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LGBTQI News Roundup – 4th November 2022

Tokyo begins issuing same-sex couples partnership certificates

Tokyo has begun rolling out a partnership certificate scheme to same-sex couples – allowing them to be treated as married couples for certain public services for the first time, but falling short of marriage equality. Some hope this may be a step towards the whole of Japan embracing equality. It is currently the only country in the G7 group of developed nations which doesn’t recognise same-sex unions.

The partnership certificates – which have also been introduced in eight other prefectures across Japan – will allow same-sex couples to be treated the same as married couples when it comes to housing, medicine and welfare. But they will not help with issues like adoption, inheritance and spousal visas.


Qatar’s first openly gay man has a message for football fans ahead of the World Cup

Earlier this year, Nas Mohamed made international headlines as “the first openly gay Qatari”, and he’s using his platform to advocate for  LGBTIQ+ rights ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Doha. 

Nas left Qatar to escape persecution based on his sexuality.  Born into a traditional Arabic-speaking household in Qatar, Nas Mohamed felt he was destined to be set up in an arranged marriage to a woman. During his adolescence, Nas realised that was not a life he would be capable of living, but with no access to “any LGBT visibility” in Qatar coupled with the threat of persecution, he felt forced to keep his sexuality hidden. 

Nas warned LGBTIQ+ people visiting Doha for the World Cup to “be careful”. While pride flags will be officially permitted in stadiums, they might not be widely welcomed, Nas said. “I don’t think public display of rainbow flags or rallies would be productive,” he said.

Although visitors to the nation are generally less likely to be persecuted for same-sex sexual activity, Nas warned that fans who “don’t pass” as heterosexual may be singled out by locals. Nas explained that some Qataris see LGBTIQ+ visibility as “an intentional assault on them”. Nas believes that teams, players and FIFA should be advocating loudest for LGBTIQ+ rights during the World Cup in Qatar. 

“They’re not going to be harmed,” he said, telling attendees they should focus on their own safety first. “Big and unapologetic visibility is the responsibility of the teams, players and FIFA.”


Malaysian religious police raid LGBT Halloween party

Malaysia’s Islamic religious police raided an LGBT Halloween party on Saturday night, arresting people in the process for cross-dressing and allegedly encouraging vice. Activist Numan Afifi was among those arrested at the event in Kuala Lumpur. He told the AFP news agency that the raid was “traumatizing and harrowing.”

“About 40 religious officers backed by the police came into the venue with some 1,000 participants, and they stopped the music and dance,” he said.  Numan said authorities divided party-goers into two groups — Muslims and followers of other faiths. Authorities checked 53 men and nine women at the Halloween party, The Star reported.

Authorities then took 20 Muslims from the group to the Federal Territories Islamic Religious Department. All of them were released after a few hours but are required to return next week for further questioning. “Some were alleged to have committed offences under cross-dressing while others, including me, for encouraging vice,” Numan said.

Malaysia has a dual-track legal system with civil courts as well as Islamic Sharia courts designed specifically for Muslim Malays, who make up 60% of the country’s population. These religious laws do not apply to the sizeable Chinese and Indian communities, nor do they apply to most foreigners.

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