Archive for January, 2013

Reception Honoring the Department of State’s Public/Private Partnerships

Michel-Togue

Michel Togue, Cameroon

Today the U.S. State Department hosted a reception highlighting the the Department’s public/ priviate partnerships. Secretary Clinton spoke to a range of partnerships that the State Department has implemented with the goal of spurring more collaboration among government, civil society, the private sector, universities, religious institutions, and other groups. The creation in 2011 of the Global Equality Fund is one of those important partnerships. The fund was created, as noted on the State Department’s website, to support programs that “advance the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) persons around the world. The Fund is a collaborative effort at the State Department, bridging multiple offices with the objective of empowering LGBT persons to live freely and without discrimination.”

In today’s speech Secretary Clinton welcomed three new governmental partnerships to the fund and highlighted one example of the work the fund has supported. She noted, “We’re also expanding on some of our successful partnerships. In 2011, I launched the Global Equality Fund to promote and protect the human rights of LGBT persons around the world. And I want to welcome the Governments of Norway, the Netherlands, and France to this partnership. And I thank the Arcus Foundation and MAC AIDS Fund for their recent contributions. Also with us is Michel Togue, a human rights lawyer from Cameroon who has fought tirelessly to defend LGBT persons with support from this fund, and we greatly applaud his commitment and his courage.”

You can learn more about the fund and its program areas here

You can watch the full video from today’s event here.

Obama unveils LGBT-inclusive immigration plan

obama-immigrationreform-jan2013Repost from The Washington Blade

Before a cheering audience at a Las Vegas high school, President Obama unveiled on Tuesday his much anticipated plan for comprehensive immigration reform, which includes a provision aimed at ensuring bi-national same-sex couples can stay together in the United States.

In a speech before supporters at Del Sol High School, Obama emphasized the need to pass comprehensive legislation to fix problems in the U.S. immigration code, but didn’t explicitly mention the provision in his plan that would enable gay Americans to sponsor foreign same-sex partners for residency in the United States.

“I’m here because most Americans agree that it’s time to fix a system that’s been broken for way too long,” Obama said. “I’m here because business leaders, faith leaders, labor leaders, law enforcement and leaders from both parties are coming together to say now is the time to find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as the land of opportunity. Now is the time to do this so we can strengthen our economy and strengthen our country’s future.”

Obama’s plan has four major parts: 1) enhancing border security; 2) cracking down on companies that hire undocumented workers; 3) holding undocumented immigrants “accountable” before they earn citizenship by, among other things, requiring them to pay back taxes with a penalty and learn English; and 4) streamlining the legal immigration system for families, workers and employers.

The president’s commitment to bi-national same-sex couples is found under the fourth pillar of his plan under the heading, “Keep Families Together.” Continue Reading

Related Content:

White House Fact Sheet: Fixing our Broken Immigration System so Everyone Plays by the Rules

Immigration Equality Praises President’s Proposal in Favor of LGBT-Inclusive Immigration Reform

Statement by NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell

John McCain: LGBT Issues ‘Best Way To Derail’ Immigration Bill

Gay-Rights Demonstration Turns Violent

tabakov_gay_kiss_action_duma__serg_gubanov_1592

Igor Tabakov / MT

Repost from The Moscow Times

A demonstration outside the State Duma on Tuesday ended in fisticuffs as Orthodox activists clashed with opponents of a bill targeting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

Police and at least one Duma deputy intervened to halt the violence.

About 30 LGBT activists met at noon on Georgiyevsky Pereulok for an event they called “Kissing Day” to protest a proposed ban on “homosexual propaganda.” Gay and lesbian couples posed for photographs at the entrance to the Duma building while kissing.

But Orthodox activists showed up at the event and tried to break it up, throwing eggs and ketchup at the couples and even attacking them when they started to kiss. Several journalists were also attacked.

The gay activists were protesting a bill that stipulates fines for promoting homosexuality among minors. The bill was introduced in the Duma in March by Novosibirsk regional lawmakers. Discussion of the bill by the Duma had been scheduled for Tuesday but was pushed back. Continue Reading.

Let your voice be heard on HIV and the Post-2015 development agenda

unaidslogoFrom UNAIDS

The international community is talking a lot about what development will look like post the Millennium Development Goals in 2015. Of great concern to UNAIDS/us is making sure that HIV, and the response to it, remain a central feature in the Post-2015 agenda. Why? Because the global HIV epidemic remains one of the world’s leading causes of early death and is both a driver and consequence of inequality and social injustice. The AIDS response has also been a pioneer and pathfinder on many fronts, and the innovation, dynamism, community leadership and global solidarity that characterizes the AIDS movement can make critical contributions to doing health and development differently in the Post-2015 era.

To capture your voices and views on how AIDS and health should be reflected Post-2015, UNAIDS is hosting an online and open-to-all conversation that will be moderated by nine individuals with long-standing experience in HIV and health. This online conversation will run for two weeks, between 21 January to 3 February.

To participate, visit http://www.worldwewant2015.org/health and start sharing your thoughts on the following three thematic questions up for discussion:

1: The unfinished HIV agenda: How is the HIV epidemic, and responses to it, relevant to the new Post-2015 health agenda in your community, nation, region or sector?

2: AIDS, health and development: What are the key factors that account for the significant progress seen in the AIDS response and how can these factors be applied to doing health and development differently?

3: Decision-making and accountability: What changes to systems of decision-making, monitoring, evaluation and accountability are needed to guide efforts towards the end of the HIV epidemic in the Post-2015 development agenda?

A Consultation Report will emerge from the e-discussion.  It will be shared broadly and also used in these specific ways:

  • The Report will influence the discussion and outcomes of the High-Level Health Thematic meeting (5-6 March in Botswana).  In particular, it will inform the Health Thematic synthesis paper.
  • It will be sent to the UNAIDS-LANCET Commission as a primary resource.
  • It will be used to write editorials and blogs, including those by the UNAIDS Executive Director and e-Consultation Moderators.
  • Participants will be encouraged to share the Report widely through their networks.

The White House Office of Public Engagement invites you to an LGBT Policy Briefing

US Leadership to Advance Equality for LGBT People AbroadThe White House Office of Public Engagement invites you to an LGBT Policy Briefing

When: January 18, 2013, 9:00 AM – Noon 

Where: U.S. Department of Commerce
Herbert Clark Hoover Building Auditorium
1401 Constitution Ave NW
Washington, DC

The White House Office of Public Engagement invites you to a policy briefing and engagement forum focused on issues of importance to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) community.  Advocates and community leaders from around the country will hear from senior Obama Administration officials about the accomplishments of the first term as well as opportunities to work together in the months and years ahead.  This event is closed press and off the record.

 Click here to RSVP.  You are welcome to share this invitation with your friends and colleagues.  Seating is first come, first serve.  Enter from 14th Street NW between Constitution Ave NW and Pennsylvania Ave NW.

Sign up for White House LGBT Updates

For more information about the Obama Administration’s work on LGBT issues, please visit http://www.whitehouse.gov/lgbt

For more information about the White House Office of Public Engagement, please visit http://whitehouse.gov/engage

Transgender People in Sweden No Longer Face Forced Sterilization

Repost from Time

Until late last week one of Europe’s most progressive nations had one of the continent’s most repressive policies on transgender people. Swedish law had required all transgender people to undergo sterilization if they want to legally change their sex. In a Dec. 19 decision, the Stockholm Administrative Court of Appeal overturned the law, declaring it unconstitutional.

Sweden’s 1970s-era statutes on sexual identity mandated that any person who legally wanted to change their sex must be sterile. Transgender Swedes had to go through gender reassignment surgery to have their legal documents updated, and to comply with the law, they were also sterilized, whether or not they wanted to be. Continue Reading

Cameroon ‘gay sex’ men acquitted

From BBC News

An appeal court in Cameroon has acquitted two men jailed in 2011 for homosexual acts, their lawyer has said.

Alice Nkom said she was pleased with the decision because the judge who convicted them was influenced by “stereotypes”.

He had stated “the way the men dressed… spoke and the fact that they drank Bailey’s Irish Cream proved they were gay”, Ms Nkom said.

Homosexual acts are illegal in the central African nation.

In November 2011, a court sentenced the two men to five years in prison after police arrested them for allegedly having oral sex in a car in the capital, Yaounde.

They denied the charge.

The Court of Appeals overturned their conviction on Monday, saying they were not guilty, Ms Nkom said.

International gay rights campaign group All Out said it welcomed the ruling.

“This case demonstrates that when courts rely on law and fairness instead of bias and stereotypes, justice is possible,” said Andre Banks, the group’s executive director.

“And while we celebrate…. we renew the call for President Paul Biya to release all other prisoners who have been prosecuted for allegedly being gay or lesbian under Cameroon’s unfair anti-gay law.”

Last month, the Court of Appeals upheld the sentencing to five years in prison of another Cameroonian, Roger Jean-Claude Mbede, under anti-gay legislation.

Related Article: Court Overturns 5-year Sentence for Gay-Sex in Cameroon


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