Hivos International

LGBT Rights

Pride Month should not be calendar month but a living reality

June is often celebrated as Pride Month – a time to celebrate- the diversity of sexualities and gender identities. Most importantly, it is a time to share stories and experiences of persons who identify as Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Intersex and Queer (LGBTIQ).

 

Puede leer este blog en español aquí.

Merriam-Webster dictionary defines phobia as “an exaggerated usually inexplicable and illogical fear of a particular object, class of objects, or situation”.

In 2014, I was struck by a CNN interview with Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, then Nigeria’s finance minister, in which she was asked about her country’s new draconian anti-LGBT law which had been signed just two months before. The “Same-Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act”  criminalized public displays of affection between same-sex couples and restricted the work of LGBTI organizations.

Two of the most controversial issues in Latin America have resurfaced recently due to the decision by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) that recognises same-sex marriage and the right for Trans people to choose their gender identity as inherent rights.

Photographs by Ángel Damián Reyes / Text by Ángel Damián Reyes and Alonso Jiménez

Lea esta entrada en español.

On 26 January 2017, Lebanese LGBT activists celebrated a significant victory. For the fourth time in the past eight years, a Lebanese judge ruled that homosexuality was not illegal, applying a liberal interpretation of the Lebanese penal code. The abolition of the legal article in question, no. 534, which criminalizes sexual acts contradictory to the ‘laws of nature’, has long been the aim of Hivos’ partner Helem, a local LGBT rights grassroots organization.

How often can you say you’ve attended a ‘historic event’? Not too often, but I think the consultation of - here’s a mouthful -  the Independent Expert on Protection against Violence and Discrimination based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (UN IE SOGI) qualifies as one. This is the first time ever that an official has been mandated within the UN system to work on these issues.

Latin America is suffering from an epidemic. It seems very contagious, but it does not affect the entire population equally. Neither water nor air borne - it is basically unpredictable. We are talking about violence against women, a widespread problem that is not new, but only very recently becoming visible.