LGBulleTIn #61 - The week in LGBTI news
September 2-8, 2016
Friday, September 2
Peru: Ombudsman calls for public policies to protect human rights of LGBTI people
The Ombudsman of Peru has issued a strong call for equality in the country, publishing a report calling for public policies aimed at guaranteeing and protecting the human rights of LGBTI people.
"There are no adequate public policies for LGBTI persons", Ombudsman Eduardo Vega Luna said. “As a consequence, the few initiatives put in place to date did not have resources, were not sustainable and did not produce the desired outcome.”
The 140-page report, titled Derechos humanos de las personas LGTBI: Necesidad de una política pública para la igualdad en el Perú, analyses human rights violations facing rainbow communities in the country. It also includes several recommendations to Congress and ministries, including the approval of a Gender Identity law, amendments to the Penal Code to explicitly include sexual orientation and gender identity as prohibited grounds of discrimination, and to improve HIV/AIDS response policies for key populations.
Read more on América Noticias (in Spanish)
Friday, September 2
Gender-neutral toilets (and rainbow logos) spark controversy at Hong Kong University
A parental group is reportedly complaining against the Hong Kong University’s decision to install new gender-neutral washrooms tagged with signs in rainbow colours.
As South China Morning Post reports, these signs 'show three figures hand in hand in rainbow colours transitioning from a male to a female symbol,' and this is what would have caused the reaction of the parents' group. “We fear that Hong Kong University would want to advocate LGBT values, which are against the mainstream values of the Hong Kong community,” a spokesperson for the group was quoted as saying. As HKU is a government-funded university, he also would have claimed that it would be “inappropriate to use public money to promote such a controversial concept in our society.”
An HKU spokesperson quickly dismissed the complaint, saying that those toilets provided “a gender-free option for those who feel pressure when using segregated toilets,” and that “the move is consistent with the university’s effort in nurturing an inclusive culture on campus.”
Saturday, September 3
King of Norway: “Despite our differences, we are one people”
A speech by the King of Norway has made headlines worldwide, as he raised awareness on the rights of refugees, called on respecting every religious belief and made clear that every Norwegian is a part of their country regardless of their sexual orientation.
“Norwegians are girls who love girls, boys who love boys, and boys and girls who love each other,” he said, speaking to over 1,000 guests at a garden party outside the Royal Palace in Oslo. “Norwegians believe in God, Allah, everything and nothing. Norwegians are also immigrants from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Poland, Sweden, Somalia and Syria,” he added. “It is not always easy to say where we come from, to which nationality we belong. Home is where the heart is. That cannot always be placed within country borders.”
Harald V ended his speech with a call to unity: “My biggest hope for Norway is that we will manage to take care of each other. That we can build this country further on trust, solidarity and generosity.”
These words came only a few days after it was reported that Norway is planning to erect a fence at a border post with Russia to deter migrants from entering the country via the Arctic route.
Read more on The Guardian
Monday, September 5
South Africa and Botswana: mounting protests against visit of a U. S. pastor known for hate speech against LGBTI community
The Department of Home Affairs said it would be attaching “serious conditions” to the visit in South Africa planned by U. S. pastor Steven Anderson for a “soul-winning marathon.”
Anderson is known for opposing women’s rights and for having repeatedly called for members of the LGBTI community to be executed, and is set to preach in Johannesburg later this month.
“We will not tolerate untoward behaviour, whether directed at the LGBTI community, or at any other national group on our soil," Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba said after meeting with activists who initiated an ever-growing campaign against the pastor’s visit.
Gigaba reportedly added that he could not yet commit to stopping the pastor from entering South Africa, and asked activists to compile a dossier offering “hard facts” to explain why his visit should be prohibited.
Meanwhile, protest is mounting also in Botswana, where Anderson is set to arrive in late September to launch his ministry and set up a church. Human rights organisations have launched a petition calling on the government to “(reject his) divisive and violent teachings and denying him entry into Botswana,” and called upon the Church “to firmly condemn religious fanatics who use the Bible as a weapon to kill, spread hatred and oppress women.”
Wednesday, September 7
United States: inequality “an industry norm in film,” study finds
For LGBT people, women, people with disabilities and ethnic minorities, little is changing in a film industry where “inequality is the norm,” a new study has revealed.
A report published by the Media, Diversity and Social Change Initiative at the USC's Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism found that “Hollywood is cropping groups out of the picture”. Having examined the 100 top‐grossing movies from 2015, the study revealed that “less than 1% of the characters last year were depicted as LGBT, and most were completely inconsequential to the plot,” making clear that “a gap still remains between the presence of LGBT individuals in the population and who is seen on screen.”
In the 2015 films analysed, just 31.4% of all speaking characters were female; characters from underrepresented racial/ethnic groups were 26.3% of all characters; a mere 2.4% of all speaking roles were filled by characters with disabilities.
“Whether we're studying gender, race, ethnicity, LGBT (status) or characters with disabilities, we're really seeing exclusionary forces leaving out anybody that's not a straight, white, able-bodied man,” the study’s lead author told Associated Press “The findings reveal that Hollywood is an epicentre of cultural inequality.”
Thursday, September 8
New Zealand: Auckland Council adopts new guidelines for engaging with rainbow communities
New Rainbow Communities Engagement guidelines have been launched by Auckland Council to take “a step up in its approach to engaging with Auckland’s LGBTI communities.”
The document, written in collaboration with the council’s Rainbow Communities Advisory Panel, is available to all council and council-controlled organisation staff, and it is believed to be the first of its kind for local councils in New Zealand.
“As a council we can make a real difference by making sure we engage with all of our communities in an inclusive and respectful way,” said Kenneth Aiolupotea, Head of Market Research and Engagement. “These guidelines will help us do that.”
Is that all? More LGBTI news bites
GATE - Global Action for Trans* Equality, Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice and the American Jewish World Service have created two separate surveys to find out more about the current organizational and funding landscape for trans and intersex groups worldwide.
As the 55th Annual Meeting of the European Society for Paediatric Endocrinology is set to take off in Paris, France, activists have organised a handful of peaceful protests under the banner "Stop Intersex Genital Mutilations."
Issuing concluding observations on the initial report of Italy, the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities has called the State party to "provide families with intersex children with adequate counselling and support”, and recommended that “bodily integrity, autonomy and self-determination to the children concerned" are guaranteed.
An initiative signed by over 100,000 people to repeal a legislative amendment set to make marriage equality legal in Finland was reportedly heard in parliament.
A survey held in Mexico showed that more than 7 in 10 respondents think that religious institutions should not enter the debate about marriage equality.
The Superintendence of Education of Chile fined a school for “failing to ensure a fair process to regulate relations among school community members,” after a student had filed a complaint alleging to have been victim of homophobic bullying.
Congresswoman Sandra Morán filed a complaint with Guatemala's Office of Human Rights over a petition which opposes her appointment to the Women's Parliamentary Forum presidency on the basis of her sexual orientation.
Chansey Paech has become the first openly gay and Aboriginal person to be elected to legislative assembly at a state, territory or federal level in Australia.
The annual Miss Fa’afafine pageant was held in Samoa, marking the 10th anniversary of this fundraising event.
In New Zealand, the Homelessness Inquiry Cross-Party panel heard a submission highlighting the struggles facing members of the LGBTI community who are homeless.
The LGBT Fund has launched grants for projects aimed at supporting access to HIV services for LGBT people in Kenya, Uganda and Mozambique.
According to reports, only 28.6% of Home Affairs branches in South Africa have officers who are willing to marry same-sex couples.
47% of respondents to a survey of 1,000 adults in the United States said they would not enter into a relationship with a bisexual person. "It’s this sort of attitude that keeps bisexual people in the closet and in danger,” an activist commented.
A 54-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the murders of a woman and her mother in Camden County, MO, United States, in what is being investigated as a possible hate crime.
In Alberta, Canada, the Education minister has told the chair of a private Christian School that he must comply with legislation requiring schools to support LGBT+ students.
Following recent initiative in Thailand, human rights defenders are having their say on separate facilities for LGBT prisoners.
Two women who were said to be in a relationship attempted suicide in Mumbai, India, after they were forbidden from seeing each other. One of them died, while the other survived after she was rushed to the hospital.
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