Third Gender Members of India Given Legal Recognition

2008-12-29__back02Good news for transgender individuals in India, who identify themselves as part of the 3rd sex instead of falling into the male/female gender binary, as the government issues the Aadhaar card. Originally the cards would only permit citizens to label themselves as male or female based on the biological sex characteristics they were born with.

In India and Pakistan, members of the third gender are called hijras.  The word “hijra” does not specify a member’s specific sexual orientation, but instead connotates a renunciation of sexuality which allegedly results in the hijras being given sacred powers. In reality, sadly, most hijras become prostitutes and live at the margins of modern society.  Many hijras get make money from performing at ceremonies or begging. Violence against members of the third gender is widespread and often condoned and even enacted by local police.  Hijras face extreme discrimination in health, housing, education, employment, immigration, law, and any bureaucracy that is unable to place them into male or female gender categories.

The Aadhar card gives members of the “third gender” the ability to be recognized by the government, and to maintain their own gender identity. The AADHAAR program began in February of 2009, and provides a unique identification number to all Indians. The card also contains biometric data on its holder. It is believed that Unique National IDs will help address the rigged state elections and widespread embezzlement that affects subsidies and poverty alleviation programs.



SCOTUSCongratulations to everyone! So happy to know that the Supreme Court was wise enough to knock down the Defense of Marriage Act, and made same-sex marriage federally recognizable.. I have hoped for this day for a very long time, and am happy to know that my future marriage will be recognized by the federal government, not just the state I live in.



Brazil Contemplating the Re-Introduction of Gay Conversion Therapy

Marco Feliciano, a member of the Social Christian Party, has been a major proponent of the re-introduction of conversion therapy in Brazil.
Marco Feliciano, a member of the Social Christian Party, has been a major proponent of the re-introduction of conversion therapy in Brazil.

As Exodus International closed its doors earlier this week, a congressional human rights committee in Brazil approved legislation that would permit conversion therapy to once again be practiced in Brazil. Conversion therapy has been prohibited in Brazil since 1999.

Under the legislation, conversion therapy would be a viable treatment for homosexuality.  This also means that the Brazilian government would, at some level, recognize homosexuality as a psychological disorder worthy of treatment instead of acceptance as simply a morally permissible lifestyle.

“In practice, (the initiative’s) result would be that a person over 18 years of age, responsible for his actions, who is homosexual and wants to reorient his sexuality, can be attended by a psychologist,” said lawmaker Joao Campos, a member of the evangelical bloc of Brazil’s lower house.

The group pushing the legislation forward is led by Marco Feliciano, a pastor and member of the Social Christian Party. Mr. Feliciano has made major headlines in the past for comparing AIDS to “gay cancer” in a tweet.

The Brazilian psychology council has expressed their aversion to the legislation, and encouraged members to vote it down. The initiative still must be debated by other committees before going to the full Chamber of Deputies and the Senate for votes.

Jean Wyllys, Brazil’s first openly gay lawmaker, expressed confidence the initiative would not make it through the legislative process.

I am guessing Mr. Feliciano will have some stake in the future Christian therapy centers. Just a hunch…

Read more:

Vietnam Announces It Will Debate Same-Sex Marriage’s Legalization

map-vietnamGood and surprising news came out of Vietnam yesterday, when the nation’s National Assembly announced that it would begin a debate on whether or not to legalize same-sex marriage.

This announcement comes after an increase in pro-LGBT organizations in Vietnam over the last few years, and Vietnam’s first pride parade held in August 2012, despite Vietnam’s poor human rights record. The parade was peaceful, and leaders of the health and justice ministries and openly showed support for marriage equality.

Some believe advances in LGBT rights can more easily come about, because they do not threaten the communist party’s agenda like free speech and assembly do.

Read more: The Advocate

Exodus International Closes Its Doors

Alan Chambers, former president of Exodus International, now claims he ignored his own same-sex attractions while married to his wife. He was never cured of being gay.

More good news came this week, as Exodus International officially announced it will be closing its doors after 37 years of trying to convince gay and lesbian individuals that they could be cured of their same-sex attractions through faith work.

The president of the organization, Alan Chambers, apologized publicly for the “pain and hurt” that Exodus International has caused to the LGBT community. Chambers had gone so far as to compare homosexuality to obesity in the past. Chambers went on to say:

“I am sorry we promoted sexual orientation change efforts and reparative theories about sexual orientation that stigmatized parents,” he added. “I am sorry that there were times I didn’t stand up to people publicly ‘on my side’ who called you names like sodomite — or worse.”

Over its 37 years of existence, the organization had grown to over 220 ministries in North America.

The group’s website said that the decision came “after a year of dialogue and prayer about the organization’s place in a changing culture”.  The American Psychological Association has never supported conversion therapy for same-sex attractions, and found in 2009, that there was insufficient evidence to support claims like those made by Exodus International.

Conversion therapy sites that were associated with Exodus International may still operate, but they will not be permitted to use the Exodus International name.

Exodus International claimed that people are not born gay, but rather choose to indulge in same-sex attractions. They wanted you to pray your gay away. Obviously, this didn’t work. Many of us know how hard it is to come to terms with our sexuality, and remember wishing it gone. My heart goes out to all of the people who were sent to this organization and similar Christian youth and adult groups to change their sexuality.

Remember, you can’t change certain things about yourself and in most cases you can’t change other people. In the words of Rupaul, “if you don’t love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?” “Can I get an amen?!”


Read more: NY Daily News

Poll Finds Majority of Poles Support Same Sex Rights

images (5)Well, I thought today I should actually report on some good news since the state of things seems to be a bit depressing especially in the old Soviet Bloc. So here is something positive:

Apparently, the majority of the Polish public is supportive of the relationships of same-sex couples being legal recognized in some way by the government. In a recent international survey of 16 countries, 60% of Poles said they would support civil partnerships or another type of legal recognition for same-sex couples.

As of yet, Poland had not passed any legislation creating civil partnerships or other rights for same-sex couples. The majority of survey-takers also were against adoptions of children by same-sex couples.

The poll, taken in Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Norway, Poland, South Korea, Spain, Sweden and United States, found in general that 52 percent support full marriage equality in the 16 countries, and 21 percent support some form of legal recognition but not marriage.

Let’s hope that these recent findings inspire legislation that will protect the rights of same-sex couples in Poland.

Read more: News from Poland

Russia Moves Closer to Ban on Adoptions by Gay Foreign Couples

russiaRussia has made yet another disappointing decision, as the Lower House of the nation’s parliament has passed a ban on the adoption of Russian orphans by same-sex gay couples abroad.

Supposedly, the bill will protect orphans from the dangers of gay parents, because they will have much better chances being raised in large orphanages where they don’t get individualized attention or parental guidance…yeah, makes perfect sense, doesn’t it?

Not only are gay couples from abroad banned from adopting Russian children, but also single citizens of nations that permit same-sex marriage are also prohibited from adopting or becoming legal guardians of Russian orphans.

I feel bad for the children who may have been adopted into a loving home with supportive parents if this ban passes the Upper House of the Russian Parliament and is signed into law later by Vladimir Putin. Let’s hope the Russian Federation gets some sense.

Olympians Protected from Anti-Gay Ban in Russia

Olympic%20Truce%20EmblemGood news has come for Olympians, although not for LGBT Russian residents, as the International Olympic Committee has announced that LGBT competitors will be welcome to compete in Russia in 2014.

Last week, the lower house of the Russian Parliament passed a ban on public discussion, events, or the provision of information about LGBT lifestyles to any minor in Russia. This means there can be no advertisements or other public displays that acknowledge same-sex lifestyles. The ban was passed in a 436 to 0 vote. Now it will move on to the upper house of Parliament before a final approval by Vladimir Putin. The ban is expected to be passed by the 1st of July 2013.

Many lesbian and gay olympians have expressed concern over the measure and their own safety in Russia. For any foreigner who violates the law, they may face up to 15 days in jail as well as deportation.

Although it was nice of Russia to commit to the safety of olympians from prosecution, why can’t they do the same for their own people who pay taxes and work toward Russia’s progression daily?

Read more: The Huffington Post

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