Showing posts with label Gay Human Rights. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gay Human Rights. Show all posts

September 23, 2016

Egypt Gay Activist Still Optimistic Despite the Setbacks



The Arab Spring in Feb. 18,  2011. Crowds chant for the removal and detention of President Hosni Mubarak. AP
At one point Egypt use to be my favorite subject and it pushed me to make sure this blog covered events world wide not just in the United States. After the revolution in Egypt backfired by having a free but inexperienced electorate gave the nation away to a Muslim minority who lied like all revolutionaries in this century have lied to get to power. After the military took over to avert the nation going into chaos all hope was dimmed. There was nothing to write about Egypt anymore because nothing was coming out. Once in a while we would get news about gays being arrested and put in jail or sentenced to death.
It’s really nice finding a gay activist from there who feels hopeful about the future. These are his words as taken by Global Jounalists.org.
                                                                         _*_

The life of a gay man in Egypt isn’t easy.

Though same-sex intercourse isn’t technically illegal in the Arab world’s most populous country, a broad ‘debauchery’ statute has been used by both the current government and that of former dictator Hosni Mubarak to prosecute those suspected of being gay.

However the relative anonymity of Twitter, Facebook and other social media outlets has provided LGBT activists a forum for advancing their cause in a country where there are few lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender people living openly.

~Among the leaders of the online community is a Cairo man who operates the Twitter handle @Egaypt. 
The activist, who asked that he be identified only as “Ahmed” out of concerns for his safety, spoke with Global Journalist’s Rachel Foster-Gimbel about the social opprobrium and hostile legal environment for LGBT people that persists five years after the Arab Spring.


The climate Ahmed describes has been altered by a notorious police raid on a Cairo bathhouse in December 2014. Tipped off by an Egyptian TV presenter named Mona Iraqi, police dragged 26 men from the building and charged them with ‘debauchery’ as Iraqi filmed them.

Ultimately both the government and Iraqi faced public backlash. All 26 men were acquitted, though not before they were publicly ‘outed.’ Iraqi herself was charged with defamation for her sensational coverage of the raid, though in January she was acquitted of the charge.

Still, some in the LGBT community saw the raid as a reason to leave the country. Ahmed prefers to remain. “I still think there is hope in Egypt,” he says. “If I didn’t see hope, I wouldn’t stay, but I think there is still hope.”

Global Journalist: What was it like for you to grow up gay in Egypt?

Ahmed: In school I was very introverted. I didn’t really want to interact with a lot of people. Then in university – it’s a huge place and I kind of started to express more or myself and I found people that are similar to me, not necessarily LGBTQ people but just people that are ok with someone being gay or queer.

For others it’s not the same. I was lucky enough to come from what we consider an upper class in Egypt, so it’s more…open-minded.

For others, especially the middle class, the struggle is much harder. A lot of people go through psychological therapy and hormonal therapy sometimes. I was lucky enough not to go through that.

GJ: When did you come out to your parents?

Ahmed: I’m not out to my parents, no. I think they know, but they’re just like, in denial about it. We never really talked about it. My mom would comment about my pants, my Dad would comment about the rainbow bracelets I was wearing, but it was never really a topic we decided to discuss.

Typically, when you graduate, your parents start discussing marriage with you. That’s not an option for me. A lot of people in Egypt that are LGBTQ decide to get married for social reasons, but I personally think, I’m not going to put someone else in jeopardy and suffer with me.

GJ: Can you tell us why you need to remain anonymous?

Ahmed: There’s a lot of threats. I was also a human rights activist before I became an LGBT activist, so that [being an LGBT activist] would put me and my organization in jeopardy.

Right now there is no one in Egypt that you would recognize and say, ‘He is the face of the LGBT movement.’ Maybe one day I will come out and be okay with showing my face, but not under this threat.

GJ: How did the 2011 revolution that ousted former president Mubarak affect the LGBT movement?

Ahmed: You know in these movies where the girl dies and the hero is holding the girl trying to wake her up and she wakes up again and everyone’s happy?

That’s exactly how the revolution was.

It’s was a huge boost for hope and freedom. Everyone says the revolution failed. I mean, it kind of failed in a lot of senses, but the most important thing that it has achieved is that it broke fear.

After the revolution, more people were coming out. More people were expressing themselves in fashion statements or Facebook statements… but people were talking more about things that were always taboo.

I still remember there was this graffiti in Tahrir Square [in central Cairo] that had two male cops kissing each other and someone like the artist wrote: ‘Cops Are Gay,’ or something.

And another person from the revolution who was also an artist removed that and [drew] rainbow mustaches on the police officers and wrote “homophobia is not revolutionary.”

GJ: Can you tell us about the arrests at the ham am [bathhouse] in 2014 televised by Mona Iraqi and how that affected Egypt’s LGBT community?



Ahmed: The story was, she was doing an investigation about a hamam…and [supposedly] it was known that this place was gay and she knew it and she started to do this investigation and she basically outed everyone there.

A lot of these people were taken to prison and a lot of these people weren’t out to people in the community…so it ruined their lives.

Obviously, it was a violation of media ethics and a violation of their humanity…and it struck the community because they’d never seen anything that low before.

It was more of a wake-up call, like “Oh wait, we’re still in Egypt. We might have been doing these kinds of parties, but we’re living in denial. We’re living in our own bubble in a country that is extremely homophobic. So that definitely kind of encouraged a lot of people to leave and just get out of Cairo.

  and 
 Global Jounalists.org.

July 1, 2016

U.N. Creates Watch Dog for LGBT Human Rights




                                                                         
adamfoxie.blogspot.com
                                                                     
The top human rights body of the United Nations voted on Thursday to appoint an independent monitor to help protect gay and transgender people around the world from violence and discrimination.

The U.N. Human Rights Council, based in Geneva, creates an “independent expert” charged with identifying the root causes of violence and discrimination against people based on their sexual orientation and gender identity, and then talking with governments about ways to protect them.

The resolution that passed was the United Nations’ most overt expression of gay rights as human rights, and is considered a milestone.

The vote on the 47-member council passed only narrowly, with 23 nations in favor, primarily from Europe and Latin America. Though that was not a majority, six countries abstained, including India, South Africa and the Philippines. The 18 votes against it came from Russia, Africa and most of the Muslim countries on the panel. Albania was the only member of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation to favor creating an envoy for LGBT issues. The seats periodically rotate, and the United States currently does not sit on the council.

In a bow to the sensitivities of those countries where homosexuality is widely frowned upon, the resolution had a last-minute amendment added noting that “the significance of national and regional particularities and various historical, cultural and religious backgrounds must be borne in mind.” Nevertheless, it adds, “It is the duty of States, regardless of their political, economic and cultural systems, to promote and protect all human rights and fundamental freedoms.”

Randy Berry, the State Department’s Special Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBTI Persons, called the decision historic, but expressed disappointment that opponents had succeeded in adding wording suggesting LGBI rights may be a cultural imposition.

“It diminishes very slightly something extraordinary that happened,” he said in an interview. “As we look at what motivates that kind of objection, it’s a misplaced fear that the intent of creating an independent expert is to condemn or criticize. All along, it was clear the dialogue is to be informative, a resource for all countries, including our own, to get better on LGBTI issues.”


The resolution was put forward not by the United States but by several countries in Latin America — Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Costa Rica, Mexico, and Uruguay. Latin America has some of the world’s most advanced legal protections for gay and transgender people.

Though the resolution was being prepared before the June 12 massacre in a gay nightclub in Orlando, some human rights activists said they thought the mass shooting played a role in propelling the Human Rights Council resolution forward.

The U.N.Security Council condemned the Orlando shooting in a statement that made headlines because for the first time the body had specifically mentioned sexual orientation as a factor, saying 49 victims they had been targeted because of who they are. 

“Orlando became part of the conversation around the resolution,” said Jessica Stern, executive director for Outright Action International, a U.S.-based human rights group. “I think it caused some governments on the fence to stop and take their decision much more seriously. You can’t keep your head in the sand after what happened at the Pulse nightclub.”

Under the resolution that passed, all the members of the United Nations are expected to cooperate with the expert, like the experts who already exist to investigate human rights abuses in countries or around themes. The countries are asked to facilitate the expert’s visits, and consider any recommendations that are made.

Shawn Gaylord, an advocacy counsel with Human Rights First, said the position has symbolic and practical value.
“It makes clear that LGBT rights are human rights,” he said. “That’s an essential part of the U.N. moving forward. On a practical level, there are resources that will flow and more staffing for LGBT issues to be researched, reviewed and recommendations made.”

Gaylord said an expert can find room for common ground, even in countries where gay and transgender people face social ostracism.


“If you’re talking about whether LGBT people should be protected from violence, a lot of countries would speak up for that,” he said. “Some countries are more challenging than others. But there’s always room for debate.”

Homosexual activities are illegal in 70 countries, 10 of which treat it as a capital offense.

May 27, 2016

Report Released Turkey’s Human Rights Violations on the LGBT Community

DHA photo
DHA photo
The Kaos Gay and Lesbian Cultural Research and Solidarity Association (Kaos GL) has published an annual report monitoring human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity, calling on the Turkish state to adopt anti-discriminatory measures to prevent hate crimes against LGBT individuals that remain largely unreported by media and security authorities. 

Noting that the findings of the report were based on crimes that were only reported in local media, Kaos GL announced that five hate murders, 32 hate attacks, two cyber-attacks and three suicide cases were reflected in the press in 2015.

Fifteen of the hate attacks were committed by more than one person while there was alleged police involvement in two of the attacks. Twelve were committed with sharp objects, two involved the use of firearms and one featured arson.

The report criticized discriminatory rhetoric and practices adopted by politicians and state institutions, calling on the Turkish Republic to implement the necessary regulations to fulfill its international responsibilities on human rights.

Accordingly, four of the nine cases of hate speech that were reported in the media were uttered by political figures, namely, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, then-Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, then-Deputy PM Yalçın Akdoğan and Interior Minister Efkan Ala.

In their remarks, the aforementioned politicians targeted an LGBT deputy candidate from the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), Barış Sulu, and slammed the same party’s political promises on LGBT rights and the legalization of gay marriages.

The report also slammed a crackdown by Istanbul police on the LGBT Pride Parade in June 2015 with tear gas and water cannon, saying it transformed the hatred against LGBTs into a “call for massacre,” as politicians also added fuel to the flames.

The violent crackdown was preceded by an Islamist group called the “Young Islamic Defense” which pinned posters to walls and lamp posts in Ankara, threatening gays with death.

“Should those who engage in ugly behavior and adhere to the practice of the people of Lot be killed?” read posters that appeared in the Turkish capital overnight, referring to Lot, who features in the Old Testament and the Quran. Many Muslims believe that the decline of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah stemmed from the sexual preferences of their inhabitants.

Kaos GL concluded the report by listing its legal demands, including the implementation of constitutional guarantees against hate crimes, the launch of an efficient campaign against the use of hate speech by politicians, the clarification of “infamous crimes” to strictly inhibit its anti-LGBT interpretation and an end to the Turkish Armed Forces’ categorization of prospective LGBT soldiers as people with a “gender identity disorder.”

The association also urged the introduction of training schemes prepared in collaboration with civil society organizations to ensure that members of the security forces do not resort to homophobic, transphobic and discriminatory practices.

April 13, 2016

Gay Air France Flight Attendants Refuse to Fly to Iran (Iran executes gays)

Image result for airfrance


                                                                       
These Fly Attendants are not refusing to fly to Iran because they fear death, even though on their overnight stays someone could get entangle in a gay friendship and then who knows; Rather they are making a universal complaint to bring attention how these religious countries do execute gays. If you asked any GOP supporter and many on the opposite side of gay rights in the US,  if gays are being executed today they will say no way. If they only knew Iran. Saudi Arabia and Egypt just to name the worse three we know.  Maybe then they will have a change of mind and maybe recognize that England use to jail gays (in our boomers generation and prior) and in the US you will be left without a job, apartment or house and will probably be executed by fellow citizens, which they still do today.               Adam
Air France flight attendants or hostesses or Stewards as they are still called in France, didn’t want to wear veils when getting off the plane in Iran, now gay stewards don’t want to go to a country where homosexuals could face the death penalty.

 A steward from Air France has launched an online appeal against gay cabin members having to travel to Iran. It's titled: "Gay stewards from Air France don't want to fly to the death penalty in Iran". 
"Sure, our sexuality isn't written on our passports and it doesn't change the way we work as a crew," wrote 'Laurent M' in an open letter to the French government and the CEO of Air France Frédéric Gagey.
"But it is inconceivable to force someone to go to a country where his kind are condemned for who they are."
The letter points out that homosexuality in Iran is illegal and comes with a penalty of 74 lashes for a minor, while adults can be given the death penalty. 
A petition on site Change.org which calls for gay stewards not to work on the soon to re-open Paris to Tehran route has gained almost 2,000 signatures in the past few days. 
The letter comes just one week after Air France hostesses and female pilots refused to fly on the Paris to Tehran route because they didn't want to be forced to wear a veil and loose trousers. 
The airline eventually found a compromise with unions after the story gained international media attention. In the end, Air France accepted that stewardesses could refuse to work on the Tehran route without facing punishment.
Air France suspended flights to Iran in 2008 but is resuming the service next week after international sanctions on the Islamic Republic over its nuclear programme were lifted.
The company pointed out that the same headscarf rule was already in place when flying to certain destinations, such as Saudi Arabia, a country which also has the death penalty for anyone caught carrying out homosexual acts.
It remains unknown what effect the new petition will have, not least because it doesn't have the same backing from the Unac union, which was heavily involved in the fight of the stewardesses.
A spokesperson from the union told the Metro newspaper that the notion of Air France staff avoiding flights to Tehran "has been tackled for the entire aircrew, regardless of their gender or sexual orientation". 
The paper noted, however, that Air France management has so far only allowed the choice to refuse journeys to Iran to hostesses, and not stewards. 

http://www.thelocal.fr

Origen of problems with Air France and the bending of our customs for theirs:

Air France recently notified its female flight attendants that they must wear company headscarves in Iran upon disembarking the plane at the end of the Paris-Tehran route. After employees complained to their union, Air France officials said on Monday female flight attendants will be allowed to opt out of the route and request a reassignment if they object to covering their hair in the Islamic nation.

In light of the airline’s plan to resume service to Tehran on April 17 after an eight-year suspension on political grounds, officials sent a memo to female staff about the route’s dress code, which includes pants and loose-fitting clothing in addition to the headscarf they must don when they step off the plane in Tehran. Flight attendants are usually able to choose between a skirt and pants when it comes to uniform dress, but the Tehran flight dress code predates the current conflict; it was codified Air France policy when the route was suspended in 2008. Before Air France yielded to its employees' demands by allowing them to opt out of working the Tehran flights, a union representative for the flight attendants said they were fine with wearing headscarves during their off-work time in Iran, but balked at the idea of being forced to wear them as part of their uniform.

This collision of religion, dress and employment is an interesting case study of what happens when a country with some of the world’s most hostile laws against Islamic traditions tries to do business in a country with some of the world’s most stringent Islamic laws. In France, it is illegal for women to wear religious headscarves at school and work, and face coverings like burqas and niqabs are banned in all public spaces. Meanwhile, since the Islamic Revolution, Iranian law has required that all women cover their legs to their ankles and cover their hair with a scarf. In most places, a loose head covering with the hairline and tendrils exposed is fine, and a law that would have beefed up enforcement of women’s dress codes was deemed unconstitutional last year. Still, even for foreign visitors, walking around in Iran without a head covering could be grounds for arrest, a steep fine, or a stern talking-to from Iranian police.

According to AFP, Air France said its employees are “obliged like other foreign visitors to respect the laws of the countries to which they travelled.” In Saudi Arabia, for instance, the same headscarf rule applies for all flight attendants, who must also wear legally mandated abayas, which are long, loose robes that stretch from neck to ankle. (The Economist reports that the Saudi law requiring headscarves is not enforced for foreign women. Air France still requires them for its employees.)

No company based in a secular democracy should force its employees to work in a place that legally requires them to wear clothing that runs counter to their religious, cultural, or social practices. Air France was right to offer its female flight attendants the right to refuse a Tehran assignment. But employers often set guidelines for what their employees cannot do while representing the company in uniform. “Disobeying the law” is usually one of them. Six young Iranians who made a parody of Pharrell Williams’ “Happy” video were recently sentenced to 91 lashes and a year in prison for failing to wear headscarves and for dancing with members of the opposite sex, and Iran is not known for its kind treatment of foreign prisoners, nor for any measure of due process or leniency. Giving employees headscarves to wear while in uniform will keep the company from flouting Iranian law without imposing any extra financial obligation on its workers.

Now that the dispute between Air France and its female flight attendants has been settled, French lawmakers should take note of its implications. In the days after Air France announced its Tehran dress code, one flight attendant’s union contacted France’s minister for women’s rights and families, Laurence Rossignol, seeking support for their protest of the headscarf policy. Rossignol recently likened Muslim women who wear headscarves or veils to “American negroes who were in favor of slavery.” If she and other women’s rights advocates are so repelled by the idea of non-Muslim French women being forced to don a headscarf in an Islamic nation, they’d be wise to imagine how Muslim women feel when France forces them to take theirs off.

Christina Cauterucci @portmantina

November 8, 2015

Please GlLIDE® get your head ‘Out from Under the Rock’





‘Out from under the rock’:

This is an announcement of another idea fromadamfoxie® blog Int. to distribute information and knowledge which most people should know in order to live in a more fair, friendlier, safer world.

There are many times as a web traveler I found myself making comments on what I saw. As I see commercials and comments that are racist, homophobic and insulting sometimes about civil groups or particular people in general. Many times I ask to please to get their heads out of the rock and see what is in front of them; Be climate change or equal rights for individuals.

 I saw a page on the net about “gay friends”advertising Glide which is a product pushed to anyone who has sex as a lubricant. I complaint the couples shown were all straight for a product that is bought mainly by gays. I signed it come out from under the rock and see what is in front of you.

The problem with Glide is that it only shows heterosexual couples even though they much depend on LGBTQ business. I received an email from Google + indicating they are following the blog (adamfoxie*). I went to the net address indicated and found all these couples of men embracing women and vice versa. There were only one darker skin couple but no same sex couple. I was offended because they do want our business but in the old fashion way: On the “down low.” 

Sorry for them but we have come out of the closet here in the USA and in many other countries on the West and we are not going back to the darkness of the closet. Down low was for the beginning of the 2000’s and before, not for 2015 and beyond.

I replied to the email with my complaint and signed both with Out from under the rock’ and adamfoxie® blog Int. 

Anybody is welcome to use the ‘Out from under the rock’  signed comment when commenting on the issue of not including us in any part of the pie ( the ‘pie’ is the benefit of being a citizen of the world), which no one can take away. We are here as any other human being and we wish to be recognized as such. That is the basis for gay rights.

Around the world you still have, Pakistan, Iran Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Turkey, the North Virgin Islands, most parts of Africa which will degrade any LGBTQ human being so they can feel superior by abusing them.  We have said it is time for those people to grow their own penis’ and leave ours alone. 

We are no better no worse than anybody else with the exception of years of an epidemic without any pills to make us better which we showed the world how to die with dignity and how to survive, how to take care of each other against the abuse of the political right in the US and by countries such as Russia, Eastern Europe and in the other side of the world in Central and South America, which inapt laws to keep us from children like if we didn’t have children and like if there were no gay children in the world and if we weren’t children ourselves at one point. This is the ignorance of so called leaders like Vladimir Putin and all the running candidates for President in the old Republican Party of the USA right now and in the past.

There are many in these governments’ that agree with me but the law of the down law keeps their heads under the rock  to not see what is in front of them and which they would have to see eventually. 

No one can keep their heads buried under the rock forever. Eventually they are going to have to come out  like major corporations such as Apple, Microsoft and so many more. We are like some are born with a lighter skin than others and that is the skin they and we occupy. A gay skin we inherited and will keep in this life.So please if your customers are gay why are you posting ads showing the opposite? Are you embarrass? Do you hide your selves making the bank deposits with gay money?   GLIDE please come ‘Out from under the rock’ and take a good look at who your customers are.

October 27, 2015

Kenyan President Seems to be Coming Forward on Equality for the LGBT Community


It has been a while since we posted anything positive on gay rights coming out of Kenya. It took the Supreme Court of the United States to declare gays as equals and the president Obama to be reeducating the Kenyan president on the merits of not persecuting people the US consider equals. (t is real nice to see change coming. Long ways to come but when the change begins on the top, it tends to make the water run faster down the hill.
                                                                                 
The ‘Outed' list was put out to intimate the gay community


Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta made his strongest statement to date in support of basic rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people, in an October 18 interview with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria. For the first time, he publicly condemned violence and “witch hunts” against LGBT people. But his pick-and-choose approach to rights shows there’s still a way to go in the struggle for LGBT equality in Kenya.

Kenyatta told Zakaria, in response to a question on “gay rights,” that he would “not allow people to persecute any individuals… [or] to beat them [or] torture them.” This commitment is laudable, as was his statement that constitutional rights extend to all Kenyans. “Every individual has a right to be protected by the law, and that’s stated in our constitution,” he said.

A recent report by Human Rights Watch and PEMA Kenya documented abuses against LGBT people in coastal Kenya, including mob attacks, physical and sexual assaults, and arbitrary arrests. We argued in our report that the primary issue affecting LGBT Kenyans is violence, and we are pleased that President Kenyatta concurs. His comments echo the African Commission’s Resolution 275, condemning violence against LGBT people.

But the “witch hunts” Kenyatta has condemned are an unfortunate reality – most recently seen in Kwale County in February, when a public anti-gay uproar compelled dozens of LGBT people to flee their homes.

Two Kwale men have been charged with alleged “carnal knowledge against the order of nature” and face trial. Police plucked them from a bar on the basis of rumors that they were gay, and subjected them to forced anal exams – a form of torture – to “prove” their sexual orientation.

And this is where Kenyatta doesn’t go far enough. Isn’t the police treatment of these two men a violation of the very constitutional rights that Kenyatta says are inalienable?

Kenyatta said that although gay people should not be “persecuted,” Kenya isn’t ready to “legalize” same-sex conduct, arguing that for most Kenyans, “this is not an issue that they are going to put at the center. They have more pressing issues.” Indeed, Kenyans have said in opinion polls that they are far more concerned about day-to-day survival – including access to health care, education, and basic security – than about the legal status of LGBT Kenyans.

But this is precisely a reason to stop prosecuting consensual same-sex conduct, not to criminalize it. In a state plagued by security issues ranging from carjackings to cattle rustling to terrorism, don’t the police have more pressing priorities than peeping through Kenyans’ bedroom windows?

June 23, 2015

Two Moroccan Men Sentenced 4 Months for being too Close in Picture



                                                                         


Two Moroccan gay men have been sentenced to four months each in jail after they were arrested for standing too close to one another as they posed for a photograph in front of a historic site in Rabat. 
Lahcen, 38, and Mohsine, 25, whose surnames the Guardian is not publishing in order to protect their identities, were found guilty on Friday of homosexuality and obscenity, in a trial described by activists as grossly unfair. Under Morocco’s anti-gay laws, they were also condemned to pay a fine of 500 dirhams (£33). 
The pair were jailed earlier this month after holding each other for a photograph near Hassan tower, Rabat’s famous minaret, and a popular tourist spot.
The men were sightseeing and taking pictures as Lahcen, who is from Rabat, showed the capital to Mohsine, who was on his first visit to the city from his hometown of Marrakech in the west of the country. 
“These men will be spending the next months behind bars for one, and only one, reason: being gay,” said Aswat Collective, a prominent LGBT group in Morocco, which has campaigned for their release. “We are outraged by this injustice.”
Their arrest coincided with heightened sensitivities in Morocco about pro-LGBT activities. In last week’s issue of Maroc Hebdo magazine, it asked on its cover: “Should we burn gays?” The gay rights debate has polarised Moroccan society, which is still heavily rooted in conservative attitudes.
Mohsine and Lahcen’s case has been linked to a separate incident that took place at Hassan tower a day before their arrest. Two topless French activists, from the feminist group Femen, were arrested and immediately deported from Morocco after kissing each other in the same place in Rabat. 
The authorities suspect that Mohsine and Lahcen were copying the French activists, something that the men have since denied. Femen’s protest act has caused outrage among conservative Moroccans, prompting protests in front of the French embassy in Rabat. “This is Rabat, not Paris,” demonstrators shouted.
Mohsine and Lahcen have allegedly been subject to physical and mental abuse while in jail, said Aswat. A number of journalists were denied access to the trial. Aswat has also condemned the Moroccan ministry of interior for revealing the identities of the two men on national television, which has led to demonstrations in front of their families’ houses.
Lahcen’s mother has expressed fear for her son’s ability to survive in Morocco after his release from prison, now that his identity has been made public, Aswat said. 
“The sentencing of Lahcen and Mohsine to four months in jail is a tragic reminder that discriminatory laws have real consequences,” said Andre Banks, executive director of All Out, a global movement for equality, referring to article 489 of Morocco’s penal code which requires six months’ to three years’ imprisonment for homosexuality. 
“We will continue to work with our partners in Morocco until both innocent men are free – and until being gay is no longer a crime. No country should imprison its citizens because of who they love,” said Banks. More than 55,000 have signed All Out’s online petition, urging the Moroccan authorities to release Mohsine and Lahcen.
The human rights campaigner, Peter Tatchell, said their detention fit the recent pattern of crackdown on LGBT activists in Morocco and was likely to damage the country’s international reputation as a tourist destination. 
“There seems to be an escalating crackdown on gay and bisexual men in Morocco. A moral panic is being whipped up about homosexuality, aided by sections of the media,” he said. “These are just the latest of several arrests in recent months. In this case, and some others, there is no evidence of same-sex acts. Lahcen and Mohsine appear to have been arrested for the mere expression of affection, which is technically not a crime under Moroccan law.”
Tatchell added: “Male homosexuality is widespread in Morocco. Until recently there was a de facto toleration of same-sex relations, providing they were private and hidden. The intensifying repression coincides with more gay Moroccans coming out and the emergence of online gay publications and chat rooms.”
photo:FaceBook

June 16, 2015

20,000 in N.Ireland: ‘Gay Marriage a Human Right’ and No Gay Marriage Here(N.Irel.story)



                                                                               
                                                                                 

PREVENTING same-sex couples from marrying is a breach of their human rights, a rally in Belfast heard. 
Around 20,000 people crammed the city centre on Saturday afternoon demanding "marriage equality". 
The march was organized in the wake of the 'Yes' vote in the Republic which is set to legalize marriage for homosexual couples - and leave the north as the only part of Britain and Ireland where gay marriage remains illegal. 
Derry-born actor and singer Bronagh Gallagher sang with Quire - Belfast's LGBT choir - at the city hall event also attended by Snow Patrol front-man Gary Lightbody. 
The main demonstration followed a march from Ulster University on York Street and was organized by Amnesty International, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (Ictu) and the Rainbow Project. 
Speaking to the crowd, head of Amnesty International in Northern Ireland Patrick Corrigan said it was "the most beautiful march" the city had ever seen. 
He used the platform to say: 
"Marriage equality is a human rights issue. 
"Human rights are very clear on the issue of equality. Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights says: 'all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights'. 
"So it is simply unacceptable for the state to discriminate against people on the grounds of their sexual orientation or gender identity. 
"Amnesty International believes that states should end discrimination on this basis and instead ensure that all families are equally protected before the law." 
Politicians including the SDLP's Alex Attwood were among the thousands to take part in the march. 
Mr Attwood said the rally "sent a very strong message to legislators". 
"There is now a need for a new approach by the parties in Northern Ireland whereby the rights of the LGBT community are not only recognised but also endorsed in legislative form," he said. 
"To date, government has dragged its heels on the issue of LGBT rights - evidenced by the current blood ban and by the conscience clause bill brought forward by the DUP. 
"The overwhelmingly positive referendum held recently has showed that the tide is changing in relation to equal marriage in Ireland - the north is now clearly off-step with the rest of the UK in that regard." 
The assembly has rejected a proposal calling for the introduction of gay marriage after debating the issue for a fourth time. 
Sinn Féin said equality rights for same-sex couples must be shared by citizens in the north and it will continue to campaign for the reform. 
Other high-profile supporters of the campaign include singer Brian Kennedy and Olympic boxer Paddy Barnes.
Simon Cunningham

April 8, 2015

Abuse, Blackmail and Violence Results of India’s Gay Sex Ban


                                                                               
                                                                             
NEW DELHI (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - When Rajan was followed by two men into a public toilet in Mumbai and forced to perform oral sex on them, the 31-year-old gay marketing professional realized this was the beginning of the end of his short-lived sexual freedom. 
"They knew I was gay. They were watching me and waiting. They filmed the whole thing and threatened to tell the police," Rajan, who did not want to disclose his full name, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
"Then they took me to an ATM and made me withdraw all the money I had which was 15,000 rupees ($240)... Even though society has not fully accepted us, the law was there to protect us. But now we are scared."
Rajan is one of thousands of people from India's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community (LGBT) who have faced persecution after the world's largest democracy in December 2013 reinstated a colonial-era law banning gay sex, say activists.
They are campaigning to reverse this ruling by the Supreme Court, arguing the reinstated law has led to a surge in reports of gangs, as well as the police, intimidating, harassing, raping, blackmailing and extorting money from LGBT people.
Gay sex is punishable by up to 10 years jail under this law.
"What is becoming increasingly common are gangs whose modus operandi is to befriend victims on gay dating sites, meet them in a hotel room, get them naked and take compromising pictures of them," said Sonal Giani, advocacy manager at the Humsafar Trust, a Mumbai-based charity which works for LGBT rights.
"These gangs threaten to report them to the police if they don't give them money. They often beat and sexually abuse the victims ... but the victims are so scared that they generally don't tell anyone."
"AGAINST THE ORDER OF NATURE"
There are no official figures on the number of cases. Most go unreported as victims are too scared to report crimes to the police fearing the newly reinstated law is used against them.
One case study in a report by the Coalition for Sex Workers and Sexuality Minority Rights documented a doctor duped into a relationship with two men who filmed him having sex and extorted 1.3 million rupees ($20,775) from him. The police were tipped off about extortion - but charged the victim.
In another incident, a woman who suspected her husband was having an affair installed a webcam in their bedroom and discovered he was sleeping with men. She took the footage to police who arrested her husband.
Charities like the Humsafar Trust say reports of abuse have almost trebled in the last year, with Giani documenting 500 reports of abuse of LGBT people in the states of Maharashtra, Goa, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat in 2014.
India has a rich history of eunuchs and male-to-female transgender people known as "hijras" who were respected and considered close confidants of emperors in the Mughal empire.
But British colonizers in 1860 introduced Section 377 to legislation that prohibited "carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal" which was widely interpreted to refer to homosexual sex.
Over the years, the country's sexual minorities – especially transgender people who are more visible - have been driven to the fringes of society, into sex work, and face discrimination in jobs and basic services such as health and education.
In 2009, however, the Delhi High Court ruled Section 377 violated constitutional guarantees for equality, privacy and freedom of expression, ending the ban on same sex relationships.
PERSECUTION AND PROSECUTION
Sachin Awasthy, advocacy officer for Pehchan, a group which provides healthcare to sexual minorities, said this watershed moment for the LGBT rights movement led to a new openness.
Annual gay pride marches emerged in cities such as Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru (formerly Bangalore), newspapers and TV stations increased coverage of LGBT issues, and India's usually formulaic film industry introduced the issue of homosexuality.
"There was more coverage of the issue in the media, in schools and colleges. People started talking about their sexuality and coming out," said Awasthy.
So it came as a shock to human rights groups when the Supreme Court recriminalized gay sex 15 months ago, saying only India's parliament could decide on Section 377.
"The ruling has turned the clock back," said Amitava Sarkar, a transgender and activist from the India's HIV/AIDS Alliance. 
"Britain, the country that imposed the law in India, has moved on and now permits same sex marriage, yet we in India are still living with this archaic law."
She said even though the Supreme Court has since recognized transgender people as a third gender and called on the government to ensure their equal rights, it does not recognize their right to have sexual relationships. 
In the past year, activists say their worst fears have been realized with LGBT people harassed and now scared to come out and express their sexuality.
Home Ministry figures show there were 778 cases registered under Section 377 from January to September last year, from which 587 people were arrested. There is, however, no break-up of how many of those charged were heterosexual or LGBT people.
Activists say LGBT people do not hold out hope that the country's right-wing government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi will change the law in parliament.
Last month India was among 43 countries in the United Nations to vote unsuccessfully to stop benefits to same-sex partners of U.N. staff. 
"This shows how homophobic the politicians in our country are," said Anjali Gopalan, director of the Naz Foundation, which has appealed against the Supreme Court decision.
"The Indian government could have shown that they are progressive and that they support equality, but they did not. Our hopes now lie with the courts.” 
(Reporting by Nita Bhalla, Editing by Belinda Goldsmith)

March 3, 2015

LGBT Rights Are Finally Recognized as Human Rights by the U.S. Government



                                                                  

  

Secretary of State John Kerry announced Feb. 23 that Randy Berry, current U.S. consul general in the Netherlands, would begin serving as the United States’ first Special Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBT Persons.   
In his new role, Berry, an openly gay senior diplomat, is expected to advocate for LGBT rights worldwide, focusing on the more than 75 countries in which same-sex relationships remain illegal, according to a Feb. 23 statement from the U.S. Department of State. Berry will be responsible for making efforts to decrease instances of discrimination and violence against LGBT people across the world in addition to promoting international equality for people of all sexual orientations and gender identities. 
“Defending and promoting the human rights of LGBT persons is at the core of our commitment to advancing human rights globally—the heart and conscience of our diplomacy,” Kerry said in the statement.
Berry’s new appointment comes at a time when the nation’s LGBT community has seen progress in its ongoing fight for equality. There is still a great deal of work to be done, but much of the United States population and its lawmakers have become more accepting of LGBT people and their rights since President Barack Obama publicly advocated for the legalization of same-sex marriage in 2012. 
Previously, Obama was open about his opposition to the Defense of Marriage Act—which allowed states to ignore same-sex marriages legally granted by other states—as well as his determination to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” The president’s statements in support of marriage equality as well as general equality for LGBT people inspired a sweeping change in attitude from the long-standing mindset of politicians in considering LGBT rights separate from human rights. 
“Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law—for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well,” Obama said in the 2012 interview.
Despite the government’s apparent interest in pushing progress for the LGBT community, a massive oversight on the part of news organizations including Time, came with several media outlets reported Berry’s new title as “envoy for LGBT rights,” though the statement from the U.S. Department of State clearly labeled the position as “Special Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBT persons.” 
Referring to Berry’s title in its entirety may be a mouthful, and as a reporter and editor, I find it understandable why some news outlets might think it is acceptable to shorten the official name of Berry’s position. However, what those news outlets seem to have overlooked is that the U.S. Department of State made a calculated choice to use that specific phrasing in Berry’s title in an effort to make clear the distinction that his position is intended to promote human rights for LGBT people and to spread what appears to be the United States government’s newfound recognition of LGBT rights as human rights. 
As a nation that loves to tout itself as one that leads—or attempts to lead—its fellow nations, this new position is symbolic of more than just a change in Berry’s employment, but of a deeper societal transition in the United States and other nations. The position is symbolic of the United States’ continuing progress toward recognizing human rights for all its citizens. Advocating for an end to violence and discrimination against LGBT people is an admirable goal for 
the government. 
A large part of the nation is still populated with individuals who strongly disagree with marriage equality and other LGBT rights initiatives, but the U.S. government and its politicians should take pride in the decision to implement this international initiative if they want to consider the United States a leading nation. 
All people are entitled to their own religious and spiritual beliefs, and many Americans still oppose same-sex relationships, but they should not interfere with the safety and rights of LGBT people. The United States government is well overdue in recognizing this in a serious and productive way. 
The United States continues to take pride in being a leading, progressive nation, but often those terms have been used in ways that are simply inaccurate. However, acknowledging the rights of the country’s and the world’s LGBT people as human rights is a step in the right direction and is definitely an initiative a leading nation should pursue. 

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