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LGBTQI News Roundup – 15th April 2022

Disney heir comes out as transgender and apologises about ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law

A Disney heir has publicly come out as transgender and said they should have done more to speak out against Florida’s controversial ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill. 

Roy P Disney, the great-nephew of Walt Disney and the co-founder of Walt Disney Co, revealed his son, Charlee, was trans while pledging $500,000 along with his family to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC).

In an appeal to America’s largest LGBT+ advocacy group, Mr Disney said: “Equality matters deeply to us especially because our child, Charlee, is transgender and a proud member of the LGBTQ+ community.” 

The Los Angeles Times reports that 30-year-old Charlee Disney, a science teacher, came out as trans four years ago. 

In an interview with the paper, Charlee said: “I feel like I don’t do very much to help. I don’t call senators or take action. I felt like I could be doing more.”

They said they had “very few openly gay role models”, adding: “And I certainly didn’t have any trans or nonbinary role models. I didn’t see myself reflected in anyone, and that made me feel like there was something wrong with me.”

They use the pronouns they and them, but this is the first time the family has addressed their gender orientation in public.

Tennessee plans anti-gay marriage bill

Amid several bills introduced in Tennessee that have attracted national attention this year, none has sparked as much alarm among both Republicans and Democrats as a proposal that would create a new marriage contract specifically designed to exclude same-sex couples.

Supporters argue the measure is needed to give religious officials, couples and others opposed to gay marriage an option that wouldn’t conflict with their beliefs.

Critics say it’s a deliberate effort to circumvent the Supreme Court’s 2015 ruling legalizing gay marriage and could lead to costly legal battles. Many have noted that the bill initially failed to include a minimum age — an omission that has opened the door to widespread mockery. Some worry the move helped reinforce stereotypes regarding Tennessee as backward.

The bill’s Republican sponsors have downplayed concerns that the age omission would result in a wave of child marriages, but they’ve since introduced an amendment that would incorporate an age requirement of 18 years old or older.

War in Ukraine creates danger for trans people in the country 

The war in Ukraine is causing danger and difficulties in the country for its transgender population. This situation is highlighted in an interview one trans woman gave to NBC News. 

Zi Faámelu is a Ukrainian transgender woman whose passport gender marker does not match her gender identity, which would make it difficult, if not impossible, to leave the country. With martial law having been declared in Ukraine, all able-bodied men ages 18 to 60 were required to stay and be available to join the army. 

Faámelu — who has lived as a woman for nearly a decade but whose passport still says male — would have to stay and potentially fight. When Faámelu tried to change her identity documents in 2016, she was told she would have to stay in a psychiatric facility for a month for examinations and an official diagnosis. She chose not to, she said, because doing so would be “humiliating and demoralizing.” She also heard of other transgender women who had traumatizing experiences going through the process. 

On Feb. 28, Faámelu got in touch with a former colleague who agreed to drive her from Kyiv to Chernivtsi, a Ukrainian city about 40 miles from the Romanian border. They left the next day.

At every roadblock, she said, her passport was questioned and photos were taken of it and of her. At the first checkpoint, at the border of Porubne, Ukraine, and Siret, Romania, she was detained, her passport was taken, and she was refused a lawyer, she said. She was finally let go when a female customs officer told the guards they did not have the right to detain her. 


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