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

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

October 10, 2018

Western Islands Do Have Gay Pride

About 200 supporters of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights marched
About 200 supporters of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights marched
[The ] Susanne Erbida, a co-organiser of Pride Hebrides, said: “We have had a lot of support locally and it is a positive step. I don’t know if this would have been possible 20 to 30 years ago here, but it is a sign of a more diverse and tolerant community.”
Rev Graeme Craig, minister of Stornoway Free Church, said: “This is a sad day for the islands. Whatever form sexual immorality may take, it is nothing to be proud about.”
On the mainland, an LGBT march in Inverness was attended by 3,000 people, including former Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale. Alan Cumming, the Scots actor whose screen credits include GoldenEye and X-Men 2, said his late grandmother, who lived in the city, would have marched at Proud Ness.  It was the first event of its kind to take place in the city for 15 years.
Donald J Morrison, a mission worker for the Free Church of Scotland, mounted a petition to cancel the Inverness event that he said received more than 700 signatures. He branded the celebration “shameful” and “deeply offensive”.

April 26, 2018

A Millionaire Indian Hotelier is Fighting for Gay Rights at The Supreme Court

Participants walk during the Queer Azaadi Pride March in Mumbai, India February 3, 2018.

One of India’s top hoteliers has decided to take the fight for the decriminalization of gay sex to India’s top court.
Keshav Suri, executive director of The Lalit Suri Hospitality Group, filed a petition with the supreme court on April 23 challenging Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) that criminalizes a consensual relationship between consenting adults of the same sex. The court has agreed to hear his plea and has sought a response from the government.
The 33-year-old Suri is the son of the late hotelier, Lalit Suri, the founding chairman and owner of Bharat Hotels, which runs the Lalit Suri Hospitality Group. The company runs close to a dozen luxury properties in Delhi, Mumbai, Goa, Bengaluru, London, and other cities.
Suri reportedly identifies himself as a part of India’s LGBTQ community and is understood to be living with a partner of the same sex. He wants India to allow an individual the right to choose his or her partner.
His counsel told the supreme court on April 23 that the “petitioner himself has suffered mentally and been stigmatized on account of his sexual orientation at personal and professional fronts…”
India criminalizes “unnatural” sexual intercourse under Section 377. Under this law, “whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to 10 years, and shall also be liable to fine.”
Members of the LGBTQ community also face severe harassment in India’s widely conservative society. So much so that the associated taboo makes it hard for them to get equal job opportunities or pursue an open lifestyle. Indeed, homophobia costs the country billions of dollars, a 2014 World Bank report said.
Section 377 was drafted by India’s British administration in the 1860s, and there have been many attempts in recent years to have it scrapped, citing it as a direct violation of the fundamental rights promised under the constitution.
In 2013, the country’s LGBTQ community suffered a blow after the supreme court overturned a 2009 order by the Delhi high court that sought to legalize gay sex. However, the supreme court is now considering reviewing the section after a group of five petitioners again sought to get it scrapped in January this year.

April 25, 2018

Tom Daley Say "I will Fight For Gay Rights in Russia, At least I Won't be Thrown in Jail"

Diving great Tom Daley will campaign for gay rights when he competes at next month’s World Series in Russia.

 Daley, who combined with Dan Goodfellow to win gold at the Games on the Gold Coast, has called on the Commonwealth Games Federation to do more to pressure those nations where homosexuality remains illegal. Thirty-six of 53 member states still outlaw gay sex.
Speaking to the BBC, Daley, 23, said he intended to maintain his campaigning when competing in Russia.
“I think the one thing that is the most powerful thing to do is go and compete and do the best I can, and just be who I am and compete at the highest level that I can,” he said.
“Speaking out can only do so much, but for me going there competing is a message that I want to urge other LGBT people to go and compete in Russia.
“It doesn’t matter about our sexual orientation.”
Daley, who held a baby shower with husband Dustin Lance Black last weekend, said becoming a father has inspired him to be more forthright in his activism.
“You want your child to grow up having an equal opportunity as everyone else that is born, whether they’re gay, straight, male, female, whatever religion you are, whatever ethnicity you are,” he said.
“I think that everyone should have the equal opportunity to do the best you can.”

Daley told the BBC it struck him while he was sitting with his gold medal at lunch with Black following the Commonwealth Games how lucky he was “to not be worried about any ramifications or someone being able to throw me in prison”.
“To know that 36 of the competing nations criminalise LGBT people so that if I was born in a different country I wouldn’t be able to compete truly as I am, it struck me in such a way I was mortified by it,” he said.
“I crafted a little sentence on my Instagram post and that was exactly what I was feeling in that moment.

April 18, 2018

Revival For Gay Culture Against Backtrack in Local and International Civil Rights

 Chinese New Year in Hong Kong

In the US, 2018 heralds a bumper year for queer culture: while award-winning Call Me By Your Name is enjoying widespread public accolade and generous critical acclaim, classics including Torch Song Trilogy, The Boys in the Band and Angels in America are lined up on Broadway. Queer Eye and RuPaul’s Drag Race garner attention on the small screen.
Yet this cultural revival takes place against a backdrop of uncertainty in the US with a rollback of rights for LGBT people domestically, and a wavering of support internationally.  This tension played itself out in a highly publicized frosty standoff between Vice-President Mike Pence and the ice skater Adam Rippon during the winter Olympics in Seoul. “You mean Mike Pence, the same Mike Pence that funded gay conversion therapy? I’m not buying it,”  Rippon said in response to a reported overture for a meeting.  
The US government withdrew protection for transgender students under Title IX in February, and in October issued a directive stating that transgender people are not protected from employment discrimination under Title VII, reversing a 2014 Justice Department position. In two separate cases, the Justice Department filed amicus briefs in efforts to curtail LGBT protections against workplace and public accommodations
President Donald Trump issued a memorandum barring transgender people from serving in the military, although this has been blocked by courts and contradicted in practice.  An executive order opened the way for religious exemptions and poses a threat to the rights of women and LGBT people.
Looking back over a tumultuous year, for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in many parts of the world, 2017 was grim by any standard. The most disturbing trend was the scale and frequency of arbitrary arrests, state-sponsored discrimination, and violence against LGBT people.  The brutal consequence of intensified homophobia orchestrated or facilitated by agents of the state was evident in Azerbaijan, Russia’s Chechen Republic (Chechnya), Egypt, Indonesia, Tajikistan, and Tanzania.  For activists, it was a year of responding to a seemingly endless cycle of unfolding crises.
And yet, looking beyond these egregious abuses, there was also remarkable progress.  Positive court rulings in several jurisdictions enhanced protections for LGBT people, while several countries gave legal recognition to same-sex relationships and transgender identities.   The United Nations General Assembly received its first report on violence and discrimination against LGBT people.  
No doubt, as the visibility of LGBT people grows, and rights are achieved in some parts of the world, there has been a strong response from groups that stand against LGBT rights and that are better organized, funded and more sophisticated than in the past.  There has also been a spike in political homophobia, as unpopular minorities bear the brunt of majoritarian rhetoric and authoritarian rule.  
State-sponsored homophobia
Political homophobia remains a potent symbol for autocratic leaders and a convenient football for competing ideologies. It is also a dangerous precursor to discrimination and violence against LGBT people.
Since 2013, the Egyptian government of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has systematically arrested gay and bisexual men and transgender women, with several hundred imprisoned for same-sex conduct.  In September 2017, the police conducted a new wave of arrests after revelers at the acclaimed Mashrou’ Leila concert displayed a rainbow flag. The US withheld a proportion of military aid to Egypt, due to stated concerns about human rights abuses, specifically a law that places onerous restrictions on nongovernmental organizations. Yet, by and large, Egypt’s allies focused on investment, migration, and counterterrorism, and ignored Egypt’s abysmal human rights record.
During the year, Indonesian authorities conducted raids against LGBT people, exploiting an existing anti-pornography law to apprehend at least 200, and bring charges against gay men arrested in a hotel, as well as nightclubs and saunas. Transgender women found themselves hounded by vigilantesDespite an international outcry, two men convicted of having consensual sex in Aceh were subjected to 85 lashes with a cane in public under Sharia (Islamic law) applicable in that region.
Nonetheless, Indonesia accepted two recommendations during its Universal Periodic Review (UPR)  before the UN Human Rights Council pertaining to LGBT people: one on the protection of LGBT human rights defenders, and another on prioritizing equality and non-discrimination, including in relation to LGBT peopleIn April, news broke of a wide-scale purge against gay and bisexual men in Chechnya.  Security and police officials rounded up presumably gay men and tortured them in informal detention facilities. The authorities mined the men’s social media accounts and contacts for the names of other men, who were also rounded up.  Detainees were released to elder male relatives in public rituals of humiliation, and their captors encouraged families to commit so-called “honor killings.”
Sustained international pressure compelled the Kremlin to press Chechen authorities to suspend the purge and to open a federal inquest.
 The investigation has made little progress, but the crimes have not gone unheeded. The United States has sanctioned the Chechen leader, Ramzan Kadyrov, and another Chechen official.  
At least 79 survivors or people otherwise affected by the purge fled Chechnya with the assistance of Russia’s leading LGBT support group and were eventually resettled in Canada and several European Union countries.
In Africa, The Tanzanian government  closed  down drop-in centers providing HIV services for key populations, contending that the centers “promote homosexuality.” When activists and lawyers held a meeting in October to discuss a legal challenge to policies that limit the right to health, police arrested and detained them without charge.
Dating apps have provided an indispensable means for LGBT people to connect, form a community, and find avenues for dating and sex.  But when infiltrated, they are also effective tools for blackmailers and extortionists, and for authorities to pursue LGBT people.  In South Korea, for example, where homosexual conduct is not permitted in the military, army investigators seized suspected gay soldiers’ smartphones and scanned dating apps to entrap gay soldiers
Of course, governments are not the only sources of violence against LGBT people. Annual survey results in Britain and France revealed significant increases in bias-motivated attacks against people based on sexual orientation or gender identity.  Men across the Netherlands took to holding hands in public in a demonstration of solidarity with a gay couple who were victims of a violent assault.
In the US, 26 transgender people murdered in what appear to be hate crimes were commemorated on November 20, Transgender Remembrance Day.
The Obama administration explicitly included sexual orientation and gender identity as elements of a broader human rights agenda guiding foreign policy. Vocal political support from governments, including the United States, has helped LGBT groups internationally and is part of the reason why organizations have been more visible and vocal. If that support wanes, LGBT groups will be more vulnerable and exposed. It will also send a signal that these human rights issues are not being taken seriously, paving the way for increased discrimination and violence against LGBT people.
Freedom of Expression, Association, and Assembly
For LGBT people around the world, invisibility has been a double-edged sword.  The closet provides a measure of protection from social condemnation, legal prohibition - or worse - violent attack. But the price is high – it means hiding fundamental aspects of the self, which takes its toll, both personally and socially.  The ability to form a community, to associate, organize and assemble are of great importance to LGBT groups around the world and yet these fundamental rights are often denied. 
The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights has increasingly championed the rights of LGBT people and those who defend them. At its 60th ordinary session in May, the commission emphasized the need to protect all human rights defenders, including those working for the protection of LGBT rights, and to ensure freedom of assembly rights for LGBT groups.
Despite these directives, Tanzania repeatedly threatened LGBT human rights defenders, along with other groups working on controversial issues, and raided meetings and workshops.  Ugandan police raided and shut down the Queer Kampala International Film Festival, as well as a week of scheduled activities for annual Pride Week, while an Egyptian media regulatory body declared a media blackout on positive reporting on homosexuality
In Turkey, the governor of Ankara imposed an indefinite ban on all public LGBT events in the province.  In contrast, Bulgarian police stepped in to protect Sofia Pride from threatened disruptions by an ultra-nationalist, virulently homophobic group. Businesses in Singapore stepped up to the podium to support the annual Pink Dot festival after the government forbade sponsorship by multinational corporations
Meanwhile, there were some positive developments, as courts in South Korea and Mozambique stepped in to facilitate the registration of LGBT groups.  
Abuses in Medical Settings
Paradoxically, because ideas about sexuality and gender identity are deeply embedded in medical science, the helping professions can be a source of trauma and abuse for LGBT people.
In China, a court ruled against a public hospital that had forced a gay man into so-called conversion therapy, which is widespread in both state and private medical settings, although homosexuality is not officially regarded as a mental disorder.  In contrast, in Brazil, a judge overruled a long-standing decision by the Federal Council of Psychology to ban licensed psychologists from engaging in sexual orientation change efforts.
National and international medical authorities have been at the forefront of calls to ban forced anal examinations to determine if individuals have engaged in anal sex. The examinations have no forensic value or medical basis, and can amount to a form of torture or sexual assault, yet are still practiced in several countries. 
In the US, a legal settlement was reached in a case brought by adoptive parents involving medically unnecessary cosmetic surgery on an intersex infant. The settlement augured well for intersex activists in the US who have been campaigning against such surgery for decades to little avail. The American Medical Association board of trustees, two pediatrics organizations, and three former US Surgeons General called for an end to medically unnecessary surgeries on intersex children
School environment and sex education
Schools can be hostile environments for LGBT youth who struggle with rejection and an absence of positive affirmation at a time when they are most vulnerable.
Japan revised its national bullying prevention policy to explicitly include LGBT students but failed to update its national educational curriculum, which still ignores LGBT issues.  Meanwhile, the Philippines issued a gender-inclusive policy in schools that offer express protection on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity, but the effective implementation is lacking.  
Legal and policy developments
In a political environment in which the rights of LGBT people remain an unpopular cause, courts can play a positive role in affirming fundamental rights.   But courts can also be an instrument of repression.
In a strongly worded judgment that could have a broad impact, a US district court ruled in a case brought against the anti-gay Christian evangelist Scott Lively for fomenting homophobia in Uganda. While the lawsuit was rejected on jurisdictional grounds, the judge minced no words in denouncing Lively’s “crackpot bigotry that aided “a vicious and frightening campaign of repression against LGBTI people in Uganda.”
Indonesia’s Constitutional Court deliberated on but rejected on procedural grounds, a proposal to criminalize all sex outside of marriage, including same-sex conduct.
The European Court of Human Rights condemned Russia’s “gay propaganda” law in a decision that Russia is obligated to abide by, even though three months after the ruling a Russian court found an activist, Evdokia Romanova, guilty under the same law.   In the US, Utah repealed its “no promo homo” law, which curtailed discussions of homosexuality in schools, but seven other US states retain similar laws.
In India, hope was rekindled by a Supreme Court judgment that ruled privacy a fundamental right and made express reference to section 377 of the penal code, a vestige of colonial rule that outlaws same-sex conduct. A writ petition filed against a 2013 judgment that upheld the constitutionality of the sodomy law will be heard by the Supreme Court this year.
While activists in India protested the shortcomings in a proposed law seeking to protect the rights of transgender people, Nepal took concrete steps towards a trans-inclusive civil service. Despite a surge in violent attacks on transgender women in Pakistan, activists there have pushed legal recognition and social services inclusion with human rights bodies and regional and national legislatures.
Ukraine took significant steps toward a less cumbersome and abusive legal gender-recognition procedure, and in a groundbreaking Botswanan case, a transgender man won a seven-year battle for legal gender recognition. In the US, discriminatory bills that sought to restrict access to facilities for transgender students were withdrawn in South Dakota and died without coming to a vote in Texas. 
Despite efforts by anti-gay marriage activists, FinlandGermany, Malta and Australia embraced marriage equality, while constitutional courts in Taiwan and Austria ruled that current laws defining marriage as “between a man and a woman” were unconstitutional, instructing parliament to revise the law within a set timeframe.
The news from the British overseas territory Bermuda was less positive. The legislature passed a bill that replaced marriage with domestic partnerships for same-sex couples,  undoing a previous Supreme Court ruling on equal marriage; the governor has not yet assented to the bill.
Legislatures in the US states of South Dakota, Alabama, and Texas curtailed adoption rights for same-sex couples. The Israeli government initially opposed, then accepted joint parent adoption for same-sex couples.  
Moving Forward in Perilous Times
For those who have been at the receiving end of state-sponsored crackdowns, there is cold comfort in seeing the stories of global progress that are incremental but significant. When Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, in an emotional address to a cheering parliament, apologized for past injury to gender and sexual minorities, he sent a signal to the world that exclusion is not necessarily a permanent state of being and that governments can make amends for past discriminatory policies.
In a significant milestone, a group of experts issued the updated Yogyakarta + 10 principleswhich provide guidelines for the interpretation and application of international human rights law regarding sexual orientation and gender identity. The principles will provide guidance for governments that are willing to reconsider their stance on LGBT rights. The 2016 launch of the Equal Rights Coalition, the first intergovernmental network to advance the rights of LGBT people, signifies a growing willingness of almost 40 member states to play a more proactive international role.   
The UN’s first independent expert on violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, Vitit Muntarbhorn, presented a report to the UN General Assembly in September that outlined his vision of the steps that need to be taken to combat violence and discrimination: decriminalization of same-sex relations; effective anti-discrimination measures; legal recognition of gender identity; de-stigmatization; sociocultural inclusion; and promotion of education and empathy.
This is a roadmap that activists around the world can rally around.  But the best approach to defending and advancing rights is not through a blueprint but by tailoring strategy to context.  In the US, activists would do well to defend ground at risk by sweeping religious exemptions, and holding the government to account for its human rights record internationally. In regions of the world experiencing violent crackdowns, the activists focus on security and evading the dragnet.  In some countries, such as Indonesia, the immediate goal is to prevent sweeping discriminatory laws being passed. It is in middle-ground countries – those that are neither fully accepting, nor overtly hostile - where the most promising developments are taking place, and where courts are playing a crucial role in defending and advancing the rights of LGBT people.

Graeme Reid 

Director, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Rights Program

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