gay rights

Hong Kong Man Sends Legal Challenge To City's Anti-Gay Laws

Hong Kong is getting ever closer to gaining more rights for LGBTQ people thanks to a gay man who’s challenging anti-gay laws in the region.

In Hong Kong law, specifically in the Crimes Ordinance section, there are rules about homosexual buggery, gross indecency by man and the conduct of procuring young person to resort to, or be on premise or vessel, for intercourse, prostitution, buggery or homosexual act.

Yeung Chu-wing, a 24-year-old volunteer for the LGBTQ rights group Rainbow Action, is now challenging those laws and calls them discriminatory since they target only gay men and allow straight couples and lesbians the right to pursue similar acts.

“The existence of discriminatory provisions against homosexuals in the Crimes Ordinance has the effect of stigmatizing homosexuals in Hong Kong and reinforcing public prejudice against homosexuals,” he says in his application for judicial review.

“This seriously affects the dignity of the applicant as a member of the homosexual community in Hong Kong and causes distress to the applicant.”

In addition, the discrimination against gay men directly goes against the basic principles of Hong Kong law.

The Basic Law for the city’s mini-constitution says that all residents are equal under the law and the Bill of Rights adds that everyone is “entitled without any discrimination to the equal protection of the law”.

Yeung’s challenge is still being processed, but he wants the High Court to declare the sections outlawing homosexual acts as unconstitutional and in conflict with Article 25 of the Basic Law and Article 22 of the Bill of Rights, and therefore unconstitutional.

This comes just a month after Hong Kong lowered the restriction on gay men looking to donate blood. Before, gay men couldn’t donate at all and now the city has switched to the “one year after having gay sex” rule that many other countries use.

In addition, a British woman won a court case that now gives her civil union partner more rights and protections under the city’s laws. This then paves the way for international immigrants to have similar rights for their own same-sex partners.

h/t: South China Morning Post

Philippine's House of Reps Passed An LGBTQ Nondiscrimination Bill

Image from My Husband's Lover

Earlier today, the Philippines’s House of Representatives approved a bill that will protect LGBTQ people from discrimination.

The vote for House Bill Number 4982 or an Act Prohibiting Discrimination on the Basis of Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity or Expression, aka SOGIE, was unanimous with a 197 to 0 count at its third and final reading.

The now House passed bill, which was co-written by transgender Representative Geraldine Roman last year, hopes to protect LGBTQ people from discrimination by penalizing those who do discriminatory acts.

In fact, there are several acts that it protects people from. Such as:

  • Denial of access to public services.
  • Refusing admission or expelling students in schools based on SOGIE.
  • Including SOGIE as a criteria for hiring or dismissal of workers.
  • Denying access to health services.
  • Denying the application for professional licenses and similar documents.
  • Imposing disciplinary actions that are harsher than customary due to the student's SOGIE.
  • Denying access to establishments, facilities, and services open to the general public.
  • Forcing a person to undertake any medical or psychological examination to determine or alter one's SOGIE.
  • Subjecting persons to harassment motivated by the offenders bias against the offended party's SOGIE, which may come in the form of any medium, including telecommunications and social media.

House supporters of the bill taking a photo after it passes / Screenshot from House livestream

If anyone were to violate any of these jurisdictions, they could be facing prison time between 1 and six years or a fine between 100,000 and 500,000 pesos ($1,962-$9,812).

In addition, the specific court could decide to opt for community service instead. In that case, the person in question will go through classes such as human rights education.

This bill has had a long journey to this point as it has been refiled for the past 17 years. But now, we await to see what will happen with the Philippine’s Senate who have not yet approved their version of the bill.

A Brazilian Judge Ruled In Favor of Gay Conversion Therapy

Photo by Peter Hershey on Unsplash

A Brazilian federal judge approved gay conversion therapy.

Recently, Waldemar de Carvalho overruled a 1999 decision that forbade psychologists from offering gay conversion therapy. At the time, the practice had been widely discredited and proven to be harmful.

De Carvalho ruled this way to support Rozangela Justino who was an evangelical Christian psychologist. Justino had lost her license back in 2016 after offering conversion therapy and then took the situation to court.

In a 2009 interview, Justino said that homosexuality was a disease and said, “I feel directed by God to help people who are homosexual.”

However, Rogério Giannini, the president of the Federal Council of Psychology which helped to ban conversion therapy in the first place, told the Guardian that, “There is no way to cure what is not a disease. It is not a serious, academic debate, it is a debate connected to religious or conservative positions.”

As you would imagine, this decision has sparked outraged among many people in the country. Some include politicians, celebrities, and of course everyday people as well.

“This decision is a big regression to the progressive conquests that the LBGT community had in recent decades,” David Miranda, one of Brazil’s openly gay politicians, said to the Guardian. “Like various countries in the world, Brazil is suffering a conservative wave.”

Brazlian singer Ivete Sangolo also spoke out against the new ruling. Part of her Instagram post, shared below, says, “The sick ones are those who believe in this grand absurdity.”

And, several people have been using the #curagay to express their anger at this new ruling.

Obama In Favor of Amending Civil Rights Act

As reported by The Washington Post, The White House endorsed legislation Tuesday that would amend the 1964 Civil Rights Act to ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest said the Obama administration had been reviewing the bill “for several weeks.”

“Upon that review it is now clear that the administration strongly supports the Equality Act,” he said. 

“That bill is historic legislation that would advance the cause of equality for millions of Americans.

“We look forward to working with Congress to ensure that the legislative process             produces a result that balances both the bedrock principles of civil rights . . . with the religious liberty that we hold dear in this country,” Earnest added.

Following Earnest’s announcement, Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin issued the following statement:

“The White House sent a strong message that it’s time to put the politics of discrimination behind us once and for all.”

“The unfortunate reality is that, while LGBT Americans can legally get married, millions remain at risk of being fired or denied services for who they are or who they love because the majority of states still lack explicit, comprehensive non-discrimination protections,” Griffin added.

 

H/T: The Washington Post