LGBulleTIn #68 - The week in LGBTI news
October 21-27, 2016
Friday, October 21
Australia: Adelaide unveils Rainbow Walk in the city centre to celebrate the LGBTI community
A pathway in rainbow colours has been unveiled in Adelaide’s Central Business District to celebrate the local LGBTI community. Aimed at representing a “permanent symbol to celebrate diversity within our community,” the art installation includes a timeline to highlight significant South Australian milestones, people and events in the state’s history.
"We have a very proud story to tell here in South Australia," former Adelaide City Councillor Robert Simms told 891 ABC Adelaide. "(This walk is) a reminder of how far we've come on the journey for law reform for LGBTI Australians, but […] we've still got work to do."
“The walk recognises and appreciates those who paved the way for us here today," Feast Festival patron Margie Fischer said. “(This) is a road we can walk together to support diversity and acceptance."
Friday, October 21
Nigeria: Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act has “far-reaching and severe impact,” report shows
The law has been used by some police officers and members of the public in Nigeria to legitimize multiple human rights violations perpetrated against LGBT people, according to Human Rights Watch.
While no evidence was found that anyone has been prosecuted under the Nigeria’s Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act, an 81-page report documents how its impact has been “far-reaching and severe.” Since the law has been approved, an increase in violations against LGBT people has been documented, including widespread extortion, mob violence, arbitrary arrest, torture in detention, and physical and sexual violence.
“LGBT people in Nigeria are not advocating for same-sex marriage," said Wendy Isaack, LGBT rights researcher at Human Rights Watch, "but they want the violence to stop and, for human rights defenders and organizations that provide services to LGBT people, to be able to operate without fear. Nigeria should respond to the African Commission’s recommendation to review the law.”
Friday, October 21
Singapore: new rules restrict funding opportunities for public events, including those in support of rainbow communities
Foreign entities will need a permit before they can fund or support events held at Singapore's Speakers’ Corner in Hong Lim Park, the Ministry of Home Affairs announced. "The Government's position has always been that foreign entities should not interfere in our domestic issues, especially those of a political or controversial nature," the ministry said.
Even if no particular event was mentioned in the announcement, Channel News Asia pointed out how new regulations came after the ministry said in June that it would take steps to clarify that foreign entities should not fund or support events held at Speakers’ Corner, including the annual Pink Dot event in support of rainbow communities.
"We respect and understand the Ministry of Home Affairs’ position," a statement by PinkDot reads. "However, we are disappointed by the latest clarifications from the ministry. Pink Dot has always been a local movement dedicated to bringing LGBT Singaporeans closer to their friends and families and closer to Singapore society as a whole – a universal aspiration that we do not consider to be controversial or political."
Saturday, October 22
Cyprus: ILGA-Europe annual conference closes in Nicosia
Over 400 human rights defenders came together to take part in the ILGA-Europe annual conference. In this 2016, a year that marks the 20th anniversary of the European region of ILGA, the conference was held in a country that has recently made important steps towards a better recognition of the fundamental rights of LGBTI people: in the past two years, Cyprus saw its first Pride march, the criminalization of homophobic and transphobic rhetoric and the adoption and enactment of the Civil Union Law.
The conference was held under the theme Power To The People, with a strong focus on diversity and intersectionality, and perspective spaces for participants to come together and discuss shared issues. It was a time of debates, of celebrations for the many victories achieved, but also a moment to look at the current political and social backdrop facing the continent.
Marginalised groups are "being used as a threat to society, tapping into the insecurity that people feel," ILGA-Europe co-chair Joyce Hamilton told Associated Press. Key to maintaining the momentum after important victories have happened, she claimed, would be for movements to join forces and defend human rights for all.
During the conference, A. Chaber, Brian Sheehan, Costa Gavrielides, Joyce Hamilton and Olena Shevchenko were elected to the ILGA-Europe board, while Martin Iversen Christensen and Anastasia Danilova were confirmed as European representatives on the ILGA World Board.
Saturday, October 22
United States: lawsuit filed against Utah State Board of Education over anti-LGBT laws
Advocacy groups have filed a federal lawsuit challenging state laws that ban positive speech about lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people in Utah public schools curricula, classroom discussions, and student clubs.
The lawsuit is the first of its kind at the national level to challenge such laws, which – according to reports - currently also exist in South Carolina, Alabama, Arizona, Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi and Oklahoma.
The lawsuit, according to the National Center for Lesbian Rights, alleges that “the laws violate the U.S. Constitution and federal education law by discriminating against LGBT people and restricting the First Amendment rights of students and teachers.”
These laws “single out 'homosexuality' and LGBT persons for negative treatment, improperly restrict student and teacher speech,” the complaint reads, “and create a culture of silence and non-acceptance (…), all of which puts LGBT students at heightened risk of isolation, harassment, and long-term negative impacts on their health and well-being while serving no legitimate state interest.”
Monday, October 24
El Salvador: government signs cooperation agreement to advance LGBTI entrepreneurship
The Government of El Salvador signed a cooperation agreement to provide support for 15 companies led by members of the LGBTI community and “provide new development opportunities for this population.”
With this agreement, the first-of-a-kind in the country, the Secretaria de Inclusión Social commits to “provide support and technical assistance” to these companies, hoping to include more of them in the project in the near future.
According to Mónica Linares, director of the Asociación Solidaria para Impulsar el Desarrollo Humano (ASPIDH), this agreement is set to “help members of the LGBTI community be more included in the work environment.”
Read more on El Mundo
Wednesday, October 26
United Nations and international human rights experts call for end to human rights violations against intersex children and adults
Speaking ahead of Intersex Awareness Day, a group of United Nations and international human rights experts has called for an urgent end to human rights violations against intersex children and adults.
“While awareness of the existence and rights of intersex people is slowly growing thanks to the work of intersex human rights defenders,” a statement reads, “only a handful of countries have taken concrete measures to uphold their rights and protect them from abuses.”
Human rights experts have urged Governments to prohibit harmful medical practices on intersex children, to "uphold the autonomy of intersex adults and children," and to grant them "access to support as well as to medical services that respond to their specific health needs and that are based on non-discrimination, informed consent and respect for their fundamental rights."
In the run up to Intersex Awareness Day, the United Nations also launched a new video and online platform "to encourage greater understanding of intersex issues, provide a platform for intersex people to tell their stories, and press for action to end the abuse and stigma that shadow many intersex people from early childhood on."
Is that all? More LGBTI news bites
Dozens of actions have taken place all around the world on the occasion of the International Day of Action for Trans Depathologization.
Men convicted of same-sex sexual activity on the basis of outdated laws will receive a full pardon, the Scottish government has announced.
The British overseas territory of Gibraltar has legalised marriage equality, as the Civil Marriage Amendment Bill 2016 was passed in parliament unanimously.
According to reports, legislators in Taiwan announced they will propose an amendment to the Civil Code that would introduce marriage equality, and give couples adoption rights.
According to reports, police in Bangladesh have arrested a person over the murder of activists Xulhaz Mannan and Mahbub Rabbi Tonoy, who were hacked to death in April 2016.
Civil society organisations are calling on police to investigate over the murder of Jhosaira Rufo Monserrat (Eva), a trans woman and a sex worker who was shot to death in the Dominican Republic.
For the third consecutive year, but this time together with Argentina, Uruguay ranks on top of the Social Inclusion Index published by Americas Quarterly when it comes to LGBT-friendliness in the American continent.
According to reports, a government spokesperson in Malawi has claimed that a U. S. pastor known for hate speech against the LGBTI community is not welcome in the country.
A bill aimed at protecting people against hate crimes including on the grounds of sexual orientation, gender identity and intersex status was presented in South Africa.
In New Zealand, a new report recommended national sporting bodies adopt a policy of zero tolerance for homophobia and other discriminatory behaviour.
A conference aimed at bringing together people of Christian faith, pastors, leaders and youth workers who are a part of - or work with - the LGBTI community was held in New Zealand.
In the United States, a rule barring contractors working with USAID from discriminating against people on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity when providing services has come into force.
A report issued by Department of Health's Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration in the United States showed that lesbian, gay and bisexual adults are more likely than their straight counterparts to abuse substances and experience mental health issues.
As the ILGA World Conference approaches (it’s a month until the event begins!), our weekly dispatch of LGBTI news from around the world takes a break: the LGBulleTIn will be back on December 9!
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