The week in LGBTI news
July 20-26, 2018
ILGA's LGBulleTIn #127 provides a week in LGBTI news of the world to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex community and their allies
Friday, July 20
Australia: Human Rights Commission launches consultation project on intersex human rights
The Australian Human Rights Commission has launched a major project to consult on how best to protect the human rights of people born with variations in sex characteristics, in the specific context of non-consensual medical interventions.
The project, which is being assisted by an expert reference group, aims to “identify key issues and obtain perspectives on current practice, evaluate approaches taken to medical interventions in Australia and other jurisdictions, and develop recommendations for a nationally consistent human-rights based approach to decision-making about medical interventions.”
The consultation process will include interviews and a call for written submissions, which are sought by August 31. After the process is complete, the Commission is set to publish a report which will include recommendations for reform.
Sunday, July 22
Israel: rainbow communities stage nationwide protests, demand “full equality”
Rainbow communities and allies went on strike and staged demonstrations in cities across Israel, after a new law was passed
Some of Israel’s leading companies, organisations and institutions announced that they would enable LGBT members of their staff to take the day off work to participate in the protests. Thousands took to the streets, and two persons were arrested in Jerusalem as demonstrators were assembling outside the residence of the prime minister.
“Our struggle is not only for surrogacy but also for equality in general,” a person joining the protests told Y Net News. “It’s sad for us that we can’t live in this country as equal citizens.”
The protest took place at the end of a week where two other controversial laws were approved: one seeking to enshrine the status of the State of Israel as the exclusive nation state of the Jewish people, and another that will see groups that criticise the actions of the army banned from entering school premises.
Following the strike, 14 LGBT organisations across Israel presented a document including a list of demands for “equality and freedom” to the government. As The Times of Israel reports, such demands include measures to prevent violence against our communities and full recognition of rainbow families amongst others.
Monday, July 23
International AIDS Conference opens in Amsterdam
More than 15,000 people gathered in The Netherlands for the 22nd International AIDS Conference. The event was held under the theme “Breaking barriers, building bridges”, underlining the aim to draw attention to the need to reach key populations through a more effective rights-based approach.
“The biggest barriers now to ending the epidemic are ideologically and politically driven”, the president of the International AIDS Society (IAS) Linda-Gail Bekker said. “Together, we will hold policy makers and donors accountable to the evidence – the end of AIDS will only come from prioritizing science-based policies, ensuring adequate funding and working hard together to be certain that no one is left behind.”
The latest UNAIDS report has recently highlighted that key populations are still not being considered enough in HIV programming and are still being hindered from accessing the services they need.
During the whole conference, human rights defenders raised awareness of the challenges still faced by people living with HIV/AIDS in multiple ways: not only throughout several panel discussions, but also with a protest march that went from Brussels to the streets of Amsterdam towards the opening of the conference. A Trans march was also held in the Global Village, and sex workers from dozens of countries marched through Amsterdam to demand decriminalisation and better protections. Activists also protested UNAIDS and the decision to host the 2020 conference in San Francisco.
Monday, July 23
ILGALAC calls on Nicaragua to protect LGBTI citizens and civil society targeted during ongoing human rights crisis
ILGALAC, the Latin America and Caribbean region of ILGA, has called on the government of Nicaragua to protect the lives of all its citizens, and especially of those in the LGBTI community “who are today targets of vigilante and paramilitary groups that persecute, harass, beat and kill with impunity.”
After the protests that broke out in April this year, the State’s repressive actions have left hundreds of people dead, injured or deprived of their liberty, according to a report by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, as “violence has focused on discouraging participation in demonstrations.”
“LGBTI activists, human rights defenders, women's movements, young students, indigenous people and peasants are highly vulnerable in this serious situation of institutional fracture,” wrote ILGALAC. “Greater efforts are required by the Nicaraguan government to protect the physical integrity and life of those who are part of civil society spaces.”
ILGALAC has also expressed its solidarity with LGBTI human rights defenders who, to various degrees, have been targeted by law enforcements or vigilante groups during the past months. 24/7 emergency support is available at ProtectDefenders.eu for all those who are facing immediate threats.
Monday, July 23
Report highlights extent of healthcare barriers faced by LGBT people in the United States
LGBT populations across the United States still encounter significant barriers to health care, a new report by Human Rights Watch has found.
The document highlights how people in rainbow communities still face difficulty finding providers who are knowledgeable about their needs, delay or forego care because of concerns about how they will be treated, and encounter discrimination from insurers or providers.
Two upcoming regulatory changes could likely make things even worse. As Human Rights Watch reports, HHS issued a proposed rule earlier in 2018 that would broaden protections for insurers and providers who deny service to patients on the grounds of their moral or religious beliefs. A few months later, then, plans were announced to roll back a regulation clarifying that federal law prohibits healthcare discrimination based on gender identity.
“When LGBT people seek medical care, the oath to do no harm too often gives way to judgment and discrimination,” said Ryan Thoreson, an LGBT rights researcher at Human Rights Watch. “Lawmakers need to make clear that patients come first, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.”
Wednesday, July 25
Luxembourg improves legal gender recognition procedure
With a 57-3 majority, the Chamber of Deputies of Luxembourg has approved a law improving the procedures for persons seeking to update their names and gender marker in the civil registry.
“This progressive law will bring great relief to those concerned,” Intersex & Transgender Luxembourg a.s.b.l. commented, “especially as the vast majority obtained is a strong sign of recognition and support by the House.”
As the organisation points out, the law makes it no longer necessary to present a psychiatric certificate, or proof of medical treatment, to see a person's gender legally recognised. The law is also applicable to minors under certain conditions, as well as to foreign persons who have regularly resided in Luxembourg for at least one year.
Wednesday, July 25
Uganda: trans youth organisation evicted from offices
An organisation that advocates for the rights and equality of trans youth in Uganda has been forced to temporarily shut down operations after being ordered by their landlord to vacate his premises.
As Kuchu Times reports, problems for the organisation – named Rainbow Mirrors - started as neighbours noticed that the premises were attended by trans persons, and lodged a complaint to the landlord.
Soon after this incident, staff members began receiving insults by the neighbours and anonymous threats over the phone, and soon after they were barred from accessing their office. Having to face such challenges to their work, Rainbow Mirrors was then forced to suspend its operations until its offices will be relocated.
Is that all? More LGBTI news bites
LGBTI Catholic groups have expressed their disappointment as their outreach requests regarding the upcoming World Meeting of Families 2018 were left unanswered.
The National assembly of Cuba signed off on a draft new Constitution, where marriage is defined as the ‘consensual union of two people, regardless of gender’. The document will be put to a referendum in late 2018.
A historic Pride parade has taken place in Barbados, with hundreds of persons marching in the streets of Bridgetown.
Thousands of persons gathered together in Singapore for the 10th Pink Dot event, which culminated in ten declarations on the changes that rainbow communities are ready to see in the country.
The homophobic remarks of a member of parliament in Japan, who has described same-sex couples as ‘unproductive’ and had previously denied the importance of school education on LGBT issues, have caused outrage in the country.
Human rights organisations are urging authorities to take action, after leaflets and flyers including hate speech against LGBTI persons were disseminated in different cities across Turkey.
In Switzerland, the Legal Affairs Committee of the National Council has recently voted 14-11 to move forward with marriage equality, asking the government for a roadmap on the issue by February 2019.
Two women in Missouri, United States have filed a lawsuit against a senior housing community, which allegedly denied them a unit after finding out that they are a married couple.
In the United States, Delaware has joined the list of States that have banned ‘conversion’ therapy on minors, as the governor signed the bill into law.
A petition was launched in Aotearoa/New Zealand asking the House of Representatives to ban 'conversion' therapy.
The Australasian Society for HIV, Viral Hepatitis + Sexual Health Medicine has launched a guide to help clinicians better discuss with patients the implications of Undetectable = Untransmissible in their care.
The hearing of the case of a man accused of assaulting and raping a lesbian teenage girl in Potchefstroom, South Africa has recently been postponed for the second time, causing outrage among human rights defenders and organisations supporting the survivor.
A trans woman was assaulted and beaten up by a mob in Cameroon. Local activists report that she lost all her belongings in the attack and is now in need of assistance.
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