Gay Pakistanis, Still in Shadows, Seek Acceptance

LAHORE, Pakistan — The group meets irregularly in a simple building among a row of shops here that close in the evening. Drapes cover the windows. Sometimes members watch movies or read poetry. Occasionally, they give a party, dance and drink and let off steam.

The group is invitation only, by word of mouth. Members communicate through an e-mail list and are careful not to jeopardize the location of their meetings. One room is reserved for “crisis situations,” when someone may need a place to hide, most often from her own family. This is their safe space — a support group for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Pakistanis.

Mexico Gay Marriage: Supreme Court Orders All Mexican States to Recognize Weddings Performed in Mexico City

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/08/11/mexico-gay-marriage-supreme-court_n_678016.html?utm_hp_ref=fb&src=sp&comm_ref=false#sb=2858789,b=facebook

MEXICO CITY — Mexico’s Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that all 31 states must recognize same-sex marriages performed in the capital, though its decision does not force those states to begin marrying gay couples in their territory.

In a 9-2 decision, the tribunal cited an article of the constitution requiring states to recognize legal contracts drawn up elsewhere.

It did not specify what degree of recognition must be granted to same-sex couples.

Mexico City’s same-sex marriage law, enacted in March, extends to wedded gay couples the right to adopt children, to jointly apply for bank loans, to inherit wealth and to be covered by their spouses’ insurance policies. Some of those may end up applying only in the capital.

The Supreme Court ruled last week that same-sex weddings are constitutional – though it is holding separate discussions this week on the adoption clause.

One of the justices, Sergio Aguirre, argued against adoptions by same-sex couples Tuesday, saying children might suffer discrimination as a result.

Gay Parades Banned in Moscow for 100 Years

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-19293465

Moscow’s top court has upheld a ban on gay pride marches in the Russian capital for the next 100 years.

Earlier Russia’s best-known gay rights campaigner, Nikolay Alexeyev, had gone to court hoping to overturn the city council’s ban on gay parades.

He had asked for the right to stage such parades for the next 100 years.

He also opposes St Petersburg’s ban on spreading “homosexual propaganda”. The European Court of Human Rights has told Russia to pay him damages.

On Friday he said he would go back to the European Court in Strasbourg to push for a recognition that Moscow’s ban on gay pride marches – past, present and future – was unjust.

The Moscow city government argues that the gay parade would risk causing public disorder and that most Muscovites do not support such an event.

In September, the Council of Europe – the main human rights watchdog in Europe – will examine Russia’s response to a previous European Court ruling on the gay rights issue, Russian media report.

In October 2010 the court said Russia had discriminated against Mr Alexeyev on grounds of sexual orientation. It had considered Moscow’s ban on gay parades covering the period 2006-2008.

Transgender Advocates Hail Argentina Law

BUENOS AIRES — Under the glare of rainbow-colored strobe lights, a disc jockey spun Grace Jones’s disco version of “La Vie en Rose” one night last week as couples clinked beer bottles to celebrate passage of a new law that Argentina’s transgender community describes as groundbreaking.

Argentina has put in place some of the most liberal rules on changing gender in the world, allowing people to alter their gender on official documents without first having to receive a psychiatric diagnosis or surgery.

The measure, which won unanimous support in the Senate this month, would also require public and private medical practitioners to provide free hormone therapy or gender reassignment surgery for those who want it — including those under the age of 18.

Argentina’s law goes well beyond those passed in Britain in 2004 and in Spain in 2007 that allow individuals to change their name and sex after receiving diagnoses of persistent gender dysphoria, a condition in which individuals feel trapped in the body of the wrong sex.

“There have been a lot of changes to the laws on gender all over the world, but Argentina is cutting edge,” said Harper Jean Tobin, the policy counsel for the National Center for Transgender Equality in Washington. “All the other laws have burdensome requirements with unwanted medical procedures forced on people or denied when they’re needed.”

The move comes two years after Argentina became the first country in Latin America to legalize gay marriage. It is the latest in a spate of liberal rulings on civil rights issues, including a law that decriminalizes abortion in rape cases and gives the terminally ill the right to die.

Gay Rights: Obama Praised for Global Commitment

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/05/06/MN7P1O9S23.DTL

As President Obama struggles with the politics of gay issues at home, his administration is drawing cheers from human rights groups for its commitment to gay rights around the globe.

In the past several months, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton delivered a speech at the United Nations that dramatically shifted the international human rights focus to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights, dedicated $3 million to help promote LGBT rights worldwide, and distributed educational materials to U.S. embassies to keep diplomats alert to gay rights issues.

U.S. involvement was essential in the passage of a U.N. resolution expressing “grave concern” about abuses and violations of gay and lesbian rights, as well as the first debate on gay issues before the U.N. Human Rights Council.

“It is true that Obama’s work internationally is unprecedented,” said Christopher Stoll, senior staff attorney at the National Center for Lesbian Rights in San Francisco.

Daniel Baer, deputy assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights and labor, said, “LGBT rights are a high priority for the State Department, and I think that our commitment to this issue is clear throughout our numerous actions.”

‘A lot has changed’

While U.S. gay groups express frustration at Obama’s refusal to sign an executive order banning discrimination against gay employees of federal contractors and his “evolving” view on same-sex marriage, international organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch praise the steps the Obama administration has taken worldwide.

“A lot has changed thanks to the U.S. ongoing policy,” said Suzanne Nossel, executive director of Amnesty International USA. “Important steps have been taken.”

Brazil’s Surge in Violence Against Gays Is Just Getting Worse

Brazil has never been hotter. Tourists and entrepreneurs are flocking to the country for its natural beauty and its booming business climate. Portuguese professionals are seeking work in the former colony. And the country’s legendary party scene is at a fever pitch. But behind the “Carnaval” mask, an ugly trend is emerging.

Though the overall crime rate is down sharply in major cities, murders of gays and lesbians are on the rise. It’s especially acute in the most populous areas: Bahia, Minas Gerais, and the cities of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo—precisely where police have made their biggest dents in criminal activity in general.Attacks against gays have climbed steadily for most of the last decade, with 272 murdered in 2011—one every 36 hours, according to Grupo Gay da Bahía, a leading gay-rights group that tracks antigay violence. This year, GGB reports, it’s even worse, with 75 murders in just the first 10 weeks. That’s one every 24 hours.

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http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/04/08/brazil-s-surge-in-violence-against-gays-is-just-getting-worse.html

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VARIETY REVIEW: I Am a Woman Now (Documentary — Netherlands)

“Being an old woman was never part of the fantasy,” observes one of the subjects of “I Am a Woman Now,” Dutch docu helmer Michiel van Erp’s affecting look at five European men who were reborn as women in a Casablanca clinic more than five decades ago. The quintet of sex-change pioneers are now older, wiser and — in most cases — happier, their life experience adding a welcome new perspective to a subject that’s become a staple of the nonfiction circuit. This beautifully shot widescreen docu has been a sales success since its IDFA premiere last fall.

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NYT 032512 – A BOY TO BE SACRIFICED – MOROCCO

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/25/opinion/sunday/a-boy-to-be-sacrificed.html?hp

IN the Morocco of the 1980s, where homosexuality did not, of course, exist, I was an effeminate little boy, a boy to be sacrificed, a humiliated body who bore upon himself every hypocrisy, everything left unsaid. By the time I was 10, though no one spoke of it, I knew what happened to boys like me in our impoverished society; they were designated victims, to be used, with everyone’s blessing, as easy sexual objects by frustrated men. And I knew that no one would save me — not even my parents, who surely loved me. For them too, I was shame, filth. A “zamel.”

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