LGBulleTIn #40 -The week in LGBTI news
March 11-17, 2016
Friday, March 11
77 trans people murdered in the first 70 days of 2016
(image: Facebook / Trans Respect vs Transphobia – TvT
More than one murder a day: Transgender Europe’s Trans Murder Monitoring project has revealed that, in the first 70 days of 2016, at least 77 trans persons have been reported murdered.
The American continent accounts for 90 per cent of the reported homicides of trans and gender diverse persons this year so far, and Brazil, with a shocking amount of 36 reported killings, spearheads the list: one murder every second day.
According to the report, Brazil is followed by Mexico (10 murders so far), the United States (6), El Salvador (5), Argentina (4), Colombia (3), Venezuela (3). Murders have been reported also in Bangladesh, Costa Rica, France, Georgia, Honduras, India, Nepal, Russia and Turkey.
Read more on Trans Respect vs Transphobia – TvT’s Facebook page
India: lower house of parliament rejects bill to decriminalize same-sex relations
For the second time in three months, the lower house of the Indian parliament has voted against the introduction of a private member’s bill seeking to amend Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code. The section criminalises “carnal intercourse against the order of nature.”
The bill, brought by Congress MP Shashi Tharoor, was voted down 58 to 14 with one abstention.
As ILGA’s State-Sponsored Homophobia report points out, Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code was struck down by the Delhi High Court in 2009, and the ban on same-sex sexual activity among consenting adult men in private was lifted. In 2013, however, a two-judge bench of the Supreme Court of India upheld Section 377 as constitutional, reinstating the ban. In February 2016, the country’s Supreme Court announced this judgement would itself be reviewed by a 5-judge bench.
Read more on The Hindustan Times
Tuesday, March 15
Chile: rise in homophobic and transphobic offences being reported in 2015
258 cases of homophobia and transphobia were reported in Chile in 2015, the 24th Informe Anual de los Derechos Humanos de la Diversidad Sexual published by Movilh has revealed. These figures mark a rise of almost 9 per cent on the previous 12 months, and more than 80 per cent on the last two years. Among the offences, three murders and 45 cases of physical and verbal abuses were reported.
This rise may be partly attributed to hostile opposition to recent advances in Chile, such as the Agreement on Civil Unions. Movilh also considered that, because authorities have publicly reacted to abuses brought to their attention, perhaps people are encouraged to report more than before.
Read more via Movilh (in Spanish)
Australia: Victorian government announces grants aiming at supporting culturally and linguistically diverse LGBTI persons
In a first for Australia, the Victorian Government has announced a set of grants to support the inclusion of LGBTI persons from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds across the state.
According to Star Observer, the grants will comprise $500,000 worth of government funding to be rolled out over four years, and aim at tackling some of the intersectional discrimination faced by LGBTI people of culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. “I think it’s really important we start to marry up the worlds in which we work,” Multicultural affairs minister Robin Scott said. "There are greater issues that exist for LGBTI people who come from some of our diverse communities in Victoria… we don’t tolerate any form of discrimination."
Wednesday, March 16
Botswana: court orders government to register LGBTI organisation in ground-breaking ruling
The government of Botswana has been ordered by the country’s court of Appeal to grant the LGBTI organization LeGaBiBo (Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals of Botswana) the possibility to officially register, as activists cheered outside the court and social media bloomed with messages of congratulations.
"The Court," reads a statement issued by the organisation, held that “the objectives of LeGaBiBo, which include promoting the human rights of LGBTI persons and advocating for law reform, were not unlawful. Importantly, the Court of Appeal emphasised that fundamental rights are to be enjoyed by every person and to deny this, is denying an individual’s human dignity.”
LeGaBiBo had first applied to be registered as a society in 2012, but their request had been denied repeatedly. In 2014 the government of Botswana had been ordered to register the organisation, but had appealed the ruling.
“The win gives us hope, faith and belief in Botswana’s legal system,” said Caine Youngman, LeGaBiBo Advocacy and Awareness officer. “It has been a very long and exhausting 11 years since we first started the journey to have our organisation registered.”
Europe: new report highlights crucial role of public authorities in achieving equality
In a new report launched in the European Parliament, the EU's Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) has highlighted that prevailing negative attitudes towards LGBTI people endanger their rights and hamper efforts to counter discrimination and hate crime.
The report shows that many public authorities are still operating with minimal, outdated or prejudiced information. Respondents to the survey also pointed to the “need for systematic capacity building, training and awareness raising” in the areas of education, healthcare and law enforcement.
These results “are a good reminder that despite improvements in the legal situation, we are not there,” said Sirpa Pietikäinen MEP. “Prejudice, discrimination and violence still hold back LGBTI people from accessing school, hospitals and the police."
ILGA-Europe has welcomed the results of the survey, urging European policy makers “to be proactive on matters of LGBTI equality and diversity” and “to follow the instructions contained in the report.”
Unites States: yet other “religious freedom” bills advance
Yet another bill that would protect people who refuse services in the name of their religious or moral beliefs has been approved. The Kentucky State Senate, in fact, has voted 22 to 16 to advance Senate Bill 180, which states that no ordinance or public agency shall restrict the rights of people who provide “customized, artistic, expressive, creative, ministerial, or spiritual goods or services.” Now the bill will advance to the state house.
More than a hundred similar bills have been introduced across the United States in this year’s legislative session, Buzzfeed points out. It is feared, though, that SB180 may override parts of local anti-discrimination laws in Covington, Danville, Frankfort, Lexington, Louisville, Midway, Morehead, and Vicco.
This week, the House of Representatives in Georgia has also approved a bill to protect people and faith-based organizations that act on their religious beliefs. The bill differs substantially from the one passed by the Senate last month, Buzzfeed reports, and, before it goes to the governor the Senate will have to adopt its new version.
Is that all? More news bites
Five human rights advocacy groups, joined by 116 organisations and almost 50 human rights defenders, have issued a statement expressing "deep concern about the recent deteriorating situation faced by the LGBTIQ community in Indonesia."
Discussions at a national level meeting in Thailand revealed common patterns of discrimination against LGBTI people in government, private and informal workplaces.
A British lesbian woman, who had been refused a dependant visa to work and live in Hong Kong with her wife, saw her challenge rejected by a court.
26 out of 33 members of the Faroe Islands parliament have chosen to send the marriage equality bill back to the Welfare committee for further examinations.
The Court of Appeal in Belfast has ruled that Stormont's Health Minister should decide whether a lifetime ban on gay men giving blood in Northern Ireland should be lifted.
The proposed venue for an anti-discrimination cultural event in Lviv, Ukraine, organised by an LGBTI advocacy group, has pulled out due to anonymous threats.
The Kenyan government's attempts at blocking the circulation of a music video about "civil liberties for all sexual orientations" (as described in the video's caption) have not proven effective.
The Non-Governmental Organizations Act, which seeks to regulate the activities of NGOs in Uganda, is now reportedly in force.
A human rights organisation is calling for investigation on a reported murder of a man in Ondo State, Nigeria. It is alleged that this may have been a homophobic hate crime.
Police in Trinidad and Tobago have launched an investigation after a teacher allegedly threatened to shoot the family of a student who criticised her homophobic statements.
Police have violently disrupted a protest staged by LGBTI activists in Arequipa, Peru. One of the demonstrators was taken to the police station.
“President Obama supports my work,”
âPres Obama apoya mi trabajo en el paÃs con personas con discapacidad, la inequidad en el acceso a la salud, las mujeres y otras minorÃasâ
— EmbajadaUSAenRD (@EmbajadaUSAenRD) March 11, 2016
" target="_blank">has tweeted the US ambassador in the Dominican Republic. Two petitions have been posted to the White House: one asking him be removed for promoting an “LGBT agenda inconsistent with country’s values,” and another asking for him to be kept "for promoting an LGBT agenda consistent with open minded people’s values."
In The United States, a public policy expert has become the first out trans person to serve as the White House's LGBT liaison.
The Supreme Court of Ohio, United States, has adopted the use of gender-neutral references in family court cases.
Resistance to a newly formed Gay-Straight Alliance at a Tennessee, United States high school is reportedly causing the school board to consider placing restrictions on all student organisations.
In Australia, after backbenchers were briefed on the findings of the review into the Safe Schools program, MPs have reportedly called for a parliamentary inquiry into the initiative.
The 2018 New Zealand Census forms may contain questions concerning gender identity and sexual orientation, it has been reported.
Rawa Karetai has been named as co-convenor of the ILGA Oceania board, alongside Tuisina Ymania Brown, for 2016 to 2018.
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