News briefs about countries with anti-gay laws, excerpted with slight modifications from UNAIDS’s Equal Eyes recap of the world’s LGBTI-related news and elsewhere:
UN agencies seek LGBTI protections
Twelve United Nations agencies last month released a historic joint statement urging member nations to end violence and discrimination against all people on the basis of their actual or perceived sexuality orientation or gender identity, noting that failure to protect LGBTI people is a “serious violation of international human rights law.”
Speaking at an LGBT core ministerial meeting held on the sidelines of the General Assembly, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon applauded the agencies for the joint statement, noting:
There are 17 sustainable development goals [SDGs] all based on a single, guiding principle: to leave no one behind. We will only realize this vision if we reach all people regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Also at the General Assembly, Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Abel Al-Jubeir insisted that the SDGs should have no references to LGBT rights, announcing that Saudi Arabia would not follow any agenda that is “counter to Islamic Law.” President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe told the General Assembly he rejected “new rights” that are “contrary to our values”–adding “We are not gays!”
Meanwhile President Obama’s statement to the Assembly emphasized that in the US “everybody can contribute” no matter “who they love” and that “that’s what makes us strong.”
Christian role models for LGBT equality
The Stonewall organization in the United Kingdom published a new report on Christian role models for LGBT equality to encourage inclusion within the church. Among them is a West African man who states that, as a Christian, “I’ll continue to fight to gain acceptance and respect. I hope I will survive the torture of living in an environment where no one accepts us. I hope one day I can finally go to Bible seminary and qualify as a minister. My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus Christ.” In Russia, activist Mikhail Tumasov says in the report:
“I worship in a group of people from many different traditions. We have members who aren’t Christian, but it’s a safe place for them to follow other religions. And we have non-believers who just like being part of our meetings. Not everyone is LGBT; some members are straight. But everybody is welcome. We have groups in Moscow, St. Petersburg and Vladivostok.”We’re not organised like a typical church, because some people have had bad experiences with churches and there are negative correlations to that. I understand how they feel, but I like being part of something. I cannot be a single Christian; I cannot survive without community.”
North Africans protest, hold day of remembrance
In Algeria the LGBT community held its 9th annual remembrance for LGBT rights, despite the existing penal code that punishes “homosexual acts” with up to three years in prison.
In Tunisia, the LGBT organization Shams held a conference to protest the arrest and unlawful invasive examination of a young man accused of being gay. Participants rallied to seek the repeal of Article 230, which criminalizes men who have sex with men.