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2017 - A year in LGBT+ news


See our round up of some of the top LGBT+ news stories of the year.

January

Moonlight wins Golden Globe

The amazing film about the childhood, adolescence and burgeoning adulthood of a young, African-American, gay man growing up in a rough neighbourhood won the Golden Globe for Best Drama Motion Picture! It was great to see an LGBT+ film win such a mainstream and prestigious award and one month later, it went on to win the ‘Best Picture’ award at the Oscars!



Image via The Arrowhead

February

Thousands protest in New York in to protest Trump

On February 4, thousands of protesters gathered outside the Stonewall Inn in New York City. The demonstration marked the first large rally organized primarily by and for gay and transgender people since Donald Trump became President. Fearing LGBT+ rights may take a step back, there was a huge turnout as the LGBT+ community gathered to protest the prospect of Trump issuing anti-LGBT+ orders.


Image via Wikipedia

March

YouTube restricts LGBT content

Back in March, the LGBT community were angered by news that YouTube appeared to be hiding videos by high profile LGBT vloggers. YouTube responded by tweeting “Some videos have been incorrectly labelled and that’s not right. We’re on it! More to come.” Some LGBT+ content remained restricted though and people continued to complain. YouTube updated its Restricted Mode policies in June and consulted with “dozens of volunteer LGBTQ employees and select LGBTQ creators” on how to this to ensure that the platform was inclusive.


Same-sex marriage becomes legal in Finland

Also in March same sex marriage became legal in Finland – hurrah! The law was actually approved back in 2014 and was signed by the president in 2015 but didn’t come into effect until 1st March 2017. 456 same-sex couples got married between March and August 2017. In addition, 1122 registered partnerships were converted to marriages during that same period. Fabulous news and congratulations to all those happy couples!


April

Barry Manilow comes out as gay

In an interview with People, the 73-year-old music icon reveled that he is gay and married to Garry Kief, his manager and business partner.

He stated that he kept his sexuality quiet because he was worried how his fans would take the news saying “I thought I would be disappointing them if they knew I was gay.” He shouldn’t have worried though! The singer said “When they found out that Garry and I were together, they were so happy.” He added: “The reaction was so beautiful — strangers commenting, ‘Great for you!’ I’m just so grateful for it.”


Image via CNN

First reports of gay men being killed in Chechyna

Allegations of gay concentration camps in Chechen Republic (part of the Russian Federation) were initially reported, suggesting that over 100 men had allegedly been detained and tortured and at least three had died in an extrajudicial killing. Amnesty International called for a “prompt investigation and intervention” and throughout the year there have been many protests and both political figures and celebrities condemned the situation.



Image via Elliot Franks Photography

May

Taiwan's top court rules in favour of same-sex marriage

Taiwan’s constitutional court ruled current laws defining unions as between a man and a woman are invalid. This puts it in place to be the first country in Asia to legalise same-sex marriage!

In its ruling, the court said: “Sexual orientation is an immutable characteristic that is resistant to change. The freedom of marriage for two persons of the same sex, once legally recognised, will constitute the collective basis, together with opposite-sex marriage, for a stable society.”

The parliament has two years to amend or enact these laws, otherwise gay couples will automatically be allowed to register under the current framework.


June

Germany votes to legalise same-sex marriage

A vote on same-sex marriage in Germany was announced on the 28th June and just two days later the vote was underway! The bill gave same-sex couples full marital rights and the ability to adopt children and passed with a clear majority. The law came into effect in October 2017. Yes to equality!


July

Malta passes equal marriage bill

Just a few weeks after Germany voted to legalise same-sex marriage, Malta followed suit. The vote passed with only one vote against! The law came into effect on the 1st September this year. Malta’s Prime Minister, Joseph Muscat, urged other countries to improve LGBT rights too, saying “The remarkable number of our countries [with anti-LGBT laws] is, arguably, a considerable blot on our family of nations’ standing. I had conversations and am aware that there are leaders who know that things must change, but are wary of how society will react to their first move.”


August

Pakistan introduce Transgender Protection of Rights Bill

‘The Transgender Persons Protection of Rights Bill, 2017’ gives people the right to identify as a transgender person and enjoy the same rights as other men and women in Pakistan.

The bill reads “The Constitution of Pakistan explicitly provides, inter alia, the fundamental rights to life of liberty (Article 9), equality of citizen, (Article 25) and inviolability of dignity, safeguard to educational institutions in respect of education, protection of property, safeguard against discrimination in service,”. The bill also said “The transgender persons constitute one of the most marginalised and disadvantaged communities in the country. They face problems ranging from social exclusion to discrimination, lake of protection in their family, community and the society”. This was hailed as a massive step forward by trans activists and campaigners.


September

Model Teddy Quinlivan comes out as trans

Model Teddy Quinlivan who walked the runway for Marc Jacobs, Oscar de la Renta and Coach in New York Fashion Week came out as transgender in September.

She said “There’s been violence against transgender people — particularly transgender women of colour — since before I even knew what transgender was. I just felt a great sense of urgency… I’m very fortunate to be in [a] position [that] I never really thought I would be. It’s really important to take advantage of a time like this.”

She added: “I wanted to be the hero that I never had growing up for somebody else… I feel a deep sense of responsibility to not only myself but to my community. I want to help break the stigma. I want to help push the world forward and help people to think more progressively about this issue.”


Image via The Cut

October

HIV diagnoses decrease in gay and bisexual men

Public Health England (PHE) figures released in October showed there has been a significant decline in new diagnoses of HIV in the UK in gay and bisexual men. Commenting on the figures, Dr Valerie Delpech, Head of HIV Surveillance at Public Health England, said: “This is very good news. It is the first time since the beginning of the HIV epidemic in the 1980s that we have observed a decline in new HIV diagnoses among gay and bisexual men, and is clear evidence that HIV prevention efforts are working in the United Kingdom.”


November

Australia vote yes to same sex marriage!

Almost 13 million Australians (79.5%) voted in a huge postal ballot which was carried out across the country. Yes responses represented 61.6 percent of responses with 38.4 percent voting No. Although the postal vote was non-binding, the government agreed to proceed with legalising same-sex marriage in December and the law comes into effect in January 2018.


December

Study suggests that being gay may be genetic in men

A study, published in the Scientific Reports journal, found that being gay in men could be genetic. Two gene variants were found to be more common in gay men, adding to mounting evidence that sexual orientation is at least partly biologically determined. Dean Harmer from the US National Institutes of Health, who led a study in 1993 which linked chromosome X with being gay said “It adds yet more evidence that sexual orientation is not a ‘lifestyle choice’. But the real significance is that it takes us one step closer to understanding the origins of one of the most fascinating and important features of human beings.”

Read more about the study here.


Calls for sex education to be more LGBT+ inclusive

Earlier this year the government announced that sex and relationships education was to be made compulsory in secondary schools in England. In December, the Department of Education announced that they were launching a consultation to see what young people and parents would like to see included in the national guidelines. As of yet, LGBT+ inclusive sex education isn’t included in the curriculum, but this looks like it may be set to change thanks to campaigning and the consultation.

Ruth Hunt, chief executive of campaign group Stonewall, said: "The current guidance, published 17 years ago, contains no mention of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people.

"Schools that teach LGBT-inclusive RSE are in the minority, leaving many LGBT young people without the information they need to make safe, informed decisions. Just 13% of LGBT young people have learnt about healthy same-sex relationships."


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LGBT Stoke is a service provided by the Sexual Health Prevention Team from Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust