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Europe: Anna Szilagyi / AP
Europe: Anna Szilagyi / AP

Europe: Right-wing parties make gains in elections, raising alarms
Concerns for LGBTQ+ rights have grown following the 2024 European Parliament elections, in which right-wing parties gained significant ground.

Those parties, known for their conservative social values, could affect the broader political dynamics in Europe, including Marine Le Pen's National Rally in France, which won over 32% of the vote there, and the far-right Alternative for Germany, which secured approximately 16% there, becoming the country's second-largest party.

The European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) also gained four seats, bringing their total to 73, and Identity and Democracy gained nine seats to reach 58. Together, these nationalist, anti-immigrant parties now hold around 130 seats in the European Parliament, reflecting their growing influence.

As restrictions on LGBTQ+ rights surge across the globe, including opposing marriage and adoption by same-sex couples and challenging the legal recognition of gender identity and access to healthcare for Transgender people, potential policy reversals in Europe feel closer than ever in recent years. As far-right and Christian-affiliated parties like these often promote traditional gender roles and family structures, acceptance of LGBTQ+ identities is threatened.

Moreover, the rising popularity of far-right ideologies is associated with heightened discrimination and hate speech against LGBTQ+ people.

While these right-wing gains will definitely steer the European Parliament slightly from the center, they were not as large as predicted, and the center still holds.

Australia and UK: Lesbian dating apps exclude Trans women
In two different hemispheres, dating apps aimed at excluding Trans Lesbians have been announced, both of which market the use of facial recognition software to do so.

UK-based developer Jenny Watson says her application, L'app, will utilize what she has dubbed "sex recognition software," which analyzes "bone structure, features, movement & heat emissions" to determine one's womanhood.

In comments to the Daily Mail, Watson said that the Trans-exclusionary app was inspired by her personal experiences on other Lesbian dating apps. Apparently, her inclination toward "transvestigating" has led to her being banned from Lesbian-oriented apps on the market. In the same interview, she referred to Trans women as "Trans-identified males."

L'app is set to be released at the end of Pride Month, a disappointment to HER founder Robyn Exton, who said, "This is a month where we're supposed to talk about rights, equality, and equal access for our whole community, and this is the time when you choose to build a platform where you intentionally discriminate against part of our community."

Since its 2015 launch, the social app HER has garnered over 13 million members worldwide.

Meanwhile, in Australia, the app Giggle for Girls is facing a lawsuit over gender-based discrimination for excluding Trans women from a service for women.

In a recent conversation with Al Jazeera, the app's creator, Sally Grover, acknowledged that she had manually removed a Trans woman named Roxanne Tickle without thinking twice, repeatedly calling Tickle a man.

"It did not register, as we get men trying to enter all the time. Mr. Tickle passed our AI facial recognition test, which was deliberately set at 94% accuracy, meaning that some men will get through," she said.

In her suit, Ms. Tickle argues that she is legally entitled to use services meant for women and has been discriminated against on the basis of gender identity. This argument relies on a 2013 amendment to Australia's Anti-Discrimination Act that added gender identity to the list of protected categories.

Tickle is seeking 200,000 Australian dollars in compensation. The results of this case will set precedent for legal definitions of sex and gender, and ultimately, what it means to be classified as a woman.

The defense has so far failed to get the case thrown out, and the judge is expected to issue his decision in the coming months.

UK: Trans advocacy group challenges government on private puberty blockers ban
On May 29, the UK Department of Health and Social Care issued an emergency ban on privately prescribed puberty blockers for Trans youth, beginning on June 3 through September 3.

The ban includes all drugs containing buserelin, gonadorelin, goserelin, leuprorelin acetate, nafarelin, or triptorelin, when specifically prescribed to suppress puberty and "treat gender dysphoria." It applies to prescriptions written by UK private doctors as well as those practicing within the European Economic Area or Switzerland overall, preventing all new UK patients under the age of 18 from finding a British doctor to provide them puberty blockers anywhere in the European Union.

On June 5, UK-based Trans advocacy group TransActual announced that it is taking "urgent" legal steps against the decision, demanding the government withdraw the regulations and allow private prescriptions of puberty blockers. The Good Law Project is helping raise funds for the legal challenge.

The letter argues that the government was not entitled to use the emergency process to impose the policy. It also says there is no evidence to suggest that puberty blockers create the health risks mentioned in the recently published Cass Report, which the government used as justification.

TransActual Healthcare Director Chay Brown said, "This ban risks the safety and well-being of young Trans people, potentially criminalizes healthcare providers and makes the UK one of the most restrictive places in the world for Trans healthcare.

"We believe this will likely lead to further deaths among the Trans community, on top of forcing many through a puberty they do not want and will deeply regret."

Georgia: LGBTQ+ rights under threat
On June 4, Georgia's ruling party, Georgian Dream, introduced draft legislation curtailing LGBTQ+ rights.

The proposals are similar to laws enacted in Russia banning same-sex marriages, adoption by same-sex couples, public endorsement of same-sex relations at gatherings and at educational institutions, gender-affirming care, and changing one's gender marker in the official documents. It also would require the erasure of references to LGBTQ+ people from public spaces and media (including TV and movies), and schools would be banned from making information available that supposedly "promotes belonging to the opposite sex" or "same-sex relations."

The new initiative was announced by Shalva Papuashvili, parliament speaker and Georgian Dream, member just a day after he signed the "foreign influence" law into force, which has ignited mass protests and slashed the country's chances of being added into the European Union, just six months after the country was offered candidate status.