LGBulleTIn #58 – The week in LGBTI news
July 29 – August 5, 2016
Saturday, July 30
United States: Navy to name ship after Harvey Milk
Navy Secretary has announced his intention for the USNS Harvey Milk! Hope is never silent, and world ports soon! https://t.co/74lKU8hCEX
— Stuart Milk (@StuartMilk) July 28, 2016
The activist, who became the first openly gay elected official in California, had served as a diving officer in San Diego from 1951 to 1955. Back then, “he couldn’t tell anyone who he truly was,” said the supervisor who authored a resolution asking the navy to name a ship after Milk. “Now our country is telling the men and women who serve, and the entire world, that we honour and support people for who they are.”
The campaign to remember Milk in such a way had sparked controversy, according to The Bay Area Reporter, as some critics remembered the activist’s opposition to the Vietnam war to suggest he would be better memorialised in other ways.
Together with Harvey Milk, other civil rights leaders are poised to be honoured with a naval vessel in their names, including women’s human rights activists Sojourner Truth and Lucy Stone.
Sunday, July 31
South Australia amends discriminatory laws affecting LGBTIQ people
South Australia has passed a bill aimed to “amend various Acts to remove discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer” persons in the state.
According to reports, the Statutes Amendment (Gender Identity and Equity) Bill 2016 will change the language used in South Australian law to remove gender bias and ensure that gender identity and intersex status are captured in state legislation. The bill will also remove language in legislation that has the potential to discriminate against people based on their relationship status.
In 2015, the state government commissioned the South Australian Law Reform Institute (SALRI) to investigate legislative and regulatory discrimination against individuals and families on the grounds of sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or intersex status.
“As a modern society, we have a responsibility to ensure that all people are treated equally,” said South Australia Premier Jay Weatherill, who framed intersex as a gender identity issue in his Facebook announcement. “I will continue to bring bills based on the SALRI reviews to Parliament for its consideration.”
Monday, August 1
Colombia: Constitutional Court orders institute to respect gender identity of a trans student
— Descabellado (@Leorod4) August 1, 2016
Amid the debate sparked by a politician, according to whom the Ministry of Education in Colombia would be undertaking “a homosexual colonization” in the education sector, the Constitutional Court ruled in favour of a trans student at the SENA technical institute in Barranquilla, who had asked to be allowed to use a uniform conforming to his gender identity.
The institute, according to reports, had rejected his request: he couldn’t be given permission to use a man’s uniform until he would have obtained a legal name change. Almost one year of legal battles followed, until the recent ruling by the Constitutional Court: “I did it simply because it was something I needed and deserved,” the student was quoted as saying. “Neither a name or a document shape my identity: I shape it myself.”
Wednesday, August 3
Turkey: gay refugee from Syria killed in Istanbul
— Kaos GL (@KaosGL) August 4, 2016
His name was Muhammed Wisam Sankari. He was a gay refugee from Syria, and he had arrived in Istanbul one year ago. Last week, his body was found in the quarter of Yenikapı, in Istanbul, two days after he had left his home: he was stabbed multiple times and beheaded. “His upper body was beyond recognition,” a friend of him told KaosGl. “His internal organs were out. We could identify (him) from his pants.”
The victim had tried to leave Turkey, as he feared his life was in danger: according to his friends, Wisam was kidnapped and raped by a group of men five months ago, and was threatened several times by a mob in the neighbourhood he lived in.
Friends of the victim, who are also refugees, report living in fear: “I am so scared. I feel like everyone is staring at me on the street. It does not matter if you are Syrian or Turkish, if you are gay you are everyone’s target. […] I don’t have identification, who would protect me? Who is next?”
Wednesday, August 3
Indonesia: group petitions court to criminalise same-sex sexual acts
The Constitutional Court in Indonesia is currently hearing a case filed by a group of academics and activists who seek a change in the Criminal Code to ban same-sex sexual acts.
The Jakarta Post reports that the court, which has affirmed that the plaintiffs have constitutional grounds to present their case, has already held five hearings on the issue. During these sessions, expert witnesses would have told the court that homosexuality was “contagious” and that it “could trigger a spike in HIV infections”.
According to reports, plaintiffs are asking change in the law that currently prohibits same-sex intercourse only if one person is a minor, to have the prohibition extended to same-sex sexual activity in general.
As ILGA’s State Sponsored Homophobia notes, “same-sex sexual relations between consenting adults are not prohibited according to the Indonesian Penal Code”. However, at the provincial level, “there are areas and municipalities that penalise same sex sexual relations through local Ordinances.”
Thursday, August 4
Uganda: police raids Pride event, at least 16 people arrested
— Icebreakers Uganda (@Icebreakers_UG) August 5, 2016
On Thursday night, in the midst of the Pride Uganda week, police raided a club in Kampala where the Mr. and Miss Pride Uganda pageant was taking place, arresting at least 16 people for about three hours before releasing them without charge.
People quickly took to Twitter to testify what was happening inside the club. Reports spoke about extremely brutal acts of violence: police were beating and assaulting people with their hands and canes, and calling media to take pictures of the persons inside the club – a move that raised further safety concerns, in fear that those images would have been used to out people. Pictures were also taken of all car number plates that where parked at the venue.
A person who jumped from the fourth floor during the raid got severely hurt: she is now in a local hospital, where she remains in critical conditions.
The day after the assault, Kuchu Times reported the Pride festival would have gone on as planned.
Is that all? More LGBTI news bites
The Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice has launched We Are Real: The Growing Movement Advancing the Human Rights of Intersex People, a report seeking to share and promote relevant knowledge and understanding of intersex issues and activism to people across the world.
The government of India submitted a bill to the Lok Sabha, the country’s lower house, to “protect the rights and interests of the transgender person,” but activists have reached out to the government and demanded a radical overhaul of it.
According to reports, a new survey has revealed the HIV prevalence rate among trans women in Cambodia is “quite alarming” compared to the one among the general population.
With a decision activists called a game-changer in the fight to reduce HIV transmission, a High Court in England has ruled against NHS England’s decision not to fund PrEP.
Same-sex couples in Italy have begun entering into civil unions as legislation took effect.
Police in Spain have arrested members of a criminal gang involved in human trafficking and in the sexual exploitation of trans women.
Religious leaders and members of the LGBTI community have come together in Blantyre, Malawi, for a dialogue aimed to bridge gaps within the faith community when it comes to LGBTI issues.
Reportedly marking a country’s first, a newspaper has published an extensive feature documenting LGBTI issues in Namibia in their weekend insert.
During an ongoing review of Ivory Coast‘s Penal Code, judges, academics and CSOs representatives met to discuss the proposal to delete provisions of harsher punishments for same-sex conduct from the section related to public indecency.
An Indigenous LGBTI advocate is among the voices calling for a Royal Commission into the high rates of suicide in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population in Australia.
A news host in Australia has sparked outrage for repeatedly using transphobic slur during an episode of his show. He later apologised, saying he was not aware of “the negative and deeply hurtful impact that word has.”
A 15-year-old boy will be formally cautioned by police for allegedly threatening to harm an LGBTI-friendly venue in Sydney, Australia, and its patrons.
In the United States, the Seattle City Council voted unanimously to ban “conversion” therapy, imposing up to a $1,000 fine on licensed mental health providers who practice the service, and misdemeanour charges for advertising it.
In Canada, Egale has launched a project to address gay, bisexual, trans and queer men’s mental health and body image, featuring men sharing their own personal stories of body shame and discrimination.
In the United States, the Supreme Court blocked an order giving a trans student access to school restrooms in accordance with his gender identity, while the high court decides whether it will hear the appeal.
The Gender Identity Law has officially come into force in Bolivia.
A Pride week is currently taking place in Jamaica under the banner “The PRiDE of A People: Celebrating a Community of Love”: events include a sports day, a family symposium and an initiative to feed 5,000 persons in need.
A bill was presented in Chile to amend the General Education law in order to recognize and respect the gender identity of children starting from the pre-school stage.
ILGA’s LGBulleTIn will return on Friday, August 26th