LGBulleTIn 93 – The week in LGBTI news June 30 – July 6, 2017

Friday, June 30

Germany: Parliament approves marriage equality bill

In a landmark decision, the German parliament approved a bill allowing same-sex couples to marry and to equally enjoy all the rights linked to marriage – including joint adoption.

Political obstacles towards marriage equality had been removed only a few days earlier, as Chancellor Angela Merkel – who voted against the bill – called for a “vote of conscience” among her own party, and more politicians advocated an immediate vote in parliament before the summer break and September’s elections. The bill was then approved with 393 votes in favour; 226 lawmakers voted against the provision, and 4 abstained.

“After years of waiting and hoping, rainbow families in Germany will now receive equal recognition under the law – this is a historic milestone that can inspire even more change for LGBTI people,” commented ILGA-Europe Executive Director Evelyne Paradis. “This result has taken years of persistence – and now there is momentum in Germany. Marriage equality is not the final destination. LGBTI people and their families need to feel safe and supported in every facet of their lives –outside the civil registry office, as well as inside it.”



Saturday, July 1

China issues restrictions on online content portraying “abnormal sexual behaviours”

The China Netcasting Services Association has released new strict regulations for online video platforms. According to reports, restrictions will be applied to content portraying what are considered “abnormal sexual behaviours,” including same-sex activity and sex work.

The rules demand that online video platforms hire at least three “professional censors”, The Independent reported. They will be ordered to view entire programmes and take down those considered not sticking to the “correct political and aesthetic standards.” Those who don’t adhere to the new rules face being reported to the police for further investigation, according to Xinhua state news agency.

“The false information in these regulations has already caused harm to the Chinese LGBT community, who are already subjected to prejudice and discrimination,” Chinese magazine Gay Voice was quoted as commenting.

In the past few months, two popular dating apps among rainbow communities in the country were shut down, and an LGBT conference in Xi’an was cancelled after authorities told organisers that rainbow events were not welcome in the city. At least nine among the event’s organisers were detained for eight hours.


Monday, July 3

Canada: health card without a gender designation issued to 8-months-old baby

Canadian officials have issued a baby named Searyl Alti a health card without a gender designation, in what media outlets are reporting could be one of the first cases in the world.

Kori Doty, a nonbinary transgender person who identifies as neither male nor female, gave birth to the baby in November and has been battling to keep the eight-month-old’s gender off all British Columbia government records ever since.

The health card has been issued with a “U” in the space for “sex”, which could be for “undetermined” or “unassigned”. A birth certificate, however, has not been granted yet, because officials are reportedly claiming that a gender must be registered.

“I’m raising Searyl in such a way that until they have the sense of self and command of vocabulary to tell me who they are, I’m recognising them as a baby,” the parent told CBC,  and trying to give them all the love and support to be the most whole person that they can be, outside of the restrictions that come with the ‘boy’ box and the ‘girl’ box.”



Thursday, July 6

New Zealand issues apology to those convicted for historic same-sex sexual offences

A bill to expunge historic convictions for same-sex sexual offences has been introduced to Parliament in New Zealand, and it is set to have its first reading in the coming weeks.

As the bill was introduced, the House also unanimously passed a motion apologising to gay and bisexual men convicted of consensual same-sex conduct before the Homosexual Law Reform Act 1986 came into force.

“It is never too late to apologise,” Justice Minister Amy Adams said. “While we cannot ever erase the injustice, this apology is a symbolic but important act.” In her words, the apology was also a way to recognise “the tremendous hurt and suffering those men and their families have gone through, and the continued effects the convictions have had on them.”

According to express, the Criminal Records (Expungement of Convictions for Historical Homosexual Offences) Bill would mean that those who were convicted of consensual same-sex conduct, or the families of those among them who have since died, would be able to apply to have their conviction wiped from the record.

“We hope this bill once it becomes an Act, helps restore justice for the wrongful convictions,” said ILGA Oceania co-convenor Rawa Karetai. He also pointed out that applying for convictions to be quashed would be difficult for some: “There are still people today talking to counsellors about their convictions. The process of applying (…) is traumatic for some as they do not want to revisit what happened before 1986.”



Thursday, July 6

Organisations worldwide call on Tanzania to stop threatening human rights groups

Human rights organisations from across the world joined forces to call for Tanzania to “end its hostile rhetoric toward civil society groups and threats to obstruct their work”.

Recent comments by the country’s President and the Home Affairs Ministers targeted groups helping pregnant girls finish their education, and threatened to prosecute or deport anyone working to protect rights of rainbow communities.

“Independent civil society plays a crucial role in debates, policymaking and services on critical issues facing Tanzania,” Michelle Kagari, Deputy Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes at Amnesty International said. “Threatening to obstruct their work and silence their voices is counterproductive and contrary to Tanzania’s international legal obligations.


Thursday, July 6

Civil society organisations raise awareness of the human rights situation of LGBT persons in Mexico before the IACHR

Representatives of civil society organisations have taken part in the session of the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights currently taking place in Lima, Peru, and have raised awareness of the human rights situation of rainbow communities in Mexico.

From January 2014 to December 2016, at least 202 persons were reported murdered in the country, allegedly on the grounds of their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. At least 108 among them were trans persons. These figures do not include episodes of violence against LGBTI human rights defenders, with only 2 per cent of such cases being successfully investigated.

The organisations highlighted the need to develop public policies to meet the needs of specific communities. They also called on the IACHR to organise an in-country visit to examine the ways in which the human rights of our communities are violated, as well as to request the Mexican State to provide a response to the concerns presented within one month.


Is that all? More LGBTI news bites

12 United Nations entities have released a joint statement calling for ending discrimination in health-care settings, and committing to work together to support Member States to provide health-care services free from stigma and discrimination.

OutRight Action International and the Global Forum on MSM and HIV (MSMGF) have launched the Agenda 2030 for LGBTI Health and Well-Being report.

In the United States, Rhode Island legislature has passed a bill protecting minors from the harmful practice of “conversion therapy.”

In the United States, an appeal to the Supreme Court will be filed after a court refused to rehear the case of Jameka Evans, a security guard who was harassed at work and effectively terminated from her job on the grounds of her sexual orientation.

Police in Lynchburg, VA, United States are investigating the murder of 28-year-old trans woman Ebony Morgan.

In Iraq, actor Karar Noshi was tortured and murdered after being targeted for his gender expression.

Hundreds of people marched in the streets of Dili, Timor Leste in the first Pride parade to have ever taken place in the country.

A court in Zhumadian, China ordered a city hospital to issue a public apology to a man who was forced to undergo ‘conversion’ therapy and to grant him compensation.

Seven persons were detained in Istanbul, Turkey as human rights defenders were trying to gather together and hold the Trans Pride march in defiance of a last-minute ban.

On occasion of the ‘6th I-DSD Symposium 2017’ in Copenhagen, Denmark, an open letter signed by 92 human rights defenders asking “to reconsider involuntary, non-urgent treatments of children with variations of sex anatomy” was delivered to clinicians and affiliate institutions.

A man has been fined for screaming homophobic insults to the man he assaulted in a gay nightclub in Sydney, Australia, as a court ruled he had engaged in ‘unlawful homosexual vilification.’

From Pacific Sexual Diversity Network to Pacific Sexual & Gender Diversity Network: the organisation’s name change was officially endorsed by member countries during its annual board meeting held in Nadi, Fiji.

A group of 26 LGBTIQ+ and non-normative individuals were reportedly evicted from a club in Sousse, Tunisia after being “exposed to threats, blackmailing, verbal and physical abuse.” The venue has denied all accusations.

Scholarship applications are open for the International Conference on AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infections in Africa (ICASA), which will be held in December 2017 in Ivory Coast.

Puerto Rico has created the island’s first government advisory board to champion SOGIE issues.

In a speech at the meeting of the UNAIDS Programme Coordinating Board, the First Lady of Panama Lorena Castillo de Varela underlined the progress made the country in the HIV response, highlighting that 6 public key population- friendly clinics were recently opened.


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