LGBulleTIn 23 - The week in LGBTI news
November 7-13, 2015
Monday, November 9
Malawi: fundamentalist clergymen urge government to keep criminalising homosexuality
“We are imploring the Malawian government to maintain its stand on homosexuality - that it is criminal.” It was a Reverend Dr Zac Kawalala of Word Alive Church who said these words, just a few days after the government had asked for financial support to expand treatment and prevention for HIV for various groups, including men who have sex with men. "A big concern on our part is financing a section of our society involved in divine behaviour (sic.), which is a sin according to the Scriptures,” said fundamentalist Kawalala.
Similar statements, AllAfrica points out, were also recently delivered by other extreme right clergymen. During a religious convention in Blantyre, a conservative bishop reportedly asked the government not to compromise the country’s “cultural, biblical and moral values,” while another compared equality to opening "the floodgates of evil.”
Greece: civil partnership bill published for public debate
The Greek ministry of Justice published its legislative initiative for civil partnerships in the country: a public consultation on the issue is currently taking place, and will last until next Friday. The initiative was announced during the ILGA Europe regional conference, but the bill was made available online only on Monday. The document points out that partnerships may be entered by two adults irrespective of gender and comes into effect when submitted to the local civil register.
Read more on To Vima
Tuesday, November 10
United States: White House supports bill to ban LGBTI discrimination
The White House publicly supported legislation that would amend the 1964 Civil Rights Act to ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
“That bill is historic legislation that would advance the cause of equality for millions of Americans,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said.
The endorsement came on the same day that Obama became the first sitting U.S. president to be featured on the cover of an LGBTI publication, after he was named Out magazine’s “Ally of the Year” for 2015.
However, as The Washington Post makes clear, there is little chance the Equality Act will become law before Obama leaves office, with Republicans now in control of both chambers of Congress.
Fiji: trans woman sees her legal gender recognition request denied
The High Court in Fiji rejected the request of a 42-year-old trans woman who was looking to have her gender recognised on official documents. The woman, now a New Zealand citizen, had sought for her Fijian birth certificate to be corrected, but the Suva High Court ruled otherwise, saying that sex reassignment after birth is not an “error” in a birth certificate and that it did not even recognize the existence of gender transition, declaring the situation akin to somebody who had plastic surgery to artificially create sex organs.
According to local media, which misgendered the woman, the court said also that ‘by a male to female transsexual surgery, all what the doctors can do is to artificially create certain female organs in a male’s body, but that person does not become a female for all intents and purposes.’ The court ruling was defined “disappointing” by local trans organisations.
Read more on Gay Star News
Wednesday, November 11
Costa Rica: lesbian couple get married, now may risk prosecution
A lesbian couple got married in Costa Rica, and now they might face prosecution. Same-sex marriages are not recognized in the country, where the penal code punishes people who knowingly violate the law with a jail sentence of up to six years. The couple managed to get married thanks to a clerical error in the birth certificate of one of them, which actually lists her sex as male.
“I legally married a man and a woman,” the lawyer who notarized their marriage contract, reportedly said. He could face prosecution along with the two women, too. After news of the marriage broke, Costa Rica’s Civil Registry issued a new birth certificate for the bride, nullified the union, and referred the case to prosecutors.
Read more on Buzzfeed
Thursday, November 12
India: “Who are we to treat trans people unjustly?”, says prime minister
Indian prime minister Narendra Modi said the government needs to “change its outlook” on trans people, in what is believed to be his first public address on the topic. “Who are we to treat them unjustly?” he said during a Legal Services Day. “We will have to bring changes to the legal system, amend the rules”.
In 2014, the Supreme Court ruled that trans people be recognized as a third gender and enjoy all fundamental rights. This July, Human Rights Watch asked the Indian parliament to enact a bill on the rights of Transgender persons, which would allow for legal gender recognition and ensure better legal protections for the country’s trans population.
Read more on Gay Star News
Is that all? More news bites
More LGBTI news bites
42 uniformed officers and 8 civil society representatives took part in a LGBTI awareness training for police and community stakeholders in Port Salines, Grenada.
A number of trans organisations took to the streets in Santiago de Chile to ask for amendments in the Gender Identity Law, which will soon be voted in the Senate.
In Bolivia, the civil association Manodiversa released two short documentaries about the lives of two women who defend the human rights of older LGBTI persons.
A juvenile court in Utah, United States, ordered a baby to be taken from lesbian foster parents and placed with a heterosexual couple, saying it was for the child’s wellbeing.
While most LGBTQ+ students in Ontario, Canada feel included on campus, many still experience service gaps in health care and feel overlooked in their classrooms, a report found.
A week after HERO was rejected in Houston, the city council of Dallas voted unanimously to expand the city antidiscrimination protections, explicitly banning discrimination on the basis of gender identity.
In Pakistan, the Rawalpindi campus of the National College of Arts (NCA) decided to hire 46 trans persons, creating an opportunity for them to work in a safe environment.
In China, one out of three LGBT persons plan to ‘come out’ to more people over the next five years, according to a report based upon almost 19,000 responses.
The Australian Senate voted against holding a plebiscite on same-sex marriage and called on PM Malcolm Turnbull to allow a free vote in the parliament on the issue.
A bill allowing adoptions for same-sex couples passed through the State parliament upper house in Victoria, Australia. Clause 17, however, was not removed, allowing religious organisations to exclude same-sex couples from adopting.
A question about same-sex marriages in a retailer’s customer service survey sparked outrage on social media across New Zealand.
(warning: graphic pictures) The story of a gay man, allegedly beaten and burned to death in South Sudan circulated wildly on social media, until it was pointed out that this did not take place.
In Tunisia, the student who was sentenced to a year in prison for “sodomy” was released on bail.
After rejecting it twice in a month, this time lawmakers in Ukraine approved an amendment to their country’s labour code that would ban employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
According to the European Commission’s reports on accession States' progress towards EU membership, LGBTI people continue to face discrimination, threats and violence in the Western Balkans and Turkey.
In Lithuania, the parliament voted to remove the controversial bill on 'denigration' of family values from its agenda: critics said the piece of legislation would have been an attempt to ban LGBTI Pride marches.
The Council of Europe Anti-Torture Committee recommended Austria to enable trans persons in detention access to trans specific health and legal gender recognition.
An online petition to “drop the T” from the acronym LGBTI, arguing that the trans community should be dissociated from the LGBI one, sparked both major outrage online and a counter petition which garnered far more signatures than the original.
The Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice is hiring a Program Officer to help grow and lead their international grantmaking. They particularly seek candidates with experience in Africa, Asia or Eastern Europe.
More job openings: ARC-International is looking for a Communications Officer and a Research and Information Officer.
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