Thursday, July 16, 2009

Internationally Queer Update

A few news items are floating in the blogosphere on international queer rights:
  • Don't Ask, Don't Tell: Israel, Britain, and Australia all allow openly LGBTQ individuals to serve in their militaries, whereas the US does not. We've noticed.
  • Lithuania: In an 87-6 vote, the Lithuanian Parliament overrode President Dalia Grybauskaite's veto of a law that would bans speech promoting homosexuality, bisexuality, and trans-identity to children. The heavily Catholic country also banned information that promoted hypnosis and bad eating. As expected, gay rights groups are pissed. One of the co-sponsors of the bill, Petra Grazulis, had this to say: "We have finally taken a step which will help Lithuania raise healthy and mentally sound generations unaffected by the rotten culture that is now overwhelming them." No word on how the EU will respond, which Lithuania joined in 2004.
  • Mongolia: Queers in the Asian nation are seeking international help to get the Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendre Centre registered with the government. However, the Legal Entities Registration Agency is stonewalling the process, saying that the name is A) not moral and B) uses words that have been improperly translated into the native Cyrillic language. From the official rejection letter: "The name ... has a meaning that conflicts with Mongolian customs and traditions and has the potential to set the wrong example for youth and adolescent."
  • Pakistan: In a surprising move, the Supreme Court has ordered that social service benefits must go to trans people, citing extensive prejudice, oppression, and social ostracism as a reason that poor trans-identified persons must receive governmental benefits. Unlike wealthy trans-individuals, who are protected often by their privilege, impoverished people are rejected and find themselves the victim of harassment and abuse. The court has ordered an investigation on the best means of extending these benefits to trans people.
  • Ukraine: Banned Bruno for depictions of nudity and gay sex. Don't act surprised. You knew someone was going to ban it. On a related note, I really like Sasha Baron Cohen, and I'm just waiting for him to do something amazing after his blow-out performance in Sweeney Todd. Seriously, he's very versatile.
  • Venezuela: The heavy Catholic influence in this country made it politically impossible to add equal protections for LGBTQ individuals in the remake of the Constitution a few years back. Now, the "Organic Law for Gender Equity and Equality" is coming up for consideration, which would extend some rights to individuals and same-sex couples. The same Catholic Bishops that stonewalled on equality in the consitution are now pointing to the very constitution they crafted to object to the new law.
The world, as it is, according to queer.

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