LGBulleTIn 86 – The week in LGBTI news

April 28 – May 4, 2017

Friday, April 28

Consultative meeting on Model Law on the rights of intersex persons held in South Africa

Activists from South Africa and Kenya gathered to Pretoria to take part in a consultative meeting on the Model Law on the rights of intersex persons in Africa.

Organised by the Centre for Human Rights of the University of Pretoria, the meeting was an occasion to review the Draft Model Law on intersex persons, which the Centre for Human Rights is currently drafting for eventual tabling at the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

According to the organisers, the Draft Model Law “seeks to prevent unfair discrimination and to protect and promote of the rights of intersex persons in African countries.” “There was wide consensus during the consultative meeting on the need for states to enact laws and policies, review existing policies, and to repeal any laws to ensure that the rights of intersex persons are protected,” a press release reads.
The conversation on the Model Law is now poised to continue at the NGO Forum preceding the 60th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, which is currently taking place in Niamey, Niger.



Monday, May 1

Russia: LGBTI human rights defenders detained on May Day march

Almost 20 LGBTI human rights defenders have been detained in the center of St. Petersburg as they were taking part in the May Day march, Fontanka reported.

One of the detained activists explained Reuters that the group had taken to the streets to protest against human rights violations perpetrated against gay and bisexual men in Chechnya.  “I was waving a rainbow flag and shouting ‘Kadyrov should go to the Hague,’  Russian LGBT Network‘s Igor Kochetkov was quoted as telling the news agency whilst in detention.

As ILGA-Europe points out, a brutal campaign against gay and bisexual men has been sweeping through Chechnya in the past weeks. Law enforcement and officials have illegally arrested at least 100 men on the grounds of their suspected sexual orientation. Detained in two known illegal prisons, they have been tortured, humiliated and beaten. At least three men are confirmed to have been killed.

In her first official visit to Russia since 2015, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has urged Russian President Vladimir Putin “to use his influence to guarantee the rights of minorities,” directly raising awareness of what is going on in Chechnya. Merkel joined a broad scale of institutions, governments and other organisations who have called on an end to human rights violations in the region.


Monday, May 1

Chile: lawmakers advance anti-discriminations provisions protecting LGBTI children and adolescents


The Chamber of Deputies of Chile has approved a bill that includes anti-discrimination provisions to protect the rights of LGBTI minors.

As Movilh points out, Article 9 of the bill includes sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, sexual characteristics among the grounds on which “no child shall be arbitrarily discriminated against,” while Article 19 claims that “every child has the right (…) to preserve and develop their own identity (..), including their gender identity. ”

The bill now heads on to the Senate for discussion. A few days before the lawmakers’ vote, more good news broke from the country, as the Ministry of Education issued a ministerial circular and a manual on how to better include and respect the dignity of trans children and adolescents.


Monday, May 1

Indonesia: eight men arrested over taking part in alleged ‘gay party’

Indonesian police have arrested a group of men for allegedly holding what officers called a ‘gay party’ in a Surabaya hotel. According to AFPeight of the fourteen men who were initially detained saw charges filed against them under an anti-pornography law; the two organisers of the party may face up to 15 years in jail.

Human Rights Watch reports also that police ordered the 14 men to undergo HIV tests.

“This is the first time we enforce the law and arrest gay people in the city,” Surabaya police’s head of detectives was quoted as saying.

As ILGA’s State Sponsored Homophobia points out, same-sex sexual relations between consenting adults are not prohibited according to the Indonesian Penal Code, but there are stigmatising regulations that apply nationwide, and there are areas and municipalities that penalise same-sex sexual relations through local ordinances.

As Indonesia has just gone through its Universal Periodic Review, receiving 12 recommendations to abolish discriminatory laws and improve protections of rainbow communities,  a university in Padang, West Sumatra, made headlines after a requirement posted on its website went viral. According to the document, applicants had to sign a letter declaring that they were not a part of the LGBT community.  The requirement was then taken down, but the university’s chancellor has reportedly confirmed that their discriminatory policy stands.


Wednesday, May 3

Overseas couples match New Zealand couples in same-sex marriages


While large numbers of activists and groups are currently campaigning or marriage reforms in the region, New Zealand remains the only country in Asia-Pacific where marriage equality is a reality.

According to new data released by Statistics New Zealand, hundreds of couples from overseas are reaching the country to tie the knot: almost half of all same-sex marriages and civil unions registered in 2016 were couples living overseas, compared with 11 percent of opposite-sex couples.

“Couples from Australia accounted for 58 percent of overseas same-sex couples coming here to marry,” population statistics senior manager Peter Dolan said. “A further 17 percent came from China.”

As Buzzfeed News reports, “a country-by-country breakdown reveals the large percentage of couples from China marrying in New Zealand was unique to same-sex weddings or civil unions.”



Thursday, May 4

United States’ President signs executive order to promote ‘religious liberty’ that may impact rainbow communities

The President of the United States has signed an executive order pledging to “vigorously promote religious liberty” and allow faith-based organizations greater participation in politics without risking their tax-exempt status, ABC News reports.

An earlier draft of the executive order that had been circulating contained language that could have weakened some of the anti-discrimination policies protecting rainbow communities.

Even if that wording did not make it into the final order, human rights advocates have questioned whether the text could still have an impact, as it instructs the Attorney General to provide guidance to all agencies on “interpreting religious liberty protections in Federal law.”

Human Rights Campaign has listed a few protections to rainbow communities that could potentially be impacted, and explained how the order is “aimed at undermining critical preventative health care for all women, including lesbian, bisexual, and transgender women.” More civil rights

This #LicenseToDiscriminate Executive Order for religious fundamentalists isn’t *explicitly* anti-#LGBTQ. BUT…

— Lambda Legal (@LambdaLegal) May 4, 2017

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have pledged to “stay vigilant,” even if the order does not explicitly mention LGBTI persons.


Only a few days before the document was signed, the Federal non-discrimination bill known as Equality Act was reintroduced in Congress, co-sponsored by 241 bi-partisan lawmakers. The bill has also the support of almost 100 corporations.

Is that all? More LGBTI news bites

Human Rights Watch has denounced the harassment and abuse suffered by LGBT asylum seekers in Spain’s North African enclave, Ceuta, and has called on authorities to transfer them to mainland Spain without delay.

A far-right wing organisation has applied for a permit to hold a rally in Fredrikstad, Norway this summer with “Destroy the homo lobby” as a theme.

A trans woman was barred from entering a magistrate’s court in Guyana where she had to appear and answer to charges pressed against her.

A legislative initiative banning same-sex couples from getting married has been introduced in Guatemala. The bill would also restrict educational institutions from promoting ‘gender ideology’, and imprison both doctors and women involved in abortions in cases when pregnancy would not put the woman’s life at risk.

In Fiji, the leader of the Anglican Church in the Diocese of Polynesia has defined the debate on marriage equality as “challenging”, but the upcoming general synod is ready to address the issue.

In Australia, a petition calling for a new anti-bullying program in schools to replace the Safe Schools programme has been withdrawn as a result of criticism over the wording it used.

The Supreme Court of the United States let stand a California law banning ‘conversion therapy,’ rejecting the challenge brought by three people who claim the law interferes with their right to practice their religious beliefs.

In the United States, the United Methodist Church’s highest court has ruled that the consecration of its first out lesbian bishop violated the church’s “commitment to abide by and uphold the church’s definition of marriage and stance on homosexuality.”

As the World Economic Forum on Africa is taking place in Durban, South Africa, Imam Muhsin Hendricks – the founder of a support group for LGBT Muslims –is poised to join a panel to answer questions on the role of religion in mobilising and educating communities.

Two new staff members have joined Pan Africa ILGA: Anthony Oluoch will take on the role of Programmes Manager, while Sivu Siwisa has been appointed as Programme Officer on Communications.

As the 30th Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit was taking place in Manila, Philippines, the ASEAN SOGIE Caucus reiterated its call to various governments to uphold their human rights obligations to promote and protect the rights of LGBTIQ people.

In a landmark ruling, a court in Hong Kong approved the request of a civil servant to see his husband entitled to the same benefits as his heterosexual colleagues’ spouses.

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— ILGA (@ILGAWORLD) May 5, 2017

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 The LGBulleTIn will return on May 19!