Reduced Inequalities: Northern Ireland Just Took a Major Step Toward Passing Same-Sex Marriage #LGBT #LGBTQ #SDGs #GlobalGoals

It’s the only part of the UK where same-sex marriage is not legal.


A bill to legalize same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland was introduced to the United Kingdom’s House of Lords Tuesday, and could now move to the House of Commons.

While the move brings the small country closer to passing same sex marriage, significant challenges remain — including the fact that Northern Ireland is currently without a government, which collapsed last January, The Journal, an Irish news site, reports.

Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK that has not recognized same-sex marriage — even though it was the first to recognize domestic partnerships in 2005.

Neighboring Ireland recognized same-sex marriage through a referendum vote in 2015, Scotland did so in 2014, and the UK and Wales did so in 2013, according to BBC.

The new bill was introduced to the House of Lords by Lord Robert Hayward and will also be introduced to the House of Commons by Member of Parliament Conor McGinn on Wednesday, according to reports.

“[E]quality is not something you can pick and choose on around the United Kingdom,” Hayward told the BBC. “It should apply to all parts of the UK.”

He added that the introduction of the bill was met by an “audible ‘hear, hear’ from all sides of the chamber.”

On Tuesday, McGinn penned an op-ed in The Guardian calling on the UK to pass a bill guaranteeing same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland, saying: “Same-sex couples should not have to wait any more for this long overdue change and to enjoy the same rights as my constituents in St. Helens, or people in Dublin, London, Cardiff or Edinburgh.”

Part of the challenge any same-sex marriage bill faces in Northern Ireland is opposition from the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP).

In 2015, the Northern Ireland Assembly passed a bill by one vote that would have legalized same-sex marriage, but it was blocked by the DUP, which filed a “petition of concern” that said the bill violated minority rights.

Now, however, the Assembly is stalled because the DUP and opposition party Sinn Fein failed to reach a power-sharing agreement — which gives the UK government the ability to pass laws in Northern Ireland if it can muster cross-party support.

Hayward said Tuesday he hoped the UK would “in one form or another… get this into law.”

Same-sex marriage has public backing in Northern Ireland, with more than two-thirds of people saying they support it in a 2015 poll


Reduced Inequalities: This Hong Kong Heiress Became an Accidental #LGBT Champion #HumanRights #PressForProgress #SDGs #GlobalGoals #LGBTQ


Her father offered $127 million to any man who could make her straight.

By Beh Lih Yi

HONG KONG, March 27 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – When Hong Kong property tycoon Cecil Chao offered $65 million to any man who could win over his lesbian daughter and make her straight, he inadvertently laid the ground for her to become one of Asia’s most prominent gay rights campaigners.

The bizarre reward in 2012 grabbed international headlines and his daughter, Gigi Chao, was bombarded with thousands of marriage proposals from across the world – from war veterans to a body double of George Clooney in a sports movie.

It was the first time the issue of acceptance of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community had played out in such high-profile way in Hong Kong – a city modern in many ways but where social attitudes remain conservative.

“I am glad it happened,” Gigi Chao told the Thomson Reuters Foundation at the office of her property firm is housed in Hong Kong’s third-tallest skyscraper overlooking the city’s harbour.

“It has been able to put a comic spin on a topic that is often marred by a lot of tragedies and taboos,” said the 38-year-old, wearing a sparkly rainbow-coloured jacket.

The elder Chao – whose property empire invests in Hong Kong, China and Malaysia – put the $65 million “marriage bounty” on his daughter’s head after she entered into a civil partnership with her girlfriend in France in early 2012.

After failing to find any suitors, the 81-year-old billionaire doubled the offer to HK$1 billion ($127 million) in 2014.

This prompted Chao to pen an open letter published in Hong Kong newspapers which said: “Dear daddy, you must accept I’m a lesbian” and urged him to treat her partner like a “normal, dignified human being”.

Such a public feud in a well-known family would have been remarkable anywhere but was particularly unusual in Asia when no country in the region at that time recognised same-sex marriage.

It was only last year that the Taiwan’s constitutional court paved the way for the island to become the first place in Asia with gay marriage after it ruled in favour of same-sex unions.

Today Chao is not only the heir to her father’s property business and one of Hong Kong’s richest women, she is also the most recognisable face campaigning for LGBT rights in the city.


Homosexuality has been decriminalised since 1991 in Hong Kong, a former British colony which returned to Chinese rule in 1997. The city has an annual pride parade and lively gay scene.

But despite the city enjoying freedom of speech and assembly, it does not recognise same-sex marriage and campaigners say LGBT people still face widespread discrimination and often come under family pressure to marry and have children.

Transgender people are recognised if they have undergone sex reassignment surgery but activists have been lobbying to remove this requirement.

A proposal to outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation has been under discussion in the city’s legislature, the Legislative Council (LegCo), but there is no clear indication whether it will be adopted.

“It is disappointing in that LegCo doesn’t have the forward vision or the courage to put something forward like this in fear of offending the traditional groups,” Chao said.

But where the government has failed, is where Chao believes businesses can step in to take the lead.

The businesswoman has been using her influence in high society to forge a coalition of allies to mobilise support.

“What we found to be most effective is to engage top executives and allow them to see how inclusion, diversity and equality is something they should, and they shall, stand for and let it cascade down the organisation,” she said.

“There are a lot of notable organisations which have been doing that. Engaging the government is more difficult.”


There have been other signs of growing acceptance.

Hong Kong is set to become the host of the 2022 Gay Games, a sports and cultural event dubbed the “Gay Olympics”, after fighting off bids from cities in the United States and Mexico.

In a rare victory, a Hong Kong court last year ruled that a British lesbian whose partner worked in the city should receive a spousal visa.

The charity Big Love Alliance – of which Chao is a founding member – organises an annual Pink Dot gathering to campaign for LGBT rights and it has attracted sponsorship from embassies and investment banks.

Chao also works with the United Nations on LGBT rights and became the first Asian to be named as the top LGBT executive on an annual OUTstanding list compiled by the Financial Times which ranks LGBT role models in business.

A qualified helicopter pilot, Chao said the marriage bounty episode did not tarnish her ties with her father – who like her also shares a passion of flying.

“You build a much stronger bond in these relationships after you have been able to live your full self, be a full person and live as an honest person in front of your mum and dad,” she said.

“It is an important process to go through although in the short term it does jolt them into a bit of shock.”

But in a signal that there is still a long way to go for same-sex marriage in Hong Kong, Chao said she and her partner have had to temporarily put aside the idea of having children.

“Even for people like me – who many perceive as having all the resources in the world to do whatever I want in some ways – it is very difficult,” she said.

“It is not easy because you can’t do it in Hong Kong or anywhere else in Asia.”

Gender Inclusion: Meet Pakistan’s First Transgender News Anchor #LGBTQ #LGBT #HumanRights #Trans #Transgender

She’s breaking ground as her country rallies to combat discrimination.


On Friday, television audiences in Pakistan witnessed a first for their country as Marvia Malik, a 21-year-old transgender woman, anchored the primetime news.
But she fought an uphill battle to make history.
“Like other trans people, I did not get any support from my family,” Malik told Voice of America. “On my own, I did some menial jobs and continued my studies. I had always wanted to be a news anchor, and my dream came true when I got selected.”
Malik trained for three months with Lahore-based private broadcaster Kohenoor before making her on-air debut. After her first broadcast, the journalism school graduate and former model reflected on the difficulties of her barrier-breaking path with international media.
“I am a journalism degree holder, but I faced the same difficulties [as] the transgender people who simply beg or dance in the streets,” she told Voice of America.
Malik told the BBC that she had to stop herself from screaming when she found out she got the job.
Read More: This Transgender Man Is the World’s First to Front a Campaign About Periods
The owner of Kohenoor, Junaid Ansari, said that he made the decision to hire Malik solely “on the basis of treating all humans equally,” and not to make a social statement, according to Voice of America.
Many transgender people in Pakistan have trouble finding employment because of discrimination, and are forced to beg to make a living. Earlier this month, the Pakistani senate passed a bill making it illegal to deny people jobs or admission to schools because they’re transgender. The bill also ensured legal protections for transgender people against sexual and physical assault and harassment.
Malik hopes that her achievement is just one of many steps toward full equality for trans people in Pakistan.
“I am now being appreciated around the world for the work which I am able to do in Pakistan, but I hope to do more in the near future,” she told the Express Tribune, an English-language newspaper in Pakistan. “I also wish to see transgender people run for public office and an increase in government jobs.”
“I believe transgenders must not be marginalised for who they are and we should be considered as equal citizens in Pakistan,” she said. “I want to tell the world that nothing is impossible for the transgender community.”


Reduced Inequalities: Kenya Just Ruled That a Forced Bodily Anal Exam of Homosexuals Are Illegal #LGBT #LGBTQ #HumanRights #SDGs #GlobalGoals

But the persecution of the LGBTQ commnunity persists throughout the world.

Kenya Gay Rights

FILE – In this Monday, Feb. 10, 2014 file photo, Kenyan gays and lesbians and others supporting their cause wear masks to preserve their anonymity as they stage a rare protest, against Uganda’s tough stance against homosexuality and in solidarity with their counterparts there, outside the Uganda High Commission in Nairobi, Kenya. The National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission in Kenya has petitioned the High Court Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018 that sections of the penal code are in breach of the constitution and deny basic rights by criminalizing consensual same-sex relations between adults. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis, File)

By Nita Bhalla

NAIROBI, March 22 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – In a rare win for gay rights campaigners in Kenya, its Court of Appeal on Thursday ruled that it is illegal to force people suspected of being homosexual to undergo anal examinations.

The landmark case was brought by the National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (NGLHRC) after two men were arrested in 2015 on suspicion of having gay sex, which is illegal in Kenya and punishable by 14 years in jail.

The men said they were subjected to forced anal examination by security personnel and a public hospital in Kenya’s coastal city of Mombasa to determine if they had engaged in anal sex and were homosexual. They were also forced to take HIV tests.

The NGLHRC has long argued that the tests are a violation of rights to privacy and dignity and amount to torture,” said a statement from the charity, which represents the rights of sexual minorities in the conservative east African nation.

“The violating examinations, which include being made to lie with legs up in a humiliating position and having instruments forced into your rectum, are widely accepted to have no medical merit.”

Homosexuality is taboo across Africa and the persecution of gay people is rife. Sexual minorities are routinely abused, assaulted by mobs, raped by police or vigilantes, or enslaved by criminals, campaigners say.

The judgment ends a three-year legal battle by the NGLHRC to prove that the examinations violated the rights of Kenyan citizens. It originally lost the case in 2016 when Mombasa’s High Court ruled the anal tests as constitutional.

The charity then challenged the ruling in the Court of Appeal in Mombasa, which has now ruled in its favour – but many African countries such as Uganda, Zambia, Egypt and Cameroon still conduct forced anal examinations.

“The humiliation and pain caused by these useless anal examinations will follow our clients for the rest of their lives,” said NGLHRC’s head of legal affairs Njeri Gateru.

“However, we are emboldened to see our constitution at work, ensuring that all Kenyans have the right to dignity.”

The NGLHRC is also challenging a British colonial-era Penal Code which criminalises gay sex. The court is expected to announce on April 26 the date that it will deliver its ruling.


Peace, Justice And Strong Institutions: An Openly Gay Black Female Politician Was Murdered in Brazil — And Now Thousands Are Protesting #LGBT #LGBTQ #SDGs #GlobalGoals

Marielle Franco was critical of police brutality in Brazil’s impoverished favelas, where she grew up


Brazil’s capital of Rio de Janeiro is no stranger to violent crime. Thousands are killed every year, and many in the city have become numb to the shock of murder.

But the assassination of the woman who hoped to stem the violence, particularly in Brazil’s poorest communities, has struck a nerve.

Since Marielle Franco, a human rights activist and local politician, was killed on Thursday, tens of thousands of people in cities across Brazil have took to the streets in protest and mourning, the Guardian reported.

Franco, who grew up in one of Rio’s largest favelas, was highly critical of the policy change and police brutality,

According to local news reports, Franco was being followed and was on her way home from a meeting about empowering black women when her assailants open fired on her car, killing both the 38-year-old and her driver, Anderson Pedro Gomes.

Temer called Franco’s murder an “affront to the rule of law and an affront to democracy,” according to the New York Times, and said a “full investigation” into the killings will be carried out.

But the people of Brazil are devastated and outraged by the loss of the trailblazing, human rights champion — and inspired to carry on her fight in her memory.

“Of the few times my voice fails. Shocked. Horrified. All death kills me a bit. But this way it kills me more. Women, black, lesbian, activist, human rights advocate. Marielle Franco, your voice will echo in us. Let us shout,” tweeted Brazilian samba singer Elza Soares.

Women & Girls: “Focus MENSTRUATION” This Transgender Man Is the World’s First to Front a Campaign About Periods “I’m On” #ImOn #Trans #Lgbtq #transgender #menstruation #trans

Kenny Jones is making history — and beating the stigma of periods.


Over a third of British adults still see periods as a taboo subject, according to research released to mark the launch of a brand new campaign to beat the stigma.

And the campaign is really hitting headlines, as it is the world’s first campaign about periods to be fronted by a man.

Transgender model Kenny Jones, from north-west London, has been announced as the face of the “I’m on” campaign — to launch a range of T-shirts and sweatshirts based around periods. 

The 23-year-old appears alongside British fashion designer Olivia Rubin, activist and influencer Natalie Lee, and journalists and podcast hosts Pandora Sykes and Dolly Alderton — who are all speaking up to say it’s not shameful to be on your period.

Jones, previously named Kelsey, came out as transgender at 14, and at 16 he changed his name and shaved his head. But he’s part of the campaign to raise awareness around the struggle that periods can present when you’re transitioning.

It wasn’t until he started taking hormone blockers at 17 that he stopped having periods.

“During my transition I did have to deal with experiencing periods each month and many of the negative stereotypes that can come along with it,” said Jones. “Assuming periods are inhibiting to people tends to perpetuate period shame even more, and makes people even more reluctant to talk about them.”

“I always found the fact that no one seemed to openly talk about periods quite difficult and made me want to hide mine even more,” he said. “We need to encourage everyone to talk about periods, whether they experience them directly or not.”

He added: “Sparking conversation is the first step to normalising periods within society.”

Research carried out by period subscription service Pink Parcel , which is also behind the campaign, found that 34% of British adults see periods as taboo; while 25% have experienced feelings of shame or embarrassment about being on their period.

What’s more, some 50% of British adults have never spoken to their partners about periods, and 44% even avoid the subject with friends.

And speaking up about periods can be even harder, and even more stigmatised, for the trans community — with just 8% of period-related content online discussing the experience of periods from a transgender perspective, according to Pink Parcel.

Kenny told the MailOnline that he had never discussed periods with another trans man, “and it’s quite weird to think that considering it’s a normal thing to go through at the end of the day.”

“It should be put in a positive light and say it’s okay to talk about things,” he said. “It’s just a natural part of who we are, a normal body function.”


People featuring in the campaign are pictured wearing T-shirts with slogans about periods — like “I’m on. Period” and “I’m on it.”

Even better, £5 from the sale of each T-shirt will the donated to the charity Bloody Good Period, which works to ensure refugees and asylum-seekers have access to sanitary products — helping support the UK’s efforts to end period poverty. 

#LGBTQ: Rihanna Just Sent a Powerful Message About Working With Trans Women #LGBT #Trans #Transgender

The Fenty Beauty creator thinks objectifying identities for marketing is wrong.

Just when you thought Rihanna couldn’t be any more of an icon, she has once again outdone herself by sparking a conversation about the role of transgender women in advertising.

When a fan suggested that the singer-turned-entrepreneur should include a transgender model in upcoming campaigns for her wildly popular Fenty Beauty line, Rihanna responded with a thoughtful comment highlighting the problematic trend of companies relegating members of the transgender community to mere marketing tools.


Rihanna,s Fenty Beauty Photo Ad

Rihanna wrote that transgendered people, as well as black women, are too often used as “convenient marketing tools” aimed at promoting an image of inclusivity.

“There’s always just that one spot in the campaign for the token ‘we look mad diverse’ girl/guy,” she wrote. “It’s sad!”

Rihanna’s makeup company Fenty Beauty has been praised for its mission to provide beauty products for people of all skin types. Advertisements for her line include a diverse cast of women, supporting the idea that Fenty Beauty supplies makeup for people of all different skin tones. Lack of diversity across makeup products has been a well-documented problem in the industry.

Given her dedication to making inclusive products, Rihanna’s comments carried significant weight, though some did not agree with her message.

Where exactly the line falls between representation and tokenism is clearly up for debate. But while the exploitation of any person for purposes of marketing is an ugly phenomenon, there can be no doubt that bringing light to the realities of life as a transgender person is an important goal.

In the US, surveys revealed that transgender people are more likely to live in poverty, suffer from mental health disorders, face mistreatment when seeking healthcare, and even commit suicide than the general population.

Last month, the New York Times reported on an alarming rise in violent crimes against transgendered people in the US, noting that 25 people have been killed since the beginning of 2017. A 2016 report by the advocacy organization Transgender Europe documented over 2,100 murders of transgender people around the world between 2008 and 2016.

A recent video showed former US president Barack Obama offering advice to a transgender woman in India who claimed she was “a criminal” under the laws of her country.

Stories and statistics like these illustrate how important it is to thoughtfully represent the transgender community.

Representation for transgender people seems to be on the rise. Two transgender women were recently elected to political office in the US in a clear indication that gender should not, and will not, be a barrier for capable people who want to make positive changes in their communities.

As culture shifts to be more inclusive of traditionally marginalized communities, Rihanna’s comments are forcing critical examinations of what type of representation is appropriate.

“I respect all women, and whether they’re trans or not is none of my business! It’s personal, and some women are more comfortable being open about it than others,” the singer wrote. “I have to respect that as a woman myself!”

In this, April 4, 2014, photo, homeless youths hang out at the entrance of a sewer pipe along a trash-strewn canal where they live beneath a busy road in Kingston, Jamaica. They are part of a small group of young, gay and transgender Jamaicans who mostly sell sex to make money. In much of the world, giving out condoms and guidance to gay, bisexual and transgender sex workers is routine. But reaching out to men who have sex with men is practically revolutionary in parts of the English-speaking Caribbean, where homophobia and laws criminalizing gay sex have long driven people underground.

Good Health And Well-Being: HIV Disproportionately Affects Transgender Women — But They’re Fighting Back #LGBTQ #Trans #TransGender

Community centers and other organizations are tapping into strong social networks.

Peru can be a demeaning and dangerous place for transgender women. Systematic discrimination, alienation, and physical attacks — often unpunished by local authorities — make it hard for transgender women to feel safe expressing their gender identity.

These social barriers prevent transgender women from accessing medical care and getting jobs and they contribute to a high rate of HIV within the transgender community in Peru and around the world.

But some groups are fighting these hardships —  including Féminas.

Féminas is a community center for transgender women in the capital Lima that enables access to HIV treatment, prevention, and community education.

HIV treatment is just one aspect of Féminas’ holistic approach.


Since opening in 2015, Féminas has served as a gathering place and a support system for the city’s transgender community, said Leyla Huerta, a transgender woman and the center’s co-founder.

“Féminas is a space for transwomen that arose as a community initiative,” Huerta told Global Citizen. “It’s a physical space in which we can feel confident, grow together, share problems, support one another, and feel protected.

The center also enables individuals to seek community services, such as counseling, education, and employment training, and to organize and advocate for the rights of transgender women, Huerta said.

Peru can be inhospitable to transgender individuals and others with diverse gender identities. For example, individuals who want to change their gender on identifying documents must appear before a judge and their requests are often rejected. Government agencies, the police, and the health care system often fail to protect the rights of transgender women, Huerta said.

Such discrimination affects employment, housing rights, and access to medical care, phenomena that contribute to rates of HIV among transgender women that far exceed the rate among the general population. Worldwide, 19% of transgender women have HIV, the Human Rights Campaign reports, compared to a much lower rate for the general population.

Féminas’ holistic approach serves as a public health model, according to the Fenway Institute, a healthcare organization in Boston, Massachusetts that helped develop Féminas.

For women who cannot make it to the center, Féminas shares information, promotes activism events, and fosters community through its public Facebook page.

“The organization’s work is fundamental for welcoming diverse transwomen, for increasing visibility, and for fighting for basic rights like health, education, and employment,” wrote one member. “But above all, we are family and a tribe full of love.”

Pandemic of the Poor

Globally, HIV disproportionately affects low-income individuals and other marginalized people with limited access to prevention and treatment. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has even labeled it a “pandemic of the poor”

“HIV is fundamentally a social disease,” said Amaya Perez-Brumer, a doctoral candidate at Columbia University studying HIV among transgender women in Peru and the Southern US. “Marginalization and systemic oppression links directly to HIV vulnerability and there’s no better example than burden of HIV faced by people of diverse gender identities and sexualities.”

Therefore, addressing HIV means ending poverty and ensuring all people have equal access to medical care.

The disproportionate rate of HIV among transgender women occurs around the world, including in wealthy countries like the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 22% of transgender women in the US have HIV.

That high incidence of HIV corresponds to a high rate of poverty and discrimination.

The most recent annual US Transgender Survey conducted by the National Center for Transgender Equality found that 29% of 28,000 respondents experienced poverty compared to 14% of the overall US population and 15% of respondents were unemployed compared to just 5% of the broader population.

Meanwhile, about half of participants reported being verbally harassed and 9% said they had been attacked because of their gender identity in the year leading up to the survey.

Since discrimination and violence can prevent transgender women from entering the mainstream workforce, many turn to sex work as a way to survive. Around the world, sex workers are ten times more likely to contract HIV due to their multiple sex partners, susceptibility to sexual violence, and limited ability to use condoms.

“We have to scrounge for housing, and it puts us in the street at night to cover what we need to cover during the day,” Miss Major, the director emeritus at the Transgender, Gender-Variant and Intersex Justice Project (TGIJP) in San Francisco told HIV Plus Mag. “It’s kind of like a merry-go-round that we’re on, and it’s difficult to stay [HIV] negative.”

The disproportionate impact of HIV is even starker when accounting for race. One study conducted by the National Institutes of Health at a clinic in New York City found nearly half of Latino and black participants had HIV, while just 3.5% of white participants had the virus.

Many groups are trying to change this grim pattern.

In San Francisco, the TGIJP provides emotional support, education, and social services to transgender individuals — especially black transgender women — who are incarcerated or who have been incarcerated.

“We have to scrounge for housing, and it puts us in the street at night to cover what we need to cover during the day,” Miss Major, the director emeritus at the Transgender, Gender-Variant and Intersex Justice Project (TGIJP) in San Francisco told HIV Plus Mag. “It’s kind of like a merry-go-round that we’re on, and it’s difficult to stay [HIV] negative.”

The disproportionate impact of HIV is even starker when accounting for race. One study conducted by the National Institutes of Health at a clinic in New York City found nearly half of Latino and black participants had HIV, while just 3.5% of white participants had the virus.

Many groups are trying to change this grim pattern.

In San Francisco, the TGIJP provides emotional support, education, and social services to transgender individuals — especially black transgender women — who are incarcerated or who have been incarcerated.

“We write to them like they’re family, visit them like they’re family, and we support them with jobs,” said TGIJP Policy Director Woods Ervin, adding that where society fails, “we will be that wrap-around support system.”

Like Féminas, TGIJP uses existing bonds among transgender women to organize for more opportunities and fairer treatment.

As societies meaningfully consider the rights of transgender women, attitudes are beginning to change. Governments are even enacting laws that explicitly recognize and protect the rights of transgender and nonbinary individuals.

This recognition, however, can lead some people to treat transgender women as helpless victims, Perez-Brumer said, when, in fact, they have developed strategies to uplift themselves and each other.

Community organizations and health centers need to remember those skills and empower transwomen, she said.

“We need to not only acknowledge community-level expertise but integrate the existing strategies employed by transgender communities into the interventions we propose,” she said.

Perez-Brumer said HIV treatment is “just one aspect” of healthcare and encouraged all providers to adopt “gender-affirming processes.”

“It’s a key first step to creating an environment that respectful, welcoming, and safe,” she said.

For more than two years, that sort of environment has helped foster confidence and self-esteem among the women at Féminas.

“By rebuilding [the] sense of ‘you are important, you are part of this, you too can get to where we are,’ we’ve begun to enable each of them to move forward,” Huerta told the Fenway Institute. “I think that’s fundamental—being able to rely on our experience and creating solutions that move us forward.”

In this, April 4, 2014, photo, homeless youths hang out at the entrance of a sewer pipe along a trash-strewn canal where they live beneath a busy road in Kingston, Jamaica. They are part of a small group of young, gay and transgender Jamaicans who mostly sell sex to make money. In much of the world, giving out condoms and guidance to gay, bisexual and transgender sex workers is routine. But reaching out to men who have sex with men is practically revolutionary in parts of the English-speaking Caribbean, where homophobia and laws criminalizing gay sex have long driven people underground.

In this, April 4, 2014, photo, homeless youths hang out at the entrance of a sewer pipe along a trash-strewn canal where they live beneath a busy road in Kingston, Jamaica. They are part of a small group of young, gay and transgender Jamaicans who mostly sell sex to make money. In much of the world, giving out condoms and guidance to gay, bisexual and transgender sex workers is routine. But reaching out to men who have sex with men is practically revolutionary in parts of the English-speaking Caribbean, where homophobia and laws criminalizing gay sex have long driven people underground.

Human Rights, Civil Union #LGBTQ+: “Focus Tanzania”; A Tanzanian Woman Was Arrested for Kissing Another Woman at a Party.

Her arrest is the latest in a government campaign against homosexuality.

In Tanzania, police have arrested a woman after a video of her hugging and kissing another woman at a party went viral online.

Her alleged crime was homosexuality. If she is convicted, she could face 30 years in prison for having “carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature.

Though the woman is the first suspected lesbian to be arrested by Tanzanian officials for homosexuality, her detention follows a clear pattern of discrimination against gay men. Since coming to power in 2015, President John Magufuli has initiated a severe crackdown on homosexual activities across the socially conservative country.

As police prepare a case against the newly arrested woman from the video, and continue their search for the second woman involved, they are also building similar cases against dozens of men charged with homosexuality who are systematically rounded up for arrest.

African outlet News24 reported that these arrests took place in suspected gay clubs, among other locations. Buzzfeed News reported that other men have been arrested at cafes and restaurants in sting-like operations involving coordinated efforts from police.

Following these arrests, men reported to Buzzfeed that they were often subjected to invasive anal exams, ostensibly administered to check for homosexuality, though reports have shown them to be ineffective in this regard. Men who underwent these exams likened the experience to assault.

The criminalization of homosexuality in Tanzania has been problematic in more ways than one. While targeted campaigns to arrest gay and lesbian people is condemnable in its own right, the Tanzanian government’s efforts to eliminate all homosexual behavior has also involved the systematic dismantling of resources for HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment across the country.

In August of 2017 the government suspended programs designed to prevent HIV infection among gay men, NPR reported. The same report noted that over 40 clinics offering HIV/AIDS treatment to gay men, sex workers, and transgender people were prevented from serving these vulnerable populations.

The World Health Organization reported that HIV/AIDS is the leading cause of death in Tanzania, killing over 73,000 people in 2012 alone. Eliminating centers that increase awareness about treatment and prevention of the disease puts the Tanzanian population at risk of even higher rates of infection.

Furthermore, the government’s campaigns against homosexuality has included persecution of all NGOs and nonprofits working on LGBTQ rights across the country. In one high-profile event 20 activists were arrested while attending a workshop on HIV/AIDS prevention.

It remains unclear when the case against the recently arrested woman will be brought to court. Reuters reported that the local police chief could only confirm that she was in fact in a detention center as a result of her arrest.

“I can confirm that a Tanzanian woman is under police custody over that video clip,” police chief Mponjoli Mwabulambo told Reuters. “We will issue more details later after we conclude our investigation.”

Partnerships For the Goals: Women, Transgender, Queer, Indigenous, and All Oppressed People Need to Come Together to FIGHT HATE, Say Activists

The feminist movement needs to forge relationships with all oppressed people — including transgender, queer, and indigenous populations — to form intersectional alliances.

Activists and campaigners have on Thursday come together to call for collaboration between all movements that demand social change.

“There’s a rise of the right-wing, hate is the new common sense,” Indian lawyer and human rights activist Vrinda Grover, told the audience during a panel discussion on re-assessing women’s rights at the Thomson Reuters Foundation Trust conference in London.

“There is nothing like a common enemy to strengthen the relationships between those who are oppressed,” asserted another panel member, Colombian reproductive rights consultant Monica Roa. “This is the time to come together to connect the dots.”

Bahrain human rights defender Maryam Al-Khawaja agreed, saying: “We need to have intersectionality in our struggles.”

The diverse panel included people fighting for women’s rights from the US, Bahrain, India, and Latin America, and spanned a vast range of issues — including child marriage, family planning, and domestic violence — and how we can come together to move forward in these areas.

“People don’t know what a big problem child marriage is in America,” said panellist Fraidy Reiss, the founder of Unchained at Last, the only non-profit in the US dedicated to helping women escape or resist arranged and forced marriages.

Read more: Child Marriage in America NOT AS RARE AS YOU THINK!

“In just the 38 states that actually track marriage ages, more than 160,000 children, some as young as 10, were married, and almost all were married to adult men,” Reiss continued. “I thought legislators just didn’t know. But that’s not the case unfortunately. They do know. What’s preventing these laws from passing is very simple. It’s misogyny.”

“If you can solve misogyny, you can figure out how to end child marriage in America,” she said. “The entire world needs to end child marriage.” 

Reiss also highlighted the “hypocrisy” of the US “telling the rest of the world to end child marriage,” through reports such as a Global Strategy to Empower Adolescent Girls — a report launched in March 2016.

“The report defined marriage before 18 as a human rights abuse, and shook its finger at the rest of the world saying they were forcing girls into adulthood before they were ready,” said Reiss. “And at the same time, it’s legal in all 50 states in the US. Twenty-five states don’t even set a minimum age for marriage. And that puts the US in line with Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen.”

While most US states have set 18 as the legal marriage age, every state has loopholes that still allow for children under 18 to get married — for example, in the case of pregnancy, or with parental approval.

The panel also discussed the recent law change in Saudi Arabia that will all women to legally drive in the country as of next year.

“A lot of people are applauding Saudi Arabia for giving women the right to drive in 2018,” said Al-Khawaja. “But driving is not the biggest issue. It’s only the very tip of the iceberg.”

She added: “They’ve done it the way they do everything else. There was no awareness campaign. There was no attempt the change the social construct that they’re created. [There was nothing to ensure] that women in Saudi Arabia are not going to be attacked by their spouses, by their family, by their community, for driving.”

Al-Khawaja said the biggest problem for women’s rights in Saudi Arabia is the guardianship system — which dictates that women must be accompanied by a male guardian such as their husband, father, brother, or even son, in order to apply for a passport, travel outside the country, get married, exit prison, or access healthcare.

Read more: Proposed Iraq Law Would Allow Girls as Young as 9 to Marry

As well as calling for greater intersectionality between movements, the panellists said that a greater presence of women is needed in the human rights arena.

“We need more female legislators,” said Reiss, “more people like [murdered British MP] Jo Cox. And we need to not let the small things go, but to keep pushing and keep pointing out misogyny and patriarchy wherever we see it and never give up.” 

Al-Khawaja reiterated the point, saying: “We need to change our discourse around women. We say, women took part in the revolution, they joined the protest, as though they’re not naturally meant to be there on the frontline.”

“Women human rights defenders are some of the strongest, most inspirational women I have ever met,” she continued. “They do not need saving. They need support, they need to be heard, and recognised for the heroes that they are.”

The Thomson Reuters Foundation Trust Conference is a two-day conference on human rights, particularly addressing the issues of modern slavery and re-assessing the rights of women and girls.

Meet Our Founder: Www.JoelMordi.Com

The Mordi Ibe Foundation campaigns on the Global Goals, including Goal No.5, for gender equality.