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State Department Report Notes Anti-LGBT Violence in Uganda, Honduras

by Michael K. Lavers
National News Editor
Friday Apr 8, 2011
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The State Department’s annual Human Rights Report singled out Uganda and Honduras as countries in which LGBT people continue to suffer oppression, violence and even death.

The report, which the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton unveiled on Friday, April 8, specifically cited Ugandan Parliamentarian David Bahati’s so-called Anti-Homosexuality Bill that would impose the death penalty upon anyone found guilty of repeated same-sex sexual acts. The report also referenced a local tabloid’s decision to publish the names, photographs and home addresses of LGBT activists in October. David Kato was among the three activists who successfully petitioned the country’s High Court to issue an injunction against Rolling Stone-he was murdered in his Kampala home in January.

Clinton further noted homosexuality remains illegal in Uganda. "And because I believe, and our government believes, that gay rights are human rights, we remain extremely concerned about state-sanctioned homophobia," she added.

The report noted Honduran police officers attacked and even murdered several LGBT people in the country-a judge in September sentenced Amado Rodriguez Borjas to more than a decade in prison for attacking a transgender woman in 2008 who refused his sexual advances. Another court in June sentenced Nelson Daniel Gaytan to 39 months in prison and fined him $2,630 for illegally detaining activist Donny Reyes in 2007. Reyes was also beaten and gang raped while in custody.

Unknown assailants murdered a well-known trans activist in San Pedro Sula in May. Two people shot Imperia Gamaniel Parson, president of Coletivo TTT, to death on Aug. 31 in the same city. Both homicides remain unsolved.

LGBT activists also demonstrated in front of the Honduran Public Ministry building in Tegucigalpa in December to commemorate the first anniversary of Walter Trochez’s death. Gunmen in a car shot the prominent activist on a downtown Tegucigalpa street on Dec. 13, 2009. His murder also remains unsolved.

"It was not known if the police provided sufficient protection for participants at these events," noted the report.

The report also documented the discrimination and violence that LGBT Jamaicans continue to suffer.

The Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays documented 43 incidents of anti-LGBT harassment, 26 cases of anti-LGBT violence, three anti-LGBT murders and three incidents of rape on the island in 2010. These statistics, however, are almost certainly higher. "This violence created a climate of fear that prompted many gay persons to emigrate," noted the report. "The gross indecency laws left those who remained vulnerable to extortion from neighbors who threatened to report them to the police unless they were paid off."

The report also documented Saudi authorities’ efforts to crack down on homosexuality in the kingdom-including an imprisoned man who was sentenced to five additional years in prison, fined $13,000 and ordered to receive 500 lashes for "committing homosexual acts" and other offenses that violated the country’s strict morality laws. A Philippine Web site also reported in June that the Saudi government banned the recruitment of gay and lesbian workers.

The report also cited incidents of anti-LGBT harassment, discrimination and violence in Mongolia. It also noted roughly 835 Argentine same-sex couples have married since the South American country’s marriage equality law took effect in July.

Based in Washington, D.C., Michael K. Lavers has appeared in the New York Times, BBC, WNYC, Huffington Post, Village Voice, Advocate and other mainstream and LGBT media outlets. He is an unapologetic political junkie who thoroughly enjoys living inside the Beltway.

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