The week in LGBTI news from around the world
This issue of our LGBulleTIn is dedicated in loving memory of Diana Sacayán. Our condolences go to her family, friends and fellow activists in Argentina. Te extrañaremos mucho, Diana.
Monday, October 12
Taiwan: new ‘next-of-kin’ registration system for same-sex couples in Taichung City hospitals
Taichung, one of the largest cities in Taiwan, is implementing a new registration system in its hospitals, allowing same-sex partners to sign consent forms for each other. Although non-legally binding, the scheme is still the first method ever made available for same-sex couples to leave some sort of official record of their relationships. One of the first persons to register under this new system showed mild approval, Hong Kong Free Press reports, and pointed out that this form of protection is still quite far from the legal rights a marriage would guarantee.
Tuesday, October 13
Argentina: trans activist Diana Sacayán found dead
Diana Sacayán (ph. Twitter / Darío Arias)
Diana Sacayán, a prominent and passionate activist for the human rights of LGBTI people, was found dead in her apartment in Flores, Buenos Aires, in what is suspected to have been a hate crime. Diana, who was alternate representative of the Trans secretariat on the board of ILGA, is the third trans woman to have died violently in the country over the last month. Her long engagement in the trans movement in Latin America gained her the respect and recognition of many LGBTI activists worldwide. One of her last battles was the promotion of a law requiring that at least 1% of jobs in Buenos Aires’ public agencies be set aside for trans people: the ruling arrived only one month before her death.
In 2012 Argentinian president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner personally gave Diana an ID recognizing her as a woman. Today, she calls for justice: “I ask the national security services and the metropolitan police to solve this horrible crime,” she said during a public address.
Read more on Página 12 (in Spanish) or on International Business Times (in English)
“I stand here as an out and proud gay man”, says Australian senator during his maiden speech
“Things really do get better”: this is the message Robert Simms wanted to deliver, loud and clear, to LGBTI youth during his maiden speech in the Australian Senate. A former councillor for the city of Adelaide and Greens political staffer, Simms holds the portfolios – amongst others – also higher education and LGBTI issues. Several minutes of his first speech as a Senator were dedicated to these topics: “Standing in the federal Senate talking about coming out wasn’t something I really envisaged for the future as a closeted teenager, but it’s important to talk about these things, and I do hope that through my work here I can make things a little bit easier for people in the future,” he told the assembly. “I want to say today to any young person who might be struggling with their own journey with sexuality or gender identity, things really do get better. Our nation is changing, our world is changing and you have a bright future ahead of you. Be brave, be strong and be proud of who you are.”
Read more on Buzzfeed
Cameroon: gay prisoner’s attorney faces death threats
A barrister, currently defending a man sentenced to 9 years of prison over a sexual relation with a younger man, received multiple death threats, Erasing 76 crimes reports. “We will eliminate you and your entire family since you have decided to remain stoic and adamant [in] defending or supporting abominable acts,” one caller said over the phone. Barrister Walter Atoh decided to flee to London with his wife, but vowed to go “back to Cameroon to continue with my crusade as an LGBTI lawyer.” The man he is defending has been behind bars for almost three years, after he was attacked by a mob that hauled him to the police station and accused him of homosexuality. He has been convicted since late 2013 after a trial which was reportedly marred with procedural irregularities.
Wednesday, October 14
France recognizes first ‘gender neutral’ person
For the first time in France, a court has recognized an intersex person as ‘gender neutral”. The plaintiff is a 64-year-old born with both male and female genitalia, but was designated ‘male’ on a birth certificate the judge defined ‘a work of fiction’.
“As a teenager I understood that I was not a boy. I didn’t have a beard, my muscles didn’t grow,” they said in an interview with 20 minutes. ‘Today I finally feel I am recognized by society for who I really am.” They will now be allowed to write ‘neutral gender’ on official documents; their case, however, is still subject to appeal.
Read more on AFP
Thursday, October 15
USA: federal agency calls for end to conversion therapy for LGBT youth
The cover of the SAMHSA report
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) released a report calling for end to conversion therapy for LGBT youth. The document was developed with the help of a panel of experts convened by the American Psychological Association, and indicate that these therapies could cause increases in depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts and poor self-esteem.
“Efforts to change sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression are not effective,” concluded SAMHSA special expert on LGBT Affairs Elliot Kennedy. “They reinforce harmful gender stereotypes and are not appropriate mental health treatments.”
Read more on Reuters
Is that all? More news bites
More LGBTI news bites
Key findings from the report Leave no one behind: Advancing social, economic, cultural and political inclusion of LGBTI people in Asia and the Pacific were shared, highlighting how LGBTIs still represent some of the most marginalized populations despite the progress in the region.
State prison department in Kerala, India, will build a block in a high security prison in Thrissur exclusively to house trans inmates.
In Australia, states and territories vary in their approach to civil union schemes, other rights and official recognition of unions: an infographic by The Guardian helps with comparisons.
Out Jamaican author Marlon James won the prestigious Man Booker Prize for his A Brief History of Seven Killings. “It was very important to me that there were gay characters in the book to reflect the gayness and hypocrisy in Jamaica,” he said.
In Trinidad and Tobago, a homophobic insult at an opposition MP sparked a strong political debate, and a prominent figure in the Presbyterian Church called on the State to “give everybody due respect.”
In the United States, new protocols for Transportation Security Administration screenings will include stopping the use of the term "anomaly" to describe trans travellers’ anatomies, should a body scanner find any discrepancy with an agent's assessment of their gender.
Girl Guides of Canada released new guidelines for the inclusion of trans members to ensure they “never feel unsafe or unprotected while a part of GGC.”
In Uganda, a LGBTI non-profit organisation is organizing an event, to be held in December, to raise financial support for Ugandan LGBTI refugees in Kenya.
In 2016, citizens in Switzerland will be called to vote on a referendum on four bills; one of them would reportedly seek to add a paragraph into the federal constitution defining marriage as being between man and woman.
A new survey conducted in Ireland says 74% of employees feel the need to keep their sexual orientation a secret on the workplace.
Portugal is hosting the 4th European annual meeting of Rainbow Families this weekend: an occasion for hundreds of families to attend empowerment workshops and socialize.
[bulletin written by Daniele Paletta]
Is there any other LGBTI-related news you would like to share with us?
Drop us a line on Facebook or tweet it @ilgaworld