"I believe that my school isn't special. I believe that there are places like Hillsboro all over the county where young people are hurting, feeling alone, and being discriminated against because of who they are. And I believe it's important, now that I've been put in this position, for me to stay strong for all of those young people and for my community"
~ Trans teen Lila Perry on the controversy stirred in her town around her use of the girl's locker room.
The UN's 29th Session of the Human Rights Council ushered in a controversial resolution on "Protection of the Family"--Arvind Narrain, from ARC International, helps unpack the resolution and how the politics among states and civil society, including children, women's rights, and LGBTI groups are affected.
The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has released its first fact sheet on issues faced by intersex people. HIV, Health, and Wellbeing: US researchers announced they have seen zero new HIV infections among gay and bisexual male participants in a two year evaluation of PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis). Despite continued success of PrEP research, the Advocate named stigma around PrEP drug Truvada as one of the '7 ways' the gay community is 'failing' gay youth. And writer Maureen Onditi details how stigma prevents LGBT Kenyans from accessing HIV services.
Out of Italy, a new study suggests that homophobia is a psychiatric disorder--25 years after the WHO declassified homosexuality as a mental illness.
In a move that Health Minister Daniel Gollán called “scientifically and technically accurate,” Argentina will now allow gay and bisexual men to donate blood. And in Sweden, the success of the country's first retirement home for the LGBT communitycan be seen in its lengthy waitlist as demand for residency grows. From the World of Politics: Nepal is now only the third country in the world toprovide protections for LGBTI people in its constitution.
Vladimir Putin awarded Vitaly Milonov, author of Russia's 'gay propaganda' ban, amedal of honor for his 'diligent' work. In a followup interview, Milonov described an ideal Russia as being free of sex workers, drug addicts, alcoholics, and gay people.
Malyasian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak compared the Islamic State to the LGBT community because they both 'target the younger generation.'
In Ghana, presidential candidate George Boateng has promised to 'eradicate' homosexuality and change the punishment for convicted gay people from 3 years in jail to public death by firing squad. From northern Italian town Albettone, mayor Joe Formaggio has proposed a tax on gay people because they 'don't have sons' and will cause the town to have lower future income tax.
The European Parliament adopted a resolution that denounced the repression of LGBTI people in Azerbaijan. The Parliament's Intergroup on LGBTI Rights noted that Azerbaijan's 'crackdown on LGBTI civil society is part of a wider systematic crackdown on civil society, which is beyond imagination.'
In Uganda, the parliament is considering a new bill that will allow the government to ban NGOs for any reason. LGBT activists warn the NGO bill will reintroduce items from the overturned Anti-Homosexuality Act and effectively re-criminalize LGBT rights work . In Burundi, president Pierre Nkurunziza announced the establishment of a commision to monitor national and international NGOs. Locals involved in LGBTI advocacy warn the reforms will 'destroy' their efforts.
The Politics of Union: Though Italy is the last major Western European country without official recognition of same-sex couples, prime minister Matteo Renzi wants parliament to see a civil union bill by October.
In the US county clerk Kim Davis, who was jailed for refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples, has returned to work. However, she has altered her office's licenses to remove both her name and the county name, which some lawyers argue invalidates the documents.
In Denmark, the first transgender couple was married in the Danish National Church. While in Australia, anti marriage equality groups used the country's Father's Day as an opportunity to warn that lesbian households 'promote dysfunction and suffering ' because they are 'father-less.'
Let the Courts Decide: In Italy, an appeal was filed to overturn a 2014 ruling thatallowed two women to be both registered as mothers to their child. While in Spain, a lesbian couple filed a lawsuit against the Spanish health ministry and the Madrid hospital that denied the couple artificial insemination because they are gay.
And in South Africa, lesbian minister Ecclesia de Lange took the Methodist Church of South Africa to the Constitutional Court for 'unlawfully' firing her after she told her congregation she was engaged to marry her partner.
In the Name of Religion: In Brazil, openly gay--and married to his partner--Pentecostal pastor Marcos Gladstone leads the Contemporary Christian Church with a congregation of over 3,000 members.
The Pope's upcoming visit to the US stirred tension over LGBT issues , though a recent survey found a majority of American Catholics think families headed by single, divorced, and gay parents are acceptable for raising children .
And a report from the European Forum of LGBT Christian Groups captured the voices and concerns of gay Catholics living in Ghana, Togo, Benin, and Nigeria.
Fear and Loathing: In Senegal, seven men were convicted to six months prison on charges of homosexuality, despite a lack of evidence or testimony against them.
Human Rights Watch released a new report on human rights violations in Gambia . Alieu Sarr fled Gambia after serving six months in prison on charges of homosexuality and suffering two hospitalizations from police torture. From his hiding place in Senegal, Sarr described the atrocities he survived . In Malaysia, award winning transgender activist Nisha Ayub was attacked, but despite reporting it to police, Ayub fears that--like other violence against trans people--the crime will be ignored .
In the UK, metropolitan police report that homophobic crimes are up by 30% in London. And in the Ukraine a private LGBT event was attacked and community center, Queer Home Kryvbass was destroyed .
And in Turkey, police hassled mourners at the funerals of two LGBTI activists after receiving a tip off that the funerals displayed rainbow and feminist flags.
School Days: In Japan, a survey found 40% of gay and bisexual male teens have been bullied. In New Zealand, an anti-bullying project is helping young people produce films to show their peers the power of standing up for yourself and others.
The Moscow Times investigated how the gay propaganda law victimises Russian LGBT youth . And in Uganda, where students are expelled when suspected of homosexual activity, local experts urge schools to find 'more subtle' solutions .
Following on the heels of similar surveys in UK and US, in Israel only a fraction of young people surveyed believed themselves to be 100% heterosexual, while many more believed themselves to be 'somewhere in-between.'
In the US, students at Duke University made national headlines when they refused to read the award-winning autobiographic graphic novel of lesbian Alison Bechdel because reading the book would 'compromise' their Christian morals . And at a mid-west high school, transgender teen Lila divided the community when she used the girls' locker room. Though over 150 students organized a walkout protesting against Lila's need to use the girl's locker room , many came out to support her.
Meanwhile in Australia, a rally was held protesting homophobia in schools , after NSW Education Minister banned a documentary about growing up with gay parents from being shown.
A university in Thailand is requiring incoming students to take a mandatory class on "Social Life Skills" that will include sessions on sex and gender identity. In Ontario Canada, some parents have renewed protests against a new sex-ed curriculum that includes exploration of gender identity and sexual orientation. In South Africa, Dr. Gordon Isaacs is calling for a rehaul of sex-ed to include information of gay issues. While in the US, where several states ban any discussion of homosexuality in schools, Planned Parenthood and the Human Rights Campaign are urging for more inclusive sex-ed curriculums .
Winds of Change: Thailand's 2015 Gender Equality Act has come into effect. After exemptions based on education, religion, and public interest were removed from a previous draft, the new law covers will be valid across sectors. Ireland became the 4th country in the world to allow people to change their legal gender without medical intervention with the Gender Recognition Act . And in Russia, laws allow trans people to change gender and undergo surgery.
In Israel, 11 police have been reprimanded or reassigned for failing to take action during the Pride parade attack that wounded six and killed a teenager. Gay veterans in the US are struggling to be granted the honorable discharges promised to them in 2011 by president Obama.
In Tunisia, the organization 'Chouf' provides a feminist viewpoint and safe space for lesbians, bisexuals, and trans communities. And Nigerian activist Bisi Alimi argues that Africa has a historic precedent for accepting gay people.
On the March: The Netherlands has made it easier for LGBT Russians to seek asylum in the country.
Italian mayor Luigi Brugnaro, who previously banned children's books that feature same-sex couples, has banned gay pride parades from being held in Venice. While in Myanmar, the LGBT community finds acceptance in the country's biggest spirit festival.
The World of Business and Technology: The new Windows operating system includes an 'activity report' feature that provides parents with a weekly summary of computer use and flags gay related sites . In the Philippines, gay men talked about using the dating app Grindr with foreign visitors and volunteers.
Despite continued criminalization of homosexuality in Singapore, some locals are promoting LGBT nightlife .
In the US, Target joined the list of corporations to endorse the Equality Act , which would guarantee protections for LGBT employees. And global HR research group Randstad revealed new data on transgender people in the workplace--finding that 26% of those polled had at least one transgender colleague .
Sports and Culture: A new Guinness campaign features rugby star Gareth Thomas and the fear he faced when he revealed he is gay. Cameroonian track star Thierry Essamba continues to struggle after he was banned from the national team because of his sexuality.
Developers in Bangladesh have created the country's first comic strip featuring a lesbian discovering her sexuality. Spiderman movie star Andrew Garfield has said future Spiderman incarnations should explore the character's gender and sexuality and should be 'pansexual.' And actor Eddie Redmayne is earning raves for his portrayal ofDanish trans woman Lili Elbe .
The film festival 'Moscow Premiere' was cancelled after the government refused to continue support. The festival had planned to include a feature with gay themes. The release of an Indian film based on the 'true story of a gay prince' has been delayed by the Indian Supreme Court because some might consider it to be 'socially evil.' While in China, the film "Looking For Rohmer" is the first film featuring gay themes to have official approval without censorship.
Finally, check out this photography project from Japan that aims to document 10,000 LGBT people in five years.