Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Lembembe Tortured and Killed in Cameroon

Eric Ohena Lembembe, a prominent activist in Cameroon for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people, was found dead in his apartment in the capital of Yaoundé, soon after he wrote about attacks in the country on organizations that support homosexuals, Human Rights Watch said in a statement on Tuesday. The rights group, which has collaborated with Mr. Lembembe on the reports, said his body was discovered by friends who had gone to his home after they had been unable to reach him by telephone for several days. His front door was padlocked on the outside, but through the window they could see his body on the bed, and alerted the police, who broke down the door. According to one friend, the Human Rights Watch statement said, Mr. Lembembe’s neck and feet appeared to have been broken, and his face, hands and feet had been burned with an iron. “We don’t know who killed Eric Lembembe, or why he was killed, but one thing is clear: The Cameroonian authorities’ utter failure to stem homophobic violence sends the message that these attacks can be carried out with impunity,” Neela Ghoshal, a senior L.G.B.T. rights researcher for Human Rights Watch, said in the statement. As part of his activism, Mr. Lembembe was an author and a writer about issues affecting the L.G.B.T. community. In his last blog entry this month for a Web site to which he contributed, Erasing 76 Crimes, Mr. Lembembe described attacks on groups that support gays and lesbians, the latest of which targeted the Access Center of Alternatives-Cameroon. “At about 7 a.m. on June 26, the staff discovered flames coming from the office of paramedics/psychosocial counselors. Firefighters did not respond to the blaze, nor did neighbors. The center was consumed by the fire. Although no one was killed, most of the equipment (desks, chairs, computers, fans, patients’ medical records, cooking utensils, etc..) was completely destroyed,” Franz Mananga, a director of the center, was quoted as saying in Mr. Lembembe’s report. “Cameroonian officials show no signs that they are aware of the problem. No one has denounced the attacks. No one has visited the scenes of the fire and the burglaries,” Mr. Lembembe wrote in the post, published on July 5. 

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Immigration Benefits For Binational Gay Couples To Change

WASHINGTON — The government says it will begin extending immigration benefits to gay married couples in light of the Supreme Court’s decision striking down key portions of a federal gay marriage law. That means that U.S. citizens or permanent residents with foreign spouses would be able to sponsor their partners for U.S. residency, like straight married Americans can.  Read More Here.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Will Vietnam Beat U.S. On Gay Marriage?

HANOI ― June 21, 2013: International human rights advocates rarely give communist authorities here a thumbs up. Vietnamese bloggers, folk singers and journalists are behind bars for deeds and words that in many countries are considered birthright freedoms. Yet in one respect, Vietnam's powers-that-be seem open-minded. As the U.S. Supreme Court ponders the constitutionality of same-sex marriage, Vietnam's National Assembly delegates have agreed to debate the same moral and legal question, raising the possibility that Vietnam could become the first Asian country to sanction such unions. "I'm optimistic," says activist Tran Khac Tung during a recent "LGBT" political workshop. The English acronym for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender has become shorthand here for a cause that has swiftly moved from a taboo to a popular topic of political discourse. In a culture with folklore that exalts the plodding perseverance of the turtle, the advance has been swift . A process that required decades of struggle in the West has been compressed into a few years here. Only recently have Vietnam's gays and lesbians stepped from their shells in such numbers large enough to be considered a movement. Last summer, Hanoi hosted Vietnam's first gay pride parade that, unlike other unsanctioned demonstrations here, did not result in any arrests. Things were much different only six years ago, when Le Quang Binh left the international non-profit Oxfam to founded iSEE, a Hanoi-based research and social justice advocacy group. There was scant data regarding gays and lesbians homosexuality in Vietnam. The LGBT community, such as it was, could most readily be found in a variety of online forums that attracted tens of thousands of participants, the vast majority of whom used pseudonyms. When Binh reached out to the Ho Chi Minh City-based webmasters of these forums, some suspected he might be a government agent. Achieving a sense of trust, the scattered constituency agreed to collaborate and promote openness and equal rights. At an early strategy session, activists targeted 2020 as the year Vietnam would legalize same-sex marriage. Could they beat their goal by seven years? "Ask the prime minister," Binh says, laughing. … There is less cynicism now. "I've seen there's change," Binh says. "They understand that human rights is human rights. It's the right thing to do." And as one box gets checked off, they could move on to others. "We always push for more freedom, more justice, more equality," Binh says. "We test the waters."  Read More Here.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Nigeria Bans Gay Marriage: Setting Prison Sentences Of Up To 14 Years

ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) — May 30, 2013: Nigeria's House of Representatives voted Thursday to ban gay marriage and outlaw any groups actively supporting gay rights, endorsing a measure that also calls for 10-year prison sentences for any "public show" of affection by a same-sex couple. Under the proposed law, Nigeria would ban any same-sex marriage from being conducted in either a church or a mosque. Gay or lesbian couples who marry could face up to 14 years each in prison. Witnesses or anyone who helps couples marry could be sentenced to 10 years behind bars. Anyone taking part in a group advocating for gay rights or anyone caught in a "public show" of affection also would face 10 years in prison if convicted by a criminal court.  Read more at Washington Post.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Priest-Led Mob Attacks Gay Rights Marchers in Georgia

MOSCOW — A throng of thousands led by priests in black robes surged through police cordons in downtown Tbilisi, Georgia, on Friday and attacked a group of about 50 gay rights demonstrators. Carrying banners reading “No to mental genocide” and “No to gays,” the masses of mostly young men began by hurling rocks and eggs at the gay rights demonstrators. The police pushed most of the demonstrators onto yellow minibuses to evacuate them from the scene, but, the attackers swarmed the buses, trying to break the windows with metal gratings, trash cans, rocks and even fists. At least 12 people were reported hospitalized, including three police officers and eight or nine of the gay rights marchers. “They wanted to kill all of us,” said Irakli Vacharadze, the head of Identoba, the Tbilisi-based gay rights advocacy group that organized the rally. Nino Bolkvadze, 35, a lawyer for the group who was among the marchers, said that if they had not been close to the buses when the violence began, “we would all have been corpses.”  Read more at NYT.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Third U.S. State In Three Weeks Legalizes Gay Marriage

UNITED STATES ― Gay marriage continues its sweep across the U.S. Crowds cheered on Gov. Mark Dayton on Tuesday evening after he signed a bill making Minnesota the 12th state in the nation, and the third in three weeks, to allow same-sex marriage. "Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness certainly includes the right to marry the person you love," Dayton said before signing the bill at the steps of the state Capitol in St. Paul. The move came after the Democrat-controlled Senate passed the legislation on a 37-30 vote. Before the vote, same-sex marriage opponents protested at the Capitol. A paper tombstone on the Capitol lawn read, "RIP MARRIAGE, 2013." Two years earlier, the Legislature put a referendum on the ballot that would have banned same-sex marriage. Minnesotans voted down the proposal in November. Gay marriage will become legal in Minnesota on Aug. 1. However, churches are not required to perform the unions. Minnesota is just the latest in a string of states to allow gay marriage. Delaware became the 11th state to approve such unions last week -- and Rhode Island took similar action a week before that. Washington, Maryland and Maine voters approved same-sex marriage in November. The District of Columbia and the states of Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and New York also allow gay marriage. 

Ekta Transglobal Foundation Loves Facebook!

We love Facebook! Please like our Ekta Transglobal Foundation Facebook page, and share us with your social media friends. And please join Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil's Facebook page to follow his travels and work for the LGBT community. Thank you.

Moscow Won’t Allow a Gay Rights Parade

MOSCOW — Moscow officials rejected on Wednesday an application by gay rights advocates to hold a parade later this month, saying the event could undermine a campaign to instill patriotic values in the city’s youth. The refusal emphasized the Russian government’s support for a wave of legislation in cities across the country banning “homosexual propaganda.” The Moscow decision was issued just days after a man was killed in a savage attack that investigators said was motivated by homophobia in the city of Volgograd in southern Russia. “According to Russian legislation, we must work clearly and consistently on maintaining morality, oriented toward the teaching of patriotism in the growing generation, and not toward incomprehensible aspirations,” said Aleksei Mayorov, the director of regional safety for the city administration, in a statement carried by the Interfax news agency. “In our opinion,” Mr. Mayorov continued, “there is no demand for these kinds of events in the city.” Critics of a proposed federal ban on “homosexual propaganda,” an umbrella term for rallies and other public demonstrations by gay rights advocates, say the local laws are already encouraging hate crimes against gay men. The murder in Volgograd last week of a 23-year-old man, who investigators said had been sodomized with beer bottles and beaten to death with a concrete block, was reported on the national television news and evoked an outcry from Russia’s gay community.  From New York Times.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil's Biographical Film and Mission

Please watch and share this movie about Prince Manvendra and his mission. We need all the attention and help we can get in continuing to build a global platform for LGBT Advocacy. Thank you for sharing!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Uruguay Lawmakers Vote to Legalize Gay Marriage

Uruguayan lawmakers voted to legalize gay marriage, making the South American country the third in the Americas to do so. Supporters of the law, who had filled the public seats in the legislative building, erupted in celebration Wednesday when the results were announced. The bill received the backing of 71 of the 92 members of the Chamber of Deputies present. "We are living a historic moment," said Federico Grana, a leader of the Black Sheep Collective, a gay rights group that drafted the proposal. "In terms of the steps needed, we calculate that the first gay couples should be getting married 90 days after the promulgation of the law, or in the middle of July." The "marriage equality project," as it is called, was already approved by ample majorities in both legislative houses, but senators made some changes that required a final vote by the deputies. Among them: Gay and lesbian foreigners will now be allowed to come to Uruguay to marry, just as heterosexual couples can, said Michelle Suarez of the Black Sheep Collective. President Jose Mujica, whose governing Broad Front majority backed the law, is expected to put it into effect within 10 days. Read more here.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Gay Couple Marry In South African Town’s First Same-Sex Union

Tshepo Modisane and Thoba Sithole
Photo: Sunday Tribune/Independent Online
DURBAN, South Africa—Two men married on Saturday in a rare South African gay wedding in KwaDukuza on Saturday, in what has been described as the town’s first same-sex union. Tshepo Modisane and Thoba Sithole, both 27, walked down the aisle in front of 200 guests at the Stanger Siva Sungam community hall, reported the Independent Online. Thoba, a Joburg-based IT specialist, is from Shakaville, KwaDukuza and Tshepo an audit manager at PwC. They have known each other for years and dated on and off, before stabilizing their relationship. Now that they are wedded, they will take on the double-barrelled surname of Sithole-Modisane. The couple appeared to enjoy the support from the community, family and friends. The couple was profiled in February by Mamba Online, and acknowledged there is a lack of openly gay role models in South Africa, especially among people of color. “People are still ashamed because the vast majority of the black community is not accepting of being a homosexual. They see it as largely being a ‘Western trend’ that is in fashion lately,” said Tshepo. “If our action of getting married and being bold and proud about it is emulated by more members of the LGBTI community who are black, then so be it. If people are inspired by our love and actions and want to do the same to follow in our footsteps then we don’t mind being labelled as ‘role models’ in the LGBTI community." South Africa outlaws discrimination based on sexual orientation, and in December 2006, South Africa became the fifth country in the world, and the first in Africa, to legalize same-sex marriage.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

One Result If DOMA is Struck Down: Immigration Benefits For Gay Couples

Lavi Soloway, an attorney who represents same-sex married couples on immigration issues, said he expects his clients will be able to apply for green cards for their spouses as soon as DOMA is struck down, no matter which state they reside in. That's because in immigration law, your marriage is recognized if it's valid in the place where it was performed. In estate tax, the specific case Kaplan and Alito talked about, a marriage is considered valid only if it's recognized in the state you are residing in when your spouse dies. If DOMA is struck down, then, it will probably lead to a case by case analysis of the 1,138 federal statutes that use marriage as a factor to see which benefits gay couples who move away from states that grant same-sex marriages will qualify for. In some of those statutes—such as estate tax exemptions—the place of residence will be the deciding factor, while in others, such as the ability to apply for a green card for your spouse, it will only matter where your marriage license was issued. In cases where it's not clearly spelled out, it will most likely be up to the federal agency to decide whether the marriage is valid or not. Read the full article here.