The crackdown on gay people in Egypt has intensified in recent days, according to the Washington Post.
Security forces raided cafes in downtown Cairo and courts delivered harsh prison sentences, further driving the nation’s LGBT community underground.
More than 60 people have been arrested since a concert last month by a rock group where some members of the audience waved a rainbow flag.
Security forces have also detained people at their homes in the middle of the night and used apps and online chat rooms to entrap those perceived to be gay.
Some cafes frequented by the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community have been shut down.
Indonesian police detained 58 men including several foreigners in a raid on a gay sauna, the latest sign of a backlash against homosexuals in the Muslim-majority country.
They raided a sauna and gym in the capital Jakarta after they received information from the public that it was being used for prostitution.
“We secured 51 and seven employees for allegedly providing pornographic services,” Jakarta Police spokesman Argo Yuwono said in a statement.
Six foreigners were among those detained, including four men from China, one from Thailand and one from Holland.
Yuwono said six of those detained would be charged under Indonesia’s anti-pornography law, and could face up to six years in prison. It is not clear what – if anything – the remaining 52 would be charged with.
File photo, dated 2014 | AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty | 17162ga
Associated Press reports that Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have called on Egyptian authorities to halt their crackdown on people suspected of homosexuality following the waving of the LGBT rainbow flag at a recent concert in Cairo, and to end anal examinations of people detained on suspicion of homosexuality to determine whether they were engaged in same-sex sexual relations. The practice is torture and is “abhorrent” and scientifically unsound.
Egypt is known to have arrested at least seven people last week after footage of the rainbow flag during a September 22 concert by Lebanese indie rock band Mashrou’ Leila (whose lead singer is openly gay) was posted on social media.
Reuters reports that the US government will urge a U.S. appeals court in Manhattan to rule that federal law does not ban discrimination against gay employees.
The U.S. Department of Justice is supporting a New York skydiving company in a lawsuit brought by a former instructor who accused the company of firing him after he told a customer he was gay and she complained.
The case will require the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to decide whether discrimination against gay workers is a form of unlawful sex bias under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. That law bans discrimination based on workers’ sex, race, religion and other traits.
AFP reports that Tunisia has banned forced anal examinations to determine sexual orientation, the North African state’s minister for human rights said on Friday.
The authorities carry out the tests on suspected homosexuals but “these exams can no longer be imposed by force, physical or moral, or without the consent of the person concerned”, Mehdi Ben Gharbia told AFP.
Foreign and local rights groups have condemned the practice of forced anal exams as “cruel” and “inhuman”. In Tunisia sodomy is punishable by jail.
Israel’s government said today it would introduce a bill giving same-sex couples equal rights to adopt a child, in 2018.
The High Court of Justice had given the Israeli government two months to reconsider its opposition to same-sex adoption. The government said that it would present the bill by June 2018.
The court ultimatum came after a legal challenge against the Welfare Ministry and Justice Ministry challenged the state to justify its previous opposition to allowing same-sex couples to adopt.
The government had claimed that adoption by same-sex couples places an “additional burden” on children.
Same-sex couples can be approved for adoption under Israeli law, but only three such couples have managed to adopt children over the last nine years. Some same-sex couples adopt babies from other countries.
Gay men who were convicted of same-sex offences in Scotland while homosexuality was illegal in Scotland are to receive full pardons.
The Scottish government will announce a new bill next week to enable all convicted gay men in Scotland to receive a formal pardon. Men still living would be able to apply for a “disregard” to remove convictions from their record. In order to check that offences are not still illegal, such as non-consensual sex and sex with someone under 16, living persons would have to apply and be checked.
The Scottish bill will be slightly different from the new legislation in England and Wales which only “automatically” pardons those who died before February this year.
Nevertheless it is welcome news.
Colin Robert Houston | Belfast Telegraph | 17143
Colin Robert Houston, a pastor and baggage handler, who offered to “cure” a homosexual colleague and complained about a pink tin of deodorant left on his work locker, lost his claim for unfair dismissal and religious belief discrimination.
The behaviour of the former UUP council candidate and preacher was revealed at an industrial tribunal he took against his employer at Belfast International Airport.
A bumper sticker bearing the slogan “I’m so gay I can’t even drive straight”, was stuck to his car. He told an openly gay colleague that there was a cure for gayness.
All of his claims were dismissed. The tribunal ruled that in view of all the complaints against him the temptation to end his contract “must have been overwhelming”.
More than 40 men were arrested at an HIV awareness event in Lagos, Nigeria over the weekend “for performing homosexual acts”, according to local police.
The arrested people are due to appear in court.
Homosexual acts are punishable by up to 14 years in jail in Nigeria, while gay marriage and displays of same-sex affection are also banned.
Some parts of Nigeria are under Sharia law where gay people face the death penalty.
Nigeria is a Commonwealth country with a population of around 170 million people.
The government proposes that trans people should be able to choose their legal sex more easily.
Reforms making it easier for transgender people to legally choose their sex by removing the need for a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria and speeding up the bureaucratic process of changing sex will go out to consultation this autumn.
Trans people currently have to provide evidence that they have been in transition for at least two years before they can apply to legally change their gender. They also have to convince an intrusive interview panel. This is now widely viewed as demeaning and discriminatory.