Sunday, November 04, 2012

This And That In The News – Trans Issues

"This And That In The News" is about articles in the news that have caught my eye and I want to share or comment about. These are the articles that caught my attention last week.

The first article that caught my eye was about a trans-woman who us seeking asylum here in the U.S. from Honduras,
Transgender Immigrant Fears for Her Life If Deported
MundoHispánico posted in New American Media
News Report, Johanes Rosello, Translated by Elena Shore
Posted: Nov 02, 2012

Editor’s Note: Since 2009, Honduras has seen a spike in hate crimes and murders of members of the transgender community. For one Honduran immigrant who is applying for asylum, the fight to stay in the United States could be a matter of life or death.

ATLANTA -- A Honduran who immigrated to the United States illegally seven years ago to escape harassment related to her sexual orientation and gender identity, now fears that she may have to go back to a country that has become even less safe.

But she has one hope: that she will be able to stay through a grant of asylum.
Castro’s fear of returning to Honduras reflects the reality that the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community experiences in Honduras, where hate crimes against them are commonplace.

According to Suyapa Portillo, a professor at Pitzer University and an expert on Central America, even though the violence and intolerance toward this community has been going on for a long time, hate crimes against them spiked after the fall of the Manuel Zelaya government in 2009.

“After the coup, it created a situation of lawlessness in the country. Much of this violence is perpetrated by police and military in the street, especially against the transgender community,” Portillo said.

According to Portillo, after the coup more than 80 members of the LGBT community in Honduras were killed.
Her case will not set a precedent, other trans-women have been granted asylum here because of violence in the home countries (I wrote about it here).

The next article is from Japan where a trans-man was denied from having his name on their child’s birth certificate.
Transgender Japanese citizen denied fatherly rights by court
The Japan Daily Press
By Britney Donald
November 4, 2012

A Japanese transgender female to male parent was seeking to have his son listed in the family registry only to be rejected by the Tokyo Family Court. The plaintiff’s wife gave birth to the son, via donated sperm when the couple lived in Shiso, Hyogo Prefecture.

The couple married in 2008, after the husband officially changed his gender, and were recognized as husband and wife under a new law that came into effect in 2004. The court’s ruling on Wednesday was the nation’s first involving a family register of a child born from parents with one of them having gender identity disorder (GID). Regarding Wednesday’s ruling, Judge Yoshiki Matsutani said not recognizing the husband as the father was not a violation of the Constitution that states “all of the people are equal under the law and there shall be no discrimination in political, economic or social relations because of race, creed, sex, social status or family origin.” According to the Civil Code, a child born by a woman during marriage shall be presumed to be the husband’s child…
You may remember a similar case in Florida where a trans-man was denied joint custody of their adopted child. However, the Japanese case is different in that they were legally married and their Civil Code. Only time will tell how this will sort out.

Sometimes we forget what our trans-brothers and sisters go through around the world…
Eleven trans arrested in Kuwait
With six transgender women arrested only in the last two weeks and five still in prison awaiting trial, Kuwait continues with 'morality' campaigns that also target LGBT people
Gay Star News
30 October 2012
By Dan Littauer

A transgender woman was arrested by Kuwaiti police, activists fear she will be charged and tried for ‘imitating the opposite sex’.

According to Kuwaiti activists there are at least eleven transgender people being held in prison awaiting trial, six of them arrested in the last two weeks.
On 10 December 2007, the Kuwaiti parliament passed a bill proposed by Islamic MPs that amended article 198 of penal code so that anyone 'imitating the appearance of a member of the opposite sex' could be jailed for up to a year or fined up to 1,000 dinars ($3,500 €2,800).

This law is causing substantial persecution and misery to transgender people in Kuwait which was slammed in a Human Rights Watch report published on 15 January this year criticizing arrests, torture and abuse of transgender people in the country.
Their parliament is dominated by religious extremists who want to control the country and force their religious beliefs on everyone.

The last article is about a trans-woman was just appointed to lead the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN),
Allyson Robinson, Transgender Veteran, Named To Helm Advocacy Group For LGBTs In Military
Huffington Post
By Andrea Stone
Posted: 10/25/2012

WASHINGTON -- In a move that may signal the next major battle over equality in the armed forces, the newly combined groups that represent gays in the military have chosen a transgender graduate of West Point as their new leader.

Allyson Robinson will lead the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network and OutServe when they formally merge this weekend. An Army veteran and a 1994 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, Robinson commanded a Patriot missile unit in Europe and the Middle East before resigning her commission in 1999 to become a Christian minister.

Her selection -- more than a year after the end of the Pentagon's "don't ask, don't tell" policy allowed gay and lesbian troops (but not transgender servicemembers) to serve openly -- is seen as an indication that activists consider their work unfinished. Along with the inclusion of transgender men and women, the major stumbling block to full equality for the LGBT community in the military is the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which bars married same-sex couples from receiving the same benefits as their straight peers.
I met Allyson back in 2009 when she came up here to testify on behalf of our gender inclusive anti-discrimination bill and also the following year at the Transforming New Hampshire Conference. She will make a good leader for the SLDN and focus now on the need for trans inclusion in the military.

Update 12:36PM: Added the Kuwaiti article

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