News in brief from Nigeria, Uganda, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Botswana, Kenya, Malawi, South Africa and Egypt.
Egypt: Hesham Selim, a well-known Egyptian actor, spoke on television about having a 26-year-old transgender son, Nour. In a rare public show of support for LBGT+ rights in the conservative Muslim country. Selim, 62, made the revelation on a television talk show in which he spoke of the difficulty his son had faced. “One day … she came and told me, ‘I’m living in a body that’s not mine’,” Selim said on the show, using the feminine pronoun that went with his offspring’s former life as a biological girl, Noura, before switching to the “he” that Nour now uses. “As his father, I have to help him to be able to live the life that he wants.” Selim said Egyptian society made it difficult for those who struggled with their gender identity.
Uganda: HIV-positive health worker Simon Peter Bukenya volunteered to bike over 80 kilometres (50 miles) every day to deliver HIV medications to those in the community unable to travel to health centers due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Nigeria: LGBTIQ people living with HIV worry they will be unable to refill their medications during the lockdown. Olumide Makanjuola, a sexual health and rights activist, noted that, because of criminalization and stigma, LGBTIQ people, sex workers, and injecting drug users access their healthcare and obtain medications through “niche, non-governmental organisations” whose operations are restricted at this time.
Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan: Community organizations in those countries were creating new strategies to coordinate access to HIV treatment despite lack of public transportation, curfews, and checkpoints. However, many in these countries fear that using the services will result in stigma and discrimination as their HIV status is exposed.
Indonesia: Forced exorcisms are still touted as a “cure” for LGBT Indonesians, as Agence France-Presse reports. This fantasy-based religious torture has long been wielded against LGBT people in Indonesia and Chechnya. The ritual could become mandatory for Indonesia’s LGBT community if a controversial new law is passed. Treatments range from being bombarded with Quranic verses while trapped in a locked room for days, to being doused with freezing water by an imam promising to purge the “gender disease”.
Botswana, Kenya, Malawi, South Africa, and Uganda: The international social justice organization Arcus Foundation and South Africa-based Iranti published a report examining violence and crimes against LGBTIQ people in Botswana, Kenya, Malawi, South Africa, and Uganda. The report evaluates the existence of NGOs to address anti-LGBTI violence, available government and criminal justice support, and the strength of data collection on these issues.
Thanks for information from ILGA’s LGBulleTin, UNAIDS’s Equal Eyes, Alturi.org and others.