On 20 June 2022, the International Swimming Federation (FINA) officially banned trans women from taking part in women’s elite competitions unless they can prove they have “not experienced male puberty” before the age of 12, and instead opened the first-ever so-called ‘open category’ in which trans athletes are allowed to compete. The next day, on 21 June, the International Rugby League (IRL) announced in a statement that ‘trans women players are unable to play in sanctioned women’s international rugby league matches until further research is completed to enable the IRL to implement a formal transgender inclusion policy.’ Earlier in the month, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) had already made cycling the first sport to impose stricter rules on trans women athletes starting from 1 July 2022.
IGLYO strongly condemns these anti-trans rulings, which will have a tremendous impact on the mental health, well-being and happiness of trans and non-binary athletes, and especially younger ones. As stated by UK IGLYO Member Mermaids, such rulings send ‘a cruel message to trans, non-binary and gender diverse children and young people who just want to [play their sport] with their friends, telling them that there is something wrong with them, and they don’t belong.’ We are concerned that these rulings will become a norm and inspire other sports governing bodies to take similar measures. We therefore call on FINA, IRL and UCI to lift their anti-trans rulings, and urge other international sports organisations not to follow suit.
What can you do?
The Romanian Chamber of Deputies is currently deliberating on a dangerous anti-LGBTQI draft bill. After two past failed attempts in 2019 and 2020, the new draft law would prohibit the dissemination of information on sexual orientation and gender identity to minors (under 18). The bill was tacitly adopted by the Romanian Senate on 2 May 2022 and received a favourable report from the Romanian Human Rights Committee in the Chambers of Deputies on 8 June 2022.
If passed, the bill would have a disastrous effect on the Romanian LGBTQI community and its allies, and would make Romania the 7th Council of Europe Member State to implement laws or policies preventing learners from receiving LGBTQI inclusive content in schools. We call on the European institutions to make sure Member States do not actively oppose the right to education of LGBTQI children and young people by passing bills that explicitly prohibit the dissemination of affirming information on sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics.
What can you do?
On Monday June 27, the Spanish cabinet of ministers approved a new draft bill that would allow teenagers aged 16 and over to change their name and gender without restrictions, once they reaffirm their decision after three months before the Civil Registry. Children aged between 14 and 16 must have their parental consent or can apply to a judge while the courts must be involved in all decisions regarding minors between the ages of 12 and 14. Children under the age of 12 will not be allowed to change their gender. Up until now, trans minors had to undergo two years of hormone therapy or provide medical reports if they wanted to change their gender. The draft bill also prohibits intersex genital mutilation to intersex minors under 12.
The draft bill still needs to go through the Congress for final approval in the coming weeks. While we welcome the work of the Spanish government to protect the rights of people over 16, the law fails to ensure self-determination for minors. The law does not foresee any provision for trans people who are non-binary, and only provides self-determination legal gender recognition for Spanish citizens who are men or women.
What can you do?
On 26 June 2022, the Istanbul Pride March was once again attacked by the police, following a ban on Pride celebrations proclaimed by local authorities on 20 June. As a result, over 370 LGBTQI activists and journalists were detained — among which 34 minors of age according to our local Member KAOS GL. They were released after spending the night in custody. During the Pride, activists were held in vehicles for hours and were denied access to food and water. Our Member KAOS GL reports that lawyers attempting to free those arrested were met with police aggression, prolonging victims’ detention. Some of those arrested were kept in detention overnight.
LGBTQI young people are often the target of police violence, which threatens their rights, such as the right to safety, the right to liberty and security, and the right to freedom of assembly and association. We stand in solidarity with the Turkish LGBTQI community and call on the Council of Europe to ensure that authorities fulfil their responsibility to protect LGBTQI people, and that the government lifts the Istanbul Pride ban and investigates the police violent attacks that have been happening every year since 2015.
What can you do?
On the night of 24 to 25 June 2022, on the eve of the Oslo Pride, 2 people were killed and 21 injured by a gunman in a shooting targeted towards several places, among which Oslo’s flagship LGBTQI establishment the London Pub. The gunman was arrested shortly after and convicted of terrorism. Although the Oslo Pride was cancelled by the authorities for security reasons, hundreds of people still gathered and marched in tribute to the lost and injured. We stand in solidarity with the Norwegian LGBTQI community and send our love and our thoughts to everyone affected.
An anti-LGBTQI attack on five queer people has been reported in Dublin’s St Stephen’s Green Park after the Dublin Pride on Saturday 24 June 2022. Three of them were hospitalised, among which a 19-year-old trans young man with a fractured skull and abnormalities showing on the brain. A garda spokesman later told Dublin Live: ‘No arrests were made at the scene. Enquiries into the matter are ongoing including a number of allegations of assault arising from the incident.’ In a subsequent article, they reported that the ‘Dublin City Council have requested all gardai undergo LGBTQ+ training to provide specific support to members of the community who have been assaulted’.
As stated by Pink News, ‘It’s the latest anti-LGBTQ+ attack in Ireland, coming two months after two gay men were found murdered in their own homes in April, just a kilometre apart from each other in County Sligo.’ We condemn this attack and send our love and thoughts to our injured queer friends and hope that they will recover swiftly.
On 28 June 2022, one of Poland’s top appeals courts ordered four Polish municipalities (Istebna, Klwów, Osiek and Serniki) to abolish their so-called ‘LGBT-free zone’ status. According to Euractiv, Campaign against Homophobia (KPH) reported a few days before that ‘the EU Commission had introduced a clause in its Partnership Agreement with Poland that would prevent municipalities with “LGBT-free zones” receiving funds from the bloc’s 2021-2027 budget.’ An EU source then confirmed that ‘municipalities which adopt policies judged by the bloc to be discriminatory would not receive funding for infrastructure, the environment and some other areas.’
In June 2020, over 100 municipalities had declared themselves to be so-called ‘LGBT-free zones’, which are particularly dangerous for LGBTQI youth, as they not only erase them completely from the public debate, but they also send them a clear hostile message that they are not allowed to be their true selves without fear. Following this small yet significant victory, which was celebrated by Poland’s Campaign Against Homophobia group as a ‘great victory for democracy, human rights and respect for people’, we call on the European Commission to keep on monitoring the situation and making sure Poland protects and promotes the rights of LGBTQI people in the country, as a member state of the European Union.