The week in LGBTI news
September 28 - October 4, 2018
ILGA's LGBulleTIn #132 provides a week in LGBTI news of the world to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex community and their allies
Canada: new policy allows trans student-athletes on teams consistent with gender identity
An organisation governing university sports in Canada has announced a new policy for trans student-athletes, allowing them to choose whether to compete on teams that are consistent with either their gender identity or with the gender they were assigned at birth.
The policy, affecting all 56 of the U Sports members institutions, states that athletes can only compete on teams of one gender during a given academic year, without the requirement to undertake hormone therapy. They must also comply with the Canadian Anti-Doping Program.
The policy has been described as ‘a step in the right direction’ towards the full inclusion of trans people in sports, although criticisms were raised about its absence of language to include non-binary athletes.
More news from North America
The State of Minnesota, United States now offers to choose an ‘X’ gender marker option, besides ‘M’ or ‘F’, to those applying for drivers’ licenses.
A new policy has gone into effect in the United States, as the State Department will no longer issue diplomatic visas to same-sex partners of foreign diplomats and United Nations employees, unless they are married.
Lebanon: security forces try to shut down conference on gender and sexuality
Lebanese authorities have tried to shut down the 2018 edition of NEWDA, a conference on gender and sexuality organized by the Arab Foundation of Freedom and Equality (AFE).
As AFE and Outright report, officers from General Security intervened during the third day of the event, took details of all the conference participants – which gathered human rights defenders from across the Middle East and North Africa - and directed AFE executive director Georges Azzi to sign a pledge to cease any activities related to the event. As he refused to do so, officers ordered the venue to shut down the conference, which was later moved to a different hotel.
According to reports, the intervention followed public statements from the Muslim Scholars Association accusing NEDWA organizers of ‘promoting perversion and drug abuse’.
"What happened during the weekend is a violation to freedoms", said Azzi during a press conference to report the incident. "We refused to accept these violations".
More news from Asia
The #Ready4Repeal movement is growing stronger in Singapore: after a petition asking to decriminalise same-sex relations was signed by more than 49,000 persons, hundreds gathered together for a town hall to discuss how to engage with MPs on the matter.
A gay kindergarten teacher in Qingdao, China was fired after posting some comment on social media about an LGBT event he had attended: he is now suing his former school.
UN human rights expert highlights discrimination faced by LGBT people and those living with HIV/AIDS in access to housing in Egypt
Following an official visit to Egypt, Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing Leilani Farha highlighted the extent of the discriminations faced by sexual and gender minorities, as well as people living with HIV/AIDS, in accessing housing.
In an end of mission statement, the Special Procedure mandate holder wrote about the “harrowing and traumatic experiences” faced by our communities: “The overall cultural climate in Egypt for many LGBT people, and those with HIV/AIDS, is one of harassment, intimidation and discrimination and it pervades and manifests acutely in the housing sector,” she wrote. “LGBT people often cannot rent accommodation because of their perceived sexual identity and, if they manage to secure accommodation, they live in constant fear of their sexual or gender identity being discovered, charged with debauchery and homelessness. I learned that even home ownership does not provide adequate protections”.
“While I recognize that this is a difficult issue in the cultural context of Egypt, the government must still make every effort to safeguard the equal right to housing for LGBT people as a matter of urgent priority,” she concluded, suggesting that the National Human Rights Commission take a lead role in initiating educational programs in this regard.
More news from Africa
Officials at the department of Home Affairs in South Africa will soon undergo sensitisation trainings in a bid to end the discrimination faced by asylum seekers on the grounds of their sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and sex characteristics.
Two among the four persons who were recently arrested in Senegal for ‘acts against the order of nature’ and ‘sharing obscene images’ have been sentenced to jail.
Switzerland moves towards criminalising hate speech and discrimination on the grounds of SOGI
The National Council of Switzerland has approved the inclusion of sexual orientation and gender identity as protected grounds against hate speech and discrimination, in a move that has been hailed as “a big and important milestone” by grassroots human rights defenders.
The parliamentary initiative was accepted with a 118-60 vote with five abstentions, after a heated debate filled with strong biphobic remarks and with questioning on whether those grounds were ‘legally problematic’. The initiative will now move to the Council of States, and will become law in case of approval.
Only incitement to hatred or discrimination against a person or group of persons on the basis of their ‘racial, ethnic or religious’ affiliation are currently criminalised in Switzerland, resulting in up to 3 years' imprisonment or a fine.
In 2017, the LGBT+ helpline reported over 100 cases of homophobic violence over just three months’ time, and Swissinfo has recently documented more cases of public hate speech and attacks against our communities in the country.
More news from Europe
Only days before a referendum seeking to change the definition of family in Romania - a public consultation that local groups are calling on to boycott - the Constitutional Court published a ruling stating that same-sex couples have equal rights to a private and family life, while 47 members of the European Parliament called on the Prime Minister to protect all families.
Authorities in Italy freed a 17-year-old girl who was beaten up and locked up by her parents after she came out as lesbian.
A European human rights body found that the Czech Republic violates the human rights of trans people as guaranteed by the European Social Charter, referring to the forced sterilisation requirement to see a person's gender legally recognised.
Latin America and the Caribbean
Argentina: Labour Commission pledges to discuss law to establish quota of public agencies workforce for trans persons
The President of the Labour Legislation Commission in the House of Deputies has pledged to soon start discussions around a national law to establish a quota of the public agencies workforce for trans persons.
This initiative, known as Diana Sacayán National Law, draws from the one that the Province of Buenos Aires approved in 2015, which established a quota of at least 1% of the public agencies workforce for trans persons.
Activists from across the country had long campaigned for this law to be implemented at the national level. As Presentes pointed out, the bill finally entered the House of Deputies earlier in July, and was officially presented one month later in a public event.
“We are convinced that #SeraLey (‘It will be law’), Conurbanxs por la Diversidad commented.
More news from Latin America and the Caribbean
On the occasion of the opening of a local Pride event, activists in Curaçao introduced a marriage equality bill in Parliament.
Trans activists reported being assaulted by security guards in an LGBT-friendly club in Santiago de Chile, as they refused to use a restroom that was not comporting with their gender identity.
Australia: Tasmania Supreme Court rules against man accused of hate speech
In a landmark decision, Tasmanian Supreme Court justice Michael Brett rejected an appeal by a man accused of hate speech for producing and distributing flyers full of hateful messages and unsubstantiated statistics about our communities.
According to reports, the ruling clarified that sections of Tasmania’s Anti-Discrimination Act that prohibit incitement to hatred and offensive language do not impinge on religious freedom or free speech, and are constitutionally valid.
“Justice Brett has put forward a careful, rigorous and unassailable argument that freedom of religion and freedom of speech are not unfettered rights," Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group spokesperson Rodney Croome was quoted as saying. “I urge state and federal governments heed this decision and back away from any attempts to water down laws that have helped make Tasmania a more inclusive and cohesive society.”
More news from Oceania
The first two expungements against unjust convictions for historical homosexual offences have been made in New Zealand.
Community organisations and activists dedicated to fighting for LGBTI rights and equality were among those recognised at the Honour Awards, held in Sydney, NSW, Australia.
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