‘Gay conversion therapy’ to be banned as part of LGBT equality plan – BBC News

A couple holds hands wrapped in a rainbow flagImage copyrightAFP/GETTY

Controversial “gay conversion therapies” are to be banned as part of a government plan to improve the lives of gay and transgender people.

A national survey of 108,000 members of the LGBT community suggested 2% have undergone the practice with another 5% having been offered it.

It also found more than two-thirds of LGBT people avoid holding hands in public, for fear of negative reactions.

The prime minister said nobody “should ever to have to hide who they are”.

A 75-point plan to improve the lives of LGBT people, costing £4.5m, has been produced in response to the survey.

Source: BBC News

Heterosexual couple win civil partnership case – BBC News

A heterosexual couple have won their legal bid for the right to have a civil partnership instead of a marriage.

The Supreme Court unanimously ruled in favour of Rebecca Steinfeld, 37, and Charles Keidan, 41, from London.

The court said the Civil Partnership Act 2004 – which only applies to same-sex couples – is incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights.

Ms Steinfeld said she hoped the government does the “right thing” and extends civil partnerships to all.

“We are feeling elated,” she told the BBC outside court. “But at the same time we are feeling frustrated the government has wasted taxpayers’ money in fighting what the judges’ have called a blatant inequality.”

Source:– BBC News

The Shifting Global Terrain of L.G.B.T.Q. Rights – The New York Times

In Botswana, one of several countries with laws from British colonial era rule, a hearing is imminent that will challenge a law banning same-sex sexual activity that can result in up to seven years in prison. Anna Mmolai-Chalmers, coordinator of Legabibo, a member of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association, or I.L.G.A., in Botswana that co-hosted the Pan Africa I.L.G.A. regional conference in Gaborone earlier this month, said the success of a recent suit granting a transgen

Source: The Shifting Global Terrain of L.G.B.T.Q. Rights – The New York Times

Czech Republic To Be First Post-Communist Nation With Gay Marriage

 

PRAGUE:  The Czech government on Friday backed draft legislation that would make the country the first post-communist member of the European Union to legalise same-sex marriage.

The legislation was drawn up by a group of 46 mostly leftist and centrist members of parliament from six of the nine parties in the lower house, including the populist ANO (Yes) party of billionaire Prime Minister Andrej Babis.

Alongside its “agreement with the bill”, the government also called for “a broad social discussion” of the “sensitive subject” of same-sex marriage in a Friday statement.Source: Czech Republic To Be First Post-Communist Nation With Gay Marriage

Transgender People’s Brain Structures Are Different From Cisgender Folks’, Study Suggests

While magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has been used to study sex differences by observing the structure of the brain, the morphology has rarely been explored in transgender women (i.e. assigned male at birth) diagnosed with gender dysphoria.

In a recent study, researchers from the Medical School of the University of São Paulo, Brazil, decided to investigate this by recruiting 80 participants between the ages of 18 and 49 years. They were categorized into four groups of 20 members each: cisgender women, cisgender men, transgender women who had never used hormones, and transgender women who had used hormones for at least a year. MRI scans were then used to look for differences in gray and white matter volume of the brains.

It was revealed that both groups of transgender women had variations in the volume of the insula in both hemispheres. The insula is a region of the brain that reads the physiological state of the body, thus being responsible for body image and self-awareness.

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Source: Transgender People’s Brain Structures Are Different From Cisgender Folks’, Study Suggests

Gender confirmation surgery improves transgender people’s lives, research confirms – The Verge

Gender confirmation surgeries can improve the quality of life of transgender people, according to new research.

Researchers in Germany followed 156 patients who underwent male-to-female transition surgery at the University Hospital Essen. The patients’ well-being was assessed using a variety of questionnaires, including one developed by the researchers specifically for transgender people. After surgery, 75 percent were more strongly satisfied with their lives, and 67 percent were satisfied with their outer appearance as a woman. The findings, which were presented last weekend at the 33rd European Association of Urology conference in Denmark, suggests that gender confirmation surgery can be valuable for certain patients.

More:  – The Verge

Rulings in favor of Title VII protections for LGBT workers on the rise

New rulings from federal appeals courts that have found an existing civil rights law against sex discrimination also prohibits anti-LGBT discrimination are shaking up the landscape for protections for LGBT people in the workplace.

In the past month, two circuit courts — the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals — have determined Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which bars discrimination on the basis of sex in the workplace, applies to LGBT people.

The Second Circuit found the anti-gay discrimination is a form of sex discrimination in the case against Altitude Express in New York filed by Donald Zarda, a gay now deceased skydiver. That decision made the Second Circuit one of two circuits where sexual-orientation discrimination is unequivocally prohibited under federal law, complementing a decision from the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals last year.

Source: Rulings in favor of Title VII protections for LGBT workers on the rise

THE 14th ANNUAL GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE AFRICA LIBERAL NETWORK

The Africa Liberal Network (ALN), Africa’s largest affiliation of liberal political parties, met in Accra, Ghana from 2 to 4 March 2018 for their 14th annual General Assembly meeting. This year we were graciously hosted by ALN member party, the Progressive People’s Party (PPP) of Ghana, where they helped us welcome member parties from 24 African countries, and partners from various European countries. Delegates met in their annual meeting to discuss ALN matters as well as the theme of this year’s General Assembly:

“More Freedom & Fairness: The Pursuit of Growing Africa’s Economy”.

It is apt that we met in West Africa, with countries where liberals govern on a national or regional basis, such as in Senegal and Côte d’Ivoire act as shining examples of the opportunities and prosperity which can be created and sustained by liberalism in action. We live in a world where the liberal democratic values and the institutions that uphold it is under constant threat. This is a challenge to regional and global cooperation, human rights, and liberal values of tolerance, peace, and justice. Nevertheless, African liberals have a unique opportunity to continue to rise against the tide and provide beacons of hope for the globe. The role of opposition parties in African countries are as important as ever and liberals must remain critical voices of opposition with promises of hope for all citizens.

 

Member parties of the African Liberal Network


Source: THE 14th ANNUAL GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE AFRICA LIBERAL NETWORK

What Role Do Sex Chromosomes Play In Transgender People’s Identities?

 Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.

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What role do sex chromosomes play in the identities of transgender people? originally appeared on Quorathe place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.

Answer by Sai Janani Ganesan, Postdoctoral Scholar at UCSF, on Quora:

Biological gender and gender identity are two very distinct concepts. Biological gender or sex refers to the anatomy and physiology of a human body, whereas gender identity is influenced by a multitude of factors, most of which we don’t fully understand.

Biological sex is purely determined by the choice of sexual differentiation pathway, which is guided by genes on the sex chromosomes (though not exclusively, for example: WNT4 on chromosome 1).Testis-determining factor (TDF) or sex determining gene Y (SRY) located on the Y chromosome is one such gene. SRY is largely responsible for testis formation. It is not the only gene, and a variety of pathways and proteins are involved in this process of sex differentiation, some even located in the autosomal regions, but SRY is… special.

More: Forbes

Civil society: It’s time to rebuild South Africa – spotlight.africa

All aspects of South African life will be impacted by the change in leadership, but to ensure the change is positive, civil society has reminded us that Jacob Zuma was not the only problem that needed fixing. We need more than just a new president.  

The Jesuit Institute South Africa has said South Africans will feel a great sense of relief with the news of Jacob Zuma’s resignation, Section27 said it felt as if the country had awoken from a nine-year nightmare, and the Catholic Parliamentary Liaison Office has said it hoped for a new and more honourable era in South African politics. There are very few who have not welcomed the news, but civil society in the country has been quick to point out that the change in president is just the first step. Sweeping change in our politics and leadership culture at all levels of society is essential if we are to avoid repeating the hallmarks of Zuma’s presidency.

Source: Spotlight.africa