International News Highlights

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Va-Bene Elikem Fiatsi — Photo by Dennis Akuoku-Frimpong
Va-Bene Elikem Fiatsi — Photo by Dennis Akuoku-Frimpong

Ghana: Trans woman fights anti-LGBT+ bill with art

Reuters reported on February 3 that Ghanian Trans activist and former Christian pastor Va-Bene Elikem Fiatsi is fighting what officials have dubbed a "Family Values Bill." The bill would tighten restrictions that already criminalize same-sex relations, enforce jail sentences of up to 10 years for LGBTQ+ advocacy, and may force some into conversion practices. "It feels like waiting to be slaughtered," Fiatsi told Reuters.

No politician has come out against the bill, but Fiatsi continues her fight from her artists' compound in Kumasi by holding LGBTQ-friendly artist residency programs and pro-LGBTQ+ galleries. "What I do today is not for me, or even those living today," she said. "It's for the future generation."

Ghana is one of over 30 African countries that outlaws same-sex relations. As of this printing, no vote date is set for the bill.

China: Grindr removed from app stores

The Advocate reported on January 31 that the Gay dating app Grindr is no longer available in China, apparently removed from both the Apple and Android app stores as part of a broader crackdown on what China's Cyberspace Administration considers pornographic or otherwise unacceptable.

The Advocate noted that, while China decriminalized homosexuality 25 years ago, last September the government announced a ban on portrayals of "sissy men" in television and "gay love" in video games. In November the advocacy group LGBT Rights Advocacy China suspended operations and closed its social media accounts. Earlier, in July, the social media site WeChat removed a number of accounts belonging to LGBTQ+ student organizations.