Each month, journalist Gary Burgess will round up some of LGBT+ news stories and events from around the world.
Well, hello. This is new. I’m delighted to be sharing my whistlestop tour of the queer world – a new monthly addition to the Liberate website.
First up, here in the islands, it’s the month we found out how many couples in Jersey have ‘converted’ their civil partnerships to marriages. The marriage laws were approved at the start of last year but only came into force in July. We now know nine couples chose to convert them, with ceremonies solemnised at the Office of the Superintendent Registrar. I can confirm the short ceremony is a very special occasion – as my husband and I were the very first to do so when the law changed last summer. It means we’re number one on the new register! The report also shows there were 7 civil partnerships in Jersey in 2018. Equivalent figures for Guernsey haven’t yet been published, where the marriage laws to allow same sex couples to marry were changed in 2017.
Each time Channel Islands Pride is announced I can be assured of messages from strangers asking “why do you need a gay pride, there isn’t a straight pride?” My answer is usually two-fold:
- If you want a straight pride, go have one.
- While there’s discrimination and oppression and hate being meted out against gay people, having a high profile platform to raise awareness of key issues matters.
This month, two have caught my attention. A government minister in Malaysia has called for a crackdown on LGBT+ people in the country after some dared to join campaigning at an International Women’s Day event. The minister said: “LGBT practise will not be accepted at all in this country.” Meanwhile in Brazil, there’s growing concern about the anti-gay pronouncements of new president Jair Bolsonaro. He’s previously said he’d prefer his son died in an accident than be gay while also describing himself as “homophobic and very proud of it”.
If you’re off on your holidays in the coming weeks, there’s no shortage of Pride events happening around the world between now and the end of April. Miami Beach, Phuket and Tokyo are among those playing host, and, as somebody who’s just back from a holiday in Miami, I know you’ll have an amazing time if you’re heading in that direction. Organisers describe the 1st to 7th April event as “a weeklong celebration with special events, social mixers, dance events, a VIP gala, an incredible festival and parade.” For what it’s worth, though there was no Pride when we were there, just sitting people-watching on Ocean Drive is worth the trip (the picture is of me doing exactly that)!
And finally, for this round-up, full respect to the gay boss of Quantas who’s just made one child’s day. When 10-year-old Alex Jacquot wrote to Alan Joyce to ask for some advice about a new airline he wanted to start, it’s safe to assume he wasn’t expecting the reply he got. Instead of a simple letter as a response, Alex was invited to visit the HQ of Quantas to tour the Operations Centre and join in a meeting to find ways to make passengers even more comfortable during their flights.