To finish off this year’s Pride month we wanted to highlight positive news advancing LGBTQ+ rights and equality. We have gathered some of the most important achievements that deserve to be celebrated.
Same-sex marriage and adoption
We would like to begin with a very recent announcement. Estonia has become the first country in central Europe to legalise same-sex marriage. While most of western Europe, with the exception of a few countries, such as Italy, has legalised same-sex marriage, central and eastern Europe is far behind. This is especially the case in Russia where president Vladimir Putin continues to strip LGBTQ+ people of their rights. The strong win was celebrated among Estonian LGBTQ+ people who now finally feel they are being accepted. The new pro-LGBTQ+ law will come into effect in 2024.
Following Estonia’s news, Taiwan also legalised same-sex adoption last month. Taiwan was the first country in Asia to legalise same-sex marriage and LGBTQ+ people are now finally able to adopt and start a family.
Conversion therapy bans for LGBTQ+ people
This Pride month, the government in Iceland passed a historic conversion therapy ban. Not only does it ban the horrific practices of conversion therapy, but it also includes trans and gender diverse people. The Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights had previously called for such a ban in all European countries. Conversion therapy practices are a clear violation of human rights.
Every representative voted in favour of the bill, with three abstaining. Queer and trans people can get married, legally adopt, change their legal gender identity without medical documents as well as register a third gender option on official documents. With this new conversion therapy ban, Iceland continues to uphold its legacy as one of the most progressive countries regarding LGBTQ+ rights in Europe.
Last month, the LGBTQ+ community in Cyprus also welcomed a conversion therapy ban. However, the bill still allows advice to be given to LGBTQ+ people. Nevertheless, it is now a criminal offence to practise conversion therapy in the southeastern European country.
The UK needs to step up, follow Iceland and Cyprus’ example and ban conversion therapy for all LGBTQ+ people, including the transgender community, once and for all.
Gender affirming healthcare
While the fight for trans healthcare in the US has been a difficult one, we have seen some progress lately. This month, a federal judge in Arkansas overturned a harmful ban on gender affirming healthcare for trans youth. More US states have become safe havens for trans people seeking this life-saving care.
In a win for LGBTQ+ individuals in Australia, the parliament in the state of Queensland passed a new law allowing trans people to self-identify as trans in order to update their birth certificates as well as other official documents. They will no longer have to undergo surgery in order to legally change their gender identity on official documents. This law applies to all trans and gender diverse people aged 16 and over.
In May 2023, Mexico also revealed a new passport for non-binary citizens. Instead of having to check the male or female box, the Central American country now provides a third option, ‘X’, for those who identify outside the Western gender binary.
LGBTQ+ representation within the entertainment industry
This year’s Tony Awards saw the first and second ever openly non-binary actors win a Tony Award. J. Harrison Ghee and former Glee star Alex Newell both won. Ghee won a tony for their performance in Some Like It Hot and Newell for Shucked. Both received the award for actor in a featured role in a musical.
While the Tony Awards still use gendered categories, it is important to acknowledge and celebrate non-binary actors and performers’ work. During their acceptance speech, Ghee dedicated the award to ‘every trans, nonbinary, gender nonconforming human who was told you couldn’t be seen, this is for you’.
Last, but certainly not least, to start off Pride month on June 1st 2023, Glamour magazine released their Pride issue featuring a pregnant transgender man on its cover. Logan Brown, an author and father, collaborated with Glamour magazine on this special edition. Glamour described their cover as the celebration of the ‘allyship that exists between women (cisgender or not) and transgender people through our shared experiences’.
We have come a long way and progress has been made, even if it often does not feel like it. With the on-going anti-trans bills and rhetoric being put forward, we believe it is equally as important to celebrate and highlight the positive outcomes of our fight for LGBTQ+ rights. We wish you a great end to Pride month. Let’s celebrate the good while continuing to fight for LGBTQ+ equality around the world.