LGBTQ News Briefs From Around The World, July 2018

nigel shelby

Scarlett Johansson backs out of transgender movie role

Amid extensive backlash, actress Scarlett Johansson has withdrawn from her role as a transgender man in an upcoming film.

She was originally slated to portray one in the upcoming film Rub & Tug.

Announcements about the role incited copious amounts of backlash from social media and transgender activists, arguing that a transgender man should take the part.

Although Johansson initially defended the role by referencing successful cisgender actors who played transgender roles (e.g., Jared Leto and Felicity Huffman), she eventually stepped down from the role, adding comments of gratitude for the controversy sparking questions about representation in Hollywood.


Qatar government bans New York Times LGBTQ coverage

The government of Qatar—a country where homosexuality is illegal—has censored several LGBTQ-related articles in the International Edition of the New York Times. The New York Times claims to have had no part in the decision.

Nine articles—eight of which had to do with the LGBTQ community—were apparently removed from the newspaper.

Some have noted that homosexuality’s illegal status in the country may cause major conflict when Qatar will host the World Cup in 2022—especially since one of the rules for hosting countries is that the country does not discriminate based on sexual orientation.


LGBTQ protests erupt in Israel after govt. refuses to pass surrogacy law

After the Israeli government failed to pass a law that would have helped gay couples have surrogate children, pro-LGBTQ demonstrations have arisen all across the country. Along with this, many supported a one-day work strike in opposition to the government’s actions.

Most of the protest came in response to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s sudden change in stance on the issue at hand; he had been previously noted committing to helping the law get passed. The Prime Minister had also previously shown support for the LGBTQ community—yet another reason for the uproar in Israel, a city often seen as the most LGBTQ-friendly city in the Middle East.


Calif. state senate delays vote on LGBTQ conversion therapy ban

While, in April, the Democrat-controlled California state House of Representatives easily passed legislation that would make LGBTQ conversion therapy (and related goods and services) illegal, the state Senate has delayed a vote on the bill until early August.

Those who oppose the highly controversial bill claim it is an attack on religion and free speech, as the broad language used in the legislation would allow the state of California to ban the sale of books and almost any other media pertaining to topics of conversion therapy.


Transgender judge appointed in Indian state of Assam

After an apparently difficult legal battle in mid-July, the Indian state of Assam appointed Swati Bidhan Baruah as one of its judges. Baruah, who uses they/them/their pronouns, is the first transgender judge in the state of Assam and, historically, the third transgender judge elected in India.

The other two transgender judges elected in India were Joyita Mondal Mahi of the state of West Bengal and Vidya Kamble of the state of Maharashtra.

Many have praised Baruah’s appointment to the position as a large step in the representation of LGBTQ and transgender communities in India.

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