Word of a parenting guide launched in Penang spread quickly on the blogosphere this week. It was apparently unveiled during a seminar that Malaysian Deputy Education Minister Mohd Puad Zarkashi attended.
This article is by Indulekshmi Rajeswari, who was the head of M Ravi's legal team in the case.
Today was an absolutely historic day in the fight for LGBT rights in Singapore. The Court of Appeal decided to allow the constitutional challenge against s377A to go ahead, reversing the decision of the High Court.
At around 11am today, the Court of Appeal of Singapore released their decision regarding the hearing that took place almost a year ago, in 2011. I reported on the hearing back then, and it is useful reading for those who wish to know the background on this case.
In the 106-page judgment, the Court of Appeal explained their reasons. The reasons given are more or less consistent with the arguments of the Appellant, Tan Eng Hong. Primarily, the Court of Appeal opined the following:
In the past few weeks, there's been a good buzz coming from Vietnam. The Associated Press reported on the Justice Ministry's proposal on same-sex couples, and the Justice Minister said some very reasonable words that show a respect for LGBT rights that have never come from our local Singapore ministers.
Even longtime gay rights activists are stunned by the Justice Ministry's proposal to include same-sex couples in its overhaul of the country's marriage law. No one knows what form it will take or whether it will survive long enough to be debated before the National Assembly next year, but supporters say the fact that it's even being considered is a victory in a region where simply being gay can result in jail sentences or whippings.
"It's time for us to look at the reality," Justice Minister Ha Hung Cuong said last week in an online chat broadcast on national TV and radio. "The number of homosexuals has mounted to hundreds of thousands. It's not a small figure. ... They may own property. We, of course, have to handle these issues legally."
The LGBTIQ People's Caucus in Cambodia has issued the following statement, also endorsed by Sayoni, calling for sexual orientation and gender identity to be included in the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration.
Inclusion of SOGI Issues and Rights in the ACSC/APF and in the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration
The second convening of the ASEAN Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Queer (LGBTIQ) People’s Caucus at Phnom Penh, Cambodia was not only to celebrate diversity but moreso, to remind the governments and members of civil society that the recognition, promotion and protection of LGBTIQ rights are still long overdue.
For the second year, issues pertaining to sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) have been given equal priority and attention as other struggles and issues at the ASEAN Civil Society Conference/ASEAN People’s Forum (ACSC/APF). While we appreciate the long overdue acknowledgement and opportunity, we need the ACSC/APF to do more than just lip-service.
In the past week, the state of gay marriage in the US wavered again. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that California's Proposition 8 (upheld in 2008) was unconstitutional. Then one day later, Washington voted to approve gay marriage, and the bill will be signed into law very soon. That will hardly be the end of the matter, and the US will certainly witness more back and forth in the days to come, but it could be a step in the right direction.
Following the press statement released by the organisers of Seksualiti Merdeka we posted about, Malaysian activists have brought the case to court. We will have to wait till the Feb 21 hearing to find out how it goes, though.
A short snippet:
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Activists launched a rare legal case Tuesday aimed at fostering gay rights in Malaysia by challenging a police ban on an anti-homophobia arts festival.
The case highlights complaints about discrimination against gays at a time when international rights groups are urging authorities in Muslim-majority Malaysia to abolish laws criminalizing same-sex relations.
The acquittal this week of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim on charges of sodomizing a male former aide prompted Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch to criticize the Malaysian government for insisting on laws that make sodomy punishable by 20-year prison sentences.
On December 15, a quietly momentous report was issued by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, titled "Discriminatory laws and practices and acts of violence against individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity".
The report not only documents laws, practices and violence against people for reasons of sexual orientation and gender identity, it also correlates international human rights law to these happenings, pointing out rights violations, and provides recommendations that member states can take to redress these violations.
This is the video and transcript of United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's speech on LGBT rights for Human Rights Day. The Obama Administration is calling for protection of LGBT rights worldwide, including combating violence and abuse, and has committed US$3 million to support international civil rights organisations.
We are saddened that many Malaysians, including people’s elected representatives, have seen fit to relentlessly persecute, stigmatise and discriminate all those who have found a safe space to dialogue and share information and knowledge on human rights during Seksualiti Merdeka’s events.
We are Malaysian citizens who are being denied our rights to our identity and self-determination. The false allegations and ill-intended remarks made to incite hate towards us are completely unjustified. They have further marginalized a group of Malaysians that have long suffered severe marginalization in society. As a United Nations Human Rights Council member, the Malaysian government should be ashamed for endorsing and encouraging such intimidation and scare tactics.
We would like to call on our readers to sign this petition, addressed to the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, to support his message of decriminalising homosexuality.
Leaders of 54 Commonwealth nations, including PM Lee, will be meeting in Perth from Oct 28-30 for the biennial Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. Reports say that human rights will be an important focus of the summit, with news surfacing that there will be a push for these ex-British colonies to repeal their homophobic laws. The issue on people's minds will be the continuing relevance or irrelevance of the Commonwealth as an institution.
Speaking in Perth, Australia, ahead of the Commonwealth Heads Of Government Meeting, Mr Sharma said Commonwealth countries should “embrace difference” and commit to “tolerance, respect and understanding”.
He said: “We recall the 2009 Affirmation of Commonwealth Values and Principles, which includes a clear commitment to tolerance, respect and understanding. This means we embrace difference, and that includes sexual identity.