Conversion in China

Human Rights Watch have published first-hand accounts from people in China who have been subjected to forced gay conversion therapies.

Their report details 17 cases between 2009 and 2017, including verbal and mental abuse, forced medication and electric shock therapy in Chinese hospitals. 11 of those interviewed were forced to take medication without being informed about its purpose or side-effects. Five of those interviewed were subjected to electric shocks while being shown images or videos – or given verbal descriptions – of homosexual acts.

Doctors and clinics can charge up to 30,000 yuan (£3,440) to “treat” gay people.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-41996322

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Sheltering in Albania

Human Rights Watch have visited an emergency shelter for homeless gay people in Tirana, the capital of Albania.

…The shelter, which serves LGBT youth between 18 and roughly 25 who have been rejected by their families, was founded with donations from the US and UK Embassies. The Dutch embassy now provides some support, but the shelter is running out of funds.

That afternoon, I met with Tirana’s mayor, Erion Veliaj. I told him I was impressed by the shelter and asked if the city could support it. “Yes,” he said. “Let them send me a proposal, we must be able to find some money for this service.”

https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/11/07/sheltering-albanias-gay-youth-virulent-homophobia

Gay Botswana student goes to court for his human rights

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Moreri Sejakgomo | 17164

A 21-year-old University of Botswana student, Letsweletse Motshidiemang, has filed papers in the Lobatse High Court challenging the constitutionality of Section 164(a) and 167 of the Botswana Penal Code, which criminalise homosexuality. Motshidiemang says the law interferes with his fundamental right to liberty, his right to use his body as he sees fit, which includes expressing his sexuality through the only means available to him as a homosexual, and he has a right to equal protection of law and the right not to be subjected to inhuman or degrading treatment. The student wants the court to declare that the said sections interfere with his fundamental right not to be subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment or other such treatment.

“The law violates my fundamental right and freedom to privacy in that it interferes with an intimate and personal aspect of my life that causes no disrespect to the rights and freedoms of others and also causes no harm to the public,” he states. He says arguments that Batswana do not accept homosexuality do not hold any water as evidenced by remarks made by Members of Parliament Botlogile Tshireletso, Duma Boko and some chiefs to the effect that there should be no discrimination based on sexual orientation.

http://www.mmegi.bw/index.php?aid=72831&dir=2017/november/02

Azerbaijan starts de-gaying

Human Rights Watch notes:

Authorities in Azerbaijan are not denying that gay men in Baku have been rounded up in official raids, from mid-September, they are just disputing the reason. Ehsan Zahidov, spokesman for the Ministry of Internal Affairs, said in a September interview with EurasiaNet.org that police were responding to complaints from residents in Baku that gay men were visible on the streets.

Government officials have also justified the Baku raids in the language of public health, claiming that the gay men arrested were tested for sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV and Syphilis. “Those who have diseases are being isolated from society,” Zahidov said. The director of the AIDS Center of Azerbaijan, Natig Zulfugarov, points out that it would be against the law for the police to do so without a court order, which they did not have.

In Azerbaijan, homosexuality was decriminalised in 2000. You’d never know, would you.

https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/09/29/familiar-rhetoric-anti-gay-raids-azerbaijan

India’s sham shame

The Times of India looks into why so many gay Indian men are going into sham marriages.

Marriages of convenience are clandestine part of South Asian gay culture — a homosexual man and woman decide to tie the knot to stave off questions from nosy families or find protection from the law in countries like India where homosexuality is a criminal offence. In India, the Delhi high court decriminalised homosexuality (Section 377) in 2009, but the Supreme Court overturned the ruling four years later.

In 2015, a lesbian couple from China launched a smartphone app iHomo to facilitate marriages of convenience or ‘cooperative marriages’ between gay men and lesbians. But in more conservative India, the LGBT community looks for MoCs on private Facebook groups, chat rooms and Craigslist.

There is still a huge stigma attached to being gay in India. Many Indian parents prefer not to admit that their child is gay, and hope he or she ‘will grow out of it’ once married.

In a marriage of convenience, terms are agreed beforehand, so both sides know what they are getting into – but problems often emerge later.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/why-gay-men-are-seeking-a-marriage-of-convenience/articleshow/60811116.cms

No gay parties allowed in Malaysia, says deputy Prime Minister

An announcement that a gay event would be held in Kuala Lumpur on Sept 30 to promote “White Party Bangkok”, the biggest annual gay music festival in Asia, has caused quite a stink.

The Deputy Prime Minister said the Malaysian Government will not allow the gay event or party planned for Sept 30 to take place. The organiser had yet to apply for a permit for the event or party but he had instructed the police not to approve the gathering. “If such a party or event is held, then it is an illegal gathering,” he said to Malaysian journalists on Thursday.

http://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2017/09/21/zahid-government-wont-allow-any-gay-party-in-malaysia/

Adoption to be legalised in Israel

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.

https://www.timesofisrael.com/state-commits-to-legislate-adoption-rights-for-gay-couples/