November 2009


for the 5 th installment of this series for 16 days of activism…..

we’re using werd on the ground to re-examine the necessity of safe spaces,

and the particular responsibility that allies bear in creating and maintaining positive space….

like the kptj listserv for example, one of those where I maintain a dubious silence.

I’ve only ever posted one piece on that listserv, and the backlash I got was silent and pervasive,

but at least there were a few that voiced their support for the issues we were advocating for….then,

still many more remained silent, and, reiterated their solidarity in our ‘private’ conversations,

it is always ‘u people’ or them that’s the problem……

that was then…

now, with recent events, more are voicing the shift in the boundaries to be drawn,

it’s the ripple effect in the story of that butterfly that flapped it’s wings, and like a bill that was drawn by bahati,

it seems the winds are changing,

even though this statement is from one of our strongest allies in Kenya, and thankfully, to be expected, it’s posting needs to be examined in the context within which our rights are being re-shaped….there has been much more public debate on sexuality,and unfortunately, on the ground, it’s still being led by homophobes & well-meaning ignorant folk…..so everytime our rights are re-asserted in a simple & direct way, it’s something to acknolwedge and respect.

Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC) Position on Rights related to Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation
 
 
The KHRC is concerned by ongoing expressions of prejudice about and stereotyping of Kenyans due to their gender identity or sexual orientation. Prejudice and stereotyping, when not consciously addressed, feed the discrimination, harassment and violence experienced by Kenyans because of their gender identity or sexual orientation.
 
Some sections of Kenyan media, particularly uninformed radio presenters, have led this frenzy of disinformation and hate speech. Being lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual or intersex is not ‘un-African’—Africa’s history is replete with examples of how those of different gender identities and sexual orientations were named and addressed by various communities. Even if it were not, the fact that some Kenyans now identify as being lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual or intersex openly makes being so African.
 
Being lesbian, gay or bisexual is simply the sexual orientation of some Kenyans—nothing more than where some Kenyans happen to be on the continuum of human sexuality. Being transsexual or intersex is simply the gender orientation of some Kenyans—nothing more than the fact that some Kenyans find themselves at odds with the biological binary of being ‘male’ or ‘female’. Kenyans who happen to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual or intersex continue to be, as all Kenyans are, subjects of legal protections provided by our Constitution and African and international human rights standards we are signatory too.
 
All Kenyans are entitled to equality under the law—and to be free from discrimination in education, in employment, in health care provision, in housing and so on. All Kenyans are entitled to security of the person—and to be free from violence. All Kenyans are entitled to privacy—and to be free from arbitrary and illegal intrusions on this privacy. Regardless of what prejudices and stereotypes persist about Kenyans who happen to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual or intersex, these entitlements stand.
 
Yet some sections of the media—supported by some conservative religious organisations—continue to bombard the Kenyan public with messages implying that those entitlements exist only for some Kenyans. In declaring themselves defenders of “authentic” (though often invented) African cultural traditions, they pit “culture/African family values/morality” against human rights and attempt to subject sexuality to restrictive state control.
 
The KHRC strongly opposes efforts to reduce this debate to one of “culture, family values or morality.” It is a debate about human rights—freedom of expression, equality, security of the person and privacy in particular. The KHRC strongly opposes discrimination against, harassment of, violence against or prosecution and punishment of all Kenyans, including on the grounds of gender identity and sexual orientation.
 
Kenya is at a critical moment in our construction of a democracy inclusive of diversity and based on respect for human rights. We urge all involved in drafting the new Constitution to take all the necessary measures to ensure all Kenyans full citizenship and protection from non-discrimination—by including gender identity and sexual orientation as protected grounds in the equality rights section. We urge all public service providers, the police and the judiciary to act with respect for the Constitution to protect gender and sexual minorities from discrimination, harassment and violence.
 
The KHRC firmly believes that dialogue is key to understanding gender identity and sexual orientation. We urge the Kenyan media to enable such dialogue while desisting from prejudicial and stereotypical hate speech. The dialogue is not about creating new human rights, but about acknowledging that all Kenyans have the same human rights, regardless of their gender identity and sexual orientation.
 
Makau Mutua
Chair
 
Board of Directors
Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC)
 
The KHRC works towards the observance, protection and support of all human rights for all people irrespective of sexual orientation, ethnicity, social origin, economic status, gender, political belief or because of their religious or other conscientiously held beliefs. 

and while we’re on the tip of acknowledging, how’s this for direct response from allies?

this piece is also taken from the kptj listserv

Dear Beatrice

The issue is not whether we agree or not. The list has always been open to the expression of diverse opinions.

But expressing diverse opinions is one thing. The expression of abuse, violent language, and other forms of attacks on people of other persuasions is not acceptable on this list. The right of Omtatah and others to express their views has to be assessed in relation to their call for the repression of those of different sexual preferences to organise and live without fear of aggression or calls for the suppression of their views.

I have no hesitation therefore in banning such antisocial behaviour from this list.

Firoze

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Press Release
NGOS PARTNER TO CELEBRATE THE WORLD AIDS DAY IN LAGOS, NIGERIA
 
NGOs partner to celebrate the World AIDS Day in Lagos, Nigeria on December 1st, 2009. The Independent Project (TIP) for Equal Rights in collaboration with Youth Are Talking (YAT), Leaders with New Dimensions( LEND) and Gbagyi Child entertainment brings people from all walks to life to mark this day as it is tradition all the over the world on December 1st of every year.
 
The theme for this year’s celebration is Universal Access and Human Rights with a sub theme: Working together against HIV stigma and discrimination. It is apparent and a cross cutting phenomenon all over the world that HIV related stigma and discrimination is a problem that needs to be tackle in ensuring the achievement of Universal Access by 2010 and mitigating the impact of AIDS by 2015. People living with HIV and AIDS (PLWHA) have been victims of human rights violations on the grounds of their HIV status which is a battle yet to be totally conquered by Civil Society Organizations.

 A recent statement from the Executive Director of TIP- Joseph Sewedo Akoro “Stigma and Discrimination suffered by PLWHA is injustice and unconstitutional” goes a long way to call for a policy evolution- protecting and respecting the rights of all people regardless of ALL status or differences as enshrined in the Chapter IV of the 1999 Nigeria Constitution and echoed in Article 2, 3 and 28 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR).
 
On December 1st, 2009, TIP and its other partners opens the doors of Gbayi Child entertainment situated at Akin Adesola Street, Victoria Island. Lagos state, Nigeria to celebrate PLWHA and campaign against stigma and discrimination of PLWHA and other High Risk Groups (such as Men who have sex with Men, Female Sex Workers, Injection Drug Users and Young People) who are marginalized in HIV prevention programming. TIP catchphrase for the day shall be “Embrace Diversity, Stop Discrimination”.
 
TIP is a non-government organization that envisions a society that is free from discrimination of any sort and regardless of age, tribe, ethnic group, race, creed, religion and sex; including sexual orientation and gender identity/ expression. TIP works to achieve this through education, empowerment and policy advocacy.
 
For more information about the event, contact Olumide Makanjuola; Event and Capacity Building Coordinator through olumide.tip@gmail.com.
 
Submitted by:
Ohwerhi Efe Brown
Human rights program associate.
The Independent Project (TIP) for Equal rights-Nigeria
The Independent Project, Nigeria
Tel No: +234 805 481 4432, +23417485293
www.ysm-rightsorg.page.tl <http://www.ysm-rightsorg.page.tl/>

 
…………the pride of our being……….

16 DAYS OF ACTIVISM – WORLD AIDS DAY

 Dear partner,

 

Greetings from BHESP.

We are pleased to invite you to our end of year concert to be held on 27th Nov. 2009  (Charter Hall- City Hall)as part of our activities for 16 days of activism and world AIDS day. Attached please find the concert note and the program.

 

The entry is free

 

Please confirm your attendance to barhostess@yahoo.com or grace@bhesp.com  or call 0725 501946

Your presence will be highly appreciated

 

PS. Santa Clause will presents gifts/presents to children of bar hostess and sex workers present. We Kindly request you to  come with presents (where possible) for the children  e.g. toys, clothes, books, sweets, etc.

 

  Regards

 

Peninah Mwangi

BHESP

 

For the first time at a Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, at CHOGM in Trinidad & Tobago, there was significant representation of GLBTQ (gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender/queer) activists among civil society participants, and a concerted effort to highlight issues of sexual citizenship and rights.

A delegation of GLBTQ activists from Africa, Asia and the Caribbean participated actively in the thematic assembly discussions and drafting process in the November 22-25, 2009 Commonwealth People’s Forum (CPF), a gathering of civil society organizations that meets in advance of, and sends a statement to, the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.

Working in partnership with gender, disabilities and other human rights advocates, they achieved visibility for a number of key concerns, and won inclusion of these issues in the broad civil society agenda for the Commonwealth.

 

The issues cut a wide swath: repealing laws criminalizing non-normative sexualities and gender expression; preventing and prosecuting bias-related murders and violence, including punitive rape of Lesbians; ending discrimination in accessing health services; creating safety in the school system from violence and bullying; addressing the need for support and resources for parents; and developing training and sensitization for a range of public servants and service providers.

Both scheduled speakers and participants from the floor made moving contributions related to human rights violations on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity in Commonwealth member countries.

Especially powerful speeches came from Ashily Dior, a Transgender activist from Trinidad;

Canadian Stephen Lewis, co-director of AIDS Free World

and former UN Special Envoy on HIV in Africa; and Robert Carr, director of the Caribbean Vulnerable Communities Coalition.

Together, contributors raised a comprehensive range of concerns in several of the assemblies, particularly those focused on Gender; Health, HIV and AIDS; and Human Rights.

 

The final Port of Spain Civil Society Statement to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting includes language calling on “Commonwealth Member States and Institutions” to “recognize and protect the human rights of all individuals without discrimination on the grounds of…sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression”; to “repeal legislation that leads to discrimination, such as the criminalisation of same sex sexual relationships”; and for “the Commonwealth Foundation to facilitate a technical review of such of laws”.

(blogger’s translation: for queer/trans afrikan communities this means more funding for more administrative and research positions, more money chanelled through  HIV/AIDS  health networks, more token nominations, and more assistance to escape and possibly attain refugee status based on grounds of sexual orientation and/or gender identity…)

Further, it issues a call for “Commonwealth Member States to ensure universal access to basic” health “services for marginalised and vulnerable groups”, including “sexual and gender minorities”, and to “work to actively remove and prevent the establishment of legislation which undermines evidence-based effective HIV prevention, treatment and care available to marginalised and vulnerable groups, such as sexual minorities”.

Its Gender section includes a distinct item on “Transgenders, Gays and Lesbians” (“We call on Commonwealth Member States to include gender and sexuality as a specific theme on sexualities, sexual and gender minorities, related violence and discrimination, making them no longer invisible”) and echoes the recognition in the human rights section “that gender equity implies equality for all and therefore issues related to non-normative sexualities, such as sexual and gender minorities”.

 

The Statement also makes reference to proposed “Anti-Homosexuality” legislation introduced in the Parliament of Uganda, home of current CHOGM Chair President Yoweri Museveni. The legislation would require reporting of homosexuals, provide a sentence of life imprisonment for homosexual touching or sex, and the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality”, if the offender is HIV-positive.

In remarks in more than one CPF assembly and in a special press conference, Lewis, Carr and a representative of the Caribbean HIV & AIDS Alliance, spoke out forcefully against the legislation, asking Museveni to take a clear position on it, and calling on others to condemn it. The Trinidad & Tobago Coalition Advocating for Inclusion of Sexual Orientation joined these voices, asking its own Prime Minister Patrick Manning, who will assume the chairmanship of CHOGM, and other CARICOM leaders, to do the same.

 

Eighty-six countries in the world currently have legislation criminalizing same-sex conduct between consenting adults as well as other non normative sexual and gender behaviours and identities; half of them are Commonwealth member states. Criminal provisions in these countries may target same sex sexual conduct, men who have sex with men specifically, or more generally any sexual behaviour considered “unnatural”.

Some countries criminalize other non normative behaviours, such as cross-dressing, or utilize criminal provisions on indecency or debauchery, among others, to target individuals on their real or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.

hese criminal provisions not only constitute a violation of civil and political rights in and of themselves because they violate key provisions established by international human rights law; they also have significant human rights implications, representing a serious risk for the exercise of other fundamental rights, such as the right to association, the right to assembly, and the right to expression, the right to health, the principle of non discrimination, to mention a few.

Furthermore, the mere existence of these laws is in many countries is an avenue for other human rights violations by state and non-state actors.

 We acknowledge and welcome the civil society consensus on the above mentioned issues, and call on Commonwealth member states, the Commonwealth Secretariat and the Commonwealth Foundation to implement the recommendations of the Commonwealth People’s Forum.

  You can access the Port of Spain Civil Society Statement to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 25 November at: http://www.commonwealthfoundation.com/governancedemocracy/CPF2009/NewPublicationsCPF/

 

·     Alternative Law Forum (ALF) – India

·     Center for Popular Education and Human Rights Ghana (CEPEHRG)  – Ghana

·     Coalition Advocating for Inclusion of Sexual Orientation (CAISO) – Trinidad & Tobago

·     Gay and Lesbian coalition of Kenya (GALCK) – Kenya

·     GrenCHAP – Grenada

·     Jamaica Forum for Lesbians All-Sexuals and Gays – (J-FLAG) – Jamaica

·     Knowledge and Rights with Young People through Safer Spaces (KRYSS) – Malaysia

·     Lesbians and Gays Bisexuals Botswana (LEGABIBO) – Botswana

·     People Like Us (PLU) – Singapore

·     Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD) – Guyana

·     The Independent Project (TIP) – Nigeria

·     United and Strong – St Lucia

·     United Belize Advocacy Movement (UNIBAM) – Belize

·     United Gays and Lesbians against AIDS Barbados (UGLAAB) – Barbados

·     Global Rights

·     International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC

Transgender Europe’s Trans Murder Monitoring Project reveals more than 160 murders of trans people in the last 12 months
 
The 11th International Transgender Day of Remembrance is being held, this November in more than 120 cities worldwide:  Since 1999 the Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR), in which those trans people who have been victims of homicide will be remembered, takes place every November. The TDOR raises public awareness of hate crimes against trans people, provides a space for publicly mourning and honours the lives of those trans people who might otherwise be forgotten.

Started in the U.S.A., the TDOR is now held in many parts of the world. This year the TDOR takes place in more than 120 cities in 17 countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, North America, and Oceania on November 20th.

Sadly, this year there are more than 160 trans persons to be added to the list, to be remembered, mourned and honoured as an update of the preliminary results of Transgender Europe’s new research project reveals.

The data collected by the Trans Murder Monitoring Project research team comes from a systematic monitoring, collecting and analysing news reports of the deaths of trans  people worldwide. It has has revealed a total of 162 cases of reported murders of trans people from November 20th 2008 to November 12th 2009.

In the first 10 ½ months of 2009 already 150 murders of trans people have been reported.  Yet, we know, even these high numbers are only a fraction of the real figures. The truth is much worse. These are only the reported cases which could be found through internet research. There is no formal data and it is impossible to estimate the numbers of unreported cases.

Cases have been reported from all six major World regions: North and Latin America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and Oceania. Most reported cases have been from Latin America and North America, with the majority from Brazil (41), Venezuela (22), Honduras (16) and the U.S.A. (13).

In total 124 murders of trans people were reported in 15 Latin American countries in the last year. The reported murders of trans people in Latin America account for 75 % of the world wide reported murders of trans people in the last year.
The recent update of the preliminary results also reveal that 16 murders of trans people have been reported in 6 European countries (Italy, Russia, Serbia, Spain, Turkey, and the United Kingdom) in the last year.  In Asia murders of trans people were reported in India and Malaysia, in Africa in Algeria, and in Oceania for New Zealand.

In total the preliminary results show reports of murdered trans people in 26 countries in the last year.
The update of the preliminary results of TGEU’s Trans Murder Monitoring Project is presented in form of tables, name lists, and maps on the TGEU Website in English, Spanish, and German. The English version of the tables can be found at www.tgeu.org/tdor2009english.

There you will also find information on the International Transgender Day of Remembrance as well as a list of all cities, in which the International Transgender Day of Remembrance will be held.

werd on (activism on) the ground!

WHEN:          THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 19TH, 12:30 PM
WHERE:       UGANDA HOUSE  336, EAST 45TH STREET (BTN. 1ST @ 2ND AVES)

This demonstration is being organized in response to the global call for action from November 9th to December 10th, Human Rights Day, by SMUG (Sexual Minorities Uganda), a network of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people’s organizations based in Uganda.
 
Join with African Services Committee, IGLHRC (International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission), Human Rights Watch, Health GAP and many other local HIV/AIDS and social justice organizations in the area on Thursday, November 19th at 12:30pm outside the Ugandan Consulate in New York to protest this assault on the basic human rights for the Ugandan LGBT community as proposed in Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill.
 
Similar actions are happening around the world including in Copenhagan, Ottowa, Pretoria and on the same day in Washington D.C.
 
For more information on the issue see IGLHRC’s action alert below.

The Issue:
The Ugandan Parliament is now considering a homophobic law that would reaffirm penalties for homosexuality and criminalize the “promotion of homosexuality.” The Anti-Homosexuality Bill of 2009 targets lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Ugandans, their defenders and anyone else who fails to report them to the authorities whether they are inside or outside of Uganda. The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) and Sexual Minorities of Uganda (SMUG) are calling for the swift dismissal of the bill and human rights protections for all Ugandans, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Background:
Uganda’s Penal Code Article 145a already criminalizes “carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature” – a charge used to prosecute, persecute and blackmail LGBT people with the threat of life imprisonment. The new bill would specifically penalize homosexuality, using life imprisonment to punish anything from sexual stimulation to simply “touch[ing] another person with the intention of committing the act of homosexuality.” It also punishes “aggravated homosexuality” – including activity by “serial offenders” or those who are HIV positive – with the death penalty.

The bill criminalizes “promotion of homosexuality” in the form of funding and sponsoring LGBT organizations and broadcasting, publishing, or marketing materials on homosexuality and punishes these acts with a steep fine, 5-7 years of imprisonment, or both. Any person in authority who fails to report known violations of the law within 24 hours will also be subject to a significant fine and up to 3 years in prison – even when this means turning in their colleagues, family, or friends. More shocking, the bill claims jurisdiction over Ugandans who violate its provisions while outside of the country.

The bill effectively bans any kind of community or political organizing around non-heteronormative sexuality. It will lend itself to misapplication and abuse, and implicitly encourages persecution of LGBT people by private actors. HIV prevention activities in Uganda, which rely on an ability to talk frankly about sexuality and provide condoms and other safer-sex materials, will be seriously compromised. Women, sex workers, people living with AIDS, and other marginalized groups may also find their activities tracked and criminalized through this bill.

The Anti-Homosexuality Bill of 2009 not only violates multiple protections guaranteed by the Constitution of Uganda, which ensures independence for human rights non-governmental organizations, but contravenes the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), and other international human rights treaties to which Uganda is a party. This bill undermines Uganda’s commitment to the international human rights regime and threatens the basic human rights of all its citizens.

Issued by: Gender DynamiX                 Friday 20 November 2009

 

This Friday Daisy Dube will be remembered. Daisy was shot and killed in Yeoville in 2008 because of her gender identity.  She and three drag queens out for the night stopped and asked three men in a car to stop calling them “isitabane.” (A isiZulu slur used for LGBT people). Her cold blooded murder was a result of transphobia.  She was shot and killed for defending her identity. 

 Friday 20 November 2009 is TDOR – Transgender Day of Remembrance. The day is commemorated around the world as a way to highlight and end violence against trangender people.  The Day draws attention to the many nameless and faceless victims that the media never hears of – stories that shame us as a society and as human beings.

One such victim – Aunty Victoria, attempted suicide and later died in Muhimbili National Hospital Dar es Salaam this year. The years of stigma and constant discrimination, and finally the loss of her lover made her life unbearable.

Hours before her death, naked and unconscious, a hospital worker took photographs of her body.  The photos were uploaded to the internet, sent out via email list servs and widely circulated.  Echoing this shocking disrespect, the morgue at Muhimbili was left unlocked and hundreds of people queued to look at her body. By the time Aunty Victoria was buried, her breasts and genitals were surgically removed to conform to the Muslim belief that her body should be the one she was born with, so that Allah would recognise her in death.

Transgenderism is classified globally as a mental disorder, rather than a natural gender variation. Transgender activists the world over are advocating for the condition to be reclassified as a medical condition.

This western diagnosis contributes to the ongoing transphobia, isolation and pain that trangender people face – resulting in depression and suicidal tendencies.  African societies which traditionally respected members who didn’t conform to the standard gender binary, are beginning to take on the first world view and are treating transgendered people like freaks to be culled

On Transgender Day of Remembrance, Non profit Transgender organisation Gender DynamiX and its partner GALA (Gay and Lesbian memory in Action) will release their book TRANS: Transgender life stories from South Africa.

Simone Heradien, board member of Gender DynamiX, says “We plead with the wider community of South Africa to join us in remembering these casualties of hatred, intolerance and injustice. South African law acknowledges and respects the concept of gender expression not being a fixed notion.  Gender DynamiX is an organisation that deals with expression of sex and gender.  We appeal to the media, politicians and the public to remember that the human rights are for all South Africans.  We are human first before gender, race, class or creed.”

-Ends-

Contacts:

Caroline Bowley 021 633 5287 x 2037, caroline@genderdynamix.org.za

Robert Hamblin 083 226 4683, roberthamblin@genderdynamix.org.za

Liesl Theron 021 633 5287 x 2038, liesl@genderdynamix.org.za

Tebogo Nkoana 021 633 5287 x 2040, tebogo@genderdynamix.org.za

www.genderdynamix.org.za

 

 

COLOUR ME DRAGG

a call out to all drag kings & queens.
we’re recruiting a group of 10 to perform this song for the BIG LOVE! party.

contact
molisanyakale@gmail.com
for more details.

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