This Week at ILGA-Asia: News from Asia and the Pacific – 09 November 2011

NEWS 
MALAYSIA
Seksualiti Merdeka: Stop inciting hatred against us! We are citizens of Malaysia 
Seksuality Merdeka issues the following statement: We are saddened that many Malaysians,  including people’s elected representatives, have seen fit to relentlessly persecute, stigmatise and discriminate all those who have found a safe space to dialogue and share information and acknowledge on human rights during Seksualiti Merdeka’s events.

Seksualiti Merdeka says will let IGP decide on programme ban 

Seksualiti Merdeka organisers today formally requested a meeting with Tan Sri Ismail Omar and said it will let the Inspector-General Police (IGP) decide whether to lift the ban on the programme.

Marina Mahathir livid over ‘free sex’ slur on Seksualiti Merdeka

An emotional Datuk Paduka Marina Mahathir lashed out today at media reports describing “Seksualiti Merdeka” as a “free sex festival”, and threatened to sue if the matter was not clarified.

Bigots Rant Against Sexuality Festival

The Seksualiti Merdeka (Sexuality Freedom) has attracted bigoted opposition in its fight for the rights of the Malaysian lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.

Malaysian Police Ban Gay Rights Festival

Malaysian police say they will prevent an annual gay rights festival, with organizers slamming the move as proof of the repression homosexuals face in the socially conservative Muslim country

Cops visit Seksualiti Merdeka workshop

A human rights workshop by Seksualiti Merdeka last night was visited by police, supposedly based on a tip-off that there was a gathering of gays and lesbians.

If Malaysia wants to be respected as a democracy, it must stop persecuting sexual minorities 
The Malaysian Bar welcomes the statement by Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak (“PM Najib Razak”) that he is the Prime Minister of “a progressive, liberal nation”. Writing in an opinion piece published in the Sydney Morning Herald on 27 October 2011, PM Najib Razak went on to state that, “We are a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic society that has a long and proud history of social harmony and welcoming outsiders.”

Respond to Seksualiti Merdeka with wisdom

Sisters in Islam (SIS) is concerned that Pertubuhan Pribumi Perkasa Malaysia president Datuk Ibrahim Ali has characterised sexuality rights festival Seksualiti Merdeka as a “threat to security.”

SEKSUALITI MERDEKA 2011: QUEER WITHOUT FEAR 

Seksualiti Merdeka, meaning Sexuality Independence, is Malaysia’s only festival celebrating the human rights of people of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities. It is organised by a loose coalition of NGOs, artists, activists and individuals and has been held annually since 2008. The festival programme includes forums, talks, workshops, book launches, art exhibition and performances. This year’s theme is “Queer Without Fear.” The festival will run from November 1 to November 13.

SEKSUALITI MERDEKA 2011: Queer Without Fear LAUNCH

As more human rights organisations recognise that working on democratic processes means working on democracy for all, as the world around start to dismantle discriminatory policies and laws one by one, as the public learn to speak up for oppressed minorities, we believe Malaysia too will come around eventually to give all of us the independence we truly deserve. The time for our rights has come. Let us stand together: Queer Without Fear.

APCOM calls on Malaysian police to lift the ban on the country’s annual sexuality rights festival 
The Asia Pacific Coalition on Male Sexual Health (APCOM) is echoing the concern voiced by PT Foundation and other Malaysian LGBT activists over the blanket ban imposed by police on Seksualiti Merdeka (“sexuality independence”), an annual festival held in the capital Kuala Lumpur.

PT Foundation concerned by the ban on Seksualiti Merdeka

PT Foundation is concerned with the negative effect that the police’s blanket ban on Seksualiti Merdeka will have on the HIV prevention, care and support work it does with the communities most affected by HIV in Malaysia.

Unpaid AIDS Workers in Nepal “Turn to Prostitution” (NEPAL)

Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) working on HIV/AIDS prevention in Nepal are awaiting $10 million in aid held up by government bureaucratic delays, according to the World Policy Institute (WPI) think-tank, and sources in the country say some unpaid employees are turning to sex work to pay their bills.

“We need more gay writing in India” (INDIA)

Queer writing is a ghetto in the world of literature, but we need this ghetto so we can kick it off as a separate category.

The reluctant Commonwealth  (AUSTRALIA)

British Commonwealth heads of government meeting in Perth in October did not adopt sweeping recommendations for change that included calling for the repeal of anti-homosexual criminal laws. We are not surprised. But the door has not been slammed shut.

Intersex councillor likely to be mayor (AUSTRALIA)

Victoria could soon have its first intersex Mayor with Hobsons Bay City Councillor Tony Briffa looking likely to win the top job in the city’s west.

Remembrance days for intersex and trans communities (AUSTRALIA)

Two key events are being held over the next fortnight to pay tribute to people from the intersex and transgender communities.

WORLD

David Cameron urged: Apologise for anti-gay laws imposed by UK Prime Minister 
“David Cameron should apologise for Britain’s imposition of anti-gay laws on Commonwealth counties in the nineteenth century, during the period of colonial rule,” urges Peter Tatchell, Director of the human rights organisation, the Peter Tatchell Foundation.

TOOLS FOR CHANGE
REPORT
Intersections Releases Report on LGBT Communities Role In Islam

American Muslims from across the country engaged in an open conversation about the role of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons in the Islamic faith, as a part of a report just published by Intersections International, a New York-based multi-cultural, multi-faith NGO dedicated to promoting justice, reconciliation and peace.

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