We walk you through all of the queer legislation that took place in the past week
BY PHOEBE IRIS, IMAGE BY INKDROP
As the world continues to debate queer equality, DIVA takes a look at the LGBTQIA legislation that made headlines week, the good and the bad.
Good: Brazil high court rules homophobic hate speech a hate crime
This Tuesday (22 August) a Brazilian high court ruled 9-1 that homophobia should be punished with a prison term of 2-5 years, giving it the same weight as other hate crimes such as racism.
Brazil is the country that has recorded the highest number of LGBTQIA-related murders per year for over a decade. According to Stonewall’s Global Workplace Equality Index, Brazil is currently a Zone Two country, meaning that “sexual acts between people of the same sex are legal but no clear national employment protections exist”, so this ruling marks a big step forward for the country.
Bad: New proposed bill could see LGBTQIA Iraqis face the death penalty
Ranking 152 out of 197 countries in the LGBTQ Equality Index, Iraq is not known for protecting its queer citizens. This week, nonprofit group Human Rights Watch, called on the Iraqi government to withdraw a proposed law that, if passed, would punish same-sex relations with the death penalty or life in prison. The same law would also criminalise “promoting homosexuality” with a fine and a minimum of seven years in prison, and “imitating women” with a three-year maximum sentence.
Condemning the proposed bill, Human Rights Watch said: “If adopted, the bill would violate fundamental human rights, including the rights to freedom of expression, association, privacy, equality, and nondiscrimination of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people (LGBT) in Iraq.”
Good: Germany makes it easier for trans and non-binary people to legally change their name and gender
After a year in the courts, on Wednesday (23 August) Germany’s ‘Self-Determination Act’ was approved by the government. The law aims to make the process of legally changing name and gender easier for trans and non-binary individuals. Any adult (over eighteen) who wishes to change their legal name or gender may do so by submitting a simple self-disclosure form.
When the bill was first proposed, German Family Minister, Lisa Paus, said: “In many areas, society is further ahead of legislation. As a government, we have decided to create a legal framework for an open, diverse and modern society.”
Bad: Florida ‘book bans’ continue
On Wednesday (23 August), The State Board of Education met to decide how the legislation of state laws passed last month would be executed moving forward.
The new laws aim to restrict teaching around LGBTQIA topics, as well as banning books that contain “sexual conduct.”
Officials say the laws are there to “ensure parental rights are protected.”
Kate Danehy-Samitz, a spokesperson from Women’s Voices of SW Florida, a “black and queer-led organization dedicated to defending human rights and reproductive freedoms”, described the laws as “fascism with extra steps.”
Good: Spain elects first openly trans senator
Carla Antonelli made history last Thursday (17 August) when she was elected Spain’s first openly transgender senator. Antonelli, who is a prominent actress and activist, had previously served as Spain’s first transgender regional MP in 2011.
In an interview with Reuters, she spoke of her commitment to LGBTQIA rights, saying: “We will defend our rights tooth and nail… We don’t want anything special…We just want real equality and the right to be happy and die old.”
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