LGBulleTIn 30 - The week in LGBTI news
January 1-6, 2016
Friday, January 1st
Austria: adoption equality law comes into force
2016 began bringing good news from Austria: starting January 1, also same-sex couples can apply for joint adoption in the country.
Until now, same-sex couples could only be foster parents or apply for stepchild adoptions; in 2015, then, the Constitutional Court ordered the law be changed before the end of the year, granting full adoption equality.
The new law sweeps away age restrictions as well: before it entered into force, adoptive parents had to be at least 16 years older than the child they were called to take care of.
As ILGA-Europe points out, the beginning of the new year brought along also a reinforcement in Austria’s hate crime legislation, which now covers also sexual orientation.
Read more on Nachrichten.at (in German)
Saturday, January 2
Colombia: trans woman killed in the streets of Cali
Authorities are investigating the death of Camila Montoya, a young trans woman who died in Cali in the early hours of New Years’ Eve. According to her friends, she was approached in a street for a police inspection, and then was shot twice: she died a few hours later in a local hospital.
“Her friends told me that the officers grabbed her and amid the struggle a shot rang out,” Camila’s mother declared, quoted in an article by El Tiempo where the victim is misgendered. “My daughter used pepper spray to defend herself, and immediately one of the cops shot her again,” she said. Reports indicate that Camila had refused the inspection “only because agents wanted to touch her.”
Read more on Planet Transgender
Tuesday, January 5
Syria: Isis has killed at least 25 men suspected of being gay, group says
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights claims at least 25 men suspected of being gay have been murdered by Isis. Some of them were either stoned to death or shot to their heads, while most of the victims were blindfolded and thrown by rise-up buildings; those who survived the fall were then stoned by bystanders.
These terrible figures were made public amid reports of a 15-year-old boy being thrown from a rooftop in Deir ez-Zor, Syria. It is alleged that the senior Isis officer who raped him was spared execution, and was forced to join the fighting fronts in north-western Iraq.
Read more on The Independent
Wednesday, January 6
Marriage equality? “Fiji does not need that rubbish,” says PM
Frank Bainimarama, the prime minister of Fiji, vehemently opposed same sex marriage and said the country he lives in “does not need that rubbish.”
His comments were made in response to human rights activist Shamima Ali, who recently said that Fiji should consider allowing same-sex couples to marry. “Never in our lifetime,” he replied, making his stance clearer by advising any woman who wants to marry another woman to “go and have it done in Iceland and stay and live there.”
According to Bainimarama, the topic is one pushed by non-government organizations "under the issue of human rights,” but “they should not be confused with the wording of the Constitution about the equality and love for one another.”
“This kind of statement is definitely going to create anti-LGBT backlash here in Fiji,” representatives of Haus of Khameleon, a youth and trans led local movement, wrote in a Facebook post. “Right now, someone out there in Fiji is getting harassed and victimised. If you want to talk about LGBT rights, then you invite us to a room where we can talk about how to better protect these rights, free from violence, fear and discrimination.”
United States, federal agency: “Sexual orientation discrimination is sex discrimination, and violates Civil Rights Act”
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, a federal agency charged with enforcing existing civil rights laws, urged a federal appeals court to include sexual orientation under the sex discrimination ban.
As Buzzfeed reports, the move is the latest step from the EEOC and advocates in an effort to protect LGBTI people from discrimination under existing civil rights law.
According to the commission, “sexual orientation discrimination is sex discrimination, and such sex discrimination violates Title VII” of the Civil Rights Act. “The district court’s treatment of sexual orientation discrimination as distinct from sex discrimination is untenable and based on a fundamentally flawed premise.”
Thursday, January 7
Nigeria: 64% rise in reported human rights violations against LGBTI people
Blackmails, assaults and arbitrary arrests are among the most common violations that LGBTI persons are facing in Nigeria, according to a report published by The Initiative for Equal Rights (TIERs). The document, compiled from data collected by seven Nigerian organizations, show that as well as 172 violations were recorded in the country in 2015, in a dramatic 64% rise from 2014.
“The new trend for Nigerian policemen is to pick up young guys on the road because of the way they walk, take them to cyber cafes and force them to print out their private messages on social media to ‘prove’ that they’re gay, and then lock them up,” the executive director of TIERs reportedly explained during a recent Human Rights Day event.
Statistics, though, show that non-State actors are to be held accountable of more than 72% of the violations against LGBTI people documented in the report.
Read more via 76 Crimes
Is that all? More news bites
More LGBTI news bites
A trans woman was shot in Pakistan: the hospital where she was rushed in allegedly refused to help her for more than two hours, and eventually chose to put the victim in a male ward.
The release of a report on discrimination against sexual minorities in Hong Kong was met with disappointment at its failure to call on legislative work.
Teased and harassed after he was seen getting intimate with a male friend, a 15-year-old student set himself on fire in Madia Katra, India.
A court in China accepted the country’s first same-sex marriage case, lodged by a gay man against a civil affairs bureau for denying him the right to marry.
A law allowing same-sex partnerships took effect in Estonia on January 1st, but legal uncertainties remain.
In the United Kingdom, a black LGBTI activist refused an MBE as “LGBTQI people are still being persecuted because of sodomy laws that were put in place by British imperialists.”
Italy’s interior minister called for surrogate parents to be treated as sex offenders, amidst a larger debate on civil unions in the country.
An umbrella organization of lawyers in Malawi urged the Human Rights Commission and police to investigate over a politician who called on members of the LGBTI community to be killed.
In Tunisia, an LGBTI advocacy group was ordered by the government to suspend its activities for 30 days.
A gay man was arrested in Egypt after police claimed they found an ad that he had posted online looking for sex with other men.
An appeals court in Argentina ruled that two men can go on trial for the murder of the trans activist Diana Sacayán.
The National Elections Institute reportedly refused to include LGBTI-related issues among the topics to be discussed by governor candidates in the state of Colima, Mexico.
A group of intellectuals and religious leaders urged the Dominican Republic’s government to declare the U. S. ambassador – an out gay man - “persona non grata.”
The release of cabinet documents from 1985 showed the discrimination the gay community had to face when the AIDS epidemic reached Queensland, Australia.
In Australia, a Senate inquiry into airport security is examining reports of alleged breaches, including the case of a trans passenger who was forced to remove a genital prosthetic and present it for inspection.
Nominations are sought for the inaugural board for ILGA Oceania: they must be submitted to the secretary by Friday 15th January, 2016. Find out more.
Oklahoma City, United States passed a housing non-discrimination ordinance which would make it illegal to deny housing on the basis of people’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
In Alabama, United States, the administrative head of the state court system issued an order prohibiting probate judges from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
This September will mark the opening of a school in Atlanta, USA designed to provide a safe space for LGBTI youth and teachers do not feel accepted at traditional institutions.
Twitter updated its rules against hate speech and cyber-bullying: accounts promoting violence against people on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity may be suspended permanently. However, these changes do not seem to be applied consistently.
TGEU is updating its "Human Rights and Gender Identity Best Practice Catalogue", and is looking for practical examples which can help achieve equality for trans people.
Advocates for Informed Choice has now changed its name into interACT - advocates for intersex youth.
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