Saturday, August 8
United States: 14 trans persons killed since the beginning of the year
Amber Monroe (ph. Instagram / justatransition)
Since the beginning of 2015, fourteen trans persons have been murdered in the United States. On August 8th Amber Monroe, a 20-year-old student at Wayne State University, was found dead in Detroit after an apparent shooting, police told Fox2Detroit. A friend of hers, Julisa Abad, told the station Monroe had previously been a victim of violence: “She’s been shot 2 or 3 times [in the past]. But this time she didn’t make it”.
Yvonne Siferd, director of victim services for Equality Michigan, wrote on Facebook: “We have no idea yet whether this attack was fueled by transphobia, but we do know that Amber’s murder is the 12th murder of a transgender woman in the United States this year, and the 10th murder of a transgender woman of color. Transgender women, and especially transgender women of color, are disproportionately affected by violence”.
A few days after this incident, news of other two homicides came to light: on July 14 the body of Ashton O’Hara, 25, was found brutally murdered in a field in Detroit. According to Equality Michigan, “Ashton did identify as transgender, and was genderfluid; he was still using male pronouns at the time of his untimely death”. A few days later Shade Schuler, 22, was found dead in a vacant field in Dallas, Texas, and was identified only weeks later. She appears to have died from a gunshot wound, said police.
Sunday, August 9
First third-gender passport issued in Nepal
Monica Shahi, 37, became the first Nepal citizen to receive a passport marked with an “O” for “Other”, rather than the traditional female/male distinction. The path that lead to this significant move forward started in 2007, with the Supreme Court ruling that individuals should have their gender legally recognized based on “self-feeling”. The battle, unfortunately, is still not over: as Human Rights Watch reminds, “only a limited number of countries recognize more than ‘male’ and ‘female’ on travel documents”, and this may still “pose challenges for people like Shahi as they travel”.
Read more on eKantipur
Monday, August 10
Switzerland: LGBTI organization files criminal complaint against Catholic bishop for “homophobic comments”
Vitus Huonder during his speech in Fulda
A criminal complaint has been filed against Vitus Huonder, the Catholic bishop of Chur: during a speech at the “Joy in Faith” forum in Fulda, Germany, he quoted a passage from the Bible which says homosexuals should be punished by death. Pink Cross, backed by the Swiss Lesbian Organisation, accuses Huonder of “inciting people to crime or violence”: if found guilty, the bishop could face up to three years in prison.
Even if Huonder released a statement in which he regretted that his comments had been misunderstood, the organizations have decided not to let it go. According to a press release, Pink Cross director Bastian Baumann said “Huonder had repeatedly made clear that he interpreted the passages literally”, and that “the call for the ‘reintroduction of the death penalty for gays’ had forced the group to seek criminal prosecution”.
Hounder had later apologised in a letter addressed to the diocese of Chur, but Pink Cross decided to maintain its complaint.
Read more on Pink News
Tuesday, August 11
Australia: coalition rejects free vote on marriage equality
After almost six hours of debate, the Coalition’s party room meeting has rejected a conscience vote on the issue of same-sex marriage in Australia by a margin of approximately two to one, SkyNews reports.
Liberal and National Party MPs met to decide whether the coalition would allow a free vote or bind members to the government position on marriage. According to The Guardian, Abbott said that, after the rejection of a conscience vote, the “disposition” of the party is to have a referendum or plebiscite on the issue in the next term, or maybe to allow a free vote after the election. This outcome, anyway, will most likely delay the arrival of marriage equality in Australia of “at least two years”, Star Observer writes, even if a 2014 poll showed almost three-quarters of Australians (72%) now support legalising same-sex marriage.
Mexico: State ban on adoption by same-sex couples ruled “unconstitutional”
Another step towards equality has been taken in Mexico: the Supreme Court ruled that a 2013 law passed in the state of Campeche that forbids same-sex couples in civil unions from adopting is unconstitutional, and struck it down in a 9-1 vote.
“I see no problem for a child to be adopted in a society of co-existence”, presiding judge Luis Maria Aguila said. “Are we going to prefer to have children in the street, which according to statistics exceed 100,000? We attend, of course, to the interests of the child”.
Read more on International Business Times
Thursday, August 13
Zimbabwe: homosexuality not to blame for rise in HIV prison cases, activists underline
According to the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Service, HIV prevalence among prisoners in the country stands at 28 percent: a statistic that made Health and childcare minister David Parirenyatwa declare that “the rise of HIV prevalence in prisons shows that it is either these prisoners are infected already before they get into prison and, if not, then it means homosexuality is rampant in prisons”.
In response, Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe (GALZ) director Chesterfield Samba responded underlining that “this isn’t a homosexual issue (but a) practical health based human rights issue that needs attention to protect the health of both those who are incarcerated as well as people on the other side of the prison walls”.
Read more on NewZimbabwe.com