This No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ) news digest rounds up some of the week’s top LGBTI rights stories for the week ending 11 April:
Texas ‘religious freedom’ bill opens door to LGBT discrimination, opponents say
The Guardian, 11 Apr 2019
Civil rights advocates are condemning a proposed Texas law they say opens the door to discrimination against the LGBT community and religious minorities. The Texas state Senate passed Senate Bill 17 earlier this week, which would protect the right of state-licensed workers such as doctors, teachers and counselors to refuse to provide their services based on “a sincerely held religious belief”, except in cases where medical services are necessary to “prevent death or imminent serious bodily injury”.
The Trump administration’s silence on LGBTQ rights is unconscionable
The Washington Post, 10 Apr 2019
Brunei has begun implementing a draconian new law that, among other brutal punishments, imposes the death penalty for same-sex sexual acts and adultery. Around the world, governments, international institutions, human rights organizations, celebrities and many others have spoken out to condemn the new penal code that violates international human rights standards and imposes one of the most heinous punishments — death by stoning. Yet in the face of this crisis, other than the State Department putting out a statement saying it was concerned, the White House has remained unconscionably silent.
LGBT lessons: Schools told they can choose what to teach
BBC, 10 Apr 2019
It is up to primary schools in England to choose what they teach about same-sex relationships, the education secretary has said. Damian Hinds has written to head teachers saying they are encouraged to teach children about LGBT issues if they “consider it age appropriate”. He said heads should consult parents but reassured them parents had no right to veto what was taught. It follows protests over the content of lessons in some schools in Birmingham.
Massachusetts bans conversion therapy
Gay Star News, 09 Apr 2019
Massachusetts’ Republican Governor Charlie Baker on Monday (8 April) signed a bill banning gay conversion therapy for minors in the state. It became the 16th state in the US to ban the practice. Washington DC and Puerto Rico have also outlawed conversion therapy. Conversion therapy attempts to change a person’s sexuality or gender identity via psychological or spiritual means. It has no basis in evidential science. Massachusetts’ ban prohibits licensed therapists from subjecting minors to the practice. But, adults can still access this type of therapy if they so choose.
By trying to stay ‘neutral’ on LGBT rights, the BBC and the Met risk normalising prejudice
The Guardian, 08 Apr 2019
Labelling gay equality as a political issue rather than an inalienable truth suggests that LGBT people’s existence is up for debate – it’s not. Scotland Yard has launched an investigation after three police officers allegedly joined a protest in London last weekend against Brunei’s new anti-gay laws. The officers were filmed smiling and holding LGBT flags, seemingly contrary to the Met’s policy to police demonstrations without “favour and to remain impartial at all times”. Meanwhile, the BBC has emailed all news staff warning they could face internal sanctions if they express strong political views on Twitter.
Gay rights groups urge the Vatican to denounce the criminalization of homosexuality
New York Post, 08 Apr 2019
Human rights lawyers and gay rights advocates urged the Vatican on Friday to issue a clear and unequivocal statement against the criminalization of homosexuality. The request was made at a Vatican meeting two days after the United Nations said the Southeast Asian country of Brunei was violating human rights by implementing Islamic laws that would allow death by stoning for adultery and homosexuality.