Kenya’s court considers reform

Gay Kenyans anxiously await a verdict in the landmark case seeking to decriminalize gay sex.

In Africa persecution of gay people is rife. Sexual minorities are routinely abused, assaulted by mobs, raped by police or vigilantes, or enslaved by criminals.

The National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission is one of the groups that petitioned the court to repeal sections of a colonial era Penal Code, which it says violate constitutional rights to equality, dignity and privacy.

LGBT campaigners, Christian and Muslim groups and the office of the attorney general testified at the three-day High Court hearing.

The court said yesterday that it would announce the date that it will deliver its ruling on April 26.


Hay’s Pride

Riley Stuart/ABC | r

ABC went to the small Australian town of Hay, little more than a village, because they are having their first Gay Pride ever.

Remote and small it may be, but it is the same as everywhere else – there are gay and trans people.

For George, Snapchat provided a silver lining.

The selfie-driven smartphone app is the communication channel of choice for teenagers, in part because messages vanish shortly after they have been read.

It was on Snapchat this country boy rode his surging pangs of terror to give his best friends the news.

“I just said that I’m transgender and I explained to them I’d appreciate it if they used male pronouns and called me George and that they could speak to me about it at school if they wanted to,” he said.

Teddy, who is also a trans man, has been able to provide a different perspective.

“People are often incredibly surprised to hear that the lived experience for LGBTQI people in Australia isn’t as rosy as perhaps they had imagined,” he said.

“I think we get lulled into this idea that because we’ve got a gay uncle everything is fine now.”

Fascinating glimpse into small town life.

Kenya’s anti-gay laws challenged

Kenya’s High Court began hearing arguments today challenging parts of the penal code seen as targeting the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities. The National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission argues that sections of the code are in breach of the constitution. In Kenya consensual same-sex relations between adults remain illegal.

The code is also used to justify violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the East African nation said the commission’s executive director, Eric Gitari.

“People just rush to make decisions and judgment about queer people when the truth is, it is not as bad as it is put out there,” activist Jay Arap Salat said. “It is not about the monstrous things people say about us. It is not about pedophilia, sodomizing or things like those. It is just love, we are out here, we are love, we just want love and to love each other.”

Legislator Irungu Kangata, who challenged the petition, called homosexuality a lifestyle choice.

“Well, I am somehow perturbed to see that this case is being supported by the westerners,” Kangata said. “It is a form of western colonization. They want to demean Africans. They want to demean us Kenyans.”

Good luck to the petitioners.

Gay rights in Ghana? It might be a long wait

The Speaker of Ghana’s Parliament, Prof Mike Oquaye, told religious leaders that the Parliament will not be coerced into passing any laws that endorse gay rights.

Prof Oquaye insisted that the current crop of parliamentary leadership would not endorse an act that majority of Ghanaians abhor.

“If you tell me that a man must sleep with a man so as to show his human rights for Ghana, I can assure you that our Parliament is a real micropause of the rule of Ghana. Ghanaians do not support gay rights and nobody is going to make any law that will support this kind of thing.”

After a courtesy call by Amnesty International some time ago, where they made demands including the scrapping of the death penalty from the statute books, he told them that African leaders were getting tired of some of the demands with regards to homosexuality on the basis of human rights.

“Following what Tony Blair said which I personally wrote him a letter that if we do not go the homosexual way, it was going to affect their aid to us. Honestly in view of these developments, we Africans are also concerned about certain things that may appear really intellectual …It is becoming a human right in some countries. The right to do homosexuality. The right for a human being to sleep with an animal. We are tired of some of these things and we must be frank about it. ..I think all these matters need to be seriously interrogated …,” the Speaker had said.

Sleep with an animal? What’s that got to do with gay rights?

Meanwhile, shun anything originating from Ghana, which joined the Commonwealth in 1957 – and has clearly learned nothing from their connection with the Commonweath so far. In the meantime, let’s hope he doesn’t have to sit through “The colour of water”.

New York gets tough on insurers

State financial regulators in New York said today they would investigate reports in American newspapers that gay men have been denied life, disability or long-term care insurance policies because they were taking medication to protect themselves against HIV. Note that the applicants did not have HIV.

If proved these denials of cover would amount to illegal discrimination based on sexual orientation and the companies doing so could be penalized, according to Maria T. Vullo, New York state’s superintendent of financial services.

Insurers around the US had denied policies to gay men after learning they took Prep to avoid catching H.I.V. through sex. To get insurance, some men even stopped taking the protective drugs.

Costa Rica’s Presidential election gets nasty to gays

Fabricio Alvarado | Google+ | r

An international court ruling saying Costa Rica should allow same-sex marriage has changed the country’s presidential race, turning an evangelical former singer candidate who opposes gay marriage from an also-ran with just 2 percent support into the leading contender in today’s vote.

Fabricio Alvarado, 43, vaulted from 2 per cent to 16.9 percent in a recent survey. His nearest rivals were Antonio Alvarez of the National Liberation Party with 12.4 percent, and Carlos Alvarado of the governing Citizens’ Action Party with 10.6 percent (no relation). If no candidate tops 40 percent in the vote, the first two finishers advance to a second round on April 1.

More than two-thirds of Costa Ricans oppose the court’s ruling, which requires the Catholic country to grant same-sex couples rights to adopt children and receive inheritances and other benefits from their partners. About 76 percent of Costa Ricans identify as Roman Catholic and 14 percent as evangelical, according to the CIA World Factbook.

VOA notes:

as the only major candidate openly backing same-sex marriage, Carlos Alvarado also saw his poll numbers rise about 5 percent recently as he attracted socially liberal voters who oppose Fabricio Alvarado’s anti-gay marriage stance.

Sunday’s outcome is very much up in the air with more than two-thirds of likely voters undecided, according to the CIEP poll.

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.