Archive for the ‘Transphobia’ Category
Keith Goddard 1960 – 2009
Director of Gays And Lesbians of Zimbabwe
London – 11 October 2009
Members of the British LGBT human rights group OutRage! extend their condolences to our comrades in Gays And Lesbians of Zimbabwe and to the family and friends of Keith Goddard, following his illness and tragic death on 9 October 2009.
He was a true hero of the freedom struggle in Zimbabwe, and made a major contribution to GALZ’s campaigns and successes over a period of nearly two decades.
OutRage! is very proud and honoured to have worked with Keith and GALZ from the early 1990s onwards, supporting their many struggles against the homophobia and tyranny of the Mugabe / ZANU-PF regime.
We stood with Keith and his courageous GALZ comrades as they resisted state harassment, defended individual LGBT people, demanded their rightful place at successive Book Fairs and defied President Mugabe’s many public theats and attacks on LGBT Zimbabweans.
When OutRage! attempted its two citizen’s arrests of President Robert Mugabe, in London in 1999 and in Brussels in 2001, Keith offered his congratulations. He reported that these attempts had a huge positive effect inside Zimbabwe. They prompted, he said, the Zimbabwean media to interview GALZ many times over and to report LGBT human rights issues to an extent that had rarely, if ever, happened before. Keith was usually the GALZ person interviewed and he used these media opportunities very effectively to challenge homophobic ignorance and prejudice – and to eloquently set out the case for equality.
Politically astute and a highly effective campaign strategist, Keith built links with other human rights activists in Zimbabwe in a successful bid to put LGBT equality at the heart of the mainstream Zimbabwean human rights movment. He and his GALZ comrades have done magnificent work to build broad support for LGBT rights in a future post-ZANU-PF Zimbabwe, when Mugabe is history.
On a personal level, Keith was an immensely kind, generous, supportive, warm-hearted person. I remember some wonderful, enjoyable evenings with him during his periodic visits to London.
A non-sectarian bridge-builder, he despised personal attacks and infighting. He was supportive of myself and OutRage! at times when others were not . In 2007, a number of African LGBT activists were goaded by false allegations into a signing a letter denouncing us. Keith refused. He knew, from many years of working with OutRage!, that these allegations were untrue. We were very grateful for Keith’s honourable stand against political sectarianism.
Keith was also, like all GALZ activists, very brave: unafraid to take a public stand for LGBT human rights, despite police and government repression. He risked his liberty and life many times, speaking out against homophobia and transphobia, even though this marked him as a potential target for state and vigilante violence. The danger of kidnapping, arrest, imprisonment, torture and murder never deterred him.
Keith will be remembered as a pioneer and hero of the LGBT liberation struggle in Africa. We salute him.
Peter Tatchell, OutRage!, London, UK
17 May 2009 – International Day against HOMOPHOBIA & TRANSPHOBIA
The fifth International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, an initiative launched on May 17th 2005 by activist Louis-Georges Tin, saw an amazing outburst of activities around the world. The International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO) Committee reports on its global site www.idahomophobia.org.
“Actions were reported in more then 50 countries”, said Joel Bedos, coordinator of the IDAHO Committee, the NGO promoting the Day worldwide. “This shows just how strong the global movement is.”
ILGA, the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association, a world-wide network of national and local groups with more than 700 member organisations from every continent and representing 110 countries, has been involved in the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia with the IDAHO Committee since it was launched in 2005.
“We chose this Day,” say Gloria Careaga and Renato Sabbadini, ILGA’s Co-Secretaries General, “to launch the third edition of the World Report on State Sponsored Homophobia. With this report ILGA wants to name and shame the States which at the end of the first decade of the 21st century still treat their LGBTI citizens like lesser persons, unworthy of consideration.
“The actions undertaken by activists and the majority of our members all around the world on the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia have been an important occasion to remind civil societies and Governments of the situation of lesbians and gays in 80 countries in the world, where homosexuality is considered a crime and of the fact that in 5 of them, i.e. Iran, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Mauritania and Yemen, homosexuals risk the death penalty. ILGA is now working on a State sponsored transphobia report, which we hope to publish by November this year.”
Nicolai Alexeyev, organiser of Slavic Pride in Moscow, speaking after his release from a Russian jail said, “We launched the first Moscow pride and the first IDAHO international conference in 2006 with Louis-Georges Tin, who was with us, on the streets confronting homophobic attacks.
“Since then, we have always been together, working for equal rights in the world. IDAHO breaks down isolation, makes people feel stronger, and sends a powerful signal to all homophobes and transphobes around the world that they are facing not just a handful of activists but millions of people across the globe.”
This ambition to get activists in different countries together is Joel Bedos’ main driving force.
“This year we have got a really large alliance of major regional and international NGOs, including ILGA’s Trans secretariat of course, together to launch a large international campaign against Transphobia. The appeal has been signed by 300 organizations in more than 75 countries, 3 Nobel Prize winners and many international institutions and celebrities and we are now launching it on our websites for citizens all over the world to join in with.”
Most amazingly, this campaign already has led France to announce an historic decision to become the first country in the world to stop classifying Trans people as ‘mentally disordered’ as the World Health Organisation’s guidelines still demand. Also, on May 15th, the Dutch parliament organised a conference on LGBTI rights, celebrating IDAHO, and the Dutch minister of foreign affairs, Maxime Verhagen announced that the Government will change the law that still requires transgender people to undergo irreversible surgery before granting them a new identification document. He acknowledged that the current law violates principle 18 of the Yogyakarta principle: the right to be protected from medical abuses.
The report, presented on Saturday 16 May at the Axel hotel in Barcelona with the help of Coordinadora Gai Lesbiana and former ILGA co-Secretary General Jordi Petit, was prepared by Daniel Ottosson. The report and a map showing the results of the study at a glance can be accessed on www.ilga.org.
“Such an international campaign is one of the added values of the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia, and we are glad that the IDAHO Committee has provided the initial impulse. It has galvanised us into action and helped us to network with other Trans organisations in other countries. We are definitely stronger together” says Liesl Theron from Gender DynamiX, a South African Human Rights organization promoting freedom of expression of gender identity in Africa.
The IDAHO committee hopes that the Campaign against Transphobia will be just as successful as the one that it launched back in 2006 when an international petition calling “for a universal decriminalisation of homosexuality” drew incredible support from several Nobel prize winners, many high profile politicians, actors, intellectuals, etc, and contributed to the French government taking the initiative that resulted in last year UN Statement on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity -a historical achievement indeed.
On this year’s International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia, the French, Dutch and Norwegian governments organised a World Congress to follow up on this Statement, with a very active participation of the IDAHO Committee along other civil society actors. This congress got many activists from all over the world to meet and strategise the future.
Getting people around the globe together is indeed a shared passion. Kenneth Tan, founder of the first social gay and lesbian network Gays.com, is a happy man: “The community based video that we did this year in partnership with the IDAHO Committee has already been watched by 200,000 people. The idea was to get individuals from a lot of different countries to come out and say they were proud. The result is exactly what the Day means: a celebration of both diversity, because we are all unique, and unity, because there is something that links us all together.”
Diversity is certainly the motto: In mainland China, a bike rally celebrated the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, while in Hong Kong, the IDAHO Coalition protested against homophobia in front of the Government Headquarters. Says Connie Chan, who has been coordinating actions in Hong Kong for many years: “The International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia Committee and participating organisations around the world have given us inspiration and momentum for action.”
Derek Lennard, IDAHO-UK Coordinator said “In the UK we now have over 100 events and initiatives to mark IDAHO -in 2005 we had five. It is very exciting to see this network get bigger and bigger and to see the very broad support it now receives in the UK”.
While marchers took it to the streets in all major Turkish cities, UK police stations flew the rainbow flag. While in Cameroon, brave activists faced the hostile crowd on a radio programme, a Church service to mark IDAHO was held in Belfast’s oldest church. Iran’s gay students wrote an open letter to the Students’ Union, and in Singapore, the Pink Dot festival was the first-ever event to speak openly about gay and lesbian rights.
The Council of the EU, in a historic statement published on May 17th, declared “Discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity is incompatible with the basic principles on which the UE is founded”. In a surprisingly progressive move, this Statement was supported by countries outside the EU such as Turkey and Ukraine.
“Everywhere we see things moving. Even in Russia where the IDAHO Committee co-organised the first Pride in 2006, things will change. This is why we created this Day in 2005 and we are so happy to see all these actions take place around the globe. We hope that the sum of all these individual energies will increasingly be visible to the world. Because we are so many and so full of hope and energy, that we can really change the world,” says Louis-Georges Tin.
Protests on the 2009 International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia – 17 May
A FEW EXAMPLES…
CHINA & HONG KONG · “Love is not a crime, hate is not a family value” chanted IDAHO coalition marchers as they headed to the Governments Headquarters demanding equal rights for LGBT people.
They called for legislation outlawing discrimination based on sexual orientation and for same-sex couples to be included in the law on domestic violence. Spokesperson Connie Chan reports: “Protesters laid down in a symbolic die-in action to signal their disappointment at the treatment they get from the Hong Kong authorities.”
In the meantime in Beijing, organisations Common Language and Aibai Culture and Education Center organised “Rainbow in Motion”, the Beijing Multi-campus Bike Ride to celebrate gay pride, raise awareness of LGBT rights and introduce IDAHO to the LGBT community and general public of mainland China.
FRANCE · In France, hundreds of events where organised all over the country, where IDAHO enjoys a growing visibility. In Paris, Trans People from all over the world joined French Trans activists and LGBT organisations to “Shout Out against Transphobia”. On that day, the Health minister announced that France would be the first country to officially stop applying WHO classification of Trans People as “mentally disordered”. 27 cities organised debates, film screenings, parties, exhibitions and other political and cultural events, including a National Conference on Transgender and Transexual issues at the French Parliament.
TURKEY · Hundreds of people marched in Ankara and other major cities in the country for LGBT rights. Homophobia and Transphobia have risen dramatically over the last year with dozens of people brutally murdered and police harassment is growing.
ILGA · The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association published on IDAHO the third edition of its report on State Sponsored Homophobia.
The report surveys legislations criminalising consensual sexual acts between persons of the same sex in private over the age of consent in all countries in the World. With this report ILGA wants to name and shame the States which at the end of the first decade of the 21st century still treat their LGBTI citizens like lesser persons, unworthy of consideration.
UK · Amongst many initiatives across the country, dozens of police stations raised a gay rights banner to mark a day of action against homophobia. The organisations raising the rainbow flag high were taking part in The Lesbian and Gay Foundation’s “Flying the Flag” campaign. In London, an IDAHO party launched Day in Hand community project. This campaign’s aim is to inspire and support same-sex couples who want to hold their partner’s hand in public.
EUROPEAN UNION · To mark IDAHO, the European Union issued a strong statement calling for renewed mobilisation against homophobia and transphobia.
The Statement, warning that “discrimination on the ground of sexual orientation and gender identity is incompatible with the basic principles on which the UE is founded”, was also supported by other States, including Turkey and Ukraine, two countries who did not sign up to the UN Statement last December supported by now 67 countries and calling States to fights discrimination on these grounds.
SINGAPORE · IDAHO 2009 went down in History as the Pink Dot festival united a 2500-strong crowd celebrating the freedom to love. The organisers of the event, pinkdot.sg, say the event was held to commemorate love in all forms and between people of every orientation. The city-state still has a ban on homosexual sex that has been in force since its colonial days under the British. According to Jack Soh of pinkdot.sg, “It was not a protest or a political rally. The event was for Singaporeans in general – to affirm our respect for diversity and the freedom to love, regardless of sexual orientation.” http://www.pinkdot.sg
TRANSPHOBIA · 300 organisations from 75 countries, 3 Nobel Prize winners and intellectuals, artists, politicians from many countries ,supported the International Appeal against Transphobia and for the Respect of Gender Identity launched by a group of large regional and international Human Rights and LGBT Rights organisations. The Appeal was launched on the eve of IDAHO and is now opened to signatures by the public.
A FEW MORE EXAMPLES…
INTERNATIONAL · To coincide with IDAHO, the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs hosted the World Congress on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity. This congress originated from a joint decision by the French, Dutch and Norwegian governments. Its aim was to reflect on future strategies to take the LGBT agenda forward within the UN. Ministers from 15 countries, including 3 African countries, and more than 80 representatives from NGOs from all World regions debated during the day-long congress to elaborate recommendations for all stakeholders.
RUSSIA · Once again Gayrussia tried to organise a Pride march in Moscow on IDAHO. This year, the date coincided with the Eurovision song contest in the Russian capital, which drew increased media attention on the event. In spite of much public attention and support, Moscow authorities cracked down on demonstrators and arrested many members of the group. Gayrussia founder Nicolai Alexeyev promised to hold on to the slogan “Gay Equality; No Compromise” and plans actions for IDAHO 2010.
More information on www.idahomophobia.org
BACKGROUND to IDAHO
In August 2004, Louis-Georges Tin, a French university lecturer, campaigner for Black and LGBT Rights, and chief editor of the Dictionary of Homophobia launched an appeal for a universal recognition of the International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO). He proposed that this day be fixed on May 17th, to commemorate the World Health Organisation decision to remove homosexuality from the list of mental disorders.
By May 17th 2005, as a result of a year long campaigning effort, 24000 people worldwide and reputed international organisations like ILGA, IGLHRC, the World Congress of LGBT Jews, the Coalition of African lesbians, to name but a few, had signed the IDAHO appeal. In May 2005 already, IDAHO saw some action take place in more than 40 countries in the world. The first LGBT events ever were organised in Congo, China, Bulgaria. Josepp Borrell, President of the European Parliament made a statement supporting the IDAHO and invited Tin to the conference the EU Parliament organised for IDAHO 2006.
By that time a new campaign had been launched by the IDAHO Committee calling “for a universal decriminalisation of homosexuality” and on May 17th 2006 it had attracted support from several Nobel Prize winners (Desmond Tutu, Amartya Sen, Elfriede Jelinek, Dario Fo, José Saramago), artists (Merryl Streep, Cindy Lauper, Elton John, David Bowie), intellectuals (Noam Chomsky, Judith Butler, Bernard-Henri Lévy), NGOs (ILGA, FIDH), politicians, etc…
In July 2006, the Montreal Conference on LGBT Human Rights, organised in the wake of the Outgames, included in its final declaration a strong recommendation to all Governments to recognise May 17th as the International Day against Homophobia.
For IDAHO 2007, the IDAHO committee and Gayrussia co-organised the first GayPride in Moscow, preceded by an International IDAHO conference that brought together many activist, organisations and politicians from around Europe and North America.
At that time, IDAHO had been officially recognised by the EU Parliament, Belgium, the UK and Mexico and organisations in more than 50 countries in the world celebrated IDAHO. Costa Rica, the Netherlands and Luxemburg soon joined the list of countries officially recognising the Day.
On IDAHO 2008, as a result of the actions coordinated by the IDAHO committee, the French Government also recognised IDAHO. Rama Yade, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Human Rights, announced France’s intention to launch a UN initiative towards the universal decriminalisation of homosexuality.
During the second semester, Civil Society organisations, including the IDAHO committee, ILGA, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, ARC international, the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission and many other groups from the global South and East worked towards this initiative that eventually resulted in the December 2008 UN Statement read at the General Assembly by Argentina and supported by now 67 countries. This UN Statement was one of the elements in a long strategy of LGBT advocacy at the UN, a strategy that was discussed on IDAHO 2009 at the World Congress against Homophobia and Transphobia, that the IDAHO committee, as part of a central working group, helped shaping.
Mobilization: Letter to Send to the French Prefecture to Avoid The Deportation of Giorgie, Ronnie, Policarpio
To contact the Prefecture:
Accueil : 03 88 21 67 68 (demander le cabinet du préfet ou la responsable du bureau d’éloignement)
Bureau d’éloignement, Mme Marin : 03 88 21 65 13
03 88 21 61 55 (fax du secrétaire général)
03 88 21 62 16 (fax de la préfecture)
03 88 21 68 07 (fax du sous-préfet)
03 88 75 00 47 (fax du bureau d’éloignement)
Si vous n’avez pas de fax : http://fax-gratuit.net/tt/index
Suggestion of letter:
“A l’attention de Mr le Préfet,
Je souhaite vous alerter concernant la situation de 3 personnes originaire des Philippines, placées actuellement en centre de rétention à Strasbourg et dont la situation est particulièrement alarmante :
- Ronnie (APRF n°09.67.00217 du 11/05/2009)
- Policarpio (APRF n°09.67.00216 du 11/05/2009)
- Giorgie (prénom d’état civil : Rogelio, APRF n° n°09.67.00218 du 11/05/2009)
Ronnie et Policarpio sont homosexuels et vivent en couple depuis 1994 ; ils ont du fuir leur pays en raisons de graves menaces homophobes et vivent en France depuis 8 ans.
Giorgie, (ou Rogelio de son prénom d’état civil), est une femme transgenre; elle a du fuir les Philippines en 2005 en raison des persécutions qu’elle subissait en tant que transsexuelle, homme vers femme.
Ces trois personnes sont sous le coup d’un arrêté préfectoral de reconduite à la frontière. Les renvoyer aux Philippines les mettrait en situation de grave danger en raison des discriminations et violences homophobes et transphobes qu’elles y subissent.
Je vous demande de prendre en compte la situation de ces trois personnes et de garantir leur sécurité et le respect de leur droits humains, en les libérant et en les régularisant.
(Nom, Prénom, Organisation éventuelle, Ville)”
Ronnie et Policarpio, un couple d’homos et Giorgie, une femme trans, arrêtées le 11/05/2009, actuellement au centre de rétention de Strasbourg, sont sous le coup d’un arrêté préfectoral de reconduite à la frontière et risquent une expulsion imminente.
Ces trois personnes ont du quitter les Philippines pour échapper aux persécussions homophobes et transphobes qu’elles subissaient.
UNE MOBILISATION DE TOUTE URGENCE EST NECESSAIRE !
Vous trouverez ici (et ci-dessous) le communiqué de l’ARDHIS et toutes informations nécéssaires pour agir, envoyer des courriers, en savoir plus etc…
Nous avons besoin de toute urgence :
-Que les organisations LGBTI et de défense des droits humains contactent en leur nom la préfecture du Bas-Rhin pour plaider la cause de Ronnie, Policarpio et Giorgie.
-Que des courriers soient envoyés dès maintenant à la prefecture du Bas-Rhin.
-Que des actions publiques soient organisées très rapidement, en particulier à Strasbourg.
-D’informations (rapports, articles, communiqués) permettant de démontrer les risques encourus par les personnes LGBTI aux Philippinnes, afin que la Cimade puisse tenter un ultime recours.
Communiqué de l’ARDHIS (co-signé par Scumalambda et LeZ Strasbourgeoises) et infos complémentaires :
Sujet:[ardhis-infos] ALERTE: 3 Philippins homos et trans en voie d’être expulsé
Date: Tue, 19 May 2009 01:03:17 +0200
De: ARDHIS Etrangers LGBT <firstname.lastname@example.org>
L’ARDHIS vient d’être alerté par la Cimade de la situation de 3 Philippins placés actuellement en centre de rétention à Strasbourg
Ils sont sous le coup d’un arrêté préfectoral de reconduite à la frontière et toutes les voies de recours sont épuisées. La gendarmerie procède actuellement à la demande d’un laissez-passer auprès de leur consulat pour pouvoir mettre en oeuvre l’expulsion.
Ronnie et Policarpio sont en couples depuis 1994 ; ils ont fui ensemble les menaces qu’ils avaient reçu dans leur pays et c’est en France qu’ils ont pu continuer à vivre en couple sereinement. Ils partagent un appartement et vivent de ménages chez des particuliers. Ils venaient d’entreprendre des démarches en vue d’une régularisation. Cela fait maintenant 8 ans qu’ils vivent ici !!
Giorgie, (ou Rogelio de son prénom d’état civil), a quitté les Philippines en 2005 avec un visa touriste pour la France. Mais elle fuyait en réalité les persécutions qu’elle subissait en tant que transsexuelle, homme vers femme. Elle vit à Paris et travaille comme nourrice.
Ronnie, Policarpio et Giorgie (état civil Rogelio) ont été interpelé-e-s ensemble à proximité de Strasbourg, où ils-elle étaient de passage. Ils-elle ne peuvent pas supporter même l’idée de retourner au pays.
Au lendemain même de la journée mondiale contre l’homophobie, l’Ardhis appelle les autorités à la bienveillance envers ces 3 personnes qui ne demandent qu’à vivre en harmonie dans notre pays.
L’expulsion de ces trois personnes est imminente !
NOUS APPELONS A MOBILISATION DE TOUTE URGENCE !
– écrire de toute urgence à la prefecture du Bas-Rhin pour alerter sur la situation de Ronnie (APRF n°09.67.00217 du 11/05/2009), Policarpio (APRF n°09.67.00216 du 11/05/2009) et Giorgie (pour la préfecture préciser son prénom d’état civil : Rogelio, APRF n° n°09.67.00218 du 11/05/2009) et demander leur libération et leur régularisation
– il importe que les associations LGBTI contactent très rapidement et en leur nom la préfecture du Bas-Rhin, par téléphone ou par courrier pour l’alerter sur la situation de Ronnie, Policarpio et Giorgie (préciser état civil Rogelio)
– nous appelons à la mobilisation publique des organisations et personnes LGBTI et de leurs allié-e-s, notamment à Strasbourg, pour faire valoir les droits de Ronnie, Policarpio et Giorgie.
Turkey: Transgender Activist Murdered
Government Should Prosecute Violence, Prohibit Discrimination
(New York, March 13, 2009) – The killing of Ebru Soykan, a prominent transgender human rights activist, on March 10, 2009, shows a continuing climate of violence based on gender identity that authorities should urgently take steps to combat, Human Rights Watch said today. News reports and members of a Turkish human rights group said that an assailant stabbed and killed Ebru, 28, in her home in the center of Istanbul.
Members of Lambda Istanbul, which works for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and transsexual (LGBTT) people, told Human Rights Watch that in the last month Ebru had asked the Prosecutor’s Office for protection from the man who had beaten her on several occasions and threatened to kill her. Lambda Istanbul was told that a few weeks ago police detained the man but released him two hours later. The same man is under police custody as the murder suspect.
“The Turkish police have a duty to respond to all credible threats of violence, whoever the victim,” said Juliana Cano Nieto, researcher in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights program at Human Rights Watch. “Investigating violence against LGBT people, prosecuting suspects, and passing effective legislation to ensure equality are all critical to ensuring that these murderous abuses end.”
This is the second killing of a member of Lambda Istanbul in the past year. In July 2008, an unknown person shot and killed 26-year-old Ahmet Yildiz as he was leaving a café near the Bosporus. No one has been charged with this crime.
Members of Lambda Istanbul described Ebru as a leading figure in the organization, who worked to end police harassment and ill treatment of transgender people in Taksim, a central area in Istanbul. The LGBTT Platform for Human Rights, a coalition of several LGBTT organizations in Turkey, held a vigil on March 12, 2009 in front of Ebru’s home.
In 2007, Lambda Istanbul twice submitted a file of 146 cases they had documented to the Istanbul Provincial Human Rights Board, many dealing with reports of violence against transgender people, including cases of violence by the police. Several of these cases had been reported to the police. The then-deputy governor of Istanbul told Lambda Istanbul that the governor’s office had found no records of these allegations and complaints in the police districts involved.
“Until an anti-discrimination law is in place to protect the LGBT community and the police take seriously their duty to protect everyone, these murders will continue,” said Cano Nieto. “Turkey cannot continue to ignore its obligations when lives are at stake.”
The European Court of Human Rights has held that Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which protects the right to life, requires police forces to take reasonable steps to protect a person when they receive credible information that there is a risk to that person’s life.
A May 2008 Human Rights Watch report on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights in Turkey, “We Need a Law for Liberation,” documents the long and continuing history of violence and abuse based on sexual orientation and gender identity there. A subsequent December 2008 report specifically documents police violence in the country and features cases of harassment and abuses against transgender people in Istanbul.
In these reports, Human Rights Watch called on Turkey to pass legislation protecting against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
For more of Human Rights Watch’s work on Turkey, please visit:
For more of Human Rights Watch’s work on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights, please visit:
For more information, please contact:
In New York, Juliana Cano Nieto (English, Spanish): +1-646-407-0020 (mobile)
In Istanbul, Emma Sinclair-Webb (English, Turkish): +90-538-972- 4486 (mobile)
The Vatican refusal to sign the declaration before the UN that seeks to decriminalize homosexuality worldwide is true to form. In a recent ‘clarification’ the Vatican claims that while it has declined to sign-on, it condemns ‘unjust’ discrimination against homosexuals – without saying what exactly might constitute just discrimination.
By exempting itself from the list of states calling for decriminalization, the Vatican is in effect handing moral authority to those nations that are determined to keep homosexuals on the periphery of society, under fear of being persecuted for the ‘crime’ of gay orientation.
The two-faced position adopted by the Vatican is nothing new.
In a recent Guardian article, Peter Tatchell covers part of the Vatican’s abysmal track record on gay rights.
Unsurprisingly, the Vatican and the Organisation of Islamic States are leading the fight against the UN declaration. The opposition of the Pope is truly sickening, depraved and shameless.Of course, the Vatican has form. In 2004, it teamed up with Islamist dictatorships in the UN Commission on Human Rights to thwart a resolution sponsored by Brazil that opposed homophobic violence and discrimination. The Holy See is so viciously homophobic that it opposed the UN condemnation of the murder of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
Recently a sit-in was staged near St Peter’s Square to protest the Vatican’s position on the declaration. Protesters sat under the banners of Arcigay and Arcilesbica – the two main gay and lesbian advocacy groups in Italy.
The main thrust of the Vatican position hinges on UN envoy Migliore’s convoluted contention that signing the document might “pillory” countries where homosexuality is illegal and force them to create “new categories (gay people) protected from discrimination.” And this is a bad thing?
Of course the main concern is that ‘normalizing’ homosexuality might lead to same-sex unions. But this makes little sense. The social sanctions and taboos against same-sex marriage in countries where homosexuality is outlawed makes the Vatican’s stated concerns about same-sex marriage little more than a red herring. It is an excuse to avoid stepping up to the plate on this issue… a posture consistent with the Vatican’s homophobic agenda.
Our process towards becoming an official association that started in May 2006 was carried to the court due to Istanbul Governor’s Office’s decision that our name and our constitution is against the law, morality and Turkish family values. We survived six hearings, and Istanbul 3rd Principle Court has decided to close us down despite the expert opinion supporting us. Today, our case was heard at the Supreme Court of Appeals. As witnesses to a late-arriving justice we shout out that our organizing is not immoral.
True, justice arrived quite late. A similar criminal complaint was filed against our sibling associations in Ankara, Kaos GL and Pembe Hayat (Pink Life), by Ankara Governor’s Office, claiming that they were against the law, morality and Turkish family values. However, things worked out differently in their case, and the local courts and prosecution office decided not to close down these associations -a decision that is opposed to the decision made by Istanbul 3rd Principle Court. How come there are two opposing verdicts based on the same law?
We repeat: Decisions influenced by prejudices will remain inevitable, and inequality, discrimination and intense human rights violations will prevail as long as “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” are not added to the equality clause of the constitution.
Yet finally, justice has arrived. We are stronger now with the overturn of the decision to close down Lambdaistanbul LGBTT Solidarity Association. As people who face violence, who get expelled from our jobs, who are excluded and isolated, who are denied their legal rights, our voices will now multiply; and as the LGBTT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transvestite, transsexual) movement we will be louder when we shout out our right to equality.
The Platform for LGBTT Rights:
Izmir Transvestite and Transsexual Initiative
Kaos GL Izmir Formation
Piramid LGBTT Diyarbakir Formation
The Transgender Day of Remembrance was set aside to memorialize those who were killed due to anti-transgender hatred or prejudice. The event is held in November to honor Rita Hester, whose murder on November 28th, 1998 kicked off the “Remembering Our Dead” web project and a San Francisco candlelight vigil in 1999. Rita Hester’s murder — like most anti-transgender murder cases — has yet to be solved.
Although not every person represented during the Day of Remembrance self-identified as transgender — that is, as a transsexual, crossdresser, or otherwise gender-variant — each was a victim of violence based on bias against transgender people.
We live in times more sensitive than ever to hatred based violence, especially since the events of September 11th. Yet even now, the deaths of those based on anti-transgender hatred or prejudice are largely ignored. Over the last decade, more than one person per month has died due to transgender-based hate or prejudice, regardless of any other factors in their lives. This trend shows no sign of abating.
The Transgender Day of Remembrance serves several purposes. It raises public awareness of hate crimes against transgender people, an action that current media doesn’t perform. Day of Remembrance publicly mourns and honors the lives of our brothers and sisters who might otherwise be forgotten. Through the vigil, we express love and respect for our people in the face of national indifference and hatred. Day of Remembrance reminds non-transgender people that we are their sons, daughters, parents, friends and lovers. Day of Remembrance gives our allies a chance to step forward with us and stand in vigil, memorializing those of us who’ve died by anti-transgender violence.
Note: This page was taken from
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Another transgender friend was murdered in Ankara
November 15, 2008
Press Release by KAOS GL (released on November 11, 2008)
As we were getting ready for the “November 20th, Remembrance Day for Transgender victims of hate murders” we were devastated by a news we received. On November 10, 2008, around 9:00 PM in Etlik, a district of Ankara, our friend Dilek was attacked with a pump action shotgun. She passed away at the Ankara Diskapi Education and Research Hospital at around 12:30 AM on November 11, 2008.
According to an eye-witness; while they were in the car with Dilek in the Etlik-Iskitler district, they were startled by a shot and the sound of a shattered window coming from the back of the car. A few minutes later, another fire was opened from the side of the car aiming Dilek’s head, who was sitting in the driver’s seat. When she was taken to a hospital where she was taken into intensive care. Eight shots were found in her head. This verifies that the assault might have been done with a shotgun. It was told that the assaulters ran away with a dark colored car and they were more than 2 people.
Dilek was one of the transsexuals who had filed complaints against the attackers in the Eryaman incidents. During the trial, she had also sat at the witness chair and testified against the assaulters. The suspects of the Eryaman incidents were released during the hearing on October 17, 2008.
Condolences to all of us.
Written by Baris Sulu, translated into English by Sedef Cakmak
Sexual cleansing in Iraq
Islamist death squads are hunting down gay Iraqis and summarily executing them
WATCH the video link below – and weep:
By Peter Tatchell
London & Baghdad – 25 September 2008
STOP PRESS: This morning, news came from Iraq that the coordinator of Iraqi LGBT in Baghdad, Bashar, aged 27, has been assassinated in a barber shop. Militias burst in and sprayed his body with bullets.
The so-called improved security situation in Iraq is not benefiting all Iraqis, especially not gay ones. Islamist death squads are engaged in a homophobic killing spree, with the active encouragement of leading Muslim clerics, such as Moqtada al-Sadr, as Newsweek recently revealed.
One of these clerics, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the spiritual leader of Shia Islam, issued a fatwa urging the killing of lesbians and gays in the “worst, most severe way possible.”
The short film, Queer Fear – Gay Life, Gay Death in Iraq, produced by David Grey for Village Film, documents the tragic fates of a several individual gay Iraqis.
Watch and weep. A truly poignant and moving revelation about the terrorisation and murder of Iraqi lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
Since this film was made, the killings have continued and, many say, got worse.
For gay Iraqis there is little evidence of the transition to democracy. They don’t experience any new-found respect human rights. Life for them is even worse than under the tyrant Saddam Hussein.
It is a death sentence in today’s “liberated” Iraq to love a person of the same-sex, or for a woman to have sex outside of marriage, or for a Muslim to give up his / her faith or embrace another religion.
The reality on the ground is that theocracy is taking hold of the country, including in Basra, which was abandoned by the British military. In place of foreign occupation, the city’s inhabitants now endure the terror of fundamentalist militias and death squads. Those who are deemed insufficiently devout and pure are liable to be assassinated.
The death squads of the Badr Brigades and the Madhi Army are targeting gays and lesbians, according to UN reports, in a systematic campaign of sexual cleansing. They proudly boast of their success, claiming that they have already exterminated all “perverts and sodomites” in many of the major cities.
You can view photos of a few of the LGBT victims of these summary executions here:
My friends in Iraq have relayed to me the tragic story of five gay activists, who belonged to the underground movement gay rights movement, Iraqi LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender).
Eye-witnesses confirm that they saw the men being led out of a house at gun-point by officers in police uniform. Yes, Iraqi police! Nothing has been heard of the five victims since then. In all probability, they have been executed by the police – or by Islamist death squads who have infiltrated the Iraqi police and who are using their uniforms to carry out so-called honour killings of gay people, unchaste women and many others.
The arrested and disappeared men were Amjad 27, Rafid 29, Hassan 24, Ayman 19 and Ali 21. As members of Iraq’s covert gay rights movement, for the previous few months they had been documenting the killing of lesbians and gays, relaying details of the murders to the outside world, and providing safe houses and support to other gay people fleeing the death squads.
Their abduction is just one of many outrages by anti-gay death squads. lslamist killers burst into the home of two lesbians in city of Najaf. They shot them dead, slashed their throats, and also murdered a young child who the women had rescued from the sex trade. The two women, both in their mid-30s, were members of Iraqi LGBT. They were providing a safe house for gay men on the run from death squads. By sheer luck, none of the men who were being given shelter in the house were at home when the assassins struck. They have since fled to Baghdad and are hiding in an Iraqi LGBT safe house there.
Large parts of Iraq are now under the de facto control of the militias and their death squad units. They enforce a harsh interpretation of Sharia law, summarily executing people for what they denounce as “crimes against Islam.” These “crimes” include listening to western pop music, wearing shorts or jeans, drinking alcohol, selling videos, working in a barber’s shop, homosexuality, dancing, having a Sunni name, adultery and, in the case of women, not being veiled or walking in the street unaccompanied by a male relative.
Two militias are doing most of the killing. They are the armed wings of major parties in the Bush and Brown-backed Iraqi government. Madhi is the militia of Muqtada al-Sadr, and Badr is the militia of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), which is the leading political force in Baghdad’s governing coalition. Both militias want to establish an Iranian-style religious dictatorship. The allied occupation of Iraq is bad enough. But if the Madhi or Badr militias gain in influence and strength, as seems likely in the long-term, it could result in a reign of religious terror many times worse.
Saddam Hussein was a bloody tyrant. I campaigned against his blood-stained misrule for nearly 30 years. But while Saddam was President, there was certainly no danger of gay people being assassinated in their homes and in the street by religious fanatics.
Since his overthrow, the violent persecution of lesbians and gays is much worse.
Even children suspected of being gay are abducted and later found shot in the head.
Lesbian and gay Iraqis cannot seek the protection of the police, since the police are heavily infiltrated by fundamentalists, especially the Badr militia. The death squads can kill with impunity. Pro-fundamentalist ministers in the Iraqi government are turning a blind eye to the killings, and helping to protect the killers. Some “liberation”.
* Iraqi LGBT is appealing for funds to help the work of their members in Iraq. Since they don’t yet have a bank account, they request that cheques should be made payable to “OutRage!”, with a cover note marked “For Iraqi LGBT”, and sent to OutRage!, PO Box 17816, London SW14 8WT.
More information on Iraqi LGBT or to make a donation by PayPal:
Gay refugees face prejudice across the world
15th April 2008 18:20
Biplob Hossain, a gay refugee from Bangladesh who is seeking asylum in Australia, and Joaquin Ramirez, facing deportation to El Salvador, have highlighted the plight of gay men who flee their countries to escape persecution.
Mr Hossain, 25, moved to Australia on a student visa when he was 19.
He applied for asylum on the basis that he would suffer persecution in Bangladesh. He was placed in a detention centre for 29 months.
After three rejections by the Refugee Review Tribunal and a failed High Court bid, Mr Hossain is hoping for a personal intervention from the Minister for Immigration, Senator Chris Evans.
He was released from Villawood Detention Centre in October 2006, but is not allowed to work or collect social security benefits.
Sandi Logan, a spokesperson for the Immigration Department, told Australian SX News:
“A person’s sexual orientation does not of itself enable that person to be granted asylum.”
“We provide protection for asylum seekers under the UN definition of a refugee, under the Convention 67 protocol, which doesn’t include their sexual orientation or their fears of persecution associated with that orientation.”
Bangladeshi law states that gay sex acts are illegal and will be punished with deportation, fines and life imprisonment.
The national law itself is rarely directly enforced however there have been numerous reports of incidents of vigilantism.
People suspected of homosexuality have also been sentenced to death by a fatwa.
Meanwhile, in Canada, a gay man is facing deportation to his native El Salvador where he claims that three police officers who raped him are now out to kill him.
Joaquin Ramirez, a 39-year-old HIV-positive man said the accused perpetrators have visited his family and threatened to kill him because he infected them with the HIV virus.
Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Board doubted Mr Ramirez’s claims, asking why he did not seek legal support in his own country when the incident occurred.
Mr Ramirez told Canadian newspaper The Star:
“How could I go to the same people and ask them to protect me when it’s those people who did this to me?”
Mr Ramirez worked as a volunteer outreach worker with the Young Men’s Christian Association and the Salvadoran Network of People Living with HIV.
He said he was picked on by three drunken officers at a restaurant in 2006 and driven to a plantation field where he was allegedly beaten and raped.
Five months later he claims a stranger called his sister and threatened to kill him for infecting them with the virus.
The refugee didn’t believe Ramirez left El Salvador because of the alleged assault as he had already planned to leave in November 2005.
The two stories come just weeks after the much published case of Iranian asylum seeker Mehdi Kazemi.
Mr Kazemi came to London in 2005 to study English but later discovered that his boyfriend had been arrested by the Iranian police, charged with sodomy and hanged.
The UK rejected his first asylum plea, but Home Secretary Jacqui Smith has now granted him a temporary reprieve from deportation while she reconsiders his case.
In 76 countries people face jail for having gay sex.
Homosexual acts officially carry the death penalty in several nations including Saudi Arabia, Iran, Mauritania, northern Nigeria, Sudan, and Yemen.
In many Muslim countries, such as Bahrain, Qatar, Algeria and the Maldives, homosexuality is punished with jail time, fines, or corporal punishment.
In Egypt, openly gay men have been prosecuted under general public morality laws.
Some liberal Muslims, such as the members of the Al-Fatiha Foundation, accept and consider homosexuality as natural pointing out that the Qu’ran speaks out against homosexual lust, and is silent on homosexual love.
However, this position remains highly controversial even amongst liberal movements within Islam, and is considered beyond the pale by mainstream Islam.
The UK is a signatory to the United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, which means that it has a responsibility under international law not to return refugees to a place where they would face persecution.