LGBulleTIn #29 - LGBTI news from around the world
December 19-31, 2015
Saturday, December 19
Peru: 21 parties sign ethical pact, commit to plan public policies for LGBTI persons
21 among the political parties who will participate in the 2016 general elections in Peru signed an ethical pact, agreeing for the first time to plan public policies for LGBTI persons.
With this agreement, LimaGay reports, “political organizations committed to focus on gender identity and sexual orientation in their electoral programs”.
The pact also called for all candidates to use social media responsibly and to improve the financial transparency of their campaigns.
“For the present and the future of our country, let us all moderate our tone and have a programmatic debate,” said Francisco Távara, president of the National Jury of Elections.
Read more on Diario Correo (in Spanish)
Monday, December 21
Malawi reaffirms moratorium on anti-gay arrests
The Malawian government reaffirmed its moratorium on prosecuting consensual same-sex conduct: a written statement released by Justice Minister Samuel Tembenu explicitly commits the government to the suspension of enforcement of anti-gay penal code provisions, and to guarantee freedom of association and expression for groups working to advance the human rights of LGBTI persons.
Authorities also dropped sodomy charges against two men arrested on December 7, 2015.
On that occasion, the community police assaulted one of the men, illegally entered the other’s home, and allowed local residents to ransack the property, a lawyer of the two men said.
“It’s heartening to see the Malawian government reinforce its commitment to human rights,” said Gift Trapence, director of the Centre for the Development of the People. “The next step will be for the government to get rid of discriminatory laws altogether.”
Read more via Human Rights Watch
New Zealand: court allows same-sex de facto couples to jointly adopt children
With a historic decision, an Auckland judge granted all same-sex couples the possibility to apply to jointly adopt children. According to the court’s ruling, the phrase "two spouses" used in the 1955 Adoption Act should also include same-sex de facto couples, not just those who are legally married.
Before this groundbreaking case, GayNZ remembers, “if a de facto same-sex couple were wishing to adopt, only one partner would be able to do this as an individual; the other partner would then have had to apply to become a guardian of the child but could not be an adoptive parent.”
Listen more on Radio New Zealand
New York City expands non-discrimination protections for its trans, intersex and gender non-conforming citizens
The New York City Commission on Human Rights expanded existing non-discrimination protections for trans, intersex and gender non-conforming New Yorkers: its brand-new guidelines now prohibit discrimination, harassment or mistreatment based on gender identity in housing, employment, public accommodations and profiling by police.
Imposing dress codes, uniforms, and grooming standards with different requirements based on sex or gender is now prohibited under the new guidelines, and reiterated failure to use an individual’s preferred gender, name or pronoun, or refusing to allow individuals to use single-sex facilities, also qualify as discriminatory acts: violating these guidelines could result in civil penalties of up to $250,000.
"Today's new guidelines strengthen those laws by ensuring that every transgender and gender non-conforming person in New York receives the dignity and respect they deserve," mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement.
Read more on The Advocate
Tuesday, December 22
Greece passes bill allowing civil partnerships for same-sex couples
Greece became the 26th European country to legally recognise same-sex couples by approving a gender-neutral civil partnership bill. Despite strong opposition from the Orthodox church and some political parties, the law was approved with a 194-55 vote. “This is the realisation of years of political promises,” said Joyce Hamilton, co-chair of ILGA-Europe’s executive board.
During the debate in the parliament, PM Alexis Tsipras apologised to the Greek LGBTI community: “This bill should have passed years ago,” he said. “With the legalization […] a cycle of backwardness and shame for the Greek state is closing.”
Registered partnership had existed in Greece since 2009, but until now had only been available to heterosexual partners.
Sunday, December 27
China: first law against domestic violence excludes same-sex couples
The Chinese parliament passed the country’s first law against domestic violence: the act prohibits both physical and psychological abuse, and helps streamline the process for obtaining restraining orders.
The new law will cover both married and unmarried cohabiting persons, but same-sex couples will find no protection under its umbrella. "There are a lot of examples of domestic violence between family members, and also between people who cohabit”, said Guo Linmao, a member of the Legislative Affairs Commission of parliament's standing committee. “As for homosexuals in our country, we have not yet discovered this form of violence, so […] it can be said that ‘people who cohabit’ does not include homosexuals."
Read more on The Sydney Morning Herald
Is that all? More news bites
More LGBTI news bites
A New York Times article about the alleged unlikely consequences of the U. S. support to LGBTI rights in Africa sparked outrage among activists, who voiced their discontent in several statements and articles.
Police arrested 11 persons accused of homosexual acts in Kaolack, Senegal: they were released five days later for lack of evidence.
An activist reported the brutal death of a 17-year-old intersex teenager: he died in a hospital in Kenya, a few days after some strangers kidnapped, beat and mutilated him.
IOM and UNHCR released a comprehensive training package on the protection of LGBTI asylum seekers, refugees, migrants, internally displaced and stateless persons.
63% of referendum voters in Slovenia rejected a law to open marriage to same-sex couples. The proposal had originally been approved by the country’s National Assembly in March.
Alan, a 17-year-old trans teenager, took his own life in Spain after being victim of bullying. Vigils to honour his memory were held in at least eight cities throughout the country.
A gay man was murdered in Odessa, Ukraine: multiple stab wounds were found on his body. Even if police did not confirm it, local activists think he may have been a victim of a homophobic crime.
In Japan, lawmakers announced they will soon introduce into parliament a bill to ban discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity.
Taipei and Kaohsiung, two of Taiwan’s largest cities, have created a dual-city same-sex partnership registry.
In Vietnam, the portraits of nineteen trans persons are featured in a campaign which aims at raising public awareness about HIV/AIDS prevention.
LGBTI activists in India staged a protest to condemn the Parliament’s rejection of a bill that sought to decriminalize consensual same-sex sexual acts.
Starting next year, schools in Chile will be asked to include the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia in their calendar.
ODHGV documented 40 cases of violence, discrimination and arbitrary detention in the Dominican Republic cities of Santiago and Santo Domingo throughout the year.
LGBTI rights advocates launched a campaign to spur lawmakers to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples in Cuba.
The former chief commissioner for the New Zealand Human Rights Commission is among the first speakers announced for the 2016 ILGA Oceania conference.
A lesbian couple in Australia were ordered to hand their adopted daughter back to her birth mother.
US government health officials lifted the nation’s 32-year-old lifetime ban on blood donations from gay and bisexual men, but major restrictions will remain.
A pivotal advocate for ending the U. S. military's former policy known as "Don't ask, don't tell" was killed in action in Bagram, Afghanistan.
Psychiatrist Robert Spitzer, whose work helped remove homosexuality's classification as a mental disorder, died in Seattle, United States. He was 83.
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