Sexuality

Following the revelation that "Amina" was a hoax two LGBT Syrian Activists speak out. Sami Hamwi, Gay Middle East Syria: Blogging in Syria has been forbidden by law for more than eight years. As internet started to flourish, many Syrians started to use internet spaces and blogs to write personal thoughts, poetry, short stories… etc. unaware of that fact, but they remained safe as the authorities only monitored political and human rights blogs. LGBT bloggers can manage to keep safe only if their blogs were meant for gossip and entertainment, but they might have to face different kind of difficulties if they reported news or engaged into LGBT rights activism. As soon as any blog starts to attract attention, the agony with authorities’ interference starts.

A senior Egyptian general admits that "virginity checks" were performed on women arrested at a demonstration this spring, the first such admission after previous denials by military authorities. The allegations arose in an Amnesty International report, published weeks after the March 9 protest. It claimed female demonstrators were beaten, given electric shocks, strip-searched, threatened with prostitution charges and forced to submit to virginity checks. At that time, Maj. Amr Imam said 17 women had been arrested but denied allegations of torture or "virginity tests." But now a senior general who asked not to be identified said the virginity tests were conducted and defended the practice.

Uganda's reviled anti-gay bill, which mandates the death penalty in some cases, remains in limbo after parliament adjourned without a debate. Edward Ssekandi Kiwanuk, the parliamentary speaker, ruled there was no time to take up the bill this session. He has adjourned the parliament and set no date for its return. A source close to proceedings said parliament could technically come back between now and 17 May but most MPs were leaving for their constituencies. Bills not completed in the old parliament are wiped and must be resubmitted. Update to Uganda: Anti-Homosexuality Bill is Anti-Human Rights and Anti-Democratic: ACT NOW TO STOP IT!

L’Association pour les droits de la femme et le développement (AWID) est très sérieusement préoccupée par le projet de loi contre l’homosexualité qui risque d’être adopté par le Parlement ougandais au cours de la semaine prochaine. L’AWID est résolument solidaire de la communauté LGBT ougandaise et de tous ceux et celles qui luttent contre ce projet de loi. Nous enjoignons au gouvernement de l’Ouganda de poser un geste constructif en rejetant le projet de loi et en soutenant les droits humains pour tous.

The Global Campaign to Stop VAW in the name of "Culture"  (VNC Campaign) extends our unequivocal solidarity with the Ugandan lesbians, gays and other progressive citizens that continue to fight against the Anti-Homosexuality Bill in Uganda.  The Bill is explicitly anti-human rights and anti-democratic and contravenes the African Charter on Human and People's Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), and other international human rights treaties to which Uganda is a party.  National dialogue and understanding of homosexuality in Uganda is widely known to being strongly influenced by American Evangelical Christians, some of whom visited the country and took part in an anti-homosexuality conference that immediately preceded the filing of the anti-homosexuality bill in the parliament in 2009. David Kato, the LGBT rights activist whose extra-judicial killing caused  worldwide public outcry was one of the main advocates campaigning against the bill, and received numerous death threats for his activism.

أصدرت المحكمة الصغرى الجنائية الخامسة برئاسة القاضي محمد سعيد العرادي وأمانة سر محمود عيسى اليوم (الخميس 3 مارس/ آذار 2011) حكمها في القضية المعروفة باسم (حفلة الجنس الثالث)، وقد قضت المحكمة بحبس 49 متهماً بين شهر و6 أشهر، وبرأت المحكمة اثنين من المتهمين. 

Bahraini police raided a gay party in Manama and arrested 127 mainly homosexuals from the Gulf countries. The fee-paying party described as "depraved and decadent" by the Bahraini police was organized on Wednesday and brought gay men mainly from GCC countries. A sports hall in Hidd, a conservative village in Muharraq island in north of Bahrain, was spotted as the party’s location for the revelers whose ages ranged from 18 to 30 years old.

A wedding in Kyrgyzstan is a huge celebration. For most girls it is an event they await from their birth. Parents spend a great amount of money preparing the dowry and the feast. However, there is one moment that can ruin not only the outcome of the event and the fate of the bride, but also tarnish the family honor - the display of the first night bed sheet. A great disgrace befalls a woman whose sheet remains clean. Ironically, at the same time it is expected that the man should have had a sexual experience before the marriage, and it is a great shame for him to be a virgin at his wedding. These traditional views vividly display that women in Kyrgyzstan not only lack sexual rights, but are even stigmatized for their choices. 

I attended a public forum entitled “Palestinian Queer Activists Talk Politics” in San Francisco’s Mission District. More than 20 groups including the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Jewish Voice for Peace and the Middle East Children’s Alliance sponsored the forum, moderated by lesbian Chicana activist and writer Cherríe Moraga. The discussion featured three speakers: Abeer Mansour works for Aswat, a feminist queer Palestinian women’s group dedicating to “generat[ing] social change in order to meet the needs of one of the most silenced and oppressed communities in Israel;    Sami Shamali, who resides in the West Bank, represents Al Qaws, which aims to develop a “Palestinian civil society that respects and adheres to human and civil rights and allows individuals to live openly and equally, regardless of their sexuality, sexual orientation and gender identity”; Haneen Maikey, based in Jerusalem, is Al Qaws’ director.

The Violence is Not out Culture campaign condemns the brutal murder on 26 January 2011 of LGBT human rights defender, David Kato, of Uganda and extends its condolences to his colleagues at Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG). David was a long term activist for rights based on sexual orientation and gender identity in Uganda, and was a highly respected and admired human rights defender within his community and worldwide.

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