LGBulleTIn #33 - The week in LGBTI news
January 22-28, 2016
Friday, January 22
United States: study unveils high levels of discrimination and harassment faced by the LGBTQ immigrant community
United We Dream released a report documenting the high levels of discrimination and harassment in employment, healthcare, housing and education the LGBTQ immigrant community is facing in the United States.
The organisation described No more closets as “the largest national survey ever conducted” on the issue, as it is based on the answers of 461 LGBTQ individuals who are either born outside of the United States or are U.S.-born citizens with foreign-born parents.
The study paints a picture of a struggling community: only 1 in 4 respondents said they earn enough to live comfortably, and more than 4 in 10 have no health insurance.
Almost half of the respondents recalled experiencing discrimination at school because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, and to be afraid when seeking help from police.
An example of the “tension between law enforcement and LGBTQ and immigrant communities” No more closets speaks about made headlines a few days after the report was released: thirty-one women currently held in an immigration detention facility in California — 14 of them trans — filed a complaint with authorities alleging they were subjected to humiliating, invasive strip searches in violation of state law and federal policy.
Saturday, January 23
Italy: one million people take to the streets in 100 cities to ask for equality
“Wake up, Italy!”: this was the cry of hundreds of thousands of people who, alarm clocks in their hands, joined demonstrations across the country and demanded the bill on civil unions the Senate is currently debating be approved. If the proposal passes as it currently is, all couples would be granted the right to enter civil unions, and stepchild adoptions will be possible also for same-sex couples.
This “stepchild provision” is the most contentious aspect of the legislation, and has drawn intense criticism from those who are intensely campaigning against the law and insisting on family being “between a man and a woman only,” and on children having to be raised “by a mother and a father.”
People who rallied in support of the legislation, of course, think otherwise, and urged the parliament to act quickly: last year, in fact, the European court of human rights ruled that Italy was guilty of violating human rights because it did not offer adequate legal protection or recognition to same-sex couples. “No compromise can be accepted when fighting for equal rights,” said Arcigay’s secretary Gabriele Piazzoni. “All these people deserve a better country.”
Read more on The Guardian
Sunday, January 24
Indonesia: LGBT students should be banned from university campuses, minister claims
Controversy over a support group for LGBTI students at the University of Indonesia led Muhammad Nasir, the minister of Research, technology and higher education, to state that he would ban LGBT Indonesians from all universities in the country if they show “inappropriate behaviour such as having sex, or public displays of affection on campus."
This statement came after the university made clear that the SGRC-UI, a student-led initiative that aims to offer counselling services on gender and sexuality issues, had not yet been formally approved by campus officials. This, Indonesia At Melbourne reconstructs, prompted accusations that the centre was promoting homosexuality and “corrupting the morals” of Indonesian students.
Other voices, then, joined an already heated debate: a popular sociologist, for example, said that “human rights shouldn't oppose the basic values built by our founding fathers and the government,” while a spokesperson for Indonesia's Child Protection Commission reportedly claimed that “(this LGBT lifestyle) is connected to other things like drugs that could then lead to committing crimes."
Read more on The Jakarta Post
Tuesday, January 26
Uganda: activists remember David Kato on his fifth death anniversary
Dozens of people gathered in Kampala, Uganda, to honour LGBTI rights activist David Kato on the fifth anniversary of his death. Kato was murdered on January 26, 2011, a few weeks after helping to secure an injunction against Rolling Stone, a local tabloid which had listed names, photographs and addresses of gay Ugandans under the tagline “Hang them.”
Friends said people had been harassing him since the ruling, until he was found dead in his own house.
“David sacrificed himself serving the LGBTI community,” John Wambere, Kato’s friend and co-founder of Spectrum Uganda Initiatives, told The Guardian. “He believed in the rule of law and seeking justice. He always encouraged me to stand firm and not bury my head in the ground. His death made me stronger.”
Read more on 76 Crimes
Wednesday, January 27
Former Australian PM to address far-right US lobby group
The former prime minister of Australia, Tony Abbott, made headlines when news broke that he would have addressed a far-right Christian lobby group in the United States. According to The Sydney Morning Herald, Abbott had a speaking engagement on the topic of "the importance of family" with the Alliance Defending Freedom, a group which defines itself as striving “to see a world whose law protects life from conception to natural death, and defends the natural family, including marriage between one man and one woman.”
The group reportedly funds attorneys to fight in court in cases involving same-sex marriage and abortion, and its founding president Alan Spears is co-author of a book titled The Homosexual Agenda: Exposing the Principal Threat to Religious Liberty Today. Tony Abbott, on his hand, has just announced his decision to remain in politics.
Thursday, January 28
Colombia: trans women exonerated from compulsory military service, court reaffirms
The Colombian Constitutional Court reaffirmed that trans women won’t have the obligation to enlist for military service unless they want to: “Under the principle of autonomy,” reads the court’s press release, “self-recognizing (as trans) is sufficient to be exempted from service.”
The decision came after a complaint was filed as the law regulating conscriptions and their exemptions did not provide any clear guideline about trans persons. "The plaintiffs asked the court to declare four articles of the law unconstitutional," La Semana explains. The complaint, though, was not examined, as "the plaintiffs were wrong to think that, to comply with the regulation, trans persons could be forced to serve against their will."
Is that all? More news bites
On March 3rd policymakers and industry leaders will be challenged to rethink the future of the global LGBT movement, and its impact on business, during a 24-hour rolling event from The Economist Events spanning Hong Kong, London and New York. Registration is open! Click here to find out more. ILGA member organisations can enter discount code ILGADC to save 20% off a pass to either the Hong Kong, London or New York event.
In Portugal, the outgoing president vetoed the law that allowed also same-sex couples to apply for joint adoption.
In Lithuania, the Migration department refused to issue a temporary residence permit to a Belarusian man who had married his Lithuanian male partner in the Netherlands.
Human rights organizations are planning to create special shelters for LGBTI refugees and migrants in Germany, after several incidents of discrimination and assaults have been reported.
India’s Supreme Court reportedly scheduled a new hearing to reconsider its judgement about the country’s law criminalizing homosexuality.
According to a study on legislation against discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation, gender identity and intersex status, the 91.8% of people aged 18-24 in Hong Kong supports prohibiting discrimination against LGBTI people.
According to reports, four men were arrested in Saudi Arabia: they allegedly had held wedding parties, and had lived as though they were married.
A spokesperson for the minister of Justice explained why a blanket wiping of historical convictions for gay sex is not being considered at the moment in New Zealand.
A disturbing hate sign was posted in a street in Melbourne, Australia, in the middle of the Midsumma festival celebrations.
In Australia, the Victorian government announced plans to create a Health Complaints Commissioner role, with the power to investigate or ban unregistered conversion therapies practitioners. This week, bills seeking a ban on such therapies for minors were introduced also in the states of Hawaii and Georgia, United States.
In South Dakota, United States, the House State Affairs Committee voted in favour of legislation that would prevent trans students in public schools from using facilities that are consistent with their gender identity.
A nationwide report on LGBTI-inclusive education in Canada showed 72% of educators believe their schools to be safe for LGB students, but the figure drops to 53% when it comes to the perceived security for trans students.
While the country was under review during the 24th session of the UPR Working Group, Human Rights Watch highlighted the case of a LGBTI organisation in Mozambique which has been waiting for 8 years to be provided with legal registration.
Police in Senegal reportedly arrested 11 people who were rallying against the release of 11 individuals accused of homosexual acts.
African Bodies: Breaking Ground and Building Bridges is the theme of Pan Africa ILGA's third regional conference, which will be held in Johannesburg, South Africa from May 13 to 18. Registration and applications are now open!
Mexico's Supreme Court struck down language in a Jalisco state law that defined marriage as between a man and a woman.
For the first time in Colombia’s history, a baby girl was registered as the child of her two mothers.
At least three trans women were murdered over the last week in Brazil.
Is there any other LGBTI-related news you would like to share with us? Drop us a line on Facebook or tweet @ilgaworld!