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Tracking 2022's LGBTQ+ Gains and Losses Across the Globe

Greece Pride

From Japan to Argentina, this year saw uneven movement for equality.

South Africa

South Africa's Ichikowitz Family Foundation released results from its African Youth Survey 2022, which showed an increase in African youths' beliefs that more needs to be done to protect LGBTQ+ people. In the latest results, 38 percent agreed that better protections are necessary. That's up from 31 percent in 2020. The survey included 4,500 respondents across 15 countries. Those countries with most youth agreeing to more protections were South Africa with 83 percent, Mozambique with 67 percent, and Gabon with 62 percent. The lowest were Malawi at 9 percent, Sudan at 16 percent, and Uganda at 21 percent.

Greece

The country's Parliament has banned so-called sex-normalizing surgeries on babies who are born intersex. The law, which was approved in late July, prohibits operations that seek to force a child under 15 to adhere to traditional notions of female and male, Reuters reports. Doctors who perform such surgeries will face a fine and prison sentence. Intersex people older than 15 can undergo the surgeries if they consent. Several months ago, Greece also banned so-called conversion therapy for minors.

El Salvador

El Salvador must do more to protect transgender people, Human Rights Watch said in a report released with local rights group COMCAVIS TRANS. In the report, the groups found widespread discrimination against trans individuals because of the difference between their gender identity and their identity documents. The organizations urged the country's legislature to follow a February Supreme Court ruling and create a process for trans people to put their lived gender on legal documents. "El Salvador's Supreme Court has made patently clear that trans people have a right to their identity, and now the Legislative Assembly should comply with the ruling and ensure the rights of trans people," said Cristian Gonzalez Cabrera, LGBTQ+ rights researcher at HRW. "Without such legislation, trans people will continue to be disadvantaged in society, exacerbated by the generalized violence and discrimination they face in all aspects of life."

Ukraine

A petition in Ukraine calling for marriage equality has enough signatures to go to President Volodymyr Zelensky's desk. Under Ukrainian law, the president must now respond. The petition received more than 28,000 signatures. While homosexuality isn't illegal in Ukraine, the country does not offer equal marriage rights, and there is still much anti-LGBTQ+ sentiment. "At this time, every day can be the last.... [Same-sex couples] need the same rights as traditional couples," the petition read. Many LGBTQ+ people have joined the military to fight against Russia's invasion. If someone in a same-sex relationship were to die, their partner wouldn't be able to claim their body, the BBC reports.

Hungary

Budapest Pride

The European Union is taking Hungary to court over its anti-LGBTQ+ law. In June 2021, Hungary passed a law that restricted the representation of LGBTQ+ people in media accessible to minors under the guise of a stricter action against pedophiles. The case has been referred to the Court of Justice of the E.U. "The Commission considers that the law violates the internal market rules, the fundamental rights of individuals (in particular LGBTIQ people) as well as -- with regard to those fundamental rights -- the E.U. values," the bloc said. Hungary's far-right leader, Prime Minister Viktor Orban, and his Fidesz political party have targeted LGBTQ+ Hungarians in recent years. In 2020, Parliament approved laws barring same-sex couples from adopting and transgender people from changing the gender marker on their legal documents.

Japan

Following a Japanese court ruling in June that upheld the country's ban on marriage equality, Nintendo Japan publicly announced in mid-July it had updated its Corporate Social Responsibility guidelines to recognize same-sex relationships. The company noted that this was changed in 2021, but it has just now been publicly announced. "Although same-sex marriages are not currently recognized under Japanese law, this system ensures employees who are in a domestic partnership with a same-sex partner have the same benefits as employees in an opposite-sex marriage," the guidelines state. The company also modified its internal rules on harassment, which now "clearly prohibit discriminatory comments based on sexual orientation or gender identity, as well as disclosing someone's privately held sexual orientation against their will."

Lebanon

Lebanon's interior minister, Bassam Mawlawi, came under fire in late June after ordering security forces to stop LGBTQ+ events during Pride Month. He said such events would go against Lebanon's religious traditions and beliefs while spreading "sexual perversion." In response, the country's largest LGBTQ+ rights group, Helem, said, "It is perplexing why a caretaker minister thinks it is part of his duties to incite violence and hate speech against a marginalized community of his own citizens.... The deliberate act of inciting moral sexual panic and targeting LGBTQ individuals is very old, superficial, and commonly used tactic by failed regimes to draw attention away from economic and political disasters." While Lebanon is one of the more progressive countries in the region, it still punishes sex between men with up to a year in prison.

Argentina

Buenos Aires's Chief of Government Horacio Rodriguez Larreta announced in June that he would ban the use of inclusive Spanish language in the schools of Argentina's capital city, according to local media reports. The move drew immediate backlash from proponents of inclusive language, which is currently in wide use by the city's schools and young people. What this means is that language like "e" to signify the use of nonbinary gender is no longer accepted, nor is "x" or "@" in writing. The move is one of the first in the world to ban gender-neutral language. Several groups have filed lawsuits against the ban.

Switzerland

The United Nations Human Rights Council adopted a resolution July 7 in a 23-17 vote (with seven abstentions) to extend the mandate of the independent expert on protection from violence and discrimination related to sexual orientation and gender identity for three years. The mandate for the independent expert was first approved in 2016 and renewed in 2019. In this year's renewal resolution, the Human Rights Council called on member states to repeal laws and policies that discriminate based on sexual orientation or gender identity and take effective measures to prevent violence and discrimination. The independent expert is to report back annually on the implementation of the mandate to the council and the U.N. General Assembly. The current independent expert is Victor Madrigal-Borloz, a judge from Costa Rica and a senior visiting researcher at Harvard Law School's Human Rights Program.

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