At Quartz, Ana Campoy examines in depth the global adoption by far-right advocates of conspiracy theories about the teaching of “gender ideology” or “gender theory.” As Campoy notes, Catholic conservatives have played a major role in creating and spreading the gender ideology “straw man” in order to resist efforts to advance sexual and reproductive rights internationally. The rhetorical war against “gender ideology” has been used in different countries to oppose sex education, marriage equality, access to abortion, and, in Colombia, even the proposed peace treaty with FARC rebels.
With the assistance of the Lebanese Psychological Association and LebMASH, the American Psychological Association’s Q&A documents on sexual orientation and transgender identity have been published in Arabic. The publications ae also available in Chinese, Russian, and Spanish.
United Nations: Anti-Gay countries threaten new expert on SOGI related violence & discrimination
LGBT equality advocates at the United Nations won a major victory this summer when the Human Rights Council voted to create an independent expert position to monitor violence and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. But conservative religious opponents of gay rights have been up in arms since that vote, and now it appears that their allies among anti-gay countries in the UN General Assembly may vote to block the hiring of Thai diplomat Vitit Mantarbhorn, part of a larger effort to discredit the notion that LGBT rights should even be considered human rights. BuzzFeed’s Lester Feder has the details.
A new report from the High Commissioner for Human Rights circulated on Monday said that LGBT people are victims of “pervasive violent abuse, harassment and discrimination” around the world. More from the Guardian:
The rights chief expressed concern about laws enacted or proposed in the past two years to restrict public discussion of sexual orientation under the guise of protecting minors from information on not-traditional sexual relations. He pointed to Kyrgyzstan, Nigeria, Moldova, Russia, Uganda and Ukraine.
The report makes more than 20 recommendations including urging all countries to ban so-called “conversion therapies” intended to “cure” homosexual attraction as well as involuntary treatment, forced sterilisation and forced genital and anal examinations.
The high commissioner also calls for changing laws to remove offences relating to consensual same-sex conduct, investigating and prosecuting alleged hate-crimes and prohibiting incitement of hatred and violence on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity.
New Ways Ministry’s Bob Shine responded to the report, saying “The realities of suffering and abuse necessitate renewed solidarity from Catholics, including human rights advocacy by the Vatican.” Shine noted a recent statement from the international Network of Reform Movements, which said that “the dignity of the human person is clearly expressed in the Gospels and the social justice teachings of our Church” and that human dignity “should be the foundation of a truly Catholic response” to LGBT people and their families.
Brazil: Anti-gay Pentecostal pastor elected mayor of Rio
Evangelical pastor Marcelo Crivella won a convincing victory in a runoff election to be elected mayor of Rio de Janeiro, which Associated Press called “a sign of the resurgence of conservatism in Brazil.” (Some awkward language from online translation)
The triumph of conservative Crivella is the latest sign of widespread anger in Brazil towards traditional leftist parties in the midst of a deep recession after impeachment by which the Workers Party was ousted from power, which had been for 13 years.
Also it marks a political rise of evangelical churches as Pentecostal.
Although Crivella had run in previous elections for mayor and governor and all lost, this time the surveys identified him as clear favorite of cariocas, as told to the inhabitants of Rio de Janeiro.
“I pray to God that my public life as complicated as it has been, can teach all Cariocas that always comes our time if we do not give up,” said Crivella Sunday before a crowd of supporters.
Crivella, 59, is the nephew of Edir Macedo, founder of the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, the major Pentecostal denomination in Brazil.
Although Brazil is the world’s largest Catholic nation, the local evangelical community is increasing and now accounts for a fifth of the 200 million inhabitants of the country.
Known for their religious songs on YouTube as “Jesus heals” and “I am Israel” Crivella drew criticism for his statements against homosexuals, Catholics and African religions.
In a book he wrote at the end of an evangelical mission in Africa, Maracelo Crivella said that gays are victims of a “terrible evil” that the Catholic Church “preaches demonic doctrines” and that Hinduism and African religions harbor “unclean spirits “.
Indonesia: Anti-LGBT college official: “normalize” or punish LGBT students
The year-long anti-LGBT campaign by religious and political leaders continues, as the Jakarta Post reports that the rector of the State University of Gorontalo announced the creation of a special team to monitor students who identify as LGBT and require them to attend sessions to “normalize” them. The rector said that students who refuse to “give up” their LGBT identity would have their scholarships revoked and would not be permitted to use campus facilities other than attending classes.
Another official, Social Affairs Minister Khofifah Indar Parawansa suggested making college dorms “doorless” to prevent college students from having sex.
Also this week, hard-line Muslims violently protested against Jakarta’s governor, a Christian and the first ethnic Chinese to hold the post:
The protest was held to demand that Mr Purnama be prosecuted for blasphemy over comments he made in September that were seen as criticising a Koranic verse.
He said that Islamic groups using a passage of the Koran to urge people not to support him were deceiving voters, who will go to the polls in February.
The verse is interpreted by some as prohibiting Muslims from living under the leadership of a non-Muslim.
Mr Purnama has since apologised but formal complaints were lodged against him by Islamic groups for defamation. He is now being investigated by police.
Mexico: Election officials certify signatures on proposed anti-LGBT constitutional amendment
The National Electoral Institute has certified signatures gathered by anti-equality Catholic, Evangelical, and Mormon activists on a proposed constitutional amendment that would restrict marriage only to man-woman couples. The proposed amendment would also “protect life from the moment of conception” until natural death – which could criminalize many forms of birth control as well as abortion – and strengthen parents’ ability to shield their children from sex education
LGBT activists held a press conference charging that anti-gay rhetoric from clergy has contributed to increased violence against gay and transgender people. One of the country’s cardinals, who has stridently opposed marriage equality and urged gay Mexicans to remain celibate, asked for forgiveness for what he called “inadequate expressions” regarding the gay community.
Vatican: Official chides Catholic radio for saying Italian earthquakes God’s judgment for civil unions
A commentator on the conservative Catholic radio network Radio Maria said this week that the recent series of earthquakes in Italy was “God’s punishment” for the country’s approval of civil unions for same-sex couples. Reuters reports that Vatican Deputy Secretary of State Archbishop Angelo Becciu condemned the comments as “offensive for believers and scandalous for non-believers” and asked for forgiveness from earthquake victims.
South Africa: Gay Imam profiled
Deutsche Welle profiles Muhsin Hendricks, an openly gay imam whose Inner Circle congegation “helps queer-identified Muslims reconcile their sexuality with their religion.”
Hendricks lends support to gay Muslims who have been exposed to intolerance from more-orthodox Islamic leaders in their communities. He experienced this firsthand, having grown up under the teachings of his grandfather, who also was an imam.
“I grew up hearing my grandfather preaching from the pulpit that gay people would go to hell,” Hendricks said. “So, I thought there was no place of expression for sexuality in my life. The community tells you you should just get married and then it will all go away. And so I got married. But it didn’t even take us a year to realize that we had made a big mistake.”
Hendricks had two children with his wife, but then divorced her to seek a more honest life: “I needed to let the world know that I was an imam, but that I was also gay. Some Muslims may want to live like this still is seventh-century Arabia, but it’s not. If I can’t be part of their Islam, so be it.”
Hendricks is also the subject of a story appearing in Quartz this week:
“This is who I am and if that means I am going to be killed because of my authenticity, then that is how I choose to meet God,” said Hendricks, now 48. He is determined to “establish a movement that can respond to patriarchy and Islamic extremism.” The imam has invited queer Muslims around the world to join him.
China: Book about gay Catholics shunned by publishers
UCAN India reports that a book of stories about “gay Catholics and their family members from China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Chinese communities in Malaysia” is having a hard time finding a publisher. One Catholic publisher in Hong Kong said, If we publish a book about pro-gay Catholics, we have to publish another one with an opposite opinion.”
Romania: Party leader wants to separate marriage amendment vote from parliamentary elections
Liviu Dragnea, chairman of the Social Democratic Party, asked two of his colleagues to withdraw a bill calling for a referendum on a constitutional amendment to restrict marriage to a man and a woman, reports the Associated Press. The legislation would put the referendum before voters on December 11, when parliamentary elections will be held; Dragnea does not want the referendum to interfere with the election. Notes AP:
The conservative and influential Romanian Orthodox Church backs the proposed change in the constitution.
Same-sex marriage is not legal in Romania, and the unions of same-sex couples married abroad are not recognized.
Romania’s Constitutional Court is currently considering a petition made by two men, a Romanian and American, who want their 2010 marriage in Belgium legally recognized.
The court has postponed making a ruling three times. The next hearing is set for Nov. 29.
Iran: Commentary on ‘double-edged sword’ treatment of transgender people
OutRight Action International’s Kevin Schumacher calls Iran’s treatment of transgender people a double-edged sword in a commentary at Huffington Post:
Iran – an Islamic theocracy that criminalizes consensual same-sex relations, forces women to adhere to a strict and modest dress code in public, and has zero-tolerance for dissident’s freedom of expression – presents a surprisingly lenient attitude on trans issues. On the surface, the Iranian government seems supportive of the trans community. Official reports reveal that gender confirmation surgery for trans individuals is subsidized by the state. Trans activists are also legally allowed to organize and register an advocacy group and benefit from public assistance, such as access to free office space provided by Tehran’s Municipality. In reality however, while the trans community in Iran enjoys more rights than in any other Muslim country in the region, pervasive social discrimination and legal abuse against trans individuals remains a consistent fact of life.
Uganda: Report on forced anal exams to ‘prove’ homosexuality
The Thomason Reuters Foundation reports on gay Ugandans being subjected to torturous forced anal exams meant to “prove” someone’s homosexuality.
Morocco: Teenage girls face jail for kissing
CNN reported this week that two teenage girls “face up to three years in jail on homosexuality charges after they were caught kissing.”
Australia: Queensland approves adoption by same-sex couples
The parliament in Queensland passed legislation this week allowing same-sex couples, single people and those undergoing fertility treatments to adopt children.
Canada: Lawsuits seek compensation for fired LGBT military and public employees
Lawyers have filed two class action lawsuits against the federal government seeking compensation for hundreds of LGBT people who were forced out of military or civil service jobs before 1992.
Venezuela: Activists seek asylum in U.S.
The Washington Blade’s Michael Lavers reports on two Venezuelan LGBT activists who said “death threats forced them to flee to the U.S.”