Queer Notes: August 2023

August 9, 2023

by Elise

After Gov. Ron DeSantis appointed new ultraconservative members to the board of trustees of New College of Florida, once known for its Queer-friendly progressive education, more than one-third of its full-time faculty resigned. The board began designing a new core curriculum in line with DeSantis’s “Don’t Say Gay” law and other legislation that bans colleges and universities from using state and federal funds for programs promoting political or social activism and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Hopefully, DeSantis’ “Stop WOKE Act” banning businesses and schools from offering educational programs on racial and gender-based discrimination, currently blocked by the courts, will be ruled unconstitutional.


According to Track T, a Pakistani Transgender rights organization, Transphobia is increasing in the country. Trans people thrived on the Indian subcontinent until discriminatory colonial laws were passed. But now, in spite of Pakistan’s Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act in force since 2018 that legally recognized Trans people and banned discrimination and harassment of them, transphobia is increasing. Track T reports that Khyber province tribal clerics have made it illegal for Trans people to dance and play music at weddings, or for clergy to perform such weddings, and last rites will not be performed for any family member if anyone in that family violated the new wedding laws. The conservative government, advised by The Council of Islamic Ideology which promotes Sharia law, is staying neutral. Police response to reports of violence against Trans people is insufficient.


Pride marches across the Philippines during Pride Month 2023, reflected the theme of Rage and Resilience. Marchers demanded passage of the Sexual Orientation Gender Identity and Expression Equality Bill (SOGIE), which has been languishing in the legislature for over 20 years, although it was finally approved by a House committee. SOGIE would ban discrimination over sexual orientation and gender identity and mandate that the State take measures to end violence against LGBTQIA+ people. The act seeks to be in line with the UN’s Universal Declaration on Human Rights, to which The Philippines is a signatory. Mikhail Quijano, Metro Manila Pride’s consulting head of communications, said that the number of Pride activities in his country shows that the LGBTQIA+ community is hopeful, but remains vigilant. They know that even if SOGIE passes, Queer people will need to continue raising awareness about and encourage society to accept them.

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