“Woke” was for a century, especially among black people in the US, an inspirational concept. However, almost overnight it turned into a pejorative. Like using the term “politically correct” as an insult, calling someone “woke” came to imply that the referred person’s views are excessively ridiculous, or even despicable. Being “anti-woke” has become an indication that you do not belong to an assumed group of “do-gooders”, who at the expense of right-minded “ordinary” citizens assert the demands of interest groups, which declare themselves to be discriminated against due to their ethnicity/race, gender, sexual preference, and/or physical or psychological disabilities.
Serbia’s December 2023 elections saw the ruling party retain power – but amid a great deal of controversy.
Civil society has cried foul about irregularities in the parliamentary election, but particularly the municipal election in the capital, Belgrade. In recent times Belgrade has been a hotbed of anti-government protests. That’s one of the reasons it’s suspicious that the ruling Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) came first in the city election.
“This is what you get after ten years of state propaganda and brainwashing,” says Anatolii*.
The Moscow-based LGBT rights activist’s ire is directed at a recent ruling by Russia’s Supreme Court declaring the “international LGBT movement” an extremist organization.
Last month the Saeima, Latvia’s parliament, passed a package of eight laws recognising same-sex civil unions and associated rights. The new legislation came in response to a 2020 Constitutional Court ruling that established that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to the benefits and legal protections afforded to married opposite-sex couples.
In response to lawsuits brought by LGBTQI+ activists, the Mauritius Supreme Court has issued two landmark judgments
striking down the criminalisation of consensual sex between adult men as unconstitutional. Its reasoning turned upside down the argument used by anti-rights forces to attack LGBTQI+ activists in many African countries: it acknowledged that criminalisation is the foreign import rather than gay sex, and a relic of colonialism it’s high time to shake off.
Ahead of the presidential election, Solih faced accusations of irregularities in his party’s primary vote, in which he defeated former president Mohamed Nasheed. The Electoral Commission was accused of making it harder for rival parties to stand, including the Democrats, a breakaway party Naheed formed after the primary vote. The ruling party also appeared to be instrumentalising public media and state resources in its favour. Solih’s political alliances with conservative religious parties were in the spotlight, including with the Adhaalath Party, which has taken an increasingly intolerant stance on women’s and LGBTQI+ rights.
Three notable events have boosted the democratic process in Southeast Asia in recent decades. The fall of the Marcos regime in 1986, the Reformasi
that shifted Indonesian politics in the late 1990s, and Aung San Suu Kyi's victory over the military junta in Myanmar. However, today Marcos' son is president of the Philippines, Indonesian presidential candidates want to centralize power again, and Myanmar is embroiled in an armed conflict.
What is going on in the region, and what does this mean for democracy?
Nepal is the latest country to join the global wave of marriage equality. On 28 June, its Supreme Court ruled that the government must immediately offer temporary registration of same-sex marriages, pending a change in the law. Around 200
couples reportedly sought to register as soon as the court judgment was made.
Remi Cáceres experienced gender-based violence firsthand. She struggled, got out and today helps other women in Argentina to find an escape valve. But because she is in a wheelchair and is a foreign national, she says the process was even more painful and arduous: "Being a migrant with a disability, it's two or three times harder. You have to empower yourself and it's very difficult."
There is still a long way to go before the LGBTI population in Central America stops being discriminated against and begins to make progress in gaining recognition of their full rights, including the possibility of changing their name to match their gender identity, in the case of trans people.
Turkey’s election hasn’t produced the change many thought was on the cards. Now women’s groups, LGBTQI+ people and independent journalists are among those fearing the worse.
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who has led the country for two decades, first as prime minister and then as president, prevailed in the 28 May runoff poll, taking around 52.2 per cent of the vote, with his opponent, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, on 47.8 per cent.
The mothers of LGBTQ+ individuals in Uganda have taken a stand against Bill passed by the Ugandan Parliament proposing the death penalty for aggravated homosexuality, life imprisonment for the "offense of homosexuality," and up to 20 years in jail for promoting homosexuality.
Imagine your government enacted a law where you and all people of your race or economic status were imprisoned for extended periods, with some facing the death penalty, simply for existing. In Uganda, sexual and gender minorities are facing this possibility should President Yoweri Museveni sign into law a recently passed Anti-Homosexuality Bill
that discriminates against people based on their sexual orientation.
The vulnerability and struggles of the LGBTIQ+ community in Venezuela were once again highlighted when the Supreme Court finally annulled the military code statute that punished, with one to three years in prison, members of the military who committed " acts against nature.”
Brave protests against women’s second-class status in Iran; the mass defence of economic rights in the face of a unilateral presidential decision in France; huge mobilisations to resist government plans to weaken the courts in Israel: all these have shown the willingness of people to take public action to stand up for human rights.
A group of UN experts*
on human rights has blasted the Government of Uganda for making homosexuality punishable by death.
“It is an egregious violation of human rights, the experts said, urging Uganda’s president not to promulgate laws that take aim at and further criminalise people identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT), and those who support and defend their human rights.
When D.A.* first heard about the fatal attack on a gay bar in the Slovak capital, Bratislava, last October, their first reaction was a mix of grief, shock and anger.
But then, soon after, the university student and member of the country’s LGBTQI community immediately began to worry.
Over the year since the start of Russia’s war on Ukraine, on one side of the border civil society has shown itself to be a vital part of the effort to save lives and protect rights – but on the other, it’s been repressed more ruthlessly than ever.
A new law banning LGBTQI ‘propaganda’ in Russia will further stigmatise LGBTQI people in the country and could worsen what is already one of the world’s worst HIV/AIDS epidemics, critics have warned.
It's mostly people in their twenties sitting on a terrace in the shade of a beautiful grove of trees: black clothes, piercings, tattoos and some purple streaks in their hair.
Police raids against gang members in El Salvador, under a state of emergency in which some civil rights have been suspended, have also affected members of the LGBTI community, and everything points to arrests motivated by hatred of their sexual identity.