LGBTQ

China's first gay film

News of the Chinese Education Ministry’s ludicrous concern over the “feminisation” of Chinese boys brings to mind China’s first explicitly gay film, East Palace, West Palace, directed by Zhang Yuan in 1996. Homosexuality was legalised in the following year, but gays are still regularly harassed for supposed “hooliganism”. A-Lan, a gay writer, is attracted to a policeman, Xiao Shi, and intentionally gets arrested by him in a public toilet (the title refers to two toilets in Beijing where gay men meet). Xiao Shi interrogates A-Lan overnight in the police station. As he listens to the young...

Turkish government attacks LGBTI+ activists

The protests at Boğaziçi University in Istanbul have continued: at the beginning of this year, President Erdoğan appointed a puppet rector against the wishes of students and university workers. Much of the recent “culture war” around the protests has focused on LGBTI+ people. During an art show at the university, a piece of art showed the Kaaba (the large black cube in Mecca which is the final destination of the Hajj) alongside a rainbow flag. Students involved in this were arrested, and the Minister of the Interior Süleyman Soylu called them “four LGBT perverts” on Twitter. The state also...

Big issues, clumsy film

Deepa Mehta’s coming-of-age tale of a gay Tamil boy growing up in 1970s Sri Lanka, and in the post-1983 civil war between the country’s Tamil minority and ruling Sinhalese majority, is an ambitious one, aiming to wrangle with some heavy politicised themes. It opens with a group of children from wealthy families playing happily, amongst them an eight year old Arjie playing dress-up as a bride with makeup. The tense family dynamic is established instantly by Arjie’s father’s disapproval of Arjie. He warns his wife against encouraging this “nonsense”. He is set up as the oppressive patriarchal...

It's a Sin: AIDS and the 1980s

The main characters in It’s A Sin (Channel Four), Russell T Davies’ five-part drama about the AIDS crisis in Britain through the eighties into the early nineties, are roughly my age. It describes, therefore, an experience I lived through (minor spoilers here). I remember vividly the first rumours of a disease killing gay men in America, the first time I heard the term "AIDS" (I was sitting in a freezing cold kitchen in Manchester). I remember the growing sense of dread; I remember - this must have been in 1984 - calculating (god knows on the basis of what) that I had a 1/50 chance of dying as...

Support the fight for trans rights in Singapore

• Please send your solidarity, particularly if you are an education worker or student. Sign or get your organisation to sign this international solidarity statement and retweet this thread by @kixes with the hashtag #FixSchoolsNotStudents Over five hundred teachers, nurses, counsellors, and social service workers have signed a statement demanding that the Ministry of Education in Singapore give support to transgender students in schools. The labour movement in Singapore is almost entirely co-opted by the National Trade Unions Congress (NTUC) – a confederation of trade unions that owes its...

Fix schools, not students

Three people were arrested for protesting outside the Ministry of Education in Singapore on Tuesday 26 January. The Ministry has come under fire for telling a transgender student to reduce her hormone replacement therapy or face expulsion. Ashlee, the student, had previously been sent home for having long hair and not obeying the dress code. Gay sex is a crime in Singapore. An annual LGBTQ rights event, Pink Dot, has helped to educate people and exert mass pressure on the government. Students, teachers and school workers must join together to demand that schools be safe for LGBTQ students.

High Court rules against trans youth

On 1 December, the High Court released its judgment in the case brought forward by Keira Bell, a woman who underwent hormone blockers followed by hormone replacement therapy as well as a gender-affirming double mastectomy (commonly referred to as top surgery) before deciding to detransition to her birth-assigned sex, as well as an anonymous claimant against the Tavistock Gender Identity Clinic. Bell claimed that she was unable to give informed consent when she was prescribed hormone blockers (medication given to inhibit puberty that is used as an initial and reversible treatment for gender...

Neurodivergent Labour builds on successful first year

Neurodivergent Labour marked the end of its first year with a constructive and democratic online AGM on 28 November. Reviewing the past year, Chair Janine Booth described ND Labour’s response to political developments during the year, including taking on anti-vaccination propaganda and supporting trade union disputes while helping them to become more accessible. Campaigns Officer Andy Forse reported on ND Labour’s involvement in the ongoing campaign to stop the deportation of 22-year-old autistic man Osime Brown to Jamaica. Trade union organising received a boost with the passing of a...

Orban targets LGBT people

On 10 November, Hungary’s Minister of Justice Judit Varga unveiled a bill that will almost certainly become the ninth modification to the Basic Law of Hungary adopted in 2011. This reactionary piece of legislation adds to the already shameful article which defines the state’s conception of “the family” that “the mother is a woman, and the father is a man”. A further amendment proclaims that “Hungary protects children’s right to identify as the sex they were born with, and ensures their upbringing based on our national self-identification and Christian culture”. The Hungarian language does not...

Kino Eye: Looking for Langston

Those who read Janine Booth’s excellent article (Solidarity 569) on the Harlem Renaissance should find Looking for Langston (1989) by Black-British director Isaac Julien both engaging and interesting. The key words are in the title: “Looking for…” The film explores the black gay experience using a loose parallel between a nightclub in 1920s Harlem and a similar establishment in 1980s London. It is not a biography of Langston Hughes, although the film contains footage from the 20s, along with extracts from Hughes’ poetry and work by other contemporaries, including Oscar Micheaux, the first...

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