Archive for May, 2011

Study finds more countries accepting homosexuality

repost from AFP

WASHINGTON — The vast majority of countries around the world have become more accepting of homosexuality, with the exception of Russia and other former socialist countries, a new study has found.

The report, compiled by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago, examined general trends in over 30 countries regarding their attitudes towards homosexuality, and is based on five surveys conducted in different countries between 1988 and 2008. Continue reading ‘Study finds more countries accepting homosexuality’

Human Rights First calls for the respect of fundamental freedoms of assembly and association

Gay Pride Parade

Repost from Human Rights First | by Innokenty Grekov

Human Rights First calls on governments to abide by commitments to respect the fundamental freedoms of assembly and association and to take adequate measures to ensure security and protection for all. However, many States have failed to fully ensure these fundamental freedoms, and a number of governments actively suppress them. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) individuals have been particularly affected by this suppression of rights and continue the uphill struggle for the right to freedom of assembly and association.

Gay pride parades offer an opportunity for many LGBTI individuals to exercise the right to freedom of expression. Historically, gay pride parades have come to symbolize the resistance to intolerance and bigotry that surround LGBTI people in their daily lives. Restricting these peaceful demonstrations is particularly damaging and unacceptable. Continue reading ‘Human Rights First calls for the respect of fundamental freedoms of assembly and association’

Right-Wing Group Fuels Homophobia At The UN

Repost from Equality Matters

The leader of a right-wing organization, who made a name for herself by pushing abstinence-only based programs in Africa and has ties to the virulently antigay Ugandan pastor, Martin Ssempa, is stepping up efforts to promote homophobic messages among delegates at the United Nations.

The Arizona-based Family Watch International (FWI) hosted “26 UN delegates from 23 different countries” at a policy forum in January that provided “expert presentations” and policy briefings about “how to better protect and promote the family and family values at the UN,” according to an FWI newsletter written by the organization’s president, Sharon Slater.

“The list of governments represented read like a geography lesson, as diplomats from countries around the globe-including from Africa, Asia, the Middle East and the Caribbean Islands-met in Gilbert in January,” trumpeted an article that has since been removed from the website of the Arizona Beehive, a publication that serves Arizona’s Mormon population.

Slater’s newsletter characterizes the presentations at the meeting as providing information on “how the UN system is being manipulated by sexual rights activists to promote the sexual agenda” and adds that “the institution of the family is being undermined by these efforts.” Continue Reading.

Rival rallies over gay rights in Russia

Moscow Pride Rally

© RIA Novosti. Vitaliy Belousov

repost from Moscow News by Tom Washington

A weekend of protest and counter protest has kept gay rights firmly on the agenda, days after City Hall slapped a ban next Sunday’s planned Gay Pride march.

Saturday saw the combined forces of the Russian Orthodox Church, ultra-nationalist movement Narodny Sobor, the Eurasian Youth Union and social movement Family, Love and Fatherland converge on Bolotnaya Ploshchad, the riverside spot where gay activists applied to hold their rally on May 28.

It was followed by a gay lobby march on Gogolyevsky Bulvar the next day, with activists vowing to hit the streets, regardless of municipal rulings, the following weekend. Continue reading ‘Rival rallies over gay rights in Russia’

“Kill the Gays” Bill Author Vows To Push Bill In New Parliament

repost from Box Turtle Bulletin

Uganda’s independent Sunday Monitor this morning has published an interview with MP David Bahati, sponsor of the infamous Anti-Homosexuality Bill, in which he reiterated that the close of the 8th Parliament was simply “pressing the pause button.” He told Monitor reporter Philippa Croome that the bill’s death penalty “is something we have moved away from,” despite the fact that the death penalty has not been removed at all. In fact, the recommendation from the Parliamentary and Legal Affairs Committee, which was given jurisdiction over the bill, recommended striking the phrase “shall suffer death” and replacing it with the phrase “shall suffer the penalty provided for aggravated defilement under Section 129 of the Penal Code Act.” Section 129 itself calls for the death penalty, which means that if the committee’s recommendations were adopted the death penalty would remain in place. It just wouldn’t be so obvious to those who don’t know what Section 129 specifies. Continue Reading.

African Activists Oppose Cuts To Ugandan Aid

Repost from the Washington Blade, by Chris Johnson

Responding to the anti-homosexuality bill in Uganda by cutting off international aid to the country might not be a good idea.

That was the message on Tuesday from LGBT activists from Africa who participated in a panel discussion on the impact of homophobia in developing countries at the World Bank Headquarters.

The panel was sponsored by several organizations — including UNAIDS, World Bank GLOBE, Inter-American Development Bank GLOBE and the Council for Global Equality — to observe the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia.

Speakers expressed reservations about urging multilateral development institutions, such as the World Bank, to cut funding from Uganda if the country’s lawmakers make another attempt at passing a draconian bill that would institute the death penalty for homosexual acts.

Val Kalende, a lesbian Ugandan activist, said LGBT people in her country have been facing “a lot of backlash” because of international criticism over the proposed anti-gay legislation and cutting off aid may make that worse. Continue Reading

U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) releases MSM technical guidance

PEPFAR, President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief May 19, Washington – Today the office of the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) released a technical guidance note to assist PEPFAR administrators in developing health interventions that respond to the unique needs of men who have sex with men (MSM).  The guide finds that MSM are on average 19 times more likely to have HIV than the general population in low and middle-income countries, and that dedicated MSM programming is essential to reach this severely at-risk population. Download the guidance here.

The Council is pleased that the guidance reviews best practices in identifying and serving MSM communities.  The guidance also calls for PEPFAR support to develop legal environments that allow MSM to access HIV prevention, care and treatment in an affirming and nondiscriminatory manner that respects their human rights.  To accomplish this, the guidance explains that PEPFAR resources may be used “to establish laws, regulations and policies that support HIV prevention efforts for MSM.”  In simple terms, the guidance recognizes that laws criminalizing homosexual relations and relationships undermine our country’s large international investments, and that PEPFAR resources should also be used to support legal reform. It calls on PEPFAR implementers to offer nondiscriminatory programs and for government leaders to make legislative changes, recognizing that “country leadership . . . is needed to develop and implement, at all levels, any necessary supportive legislation, policies, and regulations.” Continue reading ‘U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) releases MSM technical guidance’

Human Rights First Condemns Decision to Ban Moscow Gay Pride

Moscow Skyline, Moscow PridePress Statement from Council Member Human Rights First

CONTACT: Jessica Rosenblum, Human Rights First,
C: 202-279-0005, W: 202-265-3000 | Jessica@rabinowitz-dorf.com

New York, NY—Human Rights First condemns the decision by the Moscow authorities—issued on the International Day Against Homophobia—to deny permission for a Moscow gay pride event. This is the sixth consecutive year that the Moscow City Hall has banned such an event. City officials cited numerous letters from public officials, religious organizations and private citizens urging the authorities to prohibit a demonstration. Similar bans were pronounced illegal by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in October 2010.

“We deeply regret the missed opportunity of the new Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin to break with the discriminatory policies of his predecessor in this regard,” said Human Rights First’s Paul LeGendre. “Gay rights are human rights in Russia, just as they are in the rest of the world.  We call on the Moscow City Hall to reconsider the latest ban on Moscow Pride in line with the recent European Court of Human Rights verdict that upheld the right of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Russians to organize public events in accordance to the Russian Constitution.” Continue reading ‘Human Rights First Condemns Decision to Ban Moscow Gay Pride’

The Council marks “International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia”

IDAHO - GLOBE event, Council for Global Equality

L to R, Joel Gustave Nana, African Men for Sexual Health and Rights; Jaevion Nelson, Jamaican human rights advocate; Val Kalende, Ugandan LGBT rights advocate; Mark Bromley, Council for Global Equality; Philip W. Moeller, Lutherans Concerned/North America; and David Wilson, World Bank. photo courtesy of the World Bank

May 17, 2011, Washington, DC – The Council was pleased today to mark the “International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia,” also known as “IDAHO,” by co-sponsoring a panel discussion at the World Bank to highlight “The Effect of Homophobia on Development.” The panel was co-sponsored by the Council, UN AIDS, World Bank Globe, and the Inter-American Development Bank Globe.

IDAHO is celebrated worldwide on May 17 as the date in 1990 when the World Health Organization removed homosexuality from its list of mental disorders. One of the themes this year is “As I Am,” which is a response to the daily homophobia and transphobia that seek to deny the individual worth of LGBT people. That theme has a vital development message, and the panel today highlighted the importance of recognizing the individuality of the various communities we seek to support through our development investments. It also comes at a time when leaders in the U.S. Congress are calling on the Secretary of the Treasury to oppose any financial assistance from multilateral development institutions to countries that “persecute people on the basis of their sexual orientation, gender identity or religious beliefs.” (Read more about the Congressional effort here.)

Continue reading ‘The Council marks “International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia”’

Pamela Bridgewater, US Ambassador to Jamaica Op Ed on Homophobia

US Ambassador to Jamaica, Pamela BridgewaterReposted from The Gleaner

Promote equality

THE EDITOR, Sir:

Having served at home and around the world in the foreign service of the United States for more than 30 years, I have found that, often, those of us who can and should use our influence to promote tolerance fail to do so. In our silence, we inadvertently reinforce prejudices.

Homophobia exists to varying degrees in all societies. Every day, in countries all over the world, people are persecuted, vilified, beaten and even killed because of their sexual orientation and gender identity. Homophobia, either open or hidden, causes enormous suffering for those who perpetrate it, those who are the victims of it, and those who simply tolerate it.

While it is true that the responsibility for hate crimes rests with the perpetrators themselves, we all share a duty to counter intolerance and prejudice wherever we can. Continue Reading


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