LGBulleTIn #26 -The week in LGBTI news
November 28 – December 4, 2015
This week, our dispatch of LGBTI news from around the world begins with three announcements.
Let’s start with the “Protect the Defenders” project, which was launched on Wednesday, December 2 in Brussels: ILGA is a proud part of it, and we'll join forces with other 11 NGOs to support human rights defenders facing high risk situations around the world.
It is also time to announce two very important dates: the ILGA Oceania regional conference will take place between March 9-12, 2016 in Wellington, New Zealand, while the Pan Africa ILGA regional conference is scheduled from May 13 to 18, 2016 and will take place in Johannesburg, South Africa. We can’t wait to meet you there!
And now, off to this week’s news.
Saturday, November 28
Uganda passes bill that “can be an excuse to stop any NGO”
On the eve of the Pope’s arrival in the country, the Ugandan parliament approved the so-called NGO bill, which could force aide groups to end their operations if the government objects to their mission.
According to Adrian Jjuuko, executive director of Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum - Uganda, the bill reminds of the repealed Anti-Homosexuality Act and “
The link between the NGO Bill and the upcoming elections is quite clear. It can be an excuse to stop any NGO. @hrapf_uganda @SMUG2004
— Adrian Jjuuko (@jjuukoa) November 26, 2015
">can be an excuse to stop any NGO.” The bill, in fact, would first require aid groups to get a license, which could be revoked if NGOs have engaged in "any act, which is prejudicial to the interests of Uganda and the dignity of the people of Uganda.”
Read more on Advocate
Sunday, November 29
Mexico: three killed, five wounded in gunmen attack at a gay festival
Three men aged between 23 and 33 were killed after gunmen stormed “La Reina gay” festival in a rural area not far from Acapulco, Mexico. According to local police reports, five more persons were wounded.
This was only the latest violent episode happening in the state of Guerrero since 43 students from the Ayotzinapa teacher's training school disappeared more than one year ago: earlier this month, a wave of threats among Acapulco schools forced over 50 state schools to close due to security reasons. A few days before that, armed individuals attacked spectators at a clandestine cockfighting event, killing 12 people including two children.
Read more on teleSUR (in English) and on El Universo (in Spanish)
Tuesday, December 1
Thousands of persons worldwide remember those lost to AIDS-related illnesses
New HIV infections have fallen by 35% since 2000. While this is undoubtedly good news, though, it has to be noted that an average of 1 in 8 persons living with HIV is still being denied health services and that, only in 2014, 2 million people became newly infected by the virus. These and more data are included in the extensive On the Fast-Track to end AIDS by 2030: Focus on location and population report that UNAIDS released on the occasion of this year’s World AIDS Day: “We live in fragile communities where inequities can persist,” remembered UNAIDS executive director Michel Sidibé, “(but) we know that strengthening local services to reach key populations will lead to healthier and more resilient societies.”
Meanwhile, more documents about HIV/AIDS responses were released during this week: a short film featuring never-before-heard audio tapes showed the response – or the lack of response - to the AIDS crisis by the Reagan administration in the United States, and a Asia-Pacific Inter-Agency Task Team on Young Key Populations report talked about a ‘hidden epidemic’ of HIV among adolescents in the region, growing fast especially young gay and bisexual men.
Philippines: U. S. Marine convicted of killing a trans woman
A Philippine court convicted U.S. Marine Joseph Scott Pemberton for the death of Jennifer Laude, whom he admitted to have choked in a hotel room after discovering she was a trans person.
Pemberton was sentenced to 6 to 12 years in prison, and ordered to pay two different fines.
The judge ruled that “there is no unlawful aggression that justifies [Pemberton] to defend his honour,” as one of his lawyers had claimed, but “the mitigating circumstance of passion and obfuscation should count” in his favour.
Activists were enraged at those “mitigating circumstances” quoted in the verdict: “This may dangerously be a precedent to encourage lesser penalties for hate crimes”, the network of LGBT organizations and allies LAGABLAB wrote in a statement. “We call for legal reforms to protect LGBT people from violence including sensitization of judges and court officials dealing with SOGIE-related violations and hate crimes.”
Read more on Buzzfeed
Wednesday, December 2
Turkey: trans woman stabbed in the heart and killed
A trans woman named Alev lost her life in Avcilar, Istanbul, after a man approached her in a street for sex and stabbed her to death, Pembe Hayat reports. The murderer has not been captured yet. This homicide happened only ten days after a trans woman named Nilay was found dead at her home in Maltepe, Istanbul: she was first stabbed and then strangled with a bathrobe cord.
Meanwhile, the Governorship of Istanbul has not permitted a legal inquiry to be initiated against police officers who attacked the Pride Parade in June, arguing that there was not “any information, document or video recording in relation to police misconduct.”
United States: Louisiana governor-elect promises to outlaw LGBTI workplace discrimination
Louisiana’s governor-elect John Bel Edwards will take up office only in January, but has already confirmed that one of his first actions will be to issue an executive order outlawing anti-LGBT discrimination, at least for State employees and government contractors.
In most parts of Louisiana it is still legal to fire someone for their sexual orientation, NOLA.com remembers: “Our mission to ensure that *all* people in Louisiana have legal protections against discrimination in the workplace continues” commented the Louisiana Equality group on Facebook, “but this promised executive action is welcome news for LGBT state employees.”
Thursday, December 3
Australia: Queensland parliament approves return of civil unions for LGBTI persons
After a three-year absence from when it was stripped back under the former Newman Liberal-National Party government, the Relationships (Civil Partnerships) and Other Acts Amendment Bill 2015 passed through Queensland Parliament. 64 MPs, including 21 from the LNP who crossed the floor, voted in favour of the legislation, while 22 did not support it.
“This delivers on a vital election commitment to Queenslanders,” attorney-general Yvette D’Ath said. “It restores the right of couples, regardless of their gender, to celebrate their relationship with a civil partnership ceremony.”
Read more on Star Observer
Is that all? More news bites
More LGBTI news bites
During a forum in Melbourne, Australia, activists called for improved sex education and more spaces for LGBTI people living with disabilities.
A transphobic billboard sparked outrage in Auckland, New Zealand, and the complaints that followed forced the company to remove it.
The first-ever trans specific health centre in Asia was opened in Bangkok, Thailand: it will strive “to be a model for quality health services and research for the trans community.”
Hundreds of activists marched in the Pride Parade in New Delhi, India, while the Delhi Queer Pride Committee demanded the repeal of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code.
The kiss between two famous male actors, staged on live tv in Brazil to protest “against intolerance, small-mindedness and hypocrisy,” went viral on social media.
The Supreme Court in Mexico struck down a law banning same-sex marriage in the state of Jalisco, while its counterpart in Bermuda ruled that “non-Bermudian same-sex partners of Bermudians are entitled to live and work in the country without immigration restriction.”
LGBTI activists in the Dominican Republic blasted a catholic cardinal for referring to the gay U.S. ambassador to their country as a “wife” and inviting him to “stick to housework.”
Despite a homophobic clergyman claiming that “we as Christians can not allow this to just happen”, the Miss Gay Universe pageant will take place in Saint Lucia as planned.
Leaders from six US states filed an amicus brief in support of a school district facing a discrimination lawsuit over the use of bathrooms by a trans student, while a Wisconsin community is rallying behind a 6-year-old trans girl after her school cancelled a planned reading of a book to introduce her gender identity to her classmates.
Speaking to The Independent on Sunday, Commonwealth's secretary-general Baroness Scotland promised she would “absolutely” be talking to member states about LGBTI rights.
The journalist behind the “gay bath raid” that took place in Egypt in 2014, and resulted in the arrest and subsequent acquittal of 26 men, was sentenced to six months in jail.
LGBTI activists attending an international AIDS conference in Zimbabwe had material confiscated and displays damaged by government officials, while in Tunisia the government’s secretary-general called for a LGBTI advocacy group to be disbanded.
A music student was stabbed to death in his house in South Africa: police are investigating whether this may be a homophobia-motivated hate crime.
Ugandan LGBTI activist Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera received the Right Livelihood Award, also known as the Alternative Nobel, and delivered a powerful acceptance speech.
Northern Ireland's ban on same-sex marriage breaches human rights legislation and marginalises LGBTI people, a court has been told.
The governments of Poland and Hungary blocked an EU proposal on property regimes of married and registered couples over fear of interferences with values related to family and society.
A trans woman sent to an all-male prison in Milton Kenyes, UK, was found dead: only three weeks ago, another trans prisoner held in similar conditions died in Leeds.
The lower house of Ireland’s parliament passed a bill banning religious schools from discriminating against LGBTI teachers. The document will now go to the president for signing.
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