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LGBT+ News Roundup 2!

After an overwhelmingly positive response last week, we are returning with another LGBT+ News Roundup! This week we have stories from all over the world so buckle in, put your seat into an upright position and turn off all electronics as we prepare for take off!

Our headlines this week…

Trans Rights Protest held in London. 1,000 Year Old Skeleton may have been a Non-Binary Medieval Warrior! Homophobic Spanish Snickers Advert cut amidst waves of LGBT+ phobia

2 Trans Clinics staffed by Trans Medical Staff open in India

Manchester Pride: Donations raised to restore safer sex scheme as an investigation is launched into CEO’s finances.

So without further ado, let's get started!

Trans Rights Protest held in London.

Last Friday, August 6th, as we posted our last news roundup, protesters gathered outside Downing Street in London in the name of Trans Rights.

PinkNews correspondent Vic Parsons live tweeted the event and reported a calm atmosphere with hundreds of people in attendance and a few police officers scattered around the edge of the crowd.

The aims of the protest included:

  • Legal recognition for non-binary people

  • A total overhaul of the trans healthcare system

  • Protection for intersex people under the Equality Act

  • Access to free and timely healthcare for young trans people

  • Removal/sacking of the Conservative equalities minister Liz Truss

  • A ban on all conversion therapy

  • Access to desired single-sex spaces (e.g. toilets) for all trans people

  • A full reform of the Gender Recognition Act to allow transgender people to self-identify without the need for a medical diagnosis

The event lasted almost 3 hours and featured speeches from multiple trans activists, authors, politicians and artists (including our pal Fox Fisher from MyGenderation!)

Themes mentioned throughout all the speeches included exhaustion and anger at the treatment of trans people in the media and frustration towards Liz Truss (Government Equalities Officer) for failing to protect trans people from regular physical abuse and attacks to their rights.

The crowd was made up of a mix of public figures, trans elders and young people and people as young as 14 took to the stage to speak about their experiences. Overall, attendees felt that the event was a success and left feeling motivated to push forward for trans rights.

1,000 Year Old Skeleton may have been a Non-Binary Medieval Warrior!

For this report we’re travelling back through time and space to, Suontaka Vesitorninmäki, Finland in 1968 where workers stumbled upon a grave.

The skeleton was thought to have died between 1050 and 1300 AD. For historical context, that’s right the way through the Middle Ages from just before the Battle of Hastings to just before the Plague. At this time, Finland was under Swedish rule and control moved between several Viking clans.

Archaeologists tend to determine a person’s gender from how they were buried, as biology cannot tell us how they identified when they were alive. This particular skeleton was dressed in “typical feminine costume of the era” but had 2 swords, with one laid over their hip, which was usually associated with male Viking burials.

Back in 1968, this confused archeologists looking at the skeleton and they assumed it may have been a double burial or evidence of female warrior leaders. However, looking at it with a more sophisticated idea of gender-identity, modern historians are suggesting they “may well have been” a well-respected non-binary warrior of the Iron Age. It’s also thought that this may be a shaman (a priest or healer), who were often men who wore more traditionally feminine clothing.

Despite some confusion over the exact role of this person, these new ideas undeniably contradict previous beliefs that Vikings upheld a culture of toxic masculinity and that men with feminine social roles were disrespected.

Homophobic Spanish Snickers Advert cut admist waves of LGBT+phobia

A Spanish advertisement for the chocolate bar ‘Snickers’ has been removed after complaints that it was homophobic.

The advert featured asexual Spanish influencer Aless Gibaja ordering a ‘sexy orange juice’

Among many people who spoke out against the advert was Spain’s Equality Minister who questioned “who would think it is a good idea to use homophobia as a business strategy?” and left-wing group Podemos who critiqued Snickers for not being able to think of a commercial which “tells you that you are not yourself if you are effeminate”

Podemos also highlighted the political and cultural environment in which this advert has been allowed to air as there has been a recent wave of LGBT+ hate in Spain, including the murder of Samuel Luiz, a young gay man and nursing assistant who died following an attack from a dozen men, and whose death sparked nationwide protests.

Snickers Spain announced on Instagram that it was stopping the campaign and apologised for any ‘misunderstanding’ or ‘harm’ caused by the advert.

2 Trans Clinics staffed by Trans Medical Staff open in India

Two trans-led healthcare clinics have opened in Hyderabad, India to support trans people with their health, wellbeing and HIV status. These clinics will be staffed by trans doctors, nurses, managers and counsellors and will welcome all trans, non-binary and gender non-conforming patients.

The clinics are part of the government’s 2019 Transgender Persons Act which enforced different punishments for crimes where the victim is cis versus trans, and included little to no protection for trans people in public spaces or the workplace, therefore resulting in a 1,000 person march from the trans community and their allies who saw the negative effect it could have on the very people it was trying to help.

The mission of the clinics is to prevent HIV which is more prevalent both in the trans community and in the city of Hyderabad than it is in the general population of India. Other aims include helping the economic status of the trans community and supporting their overall wellbeing.

Despite being linked to the controversial Transgender Persons Act, these clinics are an undeniable step in the right direction as they offer equal opportunity and they are “proof that we can also be doctors, nurses, medical examiners, resource staff, management staff, counsellors, psychiatrists and work so many other productive jobs just like cis gendered, heterosexual people.” (quote from celebrity drag artist Sushant Divgikar who opened the clinics)

Manchester Pride: Donations raised to restore safer sex scheme as an investigation is launched into CEO’s finances.

Last week we highlighted the criticism which Manchester Pride faced for cutting its long running funding of the safer-sex scheme, which provided free condoms and lube to the LGBT+ community in Manchester, due to loss of income as a result of Covid-19 restrictions on large gatherings.

Manchester Pride’s CEO, Mark Fletcher, went onto BBC Radio Manchester to defend the organisation from outcry that Manchester Pride was losing its community focus in favour of becoming a music festival with A-list headliners.

Fletcher claimed that, in order to cover higher costs for event infrastructure (free events and necessities such as security, water, and first aid), they needed bigger names so people would pay for tickets.

He also denied cutting ties with the LGBT+ Foundation, who supply the safer sex kits, and local LGBT+ charity the St George Trust. However, both charities have made a statement saying that this “contradicts conversations we have had about our longstanding funding agreements which have been ended by them”

Whilst in the interview, the CEO also admitted that he had taken a £20,000 pay rise in 2019, despite only 3% of Manchester Pride profits going to local LGBT+ charities (less than half of the 6% donated in 2018).

This all came together to result in a rising number of requests that the CEO and board of trustees step down, to which Fletcher firmly replied ”That’s not likely”

Meanwhile, in response to the funding cut, businesses from Manchester’s Gay Village stepped up to the plate to save the safer-sex scheme. Business owners came together in an emergency meeting last Friday (August 6th) and agreed to join forces to fund the scheme and support Manchester’s HIV charity George House Trust.

They launched a gofundme page with a goal of £100,000 to fund 90,000 safer-sex kits and agreed to each make a contribution and host fundraising events over the next year. Within 24 hours £26,000 had already been raised!

This success solidifies the ‘Stronger Together’ message which resonates so strongly within the LGBT+ community and shows that, when working as one, we can achieve anything.


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