Global Roundup: Protests Against Hijab Ban in Indian State, Trans-Owned Tattoo Studio Fights Gender Dysphoria, Tina Kotek Wants to Be First Openly Lesbian U.S. Governor
Curated by FG Intern Lydia Georgison
Protest in Udupi district attended by the six girls who first protested against the hijab ban [Al Jazeera]
Videos and pictures of Muslim students being shut outside college gates in Karnataka state in India for wearing the hijab have led to protests and outrage on social media. In one instance, a group of 28 Muslim girls stood in protest in front of the Junior Pre-University college in the Karnataka state after they were denied entry for wearing hijab.
After the girls were allowed to enter the college located in the coastal town of Kundapur in the Udupi district they were later prohibited from sitting in their respective classrooms with other students. On the same day, college officials posted a notice outside the gate that declared hijabs were now against the college’s uniform code.
Our teachers told us they will not allow our entry in classrooms or teach us without government orders…Give up on your hijab. If you hold on to this, you will lose out on your education’, (an official from the education department) told us. - Farheen (not her real name.)
Rights groups have said the move against hijab violates the rights of Muslim students to practice their religion and access education—both of which are enshrined in the constitution.
How is it fair that other students are being taught and we are told to sit separately and self-study just for wearing a headscarf. We used to sit in class all these years with hijab. Now suddenly, they are treating us like criminals and keeping us in a separate classroom. We are hurt. - Muslim student who chose to be anonymous
Since last month, female students at half a dozen pre-university colleges in Karnataka have been prevented by the college authorities from entering the classroom on account of their hijab.
Tensions soared after students and activists allegedly backed by Hindu nationalist groups started to wear saffron coloured scarves, calling for a hijab ban in educational institutions in the state, where Muslims form 12 percent of the population. All schools and colleges in the state have been closed until Friday.
Karnataka state is ruled by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) which also forms the national government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The controversy has reignited the debate about the rights of India’s minorities under the Hindu nationalist government. Activists have said attacks against Muslims and their religious symbols have increased under Modi.
The Muslim girls filed a petition in the Karnataka High Court demanding the right to attend classes in a hijab. Their lawyers argued before the court that the practice of hijab is protected under the right of freedom of religion guaranteed in the Indian constitution and that the state has no power to ban it.
The girls will not give up their rights to express themselves, especially when in the past, hijab was not seen as a problem.
For the last 30 years, the college had no issue with hijab. Why is it suddenly a problem, what has triggered this?- Rifaa
Alden Tank, a tattoo artist at Siren's Call Tattooing, believes their "niche" charity could help many LGBT+ people in need via Pink News
Alden Tank, a tattoo artist and creator of Siren’s Call Tattooing, a trans and neurodivergent business in Salford, Manchester, began a GoFundMe page to raise 15,000 euros to register their studio as a charity to help LGBT+ people in need of gender-affirming hair removal treatments in the UK. This will allow their company to purchase a laser hair removal machine and cover the training costs for staff to offer free treatments to trans and non-binary people struggling with body and gender dysphoria.
The idea struck passion for Alden as they have had to face struggles of their own in the attempt to find services for hair removal during their process of transitioning.
I realised that basically this country has absolutely no help – it’s so underfunded, waitlists are between four to eight years just to get seen on the NHS. The government’s been in power for 10 years, and they’ve not done anything to alleviate that, which means they have no intention of ever really helping our community. – Alden Tank.
Clinics are currently receiving an average of 350 referrals per month which has had a significant impact on the waitlist for an appointment, with more than 10,600 people waiting for this treatment. Not only has that had a tremendous effect on the mental health of those awaiting treatment, but it has also led some to crowdfund to pay for private treatment or even travel abroad for gender-affirming care.
Body hair is political and attitudes towards it are based around Eurocentric and heteronormative notions of beauty. It can be someone’s worst nightmare; just removing the smallest amount of hair can significantly improve one’s wellbeing. It can also potentially save trans and non-binary people from being attacked in public.
Facial hair is probably the biggest giveaway that stops a lot of trans women from passing. Passing is important psychologically, but it’s also important in order to avoid hate crimes and just being assaulted or insulted in public. – Alden Tank
The cost of the machine was roughly equal to the cost of five trans people’s treatment; if the studio can become a registered charity, they can offer treatment to anyone who wants it.
Tank said that the LGBTQ+ community would help the studio reach its goal because history has proven that queer people are stronger when they fight for each other.
History has proven that the LGBTQ+ people will only move forward and be able to have a better life if we fight for it and take it ourselves. Coming together as a whole community is how we’ve gotten this far. - Alden Tank
Oregon Democrat Tina Kotek is vying to be come the first openly lesbian governor (PHOTO: ANTONIO BECCERA) via Reuters
Tina Kotek wants to break down barriers for LGBTQ+ youth. After becoming the first out lesbian to lead a U.S. state's House of Representatives, she now wants to be elected the nation's first openly lesbian governor, too.
Kotek is one of nine candidates vying for the Democratic nomination to compete in Oregon’s gubernatorial contest. For Kotek, it isn’t just about winning but breaking down barriers for all LGBTQ+ Americans.
Becoming the first openly lesbian governor in the country means that I am showing young queer kids around the country that they can do it, too. -Tina Kotek.
Kotek stepped down as Speaker of the House in January after nine years to focus all her energy on her gubernatorial campaign. As a speaker, she helped bring in a state-wide ban on conversion therapy, practices that aim to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. She has also worked hard to protect LGBTQ+ youth from discrimination.
We have worked to make our schools safer and more inclusive by having a strong anti-bullying law and improving social and emotional supports for students in our schools. -Tina Kotek.
With elections approaching in November, Kotek has set her next goal. She will fight for the LGBTQ+ community and allow them to have the chances she did when growing up and in politics.
Lydia Georgison (she/her) is a first-year student at the University of Ottawa. She is passionate about becoming a feminist by learning and broadening her knowledge of topics that have to do with feminism. She spends most of her time studying in the field of criminology.
Lydia strongly believes the key to excellence within society is listening and learning from everyone’s opinions. She suggests that the key to a peaceful and accepting community is the result of educating ourselves on controversial topics.