IGLHRC in the Media: Highlights from May 2012

Castro Niece Champions Gay Rights in New York

Cath Turner interviewed Jessica Stern about Mariela Castro Espín’s visit to the United States for Al Jazeera English.


Homophobia and Prejudice: It's Time to Kill the Hate

By Paisarn Likhitpreechakul, co-founder of FOR-SOGI.org for the promotion and protection of LGBT rights in Thailand.

"…The question is how many unreported cases of violence are infused with homophobia? These cases of gruesome violence against toms and lesbians prompted local LGBT groups in collaboration with the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission to send a letter to Thai officials, demanding investigation and action, along with other measures to combat homophobia and transphobia and discrimination against LGBTs. The government has yet to respond…"


Cameroonian Gays Illegally Arrested and Detained

…Aged between 17 and 25, all the arrested were ultimately released. That was one year later, thanks to the help of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission. The case received a lot attention in the Cameroonian media. Human rights activists were outraged by the arrests made on speculation.

The prosecution only started looking for 'evidence' of homosexuality three months after their incarceration. They subjected the accused to rectal examinations in a desperate attempt to find 'traces of sodomy.'

"'Some bribed their way out,’ Marc says, referring to those who left the police station. 'But I refused to do so because I hadn't done anything wrong. Ten other people also refused to "negotiate," as we say in Cameroon, and the policemen kept us in custody on charges of homosexuality.'"


Eurovision Glitz Is Assured, But For Azerbaijan's Gays, It's Same Old Song

"…On May 17, as gay-rights groups staged protests in nearby Georgia, Ukraine, and Russia to coincide with the International Day Against Homophobia, Baku's streets remained silent.

Hossein Alizadeh of the New York-based International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission says Azerbaijan's gay population has been intimidated to the point of invisibility.

'In the case of Azerbaijan, we feel that the community of LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender) activists and individuals do not feel comfortable, at this stage of development, to go public about their existence," he says. "There is not an openly out LGBT group in that country.'"


Why Economic Justice Is Central to LGBT Rights

"At the recent Association for Women's Rights in Development (AWID) international forum on economic rights, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights advocates from around the world highlighted the urgent need to link economic justice and LGBT rights. As one representative of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, [Jessica Stern, Acting Executive Director] noted, the United States LGBT rights movement has focused largely on civil and political issues, including hate crime legislation, partnership benefits, gay marriage, and repeal of the shameful military policy "Don't Ask/Don't Tell." The link between economic justice and LGBT rights, however, in both the United States and abroad, has received considerably less attention."


Gay Rights Campaigners Around the World Hail Obama's Message of Support

"…Obama's comments will provide another opportunity for religious fundamentalists to raise their homophobic rhetoric," said Damian Ugwu, regional Africa programme coordinator for the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission. "In Nigeria, and Africa as a whole, these remarks are going to get a lot of bashing… Nigeria has a lot of aspiration to exert influence on the world stage in international affairs," Ugwu said. "I doubt that the executive will allow this bill to be passed, bearing in mind the policy implications….Nevertheless, at the moment this bill is still very much alive, and for us as gay rights activists in Africa, it's a welcome development to know we have an ally like Obama. The fact that the most powerful person in the world is recognising the need to respect people and promote the rights of sexual minorities, can only help us."