LGBulleTIn #49 – The week in LGBTI news
May 27 – June 2, 2016
Friday, May 27
Nauru decriminalises same-sex sexual activity
Nauru has decriminalised same-sex sexual activity! https://t.co/nTBJ8ZYEnY
— ILGA (@ILGAWORLD) May 27, 2016
The government of Nauru has updated its Crimes Act, enacting a series of reforms that include the decriminalisation of same-sex sexual activity and the abolition of suicide as an offence.
“In complying with its international obligations under various international treaties, the Nauru Parliament has had laws drafted to be consistent with appropriate international standards,” a government press release explains. “The Crimes Act 2016 replaces the hundred year old Nauruan Criminal Code 1899 which was drawn from the Queensland Criminal Code.”
As ILGA’s State Sponsored Homophobia points out, Nauru received six clearly expressed recommendations to decriminalise same-sex sexual activity during its second Universal Periodic Review. Before the updates in the criminal code, people found guilty of same-sex sexual activity in the country were “liable to imprisonment with hard labour for three years.”
Tuesday, May 31
Denmark removes trans identities from the category of mental disorders
— Transgender Europe (@TGEUorg) May 31, 2016
The Danish Parliament has adopted a symbolic decision to no longer stigmatise trans identities as mental disorders, amidst mounting pressure on the World Health Organization to accordingly change the International Classification of Diseases.
The decision was welcomed by human rights organisations: “Trans people are not sick, and other countries should follow by removing trans identities from their mental health diagnostic manuals,” TGEU’s Health Officer Adam Smiley commented, while Amnesty International’s Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Advisor Leda Avgousti spoke about a “very encouraging move” which paves the way “for quick and transparent processes for legal gender recognition.”
As TGEU remembers, however, even in Denmark the job is not done yet: “The provision of trans-specific healthcare needs urgent improvement. Decision makers need to ensure that depathologisation also translates into reform for accessible, quality healthcare based on self-determination and informed consent.”
Denmark was not the only country to provide for good news for the trans community this week: a new law giving trans people access to quick and accessible legal gender recognition was presented in Parliament in Norway, and is expected to go through a final vote next week.
Tuesday, May 31
Canada: new shelter for LGBTIQ2S persons unveiled in Toronto
— Kristyn Wong-Tam (@kristynwongtam) May 31, 2016
Egale Canada Human Rights Trust officially unveiled a project of a centre that will combine counselling services with emergency and transitional housing exclusively dedicated to serving homeless LGBTIQ2S (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersex, queer, questioning and Two Spirit) youth. The Egale Centre will be located in Toronto and have 30 rooms, 25 of which dedicated to transitional housing that can be occupied for up to one year. The facility is poised to open in fall 2017.
According to researches, nearly one in four homeless youth in Toronto identify as LGBT+. They face specific challenges, as they report being afraid to access mainstream shelters and housing for fear of physical, psychological and sexual violence.
According to Helen Kennedy, executive director of Egale and ILGA’s co-secretary general, the Egale Centre will be “a one-of-a-kind project that will fundamentally transform and improve the support services available to LGBTQI2S youth in Toronto.”
The project was announced during a ceremony attended also by the Premier of Ontario, Kathleen Wynne: “Our government is proud to support Egale Canada’s groundbreaking project,” she said. “This centre offers an accepting and welcoming place to get the kind of help that can make a profound difference in young people’s lives.”
Tuesday, May 31
Nepal: government has ignored rights of intersex children, organisation claims
While the 72nd session of the Convention on the Rights of the Child was underway in Geneva, a human rights organisation argued that the government of Nepal “has not taken measures to ensure the rights of intersex children.”
“Discussions are underway regarding the rights of children across the world,” reads a press release by Blue Diamond Society, “and representatives of the ministry of Women and Children are participating.” However, they “did not raise voices regarding the discrimination that intersex children are facing in family, school and society,” said Parsu Ram Rai, deputy director at Blue Diamond Society, who called this decision “objectionable.”
Wednesday, June 1
Morocco: two young men arrested for same-sex sexual activity
Two young men were arrested and sentenced to six months in jail for same-sex sexual activity in the city of Guelmim, in southern Morocco. According to local media, police caught the couple having sex in a car and arrested them under article 489 of the Penal Code, which criminalises ‘lewd or unnatural acts with an individual of the same sex’.
Five days later, despite the public prosecutor ordering a full investigation to be conducted before it was presented to the city’s Court of First Instance, the two men were found guilty, and were handed a prison sentence of six months.
According to Aswat Collective, lawyers had refused to defend the detainees because they had been charged with homosexuality. An appeal was asked, and now the file will be transferred to the court of Appeal in the city of Agadir.
Thursday, June 2
ILGALAC calls for states to support the work of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights
— ILGALAC (@ILGALAC) May 31, 2016
ILGALAC, the regional branch of ILGA for Latin America and the Caribbean, has expressed concern over the severe financial crisis facing the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, urging OAS member states to take every necessary measure to properly support its work.
“The IACHR is the only human rights system in the world that is home to a rapporteurship on the rights of LGBTI persons,” ILGALAC remembers. “Its work has been of great importance, as it supported our reports and documented violations of our human rights […], while raising awareness about different forms of violence and discriminations facing people in the Americas for their sexual orientation and for their gender identities and expressions. The region is currently seeing political changes that put the human rights of various parts of the population in danger, and especially those who have historically faced discrimination: we all need strong and independent human rights systems, now more than ever.”
This is why, ILGALAC claims, “it is of utmost importance that IACHR continues its activities and functions, and that a structure is created to make its present and future financing sustainable, significantly raising the budget ensured by the OAS and the real commitment of member States.”
Is that all? More news bites
Almost two million persons joined the Pride parade in Sao Paulo, Brazil, with thousands of participants focused on urging Congress to speed up the debate on the Gender Identity Law.
Two men were shot dead in St James, Jamaica, and a trans teenage girl was killed in Trujillo, Peru, in what may have been homophobic and transphobic hate crimes.
In Chile, lawmakers voted to have the Gender Identity bill being moved to the Commission for Human Rights for review.
Public acceptance of sexual activity between two adults of the same sex has nearly quadrupled since 1990 in the United States, according to a research authored by scientists from three US universities.
A federal appeals court that sided with a trans teen in his lawsuit against a school board in Virginia, United States has denied the board’s request to rehear the case before a full panel of judges.
The PM of Ontario, Canada announced the government will pass legislation to change the definition of parents, so that same-sex couples won’t have to adopt their own children.
Sexual Minorities Uganda has filed an application in the High Court, challenging the refusal by the Uganda Registration Service Bureau to reserve their name and therefore by extension denying them registration.
A court in Giza, Egypt reportedly slashed prison sentences against 11 persons accused of same-sex sexual activity from 12 years to one year, while one defendant was acquitted.
Iranti-org is producing a web series on trans lives, and is looking for 12 writers to be part of the core writing team. The call is restricted to African trans applicants.
According to officials, the state of Odisha has become the first region in India to give trans people social welfare benefits – such as a pension, housing and food grains – usually allocated for only the most impoverished.
The government of Japan is set to introduce a revised guideline in 2017, stating that discriminatory acts against LGBT persons on the workplace are regarded as sexual harassment.
According to BBC, authorities in Iran are investigating the women’s national football team because they believe some players might be attracted to women.
The Supreme Court of Latvia reportedly overturned an administrative court decision to refuse an application to register a same-sex marriage.
The lifetime ban on gay and bisexual men donating blood in Northern Ireland is to be lifted from September 1st in favour of a ‘”one-year deferral system”, the minister for Health announced.
In less than two months’ time, the 4-days European Bisexual Conference (EuroBiCon) will bring together bisexual people and their allies from across Europe and beyond in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has told reporters that he expects the plebiscite on marriage equality in Australia to be held before the end of 2016.
The leading sports organisations in New Zealand have announced their commitment to tackle intolerance, racism and homophobia in sports.
46% of respondents to an ABC’s Vote Compass survey, aimed at finding out how people’s views align with parties contesting the federal election in Australia, argued that trans awareness should not be taught in primary school.