LGBulleTIn 34 - The week in LGBTI news
January 29 – February 4, 2016
Friday, January 29
Ten states receive recommendation on LGBTI children by the UN Committee on the Rights Of the Child
The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child made recommendations on LGBTI children to 10 out of 14 states reviewed at its 71st session held in Geneva. Among the states under review, France, Ireland and Kenya received specific recommendations on intersex children. Several references were made to the situation of LGBTI people in Iran: among them, the state was urged to ensure that LGBTI children are not subjected to cruel and degrading treatment, and to put an end to forcible surgical treatment of trans persons. The Committee also called on Brunei, Haiti, Maldives, Peru, Zimbabwe and Latvia to protect LGBTI children from discrimination. In addition, the risks faced by LGBTI rights defenders in Haiti, as well as the issue of violence against LGBTI children in the Maldives, were highlighted.
Sunday, January 31
USA: wave of suicides among young LGBT Mormons reported in wake of church same-sex policy
Thirty-two young LGBT Mormons reportedly have taken their own lives since last November, when the Church of Latter-day Saints announced a new policy labelling people in same-sex marriages "apostates" and barring their children from being baptized.
Those figures were announced by the co-founder of Mama Dragons, a supportive group of Mormon parents of LGBT children, who explained during a conference that the families of the 32 victims had contacted her directly about the death of a child or sibling.
Even though there are conflicting reports regarding these suicides, it is hard to imagine that the LDS policy – which prompted thousands to leave the church in protest - has had no impact on people at all: “Since early November social media sites have been buzzing with tales of loss, depression and death,” The Salt Lake Tribune writes. “Therapists have seen an uptick in clients who reported suicidal thoughts.”
These reports brought also the Church of Latter-day Saints to comment on the issue: “Every soul is precious to God and to the church and the loss of life to suicide is heartbreaking," a church spokesman said, acknowledging that "those who are attracted to others of the same sex face particular challenges and pressures in this regard, both inside and outside the church.”
Monday, February 1
Honduras: the LGBTI community faces high security risks, organisation reports
At least 36 security incidents against members of the LGBTI community have taken place in Honduras in the last six months, Peace Brigades International reports. According to their alert, members of the Asociación Arcoiris have particularly been targeted since their technical director has been elected alternate member of the national council for the protection of human rights. Unfortunately, the group’s commitment made their members a target of violence: at least five LGBTI human rights defenders were killed in the country since July 2015, and several members of the organisation have been forced to flee Honduras.
“The widespread violence in the country particularly affects the LGBT community,” PBI writes. “More than 200 members of the LGBT community have been murdered since 2009,” and “only 33 among these cases have been investigated upon.”
Morocco: two men sentenced over homosexuality charges
Two young men in Morocco were sentenced to 18 months in jail and fined 2,000 dirhams over homosexuality charges. According to local media outlets, the charges resulted after a 20-year-old filed a lawsuit a man he claimed had threatened him with knives. After investigating the case, both men ended up being accused of homosexuality: during the trial, one of the defendants denied the charges, while the other reportedly admitted the pair were in a relationship.
In Morocco, “lewd or unnatural acts with an individual of the same sex” is punishable “with a term of imprisonment of between six months and three years” under article 489 of the penal code.
Read more on Gay Star News
Tuesday, February 2
India: Supreme Court will review law criminalizing homosexuality
The fight to repeal Section 377 of the Indian penal code is not over: the country’s Supreme Court said it will review its 2013 judgement that upheld the colonial-era law criminalizing “carnal intercourse against the order of nature.” The court referred the curative petition against Section 377 to a 5-judge bench. "It is definitely a move forward," lawyer Anand Grover told Times Of India, as activists gathered outside the court cheered.
After a 2009 Delhi High Court judgement that meant the law could not be enforced (see our State-sponsored Homophobia report) many persons in the country decided to come out, no longer fearing legal consequences. They had to face a drastic setback only four years later, after the Supreme Court reinstated the criminalization of same-sex sexual acts. In the year following the law’s reinstatement, the Indian Home Ministry reported nearly 600 people were arrested under the law. Now, the new proceedings could lead to the 2013 judgement to be overturned.
Wednesday, February 3
Australia: groundbreaking survey into intersex persons released
A new book on the medical, mental health, education and social experiences of people with intersex variations in Australia has been released. The study is based on a survey of 272 persons with atypical sex characteristics, and it is the largest ever conducted in the country.
The survey found two in three participants had experienced discrimination on the basis of their intersex variation from strangers, and almost 20% of respondents who had undergone medical treatment had received no information at all on the option of declining and deferring it; a similar percentage of respondents indicated they had left secondary school early or attempted to take their lives. Poverty is also an issue within the community, with 63 per cent of respondents earning an income under $41,000 per year.
Despite all this trauma, the picture painted in the study is one of a resilient community. Peer support, once again, proves crucial: as a participant wrote, “Meeting happy, healthy intersex people online caused a complete and radical shift in my thinking and wellbeing.”
Read more via OII Australia
Thursday, February 4
European parliament calls on Kosovo and Serbia to step up efforts on LGBTI rights
The European parliament recommended Kosovo and Serbia to improve the situation for LGBTI people in the two countries, while it adopted two of its annual progress reports for candidate and potential candidate EU countries.
In its report on Serbia, the parliament underlined that “discrimination and violence against LGBTI persons is still a matter of concern,” and expressed “concern at the number of attacks on members of vulnerable groups that have not yet been fully investigated.” The report on Kosovo welcomed “the adoption the law on Protection from discrimination, which includes sexual orientation and gender identity,” but expressed concern on “the low level of processing and investigation of cases of hate speech, especially those targeting the LGBTI and minority communities.”
“Despite progress in laws and visibility, discrimination and violence continue to make lives of LGBTI people difficult, and threaten access to basic freedoms” said Ulrike Lunacek MEP. “Leading politicians should show more courage to condemn hatred and prevent abuse. Both countries have the necessary laws in place. Now it’s time to implement them.”
More LGBTI news bites
Is that all? More news bites
In Brazil, a judge authorized a 11 year-old trans girl to have her gender recognised on her legal documents.
A new report published by REDLACTRANS documents the extent of human rights violations faced by trans women in Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Panamá.
An appeal court in Chile allowed a complaint filed by a human rights organisation against the marriage ban for same-sex couples.
An extensive report was released to document how the criminalisation of homosexuality and the lack of protection from discrimination and hate crimes leave LGBT persons in Somalia “at significant risk of lawful and violent discrimination and persecution.”
A man who admitted to have killed another man after becoming enraged at the thought of them having had sex has been sentenced to jail in South Africa.
An organisation in Kenya launched a report documenting the struggles faced by forced LGBT immigrant youth in the country’s capital.
The LGBT Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines invited presidential candidates to take part in a 'reverse forum,' where politicians would ask questions to the LGBTI community.
A kiss between two men, featured on the cover of the International New York Times, was blanked out in the edition published in Pakistan.
A politician in the Netherlands was fined 1,000 euros over his public anti-gay statements.
In Turkey, the Constitutional Court is expected to be reviewing the country’s Gender reassignment law this month.
Children in a Brighton, UK school were asked to complete a government questionnaire that left them 24 options to choose from when having to define their gender.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics released a new standard for data collection for Sex and Gender variables.
An ad released by a New Zealand company caused outrage among the LGBTI community for the portray of a trans woman it gives. The company had later apologised, but the video has not been withdrawn.
In Australia, the Victorian government announced a formal state apology will be made to the men who were convicted of consensual gay sex crimes before homosexuality was decriminalised in the state.
A trans woman was shot to death in Austin, United States. In the wake of her death, Monica Loera was reportedly misgendered by both police and the media.
In The United States, the Justice Department took the first step toward backing the view of a federal commission that sexual orientation discrimination is a type of sex discrimination barred under existing civil rights law.
A man was arrested in Nashville, United States, after allegedly having threatened his daughter, her girlfriend and his son with a knife after his daughter had come out to him.
The United Nations Postal Administration became the very first postal service to launch a collection of stamps promoting LGBT equality.
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