gay sex workers
gay sex workers

News of the World: Gay Sex Workers Face Double Discrimination, an End to the Blood Ban?

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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, we look at countries experimenting with ending the blood donation ban, how gay sex workers face double the discrimination and more.

 

Israel is experimenting with ending the blood donation ban

Israel’s Health Ministry announced a new pilot program to allow gay men and other men who have sex with men to donate blood without any required period of celibacy. The UK recently reduced its wait period from one year to three months. The Parliament of Switzerland rejected a proposal that would have removed the 12 month celibacy requirement. And Taiwan’s Ministry of Health announced that gay men and other men who have sex with men will be allowed to donate blood if they have been celibate for five years.

 

Bangladesh adds a third gender category while Taiwan considers it

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In Bangladesh, the Election Commission added the third gender category of hijra to voter enrollment forms. Taiwan officials announced it is considering plans to add a third gender category to passports and identity cards.

 

New Zealand dumps sexuality and gender questions from its new census

In New Zealand, the Minister of Statistics removed questions on sexuality and gender from the national census after previously testing them on the 2016 and 2017 census. The Ministry claimed the data was not statistically viable, while activists demanded an inquiry to “identify the failure of over 10 years of work in this area”.

 

Anti-gay laws are on trial in three countries

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In Kenya, judges have begun hearing a case challenging section 162 and 165 of the Penal Code that criminalizes homosexuality. Meanwhile, on 30 January the High Court of Trinidad and Tobago will hear a case challenging the sections of the Sexual Offenses Act that criminalize consensual gay sex.

In China, Beijing’s No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court accepted a case challenging China’s State media regulator for a directive that bans content that depicts “homosexual relations” which it labels “abnormal sexual relations or behavior”.

 

Transgender and non-binary people face a shocking amount of hate

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From the UK, Stonewall published a report on the experiences of trans and non-binary people showing they continue to face a staggering amount of discrimination and violence at home and in public. Among the key findings are that 41% of trans and 31% of non-binary people have experienced hate crimes, 28% of trans people have experienced domestic violence, and 12% of trans employees have been physically assaulted by colleagues or customers at work.

 

Indian Churches want homosexuality legalized

Members of the National Council of Churches in India published an open letter in support of the decision of the Supreme Court to review Section 377 criminalizing homosexuality and urging the court to strike down the law.

 

83% of Russians say homosexuality is “reprehensible”

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In a new survey conducted by the Russian LGBT Network, 83% of Russians say that gay sex is “reprehensible”. Although the figure has grown considerably from previous years, a spokesperson for the Network stated: “I do not believe that the Russian society is homophobic by its nature – it is exactly the work of the state-sponsored propaganda.”

 

Tunisia has its first LGBTQ film festival

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Tunisian LGBT group Mawjoudin, Arabic for “We Exist”, held the country’s first Queer Film Festival celebrating films from the Middle East and North Africa that speak of sexuality, identity, and gender affiliation. Organizer Senda Ben Jebara talked to the BBC about the possibility of participants being arrested as Tunisia criminalizes homosexuality.

 

Kenyan religious groups come out against sexual education

In Kenya, some religious groups are urging the government to reject Comprehensive Sex Education, claiming the CSE is a “foreign based curriculum” that will make children more promiscuous. Proponents of CSE say the curriculum is needed to combat high teen pregnancy rates and HIV among young people. Director of the Center for the Study of Adolescence Kenya, Albert Obuyi, stated: “If all of us were faithful to our religion, there would be no teenage pregnancies and sexual violence. And so we must just be pragmatic to respond to these issues in our context.”

 

Gay sex workers from Zimbabwe face double the discrimination

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From Zimbabwe, journalist Wongai Zhangazha explored the challenges faced by gay sex workers who are doubly discriminated against for their sexuality and their profession, leaving them with very little choice when seeking HIV prevention and other health needs. As Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe (Galz) director Chester Samba described:

“At times nurses call each other and say, come and look. We have an LGBTQI person with an STI. [Others] bring a Bible and throw it over their laps.”

 


Equal Eyes, UNAIDS, logo, news, rainbow, LGBT, LGBTQIAA, LGBTQ, queer, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgenderHornet 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 Vlad Orlov via iStock