Global Roundup: Questions Remain Over Girls' Education in Afghanistan, LGBTQ+ Couples Queering Family Structures, Advocates of Trans Rights Warn of "Epidemic of Violence"
Curated by FG Intern Lydia Georgison
Photo Credit Zohra Bensemra/REUTERS via Deutsche Welle
Afghanistan’s new Taliban rulers have said they hope to be able to open all schools for girls across the country after late March but their position on education is calling into question their sincerity as well as what kind of education girls will receive.
Since the Taliban takeover in mid-August, girls in most of Afghanistan have not been allowed back to school beyond grade 7.
Taliban leadership claimed they were not opposed to girls education as long as but two basic conditions were met: gender segregation in schools as well as in public life, and the curriculum must conform to the Taliban's religious beliefs
Women and girls must be segregated from the boys in school, which has introduced a significant obstacle to finding enough dorms or hostels where the girls could stay while attending school.
However, it seems that was not the sole reason the Taliban halted girls’ education in Afghanistan. Kambiz Ghawami, executive chairman of the German committee of the World University Service, which advocates education worldwide, said the Taliban have said on numerous occasions that education is not necessary. Teachers have been leaving the profession because they have not been paid for months.
Ellinor Zeino, former head of the Kabul office of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, points out that a significant percentage of the Afghan population is conservative and shares the same ideas as the Taliban.
Even over the past 20 years, it has been common practice in the conservative provinces for girls to be taken out of school between the ages of 12 and 14. -Ellinor Zeino.
Zeino has recommended seeking Islamic counterarguments to the Taliban’s positions and not leaving the authority to interpret scripture up to the Taliban to protect women's and human rights.
Photo credit: Getty Images via BBC
Many LGBTQ+ couples are choosing to start families with sperm donations from friends or acquaintances, and in doing so they are helping to redefinine modern family structures.
It was an obvious choice for Alice, who chose a close friend as a donor rather than going to a sperm bank and picking from a list of attributes.
He was the obvious choice,..I honestly don’t have that many cis male friends that I’m really close to…I knew that our community would hold us both to being responsible with the ways in which we were forming a queer family. - Alice
Alice remains in close touch with her donor and his partner, whom Alice and her own partner refer to as their daughter’s “uncle” and “aunt”.
In the past several years, a significant number of people from the LGBTQ community were choosing to adopt, mainly because they were unaware of other options they could take. But as of 2015, when gay marriage was legalized, it allowed more people to learn about their options regarding family-building.
Choosing a sperm bank can feel alienating, but it was also highly costly, with rates in the U.S. exceeding $6000. In turn, using a family member or friend was increasingly becoming more favourable for lesbian and gay couples. It allowed a relationship with the donor where the parents had full access to medical history and mutual agreement on whether the child would have a relationship with the donor.
This new method of building a family has introduced the possibility for a broader community and queer familial structures.
Nikki Turietta (L) and Zaniyah Williams via Pink News
At least 53 transgender, non-binary and gender non-conforming people were violently killed in 2021, the highest on record. Alarmingly, the number is growing.
On December 31, Nikki Turietta, a 31-year-old trans woman, was found murdered inside her home in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Her aunt described Nikki as a free spirit who was passionate about travel.
Za’niyah Williams, a 21-year-old Black trans woman, was fatally shot December 20, after a hit-and-run car crash in Houston, Texas, TransGriot reported.
On social media, Williams’ friends said she was “a very sweet and smart young lady and always ripped the runway when she dressed up”. Her cousin said: “You were loved and will always be a part of me! Fly high you beautiful butterfly.”
Both the victims’ identities were confirmed weeks after their deaths amid weeks of misgendering and deadnaming in the local press.
Two-thirds of transgender victims are deadnamed and misgendered by the police and press, which has impacted the percentage of victims of trans violence reported; the actual number could exceed the 53 deaths reported in 2021.
We must create a society that respects Black trans women and all transgender, non-binary and gender non-conforming people. Although we honour them in death, they deserve to live, and they deserve justice for the crimes that too often end their lives. - Tori Cooper, head of Transgender Justice Initiative, Human Rights Campaign
According to the American Medical Association, the rising brutality faced by transgender, non-binary and gender non-conforming people amounts to an epidemic of violence.
Lydia Georgison (she/her) is a first-year student at the University of Ottawa. She hasn’t had much experience working and dealing with topics surrounding feminism; however, she is willing and passionate to learn and broaden her knowledge and become a feminist. 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.