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What will the world do on LGBTQ+ rights in 2024?

People take part in the 45th Christopher Street Day Berlin Pride (CSD) demonstration, in Berlin, Germany, July 22, 2023. REUTERS/Annegret Hilse

People take part in the 45th Christopher Street Day Berlin Pride (CSD) demonstration, in Berlin, Germany, July 22, 2023. REUTERS/Annegret Hilse

What’s the context?

Thailand will debate a marriage equality law, while Namibia could decriminalise gay sex. What else is in store next year?

LONDON - There were huge milestones and setbacks for LGBTQ+ rights around the world during 2023.

Same-sex marriage was legalised in nations including Slovenia and Andorra, gay sex was decriminalised in Mauritius and the Cook Islands and self-identification laws for transgender people were passed in Spain, Finland and New Zealand.

However, trans rights lost ground in Russia and parts of the United States, while Uganda passed one of the world's strictest anti-gay laws, imposing the death sentence for certain same-sex acts.

Here is what to watch out for in 2024.

  • Thailand appears to be on track to legalise same-sex marriage this year after lawmakers overwhelmingly passed draft legislation in December.
  • Same-sex marriages officially became legal in Estonia from Jan. 1.
  • Fellow Baltic state Latvia legalised same-sex civil unions in 2023, with the law set to come into effect from July 2024.
  • Activists have also named Ukraine as a nation to watch, after a bill on civil partnerships was submitted in 2023.
  • Namibia's High Court will decide whether to decriminalise same-sex relations, with a final decision due by May 2024.
  • Colombia, Costa Rica, New Zealand, the Philippines, the United States and Venezuela have all introduced bills to expand discrimination protections to LGBTQ+ people, which could be passed in 2024.
  • In April, Japan's Aichi Prefecture will introduce the country's first district-level certificate system allowing the children of same-sex couples to be officially recognised as family. Several regions already issue similar same-sex partnership certificates.

    German Minister for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth Lisa Paus and German Justice Minister Marco Buschmann give a press statement on the government's draft law on self-determination in relation to gender registration in Berlin, Germany August 23, 2023. REUTERS/Annegret Hilse
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    A person waves a flag during the European LGBTQ pride march in Belgrade, Serbia, September 17, 2022. REUTERS/Zorana Jevtic
    Go DeeperSerbian LGBTQ+ couples hope Greek marriage law kick-starts change
    People gather outside the building of Russia’s Supreme Court following a hearing to consider a request by the Ministry of Justice to recognize the LGBTQ movement as extremist in Moscow, Russia, November 30, 2023. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov
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    • Germany will debate a gender self-determination law to simplify the transitioning process, after it was submitted to parliament in 2023.
    • Vietnam could see the advancement of a legal gender recognition law introduced in April 2023. The country currently has no legal framework for people to change gender.
    • A ruling by Russia's Supreme Court that declares LGBTQ+ activists and organisations to be "extremist" will come into effect in early January. Those involved in organising or funding such activities could face up to 10 years in prison.
    • House Republicans have added provisions to seven of the 12 2024 federal funding bills that will restrict spending on gender-affirming care for trans people in the United States. It follows the fourth consecutive year that a record-breaking number of anti-trans bills was introduced in the country.
    • A stringent anti-LGBTQ+ bill in Ghana that would further criminalise same-sex relations and introduce punishment for even identifying as LGBTQ+ is expected to have its second reading in 2024.
    • The European Court of Human Rights is due to hold a hearing on the case of intersex Olympic champion Caster Semenya in May 2024, following a referral from the Swiss government. The runner says governing body World Athletics has discriminated against her by asking that she medically reduce her testosterone levels.
    • In Malawi, the High Court is due to give a final decision on the case of a trans woman that will determine the constitutionality of the nation's laws against gay sex and cross-dressing.

    Sources: ILGA World, ILGA Europe, Outright International, Human Rights Watch, Human Rights Campaign, TGEU

    (Reporting by Lucy Middleton; Editing by Helen Popper.)

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