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13 April 2017

Dear friends and colleagues,

From the UN:  Brazilian NGO Grupo Dignidade awarded UNAIDS the LGBTI Citizenship Allies Award in recognition of its human rights-based approach to responding to the AIDS epidemic among gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men. As Director of Rights, Gender, Prevention and Community Mobilization, Mariângela Simão remarked, “Much of what I have learned in terms of respect for diversity and the importance of the social movements for the response to the AIDS epidemic came from my constant interaction with Grupo Dignidade.”

Marking Trans Day of Visibility (31 March), the UN Free & Equal campaign released an easily shareable factsheet on gender identity with culturally appropriate definitions, key issues, and actions that countries, media, and individuals can take to support trans people. 

UN Free & Equal also released their latest progress report on the global public education campaign for LGBTI equality. Some of the key highlights include the first campaign for intersex awareness, over 4 million views of Free & Equal videos via social media, and supporting national events in 25 countries. 

HIV, Health, and Wellness: The Scottish Medicines Consortium announced that PrEP has been accepted for use to prevent HIV infection and will be available at local Health Boards within three months. The Israeli Health Ministry and the Israel AIDS Task Force announced a joint initiative to distribute free condoms at gay nightclubs and Pride events.

The Lancet published new research on HIV among transgender women in Brazil. The study has been applauded for its use of respondent-driven sampling and engagement of trans community members throughout the design and analysis.

A Zambian study found that men are less likely to get tested for HIV due to the stigma associated with visiting clinics. Researchers recommended new efforts, such as after-hours and off-site testing to bring services to men. 

A systematic review found that peer-led interventions increased HIV testing among gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men. The positive effect was seen across interventions in the UK, US, Kenya, Peru, and Taiwan; however, authors noted that more high-quality studies are needed to evaluate low and middle-income countries.

A new UK study found that black gay and bisexual men are disproportionately likely to be diagnosed with HIV than their white peers.

The national health board of Portugal announced concerns that the current outbreak of Hepatitis A across 13 European countries will be exacerbated by the summer festival season. Officials suggested “at these events there is an increase in sexual practices and sanitation conditions are bad, which increases the risk of transmission of infection by this virus” and expressed particular concern for Madrid’s LGBT World Pride Parade, expected to have more than 2 million participants. 

GALANG Philippines released the results of the LBT Well-Being Index (WBI) Project, a study on the well-being of lesbian, bisexual, and trans men in the country. Among the results, the comprehensive survey found that 18% have attempted suicide, 29% have poor access to basic services, and a majority smoke and drink alcohol.  

Separate studies from the US, UK, and Australia each found that bisexual individuals of all ages have poorer mental health and physical health than their gay and lesbian counterparts. Bisexuals are less likely to be out to friends, family, or healthcare providers. In 2014, only 0.3% of grants aimed at LGBT issues went toward the bisexual community. 

In Canada, five public health agencies united to help gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men who wish to transition from the sex industry develop the life and job skills needed to widen their employment options.

For World Autism Awareness Week the UK Metro spoke with Australian activist Rochelle Johnson about growing up with autism and how that affected her ability to come to terms with her gender identity. 

From the World of Politics: In the Netherlands, far-right populist Geert Wilders came second in his bid for Dutch Prime Minister. Wilders had run on a platform that closely melded pro-LGBT rights with anti-Islamic sentiment, pitting immigrants against the gay community. 

The Cabinet of Germany announced its support of a bill that will annul the convictions of gay and bisexual men criminalized due to their sexuality. The bill will also compensate those men still living based on the number of years they spent in jail under this conviction. 

The Swedish government announced it will financially compensate trans people who were forcibly sterilized between 1972-2013 in the process of seeking legal gender change.

On Trans Day of Visibility, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) released a statement urging Member States of the Organization of American States to adopt policies to “break the cycles of poverty, exclusion, violence, and criminalization that affect trans people in the Americas”.  Separately, the IACHR also condemned the “alarming” number of killings of LGBTI people in the region, with Commissioner Francisco Eguiguren Praeli observing, “This situation is disturbing and unsustainable.”  

India’s Ministry of Sanitation published guidelines declaring that local governments must allow third-gender people to use facilities of either gender, according to their own preferences and stated that there should be “a conscious effort that they are recognized as equal citizens and users of toilets”.

In the US, states continued to debate legislation targeted at transgender people. North Carolina politicians repealed and replaced its 'bathroom bill', though advocates warned the new bill altered the language but kept discriminatory practices. The mayors of many cities, including LA, Atlanta, and New York, reaffirmed that travel bans against the state remain. Arkansas dropped its proposed ‘bathroom bill’, yet continues to consider a bill that will prevent any individual from amending their birth certificate.

The US Census Bureau deleted questions on sexual orientation and gender identity from the 2020 Census. This is the third federal survey to remove LGBT from data collection. Over 90 legislators from the House and Senate signed a letter expressing “strong disapproval” as advocates warned that data is essential to providing social services.

In Cuba, National Assembly representative Mariela Castro Espín told reporters that the Assembly would consider a “legislative package” in 2018 that would improve the rights of LGBT citizens. Although Espín provided no details, as director of the National Center for Sex Education (Cenesex) she has signed an agreement with the UNFPA to promote comprehensive sexuality education and to reduce stigma and discrimination of vulnerable populations.

The Russian Foreign Ministry released new information for Russians traveling abroad that advises them against acting homophobically while in Austria, Denmark, Spain, Canada, and France.  

The Politics of Union: The Native American Osage Nation voted by special referendum to recognize same-sex marriage. Thirty-five tribes now provide legal recognition, including prominent Cherokee Nation, Cheyenne, and Arapaho Tribes. 

The Legislative Assembly of the Falkland Islands legalized same-sex marriage and voted to grant all civil partnerships equal rights to marriages.

Taiwan's Constitutional Court heard arguments on whether the Civil Code should be amended to include same-sex marriage. The judges will also consider if offering same-sex couples an alternative to marriage would violate their constitutional right to equality. 

In Austria, a ruling came into effect expanding rights to same-sex couples in registered partnerships, including allowing couples to share a family name and register at the district clerk’s office. 

In the Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte announced the country could not accept same-sex marriage despite previously suggesting his support. Local activist Normal Baloro urged supporters and media to focus on other issues that impact the LGBT community, especially transphobia.

Let the Courts Decide: The European Court of Human Rights ruled that it is a violation of human rights to require transgender individuals to undergo sterilization in order to legally change their gender identity. Remarking on the victory, Transgender Europe Executive Director Julia Ehrt said, “This decision ends the dark chapter of state-induced sterilization in Europe. The 22 states in which a sterilization is still mandatory will have to swiftly end this practice.”

France’s Supreme Court heard a case to determine if intersex citizens have the right to be marked as “gender neutral” on their birth certificates. The High Court of Tours originally granted a 64-year-old resident’s petition to change their documentation; however, the Court Appeal of Orleans reversed the judgment, stating that the request would in effect create a third gender category and that only legislators could undertake that action.  

Denmark’s Supreme Court upheld a previous ruling declaring that same-sex marriages conducted in churches do not violate the religious freedom of other citizens nor do they violate the constitution.

In a landmark decision, the US 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is a form of sex discrimination and is prohibited by the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Earlier this month, the 11th and 2nd Circuit Courts both came to the opposite decision, concluding employers are not prohibited from discriminating against workers due to their sexuality. In light of the 7th Circuit, it is likely the issue will be pushed to the Supreme Court. 

In the Name of Religion:  From Papua New Guinea, Catholic Cardinal Sir John Ribat called for more advocacy among Christian leaders to support people affected by HIV/AIDS, gender-based violence, and stigma and discrimination.

In South America, the World Congress of LGBT Jews and JAG (Judios Argentinos GLBT) held their first global meeting on LGBT inclusion within the Jewish community. The event brought participants from Brazil, Colombia, Chile, France, Italy, Mexico, and the US. 

The Supreme Council of Bishops of the Philippine Independent Church released a document using scripture to support inclusion of LGBTQI+ people. The Bishops went on to state: “We humbly ask for forgiveness for the many times we have shown indifference, and have made the LGBTIQ+ people feel less human, discriminated against and stigmatized. We apologize for instances they felt that, through our thoughts, words, and deeds, God’s love is selective.”
Fear and Loathing: Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta reported Chechen officials have detained over 100 gay men and and are holding them in an internment camp. Those few who have escaped claim that they are being tortured, some held for ransom, and at least three have died in custody. The Russian LGBT Networks released a statement demanding an investigation of these crimes and urging the community to evacuate.  The European Parliament, the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the US State Department, and others have all condemned the attacks and urged Russian authorities to conduct an investigations. 

From Tanzania, Buzzfeed News spoke to several men arrested during the recent local crackdown on people suspected of homosexuality. The men were forced to undergo “anal examinations” to prove their sexuality—a practice condemned by the UN Committee Against Torture and deemed “medically worthless” by experts. Although Tanzania has not previously been known to use forced anal exams, the Deputy Health Minister, Hamisi Kigwangalla, said he expects testing to become routine. 

The National Council of the Medical Order in Tunisia released a statement calling for the end of forced anal and genital examinations. 

From El Salvador, the Thomson Reuters Foundation profiled trans women who “live in constant fear” following the kidnapping, torture, and murder of at least three women in February. 

In the US, the Trans Women of Color Collective and Black Lives Matter organized a rally to bring attention to the seven trans women of color who have been murdered in the US since January. 

After a trans woman in Brazil was brutally murdered, her friends posted explicit photos on Facebook to urge the media's attention. Within the same day, a gay teen was shot in Alagoas, Brazil. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) has said reports indicate that every 28 hours an LGBT person is violently attacked in Brazil. 

A Dutch gay couple holding hands were violently beaten while walking in the city of Arnhem. Following the attack, Dutch politicians, celebrities, and everyday people have posted pictures of themselves holding hands to protest violence against gay people. 

In Indonesia, unidentified men broke into a private residence and apprehended two young men they accused of homosexuality. The young men were forcibly taken to police where they remain in detention until sentencing. The Human Rights Watch has called for their release. 

After being banned in Spain, the International Organization for the family brought their “Free Speech Bus” to the US. The bus, which is covered in anti-transgender messaging, was parked outside the UN New York headquarters to protest discussion on sex education that included gender expression. 

Winds of Change:  From Germany, a new survey found 75% of respondents support full equality for same-sex marriage.

In Argentina, the Buenos Aires City Legislature dedicated a subway station to LGBT activist Carlos Jaúregui, the first president of the Comunidad Homosexual Argentina (CHA). The station which opened this month is decorated throughout in murals and rainbow colors. 

Author Lux Alptraum wrote about the complicated relationship between identity and sexuality and argues that the modern “normalization” of LGBTQ identities has led to an oversimplification of how humans “process and pursue both sex and love”.

Author Samantha Allen discussed how US culture and politics have danced around accepting and denying transgender people since 2014's historic Time magazine cover featuring trans actress Laverne Cox. Meanwhile, parents as diverse as middle-class, conservative Texans and wealthy, liberal New Yorkers find themselves pulled into politics as they struggle to come to terms with their transgender children and those who actively oppose their children’s rights. 

On the March:  Across Romania, thousands marched in anti-abortion rallies organized by the ProVita Humanitarian Foundation and the Coalition for Family. In 2016, these groups successfully raised over 3 million signatures calling for a ban on same-sex marriage. Journalist Ovidiu Tiță attended the Sibiu city march to ask participants about marriage equality and if gay people should be allowed to adopt children.

In multiple Brazilian cities, LGBT groups used the annual Carnival festival to protest prejudice and violence against the community. Grupo Gay da Bahia (GGB) director Luiz Mott opened this year’s gay Carnival parade in Salvador, Bahia with a warning: “Protect yourselves from violence. Don’t go to areas that don’t seem safe. And if you’re being attacked, run.”

In a new report on asylum claims based on sexual orientation or gender identity, the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights noted that few EU Member States have specific guidelines for LGBTI asylum seekers or sufficient training on specific vulnerabilities LGBTI persons face.

In the US, estimates suggest over 260,000 undocumented persons identify as LGBTQ. Artist Diana Clock and journalist Melissa Pandika profiled four “undocuqueer” about navigating the deportation crackdown and stigma within their immigrant communities. 

School Days:  ​Two related studies were published on sexual assault and sexual and gender identity on US college campuses. The first, which surveyed over 70,000 students, found that students of intersecting minority identities—such as LGBT people of color—have significantly higher odds of sexual assault than their peers.  The second found that when colleges are perceived as being inclusive of LGBTQ people, all students are less likely to be victims of assault.  Researchers suggest that inclusive campuses empower students to stand up for themselves and embolden bystanders to intervene. 

Some schools in New Zealand and Australia are showing support for their gender-fluid youth with new policies that introduce alternative gender-neutral student uniforms or permit any gender to choose between trousers, skirts, and kilts.

In Pakistan, a shelter for transgender women has opened its doors to street children in need of education. Shelter residents, many of whom have completed their education but are unable to find employment due to their gender identity, lead children through English language, hygiene, and character building classes. 

Business and Technology:   Last year, Singapore’s Ministry of Home Affairs announced a ban on foreign “interference” in domestic “controversial social” issues—a move intended to prevent international corporations from funding the country’s annual LGBT “Pink Dot” festival.  Far from undermining the event, organizers announced local sponsorship has more than doubled as Singapore brands fill the gap left behind.  

The Williams Institute released a new report that analyzes the impact of human rights violations against sexual and gender minorities on Indonesia’s economy and estimates that discrimination costs the country GDP between $900 million to $12 billion USD per year.

In Australia, Airbnb, Google, Qantas, and ANZ Banking joined a campaign to support marriage equality called “Until We All Belong”.

Fortune magazine named Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) executive director Frank Mugisha as one of the ‘World’s 50 Greatest Leaders’ for his work fighting homophobia and the criminalization of homosexuality. 

Sports and Culture:  Gay rights activist and artist Gilbert Baker passed away at the age of 65. Baker is credited with designing the iconic rainbow flag for the 1978 New York Pride parade, leading 30 volunteers to hand-dye and stitch the original eight color emblem—representing sex, life, healing, sunlight, nature, art, harmony, and spirit.

Israel hosted its first “Tel Aviv Games”, an international LGBT event with participants from 20 countries competing in soccer, basketball, tennis, and swimming. 

Check out the video posted by US transgender triathlete Chris Mosier describing his fear while competing in races held in North Carolina. Mosier has joined the Human Rights Campaign to warn that the state's "repeal" of transphobic legislation is a "repackaging of the same discriminatory policy".

Author and intersex activist Hilda Viloria spoke to Rolling Stone about Viloria’s new memoir Born Both that explores self-discovery, love, racism, and joining the intersex movement. 

A heartwarming new documentary The Freedom to Marry follows US activist Evan Wolfson and his work leading to the historic Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage. 

If you're in the UK this summer, check out the Tate Gallery's first exhibition dedicated to Queer British Art. With paintings, drawings, photography, and film from 1861-1967, the exhibit celebrates sexuality and desire before modern labels of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans were recognized. 

Finally, check out this video of "Dance for Pride" — a flashmob of Indian LGBTQ volunteers dancing in the streets of Delhi.
Janet Camilo
“This fight is not only your fight. This fight is that of all Dominicans who believe in equality, inclusion and equal rights.”

Dominican Republic’s Minister of Women’s Affairs Janet Camilo to over 300 Latin America and Caribbean LGBT activists attending the third annual LGBTI Political Leaderships meeting 
Continue for excerpts from the articles
UNAIDS awarded the 2016 LGBTI citizenship allies award in Brazil
UNAIDS has received the LGBTI Citizenship Allies Award in recognition of its human rights-based approach to responding to the AIDS epidemic among gay men and other men who have sex with men. Created by Grupo Dignidade (Dignity Group), one of Brazil’s most respected nongovernmental organizations working on issues related to LGBTI people and on HIV prevention among gay men and other men who have sex with men, the award is given to people and organizations in recognition of their contribution to advancing the rights of LGBTI people in Brazil.

The award highlights some of the efforts made by UNAIDS in this area, including the development of campaigns and initiatives such as the zero discrimination campaign, the production of a wide variety of publications and its advocacy efforts to specifically mention LGBTI people and other key populations in the 2016 United Nations Political Declaration on Ending AIDS. Read more via UNAIDS
UN Free & Equal on Trans Day of Visibility
Learn more about the human rights challenges facing transgender people everywhere and the actions that can be taken to tackle violence and discrimination and protect the rights of transgender people everywhere. 

The new factsheet is available in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Portuguese, and Spanish. Read more via UN Free & Equal 
UN Free & Equal assess progress after three years
UN Free & Equal is a global United Nations campaign for equal rights and the fair treatment of lesbian, gay, bi, trans (LGBT) and intersex people everywhere. The campaign, launched in July 2013 and led by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), aims to raise awareness of sexual, gender and bodily diversity and challenge negative stereotypes of LGBT and intersex people. Campaign materials – including videos, factsheets and infographic materials – have been viewed and shared hundreds of millions of times on social media and generated widespread coverage in print and broadcast media.

Celebrities have been engaged to help carry campaign messages to the widest possible audience, and the campaign has provided a platform for high-profile events at UNHQ and on the ground in more than 25 countries around the world. Today, Free & Equal stands as one of the UN’s most popular ever human rights campaigns, helping provoke and sustain the kinds of conversations needed if social attitudes towards LGBT and intersex people are to evolve. Read more via UNFE
Philippines: Presenting GALANG’s Baseline Study on LBT Well-Being
GALANG Philippines shared the results of its 2015 baseline study on the well-being of its lesbian, bisexual women, and trans men (LBTs) clientele in a forum attended by allies from both government and civil society. Senator Risa Hontiveros, equality champion and author of both the Anti-Discrimination Act and the Mental Health Bill, graced the event as keynote speaker.

The results of GALANG’s LBT WBI Project showed that 85% of its local partners assess their poverty status as ‘on the line’, consistent with the total number of participants who answered either that they have just enough to pay expenses (39%) or have some difficulty in meeting expenses (34%). 17% reported that their respective households experienced hunger at least once in the past 3 months.

It was also found that 7% of the study participants were subjected to sexual abuse due to their sexual orientation and gender identity/expression, and the most common problems associated with SOGIE were verbal abuse, discrimination, and rejection by family. The study participants almost unanimously said that an anti-discrimination law is needed to protect LGBTs. Read more via Galang
Portugal: Festival Health Fears
Since January and up until Tuesday this week, 138 new cases of Hepatitis A had been reported in this country, reflecting a trend also noted in 12 other European countries. In Portugal, the vast majority of new cases have been registered in Greater Lisbon, spurring health authorities to take measures such as free vaccinations. At present, between five and eight new patients are emerging every day.

Portugal’s health chiefs said they are “concerned” about the possibility that the current surge could still be uncontained by the time the annual summer festivals come around. Every year, tens of thousands of people from Portugal and abroad enjoy the vast line-up of summer events that lend a touch of hedonism to the season’s heat.

The worry was voiced during a press conference staged in Lisbon by the head of the National Health Board (DGS), Francisco George, alongside his Spanish counterpart, Elena Andradas, to address the current scenario of the Hepatitis A outbreak in the Iberian Peninsula. Read more via Portugal News
Scotland: PrEP is approved
Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC)  says that Truvada “was accepted to help prevent sexually transmitted HIV-1 infection in adults who are at high risk of being infected. Emtricitabine / tenofovir disoproxil given as PrEP is one aspect of an HIV-prevention strategy and should be used in combination with safer sex practices such as using condoms."

It added that “Patient groups highlighted that current prevention methods have not managed to reduce the spread of HIV in Scotland over the last ten years.” 

A PrEP In Scotland paper written by the PrEP Short Life Working Group (SLWG) of the Scottish Health Protection Network (SHPN) in October 2016 calculates that there are approximately 1700-1900 men who have sex with men (MSM) in Scotland who would benefit from PrEP. If 58% of those eligible for PrEP start it, this would imply about 1000 people come forward for PREP in the first year. Read more via AIDSmap
Israel: Health Ministry to contribute to condom distribution in gay clubs
In an initiative with the Israel AIDS Task Force, the ministry will contribute just under half of the annual cost of a program to hand out condoms for free in places with large concentrations of men who have sex with men, such as nightclubs and pride events.

The agreement was approved by the ministry’s tenders committee, which is headed by the director general, Moshe Bar Siman Tov. The committee wrote in its decision that the initiative would distribute condoms in locations with a large presence of men who have sex with men such as in nightclubs and various Pride events. Read more via ynet news
Canada: Health Initiative for Men's Transitions program to empower queer men leaving sex industry
If you're a gay or bisexual male, or MSM (men who have sex with men), who is seeking to leave the sex industry, there's a new program that can help facilitate that process.

Five Vancouver agencies, Hustle at HIM (Health Initiative for Men), Aboriginal Front Door, Battered Women's Support Services, PACE Society, and Wish Drop-In Centre Society  have formed a consortium to help men who wish to retire from the sex industry. 

The program is available for any queer men or MSM who have worked in sexual situations, including go-go boy dancers, male strippers, porn industry workers, male sensual massage, male escorts, and more. Read more via The Georgia Straight
Peer led activities increase HIV testing uptake among MSM
A key driver of the HIV epidemic is low uptake of HIV testing in many settings. This leads to a high proportion of individuals living with HIV being unaware of their status, failing to engage with care and treatment and hence being at risk of transmitting HIV to others. Recent reviews have illustrated that programmes led by members of the same peer group can be effective in promoting HIV-associated behavioural change and improving clinical outcomes. Gay men and other men who have sex with men can experience specific challenges associated with engagement with HIV care. This problem is particularly acute in resource poor regions due to very high levels of stigma.

This systematic review is the first to look specifically at the effectiveness of peer-led activities among gay men and other men who have sex with men. Read more via UNAIDS Science Now
Transwomen: high time to act
This is a must-read paper for anyone interested in good participatory practices (GPP) in research and/or gender identity and HIV risk, and/or respondent driven sampling (RDS) research techniques. The researchers engaged the transwomen community from the outset in the very apt naming of the project – Transcender – and the study design – appropriate language and participant-sensitive procedures. Three community members were part of the study implementation team and the analyses were refined and written with trans community input. 

Although eligibility criteria included self-identification as transwomen, study participants included 131 travesti (transvestites), 107 transsexual women, 96 women, and 11 people with other gender identities. Transwomen who self-identified as women had the lowest odds of newly diagnosed HIV infection. This underscores the importance of exploring whether and how greater internal or external gender identity acceptance might confer a protective effect for HIV acquisition, perhaps through ability to use medical services through to transition, which might reduce the risk of violence.  Read more via UNAIDS Science Now
UK: Black gay men still at higher risk of HIV
Gay and bisexual men of black ethnicity are disproportionately more likely to be living with diagnosed HIV than white British men, with no evidence that this health inequality has narrowed since 2001, according to a report published online ahead of print in Sexually Transmitted Infections.

The data come from the 2014 Gay Men’s Sex Survey, a convenience sample of 15,388 men recruited online.

While 11.3% of white British men who had ever taken a test were diagnosed with HIV, this was the case for 12.9% of black men. After taking into account other factors likely to skew the results, black men were more likely to be diagnosed with HIV (adjusted odds ratio 1.53) and more likely to have been diagnosed in the year before the survey (adjusted odds ratio 2.57). Read more via AIDSmap
Men targeted in Sub-Saharan HIV testing trial 
Men from sub-Saharan Africa are less inclined to test for HIV because of clinic hours and the stigma associated with HIV males. Research presented at last month’s Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) also showed that home testing was not as effective with men.

A study found that men in Zambia were less likely to test for HIV when testing was offered through household campaigns, because they were away from home or at work. Men frequently complain that clinic opening hours make it difficult for them to attend without missing paid work.

There is also the public perception that HIV clinics are mainly geared to women and children, so attending what are commonly seen in the community as women’s services can signal that a man is HIV positive. Read more via GNN
Australia: Study explores bisexual mental health
La Trobe University is conducting one of the largest ever studies into the mental health of people who are attracted to more than one gender. The Who I Am study is examining the little understood reasons for poor mental health in bi and pansexual people. Lead investigator Julia Taylor said previous research has consistently found bi and pansexual Australians have worse mental health than gay or straight people. Read more via Star Observer
US: Why Are Bi People Getting Sicker Than Gays And Lesbians?
Last September, I was one of about 100 bisexual advocates and journalists invited to the White House’s third annual Bisexual Community Briefing. One of the gathering’s priorities was strategizing how to address the health disparities bisexuals face.

We continue to fare worse than gays, lesbians, and straight people in a number of areas, from mental health and STDs to cancer. Bisexual women in particular face higher risks of breast cancer, heart disease and obesity than heterosexual women.

At the end of the briefing, though, I felt hopeful: Finally the bi community was gaining visibility and support. Then Donald Trump got elected. Read more via NewNowNext
UK: ‘Biphobia Drove Me To My Suicide Attempt’ - Why Discrimination Needs To Stop
He sat precariously on the window sill, staring at the street pavement 140 feet below him, wanting to die. The evening spring air was fairly warm on his skin but for 14-year-old George* it was just another day permeated by depression. He breathed deeply, all the time mustering the courage to jump from his bedroom window sill to his death. His body shock as he closed his eyes and imagined a swift end to his suffering.

George almost committed suicide that day. After two years of battling with mental illness, he wanted to die - because he thought that being bisexual meant something was wrong with him. Read more via Huffington Post
Australia: Living as a transgender adult with autism
She is an advocate for autism and is a transgender acceptance and safety on her website Proud Autistic Living, she also happens to identify with both.

Autism Awareness Week takes place from 27 March until 2 April in 2017. To help raise awareness for the condition and what it’s like for people who suffer from it, we chatted with Rochelle to find out more about what her life has been like. Read more via Metro
Netherlands: The man who turned gay rights into “a weapon” in a war against Muslims
On a chilly evening in late February, a small group of queer and immigrant activists gathered on the west side of Amsterdam to prepare, as one attendee put it, “for the apocalypse.”

For months they had endured an increasingly strident debate about immigration ahead of elections on March 15, and they were tired of being caught in the crossfire. The race has been dominated by Geert Wilders, the bleached-blonde leader of the Party for Freedom who polls show could win the largest bloc of votes in parliament. His candidacy is being watched as the next test of the nationalist wave that drove Britain out of the EU and put Donald Trump in the White House.

But the race is also uniquely focused on gay rights, because Wilders has framed his crusade against Islam in part as a defense of national values in the country proud to have adopted the world’s first marriage equality law and has remained a leader on LGBT rights in the years since. And several more moderate politicians have echoed the message that Muslim immigrants threaten gay people. Read more via Buzzfeed
Cuba: Mariela Castro promotes pro-LGBT ‘legislative package’
The director of the state National Center for Sex Education, Mariela Castro Espín announced that the National Assembly will consider a “legislative package” that would extend rights to LGBT Cubans. 

Espín made the comments after she signed an agreement with the U.N. Population Fund and the Dutch government to implement the second phrase of a project that is designed to promote “sexual education, sexual health and human rights” on the Communist island. Read more via Washington Blade
On Trans Day of Visibility, IACHR Urges States to Ensure Full Inclusion of Trans People and Combat the Factors that Exacerbate Discrimination and Exclusion
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) joins with the international community in highlighting the valuable role trans people play in championing their rights, combating cissexism, and promoting inclusion in public life and spheres of power.

The IACHR applauds the leadership shown by some trans individuals and the hard work they do in the region, and urges the Member States of the Organization of American States (OAS) to adopt urgent measures to mainstream a gender identity approach into public policies that seek to break the cycles of poverty, exclusion, violence, and criminalization that affect trans people in the Americas. Read more via OAS
IACHR Condemns Alarming Numbers of LGBT Killings in the Region So Far this Year
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) condemns the alarming number of killings of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans people (LGBT) in the region and urges the States to investigate these deaths with a differentiated approach and ensure that they do not go unpunished.

The Commission is concerned about the information it has received indicating that in the first months of this year, at least 41 serious crimes against LGBT persons have been reported in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, the United States, and Venezuela. Read more via OAS
India: Let transgender people use any public toilet they prefer, Centre tells Swachh Bharat Mission
The Centre has issued guidelines to the Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin) saying transgender people must be allowed use public toilets designated for both men and women, depending on their choice. The statement asked the mission to ensure that members of the transgender community are recognised as equal citizens.

“They should be allowed to use the facility of their choice (men or women) in community or public toilets,” the statement said. The statement, dated April 3, said there are many examples from across the country, where members of the third gender were selected as “Swachhata Champions”. It recommended that the organisation engage members of the transgender community in a similar manner to eradicate the stigma attached to them.

Meanwhile, the Madras High Court asked the Tamil Nadu government to build toilets and bathrooms for transgender citizens in areas where “they live in large numbers”, PTI reported. Read more via Scroll
Sweden announces to pay compensation to trans people
On Friday 24 March, the Swedish Minister for Public Health, Healthcare and Sports, Gabriel Wikström, announced that the Swedish government has agreed to financially compensate forcibly sterilised trans people with the amount of 225 000 SEK, approximately €23 600, per person.

The compensation will be available for anyone who was forcibly sterilised by the Swedish state from 1972-2013 in order to comply with the previous requirements in the Swedish legal gender recognition act. Read more via TGEU
Germany to quash 50,000 gay convictions
Germany moved closer to clearing the names of gay men who suffered under a Nazi-era law. Now victims reflect on a life led for too long in the shadows.

Fritz Schmehling was just a teenager when he was convicted in 1957 under a Nazi-era law against gays that remained on the books for decades after the war.

"Back then, you lived with one foot in prison," Schmehling, now 74, told AFP at his modest top-floor apartment in Berlin.

Schmehling is now one of an estimated 5,000 still living gay men who could receive compensation as Germany moves towards clearing their criminal records under the former Article 175. More than 42,000 men were convicted during the Third Reich, and sent to prison or concentration camps. Read more via the Local
US: This Is Why The Erasing of LGBT Americans On The 2020 Census Matters
This week it was announced that the 2020 Census will not include questions about sexual orientation and gender identity. Later John H. Thompson, the director of the U.S. Census Bureau, released a statement saying that after review “there was no federal data need to change the planned census.” This couldn’t be more inaccurate. Collecting this information would have been monumental for the LGBTQ anti-violence movement and not collecting it sends a clear message that the needs and experiences of LGBTQ communities should remain invisible. Read more via Daily Beast

Democrats In Congress Are Pleading With Trump To Count LGBT Population In The Census
Lawmakers cited what they saw as hypocrisy on the part of John Thompson, director of the Census Bureau, who has said he wants a “complete and accurate census.” Read more via Buzzfeed
Price tag of North Carolina's LGBT law: $3.76B
Despite Republican assurances that North Carolina's "bathroom bill" isn't hurting the economy, the law limiting LGBT protections will cost the state more than $3.76 billion in lost business over a dozen years, according to an Associated Press analysis.

Over the past year, North Carolina has suffered financial hits ranging from scuttled plans for a PayPal facility that would have added an estimated $2.66 billion to the state's economy to a canceled Ringo Starr concert that deprived a town's amphitheater of about $33,000 in revenue.  Read more via MSN
US: Mayors won’t budge on NC travel ban
The compromise by politicians on North Carolina’s “bathroom bill” is helping return collegiate sporting events to the state. But big-city mayors still don’t want their employees traveling there after the replacement law.

The mayors of New York, Washington, San Francisco, Seattle, Salt Lake City and other cities announced this week that previous municipal bans on city-funded travel to North Carolina remain in place even though the law known as House Bill 2 is off the books. They agree with civil rights groups who argue discrimination still exists in the replacement law agreed to by Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper and the Republican-controlled legislature.

That’s because the measure left some LGBT restrictions in place, including a moratorium until December 2020 on local governments passing broad nondiscrimination ordinances covering sexual orientation and gender identity. While the new law ended the HB2 provision requiring transgender people to use public restrooms corresponding to their birth certificates, state lawmakers remain in charge of future bathroom policies. Read more via Citizen Times

US: ACLU says, Don't be fooled by North Carolina
let us be clear – this is no compromise. This is no repeal. This is HB2.0 and is perhaps more insidious in its targeting of LGBTQ – and particularly of trans and gender non-conforming – people. It is a backroom deal that shows no input from the community. Read more via ACLU
Arkansas could make it 'illegal to be transgender' this week 
The clock is ticking on bills that LGBT advocates in Arkansas claim would make it effectively “illegal to be transgender” in the state.
Often referred to as the “bathroom bill lite,” HB 1986 actually goes further than the Physical Privacy and Safety Act by allowing individuals to bring charges against trans people for “indecent exposure.” Under HB 1986, trans people could face a hefty fine, as well as jail time, if another individual feels that the alleged assailant has exposed themselves in a way that would cause “affront or alarm.” 

HB 1894 would bar transgender people from amending their birth certificates to match their gender identity. “If I decided I don’t want to be white, well, do I get to pick my race?” asked Representative Mickey Gates, who authored the legislation.  Read more via Salon 

Arkansas Senate Bill 774 'bathroom bill' dead for session, to be studied
GOP Sen. Linda Collins-Smith withdrew her proposal, which would have required every restroom or changing facility accessible by multiple people at the same time in a government building be designated for use by members of only one sex. "We'll take any opportunity we can to pass that bill, and at least we'll have a different body that looks at it," Collins-Smith said. Read more via Arkansas Online
Russian government warns citizens not to be homophobic while on holiday in Europe
Russia has warned homophobic citizens to refrain from homophobic attacks… while on holiday in other countries.
The advice comes from the Russian Foreign Ministry, which has updated its travel advice for visitors hoping to holiday around the world.
The guidelines, which are aimed at preventing Russian tourists from causing offence, warns them that they may see “people of non-traditional sexual orientations” while on holiday in Europe and the Americas. Read more via Pink News
Native American Osage Nation votes in favor of same-sex marriage
Shouts of joy and hugs were abundant after the results of the Osage Nation’s 2017 Special Election were announced.

In a historic vote, Osages voted “yes” by referendum to recognize gay marriage by law. It is the first ON election where a legislative referendum question asked voters whether a tribal law should be amended.

“This was overdue,” said Osage tribal member Jennifer Tiger, who drove from California to vote in person. “The United States Supreme Court recognized gay marriage two years ago. This was long overdue.” Read more via Osage News
Taiwan top court hears landmark gay marriage case
Taiwan's Constitutional Court on Friday heard arguments over whether the country's marriage law is unconstitutional because it does not legally recognize same-sex marriages.

Fourteen grand justices heard the debate, which focused on whether Taiwan's Civil Code should allow same-sex marriage and if not, whether that violates articles under the Constitution of the Republic of China pertaining to equality and marriage freedom.

"I have waited for this day for 41 years, six months and 24 days," gay rights activist Chi Chia-wei (祁家威), who is one of the petitioners requesting the constitutional interpretation, told the court. Read more via Focus Taiwan
Falkland Islands introduces full marriage equality
The Falkland Islands has passed historic legislation to legalise same-sex marriage. The Legislative Assembly also voted overwhelmingly to approve civil partnerships for both same-sex couples and heterosexual couples.
The British Overseas Territory, which has a population of around 3,000, passed the law with seven votes in favour, and one against. The extension of marriage rights comes after a public consultation, which found that 90% of respondents within the Falkland Islands were in favour of same-sex marriage and 94% were in favour of civil partnerships for all couples. Read more via PinkNews
Austria: Same-sex couples have new rights to register
The Austrian government has followed through with plans to grant more rights to same-sex couples in registered partnerships. Couple are now able to register at the same office heterosexual couples use for marriage registries—though they can still only apply for civil partnerships. Couples will also be able to share a family name. Read more via Der Standard
European Court of Human Rights ends Forced Sterilisation
The European Court of Human Rights today found that the sterilisation requirement in legal gender recognition violates human rights. Setting the legal precedent for Europe, this decision will force the remaining 22 countries using the infertility requirement to change their laws.

This historic decision is delivered in three joined cases against France about the lack of self-determination of transgender individuals in the country. A. P., E. Garçon and S. Nicot relied on Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, i.e. the right to respect for private life

“Today is a victory for trans people and human rights in Europe. This decision ends the dark chapter of state-induced sterilisation in Europe. The 22 states in which a sterilisation is still mandatory will have to swiftly end this practice. We are looking forward to supporting those and other countries in reforming their national legislation.” comments Julia Ehrt, Transgender Europe Executive Director.

However, the Court denied that forced medical examinations ordered by the national court (E. Garcon v France) or a mental health diagnosis (A.P. v France) contradict the Convention. Read more via TGEU
Philippines: Nothing against gays, but marriage is only for man and woman under the law
The Philippines cannot legalize same-sex marriage, unlike the US and several other European countries, according to President Rodrigo Duterte, who spoke before the Filipino community in a two-day official visit in Myanmar, and explained the current law of the land re marriage in the country. As bluntly stated by Duterte, the current law of the land allows only those who were assigned man and woman to marry each other.

Seemingly highlighting a “I support you, but I don’t support you” stance, Duterte claimed that two of his brothers-in-law, as well as some cousins are members of the LGBT community, but he added that “wala akong ano, pero kung saan ka pinuwesto ng Diyos, diyan ka lang (I have nothing against them, but you have to stick to where God placed you).” Read more via Outrage

Philippines: LGBT concerns greater than same-sex marriage
An education campaign on sexual orientation, gender identity and expression (Sogie) beyond just same-sex marriage is needed more than ever among the public and the Davao City LGBT community, LGBT Davao President, Normal Baloro said. Baloro said instead of opposing President Rodrigo Duterte’s perspective on same sex marriage, they need to focus more on pressing concerns related to the LGBT community.

“What’s really important now is to address the issues on transgender sensitivity and some misrepresentations about us in the media,” he said. Establishing programs that aim to educate the LGBT community and the general public will greatly help increase their sensitivity on issues that need awareness. Read more via Sun Star
France Supreme Court considers case of intersex individual seeking legal recognition
In 2015, a court legally recognized an intersex citizen as neither male nor female—a landmark ruling for intersex and non-binary sex recognition in France. 

"When I hit adolescence, I realized that I wasn't a boy," they said. "I didn't develop facial hair, my muscles didn't get bigger… At the same time, I couldn't possibly think of myself as a woman."

The decision was overturned on appeal and now it is up to the Supreme Court to settle whether people have the right to be legally recognized outside the gender binary.  Read more via Europe1
Denmark: Homosexual marriages in church are not against constitution
The Supreme Court in Denmark has ruled today that same-sex marriages in church are not against the Danish constitution.

The court has thus upheld a previous ruling of the Østre Landsrets High Court, which last June dismissed a suit brought by the organisation Med Grundlov Skal Land Bygges that claimed homosexual weddings in church violate not only the constitution but also the religious freedom of Danish citizens. Read more via CPH Post
US: Civil Rights Act Protects Gay Workers, Court Rules
A federal appeals court in Chicago ruled Tuesday that the 1964 Civil Rights Act protects gay workers from job discrimination, expanding workplace protections in the landmark law to include sexual orientation. The judges ruled by an 8-to-3 vote that the civil rights law, which already prohibits discrimination on a variety of factors, also includes protections based on sexual orientation. They concluded that such discrimination was no different from a form of sex discrimination, which the law prohibits. 

The decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, the highest federal court yet to grant such employment protections, raises the chances that the politically charged issue may ultimately be resolved by the Supreme Court. Read more via New York Times

US: 2nd Circuit Court says Title VII doesn't cover sexual orientation bias
The 11th and 2nd circuit courts’ decisions run counter to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s stand that Title VII prohibits sexual orientation bias. The EEOC says it will enforce the law as the agency interprets it, which has brought some challenge from SHRM and CUPA-HR, who believe the language of such enforcement needs to clarify Title VII's actual stance. Read more via HR Drive
Global event held in Buenos Aires for LGBT Jews
LGBT Jews held their first global event in South America in Buenos Aires. JAG, the organization of Lesbian, Gay Bisexual and Transexual Jews in Argentina and the World Congress of LGBT Jews organized the first global event in South America, gathering participants from Brazil, Colombia, Chile, France, Italy, Mexico, and the United States.

JAG is an acronym of Judíos Argentinos Gays that is pronounced like the Hebrew word for holiday, Chag.  The organization has been in existence for 12 years.

The first global Shabbaton and conference held last week in Latin America received support from the Judaica Fundation; the Jewish umbrella organization, DAIA; the Latin American Jewish Congress; the Buenos Aires city government; and the Argentinean Federation of LGBT.  The event was held in the country’s oldest synagogue. Read more via JTA
Papua New Guinea: Not enough funds for HIV/AIDS advocacy, says cardinal
Lack of funds hampers addressing issues faced by the increasing number of people living with HIV in Papua New Guinea, says Cardinal Sir John Ribat.

Cardinal Ribat, chairman of the Christian Leaders Alliance on HIV/AIDS, said this before handing over the recommendations made at the two-day summit for PNG Christian Leaders Alliance on HIV and AIDS. He said advocacy was the paramount role of Christian leaders. Read more via Asia Pacific Report
Philippines: Church must embrace people of all SOGIE, says IFI in historic LGBT statement
The Iglesia Filipina Independiente (Philippine Independent Church) released an LGBTQI+ statement that implores “agenda-setters to discuss laws and initiatives challenging LGBTQI+ discrimination. Only through this can we truly protect our brothers and sisters in the community, against issues such as abuse and the rise in HIV and AIDS cases in the sector; against avoidable fear, suffering and caution.” Read more via Outrage
How Tanzania Is Cracking Down On LGBT People — And Getting Away With It
Mohamed had just finished a beer at one of the cluster of bars popular with gay men, just beyond touristy Stone Town. It was around midnight on a Friday in December last year, and he noticed a police officer he knew — Zanzibar is like a small town; most gay men know the local police, and the officers know them. Mohamed waved hello, but the officer ignored him.

A minute or two later, another officer approached Mohamed, accused him of being a prostitute, and told him he was under arrest. Mohamed sniffed and handed the officer, whom he’d never seen before, his wallet. “Look in it, and see if it is the wallet of a person who sells himself,” he remembered saying. Read more via Buzzfeed
Tunisia: Doctors Oppose ‘Anal Test’ for Homosexuality
The National Council of the Medical Order in Tunisia issued a statement on April 3, 2017, calling for doctors to cease conducting forced anal and genital examinations. The move is an important step toward ending degrading, discriminatory, and unscientific “testing” for evidence of homosexual conduct.

Tunisia is among several countries in which Human Rights Watch has documented the use of forced anal examinations in the last six years. These invasive and humiliating exams, based on discredited 19th century science, usually involve doctors or other medical personnel forcibly inserting their fingers, and sometimes other objects, into the anus of the accused.  Read more via Human Rights Watch
Chechen Authorities Arresting and Killing Gay Men, Russian Paper Says
First, two television reporters vanished. Then a waiter went missing. Over the past week, men ranging in age from 16 to 50 have disappeared from the streets of Chechnya. A leading Russian opposition newspaper confirmed a story already circulating among human rights activists: The Chechen authorities were arresting and killing gay men. Read more via New York Times

Gay Chechens Give Accounts Of Roundups, Beatings, Extortion
Local authorities in Chechnya are alleged to be out for blood when it comes to homosexuality. Human rights groups and a major Russian newspaper say that in recent months gay Chechens have been rounded up because of their sexual orientation, beaten, blackmailed, and even killed. Read more via Radio Free Europe

Chechnya has opened concentration camps for gay men
Based on interviews with eyewitnesses and survivors, Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta reports that a secret prison has been set up in the town of Argun to detain the men arrested in the purge. Read more via PinkNews

Statement of the Russian LGBT Network’s board regarding the information on the kidnappings and murders of lgbt people in the north caucasus
The Russian LGBT Networks is highly disturbed and concerned about the information on the kidnapping and killing of people in Chechnya because of their sexual orientation. We are also outraged by the reaction of the officials of the Chechen Republic, who in fact justify the killings.  No national and/or religious traditions and norms can justify kidnapping or killing of a human being. Any references to “traditions” to justify kidnappings and killings are amoral and criminal. Read more via LGBT Net

Latest update from Chechnya on grave human rights violations
Read more via ILGA
Dutch Politicians, Cops, Businessmen Hold Hands In Solidarity With Gay Couple Brutally Attacked With Bolt Cutters 
A gay couple was attacked for holding hands in the Netherlands.
Jasper Vernes-Sewratan and his husband, Ronnie Sewratan-Vernes were on their way home from a party at Luxor Live, in their hometown Arnhem. The couple were walking hand in hand when they were attacked by a group of men. Ronnie lost four front teeth, as well as part of a fifth one, and suffered a severed lip.

All men holding hands? According to journalist Barbara Barend it's a fantastic way to protest violence against the LGBT community. She calls people to put photos on social media where they walk hand in hand with someone of the same sex. Read more via NewNowNext
Indonesia: Release Gay Men at Risk of Torture
On the night of March 28, 2017, unidentified vigilantes forcibly entered a home and brought two men found there to the police for allegedly having same-sex relations. The two men, in their twenties, have been detained at a Wilayatul Hisbah, a Sharia (Islamic law) police facility in Banda Aceh, the provincial capital.  The chief inspector indicated that the men had confessed to being gay and would be detained for sentencing. Under Aceh’s Islamic Criminal Code (Qanun Jinayah), they face up to 100 lashes in public—a punishment that constitutes torture under international law.

“The arrest and detention of these two men underscores the abuse imbedded in Aceh’s discriminatory, anti-LGBT ordinances,” said Phelim Kine, deputy Asia division director at Human Right Watch. “These men had their privacy invaded in a frightening and humiliating manner and now face public torture for the ‘crime’ of their alleged sexual orientation.” Read more via Human Rights Watch
US: This bus is on a road trip to convince you that transgender people aren’t real
An orange bus rolled onto the streets of Manhattan to make its first stop on an East Coast tour, during which a load of activist passengers will evangelize that transgender people don't exist and citizens must rise up to complain about their growing acceptance.

The creators are calling it the "Free Speech Bus," and they've decorated it with male and female stick figures along with the slogan: "Boys are boys... and always will be. Girls are girls... and always will be. You can't change sex. Respect all."

On Wednesday, they parked outside the United Nations headquarters, where ambassadors are considering a sex education resolution that a spokesperson for the bus argued promotes "an ideology that gender is fluid." Read more via Buzzfeed
US: The dangers facing trans women of color in 2017
In 2016, 27 trans and gender-nonconforming people were reportedly killed — making it the deadliest year on record for trans victims in the US. With at least 7 trans women killed in the first three months of this year, 2017 isn’t looking any safer for women in the trans community. Read more via Buzzfeed
Brazil: Trans woman dies after being stabbed in the neck
A trans woman on her way home from a friend was robbed and stabbed in the neck in Brazil. Wilka was a 40-year-old trans woman in Loteamento Luiz Gonzaga, urban area of ​​Vitória de Santo Antão in the southern state of Pernambuco. She was brutally murdered on Sunday (26 March), as she was on her way home from visiting a friend. Read more via Gay Star News

Brazil: Gay teen shot and killed
Jonas Correia dos Santos was killed in the village of Chá do Pai Gonçalo, in the eastern Brazilian state of Alagoas. He was just 18 years old. According to Brazilian media, he is the third gay man to be killed in the state in 2017. Read more via Gay Star News
Am I next?': Killings in El Salvador leave transgender people in fear
Every time the neighbourhood dogs bark at night, Teresa, a 44-year-old transgender woman in El Salvador, wakes up in a panic.

"I think that someone is coming to kill me," said Teresa, a shopkeeper in the coastal town of San Juan Talpa. "I live in constant fear."

Three transgender people were killed in San Juan Talpa in February alone, police say, spreading fear through members of El Salvador's lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community.

The spate of murders puts a spotlight on the violence El Salvador's LGBT community faces, a problem rights activists blame on powerful street gangs and entrenched social prejudices. Read more via Thomas Reuters Foundation 
CSU focuses on families, Germans favour gay marriage
An opinion survey carried out by pollster Emnid for Bild am Sonntag showed that 75% of respondents favoured full legal equality for homosexuals in life partnerships with the laws for a traditional marriage between a man and a woman. Only 20% of the 501 people contacted by the pollsters said they were against equality in law for gay couples, with the remaining 5% having no opinion.

The chancellor candidate for the Social Democratic Party (SPD), Martin Schulz, has called for equality for gay marriage, and the party looks set to make it an election issue. The party has proposed protection for the status of marriage and family and to extend it to “other forms of cohabitation,” Thomas Oppermann, chairman of the SPD parliamentary group, said last month. The Greens and Left (Linke) parties also support the idea. Read more via New Europe
Why can't we accept straight men who have gay sex?
For all the fun he’s had with men, Jesse doesn’t consider himself gay, or even bi. As far as he’s concerned, he’s a straight man who just happens to enjoy the occasional episode of cruising. Which—even in the most libertine of sexual circles—is an identity many people just can’t wrap their heads around.

Researchers tend to be sympathetic to their claims of a complex identity, but the general public is rarely quite so willing to view the topic in such nuanced shades of grey.  Read more via Fusion
Buenos Aires dedicates Subway station to LGBTI rights activist
Buenos Aires has dedicated its newest Subway station to an Argentinian gay icon. On Monday (20 March) the new station, now called Santa Fe – Carlos Jaúregui, opened on the city metro system’s H-Line. It’s considered to be the world’s first station to be named in the honor of an LGBTI icon and activist. Read more via Gay Star News
US: After the optimism of 2014—the ‘Transgender Tipping Point’ as decreed by Time magazine
In 2014, Time magazine announced “The Transgender Tipping Point.” Laverne Cox adorned the cover in a blue dress. The author of the cover story, Katy Steinmetz, declared that “another civil rights movement is poised to challenge long-held cultural norms and beliefs,” chalking up the emergence of “new policies” to the “new transparency” that transgender people were exhibiting after “emerging from the margins to fight for an equal place in society.”

The narrative was clear: Transgender visibility was good. It could change the country. And although Steinmetz herself was careful to qualify that the “transgender revolution still has a long way to go,” Time’s headline made it seem like a critical threshold had been crossed. Progress is linear, it supposed, and there is no going back. That narrative—I am sad to say on March 31, the Transgender Day of Visibility (TDOV)—is wrong. Read more via Daily Beast
US: She was an ultraconservative Texas Christian. Then Kai was born and everything changed.
In the last few weeks, after the Trump administration announced its massive rollback of Obama-era protections for trans students, Texas has emerged as the white-hot center of the nation’s “bathroom” debate—the newest and most fervent battleground in a fight, bookended by conflicting federal guidelines, made up of state lawsuits, court injunctions, a scuttled Supreme Court case, and now, a Texas bill that’s very close to codifying a hardline approach that could effectively bar trans people from many avenues of public life.

But this fight has also created a new and promising partnership between the state’s LGBTQ community and a cadre of fiercely protective parents. And many of these “mama” and “papa bears” of Texas trans pride are former conservatives, surprised to find themselves radicalized by their children’s ordeals, working hard to prove that Texas values are neither uniform nor fixed. Read more via Fusion
US: My Son, My Daughter: A Mother’s Evolution
Isabel Rose, the telegenic heiress to one of New York’s best-known real estate dynasties, has always had an ability to make her publicity-wary family squirm. But recently, Ms. Rose has been in the news for something with considerably larger stakes: the gender transition of her 8-year-old child, Sadie (formerly Samuel).

On Feb. 24, shortly after President Trump signed an executive order that rolled back federal protections for transgender students, Medium published an open letter by Ms. Rose that was addressed to Ivanka Trump.

In it, Ms. Rose asked Ms. Trump to take a stand on behalf of parents like herself. She pointed out their similarities. Read more via New York Times
Romania: I'm gay and I asked anti-abortion marchers what they would have done if I were their child
I learned that a child is gay because of the environment, friends and entourage. And God is able to heal him. It's no secret that the Church wants to live in an Orthodox theocracy in which to lick corpses and fire cupping icons, while they get rich off of you. Association Pro-life Coalition for Family and other fundamentalist organizations have organized this weekend March of Life .

The goal is "sending a message pro-life and pro-traditional family Christian." Translated organize this circus to hulim women and homosexuals as a show of force before the referendum to change the Constitution, made your money. This is a Romania where almost 60 000 children are abandoned or take state because they were bundles beat of the traditional family, and any coalition no longer care. Read more via Vice
The deadly side of Brazilian carnival 
Casa Nem, the only all-LGBT shelter in the state of Rio, last month set aside its usual mission — preparing gay and trans teens and young adults for college entrance exams — to prep a sound system and deck the halls of its downtown Rio de Janeiro offices with glitter. For this year’s Carnival, here among the narrow lanes of the Lapa district, the shelter and safe house hosted CarNEM, a street party to protest prejudice and violence against LGBT Brazilians.

Shelter director Indianara Siqueira looked festive in a black Carnival mask draped with chains of gold plastic stars, but her mood was somber as Afro-Brazilian drummers and dancers encircled turbaned musician Eliete Miranda, who defiantly shouted into a microphone: “We can’t pass this Carnival without protesting.” Read more via Ozy
Europe: Current migration situation in the EU: Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex asylum seekers
This report reviews how asylum claims based on sexual orientation and gender identity are assessed and analyses the existence of specific reception measures for LGBTI persons.

LGBTI persons may have special reception needs and/or grounds for international protection that are related to distinct vulnerabilities. Member State authorities need to establish whether or not this is the case using adequate, effective and fundamental rights-compliant ways to ensure appropriate reception and protection conditions for LGBTI persons. Read more via EUFRA
‘You have to come out of the closet twice’: What it’s like to be queer and undocumented
As Trump’s presidency progresses, the fate of undocumented immigrants grows ever more tenuous. In January, President Trump signed an executive order that broadens the scope of people subject to deportation beyond violent criminals to include anyone living in the U.S. illegally. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has arrested hundreds of people around the country, including at least three grantees of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a program that protects certain undocumented youth from deportation and allows them to work.

But an estimated 267,000 undocumented adults are caught in the crosshairs of a particularly thorny intersection. Both undocumented and LGBTQ—or “undocuqueer”—their sexual identity magnifies the fears stemming from their immigration status. Vice President Mike Pence and many of Trump’s cabinet members have a history of opposing LGBTQ rights. Read more via Fusion
Sexual assault victimization disproportionately affects certain minority college students
Students who perceive that their college campus is more inclusive and welcoming of sexual- and gender-minority people have lower odds of being victims of sexual assault, according to a study. In a complementary study, the researchers found that some minority groups are at considerably higher risk for sexual assault in college than peers in majority groups. Read more via Science Daily
New Zealand: Dunedin school removes gendered uniform categories
A Dunedin intermediate school is doing away with boys and girls uniforms, instead letting their students wear whatever items they like. Students at Dunedin North Intermediate have five options which they can pick from regardless of their gender: trousers, skirts, kilts, culottes, and shorts. Principal Heidi Hayward said the change was a practical way to value diversity. Read more via Stuff

Canterbury schools say yes to gender diversity
Canterbury schools are opening their doors to transgender students with plans for gender-neutral toilets and uniforms. Lincoln High School and Beckenham Primary School are two of the most progressive schools in the region, amidst a global gender revolution, driven largely by social media. Read more via Stuff

Australia: Elite private school in Sydney makes uniform gender fluid
When boys started wearing the girl’s uniform and the girls were decked head to toe in the boy’s uniform, this elite Sydney school knew it had to do something. 'It was really a no brainer for us, we can’t continue to have this heteronormative standard in our uniform.' Read more via Gay Star News
Pakistan: Transgender women teach underprivileged children
A group of five transgender women started teaching common English phrases and personal hygiene tips to street children in Bari Imam, a village located on the eastern outskirts of the capital.

The classes commenced last weekend in a small room of Pari Bagh, a shelter home for transgender people, in Bari Imam. Two hour classes are held every Saturday and Sunday at 10am, and the students are mostly flower or newspaper selling children, or beggars. Read more via Tribune
Fortune magazine's top 50 world leaders include three Africans
Zimbabwean businessman Strive Masiyiwa, Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Ugandan LGBT advocate Frank Mugisha have been named among the 50 World’s Greatest Leaders published by Fortune magazine.

Executive Director, Sexual Minorities Uganda Frank Mugisha ranked 44 for speaking out against Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill, which mandated life in prison for LGBT Ugandans, and led the campaign that eventually led to the bill’s invalidation by the courts. Read more via Africa news
Singapore Government Blocked Funding For Annual Pride Event, So Local Businesses Paid For It 
Pink Dot SG is an annual, non-profit, free-for-all event which started in 2009, in support of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community in Singapore. Attendees of Pink Dot events gather to form a ‘pink dot’ to show support for inclusiveness, diversity and the freedom to love. The event relies on corporate sponsors to meet the costs of organising the event.

In 2016, there were 18 corporate sponsors. Big corporations like Google, Barclays, JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs and BP have supported Pink Dot for several years. In 2016, Apple, Facebook and General Electric joined the list of corporate sponsors of Pink Dot. But late last year, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said that it would would take steps to make it clear that foreign entities should not fund, support or influence events Read more via Unscrambled
Discrimination Against LGBT People Could Cost Indonesia Almost Twelve Billion US Dollars a Year
Global concern about human rights violations against sexual and gender minorities, often referred to by the acronym LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender), has expanded to include concern about connections between human rights, social exclusion, and economic development. This study analyzes the treatment of LGBT people in Indonesia and shows how that treatment may be detrimental to the Indonesian economy. The report finds evidence from a wide range of research-based sources, including published academic studies of many datasets and studies by NGOs, that document the forms of exclusion that harm LGBT Indonesians’ well-being and that would reduce their ability to contribute to the Indonesian economy. Read more via Williams Institute
SCRUFF Presents: Dance for Pride! Delhi, India.
Gilbert Baker, creator of the rainbow flag, dead at 65 
As the gay rights movement spread from San Francisco and New York in the 1970s, Mr. Baker was often asked by friends aware of his creative talents to make banners for protests and marches. Read more via New York Times
The first Tel Aviv Games are bringing LGBT athletes to Israel this week Read more
How Marriage Equality Was Won—and What to Learn From It Read more
Intersex Activist and Writer Hida Viloria on Being 'Born Both Read more
"This goes beyond student just student athletes. It's athletes, coaches and fans." Watch now
Presenting the first exhibition dedicated to queer British art Read more
Australia businesses join marriage equality campaign  Read more
Equal Eyes is edited by Christina Dideriksen and Richard Burzynski. The views presented here do not necessarily represent the view of UNAIDS or its Cosponsors.
All stories and photographs linked within are the property of the original publishers.
Equal Eyes Copyright © 2017 Richard Burzynski, All rights reserved.

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