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International News Highlights — August 12, 2022

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French PM Elisabeth Borne — Photo by Michel Euler / AP
French PM Elisabeth Borne — Photo by Michel Euler / AP

French PM announces official for worldwide LGBTQ advocacy
Perhaps to celebrate the country's 40th anniversary of the decriminalization of homosexuality, French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne announced on Thursday last week that the government has created a new position: "ambassador for LGBTQ rights."

The ambassador will be named by the end of the year, Borne said, and will be in charge of pushing for universal decriminalization of homosexuality and Trans identity. She also announced a three-million euro fund for ten new LGBTQ+ centers, making a total of 45 in the country.

Borne said that "the President of the Republic's approach, my approach, the government's approach is not ambiguous: we will continue to fight to make progress on the rights of the LGBTQ."

Earlier this year, French minister Caroline Cayeux was criticized for remarks activists and LGBTQ people said stigmatized LGBTQ people. Cayeux had been asked about her opposition to legalizing Gay marriage and adoption in 2013: "I have a lot of friends among those people," she said.

About that, Borne said on Thursday that Cayeux "made unfortunate comments, [and] she apologized."

Uganda suspends oldest support group over "unsuitable" name
Authorities in Uganda have suspended the work of Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMU), the nation's most prominent LGBTQ+ support group, after a registrar refused to register the organization's name for being unsuitable and a judge agreed. SMU has been around since 2004.

SMU leader Frank Mugisha said on Saturday that authorities advised him to suspend activities, since his group now lacks documentation. "This means that the lifesaving work that we do is on hold," he said. "We can't protect and support vulnerable LGBT people. The background, of course, is homophobia and transphobia." The group's appeal to a higher court is awaiting judgment.

Homosexuality is already illegal in Uganda, but some Ugandan officials have urged harsher legislation, such as one bill from 2009 that included the death penalty for "aggravated acts of homosexuality," or another from 2014 that included up to a life sentence in prison. Neither bill was passed.