LGBulleTIn 81 - The week in LGBTI news
March 17-23, 2017
Friday, March 17
Study on LBT wellbeing released in the Philippines
A study released in the Philippines has shed light on how poverty intersects with the lived realities of lesbians, bisexual women and trans men in the country. Published by Galang, a human rights organization that works with LBT persons in urban poor communities, the study shows that 39% of the people surveyed have just enough money to pay expenses, while the 34% of them claim they have some difficulty in meeting expenses.
Almost one in five respondents reported that their households experienced hunger at least once in the past three months. Human rights violations are also a common experience for many members of the community: 7% of the people surveyed reported to have been subjected to sexual abuse on the grounds of their sexual orientation and gender identity/expression during their lifetime, and that the most common issues facing them were verbal abuse, discrimination, and rejection by family. More than one in ten study participants, then, rated themselves as suffering of poor mental health.
Monday, March 20
United States: federal administration removes questions on sexual orientation from national surveys
Civil society organisations across the United States have raised concerns over the decision of the Department of Health and Human Services to scrap questions on sexual orientation from two annual surveys, in fear that a lack of data may result in policies that underestimate the issues faced by LGBTI communities.
Advocates claim that a question about sexual orientation was the only one removed from a draft of this year’s National Survey of Older Americans Act Participants. Such questions have been included in the survey since 2014, and were essential to identify service gaps and support improvements in programs serving the community. “If we do not collect data on LGBTQ seniors, policymakers and advocates cannot know the extent of the problems they face," said HRC Government Affairs Director David Stacy. "(We implore) the Trump Administration to add this crucial question back to the NSOAAP and expand their questions to include data collection on gender identity.”
According to reports, a second HHS-sponsored survey - the Centers for Independent Living Annual Program Performance Report, which gathers feedback on services provided to people with disabilities – was also edited, and the deletion of the question on sexual orientation seems to be the only change compared to a draft that was published in January.
In addition to these updates, also a survey planned by the Department of Housing and Urban Development on an LGBT homelessness project was recently withdrawn, according to reports by the Associated Press.
Monday, March 20
Argentina: underground station named after LGBTI activist in Buenos Aires
No more simply Santa Fe, but Santa Fe – Carlos Jáuregui. Since last Monday, an underground station in Buenos Aires bears also the name of one of the first activists for the rights of rainbow communities in Argentina. The initiative was unanimously approved by the city legislature in December: after a few months of work, the station was officially inaugurated this week, revealing walls decorated with quotes of Jáuregui and rainbow motives.
Carlos Jáuregui was the first president of the Comunidad Homosexual Argentina (CHA) and the founder of Gays por los Derechos Civiles. In 1992, he was among the organisers of the first Pride march in Buenos Aires, a demonstration attended by almost 300 participants.
“In 1984, Jáuregui became the first person to associate his name and surname to our claims of equal rights in Argentina,” recalled César Cigliutti, current president of CHA. “This subway station, in a place so emblematic for our community, is a tribute to his courage, generosity, dedication and also to our entire history of conquests.”
Tuesday, March 21
Australia: Queensland abolishes so-called “gay panic” defence
The Queensland Parliament has passed legislation to remove the so-called “gay panic” defence from the state’s Criminal Code.
The partial defence to murder had allowed defendants to argue for a reduction to manslaughter by claiming that their violence was provoked by an unwanted advance.
The push to repeal it was spearheaded by Catholic priest Paul Kelly, after he became aware that two men had raised this defence at trial after bashing a man to death in his Maryborough churchyard in 2008, and ended up receiving lesser jail terms.
Almost nine years after that incident, Parliament passed an amendment bill to change Section 304 of the Criminal Code, and to stop a person accused of murder from claiming an “unwanted sexual advance” as a defence of provocation.
According to News.com.au, South Australia is now the only state allowing a similar defence in the country.
“Queensland's criminal code must not be seen to condone violence against the gay community, or indeed any community,” Attorney-General of Queensland Yvette D’Ath commented.
Tuesday, March 21
France: Court of Cassation hears intersex rights case
The Court of Cassation in France has heard the case of an intersex person who asked to have the gender mark amended to “neutral” on the civil status. A court in Tours had ruled in favour of the 65-year-old plaintiff in 2015, but the decision was reversed a few months later by the Orléans Court of Appeal. According to Sud Ouest, the decision was made on the grounds that such ruling would have amounted to “recognising the existence of another sexual category.”
The case has now reached the Court of Cassation, and a ruling is expected to arrive on May 4 this year.
Meanwhile, president of the Republic Francois Hollande took a public stand against genital mutilations suffered by intersex children, in a public meeting with LGBTI human rights defenders. His statement comes only a few weeks after the release of a Senate report addressing human rights violations against intersex persons, which advocates received with mixed feelings.
Tuesday, March 21
Ghana: two men arrested and outed on social media for same-sex activity
Two men have allegedly been arrested for engaging in same-sex activity in a hotel in Accra, the capital city of Ghana. According to local media outlets, a hotel employee “became suspicious of their movements and demeanour,” and called the police.
Pictures showing the two men having sex were caught on camera, and were shared on social media. However, as Mambaonline reports, there have been suggestions that the men, who are clearly identifiable in those images, may have been forced into simulating sex and then being photographed in an attempt to out and shame them.
The two men were arrested by police, and remain in custody.
According to the country's Penal Code, as ILGA's State Sponsored Homophobia report points out, "whoever has unnatural carnal knowledge of any person of sixteen years or over with his consent is guilty of a misdemeanour," and "liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years.”
Thursday, March 23
“Pride and Prejudice” event, looking at business as catalyst of change, held in Hong Kong, London and New York
The second edition of “Pride and Prejudice”, a 24-hours LGBT initiative by The Economist Events looking at how business can play a larger role in moving the mark on LGBT rights, was held in Hong Kong, London and New York.
The event – which was supported by a number of human rights organisations, including ILGA – saw the President of Chile and the Prime Minister of Luxembourg among the speakers, and provided discussions on how the resurgence of populism may impact advancing diversity and inclusions, and how new generations are forcing companies to rethink their inclusion policies.
During the event, the Economist Intelligence Unit presented its new study, Pride and Prejudice: Agents of Change, which highlighted how “company leaders, young people and women are key to opening the door to greater visibility and status” for LGBT people in the workplace.
Is that all? More LGBTI news bites
Tomoya Hosoda, 25, has become the first out trans man to be elected to public office in Japan.
In Vietnam, a study found that many HIV-positive gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with were not linked to care or not taking antiretroviral therapy.
16 Royal Police Force officers in Barbados took part in sensitivity training sessions on the issues and needs faced by the LGBTI community.
During its 161st session, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights held a dialogue on “The Rights of Intersex Persons in the Americas,” in which participants raised awareness of human rights violations faced by intersex persons in the continent.
The governor of Kentucky, United States has signed a bill that allows student groups at high schools and public universities to bar LGBTI people from their organisations out of religious objections.
A so-called “FreeSpeechBus” carrying a transphobic and intersexphobic message, similar to the one that roamed the streets of Madrid, Spain a few weeks ago, has hit the streets in New York, prompting human rights organisations to call attention to the bus' harmful message.
A primary school in Dunedin, New Zealand has abolished gendered uniforms for its pupils, and extended them to include five options, each of them available to every student.
The Statutes Amendment (Surrogacy Eligibility) Bill has come into effect in South Australia, allowing same-sex couples to have equal access to assisted reproductive technology and unpaid surrogacy.
A trans activist in Turkey reported to have been taken into custody while on her way to a human rights conference in Germany, and to have suffered mistreatment while being held.
Government in Germany approved plans to quash the convictions of 50,000 persons sentenced for homosexuality under the now-abolished Paragraph 175, and offer them compensation.
According to reports, a couple were attacked and badly injured by a mob in Mororo, Kenya on the grounds on their sexual orientation, and they were briefly detained after being rescued by police.
A new hearing of the case filed by Sexual Minorities Uganda against the Uganda Registration Services Bureau for refusing to reserve its name is set to take place this week.
Following a public outcry from its users, YouTube has partially backtracked from its decision to classify some LGBTI-themed videos as restricted, a move that filtered out "potentially inappropriate" content.
A study published in the Journal of the International AIDS Society has highlighted how "criminalization of same-sex sexuality is associated with implausibly low or absent MSM size estimates."
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