Guatemala’s new law will make LGBTI people and women ‘second-class citizens’

a woman standing outside an official looking building holding two pieces of paper in the air

The central American country of Guatemala is about to pass a law that would discriminate against women and LGBTI people.

Human rights groups have called on Guatemalan legislators to reject ‘extraordinarily dangerous’ “Life and Family Protection” bill. The bill would expand the criminalization of abortion. It could subject women who have miscarriages to prosecution – or at least to questioning by law enforcement authorities.

But the bill also includes definitions of ‘family’ and ‘sexual diversity’ that are openly discriminatory to the basic right of  LGBTI people. Congress has twice approved the proposed legislation and needs a third approval. Finally each individual article needs approval, before the president signs into law.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) said the bill was dangerous and would seriously undermine the rights of women and LGBT people in the country.

‘If Congress passes this bill, it will send the message that women and LGBT people are second-class citizens in Guatemala,’ said José Miguel Vivanco, Americas director at Human Rights Watch.

‘The proposal lacks basic common sense and humanity and could even turn women and girls who miscarry into criminals.

LGBTI laws

The bill contains provisions that discriminate against LGBT people.

The proposed changes ‘expressly prohibits’ same-sex marriage and defines ‘family’ as limited to a ‘father, mother, and children’.

But those changes also single out trans people. It defines marriage as a union between people who were a man and a woman ‘by birth’ which excludes trans people.

HRW said even though same-sex marriage is not recognized in Guatemala, the bill would entrench and reinforce that unacceptable reality.

The new law also establishes that ‘freedom of conscience and expression’ protect people from being ‘obliged to accept non-heterosexual conduct or practices as normal’. HRW said this seems intended to expressly permit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
‘Freedom of conscience and expression are not a blank check to discriminate against LGBT people,’ Vivanco said.

‘The ‘family protection’ provisions in this bill amount to nothing more than the promotion of homophobia.’

India’s gay prince launches LGBTI university course

Indias' Crown Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil this week launched a university module on LGBTI.

Crown Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil launched a university module in India on the LGBTI community this week.

‘Educating students about the LGBTQ community will help sensitize them to the invisible sexual minority,’ the prince told the India Times.

Importantly, it is thought to be the first academic LGBTI module at a South Asian university.

The world’s first openly gay prince introduced the course on Tuesday (August 28). It is titled ‘Proclivity of Gender: Socio-legal approach to LGBTQ Community’

Students of Law and Liberal Studies students at Karnavati University in the western State of Gujurat will all study the course.

Also, more than 60 other participants from across India, including high school students, will participate.

Manvendra is the 39th direct descendant of the 650-year-old Gohil Dynasty Of Rajpipla in Gujarat State in western India. So, he is the most likely heir to Maharaja of Rajpipla.

After coming out as gay in 2006, the prince set up the advocacy organization, Lakshya trust, and in 2017 promised to open an LGBTI center on his palace grounds.

Educating students about India’s ‘invisible minority’

The course will include teaching on the community’s legal rights and the history of the LGBTI rights movement in India.

‘We will present facts about the community that are backed by evidence and reasoning to the students to make them understand various aspects of the LGBT community,’ said Manvendra.

Furthermore, it will also explore Article 377 of India’s Penal Code, a colonial-era law criminalizing same-sex sexual intercourse.

However, country’s Supreme Court is currently considering overturning the law.

The course will also foster greater social acceptance of the third gender, the prince told the India times.

The prince’s module will also cover mental and physical health, including HIV and AIDS.

Most importantly, the course hopes to tackle rampant stigma in India. LGBTI people regularly face discrimination from families, in education, housing, and healthcare.

The community also often faces violent harassment and abuse.

A famous college in southern India introduced studies in ‘gender queer and intersex’ into its literature curriculum this week.

The American College in Madurai, Tamil Nadu, will teach about 58 different gender identities, the Times of India reported this weekend.

Here are the best photos from Vietnam’s Pride which looked like so much fun

a man lies back on a giant rainbow flag

Thousands of people hit the streets of Saigon to celebrate the beginning of Pride season in Vietnam.

The VietPride Parade was the first of many LGBTI events happening around the south-east Asian country.

National celebrities and delegates from other Asian Pride festivals attended the Parade and other festivities.

Vietnam celebrated its first Pride parade in 2012 and since then the celebrations have become bigger and bigger.

The country is one of the most open to the LGBTI community and is believed to be one of the few in the world that never criminalized homosexuality.

But Vietnam still does not recognize same-sex relationships and LGBTI couples donot have the same rights as heterosexual couples.

The Vietnamese government is working on a new law which would give official recognition to trans people, but that is unlikely to come before the National Assembly for consideration before 2019.

Events like VietPride are helping raise awareness of LGBTI issues and the community is slowly gaining more acceptance in Vietnam.

Here are the 10 best photos from VietPride*:

1.

close up of a smiling woman with dark hair, she has different coloured horizontal stripes across her cheeks

VietPride in Saigon was a hit. | Photo: VietPride/Facebook

2.

a couple taking a selfie with a selfie stick on the red carpet one is holding open a rainbow flag

Love is in the air at VietPride. | Photo: VietPride/Facebook

3.

people standing under a horizontal rainbow flag they are smiling as they hold up the flag

Happy VietPride!| Photo: VietPride/Facebook

4.

a drag queen in an elaborate carnival costume with a big headpiece and feathers

Slay queen. | Photo: VietPride/Facebook

5.

a giant rainbow flag is dragged along the street

Rainbow Pride. | Photo: VietPride/Facebook

6.

a drag queen in a red swimsuit that reads 'bae watch' she is waving a small rainbow flag behind her head

Bae | Photo: VietPride/Facebook

7.

two women (possibly drag queens) in pink outfits on the red carpet with a man in a pink v-knit jumper

The stars hit the red carpet. | Photo: VietPride/Facebook

8.

9.

close up of a young person's face (their profile), they have a rainbow sticker on their face and a rainbow headband on their head.

Saigon kicked off Vietnam’s pride season. | Photo: Facebook/VietPride

10.

a group of people holding rainbow flags and fans stand on the side of the street watching the pride parade go past

Thousands turned up to celebrate VietPride. | Photo: Facebook/VietPride

*Photos have been republished with the permission of VietPride