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LGBTI Rights

    May 01, 2017

    By Ta*, an LGBT activist in Bangladesh

     

    “I might not come any longer. I’m afraid. You had to flee from one place to another out of fear of being slaughtered by the extremists. If something like that happens again, I don’t have the strength or ability to do things like you.” I have received many messages like this from fellow LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual) activists in Bangladesh over the past year. On 25 April 2016, Xulhaz Mannan and Mahbub Rabbi Tonoy were killed mercilessly by extremists for promoting LGBT rights in Bangladesh – nothing has been the same since.

    January 23, 2017

    By Jackie Hansen, Major Campaigns and Women's Rights Campaigner, Amnesty Internatioanl Canada

    Amnesty yellow mingled with the Women’s March on Washington’s signature pink toques at solidarity marches from St. John's to Victoria on Saturday, January 21. Amnesty supporters were amongst the 3+ million march participants worldwide. We marched against fear, hate, and in support of love, equality and justice. We marched for women’s rights and for LGBTI rights.





    On inauguration day, many women and LGBTI people felt invisible in the president’s speech, erased from the White House’s list of policy priorities, and concerned about the potential impacts of new policies on civil liberties, the shrinking space for civil society, women’s rights, and LGBTI rights.

    December 01, 2016

    By Yaridbel Licón and Victor Molina, Amnesty International Venezuela

    “I often woke up believing my strength was running out, believing I couldn’t keep going, and then I received photographs of Amnesty International human rights activists from all over the world requesting my freedom, respect for justice and for life. Infinite thanks, friends, without you I wouldn’t be here!” - Rosmit Mantilla, ex prisoner of conscience, unjustly detained in May 2014 and released in November 2016.

    On May 2, 2014, a delegation of more than 20 members of the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service (SEBIN) burst into his apartment in Caricuao, a modest neighbourhood in west Caracas, where Rosmit Mantilla lived with his grandparents. A student, member of the opposition Party “Voluntad Popular” and a human rights activist, he never thought he would spend two and a half years of his life behind bars awaiting a trial against him that would never happen.

    October 27, 2016

    Do you know what the term intersex means? If the answer is no, you’re not the only one. Many people couldn’t tell you; nor could they say what issues intersex people face.

    As well as stigma and discrimination, many children who are born intersex face unnecessary medical surgeries in their early years, which irrevocably shape their lives before they are even able to express their opinion.

    This Intersex Awareness Day we’ve been catching up with leading intersex activist Kitty Anderson, who has dedicated her time to fighting for the rights of intersex people for the past two and a half years.

    What does it mean to be intersex? 

    Intersex is an umbrella term used to cover a broad group of people who have sex characteristics that fall outside typical, binary “norms” of male or female. These can include primary sex characteristics such as internal and external genitalia, reproductive systems, hormone levels and sex chromosomes, or secondary sex characteristics which become apparent at puberty.

    July 06, 2016

    By George Harvey, LGBTI Coordinator

    May 17, 2016

    By Alexander Kennedy, LGBTI Coordinator

    In June 2005, I sat in the gallery of the House of Commons the night the Civil Marriage Act was passed. It was a moment of joy, the culmination of years of work by LGBTI activists, and yet in the midst of the celebrations I found myself wondering when trans people would get our moment, the recognition that our rights matter too.

    This morning, more than a decade later, I sat in the gallery of the House of Commons as the Minister of Justice introduced Bill C-16 to extend human rights protections to trans people in Canada, surrounded by some of the many trans activists who have worked long and hard to make this day a reality.

    April 13, 2016

    We're still celebrating the release of scores of prisoners of conscience in Myanmar, including student leader Phyoe Phyoe Aung, on April 8!

    And now we get to take a moment to reflect on how amazing March was for human rights – activists were released, unfair laws were changed, and people who committed serious human rights abuses were brought to justice. We’ve picked out 15 successes, wins and pieces of good news, and they were all made possible thanks to your support.

    >> For the latest good news stories, click here!

     

    December 11, 2015

    By Lorna Hayes and Khairunissa Dhala from Amnesty’s refugee and migrants’ rights team at Amnesty's International Secretariat

    Said and his partner Jamal – who is living with HIV – fled Syria after being tortured for their political activism. They are excited about starting a new life in the capital, Berlin, after being resettled there.

    “We were so happy that we cried,” says Jamal* about the moment he and his partner Said* found out that Germany had opened its doors to them.

    “It was a moment of victory,” Jamal continues. “We were shocked that we were accepted for resettlement so quickly, [after just] six months.”

    They were lucky – many other refugees who qualify for resettlement wait much longer for that all-important phone call to say they can settle down for good somewhere peaceful and safe.

    A new home in Berlin

    October 28, 2015
    © REUTERS/Thomas Peter

    By Lesly Lila, London, UK

    As the 2015 Pride season ends, we look at why Pride events are still so important for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people and activists across the world.

    1. People are still attacked because of their real or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity

    October 01, 2015

    The case of a 22-year-old student sentenced to one year in prison for engaging in “homosexual relations” has finally sparked public debate on same-sex relations in Tunisia. Yesterday, the Minister of Justice Mohamed Salah Ben Aissa made a ground-breaking public call for the decriminalization of same-sex relations.

    A court in Sousse convicted the man, known under the pseudonym Marwan, on 22 September after forcing him to undergo an anal examination to establish “proof” of anal sex. Amnesty International considers people who are arrested and detained solely on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity to be prisoners of conscience.

    On 6 September, police had summoned Marwan in relation to the murder of a man in Sousse. When he denied any involvement in the crime, but admitted to having sex with the victim reportedly after the police threatened to bring a murder charge against him, he was charged with “sodomy” under Article 230 of the Penal Code which carries a maximum three-year prison sentence. The article also criminalizes “lesbianism” although it is rarely used to detain lesbian women.

    August 21, 2015

     

    Chelsea Manning is serving a 35-year prison sentence for leaking classified US government documents to the website WikiLeaks. Two years after she was first sentenced, Chelsea tells us why speaking out against injustice can be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

     

    Q. Why did you decide to leak documents about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan? 

    These documents were important because they relate to two connected counter-insurgency conflicts in real-time from the ground. Humanity has never had this complete and detailed a record of what modern warfare actually looks like. Once you realize that the co-ordinates represent a real place where people live; that the dates happened in our recent history; that the numbers are actually human lives – with all the love, hope, dreams, hatred, fear, and nightmares that come with them – then it’s difficult to ever forget how important these documents are.

    June 26, 2015

    By George Harvey, Amnesty International Canada, LGBTI Coordinator

    A landmark ruling from the Supreme Court in the United States calling for marriage equality in all 50 states! A successful referendum on marriage equality in Ireland! Discriminatory laws challenged and repealed in a number of countries, and peaceful Pride marches in cities where they've been met with violence and counter marches in the past. We have much to celebrate during Pride this summer.

    Pride season is in full swing. As I type this blog I am gearing up to coordinate Amnesty's contingent in Toronto Pride this Sunday. Amnesty marches in Pride parades throughout Canada and around the world. We promote our actions at festivals and info-fairs, and we honour the lives lost to homophobia and transphobia at human rights vigils. Some of us are Amnesty activists who are members of the LGBTI community; many are allies marching in solidarity with the LGBTI community. All of us stand firmly against discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, and all of us stand firmly for the right to loudly, proudly, and publicly be who we are.

    May 14, 2015

    Around the world, people face violent attacks and threats simply because of who they are or who they have sex with. But some brave activists are still standing up for their rights. To mark the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOT) on 17 May, we celebrate the courageous activism of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people worldwide.

    1. Pushing to end hate crimes in Greece

    In Greece, LGBTI rights organizations tell us violent attacks on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity have more than doubled over the last year. In August 2014, Kostas and Zabi, a Greek-Pakistani gay couple, were brutally beaten up in a homophobic and racist attack in central Athens.

    October 16, 2014

    By Jackie Hansen, Major Campaigns and Women’s Rights Campaigner

    There appears to be a rise in homophobia around the world. From Russia and Kyrgyzstan to Nigeria, Uganda, and beyond, homosexuality is becoming further criminalized. This is particularly hard to understand here in Canada where we are steadily marching in the opposite direction—we have had marriage equality for a decade, and several provinces and territories have legislation in place to protect the transgender community from violence and discrimination.

    When we hear about new legislation criminalizing or further criminalizing same sex sexual conduct we are enraged. And we want to act. And when activists in Uganda ask us not to act—or at least not act in the ways we would normally work here at home—we are confused. We want to be supportive. We want to help. We want to send a message to the Ugandan government that LGBTI rights are human rights. And sometimes the hardest thing we can do is nothing.

    March 28, 2014
    By Gloria Nafziger, Refugee, Migrants and Country Campaigner

    There is nothing bogus about the real life events which Gary shared with me. As a gay man in a small Caribbean Island country he tells me he had no social life. He was afraid of being out in public, and pretty much went from home to work and not much else. He had a job but was repeatedly the target of verbal and psychological abuse as a man who everyone suspected was gay.  

    There were no shelters or social groups for him to turn to. He never got beaten up, but that was because he didn’t put himself into dangerous situations. He thought the best way to stay safe was to stay under the radar and not make himself visible. The laws in his country provide for a 15 year prison sentence for homosexual acts. He knew it would be foolish to make complaints about mistreatment which might only draw further unwanted attention.

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