ILGA LGBulleTIn #6 - The week in LGBTI news around the world
11 - 17 July, 2015
Saturday, July 11
Paraguay: LGBTI advocate attends meeting with Pope Francis
Simón Cazal, executive director of the LGBTI advocacy group Somosgay, was among the representatives of 1,600 civil society organisations that met Pope Francis during his visit to Paraguay. The activist deemed the Pope’s speech as “very productive”: “The local church insisted on talking about the family and other conservative issues, but (Francis) distanced himself from this discourse and highlighted diversity in its place, saying there are no people of first, of second or third class”.
According to what Cazal told The Guardian, other LGBTI organisations decided to refuse the invitation to the meeting made the by Paraguayan Episcopal Conference. Interviewed by the Wall Street Journal, co-secretary general of ILGA Helen Kennedy commented: “The fact that they were even invited is very, very symbolic. […] “The local LGBT community can use this as a conversation-starter with respect to antidiscrimination laws in that country”.
Sunday, July 12
Ethiopia: Facebook bans an LGBTI activist under real name policy
He has been on Facebook for years, creating and administrating some of the most popular groups for gay Ethiopians. Only, he used a pseudonym – HappyAddis – and not his real name: this is why, all of a sudden, his social media account has been blocked. To keep on using his profile, the activist - Time reports - was asked to upload documents confirming he was using his legal name online.
For individuals who face persecution because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, anonymity is a crucial tool for self expression and connecting (as a statement delivered by ILGA, IGLHRC and APC during the latest session of the Human Rights Council pointed out), and Facebook’s real name policy collides with their needs.
In Ethiopia homosexuality is considered a crime: those convicted of same-sex relations can face prison. This is why HappyAddis is now worried that other members of the community will be blocked as well: “If they have to use their real names then everyone will go underground”.
Monday, July 13
United States: Pentagon to lift ban on trans people in military service
“The Defense Department's current regulations regarding transgender service members are outdated and are causing uncertainty that distracts commanders from our core missions”. With these words, Defense secretary Ash Carter has announced the Pentagon will make the first moves towards lifting another barrier to military service. A working group will be created over the next six months to study “the policy and readiness implications of welcoming transgender persons to serve openly”.
Read more on Pridesource
Tuesday, July 14
China discusses coming out on social media after TV show
Thousands of people started a lively debate about coming out on China’s Twitter-like Weibo after the tv show Let’s talk tackled the subject. More than 8,000 comments were posted during the discussion, and several persons decided to share their photos with their partners along with personal stories – some of acceptance, some others of intolerance.
The whole debate, writes BBC Trending, indicates that LGBTI issues seem not to be taboo anymore among the population, in a country were social issues are not always discussed openly.
Wednesday, July 15
Ireland, Parliament passes Gender Recognition Bill
The Gender Recognition Bill completed its passage in the Irish Senate, and will now go to the country’s president to be signed into law. According to Transgender Equality Network Ireland, the legislation is expected to be enacted before the end of July and come into operation before the end of summer. Under the new law, no medical diagnosis will be needed: only a statutory declaration will be required to trans people over the age of 18 to self-declare their gender.
Although historic, this decision also drew criticism: as Transgender Europe points out, “a restrictive procedure is foreseen for 16 and 17 year olds requiring certification from two medical practitioners, parental consent and a court order”. Several senators drew also attention to the current lack of legal provision for those under the age of 16.
Read ILGA Europe’s press release: Historic day for Ireland’s trans community
Friday, July 17
New Zealand adopts new gender identity statistical standard
“Gender diverse” will join “male” and “female” categories in the new gender identity classification by Statistics New Zealand. According to the organisation’s classification manager Jo-anne Allan, the new standard is the first in the world for gender identity information.
The standard, though, has also been criticised especially for being “insufficient for capturing actual data on gender identity overall”, even if “it will capture data on the non-binary population relatively well”.
(bulletin written by Daniele Paletta)