LGBulleTIn 92 – The week in LGBTI news
June 23-29, 2017*
* News about the German Bundestag passing marriage equality will be covered extensively in the next week’s issue, as the vote happened on the morning of June 30
Friday, June 23
Pakistan issues first passport with third gender marker
— TransAction Pakistan (@TransActionPak) June 24, 2017
In a historic first, a trans human rights defender has become the first citizen of Pakistan to obtain a passport allowing citizens to mark their gender as other than male or female.
As The Express Tribune reports, co-founder and president of TransAction Alliance Pakistan Farzana Jan had applied for an urgent passport, but had to wait for more than six months to get the document processed and see the gender marker reading “X”. The whole process was allegedly delayed as the entire National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) system needed to be updated.
“After a long struggle we are able to make another change,” TransAction Alliance Pakistan wrote on their Facebook page. “Now the Govt of Pakistan is issuing Passports to transgender Community as separate category.”
Friday, June 23
World Pride 2017 kicks off
A rainbow flag has been unfurled on the façade of the Madrid city hall: for ten days, the capital of Spain is set to host both the WorldPride and the EuroPride at the same time, marking the 40th anniversary of the first Pride march in the country.
While the event, poised to be attended by millions of people, will culminate in a parade on July 1, several human rights defenders have already gathered together for the Madrid Summit, a three-day human rights conference addressing the current situation of LGBTQIA+ human rights in the world.
The event touched on topics ranging from the role of international bodies in protecting the rights of rainbow communities to the importance of cultural representation, and ended with the reading of the Madrid Summit Declaration – a document that reiterated the importance of standing by all those persons who have been “persecuted, silenced, murdered by states, societies or cultures.”
Sunday, June 25
Turkey: police disperses Istanbul Pride parade with tear gas and rubber bullets, activists detained
— ILGA-Europe (@ILGAEurope) June 25, 2017
Turkish police have used tear gas and fired rubber bullets to disperse people trying to gather together and march for the Istanbul Pride in defiance of a last-minute ban.
For the third year in a row, Istanbul Governor’s Office had issued a ban on the parade. This time, it came only one day before the march was due to take place, in an apparent concern “for the safety of our citizens and tourists.” Authorities also added that a request for a permit to hold the march had not been filed – a claim that was strongly rejected by the organising committee.
An international delegation of activists and politicians stood in solidarity with the Pride committee in condemning the ban, and human rights defenders vowed to gather anyway for what would have been the 15th edition of the Istanbul Pride march.
Once arrived in the area where the parade was supposed to take place, they encountered heavy police presence. As CNN reports, riot police closed off entrances to the parade route with water cannons, and used tear gas and rubber pellets to break up the crowd who managed to walk past their checkpoints. Istanbul’s Pride organisers said at least 20 people were detained.
Monday, June 26
Tanzania threatens to arrest and deport LGBTI human rights defenders
Tanzania has threatened to arrest and deport human rights defenders and de-register organisations protecting the rights of rainbow communities.
As Agence France Presse reported, “Interior Minister Mwigulu Nchemba was quoted as warning “all organisations and institutions that campaign and pretend to protect homosexual interests … we are going to arrest whoever is involved and charge them in courts of law.” According to reports, he also stated that “if there’s any organisation in the country that supports and campaigns for homosexuality … it shall be deregistered,” and that foreigners involved in such campaigns would be “deported within no time.”
This last turn in the recent crackdown against rainbow communities in the country came just a few days after President John Magufuli slammed NGOs working to protect LGBTI human rights. According to reports, he claimed that such organisations should be countered even if this meant losing foreign aid.
Monday, June 26
New dates announced for the next ILGA World Conference, happening in 2019 in Aotearoa New Zealand
ILGA has announced new dates for its next World Conference, which will be held in Oceania for the first time in the journey of the organisation: the event will take place in Aotearoa New Zealand from 18-22 March 2019, in the capital city of Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington.
The new dates for the event, originally set to take place in October 2018, were chosen to honour the 40th anniversary of the first ILGA World Conference, which took place in April 1979. Back then, the groundbreaking meeting saw 65 delegated gathering together from 17 countries in the town of Bergen, The Netherlands: 40 years later, the 2019 ILGA World Conference will be the first global LGBTI event of the year that will mark the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising, and will lay on the foundation of the numbers of its last edition, which attracted more than 700 participants from 101 countries worldwide.
The event will be hosted by three major Aotearoa New Zealand LGBTI organisations: Intersex Trust Aotearoa New Zealand, Tīwhanawhana Trust, and Rainbow Youth. More information will be available in the next months.
Tuesday, June 27
United States: three former US Surgeons General take a stand against non-consensual intersex surgeries
— interACT (@interACT_adv) June 28, 2017
In a paper titled Re-Thinking Genital Surgeries on Intersex Infants, the 15th, 16th and 17th Surgeon Generals of the United States conclude that “…cosmetic infant genitoplasty is not justified absent a need to ensure physical functioning, and we hope that professionals and parents who face this difficult decision will heed the growing consensus that the practice should stop.”
The former US Surgeons General also point out that performing such procedures hasn’t always been the default practice, and that they started being performed “primarily to ‘normalize’ gendered appearance, not to improve function.”
“When an individual is born with atypical genitalia that pose no physical risk, treatment should focus not on surgical intervention but on psychosocial and educational support for the family and child,” the paper reads. “Cosmetic genitoplasty should be deferred until children are old enough to voice their own view about whether to undergo the surgery.”
Thursday, June 29
Colombia: 108 LGBT persons killed in 2016, report shows
— Colombia Diversa (@ColombiaDiversa) June 29, 2017
A joint report by three human rights organisations has highlighted the extent of violent crimes against LGBT persons in Colombia. According to Colombia Diversa, Caribe Afirmativo and Santa María Fundación, 108 murders and 77 cases of police violence were reported in 2016 alone.
“Despite the advances that have been made in Colombia in recent years in recognising the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans persons, this has not been reflected in an effective decrease in cases of violence, homicides or threats against them,” said Gustavo Pérez, one of the researchers of the report. “Figures are almost the same as those observed in previous years, despite the Prosecutor’s Office has made progress in investigating these facts.”
“Threats again LGBT people remain systematic in the country,” added Alex Pérez, a researcher for Caribe Afirmativo. “Many of these incidents are minimized by the state, perpetrators are not prosecuted or cases are simply dismissed.”
Is that all? More LGBTI news bites
“Discrimination, disrespect and abuse towards people because of their sexual orientation or gender identity does not provide any benefit to our nation,” said the Prime Minister of Timor Leste in a powerful statement in support of rainbow communities.
A court in China ruled that it is unlawful not to renew an employee’s contract on the basis of their HIV-positive status.
Malta is poised to embrace marriage equality very soon. Meanwhile, Parliament in Germany voted in favour of marriage equality, and has also recently voted unanimously to void the convictions of men prosecuted for same-sex sexual acts since World War II, and to grant them compensation.
In France, the National Advisory Committee on Ethics recommended the country’s laws on medically assisted procreation be extended to include women who are single or in same-sex couples.
The Supreme Court of the United States reversed an Arkansas’ Supreme Court decision which denied same-sex spouses’ right to be named on their children’s birth certificates. The Court also agreed to hear an appeal from a baker who had lost a discrimination case for refusing, citing religious objections, to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple.
In the United States, a federal court has been asked to reopen the case of Dana Zzyym, an intersex activist whose request for an accurate passport, without a male or female gender marker, was rejected by the State Department for the second time.
According to reports, the Malawi Human Rights Commission is soon set to conduct a survey to investigate public attitudes towards LGBT persons in the country.
An intersex person saw his asylum application rejected from France, and was deported to Morocco. Lawyers reported that he was subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment while in detention, and that his deportation will put his life at further risk.
Application is now open for the fifth Caribbean Women and Sexual Diversity Conference, which is set to take place in Saint Lucia from October 5-9.
More than 200 persons gathered together in Haedo, Argentina to launch a campaign demanding justice for Diana Sacayán, the trans activist who was murdered in 2015.
The 17th Australia’s Homosexual Histories Conference – set to be held in Adelaide, SA, Australia in November – is seeking proposals for papers, workshops, panels, performances, films, and roundtable discussions.
The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights has issued a recommendation to Australia on intersex human rights for the first time, expressing concern on unnecessary medical interventions happening without the child’s full and informed consent. A similar recommendation was obtained also by The Netherlands during the same session.