"We recognize that if we don't do politics, politics will do us."
~ Aleksei Korolyov, one of the first openly gay Russians to run for public office
From the UN: During the UN General Assembly, leaders from 20 countries met with members of the UN LGBT Core Group in the first High-Level side event entitled"#Path2Equality" to discuss LGBT rights worldwide. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon spoke extensively on the "disturbing" abuses the community faces and asked:
I ask those who use religious or cultural arguments to deprive LGBT people of their human rights: what do you gain by making others less equal? Is your religion or culture so weak that the only way you can sustain it is by denying others their basic rights?
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein opened the 33rd session of the Human Rights Council with a reminder that "if States pick and choose which rights to uphold the entire structure is undermined." Although he did not explicitly mention sexual orientation and gender identity, his remarks come as some member nations continue to refuse to recognize the new independent expert on these issues.
For more information, check out ARC International's analysis of the ' process, results, and implications' of appointing this expert to the UN.
The UN Special Rapporteur onHuman Rights to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene made special mention of the challenges faced by trans and gender-nonconforming people in its new report.
For the first time, the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilitiesreprimanded Italy for surgical operations on children under the age of 10 born with intersex variations.
HIV, Health, and Wellness: In the UK, pharmaceutical giant Gilead donated PrEP to cover study participants after the National Health Service cut off funding for the drug. Although the High Court of England ruled that PrEP should be covered by the NHS, controversy over the drug continues fueled by negative press and reports of cancer patients told that their treatments could not be covered because of the money spent to fund PrEP.
A new meta-analysis of PrEP use suggested that men who rely on PrEP have higher rates of gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis.
As Russia officially registered its millionth case of HIV, local experts warn that the Kremlin's conservative attitude prohibits efforts to curb the illness—including banning condom sales, preventing sex education, and promotion of the idea that HIV comes from "weaknesses and improper behavior." Meanwhile, a Canadian study found that among gay and bisexual men those who have the most sex practice safer sex than those with fewer partners.
The US Health and Human Services enacted 'Nondiscrimination in Health Programs and Activities'—the first federal civil rights law to broaden protections to include sexual orientation and gender identity and prohibit discrimination in federally funded health programs.
The Philippines Quezon Health Department announced plans to create a clinic for transgender persons to provide general care with particular focus on curbing sexually transmitted diseases including HIV.
From the World of Politics: Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari reinstated the "War Against Indiscipline" brigade (WAI), members of whom can impose punishments on the public with impunity. The government plans to add 170,000 WAI volunteers and LGBT activists fear abuse against the community will explode.
The Indonesian government continued to crack down on so-called immoral behavior as the Communications Ministry announced that "gay propaganda" and LGBT apps have been banned for promoting "sexual deviancy." Meanwhile, Russian officials shut down the country's most popular website for LGBT news and entertainment.
In the US, 150 formerly incarcerated LGBTQ people, policymakers, and advocates were invited to the White House to discuss the challenges LGBTQ and people living with HIV face in the criminal justice system.
The Antigua & Barbuda Minister of Information released a public statement, declaring the country 'does not tolerate any acts of violence or discrimination' against LGBTI persons. However, same-sex sexual activity remains criminalized and is punishable by up to 15 years imprisonment.
The King of Norway gave an impassioned speech at the Royal Palace urging tolerance and acceptance regardless of ethnicity, religious beliefs, or sexual preference. The speech has gone viral with over 2 million views and an outpouring of support.
The United Arab Emirates passed a federal decree allowing doctors to perform sexual reassignment surgeries.
UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn released a five-page LGBT+ policy platform that promises compulsory sex education, protect LGBT cultural heritage sites, strengthen LGBT employment, and reduce hate crimes.
With a new Equal Opportunity (Religious Exceptions) Bill the Victorian Government of Australia will limit the ability of religious groups and schools to discriminate against workers due to sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, marital status, or religious beliefs.
Also in Australia, the first openly gay indigenous person was elected to the Legislative Assembly. And for the first time in Russia two openly gay men are running for parliament. Although neither expects to win, they hope to bring positive attention to the community.
The Politics of Union: The Mexican coalition 'National Front for the Family' organized massive protests across the country to protest President Enrique Peña Nieto's marriage equality efforts. Protest in the city of Celaya sparked worldwide attention after a 12-year-old boy tried to block the 11,000 marchers. Afterwards he explained, "I have an uncle who is gay, and I don't like people hating him."
Finland's parliament first approved the legalization of same-sex marriage in 2014, with the changes going into effect March of 2017. However, Parliament reopened the debate after a citizens' initiative called 'Genuine Matrimony Association' submitted over 100,000 signatures against marriage equality.
Australia's public vote on marriage equality moved forward despite warnings from Opposition Leader Bill Shorten that the negative campaigns will be "an emotional torment for gay teenagers." Sixty major Australian LGBTI organizations released a statement condemning the vote. Meanwhile, Anglican Archbishop Philip Freir gave Australian bishops permission to vote in favor of marriage equality.
Aruba's Parliament approved a civil unions bill that will give same-sex couple equal rights to married couples. And the Guernsey government voted to legalize same-sex marriage.
In China, Sun Wenlin and Hu Mingliang are helping to arrange '100 LGBT weddings'—a peaceful protest after they unsuccessfully sued the government for their own right to marry.
Let the Courts Decide: The Belize government filed a partial appeal of the Supreme Court ruling that decriminalized homosexuality. The appeal seeks to overturn the judge's interpretation of the constitution in which he stated that discrimination on 'the basis of sex' includes protections for differing sexual orientations.
Hungary's Budapest Regional Court ruled that 15 members of the group 'The Arrows of the Hungarians' were guilty of terrorism for acts of violence committed over two years, including Molotov-cocktail attacks on two gay bars during Budapest Pride.
An Israeli gay couple was granted parental rights for their child born using a surrogate—the first time the Tel Aviv Yafo Family Court has awarded custody without genetic testing.
A US Court of Appeals ruled in favor of nontraditional families and parents, allowing non-adoptive and non-biological parental figures the right to seek custody.
The German Constitutional Court will hear arguments from intersex advocates petitioning the government to create an official third gender category.
In the Name of Religion: South African Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigba announced that having reviewed a petition from the LGBTI community he had banned anti-LGBT pastor Steven Anderson and his associates from entering the country. A US citizen, Anderson was also deported from Botswana after giving a local radio interview calling for the government to kill homosexuals.
The Anglican Church in Canada elected Rev. Canon Kevin Robertson—the first openly gay bishop to have a partner and children. Before the election, an official protest was lodged against Robertson for his "irregular" lifestyle regarding chastity and marriage.
Fear and Loathing: Colombian LGBTQ activists earned recognition on the official Colombia war victim's register after speaking out and documenting two years of violence perpetrated on the community by paramilitary gangs.
Argentinian LGBTI activists warned violence against sexual minorities has continued to increase following the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights Report that documented over 594 murders of LGBT people in the Americas in 2013.
In the US, a bisexual woman and her mother were stabbed and burnt to death by their neighbor in Missouri. And the deaths of trans women in Illinois and Maryland marked the country's 20th and 21st known murders of transgender people this year.
In Northern Ireland, five Pride committee members were attacked following events in the city of Newry.
School Days: The BMJ published a new study on sex and relationship education in Australia, Britain, Brazil, Canada, Ireland, Japan, New Zealand, Sweden, and the US and concluded programs from all countries were consistently "out of touch" and insufficient to meet students' needs.
From Scotland, a new report highlighted bullying, attempted suicide, and mental health issues face by LGBT youth—90% of whom reported they had experienced homophobia at school.
The Journal of Pediatrics published a statement from US pediatricians on the negative effect of anti-LGBT legislation on children. And the Human Rights Watch released "Shut Out"—a report documenting how restrictions to shared facilities, including bathrooms and locker rooms, dangerously impact trans youth.
The Global Alliance for LGBT Education (GALE) has made available courses on sexual diversity for secondary school teachers and business leaders. The courses are free until 2017 and available in 5 languages.
And in the UK, Goldsmiths College of the University of London launched the first postgraduate degree in Queer History.
Winds of Change: Mongolian activist Otgonbaatar Tsedendemberel reflected on the ongoing changing perspective towards the LGBT community in the country. The Ford Foundation's Susie Jolly explored how China's financial investment into the Global South is impacted by the country's approach to gender and sexuality. And US Professor of Christian Ethics Rev. David Gushee examines how opinions on LGBT equality are becoming increasingly black and white for Americans—with no room for 'neutrality' or 'mild' discrimination.
From the Ukraine, openly gay journalist and activist Maxim Eristavi spoke about the challenges LGBTQ Ukrainians continue to face as equality issues are pushed to the side.
African trust The Other Foundation released a new report Progressive Prudes on South Africans' perceptions and opinions towards homosexuality and gender non-conformity.
Sri Lankan activists have renewed efforts to decriminalize homosexuality following a Human Rights Watch report documenting the violence and discrimination faced by sexual minorities.
On the March: Serbian activists successfully held the third ever Belgrade Pride. Attended by several hundred supporters, the event was surrounded by nearly 5,000 police to deter violence.
Following protests by Black Lives Matter during Canada's Pride Toronto earlier this year, organizers released a statement apologizing "emphatically and unreservedly for its role in deepening the divisions in our community," and "for a history of anti-blackness." They have also promised to "assess" the role of police in future events.
From South Africa, organizers announced that for the first time in 12 years Soweto Pride 2016 has been postponed after authorities demanded the event hire more police officers.
Business and Technology: Chinese entrepreneur Ma Baoli spoke about creating 'Blued,' the country's largest gay dating app valued at $300 million, and the "power of the pink yaun" referring to the vast market wealth of Chinese LGBT.
In Israel, a new WhatsApp hotline targeted to help Arabic gay youth was launched by Israel Gay Youth (IGY) to compliment their Hebrew hotline and expand services to all local youth.
In the UK, some sexual health clinics are using the Pokémon Go augmented reality game that swept the world this summer to 'lure' people to their clinics where they offer free condoms, education, and chlamydia testing.
Sports and Culture: The US National Collegiate Athletic Association and the regional Atlantic Coast Conference joined the NBA in canceling all North Carolina events due to the state's anti-LGBT House Bill 2. The move will cost NC an estimated $91.5m, bringing the total lost revenue due to HB2 to over $395m.
At the Rio Paralympics ten of the 12 openly LGBTI athletes won medals, including 5 gold, 2 silver, and 3 bronze.
The Queen of England's cousin Lord Ivar Mountbatten, the first modern royal to come out as bisexual, spoke of the changing times and finding love.
Each week Sweden invites a new citizen to run the country's official Twitter account. This month the reins were given to a gay trans teen named Gavin who spent the week answering questions about gender, ADHD, culture, and cats.
A new bilingual book One of a Kind, Like Me/Único Como Yo gives voice to gender nonconforming kids.
And finally, check out the heartwarming story of this Syrian refugee gay couple, finally reunited in Norway.