LGBT Rights Hub




Singapore Court Of Appeal Upholds Anti-Gay Sodomy Law - VIDEO

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Singapore’s highest court ruled yesterday that the country’s sodomy law is constitutional, reports The Straits Times.

The law, known as Section 377a, has been in place since Singapore was a British colony. It carries up to a two-year jail term for men who commit acts of "gross indecency" with other men, whether in public or in private.

SingaporeYesterday’s ruling came in response to lawsuits by couple of 16 years Gary Lim [above right] and Kenneth Chee [above left], and by Tan Eng Hong, who was charged under the anti-sodomy law after being arrested while having sex in a public restroom in 2010.

Both lawsuits argued that Section 377a infringes their constitutional right to equal protection under Article 12 of the Constitution, and violates their right to life and liberty, as guaranteed by Article 9.

The Court of Appeal found that Section 377a did not violate Article 9 as the phrase "life and liberty" referred only to the personal liberty of a person from unlawful incarceration, not to the right of privacy and personal autonomy. The court also found that Section 377a fell outside the scope of Article 12, which forbids discrimination of citizens on grounds including religion, race and place of birth but does not contain the words "gender", "sex" and "sexual orientation.”

Mr Tan’s lawyer M. Ravi said that the decision a "huge step backwards for human rights in Singapore".

Earlier this year, Singapore libraries withdrew two books with gay characters, citing "pro-family" standards. 

Watch Gareth Lim and Kenneth Chee discuss their relationship and the case, AFTER THE JUMP...

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The Inmates Of Litchfield Prison (AKA 'Orange Is The New Black' Cast) Want You To Celebrate Spirit Day: VIDEO

GLAADOITNB

Who better to tout GLAAD's annual LGBT Spirit Day than the most sexually and racially diverse cast on television? A couple of the ladies from Netflix's Orange is the New Black made a video to inform those outside the Litchfield Prison walls about the event, taking place on Thursday, October 16th. 

Selenis Leyva (above left), who plays Gloria Mendoza on the show, gets right to the point: "Did you know that half of all gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender students say they feel unsafe at school?" The solution, according to Yael Stone (AKA Lorna Morello, above right)? "Wear a whole lot of purple." That's right, GLAAD wants you to stand in solidarity with bullied LGBT youth by wearing purple from head to toe (or, you know, somewhere) and communicating your support. And if the cast of "OITNB" is doing it, why on earth wouldn't you?!

Check out the Spirit Day website here.

And watch the promotional video, AFTER THE JUMP...

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PHILIPPINES: Quezon City Council Bans LGBT Discrimination, Includes Affirmative Action

Quezon cityQuezon City Council has become the latest Philippines city to approve an ordinance banning discrimination against LGBT people, reports FRIDAE.

Late last month, Agusan del Norte passed a similar anti-discrimination ordinance (ADO) that protects people irrespective of their sexual orientation and gender identity and expression.

The ordinance was passed unanimously on September 29th.

The ADO improves on a 2003 resolution preventing discrimination against LGBT people in the workplace by providing venues to educate employers and educators on the rights of LGBT individuals.

Praising the inclusion of affirmative action in the ADO, Ging Cristobal, project coordinator for the Asia Pacific region of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission and vice chairperson of the Quezon City Pride Council, said it will also be useful to everyone in the community, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity and expression.

In an interview with Philippines LGBT magazine Outrage, Quezon Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte highlighted the importance of an ordinance that will protect the rights of LGBT individuals:

“There are many LGBT [people] in our city, and I believe they are such a strong and important force in our city’s progress and development. There’s so much they can do for the city if we help them.”

 


Hillsborough County, Florida Extends Non-Discrimination Protections To LGBT Citizens - VIDEO

Kevin beckner

Florida’s Hillsborough County Commission voted Wednesday to extend its Human Rights Ordinance to protect LGBT citizens, reports The Tampa Tribune.

The ordinance prohibits discrimination in employment, public accommodations, real estate transactions and county contracting and procurement.

The unanimous 7-0 vote reverses a 1995 decision that removed gay people from the county’s protection ordinance.

Several speakers at the commission meeting opposed extending protections to LGBT citizens. One speaker referred to homosexality as a “disfunction” and suggested that to extend protections would lead to special rights for pedophiles.

The vote was a victory for Kevin Beckner, the county's first out gay commissioner, who had assembled a business coalition in support of the amended ordinance, making it easier for some of the more-conservative commissioners to vote yes.

Members of the coalition argued that a more inclusive and diverse community is also more prosperous and attractive to highly trained workers.

Terry Wolfe, a resident who spoke in favor of the ordinance, said that the vote “goes a long way toward creating a climate of equality” in the county.

Watch a report on the leadup to the vote, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Russia Ends U.S. Student Exchange Program, Blames Elderly Michigan Gay Couple

Russia’s children’s rights ombudsman Pavel Astakhov

Russia has canceled a foreign exchange program with the U.S., alleging that a gay couple persuaded a man to stay with them and apply for asylum, reports The Guardian.

FlexSince 1992, the state department-financed Future Leaders Exchange (FLEX) has brought 23,000 students aged 15 to 17 from Russia and former Soviet countries to study in U.S. schools and live with local families for one academic year.

Human rights organisations have accused the Russian government of promoting discrimination following the introduction of a "gay propaganda" law last year.

Announcing the end of the country’s participation in FLEX, Russia’s children’s rights ombudsman Pavel Astakhov [pictured above] said the couple became the legal guardians of the Russian student, after the student left his host family and stayed in the U.S. when the school year ended in May.

According to Russian state news agency Itar-Tass, the student met the couple - elderly veterans who had previously adopted two American boys - in church and the men offered to become his immigration sponsors and pay for him to study at Harvard University.

Astakhov explained on Twitter that the cancellation came about because of a “gross violation by the host country, the United States, of the obligation to unconditionally return students from Russia who travel there to study.”

In an interview with the official government newspaper Rossiiskaya Gazeta, he added that the student moved in with the two men in Michigan, “and they gradually developed – how can I say this carefully – close friendly relations.”

Anton Meshkov, a former FLEX student, said the fact that 15 young people are thought to have stayed in the U.S. after the program ended was not a “serious reason to take away the chance to travel from hundreds of kids”.

“It’s absurd to suppose that the program could facilitate the seduction of young Russians. As a participant in this program myself, I know what a serious selection process host families go through.”

Last year, Astakhov vowed he would do everything possible to ensure that Russian orphans were only adopted by heterosexual couples. 


Controversy Surrounds Screening Of Gay Teen Documentary in Russia - VIDEO

404 film

A Russian television channel has created controversy surrounding the screening of a documentary about gay teens last month at the Pacific Meridians festival in Vladivostok, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

According to People's Patriotic Channel, despite the 18+ rating of the documentary Deti 404 (Children 404), tickets to the screening were sold to minors without a proper ID check.

404404 refers to an online forum for Russian-speaking LGBTQ teens and to an error message displayed on Russian computer screens when people attempt to navigate to a web page that doesn't exist. 

People's Patriotic Channel claims that the documentary violates Russia's "gay propaganda" law.

A screening of the film in St Petersburg last April was disrupted by Orthodox Christian activists and police.

The festival's organizers have said the theater is to blame for the incident but added that the inclusion of the film into one of the festival's sections was important as it deals with a major social issue.

Festival programming director Natalia Timofeyeva said “this film is very useful because we are striving for a tolerant society in which people who are different can also exist.”

Watch a trailer for Deti 404, AFTER THE JUMP...

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