India’s National Academy of Legal Studies and Research will become the first gender-neutral university.
The National Academy of Legal Studies and Research in Hyderabad on March 26 announced on its official Twitter page that it has decided to create a gender-neutral safe space for LGBTQ students and designated the ground floor of a dorm for them. The university also said rooms will be allotted to students who identify themselves as members of the LGBTQ community.
The university has announced the bathroom on the dorm’s ground floor is now gender-neutral. While the university is drafting its final policy, LGBTQ students’ concerns will be addressed using the interim policy.
Vice Chancellor Faizan Mustafa told the Washington Blade that since he joined the university in 2012, he has followed the “liberty model” of administration rather than the “control.” According to Mustafa, his model of administration allowed him to let students participate in policymaking, which led to a gender-neutral campus.
“I feel that the knowledge creation happens in liberal spaces,” said Mustafa. “And the knowledge creation requires that the university spaces should be liberated because knowledge creation requires creativity, and creativity does not come if you have control.”
A student in June 2015 requested the university not include gender in its diplomas. The university swiftly accepted this request and used the neutral prefix “Mx.” This led to the idea of inclusivity at the university campus.
“When some students reached out to me that while the liberty model is good for everyone, we are not doing enough for the gender and transgender people. So, I constituted a committee,” said Mustafa. “I included some students in the committee, some teachers, and then I said let’s make a new beginning. Accordingly, the policy was approved by me, and now we are inviting suggestions for the policy before we go to the statutory bodies of the university. We will not follow the gender-binary at the campus.”
The university’s Trans Policy Committee drafted the “Policy on Inclusive Education for Gender and Sexual Minority.”
Under the self-identification policy, students need to write a self-attested declaration, which will be the basis of gender identity recognition. The policy also suggests that gender in official records should be independent of the student’s honorific titles in the legal documents.
The policy states no documents will assign any gender to a student. Even after the declaration of gender identity, students will be able to change their names and pronouns. The policy also highlights self-identified gender will form the basis for all entitlements that result from the policy, for instance, dorm accommodation, scholarships and the right to file discrimination claims.
“Certainly what the university did is great but the entire discourse and activism around creating gender-neutral spaces were led by students and informal student collectives like NALSAR Queer Collective, Savitribai Intersectional Study Circle, NALSAR Minorities Forum, etc.,” said Kranthi, a fourth-year student who co-founded the NALSAR Queer Collective.
Kranthi is a member of the committee that drafted the new policy.
“I must add, LGBTQ+ students in NALSAR would not have achieved the recognition of their basic rights without the support and solidarity of Dalit, Adivasi, Muslim and Bahujan students,” said Kranthi. “The support and solidarity of other marginalized groups in the university is an important part of our struggle for gender-neutral spaces.”
Kranthi said the creation of gender-neutral spaces sends a strong message to the world that anyone who doesn’t fit or refuses to fit in the gender binary system is welcome and recognized.
“What has happened so far in our university is only little, and so much more needs to be done if we want to shift the whole institutional culture towards real inclusion of gender and sexual minorities,” said Kranthi. “Until economic and social support is provided for trans and queer students from lower socio-economic backgrounds these changes brought by the university would mean nothing to them and would only serve the interests of upper caste, upper-caste queer students. Hopefully, we will be able to focus more on substantial aspects like capacity and skill development, financial aid and scholarships, internship-aid for queer and trans students than on formal procedures and piecemeal changes.”
A spokesperson for Queer Nilayum, a support group for LGBTQ people in Hyderabad, praised the new policy.
“We think providing gender-neutral washrooms and hostels is a great step towards creating a safer and more affirming campus for transgender (trans), non-binary (nb), and gender-nonconforming people (GNC),” they said. “However, creating gender-neutral infrastructure and just saying that ‘there will be no discrimination based on gender’ isn’t enough to protect the rights of gender marginalized people. There needs to be a lot more awareness and education about gender so that people who are gender-marginalized recognize their biases and preconceived notions about trans, nb (non-binary), and GNC (gender non-conforming) people. There also need to be policies in place to prevent instances of discrimination and to ensure fairness and justice for those who face discrimination.”
A study that UNESCO conducted in 2019 found 60 percent of LGBTQ of middle and high school students in India faced bullying or harassment. Forty-three percent of respondents said they faced sexual harassment in elementary school, while 70 percent of LGBTQ students who were bullied said they suffer from anxiety and depression and 33 percent dropped out.
Ankush Kumar (Mohit) is a freelance reporter who has covered many stories for Washington and Los Angeles Blades from Iran, India and Singapore. He recently reported for the Daily Beast. He can be reached at [email protected]. He is on Twitter at @mohitkopinion.
Japan court rules country’s same-sex marriage ban is constitutional
Case filed in Osaka
In a ruling issued Monday, a district court in Osaka said that the country’s ban on same-sex marriage was not unconstitutional. The case had been filed by three same-sex couples — two male, one female — and is only the second legal challenge to have been filed in Japan.
In March 2021, the Sapporo District Court ruled the country’s constitution does not ban same-sex couples from legally marrying and ensures them a right to marry. Under current Japanese law, same-sex couples are banned from legally marrying, which means partners cannot inherit each other’s assets upon death and have no parental rights over the other’s child.
In the Sapporo case, Nikkei Asia reported three couples — also two male and one female — tried to register their marriages in 2019, but local officials turned them away.
The couples sued and the court ruled the government’s actions violated two provisions of the Japanese Constitution: Article 14 that ensures the right to equal treatment and Article 24, which does not expressly deny the right of marriage to same-sex couples.
Reuters reported that the Osaka court ruling said that marriage was defined as being only between opposite genders and not enough debate on same-sex marriage had taken place in Japanese society.
“We emphasised in this case that we wanted same-sex couples to have access to the same things as regular couples,” said the lawyer for the couples, Akiyoshi Miwa, adding that they would appeal.
Reuters also reported that while Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has said the issue needs to be carefully considered, his ruling Liberal Democratic Party has disclosed no plans to review the matter or propose legislation, though some senior party members favor reform.
An upcoming case in Tokyo will keep alive public debate on the issue, particularly in the capital, where an opinion poll by the local government late last year found some 70 percent of people were in favor of same-sex marriage.
Japanese court upholds same-sex marriage ban:
Pakistan’s transgender community struggles to overcome marginalization
Country’s trans culture dates back centuries
Pakistan’s transgender community remains largely visible, yet marginalized and ostracized.
Pakistani society makes little or no distinction between public order, morality, sexual orientation, or gender identity. With the introduction of new thoughts, cultures and religions in Pakistan during different periods of time has come a whole new understanding towards lesbians, gay men and trans people who find themselves included in wider terms, such as LGBT and queer.
Trans rights in Pakistan
Pakistan is a country located in southern Asia. The region now straddling the border of present-day Pakistan and Afghanistan is one of the most war-torn regions of the world. For trans people, life can be especially difficult in Pakistan. They face challenges with family, friends, co-workers, strangers and the government.
Trans people have a long history in Pakistan. There are references to trans people in ancient Hindu texts, and trans people have been part of Pakistani culture for centuries.
The first public trans beauty pageant was held in Pakistan in January 2017. The event was organized by the Khawaja Sira Society, a support group for trans people. The pageant was a major step forward for trans rights in Pakistan.
Despite some progress, trans people in Pakistan still face many challenges. Family members may reject trans people, leading to homelessness and poverty. They may be ridiculed or humiliated by strangers. They may be denied basic rights and opportunities, such as education and employment. And they may be subject to violence and abuse.
The government of Pakistan has taken some steps to protect the rights of trans people. In 2018, the government passed a law that prohibits discrimination against trans people in employment.
Major concerns for Pakistan’s trans community
Trans people in Pakistan face many challenges when it comes to their rights. One major concern is the lack of legal recognition of their gender identity. This means that trans people are often unable to get identity documents that match their gender identity, which can make it difficult to access many basic rights and services.
Another concern for the trans community in Pakistan is violence. Trans people are often targets of physical and sexual violence, as well as verbal abuse and harassment. This violence is often perpetrated with impunity, meaning that the perpetrators are rarely held accountable for their actions.
The trans community in Pakistan also faces discrimination when it comes to employment, housing and health care. Many trans people are forced to work in the informal sector because they cannot get formal employment due to their gender identity. This often means they are paid less than their cisgender counterparts and have fewer protections at work. When it comes to housing, trans people often face eviction and discrimination from landlords. And when it comes to health care, trans people often have difficulty accessing quality care that meets their specific needs.
These are just some of the major concerns facing Pakistan’s trans community. While there have been some small steps forward in recent years, much more needs to be done.
What international agencies can and should do for trans Pakistanis
There are a number of things that international agencies can do to support the trans community in Pakistan. This includes but is not limited to:
1. Providing financial support to organizations that work with and for the trans community in Pakistan.
2. Lobbying the Pakistani government to ensure that the trans community has legal recognition and protection from discrimination and violence.
3. Working with Pakistani civil society organizations to increase awareness of trans rights issues and promote social acceptance of the trans community.
4. Encouraging Pakistani businesses to create inclusive workplaces for trans employees.
5. Supporting research on the health needs of the trans community in Pakistan.
6. Providing training and capacity-building assistance to Pakistani police and other law enforcement officials on how to better protect trans people from violence and discrimination.
Resources for more information about Pakistan and transgender interests
There are an estimated 500,000 trans people in Pakistan, and they face a great deal of discrimination. They are often not allowed to use public bathrooms or changing rooms that match their gender identity, and many are denied access to education or employment.
There has been some progress made on trans rights in Pakistan in recent years.
In 2012, the government began issuing national ID cards that included a third gender option. And in 2017, a trans woman was elected to the Provincial Assembly of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. In 2022 Sarah Gill became the first trans doctor in Pakistan. But much more needs to be done in order to achieve full equality for trans people in Pakistan.
If you’re looking for more information on trans rights in Pakistan, here are some great resources.
Trans Action Pakistan is a grassroots organization that works to defend the rights of trans people in Pakistan. They offer support and advocacy services, and they also run awareness-raising campaigns.
The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill was introduced in the Pakistani Parliament in 2016. It contains a number of provisions aimed at protecting the rights.
Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act
The trans community in Pakistan has been fighting for their rights for many years, and finally, in 2018, they achieved a major victory with the passage of the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2018. This act provides legal recognition and protection for trans people in Pakistan and includes provisions for things like identity documents, anti-discrimination measures and access to education and employment. While there are still many challenges faced by trans people in Pakistan, this act is a major step forward in the fight for equality.
Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act is a piece of legislation that was enacted in order to protect the rights of trans people in Pakistan. The act prohibits discrimination against trans people in all areas of life, including employment, education, healthcare and housing. It also provides for the recognition of trans people’s gender identity and gives them the right to change their legal gender.
The act has been widely praised by human rights organizations and is seen as a step forward for trans rights in Pakistan.
On the positive side, the act provides trans people with basic rights and protections that they did not have before. For example, it prohibits discrimination against trans people in employment, education, and other areas of life. It also allows them to change their gender on government-issued documents.
On the negative side, some activists feel that the act does not go far enough in protecting trans people’s rights. For example, it does not allow them to marry or adopt children. It also requires them to have surgery before they can change their gender on official documents. This can be a costly and difficult procedure for many trans people.
Overall, the act is a step in the right direction for Pakistan’s trans community. However, more work needs to be done to fully protect their rights and give them equality.
The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act was passed by Pakistan’s National Assembly in May 2018. This act provides basic rights and protections for trans people in Pakistan.
Under the act, trans people are allowed to self-identify their gender. This is a major step forward, as trans people in Pakistan have previously been forced to undergo surgery or hormone therapy in order to change their legal gender.
The act also prohibits discrimination against trans people in employment, education, healthcare and other areas of life. This means that trans people will now have equal access to opportunities and resources.
The passage of this act is a major victory for trans rights in Pakistan. It provides much-needed protections and rights for trans people.
Out K-pop star attacked in ‘hate crime’
Holland said incident took place on Wednesday in Seoul nightlife district
Out K-pop star Holland, real name Go Tae-seob, was brutally attacked Wednesday in the Itaewon commercial district of the South Korean capital city of Seoul. A spokesperson for the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency confirmed that the singer had been attacked.
The Itaewon district is known for its cosmopolitan dining and nightlife, with Korean barbecue restaurants and upscale bistros, as well as low-key kebab shops catering to a late-night crowd. Casual beer bars and gay pubs sit alongside hip dance clubs where DJs spin hip-hop and house music.
In a tweet about the incident, the out gay pop star wrote; “Last night, I was walking around Itaewon with my manager and a friend. Suddenly, a stranger man approached me and hit me on the face twice, calling me ‘a dirty gay.’ Now I have a scar on my face and I’m going to the hospital soon.”
Holland also noted; “This is obviously a hate crime. The fact that my sexuality as gay is public should never expose myself to this kind of violence. Nor any other LGBT+ and all elders, women and minorities in this world. This happening in 2022 shows the sad reality of LGBT+ human rights.”
This is obviously a hate crime. The fact that my sexuality as gay is public should never expose myself to this kind of violence. Nor any other LGBT+ and all elders, women and minorities in this world. This happening in 2022 shows the sad reality of LGBT+ human rights.— HOLLAND (@HOLLAND_vvv) May 5, 2022
At the end of March earlier this year, the singer revealed during a live stream with fans that he is currently seeing a special someone, but he didn’t give many details about his new partner.
PinkNewsUK reported that the K-pop singer was questioned by fans in the chat during the live stream about his relationship and does indeed “have a boyfriend now.” Holland repeated the happy news while smiling, adding “damn” cheekily at the end.
“He’s very handsome and kind, tall,” Holland said, describing his boyfriend to fans.
so.. i have a boyfriend pic.twitter.com/K3HS62vvqQ— HOLLAND (@HOLLAND_vvv) March 24, 2022
In an interview published by Daily Mirror journalist Zahna Eklund, she noted that being an LGBTQ celebrity in South Korea isn’t always easy. The subject is still very taboo and same-sex marriage is yet to be legalized. So when Holland, burst onto the K-pop scene in 2018 as the industry’s only openly gay star, he had to fight tooth and nail to get recognized.
Holland first told his friends about his sexuality when he was a teenager, but admitted he didn’t tell his parents until he debuted as an idol in 2018. The 24-year-old singer has also said that he was bullied in school because of his sexuality, Eklund wrote.
In its annual Global Human Rights Report for 2022, Human Rights Watch reported;
“The Republic of Korea (South Korea) is an established democracy that largely respects civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights, although significant human rights concerns remain.
Discrimination against women is pervasive, as well as discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people, racial and ethnic minorities, and foreign migrants and refugees.
The LGBT rights movement in South Korea is growing but continues to face hostility and severe discrimination, especially in the armed forces. In October, a South Korean court ruled that the military unlawfully discriminated against Byun Hee-su, the country’s first openly transgender soldier, when it discharged her after she underwent a gender affirming surgery in 2019. The court ordered her reinstatement, but Byun died by suicide in March.
In schools, LGBTQ+ children and young people experience severe isolation and mistreatment including bullying and harassment, a lack of confidential mental health support, exclusion from school curricula, and gender identity discrimination.
Activists and progressive legislators have actively advocated for the National Assembly to develop and pass a broad-based national anti-discrimination law protecting LGBTQ+ persons as well as women, children, people with disabilities, older people, and foreigners. But the government did not make meaningful progress on such a law, citing a vocal Christian conservative group’s anti-LGBTQ+ opposition.
Evangelical Korean churches and religious organizations also continue their efforts to attempt to effectively erase LGBTQ+ Koreans by marginalizing and demonizing them.”
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