Alturi World: February 13, 2019
Washington Post — Children of same-sex couples perform better in school than kids raised by a mom and a dad, according to new research from several European economists. The researchers found that children raised by same-sex couples had higher test scores in elementary and secondary school and were about 7 percent more likely to graduate from high school than children raised by different-sex couples. The study by economists Deni Mazrekaj, Kristof de Witte and Sofie Cabus of Belgian university KU Leuven used government data tracking all children born in the Netherlands since 1995. The Netherlands was the first country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage in 2001 and has generally been one of the most supportive nations for same-sex couples.
Deutsche Welle — Angola has done away with criminalizing homosexuality, removing a notorious “vices against nature” provision in its penal code. Other African nations still punish people for same-sex relationships. The reform has been hailed by human rights activists who have been pushing for equal rights for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community in Angola and other African countries. Human rights organizations in other African nations such as Kenya and Botswana are currently fighting against the legal discrimination of homosexuals in court. In Zimbabwe the situation has gotten a bit less tense since long-term leader Robert Mugabe lost power — he was one of the driving forces in stirring up hate against homosexuals. HRW says the new government has already met with LGBT groups. But the LGBT community still faces rampant discrimination in Uganda, Goshal said.
Times of India — Stressing that being religious and queer does not have to be mutually exclusive, Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay and Transgender (LGBT) activists said that homosexuality was more of a lifestyle choice and religion did not discriminate against a person on the basis of his or her sexual orientation. The activists were speaking on the theme ‘Homosexuality and Religion Can Coexist’, on the second day of the Awadh Queer Lit Fest in the city on Saturday. The activists argued that certain sections of the society were wrong in interpreting that different religions discriminate against the queer community.
Khmer Times — Angkrong, a village in Prey Veng Province in Cambodia’s southeast corner, has been home to five couples over the age of 40, two young couples who recently emigrated, another middle-aged couple where one of the partners, a transgender man, passed away just last year, and a transgender monk. All are pairings of transgender men and cisgender women. The couples say they are accepted by the community and local government officials, and claim not to experience discrimination from their neighbours.
TWO SUITS CHALLENGE SINGAPORE’S COLONIAL-ERA ANTI-GAY LAW
Erasing 76 Crimes — Singapore is facing two lawsuits asking the courts to overturn the nation’s colonial-era anti-homosexuality law, Section 377A. Both constitutional challenges were filed after the Indian Supreme Court in September overturned that nation’s anti-homosexuality law, similarly named “Section 377” and similarly inherited from when the nation was part of the British Empire. In Singapore, a previous legal challenge failed in 2013 when Singapore’s High Court rejected a gay couple’s appeal to overturn Section 377A. An LGBT rights advocate has filed a case against the Attorney-General, stating that Section 377A of the Penal Code — which criminalises sex between men — is “inconsistent” with portions of Singapore’s Constitution, and “is therefore void”.
Jerusalem Post — Harassment of members of the LGBTQ community increased dramatically in 2018, with a 54% increase in reported incidents of homophobia, the Nir Katz Center revealed on Sunday in its annual report. The report, delivered to President Reuven Rivlin for the first time this year, noted that an incident of harassment or abuse against members of the LGBTQ community occurs every ten hours in Israel on average, while posts on social media which include messages of hate towards the community appear online every four minutes.
‘EVERYONE IS WELCOME’: CHILDREN REACH OUT TO GAY TEACHER THREATENED OVER LGBT LESSONS
The Independent — A gay primary school teacher who has been targeted amid protests from parents over homosexuality teachings has been inundated with supportive cards from children saying “everyone is welcome”. Andrew Moffat, assistant headteacher at Parkfield Community School in Birmingham, has received threatening emails and chants calling for him to leave over the past few weeks. Around 100 parents protested outside the school gates on Thursday against his teachings on same-sex relationships. Adults with megaphones shouted “Get Mr Moffat out”. The teacher believes his openness about his sexuality triggered the opprobrium.
Oregon Public Media — The original story behind the Masterpiece Cakeshop case is both undisputed and well known: a gay couple in Colorado walked into the bakery in 2012 and asked for wedding cake. The owner and master baker, Jack Phillips, declined to make a custom cake for their party because he said their union violated his religious beliefs. The couple filed a complaint with the state’s civil rights commission, which found Phillips was violating the state’s anti-discrimination laws that prohibit businesses from discriminating against LGBTQ people.
Instinct Magazine — Venezuela’s long-running political crisis appears to be reaching a critical point. President Nicolás Maduro is still holding onto power, but there is growing international support to recognize Juan Guaidó — the leader of the legislature — who declared himself President on 23 January 2019. Venezuela’s ongoing political discontent has been further fueled in recent months by skyrocketing hyperinflation, power cuts, and shortages of food and medicine. The BBC reports that over three million Venezuelans have emigrated from the country in recent years. This crisis in Venezuela is affecting everyone in the country, but it’s worth remembering that the LGBTQ community in Venezuela is particularly vulnerable.
Associated Press — President Jair Bolsonaro is taking his anti-leftist ideological war to Brazil’s classrooms and universities, causing angst among teachers and education officials who say the government wants to fight an enemy that doesn’t exist. Bolsonaro and top officials have announced plans to revise textbooks to excise references to feminism, homosexuality and violence against women, say the military will take over some public schools and frequently bash Paulo Freire, one of Brazil’s most famous educators, whose ideas had worldwide influence. “One of the goals to get Brazil out of the worst positions in international education rankings is to combat the Marxist rubbish that has spread in educational institutions,” Bolsonaro tweeted on the eve of his inauguration. Bolsonaro has said he would review the content of Brazil’s national high school exam to rid it of any questions on gender or LGBT movements. He made the announcement in a YouTube video after seeing a question from last year’s exam on a “secret dialect used by gays and transvestites,” called Pajuba.