Connect with us

European Union

Denmark, Sweden host largest post-pandemic LGBTQ rights conference

Activists from around the world attended WorldPride 2021

Published

on

WorldPride 2021 Director of Human Rights Aron Le Fevre (Photo courtesy of Aron Le Fevre)

COPENHAGEN, Denmark — The WorldPride 2021 Human Rights Conference that took place this week in Copenhagen was the largest in-person LGBTQ rights gathering since the pandemic began.

“We have activists coming from all over the world to this conference,” said WorldPride 2021 Director of Human Rights Aron Le Fevre. “My team has worked tirelessly to create one of the largest LGBTQI+ human rights forums in the world.”

More than 1,000 LGBTQ activists from around the world — including from both the Global North and Global South — attended the conference.

Le Fevre told the Los Angeles Blade that 215 activists received scholarships. Some of these recipients come from the 69 countries that criminalize homosexuality or have been forcibly expelled from their homes because of their sexuality.

“What many do not realize is that coming to WorldPride is the only chance that those of us in the Global South have to network and make connections that are vital to our work,” said Ryan Figueiredo, the founder and executive director of Equal AF, an LGBTQ organization that uses data and future scoping to build resilience in LGBTQ communities.

Figueiredo is also a scholarship recipient.

“Those that are in the Global North also do not realize that their spots are secure and that organizations like mine have to work even harder with less resources to get visibility and space to continue our activism,” he said. “We need to speak for ourselves and not have others speak for us.”

Scholarship recipients throughout the conference were able to meet with MPs, U.N. representatives and other global leaders.

A two-day summit took place in the Swedish city of Malmö, which is 20 miles from Copenhagen.

“Uniquely this is the first WorldPride in history that includes, as part of the human rights forum, a full day international summit on LGBTQI+ refugees, borders and immigration,” said Eirene Chen, an independent specialist in LGBTQ forced displacement who once worked for the U.N. High Commission for Refugees.

Victor Madrigal-Borloz, the independent U.N. expert on LGBTQ issues, spoke about the changes he said need to take place for LGBTQ migrants and asylum seekers.

“There is a need for a renewed knowledge base to create policy and action that needs to be taken for those who have been displaced.” said Madrigal-Borloz.

Hundreds of refugees, activists and officials listened to his remarks. The Organization for Refuge, Asylum and Migration and other organizations attended the summit.

“After such a long time apart, ORAM is thrilled at the opportunity to collaborate and reconnect with partners, activist and politicians at Copenhagen 2021,” said ORAM Executive Director Steve Roth. “The conference has re-energized the community at a really critical time and has united us together in the fight to advance the rights of the LGBTIQ community around the world.”

Copenhagen Pride — which coincided with WorldPride — focused on social justice issues.

Many art installations, music venues, and culture experiences throughout the city focused on themes of social justice. A space in downtown Copenhagen called the Fluid Festival — which embraced fluidity within gender identity, expression and sexuality — was the most popular attraction.

The Taliban regaining control of Afghanistan and the frantic effort to get LGBTQ Afghans, women, journalists and other vulnerable groups out of the country loomed large over the conference.

“This really bears as a witness as to why this work is so important,” said an LGBTQ activist from Afghanistan who asked the Blade to remain anonymous in order to protect their family. “We truly are working to save lives while we are attending this summit.”

Continue Reading
Advertisement

European Union

French National Assembly moves to ban conversion therapy

Country’s Senate will now consider measure

Published

on

(Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

PARIS—Members of France’s National Assembly on Tuesday unanimously approved a bill that would ban so-called conversion therapy in the country.

Têtu, a French LGBTQ magazine, reports conversion therapy practitioners would face two years in prison and a €30,000 ($34,652.55) fine. Those who administer the widely discredited practice to a minor would face three years in prison and a €45,000 ($51,978.82) fine.

Practitioners could also lose their medical license for up to 10 years.

The bill, which a member of President Emmanuel Macron’s party introduced, now goes to the French Senate.

Malta is one of the handful of countries that ban conversion therapy.

Lawmakers in Finland, New Zealand and Canada are considering measures that would prohibit the practice.

Continue Reading

European Union

Car parking for LGBTQ diversity- instead gets lots of negativity

While some input was positive a greater majority took to social media platforms including Twitter & were uniformly negative in their reaction

Published

on

Photograph courtesy of Hanauer Parkhaus GmbH

HANAU, Germany – A German firm that manages car parking structures in this mid-size city located East of Frankfurt am Main is under criticism for its dedication of reserved parking for LGBTQ+ people and migrant drivers.

The firm, Hanauer Parkhaus GmbH, which manages contracted parking with various municipalities located in the greater Frankfurt Rhine-Main Metropolitan Region in Central Germany, had set aside three reserved parking spots specially for the LGBTQ drivers and migrants as they have a “special need for protection and security in public spaces,” a company official told media outlets.

The three reserved parking spots are next to each other and are near to the main exit of the multi-story parking structure. Additionally Hanauer Parkhaus had a mural of the LGBTQ Pride flag painted on the back wall and for increased security added security cameras which are monitored by its employees.

The company and the city had hoped that this move would be seen as affirming of both the LGBTQ+ community and the migrant community which are often the targets of hateful rhetoric. While some input from residents and others was positive, a greater majority who took to social media platforms including Twitter were uniformly negative in their reactions.

Translates as: “Child and old age poverty, single mothers at their financial limit, pensioners who have to live on bottle deposits and leftovers from garbage cans. But for City Councilor Thomas Morlock in Hanau there is nothing more important than setting an example for tolerance. “Three new diversity parking places.”

The former Chairwoman of the Nevada State Republican Party also weighed in:

This tweet from a user in the UK brought a litany of homophobic responses:

Some of those responses included;


[email protected]_Hero
·Replying to @BristolBlues40 and @NKrankieI’m feeling gay today, I think I will park in one of those rainbow spaces.

[email protected]·Replying to @BristolBlues40 and @SammieJack3They’re really trying to spark some ‘far-right’ action and get some nasty posts that they can use to usher in a new age of censorship

Adrian Perkinson @TheBritishChap7Replying to @MailOnlineThis screams “Discrimination”!!! At this point in time, I’m beginning to wonder if these officials are just trying to annoy the majority.

Thomas Morlock, the chairman of the board of Hanauer Parkhaus GmbH and an elected city councilor in Hanau told local media that the spaces were created as a “conspicuously colorful symbol” for “diversity and tolerance”, and that they don’t necessarily have to be used by a “separate group of people.”

Still there were more negatives expressed than positives;  “LGBT people are people, we shouldn’t be treating them differently from others. Although the intentions here are good. We’re now separating ourselves by parking spaces. Dear lord,” one local remarked on Twitter.

Continue Reading

European Union

Two transgender women elected to German Bundestag

New government urged to expand LGBTQ rights

Published

on

Reichstag, Berlin, Germany, gay news, Washington Blade
Activists in Germany continue to celebrate the election of two transgender women to the country's parliament. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

BERLIN — Activists in Germany continue to celebrate Sunday’s election of two transgender women to the country’s parliament.

Tessa Ganserer of the Green Party is from Bavaria. Nyke Slawik, who is also a member of the Green Party, is from North Rhine-Westphalia.

Joschua Thuir, a police inspector who is an instructor at a German Federal Police center for basic training and further education. He is also the trans ambassador of VelsPol Deutschland, an NGO that represents LGBTQ police officers in the country.

Thuir on Tuesday told the Washington Blade that Ganserer has worked with him on trainings for police officers. Thuir said Ganserer and Slawik’s election is “a really, really big opportunity for us as a trans community to have speakers now in the German Bundestag who are trans by themselves.”

“It’s much more impressive to listen to people who are in those situations instead of people who talk about people who are in those situations,” said Thuir.

Julia Monro of the German Association for Trans Identity and Intersex People agreed.

“It is a big signal to the world that Germany is a country with diversity,” she told the Blade.

Election results are ‘great opportunity’ for LGBTQ rights

Vice Chancellor Olaf Scholz of the center-left Social Democratic Party of Germany will likely succeed long-time Chancellor Angela Merkel of the Christian Democratic Union. A coalition government will need to form because Scholz did not receive a majority of the votes in Sunday’s election.

Henry Engels of the Lesbian and Gay Association in Germany on Monday in a statement congratulated Scholz. Engels also said the election results are “a great opportunity for the improvement of LGBTI rights in Germany.”

“The increase in votes for the SPD (Social Democratic Party of Germany), Greens and FDP (Free Democratic Party) also shows that voters want a queer-politically progressive government,” said Engels. “We call for a government to be formed that, after the paralysis of the last legislature, now seizes the opportunity for a queer political awakening, and we expect the Greens, FDP and SPD to implement their queer political election promises. For us, only a coalition is acceptable that brings real change in a timely manner.”

The Lesbian and Gay Association specifically urged the new German government to develop “a national action plan against LGBTI hostility” and to amend Article 3 of the country’s Basic Law to specifically ban discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation throughout Germany. The Lesbian and Gay Association also called for “gender self-determination” and the admission of LGBTQ refugees into Germany.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement

Follow Us @LosAngelesBlade

Sign Up for Blade eBlasts

Popular