LGBulleTIn #75 – The week in LGBTI news
February 3-9, 2017
Friday, February 3
European Lesbian* Conference founded in Vienna
— #EuroLesbianCon (@EuroLesbianCon) February 3, 2017
During last years’ ILGA-Europe conference in Cyprus, a group of women decided to “take action against the invisibility of lesbians in the discourse within the media and social politics.” This action led to creating the first European Lesbian* Conference, as well as a recently-founded association under the same name: events will take place every year in a different city, and the first one will happen in Vienna, Austria in October 2017.
“This kind of conference has been long overdue,” a statement reads. “We are counting on a few hundred participants from all over Europe and the rest of the world.”
“The EL*C is the platform that gives political representation to lesbian* voices in Europe and across all our societies through creating safe space for sharing our lesbian* realities, understanding different lesbian* existences, tackling our struggles and supporting each other,” a working group member was quoted as saying. “It is about connecting and belonging, and above all it is about empowerment.”
Friday, February 3
United States: Supreme Court to hear landmark trans rights case in March
The Supreme Court announced that it will hear the case of a trans teenager denied the right to use facilities comporting with his gender identity on March 28. The case involves a 17-year-old boy from Virginia, Gavin Grimm, who filed suit against his school board alleging it violated Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 by denying him use of the boy’s restroom.
According to ACLU, which represents Gavin, the court’s decision will impact the lives of hundreds of thousands of trans people across the country: “If transgender people are not protected under the law, if we cannot safely go to restrooms that match who we are, then we cannot have jobs, we cannot go to school, we cannot participate in public life. That is what is at stake.”
Tuesday, February 7
Tanzania: three man accused of ‘spreading homosexual activity’ ordered to report to police
The deputy minister of Tanzania has ordered three men whom he accuses of promoting same-sex conduct to report to police for questioning – or risk arrest. According to BBC, the official said in a statement that he wanted the men prosecuted for ‘spreading homosexual activity’ through social networks.
As ILGA’s State Sponsored Homophobia report points out, the country’s penal code states that “Any person who has carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature […] is liable to imprisonment for life and in any case to imprisonment for a term of not less than thirty years.”
Last summer, the government announced it had put in place restrictions on imports and sales of sexual lubricants, justifying the move on the grounds that such products would have encouraged same-sex sexual activity. Last month, then, police raided a training session for reproductive health providers from eight local NGOs.
Tuesday, February 7
New report highlights lived realities of LGBTIQ people in Peru
— SinEtiquetas (@sinetiquetasorg) February 8, 2017
A report has cast a light on the lives of people belonging to rainbow communities in Peru. Recently published by No Tengo Miedo, a collective advocating social justice through a trans-feminist and intersectional lens, Nuestra Voz Persiste collects almost 800 personal stories of LGBTIQ people in the country, and highlights how violence has been a recurring problem for most of them.
The 87.7% of those who were surveyed reported having suffered episodes of violence or discrimination at a certain moment in their lives. The 87.6% of them, however, did not report these incidents to officials.
“We are facing a reality where the violence imposed on us is naturalized and silenced: only one in ten people reports it,” the executive secretary of the Coordinadora Nacional de Derechos Humanos writes in the report. While data show that unknown persons are responsible for almost one in two incidents, violence can come also from family members (this was the case for 35.7% of the people surveyed), partners (35.5%), friends (30.2%), police or other law enforcement officers (21.3%).
Wednesday, February 8
South Korea: Ministry of Education faces criticism over sex education guidelines
Human rights organisations are voicing their concerns over the Ministry of Education’s new sex education guidelines. According to reports, the new manual will be distributed in March, and will not include any reference to LGBTI persons.
As Korea Herald points out, a recent survey on 200 LGBT youth aged 13 to 18 highlighted how one in five among them attempted suicide, and seven in 11 of those who dropped out of school did so as a reaction to discrimination, isolation and fear. Despite this evidence, a ministry official was quoted as saying that “it’s too early to teach children younger than 20 about homosexuality (sic).”
“The Education Ministry should discard the sex education guidelines which only promote discrimination and prejudice,” civil society organisations said during a press conference held in Seoul.
Thursday, February 9
New Zealand: government to erase historic convictions for same-sex sexual offences
— NZ Human Rights (@NZHumanRights) February 9, 2017
The Minister of Justice announced the government of New Zealand will introduce a new scheme to enable convictions for historic same-sex sexual offences to be expunged.
The move, according to New Zealand Herald, will allow nearly 200 gay and bisexual men convicted before the Homosexual Law Reform Act 1986 to have their now-outdated crimes erased.
The Government is set to introduce legislation to implement the scheme in the coming months: pardons will be considered on a case-by-case basis, and people who were convicted will not be able to claim compensation.
“There is no doubt that homosexual New Zealanders who were convicted and branded as criminals for consensual activity suffered tremendous hurt and stigma,” Minister Amy Adams said. “We are sorry for what those men and their families have gone through and the continued effect the convictions have had on them.”
Is that all? More LGBTI news bites
A study offered quantitative data on cosmetic genital surgeries performed on children in Germany, with a focus – as OII-Europe reports – on “children under the age of 10 diagnosed with variations of sex characteristics”. Findings show that the frequency of these kinds of interventions did not drop between 2005 and 2014.
TGEU reviewed 12 local-language European editions of the National Geographic’s “Gender revolution” issue, and called on the magazine to explain editorial choices, translation errors, and transphobic content found within some of these editions.
А Russian LGBT activist and another person have been missing since the end of January in the separatist-controlled area of the Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine, and are feared to be victims of enforced disappearances.
In South Africa, recently-crowned beauty queen Sharon Rose Khumalo has revealed that she is intersex, and shared her journey to raise awareness.
Dates for the 3rd Trans Health, Advocacy and Research Conference in Southern Africa have been announced: the event will be held from February 23 to 26 in Johannesburg, South Africa under the theme “Decolonising and Depathologising Trans Identities.”
Officers in the state of Aragua, Venezuela, physically and verbally assaulted a trans man and his daughter as they went to the police station to file a complaint about an incident in their home.
In Japan, a trans man’s plea to see his gender markers changed without having to undergo sterilization was declined by a family court.
An hashtag in Arabic showing support of rainbow communities trended over the weekend in Saudi Arabia, and then on a worldwide scale.
In New York City, United States, thousands of persons gathered outside the historic Stonewall Inn for an “LGBT solidarity rally with every immigrant, asylum seeker, refugee and every person impacted by” the Trump administration’s executive orders.
In Canada, a federal investigation has revealed unsafe conditions for female trans inmates, including cases of sexual assault in male prison wards, being deadnamed by staff and being housed with violent criminals.
Two gay men were attacked in the streets in Valelevu, Fiji. The incident, however, was not reported to police as, according to a local human rights defender, the victims fear for possible reprisals from their assailants.
A report published in Australia has identified family rejection as a major cause of homelessness among young LGBTI people.