LGBulleTIn 31 - The week in LGBTI news
January 8-14, 2016
Friday, January 8
United States: more adults identify as bisexual, study finds
Both men and women under age 45 in the United States are more likely to identify as bisexual today than they were earlier this decade, a new Centers for Disease Control report on sexual behaviour, attraction and identity revealed.
The results of the 2011-2013 National Survey of Family Growth show that about seven percent of women and four percent of men aged between 18 and 44 describe themselves as LGB: 5.5 percent of women and 2 percent of men said they are bisexual.
These findings suggest that bisexual persons may account for half or more of the LGBT population in the United States.
The study also found that women were more than twice as likely to report having ever had same-sex sexual contacts than men. However, activists reportedly pointed out that the survey might be flawed, and that bisexual men are still not counted properly.
Read more on Advocate.com
Saturday, January 9
New Zealand: pupils expose climate of “latent homophobia” at prestigious school, but “change is on the way”
A lively debate was sparked in New Zealand after one of the most prestigious secondary schools in the country was called to address attitudes towards its LGBTI students. It all started when two former pupils of the Auckland Grammar School opened a blog encouraging students to share their experiences at a school where, “in the past, the climate has been one of latent homophobia.”
“Coming to terms with being LGBTQIA is difficult enough in itself,” reads the about section of the blog. “But in places where the word ‘gay’ is hijacked as a derogatory term, and in the absence of targeted LGBTQIA support or allyship, students grappling with such issues are at tremendous risk of feeling isolated.”
As personal stories began to flood in the blog, the school headmaster issued a statement making clear that steps to address the issue had already been taken. “We look forward to working as part of this group to promote change,” the bloggers commented. “Although we have been critical of aspects of the school’s current and past culture, our intentions are simply to acknowledge the issues that exist at Grammar, and that we suspect exist across a number of New Zealand high schools.”
Monday, January 11
Chile, ministry of Health urges doctors to stop “normalizing” surgeries on intersex children
Chile has issued instructions to stop performing unnecessary medical procedures on intersex children. “In an effort to proceed doing things in the best possible way for the good of the children and adolescents affected,” reads the circular by the ministry of Health, “we are committed to build a protocol to regulate health care for intersex children.” Therefore, the national health sector has been asked to stop any “unnecessary ‘normalization’ treatment of intersex children, including irreversible genital surgeries, until they are old enough to decide about their bodies.”
As OII-Australia points out, this guidance is a global first: a Health ministry had never taken such a step before without legislation or legal action.
Tuesday, January 12
South Africa: four arrested for torture and murder of a lesbian woman
Her name was Motshidisi Pascalina. She was a black lesbian woman aged between 18 and 20. Her body was found in an open field near her home in Evaton. “We suspect she was raped,” Cedric Davids, a member of the Young Communists’ League told eNCA news. “Her body was burnt. Her eyes were taken out and her private parts were mutilated. Most of her body had sustained burn injuries. Her parents identified her by her tattoo on her leg, it was the only thing visible.”
The murder happened before the festive season and, almost a month later, four suspects were arrested. It is still not clear whether police categorise the incident as a hate crime.
On December 27, 2015, another alleged hate crime took place in the country: Phoebe Titus, a 30-year-old trans woman, was knifed to death in broad daylight in Wolseley. The teenager who was arrested for the crime was soon released on bail into the custody of his grandmother.
Wednesday, January 13
Russia: bill proposing arrest for “public expression of non-traditional sexual relations” to be discussed soon
The first reading of a bill which will put LGBTI Russians at further risk of violence and discrimination is likely to take place next week in the country’s parliament. Introduced three months ago by two members of the Communist party, the draft law proposes fines for “the public expression of non-traditional sexual relations,” and an additional penalty of up to 15 days of administrative arrest in case they happen “on territories and in institutions providing educational, cultural or youth services.”
As Human Rights Watch points out, “the State Duma’s Legal Directorate concluded in its review that the bill was unclear and vague.” Its first reading was scheduled for January 19, but has since then been Tweets by TanyaCooper
_/status/687682873806163968" target="_blank">postponed to January 22. An online petition asking for the bill to be dropped has already reached more than 26,000 supporters.
Thursday, January 14
Lebanon: trans people granted the right to legally change their gender
A judge of the Lebanese Court of Appeal ruled in favour of a trans man, granting him the right to rectify his legal status in the official population register. The judge confirmed three basic rights in her ruling: the right to change gender to relieve psychological and social suffering, the right to access treatment and the right to privacy.
“There has been much suffering in the past because this right was not given to trans people,” Bertho Makso, director of Proud Lebanon, told Gay Star News. “This is a breakthrough for the trans community and all LGBTI people in Lebanon as we fight for our right to be treated with dignity and respect.”
Is that all? More news bites
More LGBTI news bites
A bill will be proposed in Israel to amend the penal code and add gender identity to what can make an assault a hate crime.
“We don’t have the wherewithal to handle such cases,” admitted the Child protection officer of the Bengaluru district, India, after the entry of an intersex infant under their care.
In China, a government newspaper published an article suggesting that homosexuality “can be a destructive blow for a family” and that it is “preventable.”
A lawyer in Fiji said the Prime Minister breached the constitution and the law over his anti-same-sex marriage remarks.
The government of Queensland, Australia is taking action to expunge historical convictions for same-sex sexual acts from a person’s criminal record.
Two men were arrested in Inezgane, Morocco, after a video of them kissing went viral on social media.
One of the six students who were sentenced to prison for homosexuality last month in Tunisia revealed he had been tortured after refusing to be subjected to anal examinations.
There is still a week left to apply to the Africa queer media training programme organised by Iranti-org, which will take place in Johannesburg, South Africa.
In Jamaica, the head of the country’s Teachers' Association said he cannot call for guidance counsellors to be better trained to deal with LGBT students as "buggery" remains illegal. His comments were met with disapproval.
FIFA sanctioned Argentina, Chile, Mexico, Peru and Uruguay over homophobic, "insulting and discriminatory chants" by their national teams' fans during 2018 World Cup qualifying matches.
The winner of the "Miss Gay 2015" pageant was beaten to death in Etzatlán, Mexico. Only a few days earlier, another member of the LGBTI community had been killed in Playa del Carmen.
Ecuador's president Rafael Correa vetoed more than half of the Identity Management and Civil Data bill, asking marriage be defined as "the union between a man and a woman" and adopting be allowed only for different-sex couples.
An Italian website sparked controversy after publishing the names of politicians from the ruling party who are opposing the norm introducing stepchild adoption for same-sex couples in the soon-to-be-discussed civil union bill.
Trans youth worker Ellen Murray will be running in the Northern Ireland assembly elections in May: she is the first out trans candidate to ever stand for election to Stormont.
In the UK, the Women and Equalities Committee published a report challenging the government to ensure fair and equal treatment for trans people and to update the Gender Recognition Act, so that it no longer pathologises trans identities.
Leaders of the worldwide Anglican communion asked the Episcopal Church to "no longer represent us on ecumenical and interfaith bodies" for three years in response to the TEC's embrace of same-sex marriage.
Non-binary individuals in Canada will reportedly be allowed to leave blank the question about the sex of the respondent in the 2016 census, where “male” and “female” will be the only answers available.
The American Dialect Society voted for singular “they” as the Word of the Year for 2015.
The LGBTI community mourns the loss of Jeanne Cordova, an activist who – as Astraea Foundation remembers – “passionately advocated for sustaining the movements that supported her as a young Chicana-lesbian activist.” A fund named after her was created to support other communities and activists.
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