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OutRight Action International formerly known as International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission

Human Rights For Everyone. Everywhere.

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Paradojas Chilenas: Derechos LGBT en América Latina

por Pedro Garcia, Paula Ettelbrick Fellow

To read the original article in English, visit: Chilean Paradoxes: LGBT rights in Latin America 

Durante los últimos años ha habido avances importantes en materia de derechos humanos para la población gay, lesbiana, bisexual y transexual (LGBT) de América Latina. El reconocimiento de uniones civiles para parejas del mismo sexo en Brasil y en Uruguay, matrimonio homosexual en la Ciudad de México y en Argentina, y leyes que protegen la identidad de género en Bolivia, Chile y Argentina. Estos cambios ponen en duda viejos estereotipos que califican al subcontinente como una región conservadora, machista, y dominada por la moral de la iglesia católica.

La lucha por los derechos humanos LGBT en América Latina no es un camino de un solo sentido. Existen paradojas dentro de los Estados y entre las naciones. El año en que la Ciudad de México legalizó el matrimonio para parejas del mismo sexo, únicamente el 29% de la población de la ciudad apoyaba el derecho de estas parejas a adoptar. En Ecuador, la Constitución prohíbe explícitamente la discriminación por motivos de orientación sexual, pero también rechaza textualmente el matrimonio y la adopción por parejas del mismo sexo. EL matrimonio gay es legal en algunos casos en Brasil, pero la población transgénero sigue siendo víctima sistemática de violentos crímenes de odio. En el 2009, Brasil reportó el mayor número de asesinatos a personas transgénero del continente. En Costa Rica el diputado evangélico Justo Orozco, quien ha afirmado que la orientación sexual es un pecado y debe tratarse, es también presidente de la Comisión de Derechos Humanos.

Chile es una gran ilustración de estas paradojas latinoamericanas. Cuando Michele Bachelet, mujer socialista, asumió la presidencia en el 2006, grupos LGBT vieron una oportunidad para hacer avanzar sus derechos en un país de un conservadurismo rígido. Irónicamente, la mayor parte del debate y legislación sobre temas LGBT tuvo que esperar hasta la presidencia actual de Sebastián Piñera, el primer presidente de derecha desde la época de Pinochet.

Durante estos últimos meses, tres temas LGBT han recibido gran atención de la población chilena: una ley antidiscriminación, impulsada por una condena al Estado chileno de la Corte Interamericana de Derechos Humanos (CIDH) y el asesinato del joven homosexual Daniel Zamudio; un proyecto de ley para permitir las uniones civiles pero prohibir el matrimonio a parejas del mismo sexo a nivel constitucional; así como el anuncio de que el Fondo Nacional de Salud chileno, el Fonasa, costeará cirugías de cambio de sexo a personas transgénero.

Continue reading “Paradojas Chilenas: Derechos LGBT en América Latina”

Chilean Paradoxes: LGBT rights in Latin America

By Pedro Garcia, Paula Ettelbrick Fellow

Para leer este artículo en español, mira: Paradojas Chilenas: Derechos LGBT en América Latina 

Over the past few years, there have been important milestones advancing LGBT human rights in Latin America. Recognition of civil unions in Brazil and Uruguay, same-sex marriage in Mexico City and Argentina, laws protecting gender identity in Chile and Bolivia, and historic, progressive legislation in regard to gender identity in Argentina. These advances question old stereotypes of the region as a conservative macho culture dominated by the morals of the Roman Catholic Church.

The fight for LGBT human rights in Latin America isn’t a one-way street. Paradoxes arise among and between countries.  When Mexico City legalized same-sex marriage by legislative action, only 29% of the city’s population supported the right to adoption by same sex partners. In Ecuador, the Constitution prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation yet bans same-sex marriage and adoption. Gay marriage is legal on a case-by-case basis in Brazil but transgender people continue to be the target of violent crime. In 2009, Brazil reported the highest number of murders of transgender people for the region. In Costa Rica, the president of the Legislative Assembly’s Human Rights Commission expressed his belief that sexual orientation is a sin that can be treated. Clearly, homophobia and transphobia are widespread in the region.

Chile:  World of Latin American paradoxes.

When the Chilean socialist president Michele Bachelet took office in 2006, LGBT groups saw an opportunity for advancing their rights in a country with rigid cultural conservatism. Ironically, most of the debate and legislation about LGBT issues had to wait until Sebastián Piñera, Chile’s first right-wing president since Pinochet left   office.

Three issues have received particular attention from the Chilean population: An anti-discrimination law, prompted by a ruling in the Karen Atala custody case condemning Chile by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and the homophobic murder of Chilean youth Daniel Zamudio, a bill for same-sex civil unions  and  ban on same-sex marriage,  and , an   announced health coverage of sex reassignment surgeries by the country’s public health plan.

Continue reading “Chilean Paradoxes: LGBT rights in Latin America”

Celebrating Pride… Beyond the White House

By Jessica Stern and Peter Dunne

On June 15, as U.S. President Barack Obama hosted a reception at the White House to mark Pride Month, the now annual celebration of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) lives across the United States, there was much to contemplate about U.S. foreign policy and LGBT human rights.

While many celebrated advances made in the U.S. over the past year, this annual White House reception is an opportunity to recognize the efforts the Obama administration has made to promote LGBT human rights beyond U.S. borders. In December 2010 U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice spearheaded efforts to ensure that sexual orientation would remain part of a resolution condemning extrajudicial killings. Last December Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke movingly at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva of how “gay rights are human rights and human rights are gay rights.” And President Obama the same day issued an executive memorandum calling upon U.S. diplomats to make LGBT human rights a priority in American foreign policy.

Continue reading “Celebrating Pride… Beyond the White House”

We’re going to the White House and we want to bring you with us!

The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, for the first time, has been invited to the White House LGBT Pride Reception, but we don’t want to go alone!

Jessica Stern, Acting Executive Director, will attend the reception and she wants to bring your perspectives, opinions, critiques and stories with her.

For the next five days, we’ll be asking you questions on facebook (fb.com/iglhrc) and twitter (@iglhrc) such as: If you could tell President Obama one way he could help you work for LGBT rights globally, what would you say?

Continue reading “We’re going to the White House and we want to bring you with us!”

LGBT Report From The Peoples’ Forum In Phnom Penh, Cambodia

By Ging Cristobal

The Ninth Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Civil Society Conference/ASEAN Peoples’ Forum, (ACSC/APF), was held in Phnom Penh, Cambodia at the close of March. ASEANis an intergovernmental network formed to establish economic, socio-cultural, and political cooperation as well as regional peace amongst members. The ten member states include: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. The forum, which provides civil society activists a space to engage with their respective governments, included lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) issues for the second time this year. Ging Cristobal, Asia Project Coordinator for IGLHRC attended the forum for the second time around and shares about the experience.

The Struggle Continues for LGBTIQ Rights in the ASEAN Peoples’ Forum
For LGBTIQ activists the ninth convening of the Forum was an uphill climb compared to their first engagement last year. Fewer civil society organizations and individuals participated this year, as many were protesting the process of the Cambodia organizing committee. They claimed the Cambodian committee failed to be transparent in the organizing process and did not adequately consult with the regional committee. Allegedly, this affected not only how local organizers ran the convening but also hindered civil society groups and non-governmental organizations in other ASEAN countries from seeking funds to participate in the event.

Continue reading “LGBT Report From The Peoples’ Forum In Phnom Penh, Cambodia”

UPDATE: VICTORY! Seoul Student Rights Ordinance Passed with Sexual Orientation Gender Identity Clauses Included

The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission received  good news in the following letter  from Jihyye Kim  telling us of victory for LGBT Students in Korea.

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

 “We won the Seoul Student Rights Ordinance with all Sexual Orientation Gender Identity (SOGI) related clauses in the original draft included! 

…It happened after the 6 days of protest of LGBT young people and activists, day and night. This is a significant progress in our LGBT history, because we fought face-to-face against the homophobic individuals and groups, including many members of the Council…   The Council had serious debates on sexual orientation/ gender Identity  (SOGI) issues in their plenary session for the first time in our history. One of the Council members read out UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon’s recent speech…  That was the moment that the voices of LGBT people began to be heard, and LGBT people’s human rights recognized…

Continue reading “UPDATE: VICTORY! Seoul Student Rights Ordinance Passed with Sexual Orientation Gender Identity Clauses Included”

Korea: LGBT Students In Danger Of Being Left Out Of Non-Discrimination Protections

This post originally appeared in The New Civil Rights Movement.

Read the Update: Victory! Seoul Student Rights Ordinance Passed with Sexual Orientation Gender Identity Clauses Included

by Grace Poore

The Education Committee of the Seoul Metropolitan Council in Seoul, Korea has singled out sexual orientation and gender identity for exclusion from the draft bill of Seoul Students Rights Ordinance that can become law on December 19 in Korea’s capital city unless human rights activists manage to delay the bill or change the minds of the Education Committee. If passed, the Students Rights Ordinance will be the first initiative to explicitly protect students’ rights in Korea.

The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission has sent an urgent letter (below) to the Korean Education Committee of the Seoul Metropolitan Council calling for reinstatement of the removed protections for LGBT students.

Continue reading “Korea: LGBT Students In Danger Of Being Left Out Of Non-Discrimination Protections”

Trans Day of Remembrance: Focus on Africa

Honoring the Health Needs of Trans Men and Women

Africa Regional Trans Health and Advocacy Conference November 26th to 28th, Capetown, South Africa

In South Africa, IGLHRC has partnered with Gender DynamiX, the first African organization solely for the transgender community. In 2008, IGLHRC and Gender DynamiX together held a Strategy Workshop for transgender activists, the first of its kind on the continent. Held in Cape Town, South Africa, the historic workshop brought together 15 activists from 9 East and Southern African countries—Burundi, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe—to address the very specific needs of transgender people on the African continent. It marked a key step in the process of defining and building the African transgender movement by African transgender people.

Continue reading “Trans Day of Remembrance: Focus on Africa”

Trans Day of Remembrance: Focus on Turkey

“While we remember and mourn the loss of Turkish trans women whose lives were brutally taken from us this year, we must recognize too, the courage of the activists who tirelessly work to advance the human rights of trans people in the Middle East.”

Hossein Alizdeh, IGLHRC Coordinator Middle East and North Africa Program

During the past twelve months, the Turkish trans community has continued to be the target of fatal hate crimes. On April 19, a 36-year-old trans woman identified as R.B. was shot in Izmir, Turkey. She was rushed to the hospital, but she passed away before reaching the hospital. Two other trans women were injured during the shootout. On July 31, Didem, a trans woman, was brutally murdered in Istanbul, Turkey’s most populated city. The assailants cut the throat of this 21-year-old trans woman. On October 6, a woman was shot to death in Gaziantep, one of the southern cities of Turkey.

Continue reading “Trans Day of Remembrance: Focus on Turkey”

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