The Weekly LGBTQ News: Issue #2
Zimbabwe is back in the LGBTQ news with its president, Robert Mugabe, striking a nerve yet again. The president of the African country has threatened to deport any diplomats that support the LGBT community. Mugabe, who has ruled since 1980, has been quoted in the past saying that homosexuals are “worse than pigs and dogs,” and his country “did not fight [for its independence] so it can be a homosexual territory.” With Mugabe and those loyal to him, the country still remains a fierce opponent for the LGBTQ community.
This past weekend, Japan’s first lady, Akie Abe joined thousands marching in a pride parade in Tokyo. Known for her liberal inclinations, Abe wrote on her Facebook of her support for the community, having joined a commission set up by UNAIDS, a program that deals with HIV and AIDs. “I want to help build a society where anyone can conduct happy, enriched lives without facing discrimination,” Abe wrote. Unlike past traditional first ladies, Abe has been outspoken on her support and care for these issues, and has voiced her opinion that resonates with the public.
Two Iraq War veterans were originally told they could hold their same-sex commitment ceremony at Tennessee’s Mint Spring Farms before the owner opted out. Anthony Wilfert and Brian Blas chose the venue because of lack of religious affiliation, and were told by a staff member they could have their ceremony there. An e-mail from the owner later rejected their offer. A representative from Mint Spring Farms has since stated the owners have had time to reflect on the issue, and have changed their policy following a meeting with Tennessee Equality Project’s executive director, Chris Sanders. The policy now states the venue “will offer commitment ceremonies for any future couples that have a legal license from other states or countries.”
Orange is the New Black star and transgender advocate Laverne Cox will be producing a documentary about transgender youths this fall. The show, Trans Teen: The Documentary will air on MTV and Logo, and will feature young trans individuals from a diverse background. Cox tweeted her excitement about the show, which will shed light on the struggles and triumphs of being transgender as a youth.
The U.S. Department of Education has announced that transgender students are protected from discrimination under the same federal law that prohibits sex discrimination. “Our federal civil rights laws demand that all students – women and men; gay and straight; transgender or not; citizens and foreign students – be allowed to learn and participate in all parts of college life without sexual assault and harassment limiting their opportunities,” Catherine E. Lhamon, assistant secretary for civil rights stated. The breakthrough is a milestone, due to the law encompassing protection of students from not just the threat of physical or sexual violence, but to all forms of discrimination.