International News: November 27, 2019


LGBT travel index puts Sweden on top

Sweden has been named the most LGBT-friendly country in the world for travelers according to new research into gay rights in 150 countries.

The LGBTQ+ Danger Index was created by ranking the 150 most-visited countries using eight factors, including legalized same-sex marriage, worker protection and whether, based on Gallup poll findings, it is a good place to live.

Canada ranked second-safest, followed by Norway, Portugal and Belgium. The UK is the sixth safest on the list, but the U.S. does not make the top 20. The researchers, American couple Asher and Lyric Fergusson, who blog about staying safe while traveling, said one reason the U.S. is only at number 24 is because gay rights vary from state to state.

Lyric Fergusson said: “There are no constitutional or broad protections for LGBTQ+ rights under federal law in the US. Also, in some states, LGBTQ+ youth do not have access to helpful information, because of so-called ‘no-promo homo laws.” The U.S. may have come far, but it has a long way to go in terms of LGBTQ+ rights, especially for young transgender people.”

The couple acknowledges that some of the indicators they looked at, such as worker protections and adoption recognition, do not affect travelers directly, but point out that rights enshrined in law are a good overall indication of a country’s attitudes. Fergusson said she and her husband were inspired to compile the list to help the LGBT community and raise awareness of the often horrific treatment of LGBT people in many parts of the world. They have also included tips from gay, lesbian and trans bloggers.

They also pointed out that in some countries where homosexuality is not actually illegal, treatment of LGBT people is so bad that caution or complete avoidance is advised. These countries include: China, where certain groups and events have been banned, and censorship laws have frequently been used to remove online LGBT content; Russia, where activists have died or gone missing, and individuals who followed Russian gay marriage laws to the letter have been forced to flee the country; and Indonesia, where LGBT rights are increasingly considered a “moral threat” and homosexuality can result in public humiliation and arrests.

Over 1,000 LGBTQ members hold pride parade in New Delhi

More than 1,000 members of the LGBTQ community and their supporters marched through New Delhi, Nov. 24 to celebrate India’s sexual diversity, which they said is progressing but still has a long way to go to become a more accepting place for them.

Carrying rainbow flags, balloons and placards and dancing to the beat of drums, they demanded self-identification in any gender for legal recognition rather than first registering as a transgender and then providing proof of surgery to authorities, as suggested by a government bill.

They said the bill, yet to be approved by India’s Parliament, contradicts a landmark judgment by India’s top court last year striking down a colonial-era law that made gay sex punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

Vogue cover spotlights Mexico’s muxe women

A culture of indigenous transgender women that has been part of southern Mexico’s heritage for centuries is primed for global fashion cachet thanks to one of the world’s top style magazines.

For the first time in Vogue magazine’s more than 120 years of publishing, an indigenous muxe will appear next month on the cover of the glossy’s Mexican and British editions.

Muxes, likely derived from the Spanish word mujer meaning women, are indigenous transgender women who easily mix gay men and women identities.

The cover photo features Estrella Vazquez, a tall, 37-year-old indigenous Zapotec muxe wearing a traditional huipil garment with colorful flowers and holding a pink fan in one hand.

The weaver and designer sees the cover as a sign of receding bigotry in Mexico toward muxes. Historically the country’s ingrained Roman Catholic heritage has reinforced anti-gay and anti-transgender prejudice. 

Reporting via Associated Press