Breaking the mould in the Philipines

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AFP | 17077

Philippine Congresswoman Geraldine Roman, in the yellow top, is the first transgender woman to be elected to public office in the Philippines. Geraldine replaced her mother as a district representative after the 2016 elections.

“I may be a neophyte congresswoman but I’m a veteran in politics,” she said over a quiet lunch in her ancestral home.

The election of Roman, who underwent sex reassignment surgery in New York in the 1990s, symbolised many things to many people: a transition to progressive liberalism in a country where religion is meshed with law; a breaking of stereotypes; a hope for change.

Hate crimes against transgender women are particularly horrific. The Philippine Hate Crime Watch reported 157 cases of hate related murders from 1996 to 2011 – a number which advocates say is likely to be underreported.

But Roman’s win meant a lot to the LGBT community, which saw in her a champion for acceptance and an advocate for the Anti – sexual orientation and gender identity expression discrimination bill.

http://www.scmp.com/week-asia/society/article/2090744/transgender-politician-fighting-gay-rights-philippines

Zero. None. And Six Prisons full.

As we have been told repeatedly, there are no gays in Chechnya. None at all. Zilch. Ne rien. Absolutely none at all. There can’t be a round-up of gay men, because there are none in Chechnya.

And six prisons are full of them.

Reports had initially centred on two jails in the villages of Argun and Tsotsi-Yurt. But Novaya Gazeta, the respected Russian newspaper that made the initial claims, now says there are a further four prisons illegally holding men for their sexual orientation, reports the Daily Mail.

The men, who face torture in jail, are only released once their families offer bribes to police.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4440258/At-SIX-prisons-holding-gay-men-Chechen-Republic.html

Korea over for gay Korean soldiers

The South Korean army is trying to weed out gay soldiers after a video emerged online of two of their male soldiers having sex.

Lim Tae-hoon of the Military Human Rights Center for Korea told the Associated Press that there are “credible reports” that army investigators have seized mobile phones and “outed” soldiers who were secretly using dating apps or threatened those who have already been identified as gay by the Army.

There is no rule against gay men serving in South Korea’s armed forces but they are banned from engaging in “homosexual activity” while serving and face two years in prison if prosecuted.

http://www.newsweek.com/south-korea-army-gay-587310

Shoulder to shoulder

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Press Association | 17069

Hundreds of Britons held a protest outside the Russian Embassy against the reported torture and murder of gay men in Chechnya, where up to 100 men are said to be held in concentration-style camps and at least three men have died.

Michael Salter-Church, co-chair of Pride in London, said: “It sends a shudder down the spine to hear about concentration camps in 2017. Russia’s abuses cannot be ignored.”

Demonstrators draped in rainbows shouted “close the camps” and laid pink flowers while passing traffic beeped their horns in support.

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/hundreds-protest-against-chechnyas-gay-10223107

Ouch!

Two men in Indonesia, aged 20 and 23, face up to 100 strokes of the cane each after neighbours reported them to Shariah police for having gay sex.

The men were reported to police by residents in the country’s conservative Aceh province on March 29.

The chief investigator said the two men had “confessed” to being a gay couple and that this was supported by video footage taken by a neighbour.

http://www.standard.co.uk/news/world/men-face-100-strokes-with-cane-after-neighbours-report-them-for-gay-sex-a3510507.html

Russia’s shame

Over the past week, men ranging in age from 16 to 50 have disappeared from the streets of Chechnya. At the weekend, a leading Russian opposition newspaper confirmed that the Chechen authorities are arresting, and alleged that they are killing, gay men.

Abuses by security services in the region have long been a stain on President Vladimir Putin’s human rights record, but until now gay people had not been targeted on a large scale.

The unknown number of gay men were detained “in connection with their nontraditional sexual orientation, or suspicion of such,” said newspaper Novaya Gazeta, citing Russian federal law enforcement officials, who blamed the local authorities.

Get on the phone again, Elton.

Finland ties the knot

Gay Marriage became legal in Finland this year, and on the day the law came into effect, there were many same-sex marriage ceremonies which in some cases were held in groups.

A 23-year-old Kurd who identified himself as Ziryan and from the Kurdistan Region got married to a Finnish man named Tomi on March 1, 2017.

“I have decided to marry a man. It is neither acting nor something artificial. This is my nature which I am proud of,” Ziryan said. “I am not a stranger. It was the society that didn’t accept me.”

He smuggled his way all the way to Finland, taking him two years to get there. He has been living in Finland for one and a half year.

“I am proud to be the first gay Kurd in Finland to hold the ceremony on this historic day, being one of those whose names were written in the history of this country,” he added.

Ziryan told Rudaw that his relatives had tried to kill him in the past.

“I was beaten up twice and injured, trying to kill me.”

http://www.rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/19032017

We’ll have none of that sort of stuff here thanks

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A still from the film Ka Bodyscapes | Copyright control | 17052

India’s Central Board of Film Certification has refused to certify the Malayalam film Ka Bodyscapes, saying it glorified “the subject of gay and homosexual relationship” and portrayed the Hindu religion in a derogatory manner by showing Hanuman “in poor light as gay”. It also objected to the portrayal of a Muslim woman masturbating.

The move came days after the CBFC refused to clear the film Lipstick Under My Burkha as the “story is lady-oriented”.

Filmmaker Jayan Cherian, who is based in New York, said the film, that has been selected at several festivals, was denied permission to be screened after intervention from the Information and Broadcasting Ministry. “For instance, screening at the Kerala Film Festival was cancelled at the last moment under pressure from the ministry,” Cherian added.

The film revolves around a gay artist battling censorship against his work. “The artwork in his studio depicts the history of gay art, including nude works by noted artists from across the world. But what the CBFC sees and also objects to is the nudity in those paintings.”

CBFC refuses to clear Ka Bodyscapes, says film glorifies gay relationship

Malaysia wants to change us

Malaysia’s Government has endorsed gay conversion therapy after federal authorities claimed sexual orientation can be changed with extensive training.

A video produced by a Malaysian government department explains how Muslims can change their approach to the gay community so that it does not promote hate against a minority.

The video has sparked anger for its suggestion that sexuality can be “cured”.

In Malaysia, LGBT rights are largely unrecognised; sodomy remains a criminal activity under British Empire colonial era law.

Thinking of a holiday there? Perhaps somewhere else would be more appropriate.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/malaysia-gay-conversion-therapy-endorses-lgbt-rights-islam-a7578666.html

Thailand may open a gay-only prison

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Transgender prisoners being checked | Uncredited photographer | Associated Press | 17022

Thailand is considering opening a separate prison for prisoners of the GLBTQI community.

Thailand, often described as a haven for gay people, has around 300,000 prisoners, of which more than 6,000 are registered as sexual minorities.

The Thai government is also considering what could be the world’s first prison facility exclusively for LGBT inmates. While the plans are still being discussed, in Pattaya and other prisons across Thailand LGBT prisoners are kept apart from other inmates, to prevent violence.

“If we didn’t separate them, people could start fighting over partners to sleep with,” said Pattaya Remand Warden Watcharavit Vachiralerphum. “It could lead to rape, sexual assault, and the spread of disease.”

It seems that Pattaya LGBT inmates eat together and do their morning exercises in uniform. At night, they sleep in their own quarters, apart from the other inmates. They mingle freely with the other prisoners, though they tend to stick together for daytime activities like sewing or football. Transgender women spike volleyballs next to men pressing barbells and sparing with punching bags; gay men train together in first-aid at the jail clinic, sanitising and bandaging the wounds of straight men.

It reminds your Activist of Brighton.

http://www.scmp.com/news/asia/southeast-asia/article/2066325/world-first-thailand-considers-opening-gay-prison-already