Two week is LGBTI news of the world
April 20 – May 3, 2018
Prepared by Daniele Paletta
Edited by Callum Birch
ILGA's LGBulleTIn #120 provides two weeks in LGBTI news of the world to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex community and their allies
Monday, April 23
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights welcomes decriminalisation ruling in Trinidad and Tobago
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) has welcomed the recent decision of the High Court of Justice of Trinidad and Tobago which declared unconstitutional the criminalisation of consensual same-sex sexual activity.
The ruling “is a milestone in the recognition of the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons in Trinidad and Tobago, and we hope to see more countries in the Caribbean Anglophone region following their example”, said Flavia Piovesan, Rapporteur on the Rights of LGBTI Persons of the IACHR. Moreover, it “sends the message that human rights are for all, and it strengthens the idea that those who defy socially and traditional accepted notions of sex, sexuality and gender must be protected.”
The Commission also highlighted the inconsistency of laws that criminalise consensual same-sex activity with the international human rights law principles of equality and non-discrimination, and called on all countries in the region that still criminalise such relations to “review and eliminate existing regulations”.
Tuesday, May 24
Aotearoa/New Zealand: Health Ministry reported saying it has not “kept up” with demands for gender-affirming healthcare
The Ministry of Health of Aotearoa/New Zealand has recognised that it has failed to provide adequate healthcare to trans people, especially when it comes to gender-affirming healthcare.
The admission was contained in an internal memo that aimed to provide advice on LGBTQI policies to the ministers.
According to The Wireless, the communication was received by Health Minister David Clark and Associate Health Minister Julie Anne Genter in late February 2018. It said that demand for gender-affirming healthcare is growing, and “limited” public services are not keeping up.
“While gender reassignment surgery is topical,” the memo reads, “it should be looked at in the context of a broader spectrum of transition-related healthcare to transgender people. A review of the model of care is required.”
Wednesday, April 25
Canada: ‘LGBT purge’ lawsuit settlement expanded
The government of Canada has agreed to expand the scope of an agreement to financially compensate members of the military and other federal agencies who were investigated and fired because of their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.
According to The Canadian Press, a revised version of the class-action settlement now explicitly includes people who were affected by the so-called ‘LGBT purge’ as early as 1955 — seven years prior to a previously agreed date.
An 'exceptions committee' is also set to be created, aimed to look case-by-case at those who may still not be included - such as people affected before 1955, individuals who worked for agencies not listed in the settlement, and more people who were targeted, sometimes even for speaking up in defence of their colleagues.
In November 2017, the Canadian Prime Minister delivered a historic apology to rainbow communities in the country, saying sorry for decades of “state-sponsored, systematic oppression and rejection.”
Monday, April 30
Uganda postpones its first annual conference on key and priority populations
A conference meant to highlight the work done towards elimination of HIV/AIDS across Uganda and beyond has been postponed as government officials asked for more information about the intentions of the meeting.
The country's Ethics and Integrity Minister was quoted as saying that "the event was being disguised as an HIV prevention event, yet it is meant to promote ‘homosexuality',” and therefore asked to block it.
As Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) reports, the AIDS Commission Director General agreed to suspend the conference – originally scheduled on May 9 and 10 in Kampala – until its expected outcomes are clarified.
“We are appalled that the government cancelled the event on basis of alleged promotion of homosexuality,” a statement by SMUG reads. "Key and priority populations programming is an integral part of wider HIV/AIDS programming in Uganda and there’s a wealth of activities engaging these groups that need to be highlighted. (...) We urge (the Government) to join us in the fight against HIV/AIDS without exclusion."
Monday, April 30
New report reveals reality of funding for LGBTI activism in Europe and Central Asia
A critical mass of LGBTI organisations throughout Europe and Central Asia lack external funding, a new report by ILGA-Europe has shown.
Crafted from the experiences of LGBTI activists across the region, Funding for LGBTI activism in Europe and Central Asia highlights the struggle of rainbow communities to resource their human rights work.
Half of the 287 organisations surveyed reported having no paid staff, and are making change happen on a voluntary basis. One third of the respondents also reported not getting any external funding from governments or foundations.
Access to external funding proved also to be uneven in different zones across Europe and Central Asia, and organisations focusing on specific communities within the wider rainbow community were also more likely to have smaller budgets and fewer paid staff.
“We hope that the report will spark conversations and lead to new strategies to mobilise more resources that will help build an ever stronger and more sustainable LGBTI movement,” ILGA-Europe Programmes Director Björn van Roozendaal wrote. “This report is no end point – it’s only the beginning for much more conversations to be had about how we can bring more and better resources to the European LGBTI movements.”
Tuesday, May 1
India: Supreme Court calls on government to explain its stance on Section 377
The Supreme Court of India has issued notice to the government on two separate pleas challenging section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, which criminalises ‘carnal intercourse against the order of nature’.
According to Thomson Reuters, the Supreme Court set a July deadline to receive a response. By that time, the government will be called to explain its stance on the petitions.
The court’s notice to the government “is a watershed in the whole fight against Section 377,” said petitioner Ashok Row Kavi, chairperson of Humsafar Trust. “The government will have to decide whether this colonial law should still stand relevant in a country that has its own constitution that protects fundamental rights of its citizens.”
Among the petitions the judges considered was that of Arif Jafar, who was arrested under Section 377 in 2001. “This is the first time an arrested man is before the court with a plea to scrap section 377 IPC”, Senior Advocate Anand Grover said referring to his petition. "He was in jail for 47 days and tortured.”
Is that all? More LGBTI news bites
The IAAF issued new eligibility regulations for female classification for events from 400m to the mile, still drawing from the idea that women with high testosterone have a performance advantage over women with lower levels. “This was never about science,” wrote Katrina Karkazis and Rebecca Jordan-Young on The Guardian. “This regulation is about targeting and impeding a few exceptional women of colour from the global south, especially Caster Semenya.”
Funders for LGBTQ Issues and Global Philanthropy Project have released a report on the state of foundation and government funding for LGBTI issues. Two webinars to dig deeper into the document will we held on May 10 (for grantmakers only) and May 14 (for civil society).
The national governance body of the Uniting Church in Australia has recommended a change in its policy statement on marriage from being the union of “a man and a woman” to being between “two people”.
People living with HIV in Papua New Guinea are facing “a serious situation”, local advocacy groups have warned, as recent budget cuts have caused a critical shortage in stocks of anti-retroviral drugs.
Pan Africa ILGA has shared the draft programme of its regional conference, co-hosted by LeGaBiBo from May 31 to June 4 in Gaborone, Botswana.
Five staff members of a youth centre linked to an LGBTI organisation in Dschang, Cameroon have been subjected to arbitrary arrest. They were reported being still in jail and in difficult health conditions one week after their arrest.
Trans people in Thailand continue to experience marginalisation and exclusion in society because of a lack of legal protections, a new study has highlighted.
A court in Hong Kong rejected a bid from 31 banks, law firms and NGOs in support of the legal challenge brought by a woman who was denied a spousal visa through her wife after moving to the city in 2014.
IGLYO and TrustLaw have launched a report analysing legislation aimed at banning LGBT ‘propaganda’ to minors which have been enacted or proposed in Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Poland, Russia and Ukraine.
An event to raise awareness about lesbian women’s human rights and the challenges still faced by the community has taken place at the European Parliament on the occasion of Lesbian Visibility Day.
State lawmakers in Hawaii, United States approved a ban on so-called 'conversion' therapy treatments conducted on minors.
In California, United States, the San Francisco Human Rights Commission has announced full support of a state-wide resolution calling on stakeholders in the health professions to protect intersex children from non-consensual, medical unnecessary surgeries.
Activists from more than ten organisations staged a demonstration by the Congress in Buenos Aires, Argentina calling on the ‘Diana Sacayán law’ - aiming to establish a quota of at least 1% of the public agencies workforce for trans persons - to be implemented at the national level.
Dates have been announced for the 6th Annual Caribbean Women and Sexual Diversity Conference, which will take place in October in Belize.
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The LGBulleTIn will return on May 18