This weeks Spy News is a compilation of several LGBT stories from around the globe. Each are equally important and not in any particular order. The stories selected in this edition are a continuation of our Pride celebration month. This year President Trump did not acknoledge June officially as LGBT Pride month. Instead, he chose to make June Home buyers month. So we are picking up the fire baton and marching forward not letting an angry cheeto rain on our parade.
Washington DC –The White House issued an unexpected statement early Tuesday, promising that President Donald Trump intends to protect LGBT rights and would not repeal a Barack Obama executive order thought to be in the firing line.
“The executive order signed in 2014, which protects employees from anti-LGBTQ workplace discrimination while working for federal contractors, will remain intact at the direction of President Donald J. Trump,” the White House said.
“The fact that he said he won’t change that executive order does not at all mean he won’t harm LGBT people…. It simply means he will go about it another way,” the American Civil Liberties Union’s James Esseks warned during a conference call with reporters Wednesday. “Our fear is that he will create additional religious exemptions to equality laws.”
Winnie Stachelberg, executive vice president of the liberal think tank Center for American Progress, issued a statement Wednesday saying, “We are confident that the White House is still drafting policies harmful to LGBT Americans for release as early as this week, as an executive order.”
Within the progressive community, Chatter began building last weekend that LGBT people would be the next target of Trump’s executive order spree. “In the context of what’s happening in these first 10 days, [Trump’s] working his way through the list,” says Rachel Tiven, CEO of Lambda Legal, a nonprofit organization that fights for legal rights for the LGBT community.
“He’s come for the immigrants, he’s come for the Muslims. and now he’s coming for the queers,” she said, referring to Trump’s previous executive orders beefing up immigration enforcement and barring people from certain Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S. Initially, Tiven and others anticipated the order coming Tuesday, timed to coincide with Trump’s announcement of his Supreme Court nominee. Instead, the White House issued its unexpected statement.
Leaders in the LGBT community say they do not expect that to be the end of the story, however, citing Trump’s campaign promises and the advisers he’s surrounded himself with in the White House.
“Trump promised as part of his campaign that he would sign a version of the First Amendment Defense Act,” Sarah Warbelow, legal director of the Human Rights Campaign, a gay rights advocacy group, said during the Wednesday press call. Warbelow also noted that Republican Representative Steve Russell of Oklahoma has said publicly that Trump has promised to make a religious freedom amendment that the congressman proposed last year a part of that law.
This and other comments the president has made on religious freedom “make it clear that Trump has made extensive promises that he will move forward with in an executive order,” Warbelow said.
Initially, LGBT advocates thought Trump was most likely to amend or reverse Obama’s 2014 executive order extending protections against discrimination within the federal workforce and among contractors to people on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. Now they fear Trump will issue a more wide-ranging order, along the lines of the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA), which Republicans have introduced in previous sessions of Congress.
Attorneys filed papers Thursday asking the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to block the law .
The law championed and signed by Republican Gov. Phil Bryant in 2016 protects three beliefs: that marriage is only between a man and a woman, sex should only take place in such a marriage, and a person’s gender is determined at birth and cannot be altered.
Attorneys for a dozen gay and straight plaintiffs who sued the state said in court papers Thursday that they are ostracized by the law, which started as House Bill 1523.
“HB 1523 is offensive to the rights of LGBT and other dissenting Mississippians and to the Supreme Court’s command on this burning civil rights issue,” they wrote.
The law would allow clerks to cite religious objections to recuse themselves from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, and would protect merchants who refuse services to LGBT people. It could affect adoptions and foster care, business practices and school bathroom policies.
U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves blocked the law from taking effect in July 2016, ruling it unconstitutionally establishes preferred beliefs and creates unequal treatment for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
An appeals court panel lifted the hold on the law June 22, saying people who sued the state had failed to show they would be harmed. Plaintiffs want the whole appeals court to reverse that decision.
The panel did not rule on whether the law violates the constitutional prohibition on government establishing favored religious views. The panel said plaintiffs failed to prove they would be harmed by the law, “but the federal courts must withhold judgment
Sadiq Khan on Saturday told revelers at the gay pride event that the festivities provided welcome relief from recent bouts with terrorism.
More than 25,000 people took part in the gala parade, with up to 1 million people watching in central London.
As part of the festivities, a rainbow flag is to be projected onto the Houses of Parliament for the first time.
WELLINGTON, New Zealand — New Zealand lawmakers unanimously apologized Thursday for the “tremendous hurt and suffering” of hundreds of men who were convicted of homosexuality during the years it was treated as a crime.
Parliament took the rare step of issuing a formal apology to all those unfairly convicted under the antiquated laws.
Lawmakers also approved the first stage of a bill that will allow the men to have their criminal records wiped clean, legislation that comes four years after the South Pacific nation legalized same-sex marriage.
The measures were passed with unanimous approval among lawmakers from various political parties.
“Today we are putting on the record that this House deeply regrets the hurt and stigma suffered by the many hundreds of New Zealand men who were turned into criminals by a law that was profoundly wrong, and for that we are sorry,” said Justice Minister Amy Adams.
“It is never too late to apologize,” Adams told lawmakers. “While we cannot ever erase the injustice, this apology is a symbolic but important act that we hope will help address the harm and right this historic wrong.”
The government estimates about 1,000 men will be eligible to have their convictions quashed. Most were prosecuted after 1965 and before 1986, when New Zealand decriminalized homosexuality. They were convicted of crimes such as indecency, sodomy and providing a place for homosexual acts.
Those with convictions will need to apply to have their cases assessed because the law didn’t distinguish between consensual and nonconsensual gay sex, Adams said.
Sex between women was never explicitly illegal under New Zealand law.
Opposition lawmaker Grant Robertson quoted from a man who was forced to resign from the Army because of his sexuality.
“This conviction still leads, after 53 years, to self-hatred, worthlessness, unjustified guilt and shame,” the unnamed man said, according to Robertson. He said the law change would allow the man to feel some dignity in his final years.
Robertson, who is openly gay, said he stood on the shoulders of those who had been convicted.
“The fact that I, as a gay man, can be out and proud and a member of parliament is but a small tribute to you,” he said.
Adams has said the convicted men will not receive any compensation, although Robertson said that should be reconsidered.
BEIJING — A gay man in central China has successfully sued a mental hospital over forced conversion therapy, in what activists are hailing as the first such victory in a country where the LGBT rights movement is gradually emerging from the fringes.
A court in Zhumadian in Henan province ordered a city mental hospital to publish a public apology in local newspapers and pay the 38-year-old man 5,000 yuan ($735) in compensation, according to a copy of the June 26 judgment seen by the world press.
The man, surnamed Yu, had been forcibly admitted to the institution in 2015 by his wife and relatives and diagnosed with “sexual preference disorder,” court documents show. He was forced to take medicine and receive injections before finally walking free after 19 days.
In its relatively narrow ruling, the court did not weigh in on the practice of gay conversion therapy or account for Yu’s sexual orientation. The court said forcing Yu into a mental institution if he did not pose a danger to himself or others amounted to “infringing on the plaintiff’s right to individual freedom.”
China removed homosexuality from its list of recognized mental illnesses more than 15 years ago but stories are rife of families admitting their relatives for conversion therapy.
Gay rights activists say the case marks the first victory against a public mental institution for compulsory therapy against a patient’s will. In 2014, a Beijing man named Peng Yanhui checked himself into a private conversion clinic to investigate its advertised electroshock treatments. Peng, a gay rights activist who goes by Yanzi, then sued the clinic and won a $500 decision from a Beijing court for the suffering he endured in treatment.
The recent ruling in Zhumadian “confirmed the illegality of forced treatments,” Peng told the AP. “It’s time for China to enact laws to prohibit forced gay conversion therapy.”
The Zhumadian mental hospital did not immediately provide comment when reached by phone.
While few Chinese have religious objections to homosexuality and homophobic violence is very rare, the country’s authoritarian politics and conservative society’s preference for marriage and childbearing create subtle barriers that keep most gays in the closet.
Vibrant gay scenes do exist in large cities including Shanghai, which has an annual gay pride parade, and depictions of same-sex relationships are increasingly seen in Chinese films and television.
DILI, East Timor — Gay rights have taken a step forward in East Timor with its first LGBT pride parade and the prime minister announcing that the young nation’s development depends on respecting the rights of all its citizens.
The parade in the capital, Dili, on June 29 attracted several hundred people and was supported by local and international organizations including the Hatutan youth group, the U.N. and U.S. Embassy.
He said, “Discrimination, disrespect and abuse towards people because of their sexual orientation or gender identity does not provide any benefit to our nation.”
Germany–German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Friday she voted against legalizing gay marriage given her personal view that marriage should be between a man and a woman, but she hoped parliament’s approval of the measure would lead to more social cohesion.
“For me, marriage in the Basic Law is marriage between a man and a woman and that is why I did not vote in favor of this bill today,” she told reporters moments after the 393-266 vote in favor of an amendment that will legalize same-sex marriage.
The Philadelphia police force confirmed that they were hunting a suspect who is believed to be targeting trans people in the city with violence.
A couple walking down a street were fired at with a paintball gun by people in a dark grey Infiniti car.
Three people were hit in the second attack.
Philadelphia Police Lieutenant John Walker said that the people were visibly injured from the attack but did not need to seek out medical help.
He said: “They had welts on their bodies which show visible signs of injury, but fortunately they haven’t received medical treatment, but they are in a little bit of pain.”
Walker confirmed: “A couple residents were sitting on the porch and they believe a neighbour resident walked by and threw an M-80 on the porch to scare them”.
The victims also suffered shock as they thought the sound was actual gunfire.
They said that the attacker laughed when they drove away.
The Warriors star, who grew up in Charlotte, N.C., and attended Davidson College, gave a much stronger stance on House Bill 2 than he did when previously asked about the law back in April.
“I think it’s unfortunate for our city and our state to be under the microscope with HB2 and how it’s unfolded,” Curry told The Associated Press on Thursday. “I’m all for equal and fair rights and treatment for everybody. Until it gets addressed, until some changes are made, this could be a recurring theme in North Carolina. I don’t want that to happen.”
HB2 eliminates anti-discrimination protections for members of the LGBT community and requires transgender people to use the bathroom corresponding to the sex on their birth certificates while inside government buildings and schools.
The law sparked more debate after the NCAA pulled seven championship events out of North Carolina on Monday. This comes less than two months after the NBA decided to move the 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte to New Orleans.
“The All-Star Game has been moved, the NCAA Tournament, things that would bring so much joy and support to the city, mainstay events,” Curry said. “But I think it’s a conversation that will continue until changes are made. I don’t have any answers as to how that will happen, but hopefully it happens sooner rather than later.”
In addition to the hit taken from sporting events, the state could also lose federal funding and future business investments. HB2 could cost North Carolina nearly $5 billion per year, according to a study done by the Williams Institute.