Showing posts with label Gay Men. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gay Men. Show all posts

July 19, 2019

France Will Ease Restrictions on Gay Men To Donate Blood







 
The French government has banned gay and bisexual men from donating blood within a year of sexual activity since 2016. On Wednesday it said it would lower this “deferral” period – long been criticized as discriminatory – to four months. 

Homosexual men will be able to give blood four months after sexual intercourse instead of 12 months, France’s health ministry announced, in a policy shift that owes more to medical progress than to changing attitudes towards homosexuality.

Under current rules, men who have sex with men are barred from donating blood for a year following their last sexual encounter in order to reduce the risk of transmitting HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

The health ministry, which will implement the changes on February 1, 2020, said the decision to relax the abstinence period was based on the latest scientific evidence and medical advances.  

It said the change marked a “first step” in plans to bring donor conditions for gay men in line with those for heterosexuals by 2022, pending a “transparent” evaluation of the potential risks involved.

The announcement comes a month after gay rights groups filed a complaint with the European Commission alleging discrimination by France, pointing out that the 12-month abstinence rule “effectively excludes 93.8% of gay men from donating blood”.

‘Deferrals’

The issue is particularly sensitive in France, where hundreds of people died in the 1980s after HIV-tainted blood was distributed by the national blood transfusion center.

France instituted a total ban on gay men giving blood in 1983 as part of efforts to halt the spread of AIDS, mirroring steps taken in a majority of Western countries.

After years of campaigning by LGBT rights activists, the ban was finally lifted in 2016 – but replaced with a 12-month “deferral” period, during which would-be donors had to abstain from sexual activity.

>> After 30-year ban, gay men in France allowed to donate blood

Many other countries that have lifted bans on gay men giving blood have also introduced 12-month waiting periods, including the United States, Australia, Japan, and Sweden. Italy, Spain, and Russia are among only a handful of European countries that don't have a deferral policy.

In justifying the restrictions, health authorities noted that men who have unprotected sex with men are at a significantly higher risk of infection and that the virus’s long dormancy period made it hard to detect.

In 2016, the Luxembourg-based European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled that governments were allowed to ban – or restrict – homosexual blood donors if they could prove it was the best way to limit the risk of HIV infection.

Evolving evidence

However, scientific innovation has steadily chipped away at the rationale for restrictions on gay donors, while critics have questioned the wisdom of excluding healthy donors when blood shortages are common.

Back in 2010, when gay men were still barred from giving blood in the United States, the country’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) conceded that the ban was "suboptimal" in that it allowed "some potentially high-risk donations while preventing some potentially low-risk donations".

Announcing its decision to partially lift the ban five years later, the agency said: “the 12-month deferral window is supported by the best available scientific evidence, at this point in time, relevant to the US population".

Since then, the evidence has moved on again.

In July 2017, the UK government announced it would lower the deferral period to three months, based on the recommendations of the country’s Advisory Committee on the Safety of Blood, Tissues, and Organs (SaBTO), which concluded that new testing systems were sufficiently quick and accurate.

Later that year, a team of Australian researchers concluded in a report published by scientific journal Transfusion that a 12-month deferral “exceeds what is required to maintain blood safety”.

“[W]ith current testing technologies the window period during which infection may be present but not detected is now less than 1 week,” the authors wrote. “While there is a moral imperative to maintain blood safety, there is also a moral imperative to ensure that differential treatment of population groups with regard to donation eligibility is scientifically justified.”

In place of the year-long abstinence period, the authors recommended reducing the timeframe to three months, noting that such a move “will not increase health risks to recipients and may have the social benefit of increasing inclusiveness”.

‘Not a human right’

Scientific progress has also informed France’s decision to ease blood donation rules.

Studies carried out by Santé Publique France (SPF), the French public health authority, have shown that the decision to lift the ban on gay donors in 2016 did not increase the risk of HIV infection. They also revealed that the vast majority of donors complied with the rules.

However, the health ministry resisted calls to give homosexuals and heterosexuals equal treatment when it comes to blood donations.

“Being able to donate blood is not a right, it’s a civic gesture that is subject to safety rules,” France’s health ministry told AFP news agency on Wednesday, noting that heterosexual men who have had more than one partner over the last four months are also barred from giving blood.

Late last year, lawmakers in the French National Assembly also rejected a bill that would have placed equal conditions on heterosexual and homosexual men. One of the bill’s sponsors, centrist lawmaker Jean-Luc Lagleize, had called for “the criteria of exclusion [from blood donations] to be high-risk behavior – and not a person’s sexual orientation”.

Even with a shorter “deferral” period, restrictions on gay blood donors continue to reflect discriminatory attitudes toward gay and bisexual men, writes Jennifer Power, a research fellow at La Trobe University’s Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health, and Society.

“A gay man who has been having safe sex, including within a monogamous relationship, is not necessarily at higher risk of acquiring HIV than a woman who has had multiple sexual partners and possibly unsafe sex,” says Power.

“Yet a heterosexual woman is not banned from blood donation because she has had sex. Instead, heterosexual women are trusted to make their own assessment and accurate disclosure of their likely HIV risk. Gay and bisexual men are not.”


August 27, 2018

Denmark Will Permit Gay and Bisexual Men to Donate Blood in 2019








However, if the man is single they must have been celibate for four months prior to donating.

Denmark has announced that is lifting the ban on gay men donating blood. Men who are single still face some obstacles however, as they must have been celibate for four months before doing so. However, men who are in relationships will be allowed to donate regardless of when they last had sex.
Speaking to the CPH Online, Danish Health Minister Ellen Trane Nørby said: “The authority [patient safety] has found a model we feel is safe and we will therefore incorporate it into Denmark.
“All safety mechanisms in our blood donation system are built on trust and we have some very advanced tests that screen the blood.”
CPH Online reported that it was strange that the ban hadn’t been lifted beforehand, as there has been political support for the idea for many years. A date for the ban to be lifted has not yet been announced, but it is expected to take place at some point in 2019.
Bans on gay and bisexual men donating blood are slowly being removed. Earlier this year, Israel announced that it would allow gay and bisexual men to donate blood.
However, the process would still be more difficult than it would be for a straight man. Patients will have their blood checked for infectious diseases, and will have to wait four months while their plasma is separated and frozen.
Donors will then have to donate a second time, and if the results for HIV – and other diseases – comes back as negative, then their blood will be authorised for use.
And last year, the UK government announced that it was removing the 12-month ban on celibacy and replacing it with a three-month ban.
“We’re pleased the Government recognises there is still more to be done to ensure all lesbian, gay, bi and trans people are accepted without exception,” said Stonewall’s CEO Ruth Hunt.
“Change to the blood donation rules are welcome. However, while this is an important move, it’s vital that this is a stepping stone to a system that doesn’t automatically exclude most gay and bi men.
“We would like to see individualised risk assessment, and are encouraged that the Government and NHS Blood and Transplant Service are committed to exploring how to do this.”

August 15, 2018

There Are Out Gay Men In All Aspects of Australian Society Except Sports





By Corbin Middlemas


Australian rules football has always been a big part of my life, but from an early age, I knew I had a conflict with the game.
Corbin Middlemas at the AFL grand final at the MCG in 2017.My earliest childhood memories revolve around footy, from playing in the backyard or going to Subiaco Oval with my family.

I'm privileged enough to broadcast the AFL for ABC Grandstand each week, something I've done since I was a teenager. I work closely with current and former players, as well as other stakeholders in the game.

I'm a big guy with a deep voice that wears a lot of sports tees. I like rap music and having a beer with my mates.
In the most part, I'm your typical sports junkie in their mid-20s.
Except I'm gay
'I never wanted my sexuality to be the first thing people knew'

I have a close group of friends, dating back through high school, work or even our fantasy football league. We share a lot of common interests, except this.
I always dreamed of being a sports broadcaster. As long as I can remember I wanted
 to call play-by-play.

As a high school student, I volunteered my weekends at my local community radio 
station and by 19, I was working full-time with the ABC in my home city.
Interviewing Essendon's Zac Merrett last year … Corbin says he always dreamed of being a sports broadcaster. 

I never wanted my sexuality to be the first thing people knew about me. Having moved cities twice in as many years, the same applied wherever I went.
It's a confusing weight to carry around. It affected my mood and relationships significantly.
I'd regularly go through moments wanting to tell friends, but not wanting to take an awkward detour in conversation.

It took me 24 years to tell my best friend, and less than a year to tell a dozen more people after that, including my family.

By that point, I think most of them suspected as much and were just waiting for me to tell them.
I'm incredibly fortunate to have such a support network.
It's because of that I feel a sense of obligation to tell my story.
'Being gay doesn't make you any less masculine' 

I have a platform to tell young men who don't fit into the norm that's perfectly normal.
Being gay doesn't make you any less masculine.

The discourse around our game matters and it has been unwelcoming to gay people for generations.
Homophobic slurs are commonplace at many sporting clubs around the country. It's a hangover from a bygone era. These slurs are no longer tolerated at workplaces or heard in most social settings.
The suicide rate for gay youths is astronomically high. LGBTI young people aged 16 to 27 are five times more likely to attempt suicide than the broader population.
Dampening the hysteria

Today we see openly gay men in every aspect of Australian life, except on the sporting field.
In 2014, American journalist Jason Whitlock penned a column about the NFL's first openly gay draftee, Michael Sam.

Michael Sam, the first publicly gay player drafted into the NFL, signs autographs.
Michael Sam (right) is "riding a wave, not creating one", American journalist Jason Whitlock said in 2014. 

He wrote: "The sports world no longer promotes change; it reflects it.
"Sam is riding a wave, not creating one."
The premise of Whitlock's article was not to soften the importance of Sam's announcement, but to "dampen the hysteria".

Most people have gay friends, colleagues or family members. Just last year, the country settled its debate on marriage equality.
There has never been a better time for gay people in Australia than today.
But the sports world is playing catch-up to the real world. The trail has already been blazed in other areas of Australian life.

The idea of a gay footballer isn't that big a deal to many people detached from the sports world.
A retired AFL footballer told me last year he suspects those in the locker room don't have an issue with openly gay players, but it's the circus outside that stops players from coming out.
What does that say about us, as the sports media, and as footy fans more broadly?
Corbin Middlemas is a broadcaster for ABC Grandstand.



June 29, 2018

After 3yr Probe Australia Find 27 Men Were Killed Because They were Gay


 🌈

Police in Sydney have admitted that an “ugly”  wave of gay-hate violence led to the murder or suspected murder of 27 men between 1976 and 2000, including some who were thrown off cliffs or slain in parks that were well-known gay beats. 
A three-year investigation into 88 suspicious deaths exposed a dark episode in Sydney’s history, in which the police and judiciary were accused of failing to properly report or investigate the bashing and killing of gay men, whose deaths were sometimes recorded as suicides. 
The horrific violence towards homosexuals peaked during the “moral panic” around the HIV epidemic in the 1980s and 1990s, when up to 20 assaults were occurring daily. Admitting they can “learn from the past”, police in New South Wales investigated 88 deaths and concluded that eight of the men were murdered by homophobic killers and 19 were suspected of links to gay hatred.
The motives for a further 25 killings remain unknown. 
Of the remaining deaths, 34 cases had no evidence of gay-hate bias  and two were removed from the investigation, one due to a lack of records and one because it occurred outside the state of the New South Wales.
Police said they will consider issuing a formal apology to the victims and their families. Some of the killers responsible are believed to be alive and at large. 
“We accept that there were mistakes made,” said Assistant Commissioner Tony Crandell. 
“We accept that we can learn from the past and we can do better. We believe that the community expectation of police today and always is to conduct thorough investigations when it comes to the death of somebody.”
He added: “It’s an ugly part of our history.”
Many of the assaults and deaths occurred at well-known gay beats such as popular beaches and parks, mainly targeting gay men and transgender women. Some of the murder victims were chased or thrown off coastal cliffs. 
Alan Rosendale was attacked in Sydney in 1989
Alan Rosendale was attacked in Sydney in 1989
Recalling being pursued  down a busy Sydney street after being spotted at an inner-city gay beat in 1989, Alan Rosendale said he heard someone shout “there’s one, let’s get him” before a group of men began chasing him. He tripped and was caught by the men: his next memory was waking in hospital.
“I had a broken nose, broken teeth, they bashed me around the head a lot,’ he told Gay Star News.
Mr Rosendale said police made numerous errors in their report, including incorrectly recording his name and birthdate and claiming he was attacked by “skinheads”.
“I was punched and kicked to the ground in an area frequented by homosexuals was all the [police] report said,” he said.
“We all knew they were murders, but they were being reported as suicide. I just thought it would never happen to me."  

March 12, 2018

#Love Wins Concert Cancelled in Toronto Due to The Mourning For All The Gay Men Killed


Toronto Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mark Blinch 
TORONTO — A critic of an event billed as “part vigil, part celebration” in the wake of the arrest of alleged serial killer Bruce McArthur said she’s relieved that the event is being postponed.
Sara Malabar said it was a “good step” for organizers to reconsider the event, which was presented as an uplifting alternative to a number of somber vigils held by Toronto’s LGBTQ community, though some said it was too soon for a celebration.
The free concert called #LoveWins was set to take place on March 29 with a lineup that included Carole Pope and members of the Barenaked Ladies.
The poster advertising the event did not mention McArthur by name, but referenced “the series of killings that have rocked Toronto’s LGBTQ community.” The 66-year-old landscaper is charged with first-degree murder in the deaths and disappearances of six men with links to the city’s gay community.

 Accused serial Bruce McArthur

On Saturday, a statement on Coun. Kristyn Wong-Tam’s website announced that the event would be postponed so organizers could address concerns raised by community members, who called the event tone-deaf.

 “Our intention was to bring the city together in love and healing after hearing from many people who wanted to come together in unity and strength,” read the statement.
“Unfortunately, the event created an unintentional division at a historic time in the LGBTQ2S community.”
Malabar, who started a “Stop #LoveWins Concert” page on Facebook, said the announcement was appreciated by members of the community who thought it was inappropriate to have a celebration while police are still finding more alleged victims of McArthur.
“I’m taking it as good news that they’re reconsidering the approach,” said Malabar, who previously produced the opening and closing ceremonies of WorldPride, an event that promotes LGBTQ issues.
She also offered to help in creating a more appropriate event.
“The fact that the organizers are willing to postpone the event and speak with the community and create the event they originally intended to create is a good step.”
Malabar said the event should still focus primarily on healing, adding that city staff should use the opportunity to offer much needed mental health support for Toronto’s LGBTQ community.
She said she hopes that the majority of the performers at the event will be LGBTQ themselves.
The statement on Wong-Tam’s website said organizers welcome any dialogue and apologized to people involved in planning the event who might be disappointed.
“For the many who expressed support and enthusiasm for the concert, and gave freely of their time and talent to its organizing, we sincerely apologize for this disappointment,” read the statement.
Malabar said she’ll be meeting with Wong-Tam and event organizers soon to discuss changes to the event.

January 21, 2018

Arrest of Murder Suspects of Gay Men at Gay Village Bring The Police Role into Question



 GayVillage, Toronto



 By Friday morning, McArthur's Facebook page had been removed.The man charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the disappearances of two men from Toronto’s gay village made his first appearance in a Toronto courtroom Friday morning. Bruce McArthur, a 66-year-old landscaper, will remain in custody until his next court appearance on February 14. 

There is a publication ban on evidence presented in court.

The Toronto Police announced on Thursday that McArthur had been arrested and charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Andrew Kinsman and Selim Esen who went missing last summer from Toronto’s gay village at Church and Wellesley streets.

The Toronto Police said an investigation into other possible victims is ongoing. It has fuelled longstanding fears in Toronto’s gay community that a serial killer was targeting men in the village.

A number of Kinsman’s friends and those he worked with as a volunteer at the Toronto People With AIDS Foundation were present at the hearing.

“Everyone is traumatized,” John Allan, an acquaintance of Kinsman’s, said at the courthouse.

“I hope that [McArthur] talks and tells what he did,” said Alphonso King, who also knew Kinsman.

Kinsman’s sister, Patricia, told reporters she plans to be at every one of McArthur’s hearings. She told CBC News that she had never heard of McArthur prior to his arrest.


While the police have so far refused to release a photo and confirm the identity of McArthur, images from his Facebook page were widely circulated by media outlets Thursday evening.

Bruce McArthur also appears on silverdaddies.com, a gay dating website. The description on that site matches the details on McArthur released by police, including his age and that McArthur owned a landscaping business. 

Some Facebook photos show him as a mall, Santa Claus. In others, he’s shown with family, friends, and at a Toronto Pride celebration among York Regional Police officers.

McArthur is shown in a number of photos with an Iranian man from 2014 to 2017. It's unclear what their relationship was, however they appeared to have traveled together, and he was also featured in family photos. After news of McArthur's arrest, a number of Facebook users questioned the current whereabouts of the man — who had listed Morneau Shepell as his employer on his own Facebook page. That detail had been removed from his Facebook page by Friday morning.

A spokesperson for Morneau Shepell confirmed to VICE News on Friday that the man had given the company permission to the confirmation that he worked there. The man did not immediately respond to messages from VICE News on Facebook or by email.

By Friday morning, McArthur's Facebook page had been taken down.

Police are investigating five properties in Ontario they say are “associated with” McArthur, including four in Toronto and one in Madoc, a town between Toronto and Ottawa. Local news reported late Thursday night that Ontario Provincial Police officers were searching a property in Madoc, however, the Toronto Police said they would not confirm this, and that “investigators have nothing new to add today and will not be commenting or confirming any details that have been reported in the media.” 

Esen and Kinsman are just two of a series of disappearances that have taken place in Toronto’s Gay Village since 2010.

In October, Toronto police formed a task force called project called Project Prism to investigate cases of people who have gone missing from the community, including Esen and Kinsmen. Project Prism followed an 18-month-long probe called Project Houston, which investigated the disappearances of three other gay men from 2010 to 2012 but failed to find out what happened to them.

VICE

~~~~~~~~~~~~CBC~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~`(Below)





Andrew Kinsman, left, and Selim Esen, right, have both gone missing in recent months, prompting community concern and the allocation of dedicated police resources. (Toronto Police Service)

The arrest and first-degree murder charges of a suspect in the case of two men who disappeared from downtown Toronto have provided some sense of relief in the city's Gay Village but raised questions and criticisms about how police handled the investigation.

"I sort of feel like the police department has egg on their face because we told them a while ago that we felt that it was a serial killer and we also felt as though there was a connection between the people who were missing," Alphonso King, a community resident, and friend of victim Andrew Kinsman, told CBC News.
"I think it's important that they understand that when a community speaks up and says 'We think that something is going on here' — listen." 
Police established Project Prism to investigate the disappearances of Kinsman and Selim Esen. Kinsman, 49, went missing from Toronto's Cabbagetown neighborhood in June, while Esen, 44, was last seen in the Yonge and Bloor area last April. Both areas are close to the predominantly gay neighborhood of Church and Wellesley.
Project Prism was also created to share information with Project Houston, another task force looking into the 2012 disappearances of three other men in the Church and Wellesley area. 

'Never saw any police'

But King suggested the community felt abandoned by police, that they were more concerned about photo ops than actually "looking after our community and making sure that we're safe."
"I didn't notice any more presence in the village after we expressed concerns. You would have thought that there would have been more people on patrol and more people walking about. But I never saw any police," he said.
On Thursday, Toronto police announced they had a suspect in custody,  Bruce McArthur, 66, of Toronto, who they allege was responsible for the deaths of Kinsman and Esen.  
However, police also indicated that McArthur was tied to other victims who have yet to be identified.


Jesse Calleya said he believes the police were taking the investigation seriously, but that they weren't keeping the community updated on its progress. (Mark Gollom/CBC News)
It seemed like an about-face for the police, who last December held a news conference in which they attempted to assuage any fears that a serial killer may be loose in the community.
On Thursday, when asked about the previous comments denying the presence of a serial killer, Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders said: "In policing, what we do is we follow the evidence, and what I said at the time ... was accurate at that time." 
Those comments though provided little comfort to community activists like Nicki Ward, who said they had pushed police to acknowledge the missing person status of those who had disappeared. 
"We are validated in our concerns but there's no joy to be had in that," said Ward, director of the Church-Wellesley Neighbourhood Association. "Why weren't we listened to earlier? Perhaps some lives could have been saved if that was the case."
The disappearances had rattled many members of the Gay Village, who were told by community leaders to be cautious when going out. Posters about the missing men have been plastered all over the neighborhood, while community members launched social media sites to keep a focus on the issue.

'A lot of tension'

"There was a lot of tension, a lot of people looking over their shoulder," said Jesse Calleya, a barber at The Men's Room. "Everybody would walk home together or take an Uber together just because you never knew. A lot of people were just buddying up.
"And now they have somebody in custody. I feel there's been a lot of weight lifted off the shoulders of people in the community."


Community resident Raj Kalang praised police for their efforts in the case/ (Mark Gollom/CBC News)
Calleya said he believes police were taking the investigation seriously, but that they weren't keeping the community updated on its progress.
"The people in the community felt like they were being abandoned and felt like nothing was happening."
However, community resident Raj Kalang had nothing but praise for the police.
"It's not easy to track down all these things. I think they did the best."

'A great job'

Michael Sunley, who also lives in the neighborhood, said police "have done a great job.


Sunley's partner, Paul Hyde, left and Mike Sunley, right, said they were confident in the police's abilities to arrest a suspect. (Mark Gollom/CBC)
"I acknowledge and recognize when police are doing their job, they can't tell you everything," he said. "Because if you compromise the investigation, that's a bigger problem than sharing everything with the public."
Sunley's partner, Paul Hyde, agreed.
"Ultimately we always felt confident someone would get caught."


December 27, 2017

Naked 2018 Calendar Only Offers Ordinary Men Bodies This Year




 This is adamfoxie*s own idea of ordinary bodies not included in the original article






What does it mean to be sexy? Contrary to what you might see in adverts or the pages of magazines, there isn’t one rigid, narrow definition – and it’s not just super sculpted abs and perky bums. That restrictive view of sex appeal is particularly pervasive in gay culture, in which gay men are pressured to meet specific ideals. One calendar is fighting back.

 The Meat Naked Calendar by Meatzine is a calendar made up of twelve nude portraits of twelve ‘ordinary’ men – meaning men of all shapes, sizes, ages, backgrounds, and professions. 

The guys were asked to strip off and lie in the bed of Meat founder and editor, Adrian Lourie, the pose for the 2018 calendar, all to ‘defy the body shaming that goes on in the gay community.’ ‘Photographing naked men is a great way to celebrate the bodies of “ordinary” gay men,’ says Adrian. The calendar’s cover star, an accountant named Fernando, admits that it wasn’t an easy decision to pose entirely naked for the magazine’s calendar, but he’s really pleased he did. Fernando, an accountant. 

‘I’m absolutely proud of myself for doing it,’ says Fernando. ‘I thought I would never be picked because of my body shape and I wanted to prove that you can be hairy and have a belly and it can be sexy.’ Another man who appears in the calendar, performer Dwayne, says he’s glad to see all kinds of men portrayed in a sexy, fun way. ‘I think it’s always interesting to see a broader representation of guys as pin-ups,’ says Dwayne. ‘I think everyone should be photographed for Meat: not to make you be someone you’re not, but to take what you are and show how amazing and beautiful that is.’  

 Another of the calendar’s stars, Warren, agrees: ‘So many of us have issues with our bodies; we think we’re too fat, too skinny, too pale, our dicks are too small, our bums not pert enough or were too hairy. ‘We are constantly comparing ourselves to others, but we need to take a moment to learn to be with happy with what we’ve got and seen that there’s no such thing as the perfect body.  

 ‘I’m not toned, I’m ginger, hairy, I don’t go to the gym and don’t have big muscles, I’m pale as snow and my bum jiggles but I now love being naked again.

METRO


October 19, 2017

World Medical Body Condemns Forced Men Anal Exams As Unscientific and Unethical






A medical report filled out by a doctor in Kampala, Uganda, after conducting a forced anal examination on a man suspected of consensual same-sex conduct. 
A medical report filled out by a doctor in Kampala, Uganda, after conducting a forced anal examination on a man suspected of consensual same-sex conduct.
 
© 2016 Neela Ghoshal/Human Rights Watch

(Nairobi, October 17, 2017) – Doctors, medical professionals, and national medical associations should heed the World Medical Association’s October 2017 resolution to end forced anal examinations on people accused of homosexual conduct, Human Rights Watch said today. The General Assembly of the World Medical Association (WMA), an international organization consisting of national medical associations from 111 countries, condemned the use of forced anal examinations to seek evidence of consensual homosexual conduct.
Forced anal examinations, based on long-discredited 19th century science, often involve doctors or other medical personnel forcibly inserting their fingers, and sometimes other objects, into a person’s anus to attempt to determine whether that person has engaged in anal intercourse. The exams, relied upon as “evidence” in prosecutions for consensual same-sex conduct in some countries, have no scientific basis, violate medical ethics, and constitute cruel, degrading, and inhuman treatment that can rise to the level of torture.
“The jury is no longer out. There is no excuse for governments to continue conducting forced anal exams on people accused of homosexuality,” said Neela Ghoshal, senior researcher on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights at Human Rights Watch. “The World Medical Association has added its voice to an overwhelming consensus that forced anal exams are unethical, unscientific, and unjustifiable on any grounds.”
The World Medical Association resolution calls on doctors to stop conducting the exams. It calls on national medical associations to issue written communications prohibiting their members from participating in them, and to educate doctors and health workers about “the unscientific and futile nature of forced anal exams and the fact that they are a form of torture or cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.” It also calls on the World Health Organization to make an official statement opposing forced anal exams as unscientific and in violation of medical ethics, which would build on an existing reference that condemns the practice.
The resolution, proposed by the South African Medical Association with the support of Human Rights Watch, has been through a year-long review and feedback process, allowing all members to comment in advance of adoption. It passed unanimously, with two abstentions.
At the General Assembly session, the association also adopted a revised “Physician’s Pledge,” which calls on doctors to refrain from discrimination on a number of grounds, including sexual orientation.
Several countries that have not yet eradicated forced anal examinations have made recent progress toward ending them, Human Rights Watch said. Governments in Lebanon and Tunisia have taken steps toward banning forced anal exams. Tunisia recently accepted a recommendation to end the exams during its Universal Periodic Review at the United Nations Human Rights Council, although it remains to be seen whether Tunisia will rigorously enforce the ban. In both cases, national medical associations played a key role in shifting their governments’ positions. The Kenya Medical Association, in September, became the latest medical association to condemn the use of forced anal examinations, although the Attorney General’s Office has attempted to defend their use.
Other countries lag behind. In Egypt, men and transgender women arrested on charges of “debauchery” are systematically referred to the Forensic Medicine Authority, a branch of the Justice Ministry, for forced anal examinations, and the results are regularly used in court to put people behind bars on the grounds of their presumed sexual orientation. Since late September, according to Egyptian human rights activists, at least five Egyptians have been subjected to forced anal exams as part of a vicious crackdown after several young people waved rainbow flags at a concert.
And in Tanzania in late 2016, police resorted to forced anal examinations to seek “proof” of homosexual conduct for the first time, as far as Human Rights Watch has been able to determine, as part of a broader campaign against LGBT people and their allies. Neither the Egyptian Medical Association nor the Medical Association of Tanzania, both members of the WMA, have publicly condemned the exams.
Other countries in which Human Rights Watch has documented the use of forced anal exams between 2010 and 2015 include Cameroon, Turkmenistan, Uganda, and Zambia. Human Rights Watch has received reports of government authorities ordering forced anal exams on people accused of homosexual conduct in Syria and the United Arab Emirates, but has not been able to independently verify these allegations.
“Doctors play a critical role in upholding ethical standards and are often part of the moral compass of society,” Ghoshal said. “In Egypt, in Tanzania, and in all countries in which people are being subjected to forced anal examinations, doctors should take the lead in ending these horrific abuses.”

Human Rights Watch "HRW"         



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