5 Uplifting LGBT Rights Stories to Offer Hope

The news can be fairly bleak at the moment — particularly in terms of civil rights — as conservative state legislators try to roll back LGBT protections with the Trump administration’s support. However, there are some encouraging stories out there too.

So, to brighten your day, here are five hopeful accounts that you might have missed over the past few weeks.

1. Power Rangers brings Hollywood’s first out lesbian superhero to the big screen.

Although a few LGBT superheroes — and villains — have emerged on television over the past decade, the movies have been noticeably cautious in embracing LGBT people and storylines. Indeed, while Marvel’s Deadpool may be the current landmark on LGBT inclusion in the superhero cinematic world, the pansexual gun-for-hire serves as a fourth-wall-breaking outlier and is not part of the central universe.

The big screen revival of the Power Rangers franchise has departed from that tradition, however, to not only include a lesbian character, but also to establish her emerging sexuality as a central theme of the film.

The Hollywood Reporter notes:

During Power Rangers‘ second act, there’s a scene in which the titular heroes learn that the Yellow Ranger, Trini (Becky G), is coming to terms with her sexual orientation, with one character assuming she’s having “boyfriend problems,” and soon realizing that perhaps she’s actually having “girlfriend problems.” It’s a small moment, but one director Dean Israelite calls “pivotal” for the entire film.

Rather than making this an incidental character trait, which can allow films to pay lip service to LGBT characters without actually digging into their lives, the producers describe this moment as the Yellow Ranger’s driving force. Indeed, exploring her sexuality serves as a means to connect with the rest of the Rangers, as they all learn to embrace their powers. Original — American — Blue Ranger David Yost, who is openly gay, has praised this inclusion.

2. Utah’s governor repeals state’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ rule.

A few years ago, thousands of Care2 members joined a petition drive to prevent Tennessee from enacting a “Don’t Say Gay” law in schools that would have effectively prevented teachers from supporting LGBTQI identity and affirming student self-expression. Though it kept returning, that measure was repeatedly defeated. Meanwhile, Utah actually had a similar law on the books that banned the so-called “promotion of homosexuality” in schools.

On Monday, March 20, Utah governor Gary Herbert ended the policy by signing Senate Bill 196. In the process, Herbert appeared to have side-stepped a lawsuit brought by students who say they were directly harmed by the law. 

Equality Utah director Troy Williams told Salt Lake City’s Fox 13

This is a great day for LGBTQ students in Utah. We applaud Governor Herbert for his signature. Equality Utah will be working with both the Attorney General’s office and the State Board of Education to insure that the intent of SB 196 is implemented in every school district across the state. At that point we do hope for a happy resolution to our case.

3. Germany takes steps to compensate people convicted under Nazi-era anti-gay law.

After World War II, thousands of gay men and LGBT people remained at the mercy of authorities who continued to enforce antiquated — and in Germany’s case, Nazi-era — laws against homosexuality. Denmark, the UK and other nations have already set up, or are in the process of establishing, ways to overturn those historic convictions  and, in some cases, provide compensation for the accused. For many years, Germany lagged behind on this front — but not any more.

This week Germany’s cabinet approved a bill to give compensation to the men who were persecuted under those rules.

The Guardian reports:

“The rehabilitation of men who ended up in court simply because of their homosexuality is long overdue,” said the justice minister, Heiko Maas, who spearheaded the legislation. “They were persecuted, punished and ostracised by the German state just because of their love for men, because of their sexual identity.”

If passed, the law will likely come into force next year.

4. Queensland finally drops ‘gay panic’ murder defense.

For those unfamiliar with the “gay panic” defense, it is as sordid as it sounds: The perpetrator of a crime — usually a brutal assault, manslaughter or murder — alleges that when they realized their would-be victim was gay, they flew into a blind rage. Often, defendants state that their actions were triggered by the victim’s sexual advances. This claim often enables a more lenient sentence, as the accused argue that they were acting in an altered state.

Unfortunately, this defense is still used today in many parts of the world, though it is slowly becoming recognized as a relic of homophobic hysteria.

Queensland has officially recognized this fact and has passed legislation to repeal the Criminal Code provision that lowers a sentence for crimes committed in “the heat of passion caused by sudden provocation” from homosexuals. 

Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Yvette D’Ath, who supported this repeal, has characterized the decision as ending an inequality in the law. Civil rights advocates have welcomed this change as a means of affirming the value of LGBT lives.

5. Japanese city elects trans man as mayor!

Twenty-five year old Tomoya Hosoda recently earned a seat as a city councilor in the city of Iruma. Hosada first rose to prominence two years ago when he took part in a campaign called Out in Japan, which aims to highlight LGBTQI rights.

Japan has an interesting relationship with its LGBT community in that it offers some protections on grounds of sexual orientation and allows for gender affirmation care. At the same time, however, the country places a strict emphasis on heterosexual relationships and does not provide for same-gender couples under the law. For these reasons, being openly LGBT in Japan can still come with significant stigma — particularly in more traditional regions. 

Tomoya has promised to campaign for visibility and LGBTQI rights, as well as advocate for elder care. He is generally believed to be the first openly trans men elected to public office anywhere in the world. In 2003 Aya Kamikawa became Japan’s first openly trans politician when she served as Tokyo municipal official.

Photo credit: Thinkstock.

68 comments

Jerome S
Jerome S6 months ago

thanks

SEND
Jerome S
Jerome S6 months ago

thanks

SEND
Jim V
Jim Ven6 months ago

thanks for sharing

SEND
Jim V
Jim Ven6 months ago

thanks for sharing

SEND
Paulo R
Paulo R11 months ago

ty

SEND
Paulo R
Paulo R11 months ago

ty

SEND
Paulo R
Paulo R11 months ago

ty

SEND
Paulo R
Paulo R11 months ago

ty

SEND
Paulo R
Paulo R11 months ago

ty

SEND
Paulo R
Paulo R11 months ago

ty

SEND