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30 August 2016

Dear friends and colleagues,

From the UN:  The UN Human Rights Council began evaluating candidates for the new independent expert to monitor human rights violations against LGBTI people. A five-member Consultative Group announced three top candidates. However, the Egyptian ambassador to the group refused to participate and released a statement reiterating that the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) will not recognize or cooperate with the new expert. 

In Namibia representatives of the UN Human Rights Committee, government ministers, and civil society members participated in a dialogue regarding the observations made by the Human Rights Council following Namibia's periodic review. UN representatives urged the government to consider decriminalizing homosexuality and to act on the issue of 'corrective rape' perpetrated on LGBT people.

UNDP and the Asia-Pacific Forum of National Human Rights Institutions published the manual 'Promoting and Protecting Human Rights in relation to Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Sex Characteristics' that provides definitions, case studies, and other materials as guidance for National Human Rights Institutions.

A newly published study in the Lancet is further fueling the push at the WHO to declassify 'transgender identity' as a mental disorder. The reclassification, due for approval in 2018, is contentious as different cultures and languages wrestle with the best way to serve the needs of transgender individuals. For some, classifying trans identity as an illness is beneficial—as in Japan, where a diagnosis is the only path to legal rights

HIV, Health, and Wellness: A new Cambodian study found that trans women have 'alarmingly' high rates of HIV and very poor access to care as local NGOs don't specifically reach out to them. And in China, HIV-positive gay men are often unable to find resources or counseling services and many turn to online forums for support.

A new UK report found that cases of syphilis increased by 163% in London over the last five years. Health officials warn that gay men are disproportionately affected, accounting for 90% of new diagnoses in 2015. 

A new study of sub-Saharan Africa evaluated how to reach and provide HIV prevention services to men who have sex with men in Lesotho, Swaziland, and Malawi. The study concluded that respondent-driven sampling is a 'promising method' to identify gaps in information and services in order to reach this underserved community.

Research from Canada revealed that lesbian, gay, and bi youth are more likely to have eating disorders than their heterosexual counterparts. And a new study from the US CDC found that lesbian, gay, and bisexual teens have significantly higher prevalence of rape, sexual assault, and attempted suicide than heterosexual teens. 

From the World of Politics:  Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos canceled a new anti-bullying program after Catholic bishops led a massive protest against an education booklet on sexual orientation and gender identity. 

The Parliament of South Australia passed an amendment to revise all legislation to ensure that laws do not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, or intersex status. And in Queensland, Australia new legislation will allow single people and same-sex couples to adopt children

Tanzanian Justice Minister Harrison Mwakyembe continued the country's recent crackdown on LGBT people, announcing that the government will revoke the registration of any charity or NGO that 'supports homosexuality.'

According to a new report from Human Rights Watch, Indonesian government officials were responsible for sanctioning violence against LGBT people through their ongoing discriminatory rhetoric and anti-LGBT policies. 

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights announced 'progress' on human rights of LGBTI people, noting in particular legislative changes adopted in 2016 in Ecuador, Bolivia, Chile, Peru, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Mexico, and Argentina.

Let the Courts Decide:  In a landmark decision, the Belize High Court decriminalized homosexuality with its ruling that Section 53 of the criminal code is unconstitutional. The Belize Government announced it will not appeal, making the country the first in the Caribbean region to remove colonial-era sodomy laws.

Meanwhile, a legal effort is underway in Indonesia's Constitutional Court to criminalize sexual activity between consenting same-sex partners. 

The High Court of England ruled that the National Health Service should fund PrEP drugs, saying that health officials had "erred" in declaring it was not the responsibility of the NHS. 

A Ukraine court ruled to allow two transgender individuals to change gender in all legal documentation without undergoing sterilization. Although the ruling will not change existing regulations, advocates are hopeful that it may open the door for future petitioners. 

A High Court in Colombia ruled that a transgender student may wear the uniform matching their gender identity.

The US District Court of Texas issued a nationwide injunction allowing states to prevent trans students from using their chosen bathroom without repercussion from the federal government. US states continue to be split on the rights of individuals to use public bathrooms—18 states ban discrimination based on gender identity, 4 states restrict access, and another 18 states are considering legislation.

A US Court of Appeal denied a bisexual Jamaican man asylum despite the violence he has suffered due to his sexuality. In her ruling, the judge concluded the man was not bisexual because of his relationships with women. 

The Politics of Union: As a spokesperson for Australian Prime Minister Turnbull announced another delay in holding the plebiscite on same-sex marriage, professor of human rights law Paula Gerber examined the negative impact that debating marriage equality is having on the region. 

Marriage equality has come to Antarctica as the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office announced plans to bring the British Antarctic Territory in line with domestic UK legislation. 

Fear and Loathing:  Syrian refugee Mohammed Wissam Sankari was found beheaded and his body mutilated in Istanbul. Friends believe Sankari was targeted for being openly gay. Also in Istanbul, LGBT activist and trans woman named Hande Kader was raped and burned to death. Hundreds demonstrated in Taksim Square in her honor.

Reports came from Iraq that ISIS continues to execute men accused of homosexuality as four men were thrown from a building and then stoned to death in front of a crowd of onlookers.

In Brazil, reports of anti-LGBT violence continue to soar and, according to Transgender Europe, the country has the highest rate of crimes targeting gender-diverse persons. 

Participants in a Russian LGBT Sports Federation weekend event near the city of Nizhny Novgorod were beaten and robbed at their campsite by a gang of unknown assailants. 

Human Rights Watch released a report on the violence and discrimination faced by gender non-conforming and other LGBTI people in Sri Lanka. The report emphasized how police harassment and arbitrary detention prevents victims from reporting crimes. 

And the New York Times examines the ongoing crackdown on LGBT people in Egypt that has led to over 250 arrests and forced the community into hiding.

In the Name of Religion:  In Malawi, organization MANERELA+—an interfaith network of religious leaders living or affected by HIV—hosted a regional dialogue with leaders, pastors, and sheiks and openly practicing LGBTI people.

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa announced that the Church will consider expanding provisions for LGBT people, including blessing civil unions and allowing LGBT clergy in civil unions to minister.

A survey of US Protestant pastors found that different denominations have vastly differing opinions of how LGBT people should participate in the church. Meanwhile, US members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints continue to participate in 'mass resignations' following the 2015 ruling that excommunicated married gay couples and their children.

Winds of Change: The National Security Minister of Malta announced that people will now be assigned to the Corradino Correctional Facility based on the gender on their identity cards, passports, or birth certificates—a move to protect trans, gender variant, and intersex prisoners. 

The Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice released a new report on international Intersex human rights issues that includes terminology, common questions, and human rights and legal issues. 

In Myanmar—where homosexuality remains criminalized—advocates are lobbying to include transgender women in the Prevention of Violence Against Women legislation. And in Montenegro group Queer Montenegro has formed a new organization 'KvirA' to support the specific needs of women in the community

Rainbow Mirrors, an LGBTI group in Uganda, has begun bottling wine as an income generating activity. Group executive director Abdul Jamal says the wine provides an alternative revenue source to members whose only other option is sex work. 

In Qatar—where homosexuality is penalized with up to 3 years in prison—an op-ed from a young man on the challenges of being gay sparked fierce backlash on Twitter. Publisher Doha News has since amended the essay with an editor's note reaffirming that they do not 'advocate breaking the law.'

And Dede Oetomo, the founder of the first LGBT organization in Indonesia, continues to work for equal rights despite the current push to criminalize homosexuality in the country. 

On the March: Ugandan police raided a beauty pageant on the third night of Uganda's LGBTI Pride. Attendees say police locked the nightclub gates to detain the crowd then assaulted, humiliated, and arrested more than 16 people. 

Activists in Odessa, Ukraine convinced authorities to reconsider a last-minute ban that would have canceled the city's first LGBTQ Pride march. 

In Nepal, nearly a thousand supporters marched for LGBT equality during Kathmandu's annual Gai Jatra festival. 

In Denmark, Princess Marie made history as the first royal to march in Copenhagen Pride. She joined Danish Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen and the Danish AIDS Foundation.

After a gay couple in London were reprimanded by security for holding hands in a supermarket, activists organized 'Big Gay Kiss'—a protest that filled the store with kissing same-sex couples. 

School Days: In Australia, trans teenagers must seek approval from the Family Court system before starting hormone treatment to match their identifying gender. Law professor Fiona Kelly of La Trobe University has published a new guide to help families navigate the complicated and expensive process

In the US, Jewish summer camps are struggling with balancing the gendered language of Hebrew with acceptance of trans kids. Habonim Dror, which operates seven North American camps, is the first to introduce a gender-neutral form of Hebrew. Meanwhile, author Leah Lax shared the stories of Hasidic gay and trans kids growing up in ultra-orthodox Jewish communities

In the wake of Ireland's marriage equality referendum, Irish youth group 'BeLonG To' urges the community to fight on-going homophobia and bullying.

The Ministry of Justice and Equality in the German state of Saxony-Anhalt began implementing the first part of its Action Plan to improve acceptance of LGBTI people by distributing 2,000 brochures to primary schools.

In a new survey the Ministry for Families and Youth in Austria found that although 48.5% of respondents personally felt positive about same-sex couples parenting children, 68.5% believed that society at large does not accept same-sex parents.

The African Queer Youth Initiative and Advocates for Youth published the results of their survey on the needs, challenges, and priorities of young LGBTIQ Africans. They are denied access to comprehensive sexuality education, access to information on sexual health and life-saving services.

And a new US survey found that young adults overwhelmingly support LGBT rights. The survey also showed an increase of support for LGBT among young Asian-Americans, African-Americans, and Latinos.

Business and Technology:  A new Japanese think tank was launched to cater to companies seeking to reach sexual minorities and expand into the LGBT market

Although the US has yet to pass workplace LGBT anti-discrimination legislation, law firms are preparing for a spike in lawsuits as LGBT and other gender non-conforming people struggle to find work

Canadian Blood Services came under fire for advertising for blood donations on gay hookup app Grindr despite the national ban on donations from sexually active gay men. 

Two new studies from Kenya and South Africa analyzed how marginalized communities including LGBTQ people use technology and are impacted by transparency and privacy issues

Meanwhile, the Associate Press reported that over the past year data dumps by WikiLeaks have revealed sensitive information of private Saudi Arabians, including medical data and HIV status, rape victims, and names of people arrested for being gay.

During the Rio Olympics, news site the Daily Beast came under fire for an article written by a straight reporter who used the Grindr app to interview gay Olympians. After many readers—including out Olympic swimmer Amini Fonua—accused the author of entrapment and outing athletes from countries with criminalizing laws, the site apologized and deleted the article.

Sports and Culture:  The Rio Summer Olympics had a record 53 publicly out gay, lesbian, and bisexual athletes, 25 of whom won medals, including 10 gold. During the games, Nike revealed a new ad campaign featuring Chris Mosier, the first trans duathlete to qualify for the US National team. 

Athletes with hyperandrogenism—a medical condition causing an excess of testosterone—were cleared to participate in the Rio Games, yet debate has still followed Indian sprinter Dutee Chand and South Africa’s gold medallist Caster Semenya for having an 'unfair advantage.' Professor Silvia Camporesi explores why they have been scrutinized when over 200 other genetic variations are not despite providing advantages in elite sports. 

After the games, Semenya was honored as South Africa’s Athlete of the Year, an award she dedicated "to my haters.”

Evita, Israel's oldest, largest, and only explicitly gay bar, closed its doors after 12 years.

South Africa broadcasters have increasingly restricted LGBT content on mainstream media. PrideTV, a new subscription streaming service for TV and movies, hopes to fill the gap.

In his new series, South African photographer Pieter Hugo captured the 'Gully Queens' of Jamaica—the community of gay men who live in the city's storm drains.

In Shanghai, China the first ever Mr Gay China was crowned after a four-week competition. The event was shut down in 2010, but organizers worked this year to avoid censure by focusing on values of “being healthy, positive and energetic.”

And finally, check out the trailer for Two Soft Things, Two Hard Things, a documentary on LGBT Inuit people featured at The Vancouver Queer Film Festival in Canada.
lauri ryding

"None of us are free until all of us are free. And make no mistake about it! The ruling today was just the first step. It continues. The struggle continues."
~ Senior Counselor Lisa Shoman who represented plaintiff Caleb Orozco in his complaint that the law criminalizing homosexuality in Belize was unconstitutional. In a landmark ruling, Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin struck down the law.
Continue for excerpts from the articles
ban ki moon Michel Sidibé UNAIDS report
Compilation of the Adoption of the 2016 SOGI Resolution
On 30 June 2016, the Human Rights Council (HRC) voted to establish an Independent Expert on Protection Against Violence and Discrimination based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity. 

Check out an anthology of the key statements, documents, and outcomes of the adoption of the resolution compiled by ILGA. Read more here
Egyptian envoy boycotts UN’s new monitor on anti-gay violence
A 5-member UN human rights committee announced that Thai law professor Vitit Muntarbhorn, who has held prior UN rights posts, is its choice to be the UN’s first monitor against anti-gay violence.

In a report circulated by the president of the UN human rights council (UNHRC), its Consultative Group—comprised of five diplomats who evaluate candidates for expert positions—named Muntarbhorn and two other choices from Costa Rica and Australia. 

The UN report also reveals that Amr Ramadan, Egypt’s ambassador to the UNHRC, declined to participate in the selection process. He detailed his reasons to the council president in a formal letter.

In the letter he says that a mandate on protecting gays from violence and discrimination is “contrary to my convictions and the values I stand for,” “beyond universally recognized human rights and fundamental freedoms,” and shows “utter disregard to the principle of universality of internationally agreed human rights.” Read more via UN Watch
Gender and sexuality based violence in Namibia
In a mission organised by the CCPR-Centre together with its Namibian partner, the Legal Assistance Centre, two members of the United Nations Human Rights Committee, as well as the CCPR-Centre’s Programme Manager visited Namibia. The main objective of the visit was to follow-up on the Concluding Observations adopted by the Committee as a result of the review of the second periodic report of Namibia in March 2017. 

A dialogue with officials focused on the recommendations selected by the Human Rights Committee for the follow-up procedure .  One of the biggest challenges that the Delegation encountered was the reluctance of the authorities on accepting LGBTI rights. All the authorities met by the Delegation expressed that Namibia does not prosecute LGBTI people, but the culture, religion and tradition does not permit any recognition of LGBTI rights in the laws of Namibia.

None of the authorities met agreed with the Committee's recommendations of the need to eliminate the crime of sodomy and the need to include sexual orientation as ground of discrimination and against including the protection of same-sex relations in the Domestic Violence Act as recommended by the Committee. Read more via CCPR
WHO weighs dropping transgender identity from list of mental disorders
The World Health Organization is moving toward declassifying transgender identity as a mental disorder in its global list of medical conditions, with a new study lending additional support to a proposal that would delete the decades-old designation.

The change, which has so far been approved by each committee that has considered it, is under review for the next edition of the W.H.O. codebook, which classifies diseases and influences the treatment of patients worldwide. “The intention is to reduce barriers to care,” said Geoffrey Reed, a psychologist who is coordinating the mental health and behavior disorders section in the upcoming edition of the codebook. 

Removing the mental health label from transgender identity would be a
powerful signifier of acceptance, advocates and mental health professionals say. Many, but not all, advocates favor the idea of keeping transgender in the codebook in some form because the designations are widely used for billing and insurance coverage of medical services and for conducting research on diseases and treatments. But where should it go? Read more via the New York Times
Japan: Why transgender people prefer to be told they have a “disorder”
A rumpled, soft-spoken psychiatrist at Osaka Medical College, Dr. Koh has counseled more than 2,000 gender-nonconforming children in Japan. On this occasion, he found the school principal was adamant — the only way for the student to get out of the boys’ gym class was if she had some kind of medical excuse. 

So Koh gave her a diagnosis: gender identity disorder (GID), which is defined as “a desire to live and be accepted as a member of the opposite sex.” It is listed in the WHO’s catalogue of ailments used by doctors all around the world, the International Classification of Diseases (ICD). GID can be found in the chapter “Mental Health and Behavioural Disorders,” alongside conditions ranging from “profound mental retardation” to schizophrenia.

The diagnosis solved the Osaka student’s immediate problem: She would be allowed to play tennis with the girls. (“She’s terrible, but she’s so cute,” one of her mentors gushed.) 

Koh gave the Osaka student the diagnosis — even though he doesn’t agree with it. Koh, who began his career specializing in schizophrenia, has become one of the few doctors in Japan who works with transgender children. There is an irony here, because Koh doesn’t believe these children need doctors. Read more via Buzzfeed
Promoting and Protecting Human Rights: sexual orientation, gender identity, and sex characteristics
The APF-UNDP manual explores how NHRIs can work with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex communities and better advocate for their rights.

National human rights institutions (NHRIs) are official, independent, legal institutions established by the State and exercising the powers of the State to promote and protect human rights. In every country where they are established, they should be the principal mechanisms for human rights promotion and protection.

They are concerned for the human rights of everyone within the jurisdiction of the State but they should have a particular concern for those who experience human rights violations or are most at risk of human rights violations. Because of this particular concern for those most at risk, NHRIs need to ensure that their work includes LGBTI people. Read more via Asia Pacific Forum
Cambodia: Study finds ‘alarming’ HIV rate among transgender women
A new survey has revealed that the HIV prevalence rate among transgender women in Cambodia stands at a 5.9%– a rate NGO leaders working on the issue called “alarming”. The findings of the first-of-its-kind comprehensive survey were released by the National Centre for HIV/AIDS, Dermatology and STD Control (NCHADS) and the health NGO KHANA.

A total of 1,375 transgender women from 13 provinces participated in the survey. The three provinces with the highest prevalence rates were Banteay Meanchey, with 11.7%; Siem Reap, with 11.3%; and Phnom Penh with 6.5%. Choub Sok Chamreun, director of KHANA, said although the overall prevalence rate for this group was not bad compared to other countries in the region, it was high compared to the prevalence rate among the general population within the country, which stands at just 0.6%.

But the findings of the new survey indicate that transgender individuals could be at increased risk. For instance, only 45% of participants had been reached by NGOs with intervention programs in the past three months. Read more via Phnom Penh Post
HIV-positive gay men find little support in China
More than seven months after he was confirmed HIV-positive, Xiao Wang still doesn’t know whether he should start taking antiretroviral drugs. The 26-year-old, who lives in a small city in China’s heartland, believes he was exposed to the virus last when he had sex with another man.

For Wang, just getting confirmation that he was positive was a nightmare. In fact, he received conflicting test results along the way: first positive, then negative, then positive again. But that wasn’t the worst of it. Wang spoke emotionally of a total lack of support in terms of psychological counseling and practical information on how to live with HIV.

“I was utterly devastated when I first learned the news, and still they looked at me with cold faces,” said Wang. “None of the CDC or hospital staff were patient enough to explain the details of how to access the free drugs, let alone comfort me,” he said. Read more via Sixth Tone
Syphilis cases increase by 163% in London in five years
Five times more people were diagnosed with syphilis in London last year than in any other English region, according to a report that says cases of the infection have more than doubled in the capital since 2010.

Nearly 60% of syphilis cases in England were diagnosed in London, according to research published on Wednesday by Public Health England, with rates increasing in 32 of the capital’s 33 boroughs in the five years to 2015.

Gay men were disproportionately affected, experiencing 90% of new diagnoses in 2015, despite comprising just 2% of the adult population. But experts are warning of a rise among heterosexuals as well. Read more via the Guardian
Study: Unique needs of gay men in sub-Saharan Africa identified with respondent-driven sampling
The HIV risk profile of gay men and other men who have sex with men have not been well-characterised within sub-Saharan African countries. These key populations are traditionally difficult to reach for purposes of estimating the prevalence of HIV and of behavioural risk factors, and for prevention outreach. This study enrolled recruiters from community-based organizations which served gay men and other men who have sex with men in Malawi, Lesotho, and Swaziland. Each of these ‘seeds’ could recruit up to three participants. Each subsequent participant could recruit another three participants into a new ‘wave’. The profiles of participants changed in each setting with each additional recruitment wave.

Men in Swaziland were less likely to know that anal sex was the riskiest type of sex, men in Malawi were less likely to have ever tested for HIV, and men in Lesotho were less likely to have disclosed their sexual orientation to family members. This type of respondent-driven sampling can be replicated to identify men who are removed from community-based organisations, and to identify their unique service needs. Future research can consider whether the hardest-to-reach men are also people at highest risk of HIV infection. Read more via UNAIDS Science Now
Canada: Eating disorder behaviour on the rise for gay, lesbian, bisexual youth
Eating disorder behaviours such as purging, fasting and using pills to lose or control weight seems to be declining for most youth, yet are on the rise for those who are gay, lesbian and bisexual.

The findings are from a new study by researchers at the University of B.C. The study found that gay boys were 5 times more likely to use diet pills compared to their heterosexual counterparts. The study also found the gap in the rate of disordered eating behaviours increased between lesbian and bisexual girls and their straight peers.

Though they used U.S. data for the study, Watson said he and his fellow researchers will soon be publishing a paper using provincial data from the B.C. Adolescent Health Survey, which gathered information from about 30,000 youth.

"We're looking at the same questions with very similar outcomes about binge eating and fasting to lose weight, and we see the exact same patterns here in B.C.," Watson said. Read more via CBC
US: CDC study finds gay teens are nearly five times as likely to attempt suicide
A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study has found that LGB teens are more than four times as likely to attempt suicide.
The news comes from the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), reporting on a major behavioural survey on sexual identity among teens aged 13 and older.

The study found extreme regional variations. Though the attempted suicide rate for LGB pupils was higher across the entire country, in some less-accepting areas a third of LGB kids have attempted suicide  – compared to less than a fifth in some states. Read more via PinkNews

Read the full CDC report here
Colombia: Bishops in Colombia kill anti-bullying education program
A proposed anti-bullying program in Colombia will not go ahead as planned, following a meeting between the country’s president and Catholic bishops.

Colombia’s Ministry of Education, in conjunction with two United Nations agencies, had prepared a document, titled “Discrimination-Free School Environments,” to handle sexual and gender diversity training for educators. But, after meeting with three Catholic bishops, President Juan Manuel Santos announced that the document would not be implemented.

The meeting between the president and the bishops was held one day after thousands of Colombians demonstrated against the document, which had been released on the website of the United Nations Children’s Fund. The bishops’ statement said these protests were “an exercise by the parents of their right to be assisted in educating their children in accordance with their convictions and values.” But the church-encouraged protests were, in part, inspired by pornographic images released to the public that were falsely attributed to the document. Read more via New Ways Ministry
South Australia set to remove discrimination against LGBTI people
The South Australian Parliament has passed an amendment to the current law to allow for more inclusive language in legislation and remove gender bias.

The Statutes Amendment (Gender Identity and Equity) Bill 2016 changes the language used in South Australian law to ensure that gender identities, including transgender and intersex, are captured in state legislation.

The Bill will also remove language in legislation that has the potential to discriminate against people based on their relationship status.

The amendment follows a review by the South Australian Law Reform Institute (SALRI) to ensure South Australian laws don’t discriminate on the grounds of sexual orientation, gender, gender identity (SOGI) and intersex status. Read more via Gay News Network
Australia: Overhaul of Queensland laws will legalise same-sex adoption
After years of inaction, Queensland is finally moving to legalise same-sex adoption.

As part of a planned overhaul of the state's adoption laws, which were last reviewed under a Labor government in 2009, the Palaszczuk Labor Government will introduce legislation this month which will allow singles, same-sex couples and couples undergoing IVF the right to adopt children.

Queensland is one of the last Australian jurisdictions to move forward with these reforms, with New South Wales, Victoria, the ACT and Western Australia already having made changes.  Read more via Brisbane Times
Tanzania: Seeds of hate' sown with LGBT crackdown
Tanzania’s justice minister has announced controversial new plans to suspend the registration of any charity or non-governmental organisation that supports homosexuality.

Claiming that he was protecting the “culture of Tanzanians”, Harrison Mwakyembe’s announcement comes just days after the country’s health minister imposed a partial ban on the import and sale of lubricants to discourage gay men from having sex and “curb the spread of HIV”.

The sudden crackdown has come as a surprise in a country that has until recently been tolerant of its lLGBT community. Unlike in neighbouring Uganda – where pride events were disrupted by the police last week – Kenya and Zimbabwe, gay Tanzanians have not experienced the same levels of violence and discrimination, and politicians have until now generally ignored the topic. Read more via the Guardian
Indonesia: ‘LGBT Crisis’ exposed official bias
The Indonesian government stoked an unprecedented attack on the security and rights of sexual and gender minorities in early 2016, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The government campaign included hateful rhetoric, discriminatory edicts, and the use of force to repress peaceful assembly.

The 56-page report, “‘These Political Games Ruin Our Lives’: Indonesia’s LGBT Community Under Threat,” documents how officials’ biased and untrue statements about lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people provided social sanction for harassment and violence against LGBT Indonesians, and even death threats by militant Islamists. State institutions, including the National Broadcasting Commission and the National Child Protection Commission, issued censorship directives banning information and broadcasts that portrayed the lives of LGBT people as “normal” as well as so-called “propaganda” about LGBT lives.

That combination of discriminatory rhetoric and policy decisions harmed the physical security and right to free expression of LGBT people across the country. Read more via Human Rights Watch
IACHR Welcomes progress on human rights of LGBTI persons
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) welcomes the progress made in recent months with regard to the human rights of LGBTI persons particularly in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Peru, the United States, and Uruguay.

In terms of prevention of discrimination, the IACHR takes note of a circular (No. 003-2016) issued by Costa Rica’s Ministry of Justice and Peace declaring that ministry to be a space free of discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. With regard to non-discrimination within the family sphere, the IACHR welcomes Costa Rica’s decision in June 2016 to extend survivor’s benefits to widows or widowers of same-sex partners across all retirement systems under the national budget. In addition, on April 7, 2016, the Constitutional Court of Colombia approved same-sex marriage. Read more via the IACHR
Belize: Supreme Court strikes down colonial-era anti-LGBT law
In a decision that could have far-reaching consequences, the Belize Supreme Court ruled this week that a law that punishes homosexual sex is unconstitutional, making the country the first former British colony in the Caribbean to do so. The Caribbean has a high preponderance of colonial-era laws that criminalize homosexual sex.

A lawsuit challenging the Belize law was filed in the Supreme Court of Judicature, Belize’s highest court, in 2010 by Caleb Orozco and the group he directs, United Belize Advocacy Movement (UniBAM). UniBAM’s attorneys argued that Section 53 violated provisions of the Constitution of Belize that recognize individual rights to human dignity, to be free from arbitrary or unlawful interference with one’s privacy and to equal protection under the law.

Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin found that Section 53 of the criminal code that criminalizes consenting intercourse between adults of the same sex contravenes rights granted under the Belize Constitution, and added that the court has an obligation to amend the law so it adheres to the Constitution. He ordered an amendment specifying that section 53 does not apply to consenting sexual acts between adults of the same gender. Read more via Southern Poverty Law Center
Indonesia: Gay sex may be outlawed
With negative public sentiment toward LGBT reaching an all-time high, the anti-LGBT movement in the country is seeking to criminalize same-sex relationships. 

A group of academics and activists have requested that the Constitutional Court annul a number of articles in the Criminal Code (KUHP) to make it illegal for homosexuals to engage in sexual activities. 

The court, which has affirmed that the plaintiffs have constitutional grounds to present their case, has held five hearings in which expert witnesses, presented by the petitioners, told the court that homosexuality was “contagious” and that it “could trigger a spike in HIV infections”. Read more via Jakarta Post
UK: HIV campaigners win NHS drug battle
The High Court has told the NHS in England it can fund a drug that can prevent HIV - after health bosses argued it was not their responsibility.
NHS England previously said councils should provide the pre-exposure prophylaxis (Prep) drug as they are in charge of preventative health. But the High Court ruling does not make funding of Prep automatic and the NHS is set to appeal.

The ruling by Mr Justice Green said health bosses had "erred" in arguing it was not their responsibility. NHS England has already announced it will appeal against the ruling - and even if that goes against health bosses it is not a given that Prep will be considered effective enough to warrant NHS funding. Read more via BBC
Ukraine: Attempt to end sterilization requirement for a passport
For the first time in the Ukraine, a transgender person has been able to change their passport without sterilization. According to Ukraine laws, an individual has the right to choose the degree of surgical intervention when changing genders, but to prove the gender change the Commission that regulates legal sex change requires sterilization surgery. In many countries, forced sterilization is recognized as a violation and thus it is canceled.

A court has reviewed the petitions of two individuals seeking to avoid sterilization surgery and found that the requirement is illegal. The ruling does not set a precedent for all individuals seeking gender change. Ukraine needs to revise many aspects of its policy in the field of legal gender recognition, and bring it in line with international best practice standards, thus providing efficient, accessible and transparent procedures, according to the human rights activists there. The court decision represents a small but encouraging step in this direction. Read more via Subversive Front
Colombia: Trans student can use the uniform that matches his gender identity
A transgender student of the Atlantic Sena can use a man's uniform after the Constitutional Court ruled that the young man's right to free development of personality was being violated by being denied the use of uniform.

Regional director of the Seine in Barranquilla, Jacqueline Rojas, said the institution fully respects the decision of the court. 

"We will promote this debate throughout the region," Rojas who acknowledged that this situation opens the door to establish the institution a roadmap to address such cases. Read more via El Tiempo
US: Judge blocks Obama transgender school bathroom policy
A U.S. judge blocked an Obama administration policy that public schools should allow transgender students to use the bathrooms of their choice, granting a nationwide injunction sought by 13 dissenting states just in time for the new school year.

While a setback for transgender advocates, the ruling is only the latest salvo in a larger legal and cultural battle over transgender rights that could be headed toward the U.S. Supreme Court.

Following milestone achievements in gay rights including same-sex marriage becoming legal nationwide in 2015, transgender rights have become an increasingly contentious issue in the United States, with advocates saying the law should afford them the same rights extended to racial and religious minorities. Read more via Reuters
US: Immigration and Seventh Circuit judges reject bisexual man’s request for protection; here’s why they were wrong
The Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals denied a petition from a Jamaican immigrant, 51-year-old Ray Fuller, for relief from an order sending him back to Jamaica where he feared being persecuted and tortured due to his bisexuality.

Fuller’s fear of persecution was not theoretical; he provided evidence of having been the victim of violent harassment, including having his face sliced with a knife while being taunted for being “gay,” being the victim of a stoning by fellow college students, being shot at and, after being shot at, being kicked out of his home by his family rather than supported.

In denying his petition for relief, the immigration judge not only expressed skepticism that bisexuals are persecuted in Jamaica, but also concluded that Fuller is not really bisexual, largely because of his relationships with women. She rejected as not credible all seven letters Fuller had provided from children and friends attesting to his bisexuality, including two ex-boyfriends. Read more via LambaLegal
Antartica: Now same-sex couples can officially get married
The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) has announced plans to launch a consultation in order to review same-sex marriage legislation in the British Antarctic Territory (BAT). Although same-sex marriage became legal in the BAT at the same time as the law was changed in England and Wales, the FCO say the aim of the review is to ensure the legislation is up to date and in line with UK law.

The review will no doubt come as welcome news to the 250 people who live in the Antarctic every summer, as well the organisms native to the area – such as algae, bacteria, fungi, plants, protista, and certain animals, such as mites, nematodes, penguins, seals and tardigrades – many of which also exhibit signs of homosexuality. Read more via PinkNews
Australia’s delay in achieving marriage equality is coming at a real cost for our region
As we head into the second half of 2016, some might accuse Australia of fiddling while Rome burns. We are debating the why, when and how of a plebiscite on marriage equality when lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people in other countries are being persecuted and killed because of who they are.

Twenty countries in the Asia-Pacific region have laws criminalising sex between consenting males: 12 in Asia, eight in the Pacific. In some of these countries, LGBTI people are being targeted with increasing hostility.

This single-minded focus on what’s happening in Australia has regional ramifications. Read more via the Conversation
Australia: Turnbull government to delay same-sex marriage plebiscite
The Turnbull government will push back the date of the proposed same-sex marriage plebiscite until February 2017, breaking a flagship pledge. The Prime Minister had said he wanted the vote to be held this year.

However a spokesperson for Mr Turnbull told Fairfax Media that Special Minister of State, Scott Ryan,  received advice last week from the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) advising the government to push the vote back.

"The government has always said that a decision on same-sex marriage will be made by a vote of all Australians in a national plebiscite to be held as soon as practicable," the spokesperson said. Read more via Sydney Morning Herald
Turkey 'unsafe' for LGBT people after murder of Syrian refugee
Mohammed Wissam Sankari, a 25-year-old Syrian refugee and aspiring poet, was found beheaded, his body mutilated beyond recognition, two days after he disappeared in Istanbul.

Amid the shock over the brutality of his murder, campaigners say the killing highlights the perilous situation of Syrian refugees in Turkey, a country listed by the EU as "safe" for asylum seekers to return to.

“Wissam was a good guy, very shy,” his friend Mohamed Masri said.

His family say they don’t know why he was killed, and fear he was singled out because he was a Syrian refugee – but friends and campaigners say that he was targeted for being an openly gay man. Read more via Middle East Eye
Turkey: Protesters demand justice for murdered transgender activist
The murder of Hande Kader, a transgender activist and sex worker, led to a massive protest in Turkey's Istanbul, on Sunday evening (21 August). Protesters chanted slogans and demanded justice for Kader, who was found dead earlier in August. The 22-year-old's body was found mutilated and badly burnt in the neighbourhood of Zekeriyakoy — a village of the Sarıyer district of the Istanbul municipality.

According to reports, opposition MPs and some political leaders were also the part of the protest. "We will not stop until we find those responsible for Hande Kader's murder," Ebru Kiranci, spokeswoman for Istanbul's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender & Intersex (LGBTI) Solidarity Association, said. Read more via International Business Times
Iraq: ISIS execute four men for being gay – including two of their own members
On Saturday (August 20) local sources said the terrorist group had murdered four men on charges of homosexuality and sodomy in the city centre of Mosul. The four men were thrown from the top of a former insurance company office in the centre of the city and then stoned. Last week, the group executed another man in a similar way, claiming on a video that “those who dare to oppose Allah’s Sharia and the Caliphate’s rules deserve punishment.” Read more via PinkNews
Brazil: 'They kill with so much hate' Anti-LGBT violence soars
Despite its pink reputation for hosting the world's largest Pride festival in Sao Paulo, the nation long known for the glittering camp of its Carnaval celebrations has seen an alarming spike in violent homophobic and transphobic assaults over the last decade, according to human rights groups.

In absolute numbers, there is no deadlier place in the world to be an LGBT person than Brazil, according to Transgender Europe, which tracks hate crimes targeting gender-diverse populations. The group logged 845 reported murders of LGBT people in Brazil — a country of some 200 million — from 2008 to April 2016. Mexico, with a population of about 122 million, is second on the list, with 247. Read more via CBC
Russia gay campsite attacked by gang in the middle of the night
The Russian LGBT Sport Federation held a sporting weekend on the bank of the river Linda at the weekend, near the city of Nizhny Novgorod. People from Moscow flew in to take part in the sports weekend on 6 and 7 August, with a day of sports, social events, beach football and volleyball tournaments.

There was no advertising anywhere that it was an LGBTI event. But somehow, a gang found out. At around 11pm, when the camp was sitting by a fire and guitar was playing, they were attacked.

Five to eight unknown people came with bats, crashing into cars and shouting homophobic slurs. Any person who tried to stop the assailants were beaten and many received serious wounds. The tents were cut, with personal belongings and money and documents taken. Read more via Gay Star News
Sri Lanka: Challenging ‘Gender Norms’ Brings Abuse
Transgender people and others who do not conform to social expectations about gender face discrimination and abuse in Sri Lanka, Human Rights Watch said in a report. 

The 63-page report, “‘All Five Fingers Are Not the Same’: Discrimination on Grounds of Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation in Sri Lanka,” finds that people who don’t conform to gender norms face arbitrary detention, mistreatment, and discrimination accessing employment, housing, and health care. The government should protect the rights of transgender people and others who face similar discrimination, Human Rights Watch said. Read more via Human Rights Watch
Egypt: Gay and transgender Egyptians, harassed and entrapped
The last days of the government of Hosni Mubarak and the turbulent revolution that followed were tense, occasionally gut-wrenching times for many in Egypt. But for gay and transgender Egyptians, it was also a period of unaccustomed freedom.

They socialized in bars and sidewalk cafes and met partners over cellphone dating apps with a greater degree of openness and comfort than they had known.

But that era came to an abrupt end with the return of military rule.

Since the 2013 military intervention that established former Gen. Abdel Fattah el-Sisi as the country’s ruler, at least 250 lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people have been arrested in a quiet crackdown that has shattered what had been an increasingly vibrant and visible community. Through a campaign of online surveillance and entrapment, arrests and the closing of gay-friendly businesses, the police have driven gay and transgender people back underground and, in many cases, out of the country. Read more via the New York Times
Malawi: Religious leaders meet with LGBTI community
Malawi Network of Religious Leaders Living or Personally Affected by HIV and Aids (MANERELA+) held a Regional dialogue interface meeting between religious leaders and groups of LGBTI people. The meeting held at Mkango Lodge in the Commercial City of Blantyre brought together pastors, Sheikhs, Prophets and individuals who are openly practicing LGBTI.

According to MANERELA+ official Allie Mwachande, the meeting was aimed at establishing gaps that exist in the faith community on issues to do with LGBTI people. Mwachande said it is high time Malawi as a nation including the faith community accept the reality that LGTBI is being practiced in Malawi and to talk openly about sexual diversities in human sexuality. Read more via AllAfrica
Southern Africa: LGBTI proposal for Anglicans 'rattling the hinges'
A proposal that would see a far warmer welcome for the LGBTI community and those in same-sex unions will go before decision makers in the Anglican Church of Southern Africa next month.

The motion, tabled by the Diocese of Saldanha Bay, proposed the provision of pastoral care for those who identified themselves as part of this community.

"More controversially, the motion also proposes that clergy who identify as LGBTI and are in legal same-sex civil unions should be licensed to minister in our parishes," said Archbishop Thabo Makgoba of Cape Town. Read more via AllAfrica
US: Pastors differ on LGBT individuals' place in church
The survey of 1,000 Protestant senior pastors also asked about the role of LGBT people in the church, which remains a contentious issue for many denominations. Fewer than half of Protestant senior pastors say their church allows LGBT people to serve, even in limited roles, LifeWay Research found. 

When asked where LGBT people can serve, 34% of senior pastors say “nowhere.” 30% say “anywhere.” 15% say LGBT people can serve in at least one role. 21% aren’t sure or haven’t discussed the issue. 

The research shows pastors don’t always fit the stereotypes when it comes to the roles of LGBT people in church. Evangelical pastors are often seen as less friendly to LGBT people, yet fewer than half of their churches completely bar LGBT people from serving. Mainline pastors, on the other hand, are seen as affirming to LGBT people, yet they are split down the middle over whether LGBT people can serve anywhere. And a surprising number of churches haven’t talked about the issue. Read more via LifeWay Research
US: LGBT community in mass exodus from Mormon religion
Thousands of people in the LGBT community and their supporters are fleeing the Mormon religion following a strict new policy that's forcing a wedge into families, according to observers. The Mormon church issued new rules in late 2015 not only barring LGBT partners but also banning their children from being baptised in the church.

Member exits aren't the only backlash against the church's policy. Brigham Young University in Utah, which is owned and operated by the Mormons, is coming under fire for its discriminatory policies. Read more via International Business Times
Malta: New policy for transgender inmates launched
The launch of a new trans, gender-variant, intersex inmate policy will see prisoners at Corradino Correctional Facility (CCF) assigned to wards according to the gender indicated on their identity card, passport or birth certificate, national security minister Carmelo Abela announced. Inmates who have applied for an official gender change on their documents, and whose application was still being processed, would be assigned to an area set up specifically for such cases, after making a declaration under oath, and until their new documentation is issued.

CCF director Paul Debattista explained that some changes had already started taking place with inmates already switching wards according to the gender indicated on their ID card. Debattista went on to explain that under the policy, CCF officials would also be attending courses to bring them up to date on the policy and any resulting changes in procedures: “Staff at CCF will be trained in things like searches by wardens, as well as how to handle issues of bullying or discrimination within the facility.” Read more via Malta Today
Myanmar: Protecting transgender people
Being transgender can mean a world of possible gender identities, where people move from one gender to another and can also put aside the choice of male and female for one of “third gender”. Across Asia, including in Myanmar, many societies have a place for a third gender identity, and increasingly they are legally recognised too.

Yet transgender people bear the brunt of the stigma and discrimination against the LGBT community. They are usually much more visible, and less able or less willing to simply “blend in”. They can also face discrimination within the LGBT community itself because they embody the stereotypes of effeminacy that many gay men shun.

To protect against sexual and physical violence most transgender people look to legislation to protect LGBT rights. In Myanmar, where same-sex relations are criminalised under the British-era penal code, this kind of protection is some way off. Read more via Myanmar Times
We Are Real: The growing movement advancing the human rights of intersex people. 
The Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice is proud to launch the report We Are Real: The Growing Movement Advancing the Human Rights of Intersex People. 

Available in English, Spanish, Russian, and forthcoming in Chinese, We Are Real seeks to share and promote relevant knowledge and understanding of intersex issues and activism to people across the world––particularly funders and other actors committed to human rights. The report includes terminology, common questions, human rights and legal issues, and demands of the intersex movement. It also highlights strategies for change and presents recommendations to funders.

"This report helps more accurately understand the basic principles, concepts, strategies, teamwork, and specifics of intersex existence and activism and how it often differs from other social and political movements,"  states Aleksandr Berezkin, founder of Intersex Fund grantee partner ARSI. Read more via Astraea Foundation
Montenegro: A new activist group for LBTQ women has been established
The founder of the independent group LBTQ women “KvirA” and coordinator of the program for the building of the LGBT community in Queer Montenegro, Ana Dedivanović, said that LBTQ women for years have worked in the shadow to a large extent in the creation of the history of LGBTIQ movement in Montenegro.

The newly formed group “KvirA,” as she said, was formed with the goal of an effective organization in order to improve the position of women in society, with special emphasis on women of different sexual orientation and gender identity.

She considers that the work this group is doing is vital, since it provides an opportunity for LBTQ women to connect on a personal and social level, to be motivated to work on the issues that concern them directly, in dialogue, and through exchange of knowledge, experiences, and lessons arising from the challenges, and to empower each other in the whole process of further work and the effects of it. Read more via Subversive Front
Qatar: What it’s like to be gay and Qatari
Following a shooting at a gay nightclub in the US earlier this year, a young Qatari man named Majid (not his real name) said he was horrified to hear comments from his community about how the victims deserved their demise. Here, he writes about the challenges of being gay in Qatar and pleads for society’s tolerance:

Homosexuality is so taboo in Qatar that it doesn’t feature in public discourse, yet practically it very much exists. Being gay is frowned upon here, and a lot of people have this hate and anti-homosexual sentiment. But it’s complicated. Read more via Doha News

Debate about homosexuality sparked in Qatar
Al-Qatari – not his real name – was writing about his experience of being gay in Qatar, a country where homosexuality is illegal. In the moving short essay, he describes living in the shadows, rejected by society and losing hope for a meaningful future.

Now his story has garnered more than 6,000 shares – and it’s prompted a significant backlash, leading the news site to publish a rebuttal. The controversy is hot debate as Qatar will play host to the 2022 World Cup. Read more via Stepfeed
Uganda's trans community turn to wine production and farming in bid to escape poverty
As an alternative for the high number of trans people who resort to sex work, local LGBTI group Rainbow Mirrors is exploring other ways to make a living. Rainbow Mirrors, which operates in central Uganda, was launched in summer 2015. The group’s executive director, Abdul Jamal, aka hajjati, says that most in the group identify as transgender. It also seeks to help people with HIV – a significant problem in many countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.  Read more via Gay Star News
Indonesia: A happy warrior in a faltering battle for Indonesian gay rights
After the United States Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage last year, a leading Indonesian television station held a prime-time debate about whether this Muslim-majority democracy should do the same.

On one side of the stage stood a conservative Muslim theologian and a member of Parliament, both of whom strongly rejected the idea that gay marriage was compatible with Islam and Indonesian culture.

On the other side stood Dede Oetomo, the founder of Gaya Nusantara, the country’s longest-standing gay rights organization, and widely considered the godfather of Indonesia’s gay rights movement. Along with Yuli Rustinawati, a fellow activist, Mr. Oetomo, plump, unimposing and dressed in a bright orange batik shirt, cheerfully made the case that gay Indonesians deserved the same rights and protections as other Indonesian citizens. Read more via the New York Times
Uganda: Police attack LGBTI Pride event
Ugandan police unlawfully raided an event late in the evening of August 4, 2016, the third night of a week of Ugandan LGBTI Pride celebrations, brutally assaulting participants, seven human rights groups reported.

The event was a pageant in Kampala’s Club Venom to crown Mr/Ms/Mx Uganda Pride. Police claimed that they had been told a “gay wedding” was taking place and that the celebration was “unlawful” because police had not been informed of the event. However, police had been duly informed, and the prior two Pride events, on August 2 and 3, were conducted without incident.

“We strongly condemn these violations of Ugandans’ rights to peaceful association and assembly,” said Nicholas Opiyo, a human rights lawyer and executive director at Chapter Four Uganda. “These brutal actions by police are unacceptable and must face the full force of Ugandan law.” Read more via Human Rights Watch
Nepal: Gay right activists demand sexual minority rights
Activists wearing colourful outfits and makeups paraded in Kathmandu demanding equal status and implementation of their rights enshrined in Nepal’s new Constitution. Almost 1,500 gays and lesbians took part in the rally organised to draw public attention towards the rights and welfare of the people belonging to sexual minorities.

Although the Nepalese Constitution guarantees equal rights and welfare of the LGBT community they are still facing social discrimination due to the traditional thinking of the majority of the people.

The participating members said they still do not have equal rights despite a constitutional guarantee against discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation. “Implement our rights guaranteed by the constitution and do not deprive us from our rights,” were the slogans on the banners carried by the activists. Read more via Indian Express
Ukrainian city holds first LGBTQ march
More than 50 local community members and activists showed up this past weekend for the first-ever LGBTQ Pride march in Odessa, Ukraine. The process, however, was not easy.

The day before the event, local authorities in Odessa banned the event on the grounds there was a high probability of a conflict, as far-right activists were also scheduled to gather at the same time and place. Organizers of the Pride march told NBC OUT this is a popular tactic used to cancel public events in the city.

Authorities also prohibited any outdoor events in Odessa during the period the Pride march was supposed to take place, and due to the ban, a number of hotels, including the popular Reikartz Hotel Group, refused to provide a place for LGBTQ events. Read more via NBC News
Denmark: Copenhagen Pride Parade gets surprise visit from Princess Marie
Princess Marie of Denmark has made history by becoming the first member of the Danish royal family to attend the Copenhagen Pride. The Copenhagen pride was attended by 30,000 people, with almost 200,000 people celebrating in the streets. Princess Marie showed up unannounced to march with the Danish AIDS Foundation to the surprise of the crowds.

She has now joined her sister-in-law Crown Princess Mary in the fight for LGBT rights. Crown Princess Mary delivered a powerful speech for the unity on LGBT rights earlier this year during the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia. Read more via Royal Central
UK: Sainsbury's kiss-in as LGBT activists protest at supermarket in support of humiliated gay couple
Usually, the aisles of Sainsbury’s on Hackney Road in east London on a Saturday evening are filled with shoppers quickly grabbing dinner and bottles of booze for the weekend. But on 13 August the store was packed with activists kissing in protest after a same-sex couple had been escorted from the premises for holding hands.

A security guard at the supermarket forced Thomas Rees, 32, and his boyfriend Joshua Bradwell, 25, to leave on 8 August after a customer complained about them “touching inappropriately”.

Sainsbury’s apologised and offered the couple a £10 voucher to spend in store, but activists said that the gesture “doesn’t cut it” and urged protesters to gather for a mass kiss-in.  Read more via the Independent
US: Young people favor LGBT rights on adoption, more
Young people in America overwhelmingly support LGBT rights when it comes to policies on employment, healthcare and adoption, according to a new survey.

The GenForward survey of Americans ages 18-30 found that support for those policies has increased over the past two years, especially among young whites. But relatively few of these young adults consider rights for people who are LGBT to be among the top issues facing the United States.

According to the findings, 92% of young adults support HIV and AIDs prevention, 90% support equal employment, and 80% support LGBT adoption. Across racial and ethnic groups, broad majorities support training police on transgender issues, government support for organizations for LGBT youth and insurance coverage for transgender health issues. Read more via the Seattle Times
Survey African LGBTIQ youth
Even in countries where homosexuality has legal recognition, members of the LGBTIQ community face systemic forms of discrimination and risk of violence. In Africa, homosexuality is often seen as a western import, with arguments of culture and religion used to deny LGBTIQ people the right to be who they are. Western based religious fundamentalists have been flocking to the continent of Africa to sow the seeds of hate against LGBTIQ people including creating a strong political push against their efforts to achieve equal rights.

Young LGBTIQ Africans bear the brunt of these developments in the continent. Culture and religion are often used to defend anti LGBTIQ sentiments and the guise of “protecting minors” becomes a proxy to further advance an anti-LGBTIQ agenda. This puts young people at a crossroad of having to choose between leading a life of secrecy, or face discrimination and violence. Additionally, they are denied access to comprehensive sexuality education, access to information on sexual health and life-saving services. Read more via Advocates for Youth
North America: A camp tries to reinvent the Hebrew language, so transgender kids can fit in
When Zev Shofar, a 14-year-old from Takoma Park, started going to Jewish summer camp seven years ago, the children all learned the Hebrew words to introduce themselves. “Chanich” means a male camper; “chanichah” means a female camper.

But what if Zev didn’t feel male or female — neither a chanich nor a chanichah?

Zev’s camp didn’t have a word that worked for Zev. In fact, the Hebrew language doesn’t have any words. Like many other languages — Spanish, French and Russian, for example — Hebrew assigns each noun a gender. In Israel, or anywhere else that Hebrew is spoken, there’s no linguistic solution, either. But now there is at camp. Zev is a chanichol. Read more via Washington Post
US: What it means to be a gay teen in a Jewish ultra-orthodox community
I first met Mira and Sam in a secret Facebook group for LGBTQ people who live or have lived among the Hasidim. The group was formed by activist Chaim Levin after he read my book, Uncovered: How I Left Hasidic Life and Finally Came Home, about my years as a Hasidic woman and secret lesbian.

When people first join this group, they tend to say things like, “I’ve never met anyone like me.” Here I found deeply religious people trying desperately to reconcile their sexuality with their faith visiting with openly gay people who fled the community years ago and never looked back.

I’ve met bearded Hasidic rabbis who joined this under a girl’s name because they are transgender, and teens thrust out of their homes for being gay who don’t know how to live in the secular world. Some are happy. Some are despondent. Many show a striking lack of knowledge about their sexuality. For all of us, the group feels revolutionary. I feel certain it has saved lives. Read more via Huffington Post
Australia: This is how transgender teenagers get the right to medical treatment
A new guide for parents of transgender children outlines how to navigate a big hurdle to medical treatment in Australia: the Family Court. Australia is the only nation in the world that requires transgender teenagers to go through the court system before they can access cross-sex hormone treatment.

This treatment, which usually begins around age 15 or 16, entails transgender children receiving oestrogen or testosterone so they can develop the secondary sex characteristics of their identified gender.

Fiona Kelly, an associate professor of law at La Trobe University, who wrote Navigating The Stage 2 Process, said there is an “urgent need” to help families going through the process: “There was a clear need, there was a lot of fear around the process,” she said. Read more via Buzzfeed
Ireland: Supporting LGBT children and young people means more than waving flags
With LGBT children and young people three times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers, how equal do they feel in the year since the Yes campaign?

“In an [ideal] society I wouldn’t have to come out and explain myself,” says Jesse (17), who came out two years ago as Transfluid. “Equality is not about waving rainbow flags. It’s about people not caring in [what] respect we’re different.”

Last May saw a groundswell of support for equality when Ireland became the first country to have a popular vote for gay marriage. But as images of jubilant adults cheering in Dublin Castle spread across the world, how did it feel for a young person sitting alone in their bedroom, still terrified of having to face coming out? Read more via Irish Times
Austrians say same-sex parents are unpopular
A recent survey taken by the Austrian government has revealed two thirds of Austrians believe society is not comfortable with the idea of homosexual parents taking care of children.

The survey by the Ministry for Families and Youth has revealed the perceived popularity of ‘traditional’ family structures in Austria, with a large majority also believing society is much happier about mothers staying at home to care for children than fathers. Read more via the Local
Germany: The case for sexual education is controversial
The country is implementing the first part of an action plan to improve acceptance of lesbians, gays, transsexuals and other sexual minorities. In Saxony-Anhalt already Kindergarten children could be familiarized with sexual diversity and different family models. These can include daycare educators with appropriate children's books that deal with the issue in an age-appropriate manner.

The Ministry of Justice and Equality has distributed 2,000 brochures with recommendations to kindergartens and primary schools. In the coming year, schools will be provided with books and other teaching materials on the subject. 

Some feel not enough effort has been made to incorporate gender and sexual diversity issues into the country's education plan, including gender equality policy spokesperson Eva von Angern. While others feel education should be left up to the parents. Read more via Mitteldeutsche Zeitung
Japan New think tank offers tips on LGBT awareness, market potential
As the nation slowly turns its eye to the concerns and needs of LGBT people, more companies are starting to respect sexual minorities as employees as well as consumers. Given such changes, advertising giant Hakuhodo DY Holdings Inc. launched in June a think tank, Japan LGBT Research Institute, Inc., to cater to the newfound need among Japanese firms to learn more about sexual minorities, including support to expand into this new market.

The LGBT market is still largely uncharted territory in Japan, and there is room for companies to explore it through new services or products, institute CEO Takahiko Morinaga said.

“In the world of marketing, it’s still only about (straight) men or women, and the presence of LGBT consumers has been forgotten. … Being a gay person myself, I’ve always felt that was such a waste of opportunities,” said Morinaga, who won an in-company competition to start the venture. “By turning our eyes to (LGBT people), I believe we can create products or services that we’ve never seen before.” Read more via Japan Times
US: Gender-nonconforming professionals look for jobs that fit
Five mornings a week, Jesse Lueck gets out of bed, does her hair and puts on a suit and tie. It's her typical routine before heading to work. Wearing masculine clothes makes her feel powerful.

"When I put these clothes on, I feel like I am super confident and just look great. I look in the mirror. I turn left, I turn right," Lueck said.

The 33-year-old is a senior project management specialist for a large financial company in New Jersey. She identifies as gender nonconforming and has worn a suit and tie nearly every day since she started her job more than 10 years ago. She's challenging gender norms in an industry where few people dare to. Read more via NBC News
US: Why businesses worry about civil rights for LGBT workers
Employment law firm Littler Mendelson expects a spike in LGBT discrimination lawsuits. It’s still legal to fire LGBT employees in 28 states where such workers aren’t covered by state laws that protect various minorities from discrimination on the job, as well as in housing and public accommodations.

That discrepancy has business owners worried, particularly those who do business in states that lack protections. In fact, roughly three–quarters of business owners say they expect to see discrimination claims by LGBT workers rise over the next year, compared to 31% who had such worries in 2015. Read more via Fortune
Kenya: Privacy, anonymity, visibility—dilemmas in tech use by marginalised communities
This summary presents findings and reflections from two studies of how marginalized communities use technologies commonly applied in tech for transparency and accountability (T4T&A) work, and the limits of this use. The research is intended to inform communities of practice around T4T&A initiatives: technologists, managers, donors, community-based activists and researchers.

Researchers interviewed respondents in two marginalized communities – lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer (LGBTQ) people in Nairobi, Kenya, and economically marginalized housing and urban development rights activists in Johannesburg, South Africa. Read more 
Canadian Blood Services slammed for ad on Grindr
Canadian Blood Services says the placement of a blood donation ad on Grindr, a gay hookup app, is the fault of its mobile advertising vendor.

In an ad that ran on Grindr across Canada, the organization encouraged men to download its GiveBlood mobile app and "put the power to give life in the palm of your hand."

But under rules that take effect Aug. 15, any gay men who have been sexually active within the last year are banned from donating blood. Health Canada reduced the ban from five years to one earlier this year. Read more via CBC
WikiLeaks outs gay people in Saudi Arabia in ‘reckless’ mass data dump
WikiLeaks' giant data dumps have rattled the National Security Agency, the U.S. Democratic Party, and the Saudi foreign ministry. But its spectacular mass-disclosures have also included the personal information of hundreds of people — including sick children, rape victims and mental health patients, The Associated Press has found.

In the past year alone, the radical transparency group has published medical files belonging to scores of ordinary citizens while many hundreds more have had sensitive family, financial or identity records posted to the web. In two particularly egregious cases, WikiLeaks named teenage rape victims. In a third case, the site published the name of a Saudi citizen arrested for being gay, an extraordinary move given that homosexuality can lead to social ostracism, a prison sentence or even death in the ultraconservative Muslim kingdom. Read more via AP
Olympics: This Daily Beast Grindr stunt is sleazy, dangerous, and wildly unethical
This month the Daily Beast published an exceedingly gross and bizarre article by a straight, married male writer who lured in gay Olympians through hookup apps for no particular purpose. The entire piece is an astoundingly creepy exercise in Grindr-baiting, which involves a journalist accessing Grindr in an unlikely setting and … seeing what happens.

By 10:30 a.m. ET, the Daily Beast had, in response to criticism, edited out the most identifying details about closeted athletes—but that’s too little, too late. (Update, 9:15 p.m.: On Thursday evening, the Daily Beast took down the piece entirely. Later, it also published an apology.) Read more via Slate
Olympics: Why Caster Semenya and Dutee Chand deserve to compete (and win) at Rio 2016
The Court of Arbitration for Sport’s suspension of regulations on hyperandrogenism – a medical condition that causes an excessive amount of testosterone in the body – cleared the track for Indian sprinter Dutee Chand and other female athletes, including South Africa’s Caster Semenya, to compete at the Rio Olympics this year. Read more via the Conversation
Rio Summer Games go down as the gayest Olympics ever Read more
Nike features trans athlete Chris Mosier in Olympics ad campaign Read more
Israel's LGBT hub Tel Aviv sees last gay bar close Read more
Caster Semenya honoured with Athlete of the Year award Read more
Capturing the "Gully Queens" of Jamaica Read more
Canada: Two Soft Things, Two Hard Things and LGBT Inuit history Read more
Introducing SA's first LGBT video streaming service - Pride TV Read more
Risqué business: first Mr Gay China shows new, more public face of LGBT 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 © 2016 Richard Burzynski, All rights reserved.

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