#16Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence: LBT Violence Study

Each year, 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence starts on November 25, International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and ends on December 10, International Human Rights Day. 16 Days is a campaign designed to symbolically link violence against women and human rights—emphasizing that such violence is a violation of human rights.

Researchers in IGLHRC's collaborative study of violence against lesbians, bisexual women, and transgender people are preparing their findings for release in 2014. During the 16 Days, we are highlighting some of the country conditions that contribute to violence against LBT people.

About the LBT Violence Study: In partnership with IGLHRC's Asia regional program, researchers from Japan, Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines and Sri Lanka worked tirelessly over a three-year period to conduct qualitative interviews, analyze, and report their findings in an eye-opening study of violence against LBT people in their countries.

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[Day 1] Some Researchers Were at Risk

Grace Poore, Regional Program Coordinator for Asia and Pacific Islands at IGLHRC, explains some of the unique challenges and risks that researchers had to navigate while conducting this research. Stay tuned for the full 16 Days to hear from the research teams and learn about some of these risks and challenges.

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[Day 2] Structural & Institutional Violence in Pakistan

"The violence LBT individuals face in their communities is the reflection of structural and institutional violence. Moreover, state actors often exert violence against LBT individuals, and certainly fail to protect LBT people against abuse. This creates a climate of permissiveness, where community members feel justified in their discrimination of those who do not gender-conform." — O, Pakistan

[Day 3] LGBT Malaysians Deemed Enemies of Islam

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"The government’s political position deems lesbians, gays, bisexuals and trans people as enemies of Islam, and in various national, regional (ASEAN) and international fora, explicitly rejected sexual orientation and gender identity issues as human rights issues.

Any Muslim female person who engages in a sexual act with another Muslim or non-Muslim female person shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine of several hundred to a thousand ringgit or to imprisonment for three months up to a year or to both. Any male person who, in any public place, wears a woman’s attire and poses as a woman shall be guilty of an offence and shall on conviction be liable to a fine that can be as high as one thousand ringgit or to prison for up to one year or to both.

Any female person who, in any public place, poses as man shall be guilty of an offence and shall on conviction be liable to a fine that can be up to five thousand ringgit or to prison up to a term not exceeding one year or to both." — KRYSS

[Day 4] Are Women Really Equal in the Philippines?

[Day 5] Pathologization of Gender Identity in Japan

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"According to Law No. 111, adopted in July 2003, any person who wishes to change their gender marker on their official documents in Japan must first be diagnosed with Gender Identity Disorder. Gender Identity Disorder is the formal diagnosis for gender dysphoria." — Gay Japan News

[Day 6] Criminalization of Cross Dressing in Sri Lanka

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"Section 399 of the Sri Lankan Penal Code, 'Cheating by Personation' states: A person is said to ‘cheat by personation’ if he cheats by pretending to be some other person or by knowingly substituting one person for another, or representing that he or any other person is a person other than he or such other person really is. Explanation - the offence is committed whether the individual personated is a real or imaginary person. Whoever is convicted of this offence will have to face a punishment of imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine or with both." — Research Partners in Sri Lanka

[Day 7] LBT Malaysians Unprotected by Political System

[Day 8] Philippines Laws Target LBT People

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"Article 200 of Revised Penal Code of the Philippines defines Grave Scandal as one committed by any person who shall offend against decency or good customs by any highly scandalous conduct not expressly falling within any other article of this Code.

Article 201 under the Offenses Against Decency and Good Customs provision prohibits immoral doctrines, obscene publications and exhibitions and indecent shows.

Article 202 defines prostitutes as women who, for money or profit, habitually indulge in sexual intercourse or lascivious conduct.

Lesbians, bisexual women, and transgender people can be disproportionately targeted by these laws." — Rainbow Rights Project

[Day 9] LBT People are Criminalized by Sri Lankan "Gross Indecency" Law

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"Section 365A of the Sri Lankan Penal Code Amendment Act No. 22 of 1995 reads: Any person who, in public or private commits, or is a party to the commission of, or procures or attempts to procure the commission by any person of, any act of gross indecency with another person, shall be guilty of an offence, and shall be punished with imprisonment of either description, for a term which may extend to two years or with fine or with both and where the offence is committed by a person over eighteen years of age in respect of any person under sixteen years of age shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term not less than ten years and not exceeding twenty years and with fine and shall also be ordered to pay compensation of an amount determined by court to the person in respect of whom the offence was committed for the injuries caused to such person." — Research Partners in Sri Lanka

[Day 10] Resistance, solidarity and community building in Pakistan

[Day 11] Fear of Violence Has Repercussions in Malaysia

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"Fear of violence is a major contributing factor for hiding gender identity and sexual orientation. Violence experienced in schools by LBT students ranged from verbal teasing and humiliation to sexual abuse and expulsion" — KRYSS

[Day 12] Despite Legal Protections, Many LBT People in Japan Still Suffer Gender-Based Violence

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Statistics collected by Gay Japan News

According to a national White Paper on Crime, 1,185 rape and 6,870 sexual assault cases were reported to police in 2011. Victims of these include both women and men but transgender women who haven't gone through SRS and haven't changed their gender on ID cards are counted as men. According to the International Crime Victimization Survey conducted in 2008, only 13.3% of women who experienced sexual violence reported.

In 2011, 7.7% of women who answered the Survey on Violence between Men and Women by Gender Equality Bureau of Cabinet Office said they were forced to have intercourse at least once in their life time and only 3.7% of them said they reported to police.

According to the Survey on Mental Health and Health of Children and Family by Japan Sexology Information Centre, 1 in 6.4 girls and 1 in 17.4 boys experience sexual abuse until the age of 12.

In 2012, police received 19,920 reports of domestic violence. 55 murders against battered women were reported, according to the data by National Police Agency.

[Day 13] Some Laws in the Philippines Closely Mirror Vatican Laws

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"Laws tend to closely adhere to a socially conservative agenda that mirrors Vatican policy, which often disenfranchises already vulnerable sectors of the population, including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. This is reflected in the current lack of legislation providing protection on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression (SOGIE). The Philippines is one of only two countries left in the world that does not allow divorce." — Rainbow Rights Project

[Day 14] In Japan, LBT Women Don't feel Included in Anti-violence Legislation

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"Lesbians, bisexual women and transgender people in Japan do not consider themselves included under the anti-domestic violence legislation or in the Campaign to End Violence Against Women, for the most part because they are not, actually, benefiting from the legislation and because they feel excluded by Japanese society as a whole." — Gay Japan News

[Day 15] Colonial Era Laws in Sri Lanka Impact LBT People Today

[Day 16] International Human Rights Day