Malaysia’s new religious affairs minister urged the public Tuesday to stop discriminating against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual (LGBT) people in the workplace as long as they don’t openly declare their sexuality. All people, including members of the LGBT community, have equal rights and freedom, Mujahid Yusof Rawa told reporters. His groundbreaking comments stirred criticism from other politicians and religious figures in majority-Muslim Malaysia, where Islam is the official faith and homosexual acts, such as sodomy, are outlawed and punishable by up to 20 years in prison. “No one should be discriminated at work or barred from working,” said Mujahid, a member of the faith-based National Trust Party (Amanah) who is minister in charge of religious affairs under the Prime Minister’s Department in Malaysia’s new government.
A vegan Facebook group has sparked a backlash after saying that being gay or transgender is unnatural and “caused by synthetic chemical pollutants.” Pembrokeshire vegan organic has since deleted the post, but every new post has been greeted with questions and outrage about the offensive message, which shared ideological similarities withlate YouTuber Mari Lopez. Lopez said veganism and her faith had cured her of homosexuality and cancer before dying of cancer.
A Belarusian court has found a gay activist who posed for a photo holding a poster guilty of violating public assembly laws in what Amnesty International has called an "absurd new low in persecuting peaceful LGBTI activists." Amnesty said after a Minsk court issued the verdict on July 16 that a friend of Viktoria Biran took three photos of her standing in front of the Interior Ministry, the State Security Committee, and the House of Government buildings holding a piece of paper with the words “YOU are fake.”
Social Democratic Party (SDP) convener and Taipei mayoral candidate Fan Yun (范雲) yesterday pledged to implement policies to make Taipei more LGBT-friendly. Although the Council of Grand Justices last year ruled that same-sex marriage should be legalized within two years, Taipei has since carried out few policies to promote gender equality, Fan told a news conference.
PAS has reminded Muslims not to be influenced by Westerners who adopt the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) lifestyle. Its vice-president Mohd Amar Nik Abdullah, who is also Kelantan deputy menteri besar, said Muslims should stick to the religious teachings as the LGBT lifestyle is not normal. "That is why Allah destroyed these people especially the worst of them during the time of Prophet Lot where Allah had capsized or turned the city upside down so that their bodies could not be found.
A gay survivor of a Chechen concentration camp was kidnapped by his father. Zelimkhan Akhmadov had been taking out the trash Friday from a safehouse in Russia when he was pulled into a car by his father and several other people, reports Attitude. During the abduction, witnesses heard the 20-year-old screaming for assistance. He managed to text "help me" to the Russian LGBT Network, an organization that had helped find refuge for Akhmadov after his harrowing ordeal. Akhmadov was among the dozens of gay and bi men who had been detained and tortured by authorities in Chechnya in what has been called a "gay purge." He had escaped an attempted kidnapping in April but was put on a wanted list.
"The government's surrogacy law is the first law in decades that aims directly to harm the gay community," activists said. LGBT activists blocked traffic on King George Street, one of Tel Aviv's main thoroughfares, and demonstrated in front of the city's Likud party headquarters in protest against a string of proposed laws that the activists claim discriminate against gays, lesbians, and transgender individuals, Israeli media reported Monday. Foremost among the proposed legislation is the surrogacy bill, which denies gay couples state-supported surrogacy. The Knesset is expected to hold a final vote on the bill Monday.
Abandoned by her parents when she was just thirteen, Mohini Mahant (53), a transgender from Ludhiana, became the first from LGBT community to be selected as a member of a bench of National Lok Adalat in Punjab Saturday. But a day of being a jurist at district courts in Ludhiana hasn’t changed anything in her life, except for some fame and respectful gestures by others at the court. Mohini still asks the same question: Will she now get a job as per her qualification? On Sunday, she was back to singing, dancing to seek wadhaiyaan (cash benevolence gifts) from family in her neighborhood that recetly welcomed a newborn boy in their home. Dancing to dholak beats, she had her earnings for the day arranged. Speaking to The Indian Express, Mohini, a masters degree holder in public administration and social work, said, “I am very happy that I was a jurist for a day. But still no one will give a job to a hijra."
The National Health Security Office (NHSO) has dismissed reports that transgenders will be able to get sex-change operations for free under the country’s universal healthcare scheme. “The scheme provides medical help to intersex people, not for sex-change operations for transgenders,” NHSO secretary-general Sakchai Kanjanawattana recently said. Intersex people, formerly called hermaphrodites, are those “having both male and female sexual characteristics and organs; at birth an unambiguous assignment of male or female cannot be made”, according to the NHSO.
Some businesses want to be able to refuse services to LGBT people, married or not, as shown in the disturbing court case of a Hawaii B&B owner who turned away a lesbian couple. Thanks to the Masterpiece Cakeshopcase, the conversation around religious liberty andLGBTrights in the United States has been focused mostly on wedding servicesin recent months: Should bakers be able to cite religion in order to deny wedding cakes to same-sex couples? Can florists refuse to arrange flowers? What about stationery shops? But as a recently-decided Hawaii Supreme Court case should remind us, anti-LGBT groups don’t just want to make it legal to deny wedding services to LGBT people, they want tomake it legal to discriminatebased on sexual orientation and gender identity in virtually every area of public life.
As Pride celebrations continue around the world, the upcoming parade in the tiny nation of East Timor is a welcome reminder of why Pride exists at all. East Timor (Timor Leste) is one of the world’s youngest nations. It has been on a path of self-discovery after gaining independence from Indonesia in 1999. The new nation – located about 2,000kms (1,246 miles) north-west of Australia – has been busy developing itself from the ground up. So there hasn’t been much time left to think about the LGBTI community and its needs. Timor-Leste’s LGBTI community is a powerful force for inclusion and acceptance. In a region growing increasingly hostile to the community, we compel support from all walks of life,’ Pride Timor organizer Natalino Ornai Guterres told Gay Star News. LGBTI people face daily discrimination in East Timor.A shocking 2017 report showed queer women and trans men faced extreme levels of violence, often at the hands of their own family.
Even if you’re not LGBTQ+, you’ve likely heard of the anti-trans protest that took place at London Pride last weekend. A small group of cisgender women somehow managed to make their way to the front of the march, lay down on the floor, and shouted about how trans women aren’t women and are apparently “raping” lesbians. It’s a promising indication that wider society is slowly changing – becoming gradually more open to the fact that trans people exist, and gradually more condemning of those who oppress us. In short, transphobia is not “cool” in the UK in 2018. Still prevalent, still existing, still in many ways considered acceptable… but not cool. To get to the bottom of who these people are and what motivates them to be filled with so much hatred, it’s important to acknowledge who the different groups are – and how they differ.
Pussy Riot have claimed responsibility for the pitch invasion during theWorld CupFinal. Four spectators ran onto the pitch during football's showpiece event in the 52nd minute, reportthe Mirror. Pussy Riot are a Russian feminist protest punk rock group based in Moscow. They are known for pro-LGBT rights and opposition to Russian president Vladimir Putin. In a lengthy Facebook post following the pitch invasion, they demanded "free all political prisoners", "stop illegal arrests at rallies" and "allow political competition in the country" among other things. The invaders were all dressed in the same uniform and appeared to come from the same area of the stadium. Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren attempted to drag one of them to the floor as stewards ran on to the pitch to deal with the interruption.
Today, just ahead of tomorrow’s Trump-Putin summit in Helsinki, HRC projected an enormous message onto the Presidential Palace in Helsinki demanding that Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin immediately end the ongoing anti-LGBTQ crimes against humanity occurring in the Russian republic of Chechnya. For more than 15 months, Donald Trump and his administration have refused to publicly condemn the systematic torture, abuse, and murder of LGBTQ people occurring in Chechnya as Vladimir Putin has licensed the violence to continue. More than a 100 LGBTQ people have been rounded up, tortured, and abused -- and as many as 20 have been murdered.
When a 26-year-old woman from Thodupuzha entered a wedlock with a 38-year-old man from Kothamangalam, little she did know what was in store for her. All she dreamt was of a happy family life. But her dreams were shattered when her husband kept away from her from the very first day of their marriage. He preferred to stay at his farm in Kothamangalam. The husband often visited the house accompanied by a male staff. They behaved like a couple in front of her and other family members. As things became unbearable, she approached a family court at Thodupuzha seeking divorce in 2016. This is not an isolated case. Several men have been forced to live as closeted homosexuals as they not only fear social disgrace but also think it is criminal to mention that they are gay in the public.
Thousands of protesters marched through Tel Aviv on Saturday night demonstrating against the controversial nation-state bill, which sanctions housing discrimination as part of a series of measures aimed at enshrining Israel’s Jewish character in law. The protest, which was organized by a wide alliance of opposition parties, progressive Jewish groups, LGBT activists and left-wing NGOs, numbered some 2,500 people, and called on the government to scrap not only the clause on separate communities but the entire proposal. Politicians, legal advisers and others have warned that clause 7B in the so-called Jewish State bill is discriminatory and could cast a dark shadow over Israel in the international arena.
Belarusian authorities have refused asylum to a transgender woman from Uzbekistan and who says she will face torture and abuse if she goes back. The woman, who asked to be referred to as Karina, said she was informed on July 13 about the authorities' decision not to provide her with asylum citing the lack of proof showing that she may face torture and violence back in Uzbekistan. Karina, who is 26, officially applied for asylum in Belarus in December. Karina was born a man and her legal Uzbek documents describe her gender as male. Homosexual relations are criminalized and punishable by up to three years in prison in Uzbekistan. Karina told RFE/RL earlier that she had to leave Uzbekistan after police detained her four times between 2014 and 2017, beating and torturing her, and demanding the names of other lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people in the country.
In the end, it happened amazingly fast. After the 18 years it has taken so far to fight the Section 377 case, for decriminalization of consensual same-sex relations, the lawyers and activists involved had thought that the hearings before the constitutional bench of the Supreme Court would take a few weeks. It was almost entirely done in three days, with a final 90-minute session allocated for Tuesday. Earlier this year a court in Trinidad & Tobago cited a previous Indian Supreme Court privacy ruling in decriminalizing homosexual conduct. As Arvind Datar, one of the senior counsels, noted, earlier this year in a case in that country brought by LGBT activist Jason Jones, Justice Devindra Rampersad had struck down laws criminalizing consensual same-sex relations, in a decision that cited India’s privacy ruling. And if another country can use our own laws for this purpose, how can we, at the least, not do the same?
Indiastands on the brink of the greatest breakthrough for gay rights since the country’s independence, activists say, as theSupreme Courtprepares to rule on whetherhomosexualityis illegal. While theLGBT+rights movement has progressed in leaps and bounds across the Western world in recent decades, India remains one of a large minority of countries - around 40 per cent - that still criminalises consensual same-sex relations between adults. A decision to decriminalisegay sexwould have wide and far-reaching implications, not just for the status of the LGBT+ minority in India, but also for other countries across the Commonwealth that still enshrine this element of 150-year-old Victorian morality in their laws.
THE SON OF Jair Bolsonaro – the proto-fascist Congressmanleading Brazil’s 2018 presidential polls if Lula (as expected) is barred from running – used Twitter on Friday night to post a fabricated poster in order to claim that LGBT groups are now explicitly advocating pedophilia. The poster he hyped is a long-time internet fake that has been repeatedly exposed as false by fact-checking sites, designed explicitly to incite hatred for LGBTs by linking them to advocacy of pedophilia. In less than 24 hours, Bolsonaro’s fake posting, to his close to 300,000 followers, has been repeatedly re-tweeted and liked. Not only has Bolsonaro refused to delete the tweets, but he has posted several subsequent tweets in an attempt to affirm his claim that gay men in particular are advocates of pedophilia and pedophiles.
The Mexican electoral authorities are preparing a team to manage and eventually liquidate the assets of the Social Encounter Party (PES) and the New Alliance Party (PANAL), which ran in coalition with President-elect Lopez Obrador's National Renewal Movement (Morena), as they didn't pass the three percent threshold in the recent July 1 general elections. The PES was a small party in Mexico's political sphere, with virtually no popularity among voters. They ran on a conservative, anti-abortion anti-LGBT rights platform, and hoped to join the big scene by joining Morena on the latest elections. However, that was not enough. The electoral tribunal has August 31 as its deadline to review the parties' appeals, when they will rule if they lose registration or not. But this doesn't mean they will be gone from the political sphere.
India's Supreme Court is currently hearing a challenge to Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code that criminalizes homosexuality. Under the colonial-era law, passed by the British in the 1860s, homosexual acts are punishable by a 10-year prison term. After two days of arguments, the Chief Justice of India, Dipak Misra, appeared to indicate that the 157-year-old ban may soon be gone. "We intend to rule, subject to arguments, that two consenting adults, even if engaged in 'unnatural sex,' will not be liable for prosecution for any offense," Misra said Wednesday.
The gravity of President Trump’s nomination of a second Supreme Court justice for LGBTQ people and other vulnerable groups cannot be overstated. If confirmed, Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Judge Brett Kavanaugh, would tilt an already conservative court to the far hard-right. Political scientist Lee Epstein recently evaluated Judge Kavanaugh’s record and found that it would place him well to the right of every single current justice except Clarence Thomas. For LGBTQ people, in particular, this poses a serious threat. While we do not expect a direct reversal of the landmark holdings inRomer v. Evans, Lawrence v. Texas, or Obergefell v. Hodges — historic Supreme Court cases that acknowledged the equality of LGBT persons, decriminalized same-sex intimacy, and recognized that same-sex couples have a fundamental right to marry — there are a number of new issues that may be heard by the court and that could result in lasting harm to LGBT people and their families.
A Canadian province has cancelled a controversial sex education curriculum that taught children about gender identity, consent and social media. Newly elected Ontario Premier Doug Ford made good on his promise to cancel the lessons, which sparked protests when it was implemented in 2015. The curriculum was objected to by many who said it was age inappropriate and dismissed family values. Similar protests over sex ed have happened around the world. Ontario, Canada's most populous province, introduced anew sex-ed curriculum in 2015in an attempt to modernise the programme in light of many changes to Canadian society and the growth of social media and sexting.
A controversial anti-LGBT pastor who once urged his followers to bring guns to church has turned his attention to delivering invocations at campaign rallies for Scott Wagner, the Republican candidate for Pennsylvania governor. Wagner and his campaign say the pastor sneaked in because he knew the owner of the venue. Pastor Hyung Jin “Sean” Moon made his way into the public eye in the wake of the Parkland shooting in February, when he instructed his followers to carry AR-15-style rifles into their Pennsylvania church and wear crowns of bullets. (The church waslabeled an “anti-LGBT cult” by the Southern Poverty Law Center.) A spokesman for Wagner told the Pittsburgh Post Gazette that the pastor wasn’t invited and didn’t get permission from anyone to speak. He also noted that the venue that hosted the event, Tommy Gun Warehouse in Greely, is owned by the pastor’s brother.
Rabbi Yisrael Ariel, the head of the Temple Institute, expressed his reservations toArutz Shevaabout the ascent of MK Amir Ohana (Likud) to the Temple Mount. "I heard that MK Sharren Haskel was careful to go to the mikveh and I hear about secular people that the pilgrimage to the Temple Mount strengthens them spiritually and leads them to engage in soul-searching, but it is grave that an MK who sins in [this matter], which is a serious prohibition in the Torah and serves as a leader in Israel, joins the tour of the Temple Mount," Rabbi Ariel said "It's a disgrace," said Rabbi Ariel, asking, "Have we become like Sodom and Gomorrah?"
They meet in coffee shops and public spaces to share their dreams and anxieties. But, even while they gather amidst bustling city spaces, they are careful to keep their identities private. Even today, society is not very accepting or understanding of queer women. Chennai Queer Cafe (CQC), which has a presence on Facebook and had its first offline meet in September 2017, aims to address that lacunae and offer a safe social space for queer cis women in and around Chennai. "Some of us felt the lack of this space leading to loneliness and invisibility of queer women," says Deepthi, a core group member of CQC. For people who are not familiar with different gender identities, the terminology can get confusing. Cisgender is a term for people whose gender identity matches the sex that they were assigned at birth. A cis woman is a person who is born in a female body and identifies as a woman but they can be of any orientation -- a lesbian, straight, bisexual, pansexual or any other. The word 'queer' also refers to anyone who is not straight. "In a predominantly heteronormative society, it might be hard for a queer cis woman to talk or share her life. They may feel unsafe, unaccepted and many maintain a facade of being heterosexual but that may also cause great anxiety," says Deepthi, adding that knowing there are others like you helps people feel less lonely, anxious and depressed.
Supporters of sexual minorities will hold their controversial annual festival in downtown Seoul over the weekend, heralding a sharp confrontation with Christian and conservative groups that are strongly opposed to it. The 19th Korea Queer Festival will open at Seoul Plaza at 11:00 a.m. Saturday, the event's organizer said Thursday. "The festival saw only about 50 participants in 2000, when it was inaugurated, but some 50,000 last year and more expected this year," the organizer said. During the festival, about 100 booths will be set up for a variety of programs to welcome people, the organizer said. Ten foreign missions in the country, including the U.S. Embassy, will join the festival for lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people (LGBT).
More than 210,000 people have signed a petition posted on the website of South Korea’s presidential office calling for a gay pride festival to be canceled. TheSeoulQueer Culture Festival is in its 19th year and is set to take place on Saturday, with a parade near the historic Seoul Plaza as the main attraction. “We are not discriminating against sexual minorities, but Seoul Plaza belongs to all citizens,” thepetitionstates. “We do not want to see their abominable events in a square where we should be able to rest and relax,” it continues.