Even though there were many challenges and barriers for the LGBTQ+ community in 2021, there was also much progress, especially regarding new legislation. Various policies were implemented globally that decriminalize homosexuality, provide protections for transgender people, and have easier access to healthcare.
Here is a timeline of all the positive changes that occurred for the queer community this year.
January LGBTQ+ Legislation
In the United States, the Labor Department halted an executive order prohibiting government agencies and contractors from offering and providing diversity training. After LGBTQ+ advocacy groups from the Northern District of California filed suit, this policy was put into place. Then, a federal judge issued a preliminary nationwide injunction against the executive order.
In the U.S., President Joe Biden signed an executive order right after his inauguration to make the government recognize more protections against discrimination on the basis of sex and gender. This order was in line with the interpretation of sex discrimination in Bostock v. Clayton County. It reversed the previous president’s anti-discrimination laws towards discrimination in housing, education, accessing shelters, and other areas.
In addition, all federal agencies were required to review existing regulations and policies that ban sex discrimination and revise them as needed to clarify that “sex” includes sexual orientation and gender identity.
In the U.S., President Joe Biden signed an executive order that ended the ban on service by transgender people in the military. This order had previously gone into effect on January 22, 2019.
February LGBTQ+ Legislation
In Angola, a new criminal code was implemented after the parliament passed it in January 2019 and was signed into law in November 2020. This new penal code no longer criminalizes homosexuality. In addition, it offers full anti-discrimination protections on the basis of sexuality and gender identity.
In New York, U.S., commercial surrogacy became legal for same-sex and opposite-sex couples. This law had also previously been banned.
A new penal code was enacted in Bhutan, ensuring homosexuality was no longer a crime.
March LGBTQ+ Legislation
The EU parliament determined that the whole territory of all EU member states is a freedom zone for LGBTQ+ individuals.
May LGBTQ+ Legislation
President Joe Biden in the U.S. reversed a policy from the Trump administration that permitted healthcare companies to refuse coverage for LGBTQ+ people.
June LGBTQ+ Legislation
The Madras High Court of India offers protections for conversion therapy in the country. After delivering his verdict for S Sushma v. Commissioner of Police, Justice N Anand Venkatesh put forth extensive measures to remove prejudices against the LGBTQ+ community. In addition, the court stated that changes would be made to the curriculum of schools and universities to better educate students on understanding LGBTQ+ issues.
The Mexican State of Sinaloa legalized same-sex marriage after various past failed attempts. This state will officially recognize same-sex relationships at the end of this year.
July LGBTQ+ Legislation
The Israeli High Court amended the Surrogacy Law enacted in 2018, which discriminates against same-sex couples. In addition, it will be amended by a High Court order that will be implemented within the year.
September LGBTQ+ Legislation
Swiss Voters approved same-sex marriage in a national referendum. According to the vote, 64.1% of voters accepted the reform, while none of the 26 Swiss cantons were against it.
November LGBTQ+ Legislation
In Spain, an executive order was signed into law. This order ensures that there is free IVF treatment for single women and women in same-sex relationships throughout the nation. In addition, a bill has been formally introduced to permanently put the decision into practice.
**Note: This language features gender dichotomously as that is what is indicated in the information, and it does not talk about any variability. We have used the language reported in the research.
The Botswana Appeals Court stood by the High Court’s ruling to decriminalize gay sex in Botswana.
In Chile, the Chamber of Deputies of Chile passed and approved a bill that permits same-sex marriages. The bill was suggested on November 23, and the Senate of Chile supported it on November 30.
December LGBTQ+ Legislation
Canada put protections into place regarding conversion therapy. The government makes providing, promoting or advertising this type of discredited practice to children, consenting adults, and non-consenting adults a criminal offense.
In addition, the bill describes conversion therapy as the “practice, treatment or service designed to change a person’s sexual orientation to heterosexual, or to change a person’s gender identity to cisgender.” In addition, this law will permit courts to authorize the removal of online content promoting the practice.
Other Highlights in LGBTQ+ Rights in 2021
New Zealand Making it Simpler for Transgender People to Update Information on their Birth Certificates
In New Zealand, residents can now update their sex on birth certificates. This new law that passed ensures that these individuals can make any changes without having to provide evidence of undergoing a medical procedure.