LGBulleTIn #102 – The week in LGBTI news
September 15-21, 2017
Prepared by Daniele Paletta
Edited by Lara Goodwin
Friday, September 15
Progress in Nepal on legal gender recognition
The Supreme Court of Nepal has issued a groundbreaking and much-awaited ruling regarding legal gender recognition. The judgment will allow those who have received Nepalese citizenship to change their birth-assigned sex according to their gender identity.
The 14-page document explains that the current law provides for the opportunity to amend citizenship documents, and therefore this provision must be applied also to update gender markers. The Supreme Court also issued a directive to the government asking that education certificates and other identity documents be amended on the basis of a person’s citizenship.
Friday, September 15
Italy: schools blacklisted by ‘pro-family’ group for allegedly promoting ‘gender ideology’
+++BOLOGNA, IL FAMILY DAY SCHEDA LE SCUOLE. ARCIGAY: "OPERAZIONE SQUADRISTA, LORO GIA' A GIUDIZIO PER… https://t.co/32HaJXD4P4
— Arcigay (@Arcigay) September 15, 2017
A ‘pro-family’ committee has sparked outrage for profiling and rating schools in Bologna based on their alleged efforts to promote a so-called ‘gender ideology’.
The group – backed by a few centre-right politicians in town – has directly taken aim at projects to tackle homophobia and bullying in schools, claiming that they would work as a Trojan horse to promote ‘gender ideology’ among students. The attack has resulted in a list of schools across the province, each of them marked with a green, yellow or red sign to show how allegedly “safe” they would be.
The initiative has been lambasted not only by schools themselves, but also by LGBTI human rights defenders, who described it as “a fascist-style intimidation”: “This is a very intimidating action against families, teaching personnel and students,” said Gabriele Piazzoni, president at Arcigay. “It is important to point out that, in their despicable profiling operation, the committee referred to fake news that have been largely disrupted, and that were created ad hoc only to support their theories.”
Saturday, September 16
Tanzania: 20 persons arrested in Zanzibar for “homosexuality”
— Global Citizen (@GlblCtzn) September 19, 2017
A group of twenty parents, local partners and NGO staff have been arrested on Tanzania’s semi-autonomous archipelago of Zanzibar for organising and attending a workshop addressing stigma and discrimination in the family with regards to HIV and AIDS.
Regional police commander Hassan Ali Nasri took to state television to claim that the people arrested “are implicated in homosexuality.” “We arrested them and are busy interrogating them,” he said. “Police cannot turn a blind eye to this practice.”
All except two staff members of the NGO which organized the workshop have been released without being charged.
Pan Africa ILGA and the Centre for Human Rights – University of Pretoria have strongly condemned the action by Zanzibari police, and have called to “unconditionally release the two NGO staff members who are still in police custody.”
As AfricaNews reports, Tanzania has seen a recent spike in rhetoric against rainbow communities by the government. Earlier this year, President John Magufuli was reported claiming that LGBTI organisations should be countered even if this meant losing foreign aid. Interior minister Mwigulu Nchemba was also quoted as warning “all organisations and institutions that campaign and pretend to protect homosexual interests” will be arrested.
Just a day before the recent arrests in Zanzibar, deputy Health minister Hamisi Kingwangalla reportedly vowed in front of parliament to “fight with all our strength against groups supporting homosexuality in our country”.
Tuesday, September 19
United States: report highlights disparities faced by bisexual older adults
— SAGE USA (@sageusa) September 19, 2017
Bisexual older adults are disproportionally impacted by social isolation and invisibility, economic insecurity, and poorer health, a new report has pointed out.
The document, released by the Movement Advancement Project on the occasion of the Bisexual Awareness Week, has collected data from various research and highlights how bisexual older adults are less likely to be “out” about their sexual orientation to the most important people in their lives, compared to their lesbian and gay peers. Such social isolation can lead to negative outcomes, including “poorer mental and physical health.”
The report also shows that bisexual people aged 65 and older “have shocking poverty rates”: 47% of bisexual older men and 48% of bisexual women in the United States live at or below 200% of the federal poverty level.
The organisation has also released a second report, highlighting experiences of bisexual and pansexual transgender people. The document, based on data from the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey, casts a light on how this population faces greater disparities, particularly in economic security, health, and violence, as well as a lack of targeted services.
Tuesday, September 19
Brazil: judge overturns ban on ‘conversion’ therapy
A Brazilian judge has overruled a 1999 resolution issued by the Federal Council of Psychology (CFP) that prohibited psychologists in the country from offering ‘conversion’ therapy.
Judge Waldemar de Carvalho ruled in favour of an action brought by Rozangela Justino, a psychologist whose license was revoked in 2016 after she offered therapies that are wildly discredited and that were described as “tantamount to torture” by the United Nations. In a 2009 interview, The Guardian points out, Justino said she saw same-sex attraction as a “disease” and claimed to “feel directed by God to help people who are homosexual.”
The Federal Council of Psychology explained in a statement that the decision “opens the dangerous possibility of the use of ‘sexual reversion therapies’” and vowed to appeal the ruling. “There is no way to cure what is not a disease,” CFP president Rogério Giannini said. “It is not a serious, academic debate: it is a debate connected to religious or conservative positions.”
The 1999 resolution has already faced legal challenges in the past; as ILGA’s State-Sponsored Homophobia notes, “in 2013 the Commission for Human Rights of Brazil’s lower house of Congress approved a bill that would repeal Resolution 1/99. The proposal was later abandoned.”
The recent ruling resonated worldwide, and people took to social media to express their outrage at the decision – with the hashtag #curagay trending for hours worldwide.
Thursday, September 21
Tasmania to expunge historical convictions for same-sex activity and ‘cross-dressing’
The Upper House in the state of Tasmania, Australia has unanimously passed legislation that will clear the records of people convicted under historic laws against same-sex activity and ‘cross-dressing’.
According to The Examiner, people will now be able to apply to the Justice Department to have now-outdated offences wiped from their records. In case they are incapacitated, applications can be filed on their behalf.
“Gay and transgender Tasmanians who were convicted under our awful former laws will no longer have to endure the stigma and disadvantage of having a criminal record,” LGBTI human rights defender Rodney Croome commented. “The fact that this law has been passed, accompanied by some heart felt apologies (…) is very encouraging for members of the LGBTI community at this difficult time when we’re being put through the same-sex marriage vote. I just hope this decision shows the rest of the politicians in Canberra that we can’t take forever to change a law that should already have been changed.”
Is that all? More LGBTI news bites
A group of international human rights experts examining the Yogyakarta Principles concluded a process to approve 9 Additional Principles (including 52 State Obligations), 50 Additional State Obligations under the original Principles, and 5 Additional Recommendations to non-state actors. The release of a new document is due in November 2017.
The SOGIE Equality Bill has passed its third and final reading in the House of Representatives in the Philippines, with a 198-0 vote.
A fundraiser has been launched to support the T Project shelter home in Singapore, which houses homeless transgender individuals.
A 51-year old trans woman was murdered in Montevideo, Uruguay. Her partner has reportedly confessed the crime, and police are investigating.
Fifteen activists from Belize, the Dominican Republic, Guyana, Jamaica, Suriname and Trinidad & Tobago have gathered together in Guyana for the first leg of the inaugural Caribbean LGBTI Leadership Academy.
Dozens of human rights defenders have gathered together in Podgorica, Montenegro for the annual conference of the LGBTI Equal Rights Association for Western Balkans and Turkey.
Research into experiences of LGBT pupils in Northern Ireland found that two-thirds of them do not feel welcomed or valued in their post-primary school. Almost half reported experiencing bullying on the grounds of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Youth mental health organisations across Australia have launched a campaign to highlight the links between youth suicide rates and discrimination against LGBTI people. It is estimated that “as many as 3000 youth suicide attempts could be averted each year with a ‘YES’ vote for marriage equality,” the organisations claim.
A shadow report submitted to the UN Human Rights Committee “provides evidence of continuing harmful, coercive practices” against intersex persons “in Australian hospitals, with the support of Australian governments and the Family Court.”
In Arizona, United States, the Supreme Court ruled that a woman was the legal parent of the child she and her wife conceived through assisted reproduction during their marriage.
In the United States, a student and LGBTI human rights defender who was allegedly struggling with their mental health was shot dead by campus police at Georgia Tech. Three people were arrested during a protest that followed a vigil in their memory.
A man has been tortured and killed in Kef, Tunisia, in what may have been a homophobic hate crime.
In South Africa, Iranti-Org has launched a partnership with Soweto TV for a weekly show that will “look into the world of LGBTI Africans, celebrate our victories and look ahead at the work still to be done.”