UK: The terrible history of Margaret Thatcher’s homophobic Section 28, 17 years since it was repealed in England and Wales

UK: The terrible history of Margaret Thatcher’s homophobic Section 28, 17 years since it was repealed in England and Wales

section 28 Margaret Thatcher

It is 17 years today since the controversial and homophobic legislation known as Section 28, introduced under Margaret Thatcher, was repealed.

The clause – an amendment to the Local Government Act 1988 – banned local authorities and schools from promoting homosexuality and was brought forward by Thatcher’s government.×

The legislation has been labelled “toxic and regressive” by deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey, who introduced the clause that led to its repeal, and told PinkNews that Section 28 left young people feeling “alone and vulnerable”.

“I am proud to have moved the clause that abolished Section 28 once and for all. But we still have so far to go,” Davey said.

“From trans rights, to tackling the persistent discrimination faced by the LGBT+ community: the fight is far from over.”

Section 28 was introduced by Margaret Thatcher amid renewed anti-gay sentiment following the rise of HIV/AIDS.

More than three decades have passed since Thatcher’s government introduced the anti-LGBT+ legislation, but its shadow still looms over schools and local authorities in the UK today.

The legislation meant that councils were prohibited from funding of books, plays, leaflets, films, or other materials showing same-sex relationships, while teachers weren’t allowed to teach about gay relationships in schools.

This clause was the Conservative government’s vitriolic and traditionalist response to calls for equality from lesbian and gay rights activists in the late 1980s.

Thatcher captured these venomous anti-gay views in her infamous speech at the 1987 Conservative Party conference, which was met with rapturous applause.

“Children who need to be taught to respect traditional moral values are being taught that they have an inalienable right to be gay,” she said. “All of those children are being cheated of a sound start in life. Yes, cheated.”

LGBT+ activists railed against the legislation – but the government didn’t listen.

On the day the clause was passed in the House of Lords, a group of lesbians abseiled into the House of Lords in protest, making national news broadcasts.

The legislation – so loathed, so reviled by supporters of LGBT+ equality – caused 20,000 Mancunians to take to their city’s streets to march against it. It also prompted Sir Ian McKellen to come out publicly as gay.

Section 28 was introduced following a difficult period for the LGBT+ community in the UK. There had been some progress, but the outbreak of HIV/AIDS led to the widespread demonisation of gay and bisexual men in the 1980s.

The Conservative Party capitalised on this anti-gay sentiment. In the run-up to the 1987 general election, they issued posters claiming that the Labour Party wanted LGBT+ friendly books like Young, Gay and Proud and The Milkman’s on His Way to be read in schools.

Children who need to be taught to respect traditional moral values are being taught that they have an inalienable right to be gay. All of those children are being cheated of a sound start in life. Yes, cheated.

In 1987, a British Social Attitudes Survey found that three-quarters of the population thought homosexuality was “always or mostly wrong”. Just 11 per cent said it was “never wrong”.

Just before the general election of 1987, the Earl of Halsbury introduced theLocal Government Act 1986 (Amendment) Bill, also known as an act to refrain local authorities from promoting homosexuality.

Section 28
Owen Franken/Corbis via Getty

This bill was successfully passed through the House of Lords, and even passed the first stage on the way to becoming law in the commons, but it went no further. Section 28 was not dissimilar to the legislation that the Earl of Halsbury tried to introduce.

More from PinkNews

Stars you didn’t know are LGBT+ Celebs you didn’t know have an LGBT sibling

The anti-LGBT+ legislation left teachers afraid to broach LGBT+ issues in schools.

Soon after the Tories were re-elected, Tory MP David Wilshire put forward an amendment to the new Local Government Bill – known first as Clause 27, and later as the notorious Clause 28 – based on the Earl of Halsbury’s Bill, which was subsequently passed through Parliament.

The night before Section 28 became law, a group of lesbians famously stormed the BBC’s Six O’Clock News in protest.

The effects of Section 28 soon became apparent, with some schools and councils shutting down LGBTQ+ youth support groups – and many teachers too afraid to teach about same-sex relationships.

The legislation was ultimately repealed in 2003, and David Cameron issued an apology for the harm it had done in 2009 – but despite this, its implications are still felt far and wide and teaching around LGBT+ issues still remains a taboo topic in many schools.

This year, Thatcher was portrayed by queer icon Gillian Anderson in the most recent series of The Crown. However, proving that Section 28’s horrific history can be all too easily forgotten, the show skipped over the issue entirely. 

(c): https://www.pinknews.co.uk/2020/11/18/section-28-margaret-thatcher-anniversary-homophobia-repeal-england-wales/

European Court of Human Rights communicates case concerning “homosexual propaganda” law in Russia

ECHR Sexual Orientation Blog: European Court of Human Rights communicates case concerning “homosexual propaganda” law in Russia

Posted: 20 Nov 2020 02:17 PM PST
(c) Paul Johnson, http://echrso.blogspot.com/

The Third Section of the European Court of Human Rights has communicated the case of Yuliya Vladimirovna Tsvetkova v RussiaThe case concerns administrative offence proceedings against Ms Tsvetkova, who was fined for publishing several posts on VKontakte (a Russian online social media and social networking service similar to Facebook) which were found to amount to “promotion of homosexuality among minors”.No details have been provided by the Court regarding the nature of the online content. However, Ms Tsvetkova is a well known artist and activist in Russia and has been subject to several proceedings under Russia’s “homosexual propaganda” laws. An article in the Moscow Times provides details of the proceedings, and information is provided by Amnesty InternationalRussian lawThe principal provision in Russian federal law is Article 6.21 of the Code of Administrative Offences of the Russian Federation (“Promotion of non-traditional sexual relations among minors”) which specifies:“1. The promoting of non-traditional sexual relationships among minors, expressed in the dissemination of information aimed at creating in minors a non-traditional sexual orientation, promoting the attractiveness of non-traditional sexual relationships, creating a distorted image of the social equivalence of traditional and non-traditional sexual relationships, or imposing information about non-traditional sexual relationships, arousing interest in such relationships, if these activities do not contain acts punishable under criminal law,- shall be subject to the imposition of an administrative fine, ranging from 4,000 to 5,000 roubles for citizens; from 40,000 to 50,000 roubles for officials; and, for legal entities, a fine ranging from 800,000 to 1,000,000 roubles or an administrative suspension of their activities for up to 90 days.”Questions to the partiesThe Court has asked the parties the following questions:1.  Did the applicant’s conviction of an administrative offence for “promotion of homosexuality among minors” violate her right to freedom of expression, contrary to Article 10 of the Convention (see Bayev and Others v. Russia, nos. 67667/09 and 2 others, 20 June 2017)2.  Did the applicant suffer discrimination in the enjoyment of her Convention rights, contrary to Article 14 of the Convention read in conjunction with Article 10 (see Bayev and Others v. Russia, cited above)?3.  Did the Federal Security Service’s request for user data related to the applicant’s VKontakte account and the VKontakte community administered by her from VKontakte company violate the applicant’s right to respect for her private life? The parties are requested to submit a copy of VKontakte company’s reply of 7 June 2019.4.  Did the applicant have a fair hearing in the determination of the criminal charges against her, in accordance with Article 6 §§ 1 and 3 of the Convention? In particular,- Did the lack of a prosecuting party and the allegedly excessively active role of the trial court entail violations of the principles of the equality of arms, adversarial procedure and impartiality under Article 6 § 1 of the Convention (see Karelin v. Russia, no. 926/08, 20 September 2016)?- Was the applicant able to examine witnesses against her – in particular officers of the Federal Security Service and expert witnesses – , as required by Article 6 § 3 (d) of the ConventionComment The Court has communicated this case very quickly, given that it was lodged on 22 August 2020.Whilst it is difficult to say with certainty what the outcome will be without knowing details of the online content, it seems highly likely that the Court will find a violation of Article 10 (either alone and/or in conjunction with Article 14) of the Convention. The Court has previously made clear that it regards legislation regulating the “promotion of homosexuality” to “reinforce stigma and prejudice and encourage homophobia, which is incompatible with the notions of equality, pluralism and tolerance inherent in a democratic society” required by Article 10 of the Convention, and to embody “a predisposed bias on the part of the heterosexual majority against the homosexual minority” in violation of Article 14 taken in conjunction with Article 10 of the Convention (Bayev and Others v Russia, §§ 83 and 91).The outcome regarding complaints about the lack of a fair hearing under Article 6 of the Convention will provide an important reflection on how the Russian domestic courts are dealing with cases brought under this legislation. 

USA: US appeals court rules Florida conversion therapy bans violate First Amendment

USA: US appeals court rules Florida conversion therapy bans violate First Amendment

The United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit ruled Friday that bans on conversion therapy violate the First Amendment. Plaintiff-appellants Robert Otto and Julie Hamilton provided what they call “sexual orientation change efforts” (SOCE) through talk therapy until Palm Beach County and the City of Boca Raton banned conversion therapy in 2017. The bans prohibit any counselor licensed by the state of Florida, with the exception of clergy, from providing treatment “with the goal of changing an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity.” The laws provide an exception for therapists assisting a client through gender transition.

The appeals court determined the bans to be “content-based restrictions of speech” because they prohibited therapists from expressing a particular message to clients. The court also found that because the ordinances allow for discussion of gender transition, the government effectively codified the viewpoint that sexual orientation is fixed and gender identity is changeable.

Based on these determinations, the court subjected the bans to strict scrutiny. Under strict scrutiny, restrictions to free speech are justifiable only if they address a compelling interest in the least restrictive way possible. The court found current medical evidence of conversion therapy’s danger insufficient to establish a compelling interest, and ruled that the laws violate the First Amendment.

In dissent, Judge Beverly Martin argued that gathering further evidence of the harms of conversion therapy would be unethical because major organizations like the American Psychological Association have already determined the process to be detrimental. The APA cautioned that few, if any, reputable organizations would condone further studies. This inability to collect evidence creates a paradox: “one implication of the majority holding is that because SOCE is too dangerous to study, children can continue to be subjected to it.”

The majority decision calls into question similar bans in 20 states and nearly 100 cities around the US.

The post US appeals court rules Florida conversion therapy bans violate First Amendment appeared first on JURIST – News – Legal News & Commentary.

In Eswatini, a landlocked country in Southern Africa formerly known as Swaziland, same-sex conduct is still illegal

Here in Eswatini, a landlocked country in Southern Africa formerly known as Swaziland, same-sex conduct is still illegal.

An animated image showing the faces of two people with text reading 'Listen to the Voices of Eswatini'.

The anti-gay law is a remnant of colonial rule but it continues to harm to our community to this day.

That’s why All Out and my organization, Eswatini Sexual and Gender Minorities (ESGM), have asked LGBT+ people in Eswatini to tell the world what it’s like to live in a country where their love is illegal.

Their stories are a powerful reminder that no one should be criminalized for who they are or who they love.

Andreas – listen to the stories and help make the Voices of Eswatini heard around the world.

The times are changing here in Eswatini. The LGBT+ community is stepping out of the shadows, claiming our rights and our place in society.

We’ve started the long and difficult journey to get rid of the laws that make us criminals. Our stories are our weapon. They show how much harm the anti-gay law is doing to our siblings, to our children, and to our neighbors.

By sharing our stories with you, Andreas, and the world, we hope to raise awareness and to get the support that will help us create a bright future for LGBT+ people in our country.

Listen to the stories and share them with your friends.

Thanks for going All Out,
Melusi Simelane,
Eswatini Sexual and Gender Minorities (ESGM)

P.S. Would you like to hear more firsthand from the participants in this project and learn about our fight for LGBT+ rights in Eswatini? Then join me on Wednesday, December 2 for a live chat on Zoom – register here!

Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights urges Hungary’s Parliament to postpone the vote on draft bills that, if adopted, will have far-reaching adverse effects on human rights in the country

Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights urges Hungary’s Parliament to postpone the vote on draft bills that, if adopted, will have far-reaching adverse effects on human rights in the country

Commissioner urges Hungary’s Parliament to postpone the vote on draft bills that, if adopted, will have far-reaching adverse effects on human rights in the country

“The Hungarian Government bills submitted to Parliament last week comprising proposals to amend the Constitution and other legislative instruments may have serious adverse effects on human rights in the country”, said the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatović today. “I fear that several proposals contained in the complex legislative package, submitted without prior consultation and relating to matters including the functioning of the judiciary, election law, national human rights structures, scrutiny over public funds, and the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) people, could serve to undermine democracy, the rule of law and human rights in Hungary.”

Read: https://www.coe.int/en/web/commissioner/-/commissioner-urges-hungary-s-parliament-to-postpone-the-vote-on-draft-bills-that-if-adopted-will-have-far-reaching-adverse-effects-on-human-rights-in-

Lawyer: Semenya to go to European Court of Human Rights

Lawyer: Semenya to go to European Court of Human Rights

FILE - In this Sunday, June 30, 2019 file photo, South Africa's Caster Semenya smiles after winning the women's 800-meter race during the Prefontaine Classic, an IAAF Diamond League athletics meeting, in Stanford, Calif. USA. Caster Semenya's lawyer said Tuesday Nov. 17, 2020, they will take her case against the world track and field federation to the European Court of Human Rights in what's likely to be a last-ditch legal challenge against regulations that require the South African and some other female athletes to artificially lower their natural testosterone levels to compete. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

CAPE TOWN, South Africa (AP) — Caster Semenya’s lawyer said Tuesday they will take her case to the European Court of Human Rights in what’s likely to be a last-ditch legal challenge against regulations that require the South African and some other female athletes to artificially lower their natural testosterone levels to compete.

Read: https://sports.yahoo.com/lawyer-semenya-european-court-human-rights-182530712–spt.html

Every November 20, on Trans Day of Remembrance (TDoR), we remember those whose lives have been taken away through transphobic violence

Every November 20, on Trans Day of Remembrance (TDoR), we remember those whose lives have been taken away through transphobic violence

This year’s Trans Murder Monitoring report from Transgender Europe shows the highest number of annual kilings since the report was first published 12 years ago.

Trans Day of Remembrance was founded in 1999 and it is the day when we remember trans and gender-diverse people whose lives have been cut short. According to Trans Murder Monitoring by Transgender Europe (TGEU), 350 people have been killed since November 2019, a rise of 6% since last year’s 331. Furthermore, the report shows an alarming and deeply worrying gradual increase per year between 2008 and 2020.

Because the number of unreported cases is unknown, this is only part of the story. What we know is that, globally, almost all the victims were trans women or trans feminine people. Over six in ten were sex workers, 38% of the murders took place on the street, and 22% were killed their own homes. In Europe, half of the victims were migrants.

People, not numbers

This is not just data and figures; these are real, vital, living people who had their lives taken away, people who like you had hopes and dreams, friends, family and people who cared for them. People like Valera, a housekeeper beaten to death in Chelyabinsk, Russia. Or Jessyca Sarmiento, a 38 year-old sex worker who was deliberately run-over by a car in Paris, France. Or 26 year-old Essi Granlund, stabbed to death in a killing that was described by the police as “an argument between two men.”

According to the report, 11 trans people were killed in Europe. You can find out who these people were here.

“Trans women often feel the disgust and misogyny of society, especially when we first transition,” Dinah de Riquet Bons and Sabrina Sanchez, board members of the International Committee on the Rights of Sex Workers in Europe (ICRSE), wrote for ILGA-Europe’s blog last year. “Our bodies and behaviour dismantle binarism, rejecting the patriarchal privilege given to those bodies born with a penis. Embracing femininity makes us disposable; it sends us to the lowest rung on the societal ladder. We lose status, family, friends, communities, work, and possibilities to study. The most affected are those of us who have to struggle with intersectional racist discrimination because of our ethnic diversity.”

Exacerbated circumstances

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted us all, but especially those who were already vulnerable, and sex workers in particular. Growing racism and police brutality are also putting trans lives at greater risk, especially those of black and migrant women of colour, sex workers, young people and the economically disadvantaged. Our Rainbow Europe Map 2020 showed that only 16 countries in Europe and Central Asia have implemented hate crime law that expressly includes gender identity as an aggravating factor. This year, North Macedonia was the only country to extend protection from hate crime, after amending its Criminal Code to add sexual orientation and gender identity grounds.

3664 trans and gender-diverse people have been murdered worldwide between 2008 and 2020. We cannot lower that number but we can certainly do more to prevent it from increasing in the future. It begins with understanding that all lives are equally valuable, and that many trans lives are vulnerable. It begins with education. It begins with our societies taking responsibility for the protection and valuing of all lives, including the lives of vulnerable trans people.

Credit: Trans Murder Monitoring report, TGEU

https://ilga-europe.org/blog/trans-day-remembrance-2020-honoring-350-lives-cut-short-year

Tags: transTrans Day of Remembrancetransphobiahate crime

Canada: Nova Scotia will now cover the cost of top surgery for non-binary folk in landmark move for inclusive healthcare

Canada: Nova Scotia will now cover the cost of top surgery for non-binary folk in landmark move for inclusive healthcare

Lily Wakefield November 11, 2020

Jaguar Land Rover ordered to pay £180,000 to genderfluid engineer Nova Scotia non-binary

People hold a non-binary flag at Pride. (Stewart Kirby/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty)

The Canadian province of Nova Scotia has announced that it will cover the cost of top surgery for non-binary people through its Medical Services Insurance (MSI).

Read: https://www.pinknews.co.uk/2020/11/11/nova-scotia-medical-services-insurance-canada-non-binary-top-surgery-healthcare/

European Court of Human Rightes says convictions for public demonstrations against homophobic laws in Russia violate ECHR

European Court of Human Rightes says convictions for public demonstrations against homophobic laws in Russia violate ECHR

Posted: 11 Nov 2020 07:20 AM PST

The Third Section of the European Court of Human Rights, sitting as a Committee, has given its judgment in Sozayev and Others v Russia. The case concerns the arrest and conviction of five applicants, in 2013, after they participated in a public assembly in front of the State Duma in Moscow in response to the legislative ban on the “promotion of non-traditional sexual relations among minors”.

The five applicants are Valeriy Valeryevich Sozayev, Ivan Fedorovich Babitskiy, Svetlana Yuryevna Mishina, Yevgeniya Dmitriyevna Samoshkina, and Pavel Vyacheslavovich Samburov.

I wrote about the case when it was communicated in 2016.

The facts

On 6 June 2013 the mass media announced that the second and third readings of the bill banning the “promotion of non-traditional sexual relations among minors” were to take place on 11 June 2013 in the State Duma. 

On 11 June 2013 at around noon a group of opponents of the bill, including the five applicants, came to the entrance of the State Duma building. Journalists were present there, as well as a group of conservative Orthodox Christian activists who were supporting the bill. 

Riot officers from the Moscow Police Department stood between the opponents of the bill and the Christian activists. Christian activists chanted “Moscow is not Sodom!” The bill opponents chanted “Moscow is not Iran” and “Fascism shall not pass”.

At around 12.15 p.m. the police officers surrounded the anti-bill protesters and pushed them into police buses. According to the applicants, none of the activists supporting the bill were apprehended in this way. According to the Government, during the assembly the police also apprehended several supporters of the bill.

The applicants were transferred to various police stations in Moscow where the relevant administrative records were drawn up. The administrative offence records were based on the reports and explanations of the police officers who had arrested the applicants. On the same day, once the administrative records were finalised the applicants were released.

On various dates the domestic courts convicted the applicants under Article 20.2 § 5 of the Code of Administrative Offences and sentenced them to administrative fines.

Relying on the administrative records and reports and explanations of the police officers, the domestic courts found the applicants liable for violating the established procedure for the conduct of a public assembly on account of their participation in the unauthorised gathering. In particular, the courts considered unlawful that some of the applicants shouted slogans and/or failed to verify whether the gathering was legitimate.

Complaints under Article 11

The applicants complained of disproportionate measures taken against them as participants of a peaceful public assembly, namely their arrest followed by their conviction for an administrative offence. They relied, expressly or in substance, on Article 11 of the Convention (some applicants also invoked Article 10 of the Convention but the Court considered this to fall to be examined under Article 11). 

The Court approached the complaints by focusing on the fact that the applicants were arrested, transferred to the police station and charged with administrative offences for the sole reason that the gathering had not been authorised.

In this respect, the Court referred to the leading cases concerning Russia in which it has already found a violation of the Convention in respect of issues similar to those in the present case.

The Court briefly stated:

“Having examined all the material submitted to it, the Court has not found any fact or argument capable of persuading it to reach a different conclusion as to the admissibility and merits of these complaints. Having regard to its case-law on the subject, the Court considers that in the instant case the measures applied to the applicants as peaceful participants in the public assembly did not correspond to a pressing social need and were thus not necessary in a democratic society” (§ 22).

The Court therefore concluded that the applicants had suffered a violation of Article 11 of the Convention.

Complaints under Articles 5 and/or 6

The applicants submitted other complaints which also raised issues under Articles 5 and/or 6 of the Convention. Having examined all the material before it, the Court concluded that these complaints disclosed violations of Articles 5 and 6 of the Convention.

Complaints under Article 14 taken in conjunction with Article 11

The applicants complained that the dispersal of their gathering which called for equality for LGBT people amounted to discrimination on grounds of their sexual orientation and political views. 

The Government submitted that the dispersal of the gathering was not due to the sexual orientation of its participants but due to their failure to comply with the official notification procedure. 

The Court noted that it had found a violation of Article 11 of the Convention on account of the fact that the applicants had been arrested and charged with administrative offences for the sole reason that they had not duly notified the authorities of their gathering. Having regard to this conclusion and in the light of the material submitted to it by the parties, the Court did not consider that the complaint under Article 14 called for a separate examination.

Brief comment

This is a welcome judgment which addresses restrictions on the right to freedom of peaceful assembly generally, and the right to peacefully assemble to object to homophobic and transphobic laws. I would, however, question the Court’s decision to not examine the complaints made by the applicants under Article 14 taken in conjunction with Article 11 of the Convention. 

The applicants “highlighted that the administrative offence records in their cases quoted their slogans in support of the rights of LGBT people and that the courts’ decisions referred to the applicants’ chanting of ‘relevant slogans’ as a part of the behaviour for which they were persecuted” (§ 32). 

Given that the applicants explicitly claimed that their treatment was motivated by discrimination based on sexual orientation, the Court should, in my view, have considered this under Article 14. To not do so runs counter to the Court’s case law on sexual orientation discrimination and, in particular, the established principle that domestic authorities are under an obligation to take all reasonable steps to unmask the role of possible homophobic motives or bias (Identoba and Others v Georgia, § 77)

In this case, the Court appears to have accepted, at face value, the claim of the national authorities that the treatment of the applicants was not due to sexual orientation but, rather, their failure to comply with the official notification procedure required for public assembly. That may or may not be true but it certainly, in my opinion, merited proper consideration under Article 14 of the Convention. 

(c) http://echrso.blogspot.com/2020/11/court-says-convictions-for-public.html

Liechtenstein: Ehe für alle – «Deutlicher lässt sich die Diskriminierung nicht betonen»

Liechtenstein: Ehe für alle – «Deutlicher lässt sich die Diskriminierung nicht betonen»

Liechtenstein: Ehe für alle – «Deutlicher lässt sich die Diskriminierung nicht betonen» Der Liechtensteinische Staatsgerichtshof sieht keine rechtlichen Bedenken im Verwehren der Ehe für alle. 16. November 2020, 22:05 Uhr  18. November 2020, 03:12 Uhr Julia Strauss «Wieso hat der Liechtensteinische Staatsgerichtshof keine rechtlichen Bedenken, gleichgeschlechtlichen Paaren die Ehe zu verwehren?» Dieser Frage ging Lamiss Khakzadeh […]

Liechtenstein: Ehe für alle – «Deutlicher lässt sich die Diskriminierung nicht betonen» — LGBTI Recht in der Schweiz – Droit LGBTI en Suisse – by Professor Andreas R Ziegler