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LGBTQI News Roundup – 10th June 2022

New Zealand government increases funding for rainbow and intersex health services

New Zealand’s government has allocated an additional $2 million (NZD) towards making healthcare services easier for transgender people. The country’s Associate Minister of Health Ayesha Verrall said gender diverse people had experienced poorer physical and mental heath outcomes compared to the general population.

Gender affirming care aimed to support a person’s healthcare goals which may include exploration of gender expression, support around social transition, hormone therapy as well as other treatment, she said.

“For far too long gender diverse people have experienced poorer physical and mental health outcomes compared to the general population. Our commitment is to build a health system that treats people with fairness and dignity, that is why we’re making sure it becomes more responsive to people who have faced exclusion and prejudice,” Dr Verrall said in a statement.

Eight primary health care providers would be set up throughout the country to provide affirming care to gender diverse people, she said.

The extra funding would ensure the needs of people who have been excluded and traditionally underserved, are met, Verrall said.

The government is also providing $2.5m in funding from the Budget to support health care for intersex children and young people. It would go towards funding workforce training and development for health professionals dealing with intersex youth and investing in peer support and resources for intersex youth and their whānau (families). 

Jerusalem celebrates 20 years of pride marches

About 10,000 people joined the Jerusalem March for Pride and Tolerance this week, marking 20 years of Pride marches in Israel’s capital.

“In the 20 years we have been marching in Jerusalem, we have experienced violence, and even in 2022 there are those who are trying to push us out of the city,” said Alon Shachar, CEO of the Jerusalem Open House for Pride and Tolerance, which organizes the event. “We have nothing to be ashamed of. And Jerusalem – you have nothing to be ashamed of. Those who should be ashamed are all those who produce and allow such expressions of violence.”

Earlier in the day, police announced that they had arrested a man from south Jerusalem who had sent anonymous death threats to the organizersof the parade and a number of MKs from a profile named “the brothers of Yishai Schlissel,” referring to the Haredi man who murdered Shira Banki at the 2015 Jerusalem Pride march. The threats warned the recipients that “the fate of Shira Banki” was “awaiting” them. The suspect’s arrest was extended on Thursday afternoon.

In light of the threats, Knesset Speaker Mickey Levy decided to take part in the march, marking the first time that a Knesset speaker has ever participated in the event.

Kuwait criticises US embassy of pro-LGBT tweets

Kuwait has summoned a top US diplomat in protest over tweets from the American embassy supporting LGBT rights, its foreign ministry says. US officials there had posted a rainbow flag and message of solidarity from President Joe Biden for Pride month.

But Kuwait officials criticised the embassy for “supporting homosexuality” and demanded it didn’t happen again. Rights for LGBT people are severely restricted in Kuwait and it is illegal there for men to be gay. In a pair of tweets published in English and Arabic on Thursday, the US Embassy in Kuwait quoted President Biden as saying all humans “should be able to live without fear no matter who they are or whom they love”.

The post, published to mark the beginning of Pride Month, appeared with a picture of a rainbow flag symbolising LGBT rights. 

Hours later, Kuwait’s Foreign Ministry said it rejected what had been published and had summoned the US Charges d’Affaires James Holtsnider to hand him a memorandum condemning the posts.

According to its statement, the Foreign Ministry ordered the embassy to respect Kuwaiti laws and “not to publish such tweets”.

Kuwaiti officials accused the embassy of violating international conventions requiring diplomats to “respect the laws and regulations of the receiving state”.

Many conservative Kuwaiti Twitter users responded with similar outrage to the US embassy’s Pride post, including MP Osama Al-Shaheen who wrote: “The behaviour of the American embassy is unacceptable.”


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