Author Archives: Andreas R. Ziegler

Paul Johnson: Chapter on: LGBT People, the Council of Europe and the European Court of Human Rights

Paul Johnson: Chapter on: LGBT People, the Council of Europe and the European Court of Human Rights

Posted: 10 Oct 2020 03:07 PM PDT

I am really pleased to make available an updated chapter that aims to provide a comprehensive but condensed assessment of the historical development and current state of human rights protection offered to LGBT people by the Council of Europe and, importantly, identify the gaps that currently exist in that protection. 
The chapter examines the work of the statutory bodies of the Council of Europe – the Committee of Ministers and the Parliamentary Assembly – as well as the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights.

This is an uncorrected draft of a chapter that will appear in a volume edited by Prof. Jill Marshall (Royal Holloway, University of London) to be published by Routledge on Personal Identity and the European Court of Human Rights.

The chapter can be found here:
https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2927098

ILGA – LGBTI news of the world – 2-8 October 2020

ILGA – LGBTI news of the world – 2-8 October 2020
Written by Daniele Paletta
Covid-19 has exacerbated inequalities worldwide, and had a disproportionate impact on LGBTI persons. This week, the latest report by the UN Independent Expert on SOGI to the UN General Assembly has emerged as a strong call on States to ensure that their responses to the pandemic do not discriminate against our communities.

Meanwhile, worrying news has emerged from many corners of the world: in Argentina, a court has failed to recognise the murder of a trans activist as a hate crime, backtracking from a previous historic ruling.

In the United States, two Justices at the Supreme Court openly renewed their attacks on marriage equality.

In Japan, a politician has claimed that discussing diversity in schools would lead to having no children in the future.

In Bulgaria, a teenage mob organised an attack against a group of peers and posted the footage on social media, in a chilling attempt to target them on the grounds of their sexual orientation.

And yet, despite this concerning news, we continue to see important victories, and to work together in unity to take steps towards equality. During a trial in Kenya, the prosecutor was ordered to stop deadnaming a trans woman in court and to respect her identity.

In Aotearoa New Zealand, ahead of the country’s general elections, LGBTI organisations have teamed up to present their demands to the incoming government, and are obtaining encouraging pledges.

From all over the world, our communities gathered together virtually this week to celebrate International Lesbian Day.

ILGA – LGBTI news of the world – 25 September – 1 October 2020

ILGA – LGBTI news of the world – 25 September – 1 October 2020
Written by Maddalena Tomassini
Edited by Daniele Paletta
This has been a crucial week for many trans and gender diverse people in our communities. In India, new regulations reportedly state that trans individuals won’t be required to undergo a medical examination to see their gender legally recognised.

In Italy, the national pharmaceutical agency decided that Hormone Replacement Treatment will now be provided for free.

In the United States, California approved four bills marking some important steps towards equality – included for trans, non-binary and intersex persons in prison settings. Still, criminalisation and abusive preconditions to be legally recognised continue to be all too common in many countries across the world, as the newly-released Trans Legal Mapping Report by ILGA World has shown. Our siblings are fighting to be recognised as equal citizens everywhere, seeking to build a world that is finally safe for us to live in.

A report from Egypt shows that many LGBT people still face unacceptable levels of violence on the grounds of who they are and whom they love.

In the Cook Islands, a campaign has continued to call on the government to scrap  provisions that still criminalise same-sex activities between consenting adults: a report on the issue, however, has been postponed for a few more months.

Lesbian, bisexual and trans women are making their voices heard at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, where activists highlighted the extent of the violence and discrimination they face in many countries in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Meanwhile at the United Nations, 34 States from all regions of the world called on the Human Rights Council to urgently protect intersex persons in their bodily autonomy and right to health, marking an historic step forward for the global intersex community.

USA: Arizona appeals court orders option for same-sex parents on birth certificates

USA: Arizona appeals court orders option for same-sex parents on birth certificates

The Arizona Court of Appeals has ruled that Arizona must add an option for listing same-sex parents on birth certificates.

This case began with the divorce of the petitioner Kimberly McLaughlin and her ex-wife Suzan Swanson. While they were married McLaughlin gave birth to a child. During divorce proceedings, they argued over whether Swanson was the child’s parent. The Arizona Supreme Court eventually ruled she was in accordance with “the presumption of legal parentage established at A.R.S. § 25-814(A)(1)” which applies to same-sex parents.

All other issues were solved except how the parties would be designated on the birth certificate. According to the Arizona Department of Health Services, the parties must be designated as either “Mother/Father” or “Parent/Parent.”  McLaughlin wished to be listed as “Biological Mother” and have her ex-wife listed as “Legal Mother,” while Swanson accepted “Parent/Parent.” The trial court denied McLaughlin’s request so she filed this suit claiming “that the court’s order had ‘stripped’ her of the ‘Mother’ designation on her biological child’s birth certificate solely because she was formerly married to a woman, in violation of her Fourteenth Amendment right to equal protection.”

The appeals court Monday found that the trial court had the authority to amend the birth certificate to list both women as the child’s mother. The court remanded back to the trial court for a ruling consistent with this opinion.

The post Arizona appeals court orders option for same-sex parents on birth certificates appeared first on JURIST – News – Legal News & Commentary.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Wednesday criticized the treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, as well as the US for the obstacles it places before asylum seekers

Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Wednesday criticized the treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, as well as the US for the obstacles it places before asylum seekers

The report, Every Day I Live in Fear: Violence and Discrimination Against LGBT People in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, and Obstacles to Asylum in the United States, found that hate crimes against LGBT people are all too common in these Latin American countries known as the Northern Triangle. The study included interviews with 116 LGBT individuals from the Northern Triangle, in addition to 93 government officials, journalists and non-government officials. It found that they face high levels of violence and persecution on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity. This has led to a mass exodus in the form of caravans of asylum seekers coming to the US-Mexico border.

The study highlights that the Northern Triangle is one of the most dangerous places in the world because of gang violence that permeates the lower classes. HRW asked the countries to provide statistics about both hate crimes and poverty levels of LGBT individuals, but none of the countries could provide accurate numbers. However, based on interviews, HRW believes many LGBT individuals, especially transwomen, are living in poverty because of familial rejection and discrimination that led them to weak academic and financial success.

The report is highly critical of the US and its decision to close its border to asylum seekers in March. It says that COVID-19 was a pretext for the full closure the Trump administration had been wanting to do for years.

The report lists specific recommendations for each country. It recommends that the US “[m]ake clear that [it] will comply with US and international refugee law by recognizing that persecution on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity is a legitimate basis for the grant of asylum” and that it reopen the border to allow asylum seekers the protections they need.

It recommends the Northern Triangle countries terminate their Asylum Cooperative Agreement signed with the US. Finally, it recommends all three countries take steps to hold accountable public officials who participate or are complicit in violence against LGBT individuals. In addition, the Northern Triangle countries should establish services to help LGBT people get an education and ensure their protection if they are thrown out by their families.

The post HRW criticizes Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala for anti-LGBT persecution appeared first on JURIST – News – Legal News & Commentary.

European Union: MEPs inquire the European Commission regarding so-called “conversion therapy” practices and the need for an EU-wide ban

European Union: MEPs inquire the European Commission regarding so-called “conversion therapy” practices and the need for an EU-wide ban

Commission Vice-President, Values and Transparency, Věra Jourová

Commissioner for Equality, Helena Dalli

Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Stella Kyriakides

Brussels, 9 October 2020

Subject: So-called “conversion therapy” practices and their impact on LGBT persons: the need for an EU-wide ban

Dear European Commission Vice-President in charge of Values and Transparency,Vera Jourová,

Dear Commissioner for Equality, Helena Dalli,

Dear Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Stella Kyriakides

“Conversion therapy” practices are torture.

There is no way to classify these practices other than cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment that seek to “correct” something that warrants no “fixing” – a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression. They constitute a highly discriminatory practice that violates the human rights of LGBT persons and which causes severe physical and psychological suffering to its victims. Data from the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims concludes that it is practiced in over 69 countries worldwide, including EU member states (reportedly: use of medication in France, psychotherapy in Austria, Italy and Poland, exorcisms/ritual cleansing in France and Spain).[1] Notably, LGBT youth is at severe risk of torture due to these practices, given the role that family and caretakers often play in coercing victims to undergo them. 

Due to their extensive practice, the UN Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI), in full exercise of his mandate, published a report in May 2020 analysing the practices of so-called “conversion therapies”. For example, he highlighted that children and youth are often more vulnerable due to the lack of legal authority to make medical or mental health decisions. Even in circumstances where they can take these decisions, they are prone to influence or coercion due to family pressure.[2] In particular, the Independent Expert noted that:

  • due to their specific targeting of people on the basis of their SOGI, the practices are discriminatory, in contravention of the principles of universality, equality and non-discrimination of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights[3].
  • Every person should, without distinction, be able to enjoy the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health and freedom from non-consensual medical treatment.[4]
  • So-called “conversion therapy” practices can amount to torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, as recognised by UN anti-torture bodies;
  • The Committee on the Rights of the Child has urged Member States to eliminate such practices.[5]

In conclusion, the Independent Expert called for a world-wide ban on practices of conversion therapy. 

This call is all the more pressing when, as recognised in the recent European Parliament resolution on Article 7 concerning Poland,[6]the Polish Episcopate recently endorsed the idea of “conversion camps” in Poland for LGBT persons. This endorsement is yet another in a row of anti-LGBT rhetoric that has plagued Poland since 2019. It is in addition in clear contravention of EU values,[7] the European Charter of Fundamental Rights[8] and the principle of non-discrimination.[9] No such “conversion” practices exist for heterosexual or cisgender persons.

The Parliament adopted last year a report on the situation of fundamental rights in the EU in 2017 where, among others, it condemned the promotion and practice of “conversion therapies” and called on Member States to criminalise them.[10] The Parliament reiterated its call in the before-mentioned Article 7 resolution.[11]

Currently, only Germany, Malta and some parts of Spain have banned these practices and other Member States like France envisage to do so. However, as several Member States are not considering adopting such legislation in the near future, and in the absence of a Horizontal Anti-Discrimination Directive which would have made discrimination on sexual orientation grounds in health matters illegal, the EC has a responsibility to act. Given the shared competence of the EU in public health under article 168 TFEU and in the area of freedom, security and justice under article 83 TFEU, the European Commission could legislate on this matter. 

Following up on the previous arguments:

  1. Does the Commission condone the practices of so-called “conversion therapies”?
  • Taking into consideration the EU’s shared competence on public health and the area of freedom, security and justice, the Commission has a responsibility to act on this matter. Will the Commission initiate a legislative proposal setting in place an EU-wide ban on any form of “conversion therapy”, as recommended by the UN Independent Expert on SOGI?[12]
  • Should the Commission not foresee to initiate legislation, what concrete actions has it undertaken until now and which actions is it currently undertaking or foreseeing to in order to support Member States in banning this practice? Is it actively promoting national bans already adopted to other Member States as good practices?

Yours sincerely,

Heidi HAUTALA, EP Vice-President

Fabio Massimo CASTALDO, EP Vice-President & Vice-President, LGBTI Intergroup

Frederick FEDERLEY, Vice-President, Renew Europe 

Frédérique RIES, Vice-President, Renew Europe 

Alice KUHNKE, Vice-President, Greens/European Free Alliance 

Ernest URTASUN, Vice-President, Greens/European Free Alliance 

Gwendoline DELBOS-CORFIELD, Vice-President, Greens/European Free Alliance 

Terry REINTKE, Vice-President, Greens/European Free Alliance & Co-Chair, LGBTI Intergroup

Marisa MATIAS, Vice-President, European United Left/Nordic Green Left

Marc ANGEL, Co-Chair, LGBTI Intergroup

Maria WALSH, Vice-President, LGBTI Intergroup

Sophie IN’T VELD, Vice-President, LGBTI Intergroup

Abir AL-SAHLANI

Andreas SCHIEDER

Anna DONÁTH

Antoni COMÍN I OLIVERES

Birgit SIPPEL

Brando BENIFEI

Carles PUIGDEMONT

Chrysoula ZACHAROPOULOU

Clara PONSATÍ OBIOLS

Delara BURKHARDT

Dietmar KÖSTER

Eleonora EVI

Evin INCIR

Frances FITZGERALD

Francisco GUERREIRO

Gabriele BISCHOFF

Giuseppina PICIERNO

Grace O’SULLIVAN

Hanna NEUMANN

Hilde VAUTMANS

Irène TOLLERET

Isabel SANTOS

Jakon DALUNDE

José GUSMÃO

Karen MELCHIOR

Liesje SCHREINEMACHER

Magdalena ADAMOWICZ

Marianne VIND

Mario FURORE

Milan BRGLEZ

Mónica Silvana GONZÁLEZ

Monika VANA

Moritz KÖRNER

Mounir SATOURI

Niklas NIENASS

Olivier CHASTEL

Pär HOLMGREN

Pernille WEISS

Pierre KARLESKIND

Radka MAXOVÁ

Rasmus ANDRESEN

Rosa D’AMATO

Sándor RÓNAI

Sara CERDAS

Saskia BRICMONT

Tanja FAJON

Valérie HAYER

Vera TAX

Younous OMARJEE


[1] International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT), “Conversion Therapy is Torture”, available on https://irct.org/media-and-resources/latest-news/article/1027 (retrieved 31 August 2020); IRCT, “It’s Torture, Not Therapy – A Global Overview of Conversion Therapy: Practices, Perpetrators and the Role of States”, Thematic report 2020, available on https://irct.org/uploads/media/IRCT_research_on_conversion_therapy.pdf.

[2]UN Human Rights Council – UN Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity (May 2020), ‘Practices of so-called “conversion therapy”’, available on https://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/SexualOrientationGender/Pages/ReportOnConversiontherapy.aspx.

[3]United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Art. 1 and 7.

[4] International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Art. 12 and general comment No. 14, available on https://www.refworld.org/pdfid/4538838d0.pdf.

[5]Committee on the Rights of the Child, general comment No. 20, ¶ 34.

[6]European Parliament resolution of 17 September 2020 on the proposal for a Council decision on the determination of a clear risk of a serious breach by the Republic of Poland of the rule of law (COM(2017)0835 – 2017/0360R(NLE)), available on https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/TA-9-2020-0225_EN.html.

[7]Treaty on the European Union, art. 2.

[8] European Charter of Fundamental Rights, art. 21.

[9] Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, art.10.

[10]European Parliament resolution of 16 January 2019 on the situation of fundamental rights in the European Union in 2017 (2018/2103(INI)), available on https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/TA-8-2019-0032_EN.html.

[11]European Parliament resolution of 17 September 2020 on the proposal for a Council decision on the determination of a clear risk of a serious breach by the Republic of Poland of the rule of law (COM(2017)0835 – 2017/0360R(NLE)), ¶63.

[12] UN Human Rights Council – UN Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity (May 2020), ‘Practices of so-called “conversion therapy”’, ¶ 87.

University of Oxford condemned for failing trans students amid row over appointments of ‘transphobic’ professors

University of Oxford condemned for failing trans students amid row over appointments of ‘transphobic’ professors

Hundreds of Oxford students condemn choice of 'transphobic' professors

Read: https://www.pinknews.co.uk/2020/10/08/oxford-university-trans-students-open-letter-transphobia-selina-todd-senia-paseta/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=PNnewsletter