LGBulleTIn #71 – The week in LGBTI news
January 6-12, 2017
Friday, January 6
Turkey: LGBTI activist held in pre-trial detention over a social media post
Barbaros Şansal, a Turkish fashion designer and LGBTI activist, is being held in pre-trial detention, as his request of appeal has been rejected. According to Amnesty International, which has launched an urgent action appeal, he is accused of ‘inciting the public to hatred or hostility’ for a video message and tweet he shared on social media on New Year’s Eve. In this clip, Şansal reportedly criticized people for celebrating the New Year at a time of large scale detention of journalists and widespread corruption.
Detained on the territory of northern Cyprus and extradited to Turkey the next day, he was verbally and physically assaulted by a group of airport ground staff in Istanbul as he was leaving the plane.
“The response to expressing one’s opinions cannot be being targeted in newspapers, deported, having taken under custody or be the subject of a lynch attempt!,” reads a statement issued by Kaos GL Association. The association has demanded the release of Şansal and of Uğur Büber, an LGBTI activist who was arrested in December because of his posts on social media, as well as “an urgent investigation against the people who targeted Şansal, the attackers, and (those) who condoned them.”
Sunday, January 8
Australia: politician disendorsed by her own party after homophobic remarks
A candidate for One Nation in Bundamba, Queensland was disendorsed by her own party after posting homophobic remarks on Facebook. “Abnormal sex behaviour leads to abnormal crime,” Shan Ju Lin wrote. “Gays should be treated as patients, they need to receive treatments.”
After posting more remarks on the same tone and refusing to apologise, not only she was dropped from the party, but a Queensland council reportedly announced the intention to scrap its usual funding for a local community harmony day that has been linked to her.
Meanwhile, the party’s leader released a statement arguing that the former candidate’s views are not shared by the party, or by “fellow candidates and the general public.” According to reports, however, another candidate would have come under fire for claiming that LGBTI people would perpetrate ‘sexual grooming of children.’
Monday, January 9
United States: State Department issues apology for the ‘Lavender Scare’ years
Outgoing U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has issued a formal apology to employees and their families who were discriminated against on the basis of their perceived sexual orientation.
The mass purge among the department’s staffers, known as the Lavender Scare, had begun in the late 40s, got even worse during McCarthyism and lasted much longer: for decades, the agency purged thousands gay, lesbian and bisexual workers believing their sexual orientation made them security risks.
“In the past,” Kerry said, “the Department of State was among many public and private employers that discriminated against employees and job applicants on the basis of perceived sexual orientation, forcing some employees to resign or refusing to hire certain applicants in the first place. These actions were wrong then, just as they would be wrong today. […] I apologize to those who were impacted by the practices of the past and reaffirm the Department’s steadfast commitment to diversity and inclusion for all our employees, including members of the LGBTI community.”
Monday, January 9
Peru: court orders same-sex marriage celebrated abroad be recognized
In a landmark ruling, the seventh Constitutional Court of Peru has ordered the National Registry of Identification and Civil Status to recognize and register a same-sex marriage celebrated abroad.
Oscar Ugarteche Galarza, one of the co-founders of MHOL – Movimiento Homosexual de Lima, had married his husband – Fidel Aroche Reyes, a Mexican citizen – in Mexico City, and in 2012 he applied to see his marriage entered into the register in his homeland as well. After his request was rejected, he brought the case to court, which eventually ruled in the couple’s favour.
“The claim of the plaintiff can be allowed,” the ruling reads, “as it is not feasible for him to suffer any kind of discrimination on the basis of his sexual orientation.”
Human rights defenders spoke of a “historic ruling”, and called on the registrar’s office to refrain from appealing it.
Monday, January 9
Pakistan: transgender people to be included in national census for the first time
After a landmark ruling issued by the Lahore High Court, Pakistan is set to count transgender people in its national census for the first time this year.
The chief justice has ordered Pakistan Bureau of Statistics to provide a separate category to the transgender community in the upcoming census. According to reports by The Nation, he also held that ‘transgender people should be treated like other citizens enjoying the same rights in the country under the constitution of Pakistan.’
The court’s order stemmed from a petition filed by a human rights activist, who argued that transgender people had to be included in the census (the first one to take place in the country since 1998) and be provided with the option for a separate gender to identify with on the National ID card.
Tuesday, January 10
Somalia: teenage boy and young man allegedly executed for engaging in sexual conduct
The extremist group al-Shabab announced via its radio service it has killed a 15-year-old boy and a 20-year-old man in Somalia for engaging in sexual conduct, Associated Press reported.
The two persons were arrested by the group’s religious police and then convicted by a court run by the group itself. Before carrying out the executions in a public square in the town of Buaale, a self-proclaimed judge would have called their conduct “immoral and reprehensible.”
It is believed that this is the first known time that al-Shabab has carried out what it calls executions over same-sex sexual activity.
Only a few hours after reports of the executions were shared by the media, Isis released pictures documenting the killing of a man accused of ‘homosexuality’ in Mosul, Iraq.
Is that all? More news bites
The Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity will convene a public consultation in Geneva on January 24 and 25.
A new campaign has been launched in Victoria, Australia, with the aim of celebrating “the contributions of LBTI women in challenging narrow definitions of femininity and perfection” and to encourage more women in the community to get cancer screenings.
In Western Australia, the Acting Equal Opportunity Commissioner has released a statement showing support for gender neutral school uniforms.
In Malaysia, the Court of Appeal decided to retract the High Court order to the National Registration Department to change the name, gender marker and last digit of the identification card number of a trans man in his National Registration Identity Card.
Four of 10 trans people face sexual abuse before they reach 18 years old, according to a survey among 2,169 respondents across three states in India.
In the United States, a trans man has been reportedly shot and killed by a police officer in Sharon, PA, while an Oglala Lakota trans woman was found dead in Sioux Falls, SD, in what is being investigated as a homicide.
The portion of adults in the United States identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual or trans increased to 4.1% in 2016 from 3.5% in 2012, according to a recent research.
A ‘comedy’ sketch that portrays sexual abuse of a gay man as if it were a laughing matter has gone viral in Nigeria, sparking outrage from human rights advocates.
In Kenya, the National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission launched an online petition to call on the Director of Public Prosecutions’ office to stop using forced anal testing and HIV testing as evidence gathering means in prosecuting ‘unnatural offences.’
A new study on attitudes towards gay, lesbian and bisexual people released by the national anti-discrimination body shows that 83% of people living in Germany support marriage equality, and more than 80% of them is aware that LGB people still suffer discrimination.
According to reports, a trans man has been targeted with death threats in the United Kingdom after opening up about his pregnancy.
A court in Suriname ruled in favour of a trans activist who had asked the Central Bureau of Civic Affairs to update her gender marker in the books to reflect her gender identity. The State, however, announced it will appeal the ruling.
A legislative decree to sanction discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity has been officially published in Peru.