LGBulleTIn #96 – The week in LGBTI news
July 21-27, 2017
Saturday, July 22
Hong Kong: book fair bans “indecent” titles
A Taiwanese LGBTQ book publisher has reported that the Hong Kong Book Fair – an event attended by hundreds of thousands of people every year – has banned some of its titles, deeming them “indecent.”
According to Hong Kong Free Press, the fair’s regulations prohibit the sale of Class II “indecent” books under the Control of Obscene and Indecent Articles Ordinance, a 1987 law that was revised extensively in 2014.
During the third day of the event, the publisher took to social media to report that organisers had ordered nine Class II titles to be removed from the stall, even though they were packaged in plastic covers featuring warning labels in accordance with Hong Kong laws.
The publisher also claimed that the book covers did not contain explicit images. “We’ve never been faced with this kind of order in previous exhibitions,” wrote the publisher. “We felt extremely stunned.”
Monday, July 24
Cook Islands: decriminalisation of same-sex activity addressed in Parliament
The issue of decriminalisation of same-sex activity has been raised in Parliament in the Cook Islands, as a Committee has received the first two public submissions on the Crimes Bill 2017.
Such legislation, Cook Island News reports, is expected to modernise the Crimes Act 1969, which includes the provision currently followed by the justice system in the country.
One of these submissions was presented by the Te Tiare Association, an organisation working to advance the human rights of rainbow communities.
“We have come to show our support for the amendments to decriminalise homosexuality in the Crimes Bill,” reads a note shared on social media by the group. “We note that Sections 154 and 155 of the Crimes Act 1969 establish that any ‘indecent act’ between two men is punishable with up to five years’ imprisonment, and consensual sodomy is punishable with up to seven years. These provisions have been removed in the Crimes Bill 2017. Furthermore, we would like to make sure that there are no other provisions that criminalise homosexuality in the Bill going forward. We would like to support this progressive move by the government in removing these draconian provisions which were inherited from our colonial past.”
Monday, July 24
Italy: “We accept neither gays nor animals,” hotelier warns guest
A gay couple was forced to cancel their reservation at a guesthouse after the owner warned them that neither gay people nor animals are allowed in the facility.
The couple had reserved a room for a few days, and were exchanging messages with the owner of the resort, when they received “an important notice” from him: “I am sorry if I sound like a caveman,” the message read, “but we accept neither gays nor animals.”
The couple immediately cancelled the reservation, but then decided to report what had happened: “It immediately made me think of the message Nazis would post on their shop windows,” they said. “Seventy years have passed since then, and this story cannot be ignored.”
Since then, the story has made headlines and sparked outrage across the country. And while a local traders’ association has publicly apologised for the incident, the guesthouse’s ad has been removed from the platform through which the reservation was done. Petitions have also been launched, calling to boycott the guesthouse and asking the booking platform to publicly speak out against all forms of discriminations.
Wednesday, July 26
United States: landmark lawsuit about genital surgery on an intersex baby settled out-of-court
After four years in court, a landmark case over an unnecessary genital surgery performed on an intersex child of colour has been settled.
As Buzzfeed reports, the lawsuit was brought by Pam and Mark Crawford on behalf of their adopted son, M.C., against the Medical University of South Carolina, where a genital surgery was performed on the child when he was 16 months old. The South Carolina Department of Social Services, which technically had the custody of the child at the time of the surgery, was also named in the suit along with the Greenville Hospital System, who referred him to surgeons.
As court records report, M.C.’s adoptive parents alleged that their child “has incurred medical bills, pain and suffering, psychological damage, and impairment as a result of the surgery.”
This historic result was made public in the same week when an important report was released: I want to be like nature made me, written by Human Rights Watch and interACT, examines the physical and psychological damage caused by medically unnecessary surgery on intersex people in the United States, and called on the government and medical bodies to put an end such harmful procedures.
Wednesday, July 26
Argentina: hundreds march in Córdoba demanding justice for travesti and trans persons who were murdered
— Agencia Presentes (@PresentesLGBT) July 26, 2017
Two years ago, the dead body of Laura Moyano, a 35-year old trans woman, was found in an abandoned ground in Villa Allende Parque, in the outskirts of Córdoba. She had been murdered, and those responsible for the crime haven’t been identified to date.
On the anniversary of this horrific incident, hundreds of people took to the streets in Córdoba to demand justice for all the travesti and trans persons who fell victim to murder.
“The case of Laura joins a long chain of murders that have affected travesti and trans women for decades, and that have increased alarmingly in the last two years,” reads a document that was read out during the demonstration.
The same document also listed more travesti and trans persons who have recently died because of “the absence of public policies that guarantee them decent living conditions and access to the health system”, and called for the full “implementation of the Gender Identity Law to guarantee access to health, education, and decent housing for trans and travesti persons.”
A few days after the march, yet another travesti person was murdered in the country: the body of Pamela Anabel Tabares was found in a rural zone of Pérez, in Gran Rosario. She was only 35 years old.
Thursday, July 27
Kenya: Court of Appeal hears challenge to an order allowing LGBTI group to register as NGO
The legal battle to see the National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (NGLHRC) registered as a non-governmental organisation in Kenya is set to reach the Court of Appeal, as the case is scheduled to be heard today.
In 2015, the High Court allowed the human rights group to be registered as an NGO. The decision, however, was appealed by the Non-Governmental Organizations Coordination Board, which has been rejecting NGLHRC’s registration requests since April 2012, on the basis that their name was “unacceptable” as Kenya’s penal code “criminalises gay and lesbian liaisons.”
The High Court thought otherwise: “As a society, once we recognize that persons who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or intersex are human beings… we must accord them the rights which are guaranteed by the Constitution to all persons.” The ruling was then challenged, and the appeal is now set to be discussed.
“Freedom of association is an indispensable component of our democracy,” executive director of NGLHRC, Eric Gitari, said. “To roll back such a basic right for Kenyans would set a dangerous precedent. […] There are no victims of the existence of our organisation, only beneficiaries. We hope that fairness and justice will prevail, and that our freedom of association rights will be protected.”
Is that all? More LGBTI news bites
In the United States, President Donald Trump took to Twitter to abruptly announce a ban on trans people serving in the military. The announcement– whose effects are still unclear – caused a wave of protests across the country, and it is likely to end up in court.
The Justice Department in the United States has filed an amicus brief in a federal lawsuit arguing that a 1964 civil rights law which bans discrimination on the basis of sex does not cover sexual orientation.
In Taiwan, the Taipei City government said it has revised its regulations to allow same-sex couples to apply for affordable public housing, starting in mid-August.
The marriage between a man and a person identifying as third-gender has been registered in Nepal.
A poll among Christians in Australia found a 54% support for marriage equality. 77% of people surveyed believe parliamentarians should be free to vote as soon as possible.
A flyer comparing the fight for LGBTI human rights to Nazi propaganda was mailed to homes in St Kilda and Shepparton, Vic., Australia, before the delivery was stopped by Australia Post.
A bill allowing trans people to change their name and gender marker on birth certificates has been approved in the state of Nayarit, Mexico.
Two members of the clergy in Jamaica have publicly supported the repeal of the ‘buggery’ law. While welcoming these stances, J-Flag has called to broaden the conversation about the rights of rainbow communities, beyond the law criminalising same-sex conduct.
The marriage equality bill has been signed into law in Germany, coming into force in early October 2017.
New rules in England and Scotland will soon allow men who have sex with men, as well as sex workers, to donate blood three months after their last sexual activity.
Human rights organisations in Namibia have organized a five-day advocacy event to “celebrate the rich tapestry of Namibian LGBTI lives, while addressing social and policy discriminatory laws, policies and practices.”
A court in Zimbabwe has begun hearing the case brought by a trans human rights defender who was detained and charged with ‘criminal nuisance’ for using a toilet comporting with her gender identity at a city hotel.