…[R]eaching the counseling room I found a lady seated there and she asked for my history and I told them how I love and sleep with boys and the lady looked at me and she said, “we don't offer services to such people.”
And I was like “I’m a human being who is dying soon, can you please give me drugs and I go?” She told me to move out of the center and go somewhere else. Meanwhile she started calling people to come and see “this rotten person,” so I had to walk out the center and went back home.
I felt like committing suicide — so lost and confused.
~Adroa, a 26 year-old Ugandan who was denied access to HIV treatment because of his sexual orientation.
Around the UN: The 31st regular session of the Human Rights Council concluded with mention of sexual orientation and gender identity rights from the UN Special Rapporteur on torture Juan Méndez, whose report linked anti-LGBT legislation with violence and stigmatization. The session also included commitments from UNAIDS, other UN agencies, governments, and civil society to put human rights issues at the center of the AIDS response.
ARC International has provided an analysis of the rest of the 31st Session that explores how LGBTI issues and rights were interwoven throughout conversations during the session.
During a meeting with LGBTI activists, World Bank President Jim Young Kimannounced the Bank will hire its first sexual orientation and gender identity rights advisor. Kim also committed funds to analyze the cost of homophobia.
HIV, Health, and Wellness: The National Health Service (NHS) of England was forced to 'reconsider' its decision not to provide PrEP treatment after the National AIDS Trust threatened legal action. Also in the UK public health officials warned that an outbreak of drug-resistant 'super gonorrhoea' continues to spread despite a national alert issued last September.
From Japan the Queer and Women’s Resource Center released a report to providemedical health professionals guidance in caring for LGBT Japanese.
The Australian government pledged $29 million to services for LGBTI people, including $15 million to build a 'Pride Centre.' Funds also will be set for gender dysphoria services, funding to combat homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia, and a focus on mental health youth programs.
A new study published in the Journal of Public Health found that among gay and bisexual men, those under 26 years old were 6 times more likely to attempt suicidethan men over 45 years old.
And in the US the first case of sexually transmitted Zika virus between two men was confirmed by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
From the World of Politics: The European Parliament released its latest progress reports on LGBTI rights in Turkey, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Albania. The Parliament also adopted a report expressing concern over the rights of Central Asian LGBTI citizens with particular mention of Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. Member of European Parliament Malin Björk warned that initiatives that restrict LGBTI people 'take place in an environment where government critics are imprisoned and independent groups and opposition parties are silenced.'
Out of Uganda, a new report found significant increase of persecution of LGBT people since the push for anti-gay measures in 2014. In addition to verified cases of violence and torture, the report documents social exclusion, including the denial of access to healthcare.
The UK issued a travel advisory warning against travel to US states North Carolina and Mississippi, noting that LGBT visitors may be adversely affected. During a joint press conference with UK Prime Minister David Cameron, US president Obama said the legislation was 'wrong and should be overturned.' Meanwhile, US nonprofit Trans Lifeline reported that calls to their national suicide hotline have doubled since North Carolina passed anti-LGBT House Bill 2.
Across the 53 countries that comprise the Commonwealth, 40 still uphold colonial laws criminalizing same-sex sexual activity. In a new 'Toolkit for Policy Progress' the Royal Commonwealth Society and Kaleidoscope Trust investigate how rights of LGBT citizens can be expanded across the Commonwealth.
Swedish Public Health minister Gabriel Wikström announced that the government will compensate transgender people who—up until 2013—were forced to undergo sterilization as a requirement for gender reassignment surgery.
The Politics of Union: The Colombian Constitutional Court officially legalized same-sex marriage. The court had previously declared that Congress must create legislation to extend equal rights to same-sex couples, however a lack of action over two years prompted the court to issue the landmark ruling itself.
The Isle of Man amended its Marriage and Civil Partnership Bill to include same-sex marriage. Meanwhile the Parliament of the Faroe Islands voted in favor of same-sex civil marriages, giving couples equal rights under the law with the exception that they may not be married in the church. The Islands are the last Nordic country to approve same-sex unions.
Cyprus representatives from the office of the Commissioner for Administration and Human Rights (Ombudsman) spoke on the progress made in the 5 months since Cyprus legalized same-sex civil unions and criminalized hate speech against LGBT people.
Let the Courts Decide: The Jerusalem District Court convicted the man who murdered a 16 year old and injured 6 others during the Gay Pride Parade last year. In the ruling the court condemned police for allowing the man access to the parade as he had only recently been released from jail, having served 10 years in prison for stabbing people during the 2005 Pride Parade.
An Egyptian court convicted 11 men accused of homosexuality and sentenced them to serve between 3 and 12 years in prison.
The Inter-American Court of Human Rights issued its first judgment on issues related to same-sex couples, ruling against Colombia for denying a man pension benefits after his partner of 10 years passed.
Eric Gitari of Kenya's National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commision filed a case asking the Kenyan High Court to strike out portions of the Penal Code that criminalize same-sex sexual activity.
Also in Kenya the Mombasa High Court heard a constitutional petition against forced anal examinations to 'detect homosexuality' filed by two men against police and health officials. The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture has called the exams 'a practice that is medically worthless and amounts to torture or ill-treatment.'
A Thailand court ruled in favor of a couple whose surrogate refused to sign custody papers after discovering the biological father and his partner are gay. The couple and their baby had been unable to leave Thailand without proper documentation since January 2015.
In the Name of Religion: Several Australian CEOs of major organizations revealed that the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney has lobbied them to 'back away' from public support of marriage equality.
In Norway after the Lutheran Church voted to permit same-sex marriages, Catholic Bishop Bernt Eidsvig announced Norway's Catholic clergy will no longer allow civil weddings in order to 'distinguish our own church marriages from others.'
Canadian Christian radio and talk show host Michael Coren described the vitriol and conservative backlash that led him to leave the Catholic Church and change his views on gay marriage.
In the UK a review from the Secretary of State for Justice found that Muslim chaplains working in the prisons 'routinely' distribute extremist literaturewith homophobic and misogynistic text. The review came as reports emerged of blocks of prisoners 'enacting Sharia law' within the prisons.
Fear and Loathing: In Bangladesh Xulhaz Mannan, founder of the first local LGBT magazine, and activist Tanay Mojumdar were violently murdered in Mannan's home by a group of men. Mannan and Mojumdar death's are the latest in a string of machete attacks on bloggers, intellectuals, and humanitarians.
Tunisian activists warned that the country is facing an extensive 'anti-LGBT campaign' that has incited hate speech and violence.
An Australian transgender women who was jailed in a male prison revealed she wasraped 'over 2,000 times' while serving her sentence.
In Kuwait, 41 alleged gay men and trans women were arrested during a police raid on a massage parlor.
Winds of Change: In the Philippines, call centers provide transgender and other gender-nonconforming workers the relative freedom to safely adopt their preferred gender while earning a wage over the phone.
After a Deputy Inspector-General of Police in Malaysia announced that even 'qualified' LGBT people would not be allowed to serve as officers, activists issued an open letter urging police to follow the example of Philippine police who undergo gender and sexuality sensitivity training.
From Greece activist Stella Belia spoke on the state of LGBT rights and how social equality and civil partnerships fit within the context of the country's ongoing economic crisis.
In China, a social media campaign emerged urging LGBT people to pledge not to participate in xinghun—a 'cooperative marriage' between gays and lesbians arranged to uphold heteronormative societal expectations and tradition.
In South Africa, migrant rights group Scalabrini Centre launched a photo campaign to promote LGBTI rights and highlight the intersectionality between homophobia and xenophobia. Meanwhile in Spain a campaign meant to advertise for the local LGBT festival sparked criticism with the ambiguous slogan 'Imagine Madrid without gays.'
For the Huffington Post, writer Stephanie Farnsworth argued that sex work rights and LGBT rights are historically linked and deserve equal attention. And for theWashington Post writer Max Bearak explored why India's 'third gender' communitiescan't be defined with Western definitions of 'transgender.'
On the March: The Organization for Refuge, Asylum & Migration (ORAM) published a comprehensive glossary in 5 languages with terminology to aid humanitarian workers to communicate with LGBT people.
In Germany, advocates urged Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière to reject designating Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco as 'safe countries of origin,' especially for LGBT asylum seekers who suffer violence in those countries.
Albanian LGBTI groups prepared to celebrate the 5th annual Tirana Gay (P)Rideevent with a photo campaign.
From the UK Gay Star News hosted 'Digital Pride'—the 'first Pride anyone, anywhere in the world can join in'—with live streamed panels, debates, artists and films. Topics included mental health, PrEP, intersex issues, women's voices, and the trans movement.
School Days: Across multiple South African universities the student movement continues to be divided over queer and gender issues after a violent protest earlier this month.
UK students produced short films to tackle LGBT bullying in schools. Meanwhile US students complained that some schools have banned websites of LGBT resources, including GLAAD and the It Gets Better campaign, while conservative sites that project negative views of homosexuality are fully accessible.
Throughout Australia research indicates that LGBT youth disproportionately represent the homeless youth population. Many young people are now turning to Facebook to find 'queer friendly' safe homes.
Business and Technology: The International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA) held its annual global convention in South Africa. Tourism minister Derek Hanekom delivered the keynote to participants, remarking:
We want you here to be a light to the millions of LGBT people in our country, so that wherever they are, they might know that they are not alone that they are quite normal and that they should live their lives unafraid. For that is the kind of country we are trying to build.
During the IGLTA convention it was announced that the US National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce and South Africa's The Other Foundation will work together to establish an LGBT business network in Africa.
In the US many businesses have come out against anti-LGBT state legislation, stopping contracts and cancelling conferences unless legislation is amended or repealed. However, several of these same companies continue to operate in countries that discriminate or criminalize homosexuality.
Sports and Culture: Fans around the world mourned superstar legend Prince's unexpected passing with many memorials for both his unparalleled talent and for his fearless exploration of gender expectations.
Fans of popular Lebanese band Mashrou’ Leila took to social media to protest after the band was told by officials that they would 'never be allowed to play again anywhere in Jordan due to our political and religious beliefs and endorsement of gender equality and sexual freedom.'
Hong Kong is lobbying to host the International Gay Games. And in the US, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) voted to move all future games away from cities that cannot 'prove they can provide an environment free of discrimination'—throwing into question collegiate games in states with anti-LGBT legislation.
A story from the Daily Xtra explored the historic case of the Netherlands' Utrecht sodomy trials, where in the year 1730 gay men were persecuted and put to death—the result of a 'moral panic' blaming homosexuality for a series of economic and environmental tragedies.
The BBC produced the documentary Beyond Binary, exploring the communities of non-binary people around the world. And Canadian playwright and filmmaker Alec Butler described the experience of going through puberty as an intersex person—'getting a beard and a period at the same time.'
And finally, check out these adorable 'gay' male vultures in Germany that are 'attempting to start a family' by nesting and caring for an egg abandoned by its mother.