LGBulleTIn #32 - The week in LGBTI news
January 15-21, 2016
Friday, January 15
Canadian university creates world’s first chair in transgender studies
The University of Victoria has added a chair in transgender studies to its faculty: it will be the worldwide first of a kind, the university explained. The inaugural chair will be Dr. Aaron Devor, who founded the UVic Transgender Archives back in 2011: an institution that now represents 17 countries on five continents, more than a century of research and over 50 years of activism.
"Far too many trans and gender-nonconforming people still live in poverty and fear," Devor said in a statement. "As the inaugural chair, I will act as a resource locally and internationally for those needing information for their own research or for policy development, as well as building linkages between community-based and academic scholars working in transgender studies."
Read more via University of Victoria’s The Ring
Botswana: LGBTI group goes to court to defend its right to exist as a legal entity
LEGABIBO, an advocacy group for the human rights of LGBTI people based in Botswana, appeared in the Gaborone High Court of Appeal to defend its legal registration, obtained over a year ago.
In November 2014 a court agreed that refusing to register the organisation would have violated the applicants’ rights to freedom of expression, freedom of association and freedom of assembly.
The government, though, seemed to think otherwise, and appealed the ruling: “They believe that the order to register the LGBTI rights group is in violation of the Constitution, as it would appear that government encourages same-sex (relations) in the country,” LEGABIBO explained in a statement. “They further argued that it would go against public morality.” A date for the verdict is yet to be announced.
A few days after the organisation went to court, Botswana’s former president Festus Mogae reiterated his support to those fighting for LGBTI equality, calling “African leaders to open up to second generation rights.”
Read more on Mambaonline
Sunday, January 17
Brazil: trans women found dead, another stabbed in Capão da Canoa
At least 770 trans persons were murdered in Brazil in the last seven years. Sadly, at least one more trans woman will now have to be added to this tragic list, as she was found dead on Sunday.
The body of Nathallya Figueiredo, full of stab wounds, was lying in her own car when police found her and transported her to the hospital, but she was found dead on arrival. This murder allegedly took place in Capão da Canoa where, during the same night, another trans woman was stabbed in the chest and arm: she was taken to the hospital, where she remains in serious conditions.
Two other trans women were found dead on the same day, but the cause of their deaths is still unclear: the lifeless body of Márcia Cabrita lied in her house in Cidade Nova I, district of Senhor do Bonfim, when her partner arrived, while the body of Giovana Atanazio was found floating in the river Forquilhas in São José, bearing no evident signs of violence.
Read more on Planet Transgender
Wednesday, January 20
Australia: British man experiences “senseless discrimination” upon his husband’s death during honeymoon
David and Marco Bulmer-Rizzi, both British citizens, had just celebrated their wedding and left for Adelaide, Australia for their honeymoon. It was only when his husband died suddenly after falling down a staircase that Marco found out the state of South Australia does not legally recognise same-sex marriages from overseas, and was denied next-of-kin status. “Never married,” read his beloved one’s death certificate.
“I was completely overlooked,” Bulmer-Rizzi told Buzzfeed News. “Every single question I was asked – whether or not I wanted David cremated, whether or not I wanted David to have a service, or be washed, even the cost of the coffin they were to use – after I gave my answer, David’s father was consulted. It was outright discrimination. If I didn’t get on with my in-laws I don’t know that I would have any rights.”
The case was described as "senseless discrimination" by South Australia’s premier Jay Weatherill, who gave Bulmer-Rizzi his personal guarantee that his husband’s death certificate would be reissued with his correct marital status, and promised legislation to recognise overseas same-sex marriages would be introduced to the state parliament by the end of the year.
While many expressed their sadness and rage over this story, an organisation took the occasion to accuse Australian Marriage Equality of exploiting a man’s death for political gain.
India: first LGBT taxi service launched in Mumbai
It is called Wings Rainbow, and it is India’s first LGBT radio taxi service: it is expected to start functioning in 2017, and its cabs will be chauffeured by members of the LGBT community.
Three trans women and two gay men, all volunteers from The Humsafar Trust, were the first ones to sign up: under the pilot programme, they will apply for a learner’s licence, complete their training in getting the All India Driver’s Licence and undergo customer etiquette training. As its director told The Hindu, the taxi company is already looking forward to increasing its fleet: “While the first five are trained, we will continue enrolment from the LGBT community up to 1,500 people.”
“Finally people will know what we're capable of," one of the first drivers told The Times of India, who recalled being rejecting at several past job interviews “despite being a graduate, just because I'm transgender.”
Thursday, January 21
European parliament urges member States to speak out for LGBTI rights at UN Human Rights Council
The European parliament adopted a resolution urging all member states to speak out for LGBTI people at the United Nations Human Rights Council. The document expresses the parliament’s concerns regarding “discriminatory laws and practices and acts of violence against individuals on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity,” and asks for increased support to LGBTI human rights defenders.
“The United Nations have shown their clear commitment to universal and indivisible human rights, including for LGBTI people,” Fabio Massimo Castaldo MEP commented. “Today the elected representatives of 500 million citizens aligned themselves with this commitment.”
Read the European Parliament Intergroup on LGBTI Rights’ press release
Is that all? More news bites
More LGBTI news bites
For the first time, the human rights of LGBTI people are on the agenda at the World Economic Forum currently taking place in Davos, where US vice-president Joe Biden urged chief executives to drive change in countries where LGBTI people face repression.
Despite its new regulations against hate speech, two disturbing hashtags were wildly popular this week on Twitter: #GaysNoMerecenIgualdad (“gays don’t deserve equality”) trended worldwide on Tuesday, while #ViolaAUnaLesbiana (“rape a lesbian”) trended throughout Mexico last weekend.
A trans woman was shot in the head and killed in General Roca, Argentina, while a young gay man was kidnapped and tortured for four days in the island of Guadeloupe.
Only 8 in 19 political parties running in the upcoming presidential elections in Peru are reportedly including proposals for LGBTI people in their government plans.
A resolution was approved in Nicaragua, stating that health care workers may be sanctioned if they engage in discriminatory acts towards LGBTI patients.
Sandra Morán, the first out member of the LGBTI community elected to congress in Guatemala, has just taken office.
Tsai Ing-wen has been elected Taiwan's first female president. Before last year’s Pride parade in Taipei, she declared her support for marriage equality.
After facing backlash for a new game, which allows the player to drug the drink of a lesbian woman character to make her fall in love with a male one, a gaming company confirmed that plot line will only be present in the Japanese version of the game.
In Rakai, Uganda, a man reportedly walked out of his family after he discovered her baby daughter was developing male genitalia.
In Malawi, the Director of Public Prosecutions used its powers to stop all court proceedings against politician Kenneth Msonda for his "kill gays and lesbians" utterance.
In Egypt, a court overturned judgement against a broadcaster in a defamation case brought for her role in publicizing the arrest of 26 men on charges of homosexuality from a bath house.
There are also grassroots LGBTI organisations among the 29 associations which formed a civil collective in Tunisia to defend the freedoms guaranteed in the country’s constitution.
ILGA-Europe and PIRC started a new project, Reframing LGBTI Equality in Europe, and issued an urgent call for all relevant literature.
The 6th European Transgender Council will be held in Bologna, Italy from June 2 to 5. TGEU has already opened its calls for scholarships, workshop holders and candidates.
The government in Slovakia abandoned the adoption of the National Action Plan on LGBTI Equality, ILGA-Europe reported.
Activists in Spain are calling the Real Academia Española (RAE) to amend its dictionary’s definition of “bisexual,” which is far from correct.
In the United States, the Department of Education reportedly decided to post online for public view the waivers of religious schools that receive federal money and yet obtain federal exemptions to discriminate against LGBT and gender-nonconforming students.
Controversy sparked among activists after the National LGBTQ Task Force announced to have cancelled a reception at its annual conference in the United States that was to have featured two advocates from Israel. Their decision was later reversed.
Half of non-LGBT persons in the United States think that “gay people have the same rights as everybody else” nowadays, and 27% of them don’t consider violence against trans people a serious problem, a report indicates.
The first LGBTI community and Queensland government roundtable in five years took place in Brisbane, Australia.
Marriage equality will be the central theme of this year’s Pride march in Melbourne, Victoria.
Is there any other LGBTI-related news you would like to share with us? Drop us a line on Facebook or tweet @ilgaworld!