LGBulleTIn #97 - The week in LGBTI news
July 28 – August 3, 2017
Friday, July 28
South Korea: Supreme Court dismisses appeal against registration of an LGBTI organisation
The Supreme Court of South Korea has rejected an appeal by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) against the registration of the Beyond the Rainbow Foundation, an LGBTI human rights organisation.
Judges ruled that there was “no reason” for the Ministry to file the appeal opposing the registration of the advocacy group.
Beyond the Rainbow had seen its registration request denied in April 2015, the MoJ arguing that although it grants permission for groups that conduct human rights advocacy, it does not register groups whose main purpose is to promote social minorities, the group reported. A lawsuit to challenge this decision was filed a few months later. Friday’s ruling is the culmination of two years of legal battles with the Supreme Court ruling in favour of the organisation.
Choi Hyun-suk, chairperson of the foundation, welcomed the outcome, highlighting that the decision of the MoJ to refuse their registration “violated the freedom of association guaranteed by Article 21 of the Constitution” and that “today's victory is a victory for all”.
Friday, July 28
Political participation of rainbow communities on the rise in Peru, report shows
The political participation of the LGBTI community in Peru has increased considerably, a report by the Jurado Nacional de Elecciones (JNE) has shown. Between 2006 and 2016, 24 “out” members of rainbow communities have run for election either in regional, municipal or general elections.
In 2006, four “out” persons ran for office for the first time in the country, although all unsuccessfully. As the study points out, these four ran for election partly just to put on the political agenda the rights of population groups that had been “historically invisible and excluded".
It was a time when only 10% of political organisations included policies specifically addressing the needs of LGBTI communities. Ten years later, nearly half of such groups do so. In elections in 2016, seven “out” candidates ran and two were elected.
"Equality is one of the pillars of democracy,” JNE president Víctor Tícona Postigo was quoted as saying. “Any activity that generates greater inequalities in the participation of its citizens puts the construction and permanence of a democratic regime at risk”.
Sunday, July 30
Nigeria: more than 40 men arrested for allegedly engaging in same-sex activity
More than 40 persons have been arrested in Owode, Lagos State, as police raided a hotel where a private party was taking place. They were reportedly tipped off by residents in the area.
According to The Sunday Punch, an eyewitness said the “suspects” were engaging in same-sex sexual activity. Reports from human rights defenders, however, tell a different story: the party was an occasion to render HIV counselling and testing services to members of the community, and there were no illegal activities going on.
The Rustin Times reports that 70 people were arrested and taken to the police station: 28 among them were released on bail, while 42 are still in custody and are due to appear in court. According to reports, ten more persons were able to escape the police raid, but were captured by a vigilante group.
Monday, July 31
Russian LGBT Network releases powerful report over ongoing persecution in Chechnya
The violent campaign against rainbow communities in Chechnya is far from over, a new report released by the Russian LGBT Network has shown. The so-called third wave of persecutions, which commenced in June after the end of Ramadan, is still ongoing.
They said that I'm not a human, that I am nothing… is based on testimonies of 33 people from Chechnya who were persecuted, illegally detained, and tortured. It is a powerful report of the brutality of the torture inflicted on victims if they refused to “out” gay and bisexual men that they knew, and documents the involvement of Chechen authorities’ in such criminal activities.
The document expands on data presented in previous reports, highlighting in detail the conditions in detention, and the types of torture that the victims were subjected to. It also brings to light the situation of lesbian and bisexual women in the region, who “appear to be the most vulnerable in front of the complex traditionalist rhetoric.”
ILGA-Europe, the European region of ILGA, has been working closely with LGBTI activists and several governments to make sure victims of these human rights violations can flee the situation, including being granted visas, and receiving the support they need on arrival in their new location. In a recent statement, they have reiterated a call for “the immediate release of those still detained, asylum for those who are fleeing, and the international community to exert what influence it has on the highest levels of Russian authorities to ensure that the investigation launched several months ago is carried out effectively.”
Monday, July 31
United States: report highlights ongoing lack of inclusivity in Hollywood movies
The underrepresentation of women, people with disabilities, members of rainbow communities and non-white racial/ethnic groups is still widespread in Hollywood, both on screen and behind the camera, a new report has shown.
Inequality in 900 Popular Films, released from the Media, Diversity & Social Change (MDSC) Initiative at USC Annenberg, examined top films from 2007 to 2016 (excluding 2011), analysing 39,788 characters for gender, race/ethnicity, LGBT status and disability.
The results of this intersectional study reveal that there has been little to no meaningful change in the representation of these diverse groups in popular movie content in the past three years.
LGBT-identified characters represented a mere 1.1% of all speaking characters, and an LGBT lead or co-lead character appeared in only 3 films of the 300 studied between 2014 and 2016.
“These are sustained and systemic problems,” said Professor Stacy L. Smith, author of the study and founding director of the MDSC Initiative. She also highlighted that “until solutions focus on changing the exclusionary hiring practices and countering explicit and implicit biases in Hollywood, it is difficult to expect real change anytime soon.”
Thursday, August 3
Australia: renewed push for a parliamentary vote on marriage equality gains ground
Following months of debates and political battles, a push for a free parliamentary vote on marriage equality has gained new ground in Australia, thanks to renewed pressures both within and outside of parliament.
Things could move forward as early as next week, when Parliament will reconvene and when a long-speculated private members' bill on the issue may be presented to a caucus of the ruling Liberal Party, also called a “party room”.
If this becomes the case, various scenarios will be possible, Buzzfeed postulates: either the Liberals could agree to hold a free vote on marriage equality - which could then swiftly pass in both the lower and upper houses of the Australian parliament - or it could stick with its plebiscite policy, which may open the way for Liberal MPs to openly vote against their party and “cross the floor”.
Such a possibility was also acknowledged by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who said that backbenchers “have always had the right” to do so.
According to Fairfax Media, Turnbull has called this emergency meeting of the Liberal Party to debate marriage equality, and in such a meeting “a group of moderates is expected to push for the party to dump the plebiscite policy altogether and adopt a free vote.”
Is that all? More LGBTI news bites
OUTstanding has launched nominations for the 2017 LGBT+ and Ally role models lists: submission are welcome until September 8.
A court in Russia ordered an Uzbek journalist and asylum-seeker to be expelled from the country. Human rights organisations have pointed out how he faces a risk of ill-treatment, including torture, if he will be returned to Uzbekistan.
A court in China ruled in favour of a trans man who alleged being fired for wearing men's clothes. “The defendant infringed on the plaintiff’s equal employment rights," the ruling read.
In Jordan, an MP launched a series of public attacks against My.Kali, a publication covering human rights and LGBTQ issues, and claimed credits for having the magazine shut down - even if it had already officially been blocked for a year.
"Legal barriers continue to impede the health and rights of people on the continent,” over 140 advocates heard as they gathered together in Johannesburg, South Africa for the second Africa regional dialogue on HIV, TB and the Law.
Almost 200 persons took to the streets of Windhoek, Namibia for a Pride parade that closed the We Are One advocacy week.
The Victorian Pride Centre in Melbourne, Australia has announced it added two new stripes — brown and black — to the traditional rainbow flag in its logo, "as a mark of respect for diversity and inclusion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander LGBTI people and the LGBTI majority, which is not Anglo-Saxon."
A survey has highlighted how LGBT students are disproportionately affected by sexual assault and harassment in university settings in Australia compared to their peers.
A majority of the United States’ public believe that trans individuals should be allowed to serve in the military, according to a recent opinion poll.
A study has observed persistent disparities in chronic conditions and mental distress in younger LGB adults in the United States in comparison to their straight peers.
Following similar recent decisions in England and Scotland, government in Wales announced that the deferral period for blood donations for men who have sex with men will be reduced from 12 to 3 months.
The dead body of an LGBTI human rights defender who had been missing for weeks, Vincenzo Ruggiero, was found in Naples, Italy. Reports of this horrific murder, filled with discriminatory language, have sparked outrage.
Mexican Supreme Court unanimously strikes Puebla state's ban on marriage equality. State #12 of 31 where couples can marry without an amparo
— Rex Wockner (@RexWockner) August 1, 2017
" target="_blank" rel="noopener">In Mexico, the Supreme Court of Justice unanimously ruled to strike down Puebla state's ban on marriage equality.
There are only a few days left to submit workshop proposals for the 5th Caribbean Women and Sexual Diversity Conference, which will take place in Saint Lucia in October.
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Our LGBulleTIn will return on August 25!