lgbtq rights
July 6, 2019

Botswana's government is seeking to overturn what was considered a major victory for LGBTQ rights in the country.

Botswana's high court unanimously overturned a colonial-era law criminalizing same-sex relations in June, but the government will appeal the ruling.

"I am of the view that the high court erred in arriving at this conclusion and, thus, I have decided to note an appeal with the court of appeal," Abraham Keetshabe, Botswana's attorney general, said in a statement, adding that he "thoroughly" read the 132-page-long judgment. He did not give any further details on the grounds for appeal.

The high court initially overturned the law because it violated privacy, liberty, and dignity, while serving no public interest. "Human dignity is harmed when minority groups are marginalized," Judge Michael Elburu said at the time. "Sexual orientation is not a fashion statement. It is an important attribute of one's personality." Tim O'Donnell

May 24, 2019

After the Department of Health and Human Services announced on Friday that it would scrap an Obama-era policy that expressly forbade health care providers from discriminating against transgender patients, advocacy groups and lawmakers alike began criticizing the move as damaging to a vulnerable group of Americans.

The pending change reverts regulations back to prohibiting discrimination solely based on sex, not gender identity. "When Congress prohibited sex discrimination, it did so according to the plain meaning of the term, and we are making our regulations conform," HHS Director of the Office for Civil Rights Roger Severino told The Washington Post.

Democrats who are running for president in 2020 wasted no time in decrying the Trump administration.

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) pointed out another aspect of the HHS change: As Axios reports, the rolled-back nondiscrimination policy could also let adoption agencies reject same-sex couples, leaning on new religious exemptions.

The National Center for Transgender Equality has vowed to fight the proposed change — once the policy is rewritten it will surely face several legal challenges, something many 2020 Democrats suggested is necessary. Summer Meza

March 29, 2019

Google has removed an app promoting conversion therapy from its Play Store, following significant backlash from human rights groups and coming months after Apple and Amazon took the app away.

The app was from the group Living Hope Ministries, which promotes "committed, monogamous, heterosexual" relationships, per The Hill. It reportedly offered gay people help in "leaving" their sexuality.

The decision comes after the Human Rights Campaign dropped Google from its annual Corporate Equality Index, reports CNBC, which evaluates companies' support of LGBTQ employees. In a footnote, the report stated "Pending remedial steps by the company to address this app that can cause harm to the LGBTQ community, the CEI rating is suspended."

Google's decision follows the example set by tech giants Apple and Amazon, which removed the app in December. At the time of Apple's decision, a petition demanding removal of the app had gained 356 signatures, reports The Verge. A recent similar petition demanding Google take down the app gained over 140,000 signatures. Marianne Dodson

See More Speed Reads