Never before have we seen as much LGBT art and activism coming out of repressive Asian countries like China, Singapore, and Taiwan. Transgress Press recently published Lei Ming’s Life Beyond My Body, the first book written by a transgender man in China. After a neglected childhood in a rural Chinese village, Ming left home at 16 to find answers to who he is in a culture that still doesn’t speak of men like him. Ming, who is in the U.S. for a spring book tour of the West Coast, tells of using black market testosterone and being jailed over his identity — but most of all, of finding his place in the world.
Meanwhile, in May, New York Review Book Classics releases Qiu Miaojin’s Notes of a Crocodile, with a new English translation by Bonnie Huie. Hugely popular among college-educated lesbian and bisexual women in Taiwan and mainland China (though she was never published there), 26-year-old Miaojin stabbed herself in the heart with an ice pick (or knife) in 1995. Her pre-suicide depression never tampered her brilliance, though, and just after her death she was given one of Taiwan’s most prestigious literary prizes for the book. Interest in Miaojin, who is credited with birthing the LGBT movement in Taiwan, crosses national boundaries. A Hong Kong filmmaker recently released a Chinese-language documentary on Miaojin as well.
Manchester United has become the first sports team to partner with Stonewall, in a “ground-breaking” initiative.
The most successful team in British football history announced today that they will work with the charity “to tackle LGBT issues in sport and society”.
After joining in with Stonewall’s Rainbow Laces campaign last year, the club – which is worth £2.2 billion, the third-most in the world – moved to cement its relationship with the charity and the LGBT community.
The partnership will see United’s ground play host to Stonewall’s Rainbow Laces Summit in May, with sports leaders gathering at Old Trafford to gain skills and knowledge for LGBT activism.
It is appropriate that United would be the first British club to partner with Stonewall, considering how iconic the on-field kiss between Gary Neville and Paul Scholes in 2010 has become.
Source: · PinkNews
MPs have passed a government amendment to make sex and relationship education mandatory.
Education Secretary Justine Greening had drawn up plans that she would act to make SRE mandatory in all schools, after pressure on the issue from sexual health and children’s campaign groups.
The plans do not include a commitment to LGBT-inclusivity, but LGBT charity Stonewall says it will be “working with the Government to ensure [LGBT issues] are reflected in updated guidance for schools”.
Her plans were given the green light by MPs today in a vote in the Commons, with the amendment to the Children and Social Work bill passing with near-unanimous support.
Source: · PinkNews
Boys are being outclassed by girls at both school and university, and the gap is widenin
“IT’S all to do with their brains and bodies and chemicals,” says Sir Anthony Seldon, the master of Wellington College, a posh English boarding school. “There’s a mentality that it’s not cool for them to perform, that it’s not cool to be smart,” suggests Ivan Yip, principal of the Bronx Leadership Academy in New York. One school charges £25,000 ($38,000) a year and has a scuba-diving club; the other serves subsidised lunches to most of its pupils, a quarter of whom have special needs. Yet both are grappling with the same problem: teenage boys are being left behind by girls.
It is a problem that would have been unimaginable a few decades ago. Until the 1960s boys spent longer and went further in school than girls, and were more likely to graduate from university. Now, across the rich world and in a growing number of poor countries, the balance has tilted the other way.
Source: The Economist
Marriage equality is legal in 22 countries, including Argentina, South Africa and the United States. Germany is not one of them. But now members of the junior governing Social Democratic Party (SPD) are pushing to change that. They are calling on their coalition partners, the conservative Christian Democrats (CDU) and Christian Social Union (CSU), to go along with a change of law that would grant same-sex couples the right to get married and not just obtain civil unions.
Thomas Oppermann, the head of the SPD in parliament, said he planned to put marriage equality on the agenda for the next coalition meeting of the SPD, CDU and CSU.
“Everyone’s talking about preserving our values these days. That shouldn’t just be a talking point in grant speeches, but rather a part of actual policies,” Oppermann told the newsmagazine Der Spiegel. “Among these values are not only the protection of marriage and family, but also equal rights for different kinds of relationships.”
Pioneers working in a country where homophobia is rife
Few is the only organisation in South Africa specifically focusing on the rights of black lesbian women. They are pioneers, working in a country where rights are guaranteed under the constitution but the daily reality is far from the ideal. Patriarchy, homophobia, violence and inequality are rife.
Running for well over a decade Few has faced challenging times, not least the well-publicised violence targeting black lesbian women. In the Johannesburg area, Few has led work on combatting hate crimes, developing political education and life skills programmes for women and organising the Soweto Pride, which faced a clampdown from authorities last year.
Source: The Guardian
Just days after Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party lost their veto power over same-sex marriage, another MLA has vowed to help them block it.
Assembly elections were held last week in Northern Ireland after the collapse of the previous government, with the anti-gay marriage DUP losing ground to Sinn Féin.
The DUP, which lost nearly all of its hefty majority, had previously used peace process powers known as ‘petitions of concern’ to block same-sex marriage.
Hopes of progress were raised over the weekend when the DUP won just 28 seats – two short of the 30 needed to pass a petition of concern by themselves.
However, it’s far from plain sailing, and unionists from two other parties, the Ulster Unionist Party and Traditional Unionist Voice, have vowed to prop up the DUP on the issue.
Source: · PinkNews
In the same week that the U.S. Catholic bishops praised President Trump for revoking guidelines to protect transgender students, across the border in Canada, a trans teen was honored for bringing equality to her Catholic school. Tru Wilson, 13, a resident of the suburb of Ladner, was named a Sexual Health Champion by Options for Sexual Health, a nonprofit agency in Vancouver. The Georgia Straight reported:
“[Wilson’s] family filed a human-rights complaint when Ladner’s Sacred Heart [school] refused to allow her to attend as a girl. As a result, the Catholic Independent Schools Vancouver became one of the first Catholic school boards in North America to change their policy to support gender expression and identity.”
Source: – Bondings 2.0
ST PAUL’S, a fee-paying girls’ school in west London, often tops the league tables for exam results. But it is in the news for another reason: the publication of a new “gender-identity student protocol”, which allows pupils older than 16 to wear boys’ clothes and to be addressed by boys’ names. Although the school would not accept a male applicant, it is happy to support existing pupils who wish to change gender, explains Clarissa Farr, the school’s head teacher. Growing numbers of her pupils, she says, no longer see themselves as girls.
Schools are often in the front line of social change. But rarely has it come so fast. The Gender Identity Research and Education Society, a charity, estimates that the number of children who identify as transgender in Britain is doubling each year. Mermaids, an outfit that supports transgender children, received 3,000 phone calls last year, up from 600 in 2014. Most children simply identify as another gender, or none; a minority begin medical treatment to alter their bodies.
Source: The Economist
Finland has voted in favour of legalising same-sex marriage… for a second time.
Despite voting in favour of marriage equality back in 2014, with 105 to 92 votes in support, the country’s parliament was forced to vote on the issue once again after a citizens’ petition called for a repeal of the incoming law.
The ‘Genuine Families’ petition, which demanded that marriage remains “a genuinely egalitarian union between man and women”, passed the 50,000 signature mark which is required for a parliamentary debate.
Unfortunately for same-sex marriage opponents, the petition failed to achieve its goal, as even more MPs came out in support of equality than in 2014.
120 members of parliament were opposed to a repeal of the marriage equality law, while just 48 supported it. Two members abstained and 29 people were absent.
Source: Gay Times