LGBulleTIn #42 – The week in LGBTI news
April 1-7, 2016
Saturday, April 2
Malaysia: religious authorities raid trans charity fundraising event
The Federal Territories Islamic Department (JAWI) raided a fundraising event held by members of the trans community in Kuala Lumpur. Authorities claimed that the private dinner party hosted a beauty pageant, thus violating the fatwa issued by a national council that bars Muslim women from joining such contests.
According to human rights defenders who attended the event though, only a dinner with a show was taking place when the authorities arrived at the hotel – reportedly without a warrant. Speaking to the Malay Mail Online, lawyer and activist Siti Kasim reported that ten JAWI officers entered the hotel and prevented the 200 dinner guests from leaving. Siti then called the police, and only after their arrival were the guests allowed to leave. However, she and the event organiser were taken to the police station, and the latter was detained.
The raid has been lambasted by human rights activists: “Accusing individuals of being in contempt or defiance of religious authorities for merely standing up for their rights as enshrined in the constitution, is unconstitutional and unjust,” the Joint Action Group for Gender Equality has been quoted as saying in a statement. “Moral policing laws have no place in Malaysia.”
Tuesday, April 5
United States: another “religious freedom” bill signed into law
Following Kansas and North Carolina, Mississippi has become the third state this legislative session to sign into law an explicitly anti-LGBTI bill in the United States – in the name of “religious freedom.”
HB 1523 states it protects “sincerely held religious beliefs or moral convictions” of those who assert that marriage should only be between a man and a woman, that sexual relations should be only reserved to such marriage, and that a person’s gender is “determined by anatomy and genetics at time of birth.”
Under the law, Mississippians can now be refused marriage licenses, turned away from businesses or denied housing, services and care, if their existence conflicts with the “sincerely held religious beliefs or moral convictions” of individuals, business owners, charities and other services.
According to Human Rights Campaign, nearly 200 discriminatory bills have been introduced in 34 states around the U.S. in this legislative session but, as of today, at least half of them have been beaten back.
Read more in The Washington Post
April, Tuesday 5
United Kingdom: homophobia in sport to be studied by Commons committee inquiry
Four years after an inquiry into racism in football concluded that homophobia was emerging as a bigger problem than other forms of discrimination, a Commons culture, media and sport committee inquiry has announced an in-depth analysis on the issue.
The committee has called for written submissions on the matter and - as its chair, Jesse Norman, said – is set to examine why “homophobia remains a serious issue across a wide range of British sports,” and will look at “the possible differences between sports, and sports governing bodies, and between the experiences of sportsmen and sportswomen.”
It is reported that homophobic abusive posts are sent to football players via social media once every 2.6 minutes.
Read more on The Guardian
Thursday, April 7
Australian Human Rights Commission renews calls to reform process for legal gender recognition
The president of the Australian Human Rights Commission has renewed calls to reform the process for changing gender on official documents, saying they needed to be simplified.
"The human rights of transgender and gender diverse people to equality and non-discrimination cannot be fully realised without the removal of the legislative barriers to the legal recognition of their gender identity," Commission’s president Gillian Triggs told ABC News.
Currently, most states and territories require that a person be unmarried and undergo a medical or surgical procedure before they can change their gender marker on their birth certificate. Such legislative schemes, Triggs reminded, undermine people’s “right to equality and non-discrimination, privacy and physical integrity, and recognition as a person before the law.”
After the Australian Capital Territory passed the Amendment Act in 2014, two more states have been working on reforms on the issue: the South Australian Government is reviewing its sex and gender recognition laws, while the Victorian attorney-general's department has signalled that it is working to “remove barriers to new birth certificates for trans, gender diverse and intersex Victorians.”
Thursday, April 7
Colombia says “yes” to marriage equality
Marriage equality has come to Colombia: the magistrates of the country’s constitutional court voted six to three against a proposed ruling, saying that marriage applied only to unions between men and women and that it was up to the congress to decide on same-sex marriage. "Every human being has the fundamental right to marry without suffering any kind of discrimination," magistrate Alberto Rojas Ríos said.
The ruling takes effect immediately, Advocate.com reports.
In 2011, a constitutional court ruling recognised same-sex couples as families, and ordered the national congress to create a law establishing marriage equality by June 2013. Lawmakers, though, did not meet that deadline, leaving couples able to see their relationships formalised only before notaries and judges. Because there was no definitive policy on the issue, though, many couples were turned away. Yesterday's ruling changes everything: no judge or notary can now legally refuse to marry a same-sex couple.
“This decision tells all those conservatives that equality is unstoppable,” Luís Felipe Rodríguez, a Cali activist who challenged the court’s 2011 ruling told The Guardian, as dozens of persons gathered outside the Palace of Justice in Bogotá to celebrate.
Read more on El Espectador
Thursday, April 7
Gambia: report of joint dialogue on sexual orientation and gender identity launched during 58th Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights
In November 2015, representatives of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights joined forces with UN human rights experts to call for an end to human rights violations on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
A report of that unprecedented dialogue has been released this week, during the 58th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights. The document highlights the impact that human rights violations have on the health of LGBTI people and their access to HIV prevention and care, but also emphasises positive developments made around the world in protecting their human rights.
The result of the joint dialogue was welcomed by civil society organizations: “Ongoing collaboration reinforces the idea of the universality of human rights,” said Sibongile Ndashe, executive director of the Initiative for Strategic Litigation in Africa. “It can only help advance the protection of human rights for everyone, including for LGBTI people.”
Read more via the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Is that all? More news bites
Amanda Saenz, an interACT youth advocate, became the first out intersex person to play an intersex character on a mainstream TV show.
A new publication containing practical advice on implementing HIV and STI prevention programmes for trans people has been launched.
A genderqueer person in New Zealand says they were refused a haircut in a barber shop after having being called “not actually a man.”
A recent community survey in Victoria, Australia has revealed that 88% of LGBTI Victorians see legal protection from discrimination as the key issue to be addressed by the federal government.
LGBTI advocates are planning a protest at the Australian Christian Lobby national conference, which will take place in Sydney, Australia and will host speakers who are said to have repeatedly taken anti-LGBTI stances.
The City Council of Gaborone, Botswana’s capital, has called for the country’s law criminalising homosexuality to be repealed.
A young lesbian woman has been stabbed to death in Kathelong, South Africa on the night of her 19th birthday, in what is believed to have been a homophobic hate crime.
A group of 16 Ugandan LGBTI refugees and asylum seekers were recently relocated from Nairobi, Kenya where they were reportedly facing various attacks by other refugees.
An openly gay student from Malaysia, who feared for his life if he was sent back to his home country, will be allowed to stay in Canada, after his claim for refugee status was accepted.
A federal appeals court ruled that Puerto Rico’s ban on same-sex couples’ marriages is unconstitutional.
After it was revealed that a group of police officers in San Francisco, United States were sending racist and homophobic text messages, the state attorney general was asked to open a civil rights investigation into the Police Department’s practices.
Eight members of a neo-Nazi gang in Mar del Plata, Argentina were indicted for vandalism, death threats and assaults against members of the local LGBTI, feminist and immigrant communities.
In Peru, the ministry of Women and Vulnerable populations adopted a set of guidelines to assist LGBTI people within the National Program Against Family and Sexual Violence.
In Mexico, a deputy of the Legislative Assembly urged the head of government of the Federal District to create more job opportunities for trans persons, and to establish a quota of at least 1% of the capital’s agencies workforce.
The ATPN is launching a campaign to bring attention to the healthcare barriers and struggles faced by trans people in Asia and the Pacific. Thailand is the first country under the spotlight.
In the Philippines, a court has affirmed the conviction of a US Marine for killing Jennifer Laude, but reduced his sentence from 12 to 10 years in prison.
In Italy, the Court of Appeal of Naples ordered full recognition of two second-parent adoption orders by the Court of Lille, France in favour of a French-Italian same-sex family.
In France, a law outlawing paying for sex and shifting the burden of the offence onto clients has drawn concern from sex workers, who fear they may become even more vulnerable than before.
The law allowing same-sex couples to get married has come into force in Greenland.
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