Every month we look at news briefs from around the world, courtesy of Equal Eyes, a news source produced in collaboration with UNAIDS and the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS. This month, a look at the Bermuda marriage equality decision, Ghana’s President sees a decriminalization of homosexuality on the horizon and the dire situation for LGBTQ refugees around the world.
Bermuda re-bans marriage equality after a few months
Bermuda passed the Domestic Partnerships Act to roll back marriage equality as established by Bermuda’s Supreme Court only months ago. The Act will prevent all new same-sex marriages and offer only domestic partnerships.
Sri Lanka is “committed” to ending LGBTQ discrimination
Sri Lanka’s Deputy Solicitor General Nerin Pulle announced that the government is “committed” to reforming the law to guarantee non-discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity and will decriminalize homosexuality.
Ghana’s President says decriminalizing homosexuality is “bound to happen”
Although Ghana’s President Akufo-Addo told media that he did not believe a “sufficiently strong coalition has emerged to change public opinion” on the issue of decriminalizing homosexuality, he believed it was “bound to happen” if people work to bring awareness. Ghana’s LGBTI association announced “a peaceful Movement Walk” to support his remarks.
Indonesia refuses to criminalise homosexuality and sex out of wedlock
Indonesia’s Constitutional Court refused to criminalize same-sex relations and sex outside of marriage. The 5-to-4 ruling said it is not the Court’s role to criminalize private behaviour. In recent years, police have used anti-pornography laws to arrest people at gay events and private parties.
Can European gay married couples bring their marriage with them throughout the EU?
The European Court of Justice is considering the case of a Romanian man attempting to establish residency for his American husband in Romania. The case could affect whether same-sex couples are allowed to live and work freely across the European Union regardless of each country individual marriage laws.
Botswana rules that trans people must be issued ID cards that match their gender identity
Botswanan officials decided not to appeal the High Court’s ruling that a trans man must be allowed identity documents reflecting his male gender identity. In his ruling, Judge Nthomiwa stated that:
“Gender identity constitutes the core of one’s sense of being and is an integral of a person’s identity. Legal recognition of the applicant’s gender identity is therefore part of the right to dignity and freedom to express himself in a manner he feels …comfortable with.”
A new app will compile queer-related passages of the Bible for LGBTQ Christians
From the US, a team of LGBTQ Christian activists are set to launch “Our Bible App” a program that highlights inclusive texts from 20 Bibles, over 300 devotional readings, meditations, podcasts and articles for LGBTQ people and others marginalized by mainstream Christianity.
LGBTQ people in Azerbaijan detained for being queer
From Azerbaijan, EurasiaNet spoke to several LGBT individuals recently detained and released following international objections. Reporters found that nearly all continue to face pressure despite being released, many had been evicted from their homes, lost their jobs, and at least two have committed suicide.
LGBTQ refugees need help
Amnesty International published “No Safe Place”, a new report on LGBTI refugees from Central America. The report also details how Mexican and US authorities have ‘failed to protect’ LGBTI refugees: “The fact that Mexico and the USA are willing to watch on as they suffer extreme violence is, simply, criminal.”
IRIN news reported on the situation for LGBT refugees in Europe and found that EU governments often fail to identify LGBTQI refugees or ask for “humiliating and/or impossible to provide” proof of sexuality or gender identity. Additionally, few European asylum offices have either formal or informal procedures set to handle asylum on the basis of sexuality or gender identity, including where LGBTQI asylum seekers can be safely housed while their cases are reviewed. Meanwhile, figures from the UK show that between 2015-2017 nearly 70% of asylum claims on the basis of sexuality were rejected even when the asylum seeker came from a country where being gay is punishable by death.
From the US, Kevin Steen described how studying abroad and his friendship with fellow classmate Mohammad led him to create “Rainbow Street” an NGO to support and, at times, resettle LGBTQ people suffering persecution in the Middle East and Africa.
Two recent art installations addressed masculinity at home and abroad
The Arab World Institute in Paris showcased photographer Scarlett Coten’s “Mectoub” series that investigates masculinity and stereotypes of the Middle East. US artist Devan Shimoyama’s series “Sweet” explores masculinity through the experiences of gay black men in black barbershops.
Hornet brings attentions to global issues of significance for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people. Our partnership with Equal Eyes, a news source produced in collaboration with UNAIDS, the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS, is part of that effort. To learn more, visit their site at Equal-Eyes.org.
This coverage promotes sexual and gender equality while highlighting issues of health, violence, culture, and legal and human rights. Equal Eyes provides advocates and allies a common frame of reference for the realities of global LGBTI communities. Through followup reporting and disseminating this coverage, our effort is to ensure we have a representation of the global stories that matter most or may have under-reporting.
Featured image by ajr-images via iStock