"As variation in sexual identities and orientations has always been part of a normal society, there can be no justification for attempts to ‘eliminate’ LGBTI from society. Efforts should rather be focused on countering the belief systems that create hostile and even violent environments for those who are made to feel alienated within societies...
The study suggests that African health professionals and their associations should adopt affirmative stances towards LGBTI individuals."
excerpt from The Academy of Science South Africa report "Diversity in Human Sexuality: Implications for Policy in Africa"
UNAIDS and partners hosted health and media experts to discuss using new media and technologies for HIV prevention among gay men and other men who have sex with men. And the WHO published a major new report "Sexual health, human rights and the law" with special attention to stigmatized groups that draws from a review of public health evidence and extensive research into human rights law.
HIV, Health, and Wellbeing: The new report from the Academy of Science of South Africa, "Diversity in Human Sexuality: Implications for Policy in Africa" rejects the notion that homosexuality is a disease and provides a scientific investigation of each claim made by those promoting LGBT criminalization. Response to the report was swift, from the Ugandan National Academy of Sciences who endorsed the report to expert and academic commentaries that explored its implications. The European Centre of Disease Prevention and Control published a new report, "Technical mission: HIV in Cyprus," on the jump in new HIV infections among gay men and other men who have sex with men (MSM). In New Zealand, new HIV infections among gay men and other MSM is at the highest annual level since the start of the epidemic.
In the UK, a study found that nearly half of bisexuals experience discrimination when accessing either National Health Services or LGBT services. In Australia, Gay and Lesbian Health Victoria reports that though many LGBTI people suffer from domestic abuse, but few support services exist for the community. And in Canada, a bill has been approved to ban 'conversion therapy' for LGBTQ youth.
From the World of Politics: The Constitutional Council of Kazakhstan rejected a gay propaganda bill that was modeled on Russia's anti-gay bill. The decision comes after Olympic athletes sent an open letter to the International Olympic Committee protesting the treatment of LGBT people in Kazakhstan, a final contender to host the 2022 Winter Olympics.
Mozambique approved a new penal code that decriminalizes same-sex intimacy. In Belize, activists hope that one man's Supreme Court case will bring down Caribbean anti-gay laws. With a decision pending two years after the hearing, Caleb Orozco's fight is far from over.
Despite pressure from right-wing organizations, the European Parliament has passed the EU Strategy for Equality Between Women and Men Post 2015 includingdemands for LGBTI rights. Member of European Parliament and Co-President of EU Intergroup on LGBTI Rights, Ulrike Lunacek stated:
The message of the Parliament is clear: It is time to take leadership on gender equality and LGBTI rights. The attempt by [the right] to delete all LGBTI content shows just how out of touch they have become with today’s society. Thankfully, the Parliament rejected their attempts.In Sri Lanka, a political party leader of political party National Freedom Front called for the arrest of Minister of Foreign Affairs Mangala Samaraweera after he voted in favor of gay rights at the UN. In Kenya, MP Irungu Kangata demanded the Judiciary explain donations from the UNDP and the Ford Foundation, organizations that "openly support gay rights," - he suggests the donations influenced the Court's recent pro-gay ruling.
From Gambia, in an 'astonishing' move, the government gave EU representative Agnes Guillaud 72 hours to leave the country. The expulsion came amid international backlash following President Yahya Jammeh's threat to 'slit the throats' of gay people. And out of the US, newly appointed LGBT envoy Randy Berry is on a 15-country diplomatic mission through Latin America, West and Eastern Europe, and Africa.
The Politics of Union: The Irish referendum on same-sex marriage has sparked movement in marriage equality across the world. The German Cabinet approved measures to expand rights of same-sex civil unions, but stopped short of legalizing gay marriage. Italy approved a motion on same-sex civil unions. And Greece has drafted a bill to approve same-sex civil unions.In Costa Rica, a judge granted Central America's first gay common-law marriage, giving them the same benefits as traditionally married couples. In Greenland, the parliament unanimously passed a law legalizing same-sex marriage. And Guam has become the first US territory to recognize gay marriage, ahead of the Supreme Court ruling expected to come later this month.
Meanwhile, Poland's parliament has dropped a debate on civil partnerships, that could have regulated both gay and straight relationships. And in the US, the North Carolina state government has passed a law allowing officials to refuse to marry gay, interfaith, or interracial couples.
In the Name of Religion: Senior Vatican official Cardinal Parolin called the Irish referendum a defeat for humanity. Irish Archbishop Diarmuid Martin offered a more careful response, saying if the vote reflects views of young people then the church needs "a reality check." Meanwhile, the Vatican Ambassador to Iran, Bishop Leo Boccardi, met with Shiitte Scholar Ayatollah Hosseini Boushehri seeking an interfaith response to gay marriage and a dialogue to address "problems of this sort."
Only a day after 250,000 Italians marched for equality in the 21st Roma Pride event, in his public address, Pope Francis said heterosexual couples are essential for good parenting.
Out of Russia, the Orthodox Church cut ties with France's United Protestant Church, which allows the blessing of same-sex marriages, and the Church of Scotland, which allows ordaining clergy in same-sex civil unions. Out of Australia, Archbishop Denis Hart sent catholic school children and their families a booklet on 'the meaning of marriage,' drawing criticism from anti-bullying program and some principals.
In the UK, Professor Margaret Greenfield and Jewish groups are encouraging inclusion of LGBT people to enrich the community. And in the US, gay activist Matthew Vine is encouraging discussion among evangelicals about including young gay Christians.
Fear and Loathing: In Morocco, two French lesbian activists were expelled from the country for kissing in a pro-gay protest and two men were arrested for violating “public modesty” by standing too close. Out of the Ukraine, an anti-LGBT group called Zero Tolerance posted photos of LGBT activists, noting they "do not deserve to live."
In the US, a gay man has been repeatedly attacked, robbed, and the words "Die F**"carved into his arms. In Iraq, ISIS continues to murder men accused of being gay, this time dropping three men from a roof and posting the pictures online. In El Salvador, leading trans activist Francela Méndez Rodríguez and a friend were murdered. And in Turkey, where 7 trans people have been murdered in the last month, activists say the government encourages hate crimes.
A new report says that murders in the US of LGBT and HIV positive people in the US rose by 11% in 2014. And the rash of US LGBT teen suicides continued with the death of bisexual teen Adam Kizer, who had been bullied in and out of school for years.
Winds of Change: The Irish Parliament is posed to approve a progressive transgender identity law that will allow people to self-declare their gender on legal documents. In Colombia, Justice Minister Yesid Reyes has ruled trans people may change gender on government identification forms without psychiatric or physical evaluation.
Despite ongoing violence against LGBT in Turkey, trans people from neighboring Muslim countries are flocking to cosmopolitan Istanbul. And with publicity surrounding Olympian Caitlyn Jenner's transition, support for trans people in the US is at an all time high, though it is legal to discriminate against them in most states.
Chinese sexologist Li Yinhe discusses the changing face of China sexuality. And from Singapore , advocacy group for sex workers, 'Project X,' examines intersectionality of LGBT and mainstream issues.
In Japan, the gay rights movement continues to gain momentum , with Japan's First Lady Akie Abe saying, "I think that people should be much more open about those issues. I have realized that there are a surprising number of [gay] people around me." A new survey found that 7.6% of Japanese identify as LGBTI. And elsewhere, a survey from Australia found 7% of young people identify as gay.
On the March: Cyprus held its second successful Pride parade, with thousands turning out in support. Israel hosted its largest ever pride event with a special focus on the transgender community. And Brazil's 19th annual LGBT parade included 20 floats, dancers, and an estimated 2 million people.
In Ukraine, several dozen assailants attacked the Pride parade and injured police who were protecting participants. During Russia's 10th Moscow Pride policedetained Pride participants , including the parade organizer, while around 30 anti-LGBT demonstrators hurled eggs at the activists.
Cape Verde will host its third consecutive event for LGBT equality with assorted activities, with the slogan "Do not be afraid to come out, we are with you."
In South Korea, the Court ruled that the police violated activists' right to protest when they banned the 16th annual Seoul Pride. Slovakia's 6th annual Pride parade has been cancelled , with organizers citing hostile climate. And in the UK, controversial conservative political party Ukip has been banned from joining London's Pride parade to ensure other participants' safety.
In the US, activists including LGBT immigrants , protested at the Immigration Customs Enforcement headquarters for the release of LGBT immigrants in detention centers who regularly suffer psychological and physical abuse. In the UK, asylum seeker Jamaican bisexual Orashia Edwards had his deportation flight cancelled , though the reprieve is temporary. And Iranian immigrant Tooji , Norway's representative in Europe's 60th Eurovision Song Contest, was banned from returning to Iran after speaking out on human rights abuses and LGBTI persecution.
The World of Business: A new analysis in Australia reports that legalized same-sex marriage could mean $1.2 billion to the economy. In the US state of Texas, a new initiative of pro-equality business leaders helped defeat anti-LGBT legislation.
Also from the US, seven openly gay ambassadors joined LGBTI envoy Randy Berry in pledging to support and promote equality , stating: “We are committed to working closely with the White House to ensure that any trade arrangement approved by Congress is a force for progress on human rights for everyone, including for LGBTI persons.” However, many are questioning the value of commitments with no action.
Sports and Culture: The International Olympic Committee rejected a petition to revoke Caitlyn Jenner's gold medal, won in 1976 as Bruce Jenner. TransgenderAmerican Samoan World Cup Star Jaiyah Saelua reflects on the hope inspired by Caitlyn's transition, while a US mom shares the inspiring moment when her trans daughter met Laverne Fox. And Australian teen Kai Clancy urges trans and gender initiatives to include Aboriginal people .
Three new photo exhibits explore the experience of being gay in small town Brazil, "black and queer" in South Africa, and "cross gender" children in Amsterdam. And gracing the cover of Europe's edition of Time magazine, lesbian Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera hopes to bring awareness to the plight of LGBT Ugandans to a broader audience.
Celebrities in the UK urge the government to keep the Human Rights Act, though PM Cameron is threatening to abandon it. In the US, a secondary school valedictorian was banned from giving his graduation speech when authorities saw he planned to come out as gay. Check out his speech.
New authors are filling the void in children's literature for trans and gender fluid kids. From Cambodia Q Magazine is providing a voice for the local LGBT community. AndPalestine film Oriented gives insight to Tel Aviv's LGBT community.
Finally, check out this moving clip from Broadway musical Fun Home, based on lesbian author Alison Bechdel's childhood. The show took home the top US musical theatre award during this year's Tony Awards.