Singaporean gay man denied adoption rights for biological child
A Singapore court ruled against a man seeking to adopt his biological son mothered by a surrogate in the U.S.
The man, currently in a same-sex relationship, pursued international surrogacy due to his remote chances at adoption in Singapore, where male same-sex relations are still illegal.
Surrogacy is prohibited and in-vitro services available only to married couples in Singapore, leading many Singaporean couples both same- and different-sex couples to seek assisted reproduction services abroad.
The Uncertain Twilight of Singapore’s Pioneer Generation
Singapore’s “Pioneer Generation,” those born early enough to witness the birth of the nation, has begun to advance a so-called “silver tsunami” that has challenged a wealthy Southeast Asian city-state renowned for the relatively high standard of living of its citizens. “Re-employment” policies have pushed seniors to remain in the workforce past retirement age, but their concentration in low-wage work has at times created conflict between health, financial, and labor imperatives. As healthcare costs grow while wages remain low, seniors, less educated relative to younger generations, face difficult options in a society that prides itself on individual responsibility and contributions to the nation’s economic progress. The Guardian examines the plight of Singaporean seniors and the evolving challenges they face upon approaching and surpassing retirement age.
The International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia & Biphobia
Commemorating the day when homosexuality was de-pathologized by the World Health Organization in 1990, the 13th-annual International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia & Biphobia (IDAHOT) stands as an occasion for global mobilization towards LGBT visibility and security. The day, like many global celebrations, is also one many governments choose to speak out on global human rights and minority security, announcing initiatives to support their LGBT citizens and international projects.
Even today, ongoing disagreements between nations over LGBT rights have prompted diplomatic rows and roadblocks to international cooperation, including the recent objection of 51 Muslim countries to the participation of LGBT groups in a U.N. AIDS forum in June. The push to extinguish homophobia, transphobia, and biphobia at all geographic levels remains important to the global mobility of LGBT people worldwide.
LGBT Nigerians have continued wrestling with conflicting legal messages, with the recent passage of the landmark HIV Anti-Discrimination Act doing little to undo the effects of a 2014 anti-homosexuality law.
The Gay and Lesbians Association of Zimbabwe (GALZ) organized events for IDAHOT in Bulawayo, focusing on mental health as ongoing social and healthcare difficulties plague the community.
Though homosexuality remains criminalized in Tunisia, activists have achieved increased visibility and pushed for legal reform amidst ongoing discrimination.
Israel reaffirmed its commitment to LGBT Israelis, announcing funding to support an emergency shelter for LGBT youth and a hostel for trans people who have recently undergone gender confirmation surgery.
Days before IDAHOT, activists staged a sit-in outside of a Beirut gendarmerie, protesting Lebanon‘s anti-homosexuality legal holdovers from French occupation. Similarly, the Lebanese Medical Association for Sexual Health (LebMASH) issued an appeal to the Lebanese government to decriminalize same-sex relations, arguing for recognition of homosexuality’s presence within the natural variation of human sexuality.
Across Latin America, important gains in same-sex partnership and family rights and gender identity healthcare and legal protections have heartened LGBT Latin Americans, but the region continues to have some of the highest reported rates of violence against the LGBT community in the world.
LGBT organizations held cultural and political events throughout Argentina to highlight conditions facing the Argentine LGBT community, call for an anti-discrimination law, and press for federal recognition of the International Day Against Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Discrimination, as the day is known.
Cuba celebrated the day fresh off Pride events in Havana, where Mariela Castro, daughter of President Raúl Castro, led a parade of thousands through the city streets.
In China, a study conducted by the U.N. Development Programme, Peking University, and the Beijing LGBT Center, the largest of its kind to date, was released revealing that only 5% of LGBTI Chinese are fully out at school and work, but also showed encouraging levels of acceptance of LGBTI people among China’s youth. The head of Hong Kong’s Equal Opportunities Commission expressed support for anti-discrimination legislation at IDAHOT festivities in the city.
In Fiji, former President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau joined festivities at the French Ambassador’s residence to celebrate the island’s LGBTQI community.
A tug-of-war over LGBT rights between Islamic fundamentalists and pro-diversity moderates in Indonesia has led to mixed messages about LGBT security in the nation, spurring anti-discrimination protests.
A recent Human Rights Watch report on anti-LGBT bullying in Japan served as a reminder of the purpose of the day, highlighting rampant anti-LGBT sentiment even as the government has initiated broad efforts to combat bullying in schools.
The divergent prospects for LGBTI people across Europe, from Western Europe’s distinctive commitment to the protection of gender diversity to ongoing persecution in the East, was further confirmed through a UNESCO report highlighting anti-LGBT violence in schools released as global education ministers met in Paris.
In Gibraltar, organizers canceled event plans in support of action on marriage equality legislation currently under consideration, arguing that holding a rally in front of the Parliament as uncertainty prevails would undermine pressure on MPs.
Kosovo‘s first Pride march brought out hundreds from the LGBT community to Pristina, including the U.S. and U.K. ambassadors.
Organizations in Luxembourg planned a silent march to call attention to the plight of LGBTI individuals worldwide and call for increased international protections (including asylum).
Organizers in Serbia took the day to announce the date of this year’s Pride parade (September 18) and address concerns of homophobia as right-wing parliamentary representation has increased.
After advocates scrapped plans for IDAHOT activities in Georgia due to security concerns, a group of activists were arrested for painting pro-LGBT graffiti on administrative buildings. A “Family Day” protest against LGBT rights and visibility, the third such anti-LGBT demonstration, brought together members of Georgia’s conservative Orthodox community and international religious groups.
In the U.K., London’s new mayor promised to make the city a more just place for its LGBT residents as a rainbow flag flew over the Mayor’s Office.
Singapore repeals ban on short-term stays for HIV+ visitors
Singapore lifted a two-decade-long prohibition on HIV+ visitors in the country.
While visitors will be able to stay for up to three months on one of Singapore’s short-term visas, those with HIV will be ineligible for long-term or work visas.
Singapore, which has 5,000 of its own citizens afflicted with the illness, began repatriating and blocking the entrance of HIV+ travelers through immigration policies similar to those held by Australia and New Zealand.
“While things have improved slightly, we cannot forget that many are still being asked to leave their jobs and are ostracised by friends and family because of HIV infection. Many still suffer alone, and have trouble securing jobs and health insurance.”
Singapore releases teenage blogger convicted of obscenity and offending religious sensibilities
Amos Yee, 16, was convicted and sentenced to four weeks of detention, which he had already served during his 50 days spent in jail.
Yee had criticized revered former Singapore PM Lee Kuan Yew–considered the founding father of Singapore–with a video celebrating his death, comments decrying Christianity, and an image of depicting Lee and former British PM Margaret Thatcher in a sex act.
Prosecutors did not pursue reformative training for the youth, which could have led to detention for up to 18 months, but the case drew international attention for its surfacing of Singapore’s restrictive policies on personal expression.
Colonel Gan Siow Huang promoted to become first female general in Singapore Armed Forces
On July 1, Huang, 40, will assume the rank of Brigadier-General after 22 years in the army.
She was one of four women to receive the first SAF merit scholarship in 1993 when the military first began actively recruiting women.
A graduate of the London School of Economics and mother of three, she credits the SAF’s family-friendly policies with allowing for some of the flexibility needed for her to balance her demanding work with starting a family.
“I think women entered this game late. It was only in 1993 that the SAF seriously started to look at and bring in talent, and to develop woman leaders. Back then, the SAF also did not know how far women could go. In the 1990s, we didn’t have many woman COs in the Army, Navy and Air Force. Over time, when women in different jobs and vocations did well, confidence was gradually built.”
Protests in Saudi Arabia following the anti-Shiite suicide bombing, assisted suicide debates in the U.K., Myanmar’s anti-Rohingya protests, Russia’s community for parents and their gay children, immigration reform’s stumble in the U.S., Dubai’s motorcycle women, and 45 other stories in this week’s news rounds…Continue reading The Mid-week Rounds→
The U.K.’s new diverse class of MPs, gender discrimination in Hollywood, Singapore government’s role in “religious harmony,” LGBT activism in Lebanon, and more in today’s news rounds…Continue reading The Tuesday Rounds→