The LGBTQ+ news round-up: 10 April 2016

While big name issues in America continued to garner much media attention, the world saw events and changes all across the LGBTQ+ spectrum. In his latest weekly instalment Tom Ana shares some of the most important news stories from the last seven days.

Ongoing anger against North Carolina’s recently implemented anti-trans ‘bathroom laws’ has led to a number of businesses boycotting the state in protest of the legislation. Earlier this week, online giants PayPal announced the cancellation of a planned business expansion in the area, meaning the loss of over 400 jobs. Musician Bruce Springsteen was also one of many artists and performers who cancelled tours and planned shows in response to the discriminatory laws.

Israel’s Ministry of Tourism has announced plans to invest over 11 million NIS (Over 2 million pounds) in a new LGBTQ+ tourism strategy. The plan will include campaigns launched to attract LGBTQ+ visitors from Europe and North America and aims to promote Israel as a liberal, pro-equality country. Although Israel’s treatment of LGBTQ+ individuals is considered the best in the Middle East, campaigners have often accused authorities of pinkwashing the country’s ongoing human rights violations of Palestinian communities.

A pro-LGBTQ+ film festival held in St Petersburg, Russia, has angered politicians and religious leaders. Vitaly Milonov, a member of the Russian Foreign Ministry who was instrumental in creating the country’s infamous anti-gay ‘propaganda’ laws, criticised diplomats from the UK, Norway, Sweden and other countries who attended the event, and branded their presence an ‘unacceptable’ attack on Russian values.

Popular American reality show RuPaul’s Drag Race will soon be streamed on Netflix in several nations in which homosexuality is outlawed. The show, which features contestants competing to become the ‘next drag superstar’, will be available in over 240 countries including Uganda, Saudi Arabia, and Iran.

An Indian startup company has become the first matchmaking agency exclusively designed for same-sex arranged marriages. The company, Arranged Gay Marriage, was launched earlier this month with the aim of providing arranged marriages for gay, lesbian and bisexual individuals both in and outside of India.

Also in India, new legislation passed this week has outlawed forced eviction and various mistreatments of transgender individuals. The new laws make it illegal for anyone to force a transgender individual from their home because of gender identity and also treats incidents such as public humiliation as a formal hate crime.

In Trinidad, lawmakers considered legislation that would outlaw discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation. The proposal, originally tabled in 2014, would extend current anti-discrimination to LGBTQ+ individuals. The news was welcomed by local activists, who have previously criticised authorities for their lack of action on LGBTQ+ issues.

Lawmakers at the Colombian Constitutional Court ruled in favour of national same-sex marriage legislation after a vote was passed on Thursday. The new ruling grants full marriage equality for all citizens within the country and will allow same-sex couples to marry later this month.

France has dropped plans to deploy an openly gay diplomat as ambassador to the Vatican following a long-term stand off between authorities and the Catholic Church. In 2015, France attempted to install Laurent Steffaneti as official representative to the home of the Catholic Church but faced difficulties after Vatican officials failed to cooperate on the issue.

Program details for the annual International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival were announced earlier this week. Now in its 13th year, the event will feature productions from a number of international theatre groups, including performers and directors from Iran and Russia.

Follow Tom on Twitter (@tom_ana_)



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