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

January 24, 2020

Why is Germany Not Helping The Gay Community Fighting in Hungary, Poland?

  • Polish government officials' rhetoric on the LGBT+ community in the election suggests that the LGBT+ community will face further challenges in the coming years (Photo: PES)

Several reports have highlighted the abuse and discrimination LGBT+ people face in Poland and Hungary. 
Despite these reports, Polish and Hungarian authorities fail to protect the LGBT+ minority. Moreover, the government officials' rhetoric on the LGBT+ community in the Polish election suggests that the LGBT+ community will face further challenges in the coming years.
In 2008, the commission presented a proposal for an EU Council directive on implementing the principle of equal treatment outside the labor market, irrespective of age, disability, sexual orientation or religious beliefs, which aims at extending protection against discrimination through a horizontal approach. 
The directive would substantially improve the rights of LGBT+ people but is currently at hold because the council has blocked it. 
The directive would have passed the council had not Germany refused acceptance and ratification. In 2008 Germany was the only member state opposing the directive. 
Since then the human rights situation in particular in Poland and Hungary has deteriorated substantially. Currently, neither Poland nor Hungary would agree on such a directive. 
While the European parliament cannot adopt the directive without unanimity in the council, it has the power to issue-link the directive to other issues and therefore strong-arm the council into adopting it.  
Each year, the parliament and the council have to agree on the EU budget. If the two legislative institutions do not come to a compromise, the budget stalls.  
As of 2018, approximately €16.3m of the EU budget is awarded to Poland and €6.3m is awarded to Hungary. A substantial part of the budget is spent on reducing economic gaps between the EU's various regions.
Thus, the European parliament has the opportunity to amend that the member states increase their efforts on combating LGBT+ discrimination or adopt the Anti-Discriminative Directive. 
In the case that they fail to do so, the European parliament can amend that a smaller portion of the EU budget will be spent on the respective countries that do not follow the directive or increase their anti-discrimination efforts. 
The council will probably block such an amendment. However, if the European parliament stalls the budget long enough it may strong-arm the council into accepting the amendments. 
Therefore we in the European Centre-Right LGBT+ Alliance, demand from Germany to give up its resistance against the directive and suggest to the commission and the center-right parties that they lay further pressure on Polish and Hungarian authorities to improve conditions for the LGBT+ community and people. 
Further, we suggest to the center-right parties that they amend provisions in the next EU budget regarding further efforts to combat LGBT+ discrimination and that they amend provisions in the next EU budget regarding the implementation of the Anti-Discrimination Directive.


Fredrik Saweståhl is president of the European Centre-Right LGBTI+ Alliance and a representative of Öppna Moderater, Sweden.

December 30, 2019

LGBT Rights World Wide Are in Danger But The U.S. is Now Part of That Problem

                            Image result for Daniil Grachev, an LGBTQ rights activist, is arrested by riot police during a pride event in St. Petersburg, 2013.

Over the years that followed, I met LGBTQ refugees who’d fled ISIS in Syria, queer teens who escaped gang violence in El Salvador, and doctors in Japan trying to help win acceptance for transgender people. In retrospect, it seems obvious that these were stories that deserved to be told. But back in 2013, few big media companies had specialist reporters devoted to LGBTQ news in the US, let alone reporters trying to write about the issue around the world. 

The US and the world were changing fast. Former President Barack Obama made promoting LGBTQ rights a key priority of US foreign policy during his first term in office, even before he came out in support of marriage equality. In June 2013, the US Supreme Court ruled that the federal government had to recognize marriage for same-sex couples. Four days later, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed legislation that became known as the “gay propaganda ban,” and sparked a global outcry.

Nearly 80 countries considered homosexuality a crime when the decade began — anti-LGBTQ violence and discrimination were common in many more — and the issue was almost completely ignored in international diplomacy. Now at the decade’s end, more than 30 countries have established marriage equality, transgender people have gained legal protections in several places for the first time, and a social revolution has brought LGBTQ people out of the closet across the globe.

This was the decade when it became clear that “gay rights are human rights,” as then-secretary of state Hillary Clinton said in a 2011 UN speech. But it was also the decade when the very notion that humans have universal rights came under attack. A new generation of anti-democratic leaders — including Clinton’s 2016 opponent, Donald Trump — declared war on the basic human rights framework put in place after World War II. In many cases, these leaders used rapid LGBTQ advances as ammunition to turn citizens against the principles of democracy itself. 

On my first trip as a reporter for BuzzFeed News, it became crystal clear to me that the fight over LGBTQ rights was about something much bigger.

This was a swing through Eastern Europe in October 2013 to see what impact Russia’s new anti-LGBTQ law was having on its neighbors. The “gay propaganda ban” was technically a law prohibiting teaching children about “nontraditional relationships,” but it became a tool to intimidate activist groups and suppress any demonstration of LGBTQ rights. It also helped make anti-gay sentiment a tool of Russian foreign policy the world is still struggling with today.

My trip ended in Ukraine, which was on the verge of signing a deal to formalize ties with the European Union. The deal would have required Ukraine to accept a broad suite of human rights protections, one of which was prohibiting employment discrimination against gays and lesbians. Putin and his allies wanted to derail a Ukraine–EU alliance at all costs.

The streets of the capital, Kyiv, were plastered with billboards that said things like “Association with the EU means same-sex marriage.”

These billboards were funded by a Ukrainian businessperson with such close ties to Putin that he made the Russian president godfather to his daughter. The claim that the EU treaty would force Ukraine to recognize marriage for same-sex couples was a lie, but it was a useful distortion. The anti-gay sentiment was the perfect way to trigger broad fear among Ukrainians that the human rights norms of Western democracies would strip the country of its identity. 

“The EU will require Ukraine to expand its gay culture, and, instead of Victory Parades, gay parades will be held in Kyiv,” one top Russian lawmaker tweeted as the EU treaty signing approached.

By year’s end, the tug of war over Ukraine had ripped the country in two. When the country’s president bowed to Russian pressure and tried to walk away from the EU deal, a pro-European revolution drove him from office. In response, Russian-backed soldiers invaded and annexed one part of the country and fomented a war that still grinds on today. Across the internet in those days, propaganda sites pumped out all manner of stories claiming Russia had stepped in to protect Ukrainians from a “totalitarian” West. 

Stuart Gaffney (left) and John Lewis (center), plaintiffs in the 2008 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) case, celebrate while traveling along Market Street during San Francisco Pride Pride, two days after the US Supreme Court's landmark ruling legalizing marriage for same-sex couples nationwide, June 28, 2015.

At the same time, Russia was scrambling to pry Ukraine away from the EU, it was making preparations to host the Winter Olympics in Sochi. This provided the perfect platform for Putin to use anti-gay sentiment to attack the credibility of countries that claimed to champion human rights. The lead-up to the games was dominated in the West by boycotts from activist groups in protest of Russia’s “gay propaganda” law; Obama lent his support to the campaign by skipping the opening ceremony in February 2014. 

Putin treated this conflict as an opportunity. If countries like the US wanted to define human rights policies by supporting LGBTQ rights, he was all too happy to lead the counterattack on behalf of “traditional values.”

In one chilling incident, Russian state television broadcast a secretly recorded meeting between Russian activists and international NGOs like Human Rights Watch as part of a “documentary” warning of a “homosexual invasion.” The Russian government also used this as an excuse to step up attacks on civil society, forcing LGBTQ rights organizations to identify themselves as “foreign agents” under a law also used against environmentalists and other human rights NGOs.

Over the years that followed, I covered one authoritarian regime after another that used the anti-gay sentiment to discredit human rights advocates and Western democracies.

In Uganda, I sat through a five-hour “thanksgiving ceremony” in March 2014 after the country passed a sweeping anti-LGBTQ law, during which President Yoweri Museveni said anal sex caused the intestines to fall out and vowed to reject US money to fight HIV if it meant accepting “foreign things.” As in Russia, the Ugandan government stirred up panic about homosexuality to make it harder for NGOs to operate. Police restricted the operations of Uganda’s largest NGO, a refugee rights organization that also was part of a coalition fighting the anti-LGBTQ law, for allegedly “promoting homosexuality and lesbianism.” Authorities even raided an HIV center run by the US military. 

Assaults on LGBTQ rights — as well as moves against women’s rights and refugees — were increasingly at the center of geopolitical conflicts. Later in 2014, ISIS started promoting gruesome execution images of men it said were gay in an effort to portray itself as defending Islam against Western debauchery. In 2016, Turkey banned Istanbul Pride ceremonies — the largest Pride regularly celebrated in the Muslim world. The banishment coincided with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s broader crackdown on public protest and free speech. Inside the EU, pride parades were attacked in Poland, which is led by a far-right government.

Anti-LGBTQ crackdowns predate this decade, of course — few in the last 10 years even made headlines outside their home countries. But never before did showdowns over anti-LGBTQ rights regularly rise to the highest levels of the world’s most powerful governments and institutions.

What might have once been local conflicts turned into diplomatic incidents? The World Bank responded to Uganda’s anti-LGBTQ law by suspending a $90 million loan; the UN Security Council responded to ISIS’s executions by holding its first-ever discussion on an LGBTQ rights issue; and an alliance led by five South American nations succeeded in pushing through a UN resolution to create an LGBTQ rights officer position, defeating an opposition that included Russia and blocs of African and Islamic countries.

Conservative nations, with help from the Vatican’s diplomatic corps, were simultaneously working to strike the word “gender” from other UN resolutions, believing the term opened the door to greater LGBTQ and women’s rights protections under international law. Anti-LGBTQ countries have also attempted to water down resolutions for other human rights issues by inserting language affirming “sovereignty,” a term that suggests local values or interests trump universal rights claims.

But as with women’s rights in the 1990s, despite opposition, LGBTQ rights in the 2010s were well on their way to becoming a core part of the international human rights system by the end of the Obama administration. Obama even created the world’s first special envoy for LGBTQ rights in the State Department and issued rules to prevent recipients of US foreign aid from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation.

As he prepared to leave the White House, it seemed as if the world’s most powerful democratic governments would continue to look for ways to respond to threats to LGBTQ rights around the world.

And then Clinton, with help from Russia’s disinformation machine, lost the 2016 election to Trump.
When the Trump administration talks about LGBTQ rights today, it comes across as gaslighting. He makes occasional noises about protecting LGBTQ people, but he also rolled back several protections for transgender people and had his Justice Department argue it should be legal to fire people for being gay. During his 2016 campaign, Trump copied a tactic of anti-immigrant politicians in countries like France and the Netherlands, using the issue exclusively as a justification to attack the rights of another minority. The best way to protect “the gays,” Trump said at the time, was to ban Muslims from entering the US.

As for other human rights, Trump has put immigrant children in cages along the southern border, denied asylum-seekers their rights under the Geneva Conventions, and turned a blind eye to the murder of a Saudi journalist in order to preserve lucrative weapons contracts. In a recent speech at the UN, he called for the repeal of sodomy laws but also called NGOs that work with immigrants “cruel and evil.”

While the US has not overtly renounced support for LGBTQ rights in international diplomacy, some human rights activists worry that day could still becoming. The White House was silent when news broke in 2017 that police in the Russian republic of Chechnya had kidnapped and tortured more than 100 LGBTQ people. Trump’s current secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, has called homosexuality a “perversion” and said during his confirmation that he still opposes marriage equality. Pompeo recently convened a new commission tasked with reining in a human rights regime he said had been “hijacked.” 

“Rights claims are often aimed more at rewarding interest groups and dividing humanity into subgroups,” he wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed announcing the commission.

The language used to describe the commission’s mission is “clearly code to not include gay rights and reproductive rights,” Mark Bromley, who leads the LGBTQ rights group the Council for Global Equality, told me earlier this month.

The US is not the only powerful government that has abandoned clear support for LGBTQ rights. Brazil, long a world leader the issue, has retreated under its far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro, who once said he’d rather his son were dead than gay and blasted a recent Supreme Court decision criminalizing LGBTQ discrimination. In nearly every country that has slid toward greater authoritarianism — including Hungary, Poland, China, and the US — LGBTQ rights have been a casualty.

This turn away by many governments has not erased the gains made, thanks to growing support at the grassroots. Australians defied their right-leaning government in 2017 to overwhelmingly approve a referendum to institute marriage equality. India’s Supreme Court issued a sweeping ruling in 2018 to decriminalize homosexuality at a time when the country’s president is a religious fundamentalist. And two more African countries, Angola and Botswana, decriminalized homosexuality this year.

“Once you have a taste that a better world is possible, you do not want to go back,” said Jessica Stern, executive director of OutRight Action International, which works with activists around the world and advocates for LGBTQ rights at the UN. 

But it is growing even more dangerous in some places to demand rights, and activists can’t count on solidarity from the US the way they could just a few years ago.

“In this environment, there are fewer powerful states that we can count on, and there are more powerful states that are hostile to LGBTIQ rights,” Stern recently told me. “Russia, with its influence across the Middle East, China, and its influence everywhere.” It’s not just that the US is a “shadow of its former self” when it comes to defending human rights, she added — it’s now part of the problem.

“I am very worried about the next decade,” Stern said. “Every time I open my email or turn on my phone, someone I know personally is under attack.”●   

February 19, 2019

Right Wing Brazil New President Attacks Gay Rights

                                            Image result for Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro



 In President Jair Bolsonaro’s Brazil, boys will be boys and girls will be girls. And that’s an order.

Damares Alves, the evangelical pastor who serves as Bolsonaro’s minister of women and family, declared on her first day in office that, in the new Brazil, “girls wear pink and boys wear blue.”

“Girls will be princesses and boys will be princes,” she added. “There will be no more ideological indoctrination of children and teenagers in Brazil.”

Bolsonaro’s minister of education, Ricardo Vélez Rodríguez, shut down a section of the ministry devoted to diversity and human rights. He has said he is against the discussion of “gender theory” — which studies gender identity — in the classroom.

Bolsonaro, too, has left no question about where he stands on these issues.

“We will unite people, value the family, respect religions and our Judeo-Christian tradition, combat gender ideology and rescue our values,” Bolsonaro said at his New Year’s Day inauguration.

The administration’s actions are raising concerns among liberals, who are bracing for policies embraced by a president who once said he’d prefer a dead son to a gay son. Last month, Jean Wyllys, Brazil’s only openly gay congressman, gave up his seat and fled the country amid death threats and hateful messages. 

Over the past 10 years, Brazil’s LGBT population secured a number of civil rights victories in the courts, from same-sex marriage in 2013 to legal transgender name and gender changes in 2018. But as the LGBT community gained new rights, Brazil was growing more conservative. One-third of the country is now evangelical, up from 15 percent in 2000, according to the Datafolha, a local pollster. . 

This change has been reflected in Brazil’s increasingly powerful evangelical caucus, which now claims 1 in 6 members in Brazil’s lower house, making it the most conservative National Congress since Brazil’s return to democracy in 1984. 

Under Bolsonaro, the new Ministry of Women, Family, and Human Rights declined to add the LGBT community as a group explicitly protected by its mandate. Last month, the health official who headed the nation’s HIV-prevention task force was fired, apparently for authorizing a campaign aimed at educating transgender Brazilians. 

Gender and sexuality have become a primary target for evangelical groups over the past decade. A question about trans culture on a high school standardized test, for example, drew widespread criticism from Brazil’s growing religious right, which argued that gender education had gone too far. In 2017, the government decided to withdraw mentions of gender identity from curriculums. Some conservative politicians in state and city governments are now pushing for a ban on any discussions of gender diversity and sexual orientation in the classroom. 

A couple kisses during a mass wedding ceremony in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Dec. 15. Same-sex couples in the country are rushing to get married over fears that their rights could soon be taken away. (Fernando Bizerra/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)

“Gender ideology is a field of study with no scientific backing that causes confusion for children in development because it negates the biological identity of the child and destroys distinctions between masculine and feminine. It is an extremely grave social experiment,” said Cleber Cabral Siedschlag, coordinator of Front for the Defense of Christian Family Values, a conservative group against the teaching of liberal ideology in schools.

Beyond the classroom, LGBT groups worry the election of Bolsonaro will give new life to bills calling for their rights to be revoked or curtailed. These bills, until now, have languished in Brazil’s National Congress.

One such bill seeks to define a family as a relationship between a man and a woman, which the LGBT community fears could have implications for health care, adoption and welfare benefits. Evangelical backers of Bolsonaro are also pushing for a new airing of a bathroom law that would compel people to use the restrooms associated with their biological sex. 

The bills face uphill battles given centrist and left-wing opposition, but critics say the new government’s aggressive stance is nevertheless fueling a toxic atmosphere for people in the LGBT community. 

In recent years, killings of LGBT Brazilians have soared, trend activists say is getting worse as homophobic rhetoric finds an official perch.

Hate crimes in Sao Paulo, Brazil’s largest city, peaked in the months leading up to October’s presidential election, as Bolsonaro, once a fringe politician, entered the mainstream. The city registered an average of 16 hate crime cases a day in August, September, and October, more than triple the daily average for the first half of the year, according to a tally of police reports obtained by the Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper using freedom of information requests. Homophobic hate crimes, in particular, rose 75 percent during those months. 

Last year, Bolsonaro said he rejected the votes of anyone who was violent. But experts monitoring hate crimes say they are becoming more frequent.

On Dec. 21, Anderson de Sousa Lima, 25, was walking down Avenida Paulista, the street that hosts Brazil’s largest annual pride parade, with his husband of three years, Plinio Lima. When a man behind them started shouting homophobic slurs, saying they should die, his husband confronted the man, he said.

The man stabbed Plinio with a Swiss Army knife, he said. 

Anderson watched as his husband stumbled backward, grabbed Anderson’s hand and said, “I’ve been stabbed.” In moments, his black shirt was soaked in blood and he fell to the ground, where he bled to death in his husband’s arms. 

“He took away his life, but my life ended. I don’t know what I will do without him,” said Anderson, who said he had never suffered any aggression in the past. He blamed the current political climate, in part, for the attack. 

“All it took was Bolsonaro to be voted into office for this to happen,” he said. “It’s not all his fault — people are born this way — but it created a revolt. Brazil was accepting things, but now I see the situation is getting worse.” 

The climate for the LGBT community is so fearful that hundreds of couples, on the suggestion of the Brazilian Bar Association, have rushed to marry in the months since Bolsonaro’s victory in October, fearing the 2013 court decision that deemed same-sex marriage legal is at risk. Bolsonaro has called the decision “a blow to family unity and family values.” 

In June of 2018, Brazil’s courts ruled that transgender people could change their genders and names at registrars offices without undergoing physical exams — another hard-won victory for the LGBT community. But that, too, activists fear, could be under siege. That threat has lead to a stampede of transgender Brazilians seeking to register their new names and genders.

Sol Rocha, a 25-year-old veterinarian, and a trans woman have been doing odd jobs to save the $100 she’ll have to pay in fees to change her legal gender from male to female. 

“For me, it’s very important to do this as quickly as possible, to get my documents as quickly as possible,” she said, “because I know that soon we won’t be able to do this.”


Anthony FaiolaAnthony Faiola is The Washington Post’s South America/Caribbean bureau chief. Since joining the paper in 1994, he has served as bureau chief in Berlin, London, Tokyo, Buenos Aires and New York. He has also covered global economics from Washington. 
Marina LopesMarina Lopes is the Washington Post's Brazil correspondent. Before joining the paper she reported for Reuters in Mozambique, New York, and Washington D.C. She holds a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University. 

January 21, 2019

TV Personality in Egypt Get One Yr Hard labor for Interviewing Gay Man


Mohamed al-Ghiety

 An Egyptian TV presenter has been sentenced to one year of hard labour for interviewing a gay man last year.
A court in Giza also fined Mohamed al-Ghiety 3,000 Egyptian pounds ($167; £130) for "promoting homosexuality" on his privately owned LTC TV channel.
The gay man, whose identity was hidden, had talked about life as a sex worker.
Homosexuality is not explicitly criminalised in Egypt, however, the authorities have been increasingly cracking down on the LGBT community. 
They routinely arrest people suspected of engaging in consensual homosexual conduct on charges of "debauchery", immorality or blasphemy. 
The most recent case came about after lawyer Samir Sabry, who is well known in Egypt for taking celebrities to court, filed a lawsuit against Ghiety for his interview which took place in August 2018.
The TV host, who has voiced homophobic views on a number of occasions, spoke to a gay man who expressed regret over his sexuality and described life as a prostitute. The man's face had been blurred to conceal his identity.
Egypt's top media body, the Supreme Council for Media Regulation, immediately took the channel off air for two weeks, citing "professional violations". 
The prosecuting lawyer, Mr Sabry, accused the TV host of revealing there to be financial gains of "practising homosexuality", state-owned al-Ahram newspaper reports.
In addition to the jail term and fine, the misdemeanours court also ordered Ghiety to be put under surveillance for one year after serving his sentence, Mr Sabry said. 
The verdict could be appealed against and suspended if Ghiety paid bail of 1,000 Egyptian pounds, pending the appeal's outcome, he added. Egypt's media council banned homosexuals from appearing on any media outlet after a rainbow flag was raised at a concert in Cairo in 2017, in a rare public show of support for the LGBT community in the conservative, mainly Muslim country.
A crackdown was also launched on suspected homosexuals with dozens of people arrested, in a move decried by human rights groups.
The authorities rely on a 1961 prostitution law that criminalises "habitual debauchery" to charge people who they suspect of engaging in consensual homosexual conduct. 
Mr Sabry was also the lawyer who filed a case against Egyptian actress Rania Youssef on charges of "inciting debauchery" over a see-through outfit she wore at an awards ceremony last year. He later dropped the case after Ms Youssef apologised.
He has filed hundreds of similar cases in recent years.

November 5, 2018

Pink Season in Hong Kong to Lawmakers: "We Are Ready for Equal Rights"

Pink Season event highlights call of Hong Kong’s LGBT community to lawmakers: we’re ready for equal rights, listen to society
Five weeks of themed activities held in the city up to November 3 raise discussion of recent legal milestones Campaigners applaud the progress made that may pave way for same-sex partners to enjoy rights equal to those of heterosexual couples 
LGBT campaigners have applauded key legal developments in Hong Kong that they say could eventually bring same-sex partners the same rights enjoyed by heterosexual couples.
And while warning that a hard fight lies ahead to secure those rights, they pointed to research that suggests the public is in favor of expanding legal protections for LGBT people.
In a forum on Thursday night, held as part of Pink Season, a five-week festival of LGBT-themed events in the city that ends on November 3, legal experts and researchers hailed a July ruling by Hong Kong’s highest court that granted a married British lesbian a spousal visa. She had initially been denied one.  
They are now following closely the outcome of a case involving gay civil servant Angus Leung, who is seeking the same spousal and tax benefits enjoyed by heterosexual couples for his husband.
Aaron Chan, a lawyer from the team representing Leung, said: “Gay rights are like any human rights issue: if you are a human being, no matter what ethnic group you come from, you deserve the same rights. That should be applicable to Hong Kong as well.”
Under Hong Kong’s Marriage Reform Ordinance (1970), marriage is defined as “the voluntary union for life of one man with one woman to the exclusion of all others”.
Leung, a Hongkonger, initiated a judicial review against the Civil Service Bureau in 2015, when it refused to grant his British husband Scott Adams spousal benefits and the right to declare their tax jointly, as is the case for heterosexual couples.
The case has gone back and forth in court, with the Court of First Instance initially ruling in favor of Leung in April 2017 on the benefits issue. But in June this year, the Court of Appeal overturned that decision.
Separately, on July 4, the Court of Final Appeal ruled that a British lesbian, identified as QT, should be granted a dependent visa on the basis that her wife, SS, held an employment visa to work in the city. The case was initially lodged in 2015 but suffered a setback in 2016 when a lower court ruled against it.
The July ruling for QT gave Leung and his supporters a boost, and last month it was confirmed that his appeal would be heard by the higher court, on a date to be set.
Speaking at an event attended by about 80 people, including legal experts, business leaders, and senior executives, Chan said Leung’s case highlighted the discrimination against LGBT couples.

“This is probably the first case in which we’re talking about same-sex marriage. What Mr. Leung wants to do is ask: if New Zealand heterosexual counterparts can bring their marriages to Hong Kong, why can’t he?”
If Leung wins his case, it will be a big step forward in obtaining equality for same-sex partners, but Chan said it was down to changes in public opinion that would eventually convince the government to accept a change to the law.
“It’s important for society to tell lawmakers: we are ready – listen to the majority’s voice and make this happen,” Chan said, referring to recent public surveys that indicate a growing acceptance of LGBT people in local society.
Philip Howell-Williams, a British financial consultant and director of Pink Season, said the QT case raised key questions for LGBT people in Hong Kong. Giving the example of same-sex couples who move to Hong Kong with children, he told the Post: “We know the child can only be registered to one parent because their marriage is not recognized. But now, if you can have a spousal visa, can the child be registered to both parents?”
Howell-Williams, who has been a leading LGBT campaigner in the city over the past three years, also described what he called the “potential disconnect between the local community and the expat community”. He pointed out that foreign same-sex couples could move to the city and have their marriage recognized, whereas native Hong Kong couples were not accorded such recognition.
This, Howell-Williams said, underlined the significance of Leung’s case, given Leung is a Hongkonger.
Peter Charles Reading, legal counsel for the Equal Opportunities Commission, said: “there are many areas in Hong Kong where there is discrimination against same-sex couples”.

He noted several countries have introduced the option of civil unions – a legally recognized form of relationship – not only for same-sex couples but for heterosexual partners.
“The government needs to address these in a comprehensive manner, by seeing this as an issue of the human rights of couples,” Reading said.
Kelley Loper, director of the Centre for Comparative and Public Law at the University of Hong Kong and another speaker at the event, expanded on the findings of a survey, released earlier this year, that found slightly more than half of the Hongkongers supported the right of gay couples to wed, up from 38 percent in a similar 2013 study, while 69 percent said they favored having a law to protect against sexual orientation discrimination.
“We found that a majority of people in Hong Kong do favor protecting gay and lesbian rights,” Loper said. “Even in 2013, there was already majority support for granting rights to same-sex couples. But by 2017, we’ve seen a statistically significant shift in favor of same-sex marriage.”
Angus Leung, who attended the event, told the Post of his frustration about the lengthy legal battle but said he was optimistic about a favorable outcome.
“The fight continues, and the whole process has been very long. But if this is what we have to go through to get our rights, we’ll do it.”

November 1, 2018

See How Our Community is Doing With 9 Maps Showing Diferent LGBT Rights Around The World

Gays and lesbians throughout India rejoiced last month when a landmark court ruling made homosexuality legal in the country. 
While the decision may seem like a long time coming for those in the LGBTQ community, gay sex is still illegal in nearly 40% of countries in the United Nations, according to statistics released last year by the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA)
To understand how gay rights vary around the world, Business Insider created a set of maps that visualize which countries have legalized gay marriage and the countries where gay people can still be put to death, among other questions. 
The results show that while homosexuality is no longer outlawed in the majority of the world, there's still a long way to go in terms of acceptance and equality for LGBTQ people. 

Religion is an un-ignorable factor in the maps. While the majority of the world has legalized homosexuality, the countries where it is still outlawed are concentrated in the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and Africa — areas with majority-Muslim nations. 

 Religion is an un-ignorable factor in the maps. While the majority of the world has legalized homosexuality, the countries where it is still outlawed are concentrated in the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and Africa — areas with majority-Muslim nations. Shayanne Gal/Business Insider
According to the Associated Press, "Islamic scholars overwhelmingly teach that same-gender sex is a sin." 
The Quran teaches that homosexuality should be punished but doesn't detail how. The Prophet Muhammad is alleged to have been more explicit that homosexuals should be killed in some of his teachings. That's why some countries that implement sharia law (rules based on Islamic teachings) make homosexuality a capital crime. 

In fact, nearly all of the countries where homosexuality is technically still a capital crime are majority Muslim.

In fact, nearly all of the countries where homosexuality is technically still a capital crime are majority Muslim.Shayanne Gal/Business Insider
Nigeria is split between Christians in the south and Muslims in the north. Homosexuality only carries the death penalty for some states in the north. 
Source: ILGA

Only about 13% of UN member countries have legalized gay marriage.

Only about 13% of UN member countries have legalized gay marriage.Shayanne Gal/Business Insider
A few others — including Peru, Italy and Greece — have only legalized civil unions for same-sex partners so far. 
Source: ILGA  
Australia, Germany, and Malta were the most recent to adopt same-sex marriage, in 2017. The first country to do so was the Netherlands, in 2001.

Australia, Germany, and Malta were the most recent to adopt same-sex marriage, in 2017. The first country to do so was the Netherlands, in 2001.Shayanne Gal/Business Insider
Sources: ILGAFortune

Same-sex couples largely aren't allowed to adopt outside of the Americas and Europe.

Same-sex couples largely aren't allowed to adopt outside of the Americas and Europe.Shayanne Gal/Business Insider
South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand are exceptions to the rule. 
Joint adoption means a same-sex couple can adopt a child together. Second-parent adoption means that one member of a same-sex couple can adopt their partner's child (such as when one member of a lesbian couple gives birth). 
Source: ILGA 
Though it's too small to show up on the map, the Mediterranean island nation of Malta has also banned conversion therapies, in addition to Brazil and Ecuador.

Though it's too small to show up on the map, the Mediterranean island nation of Malta has also banned conversion therapies, in addition to Brazil and Ecuador.Shayanne Gal/Business Insider
Source: ILGA

Just 5% of UN member states have written it into their constitutions that sexual orientation-based discrimination is not allowed.

Just 5% of UN member states have written it into their constitutions that sexual orientation-based discrimination is not allowed.Shayanne Gal/Business Insider
Source: ILGA

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