LGBulleTIn #73 - The week in LGBTI news
January 20-26, 2017
Friday, January 20
Ukraine repeals restrictive decree regulating legal gender recognition and access to trans-related health care
Ukraine has completed the revision of the gender reassignment procedure, repealing the restrictive Order No 60 regulating legal gender recognition and access to trans-related health care.
A new protocol, which puts an end to the mandatory stay of 30-45 days in a closed psychiatric ward, was activated instead and, at the same time, other discriminatory contraindications were abolished.
The Ukrainian NGO Insight welcomed "the new, more progressive procedure for trans people that has already begun to be applied in practice," and announced the intention "to make efforts to further improve it."
"Ukraine is on the right track by doing away with the worst health and legal provisions for trans people in Europe," TGEU’s Senior Policy Officer Richard Köhler commented. “Nevertheless, more needs to be done for legal gender recognition and trans-specific health care to be compatible to human rights standards: requirements for medical intervention, surgery, a minimum 2-year psychiatric assessment, and the remaining possibility to be psychiatrised need to be gone. Everyone should have the right to physical integrity and to have their gender identity recognised without having to choose between the two."
Friday, January 20
Argentina: HIV positive people experience “national emergency” over medicine shortages
For nearly a year, HIV positive Argentines have endured what advocates call a “crisis” and a “national emergency.” Shortages and delays in the delivery of antiretroviral drugs have recently sparked protests outside the Health Ministry in Buenos Aires, after several organisations had called on the Government to address the issue.
Speaking to Americas Quarterly, the Health Ministry’s AIDS program director denied claims of actual shortages, but admitted that reports of missing medication were due to supplier delays and bureaucratic roadblocks.
A coalition of five HIV, women's and LGBT advocacy groups, however, is reportedly claiming that this would be the most serious shortage ever experienced by people living with HIV in the country. And the situation could be dangerous for patients who receive only a fraction of their prescribed dosage at a time, as the regional coordinator of REDLACTRANS Marcela Romero pointed out.
Saturday, January 21
Millions of people join Women’s Marches in the United States and across the world
At least 3.3 million people joined Women’s Marches in more than 500 cities across the United States, researchers say.
Demonstrations were sparked as a response to the rhetoric of the past election cycle in the United States, which had “insulted, demonized, and threatened many of us - immigrants of all statuses, Muslims and those of diverse religious faiths, people who identify as LGBTQIA, Native people, Black and Brown people, people with disabilities, survivors of sexual assault,” the march’s website read. “Women's rights are human rights,” organisers clearly stated. “We stand together, recognizing that defending the most marginalized among us is defending all of us.”
The message resonated also beyond the United States: thousands of persons took it to the streets for sister marches held in at least 60 countries worldwide.
"This is not a singular phenomenon, this is an uprising of love," Astraea Executive Director J. Bob Alotta said at the march in Washington D.C. while, speaking from the same stage, trans advocate Janet Mock called on the movement to have "an intersectional and inclusive approach to freedom."
Monday, January 23
Australia: Law Council says religious exemptions in draft marriage equality bill go too far
The peak body for the legal profession in Australia has spoken against “religious exemptions” included in the government’s draft marriage equality bill.
As QNews recalls, a draft marriage equality bill was released by the Government last year, and it contains exemptions to discrimination law that would allow civil celebrants and ministers of religion to refuse officiating same-sex weddings, as well as religious bodies or organisations to refuse to provide goods or services.
While the Senate committee is due to report on the bill by February 13, Law Council of Australia issued a statement calling on discriminatory provisions to be removed.
“[Religious freedom] protections already exist and are appropriate. But extending this exemption to civil celebrants discriminates against same-sex couples without any proper basis,” the statement reads. The legal profession also objects to the proposed exemption for ‘religious bodies and organisations’ in the provision of facilities, goods or services for the purpose of solemnisation of a same-sex marriage, as this “would erode fundamental principles of non-discrimination.”
Monday, January 23
Supreme Court Of Nepal orders government to change name in legal ID
The Supreme court of Nepal issued a mandamus order to the government to develop policies for name changes, as well as to provide citizenship documents under the gender ‘O’ (for ‘Other’) category. Before this ruling, the government only had a provision in place to allow a change in the gender marker.
As Pahichan reports, 'the Ministry of Home Affairs has already begun providing citizenship on the basis of identity but there are still obstacles in the districts. The fresh verdict by court is likely to ease the process across the country.'
According to ILGA's Trans Legal Mapping Report, the 2011 Nepalese census allowed for a third-gender category to be used for the first time. Since then, several Nepali citizens have been able to obtain passports and identification papers in the gender ‘O’ (for ‘Other’). However, this has been an individual process involving lobbying and sustained pressure on government administrative departments, and is by no means a guarantee of success for any applicant.
Tuesday, January 24
Human rights advocates convene in Geneva for public consultation with the UN SOGI Independent Expert
Dozens of human rights defenders from across the world gathered in Geneva to take part in a public consultation with the UN Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
States representatives, UN agencies, National Human Rights Institutions, members of civil society organizations, religious communities and interfaith groups, medical professionals and academic institutions had the chance to exchange views with the Independent Expert on the scope of the mandate, to discuss his work, set priorities and develop effective strategies.
"We do encourage you, as we are learning ourselves, to actively give a stronger voice to those who are most marginalized and invisibilized both in life in general, but also in organizing and in consultations like these,” a statement delivered by ILGA during the consultation reads. “Persons outside of Geneva and New York, women, intersex persons, non-English speakers, trans persons, lesbians, bisexuals, to name just a few."
The whole consultation has been recorded: videos of the various meetings are available on the Youtube channel of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).
Wednesday, January 25
Ivory Coast: officials reportedly refuse to explain why two gay men were jailed
In the Ivory Coast, a country where same-sex sexual acts are not criminalized, authorities have refused to confirm the grounds on which two gay men were arrested, and spent more than three months in jail.
According to reports, the two may have been arrested for “public indecency”: if this would be confirmed, human rights defenders claim that this could be the first known case of the provision being used to jail gay people in the country.
“We were convicted in an unjust manner," one of the man said during an interview, two weeks ahead of his release. "If there is no law that that condemns it, I don’t understand how we could have been convicted.”
“A vague law, arbitrary arrests and an unexplained conviction: this is completely contrary to the rule of law,” Graeme Reid, director of the LGBT rights programme at Human Rights Watch, told The Guardian. “The government needs to come clean and offer an explanation to these two young men who have spent three months in jail for no apparent reason.”
Is that all? More LGBTI news bites
A petition and social media campaigns calling on the government to repeal laws that perpetuate human rights violations against LGBTIQ people were launched in Sri Lanka, after measures to reform and remove such laws were taken out of the National Human Rights Action Plan (NHRAP) 2017‐2021.
A trans sporting and cultural event to be held in Sopeng, South Sulawesi, Indonesia was banned by police, sparking condemnation by human rights bodies.
In Canada, the federal agency in charge of airport security has changed its screening procedures for trans travellers, while advocates call on officers to be appropriately trained to implement the policy appropriately.
Internationally acclaimed fashion model Hanne Gaby Odiele has announced that she is intersex and will partner with interACT - Advocates for Intersex Youth to raise awareness of human rights violations faced by intersex people.
The Children’s Rights Intergroup held an event at the European Parliament on school bullying, with a specific focus on homophobic and transphobic incidents.
The LGBTI community in Azerbaijan celebrated its National day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia on January 22, a day chosen to commemorate the life of LGBT activist Isa Shahmarli.
In Brazil, the first co-op shelter for LGBT persons who are victims of domestic violence has opened its doors in São Paulo.
Human rights organisations in Colombia have launched an online school to train police officers and raise awareness on issues facing the LGBTI community.
According to reports, the 26-year-old accused of the Bourke Street attack in Melbourne, Australia had allegedly stabbed his brother earlier that day in what family have called a homophobic attack.
In Australia, three advocates for LGBTI human rights have been awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for their work in advancing diversity and inclusion.
A homophobic sermon delivered in a church in Soweto, South Africa by a visiting pastor from Ghana has sparked outrage in the country.
Three job opportunities await you within the ILGA regions: Pan Africa ILGA is looking both for a Programme Manager and for a Programme Officer / communications person, while ILGA-Europe is hiring a Fundraising Director.
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