LGBulleTIn #70 – Two weeks in LGBTI news
December 23, 2016 – January 5, 2017
Friday, December 23
Venezuela: court issues landmark ruling to protect rights of same-sex families
In a landmark ruling, the Supreme Tribunal of Justice (TSJ) of Venezuela stated that children of same-sex married couples are entitled to full rights and protections under the nation’s constitution.
The case, Venezuelanalysis.com reports, involved two women from Venezuela who were married in 2011 in Argentina, where they had a child. Upon their return to their homeland, however, the child was not recognized under the civil code as a Venezuelan national born to both women.
After the case was brought to court, the TSJ ruled the child be registered with the last names of both mothers, and issued an interpretation of article 75 of the Venezuelan constitution, stating that “same-sex couples can be heads of families, and as such, the state will provide protection to the family without distinction regarding its conformation, including to children and adolescents.”
Monday, December 26
Taiwan moves towards marriage equality and outlawing conversion therapy
— Sky News Australia (@SkyNewsAust) December 26, 2016
A legislative committee approved draft amendments to the civil code, moving Taiwan one step closer to becoming the first country in Asia to legalise marriage equality. The amendments, Taipei Times reports, would “entitle same-sex couples to the same marital, parental and adoptive rights and obligations accorded to heterosexual couples by the Civil Code and other laws, with the exception of the presumption of paternity.”
According to AFP, dozens of opponents rallied outside the parliamentary premises while the Judiciary and Organic Laws and Statutes Committee was at work, and demanded a referendum on the issue.
Lawmaker Yu Mei-nu, who proposed the bill, estimated that it might take at least six months for the legislation to pass, and called on the public not to spread misinformation: “It is an act of democracy that the amendments were passed after communication and deliberations,” she said. “The legislation will not destroy family or abolish marriage.”
A few days after the vote, rainbow communities in the country received more good news, as the Ministry of Health and Welfare published a draft regulation listing ‘conversion therapy’ as a prohibited treatment. According to Central News Agency the ministry could issue regulations based on the draft as soon as March, after holding a 60-day public consultation.
Friday, December 30
United States’ first known birth certificate amended to read ‘intersex’ issued in New York City
The United States has issued what is believed to be the country’s first ever birth certificate amended to read ‘intersex’, rather than ‘male’ or ‘female.’ Sara Kelly Keenan, who was born in New York and uses female pronouns, received the document only a few months after becoming the first California resident to be allowed to legally change her gender from female to “non-binary.”
“It felt incredibly wonderful to see that word plastered there as truth and reality, as nothing to be ashamed of,” Keenan told Mic. “Just truth.”
“Having intersex acknowledged as a legal sex/gender category is critical to ending intersex oppression, such as the barbaric non-consensual medical practices which attempt to render us all males or females,” OII-USA Executive Director Hida Viloria told People. “Until equal services and protections are available to all intersex citizens, this designation should remain a voluntary one only, for adults who seek it.”
Sunday, January 1
Denmark removes trans identities from the category of mental disorders
As the new year began, Denmark removed trans identities from the category of mental disorders. The move had been in the cards since last May, as officials anticipated their intentions to act in case there would have been no progress by the World Health Organization on the issue by October.
“The change is symbolic, but important,” said Linda Thor Pedersen, a spokesperson for LGBT Danmark. “It’s important for trans people to not be branded mentally ill when we are not. During our dialogue with the health system, we have been anxious that words such as ‘dysphoria’, ‘incongruence’, ‘disorder’ or ‘problem’ didn’t feature any more. Fortunately, the health system agreed with us.”
Tuesday, January 3
Australia: movement seeks to present a national apology to LGBTIQ Christians and the wider community
— Lane Sainty (@lanesainty) January 3, 2017
A new, cross-denominational organisation for Christian Australians has been launched to collect signatures for a grassroots-driven apology to LGBTIQ people. The group, named Equal Voices, was formed after acknowledging that “the church [… has been flawed in its understanding of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer realities and experience. We […] seek to work for reconciliation and to equip LGBTIQ people and their friends and advocates to bring into being a truly inclusive and welcoming Australian church.”
Among the goal of the organisation, Buzzfeed reports, is to facilitate a national apology to LGBTIQ Christians, to the wider community and “to all who have been adversely affected by the teachings and behaviour of Christians and their churches.” Signatures will be collected starting March 1 on the organisation’s website, and the end goal would be to present the apology in Parliament House, Canberra.
Wednesday, January 4
Nigeria: report documents the extent of human rights violations against rainbow communities in the country
This is what Human Rights violations based on real or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity in Nigeria looks like in 2016 pic.twitter.com/Ha3jU588l1
— TIERs (@TIERsNigeria) December 16, 2016
At least 152 cases of human rights violations against 232 persons on the basis of their actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity have been documented in Nigeria in the past 12 months, according to a report by TIERs in partnerships with several civil society organisations.
Documented human rights violations against them include “arbitrary arrest, invasion of privacy, assault and battery, sexual violence, extortion, blackmail and threats to life,” with public authorities often being “the promoters of hate, intolerance and violence.”
According to the authors of the report, “the additional and multiplied discriminations” faced by the community are “largely caused by the continued enforcement” of laws that criminalise same-sex conduct. “These laws, coupled with widespread ignorance of LGBTQI issues, religious fundamentalism and other forms of stereotypes, both by state and non-state actors, make it unbearable for LGBTQI people to freely exist in Nigerian society.”
Is that all? More news bites
In Peru, the minister of Justice announced the new National Human Rights Plan will be ready this year, and it will also include references to the rights of LGBTI communities.
At least 38 LGBT candidates were elected in the 2016 municipal elections in Brazil.
The LGBT Fund has announced it is inviting applications for Deep Engagement Grants in Mozambique, as it is “looking to support a solution that scales up HIV service delivery for LGBT people” in the country.
According to reports, a local Cape Town preacher known for his homophobic remarks is planning to open two churches in South Africa, along with a U. S. pastor who was recently banned from the country. The latter has also claimed to have been issued visas to visit Malawi, despite previous reports that government would deny him entry.
In Nepal, the Immigration Office decided to provide a dependent visa for a U. S. citizen who had married her wife – a Nepali woman – in the United States.
A residential school dedicated to trans people who had dropped out of school has opened in Kochi, India.
According to reports, South Australia is soon set to roll out a new education policy on how trans and gender diverse students should be treated in public schools across the state.
Fran Wilde, the MP who introduced the Homosexual Law Reform Bill into Parliament in 1985, has been made a Dame in the New Year’s Honours list in New Zealand.
In recent weeks, lawmakers in five U. S. states have filed bills that would ban trans people from certain restrooms that match their gender identity.
In Virginia, United States, the governor signed an executive order that bans discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in the provision of state services, and among contractors and subcontractors.
The first shelter in Italy to host LGBT refugees is set to open soon in Bologna.
The Prisons and Probation Ombudsman in the United Kingdom has confirmed that an investigation has begun after a trans woman was found dead in the all-male prison where she was held.