LGBulleTIn #64 – The week in LGBTI news
September 23-29, 2016
Friday, September 23
ILGALAC issues regional action alert: “No more fundamentalism and violence”
ILGALAC has called on States to “take urgent measures to ensure LGBTI people are protected” and to “give concrete responses against all forms of violence, exclusion and stigma” directed against the community, as several pro-life and pro-family demonstrations “are taking place in a coordinated manner” throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.
“These actions,” the alert reads, “foster and promote hate speech and violence towards women and LGBTI people, and question access to rights, justice, legislation and public policies based on recognizing and respecting sexual orientations, gender identities and their expressions.”
A few days after the alert was issued, a march drew tens of thousands of anti-marriage-equality persons to Mexico City, in a culmination of weeks of protest organized by the National Front for the Family.
The Latin American and Caribbean region of ILGA also expressed extreme concern as “local governments and institutions are supporting these demonstrations“. Instead – argues Josefina Valencia, regional co-Secretary of ILGA LAC – “it is necessary that States continue working to transform binary and misogynistic conceptions in their countries through education, policy and communication campaigns, together with a human rights culture that recognizes autonomy and diversity as a necessary basis to eradicate inequality”.
Saturday, September 24
Uganda: police block Pride celebrations
— Sexual Minorities UG (@SMUG2004) September 24, 2016
Police in Uganda have blocked members and supporters of the LGBTI community from holding Pride celebrations in two different resorts outside the country’s capital, Kampala.
Over 100 persons gathered in Entebbe to celebrate Pride, after they had formally notified officials of their intention to hold a public gathering. As soon as they arrived by the beach on Lake Victoria, they found that police were already at the venue: participants were ordered back into their buses, and told to leave the area.
Dozens of persons then moved to another location, but they were prevented by police from holding a second parade there. Tension built up as participants refused to leave: according to reports, a human rights defender was slapped by police, and many of them were escorted back to the capital.
A few days before the event was set to take place, the country’s minister for Ethics and integrity had warned that demonstrators would have been arrested and prosecuted.
Monday, September 26
United States: White House hosts Bisexual Community Briefing
The White House Office of Public Engagement has hosted over 100 advocates working to advance equality for bisexual persons across the United States, in a community briefing that came as a conclusion of the Bisexual Awareness Week.
On this occasion, a new report titled Invisible Majority: The Disparities Facing Bisexual People and How to Remedy Them was previewed. The document, authored by the Movement Advancement Project in partnership with several organisations, shows how stigma, discrimination and invisibility combine to create negative outcomes for bisexual persons.
“Research shows that both heterosexual people and gay and lesbian people express bias towards bisexual people,” the report reads. “This bias ranges from exclusion from social networks to assumptions that a bisexual person is confused about their sexuality or will cheat on their partner, to the discrimination (…) in all areas of life including at work, at school, and when seeking health care.”
Tuesday, September 27
Australia: proposed changes in Anti-Discrimination Act may put LGBTIQ community in Tasmania “at risk of harm,” legal group says
A legal body in Australia has urged the Tasmanian Parliament to reject proposed changes to the Anti-Discrimination Act 1998, as it claims amendments “would have widespread negative implications for many individuals and minority groups.”
The bill, tabled in the Lower House of the Tasmanian parliament on September 20, seeks to introduce exemptions for “public acts done in good faith for academic, artistic, scientific, religious or research purposes.”
In case those exemptions are allowed, according to Australian Lawyers for Human Rights, “those most immediately affected and at risk of harm are likely to be the Tasmanian LGBTQI community, as a result of the ongoing public debate on same-sex marriage.”
“(Proposed changes) do not strike a fair balance between freedom of expression and the internationally protected rights of reputation and human dignity,” said Nicholas Stewart, co-chair of ALHR’s LGBTI Rights Subcommittee. “Free speech is not superior to other human rights.”
According to ABC, the proposed changes have already raised the ire of groups on all sides of the political debate.
Wednesday, September 28
France: vote on legal gender recognition including medicalisation “a huge step backwards”
— Inter-LGBT (@InterLGBT) September 27, 2016
In a vote on the reform of the Law on Justice in the XXI century, the French Senate voted to keep medicalisation during legal gender recognition processes, in a decision that was described as a “huge step backwards” compared to what had been approved by the National Assembly in July.
Arguing that “changes in legal status have multiple implications for the rights of persons,” an amendment reportedly proposed that courts issue decisions “based on objective criteria, including those of medical nature, without requiring an irreversible surgery.”
“We expected that the Senate would have given up its partisan positions to embrace the defence of human rights,” said Clemence Zamora Cruz, spokesperson of Inter-LGBT.
The draft bill will now be sent back to the National Assembly. “We hope members of the Assembly did watch the testimonies of trans people in France,” wrote ILGA-Europe, “and will vote for the reestablishment of the demedicalised procedure and open it to minors.”
Thursday, September 29
India: almost 1,500 persons arrested in 2015 under Section 377
In 2015, police arrested 1,491 people under Section 377 of the Indian penal code, which criminalises “carnal intercourse against the order of nature.” According to figures revealed in the latest report brought out by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), 207 of those arrested were minors, accounting for almost 14% of total, while 16 of them were women.
As Times of India reports, the NCRB began to record Section 377 cases from across India only in 2014: at least 1,148 cases were lodged that year, while 1,347 cases were registered under the offence throughout 2015.
A curative petition against applying Section 377 is currently pending before the Supreme Court.
Is that all? More LGBTI news bites
The East African Court of Justice delivered its judgment in a suit that originally challenged Uganda’s 2014 Anti-Homosexuality Act, reportedly marking the first time that an international human rights tribunal in Africa has heard a case concerning violations against LGBTI people.
In Hungary, a campaign is calling on members of rainbow communities to cast an invalid vote in the upcoming referendum on migrant and refugee quotas to “express discontent with the hate campaign” surrounding the consultation.
According to reports, a woman was assaulted and hit by her girlfriend’s family in a street in Rome, Italy.
A new study is exploring how to provide better support for two-spirit people in rural communities in the Maritimes, Canada.
An intersex person from California has become the second United States’ citizen to legally change her gender from female to ‘non-binary.’
The first-ever LGBT film festival to be held in Haiti has been postponed after threats of violence and an order by Port-au-Prince police to ban it.
A peace deal which recognises also LGBTI persons as victims of the armed conflict was signed in Colombia, and will now the subject of a referendum to be held on October 2.
A poll showed that the majority of persons in Australia support marriage equality, but they do not back the government’s plan to hold a national vote on whether it should be allowed.
A conference aimed to bring together Christians, pastors, leaders and youth workers who are a part of or work with the LGBTI community has been announced in Auckland, New Zealand.
A study analysing laws on legal gender recognition in various countries was presented in Thailand.
According to reports, immigrations officers refused two trans women access to Hong Kong in a decision where, according to a lawyer, ‘the possibility of prejudice and discrimination’ cannot be ruled out.