23 Aug 2018 - NPWJ News Digest on on LGBTI rights


Vietnam: Activists Beaten in Concert Raid
Human Rights Watch, 22 Aug 2018

Vietnamese government officers and men in civilian clothes raided a concert in Ho Chi Minh City on August 15, 2018, and severely beat the performer and two prominent activists in the audience, Human Rights Watch said today. Vietnam should conduct an impartial, transparent, and thorough investigation of the attack. “This kind of shocking and brutal physical assault against human rights activists, bloggers, and artists is rapidly becoming the new normal in Vietnam,” said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “By failing to investigate or hold accountable those committing these thuggish acts, the authorities are signaling that attacks against dissidents will enjoy impunity.”

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Malaysia accused of 'state-sponsored homophobia' after LGBT crackdown
The Guardian, 22 Aug 2018

In the early hours of Saturday, the police and government officials raided a small nightclub in Kuala Lumpur. The venue, Blue Boy, was known to be popular with the LGBT community, but for years had been relatively left alone by the authorities. Until the weekend. Twenty men were detained and ordered into counselling for “illicit behaviour” by the Federal Territory Islamic Religious Department of Malaysia (JAKIM). Government minister Khalid Samad later released a statement on the motivations behind the raid. “Hopefully this initiative can mitigate the LGBT culture from spreading into our society,” he said. It sent a clear signal to the LGBT community. Thilaga Sulathireh, co-founder of trans rights group Justice For Sisters, says: “We are under attack in an unprecedented way.”

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First Russian minor fined under 'gay propaganda' law appeals
Reuters, 20 Aug 2018

The first Russian minor to be fined under a new law against so-called gay propaganda for posting pictures of shirtless men embracing has filed an appeal, his lawyer said on Monday. Maxim Neverov, 16, was fined 50,000 rubles ($760) this month after a commission on juvenile affairs found him guilty of “promoting non-traditional sexual relationship among minors”. He was the first minor to be fined under the law, which makes any event or act regarded by the authorities as an attempt to promote homosexuality to minors illegal. It has previously been used to stop gay pride marches and detain gay rights activists.

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New German 'third gender' option excludes trans people: campaigners
Reuters, 16 Aug 2018

 A new German third gender option does not go far enough, campaigners said on Thursday, after Berlin became the first European government to introduce the choice for intersex people. Germany’s cabinet on Wednesday voted to introduce a third category of “divers”, or various, alongside male and female on birth certificates and other official documents, complying with a federal court ruling. LGBT campaigners said the move did not go far enough and called for new laws to make it easier for people who do not identify with the gender they were born to change their sex on official documents.

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Gay Afghan Teenager Denied Asylum in Austria Because He Didn’t Fit Stereotype, Rights Group Says
The New York Times, 16 Aug 2018

A gay Afghan 18-year-old who was seeking asylum in Austria because he feared persecution in his country had his application denied because the authorities said he did not act like a stereotypical gay man, citing his walk, behavior and clothing, according to a Vienna-based organization that helps refugees. In a case that illustrates the plight of many L.G.B.T. refugees coming to Europe, the organization, Queer Base, said the teenager, whom it did not identify, provided testimony at an asylum hearing this spring that he became aware of his sexuality when he was 12 and living in Afghanistan. He migrated to Austria as a minor, according to the organization, which kept all other details of the teenager’s life and journey confidential at his request. But after he applied for asylum, the document outlining the decision quoted an official as saying that the man’s claim that he was gay was not believable based on how he had acted while living in Austria.

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