LGBulleTIn #85 – The week in LGBTI news
April 21-27, 2017
Friday, April 21
Guyana may hold referendum on decriminalizing same-sex activity
— SASOD Guyana (@SASODGuyana) April 22, 2017
The people of Guyana may soon be called to vote in a referendum to decide whether same-sex activity should still be deemed illegal in the country.
According to the Guyana Chronicle, the Government made this announcement in a letter to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), but no indication was made as to when this referendum is likely to be held.
President David Granger has reportedly signalled his support for a law reform. While commending his support, human rights organisations noted that “the proposed amendment to the Prevention of Discrimination Act 1997 and repeal of laws criminalizing same-sex intimacy and ‘cross-dressing’ only require a simple majority which the Granger-led administration in parliament could pass.”
As ILGA’s State Sponsored Homophobia points out, the Criminal Law (Offences) Act states that “Everyone who commits buggery (…) shall be guilty of felony and liable to imprisonment for life,” while any male person who commits “an act of gross indecency with any other male person shall be guilty of misdemeanour and liable to imprisonment for two years.”
Sunday, April 23
The 4th International Intersex Forum concludes its works in Amsterdam
— ILGA (@ILGAWORLD) April 24, 2017
Independent advocates and representatives of intersex organisations from across all regions have gathered in Amsterdam for the 4th International Intersex Forum.
Attended by 40 human rights defenders, the event – co-organised by NNID and ILGA with the assistance of Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice – has turned to be the world’s largest intersex human rights forum to date.
During the forum, participants addressed pressing global issues (amongst them a severe lack of necessary consented medical care), celebrated the support received by the international human rights system in the past few years, and reaffirmed the demands expressed in the Declaration issued by the Third International Intersex Forum in Malta in 2013.
The global intersex human rights movement also affirmed its commitment to further increase regional representation: this is why the Fifth International Intersex Forum is planned to take place in a region of the Global South.
Tuesday, April 25
Zimbabwe: human rights commissioner praises Mugabe for his stance against rainbow communities
Just as we had said it.. https://t.co/wwnDk3iYpt
— GALZ (@galzinf) April 24, 2017
Civil society organisations have strongly criticized a commissioner at the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission for praising President Mugabe’s stance against rainbow communities.
Commissioner Petunia Chiriseri, who is also a preacher, had been asked to give a prayer during festivities to celebrate the country’s 37 years of independence. However, as New Zimbabwe reports, she went beyond prayers, commending the country’s president for taking “a firm stand against unbiblical, un-cultural, unacceptable practices which foreigners (…) seek to impose upon Africa.” “We applaud you for your courage,” the commissioner continued, “which may have cost you and our nation Zimbabwe the popularity which we once may have had. But it preserved our nation and family values.”
Such comments were strongly criticized by GALZ, an association representing LGBTI people in Zimbabwe. “She missed the mark,” said the association’s director, “focusing on irrelevant issues instead of providing leadership on the country’s pressing problems.” According to Mambaonline, GALZ also lodged a formal complaint with the Human Rights Commission about Chiriseri’s conduct.
Tuesday, April 25
France: policeman and activist killed in Paris attack honoured in national homage ceremony
A moving national homage ceremony was held in Paris in memory of Xavier Jugele, the policeman who was shot dead in a terrorist attack while on duty on the Champs Élysées.
Jugele, 37, was a member of Flag!, an association of LGBT police officers: his colleagues remember him as “a simple man who loved his job and who was really committed to the LGBT cause.”
He was among the first officers who responded to a terrorist attack at the Bataclan concert hall in November 2015, and he also had twice volunteered in Greece, aiding migrants, BFMTV reported.
The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack, where two other officers were hurt and the gunman was shot dead as he tried to flee.
Addressing hundreds of mourners at a ceremony at Paris police headquarters, Jugele’s partner Etienne Cardiles spoke of his “extreme pain” at the death of his loved one. “I have no hatred, Xavier,” he said. “It is not like you, and does not correspond with what made your heart beat, nor with what made you a guardian of peace.”
Sadly, Jugele was not the only member of rainbow communities to violently pass away during the past few days. Activist and freelance reporter Juan José Roldán was found dead in Calpulalpan, Mexico: his body reportedly showed signs of torture. Chayviss “Chay” Reed was fatally shot in Miami, Florida, becoming the ninth trans woman to be murdered in the United States this year. In De Doorns, South Africa, the brutalised body of a member of the LGBTI community was found in a field.
Tuesday, April 25
Thailand: human rights experts gather for a global conference on the Yogyakarta Principles
— UNDP Asia-Pacific (@UNDPasiapac) April 26, 2017
Ten years after the Yogyakarta Principles were adopted, over 100 experts from national human rights institutions, LGBTI civil society organizations, research bodies, UN and development partners from over 25 countries gathered in Bangkok, Thailand for a conference organized by UNDP and the Asia Pacific Forum of National Human Rights Institution (APF), reflecting on the legacy of that groundbreaking document.
According to Manisha Dhakal, Executive Director for Nepal’s Blue Diamond Society and ILGA Asia co-Chair, “the Yogyakarta Principles have served as an invaluable tool for advocating for policy and legal changes regarding sexual and gender minorities, (and) have also been used to strengthen the capacity of civil society to advocate for their human rights.”
In 2006, UN Independent Expert on sexual orientation and gender identity Professor Vitit Muntarbhorn was Co-Chairperson of the drafting committee of the Yogyakarta Principles. Speaking at the conference, he remembered how the principles “concisely articulate international human rights law protecting all persons irrespective of their sexual orientation and gender identity” and how they can be “strategic in specifying the needed actions, such as decriminalization of consensual same-sex relations.”
The conference did not just review how the application of human rights law has evolved in relation to sexual orientation and gender identity in the past 10 years. According to Caitlin Wiesen, Chief of UNDP’s Regional Policy and Programme Support for Asia and the Pacific, the event also “explored the opportunities to supplement the Yogyakarta Principles including recognizing the rights and needs of intersex people.”
Tuesday, April 25
United States: bill to ban ‘conversion therapy’ nationwide introduced
Lawmakers have introduced a new bill aiming to ban ‘conversion therapy’ across the United States. The Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act, as filed in the Senate, would make it illegal to advertise or provide therapy that claims to “change another individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity” or to “eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward individuals of the same gender.”
A similar bill, BuzzfeedNews points out, was filed last year, but was abandoned without ever being heard.
“So-called ‘conversion therapy’ isn’t therapy at all,” one of the senators who introduced the bill said in a statement. “It’s a tortuous, fraudulent practice that has been repeatedly condemned by medical professionals and has no place in our country.” According to Human Rights Campaign, six US states and the District of Columbia have enacted laws to prevent licensed mental health providers from offering ‘conversion therapy’ to minors, and more than 20 states have introduced similar legislation.
Thursday, April 27
Australia: local council to fly rainbow flag until marriage equality becomes legal
Surf Coast leads the way for M.E we will fly the flag until equality is legal thanks to supporters and fellow 4 Cr's. pic.twitter.com/pc92e77FHp
— Rose Hodge (@crrosehodge) April 26, 2017
A regional Victorian council has reportedly voted to fly a rainbow flag outside its chambers from this May 17, the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, until the Federal Parliament passes legislation allowing marriage equality.
The motion was voted 4-3 by Surf Coast Shire councillors.
“Lately we’ve been talking about Australian values,” Councillor Rose Hodge, who introduced the motion, was quoted as saying. “The first [value] we’ve got is community wellbeing. I think this motion really covers a section of our community in the minority that we can move forward.”
This week, two councils in Western Australia passed motions supporting marriage equality. According to QNews, they have joined more than 40 other local councils around the country who have done the same.
Is that all? More LGBTI news bites
After coming under fire for incorrectly filtering videos with LGBTIQ content, YouTube says it fixed the problem with its Restricted Mode.
Karla Avelar, a trans human rights defender in El Salvador and founder of Comcavis Trans, is among the three human rights defenders selected as finalists for the 2017 Martin Ennals Award.
In a square in Morón, Argentina, police separated two teenage girls who were sitting together with their legs entwined, claiming they were ‘showing off’ and calling their behaviour ‘immoral’.
As the human rights crisis in Chechnya is ongoing, ILGA-Europe opened up a fund to support the victims. Money will be used to enable people directly working on the ground to help them.
In Portsmouth, United Kingdom, a group of women was violently assaulted and physically attacked by a mob who shouted homophobic insults at them.
One year after the murders of Xulhaz Mannan and Mahbub Rabbi Tonoy, and the arrest of two suspects, investigators in Bangladesh have reportedly failed to submit charges despite 12 extensions granted by the court.
In India, a parliamentary committee has suggested that the government should consider implementing quotas for trans persons in education and workplace settings.
The government of Yukon, Canada introduced a bill to prohibit discrimination based on gender identity or gender expression, allow a change of gender on a birth certificate without the pre-requisite of gender-confirming surgery, and allow for a person’s sex to be recorded as other than male or female.
A new survey released in the United States revealed that LBTQ teenage girls face significantly higher risks for sexual assault and violence in the school environment compared to their peers.
In Botswana, LeGaBiBo is calling on LGBTI persons and allies to share their stories of hope, joy, and perseverance for the second edition of the Dipolelo Tsa Rona collection.
In New Zealand, Geovana Peres has become the first out member of the LGBTI community to win a New Zealand professional boxing title.
A support group for older gay and bisexual men in Victoria, Australia has sent an open letter to the community in light of concerns the group may face closure.