"Madam Speaker, I am young, I am gay, I am black, a true blue Territorian... I am eternally proud of who I am and where I come from, I own it and wear it with pride."
~ Chansey Paech, Australia’s first openly gay aboriginal elected to Parliament speaking at the opening of the 13th Assembly of the Northern Territory.
“I am black I am gay. I cannot separate the two into secondary or primary struggles.”
~ activist Simon Nkoli before his death in 1998
From the UN: The UN General Assembly elected António Guterres as the incoming Secretary-General to replace Ban Ki-moon this January. The former prime minister of Portugal beat out seven women and six other men for the position. Guterres previously served as the High Commissioner for Refugees from 2005 to 2015.
During the 2015 International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, Guterres released a statement appealing to governments to:
"...promote the values of tolerance and respect for diversity, and to build a world where no one has to be afraid because of their sexual orientation and gender identity."
UN-Globe, the organization of UN LGBTI staff, released a statement supporting Guterres and calling on him to be a strong advocate for LGBTI around the world.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon joined 11 presidents and thousands of experts at the third ever UN Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development—Habitat III—with the goal of establishing the New Urban Agenda. As Ki-moon described, "transforming our world for the better" means re-making towns and cities through sustainable development. Some leaders worked to include mention of LGBT among the "vulnerable populations" the Agenda seeks to protect. However, a group of 17 nations blocked the inclusion and instead inserted the phrase that cities should be "friendly for families".
The UN Free & Equal Campaign celebrated Intersex Awareness Day (26 October) by launching a new site "United Nations for Intersex Awareness" with videos, a factsheet, guides for parents and governments, and a list of resources for further information. UN experts and African, American, and European human rights experts published the first joint statement on intersex-related human rights issues.
HIV, Health, and Wellness: A new study has dispelled the origin story of HIV. By genetically sequencing samples from patients infected in the 1970s, scientists have proven that there was no "Patient Zero"—exonerating French-Canadian gay flight attendant Gaetan Dugas who the media had labeled "The Man Who Gave Us AIDS".
Global health organizations who support the LGBT community say they are fighting dueling misperceptions—that the AIDS epidemic "is all over" and that it's "a hopeless case".
Indonesia's National AIDS Commission warned that the recent wave of anti-LGBT sentiment might prevent the country from reaching AIDS targets by 2030.
The US honored National Latinix AIDS Awareness Day (15 October). Activists fear the community's resistance to discussing sexuality is behind new infections and the statistic that one out of four Latino gay and bisexual men will become HIV positive. Volunteer Daniel Garza reflected on being rejected by his parents after coming out then finding a family within the AIDS community.
The China Association of AIDS Prevention and Control launched a program to target rising HIV rates among youth by stocking vending machines at Southwest Petroleum University with HIV self-testing kits. Subsidized by a charity, the tests are 10 times cheaper than those bought online.
A new study from Germany evaluated HIV testing behaviors of gay men and other men who have sex with men and found that stigma remains a strong factor preventing men from getting tested. A new South African campaign to promote HIV testing hopes to dramatically increase uptake among gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men. The campaign is building off of a Department of Health strategy to provide treatment as soon as a person is diagnosed.
Dating app Grindr added an HIV filter that can hide positive men—Health Innovation Strategist Alex Garner discusses why avoiding people who know their status is bad for preventing HIV infections.
The PrEP in Europe Initiative published a new report on the access and uptake of pre-exposure prophylaxis across Europe with testimony from men and women in over 30 countries, including from people who must seek PrEP outside of official health systems.
Norway's Minister of Health and Social Care, Bent Høie, announced the country will provide PrEP free of charge through the National Health Scheme.
Seeing how highly effective PrEP is at preventing HIV, some researchers are questioning if similar pre-exposure tactics could be used to prevent the hepatitis C virus.
New reports from Canada show HPV-induced mouth and throat cancers are increasing as cervical cancers remain stable. Additionally, 1 in 3 HPV cancers are diagnosed in men. The US Center for Disease Control released its annual STD surveillance report and showed that across the country sexually transmitted diseases are at an all-time high, especially chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis.
In the UK, LGBT people have significantly higher rates of drug and alcohol abuse than the general population, while government services to help have continued to lose funding.
From the World of Politics: Representatives from the Australian and US governments held a joint dialogue on human rights of LGBTI people during which they recommitted support to the Global Equity Fund—an initiative of 25 governments and corporations for advancing LGBTI rights—and announced an upcoming initiative to address needs of LGBTI in the Pacific region.
US National Security Advisor Susan Rice announced that the Obama administration has enacted a new rule that bans organizations working with USAID from discriminating against LGBT people. Meanwhile, President Obama is prepared to veto the $600 billion defense spending bill if it includes an anti-LGBT "religious freedom" provision that would effectively void the nondiscrimination orders he has put in place.
The Indonesian Youth and Sports Ministry began recruiting applicants for the role of Creative Youth Ambassador. The ministry is seeking someone "physically and mentally healthy" and specifically "not involved in promiscuity and sexually deviant behavior, including LGBT." As anti-LGBT sentiment continues to rise in the country, President Joko Widodo made his first comments to reduce the tension saying that "the police must act" to protect LGBT Indonesians even though "Islam does not allow" the LGBT lifestyle. Journalist Yenni Kwok reflected on how the country's treatment of LGBT citizens undermines the quest for democracy.
The Philippines House of Representatives began hearings on the Anti-Discrimination Bill on the Basis of Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity Bill. Several cities have already passed local ordinances to protect gender and sexual minorities.
The Japanese Ward Yodogawa passed local initiatives to support the LGBT community in 2013. Since then, the Ward Office has had over 60 visits from public officials and business leaders interested in learning about Yodogawa's efforts.
US LGBT activists and leaders have split over what national nondiscrimination legislation should look like. Some are calling for compromise with conservative politicians by supporting bills that cover employment and housing but do not protect LGBT people in public spaces such as restaurants, shops, and bathrooms.
Hungary's Commissioner for Fundamental Rights, László Székely, submitted a 29-page report on gender identity, access to health services, and recommendations for legislation that supports trans individuals to the Ministry of Human Resources. The Parliament of France adopted new legislation that allows transgender individuals to change their legal gender without sterilization or medical treatment. Meanwhile in Kenya, MP Isaac Mwaura urged Parliament to amend legislation to provide legal recognition to intersex citizens.
Germany's Justice Ministry announced €30 million in reparations will be budgeted to pay men convicted of homosexuality. Meanwhile, the UK Parliament failed to pass The Turing Law—a bill to automatically pardon living and dead gay and bisexual men convicted of homosexuality. They are considering a new bill that will allow men to request a pardon.
The Politics of Union: The Australian Electoral Commission continues to prepare for the public vote on same-sex marriage to occur in February despite a pledge by 40 senators to block the legislation.
Taiwan legislators from the Democratic Progressive Party announced they will pursue an amendment to legalize same-sex marriage and give couples adoption rights.
As the Romanian Constitutional Court considers whether same-sex couples married overseas will be recognized in Romania, President Klaus Johannis gave a speech calling for "tolerance and acceptance" for minority groups. He also stated that religious fanaticism would not help society.
In the Name of Religion: In the wake of Mexico's mass protests against marriage equality, Brandon Capece from the Council on Hemispheric Affairs provided a reflection on the history of local LGBT rights, the church, and the law.
Amsterdam police have identified the group behind leaflets calling for Muslims, Christians, and Jews to "unite" to exterminate gay people. Distributed across the western districts, at least 75 homeowners registered complaints with authorities.
South African LGBT Muslim organization The Inner Circle hosted an international retreat for organizations, academics, and individuals to discuss issues affecting LGBT+ Muslims.
Fear and Loathing: From Mexico, lawyer José Manuel Ruiz argues that 'outrageous remarks' on gender from organizations such as the National Front for the Family reinforce the stigma and violence the trans community faces. He urged the community to take a stand to stop the recent rash of murders of trans women.
A South African lesbian couple were gang raped in their home by intruders who told the women they wanted to "teach them that they are women".
Police in Cameroon raided a bar popular with the gay community and arrested everyone inside, though officials say occupants were not targeted for their sexuality but for "public disturbance".
LGBT people in Afghanistan spoke to journalists about living in hiding, in fear of rejection and violence.
Taiwanese LGBT activists mourned the recent passing of well-known local professor Jacques Picoux who committed suicide after losing his partner of 35 years to cancer. Without legal recognition of their relationship, Picoux was unable to be involved in his partner's healthcare.
Winds of Change: The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Intersex Association (ILGA) released results from their Global Attitudes Survey on LGBTI People that collected responses from over 96,000 individuals in 65 countries, including 16 countries with laws criminalizing homosexuality. Among their conclusions, they found that attitudes toward LGBT people are changing and that first-hand experience with the community can have a destigmatising effect.
A new EuroPulse study of 12,000 people across 28 countries in Europe found Germany has the largest population of those identifying as LGBT (7.4%); over 10% identify as something other than exclusively heterosexual.
The survey coincides with data from the UK and US that found that the number of young people identifying as something other than heterosexual has risen over the last three years. More people than ever are identifying beyond the traditional LGBT spectrum, including pansexual, demisexual, gender fluid, and non-binary. Senior Lecturer Megan Todd explored the changing boundaries of sexual identities and labels.
The Turkish Justice Ministry will soon open its first prison exclusively for LGBT detainees. Journalist Daniel Mallory reviews the use of separate facilities based on sexual orientation going back to New York city's "fag annex" of the 1910s.
In South Africa participants to the third annual Simon Nkoli Memorial Lecture celebrated the prominent anti-apartheid icon and LGBTI and AIDS activist with discussions on HIV and the experience of African men who have sex with men, LGBTI human rights freedoms, and trans-international solidarity.
In an interview, Amir Ashour spoke about moving to Sweden and establishing IraQueer, the first organization for Iraqi and Kurdish LGBT people.
Intersex people from the UK, US, Uganda, Nepal, and Mexico shared personal commentaries on their experiences navigating stigma and discrimination for Intersex Awareness Day.
On the March: French police announced that around 24,000 people participated in an anti-gay marriage demonstration throughout Paris. Waving flags and signs stating "All together for the family" and "In 2017, I'll vote for the family", protestors urged politicians to repeal legislation from 2013 that legalized same-sex marriage.
Students in Delhi, India held their first Pride parade in conjunction with the Indian Institute Of Technology Delhi's annual Rendezvous festival—a four-day event that draws nearly 50,000 attendees from over 350 colleges.
Australia's Minister for Immigration and Border Security, Peter Dutton, told Parliament that gay and bisexual refugees currently held in Australia's center in Papua New Guinea will no longer be the government's responsibility when the center closes. Gay and bisexual refugees will have to return home or remain in PNG despite the country's laws criminalizing homosexuality.
German authorities have opened their first shelter for LGBTI migrants and refugees. Initially, LGBTI refugees were placed in hotels and private apartments to protect them from other refugees with anti-LGBT sentiments, but authorities determined it would be more cost effective to create a private shelter.
School Days: A new UK survey found that the number of LGBT students who are afraid of being targeted due to their sexual orientation has nearly doubled compared to the previous year's study.
The website of Russian LGBT youth group Deti-404 has been blacklisted by the government's media oversight group Roskomnadzor. This is not the first time Deti-404 has been found guilty of breaking Russia's anti-gay propaganda laws.
The US student group InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA, which has 1,011 chapters across 667 colleges, released a "Theological Summary of Human Sexuality" clarifying the group's position against same-sex relationships. Though the conservative statement was unsurprising, employees were shocked to learn that if they disagree with the position, they will be "involuntary terminated".
Sports and Culture: Filmmaker Barry Jenkins is garnering rave reviews and awards season buzz for his film Moonlight about growing up black and gay in America. A new web drama explores what it means to be gay and HIV positive in 2016.
Botswana LGBTI group LeGaBiBo published Dipolelo Tsa Rona (Our Stories)—a collection of stories from the community. British artist Tab Kimpton launched a Kickstarter campaign to publish his book Minority Monsters—a collection of LGBTQA+ fairy tales.
Mexican artist Jovan Israel creates illustrations to explore the lives of the LGBTQ community in Mexico and to "show people there is a world beyond heterosexuality".
Artist Mengwen Cao's project Here We Are shares the coming out stories of queer Chinese kids, including her own coming out to her parents. South African photographer and visual activist Zanele Muholi's new exhibit showcases her last 10 years documenting the lives of the black queer community.
For the first time, International makeup giant Covergirl selected a male spokesmodel to star in a campaign. The 17-year-old James Charles already has a loyal Instagram following for his makeup tutorials.
And finally, check out queer artist Mykki Blanco's powerful new recitation of I want a Dyke for President written by AIDS activist and artist Zoe Leonard in 1992.