The unravelling of LGBTQIA+ rights is happening right across the globe at this very moment.

The weaponisation of homophobia and transphobia in the political space has been around for as long as politics has –  and it seems to growing in a scary direction of late.

In some countries with democratic government systems, we are seeing a pullback from inclusivity. As if the political pendulum is swinging back towards right-winged, authoritarian values in places thought of as progressive. This leaves a blanket of uncertainty suffocating the LGBTQIA+ community across the world, who are no doubt questioning their ongoing rights and wondering, ‘What next?’

There are many countries today that still criminalise same-sex relationships, but here are some recent examples of oppressive policy changes that may come as a surprise to you.

Italian mothers in same-sex couples are being removed from birth certificates.

In Italy, under a left-leaning government, same-sex civil unions were made legal in 2016. 

Though this was a cause for celebration, the law reforms ended there and same-sex couples were still not given full-adoption rights. Even still, due to a lack of clarity in the law, some courts and cities still allowed for both same-sex parents to be on their children’s birth certificates. Giuseppe Sala, the Mayor of Milan, was one of them. 

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Now, under the new so-called ‘right-winged’ government headed by PM Giorgia Meloni, mothers in same-sex couples who did not give birth to their child are currently having their names removed from their children’s birth certificates. This follows a government announcement released in March stating that agencies should cease registering children of same-sex couples.

According to Pink News, "So far, 27 families in the northern city of Padua have received a warning letter, affecting the lives of 33 children". Reportedly, three lesbian couples have had their children’s birth certificates changed following the warning at this stage. 

Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni is known for her anti-LGBTQIA+ stance and used this as part of her political campaign which saw her becoming Prime Minister. There have been protests and backlash, with hundreds of people taking to the streets of Milan in March when same-sex parenting rights were originally restricted.

USA’s targeted attack on the LGBTQIA+ community has shattered previous records.

According to the Human Rights Campaign, as of May 2023, over 520 LGBTQIA+ bills have been introduced in state legislatures. Over 220 bills specifically target transgender and non-binary people, and 70 anti-LGBTQIA+ laws have been enacted so far this year.

In Florida, the well-known ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill was recently approved to expand to all grade levels across schools. 

This bill prohibits discussions of sexual orientation and gender identity in schools in a state that was once known for its large LGBTQIA+ community. There was even a reality TV show called Tampa Baes, following a group of lesbian friends in the Tampa Bay area – a place once known for being a queer destination. 


And now, in approximately 20 states, there are various bans on gender-affirming care and on drag shows. Though the number of states enacting further bans such as these is expected to increase.

There are very real impacts of these anti-LGBTQIA+ laws. Research from the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law and Clark University found that, in Florida, at least 50 per cent of LGBTQIA+ parents surveyed have considered moving out of the state due to the 'Don’t Say Gay' bill. 

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Poland ‘LGBT-free zones’ and an anti-LGBTQIA+ government.

Poland is home to cities that declare themselves to be ‘LGBT-free’. 

Their President, Andrzej Duda, is from the Law and Justice (PiS) party and he has been in power since 2015. He won the last re-election with anti-LGBTQIA+ campaigns – and the rights of that community have been backsliding since he came into power.

The European Region of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA Europe) place Poland as one of the worst European countries to be LGBTQIA+ person in. This is the fourth year in a row they've earned that title. 

In 2021, Hungary passed its own ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law.

The law bans sharing information with under-18s that the government considers to be promoting homosexuality or gender change and also prevents large organisations from sharing advertisements that show solidarity with gay people, if they are deemed to target under-18s.


Hungary have a checkered recent past when it comes to LGBTQIA+ rights and the European Commission formally referred Hungary to the Court of Justice of the European Union because of this.

Governments still do not collect data that is inclusive of sexual orientation and gender identity.

It can be very difficult to find accurate, or enough data on the LGBTQIA+ community. 

Even on our very own doorstep. LGBTQ Health Australia have said that the 2021 Australian Census asks only for a person’s sex based on chromosomes, hormones and reproductive organs. The options for the question are ‘incorrect’ and leave out many variables, including gender identity. 

These examples of just the tip of the anti-LGBTQIA+ iceberg and do not include countries well-known for their laws against LGBTQIA+ people. It also doesn’t include the hateful community rhetoric, the isolation, the violent hate groups marching against LGBTQIA+ people which you’ve likely seen plastered all over the news recently in Sydney and Melbourne, and the immense fear and uncertainty felt by many in our community. 

Being gay, where ever you are in the world, means your rights are never guaranteed. What happens to us depends on whatever political party is at the helm – and that's never felt as scary as it does right now. 

Feature Image: Getty + Mamamia.