LGBulleTIn #27 - The week in LGBTI news
December 5-11, 2015
Saturday, December 5
Africa celebrates its first Trans Visibility Day
Dozens of trans activists from Uganda, Botswana, Lesotho, South Africa and Namibia gathered at Johannesburg’s Constitution Hill to celebrate the first Trans Visibility Day to ever take place in Africa.
Organised by Iranti-Org, the event hosted several panel discussions about access to health care, legal recognition, employment discrimination and safety. Exhibitions, film screenings and concerts were also part of a day which aimed at “highlighting trans people’s rights and empowering the trans community.” Mission accomplished!
Read more via Iranti-org
Sunday, December 6
Venezuela: first openly trans woman elected to National Assembly
History was made during the latest elections in Venezuela, as ILGA’s alternate co-secretary general Tamara Adrián became the first openly trans person elected to National Assembly in her country. The news was greeted with joy by many LGBTI activists worldwide: “Elected politicians like Tamara serve as role models to many beyond their national contexts”, commented Helen Kennedy and Ruth Baldacchino, co-secretaries general at ILGA.
“I will not neglect any opportunity of [increasing visibility around] the struggle for LGBTI people,” promised Adrián in an interview with The Washington Blade.
Tamara Adrián was not the only member of the LGBTI community to be elected to their country’s parliament over the weekend: in Australia, Trent Zimmerman became the first openly gay MP to be elected into the House of Representatives.
Read more via ILGA
Monday, December 7
EU fails to adopt LGBTI equality strategy, but proposes list of actions
The European Commission presented a List of Actions to advance LGBTI equality to be implemented during the period 2016-2019, together with a working document about “strategic engagement for gender equality.”
LGBTI activists received the documents with disappointment: “This List of Actions is a missed opportunity,” ILGA-Europe’s executive director, Evelyne Paradis, commented, “(and) does not mention some major priorities for the European LGBTI movement, such as the inclusion of sexual orientation and gender identity in the EU law dealing with hate crime.”
“We are disappointed,” TGEU’s senior policy officer Richard Köhler commented. “The areas covered are a good start. But the EU needs a comprehensive LGBTI strategy for it to have a real impact.”
Wednesday, December 9
Australia: same-sex couples can now adopt in the state of Victoria
Legislation to allow same-sex couples to adopt passed the Victorian Parliament after 15 years of legislative wrangling. The bill met no opposition, after the Upper House amended it allowing exemptions for faith-based adoption services.
In the past, same-sex couples could only be foster parents or guardians, GayStarNews remembers, but could not adopt even if their children had been in their care for years.
Adoption rights for same-sex couples took big leaps forward also in Czech Republic, in Puerto Rico and in Italy this week: a court in South Moravia recognized the adoption of 10-year-old twins by a Czech-French gay couple living in the US, while a Puerto Rico judge ruled a woman could adopt the child that her partner had. An Italian court, then, ruled that a woman who adopted her partner's daughter in Spain must be recognized as the baby's mother in Italy too.
China, Hong Kong, Denmark and Austria receive recommendations on intersex issues during UN Committee against Torture review
The UN Committee against Torture published its concluding observations on countries examined during its 56th session. Half of the examined countries received recommendations on intersex issues: Austria, China, Hong Kong and Denmark were all called to guarantee respect for the physical integrity and autonomy of intersex persons.
States were also urged to various extents to guarantee counselling services for intersex children and their parents, to ensure informed consent is respected and to provide adequate redress for the suffering caused by harmful practices to intersex persons.
Read the concluding observations via OHCHR
Pakistan: NGOs stage protest to demand respect for the human rights of trans people
At least five human rights organisations staged a protest outside the Press club in Peshawar, Pakistan, to demand respect for the human rights of trans persons in the country. According to The Express Tribune, the sit-in was organised after NGOs failed to receive a positive response from the government on policies to protect the rights of trans persons. “Even strategies to end gender-based violence exclude the problems being faced by people who are transgender,” said Farzana, head of TransAction. “The sit-in will help highlight the violence and discrimination that people who are transgender face on a daily basis.”
Watch footage from the protest via Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty
USA: the city of Cincinnati bans conversion therapies
The City Council of Cincinnati voted 7-2 to ban the practice of conversion therapies on minors, becoming only the second city in the United States after Washington D. C. to do so. The adopted ordinance imposes a $200-a-day fine for violation.
Council member Chris Seelbach said the law “is about saving the lives of LGBT people” and mentioned Leelah Alcorn, the transgender teen from a neighbouring community who killed herself a year ago after being subjected to conversion therapy. “She challenged us to make her death matter, and we’re doing just that,” Seelbach said.
Read more on The Advocate
Thursday, December 10
The world celebrates Human Rights Day
The world celebrated Human Rights Day, commemorating the day on which, in 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
67 years later, several initiatives were organised to demand the human rights of LGBTI persons be respected: the UN Free & Equal campaign published a video highlighting the economic cost of LGBT discrimination, and the LGBT Core Group hosted an event at the UN Headquarters in New York about the same issue. During this public discussion, the UNDP also announced the launch of a Global LGBTI Inclusion Index.
Is that all? More news bites
More LGBTI news bites
The IACHR launched its report on violence against LGBTI persons in the Americas, which states that the vast majority of killings and acts of violence against LGBTI persons still go unpunished in the region.
An activist filed a claim in Jamaica’s supreme court challenging the constitutionality of the 1864 laws that ban anal sex and anything interpreted as “gross indecency” between men.
In Costa Rica, several groups joined forces to launch a marriage equality bill backed by at least 12 deputies from different parties.
In North Carolina, USA, three couples sued to block law allowing magistrates to opt-out of same-sex marriages citing their religious objections.
In Alberta, Canada, the Human Rights Act passed its final reading: it included amendments that added gender identity and expression as prohibited grounds for discrimination.
Rules governing how trans prisoners are treated in the UK – and whether they are sent to male or female prisons – are to be reviewed, the Ministry of Justice announced.
Five gay asylum seekers in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, were moved to a new location after they were spat on and attacked by other people in their refugee centre.
A gay imam in Malaysia sparked a strong debate on Twitter arguing that there is no specific condemnation of loving relationships between people of the same sex in his religion, as long as the individuals involved remain celibate.
A study about attitudes towards sexualities and gender identities in Lebanon highlighted a widespread disapproval of punitive actions and imprisonment among the general public.
New Zealand Justice minister ruled out the possibility of a ‘broad brush’ wiping of those convicted of being gay prior to the 1986 law reform.
The Love Life Fono conference marked its 10th anniversary of celebrating and advocating for gender and sexually diverse communities in New Zealand and the broader Pacific region.
In South Africa, the Medicines Control Council approves fixed-dose combination of tenofovir disoproxyl fumarate and emtricitabine for pre-exposure prophylaxis of HIV (also referred to as PReP).
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