Dreaming of Gay Rights in Delhi

New Delhi — Danish Sheikh’s life has mirrored India’s tortuous relationship with gay rights. In 2011, when he was a young lawyer, he held a placard at the Bangalore Pride March that read: “Elizabeth Taylor had eight husbands. I just want one.” That lightheartedness was part of the spirit of a happier time. In 2009,… Read more »

The brutal reality transgender women face under Myanmar’s ‘darkness law’

Editors’ Note: This story describes situations that could be upsetting for some readers. Yangon, Myanmar — A transgender sex worker in Myanmar’s main city of Yangon was waiting for customers on a dark street one night last year when two police officers approached her and demanded she have sex with them for free. When she… Read more »

In Uzbekistan, transgender man breaks barriers with transparent transition

Yan has a harrowing reminder of how haters in Uzbekistan treat transgender people. “There’s a scar left by a screwdriver next to my liver,” the craggy-bearded and long-haired transgender man says, describing how his college classmates attacked him in 1997 in Tashkent, the capital of this former Soviet republic, a mostly Muslim nation of 31… Read more »

India rejects bill to decriminalise gay sex… again

Politicians in India have voted down a bill that would decriminalise gay sex for the second time in three months. Activists have been battling to remove Section 377, the country’s colonial-era anti-gay law, which was reinstated by the Supreme Court in 2013. However, the cause has failed to pick up steam in Parliament, and activists… Read more »

Islamists Shutter First Trans Mosque

Indonesia is more progressive when it comes to gender fluidity than the West, but that tolerance has come under attack by Islamists. On Sundays, Shinta Ratri would sit in the back of the mosque, in her hijab and a full-body prayer garment, preparing to pray among her transgender sisters. Most of them would line up… Read more »

China bans depictions of gay people on television

Content that ‘exaggerates dark side of society’ is banned from TV – from homosexuality to adultery, showing cleavage and even reincarnation The Chinese government has banned all depictions of gay people on television, as part of a cultural crackdown on “vulgar, immoral and unhealthy content”. Chinese censors have released new regulations for content that “exaggerates… Read more »

CoE Report Calls Out Georgia for Discrimination against Religious Minorities and LGBT

Discrimination against religious minorities and the LGBT community is on the rise, as is a law enforcement deficient in Georgia, says the Council of Europe’s Anti-racism Commission. On 1st of March, 2016, The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) published its fourth report on Georgia, analysing recent developments and outstanding issues, and providing recommendations… Read more »

To Be, or Not to Be, in Bhutan

On My First Visit to Bhutan in 2007, one of the participants on our trip asked our guide Dorji about gay people in Bhutan. Dorji’s straight-faced reply was “I don’t think we have gay people in Bhutan.” Our driver, Karma, smirked at this comment, saying that he thought otherwise. But it was common to hear… Read more »

Indonesia psychiatrists label homosexuality, bisexuality and transgender as mental disorders

Indonesia’s leading psychiatric body says that LGBT can be cured through proper treatment. The Indonesian Psychiatrists Association (PDSKJI) has said that such ‘sexual tendencies’ are triggered by external factors and can be healed through psychiatric treatment. PDSKJI member Suzy Yusna Dewi talked to the Jakarta Post to address the country’s rising concerns on the growing… Read more »

China removes gay high school drama from streaming sites

China’s first gay web series has been removed from streaming sites. Addicted – a 15-episode series about a gay high school couple – vanished from the internet without warning on Monday (February 22), leaving angry fans in the country unable to watch the last three episodes. According to local media reports, censors took issue with… Read more »

Thailand Opens Clinic For Transgender People

Thailand opened its first clinic for transgender people in December. The Tangerine Community Health Center is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and other development groups. It offers psychosocial counseling, hormone administration and pap smears. U.S. Ambassador Glyn T. Davis attended the clinic’s opening in Bangkok. “The Tangerine Center will provide… Read more »

North Korea’s only openly gay defector: ‘it’s a weird life’

It wasn’t until he escaped that Jang Yeong-jin even knew the word to describe his sexuality. He talks to Jumin Kim about his new-found identity By North Korean standards Jang Yeong-jin had a normal start in life: he joined the military at 19, completed 10 years of national service and married soon after. But trapped… Read more »

Japanese tech giant Panasonic to ‘recognise’ same-sex marriages despite lack of legal status

Japanese tech giant Panasonic has made a bold statement by extending employment rights to its gay and lesbian employees – despite a lack of government recognition. Though homosexuality has long been legal in Japan, the country does not formally recognise same-sex partnerships – and households headed by same-sex couples are ineligible for the legal protections… Read more »

Meet the man who escaped North Korea, learned what homosexuality is, and came out as gay

A gay defector from North Korea has revealed he had no idea what homosexuality was until he left the country. The reclusive Asian country is renowned for its secrecy, warmongering, and the oppressive rule of the Kim dynasty, currently headed by 33-year-old Kim Jong-un, who claims to have cured AIDS and hangovers. Given the country’s… Read more »

Dispatches: No ‘Honor’ in Murder in Pakistan

They planned to shoot 19-year-old Saba Qaiser in the head, put her body in a bag, and dump it in the river. It’s pure luck that they didn’t succeed. Saba was wounded but not dead, and managed to drag herself out of the river. Her attackers? Her father and her uncle, who sought revenge on… Read more »

Social workers in Singapore not trained to deal with LGBT issues

Reports reveal that three quarters of social workers in Singapore said they have not had any training on LGBT issues. But one group is doing something to change that. Social workers in Singapore feel ill-equipped to attend to clients with LGBT-related issues according to Straits Times. In November 2015, a study published in the International… Read more »

MUI: UNDP’s $8 million program to protect LGBT rights will destroy Indonesian culture

The “LGBT panic” in Indonesia continues. After pushing to get rid of “gay emoticons”, religious leaders and Indonesian politicians are now going after a much more serious target – an initiative by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) aimed at protecting LGBT rights. On Sunday, Tengku Zulkarnain, the secretary general of the Indonesian Ulema Council… Read more »

Georgia ranked 23rdin Europe for LGBT rights legislation

Tbilisi, DFWatch–Rainbow Europe’s LGBTI rights ranking praises positive developments in Georgia despite major setbacks. Georgia was placed in the middle of a ranking of European countries which assessed each country’s legislation regarding rights of LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex) people. According to Rainbow Europe’s ranking, Georgia came 23rd from among 49 European countries,… Read more »

A New Gay Webseries That is Worth Your Health

A New Gay Webseries That is Worth Your Health Gayok Bangkok The Series, a webseries following the lives of six diverse gay men living in Bangkok and their drama – relationship, career, family and, most of all, sexual health – in a manner that Asian gay men can truly relate with will premiere on February… Read more »

Thousands March To Protest India’s Law Criminalizing Gay Sex

More than 7,000 people participated in Mumbai’s annual Pride March. Organized by the Queer Azaadi Mumbai collective, marchers stepped off at Tardeo’s August Kranti Maidan, a park in central Mumbai, and wound their way through the streets of Mumbai, the Times of India reported. The marchers were united in their opposition to a law that… Read more »

India’s Supreme Court Will Reexamine Law Banning Gay Sex

India’s Supreme Court announced Tuesday that it would reexamine its decision upholding a law that criminalizes gay sex. In 2009 – just days after gay activists staged Gay Pride parades in several cities for the first time – the Delhi High Court of India declared intercourse between two consenting members of the same sex legal.… Read more »

Gay people in Burma live secret lives. Will Aung San Suu Kyi liberate them?

“I know some people like ‘they’, but I don’t mind. You can use ‘he’ or ‘she’,” Htike Myat Kalyar Khin Khin Win says earnestly in English, showing an impressive grip of foreign pronouns, when I ask how she wants to be referred to in this article. Htike Myat is a 23-year-old transgender Burmese entrepreneur, with… Read more »

LGBT rights: ‘A struggle within the struggle’

Aung Myo Min is a human rights activist and former Aall Burma Students’ Democratic Front member, which he left because the student army couldn’t accept his homosexuality. Today he fights for the recognition of LGBT people rights and is also the founder of Equality Myanmar. He was at the the &PROUD Film Festival last week,… Read more »

Vietnam’s schools remain dangerous for LGBT youth

Vietnam abolished its ban on same-sex marriage at the beginning of 2015, much to the praise of activists. The move set Vietnam apart from most other countries in the region. However, a year on there are reports that not much has changed for LGBT’s day to day lives. A report from the English-language website of… Read more »

Indonesia tackles homophobic harassment by Muslim hardliners

An Indonesian mayor has reprimanded a hardline Muslim group targeting homosexuals in the country’s third largest city, Bandung. Government officials have ordered Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) to remove homophobic banners that call on gays and lesbians to leave the city. Last week the FPI raided boarding houses in the city where they believed gay people… Read more »

LGBTI taxi service launched in India

India’s first taxi service run by LGBT was announced in Mumbai last week. Wings Rainbow, a radio taxi service launched by Wings Travels and Humsafar Trust, hopes to empower members of the LGBT community by providing a dignified livelihood. The service is launching with three transgender women drivers and two gay men. They will undergo… Read more »

Couple’s Lawsuit Is First Test for Same-Sex Marriage in China

Changsha, China — The two young men met through an online chat group. They began seeing each other every day. Long walks in the park. Movies and barhopping. Dinner with grandparents. On their first anniversary, in June, the men, Sun Wenlin and Hu Mingliang, tried to register to marry at a local civil affairs bureau… Read more »

LGBT Indonesians on campus: too hot to handle

Although same-sex practices and gender non-conformity have always been part of Indonesian culture, universities appear unaware or unwilling to acknowledge this fact. Photo by Flickr user torbakhopper. On the weekend, controversy over a support group for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) students at the University of Indonesia led Muhammad Nasir, the minister of research,… Read more »

First Chinese same-sex marriage lawsuit gets hearing next week

The first lawsuit to challenge China’s ban on same-sex marriage will go to court next week. Filed by a gay man in Changsha, the lawsuit names a civil affairs bureau in the capital of the Hunan Province, for refusing to receive his marriage registration application. The lawsuit is believed to be the first to challenge… Read more »

LGBT activists rally as Hong Kong government delays discrimination legislation

Nine LGBT groups have released a strong joint statement criticising the government for a decision to delay legislation to protect sexual minorities from discrimination at a press conference last week A long awaited report by Hong Kong’s government into eliminating discrimination against sexual minorities has concluded that “more studies and public consultation are needed” on… Read more »

Armenia’s Ostracized Minority

A photographer challenges bias and hate in Yerevan I didn’t know much about Yerevan’s LGBT community when in, in 2010, I decided to start documenting their everyday lives. But like everyone else in the city, I knew that there was a park called Komaygi in front of the mayor’s office where cross-dressers and trans­gender peo­ple… Read more »

China passes first domestic violence law, gay couples excluded

China’s largely rubber stamp parliament on Sunday passed the country’s first law against domestic violence, which covers unmarried people who cohabit but does not protect gay couples, a senior lawmaker said. China previously did not have a special law covering violence in the family, an issue often ignored to avoid bringing shame upon the family… Read more »

Another Japanese city to recognise same-sex relationships

The city will become the fourth district in Japan to strengthen its LGBT rights. The city of Iga in Mie Prefecture has announced plans to start issuing certificates recognising same-sex partnerships as being equivalent to marriage. The certificates will be issued from next April onwards, in a bid to address discrimination against the LGBT community,… Read more »

First lawsuit challenges Chinese same-sex marriage ban

What is believed to be the first lawsuit of its kind has been filed, challenging China’s ban on same-sex marriage. Filed by a gay man in Changsha, the lawsuit names a civil affairs bureau in the capital of the Hunan Province, for refusing to receive his marriage registration application. The lawsuit is believed to be… Read more »

Report highlights extensive bullying of LGBT students in Cambodia

A report released by the Cambodian Centre for Human Rights (CCHR) reveals six out of ten students experience bullying at school due to their sexuality. In the report, “LGBT Bullying in Cambodian Schools,” 62% of the people surveyed said they had experienced bullying in school, nearly all of those who did (94%) said they felt… Read more »

For many LGBTs, a secret life

LGBT Cambodians face a formidable level of prejudice and discrimination, which for many means a life lived in secrecy and isolation, a major new study of attitudes has revealed. The survey of almost 1,600 people, straight and LGBT, across seven provinces, published yesterday, found that a third of the 478 LGBT people questioned had not… Read more »

India judge: It was a ‘mistake’ to recriminalise homosexuality

A prominent former judge in India has hit out at the decision to re-criminalise homosexuality in the country. Justice Ajit Prakash Shah was serving as Chief Justice of Delhi High Court at the time of a landmark 2009 case, which led to the country’s colonial era sodomy law being thrown out. Justice Shah ruled that… Read more »

Poll reveals that majority of Japanese support same-sex marriage

Poll results were released last month that show a majority of Japanese citizenships support changing the country’s laws to allow same-sex unions. Fifty-one percent of people polled by researchers from the National Institute of Population, Social Security Research and Japanese Universities back legal recognition of same-sex marriage. The poll quizzed 1,259 men and women between… Read more »

Hate Crime Acquittal Highlights Institutionalized Homophobia in Georgia

On October 23, 2015, a Tbilisi court acquitted four individuals for their involvement in a violent anti-LGBT rally that took place in Georgia in 2013. The group on trial was accused of inciting violence at a peaceful demonstration held on the International Day Against Homophobia on May 17, 2013. The pro-LGBT rally, which consisted of… Read more »

Watch: Delhi pride parade

Organisers said that while they celebrated growing acceptance of LGBT in the country they also wanted to highlight ongoing discrimination. Harsh Aggarwal, who runs a digital marketing company in New Delhi, said that there has been progress, though it has come slowly. “But it’s happening,” he said. “There are more people who are coming out… Read more »