of the Polish province of Mazovia refused to acknowledge that their nuptials were legal.
Ordo Iuris, a Polish ultraconservative legal group that has campaigned against what it labels “LGBT ideology,” tweeted that the decision was “fake news.”
LGBTQ rights have become a hotly contested issue in Poland in recent years that has been met by a conservative backlash in this heavily Catholic nation.
The majority of Polish people support LGBTQ rights surrounding marriage and family, according to research by Miłość Nie Wyklucza (Love Does Not Exclude.)
The survey found 56 percent of respondents believe same-sex marriage should be legal to ensure the safety of their children. Even more, 65 percent, said they felt “a biological parent raising a child with a same-sex partner” fits the definition of family. And 58 percent of people said a same-sex couple is a family even without children.
According to Polish newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland is one of only six EU member states where same-sex couples cannot marry or register a civil partnership.
The survey reveals a stark difference between the Polish government and public opinion on LGBTQ rights.
As a result of anti-LGBTQ rhetoric, and the continued limits on LGBTQ rights in Poland, the country has for the last three years been ranked as the worst in the EU for LGBTQ people by ILGA-Europe, a Brussels-based NGO.
Poland has also drawn condemnations from the EU for its discriminatory laws surrounding LGBTQ people.
In September, the European Commission threatened to withhold pandemic relief funds, totaling over 126 million euros ($150 million,) in Polish jurisdictions that passed measures forming “LGBTQ Free Zones.”
Some regions have since repealed the anti-LGBTQ resolution.
In 2020, Poland narrowly re-elected President Andrzej Duda, who ran a campaign that regularly attacked the LGBTQ community, according to Pink News.
Polish LGBTQ advocates are also pushing back against a proposed law that would ban the so-called “promotion” of LGBTQ lifestyles. It would also make Pride parades illegal.
Two men, whom police tortured in Chechnya, are appealing their conviction on false, politically motivated charges, Human Rights Watch said today. The authorities should withdraw the charges against the two men, Salekh Magamadov and Ismail Isayev, who are brothers, void the conviction, immediately free them, and hold to account those responsible for torturing them.
On October 25, a regional appeal court in Pyatigorsk will hear their appeal against sentences of eight and six years in prison, respectively, for allegedly providing food to a member of an illegal armed group.
“The injustice against Magamadov and Isayev could not be more stark, and their freedom and well-being are at stake,” said Tanya Lokshina, associate Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “The abuse against them is part of a long-standing pattern of persecution of critics by Chechen authorities.”
In 2020, Chechen authorities detained Magamadov and Isayev for activity on opposition messenger chats in support of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. Police held them for several months in basement cells at a police station, where, according to a criminal complaint filed by the brothers, the police tortured them. They were released without charge after authorities forced them to be filmed in an “apology” video that was published online. After their release, they sought help from the North Caucasus SOS rights group and took refuge in a crisis shelter in the Nizhny Novgorod region.
On February 4, 2021, Chechen authorities kidnapped the brothers from Nizhny Novgorod region of Russia and they resurfaced in Chechnya two days later. Magamadov and Isayev told their lawyer that Chechen police forced them into confessing to aiding an illegal armed group member. Their lawyer was not allowed to see them until their interrogation ended.
On February 22, 2022, Achkhoy-Martanovsky district court of the Chechen Republic imposed the sentences, later upheld on appeal by the Chechnya’s Supreme Court. The brothers’ lawyers are seeking to overturn the conviction.
The defense filed criminal complaints about the brothers’ mistreatment in 2020 and during their pre-trial detention, but the authorities declined to investigate.
Russia’s leading rights group Memorial considers Magamadov and Isayev to be political prisoners, in light of the insufficient and questionable evidence, coercion under torture, and other blatant due-process violations against them, the brothers’ opposition activism, and the broader pattern of abuses against LGBT people in Chechnya.
The brothers were members of the “Osal nakh 95” group on Telegram, where they criticized Chechen authorities. Several of the group’s other members had also been forced, presumably by Chechen law enforcement, into recording apologies for their activity on the channel.
The torture, kidnapping and prosecution against Isayev and Magamadov is just one example of the brutal campaign against dissent in Chechnya, Human Rights Watch said. In 2020, state agents kidnapped and tortured Salman Tepsurkayev, the moderator of a popular anti-government social media group, 1ADAT, as found by the European Court of Human Rights in the case he brought to the court. In August 2022, 1ADAT and Team Against Torture, a prominent Russian human rights group, reported that Tepsurkayev had been killed in 2020. Chechen courts banned the group’s activities as “extremist.”
The authorities also abducted dozens of relatives of 1ADAT members who had fled Russia. In January 2022, Chechen police abducted Zarema Mussaeva, the mother of Ibragim Yangulbaev, one of 1ADAT’s leaders, from her Nizhny Novgorod apartment, claiming she was a witness in a fraud case. They took her to Chechnya and falsely charged her with using violence against a police officer. The next day, Ramzan Kadyrov, head of the Chechen Republic, on his Telegram channel threatened the whole Yangulbaev family with prison and death. Other high-profile Chechen law enforcement officials also publicly threatened to murder them. At the time of writing, Mussaeva remains in jail pending trial.
Chechen authorities regularly and violently persecute people they presume to be LGBT. Lack of any effective investigations into the widely documented illegal detentions and torture serves to encourage this practice. Key international actors should continue to press Moscow to put an end to persecution of LGBT people and critics of the government in Chechnya and ensure justice for survivors, Human Rights Watch said.
The Brazilian presidential election has fueled a misinformation emergency that has tipped the LGBT+ community into a boiling pot of fake news. This is part of a broader global problem and we need a global plan to stop it.
Since the beginning of this year’s election race, incumbent President Jair Bolsonaro deliberately galvanized Christian voters by framing the election as “a fight between good and evil,” repeating the scare tactics about the LGBT+ community he used in 2018. Bolsonaro’s tactics have also dragged his opponent, former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva into an outright contest of who is the true Christian among them.
Caught in the crossfire of this horrendous political battle are numerous victims including the country’s LGBT+ community. Bolsonaro has blatantly fueled misinformation about Brazil’s transgender and queer communities, claiming falsely that a Lula victory would lead to genderless toilets in schools and repeating false claims made in his 2018 campaign that the LGBT+ community wanted to promote homosexuality to children.
These allegations are not without consequence.
Brazil has the highest murder rate of transgender people in the world and life expectancy of a trans woman is only 35. In 2021, while Bolsonaro dismantled Brazil’s human rights protections, the NGO ANTRA recorded 140 murders of trans people. In this year’s election, 80 percent of trans candidates running for office reported being threatened or intimidated by far right groups. The impact is also personal. I have found that some of my closest relatives in Brazil who were previously supportive of my sexuality not only embrace anti-queer rhetoric but are also advocating against our democratic institutions. Some even told me that they would support a coup by Bolsonaro if he loses the election.
But LGBT+ minorities are not the only victims. We are all suffering the broader impacts of this borderless global crisis that is having a devastating effect on much wider debates including climate change, vaccination, and economic development. In a cover story in “Science” magazine, noted biologist Carl Bergstrom said misinformation “poses a risk to international peace, interferes with democratic decision-making, endangers the well-being of the planet, and threatens public health.”
We are in dangerous territory for democracy and what we really need is a global plan to stop it. The 10-point action plan recently released by Nobel Prize Laureates Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov, is a good starting point. On one hand, there is growing awareness about misinformation with calls to action to regulate social media platforms. However, as happened with climate policy in its early stages, there is still a lot to be done to define the best political responses and potential avenues for regulation.
Recently, I joined a group of researchers and advocates from around the world who see misinformation as an international crisis and are urgently working to develop the tools to fight it. We will collect the best evidence possible. We are calling for the creation of institutions to manage this global problem and to build a space for consensus-building and advice on solutions.
I sincerely hope that, in Brazil, the next government will act boldly to stop the deterioration of the information environment. However little has been said during the campaign and a bill introduced in Parliament to regulate fake news was rejected with big tech platforms declining cooperate. Brazil’s new government could make a major contribution towards ending the global information crisis and horrific attacks on the human rights of the LGBT+ community by supporting a coordinated response. There is a lot to do, but the time is now. We don’t want to look back in a few years, wishing we had done more.
South Africa has become the first country on the continent to install Pride crosswalks in its major cities.
Pretoria on Oct. 20 installed the crosswalks. Cape Town followed suit two days later.
Pride crosswalks have been installed in several European and American countries to promote the inclusion of LGBTQ and intersex people. Some activist groups in South Africa have long called for them to be installed in the country.
“Church Square is where most of the Apartheid buildings are situated and in the shadow is the father of the Afrikaans nation, Paul Kruger. This is the heartland of Apartheid, by having this, the first in such a conservative city is groundbreaking,” said Bruce Walker of Pretoria Pride.
“By showing that 2SLGBTQIA+ rights can be accepted here we can move forward and show the world that we are moving in the right direction and can be a beacon of light to conservative Africa,” added Walker. “With South Africa building up the bid to host World Pride here in Africa this shows that the population is moving forward in tolerance, but we have a long way to go to break down all the old conservative ways of thinking.”
Cape Town Councilor Rob Quintas, who is on the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Urban Mobility, said the Pride crosswalk, which is located along the busy Somerset Road between Alfred and Dixon Streets in Green Point, is meant to make all to feel welcome.
“You cannot miss the Pink Route, it is about 20 cm. wide, and painted on the sidewalk. This is a fun way for visitors to get to know the area and a great addition to our tourist offering soon before the peak holiday season. It is also intended to create awareness and celebrate Cape Town as an inclusive city,” said Quintas. “This exciting place maker precinct activator is the first of its kind in Cape Town and is aimed at re-invigorating the buzz of the 2SLGBTQIA+ district using road markings.”
“There are many more spaces in the city that can be looked into in the future and where heritage or unique attractions can be amplified by using sidewalks and pedestrian crossings. I am calling on visitors and residents to look out for this crossing, and to follow the Pink Route as they explore this part of our City,” added Quintas.
Cape Town Councilor Frances ‘Phranki’ Lombard said the Green Point crosswalk was a fantastic statement for Cape Town and the world.
“This crosswalk is a fantastic statement to the world and Cape Town that 2SLGBTQIA+ rights are not something to be hidden but in fact, that we celebrate the freedom and rights of all people in this city of Cape Town,” said Lombard.
“When we contrast this with the reality that are in some parts of South Africa where hate crimes against Lesbians are a common phenomenon and when governments make such bold statements it sets a symbol to society of what is right and what is possible,” added Lombard. “Cape Town continues to push what is possible in an open liberal society, something I hope spreads throughout South Africa.”
Ruth Maseko of the Triangle Project, however, said the location of the crosswalk in Green Point was more exclusive than inclusive.
“We feel this needs to be questioned. For us, how much money did it take to do this and it’s very particularly placed,” said Maseko. “It’s in Green Point, the same place Cape Town Pride is held. This speaks of exclusivity and how the city of Cape Town shows up for a particular segment of 2SLGBTQIA+ communities.”
“What is done for those communities of 2SLGBTQIA+ people whose lives are at risk, are unemployed or unhoused and live in the city and are harassed by law enforcement?” asked Maseko.
Since his death more than 500 years ago, multihyphenate genius Leonardo da Vinci and his spectacular works have inspired respect and wonder in generation after generation the world over. An icon of the Renaissance, an inventor so ahead of his time that it’s taken centuries for many of his ideas to come to fruition, and the painter of some of the most stirring and famous works of art on the planet, Leonardo has also become a hero for LGBTQ people, who’ve long seen in his works and biography a host of beguiling clues to his queerness.
Yet non-Italians are often surprised to learn that it was Milan, not Florence, where Leonardo spent the bulk of his profusely productive professional life, and where one of his most recognizable works, “The Last Supper,” still graces the wall of the convent dining room where he painted it at the end of the 15th century. Milan is also where he met Gian Giacomo Caprotti, more commonly known as Salaì, the young male assistant and pupil who many historians believe also became his longest-term lover.
This week, as Milan plays host to the annual global convention for IGLTA, the International LGBTQ+ Travel Association, Italian tour operator Quiiky will be offering queer-themed Leonardo tours of the city, as it first began doing in 2017. The Milan IGLTA convention is a full-circle moment for the northern Italian city — originally slated for May 2020, the conference was rescheduled after Milan tragically became one of the world’s first major Covid hot spots early that year, just months after it had triumphantly completed in 2019 celebrations of the 500th anniversary of the master’s passing.
“Leonardo spent an important part of his life, more than 20 years, in Milan,” Quiiky CEO Alessio Virgili explained. “Here, he met Salaì in his artisan shop just close to the Duomo. Here, people can see one of his main masterpieces, ‘The Last Supper.’ In Milan, he also demonstrated himself to be an important engineer.”
Indeed, it was Leonardo’s engineering prowess that first brought him to Milan in 1482, when he was 30. Though his motivations for leaving Florence are unclear — some historians say he may have been at least partially prompted by a desire to escape the cloud of sodomy allegations lodged against him in Florence a few years earlier — he sent the ambitious duke of Milan, Ludovico Sforza, a meticulous list of the advanced engineering projects and war machinery he could help him construct. Almost as an afterthought, he mentioned at the end of his pitch to Sforza that he was also an artist. “Likewise in painting, I can do everything possible as well as any other, whosoever he may be,” da Vinci offered, not incorrectly.
Today, his engineering genius and the advancements it inspired are showcased at Milan’s Museo Nazionale Scienza e Tecnologia Leonardo da Vinci, the largest science museum in Italy. The museum’s Leonardo da Vinci Galleries, reimagined for the 2019 celebrations, use more than 170 historical models, artworks, codexes and installations to bring the artist’s story to life.
Much of his time in Milan was spent working in the duke’s castle, Castello Sforzesco, still one of the top attractions in the city. The artist’s most lasting legacy at the castle itself is the Sala delle Asse, where he painted the walls and the ceiling to resemble a pergola of mulberry trees, bringing the outside in for the duke who loved beauty and hosting elaborate parties. Unfortunately, the Sala delle Asse has been off- limits to visitors for most of the last decade while it undergoes painstaking restoration, but its completion is promised soon.
A few blocks from the castle is Milan’s most popular Leonardo attraction by far, his mural “The Last Supper,” painted about 1495 to 1498 on the refectory wall of the Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie. While paintings depicting Jesus’ final meal as surrounded by his 12 apostles were commonplace, if not obligatory, for important churches of his day, it was the artist’s wholly unique approach to the subject matter that stunned contemporary viewers as it still does today. Surrounding a world-weary Jesus, each apostle distinctly reacts with palpable animation to the shocking news that Jesus has just delivered to them: that one of them will soon betray him.
For centuries, conjecture has been rampant regarding a particularly curious element of “The Last Supper”: the androgyny of John the Apostle, seated just to the right of Jesus. So delicate are John’s features that they even spawned one of the main plotlines in the blockbuster book and film “The Da VinciCode,” which claimed that the figure is not John at all, but Mary Magdalene.
Just across the street from Santa Maria delle Grazie is La Vigna di Leonardo (Leonardo’s Vineyard), a favorite site for modern LGBTQ visitors, thanks both to its queer history and its tranquil beauty.
“I imagine the master and his boyfriend lying in this vineyard he owned next to the place where he painted ‘The Last Supper,’” shared Italian journalist and documentarian Stefano Paolo Giussani, author of the 2020 book “Leonardo andrebbe al Pride?” (“Would Leonardo Go to Pride?”). “We know that Leonardo spent most of his life with Gian Giacomo Caprotti, known as Salaì, a nickname meaning ‘little devil.’ Salaì joined his household in 1490 as an assistant and went on to train as a painter. From then on, they lived, worked and traveled together, even sharing the same wardrobe.”
Leonardo’s Vineyard lies at the bottom of the garden at the 15th century mansion Casa degli Atellani, exactly as it did when Sforza gave the land to the artist more than 520 years ago.
“In his will, Leonardo left the property to Salaì, which means a lot,” Giussani said. “After five centuries, the courtyard is nearly untouched, and it is a small silent corner right in the city center.”
Virgili concurred, saying, “This is an enchanting place in the center of Milan where sometimes it’s possible to do some Italian wine tasting surrounded by greenery.”
Another top Milan site for diving into Leonardo is the Biblioteca Ambrosiana (Ambrosian Library), which houses the Codex Atlanticus, the largest collection of his bound original writings and drawings. In all, the codex consists of 12 volumes of 1,119 pages dating from 1478 to 1519, covering a vast litany of his interests including astronomy, music, mathematics, recipes, fables, weaponry, botany and flight.
The Ambrosiana also houses the 1511 painting “Head of Christ the Redeemer,” inscribed with the name Salaì and thus attributed to the artist’s pupil/partner, though some scholars believe Salaì may have been the model for the painting rather than the painter.
While speculation has also swirled around Leonardo’s romantic links to other men, it is Salaì who remains the most enduring candidate as his probable partner. Some historians even believe that the “Mona Lisa,” hiss most famous painting — if not the most celebrated work in the history of art — is a portrait of Salaì, and they see further evidence in the fact that the piece’s very name is an anagram of Mon Salaì, French for “My Salaì.”
So, was Leonardo what we would now consider gay? And does it matter for modern LGBTQ society?
“Gay is a modern expression that has several meanings and connotations that cannot easily be applied to a man who lived in the 15th century,” said Roberto Muzzetta, secretary of international relations for Arcigay, Italy’s first and largest LGBTQ rights organization. “However, there are many facts about Leonardo’s life that make us think that he might have been homosexual. He was charged of sodomy when he was young, and there were many substantial rumors about the nature of his relationship with some of his pupils such as Salaì or Francesco Melzi, who became his principal heir at Leonardo’s death.”
Giussani noted that there is “no evidence at all that Leonardo ever slept with a woman.”
“Regarding his work, during his whole life Leonardo was much more interested in drawing men and in dealing with studies related to men’s bodies,” Giussani added. “He also drew the anus giving it the guise of a gentle flower. That’s why I like to think of him as a very fascinating man [who was] probably gay.”
As for Virgili, he said he believes Leonardo “was gay and maybe something more.”
“I personally believe that he was a real genius, and for this reason his mind was very open,” he explained. “A person’s sexuality did not matter to him, as he was attracted by souls.”
Giussani agreed that as a queer icon, Leonardo’s legacy is just as vital to us in terms of gender expression as sexuality.
“He was the first very popular artist of his kind who painted and drew figures that we could define as gender fluid,” Giussani said. “Some of his work can be defined as genderless. The lesson he is giving us is much more related to the soul rather than the sex.”
Irish lawmakers are set to make transgender people a protected class in the country, making it easier for anyone who targets them to be charged with a hate crime.
The Irish Cabinet has approved a bill that says anyone who is convicted of purposefully inciting hatred or violence against a person due to their gender identity or expression could face up to five years in prison, reported The Irish Times.
The updates to Irish hate crimes law – which also included making disabled people a protected class – were reportedly made based on international best practices.
To protect freedom of speech, the bill also says that “communication” solely involving the criticism or discussion of a protected class will not be considered enough to incite violence or hate.
The law will also reportedly include a “demonstration test” that assesses whether a crime is considered a hate crime based on whether a perpetrator expressed hatred about someone’s identity while committing a crime against them.
Other “protected characteristics” already established in the nation include nationality, religion, race, ethnicity, color, sexual orientation, and national origin.
A young gay couple in Armenia tragically took their own lives because of “intolerance towards them”, according to an LGBTQ+ group.
The couple, reportedly named Tigran and Arsen, posted a series of Instagramphotos of themselves on Thursday (20 October) before their tragic deaths.
The photos showed the two kissing and appearing to show off engagement rings.
“Happy ending. The decisions about sharing the photos and our next steps were made by both of us,” the harrowing caption read.
The two then ended their lives in the country’s capital, Yerevan, reports Armenian LGBTQ+ group Pink Armenia.
The post has since been flooded with tributes and kind words to the pair.
Pink Armenia said in a statement: “The young men still had many years of life ahead of them, but because of intolerance towards them, they took such a tragic step.
“LGBT people are very familiar with the feeling of isolation and misunderstanding of family and society. This tragic incident proves once again that LGBT people in Armenia are not safe and not protected by society or the state.”
The organisation added that it provides professional support for LGBTQ+ people in crisis.
“Remember, you are not alone,” it said.
No protection from discrimination in Armenia
Homosexuality has been legal in Armenia since 2003, however as of 2022 the country is still sitting close to the bottom of the annual Rainbow Map ranking the best nations for LGBTQ+ rights in Europe.
At the bottom along with Azerbaijan and Turkey, Armenia was considered to have scored just an eight per cent safety score for LGBTQ+ people, with the scale considering equality, hate crime, legal gender recognition, and more.
As of 2022, there is no legislation protecting LGBTQ+ people from discrimination in Armenia.
ILGA Europe, which conducts the Rainbow Map, said: “There remain significant gaps in terms of fundamental protection against discrimination and violence in nearly half of the countries.
“Currently, 20 countries out of 49 still have no protection against hate crime based on sexual orientation, while 28 countries have no protection against violence based on gender identity.”
Readers who are affected by the issues raised in this story are encouraged to contact Samaritans on 116 123 (www.samaritans.org), or Mind on 0300 123 3393 (www.mind.org.uk).