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International News Highlights — July 1, 2022

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Photo by Soe Zeya Tun / Reuters
Photo by Soe Zeya Tun / Reuters

After a hiatus, Trans beauty pageant resumes with Filipina winner
Reuters reported on June 25 that Filipina contestant Fuschia Anne Ravena has been crowned Miss International Queen 2022, at a contest in Thailand billed as the most popular Trans beauty pageant in the world. Just behind Ravena were the contestants from Colombia and France.

Ravena, 27, had this to say of the victory: "My first message to everyone is to spread love and peace and unity, because that is the most important thing that we do as of the moment and what's happening in the world right now."

Show organizer Alisa Phanthusak said the show returned during Pride month after a two-year hiatus to celebrate gender equality. Reuters noted that the contest was launched over a decade ago to foster Trans acceptance, and that among Asian countries, Thailand has one of the most open and visible LGBTQ+ communities.

Still, activists say Thai laws and institutions are lagging behind social attitudes, and still discriminate against LGBTQ+ people and couples.

London Pride vets remember first march
Reuters reported on June 27 on some the words from London's Pride veterans, who marched from Trafalgar Square to Hyde Park 50 years ago, on July 1, 1972, to protest against discrimination.

John R. Lloyd, now 69, remembered it fondly. "Oh, it was exhilarating," he said. "It was empowering. We thought we could take over the world and change it to how we feel... It was about system change as well."

Seventy-three-year-old Trans woman Roz Kaveney said, "It was about not letting anyone tell you who you are, or what you should do. It was about autonomy. It was about freedom, and it was about joy."
"I simply wanted not to be a criminal," recalled Simon Watney, also 73. He joined the march with his then-boyfriend. "I thought it was outrageous that I had to grow up like all my friends under the shadow of the law. Some people spat, some people shouted. Most people were kind of astonished, I think, and bewildered. Some people just looked the other way."

Activist Peter Tatchell, also at the 1972 march, said he felt Pride had lost focus. "It's now become basically a big party. And parties are fine, but we also need to protest, because there's still unfinished business, [there are] still battles for our community to fight and win."

Other veterans looked to other countries, and were wary of how fragile LGBTQ rights can be.