The LGBTI world is talking about the first gay referee in UK football, some exciting trans laws in Pakistan and queer graffiti artists
Premiership football games in the UK are going to have an out gay man on the pitch from now on. Meanwhile Pakistan has passed some surprisingly positive laws. And we’ve been meeting the graffiti artists tagging a queer message across the country.
For years, people have expressed surprise that there are no out professional footballers in the UK.
Now a soccer referee, Ryan Atkin, 32, has become a trailblazer for the sport by coming out as gay.
So finally people watching football, on TV or on the terraces, will be seeing an openly LGBTI person on the pitch.
I’m hopeful we will soon see out professional footballers. But individual clubs have got to work hard if we’re going to achieve the change we need to see in soccer. And so far they are doing little or nothing.
If I asked you to guess what country is pushing some of the most advanced trans laws in the world, I imagine most people wouldn’t say Pakistan.
But it will soon be illegal to discriminate against a trans person in Pakistan.
Politicians introduced not one, but two bills in the National Assembly this week. And they are pretty broad ranging.
Firstly, they define a trans person quite widely. So you’ll have rights if you are ‘any person whose gender identity and/or gender expression differs from the society norms and cultural expectations based on the sex they were assigned at the time of their birth’.
It will be illegal to prevent trans people from inheriting property, deny them education or unlawfully evict them from any kind of premise. They’ll be guaranteed the right to vote and to hold public office. And they’ll be protected by anti-discrimination and harassment laws.
Pakistan will also recognize a person’s gender identity the way they want it recognized.
We are right to criticize when countries around the world persecute LGBTIs. But we also need to recognize that we in Britain can learn from a whole range of countries and their activists too. It’s not about us teaching them LGBTI rights – we’ve got to listen first.
We started a whole new part of Gay Star News this week. It’s called Gay Star Students and it’s dedicated to empowering young LGBTIs around the world.
We will be providing resources and inspiration. But really it’s about giving young voices a bigger platform. We believe their energy and ideas can help make a better world for all of us.
This week, we spoke to the ‘Masked Muskequeers’. They are three trans graffiti artists spreading a message that being queer as fuck is totally cool.
The graffiti is turning up all over the UK, from dark back streets in Brighton to canal tow paths in Birmingham.
They hope someone will pass by and their ‘stay queer’ message will invade their day.
One of my more distant claims to fame is that I went to school with Banksy. Perhaps these guys will be as big as him one day? Check out some of their artwork by following the link.
What do you think?
Let Blued and me know what you think. You can read more about all these stories, plus loads of new articles, photos and videos every day, on Gay Star News.