New Zealand to erase historical gay sex convictions

Andrew Little | New Zealand Parliament | r

New Zealand will allow people who were previously convicted of homosexual offences before homosexuality was decriminalised in 1986 to have their criminal records wiped. About 1,000 people will be able to have their records cleared from next year.

New Zealand also apologised to those previously affected by the convictions.

[the legislation] “sends a clear signal that discrimination against gay people is no longer acceptable, and we are committed to putting right wrongs from the past. I would like to apologise again to all the men and members of the rainbow community who have been affected by the prejudice, stigma and other negative effects caused by convictions for historical homosexual offences,”

said Justice Minister Andrew Little.


Indonesia thinks we’re potty

Indonesia’s Health Ministry said yesterday it is about to publish a medical guide where it has classified homosexuality as a mental disorder.

They think the LGBT community are at risk of mental disorders owing to their sexual orientation, according to the Ministry’s Director of Prevention and Control for Mental Problems.

The association of ‘leading psychiatrists’ with the real mental disorder, also recommended certain rights for the LGBT group such as access to ‘treatment’ and medical awareness.

The Ministry document stated that “homosexuality was against the ethos of the country”.

Time to stop thinking of Indonesia as a holiday destination. It isn’t. I can describe it in two words.

Indonesia bans us

VOA reports that Indonesia’s parliament is to pass a sweeping set of revisions to the nation’s criminal code that would criminalize gay sex. One legislator has told reporters that all 25 members of a working committee have agreed to all the proposed revisions.

There are concerns that the bylaws will increase raids and vigilantism, overcrowd prisons, and further persecute Indonesia’s LGBT community.

Article 484 and Article 496 suggest five years in prison for extramarital sex and imprisonment for same-sex relations with a minor. Article 496 also criminalizes same-sex relations between adults if there is “violence or threat of violence, breaching public morality, publications containing pornography.”

Hope for Indian gays


Associated Press | 18007

India’s Supreme Court said today it would review a British-era law known as Section 377 which criminalizes homosexuality, and no one should have to live in fear due to their sexual orientation. The court said “the order of nature is not a constant phenomenon. Societal morality also changes from age to age.”

The 2013 judgment that reinstated the law that considers same gender sex as “carnal intercourse against the order of nature” and punishable by up to 10 years in prison needs to be reconsidered because “the confines of law can’t trample or curtail the inherent right to life and liberty.”

The Court also asked the government to clarify its stand on homosexuality. The government is led by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party. In 2014, BJP members of parliament blocked efforts to move a private members bill to scrap Section 377.

Risky living in Japan


South China Morning Post/Connie Kurtew | 18006

The South China Morning Post has interviewed Ian Thomas Ash, the producer of a new documentary, “Boys for Sale”, which looks at male prostitution in Japan. The film has won four film festival awards this year in Los Angeles, South Africa, Mexico and Ecuador.

The film shows the dangerous living and working conditions for young gay men who have been drawn into prostitution in Japan, and seem unaware of the risks they are running.

The capital’s gay quarter (of 2-Chome) has about 800 businesses that meet the demand of a clientele still largely underground in Japanese society. One of the owners interviewed for the documentary claimed at least two politicians were regular visitors to the district. As well as the bars, dance clubs and sex shops, urisen parlours offer a service similar to Japan’s heterosexual hostess clubs.

Ash said it was impossible to get an accurate grasp of the number of young men working as male prostitutes in and around 2-chome, as many operate online and are “delivered” to customers, but 1,000 seemed a reasonable estimate, according to Ash.

Some of the scenes in the film had to be animated because they were impossible to film.

Urisen visitors are offered a drink and invited to choose from one of the young men available. Other bars offer “menus” with pictures of the men. Once the customer has made his choice, the man joins his table and is bought a drink.

For every 30 minutes they spend getting to know each other, the customer is charged around 500 yen. But if the customer wishes to take the new relationship further, he can take him to a private room or a nearby “love hotel” for sex in exchange for money.

Japanese law does not recognise prostitution between men so no laws are being broken. The film makers ended being very concerned over the healthcare of the young men, who did not seem to be aware at all of the dangers of sexually transmitted diseases.

Gay life in Indonesia


Binsar Bakkara/AP | 18005

South East Asia Globe interviews King Oey of the gay campaigning group Arus Pelangi about life for the GLBTI community in Indonesia.

How is life for a gay man or woman in Indonesia?
It is difficult to say it in one sentence… One thing is that crackdowns on gay premises, nightclubs and saunas have been ongoing for many, many years. It is not the first time it happens. What is new is this apparent systematic raid of premises. In the past month we have seen a rise. What is also new is that it is now the police that initiate the crackdown, whereas before it was mostly initiated by hardline groups who then get the assistance of the police to close down certain gay bars.

Chinese censorship in court


Getty file photo | 18004

A Beijing court will hear a Shanghai man’s legal challenge to a 2017 rule banning Chinese streaming-video services from carrying content that depicts gay relationships.

Fan Chunlin, a 30-year-old man from Shanghai, filed a lawsuit Wednesday with Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court demanding that China’s State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television clarify the policy basis for a regulation introduced last summer banning depictions of homosexuality from online video platforms. The court accepted Fan’s case and is now required to hold hearings and issue a decision within six months, the plaintiff’s lawyer, Tang Xiangqian, told local state media.

The plaintiffs do not expect to win their case.

There are estimated to be around 70 million gay people in China. Violence is relatively rare but in a survey conducted by the UN Development Program in 2017, more than half of the 30,000 LGBTQ Chinese questioned said they had been discriminated against because of their sexual orientation.