From the January-February 2020 issue of News & Letters
LGBTQ+ rights activist Charlot Jeudy, president of Haiti Queer rights group Kouraj, was found dead in his home in Port-au-Prince. The cause of death is still unknown, but suspicion is high because he received threats of violence over many years, with an uptick near the time of his death. Even though same-sex sexual activity was legalized in Haiti in 2013, LGBTQ+ people still encounter much oppression, harassment and violence. Jessica Stern of OutRight Action International demanded an efficient, transparent and thorough investigation into Jeudy’s death.
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Students and a lecturer at Turkey’s Middle East Tech University are on trial for participating in the annual Pride Parade in 2019. Their supporters were banned from giving a statement of support outside the courthouse where the trial was taking place. The parade in Ankara was banned for the eighth consecutive year. Among the supporters were several officials of European countries. Some of the defendants could be imprisoned for up to three years if found guilty. There is divided support for LGBT people. They face public hostility even though homosexuality has never been illegal in Turkey, and Trans people have been able to change their gender legally since 1988. The case is continued until March.
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Transgender people and their supporters in India protested in the streets against the Transgender Persons (Protections of Rights) 2019 bill. It requires Trans people to apply to the district magistrate for a certificate of identity as a third gender (an identity India’s Supreme Court recognized in 2014), get a screening of a committee’s approval to change their gender, and then provide proof of gender-affirming surgery. Instead, Trans people demand self-identification. Under the bill, punishment for the sexual abuse of a Trans woman would be a prison term of only six months to two years, and there would be no protections in the work place or in public places. The bill speedily passed the lower house, but for now is tabled in Parliament’s upper house.
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Spectrosynthesis II-Exposure of Tolerance, on display at Bangkok’s Art and Culture Centre until March 1, is the largest-ever art exhibit about Southeast Asian LGBTQ+ people. The sponsor, Sunpride Foundation, seeks to raise awareness of the creativity and contributions of Asian LGBTQ people and to raise awareness about sex and sexuality.