Saturday, June 27, 2009

Prayer for Late Michael Jackson aka King Of Pop.

Prayer for Late Michael Jackson aka King Of Pop.

Dear Holy One,

We trust you for the life of Michael Jackson, the sudden death of this lovely man is so unbearable, millions of the people in the world are so sad and confused, and we pray for his soul oh Lord for a final rest.

We pray for his weary and tired soul to find peace in your bosom. Matthew 22:30 says ”For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven”.

At your thrown there is liberty and peace, we pray that his three children, entire family, friends and fans will be able to find the courage to live life to the full in your glory.

The world collapse at the announcement of his death, the world of music and the industry of entertainment lost an essential entity, there are regrets for those who made his life miserable, we pray oh Lord that you will bring reconciliation, forgiveness and strength to all people.

Above all Lord we know that you will bring unity, love, and mercy to the world that Michael Jackson so loved, he made many millions happy through his work and music, please watch over him, I believe he has gone to be like an Angel.

Ode to Michael - St Michael Jackson the Angel

Michael Jackson,
You are my hero,
You are my angel,
You are an embodiment of love,
The world failed to recognise,
You have gone to heaven to be with Christ,
Rest in perfect peace my friend
I love you and I will miss you.

Reverend Rowland Jide Macaulay
House Of Rainbow
Metropolitan Community Church Lagos Nigeria

Friday, June 26, 2009

Singer Michael Jackson dies at 50

Pop star Michael Jackson has died in Los Angeles, aged 50।

Paramedics were called to the singer's Beverly Hills home at about midday on Thursday after he stopped breathing.
He was pronounced dead two hours later at the UCLA medical centre. Jackson's brother, Jermaine, said he was believed to have suffered a cardiac arrest.
Jackson, who had a history of health problems, had been due to stage a series of comeback concerts in the UK, beginning on 13 July.
Speaking on behalf of the Jackson family, Jermaine said doctors had tried to resuscitate the star for more than an hour without success.
Jermaine Jackson on his brother's sudden death
He added: "The family request that the media please respect our privacy during this tough time."
"And Allah be with you Michael always. I love you."
TV footage showed the star's body flown from UCLA to the LA County Coroner's office where a post-mortem is expected to take place on Friday.
Concerns were raised last month when four of Jackson's planned comeback concerts were postponed, but organisers insisted the dates had been moved due to the complexity of staging the show.
A spokeswoman for The Outside Organisation, which was organising the publicity for the shows, said she had no comment at this time.
Broadcaster Paul Gambaccini said: "I always doubted that he would have been able to go through that schedule, those concerts. It seemed to be too much of a demand on the unhealthy body of a 50 year old.
Can't believe it. I'm gutted. RIP Michael, thanks for everything you gave us.
Tommy, Cardiff
Send us your comments
"I'm wondering that, as we find out details of his death, if perhaps the stress of preparing for those dates was a factor in his collapse.
"It was wishful thinking that at this stage of his life he could be Michael Jackson again."
Uri Geller, a close friend of the star, told BBC News it was "very, very sad".
Speaking outside New York's historic Apollo theatre, civil rights activist Rev Al Sharpton paid tribute to his friend.
"I knew him 35 years. When he had problems he would call me," he said.
"I feel like he was not treated fairly. I hope history will be more kind to him than some of the contemporary media."
Melanie Bromley, west coast bureau chief of Us Weekly magazine, told the BBC the scene in Los Angeles was one of "pandemonium".
"At the moment there is a period of disbelief. He was buying a home in the Holmby Hills area of Los Angeles and the scene outside the house is one of fans, reporters and TV cameras - it's absolute craziness.
"I feel this is the biggest celebrity story in a long time and has the potential to be the Princess Diana of popular culture."
Musical icon
Tributes from the world of music and film have already flooded in from celebrities including Madonna, Arnold Schwarzenegger and ex-wife Lisa Marie Presley.

Jackson's contribution to music
Large numbers of fans have also gathered outside Jackson's home and at the UCLA medical centre with lit candles to mourn the star while playing his greatest hits. Facebook groups have also been set up for fans to share their memories.
Paramedics were called to the singer's house in Bel Air at 1221 (1921GMT) following an emergency phone call.
They performed CPR on Jackson and rushed him to the UCLA medical centre.
A spokesman for the Los Angeles Police Department said the robbery and homicide team was investigating Jackson's death because of its "high profile", but there was no suggestion of foul play.
Jackson began his career as a child in family group The Jackson 5.
Full name: Michael Joseph Jackson
Born: August 29, 1958, Gary, Indiana, US
Also known as: The King of Pop, Wacko Jacko
Biggest hits: I Want You Back, Don't Stop Til You Get Enough, Billie Jean, Bad, Black or White, Earth Song
Obituary: Remarkable talent
Life in pictures
Tributes paid to Michael Jackson
He then went on to achieve global fame as a solo artist with smash hits such as Billie Jean and Bad.
Thriller, released in 1982, is the biggest-selling album of all time, shifting 65m copies, according to the Guinness Book of World Records.
He scored seven UK number ones as a solo artist and won a total of 13 Grammy awards.
"For Michael to be taken away from us so suddenly at such a young age, I just don't have the words," said Quincy Jones, who produced Thriller, Bad and Off The Wall.
"He was the consummate entertainer and his contributions and legacy will be felt upon the world forever. I've lost my little brother today, and part of my soul has gone with him."
The singer had been dogged by controversy and money trouble in recent years, becoming a virtual recluse.
Michael Jackson's body is delivered by helicopter for a post mortem report
He was arrested in 2003 on charges of molesting a 14-year-old boy, but was found not guilty following a five-month trial.
The star had three children, Michael Joseph Jackson Jr, Paris Michael Katherine Jackson and Prince Michael Jackson II.
He is survived by his mother, Katherine, father, Joseph and eight siblings - including Janet, Randy, Jermaine and La Toya Jackson.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Gay Moroccan writer takes on homophobia

Gay Moroccan writer takes on होमोफोबिया

Gay Moroccan writer takes on होमोफोबिया By Jenny बर्च्फिएल्ड

A soft-spoken slip of a young man, Abdellah Taia hardly looks the part of an iconoclast। But as Morocco's first high-profile, openly gay man, Taia has made it his mission to win acceptance for homosexuals throughout the Muslim world.

Taia has defied Moroccan society's don't-ask, don't-tell attitude toward homosexuality — and prison sentences that are still on the books in the North African kingdom — to write five autobiographical novels about growing up poor and gay in the northern coastal city of Sale.
The novels, peppered with sexually explicit passages, have catapulted him to fame in his native country and made him the de-facto poster child of its budding gay rights movement.
His work has sparked harsh criticism. Taia said some outraged critics have called on him to renounce Moroccan citizenship so as "not to bring shame" on the country.
It's also alienated him from his parents and eight siblings, who figure extensively in the books and complain that Taia has publicly humiliated them.
But the 35-year-old author insists he's never been cowed by fallout from his work।
"When I write, I feel a sense of urgency, as if my life depended on it," Taia said in an interview in Paris, where he has lived for almost a decade. "When I first started writing, it never occurred to me to invent some fictional character and talk about made-up things."
His latest novel, "L'armee du Salut," or "Salvation Army," focuses on his decision to move to Europe. An English translation recently came out in the United States, with an introduction by author Edmund White.
Though Taia immigrated legally — he was awarded a scholarship to study in Switzerland — his experiences in Geneva paralleled those of thousands Moroccans living in Europe without papers।
After his older Swiss lover who was supposed to pick him up at the Geneva airport never shows up, a penniless Taia seeks refuge at the Salvation Army, where he lives among illegal immigrants from throughout the developing world.
In the book, he also talks about his blooming sexuality, describing teenage trysts in the back of dark movie theaters and flings with European tourists looking for more than sun on their Moroccan holidays।

Like nearly all Arab countries, Morocco considers homosexual relations a crime, punishable by fines and prison sentences of six months to three years.
Such penalties are rarely applied, though, and in practice, Morocco has a long history of leniency toward homosexuality and other practices forbidden by Islam.
Asked whether he sees himself as courageous, Taia said, "The most difficult thing was to work up the courage to pick up the pen and write for the first time."
He grew up with a family of 11 sharing a two-room house। His father, a petty civil servant, and his mother, an illiterate housewife, emphasized their children's education, sending five to college।

That was where Taia began to write. Surrounded at Rabat University by children of Morocco's French-speaking elite, he began to keep a diary to improve his written French.
His journals now serve as the foundation of his novels, which are written in French and have been translated into seven languages, including Arabic and now English.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Britain's first Gay Pride march, 1972

Britain's first Gay Pride march, 1972
By Peter Tatchell
Boyz magazine - London - 18 June 2009
In the run up to this year's Pride London, The Observer's Campaigner of the Year, Peter Tatchell, recalls Britain's first march back in 1972.Back in 1972, I was 20, with long curly hair, and living in Shepherd's Bush with my 17-year old boyfriend, Peter Smith. I was student. He was a budding jazz guitarist. We smoked dope and tripped on acid. There was no HIV. The tube cost 10p. David Bowie was the latest pop sensation. Life was a party, up to a point.In those days, queers were not free. We had to fight for our rights.
I was a member of the Gay Liberation Front (GLF) - the first movement of openly lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. We did not plead for law reform. We demanded queer freedom. GLF had a slogan: "Gay is good." These three words were a revolution in consciousness.
Previously, nearly everyone - including lots of LGBTs - saw gays as mad, sad and very, very bad. To combat the invisibility and denigration of queer people, GLF decided to organise a Gay Pride march, with the theme of being out and proud. This was a very radical idea. In those days, nearly all LGBT people were closeted and many felt ashamed of their sexuality. Not surprisingly, only 700 people joined the first ever Gay Pride march in Britain, held in London on 1 July 1972. Many of my friends were too scared to march. They thought everyone would be arrested. We weren't arrested, but we were swamped by a very heavy, aggressive police presence.
They treated us like criminals. Despite this intimidation, we were determined to have a fun time and make our point. The march was a carnival-style parade, which went from Trafalgar Square to Hyde Park. There were lots of extravagant costumes and cheeky banners poking fun at homophobes like the morality campaigner Mary Whitehouse. We got mixed reactions from the public - some hostility but predominantly curiosity and bewilderment. Most had never knowingly seen a gay person, let alone hundreds of queers marching to demand human rights. "Aren't you ashamed?", one man shouted. "No", we shouted back, as we blew him a kiss.
Unlike nowadays, there was no festival or entertainment in the park after the march - just an impromptu "Gay Day" - a sort of D-I-Y queer picnic. Everyone bought food, booze, dope and music. It was all shared around. We played camped-up versions of party games like spin-the-bottle and drop-the-hanky. I won one of the games and my prize was a long, deep snog with Thierry, a gorgeous French gay activist who had come over from Paris. But it was more than good fun. Same-sex kissing in public was, in 1972, illegal. Our party game was a gesture of defiance. The cowardly Metropolitan Police would have arrested us if we were lone gay couples kissing, but they dared not arrest 700 of us.
In the last four decades Gay Pride has grown from one march with less than a thousand people to two dozen nation-wide parades with a combined attendance of over 250,000.The increased acceptance of LGBT people is another big change. In 1972, homosexuality was still viewed as an illness, lesbian mothers had their kids taken off them, and the police were arresting thousands of men for consenting gay behaviour.There are still injustices to overcome, such as homophobic bullying in schools and the bans on same-sex marriage and gay blood donors. So, celebrate and enjoy Pride London on 4 July, but also keep fighting to overturn these last vestiges of homophobia.
*For more information about Peter Tatchell's campaigns and to make a donation:

Monday, June 22, 2009

Peter Tatchell is London Citizen of Sanctuary 2009

Peter Tatchell is London Citizen of Sanctuary 2009

Co-winner with actress Juliet Stevenson and MP Neil GerrardLondon - 22 June 2009

To mark Refugee Week 2009, Peter Tatchell was one of three public figures honoured with the London Citizen of Sanctuary Award 2009, in recognition of his work campaigning on behalf of refugees. The other winners were Labour MP Neil Gerrard and actress Juliet Stevenson. All three were honoured at a ceremony at the New Players Theatre in London on Sunday night, 21 June 2009, which included a performance of the Asylum Monologues by the troupe, Actors for Human Rights. London City of Sanctuary is part of a growing network of British cities and towns dedicated to promoting a culture of hospitality and welcome to people seeking sanctuary from persecution, including persecution on the grounds of their politics, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation or gender identity.

Accepting his award, Peter Tatchell said: "I accept this award with honour, gratitude and humility. I am just a small part of a vast network of individuals and organisations who support refugees fleeing persecution. Many of these refugees have suffered arrest, imprisonment, torture, rape and attempts to kill them. "Cumulatively and collectively, we are helping transform their lives for the better. This is hugely rewarding emotionally - for the refugees, and for all of us involved in helping ensure they have a place of sanctuary here in London.

"I would like to pay tribute to the magnificent work of organisations such as the Refugee Council, Refugee Action, Medical Justice, Bail Circle, Bail for Immigration Detainees, No Borders, National Coalition of Anti-Deportation Campaigns, UK Lesbian and Gay Immigration Group, Lesbian and Gay Asylum Team and many others. "Together, over the years, these organisations have made a huge positive difference to the lives of tens of thousands of refugees," said Mr Tatchell.

Further information: Peter Tatchell - 0207 403 1790

Tradition of same gender marriage in Igboland, Nigeria

Tradition of same gender marriage in Igboland, Nigeria

Nigerian Tribune, 19 June 2009

By Leo Igwe, Executive secretary of the Nigerian Humanist Movement

One of the contentious issues in the debate over homosexuality and same sex marriage is whether a marriage between persons of the same gender is totally alien to African culture and tradition. Those opposing same sex marriage have continued to argue that same gender union is foreign to Africa. On the contrary, I have tried to draw their attention to the fact that there is a strain of the same gender marriage in African tradition particularly in Igboland.And that we should not rush to deny this, or pretend it does not exist or just sweep it under the carpet in the quest to establish that same gender marriage is alien to the African continent, and must be banned.I hail from Mbaise in Imo State in Southern Nigeria.

Traditionally, in my community, marriage is taken to be a union between a man and a woman as the case may be. But there are circumstances where a marriage between a woman and a woman is permissible.In a situation where a woman has no son or no child, if the husband dies, it is culturally allowed for her to marry a wife. And in this case, she becomes the husband. Like in every case of marriage, this woman goes out, inquires and gets a wife of her choice. She pays her dowry and fulfills other traditional rites as it is done when a man is marrying a woman.After that, the woman brings her "wife" home and they start living together as "husband" and "wife". Nobody frowns at it. To have children -both the "woman- husband" and "woman- wife"- will agree to allow a man from the same village or neighbouring town to sleep with the wife.

And the children born by the wife bears the family name of the woman- husband, not that of the man responsible for the pregnancy. I want to add here that the man who sleeps with such wife in most cases are married men. And normally it is regarded as immoral, in fact it is a taboo for a married man to sleep with or "father" children from another woman. But in this case an act normally taken to be immoral is allowed.This is a situation where people are permitted to break taboos and deviate from traditions.

This marriage practice pre- dates Christianity and the so- called western culture which most people today blame for all the moral and cultural wrongs in Africa. The same gender marriage is still practised till date. In other words, there are some families today in Igboland where women are both husbands and wives, fathers and mothers.There are some homes where woman- husbands are living happily with their woman- wives. Though there are not many of such families or marriages. Such unconventional marriages and families are in the minority.

The fact is that they exist. The fact is that they are part of the local tradition and culture. They are not imports from the West. And this has in no way undermined social cohesion, public order and morality or family values.Some people have tried to argue that this is not really a case of gender marriage because a man comes in to impregnate the wife. But, traditionally, it is the case and it is known as such. It is a case where a woman marries a woman.The man who impregnates the wife does not come into the picture at all. He has no family responsibility.

His duty is only to supply sperm. The family is responsible for the woman- husband and wife.Some say that same gender unions destroy family values and undermine the upbringing of children.It should be emphasised that children in this case are brought up in an environment where both "parents" are females. And they grow up to be normal children. Some say because child bearing is involved, then it is not same gender marriage. But my response is this: whether for procreation or for pleasure, it is same gender marriage. And it is the couples, not the state that decides whether to marry for procreation and or for pleasure or for any other purpose they deem fit.Unfortunately, most Nigerians think that same gender marriage is antithetical to procreation. It is not. In fact same gender unions as in this case enrich family values.

There have been instances where a partner in a same gender relationship wants children, and goes ahead to have them.Because of the secrecy, privacy and hypocrisy that go with sexual expression, no one can really say, if these female partners have or do not have sex with each other. But like all couples they live together and run their families. But today, things are changing.Individuals are becoming more open, more assertive and expressive with their sexual and marriage choices, desires, orientations and identities. The sexual and marriage dynamics are changing rapidly. And Africans must make the necessary social, cultural and legal adjustments in response to- and to accommodate- these changes.

* Leo Igwe is the executive secretary of the Nigerian Humanist Movement.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Because Of Your Faith

Matthew 17:20 “Jesus said to them, ‘Because of your little faith. For truly I tell you, if you have faith the size of a* mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, “Move from here to there”, and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.’”

I have sat, spoken, chatted, exchanged emails with many Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, and Transgender people over the years. When the issues of our sexuality hits the conversation followed by any suggestion of “Coming Out”, many have defended by retorting “what is the purpose, why do we need to come out, why do we need to make a statement, why do we need to wear the rainbow colour badge, why do we need to make it obvious that we are LGBT”.

I want to remind you that the fear of being ourselves is as a shortage of our faith in God. Yes people get killed for saying they are Lesbians, Gays, Bisexual, and or Transgender, people get fired from their jobs and evicted from their homes, however we are not excluded from the presence of the almighty God, we need to live the truth and I encourage you to do so without fear.I have pondered today on the above text, and resulted that we are afraid and filled with fear because we have so little faith to make that claim, and make it visible for the world to see, and to be the light of the world, even if it meant waving our rainbow flags.

Our heterosexual brothers and sisters already have a place of acceptance at the world’s table, all of us have a place at the table of our Creator, and however, we need to show up at the earthly table with our identity of comfort, the truth about who we are. Yes I know this will create some pain for you, your parents, your children, your work colleagues, but the truth also remains how long are we going to hold on to our little faith, embroidered with internalised fear.Let me also remind you today that nothing is impossible for you, if you feel that the support of your family is more important then you need to know that we are rejecting God who made us. Have faith in Jesus and know that all will be well for you.

I have been through the pain myself and wish it less on my enemies but I tell you the liberation and freedom with God is more assurance of love.

I pray and call on you LGBTI people today to say to this mountain, “Move from here to there and it will move, because nothing is impossible for you to do”, when you apply huge faith in God. Amen.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Carlos Davis on Gay Nigeria

Over the past few weeks, news reports have surfaced about a rise in attacks and killings of gays throughout Iraq, where men—both professed and allegedly gay—are being targeted and harassed. But now there's a shocking new story that the men are being tortured to death in a most vicious way: by having their anuses glued shut and then are forced to consume a beverage that causes diarrhea, resulting in death.

The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) translated a report that appeared on the Arabic-language news station Alarabiya, which said: "A prominent Iraqi human rights activist says that Iraqi militia have deployed a painful form of torture against homosexuals by closing their anuses using 'Iranian gum.' ... Yina Mohammad told that, 'Iraqi militias have deployed an unprecedented form of torture against homosexuals by using a very strong glue that will close their anus.' According to her, the new substance 'is known as the American hum, which is an Iranian-manufactured glue that if applied to the skin, sticks to it and can only be removed by surgery.

After they glue the anuses of homosexuals, they give them a drink that causes diarrhea. Since the anus is closed, the diarrhea causes death. Videos of this form of torture are being distributed on mobile cellphones in Iraq.' According to this human rights activist, for the past 3 weeks a crackdown on homosexuals has been going on based on a religious decree that demands their death; dozens have been targeted. She says that the persecution of homosexuals is not confined to the Shiite clerics. Some Sunni leaders have also declared the death penalty for sodomy on satellite channels.

"Gays in many parts of the world face persecution, but this is just plain horrific. How can a society, especially one in which Muslim leaders claim that Islam allegedly doesn't preach violence, allow this to occur? How can world leaders stand by and not put an end to this targeted abuse? The news that gay people are being attacked doesn't come as a surprise; the Muslim world is vocally anti-gay (the claim by Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that his country didn't have any gay people living there was absurd). Sure, many will say that there are bigger issues we have to deal with, but if we can't keep innocent people safe in their own homes, how can we call ourselves civil and human? Obviously people are abused all over the world, but when something as shocking as this surfaces, the senseless abuse needs to be squashed. What sort of pain must these men endure? And how long does their torture exist before they're spared with death?

The IGLHRC sent a letter to Iraqi Minister of Human Rights, Wijdan Salim, urging her to take action to protect her country's LGBT community. With Iraq's current unrest, it's unlikely anything will happen to protect these people. Hopefully they will be given asylum to leave their country.

CARLOS DAVIS08058490020


Identity Awareness. The point when the child or adolescent begins to realize he or she has feelings that are different from others and different from what they have been taught.

(2) Identity Comparison. The individual begins to explore his or her feelings alone and to compare them to the beliefs of society, parents, and peers.

(3) Identity Tolerance. During this stage, the individual will often rebel against his or her feelings and attempt to deny them. After all, nobody wants to be gay in a straight world.

(4) Identity Acceptance. After realizing that sexuality is a part of who they are, they begin to embrace it, explore their feelings and desires, and start to find a place in the world where they are accepted and belong.

(5) Identity Pride. Often involves anger toward parents, society, religion, or other aspects of the world that tells them that they are bad, wrong, immoral, or mentally ill merely because their feelings are directed toward the same sex. They embrace the ‘homosexual lifestyle’ and explore their newfound sexuality. It is during this stage that the gay or lesbian may start fighting against what society has taught them.

(6) Identity Synthesis. The final stage in which homosexuality becomes a part of who they are rather than the defining factor. Instead of being a gay man or lesbian, they begin to see themselves as parents, employees, leaders, teachers, supervisors, coaches, and volunteers who just happen to be gay. In the final stage, they are able to accept themselves more wholly rather than seeing their sexuality as separate from the rest of who they are. When counseling a homosexual client, it is important to understand where they are in terms of their sexuality.

Those attempting to convert to a ‘straight lifestyle’ are likely in stage two or three. They have not yet accepted themselves as gay and have not likely experienced friendship and love from others who know their sexual orientation. While conversion therapists have reported limited success, this success is often in terms of behaviors and not thoughts and feelings. In other words, a gay man may be able to avoid sexual contact with other men, but they still have feelings and thoughts related to being gay.

And, since sexuality is often present at the onset of adolescence, research has shown that it is not real amenable to change. (Individuals who return to a straight life after changing their sexual behavior due to a trauma such as rape were likely not gay in the first place. They merely engaged in homosexual behaviors.)

Those in stages four and five are likely trying to reinvent themselves with this newfound acceptance. They may be seeking out gay friends, engaging in sexual behaviors less discriminately, or ‘shouting it from the mountain tops,’ so to speak. They have accepted their sexuality but have not yet learned to integrate this aspect of their life into their sense of self. In treatment, the strength these individuals feel should be embraced and treatment should be focused on what they can do, not to make the world accept them, but to show the world that they are worthy of acceptance.

In other words, gay parades, demonstrations, email campaigns to congress, are all worthy efforts, but so is living an honest life, helping other people, sharing, loving, and being a friend. Individuals in stage six are often seen as no different from most clients we see in therapy. They have accepted their sexuality, have developed relationships, and don’t see ‘gay’ as the issue, but rather as one of the many issues they deal with in an imperfect world. Being gay is often seen in a positive light. They can now begin to give back to others, become a mentor, volunteer, run for office, or otherwise use their whole self as a means to make the world a better place.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Trans Rights Go Global

Trans Rights Go Global

(Gay City News, Friday, June 12, 20009)

May was an historic month for the transgendered around the world.The issue of transphobia was inscribed on the global LGBT agenda thanks to new initiatives from the International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO). The effort includes a global petition campaign in favor of rights for the transgendered aimed at the United Nations, the World Health Organization (WHO), and governments around the world, which has already resulted in major changes in the status of the gender-variant citizens of several countries.These initiatives came from the fertile mind of the brilliant French academic Louis-Georges Tin, president of the Paris-based International Committee for IDAHO, which he founded.

Tin is the father of the Declaration to the United Nations in favor of the universal decriminalization of homosexuality, which has already been signed by the governments of 66 nations, including the Obama administration. The declaration was presented to the United Nations General Assembly last December (see this reporter’s Mar. 20-Apr.1, 2009 article, “U.S. Joins Global Gay Effort,” and his Dec. 24, 2008-Jan. 7, 2009 article, “An Historic Day at the UN.")Tin, who is also a star of the emerging French black civil rights movement, hopes to repeat the success of the UN decriminalization declaration with IDAHO’s global transgender position. “In 2010, the World Health Organization is to conduct a review of its list of mental disorders,”

Tin told Gay City News by telephone from Paris. “That’s why this year we changed the name of IDAHO to the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, and launched our global online petition campaign for transgender rights.”The new petition, entitled “Reject Transphobia, Respect Gender Identity,” includes a call for the WHO to stop considering trans people as mentally disordered; for the UN’s human rights bodies to examine the human rights abuses they face around the world; and for governments to adopt the Yogyakarta Principles in favor of LGBT rights.

The declaration also seeks to insure that transgendered people benefit from health care, including the right to gender reassignment if they wish it, and the right to adapt their civil status to their preferred gender. (See below for the complete text of this petition.)IDAHO is celebrated every year in more than 60 countries around the world on May 17, the anniversary of the day in 1993 when the World Health Organization removed homosexuality from its list of mental disorders.

“The gay movement owes an enormous debt to the transgendered, because we must not forget that transgenders, transvestites, and other gender dissidents were in the forefront at Stonewall and have greatly contributed to our movements since,” Tin said. The IDAHO president also reported that there were a lot of negative reactions to IDAHO’s decision to adopt transdender rights as its theme this year.“Sometimes it’s been a very violent reaction,”

Tin said, adding: “A journalist who’s the specialist in LGBT questions for one major French media outlet practically reproached me for having chosen this theme because, she told me, ‘When I raised it in our editorial meeting, everyone laughed, and while I can write about homophobia, if I write about transphobia they’re going to kill my article.’ I responded that while this was going on, transphobia is killing transsexuals. We need to emphasize transphobic violence, because today murders of the transgendered are too often treated the way murders of homosexuals were treated 15 or 20 years ago, as obscure crimes without motivations or only minimal references to the gender status of those killed, so the victims die and the witnesses to their deaths are afraid to speak.”

However, the IDAHO transgender rights petition has already won concrete results in France and the Netherlands. After a year-long lobbying campaign led by Tin, last year the French government officially endorsed IDAHO and agreed to use its six-month term in the rotating presidency of the European Union last year to launch the campaign for the UN declaration on decriminalization of homosexuality. (See this reporter’s May 22-28, 2008 article, “France Fights for Decriminalization” ).

This year, IDAHO’s petition for transgender rights was published in full in France’s newspaper of record, Le Monde, with the signatures of a host of VIPs, among them Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoe and Jacques Delors, former president of the European Union’s governing commission; and writers, academics and scientists, and including two winners of the Nobel Prize for Medicine, Professors Luc Montaigner and Françoise Barré-Sinoussi, honored for their work in the discovery of the HIV virus.

To underscore its support for this year’s IDAHO events, on the eve of May 17 the French government officially announced it would no longer classify transgender identity and expression as a mental disorder, becoming the first government to take that action. French Minister of Health Roselyne Bachelot announced on May 16 that she had directed the country’s Haute Autorité de Santé (HAS, or High Authority for Health) to execute this change in policy.At the same time, in the Netherlands, at a May 15 conference on LGBT rights sponsored by the Dutch Parliament in connection with IDAHO, the country’s minister for Foreign Affairs, Maxime Verhagen, announced that the government would end the legal requirement that transgendered people must first undergo gender reassignment surgery before obtaining new government identity documents.

Verhagen acknowledged that existing Dutch law violated Principle 18 of the Yogyakarta Principles, the right to be protected from medical abuses.“These breakthrough victories in France and the Netherlands show that we can achieve our goals,” IDAHO’s Tin told Gay City News. The IDAHO petition for transgender rights has already been signed by more than 300 organizations from 75 countries, “a majority of which are from the global South — Africa, Latin America, and South Asia,” Tin said. In another first, the petition has been endorsed by seven organizations from China.Also for the first time, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, under its new executive director Rae Carey, broke its long refusal to engage in international LGBT solidarity actions by endorsing the IDAHO transgender petition.

Other U.S. organizations supporting this petition include Soulforce, Equality Nevada, the Durham Gender Alliance in North Carolina, and the New York Association for Gender Rights Advocacy, NYAGRA. Still, support in the US for IDAHO remains remarkably sparse, and the largest US LGBT organization, the Human Rights Campaign, continues to boycott IDAHO and has failed to endorse its transgender rights petition.

In contrast, IDAHO has been officially endorsed by the European Union, which represents 27 countries, as well as by individual governments like those of the United Kingdom — where LGBT organizations staged more than 80 separate IDAHO events this year on May 17— Costa Rica, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, and, of course, France.For more information on IDAHO and its global online petition campaign for transgender rights, click on Doug Ireland can be reached through his blog, DIRELAND, at

IDAHO’S TRANSGENDER RIGHTS DECLARATION:Reject Transphobia, Respect Gender Identity: An Appeal to the United Nations, the World Health Organization and the States of the WorldEvery day, people who live at variance to expected gender norms face violence, abuse, rape, torture, and hate crime all over the world, in their home as well as in the public arena. Though most cases of violence never get documented, we know that in the first weeks of 2009 alone, Trans women have been murdered in Honduras, Serbia, and in the USA. Trans men are equally victims of hate crimes, prejudice, and discrimination despite their frequent social and cultural invisibility.The basic human rights of Trans people are being ignored or denied in all nations — be it out of ignorance, prejudice, fear, or hate, and Trans people overwhelmingly face daily discrimination, which results in social exclusion, poverty, poor health care, and little prospects of appropriate employment.

Far from protecting Trans citizens, States and International bodies reinforce social transphobia through short-sighted negligence or reactionary politics:Because of the failure of national law and social justice, in far too many States Trans people are being forced to live a gender which they experience as fundamentally wrong for them. In most countries, any attempt to change one’s gender can lead to legal sanctions, brutal mistreatment, and social stigma.In other countries, legal recognition of gender change is subject to sterilization or other major surgical intervention. Trans people who cannot or do not wish to submit to this cannot obtain legal recognition of their preferred gender, and are forced to “come out” whenever they cross a border, run into a police patrol, apply for a new job, move into a new home, or simply want to buy a mobile phone.

Contributing factors include that current International health classifications still consider all Trans people as mentally “disordered.” This outdated vision is insulting and incorrect and is used to justify daily discrimination and stigmatization in all aspects of Trans people’s lives.Recently though in some countries with very different social and cultural contexts significant legal advances have been made. Following in the wake of bold judicial decisions, State action has led to increased acceptance of Trans people within their society. This demonstrates that understanding and progress is possible.Currently Trans people everywhere in the world rise up to reclaim their human rights and freedom.

They carry an unanimous message that they will no longer accept to be labeled sick or treated as non-human beings on the basis of their gender identity and gender expression (such as transvestite, transsexual, transgender, and other cultural identities related to cross-gender dressing and living).This is why we ask:The WHO. to stop considering Trans people as mentally disordered and to promote access to adequate health care and psychological support, as desired by Trans people.

The United Nations Human Rights bodies to examine the human rights abuses that Trans people face around the world and to take action to combat these abuses.The States of the World to adopt the international Yogyakarta Principles and ensure that all Trans people benefit from appropriate health care, including gender reassignment if they so wish; be allowed to adapt their civil status to their preferred gender; live their social, family, or professional lives without being exposed to transphobic discrimination, prejudice, or hate crimes and that they are protected by the police and justice systems from physical and non-physical violence.

We call on the UN, the WHO, and the nations of the world, in adopting these measures, to refuse transphobia and welcome the right of their citizens to live fully and freely in their preferred gender, assumed as an expression of cultural freedom.You can sign this online petition by clicking on

For background, see these earlier stories in GCN on this subject:
Going Global on Gay RightsThe United Nations at the FulcrumBold Move for U.N. ActionCataloguing the OppressionTell Obama, Clinton: Act Now for UN DecriminalizationMarking A Year Since Iran Hangings

John Fisher's Co-Director ARC gives an overview of SOGI Panel at the United Nations

John Fisher's Co-Director ARC International gives an overview of SOGI Panel at the United Nations
Just a quick update to let you know that the high-level panel on human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity went really well yesterday. There were over 200 people in attendance, and Kate from Amnesty counted at least 50 States, coming from all regions (the States which attended are listed at the end of this e-mail).

Mexico did an expert job of facilitating the panel, frankly acknowledging at the outset that it was a predominantly Catholic country, with a conservative government, but that the challenges we all face in our own societies should not detract from our common commitment to non-discrimination, including on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity.

The High Commissioner delivered a very strong clear speech, affirming the GA statement, recognizing that even in the alternative statement delivered by Syria it was acknowledged that no person should face human rights violations, expressing the view that common ground could be found in the growing awareness and emerging consensus that no-one should be denied their human rights on any ground, and predicting that “ingrained prejudices” relating to sexual orientation and gender identity will some day be viewed in the same way as the discriminatory attitudes that fuel racism and sexism.

Michel Sidibé, the Executive Director of UNAIDS, emphasized that criminal sanctions against homosexuality violate international rights to privacy and non-discrimination, and undermine the struggle against HIV/AIDS. Michael O’Flaherty laid out a strong legal framework, speaking of the work of the treaty bodies and Special Procedures in this area, and identifying actions which States and the international community can take, including joining the GA statement, increasing engagement at the Council on sexual orientation and gender identity issues, integrating these issues throughout UPR and treaty body reporting and discussions, and advancing the dialogue through a high-level experts meeting, possibly organised by the OHCHR. Reine Alapini-Gansou, Special Rapporteur for Human Rights Defenders of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, identified some of the examples of human rights violations that had come to her attention, and described the increasing awareness and attention to these issues at the African Commission.

Justus Eisfeld did a great job of raising awareness of gender identity issues, providing practical examples of both violations and positive developments across regions, and frankly challenging co-sponsoring States to lead the way by reforming their domestic laws and policies to respect the human rights of trans and intersex people. Neha Sood provided a detailed analysis of the conditions that give rise to human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity, the role of patriarchy in restricting expressions of sexuality, and challenges and next steps facing our communities in diverse regions.

In the open discussion that followed, France spoke about the GA statement and Paris Congress, Colombia provided the positive example of the recent OAS Declaration, and the USA affirmed the commitments of President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, including their recent recognition of LGBT Pride month. The Czech Republic affirmed that recognizing LGBT people strengthens community values, and expressed support for the Yogyakarta Principles. Botswana acknowledged that the issues are sensitive and complex, that we are “not there yet”, expressed concern at what it felt to be a lack of balance in the presentations, but welcomed the fact that a dialogue had been opened and that an incremental approach taking into account national experiences could assist in moving the discussion forward.

Positive statements were also made by Slovenia, Canada and Switzerland, a representative from the Council of Europe spoke about the work of European institutions in this area, and Sandeep from ACPD underlined the importance of recognizing the linkages with a sexual rights approach, particularly since the same laws which criminalise homosexuality often target other forms of sexuality as well, such as sexual activity outside marriage.

There were no hostile interventions, and the panellists provided strong responses to issues raised. Afterwards, there was a lot of positive feedback by State and civil society attendees about the success of the event and the significant step forward that had been achieved in advancing visibility and understanding of these issues in the often difficult environment of the UN. It was particularly encouraging to see gender identity issues receiving specific attention within an international human rights framework.

The meeting took place in one of the larger, more formal rooms at the Palais des Nations, and with the High Commissioner and other expert panellists on the podium, 50 States with their nameplates in front of them, professional quality interpretation, and a full room, the meeting often had the feeling of a formal UN plenary … which some day it will be.

The 50 States attending the event (at least those with their nameplates up, and there may have been others) included:

Argentina, Australia, Azerbaijan, Barbados, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Gabon, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Libya, Lithuania, Luxembourg, FYR of Macedonia, Malta, Mexico, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Palestine, Pakistan, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Rwanda, Serbia, Singapore, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland , Turkey, UK, Uruguay, USA.

The whole experience has been a tremendous collaboration between civil society, some very dedicated co-sponsoring States and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. Afterwards, many of us went for a well-earned chance to unwind and share drinks and pizza, and today – a fine clear day with blue skies overhead - a tired but happy crew will wander up into the mountains to enjoy the views over Lake Geneva and across to the Alps, before returning to the grindstone for what promises to be a very intensive final week ahead at the Council.

Justus Eisfeld's speech at Panel on Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity

Justus Eisfeld's speech at Panel on Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity

Dear Chairwoman, distinguished participants,

Thank you for inviting me for this historic event, and for giving me the chance to speak about the work that the UN can to to combat the human rights abuses that transgender people face, as well as give you some positive examples of how these abuses and obstacles can be overcome.
I feel that I live in exciting times, when the UN, along with its member states, start to realize that the human rights of trans people matter, when in fact gender identity is included in panel discussions like this one, and when member states include gender identity in statements like the December one.

There is work to do for trans people in all UN member states, including those who have pledged to work for human rights of all citizens, regardless of their gender identity.
This also gives trans people the encouragement to demand that the signatory countries stand by their words and carry out what they say.

When I talk about trans or transgender people I use this term in the most inclusive way: Everybody who does not fit neatly into the stereotypes that go with the gender they were assigned at birth. That could be the man with the sway in his walk, the woman who wears her hair short, but also those who cross the gender lines in more obvious ways, when their intersex body does not neatly match either man *or* woman, or by identifying as transvestite or transsexual like myself.

Whenever somebody in society crosses the line of what is considered to be ‘normal’ for a man or ‘normal’ for a woman we start treading on dangerous ground. Transgender people face obstacles mainly in different ways:

we encounter violence and discrimination,
we are denied healthcare,
we have to prove sterility to match our paperwork with our identity or cannot change our papers at all.

Firstly, Violence is the most visible. In the UK – and I mention the UK only because it is one of the few countries with any reliable data, not because the situation is any better or worse than elsewhere - 73% of trans people reported negative comments, verbal, physical or sexual abuse or threatening behavior.

The Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions has repeatedly drawn attention to the murders of transgender people in Venezuela, El Salvador, Brazil, Colombia and Honduras. Hateful murders of transgender people have been reported from most countries of the world. Some of the murders were committed by police officers and more often than not have police officers turned the other way when friends and families demanded an investigation.
On a positive note just two days ago, the Scottish parliament passed a transgender-inclusive hate-crimes bill unanimously, being the first in Europe to do so.

Secondly, access to healthcare can be a problem just as lethal as physical violence. When trans people go to a doctor for a broken bone or the flu, most of us will be treated badly, be refused for treatment altogether or simply avoid to go in the first place because of negative experiences. About 30% of trans people in the UK have that experience. Transgender-specific healthcare is often not covered by health insurance systems, even though the very same hormones are available for other patients. Way too many trans people therefore seek self-medication, and use hormones they purchase on the black market, without proper instruction on dosage, safe needle use or regular check-ups. Way too many trans people also self-medicate with amateur injections of silicone, sometimes even industrial-grade silicone. Lack of access to healthcare kills trans people every day, because we bleed to death, have silicone clotting our blood vessels or simply just kill ourselves because we can’t stand the pressure of not conforming to a gender that was assigned to us at birth. About a third of trans people in Sweden, the UK and Europe in general have attempted suicide at least once.

Intersex people or people with disorders of sex development, become the victims of surgeries which leave the person with mutilated genitalia and no sexual functioning. These surgeries are performed without the consent of the patient, who is often a small child at the time the procedures are performed.

On a positive note, Brazil has just started to integrate transgender-specific healthcare into the regular public healthcare plans, and surgeries for transgender people with a special permission are free in Chile and Argentina.

Thirdly, changing one’s paperwork to match the identity of that person is a nightmare all over the world. In about 90% of the EU member states, including the Czech Republic and the Netherlands, sterilization, other surgeries or hormone treatment are a requirement just to be able to change one letter in a passport or birth certificate. In other words: these states are prescribing surgeries and hormones without a doctor’s license. Ireland and Lithuania have so far failed to react to their conviction by the European Court of Human Rights and still deny trans people the right to change their birth certificate or personal identification number several years after the verdict.

A positive example in this respect is Kazakhstan which allows their transgender citizens to change their paperwork without any kind of medical treatment in a ministerial order from 2003.

I could go on much longer.
I could talk about rejection by family members, by friends and by neighbors.
I could talk about the humiliating feeling of being diagnosed with a personality disorder.

But this list is getting too depressing already.

What the UN statement does is to give trans people the hope that our governments will take up our issues, and will look at their own laws and correct problems where they exist. None of the signatory states of the UN statement are there yet. In fact all of the core group members and organizers of this panel seriously violate the human rights of trans people at this moment. But by signing this statement and by organizing this panel these countries open the door and demonstrates the willingness to look at their issues at home and treat trans people better in the future.

I would like to invite the High Commissioner to look into the human rights abuses that trans people face and to make an overview of these issues in the laws which regulate a change of paperwork.

I would like to invite Ireland, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, France, and Norway to lead the way in this process by announcing that name and gender changes will be possible to all trans and intersex people who feel the need to do so – irrespective of whether or not they have had surgeries, hormone treatments or a personality disorder diagnosis.

I would like to invite all countries to follow the example of Bolivia and outlaw discrimination against trans people in their constitution or in other laws.
I would like to ask all other countries to do the same and – hopefully – follow that good example.

Thank you.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Mauritius - United Nations Human Right Council 11th Session

United Nations Human Right Council 11th Session
Geneva, 2 to 19th June 2009.
UPR Mauritius - International Lesbian and Gay Association

Mr President

We commend Mauritius for its leadership, noted in the Working Group report, in supporting the joint statement on human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity delivered at the UN General Assembly last December, on behalf of 67 States from all 5 UN regions. Amongst other things, this statement urges States to take all the necessary measures “to ensure that sexual orientation or gender identity may under no circumstances be the basis for criminal penalties”.

In this regard, we welcome Mauritius’ acceptance of recommendation 4, to finalise and adopt the Sexual Offences Bill, which will decriminalise sexual activity between consenting adults. Could the delegation indicate the current status of the Bill, and when it is likely to be adopted?

We also commend Mauritius for adopting the Equal Opportunities Act, which prohibits discrimination on grounds including sexual orientation and HIV status.

During UPR discussion, the Attorney-General acknowledged that the human rights training provided to law enforcement and judicial officers has so far not really focused on the rights of persons of minority sexual orientation or gender identity, and mentioned that technical assistance from other States or organizations would be appreciated in this area. What kind of assistance would be most useful to the government in this regard?

We appreciate the delegation’s constructive engagement in the UPR process, and thank you again for your leadership on these important human rights issues.

We recognize in the government’s response that;

The amendment of section 16 of the Constitution will include new forms of discrimination to be considered.

Thank you very much Mr President.

Human Rights Council Adopts Outcomes of Universal Periodic Review Process on Senegal

Human Rights Council Adopts Outcomes of Universal Periodic Review Process on Senegal

ROWLAND JIDE MACAULAY, of European Region of the International Lesbian and Gay Federation (ILGA-EUROPE), said last year the arrest and jailing of gay men in Senegal was a result of State abuse, and the Government should free them. Many gays feared for their lives and had gone into hiding, with serious effects on HIV/AIDS programmes, and represented a threat to public health. There had been an increase in homophobia. The current penal code continued to threaten the existence of sexual minorities, in contravention to the rights set out in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Senegal was a party. The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention also found that arrests for consensual homosexual contact were a violation of human rights. Senegal should take further action to repeal the Criminal Code provision and review other national legislation that punished individuals owing to their sexual identity, and should promote tolerance nationally.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

On Nigeria - United Nations Human Right Council 11th Session

United Nations Human Right Council 11th Session
Geneva, 2 to 19th June 2009.
UPR Nigeria - International Lesbian and Gay Association

Mr President,

I have the honour to present a statement on behalf of ILGA and the Coalition for the Defence of Sexual Rights, Nigeria.

During the Working Group review of Nigeria, His Excellency Mr Ojo Maduaekwe assured the Human Rights Council that “as citizens, all Nigerians have their fundamental rights guaranteed by the constitution” which protects “all Nigerians, including those who may consider themselves gay.” However, he also said that the government was unaware of any gay or lesbian groups or individuals in Nigeria.

The reality is that homosexuality is illegal under federal law in Nigeria and due to widespread taboos and homophobia, very few persons are open about their sexual orientation and sexual identity. Nonetheless, the Coalition for the Defence of Sexual Rights has been very active. We attended a public debate on the 14th February 2007, and again on the 11th March 2009, concerning the proposed Same Sex Prohibition Bill 2006 and the Same Gender Prohibition Bill 2008. The proposed bill, if approved, would seriously restrict essential freedoms and HIV prevention services, as well as the activities of human rights defenders.

Senator Umaru Dahiru, chairman of the Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and legal matters also denied any knowledge of abuses and concerns of gay and lesbian people in Nigeria.

There have been numerous harassment and publications in the Nigerian media inciting and promoting hatred against sexual minorities and members of House of Rainbow Metropolitan Community Church. One transgender woman was attacked by 11 men, others were threatened, stoned, beaten, fired from their jobs and evicted from their homes. There were repeated delays in the trial of 18 men arrested in August 2007, charged originally with sodomy under the Bauchi State Islamic code. The trial is still pending.

In consideration of the recommendations made during its Universal Periodic Review, we ask the Nigerian government:

To repeal criminal provisions against consensual same-sex conduct, and ensure that the human rights of LGBT individuals and human rights defenders are not violated,
To reject any attempt to create discriminatory new laws, and eliminate all existing legislation that discriminates based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
To take measures to recognise the sexual health and protect the rights of sexual minorities.
Thank you very much Mr President.

Senegal - United Nations Human Right Council 11th Session

United Nations Human Right Council 11th Session
Geneva, 2 to 19th June 2009.
UPR Senegal - ILGA

Mr President

We wish to address recommendations 6 and 10 in the Working Group report on Senegal.

Last year the arrest and jailing of nine gay men in Senegal was a result of state sponsored abuse, we must acknowledge and commend the government for the release of the nine men from jail, however these men and many others fear for their lives and have gone into hiding, this has had a negative impact on important HIV prevention work for the gay and lesbian community, and this we believe is a threat to public health.

Public statements condemning homosexuality by political and religious leaders has led to an increase in homophobia.

While we appreciate the government’s assurance that no-one is currently in detention because of their homosexuality, the current penal code of Senegal Article 319 continues to threaten the existence of sexual minorities, and this law also violates the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Senegal is a party.

According to the United Nations Human Rights Committee's 1994 ruling in the case Toonen v. Australia, laws criminalizing homosexual conduct violate the right to privacy protected by article 17 of the ICCPR. As you are aware, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has also found that arrests for consensual homosexual conduct are, by definition, human rights violations.

In Senegal all men who have sex with men, do not necessarily identify as homosexuals.

We now urge the government to implement the recommendations of member states and take further action;

· To repeal the penal code provision which criminalizes homosexual activity between consenting adults, and review other national legislation which results in the discrimination, prosecution and punishment of people solely for their sexual orientation or gender identity and bring this into line with the provisions of the ICCPR, particularly articles 2 and 26.
· We also ask the government to adopt measures to promote tolerance in this regard, which would also facilitate more effective educational programmes for prevention of HIV/AIDS; and
· to provide law enforcement and judicial officials with specific training regarding the protection of human rights of sexual minorities.

Thank you very much Mr President.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Full Time Position Available ASSOCIATE

Full-Time Position Available:
ASSOCIATE (administrative –not legal – position)
Advocacy Division - New York Office

Application Deadline: June 21, 2009

Human Rights Watch (“HRW”) is seeking highly-qualified applicants for the position of Associate with the Advocacy Division.

Description: The Advocacy Division oversees HRW’s advocacy at the United Nations in New York and Geneva, at the European Union, and in capitals throughout the world. The Associate supports the Global Advocacy Director, who heads the division, and the United Nations Advocacy Director in New York. The Associate provides critical administrative assistance, including but not limited to: proofreading, formatting and distributing documents such as letters, press releases, reports, briefing papers, op-eds, publications and web content; setting up and taking minutes at meetings; assisting with communication among different HRW programs and offices around the world; monitoring international and UN news and information services; retrieving information and occasionally assisting with research projects; attending selected UN events; assisting with special events, hiring, and training; recruiting and coordinating interns; and drafting correspondence. The job also includes standard clerical work including maintaining files, contact lists and databases; recording departmental finances; assisting with travel arrangements; word processing; photocopying; filing; faxing; answering phones; processing incoming mail; and other assigned tasks.

Requirements: The candidate must be self-motivated, extremely well-organized, collegial, and able to function under pressure and handle numerous tasks simultaneously. He or she must be willing to identify and initiate opportunities for improving support to the Advocacy Division, prioritize with minimal supervision, and work independently as well as function as a member of a team. A significant level of independent judgment and discretion, as well as tact, diplomacy, and maturity in dealing with colleagues at all levels of the organization are required. Strong interest in international affairs and human rights is highly desirable, as well as a Bachelor’s degree in international relations and/or related study or experience. The candidate must possess excellent computer literacy and attention to detail. Fluency in oral and written English is essential. Applicants for this position must possess current U.S. work authorization valid for a minimum of two years from start date.

Salary and Benefits: Salary range starts at US$36,800. Human Rights Watch offers excellent employer-paid benefits, including medical, dental, disability and life insurance, an outstanding pension plan, and 20 days vacation per year.

PLEASE APPLY IMMEDIATELY (no calls please) by emailing in a single submission: a letter of interest describing your experience, your resume, names or letters of reference, and a brief writing sample (unedited by others) no later than June 21, 2009 to Please use “Advocacy Associate Ref ADV-09-1022-B” as the subject of your email. Only complete applications will be reviewed.

It is preferred that all materials be submitted via email. If e-mailing is not possible, send materials (please do not split a submission between email and regular post) to:
Human Rights Watch
Attn: Search Committee (Advocacy Associate Ref ADV-09-1022-B)
350 Fifth Avenue, 34th Floor
New York, NY 10118-3299
Fax: (212)736-1300

Human Rights Watch is an equal opportunity employer that does not discriminate in its hiring practices and, in order to build the strongest possible workforce, actively seeks a diverse applicant pool.

Cameroon - United Nations Human Right Council 11th Session

On Cameroon at the United Nations Human Right Council 11th Session
Geneva, 2 to 19th June 2009.

Mr President

An issue of serious concern raised during the UPR of Cameroon relates to the criminalization of consensual same-sex conduct under article 347 of Cameroon’s Penal code. Such provisions are a violation of established international human rights law and a major threat to public health.

During this Council's Review of Cameroon in February 2009, many member states recommended that the Cameroonian government amend its penal code by repealing this law in order to comply with its treaty obligations. These recommendations are reflected in the Working Group report. The inaction of the National Assembly in repealing this repressive provision makes this call still more urgent.

The response from the government was “This is an extremely sensitive issue in the cultural environment and whereas Cameroon understands the wishes of the international community, it must balance them with this sensitivity. “

Unfortunately, there is no balance in the current law, nor does it respect international human rights obligations. The laws continues to be the source of numerous incidents of harassment, abuses, arbitrary arrests and unlawful detentions. It continues to pose a threat to public health as it frustrates the important work of creating access to HIV preventions and awareness for Men who have sex with men. More than 30 girls were expelled from school on suspicion of being lesbians. At least two men are currently being detained on grounds of homosexuality.

Treaty bodies have repeatedly affirmed that laws criminalising homosexuality violate international rights to privacy and non-discrimination. As the High Commissioner for Human Rights also emphasized recently:

“there remain all too many countries which continue to criminalize sexual relations between consenting adults of the same sex in defiance of established human rights law.”

In consideration of the recommendations made during its Universal Periodic Review, we ask the Cameroonian government;

· To ensure that the human rights of LGBT individuals and human rights defenders are not violated,
· To repeal article 347 of its penal code.
· To take measures to recognise and protect the rights of sexual and gender minorities, and extend its HIV intervention programs to include same-sex practicing people.

Thank you very much Mr President.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Part Time Communications Project Manager

Open Job Position in ILGA
Part-time Communications Project Manager

ILGA is inviting applications for the position of: Part-time Communications Project Manager.
This position is based in the ILGA secretariat, Brussels, Belgium. The secretariat includes four other staff and it provides coordination and support to the ILGA network.ILGA is a worldwide association of organizations and individuals working for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex persons and communities throughout the world. The Job description and supplementary information is available on the above word file
This employee will work on a half-time basis, though the actual working days will vary each month depending on establishment of a workplan and calendar.
The gross salary will be 1350 euros per month.Interested persons are required to submit their application in the form of an up-to-date Curriculum Vitae as well as a letter explaining the applicant’s motivation in applying for this position and in working for an organization such as ILGA. Applications should be sent to: Trevor D. Cook,
Deadline for applications is Sunday, June 14, 2009 midnight.The starting date will be as soon as possible.Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted regarding their application.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Stories about Queer Muslims: Final Call for Submission

Stories about Queer Muslims: Final Call for Submission
Due by 30 June 2009

The Inner Circle is collecting short stories for an anthology that it is compiling. The anthology seeks to reflect personal life stories relating to Islam and Sexual Diversity, especially of Muslims who are queer. The word queer is often regarded as offensive and derisive, but many LGBTI people have reclaimed and re-appropriated it to describe a sexual orientation and/or gender identity or gender expression that does not conform to heteronormative society.

In compiling this book we aim to develop independent reasoning so that people can realise that it is okay to be Muslim and queer. Ultimately we would like to decrease levels of homophobia, xenophobia, Islamophobia and other forms of discrimination. We especially seek stories linked to faith and how scripture supports the oneness of being. We would also like reflections on how some people misinterpret scripture to condemn homosexuality.

This is a call to all writers who are queer, or associated with queer individuals. Should you wish to remain anonymous, we could add your story under a pseudonym. If you feel you cannot personally write your story, you can contact us and we can arrange ways and means for it to be recorded and transcribed. All writers of the stories that are accepted for the publication will be financially rewarded.

Type of stories: Stories should reflect: humanity, inspiration, generosity, authenticity, caring, humor, friendship, love, courage, sharing, learning a life lesson, growing, overcoming obstacles, living fully or having great faith in God, themselves or others. It could also reflect how Muslims had to overcome adversity in their struggles and experiences of personal growth. We want any unique, unusual, funny or interesting story that you have experienced or of which you are aware. Many publications have been written about coming out stories, so we recommend that you choose some other experience; unless the coming out story is extraordinary.

Details of Story: Stories should ideally be written in English and consist of approximately 3 000 – 4 000 words. Shorter stories will be accepted in special situations. On submission of your story we will send you a short release form which you will need to send in as the final step of story submission. You will be financially rewarded if we use your story in the book, once the book is published.

Please forward your stories to or call 021 761 0037.

Revd Rowland Jide Macaulay Guest Preacher at The Methodist Church London

Revd Rowland Jide Macaulay Guest Preacher at The Methodist Church London

Date/Time: Sunday 7th June 2009, 11am.

Host: The Reverend Cathy Bird
Location: The Methodist Church, 106 High Street N16 7NY
Message: The Love of God Is Too Wonderful For Words
Revd Rowland Jide Macaulay (pictured) will be sharing the word of God with this dynamic congregation, it is hope that many will come along to hear from the anointed preacher, a passionate servant of God for the new millennium, this generation, an inclusive liberal theologian.

See you there.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

US President Barack Obama proclaims June to be LGBT Pride Month

Forty years ago, patrons and supporters of the Stonewall Inn in New York City resisted police harassment that had become all too commonfor members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT)community. Out of this resistance, the LGBT rights movement in Americawas born. During LGBT Pride Month, we commemorate the events of June 1969 and commit to achieving equal justice under law for LGBTAmericans.

LGBT Americans have made, and continue to make, great and lasting contributions that continue to strengthen the fabric of American society. There are many well-respected LGBT leaders in all professional fields, including the arts and business communities. LGBT Americans also mobilized the Nation to respond to the domestic HIV/AIDS epidemic and have played a vital role in broadening this country’s response to the HIV pandemic.

Due in no small part to the determination and dedication of the LGBTrights movement, more LGBT Americans are living their lives openlytoday than ever before. I am proud to be the first President toappoint openly LGBT candidates to Senate-confirmed positions in thefirst 100 days of an Administration. These individuals embody the bestqualities we seek in public servants, and across my Administration —in both the White House and the Federal agencies — openly LGBT employees are doing their jobs with distinction and professionalism. The LGBT rights movement has achieved great progress, but there ismore work to be done.

LGBT youth should feel safe to learn without thefear of harassment, and LGBT families and seniors should be allowed tolive their lives with dignity and respect. My Administration has partnered with the LGBT community to advance awide range of initiatives. At the international level, I have joinedefforts at the United Nations to decriminalize homosexuality around the world. Here at home, I continue to support measures to bring thefull spectrum of equal rights to LGBT Americans.

These measures include enhancing hate crimes laws, supporting civil unions andFederal rights for LGBT couples, outlawing discrimination in the workplace, ensuring adoption rights, and ending the existing “Don’tAsk, Don’t Tell” policy in a way that strengthens our Armed Forces and our national security. We must also commit ourselves to fighting theHIV/AIDS epidemic by both reducing the number of HIV infections and providing care and support services to people living with HIV/AIDSacross the United States. These issues affect not only the LGBT community, but also our entire Nation.

As long as the promise of equality for all remains unfulfilled, all Americans are affected. If we can work together to advance the principles upon which our Nation was founded, every American will benefit. During LGBT Pride Month, I call upon the LGBTcommunity, the Congress, and the American people to work together to promote equal rights for all, regardless of sexual orientation orgender identity.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States ofAmerica, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim June 2009 asLesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month. I call upon the people of the United States to turn back discrimination and prejudice everywhere it exists.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this first day ofJune, in the year of our Lord two thousand nine, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-third. BARACK OBAMA

Monday, June 1, 2009

In Recognition of Gay and Lesbian Pride Month 2009

In Recognition of Gay and Lesbian Pride Month 2009
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
June 1, 2009

Forty years ago this month, the gay rights movement began with the Stonewall riots in New York City, as gays and lesbians demanded an end to the persecution they had long endured. Now, after decades of hard work, the fight has grown into a global movement to achieve a world in which all people live free from violence and fear, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

In honor of Gay and Lesbian Pride Month and on behalf of the State Department, I extend our appreciation to the global LGBT community for its courage and determination during the past 40 years, and I offer our support for the significant work that still lies ahead.

At the State Department and throughout the Administration, we are grateful for our lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees in Washington and around the world. They and their families make many sacrifices to serve our nation. Their contributions are vital to our efforts to establish stability, prosperity and peace worldwide.

Human rights are at the heart of those efforts. Gays and lesbians in many parts of the world live under constant threat of arrest, violence, even torture. The persecution of gays and lesbians is a violation of human rights and an affront to human decency, and it must end. As Secretary of State, I will advance a comprehensive human rights agenda that includes the elimination of violence and discrimination against people based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

Though the road to full equality for LGBT Americans is long, the example set by those fighting for equal rights in the United States gives hope to men and women around the world who yearn for a better future for themselves and their loved ones.

This June, let us recommit ourselves to achieving a world in which all people can live in safety and freedom, no matter who they are or whom they love.