LGBulleTIn #67 -The week in LGBTI news
October 14-20, 2016
This week, before we begin our LGBulleTIn, we would like to invite you to
* download a copy of The Personal and the Political: Attitudes towards LGBTI People around the World report: released this week, it is the second output of the ILGA-RIWI Global Attitudes Survey on LGBTI People in partnership with Logo.
* follow the ILGA-Europe annual conference, which has kicked off in Cyprus on Wednesday: you can keep up to date with everything happening at the conference here or following the hashtag #IENicosia2016 on Twitter.
And now... off to this week's news!
Friday, October 14
Australia: report on suicide prevention for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations acknowledges importance of LGBTQI representation
“Indigenous people identifying as LGBTQI should be represented on all Australian Government and other Indigenous mental health and suicide prevention advisory fora.” These are the words included in a report on the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Evaluation Project: according to Star Observer, this marks the very first time that “in any Indigenous suicide prevention response, the LGBTI community has been acknowledged as needing specialised attention on the issue.”
The report was presented during a high-level Roundtable discussion on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander suicide in the Western Australian Kimberley region, and it indicated that Indigenous people from 15 to 24 years old are over five times as likely to commit suicide then their non-Indigenous peers.
“Placing Indigenous LGBTQI at the centre of responses was highlighted as a critical principle to guide future suicide prevention activity among this population sub-group at higher risk of suicide,” the report says.
Friday, October 14
South Africa: LGBT+ Muslims gather in Cape Town for international retreat
Dozens of activists, academics and representatives of institutes and organisations have gathered in Cape Town for an annual retreat where to address issues facing members of the rainbow communities of Islamic faith.
As The Inner Circle member Latheem Nair explained before the conference kicked off, topics covered during the retreat would have ranged from trans health and education to developing spiritual leadership amongst Muslim youth, while the International Gender Forum would have addressed 'ways of narrowing the gap between the struggles of women and queer people resulting from patriarchal systems,' and the Islamic Peace Circles would have focused 'on the creation of safe spaces in various provinces.'
Sunday, October 16
Mexico: five trans persons killed in the past two weeks
Several violent hate crimes against members of the trans community took place in the past two weeks in various parts of Mexico: according to reports, five persons were killed.
The first victim was a 25-year-old named Paola: she was a sex worker, and she was murdered by a client who had approached her. A judge had ruled her alleged attacker be set free due to lack of evidence of his involvement, but an appeal has already been filed.
Nine days later, Itzel Durán was murdered in her house in Chiapas: the woman, a sex worker, was stabbed to death by a man who had entered her house. A few days later the body of activist and sex worker Alessa Flores was found in a hotel room in Mexico City: she was reported being strangled. More terrible hate crimes followed closely in the central zone of Chihuahua and in Sam Miguel Xico, where the bodies of two more trans persons were found.
Human rights defenders have pointed fingers against religious powers and right groups, accusing them of “sowing a climate of hatred and violence” amidst the ongoing debate on marriage equality in the country – a climate “that is fuelling this resurgence of homophobia and transphobia.”
Tuesday, October 18
United States: LGBTQ and HIV-affected people still often face discrimination in access to support for intimate partner violence, report finds
A new report by the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs has highlighted the unique ways that LGBTQ and HIV-affected people experience intimate partner violence, and the barriers they experience when attempting to access care and support.
Almost 1 in 4 among the almost 2,000 survivors surveyed across the Unites States attempted to access emergency shelters in 2015: among them, 44% were denied access, and 71% of them reported being denied because of their gender identity.
Of the 13 reports of homicides, according to findings of the research, 77% were people of color. Trans women were three times more likely to report experiencing sexual and financial violence; LGBTQ survivors with disabilities were two times more likely to be isolated by their abusive partner.
When trying to interact with law enforcements, then, 25% of survivors said that police were either indifferent or hostile, and 31% of LGBTQ survivors who interacted with police said they experienced misarrest.
“These findings demonstrate that it is crucial to consider survivors’ multiple identities and experiences,” a press release reads. “The bias and discrimination that these communities experience everywhere, from workplaces to shelters, both make them more vulnerable to intimate partner violence and create unique barriers to accessing services.”
Wednesday, October 19
“There should be no discrimination against anyone,” states Indonesia’s president
After months of escalating rhetoric against rainbow communities in Indonesia, the country’s president broke his silence on the issue. In an interview with BBC, Joko “Jokowi” Widodo claimed that “police must act” to protect minorities whenever they are threatened, and that “there should not be any discrimination against anyone.”
He was also reported adding that there is no need to introduce revisions to the country’s criminal code that would punish consensual same-sex behaviour - an issue the Constitutional Court has recently held hearings on. Nevertheless, the president made also clear that “in Indonesia, beliefs [generally] do not allow [LGBT], Islam does not allow it.”
A few days before the president's statement, two men were arrested in the city of Manado after they had posted on Facebook a picture of them kissing.
Thursday, October 20
United Kingdom: government announces ‘Alan Turing law’ to pardon gay and bisexual men convicted of historic gross indecency crimes
Thousands of gay and bisexual men convicted under outdated gross indecency laws are to be posthumously pardoned, the UK Government has announced. The change will see those convicted for consensual same-sex relationships before the change in the law formally pardoned. Of the 65,000 men convicted under the laws, BBC reports, 15,000 are believed to still be alive.
According to reports, the Government would seek to implement the change through an amendment to the Policing and Crime Bill. Anyone living who has been convicted of these now abolished offences can already apply through the Home Office to have their names cleared through the disregard process: this would remove mentions of an offence from criminal record checks.
The government also announced it will introduce a new statutory pardon for the living in cases where offences have been successfully deleted through the disregard process.
While welcoming the news, advocates made clear that an apology would be needed. "To accept a pardon means you accept that you were guilty," George Montague said. "I was not guilty of anything."
Is that all? More LGBTI news bites
According to reports, tension built aside negotiations over the UN’s New Urban Agenda - which is being agreed at the Habitat III conference this week - as the need to protect the human rights of LGBTI persons was not acknowledged in the document.
According to a report, at least 110 LGBT persons were murdered in Colombia throughout 2015, and almost half of the cases were dismissed.
Thousands of persons, all dressed in black, marched in almost 140 cities of Argentina to protest against gender-based violence, in demonstrations sparked after the brutal rape and murder of a 16-year-old girl.
According to reports, three men described as ‘effeminate’ were arrested by police in a café in Saudi Arabia.
The sudden death of a professor in Taiwan, whose partner had recently passed away, has led to renewed calls on the government to guarantee legal recognition to same-sex couples.
Tens of thousands of people have marched in Paris, France to call for the repeal of the law on marriage equality.
In Italy, 16 MPs in the Senate filed a point of order addressing the human rights of intersex children.
The first parliamentary debate on a bill seeking to extend protection against hate propaganda, and to add gender identity and gender expression to the list of prohibited grounds of discrimination was held in Canada.
In the United States, the Miami, FL Board of Commissioners approved a measure banning 'conversion therapy' for minors.
Dozens of human rights defenders gathered in Sydney, Australia to take part in the LGBTI Pacific Youth Forum.
In Australia, the bill for a plebiscite on marriage equality has passed the House of Representatives and will now head to the Senate, where it is set to face opposition.
A side-event to assess initiatives and share best practices of domestic implementation of Resolution 275 was held at the NGO Forum, ahead of the beginning on the 59th session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights in The Gambia.
According to reports, Malawi is where a U. S. pastor known for hate speech against the LGBTI community may have planned to set up a church, after he was recently banned from South Africa and deported from Botswana.
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