Queer Notes, Jan.-Feb. 2011

From the Jan.-Feb. 2011 issue of News & Letters:

Queer Notes

by Elise

The Bisexual Queer Alliance of Chicago (BQAC) was formed in autumn 2010, to raise visibility of the Bisexual community there—where we’re virtually unknown—to erase Bi-phobia and to work towards Bi civil rights. BQAC applauds the Center on Halsted, a Chicago LGBT resource center, for holding a space for us for years and now we’ve finally taken them up on it. BQAC fundraised for Howard Brown Health Center—serving the special needs of the LGBT community and, until very recently, in danger of closing—and the Broadway Youth Center. BQAC meets the first Saturday of each month. It participates in actions, including Chicago’s Transgender Day of Remembrance vigil and several rallies for Civil Unions in Illinois, which passed and will soon be signed into law.

* * *

Your life may be in danger in Cameroon if you’re merely perceived to be Transgender, Bisexual, Lesbian or Gay, according to l’Association pour la défense des droits des homosexuels and other human rights groups. Beatings, arrests, prison time without charge, outings by the media, prison officials ignoring abuses by inmates, unemployment, no healthcare and shunning by friends and family—doubly harmful to women in that culture where they’re expected to be dependent on family throughout their lives—are the result of media-coined and promoted “homocraty”: the perception that GLBT people are power-hungry, corrupt, rich, and intent on controlling the country.

* * *

Toting the sign, “Keep the Promise: Fight Global AIDS,” Boston-area college students protested President Obama as he headlined a get-out-the-vote rally for Governor Deval Patrick, last autumn. Obama has only delivered 10% of a campaign-promised $50 billion to fight AIDS worldwide. Protesters also rallied for a federal gender-identity-inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) and marriage equality.

* * *

New Jersey Governor Christie signed the toughest statewide antibullying bill in the nation. It requires all public school teachers, staff and administrators to be trained on what to do when harassment occurs and to report every incident. Those who do not act on such incidents—inside or outside of school—and school employees and students who bully students, will be disciplined. This is especially good news for NJ middle school students as, nationally, middle school GLBT students experience the most bullying and intolerance.

* * *

The 2010 International Transgender Day of Remembrance (ITDOR) was marked in the Philippines by The Society of Transsexual Women of the Philippines with a film, candle lighting and readings of the stories of those who died. In Israel people marched, and a Hate Crime Poster was launched in Northern Ireland as part of their annual Outburst Queer Arts Festival. The Ukraine’s ITDOR viewing of “Boys Don’t Cry” was tear gassed by masked men. The victims are pursuing charges of hate crime rather than the official charge of hooliganism.

* * *

Canadian prisoners’ rights advocacy group Prisoners’ Legal Services is fighting the ban on government funding of sex reassignment surgery for inmates. The Public Safety Minister ordered the ban in November. The ban flies in the face of both the Canadian Human Rights Commission and federal court rulings.

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