Pride in Nepal

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Today | Uncredited photographer | Agence France Press | 17148

Nepal’s gay community marched through Kathmandu today, in an annual pride parade timed to coincide with the Hindu festival of Gai Jatra, which honours people who have died.

The gay community uses the festival to call attention to its demands for equal rights. About 1,500 people took part in the parade, paying tribute to members of LGBTI community who had died in 2017.

“Every year we celebrate a pride festival to show that we want to be recognised in this society with our different identity, that we are a part of this society,” said Pinky Gurung, president of the Blue Diamond Society, which is a gay rights organisation in Nepal.

Nepal has some of South Asia’s most progressive laws on homosexuality and transgender rights, but members of the community continue to face discrimination and live on the margins of society.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/afp/article-4771494/Nepal-hosts-gay-pride-parade-demanding-equal-rights.html

Chengdu conference cancelled without good reason

Organizers of the Speak Out conference in Chengdu, China had to scrap the event this week, the second time in as many months a public seminar aimed at expanding awareness of LGBT issues has run into snags.

The conference was due to be held on July 23, but the venue canceled the booking, citing conflicting events.

Many people were surprised by the cancellation. Many young Chinese people regard Chengdu as “gaydu”, or “the city of the gays”, due to its liberal views.

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-lgbt-idUSKBN1A616B

Yu did it

A gay man in central China, Mr Yu, has damages from a psychiatric hospital over forced “gay cure” conversion therapy. In China it is the first such victory for the LGBT rights movement which is gradually emerging in the country.

A court in Zhumadian ordered a city psychiatric hospital to publish an apology in local newspapers and pay the 38-year old man 5,000 yuan – £570 – in compensation.

Mr Yu had been forcibly admitted to the hospital in 2015 by his wife and relatives. He was diagnosed with “sexual preference disorder” and forced to take medicine and receive injections. He walked free after 19 days.

China removed homosexuality from its list of recognised mental illnesses more than 15 years ago but it is reported that families do admit their relatives for conversion therapy.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jul/04/chinese-man-wins-forced-gay-conversion-therapy-lawsuit

Singapore turned pink

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CNN | 17131

Thousands of Singaporeans on Saturday rallied for gay rights at the annual Pink Dot celebration, despite a new government policy banning foreigners from participating.

Pink Dot, which plays on Singapore’s “Little Red Dot” nickname, is a non-profit organisation set up to promote LGBT equality in Singapore which has held an annual celebration for the last eight years.

Pink was chosen because it is the mix of the colors of Singapore’s national flag – red and white. Pink Dot stands for an open, inclusive society.

Under Singapore law, sex between men is punishable by up to two years in jail.

http://edition.cnn.com/2017/07/01/asia/singapore-gay-pride-rally/index.html

Human Rights Court ticks Russia off

Europe’s top human rights court ruled on Tuesday that Russia’s prohibition of “the promotion of homosexuality” discriminates and violates freedom of expression.

The prohibition became Russian law in 2013.

The case was brought to the court by three gay activists in Russia.

The European Court of Human Rights found that “the very purpose of the laws and the way they were formulated and applied” was “discriminatory and, over all, served no legitimate public interest” and ordered Russia to pay the men a total of 43,000 euros in damages.

The three activists who sued were Nikolai V. Bayev, 42; Aleksei A. Kiselev, 33; and Nikolai A. Alekseyev, 39. They had staged demonstrations from 2009 to 2012 in the cities of Ryazan, Arkhangelsk and St. Petersburg, carrying banners stating that homosexuality is natural, and not a perversion. They were arrested and fined.

Captain Convicted

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South Korea’s Rainbow Flag | Yay Images | 17096

A military court in South Korea sentenced an army captain to six months in prison on Wednesday for having sex with other servicemen, igniting an outcry against what rights groups called a homophobic “witch hunt” in the country’s military.

The prison term for the captain was suspended for one year, so if he did not break the law again in the next year, he would not go to prison but he will be dishonorably discharged (unless his conviction is overturned by an appeals court).

The captain, whose name was not disclosed, collapsed when the verdict was announced in military court, and was taken to a hospital after hurting his head, said Lim Tae-hoon, the director of the Military Human Rights Centre.

The South Korean military criminal code outlaws sodomy and other unspecified “disgraceful conduct” between servicemen, whether or not there is mutual consent and whether or not that conduct takes place in or outside military compounds. Those found to have violated the act face up to two years in prison.

In South Korea powerful right-wing Christian groups have intensified a campaign against homosexuality, scuttling a bill that would have given sexual minorities the same protections as other minority groups.

The captain was arrested days before he was scheduled to leave the army. All of his sexual activities were consensual and took place in private spaces, like his home. None of the servicemen the captain had sex with served in his unit.

Gay marriage okayed in Taiwan

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Tyrone Siu/Reuters | 17095

A top Taiwan court ruled for of gay marriage today, in a landmark ruling that paves the way for the island to become the first place in Asia to legalise same sex unions.

Twelve of 14 judges in the court, the Judicial Yuan, said current marriage laws violate the constitutional rights of same-sex couples.

Taiwan’s government has two years to implement the ruling.

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/05/taiwan-top-court-rules-favour-gay-marriage-170524063603646.html

More raids as Indonesia goes mad

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Polda Metro | 17094

Indonesian police have arrested dozens of men accused of holding a ‘gay sex party’ at a gym and sauna in Jakarta.

Officers raided a venue called Atlantis in the late hours of Sunday and arrested 141 men including one Briton and one Singaporean.

Police said up to 10 men could be charged under the country’s harsh pornography laws.

Pictures circulating online showed topless men sitting crammed in a room next to gym equipment after the police raid.

Those found guilty of breaking the laws face up to 10 years in jail.

People arrested in earlier raids were forced to have HIV tests.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4529014/Indonesian-police-make-mass-arrests-gay-party.html

Bangladesh arrests

27 men have been arrested in Bangladesh by the Rapid Action Battalion on suspicion of being gay, which is a criminal offence in Bangladesh. Police plan to charge them with drug possession.

Mostly students aged 20-30 years, the men were arrested in a raid on a community centre at Keraniganj early today.

Zahangir Hossain Matobbar said they recovered illegal drugs and condoms and plan to charge them with drug offences, not homosexuality, because they were detained before they had engaged in sex.

The owner of the community centre, where the suspects used to gather every two months and stay overnight for partying, was arrested.

Bangladesh is a dangerous place for gays and lesbians. 35-year-old Xulhaz Mannan, a USAID official, was hacked to death in April last year at his home after founding Bangladesh’s only LGBT magazine.

Since then, many gays and lesbians have left Bangladesh after they received death threats.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/bangladesh-authorities-arrest-27-men-gay-homosexuality-muslim-country-islam-police-charge-a7744366.html