High Rate of Harassment of Black Lesbians and Transgender Men in South Africa
A report published by Human Rights Watch, entitled "'We'll Show You You're a Women': Violence and Discrimination Against Black Lesbians and Transgender Men," revealed a high rate of discrimination against black lesbians and transgender men in South Africa. The report includes data from over 120 interviews performed in six provinces of South Africa. Many of those interviewed indicated that they were reluctant to report cases of sexual or physical violence to the police for fear of harm or harassment.
Dipika Nath, a researcher on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights at Human Rights Watch, stated, "Legal rights are important and can be empowering, but they are meaningless in the face of the abuse, intimidation, and violence that people with unconventional gender and sexual expression face on a daily basis. The government's job does not end with passing rights-protecting legislation but also lies in ensuring that the laws translate into substantive rights for everyone, including the most marginalized groups and individuals."
The report recommended that the South African police document incidents of homophobic and transphobic violence; that the national prosecuting authority "ensure that all cases of sexual and physical violence against women and transgender people come to trial in a timely manner;" and that the Department of Education "establish monitoring systems to ensure effective implementation of non-discrimination policies, such as a toll free help line for students to report discrimination and verbal, physical, and sexual abuse by teachers and other school authorities."
Homosexuality is illegal in most African countries with the exception of South Africa, which recognizes gay marriage, but even there, anti-gay practices such as "corrective rapes" of lesbians, are commonplace.
Media Resources: Human Rights Watch 12/5/11; "'We'll Show You You're a Women': Violence and Discrimination Against Black Lesbians and Transgender Men" 12/6/11
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .