Every month we look at news briefs from around the world — courtesy of Equal Eyes, a news source produced in collaboration with UNAIDS and the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS. Today, we’ve got news for you about three drag queens who saved a man from being beaten. We’ve also got scary news about Venezuela running out of HIV medication, marriage equality being rejected and Finland making a harmful decision about its trans citizens.
1. Venezuela is running out of HIV medication and condoms
Venezuelan activists warn that a nation-wide shortage of HIV medications is leaving thousands of HIV-positive people untreated and causing deaths to skyrocket. Activists further warn that condom supplies have run out.
2. These Australian drag queens are true heroes
In Australia, three drag queens intervened when they witnessed a man being beaten in the street. The victim, Ivan Flinn, raised over $10,000 to thank his “saviors” and replaced the “wig, nails and heels” they damaged when “like Destiny’s Child they strutted in and saved me.”
3. Mexico wants to end queer discrimination
Mexico’s Ministry of Health announced a new “code of conduct” to end stigma and discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation. The national health system guidelines will include training public health providers and personnel to avoid discriminatory language, to respect confidentiality and to avoid any so-called treatments to “cure” sexuality or gender identity.
4. Ireland’s gay Prime Minister goes to Montréal Pride
Ireland’s first openly gay Prime Minister, Leo Varadkar, joined Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for Montréal Pride. Later in the week, over 100 people marched for trans, two-spirited and gender nonconforming communities. Organizer Cayce Ainsworth said that the event was created as a dedicated space for this community to assert itself, noting “It’s not corporate, it’s not a party.”
5. Irish and Israeli courts reject marriage equality
Ireland’s High Court of Belfast dismissed two cases that hoped to expand marriage equality to Northern Ireland. The judge declared that the same-sex marriage ban does not violate human rights because there is no international standard for marriage equality. Israel’s High Court of Justice denied a petition seeking marriage equality and stated that it was up to legislators to change the law.
6. Finland demands trans people be sterilized
The government of Finland decided it will not revise the “Trans Act” which requires that trans people undergo sterilization before legally changing their gender despite recommendations from the UN Human Rights Council.
7. Religious struggles at home and abroad
As Australians prepare for the marriage equality postal vote, Catholic Archbishop Denis Hart threatened church employees who do not uphold “what we believe about marriage,” and Archbishop Timothy Costelloe warned teachers not to “undermine their school values” by supporting same-sex marriage. However, leaders from two prestigious Catholic schools urged the church and school members to make their own decisions, noting that love is the “primary gospel value.”
The largest Protestant denomination in the United States, Baptists, held their annual Ethics and Religious Liberty convention. Denied official participation, LGBTQ non-profit Faith in America protested outside the event singing hymns and urging the community to recognize homeless LGBTQ youth. In an op-ed, Pastor Brandan Robertson, an “openly queer and progressive activist”, described why he attends the conference despite resistance. Meanwhile, over 150 evangelical leaders used the conference to develop and release “The Nashville Statement,” a “manifesto” that condemns trans and gay people.
8. Rich people are helping out the LGBTQ community
U.S. multimillionaire Tim Gill pledged 60% of his assets — more than $300 million — to his endowment to fight homophobia and anti-LGBTQ legislation. And in Greece, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation has donated funds to reopen 11528-By Your Side, the country’s only LGBTQI helpline.
9. A look at queer film and media from around the world
The South African film The Wound (Inexeba), based off of Thando Mgqolozana’s book A Man Who is Not a Man, earned critical acclaim at the Sundance film festival for its “nuanced” portrayal of a young gay Xhosa man undergoing his tribe’s rite of passage. At home, Xhosa King Mpendulo Zwelonke Sigcawu called the film “insulting” and wants to see it banned.
10. R.I.P. Louise Hay
In the United States, 90-year-old self-help guru and author Louise Hay passed away of natural causes. Among her many accomplishments, in the 1980s Hay was known for her famous support group “The Hayride” for people with HIV.
Hornet brings attentions to global issues of significance for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people. Our partnership with Equal Eyes, a news source produced in collaboration with UNAIDS, the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS, is part of that effort. To learn more, visit their site at Equal-Eyes.org.
This coverage promotes sexual and gender equality while highlighting issues of health, violence, culture, and legal and human rights. Equal Eyes provides advocates and allies a common frame of reference for the realities of global LGBTI communities. Through followup reporting and disseminating this coverage, our effort is to ensure we have a representation of the global stories that matter most or may have under-reporting.