Aren’t christians supposed to be tolerant in their nature and walk with god?? a bisexual case

My bisexual friend

Read this tell me pastor letter and his response and decide for yourself if this man should be leading a church or even a herd of goats for that matter?:
pub Dec 30, 2008 – The Star

Dear Pastor,


I am having some problems. I have been a Christian from a tender age and now that I am in my early 20s, I am still walking with the Lord. Some things have happened to me that I know in my heart are wrong.
A close friend who I grew up with and trust has changed. She has become bisexual. I am furious at her choice. I have encouraged her to stop because I know it is immoral in the sight of God. She told me that she has feelings for me. I was not shocked by her comments as I was told the same thing by a teacher when I was younger.


I prayed and fasted hoping that she would change her ways. She claims nothing is wrong. I had a conversation with my pastor about the situation and he advised me not to take her as a friend. He said it doesn’t matter how many times I pray for her, if she is not ready to change, there is nothing I can do. I didn’t want to give up on her as I believed she can change, having known her for so long.
I am not the type


I told her on several occasions that I would not be part of her lifestyle. She has often told me she would like to see my breasts and kiss me. I thought she would get the message that I am not the type of person she is.
One day, however, while hanging out at her place, we started to play around. I began to protest when I noticed that she was trying to hold me down. She held me to the point where I could not move. She began to squeeze my breasts really hard then fondle me. I began to do the same to her. We did not kiss or go any further.


Deep down I feel bad inside and this has begun to affect the way I think and function. I now stare into space and have become edgy. I dislike having female friends around me and don’t like them touching me. My head hurts a lot and I think of committing suicide. I don’t know what to do.


My fault
If I had listened to my heart, I would never go through what I am going through now. I blame myself. I don’t have any feelings whatsoever for her or any female. I have decided not to be her friend anymore. It makes no sense at all to have persons around who can’t respect me or my beliefs.
This is driving me crazy. Please give me your fatherly advice. I pray and fast that God will not close his door in my face and shut me out of His life. I need a closer and better relationship with my Creator.
J.B., Westmoreland, Jamaica

Pastor’s Response

Dear J.B.,
The Bible says that one should shun the very appearance of evil. The Bible also says that one should walk circumspectly, not as fools, redeeming the time because the days are evil. When this girl told you that she is bisexual, you should have been on your guard and not be close to her anymore. Her behaviour and lifestyle displease the Lord. She is evil and you have to be careful not to associate yourself with her, because if you do, people would believe that you are just like her.


No one can help her

A Christian has to always bear in mind that his/her testimony is important. And so, if the world accuses him/her of doing something wrong and he/she is not guilty, he/she can still walk with his/her head high.
Your pastor was right. Unless this girl has a desire to change her lifestyle, no one can help her. That does not mean that you should not pray for her. But you should not put yourself in a situation where she can encourage you to do what is displeasing to the Lord.


I believe you are genuinely sorry for what you allowed to happen. You should not have gone to her home. Now you know you should not go back there. God knows your heart and He will forgive you for your indiscretion. Continue to pray until you feel totally delivered.
Pastor

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This Alien Legacy HRW Report 2008

The Origins of “Sodomy” Laws in British Colonialism

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This 66-page report describes how laws in over three dozen countries, from India to Uganda and from Nigeria to Papua New Guinea, derive from a single law on homosexual conduct that British colonial rulers imposed on India in 1860. This year, the High Court in Delhi ended hearings in a years-long case seeking to decriminalize homosexual conduct there. A ruling in the landmark case is expected soon.

Table of Contents
This Alien Legacy
I. Introduction
II. “Sodomy,” Colonialism, and Codification
III. Colonial Power on the Street and over the Body
IV. Interpreting Sodomy Laws: The Scope Expands
V. Conclusion: The Emancipatory Potential of Decriminalization
Recommendations
Acknowledgements


(FLASHBACK)
Hated to Death, November 15, 2004
Homophobia, Violence, and Jamaica’s HIV/AIDS Epidemic


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Table of Contents
Hated to Death:
Glossary of Key Terms
A Note on Jamaican language
I.SUMMARY
II. RECOMMENDATIONS
III. METHODS
IV. BACKGROUND
V.FINDINGS OF HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH’S INVESTIGATION
VI. GOVERNMENT RESPONSE
VII. REGIONAL EFFORTS TO ADDRESS HIV/AIDS
VIII. LEGAL STANDARDS
IX. CONCLUSION
Acknowledgments
Appendix

Three Gay Asylum Losses (2 Jamaican Gays loose Asylum Appeal)

By: ARTHUR S. LEONARD
12/18/2008

Three gay men eager to remain in the United States struck out before separate federal circuit court panels in early December. A gay Indonesian had failed to raise issues about his homosexuality early enough in his efforts to stay, ruled the 5th Circuit, based in Houston. Two gay Jamaicans, both of whom ran afoul of the law while in the US, fell short of proving they would be tortured if deported to their homeland, according to the 4th Circuit, based in Richmond, and the 11th Circuit, based in Atlanta.

Because the gay men in these cases will be returned to countries where they may be subjected to attack for their sexual orientation, Gay City News will not publish their names. The brief December 1 ruling concerning the Indonesian man does not mention whether he was represented by a lawyer, but that seems unlikely, considering the shortcomings of his case. The court was considering a motion by the man to have his case returned to the Justice Department’s Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) for reconsideration, on the ground that he wanted to present new evidence to the Immigration Judge that he was gay. Typically, new evidence is considered information not available at the time of the original hearing that might have changed the outcome.

In this case, the man claims, that in raising his homosexuality only at this point in the proceedings, “he had a good explanation for not doing so at his hearing due to cultural taboos and his lack of knowledge that information was relevant.” He also claimed that at the time “he did not know his sexual orientation,” but “came out” only later.The court was not sympathetic, stating that his “allegation regarding cultural taboos and his lack of knowledge of the relevance of his sexual orientation” explains why he did not present the evidence, but “it does not show that he could not have presented the evidence,” which it said is the standard that applies. The court also pointed out that he first contended he did not know he was gay during his original hearing in a brief that he filed with the court of appeals. Under the rules governing these proceedings, an argument cannot be raised for the first time when the case gets to federal court. Since he “did not raise this claim before the BIA, this court does not have jurisdiction to consider it,” wrote the court.
In the Jamaican case heard in Richmond, decided on December 3, the petitioner had gained lawful permanent resident status in the US in 1987, but was ordered deported in 1998 by an Immigration Judge due to criminal activity. However, he quickly reentered the USÂ illegally and in 2004 was arrested and convicted of drug trafficking, using a firearm, and illegally reentering the US. He was again ordered deported, but this time he raised the issue of his homosexuality, claiming that he feared persecution or torture if sent back to Jamaica. Appearing before an Immigration Judge, the man’s case was bolstered by a 2005 State Department Country Report on Jamaica documenting problems gay men encounter in that intensely homophobic society, including “reports of physical abuse of homosexual prisoners.” The petitioner recounted being assaulted by a mob, and his sister testified that neighbors had killed the petitioner’s father because of his relationship to his son.
The Immigration Judge found the petitioner eligible for protection under the international Convention Against Torture, concluding he was more likely than not at risk of being imprisoned and tortured for homosexual acts if returned to Jamaica.The man’s luck did not last. The Department of Homeland Security appealed his case to the Board of Immigration Appeals, which reversed, finding that the conclusion he faced torture was “based on a series of unsupported suppositions.” The BIA concluded it was “not more likely than not that ‘any torture the applicant may suffer in Jamaica would be by or at the acquiescence of the government.'” The immigration system offers protection to refugees who suffer from public and publicly-sanctioned abuse, but not atrocities carried out strictly by private citizens.
The petitioner unsuccessfully appealed this ruling to the 4th Circuit in 2007, and the Supreme Court denied his application for review early this year. On the verge of deportation, the petitioner, seizing on a recent BIA ruling in another case involving a gay Jamaican, sought to reopen his case there, but he was denied because his appeal was not timely. He again appealed to the 4th Circuit, but in its latest ruling that court found that Congress’s crackdown on non-citizens who engage in serious criminal activity sharply limits its jurisdiction in such cases. The court wrote that it can only review “constitutional and legal questions” at issue, while the petitioner was instead raising an argument based on a more recent precedent that he saw as advantageous. So, even though the BIA has accepted the argument that conditions for gay men in Jamaica are serious enough to warrant letting gay refugees from there stay in the US, the petitioner in this case was too late to benefit. The other gay Jamaican case, decided by the 11th Circuit on December 4, takes a different view of the evidence about dangers facing gay men in Jamaica.
The petitioner entered the US as a legal permanent resident in 1992 as a child accompanying his mother, who was was naturalized as a citizen in 1999. By then, he had already turned 18, so he did not automatically become a citizen as well.The man was later convicted of a felony and sentenced to 18 months in prison for stabbing a man with whom he was living, though it is not clear on whether the victim was his partner, a roommate, or just a short-term visitor. The initial proceedings to deport him were conducted by telephone because he was in prison, and when the Immigration Judge advised him to get an attorney, he responded he “would like to speak on my own behalf,” usually a mistake.
He admitted he had been convicted of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, and that he had also been arrested for prostitution. A criminal conviction of a non-citizen on serious charges subjects him to deportation and disqualifies him from being granted asylum. However, protection under the Convention Against Torture is available if he can show it is likely he would be subjected to torture in his home country. The Immigration Judge, the BIA, and ultimately the circuit court decided that the petitioner had not met this burden, despite presenting the same sort of evidence that has proved persuasive in some other cases. Part of the problem is that the wording of the State Department’s Country Reports on Jamaica varies from year to year, and has never stated unequivocally that gays are specifically targeted for torture by the government.
The most recent report indicates that the government prosecuted somebody for murdering a gay rights activist, and that a prison warden in Jamaica had taken steps to separate gay prisoners from the others in order to protect them from attacks by homophobic prisoners. The Immigration Judge found that the petitioner had a legitimate fear of being discriminated against and possibly harmed by other citizens if returned to Jamaica, but that there was “no hard evidence” that the government “condoned or turned a blind eye or participated in such conduct.” The BIA backed up that conclusion, as did the federal circuit court.

Jamaican gays heartened by resolution before UN

THE United Nations last week heard a proposed resolution for the universal decriminalisation of homosexuality, prompting optimism among the local gay community at the prospect of having buggery struck from the law books.
“Such a move is welcomed as many nation states, including Jamaica, criminalise homosexual activity between consenting adults. The criminal provisions against consenting same-sex practices are a legal absurdity as these so-called crimes have no victims,” said the Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-sexuals and Gays (J-FLAG), in a statement prepared in response to Observer queries.

But it is anyone’s guess whether Jamaica will support the proposal, once it gets to the stage where it is to be voted on.
Prime Minister Bruce Golding was unavailable for comment on the issue last week, while Foreign Affairs Minister Dr Ken Baugh could not be reached for a response yesterday.

Golding, ahead of the general elections last year, came out strongly against homosexuality in an interview with this newspaper’s flagship publication, the Sunday Observer. “Let us be very clear.
There are some countries that are prepared to overturn tradition and culture in the interest of what they regard as individual freedoms and to do so at the instance of the homosexual fraternity, which comprises a minority in the population. You will find this pretty prevalent in Europe. We (the JLP) are not prepared to go in that direction,” he said then. “We intend to uphold the laws of the country.”

In a May 20 interview with the BBC’s talk show HARDtalk this year, Golding said he would not allow homosexuals in his Cabinet.In the meantime, sociologist Dr Orville Taylor said it was time for Jamaica to decriminalise homosexuality. The existing law, he said, was biased against male homosexuals since there was no provision for the punishment of females caught having sex with other females. In addition, he said the law was not being effectively policed anyway, as evidenced by the few men who have been charged for buggery in recent years.
“Ask the question how many adult men in recent times have been caught having homosexual sex at home. It means that it (buggery) has been de-facto legalised for a long time. If government was really serious about enforcing the buggery law, they would raid the homes of their friends who they know are gay,” Taylor said.

He added: “Governments really don’t want to enforce the law because too much money and power and influence is involved. It is nothing about Christianity.”
But he said that the decriminalisation of buggery would not equate to support for same-sex relationships.
“.I don’t think you are compromising your morals because we are not saying we approve of it, it is just that it is not one of the things that people should go to jail for,” Taylor told the Observer. “There is a hell of a difference between saying you are advocating a certain lifestyle and saying ‘low them mek dem live how dem waan live’.”At the same time, the sociologist said it would be useful to consider the economic implications if Jamaica refused to decriminalise buggery. Already, he said, Jamaica’s relations with the European Union has been affected by the death penalty vote.
Said Taylor: “There are trade and aid issues (that will arise). We don’t live in a world by ourselves and in this economic crisis you want to have as few economic enemies as possible. The question we must ask ourselves is: What do we lose as a society if we legally allow these people to (live the way they choose)?” asked Taylor.

France, which put forward the initiative for the universal decriminalisation of homosexuality on Human Rights Day last Wednesday, is to submit a draft of the proposal at the UN General Assembly this week.
“Opposition to universal decriminalisation is strong and led by an alliance of the Vatican and Islamic governments. It will undoubtedly take several years to achieve support from a majority of the United Nations,” said a December 11 editorial in Gay City News, which is reputed to be the United States’ largest circulation lesbian and gay newspaper. “But next (this) week’s unveiling of declaration with such widespread international support is a giant first step toward the day when the world community will finally declare that sexual minorities should be free to live as they wish without threat of imprisonment or death,” said the newspaper.

BY PETRE WILLIAMS – Environment editor williamsp@jamaicaobserver.com

JFLAG …… In Gratitude (10th Anniversary & More) 2008

from JFLAG
We wholeheartedly like to thank all our well wishers and supporters for your kind words over the past week as we celebrated our decade of existence in the struggle for LGBT tolerance here in Jamaica on December 10, the same day as World Human Rights Day.
We are looking forward to your continued presence as we strive for a better jamdown for peace and tolerance. The boxes upon boxes of greeting cards already in the season show us that you care and we are grateful, make no mistake about it.
All the best for the season as well and tuck in a love gift for us to remain active.
Thanks and peace be with you.
Admin

The Response to Lesbian Club in Portmore

Once again the Star News toys with public opinion to sell papers it seems:

Portmore residents have lashed out against a lesbian club said to operating in the municipality and are adamant that they do not want any such club or activity in their community.

Recently, in a local Sunday newspaper, a man placed an advertisement for girls between 18 and 30 years old to form a lesbian club named ‘Circle Square’ in Portmore. However, this did not gone down well with the residents of the municipality.

“Not under God’s earth! God don’t want that at all … It’s abominable in God’s sight. I’m pleading to them don’t let that come off the ground,” the Reverend Elisha Thomas, a pastor in Portmore, said. “They must remember that it was homosexuality that brought the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.”

woman to man
Mark Smith from Portsmouth was angry in his remarks. “No sah! That cah gwan eno. We lick out pan things like that. Me seh, man to a woman and woman to man. Woman to woman cah work,” he stated.

“Brimstone and fire pan them,” a Rastafarian man yelled when quizzed about this particular club.
One woman who requested anonymity said that recently she was approached by six women who were trying to persuade her to attend a party which caters to women only. The woman sent them on their way, but not before one of the women, a thick lady with a husky male voice, said: “It nuh done yet, me must get yu’. They quickly walked away as men, seeing the action, approached them.
The Portmore police said they have no knowledge of a lesbian club.
“The first time I heard of this club was in the Star newspaper. If we get any information about this club, you will be first to know,” a senior officer at the Greater Portmore Police Station said.

highly religious city

When contacted, Mayor of Portmore, Keith Hinds, said that while he cannot tell people what their sexual preference should be, he is adamant that he will not tolerate lesbians showcasing their activities in the municipality. He requested that these people read their Bible which condemns such practices. “We must remind them that Portmore is a highly religious city and people will not think too keenly on things like these,” he said.

ENDS

I was of the opinion that adults were free to make their own decisions so long as those decisions were not deleterious to others.

Tsk

Peace & tolerance

H

 

 

Gays, ganja, hanging, abortion – four horsemen of the Apocalypse

franklin johnston –

After 20 years, Parliament is now in sync with the laws of the land. This is an important victory for the masses; not that anyone will hang, but we learnt a lot from the exercise. First, 49 MPs made a decision; there is hope yet. Next, the 15 MPs who voted against hanging elevated their personal views above the consciences of their constituents. They dissed us.

We put them in the House to speak for us but they did not. I expect the few MPs like Mr Thwaites whose constituents have known his outlook for decades but others have not earned our trust. Then, 10 MPs ran for cover (one justifiably sick) and disenfranchised their constituents, some 18 per cent of the electorate.

This is massive as elections are won by much less. Some absentees took a stand before the vote, no problem there. But who are the rest? Are they cowards, afraid to upset their cronies, or just people with no consciences? Because of them, almost a fifth of us had no say in the most serious vote in a decade.

Shame on them! Let them feel the power of our outrage when next they ask us to vote for them. We need reforms to make MPs accountable to their constituents and Parliament needs a proxy vote system so samfie MPs cannot hide their views. More anon. Let’s focus our energies and pressure Parliament to put good crime prevention and detection in place.

The soul of our nation is hurting. We are full of hate and double standards and we react to homosexuality as a bull to a red flag. A friend told me that those who condemn gays the loudest have the most to hide. Even our politicians are afraid to put gay issues to debate. Our MPs have eminent gay friends of long standing yet they are afraid to even sip a Red Stripe with them. Is the gay life contagious? Let us have another conscience vote.

Gay is here to stay. There were gays in Bible days and every nation has its aberrations; for example, twins, the savant, lesbians, idiots, gays and geniuses. Not many, but they are born daily. Last year, animal scientists isolated a gene to help farmers cull gay sheep, to cut feed costs and raise profit. They were pilloried amid fears that the research might be applied to humans.

I do not understand why our men are so angry at gay people. A man who will not inform on a thief or murderer will go out of his way to curse or harm a gay person. He swears he knows who-and-who is gay but when I ask, ” Really, so did it hurt you a lot?” they go silent or get angry with me. How else do they know who is gay, if not by a try?

Up to, say, age 10, I was blissfully unaware that a “teapot” (my mother’s name for penis) had any use but to “wee wee” (her name too), and with all the zipping and unzipping it was a nuisance. At senior school I was taught that said “teapot” also made babies and since then, I have done my teachers proud! There was a boy in class we called “Lady P” as he liked to clown with girls and to bake.

I do not believe at age 9 or any age, this boy made a decision to be gay. In our boyish way, we knew he was different. We had no words for it, we were not insecure and we loved him as he was our link to the girls. Today, we know he is gay, he works on Fashion Avenue, NY.

We are still friends and he is happy, which he never was in Jamaica. We did not call him cruel names. We were boys and friends. Lady P did not make himself gay; no human did. We need to show love and compassion to HIV/AIDS victims, gays, the poor, young and old. We must abandon hate.

How good are we if we love only lovely people?
We are also ambivalent about ganja – the Hindu name for cannabis, “ganjika” in old Sanscrit. The Indians took it to the sugar estates in the 1860s and it spread, but is not used by 70 per cent of us as the tourist books claim, and while this notoriety may suit us now, we may live to regret it.

I am ashamed of the homophobic, the obscene lyrics, male prostitutes (call them “rent-a-dread” if it makes you feel better), ganja-smoking, intolerant image we project.

I was chagrined as my project team was feted by officials at a snow-bound cottage on Lake Muskoka in Ontario, Canada, and guess what? They called me “Jamaican ganja expert” to roll spliffs. I hated the stereotype, but I was cornered and for pride of country, I rolled a brace of the best.

What will we do about ganja – legalise? decriminalise? eradicate? In the UK, cannabis is a low-level Class C drug (Class A is crack, heroin, cocaine – life in prison and unlimited fines), and the police ignore discreet use. In the USA, ganja is Schedule 1,

at the top with heroin, mescaline and fines and jail time is highest. From one extreme to the other. Our Indian cane cutters used ganja as relief during hard labour; what irony, poor people today use ganja as relief from ennui and unemployment.

The verdict on ganja is still out, but we all know friends and children who used ganja said “it a nuh nutten” and today these stunted people can’t cope with reality. Local ganja makes us lethargic and unproductive; imported cocaine empowers criminals to evaginate victims mercilessly and make our nation a target for global gangs.

The USA and UK are now self-sufficient in ganja and we no longer have strategic value, so let us do what is best for our people. Let us have a conscience vote on ganja.

Furthermore, let us introduce the coca plant and the poppy flower for ethical agriculture. Unlike ganja, these are legal; world prices are high and the derivatives are widely used in foods, industry and medication. Let investors set up FDA-approved agriprocessing and create rural jobs and development.

The abortion conflict is imported from America, and God knows, we don’t need a new war. Outsiders must never again dictate to our men and women how we manage our bodies – be it liposuction, facelifts, castration, breast reduction,

abortion, vasectomy or a nose job. Japan gives incentives for people to go home and make babies. China does the opposite. For two centuries up to 1833 we did not control our bodies; we were told when to breed, with whom and when to abort. It must not happen here. never again!

Dr Franklin Johnston is an international project manager with Teape-Johnston, currently on assignment in the UK.

franklinjohnston@hotmail.com

Lesbian Club in Portmore (The Star 4.12.08)

Local women seeking to establish relationships with other women are no longer waiting to meet them by chance. They have taken to recruiting them by forming clubs and advertising for membership.
For the last few weeks, one such club has been advertising in a Sunday publication for women between 18 and 30 years old to join the club, named Circle Square, which THE STAR has learnt is based in Portmore, St Catherine.

The advertisement reads, “Circle Square all-female club invites adventurous, fun-loving, open-minded ladies 18-30 to join our exclusive social club. Come and explore very private membership free.”

When THE STAR contacted the club via a telephone number posted in the advertisement, a male answered. The news team, pretending to be interested in joining the club, called on several occasions and were told by the man that the club is for women who are interested in women.
Bring females together

The man, who gave his name as Tony and said he was the recruiter and first asked callers if they were interested in women. Callers were also asked if they had ever slept with a woman. After he was sure that the callers were really interested, he then explained the club’s intentions.
“The concept behind the club is to bring females together who have a common interest. It’s not dating thing or anything like that, we just have individuals who want to come together and have fun,” he said.

Tony said all future members had to be screened by him before they are allowed to meet the other women. “We don’t want the sketel-like behaviour,” he said.
When asked why there was an age limit, he said it was set by the club members. Although he would not say how many women are in the club, he said the membership was a ‘good amount’.
THE STAR’s callers were also asked about their addresses and were told that this information was required because the club does not bring together women from the same community as it has caused problems in the past. He said people have pretended in the past to be interested and when they joined and saw those in the club, it caused problems. “I do not want anyone to scrutinise you,” he said.

Based on information discussed on the telephone, THE STAR learnt that screening is done in other locations away from the club and if persons pass the interview, then they are taken to meet the other women.

UN General Assembly to Address Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

Statement affirms promise of Universal Declaration of Human Rights

For Immediate Release
(New York, December 11, 2008) –

As the world celebrates the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the UN General Assembly will hear a statement in mid-December endorsed by more than 50 countries across the globe calling for an end to rights abuses based on sexual orientation and gender identity. A coalition of international human rights organizations today urged all the world’s nations to support the statement in affirmation of the UDHR’s basic promise: that human rights apply to everyone.

Nations on four continents are coordinating the statement, including: Argentina, Brazil, Croatia, France, Gabon, Japan, the Netherlands, and Norway. The reading of the statement will be the first time the General Assembly has formally addressed rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
“In 1948 the world’s nations set forth the promise of human rights, but six decades later, the promise is unfulfilled for many,” said Linda Baumann of Namibia, a board member of Pan Africa ILGA, a coalition of over 60 African lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) groups. “The unprecedented African support for this statement sends a message that abuses against LGBT people are unacceptable anywhere, ever.”
The statement is non-binding, and reaffirms existing protections for human rights in international law. It builds on a previous joint statement supported by 54 countries, which Norway delivered at the UN Human Rights Council in 2006.

“Universal means universal, and there are no exceptions,” said Boris Dittrich of the Netherlands, advocacy director of Human Rights Watch’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights program. “The UN must speak forcefully against violence and prejudice, because there is no room for half measures where human rights are concerned.”
The draft statement condemns violence, harassment, discrimination, exclusion, stigmatization, and prejudice based on sexual orientation and gender identity. It also condemns killings and executions, torture, arbitrary arrest, and deprivation of economic, social, and cultural rights on those grounds.
“Today, dozens of countries still criminalize consensual homosexual conduct, laws that are often relics of colonial rule,” said Grace Poore of Malaysia, who works with the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission. “This statement shows a growing global consensus that such abusive laws have outlived their time.”
The statement also builds on a long record of UN action to defend the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. In its 1994 decision in Toonen v. Australia, the UN Human Rights Committee – the body that interprets the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), one of the UN’s core human rights treaties – held that human rights law prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation. Since then, the United Nations’ human rights mechanisms have condemned violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity, including killings, torture, rape, violence, disappearances, and discrimination in many areas of life. UN treaty bodies have called on states to end discrimination in law and policy.

Other international bodies have also opposed violence and discrimination against LGBT people, including the Council of Europe and the European Union. In 2008, all 34 member countries of the Organization of American States unanimously approved a declaration affirming that human rights protections extend to sexual orientation and gender identity.
“Latin American governments are helping lead the way as champions of equality and supporters of this statement,” said Gloria Careaga Perez of Mexico, co-secretary general of ILGA. “Today a global movement supports the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, and those voices will not be denied.”

So far, 55 countries have signed onto the General Assembly statement, including: Andorra, Armenia, Australia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, Cape Verde, the Central African Republic, Chile, Ecuador, Georgia, Iceland, Israel, Japan, Liechtenstein, Mexico, Montenegro, New Zealand, San Marino, Serbia, Switzerland, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Uruguay, and Venezuela. All 27 member states of the European Union are also signatories.
“It is a great achievement that this initiative has made it to the level of the General Assembly,” said Louis-Georges Tin of France, president of the International Committee for IDAHO (International Day against Homophobia), a network of activists and groups campaigning for decriminalization of homosexual conduct. “It shows our common struggles are successful and should be reinforced.”

“This statement has found support from states and civil society in every region of the world,” said Kim Vance of Canada, co-director of ARC International. “In December a simple message will rise from the General Assembly: the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is truly universal.”
The coalition of international human rights organizations that issued this statement include: Amnesty International; ARC International; Center for Women’s Global Leadership; COC Netherlands; Global Rights; Human Rights Watch; IDAHO Committee; International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC); International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex Association (ILGA); and Public Services International.

For more information, please contact:
In New York for Human Rights Watch, Scott Long (English): +1-212-216-1297; or +1-646-641-5655; or longs@hrw.org
In London for Amnesty International, Kate Sheill (English: +44-20-7413-5748; or ksheill@amnesty.org

In Halifax, for ARC International, Kim Vance (English, French): +1-902-488-6404
In Geneva for ARC International, John Fisher (English, French): +41-79-508-3968; or arc@arcinternational.net
In Amsterdam for COC Netherlands, Bjorn van Roozendall (Dutch, English): +31-6-22-55-83-00; or bvanroozendaal@coc.nl

In Washington for Global Rights, Stefano Fabeni (English, Italian, Spanish): +1 202-741-5049; or stefanof@globalrights.org

In New York for IGLHRC, Hossein Alizadeh (English, Persian): +1-212-430-6016; or halizadeh@iglhrc.org

In Brussels for ILGA, Stephen Barris (English, French, Spanish): +32-2-502-2471; ormailto:orstephenbarris@ilga.org;
or in New York, +39 33-5-606-7158, or media@ilga.org

(December 14-18)
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The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) is a leading human rights organization solely devoted to improving the rights of people around the world who are targeted for imprisonment, abuse or death because of their sexuality, gender identity or HIV/AIDS status. IGLHRC addresses human rights violations by partnering with and supporting activists in countries around the world, monitoring and documenting human rights abuses, engaging offending governments, and educating international human rights officials. A non-profit, non-governmental organization, IGLHRC is based in New York, with offices in Cape Town and Buenos Aires. Visit http://www.iglhrc.org/ for more information

J-FLAG celebrates tenth anniversary – Press Release (edit)

Kingston – December 10, 2008
December 10, 2008 marks ten years since the founding of the Jamaica Forum for
Lesbians, All-sexuals and Gays (J-FLAG), Jamaica’s foremost lesbian, gay and
transgender rights advocacy group. The anniversary will be commemorated with a
church service on the weekend. As J-FLAG celebrates this milestone, it pauses to reflect
on the challenges and successes that have shaped its journey thus far.
Started by a group of 12 business people, educators, lawyers, public relations
practitioners, advertisers and human rights activists, J-FLAG was launched in the wee
hours of December 10, 2008. The organisation was born out of the need to advocate
for the protection of lesbians, gays and transgenders from state-sanctioned and
community violence. In this regard, J-FLAG’s call was for the fair and equal treatment of
gays and lesbians under the law and by the ordinary citizen.
The organisation’s birth was condemned and decried by most as a foolhardy venture
that would result in a backlash against members of the country’s lesbian, gay, bisexual
and transgender community. On the other hand, it was welcomed by a few as a bold
attempt to recognise lesbians, gays and transgenders as members of plural Jamaican
society.
After ten years of existence, J-FLAG can boast of having survived in one of the most
inhospitable environments for gays, lesbians and transgender people. Indeed, much of
J-FLAG’s work has revolved around the rescuing of community members from violent
situations or attempting to deal with the aftermath of such situations. In fact, the
violent death of Brian Williamson, one of the co-founders of J-FLAG—and for years its
voice and face—and the recent departure of Gareth Henry, a former programmes
manager of the organisation, testify to the dangerous environment in which the
organisation operates.
Yet J-FLAG has been able to do what was, ten years ago, unthinkable in Jamaica. It has
visited and made presentations on sexuality and human rights to a variety of local and
international organisations, including religious, civic and human rights groups as well as
tertiary educational institutions and the police. It has also met with and given interviews
with radio and newspaper reporters. But perhaps its most significant achievements have
been the submission to parliament regarding the addition of sexual orientation as a
category for which there should be constitutional protection against discrimination and
the assistance, in 2006, to relaunch the Caribbean Forum for Lesbians, All-sexuals and
Gays (C-FLAG).
Over the ten years of its existence, J-FLAG has stood as a singular voice in Jamaica
calling for the respect of lesbians, gays and transgenders as citizens with the same
rights and value as heterosexual Jamaicans. For the next phase of its journey, the
organisation will continue calling Jamaicans to a deeper understanding of their plurality
and their democracy; it will continue seeking to raise the level of debate in the society
about the meaning of tolerance and the acceptance of difference. Accordingly, J-FLAG
will attempt to forge new relationships with a wider cross-section of organisations
committed to strengthening democracy and the promotion of respect for all Jamaicans,
regardless of sexual orientation, gender, creed, religion or social status.
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