LGBulleTIn #100 – The week in LGBTI news
September 1-7, 2017
Friday, September 1
Australia: trans and gender-diverse young people experience high level of distress, research shows
— ABC News (@abcnews) September 1, 2017
Trans and gender-diverse youth are “at an extraordinarily high risk of suicide and more likely to be depressed or anxious,” according to a new Australian survey.
859 trans and gender-diverse people aged 14–25 took part in the Trans Pathways survey, as well as 194 parents and guardians of young trans people. The results of the study are somewhat sobering: 48% of participants indicated they had attempted suicide at some point in their lives, and 79.8% indicated they have engaged in self-harm. About three in four reported having experienced anxiety or depression, compared to 7.7 per cent of adolescents in the general population.
An alarming 60% of survey participants also reported feeling isolated from medical and mental health services, and 42% of them experienced reaching out to a service provider who did not understand or respect their gender identity.
“Our results support previous research which has indicated that trans populations are at very high risk for mental health difficulties,” senior researcher Dr Ashleigh Lin said. “However, (…) it is important to emphasise that this is not because an individual identifies as trans. Rather, these difficulties are largely caused by external factors – in other words, how the world perceives and treats trans people.”
A lack of awareness from service providers also creates further barriers: “Trans young people told us there is a desperate need for gender services to be expanded, and for current service providers to receive training in gender diversity and the specific health needs of trans people,” said lead author Penelope Strauss.
Friday, September 1
Jamaica: LGBT activist murdered in his own home
His name was Dexter Pottinger. He was a fashion designer, a reality TV star, and an out gay man who in 2016 served as the ambassador of the Jamaica Pride (PRiDE JA) celebrations.
On August 30, he was found stabbed to death in his Kingston home. A neighbour reported hearing screams of “Help!” and “Murder!” from Pottinger’s house, but did not immediately notify police. His body was not found until a day later.
Human rights defenders reminded others of his role in advancing the situation for rainbow communities in the country: “He lived his truth and thrived while doing whatever he could to make Jamaica better for LGBT people in his own ways,” Jaevion Nelson wrote.
His decision to become a public figure, regardless of his personal safety, as a Pride ambassador was praised by many: “He was the most perfect ‘Face of Pride’ , Nelson remembered. “The face of pride is a representation of our bravery, resilience and pride in the face of oppression as a people. The planning committee ‘admired his courage, sense of self, drive, relationship with his family and friends, and pride in being Jamaican and in being a gay man’.”
Sadly, more violent incidents across the world targeting members of rainbow communities were reported in the past few days. In Tunisia, a man was stabbed to death in his home; police reported arresting a man who confessed murdering his victim after meeting him for a sex encounter. Kashmire Nazier Redd, a 28-year-old trans man, was fatally stabbed by his partner during an argument inside their shared apartment in Gates, NY, United States. In Dambulla, Sri Lanka, a 34-year-old trans person and HIV-peer educator was also murdered.
Friday, September 1
Interfaith diversity gathering held in Ghana
More than 30 persons from 10 countries across West Africa gathered together in Ghana in late August to celebrate an interfaith diversity event under the theme “Building Bridges, Sharing Stories, Creating Hope.”
The event was convened by the Interfaith Diversity Network of West Africa (IDNOWA), a regional network of “activists, faith based individuals, LGBTQI persons, advocates and individual activists working for inclusion of diverse persons to create a world governed by respect and dignity.”
For five days, activists from Benin, Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Gambia, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Mali and Togo came together to share their experiences, study how religious texts convey a message of acceptance, and hold an interfaith worship.
“Religion is meant to promote respect for individuals irrespective of their sexual orientation or gender identity,” IDNOWA co-chair Davis Mac-Iyalla told the Washington Blade. “Our network is embraced by everyone who wants a change in attitude for a fairer and inclusive society for everyone.”
Saturday, September 2
Indonesia: 12 women evicted from their homes following people’s assumptions on their sexual orientation
Suspected lesbians raid in Tugu Jaya village, Bogor, involved village head and police commissioner https://t.co/fYaWeqdOp9
— Andreas Harsono (@andreasharsono) September 6, 2017
Twelve women have been evicted from their homes in the Indonesian province of West Java, following speculations about their sexual orientation.
Police raided a residential compound in the village of Tugu Jaya, following complaints from local Islamic youth groups and religious leaders that the women’s cohabitation was “against the teachings of Islam.” According to interviews conducted by Human Rights Watch, authorities provided no legal justification for the raid after police demanded that the women relocate from the area within three days’ time.
The head of the neighbourhood where the women lived in Tugu Jaya sought to justify the raid by saying that the women were “unsettling the public.”
“What’s most offensive about this incident is that police and government officials steamrolled privacy rights and rule of law to appease the bigotry of a few neighbours,” said Andreas Harsono, senior Indonesia researcher at Human Rights Watch. “Evicting these women based on prejudiced assumptions of their sexual identity threatens the privacy of all Indonesians and has no place in a country whose motto is ‘unity in diversity.’”
Tuesday, September 5
Malta introduces ‘X’ gender marker in official documents
— Helena Dalli (@helenadalli) September 5, 2017
The government of Malta has introduced the option for its citizens to choose an “X” gender marker on official documents – including passports, identity cards and residence permits.
The possibility, outlined after Cabinet approved the LGBTIQ Action Plan 2015, officially came into force on September 6. Applicants wishing to opt for the “X” marker will be required to take an oath in the presence of a notary; the statement will have to be presented to Identity Malta, where the usual procedures to acquire a new document will then be employed.
“This is a continuation of our policy of recognising every person in the way they want to identify themselves,” Equality minister Helena Dalli said, speaking at a press conference together with parliamentary Secretary Julia Farrugia. “We feel this is another important step towards giving people rights and obligations, irrespective of how they were born.”
Thursday, September 7
United States: Supreme Court asked to review case of workplace discrimination suffered by a lesbian woman
A civil rights group has filed a petition before the U.S. Supreme Court, seeking a nationwide ruling that sexual orientation discrimination violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.
The highest court in the country will be asked to review the case of Jameka Evans, a Savannah, GA. security guard who claimed she was physically assaulted, harassed at work and denied equal pay – eventually being forced to quit her job – on the grounds of her sexual orientation and gender expression.
Evans filed a first lawsuit in April 2015, but the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia court dismissed the case. A two-year legal battle followed, eventually leading to the petition asking the Supreme Court to review the case.
“It’s time for LGBT people everywhere to be protected against employment discrimination,” said Greg Nevins, Employment Fairness Project Director for Lambda Legal. “We need the highest court in the land to review this case, consider the vital rights at stake, and settle the issue once and for all to ensure that getting or keeping a job shouldn’t depend on your sexual orientation.”
Is that all? More LGBTI news bites
In Australia, the High Court rejected a legal challenge to the postal plebiscite on marriage equality. The survey is now set to begin on September 12, and supporters of marriage equality have called on “focus(ing) energy on securing a ‘yes’ vote.”
The annual Miss Samoa Fa’afafine pageant was held in Samoa, marking the 11th anniversary of this event.
A trans rights organisation in Paraguay filed a complaint reporting a case of police violence against a 23-year old trans woman and sex worker, who was subjected to “torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment” following her arrest.
The President of Chile signed a draft bill aimed at adding a new article to the Penal Code sanctioning incitement to hatred on the grounds of “race, national or ethnic origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or beliefs.”
The plans to scrap DACA – the program giving temporary legal immigration status to young, undocumented immigrants in the United States – may affect as well as 75,000 LGBT DREAMers, 36,000 of whom are enrolled in the program.
interACT and Human Rights Watch sent letters to two medical associations urging them to use their upcoming international medical conferences to publicly affirm their support to end medically unnecessary surgery on intersex children.
According to reports, separate provisions to codify wages and protect trans people’s labour rights have been excluded from the draft of the Wages Code Bill that is currently being discussed in India.
More than 300 people have gathered in Chiang Mai, Thailand for the third Asia Pacific Feminist Forum, whose programme includes a workshop on “The Shrinking space for LBT: Asia Pacific Feminist Movement for Justice.”
Experience of hate crime by lesbian, gay and bisexual people in Britain has risen by 78% since 2013, a report has shown, while 2 in 5 trans people have experienced hate crime episodes in the last 12 months.
In November 2017, ILGA-Europe and TGEU will host a capacity building seminar and roundtable with public authorities on LGBTI asylum in Brussels, Belgium. The deadline to apply has been extended until September 19.
Religious police in the State of Kano, Nigeria have reportedly arrested at least 52 youths following accusations that they were planning to organize a “gay party”.
A new report by the East African Sexual Health and Rights Initiative has cast a light on the current human rights situation of LGBTI people and sex workers in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Model and trans woman of colour Munroe Bergdorf saw her contract with a cosmetic brand terminated, after a media outlet published details of a Facebook post where she called out racism and white supremacy.