LGBulleTIn #57 - The week in LGBTI news
July 22-28, 2016
Friday, July 22
Tanzania restricts access to sexual lubricants in attempt to curb same-sex sexual activity
The Tanzanian government has announced it has put in place restrictions on imports and sales of sexual lubricants. According to AFP, Health Minister Ummy Mwalimu would have justified the move on the grounds that such products would encourage same-sex sexual activity.
Since then, Mwalimu and Deputy Minister of Health Dr. Hamisi Kigwangalla have appeared to backtrack, Broadly reports, claiming that lubricant will still be allowed in Tanzania as long as it is distributed by a hospital, while NGOs would be barred from handing it out.
Sunday, July 24
Colombia: peace deal ending armed conflict to encompass equal rights for women and LGBTI persons
The Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), who have recently announced the “end of the conflict” in Colombia, have agreed to incorporate a gender-based approach that will develop in 8 thematic areas these areas will also include the effective implementation of economic, social and cultural rights of LGBTI persons of the rural sector, the public recognition of LGBTI persons as political subjects, among others.
The draft of the new deal was presented during a session of the peace talks taking place in La Habana, Cuba, in the presence of UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka and Zainab Bangura, UN Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict.
"Including gender (issues) in a peace agreement is a first,” Foreign Minister Maria Angela Holguin said. “It has never before been done in (ending) war.”
“We are aware that the changes that the country needs for peace-building cannot be possible without a society that recognizes and respects differences,” a joint statement reads, “and in which stigmatization and gender-biased discrimination remain in the past.”
A sub-commission was created in September 2014 to review and include a gender perspective in the peace accord, and delegates from 18 organisations advocating human rights of women and of LGBTI persons were part of it.
Sunday, July 24
Australia: Census to include option for individuals to identify as other than male or female
On August 9, Australia will undertake its five-yearly national Census, and this year's consultation will mark a country's first: according to reports by SBS, respondents will have the option to identify as neither male nor female but ‘other’.
The possibility has opened up after, in February, the Australian Bureau of Statistics had issued a new standard for Sex and Gender Variables, including question modules for the collection of information on the issue.
Identifying as “other” will not be as simple as ticking a box: the paper form requires the male and female boxes to be left unmarked, and the response written in. Responding online, on the other hand, would require to call the Census Inquiry Service, request a login for the special online form and then select the preferred answer.
Monday, July 25
Pakistan: enquiry committee hears case of alleged abuses against trans persons
A station house officer, who was reportedly involved in illegally detaining seven trans persons for about 10 hours, presented himself before an enquiry committee at the Human Rights Directorate K-P, according to reports by The Express Tribune.
On July 14, seven trans persons were arrested, but no First Information Report was registered against them; taken to the police station, they were allegedly sexually abused by officers.
At the hearing, the station house officer admitted to have arrested the group and to have acted under pressure from a religious political party. He reportedly failed to present any legal justification for his act.
“How can we expect justice from others," a human rights activist commented, "if the people appointed by the government would do such a thing with a vulnerable group of society?”
Wednesday, July 27
United States: 12 states to support Obama administration in court on policies advancing protections for trans students and workers
Twelve U.S. states have filed a brief asserting that the federal court should not impede enforcement of the Obama administration policies aimed at advancing anti-discrimination protections for trans students and workers.
The filing, Buzzfeed reports, is led by Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson, whose brief claims that federal protections for trans people are “strongly in the public interest.”
This move comes after, in May, officials in Texas and 10 other states sued the federal government over its interpretation of civil rights laws, especially challenging guidance from the Department of Education and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Several weeks later, another group of states filed a similar lawsuit.
Thursday, July 28
The Netherlands: European Bisexual Conference kicks off in Amsterdam
Hundreds of activists and human rights defenders – including ILGA’s co-Secretary General Ruth Baldacchino and ILGA-Europe's Executive Director Evelyne Paradis - gathered in Amsterdam for the third European Bisexual Conference (EuroBiCon), a community organised event bringing together bisexual people and their allies from across Europe and beyond.
The event, held under the theme ‘Join our VisiBility’ and coordinated by the Dutch Bisexual Network, began with the first European Bisexual Research Conference (EuroBiReCon), a day dedicated to academic research on bisexuality.
— sandrahopkins (@sandrahopkins) July 29, 2016
" target="_blank">After the official opening, held at the Old Luteran Church lit in the colours of the bisexual flag, a three-day meeting kicked off, offering almost 60 workshops on such issues as, amongst others, bi culture, improving bisexual healthcare, and challenging biphobia and bi erasure.
Is that all? More LGBTI news bites
LGBTI activists worldwide mourn the loss of Deborah Lambillotte, a passionate activist and inspiring role model who had long been involved with organisations in Italy and in Belgium, and had served as ILGA-Europe's co-chair and as ILGA's alternate board member.
Discrimination against gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men could have a worldwide cost of up to $119.1 billion GDP, a research has found.
"Each person is equally inviolable," a leading religious figure in Egypt was quoted as saying. "Even if we view homosexuality as a religious sin, that does not give anyone the freedom to injure another person in any way."
Human rights organisations in Denmark are criticizing a court's decision to deport three lesbian women to their homeland, Uganda, where they claim they will be at risk of persecution.
The new marriage equality law has just come into effect in the Isle of Man, while the Civil Partnership Act will come into force in February 2017 in Slovenia.
According to reports, the department of Education in the United Kingdom announced that it will provide more funding to support a LGBT adoption and fostering charity.
In a move considered 'historic' by human rights organisations, the Venezuelan government pledged to advance the inclusion of members of the LGBTI community in the social programs it will conduct.
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has welcomed the recent creation of the Core Group on the Rights of LGBTI persons of the Organization of American States.
In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration signaled it may start reconsidering its blood donor deferral recommendations for gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men.
In Canada, an image objectifying lesbian women in a campaign to promote national oil has sparked outrage, and was later removed from social media.
In New Zealand, co-conveners of a cross-party working group on LGBTI human rights are urging Education minister to consider the safety of LGBTI students as a topic that schools will be assessed on.
A letter-writing network was established in New Zealand to connect LGBTI prisoners with the outside community.
A civil society organisation has released a report describing how laws and law enforcement practices in China affect the ability of sex workers to access and carry condoms.
According to reports, potential leaders of the top broadcasting body in Indonesia have voiced opposition to LGBT characters being shown on TV.
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