LGBulleTIn #66 - The week in LGBTI news
October 7-13, 2016
Friday, October 7
UN Committee on the Rights of the Child addresses human rights of intersex children
The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child released its concluding observations at the end of its 73rd session, urging New Zealand and South Africa to guarantee the rights of intersex children “to bodily integrity, autonomy and self-determination” and to ensure that no one is subjected to “unnecessary medical or surgical treatment during infancy or childhood.”
In the document on South Africa, the Committee expressed its concern “at the high prevalence of harmful practices in the State party, including […] intersex genital mutilation.” In a paragraph dedicated to addressing harmful practices, then, the Committee recommended that New Zealand develop “a child rights-based health care protocol for intersex children” and provide their families “with adequate counselling and support.”
The needs to “promptly investigate incidents of surgical and other medical treatment of intersex children without informed consent” and to “adopt legal provisions to provide redress to victims of such treatment” were also addressed in the document. Recommendations to train health professionals on the consequences of unnecessary medical interventions, and to extend “free access to surgical interventions and medical treatment related to their intersex condition to intersex children between the age of 16 and 18” were also issued.
Friday, October 7
Activists gather in St. Croix for the 4th Caribbean Women and Sexual Diversity Conference
More than 50 human rights defenders have gathered in St. Croix for the 4th Caribbean Women and Sexual Diversity Conference, a forum to develop a regional network of support for activists advocating equality for rainbow communities, with an emphasis on women’s issues.
For four days, activists were engaged in several sessions under the banner “Starting here, starting now: Setting the foundation for sustainable engagement”. As the St. Thomas Source reports, topics “ranged from practical subjects such as proposal writing and building sustainable organizations to connecting the dots of racism, sexism, classism and homophobia, as well as anti-bullying initiatives.”
“The conference is important because in the Caribbean, as in most of the world, women’s issues are marginalized,” event organizer Lavonne Wise was quoted as saying. “Here everybody can learn something from everybody else.”
Read a conference recap from Outright
Sunday, October 9
Cameroon: police arrests during raid at gay-friendly bar in Yaoundé
A popular bar in Yaoundé has been raided by police, and many of the people inside the venue were arrested and released only a few hours later.
According to reports, police blocked the entrance to the bar, known as ‘a welcoming oasis for gay men’ in the capital, as "patrols were stationed at every corner of the cabaret." Then they allegedly "searched inside the bar for people hiding there," ordered everyone to leave and checked their ID cards, while "all the bar patrons were ordered onto police trucks."
The raid ended with the release of everyone who had been arrested. According to later reports, "LGBTI rights activists who had been alerted to the incident went to the police station and were reassured by the officer handling the case," as "he said that the raid was aimed at public disturbances."
Monday, October 10
Papua New Guinea: police investigating over allegedly homophobic murder
Police are investigating over the murder of a man from Alotau, Papua New Guinea, in what may have been a homophobic hate crime.
According to ABC, the man was allegedly killed by members of his extended family.
“He went home after a night out,” a friend of him told reporters, “and was then confronted by someone in his extended family for being who he was: the situation worsened […], he was bashed over the head and was killed.”
“This murder is appalling and disgraceful,” said Sulique Waqa, Creative Director of Haus of Khameleon, a Fiji-based social justice organisation devoted to ending discrimination and violence against trans people. “We are calling on the police to treat this matter seriously.”
Unfortunately, more cases of hate crime made headlines around the world this week: two women in South Africa were reported being raped by a group of men who attacked their home; a trans woman was found dead in a driveway in Cleveland, OH, United States; a woman in Argentina was arrested for allegedly having killed her daughter after a fight on her sexual orientation.
Tuesday, October 11
United States: National Parks Service releases LGBTQ history study
On the occasion of the Coming Out Day, the National Park Service announced the release of its first-ever “LGBTQ theme study,” aimed to identify places and events associated with the story of LGBTQ persons and communities within the United States.
Through 32 chapters, the publication explores different aspects of LGBTQ history and heritage, while also looking at the 10 sites designated as a National Historic Landmark, or listed on the National Register of Historic Places, that are particularly relevant to the community.
“For far too long, the struggles and contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer-identified Americans have been ignored in the traditional narratives of our nation’s history,” U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell said. “This theme study is the first of its kind by any national government to identify this part of our shared history, and it will result in an important step forward in reversing the current underrepresentation of stories and places associated with the LGBTQ community.”
Wednesday, October 12
France adopts first gender recognition law
The National Assembly in France adopted a legal gender recognition procedure during the vote on the 21st Century Justice Law. “Under the updated process”, ILGA-Europe notes, “trans people will no longer have to be sterilised before being legally recognised in their true gender.” There will also be “no requirement to provide proof of medical treatment, as had been proposed in amendments introduced by the Senate several weeks ago. Emancipated minors will also be able to access the updated procedure.”
Although a sign of progress, the revised law was described as "a missed opportunity," as the procedure is not based on self-determination and it lacks of access to legal gender recognition for trans minors.
“In Europe, there are several model examples that were open to France to follow,” said Evelyne Paradis, ILGA-Europe Executive Director. "The fact that France did not take the more progressive and humane path open to it is very regretful."
Read more via TGEU
Wednesday, October 12
Indonesia bars LGBT job applicants for new youth ambassador position
The selection process of a new Creative Youth Ambassador has turned into a renewed occasion to publicly discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans persons in Indonesia.
The initiative was supervised by the Youth and Sports Ministry and, according to reports, an ad listing requirements for the selection of candidates stated: “We require someone physically and mentally healthy, not involved in promiscuity and sexually deviant behaviour, including LGBT, which should be proven through a doctor's certificate.”
Terms and conditions listed on the initiative's website now only refer to candidates being required to be "physically and mentally healthy, as stated in a medical certificate" but, as the Jakarta Post reports clarifies, the ministry had changed the wording after being asked about the requirement: the wording 'LGBT' had been taken out “as ‘it may hurt some people’, but the ministry made it clear that the ban was still in place.”
Is that all? More LGBTI news bites
Two among the seven police officers accused of beating up a trans activist in June 2015 in Ciudad Delgado, El Salvador were sentenced to four years in prison.
An NGO in the Dominican Republic called on authorities to end violations against members of the LGBTI community, after an incident in which police detained a group of youth allegedly discriminating against them on the ground of their sexual orientation.
A march in Malawi calling to 'publicly affirm that sex and marriage is between man and woman and that life begins at conception', and described by human rights defenders as "an appalling move to further curtail the rights of LGBT people," has been postponed.
The National Administration and Security Committee in Kenya has reportedly begun hearing a petition to the National Assembly on ending discrimination against intersex persons.
A community survey of 467 LGBT people in the United Kingdom showed that 4 in 5 persons had experienced hate crime, and figures seem to suggest that attacks have more than doubled in the three months after the Brexit vote.
Germany has announced plans to set aside 30 million euros to compensate those who were jailed under Paragraph 175, which deemed same-sex activity to be a punishable crime and was not fully abolished until 1994.
As Japan is reviewing its national curriculum, Human Rights Watch has invited the government "to make LGBT topics standardized and mandatory, rather than optional."
More than 50 LGBTI human rights defenders and allies from over 30 countries gathered in Thailand for a forum aimed at exploring "new narratives to counter discrimination and stereotypes of LGBTI people" and at promoting "greater visibility and inclusion."
In Australia, the Labor caucus has formally announced it would block any proposed legislation for the plebiscite on marriage equality when it reaches the Senate, while reportedly pushing for a free vote in the parliament on the issue.
Health ministers across Australia have agreed to bring forward a review of the rules that ban men who have had sex with men in the preceding 12 months from donating blood.
A law recently come into force, banning discrimination on the basis of gender identity in places of public accommodation in Massachusetts, United States, is set to be put to public vote in 2018.
In Arizona, United States, a Court of Appeals held that a woman is a legal parent of the son she and her former wife conceived through donor insemination and raised together before the couple separated.
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