Monday, September 28, 2015

Upcoming FTM Fitness World Conference 2015


Monica Roberts


My trans brothers have been asking me why I haven't been covering the news from their half of the community lately, and they have a point. I do need to do a better job of it since I have the only continuous publishing blog dealing with trans issues from an African-American trans perspective.

And covering trans issues from an African-American perspective means I not only need to cover the stuff that happens on the trans feminine end, it also means I need to cover the issues and developments on the trans masculine end, too.

But you trans brothers also need to step up and let Monica know what's happening, and what you think I need to be talking about that you think needs to be brought to our attention for a wider discussion across Trans World.

Commentary over, now let's segue to what this post is about.

This weekend in the ATL the FTM Fitness World Conference will be taking place October 1-3 at the Ramada Plaza -Downtown Atlanta (Capitol Park) with the 2015 theme of The Warrior Within You.

The event was founded by Neo Sandja with the goal of bringing the trans community and trans masculine men together who want more out of life through workshops, activities, exhibits, partnerships, networking and entertainment.

It also made a little history in the process. In 2014 The FTM Fitness Conference hosted the first ever bodybuilding competition for men of trans experience.




The FTM Fitness World Conference has two goals, The first one is to embrace diversity by focusing on what unites us instead of what separates us and bridging the gap between us based on age, sexual orientation, socio-economic background, religious affiliation and more.

The second on is to empower our community. It seeks to do so by inspiring attendees to push for excellence while rejecting mediocrity. It wishes to inspire attendees to be the change they wish to see in their local communities and realize they possess the tools to succeed in every area of their lives while focusing on what united the trans community.

The emcee of this year's event will be my lovely Houston homegirl Diamond Stylz, and keynote speakers will not only include FTM Fitness World Con founder Neo Sandja, but also Dr. Kortney Ziegler, Ryan Salinas, Tracee McDaniel, and Buck Angel,

And yes, the 2nd annual FTM Fitness World Bodybuilding Competition will be a part of this year's event.

If you wish to learn more about #FTMFitCon15 you can go to ftmfitnessconference.com for further information.

Revenge Porn Now Recognised As Abuse, By Blogger



Revenge porn is sexually explicit media that is distributed without the consent of the individual(s) involved. In the wake of civil lawsuits, legislation has been passed in various countries and jurisdictions to criminalize this practice as well as to define it.

The term "revenge porn" is generally used to indicate content uploaded by intimate partners with the intention of humiliating the partner depicted (hence "revenge" when uploaded by an ex-partner). The term is also often misused to describe non 'revenge' scenarios, including nonconsensual pornography distributed by hackers or by individuals seeking profit or notoriety. The images are usually accompanied by sufficient information to identify the pictured individual, typically their name and location, and can include links to social media profiles, home addresses and workplaces.

Victims' lives can be ruined as a result, the victims exposed to cyber-stalking and physical attack as well as facing difficulties in their workplace should their images become known as a result of routine checks by employers. Some have lost their jobs, while others have been unable to find work at all. Copyright law cannot help if the person who publishes the image also made it.

Jurisdictions which have passed laws against revenge porn include Israel, Germany, the United Kingdom, and twenty-three states within the United States

Recently, Google publicised advice about a new type of abuse that may be reportable, when present in a Blogger blog.

Our philosophy has always been that Search should reflect the whole web. But revenge porn images are intensely personal and emotionally damaging, and serve only to degrade the victims—predominantly women. So going forward, we’ll honor requests from people to remove nude or sexually explicit images shared without their consent from Google Search results. This is a narrow and limited policy, similar to how we treat removal requests for other highly sensitive personal information, such as bank account numbers and signatures, that may surface in our search results.Supposedly, "revenge porn" mitigation is limited to removal from Google Search. In one forum discussion, however, the new classification appears to have successfully resulted in an offensive blog being removed from Blogger.

It appears that "revenge porn" is now part of the "Remove information from Google" reporting process.

You may use the "Remove information ..." form, to report "revenge porn".
If you are offended by a Blogger blog - and if the contents of the blog reflect the description
nude or sexually explicit images shared without their consent.

You may use the "Remove information from Google" form, to cite malicious blog content.

Please be aware that these reports will be evaluated carefully.
Please consider reality, however. Since this is a new abuse category, any reports most likely will be evaluated very carefully by the staff who process the complaints.

Don't try to stretch the definition, by what you "believe", or what might be considered the case, in extreme circumstances. Submit a complaint, only when the complaint fits the definition of the new abuse category.

Do the right thing, and report "revenge porn" only when it is righteous.

Unlike bogus DMCA complaints, I don't see any suggestion of any penalties for malicious misuse of the form. However, if you intentionally misuse this new abuse category, consider that your doing so may make one of the legal staff spend time evaluating your complaint, while another, genuinely worthy complaint may wait, unattended.

Do the right thing - and only cite the new category when it is, honestly, necessary.

Peace & tolerance

H

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Trans Models Represent During NYFW 2015


by Monica Roberts


"As a transgender person of color, as an immigrant who grew up poor in a tiny little alley in the Philippines, and here I am in New York City doing the biggest fashion show... for a young trans person to see that, it changes that person's life.. To finally see that it's possible for a young trans person to pursue his or her dream to be the person whoever that you want to be."
--Geena Rocero


Even if that dream is to strut a catwalk during New York Fashion Week

We had a few trans models representing our community during the recently concluded New York Fashion Week, and I couldn't be prouder of all of them that did so and worked hard during that September 12-17 period. And even better, I'm proud to call some of those amazing people my friends.


It was cool to see Isis King, Geena Rocero, Ines-Loan Rau, Arisce Wanzer and others strutting catwalks in the various shows during NYFW while others were in the audience cheering them on.


They are heirs to an incredible legacy of trans women from around the world who have been walking fashion runways since April Ashley did so in the early 60's.
And with Apple Model Management opening up and specifically being focused on trans models, it is a major step forward in ensuring that trans models aren't just the latest fashion trend or flavor of the season, but an accepted part of the fashion world.

That long stylish line of trans models continues into the 21st century, and some have become advocates and leaders in our community when they aren't doing their day job.


By doing so, they are also doing their part to expand the horizons, serving as possibility models, and slaying stereotypes in addition to continuing the long and proud legacy of trans models.

Activists target anti-LGBT bias in Caribbean


Attorneys and activists met this week in Grenada to discuss strategy for litigation and advocacy seeking an end to anti-LGBT discrimination in countries in the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS). This is a press release from United and Strong Inc., Saint Lucia, and GrenCHAP, https://www.facebook.com/groups/grenchap/Grenada, describing the work:

Is litigation around the criminalisation and lack of recognition of the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people, currently possible in the countries of the eastern Caribbean?

This was the main question under interrogation as lawyers joined activists representing the rights of LGBT people from September 21–23, 2015, in Grenada.


Veronica Cenac (Photo courtesy of LinkedIn)

Addressing the very real stigma and discrimination faced by LGBT citizens is at the heart of the OECS Litigation and Advocacy Strategy Meeting, co-organised by United and Strong Inc., Saint Lucia, and GrenCHAP, Grenada, with direction from Saint Lucian Attorney-at-Law Veronica Cenac.

Issues facing trans people were among the subjects of the Sept. 21-23 meeting of LGBTI rights activists and attorneys

“We must address the human rights of LGBT citizens in the OECS and we are on a path to full recognition of these human rights through litigation and advocacy,” says Janice Stephen, Vice-President of the Board of United and Strong. She says of the process, “It was a positive experience. The first two days were informative for me as an activist as it highlighted some of the contradictions in the constitution, and opportunities and barriers in the law. But it was not only about the law over these few days it’s clear that the LGBT community has individuals that can stand up for us.”

Participants have experience working in or with human rights-based organisations in countries that include Dominica, Antigua, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and Barbados, They have, through their work, direct knowledge of the deleterious effects of criminalisation on adult same-sex relationships and gender non-conforming people, and are well-placed to identify challenges and map the way forward. Also among the thirty-three participants were persons sharing experiences of litigation in Jamaica and Belize. Representatives of CVC[Caribbean Vulnerable Communities Coalition], Heartland Alliance, Arcus Foundation, Human Dignity Trust, Open Society Foundation and the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network brought a wealth of knowledge on, and resources for, litigation and advocacy within the Caribbean.

Damarlie Antoine, GrenCHAP’s Director of Research, states:


Damarlie Antoine (Photo courtesy of GroundationGrenada.com)

“There’s no argument, not religious nor legal, that can justify the continuous discrimination and de-humanisation of OECS citizens including Grenadians based on gender identity or sexual orientation. It is due time for our governments to take a stand against the prejudice and discrimination meted out to our citizens based on gender and sexual orientation.

“Quiet diplomacy hasn’t worked and democracy has arguably regressed in the Caribbean, so now human rights have to be demanded through legal challenges.”

The discussions were anchored by Cenac, with over 17 years’ experience in related legal work and a long history of contribution to the movement. She said the discussions were “the beginning of a move among LGBT activists in the OECS and Barbados to demand the extension of basic human rights protections to them. There is no rational basis for the exclusion of citizens under Constitutions that seek to protect all citizens. Documented violence and abuse against LGBT persons or any other minority is unjustifiable in democratic societies founded on the rule of law and principles of human dignity.”


Participants take a break from planning LGBTI rights strategy to enjoy the scenery at the Flamboyant Hotel in Grenada.

The three-day meeting is expected to be the beginning of a long process that includes extensive research and development, ultimately leading to legal protections from discrimination against same-gender loving and gender non-conforming citizens of the Eastern Caribbean and recognition of the human rights of all.

Bi Visibility Day 2015: Pam Hall



Listed as one of the best exports from Jamaica and bisexual I decided to feature singer, writer, producer and chanteuse the legendary Pam Hall. Her achievements reads lengthy and she is still active preferably behind the scenes in music and such, her vocal can be heard providing support for artists established and upcoming.

Career

Hall recorded as a solo artist from the mid-1970s as well as providing backing vocals for several other artists including Jimmy Cliff, Judy Mowatt, Beres Hammond, Dennis Brown, and Peter Tosh, sometimes along with her sister Audrey. Among her earliest releases were "Creation", a duet with Orville Wood as Pam & Woody, and "You Should Never Do That", a duet with Tinga Stewart.

Her 1986 single "Dear Boopsie" topped the reggae charts and reached number 54 on the UK Singles Chart.Her first album, Perfidia, was released in 1987.

She had further hits on the reggae charts in the 1990s with her version of "I Will Always Love You", "Young Hearts Run Free", and "You Are Not Alone". She continued to be in demand for backing vocals, working with Toots Hibbert, and Ziggy Marley in the 1990s. She went on to release a string of solo albums on VP Records.

In the 1990s she filled in for Judy Mowatt in the I Threes, joining the group in the decade that followed.


Her biggest hit for adults audiences is "I Was Born a Woman"


Discography

Perfidia (1987), World Enterprise
Always Love you (1993), VP
Missing You Baby (1995), VP
Magic (1996), VP
Bet You Don't Know (1998), VP
Time For Love (2001), VP
R&B Hits Reggae Style (2001), VP
Songs in the Key of Dancehall (2007)

Unfortunately her website is down as at the time of publication of this entry but she is on social media. Living legend indeed and as you may have guessed I am a fan from way back when prior to seeing her listed on a Youtube video some years ago.

Peace and tolerance

H

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Bisexuals still seen as confused



Sadly every time it draws to this time of year as bi-visibility day approaches and social marketing on the subject is raised more so internationally the local biphobic LGTQ penny section crawl out of the woodwork blasting bisexuals as mad, not knowing what they want, being greedy or wanting their cake and eating it too and other scaving remarks. Trolling even has crept into the mix on social media and with an apparent lack by the various spokespersons and nongovernmental organizations who claim to deal with SOGI, Sexual orientation and gender identity clearly overlook bisexuals and zoom in on gay and lesbian identities predominantly.

Bi-invisibity has been an issue for some time now, decades in fact since formalized advocacy in Jamaica since 1974 with the formation of Gay Freedom Movement. The very name of GFM is a clear overlooking and even as then in those days newspaper articles especially by Jennifer Ffrench on the subject for several years bisexuality has not risen to the level of equal importance as it should in as far as visibility and such. Major reference only comes with associations with HIV infection rates and how the group acts as a barrier for transmission on the HIV virus as evidenced recently in a speech by our minister of health Dr Fenton Ferguson at a meeting of funders and stake holders where some figures were presented. Previous references come from voices for the removal or decriminalization of the buggery law in as far as HIV prevention as the primary reason by Dr Peter Figueroa at that Sexual Health Awareness meeting on November 2013 where he went into great detail on the last major study and emphasized the point.


Smaller outfits such as the defunct Couture Elements team hosted some discussion on the matter and even in those supposed safe LGBT spaced the vitriol towards bisexuals was clear as the very night of one of the Open Mic Open Soul event heated words were exchanged from one lesbian and a member of the panel with the thing almost coming to blows. A recent discussion at another all women group at a lyme also had a similar outcome with the panellist in that instance almost next to tears as she could not believe the contempt that was held in the what is called straight lesbian community.

Other outfits such as Aphrodite’s P.R.I.D.E Jamaica made sure the issues were addressed in their successful Seizmic Self Development and Enterprise Project Sessions for some 45 persons but as always with such small outfits they get no help from the more established LGBT organizations and or funding disappears for them so continuity is a major issue for such exercises.

The former GLABCOM gay, lesbian and bisexual community steering committees (an imprint of targeted interventions of JASL) and general LGBT meetings discussions tried its hand even getting key influentials involved such as a popular female party promoter but as usual again no real support comes from the main NGO structure and the emphasis ended up becoming more on HIV in the MSM community but mainly gay men via condom use and such and again bisexuals only limited to being a bridge for the virus’ passage to the general population. One event planned which was dubbed Bi-Fridays was conceptualized to try to attract such persons but very little response came as persons felt they would be identified and labelled mixed with ridicule.

Social media interventions via discussion boards, questions posed in groups and threads only seek to bring out the trolls and bitterness that seemed buried waiting to be stoked by the thought of suggesting bisexuality, how can we change that though? Even my own blog posts have received a backlash from persons asking why persons like myself and a few others even discussing bisexuality. So our bi brethren go underground. A recent thread on Facebook proved such that such anti bisexual sentiments still abound and coming from not only younger gay men and lesbians but rather surprisingly older persons which had me and some others sit up and take notice. But I should not be shocked as sometimes last year a former female party promoter and one half of the aforementioned Couture Elements team bore a daughter and shared her joy on Facebook only to be lambasted by persons on her friends list to the shock and horror of those who saw it and left an ugly feeling for some advocates former and present.

Comments to such effect as how can a lesbian go dickly? Or questions as to why she would share this openly knowing how persons can be downright rude and uncaring or what would a woman see in a man and or a penis for pleasure?

I would imagine prolonged awareness programs are required but sadly inwardly for the folks who believe in the one way or the other mantra in terms of homosexuality. Individuals who are otherwise enlightened can continue to share the right information but there is a definite need for more systematic interventions that are sustained and not stop and start activities. But community development in a real sense has never really been the main objective as law reform takes precedence than other matters that require urgent attention.

Think on these things

Peace and tolerance

also see:
Bisexuals accounted for 40 per cent of new HIV infections in 2012

H

Suicide Prevention, Concerns & the loss of a friend



Suicide Prevention Day passed earlier this month September 10 to be precise and the theme observed this year was
Light a candle near a window at 8 PM to show your support
for suicide prevention to remember a lost loved one and for the survivors of suicide.



On my sister blog Gay Jamaica Watch upon my blogging break end I posted my return entry with some bad news of the loss of one of my original followers from the days of the JFLAG blog and Sunshine Cathedral blog as well, Mark Holford took his own life and surprisingly as no signs of trouble were seen as is usually the case as friends and colleagues mull over recent contact for any details they may have missed as to the signs. Other cases have since emerged with another two successful attempts within the same month of Mark’s departure. He had been a major supporter of mine from the NING page days as well through to the name and focus change of both blogs mentioned above to become this blog and Gay Jamaica Watch and the subsequent Wordpress branch and my X-rated Battymantings blog as well. He was often a strong commenter and contributor to my Facebook groups and pages and his presence will be missed greatly. He was also a donor behind the scenes in crisis intervention matters where he could and aided in providing financial help in shelter assistance for displaced persons when I used to house persons in my spare bedroom more often than nowadays, grocery stipends and health services costs.

Some six reports in all have been brought to my attention this year alone and with depression figures high in Jamaica overall according to a recent report there are some concerns. Relationship challenges, family rejections, forced evictions and such specific to LGBT people are key factors leading to all kinds of ways out; a recent report of cutting (hand slicing with a knife or sharp instrument) with prolonged hemorrhaging leading to unconsciousness and possible death have been attempted by a lesbian in February where she was found by visiting friends who also were shocked at the find as no signs existed prior.

There are some signs however that one can look for as suggested by the website for suicide prevention:

Understanding and preventing suicide

The World Health Organization estimates that approximately 1 million people die each year from suicide. What drives so many individuals to take their own lives? To those not in the grips of suicidal depression and despair, it's difficult to understand what drives so many individuals to take their own lives. But a suicidal person is in so much pain that he or she can see no other option.

Suicide is a desperate attempt to escape suffering that has become unbearable. Blinded by feelings of self-loathing, hopelessness, and isolation, a suicidal person can't see any way of finding relief except through death. But despite their desire for the pain to stop, most suicidal people are deeply conflicted about ending their own lives. They wish there was an alternative to committing suicide, but they just can't see one.

Common misconceptions about suicide

FALSE: People who talk about suicide won't really do it.
Almost everyone who commits or attempts suicide has given some clue or warning. Do not ignore suicide threats. Statements like "you'll be sorry when I'm dead," "I can't see any way out," — no matter how casually or jokingly said may indicate serious suicidal feelings.

FALSE: Anyone who tries to kill him/herself must be crazy.
Most suicidal people are not psychotic or insane. They must be upset, grief-stricken, depressed or despairing, but extreme distress and emotional pain are not necessarily signs of mental illness.

FALSE: If a person is determined to kill him/herself, nothing is going to stop them.
Even the most severely depressed person has mixed feelings about death, wavering until the very last moment between wanting to live and wanting to die. Most suicidal people do not want death; they want the pain to stop. The impulse to end it all, however overpowering, does not last forever.

FALSE: People who commit suicide are people who were unwilling to seek help.
Studies of suicide victims have shown that more than half had sought medical help in the six months prior to their deaths.

FALSE: Talking about suicide may give someone the idea.
You don't give a suicidal person morbid ideas by talking about suicide. The opposite is true—bringing up the subject of suicide and discussing it openly is one of the most helpful things you can do.

Source: SAVE – Suicide Awareness Voices of Education
Warning signs of suicide

Most suicidal individuals give warning signs or signals of their intentions. The best way to prevent suicide is to recognize these warning signs and know how to respond if you spot them. If you believe that a friend or family member is suicidal, you can play a role in suicide prevention by pointing out the alternatives, showing that you care, and getting a doctor or psychologist involved.

Major warning signs for suicide include talking about killing or harming oneself, talking or writing a lot about death or dying, and seeking out things that could be used in a suicide attempt, such as weapons and drugs. These signals are even more dangerous if the person has a mood disorder such as depression or bipolar disorder, suffers from alcohol dependence, has previously attempted suicide, or has a family history of suicide.

Take any suicidal talk or behavior seriously. It's not just a warning sign that the person is thinking about suicide—it's a cry for help.

A more subtle but equally dangerous warning sign of suicide is hopelessness. Studies have found that hopelessness is a strong predictor of suicide. People who feel hopeless may talk about "unbearable" feelings, predict a bleak future, and state that they have nothing to look forward to.

Other warning signs that point to a suicidal mind frame include dramatic mood swings or sudden personality changes, such as going from outgoing to withdrawn or well-behaved to rebellious. A suicidal person may also lose interest in day-to-day activities, neglect his or her appearance, and show big changes in eating or sleeping habits.
Suicide Warning Signs

Talking about suicide

Any talk about suicide, dying, or self-harm, such as "I wish I hadn't been born," "If I see you again..." and "I'd be better off dead."

Seeking out lethal means

Seeking access to guns, pills, knives, or other objects that could be used in a suicide attempt.

Preoccupation with death

Unusual focus on death, dying, or violence. Writing poems or stories about death.

No hope for the future

Feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, and being trapped ("There's no way out"). Belief that things will never get better or change.

Self-loathing, self-hatred

Feelings of worthlessness, guilt, shame, and self-hatred. Feeling like a burden ("Everyone would be better off without me").

Getting affairs in order

Making out a will. Giving away prized possessions. Making arrangements for family members.

Saying goodbye

Unusual or unexpected visits or calls to family and friends. Saying goodbye to people as if they won't be seen again.

Withdrawing from others

Withdrawing from friends and family. Increasing social isolation. Desire to be left alone.

Self-destructive behavior

Increased alcohol or drug use, reckless driving, unsafe sex. Taking unnecessary risks as if they have a "death wish."

Sudden sense of calm

A sudden sense of calm and happiness after being extremely depressed can mean that the person has made a decision to commit suicide.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

European Parliament adopts a new comprehensive report on fundamental rights in the EU.




Yesterday, the European Parliament adopted a new comprehensive report on fundamental rights in the EU.


Copyright 2015 ILGA-Europe

Defying an attempt by the EPP group to adopt an alternative report which would have deleted nearly all content on LGBTI rights and other relevant human rights issues, the final report includes an extensive section of the situation for LGBTI people (par. 85 – 92).

For the first time, a parliament report also specifically addresses the human rights violations experienced by intersex people (par. 92). The report condemns medically unnecessary genital surgery on intersex infants and calls on Member States to outlaw such practices.

Genital “normalisation” surgery currently occurs throughout Europe, and is only explicitly forbidden in Malta.

Furthermore, parliament spoke out in favour of making legal gender recognition procedures easier for transgender people, and to review mental health catalogues as to exclude transgender people as being considered mentally ill (par. 89 – 91).

Parliamentarians also highlight that same-sex couples everywhere should have access to marriage or registered partnerships, the effects of which should be recognized across the EU (par. 86).

Lastly, Parliament underlined its demand for the development of a comprehensive action plan/strategy against homophobia, as well as the pending horizontal anti-discrimination directive (par. 44 and 85).

The Rapporteur, Laura Ferrara MEP, Member of the LGBTI Intergroup, reacted: “By this report, the European Parliament has clearly stated that the rights of LGBTI people need to be further consolidated and better protected.”

“Whereas in many countries the situation has improved, we need to ensure that other Member States ensure equal rights too. The Commission has a key role to play here, and this report also calls on them to show political leadership in this regard.”

Ulrike Lunacek MEP, Co-President of the Intergroup on LGBTI Rights and shadow rapporteur on the report, continued: “It is sad that the EPP has again tried to get an alternative text adopted, virtually lacking all content on LGBTI rights.”

“However, good sense prevailed for the majority of MEPs, and I am very glad that the Parliament stood up for the ideals of equal rights and non-discrimination, including for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex people.”

Read more:

UN launches Intersex Fact Sheet ............



As part of its Free&Equal campaign, the United Nations Office of the High Commission for Human Rights (UN OHCH) has launched an intersex fact sheet to better explain intersex issues.

The fact sheet includes a basic explanation of intersex and outlines many of the human rights issues faced by intersex people: including forced sterilisation and gender assignment surgery.

According to the UN OHCHR fact sheet, intersex people are born with sex characteristics that do not fit typical binary notions of male or female bodies and being intersex is much more common than most people think. 1.7 percent of the world’s population is born with intersex characteristics. According to experts there are as many intersex people as there are natural red-heads.

The fact sheet also makes clear that intersex is a matter of biology not orientation or gender identity and that an intersex person may be straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual or asexual, and may identify as female, male, both or neither.

“Because their bodies are seen as different, intersex children and adults are often stigmatised and subjected to multiple human rights violations, including violations of their rights to health and physical integrity, to be free from torture and ill-treatment, and to equality and non-discrimination,” states the document.

The fact sheet also outlines the discrimination intersex children face – often subjected to unnecessary surgeries to conform to binary stereotypes – and suggests action is needed to ensure an end to unsolicited and medically unnecessary surgeries.

The UN also points out the lack of training health care professionals have around intersex issues and the failure of adequate protections for intersex people in anti-discrimination law.

Morgan Carpenter, President of Organisation Intersex Australia (OII Australia) descrimed the fact sheet as a well balanced an informative document.

"This is a fantastic and very welcome resource. It doesn’t just clearly explain who intersex people are and the issues we face, it also provides a list of action points for all Australian and other governments to address, to ensure that intersex people have the same rights and freedoms as everyone else.”

The fact sheet called for a number of action points to better protect the human rights of LGBTI people.

Prohibit medically unnecessary surgery and procedures on the sex characteristics of intersex children, protect their physical integrity and respect their autonomy.

Ensure that intersex people and their families receive adequate counselling and support, including from peers.

Prohibit discrimination on the basis of intersex traits, characteristics or status, including in education, health care, employment, sports and access to public services, and address such discrimination through relevant anti - discrimination initiatives.

Ensure that human rights violations against i ntersex people are investigated and alleged perpetrators prosecuted, and that victims of such violations have access to effective remedy, including redress and compensation.

National human rights bodies should research and monitor the human rights situation of intersex people.

Enact laws to provide for facilitated procedures to amend sex markers on the birth certificates and official documents of intersex people.

Provide health care personnel with training on the health needs and human rights of intersex people and the appropriate advice and care to give to parents a nd intersex children, being respectful of the intersex person's autonomy, physical integrity and sex characteristics .

Ensure that members of the judiciary, immigration officers, law enforcement, healthcare, education and other officials and personnel are trained to respect and provide equal treatment to intersex persons.

Ensure that intersex people and organizations are consulted and participate in the development of research, legislation and policies that impact on their rights.

Celebrate Bi Visibility Day, 23 September 2015 ...........



Bi Visibility Day, also known as International Celebrate Bisexuality Day, has been marked each year since 1999 to highlight biphobia and to help people find the bisexual community. Jamaica had events some years ago hosted by the Couture Elements team and others but recently it is as if bi-invisibility is back with us but I hope someone picks it up soon.

Events for 2015:

Will be listed here as we get them! Tell us about yours.

United Kingdom

11 September: Bristol. Bi clubbing. More here.

18 September: Manchester screening of the film Acceptable Behaviour & after-film talk. More here.

19 September: Leeds – Running for visibility in purple in the park. More info here.

20 September: London: Queer Alternative bi meetup in Camden. Details here.

23 September: Bolton. Library display. More info here.
23 September: Brighton. Coffee meet from 5pm, details here. Pub meet from 7pm, details here.
23 September: Bristol bi chat at a bookshop. Details here.
23 September: Derby info coming soon
23 September: Grimsby bi talk – more here
23 September: Hull info coming soon
23 September: Leeds Bi Student Stall. More here.23 September: Leeds Central Library bi exhibition. More soon.
23 September: Leeds early evening workshop/training on bisexual visibility in the workplace. More here.23 September: Manchester BiPhoria are making plans.
23 September: Nottingham BiTopia are making plans.
23 September: Swansea Info soon.
24 September: London social at the O Bar. Details here.
25 September: Edinburgh. Bi film night. Details here.
25 September: London. Bi women & lesbians – panel debate at Goldsmiths college. Details here.

26 September: Salford. Bi Coffee morning at the Imperial War Museum. Details here.26 September: Manchester – BiPhoria bi picnic and bi history project filming, details tbc.

Tuesday 8th to Wednesday 30th September: Bradford bi exhibition. Details here.

USA

20 September: Madison, Wisconsin. Bi Picnic organised by the 521 bi group. Details here.
22 September: Washington DC -HRC, AmBi and the Mayor’s office team up. Details here.
23 September: Chicago, Illinois. Panel discussion at Center on Halstead. More here.
23 September: Denver, Colorado: Eliel Cruz guest speaker. Details tbc.
23 September: Lafayette, Indiana. Pub meetup. Details here.
23 September: Los Angeles, California. LA Bi Arts Festival. Lots more info here.
23 September: Minneapolis/St Paul – BOP’s annual Community Recognition Awards and much more. Details here.
23 September: Montclair State University, New Jersey – bi tie-dye & free t-shirts. Details here.
23 September: New York – Open mic night. Details here.
23 September: San Francisco – music, burlesque & more. Details here23 September: possibly one extra event in San Francisco, details when we have more ourselves

25 September: Chicago, Illinois. Play, burlesque & much more. More info here.
25 September: Columbus, Ohio. Burlesque, spoken word & more. Details here.
26 September: New York – My Brother’s A Keeper stage performance. Details here.
All week: Atlanta bookstore bi writers and characters celebration. Details here.

Austria

2nd September. Austrian Radio Orange 94.0 had a show about bisexuality. More here.

Australia

23 September. Sydney. Bi women’s social mixer. Info here.

Belgium

23 September: Hasselt – documentary screening. More here.

France

September 22: Paris: 9am, Bisexuality research launch. More here.
September 22: Paris: evening of film, poetry & more. More here.
September 23: Paris: bi march for visibility, details here
September 23: Toulouse: Street stall. Details here.
September 26: Bordeaux. Bi academic talks. More here.
September 26: Paris. Details soon.

Netherlands

Date to be confirmed: The Hague. Screening of film “The Best of Both Worlds”: more here
25-27 September: Rotterdam – BiCon Netherlands. Details here.

Norway

7th September, Trondheim – Panel discussion on bisexuality. More here.

Inclusion Top Tip:

For 2015 the Jewish holiday Yom Kippur aka “Day of Atonement” begins in the evening of Tuesday, September 22 and ends in the evening of Wednesday, September 23. It’s a major holiday and fasting day but as it falls on a different date each year it only clashes this time. As many events to mark Bi Visibility Day are held on other days that week it will mostly only impact things on 23rd itself.

Bisexuals accounted for 40 per cent of new HIV infections in 2012


MINISTER of Health Dr Fenton Ferguson July 13 disclosed that men who have sex with both men and women accounted for almost 40 per cent of new HIV infections in 2012.

Speaking at a press conference to announce the approval of funds for the National HIV/STI Programme at the Terra Nova Hotel in Kingston, Dr Ferguson said although the HIV/STI programme has made significant strides in achieving a decline in new infections and is on track to halt and reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS, it continues to face challenges with respect to the prevalence rate among vulnerable groups.

“While we have a prevalence rate of 1.8 per cent among the general population, female sex workers have a prevalence of 4.2 per cent, young men under 25 years who have sex with men are at 24.3 per cent as at 2013, and adult men who have sex with men (MSM) have a prevalence rate of 32 per cent,” the health minister explained.

“In addition, men who have sex with men and their female partners accounted for almost 40 per cent of new infections in 2012,” he said.

“I want to further note that MSM who reported being involved in sex work, reported an HIV prevalence of 41 per cent, transgender women 45 per cent, and transgender populations in sex work reaching as high as 56 per cent.”

Insisting that the prevalence rate among these groups are “way too high”, Dr Ferguson said that much of the efforts must be concentrated on these vulnerable groups, adding that there is the ever present challenge of implementing mechanisms to effectively deal with the issue of stigma and discrimination.

The approved funds include US$14.9 million from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, to be used from January 2016 to December 2018; US$5 million from the US President's Emergency Plan for AIDs Relief (PEPFAR)/United States Agency for International Development (USAID) for the 2015/2016 financial year, and increased budgetary allocation from the Jamaican Government.

The funds, according to the minister, will facilitate support geared at reaching those most at risk of becoming HIV infected, as well as those who are already infected through the provision of treatment, care and support services.

Dr Ferguson said the PEPFAR grant has already been approved and that they are now in the final stages of completing the ministry’s work plan, while a mission from the Global Fund is now in the island working through funding requirements and guidelines with stakeholders to develop an integrated plan.

He told the Jamaica Observer that the additional funds being pumped into the programme will enable them to focus on vulnerable groups, instead of just the prevalence of HIV/AIDS among the general population.

“I think we have done extremely well to get to 1.8 per cent, but you would've heard the startling statistics I spoke to and unless you are able to target those groups and while targeting them, increasing your public education component that's going to be important because even as you [set] targets, people must know what they should do, what puts them at risk, etc,” the minister said.

“And I think this funding during this period would really help us to break the back to get Jamaica to be, undoubtedly, the leader within the Caribbean relative to HIV/AIDS.”

The minister admitted that for some the identified vulnerable groups is a controversial topic, but he remained committed to ensuring the stigma and discrimination that is often demonstrated is removed, even as public education is boosted.

“You would have noted [the figure of] men who have sex with men but also with women, you are talking about 40 per cent, that's extremely high,” the minister reiterated, while speaking to the Observer.

“You know sometimes you are focusing on the MSM alone, and not realising that our women are also at risk in those situations.

“So, we will just have to continue the public education, even as we continue to deal with those issues that mitigate treatment of these specific vulnerable groups,” Dr Ferguson insisted.

Meanwhile, in calling for continued partnerships to multiply the gains, the minister thanked both the mission from the Global Fund and USAID for their “consistent support of the national effort to fight the prevalence of HIV and AIDS among the Jamaican population”.
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