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Two transgender women tortured and killed in Pakistan

Police in Pakistan this weekend found the bodies of two transgender women who were tortured and beaten to death. Officials found the two women in a locked house in the Sahiwal district of the eastern Punjab province on Saturday (27 July), Senior officer Mohammad Ali Zia told the Associated Press. He said it was unclear what motivated the killer. But, he told AP, they died on Wednesday. One of the women was aged between 25 and 30 and the other about 31, according to Trans Action Pakistan. In a Facebook post, the local trans group also reports the police were gathering evidence. Violence getting worse in Pakistan At least 62 transgender Pakistanis were killed in 2018. In August last year, Pakistan’s trans community took to the streets to protest violence against the community. They demanded better police protection. Pakistan passed a landmark legislation to protect transgender people in May. But, the community still faces widespread violence and discrimination on the ground. Activists want a government body to implement anti-discrimination laws. Trans Pakistanis face mistreatment at the hands of police, government officials, and healthcare professionals. Families and communities often reject transgender Pakistanis. They suffer high levels of mental health problems as a result. President of the group, Farzana Jana, recently told Gay Star News that ‘violence against the transgender community is getting worse’. ‘The transgender community is much more likely to be violently attacked than any other marginalized group in Khyber Pakhtukhwa’ Farzana Jana said. ‘Laws alone are not sufficient, there ...

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Over 1,000 take to the streets of Warsaw in support of LGBTI rights

Over 1,000 people took to the streets in the Polish capital of Warsaw in a show of support for LGBTI rights on Saturday (27 July). The march comes a week after a Pride event in the north-eastern city of Białystok was marred by violence. The first Pride event to take place in Białystok was met with counter-protests by Christian and far-right groups on 20 July. Videos showed counter-protestors attacking and throwing rocks and bottles at the Pride march participants. LGBTI rights are a deeply polarising issue in the majority Catholic country. Divisions over LGBTI issues have been exacerbated in the lead up to Poland’s general election. March in Warsaw to support the LGBT community, after the first pride march in the city of Baiłystok was met with violence. PiS and opposition called out for not doing enough to condemn the attacks. pic.twitter.com/Eq7uP5xTxT — Jack Ramsay (@JJrram) July 27, 2019 ‘The tension is growing and is tied to the politics of the ruling party’ Those who took to the streets on Saturday’s march carried rainbow-colored flags and banners with pro-LGBTI messages. ‘I am here because of what happened in Białystok and because of the “LGBT-free zone” stickers,’ said 15-year-old student, Amelia Rae. ‘If something is going to change than the government needs to change.’ Analysts say that Poland’s ruling party, PiS, has attempted to energize their voter base by pushing back against ‘western liberalism’. This includes disapproving of LGBTI events such as Pride marches, which many politicians argue are a public ...

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New Hampshire bill to allow ‘X’ gender marker on licenses becomes law

A bill proposing the option for an ‘X’ gender marker on New Hampshire licenses and ID cards has been passed into law. Tell me more Governor Chris Sununu allowed House Bill 669 to become law earlier this month without his signature. It says that New Hampshire driver’s licenses and non-driver ID cards can have either ‘M,’ ‘F,’ or ‘X’ as gender markers. New Hampshire joins 12 other states and Washington DC in allowing non-binary residents to choose a third gender option on state-issued ID cards. ‘This victory is life-changing for the many Granite Staters who identify as non-binary. And is another step toward decreasing stigmatization, promoting equality, and ensuring that state identification documents are accurate and affirming,’ said Devon Chaffee, executive director of the ACLU of New Hampshire. ‘Last year, we worked to put comprehensive discrimination protections for transgender people into law. And this year, we’re building on that incredible success,’ Linda Jakows, former campaign manager for Freedom NH, said. ‘The last two years demonstrate the incredible momentum and support in New Hampshire for the trans and gender non-binary community.’ Why it matters The new law will go into effect on 1 January 2020. Alex McEntee of Concord, New Hampshire plans to be one of the first people to get their gender marker changed when the law goes into effect. ‘I have long thought the “F” that is currently on my license stands for “fraudulent”. Because it is simply not correct,’ McEntee told the New Hampshire Union Leader. ‘I applaud ...

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UK government put ‘extreme pressure’ on school to halt LGBTI-inclusivity lessons

The UK government school officials under ‘extreme pressure’ to hold LGBTI-inclusivity lessons due to protests against the classes, a chief executive has said. Hazel Pulley said the Department for Education (DfE) ‘really wanted the protests to stop’ taking place outside Parkfield Community School in Birmingham. She said that DfE officials made  ‘frantic phone calls’ urging the school to suspend the classes. Pulley also called on new prime minister Boris Johnson to take a lead in supporting schools facing such issues. Parkfield Community School teaches the No Outsiders program, which teaches students about same-sex relationships and gender identity. Protests against the classes began early in 2019. After several months of protests, the school temporarily stopped teaching No Outsiders several months later. A number of local parents opposed the lessons on the grounds that primary school children are too young to learn about LGBTI issues. Some have falsely claimed that the classes teach sex education. Some of the protestors – who are mostly, but not exclusively, Muslim – have also said that the lessons go against the teachings of Islam. ‘I don’t think this had ever happened in schools in our country before’ At its peak, the school saw hundreds of protestors assembling outside the school gates to protest the classes. The protests spread to other schools in Birmingham which taught similar LGBTI-inclusivity classes. Speaking to BBC News, Pulley said she felt ‘extreme isolation’ while dealing with the protests. It was ‘totally on my own to deal with something that was coming at ...

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US Border Control says HIV status is ‘justification’ to separate immigrant families

In a meeting on Capitol Hill, the chief of US Border Control told members of Congress HIV status is enough to separate immigrant families. Chief of law enforcement at the Border Patrol Brian Hastings made the comments on Thursday (25 July) in a hearing with the House Judiciary Committee. Hastings had a tense exchange with Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) about immigrants communicable diseases. It happens around the 4:25 mark. False claims about HIV Raskin asked Hastings about guidelines for separating children from their parents or guardians at the border. ‘If a mother or father has HIV positive status, is that alone enough to justify separation from their child?’ Raskin asked Hastings. Hastings responded in the positive, describing HIV as a ‘communicable disease under the guidance’. At this point, Raskin pushes back saying there are reports of immigrant family members being separated for this reason and pointing out HIV is not communicable ‘by ordinary contact’. ‘That’s the guidance that we follow,’ Hastings simply replied. Hastings also could not say where this guidance came from and when Raskin said the flu is also communicable, Hastings said they would not separate family members on that basis. Why is this harmful? People with ‘communicable disease of public health significance’ are inadmissable from entering the US. HIV was removed from the list of communicable diseases in 2010. July 2008 legislation reauthorizing the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) removed the language which declared HIV as a communicable disease. ‘It is no longer applicable based ...

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Russian blogger fears for life after death threats

Russian LGBTI rights blogger Zhenya Svetski has detailed how he fears for his following the murder of a fellow activist Elana Grigorieva. Both LGBTI rights advocates appear on now-shut down website that encouraged people to ‘hunt’ LGBTI people, activists, and journalists. Inspired by the horror franchise Saw it published the personal information of LGBTI people. ‘I am in the list of 10 Saw victims’ Svetski wrote on Twitter. The list also featured Grigorieva, who was stabbed seven times before dying in St Petersburg on Sunday. ‘How much more of our blood will be shed in Russia?’ He asked. While homosexuality is not illegal in Russia, the country introduced a ‘gay propaganda‘ law in 2013. It prevents the positive representation of LGBTI issue on any kind of media platform. The Russian government argued it stopped the ‘promotion of nontraditional sexual relations to minors’. Reports of a group operating and encouraging the ‘hunting’ of gay people first appeared last spring. Grigorieva’s killer ‘still among us’ In a separate Instagram post, Svetski detailed how people gave him a 20 July deadline to leave Russia. He said he first started receiving death threats in February. ’Now everything is much more serious—the first murder’ he said according to an online translation, presumably referring to Grigorieva. Svetski warned that Grigorieva’s killer was ‘still among us.’   View this post on Instagram   «ПИЛА» угрожает мне убийством. В первый раз мне передали угрозы 24 февраля. ⠀ ⠀ 19 Июня мне поставили новое условие – покинуть Россию и ...

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NBC cancels Will & Grace after one final season

NBC announced on Thursday (25 July) the upcoming season of Will & Grace is the last. Will & Grace, which ushered in visibility for LGBTI people (primarily gay men), premiered in 1998. It lasted for eight seasons, before NBC brought it back for a revival in 2017. David Kohan and Max Mutchnik created the series. It follows best friends Will Truman (Eric McCormack), a gay lawyer, and Grace Adler (Debra Messing), an interior designer. Rounding out their quarter is Jack McFarland (Sean Hayes), a gay actor, and Karen Walker (Megan Mullaly), a self-centered socialite. Over the course of its many seasons, the show focused on the friends’ love lives, careers, and general shenanigans. The revival brought the show back in both familiar and new ways. Old characters made triumphant returns, but jokes were now firmly rooted in 2017 and beyond. Season 10 drew in 3 million weekly viewers, down 45% from the revival’s first season. ‘The way Karen Walker thinks of martinis’ Mutchnik, Kohan, and executive producer David Barrows, released a statement about the show’s end. ‘We think of the Will & Grace [revival] episodes the way Karen Walker thinks of martinis — 51 is not enough, 53 is too many,’ they said. ‘That is why, after consulting with the cast, we all have decided this will be the final season of Will & Grace.’ Over the course of its life, the show became one of the most successfuly and widely watched series with gay main characters. Its popularity helped ...

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Gallery removes gay artist’s collage amidst homophobia accusations

An art gallery in Wales removed a gay artist’s installation after the piece received criticisms of being homophobic. The artist, however, says the piece speaks against homophobia. The Mostyn Gallery in Llandudno took down Taste the Feeling, a collage by Paul Yore, last week (16 July). Police are now investigating the ordeal and artwork as a potential hate crime. Yore’s art was chosen by the gallery’s curators out of more than 700 submission to be exhibted in the Mostyn Open 21. This program offers prizes up to £10,000 ($12,481). What is the collage and what did people say? Yore’s work features images of far-right figures and phrases like ‘God hates fags’. This type of phrase is frequently used by hate groups such as the Westboro Baptist Church. The piece, seen in the below Instagram post, is meant to lance such hateful ideology. View this post on Instagram Honoured to have my work included in the wonderful MOSTYN Open 21 exhibition, showing from 13th July 2019 @mostyngallery Selected Artists: David Birkin, Rudi J.L. Bogaerts, John Bourne, Alexandre Camarao, Javier Chozas, Martyn Cross, Eugenia Cuellar, Jessie Edwards-Thomas, Sarah Entwistle, Expanded Eye, Julia R. Gallego, David Garner, Thomas Goddard, Oona Grimes, Georgia Hayes, Nick Hornby, Sooim Jeong, Nancy Jones, Adam Knight, Piotr Krzymowski, James Lewis, Neil McNally, Irene Montemurro, Anna Perach, Jessica Quinn, Ariel Reichman, William Roberts, Samantha Rosenwald, Klara Sedlo, Corinna Spencer, Chris Thompson, Richard Wathen, Paul Yore, Madalina Zaharia Image: Taste The Feeling, 2017 Mixed media appliqued textile, comprising found materials, ...

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More calls for India to rethink controversial trans bill

International rights groups this week added their voices to condemn a controversial transgender rights bill India reintroduced to parliament this week. India’s cabinet claims the bill will ‘provide for protection of rights of transgender persons and their welfare.’ But the trans community have labeled it a ‘travesty of justice’ and a ‘burial of rights.’ The legislation does not allow trans individuals to self identify. It mandates sex reassignment surgery for people who want to change gender. What’s more, rights groups detailed, it sets out lighter sentences for sexual abuse and domestic abuse. It also leaves in place laws that could be used to unfairly target transgender citizens. Moreover, the bill enshrines little to no protections to trans people in public spaces or in the workplace. India recognized trans as a third gender in a landmark Supreme Court ruling in 2014. The ruling guaranteed them the fundamental rights enshrined in India’s constitution. A bill to tackle this has been in the political pipeline since 2015. But last year, India’s Cabinet formally drafted the trans bill, which lawmakers in the Lok Sabha, India’s lower house, passed in December. Trans rights in India Trans people in India remain marginalized and at risk of abuse. The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) and Human Rights Watch (HRW) both spoke out this week against the bill. They said the current bill does not meet the 2014 Supreme Court ruling. The bill ‘fails to fully protect the rights of transgender people including to self-identify, a right that ...

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Man ‘slashed with machete’ in suspected homophobic attack

A man was slashed in the leg with a machete in Canada Water, London on Tuesday (23 July) afternoon in a suspected homophobic attack. Police attended reports of the machete attack outside Sainsbury’s on Surrey Quays Road just after 3pm, according to the Southwark News. ‘At this time police believe there may be a homophobic motive for the attack’, a Scotland Yard spokeswoman told the News. The news site also reports the suspected attacker fled the scene on a motorbike. The BBC reports the victim was taken to hospital by air ambulance. Reportedly, no arrests have been made. Transphobic and homophobic hate crimes are on the rise Both homophobic and transphobic hate crimes have drastically increased in England and Wales over the past five years. An anaylsis by The Guardian revealed the alarming statistics last month. From 2013-14 to 2017-18, LGBT hate crimes per capita rose 144%. Police reported 11,600 known crimes of this nature in 2018. This is more than double the 4,600 reported in 2013-14. Anti-gay and lesbian, as well as transphobic attacks, have doubled and tripled, respectively. West Yorkshire saw the highest spike in anti-LGBT hate crimes. They experience a 376% increase from 2013-14 to 2017-18. Recently, a group of teen males assaulted same-sex couple on a London bus. The assault left them bloodied, scared, and angry. It made headlines and renewed calls for action against anti-LGBT hate crimes. Read the original article Author: Rik Glauert

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