Queer Notes: January 2024

January 15, 2024

by Elise

Transgender Awareness Week 2023, which culminates in the Transgender Day of Remembrance, saw the University of Alberta in Canada fly its flag at half-mast. Equality North Carolina held a mini-ball, while in London there was a remembrance dinner. South Africa’s Transgender and Intersex Africa held a consultation meeting and discussed the organization’s future. The names of Trans people murdered worldwide in 2023 were read at vigils, including at Trans Ottawa’s Human Rights Memorial, North Carolina University’s LGBTQ Pride Center, and Soho Square Gardens in London. In Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, Asia Pacific Transgender Network held “Hi kid, it’s me, your future self,” a training about sexual orientation and gender identity to prevent discrimination in healthcare and education. Of the 321 Trans people reported murdered, according to the Transrespect vs Transphobia Worldwide’s Trans Murder Monitoring project, just for being who they are, 94% were Trans women of color. These women also often face misogyny and racism. Almost 73% of these murders occurred in Latin America and the Caribbean, Brazil accounting for almost 31%.


In the Queer community, Intersex people experience the most abuses globally. Portugal, Iceland, Germany and Australia are among only six countries in the world that ban nonconsensual surgeries, or medical abuse, on Intersex children. But, of the six, only Malta and Greece have legal consequences for violating the ban. According to the Intersex Legal Mapping Report, compiled by International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association/ILGA, doctors in the U.S. are taking advantage of vagueness in legal language to continue surgically altering Intersex infants’ genitals with the parents’ consent, if such surgery is deemed “medically necessary.” In the U.S. very little progress has been made for Intersex people’s rights. Surgical altering of Intersex children’s bodies is allowed in many nations for so-called “cultural, social and cosmetic” reasons. The Mapping Report seeks to raise awareness of the plight of Intersex people, to shift public opinion towards acceptance. It aims for full human dignity for Intersex people. Encouragingly, the report found that, internationally, opinion seems to be shifting more towards protecting Intersex children from nonconsensual surgeries. In many countries, though, Intersex people are harassed, assaulted and shunned.


Mentor to Sao Paolo’s underground arts community, Curator Renato De Cara debuted A verdade está no corpo (The Truth is in the Body) exhibit at Paço das Artes. Claudia Andujar, Bob Wolfenson, Val Souza and Ubere Guele are among the artists whose works are displayed. They all reveal LGBTQ+ bodies, views, dilemmas, making choices, and being sexual. The exhibit asks: is being Queer criminal? Because of adult themes, the exhibit is restricted to those 18 years old and older.


The late Mexican Justice Jesús Ociel Baena Saucedo and his partner are being mourned with protests organized in the streets across Mexico. The police had not completed their investigation into their deaths when they declared that the openly nonbinary Justice Baena Saucedo, also an LGBTQ+ activist, was killed by his partner and that the crimes—both of their deaths—were not hate crimes! Protesters across Mexico demand a transparent, thorough investigation! Justice Baena Saucedo received death threats. While same-sex marriage is legal in Mexico, society has a long way to go in fully accepting LGBTQ+ people, which is why many of the protests were broadcast on social media. Murders, beatings, physical and verbal assaults, are among the common things in Mexico, indeed worldwide, still committed against Queer people. Disturbingly, many on social media violently ridiculed Baena Saucedo posthumously along with LGBTQ+ communities. One of Mexico’s first gender-neutral passports was issued to Justice Baena Saucedo, who often flamboyantly appeared on social media and in person. They wanted to disrupt and they did.


The Lynchburg, Va., City School Board rejected a grant awarded by the “It Gets Better Project to E.C. Glass High School students for the creation of a safe space” to be used by all. Under pressure from the anti-LGBTQ+ group Parents Defending Education, the Board ignored students supporting the grant. The majority of the Board said that they objected to the branding the Project asked the Gender and Sexuality Alliance Club to provide, which was merely acknowledging where the funding came from.

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