Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Call on Guyana to vote at the UN to condemn extra judicial killings of LGBT people

This coming Monday, December 20, the United Nations General Assembly will vote on whether to include protection for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in a crucial resolution on extra-judicial executions and other unlawful killings.
For the past 10 years, this resolution has urged states “to investigate promptly and thoroughly all killings, including… all killings committed for any discriminatory reason, including sexual orientation.” It is the only UN resolution to ever include an explicit reference to sexual orientation. Just last month, Guyana voted with a number of states to remove the reference to sexual orientation from this important resolution.
States will have the opportunity to restore the reference to sexual orientation – and hopefully extend it to also include gender identity – when the resolution comes up before the UN General Assembly on Monday, December 20.
We call on the Government of Guyana to change its vote and to reverse the removal of sexual orientation from the resolution. This resolution seeks to bring attention to the most serious human rights violation, the loss of the right to life. The Special Rapporteur on extra-judicial executions has constantly underlined that people are subject to extra-judicial executions because of their actual or presumed sexual orientation or gender identity.
On International Human Rights Day, 2010, UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon addressed a UN side event:
‘Ending Violence and Criminal Sanctions on the Basis of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity.’ This panel was convened by, among other countries, Norway with whom the Government of Guyana is keen to benefit from the LCDS funding; and Brazil, whose President recently received our Order of Excellence.
The Secretary General in his remarks noted that “When individuals are attacked [or] abused … because of their sexual orientation, we must speak out… It is not called the ‘Partial’ Declaration of Human Rights. It is not the ‘Sometimes’ Declaration of Human Rights.
It is the Universal Declaration, guaranteeing all human beings their basic human rights, without exception.”
We call on the Government of Guyana to do as it has done in the past, and to ensure that regardless of what the perceptions of gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender persons are, that the government will not endorse the torture or killing of people because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
To fail to do so is to reverse the progress Guyana has made locally and internationally in advancing human rights.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Inter-American Commission on Human Rights Heightens Commitment to LGBT Rights at Hearing on Punitive Measures and Discrimination in the Caribbean


Georgetown, Guyana, November 9, 2010 - On Tuesday, October 26, 2010, four representatives of the Lesbian, Gay Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) communities in the English-speaking Caribbean participated in a thematic hearing before five of the seven Commissioners of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) in Washington, DC. The Commissioners who sat for the hearing were Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro (First Vice Chair); Dinah Shelton (Second Vice Chair); Rodrigo Escobar Gil; Luz Patricia Mejía Guerrero and María Silvia Guillén.
The IACHR is the body of the Organization of American States (OAS) responsible for the promotion and protection of human rights in the Inter-American system and the hearing was facilitated in accordance with OAS resolution 2600 ‘Human Rights, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity’ which mandated the IACHR to report on the status of human rights of LGBT at the next General Assembly of the OAS in June 2011.
The petitioners, representing organizations from Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago, presented a 72-page report detailing the situation of LGBT people in the region and requested the assistance of the IACHR in helping to repeal the laws that criminalize same-sex sexual behaviors, expression and identities in the Anglophone Caribbean.
One of the key points made in the hearing, was that the existence of the laws that criminalize same-sex sexual behaviors, expression and identities result in widespread societal stigma and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, significantly restricting LGBT people’s ability to live safe, happy and fulfilling lives.
Maurice Tomlinson, of AIDS-Free World (Jamaica), reviewed the various laws and their penalties, and gave examples of how they affected gay men in the region; Patsy Grannum of MOVADAC- Movement Against Discrimination Action Committee (Barbados), spoke about how the laws impacted lesbian women; Ashily Dior of CAISO- Coalition Advocating Inclusion of Sexual Orientation (Trinidad and Tobago) advocated for the rights of transgender individuals and Sherlina Nageer of SASOD- the Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (Guyana) discussed the deleterious effect of the laws on the response to HIV in the region.
The petitioners urged the Commissioners to consider that the Caribbean countries which retain these colonial-era laws against homosexuality foster an environment in which real and perceived homosexuals are regularly threatened, harassed, raped, murdered, and otherwise ill-treated. Because their sexual identity has been criminalized, LGBT people in these countries often feel unable to seek legal remedies when their human rights are violated.
Finally, the petitioners called for the repeal of these discriminatory laws as an essential step in winning the Caribbean’s response to HIV, since stigma and discrimination often prevents LGBT people from seeking vital HIV prevention, treatment, care and support services.
The Commissioners acknowledged the seriousness of this issue and pledged their full support to LGBT individuals and organizations in the Anglophone Caribbean that are working on these issues. The Commissioners also urged affected individuals and organizations to continue to inform and involve them about the status of LGBT human rights in accordance with the OAS resolution, and to utilize all the tools and mechanisms available through the Inter-American human rights system in their efforts. In its release reporting at the conclusion of the 140th period on November 5, the Commission affirmed its commitment to intensify its efforts to defend the rights of LGBT persons and prepare a hemispheric report on this issue.
The participation of the petitioners at the hearing and the preparation of the report was made possible through support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS), the Open Society Institute (OSI), AIDS-Free World, Global Rights and the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC).
ENDS

Related Information:
IACHR Press Release on the 140th Period of Sessions:
Audio File of the Thematic Hearing on the Punitive Measures and Discrimination on the Basis of Sexual Identity in Caribbean Countries at the 140th Period of Sessions of the IACHR:

Photo Caption:
LGBT Panelists at the IACHR Thematic Hearing on October 26, 2010, during the 140th Period of Sessions (from left to right): Patsy Grannum (MOVADOC – Barbados), Stefano Fabeni (Global Rights), Maurice Tomlinson (AIDS-Free World – Jamaica), Sherlina Nageer (SASOD – Guyana), Marcelo Ferreyra (IGLHRC) and Ashily Dior (CAISO – Trinidad and Tobago).

Contact Persons:
In Georgetown, for SASOD, Sherlina Nageer (English): +592 653-3734; or +592 672-3483
In Buenos Aires, for IGLHRC, Marcelo Ferreyra (Spanish, English): +54 11 4665 7527

Friday, July 02, 2010

Response to Inter Religious Organisation on condemnation of the film festival

Dear Editor
Thanks for publishing this open letter to the Inter-Religious Organisation, since we do not think it is appropriate to write to them in care of the Ethnic Relations Commission’s Secretariat - which we believe is a publicly-funded, state body and not a faith institution.

To The Members of the Inter-Religious Organisation (IRO):

We were surprised to read reports in sections of the press that comments made by the Chair of the Ethnic Relations Commission, and Public Relations Officer of the IRO, Mr. Edghill, about the SASOD Film Festival. We are very concerned about the allegations made against SASOD - and by extension Sidewalk Café – about breaking the law and we regret that the IRO did not seek to raise any issues with us to clarify their misconceptions instead of making these baseless allegations in the public domain, which we view as damaging to our good name and reputation and that of our associates and partners.

In a society which is marred by conflict and the abuses of power, it is not easy to try alternative ways of engagement which are not meant to destroy or humiliate. But, try we must and in the spirit of the Film Festival's mission to promote discussion and education about the diversity of sexual orientations and
gender identities in this country, we therefore make ourselves available to dialogue with the IRO and with any other interested parties about their concerns.

The SASOD Film Festival engages every year with faith and spirituality, and we affirmed this year at our “Spectrum Celebration” concert the importance of faith and spirituality in the face of all oppressions. We hope that the dialogue with IRO could begin with those common values. We can be contacted via email at sasod_guyana@yahoo.com or by telephone at 698-1174, 686-0835 or 617-6107.

Yours respectfully,

Joel Simpson and
Namela Baynes-Henry
Co-Chairpersons
on behalf of SASOD

Friday, June 11, 2010

Painting the Spectrum 2010 : SASOD's Sixth Lesbian and Gay Film Festival

Painting the Spectrum 6 : Schedule of Films

Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Mondays from Tuesday 1 June to Wednesday 30 June, 2010

Venue : Sidewalk Cafe, Middle Street, Georgetown Guyana

Guest Programmer : Paul Lee

The films organised by Paul Lee are organised in Programmes with titles and are indicated as such. There are other films which have been added to expand the range of films and to take advantage of the screening time available.

Programme starts at 7pm each night

Admission is FREE. All films are intended for mature audiences unless otherwise indicated


Tuesday 1 June

Blueprint

Kirk Shannon Butts, USA, 2007, 75 minutes, English

Blueprint features the music of Nhojj, a Guyanese born musician who made history this year by becoming the first black musician to win an Out! Music Award - this for his song "Love".

Blueprint is the story of Keith and Nathan, two college freshmen in New York City who meander into a very new relationship together. Blueprint has screened in over 30 international film festivals and been nominated for awards at all of the major gay film festivals in New York (NewFest), San Francisco (Frameline), Los Angeles (Outfest) and London (Gay & Lesbian) as well as the film market at the Cannes Film Festival.

Film donated by Kirk Shannon Butts

Wednesday 2 June
Programme : From Bollywood with Love 2

Bombay/Mumbai is India's première cosmopolitan city, main commercial centre, and home to the largest and most prolific film industry in the world. Behind the veneer of glittering skyscrapers and glamorous Bollywood studios there exists an active, albeit covert, gay scene. Happy Hookers profiles the lives and the work of several male sex workers that ply their trade in the shadows of India’s dream factory.

Happy Hookers
Ashish Sawhny, India, 2006, 53 minutes, colour, documentary, in English & Hindi with English subtitles.
20% of MSM (men having sex with men) in India admit to engaging in commercial sex despite living amidst antiquated laws on sexuality and a morally conservative climate. Male sex workers Shakeel, Imran, and Vicky share their stories, sexualities, and their ease of living double lives in Bombay/Mumbai.
**SAATHII Rainbow Award (Best Documentary), 2007 Kolkata Siddhartha Gautam Film Festival


Programme : From Bollywood with Love 3

With each flirtatious smile and with every sly sidewards glance, an abundant bosom of pathos and eros permeate the transgender lives of the spirited dancers in Gulabi Aaina - The Pink Mirror. Behind their campy humour and their high drama dance the quiet yearnings for life and love, in an entrancing choreography of gender identities. The men in Bomgay offer a glimpse of the lively sexual underground and furtive encounters that are such an integral part of gay life in this vibrant metropolis.



Gulabi Aaina - The Pink Mirror
Sridhar Rangayan, India, 2002, 40 minutes, colour, drama, in Hindi with English subtitles.

Sridhar Rangayan is one of India’s pioneering gay filmmakers. His film is India's first film on hijra . It is a campy and colourful look into the Indian gay closet. With two older hijra and a gay teenager contending for the prize catch of a handsome hunk, what else can one expect but a riotous mix of Bollywood dance, drama and desire?

**Best Film, 2003 Lille Question de Genre Queer Film Festival
**Jury Award (Best Feature Film), 2004 Fire Island Film Festival
arrived)**

Read more..





Monday 7 June

Programme : Coming out Stories

From animated first-person stories to unraveling family secrets to dealing with a homophobic best friend, the young women and men in these three films present three very different approaches to the tentative and treacherous process of confronting one’s own sexuality, and coming out to friends and family.

Sisters without Misters
Cynthia Cheeseman, Trinidad & Tobago, 2009, 12 minutes, colour & b/w, documentary, in English with no subtitles.
Two lesbians living in Trinidad talk about their lives and coming out.



Beyond the Closet
Christine Engel, Canada, 2009, 23 min., colour & b/w, animation/documentary, in English with no subtitles.
Using a variety of animation techniques to tell the coming out experiences of several young women and men, filmmaker Christine Engel approaches the familiar terrain of coming out stories with unusual and innovative creative storytelling.
------------------------------

A Jihad for Love
Parvez Sharma, 12 countries , 2008, 81 minutes, documentary, various languages

Filmed over 5 1/2 years, in 12 countries and 9 languages, "A Jihad for Love" comes from the heart of Islam. Looking beyond a hostile and war-torn present, this film seeks to reclaim the Islamic concept of a greater Jihad, which can mean 'an inner struggle' or 'to strive in the path of God'. In doing so the film and its remarkable subjects move beyond the narrow concept of 'Jihad' as holy war.

Film donated by Parvez Sharma






Tuesday 8 June

Programme 5: Streets of San Francisco - The Films of Jenni Olson
A pioneer in the queer film movement, Jenni Olson has been programming, researching, collecting, creating, and writing about GLBT film since 1986, and is one of the world's leading experts on GLBT cinema. She is the former director of entertainment and e-commerce for PlanetOut.com and Gay.com, where she founded PopcornQ.com, a massive GLBT film website (http://www.planetout.com/popcornq/) that is based on her book, The Ultimate Guide to Lesbian & Gay Film and Video (Serpent's Tail, 1996).

Jenni's debut feature film, The Joy of Life, premiered at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival. Her latest archival research project, The Queer Movie Poster Book (Chronicle Books), is a 2005 Lambda Literary Award nominee. Her vintage queer movie trailer program, Homo Promo, is now available on DVD from Strand Releasing.

As a film collector and archivist, Jenni has compiled the historical movie trailer programs Homo Promo (1991), Neo Homo Promo (1993), Jodie Promo (1995), Trailer Camp (1995), Afro Promo (1997), Trailers Schmailers (1997), and Bride of Trailer Camp (2001), all of which have been shown at film festivals around the world.

As a video artist, Jenni has made Levi's 501s Commercial (1991), Sometimes (1994), Blow-up (1997, co-directed with Kadet Kuhne), Meep Meep! (2000), and Matzo Maidels (2003, co-directed with Julie Dorf and Monica Nolan). Blue Diary (1997), Jenni's first 16mm short as writer/director, has screened at more than 100 film festivals internationally since premiering at the 1998 Berlin International Film Festival. Her films have screened at festivals from Antalya to Zurich (including such notable venues as: The Sundance Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, the Pacific Film Archive, and the American Cinematheque).

As a film producer, Jenni was the consulting producer on By Hook or By Crook, a queer DV feature by Harriet "Harry" Dodge and Silas Howard, which premiered at Sundance in 2002. Her latest effort as producer is the playful 35mm short, Sing Along San Francisco (directed by Georgina Corzine), which premiered at the 2002 San Francisco International Lesbian & Gay Film Festival. Credits as associate producer include the 1996 British Channel 4 documentary, Jodie: An Icon (directed by Pratibha Parmar, the film is about Jodie Foster as an icon for lesbians); Canadian filmmaker Paul Lee's cinemascope 35mm short, The Offering; and Jill Burnett's This Way Out, a documentary about gay asylum seekers and their journeys to escape persecution in their homelands.

Jenni was the Co-Director of the San Francisco International Lesbian & Gay Film Festival (working with queer film pioneer Mark Finch) from 1992-1994; she continues to be a consulting programmer to the Minneapolis/St. Paul Lesbian, Gay, Bi & Transgender Film Festival. She has done extensive work as a film programmer and public speaker, as well as served on numerous film festival juries and screening committees. She continues to write about GLBT film for The Advocate, indieWIRE.com and the Bay Area Reporter, as well as for a variety of other publications. She lives in San Francisco with her partner, Julie, and their two daughters, Hazel and Sylvie.

Sensual and beautiful, evocative and poetic, moving and heartbreaking, the experimental films of Jenni Olson weave together history, women's desires and sexuality, the ebbs and flows of life, and the urban landscapes of San Francisco, into a magical journey of revelations. The formally rigorous and deftly executed choreography of static shots and voiceovers provide an engaging viewing experience that is both contemplative and entrancing. These understated award-winning films offer a glimpse of an intensely personal vision in independent filmmaking, and show what compelling stories a talented filmmaker could tell, with an economy of means.



Sometimes
Jenni Olson, U.S.A., 1994, 1 minute, colour, experimental, in English with no subtitles.
Jenni Olson shows us just what "butch" means in 30 seconds.


Blue Diary
Jenni Olson, U.S.A., 1997, 7 minutes, colour, experimental, in English with no subtitles.
Through voiceover and static San Francisco landscapes, Blue Diary tells the melancholy story of a young lesbian pining over a one-night-stand with a straight girl.
**Director's Choice Award, 17th Black Maria Film & Video Festival
**Second Prize (Experimental), 25th Athens International Film Festival
**Trophy Winner, 1998 Rochester International Film Festival
**Prize Winner, 1998 Charlotte Film & Video Festival
**Honorable Mention, 22nd Atlanta Film & Video Festival


Meep Meep!
Jenni Olson, U.S.A., 2000, 1 minute, colour, experimental, in English with no subtitles.
A one-minute tale of lesbian drama, set against a backdrop of gorgeous urban landscapes.


The Joy of Life
Jenni Olson, U.S.A., 2005, 65 minutes, colour, experimental, in English with no subtitles.
The Joy of Life is an unconventional appreciation of the streets and stories of San Francisco, combining stunning landscape cinematography with a lyrical, well-crafted voiceover, to offer a poetic reflection on the City By the Bay. Grappling with gender identity issues and the occasional episode of depression, the film's lone protagonist pinballs from sexual conquest to neurotic despair, manic romance to pathetic solitude. The voiceover balances melancholy angst and wry humor in its Casanova account of various urban, romantic, and sexual adventures - from the frisson of flirting to the heartache of rejection. This narrative of self-discovery resonates with her discovery of the city, and leads into an in-depth documentary reflection on the history of suicide and the Golden Gate Bridge (after a capsule production history of Frank Capra's 1941 melodrama, Meet John Doe), exploring the original bridge design - once described as "suicide-proof", and the decades-long debate over construction of a suicide barrier on the number-one suicide landmark in the world.
**Marlon Riggs Award, 2005 San Francisco Film Critics Circle Awards
**Best U.S. Screenplay, 17th New York Lesbian & Gay Film Festival
**OUTstanding Artistic Achievement, 23rd Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Film Festival


Read more ..



575 Castro St.
Jenni Olson, U.S.A., 2008, 7 min,, colour, experimental, in English with no subtitles.
575 Castro St. reveals the play of light and shadow upon the walls of the Castro Camera Store set for Gus Van Sant’s film Milk. These mundane shots are almost bereft of movement and sound. So quiet, so still. All the better to showcase the range of emotions evoked by Harvey Milk’s words on the soundtrack. The audio track is an edited down version of the 13-minute audio cassette that Harvey Milk recorded in his camera shop on the evening of Friday, November 18, 1977 (a few weeks after his election to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors which made him one of the first openly gay elected officials in the United States). Labeled simply: In-Case the tape was to be played, in the event of my death by assassination. The sensibility of 575 Castro St. hearkens back to the style of the dozens of Super 8 gay short films of the 70s that passed through Harvey Milk’s hands to be processed and developed at the Castro Camera Store.


More information about this film..


Read more about Jenni Olson..


Wednesday 9 June
Programme 8: Sabores de Mujeres – Claudia Morgado Escanilla
Born in Santiago de Chile, Claudia Morgado Escanilla graduated from Montreal’s Concordia University in 1991 with an award for outstanding achievement in the film program. Since then she has produced, written and directed more than ten short films that have garnished international recognition and awards, including the Berlin Teddy in 1996 for her film Unbound. Her films have been screened at major film festivals such us Berlin, Sundance, and Toronto. In 2000 she completed the Director’s in Residency program at the Canadian Film Centre where she directed the short film Martirio (Sufferance). Claudia resides in Vancouver, where she has worked in the local film industry for the past sixteen years, in post production and script supervision. She is currently in development of her first feature film entitled Patagonia, originally funded by Téléfim Canada’s screenwriting program. She is also currently completing her master’s degree in Resource Management and Environmental Studies.

Angustia
Claudia Morgado Escanilla, Canada, 1996, 5 minutes, colour, drama, no dialogue.
A sensual portrait of a woman seducing herself with poetry and music.
**Jury’s Award, 1997 Yorkton Film Festival
**Special Mention, 1997 Festival der Nationen

Unbound
Claudia Morgado Escanilla, Canada, 1995, 19 minutes, colour, documentary, in English, Spanish, and Arabic with English subtitles.
Unbound is a docudrama in which sixteen women of different nationalities, races, and ideologies free themselves from societal definitions, stereotypes, and the prison of the bra. In the act of unbinding, they speak directly to the camera with humor and insight, about the significance of their breasts in their lives and diverse cultures. Presented as a series of brilliantly coloured, vibrant tableaux, which are take-offs on well-known works by DaVinci, Caravaggio, Velázquez and Kahlo, the film breaks through the constraints of traditional filmmaking and the censorship of women's bodies.
**Teddy Award (Best Documentary), 1996 Berlin International Film Festival
**Best Foreign Short Film, 1997 Créteil International Women's Film Festival
**Isabella Liddell Award for Best Women’s Issues Film, 1996 Ann Arbor Film Festival
**Jury’s Award, 1995 Northwest Film & Video Festival
**Certificate of Merit, 1995 Chicago International Film Festival


No Bikini
Claudia Morgado Escanilla, Canada, 2007, 9 minutes, colour, drama, in English with no subtitles.
At seven years old, defiant Robin decides to go without her bikini top at a summer camp…with surprising results!
**Grand Jury Prize, 2008 PlanetOut Short Movie Award
**Best Short Film, 2008 Zürich Pink Apple Film Festival
**Best Short Film Award, 2008 Calgary Fairy Tales Film Festival
**Best Short Film Award, 2008 New York Gay & Lesbian Film Festival
**Audience Award (Best Short Film), 2007 Northwest Film & Video Festival
**Audience Award (Short Film), 2008 San Francisco International Lesbian & Gay Film Festival
**Audience Award (Best Women’s Short), 2008 Pittsburgh Gay & Lesbian Film Festival
**Audience Award, 2008 Bern Queersicht Film Festival
**Audience Award, 2008 Fire Island Film and Video Festival
**Audience Award, 2008 Hamburg Lesbian & Gay Film Festival
**Audience Award, 2008 Rochester ImageOut Lesbian & Gay Film Festival
**Honorable Mention, 2008 La Matatena Children’s Film Festival
**Honorable Mention (Best Short Film), 2008 Toronto Lesbian & Gay Film & Video Festival
**Honorable Mention (Best Screenplay), 2008 Tofifest
**Honorable Mention, 2008 Reel2Reel Youth Film Festival
**BAFTA/LA Certificate of Excellence, 2008 Mill Valley Children’s Film Festival


Sabor a Mí
Claudia Morgado Escanilla, Canada, 1998, 22 minutes, colour, drama, in Spanish with English subtitles.
Sabor a Mí is an erotic meditation about sensual yearnings, the guilty pleasures of watching, and the secret complicity of desire. Two women secretly watch the most intimate moments of each other's lives. Chance meetings between the two soon become deliberate encounters, and the women discover their mutual longing for each other.
**Jury’s Award, 1998 Northwest Film & Video Festival
**Audience Award (Best Short Film), 1998 Créteil International Women's Film Festival
**Best Cinematography Award, 1998 Toronto Images Festival of Independent Film & Video
**Honorable Mention, 1998 Torino Lesbian & Gay Film Festival
**Honorable Mention, 1998 Toronto Lesbian & Gay Film & Video Festival
**Honorable Mention, 1998 Vancouver Out on Screen Lesbian & Gay Film Festival


------------------
transparent
Jules Rosskam, USA, Documentary, 61 minutes
Pink or blue. Male or Female. Mommy or Daddy. Categories that we all take for granted are blown wide open in “transparent,” a new documentary film about 19 female-to-male transsexuals living in the United States who have given birth and, in all but a few stories, gone on to raise their biological children.
“transparent” focuses on its subjects’ lives as parents – revealing the diverse ways in which each person reconciles this part of their history - giving birth and being biological mothers - now that they identify as male and are perceived by the world, but only sometimes by their children, as men. The first-person stories in "transparent" explain how changing genders is dealt with and impacts the relationships, if at all, within these families.

Read more..

Monday 14 June
Programme : Queer Bodies, Queer Spectacles

Three very different documentary films that challenge the mainstream notions of desirability, by putting a queer spin on body image, performance and spectacle, and female sexuality.

Chubb Rubb: A Fat Cabaret
Alexis Mitchell, Canada, 2006, 10 minutes, colour, documentary, in English with no subtitles.
Large and in charge, larger than life, the women in Toronto’s Fat Femme Mafia have been whipping the world with the strong words of the politics of size. Chubb Rubb: A Fat Cabaret follows the Fat Femme Mafia, their fat co-conspirators and allies, in the days leading up their first and highly anticipated performance. Through interviews, asides, and performances, Rubb My Chubb lays the groundwork for these fierce fatties to continue to make their politics known to the rest of the world, as the appetite for these luscious ladies continues to grow and grow.

Circus Geeks and Sideshow Freaks
Tori Foster & Alexis Mitchell, Canada, 2008, 12 minutes, colour, documentary, in English with no subtitles.
Circus Geeks and Sideshow Freaks follows the queer clown duo the Hobo Homos as they transform an art space into a spectacular circus performance. Scandalous, sexy, and fun, Circus Geeks explores the need for cutting-edge, contemporary political expression by reclaiming the notion of “freak” for the queer community.

Read more ..


Bahar
Hüseyin Karagöz, Turkey, 2005, 53 minutes, colour, documentary, in Turkish with English subtitles.
A touching portrait of a feisty Turkish transsexual, who has lived through many periods of tumultuous times, each of these chapters a fragment of her life marked by a different name she has chosen to call herself after abandoning her original name of Mustafa: Ayla (Aura), Ülkü (Ideal) and Bahar (Spring). The film was shot in Istanbul, with interviews conducted around the time of Bahar's much-desired facial surgery.













Tuesday 15 June


1. Jagadamba : Mother of the Universe
Amber Field, USA, 2008, English, 10 minutes

Amber Field was born in Korea in 1975 and adopted by a white American woman. She grew up in Korea, Nepal, Liberia and the US. This is a film about her healing journey through music to find her home in the world.



Official Selection
* Austin Gay & Lesbian Film Festival 2008
* San Francisco Women's Film Festival 2009
* LA Mixed Roots Film Festival 2009

Read more about Amber...






2. Programme : Faith Will Tear Us Apart


The increasingly vociferous struggle by gay and lesbian Christians for acceptance in the Episcopal Church in the U.S. has brought about a schism in worldwide Anglicanism that could potentially split the Anglican Communion apart. While queer Anglicans are making significant achievements in their fight to transform an oppressive Christian tradition into a modern force of liberation, prejudices and abuses of organized religion are still prevalent around the world - particularly in an era when the word “faith” is merely code for nationalistic, homophobic, and other forms of violence. With its emphasis on the ironies of sexual politics, Not That Kind of Christian!! uses entrenched homophobia as a grand example of how long-standing prejudice can be overcome through equally long-standing resistance. As its devoutly Christian (and male) interviewees offer an internal critique of Christian patriarchy, the film implies that our best cure for homophobia should come from within the Church, the very organization responsible for propagating homophobia; and that our defiant activism could profoundly shape our personal liberties at the highest institutional levels.

Not That Kind of Christian!!
Andrew Grossman, U.S.A., 2007, 80 min., colour, documentary, in English with no subtitles.
In his thought provoking first film, Andrew Grossman brought together a number of major players in the Anglican sexuality debate, each of them representing a different place on the spectrum of sexuality and religion: Louie Crew, the creator of Integrity, the Episcopal Church’s first LGBT rights organization, founded in 1974; Bishop Gene Robinson, the world’s first openly homosexual bishop and an icon of gay civil liberties; Bishop John S. Spong, a pro-gay bishop with a uniquely agnostic, heretical approach to Christian dogma; Douglas LeBlanc, a conservative Anglican journalist who attempts to understand gay rights issues despite his fundamentalist beliefs; and David Virtue, the Anglican Communion’s most influential conservative layperson, who believes any gay Christian activism will sabotage the Church’s evangelism in Africa, where a majority of Anglican bishops still adhere to 19th century, colonial-era definitions of homosexuality. Interspersed amidst their interviews are the diverse voices of Episcopalians across America that Louie Crew has anonymously telephoned, giving us a spontaneous, uncensored picture of where the “average” parishioner stands on the film’s issues of sexual inclusiveness and political progressiveness. Also speaking in the film is Ernest Clay, Louie Crew’s African-American husband of thirty-two years, who, like Louie Crew, emerged from the conservatism of the Deep South into the more liberal Episcopalian tradition. But the film is not limited to the current Episcopal crisis; analyzing the crossroads of Biblical sexuality, conservative ideology, and African and African-American gay rights, the film offers a far-reaching critique of how homophobia continues to operate in multiple contexts.
**Silver Remi Award, 40th WorldFest Houston


Read more..



Wednesday 16 June


Programme From Bollywood with Love

Sridhar Rangayan's most recent feature film, 68 Pages, was India’s first feature film to address HIV/AIDS in the LGBT community. Produced by The Humsafar Trust in Mumbai/Bombay - the main NGO in India that disseminates HIV/AIDS education and preventative measures, 68 Pages packs a lot of information with even more warmth and affections.

68 Pages
Sridhar Rangayan, India, 2007, 92 min., colour, drama, in Hindi with English subtitles.
In the 68 pages of her diary, an HIV/AIDS counsellor records the pain and joy of her work, and her clients’ despair and hope, their tears and laughter. The lives of her five clients, from high-risk groups such as heterosexual sex worker, drug user, gay and transgender, change dramatically when they are confronted with their seroconversion. Their life-affirming stories of courage and resilience are a tribute to the human spirit.
**Silver Remi Award, 41st WorldFest Houston

Read more..

Bomgay
Riyad Vinci Wadia, India, 1996, 12 minutes, colour, drama, in English with no subtitles.
India's first gay short film from India's pioneering gay filmmaker, and based on a collection of poems by Indian writer R. Raj Rao, the six vignettes in this multi-layered portrait of gay life in Bombay/Mumbai are poignant, sexy, and political.







Monday 21 June

Programme : Family Secrets for Fathers Day
One of life's thorny hurdles faced by many in the GLBT communities is to have to find ways to navigate the difficult terrains of their families. Through dealing with family expectations, disapprovals, and upheavals, the young people in these three films come of age, and find strength and spirit, to embrace the journeys that lie ahead.

Cadillac Blues
Mazen Khaled, Lebanon, 2003, 26 minutes, colour, drama, in Arabic with English subtitles.
Three days in the life of two Lebanese brothers, Omar and Ryan. They are close. They go out together. They have common friends. They share the same living space, the same mobile phone, and a huge old Cadillac. But despite their closeness and all that they share, Omar has a secret nocturnal life which has its share of drug content. Ryan has an even bigger secret. Each one of them uses the Cadillac to live out his secret life.

The Marionettes
Matthew Mishory, U.S.A., 2009, 5 minutes, colour, experimental, in English with no subtitles.
In November 2008, California narrowly voted to end equal marriage for same-sex couples. Throughout the campaign, Proposition 8 advocates repeatedly claimed that marriage equality harmed children. The Marionettes is a creative response to that contention. The film uses striking marionettes, ornate miniatures, and stylized chiaroscuro lighting to tell the story of a little girl’s puppet show and a fantasy world where parental disapproval casts an unseemly pall.


Read more..



Innocent
Simon Chung, Canada/Hong Kong, 2005, 80 minutes, colour, drama, in Chinese and English with English subtitles.
A Hong Kong teenager newly immigrated to Canada stands at the brink of adulthood, against the backdrop of conflicting cultures, familial discord and the exploration of his own emerging sexuality. The men he encounters - his handsome cousin, a classmate, an older man, and finally a kitchen help in his mother's restaurant, represent different stages in his emotional and sexual awakening, from infatuation, sex, love, to a sense of responsibility.
**National Film Board of Canada Award (Best Canadian Independent Film), 9th Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival






Tuesday 22 June

Programme : Home Away From Home
The affecting and sometimes affectionate stories told by the lesbians and gay men in these three films are testaments to their strength and courage, and ruminate on the effects that religion, colonialism, migration, and homophobia have on the lives of lesbians and gay men in Latin America, Africa, and Asia.

Voices of Witness Africa

Cynthia Black & Katie Sherrod, U.S.A./Uganda/Kenya/Rwanda, 2009, 30 min., colour, documentary, in English with no subtitles.
Anglican women and men from across Africa tell their stories of intolerance and community, of secrecy and hope, of facing challenges and seeking dignity as LGBT people of faith.

Read more..



The Shoes Weren't Made For Walking
Paul Lee, Canada/Hong Kong, 1995, 27 minutes, B/W & colour, experimental documentary, in Chinese and English with English subtitles.
The lives, loves, and social roles of four generations of Chinese women in the filmmaker's family, including the filmmaker's butch cross-dressing lesbian aunt and her girlfriend, are explored through the stories of their shoes.
**Silver Award (Women's Issues Film), 28th Houston International Film Festival
**Silver Award (Documentary), 2nd Hong Kong Independent Short Film Awards
**Runner Up Award, 27th National Council on Family Relations Media Awards
**Two Stars Award, 26th Canadian International Film Festival
**Certificate of Merit, 31st Chicago International Film Festival
**Honorable Mention (Documentary), 1996 Bettina Russell Women's Film Festival


This Way Out
Jill Burnett, Canada, 2004, 32 minutes, colour, documentary, in English with no subtitles.
Two gay men, one from Kenya and the other from Pakistan, and a lesbian from Brazil, recount their journeys to seek political asylum in the United States, for a new and safer life in San Francisco, away from the constant threat of homophobic violence and persecution in their respective homelands.
**Best Woman Director, 16th Toronto Lesbian & Gay Film & Video Festival
**Audience Award (Best Documentary), 14th Sacramento International Gay & Lesbian Film Festival







Wednesday 23 June
The Gymnast Ned Farr, (USA), 2006, Drama, 96 minutes

The stunning Dreya Weber stars as a former top gymnast who discovers love and a new life path when she teams up with a dancer (played by former L.A. Lakers cheerleader Addie Yungmee) for an ambitious Las Vegas aerial act show. A visually compelling film that challenges notions of both ability and identity, THE GYMNAST is foremost a story about hope and taking the necessary risks to fully become yourself

Film donated by Lunar Fish Productions . Read more...


Monday 28 June

Programme 9: Men in Shorts
The relationships between men can be so fraught with preoccupations of power, dominance, and machismo. The portraits of men and male relationships in these six short films offer some alternative takes on the traditional notions and the tired clichés of male bonding, disrupting the mainstream norms with some unconventional but sometimes nurturing tenderness, affections, and inner strength.

The Goddess Method
Punam Sawhney, Canada, 2000, 6 minutes, colour, experimental drama, in English with no subtitles.
A young man is confronted by his South Asian family's expectations...what he should do, how he should be...as he reveals the true spirit within him.



My Queer Samsara

Mazen Khaled, Canada/Lebanon, 2010, 10 minutes, colour & b/w, drama, in English with no subtitles.
My Queer Samsara is a critical look at a constructed social identity that hides underneath it a gnawing want; a need to 'go back home' and be fully accepted into the bosom of our very first loves, the ones who were supposed to take care of us, our families.'


Summer
Hong Khaou, U.K., 2006, 9 minutes, colour, drama, in English with no subtitles.
It is said that if one succeeds in catching a falling leaf in mid-flight, then a wish will be granted. Two best friends, Leung and Will, both 16 years old, go to the woods to catch themselves a wish.
**Best Short Film, 2006 Ibiza Lesbian & Gay Film Festival
**Audience Award (Best Short Film), 22nd Torino Lesbian & Gay Film Festival




Thick Lips Thin Lips

Paul Lee, Canada, 1994, 6 minutes, B/W & colour, experimental, in English with no subtitles.
The meeting of lips is the setting for this musical short film about racist and homophobic violence.
**Best Short Film Student Jury Award, 5th Czech Gay & Lesbian Film Festival
**Best Artistic Direction, 3rd Cincinnati College Independent Film & Video
Festival
**Silver Award (Experimental), 1st Hong Kong Independent Short Film Awards
**Third Prize, 3rd Cabbagetown Film Festival Short Film Competition
**Director's Citation, 14th Black Maria Film & Video Festival
**Special Commendation, 25th Canadian International Film Festival
**Honorable Mention, 4th University of Oregon Queer Film Festival
**Honorable Mention, 27th Humboldt International Film Festival
**Honorable Mention (Experimental), 15th Utah Short Film & Video Festival



Delphinium: A Childhood Portrait of Derek Jarman
Matthew Mishory, U.S.A., 2009, 13 minutes, colour, experimental, in English with no subtitles.
Delphinium is a stylized and lyrical coming-of-age portrait of Derek Jarman's artistic, sexual, and political awakening in post-war England. Part biographical narrative, part experimental collage, part personal meditation on the most controversial and important modern British artist and activist, the film finds in Jarman's childhood the stirrings of creative and individual epiphany that inspired a remarkable life. Features a special appearance by Keith Collins, Jarman's surviving muse, and a score by Arban and Steven Severin of Siouxsie and the Banshees.

Read more ..


The Offering
Paul Lee, Canada, 1999, 10 minutes, colour, drama, no dialogue.
A wordless elegiac meditation on the passing of life, told through the story of love and friendship between a Japanese monk and the novice who entered his life, from their initial encounter to their final parting.
**winner of 71 awards to date



Makbul - The Favoured One
Hüseyin Karagoz, Turkey, 1999, 7 minutes, colour, drama, in Turkish with English subtitles.
Set in 16th century Ottoman Turkey, a silent foot-washing ceremony between Suleiman the Magnificent and his slave Ibrahim, who serves to prove that passion can turn the simplest task into an erotic experience.
**Silver Award (Short Historical Drama), 32nd Houston International Film Festival
**Honorable Mention, 2nd InterFilmFestival Nurnberg



The Milkman
Ken Takahashi, Canada, 2001, 8 minutes, colour, drama, no dialogue.




Two unlikely men come together to share love at its most basic level: a love that both nourishes and sustains life.
**Best of Fest, 2002 Bearded Child Film Festival
**Jury's Choice, 12th University of Oregon Queer Film Festival
**Festival Citation, 4th Manila eKsperim[e]nto Film & Video Festival
**Audience Award (Best GLBT Film), 4th Manila eKsperim[e]nto Film & Video Festival
**Audience Award (Best Short Film), 1st Buenos Aires Gay, Lesbian & Transgender International Film Festival
Read more..



Tuesday 29 June
Spectrum Celebration – poetry, dance, song





Wednesday 30 June

Kinky Boots
Julian Jarrold, (USA/UK) Comedy, 2005, 101 minutes
Inspired by true events, Kinky Boots is a comedy which challenges prejudice and intolerance. After the death of his father, Charlie Price must find a way to save his family's failing shoe factory , or his entire town would be left out in the cold. Charlie finds help in an unlikely ally - female impersonator "Lola", and together they would hatch a plot to save the factory.






Thank YOU to :





Paul Lee, and the directors who contributed their films through him
Kirk Shannon Butts
Parvez Sharma
Amber Field
Lunar Fish Productions
Nhojj
Sherlina Nageer
Greg Jagroo
Dr Nastassia Rambarran
Sidewalk Cafe
Oasis Cafe

OAS approves third resolution on "Human Rights, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity"

THE COALITION OF LGBTTTI ORGANIZATIONS FROM 17 LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN COUNTRIES WORKING WITHIN THE OAS SUPPORTS THE APPROVAL OF THE THIRD RESOLUTION ON HUMAN RIGHTS, SEXUAL ORIENTATION AND GENDER IDENTITY





The Organization of American States (OAS), convened in its 40th General Assembly in Lima, Peru, approved on June 8, 2010, a resolution on human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity in the countries of the Americas.



This resolution is the result of the advocacy and coordination activities realized in the past four years by more than 20 LGBTTTI groups from 17 countries forming a Coalition of Latin America and the Caribbean, which meets every year before the General Assembly to coordinate its advocacy work within the OAS.



As usual, the Coalition held its parallel event in preparation for the General Assembly to discuss strategies of involvement and advocacy within the OAS and more specifically during the 40th General Assembly. Guest participants at the event included Ambassador Santiago Canton, Executive Secretary of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights who expressed the commitment of the body in monitoring human rights violations on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity and offered an overview of the remedies available for the LGBTTTI communities in the region; Dante Negro, director of the Department of International Law of the OAS, who offered a detailed legal analysis of the draft resolution “Human Rights, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity” and highlighted the achievements attained within the OAS on the issue; Irene Klinger, director of the Department of International Relations of the OAS, who highlighted the importance of the involvement of LGBTTTI civil society in all processes of the Organization, and particularly in its 40th General Assembly. A delegation from UNAIDS in Peru also attended the meeting.



During the informal dialogue between the Secretary General of the OAS and the civil society in Lima, three delegates from the LGBTTTI coalition questioned Secretary General José Miguel Insulza on some of the most relevant human rights violations occurring in the hemisphere, such as: the existence of legislation criminalizing same sex conducts in the English-speaking Caribbean and the related human rights abuses; human rights violations committed against the travesti, transsexual and transgender communities, as well as the lack of legal recognition of gender identity, by most of the member states; the restrictive trend that Peru is taking on the issue, specifically by having repealed reference to sexual orientation and gender identity from antidiscrimination clauses of several pieces of legislation. Mr. Insulza, recently re-elected for a second mandate to lead the OAS, reiterated his commitment and the commitment of the OAS to keep engaging with the aim of combating discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity.



The day after, in the context of the dialogue between the heads of delegations of member states and the civil society, Sherlina Nageer, Guyanese activist and representative of the Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD), read a statement (attached) as spokesperson of the Coalition in which activists from Chile, Argentina, Colombia, Peru, Dominican Republic, Paraguay, Brazil, Ecuador, Haiti, Guyana, Jamaica, and Belize reiterating to the ministers of foreign affairs the concerns already discussed on the previous day, additionally requesting member states to amend their domestic violence legislation to include the issue of violence experienced by lesbian and trans women within their families.



The Ambassador of Brazil to the OAS focused his intervention on the fight against homophobia reminding the meeting of the initiative that President Lula of Brazil recently undertook by officially establishing May 17 as National Day Against Homophobia in Brazil.



During the Assembly, the delegates from the LGBTTTI Coalition had a chance to have a formal meeting with Felipe Gonzalez, current Chairperson of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to discuss human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity in the hemisphere.



On June 8, during the last plenary session, the Annual Report of the Permanent Council (2009-2010), which contains the resolutions approved by the Permanent Council itself were presented. Among those, the resolution AG/RES. 2600 (XL-O/10) “Human Rights, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity” (also attached) was adopted. Its text ratifies what was established in the previous years by the resolutions AG/RES.2435 (XXXVIII-O/08) and AG/RES. 2504 (XXXIX-O/09) entitled “Human Rights, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity”.



The new resolution, presented by Brazil and co-sponsored by Bolivia, not only condemns acts of violence and human rights violations perpetrated against individuals because of their sexual orientation and gender identity, and expresses its concern for violence against human rights defenders that work on related violations, but calls on member states to take all necessary measures to combat violations on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity, ensuring full access to justice for the victims, and request the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to consider the possibility of conducting a thematic study.



For the first time, the resolution includes the notion of discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity, inviting the states to adopt measures against it.



As a Coalition, we celebrate the approval of this third resolution that we consider one of the tangible results of the advocacy work started in 2006 by Global Rights, Mulabi - Espacio Latinoamericano de Sexualidades y Derechos and the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) – Latin America and the Caribbean, by coordinating the creation of this Coalition that initially focused its work on the advocacy for the inclusion of sexual orientation, gender identity and expression in the draft Inter-American Convention against Racism and all Forms of Discrimination and Intolerance.



We thank Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice, IGLHRC, and Global Rights for their support, making our participation in this year’s General Assembly possible.



The participants of the Coalition of LGBTTTI Organizations of Latin America and the Caribbean within the OAS were:



AIREANA - Camila Zabala – Paraguay, COLECTIVA MUJER y SALUD - Julie Betances – Dominican Republic, COLECTIVO “ANGEL AZUL”- RED LACTRANS - Jana Villaizán – Peru, COLECTIVO CONTRANATURAS – Paúl Flores Arroyo – Peru, CORPORACIÓN PROMOCIÓN DE LA MUJER - Tatiana Cordero - Ecuador, IGLHRC-LAC – Fernando D’Elio – Argentina, ASOCIACIÓN LIDERES EN ACCION - Germán Rincón Perfetti - Colombia, MOVIMENTO HOMOSEXUAL DE LIMA - Giovanny Romero Infante – Peru, MOVIMIENTO MANUELA RAMOS – Eduardo Jesus Juarez Villafuerte – Peru, ORGANIZACIÓN DE TRANSEXUALES POR LA DIGNIDAD DE LA DIVERSIDAD - Franco Fuica – Chile, PROMSEX - George Liendo – Peru, RED AFRO LGBTI - Edmilson Medeiros - Brazil, J-FLAG - Maurice Tomlinson – Jamaica, RED LACTRANS - Marcela Romero - Argentina, SENTIMOS DIVERSO – Zulma Quintero – Colombia, SEROvie – Steeve Laguerre – Haiti, SOCIETY AGAINST SEXUAL ORIENTATION DISCRIMINATION- Sherlina Nageer - Guyana, UNIBAM - Devon Gabourel – Belize.



As Coalition partner: Stefano Fabeni – Global Rights



Lima, Peru

June 8, 2010







Attachments:



(1) Photograph: SASOD’s Sherlina Nageer presenting the Lima declaration on behalf of the Coalition of LGBTTTI Organisations from Latin America and the Caribbean at the dialogue between heads of delegations of member states and civil society



(2) The Lima Declaration of the LGBTTTI Coalition and the OAS’ 2010 Resolution on “Human Rights, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity”
LIMA DECLARATION OF THE COALITION OF LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL, TRAVESTI, TRANSSEXUAL, TRANSGENDER & INTERSEX ORGANISATIONS OF THE AMERICAS


Mister Secretary General, Ministers, Members of the Official Delegations, Civil Society Representatives,

We, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Travesti, Transsexual, Transgender and Intersex organizations, convened in Lima, Peru on June 3 and 4, 2010, in accordance with the directives established by the General Assembly of the OAS in its resolutions AG/RES.2092(XXXV-O/05); CP/RES.759(1217/99); 840(1361/03); AG/RES.1707(XXX-O/00) and AG/RES.1915(XXXIII-O/03), which determine a regulatory framework to enhance and strengthen civil society participation in activities of the Organisation of American States (OAS) and in the Summit of the Americas process, highlighting the importance of the resolution AG/RES. 2504 (XXXIX-O/09):

Express our concern that the draft Declaration of Lima does not substantively link the notions of peace and security to the promotion of human rights and non-discriminatory policies, based on sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, nor for people of African descent, the indigenous, women, youth, migrants, the elderly, persons living with disabilities or in poverty.

Policies for economic and social development must be related to wellbeing and affirmation of human rights. We are therefore alarmed about the introduction of legislation that removes protection for individuals based on sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, as well as the breach of the principle of State secularism, particularly concerning institutional policies and practices.

We emphasize that neither peace nor security are possible if everyone does not have a right to develop a plan for their life, and enjoy fundamental rights and freedoms protected by states.

This is the case of lesbian women, blackmailed by their families and forcibly confined in “rehabilitation” clinics, threatened and raped as corrective practice, denied the right to education and economic independence, deprived of custody of their children, whom are also affected by prejudice and discrimination.

Similarly, colonial laws still in force in eleven English-speaking Caribbean countries criminalizing cross-dressing, buggery, gross indecency, acts against the order of nature allow for violence, harassment, intimidation, brutality and other human rights violations by state and non-state actors. Examples include home invasions, expulsions from homes, communities, and school.

Also, transsexual, transgender, travesti and intersex persons are deprived of legal recognition of their gender identity, obliged to “normalize” their bodies, even through forced sterilization and mutilations, which may occur in early childhood. Their rights to health, housing, work, and education are thus jeopardized, as is their full enjoyment of citizenship.

Therefore, we demand:

That member states of the English-speaking Caribbean repeal all legislation criminalizing relationships between same-sex consenting adults which limit the free development of their personalities;
That all member states introduce legislation to protect, guarantee and promote equality of individuals regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity and expression;
That all member states revise their domestic violence legislation to include violence experienced by lesbian, transgender and transsexual women within their own families;
That member states reform educational policies starting from primary school, in an effort to combat violence caused by gender stereotypes, which particularly affect transsexual, transgender, travesti and intersex individuals;
That the General Assembly approves the draft Resolution AG/doc. 5091/10 “Human Rights, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity” presented by the Brazilian Delegation, whose initiative we fully endorse;
That the General Assembly approves the draft Resolution AG/doc. 5097/10 “Draft Inter-American Convention against Racism and all Forms of Discrimination and Intolerance” and that Member States finalize the negotiation of the draft accepting the progress achieved during the past years.

We call attention to the omission and inaction of states in guaranteeing our physical, psychological, sexual and reproductive integrity, our legal security and access to justice. States owe a debt to our communities: end impunity now!

Lima, Peru
June 6, 2010


AG/RES. 2600 (XL-O/10)

HUMAN RIGHTS, SEXUAL ORIENTATION, AND GENDER IDENTITY

(Adopted at the fourth plenary session, held on June 8, 2010)


THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY,

TAKING INTO ACCOUNT resolutions AG/RES. 2435 (XXXVIII-O/08) and AG/RES. 2504 (XXXIX-O/09), “Human Rights, Sexual Orientation, and Gender Identity”;

REAFFIRMING:

That the Universal Declaration of Human Rights affirms that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights and that everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in that instrument, without distinction of any kind, such as race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth, or other status; and

That the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man establishes that every human being has the right to life, liberty, and the security of the person;

CONSIDERING that the Charter of the Organization of American States proclaims that the historic mission of America is to offer to man a land of liberty and a favorable environment for the development of his personality and the realization of his just aspirations;

REAFFIRMING the principles of universality, indivisibility, and interdependence of human rights;

TAKING NOTE of the Declaration on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, presented to the United Nations General Assembly on December 18, 2008; and

NOTING WITH CONCERN the acts of violence and related human rights violations as well as discrimination practiced against persons because of their sexual orientation and gender identity,

RESOLVES:

1. To condemn acts of violence and human rights violations committed against persons because of their sexual orientation and gender identity; and to urge states to investigate these acts and violations and to ensure that their perpetrators are brought to justice.

2. To encourage states to take all necessary measures to ensure that acts of violence and related human rights violations are not committed against persons because of their sexual orientation, gender identity, and to ensure that the victims are given access to justice on an equal footing with other persons.

3.To encourage member states to consider ways to combat discrimination against persons because of their sexual orientation and gender identity.

4.To urge states to ensure adequate protection for human rights defenders who work on issues related to acts of violence, discrimination, and human rights violations committed against persons because of their sexual orientation and gender identity.

5.To request the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to continue to pay due attention to this issue and to consider the possibility of conducting a thematic study of it at the hemispheric level.

6.To instruct the Committee on Juridical and Political Affairs to include on its agenda, before the forty-first regular session of the General Assembly, the topic of “Human rights, sexual orientation, and gender identity.”

7.To request the Permanent Council to report to the General Assembly at its forty-first regular session on the implementation of this resolution. Execution of its activities shall be subject to the financial resources available in the program-budget of the Organization and other resources.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Remembering DUSILLEY CANNINGS - G+




Tributes shared on the SASOD yahoo group..
Photo shared by Nazim Hussain

"We cant take her place but we can continue her work...

May her work and her life be an example to us all.
RIP Dusilley...
You and your work have made a mark

Mark"


"Dusilley was very supportive of SASOD and our work, even serving as referee for our projects before she became seriously ill. In those days, Dusilley took the lead as the focal point for CVC member organisations in Guyana and served well. On behalf of SASOD, I extend condolencses to Dusilley's family and friends. May her soul rest in peace.

Yours,

Joel"

"I met her a few times at regional meetings. She was full of spirit when we talked.

May she rest in peace.

Caleb Orozco'

"I really liked Dusilley, we always connected when we met
I have missed seeing her these past few years
Well I for one believe she is a much better place
warm regards
Marcus"

Monday, May 17, 2010

From the Intl Candlelight Memorial


From STabroek News, 17 May, 2010
Many Lights for Human Rights: This is the theme under which the Society Against Sexual Orient-ation Discrimination (SASOD) hosted the 2010 International AIDS Candlelight Memorial at the St. George’s Cathedral yesterday. SASOD members lit candles in remembrance of those who died from HIV/AIDS as others look on and spoke out against stigma and discrimination.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Marking World Day of Social Justice, Transgender citizens, supported by SASOD, move to the courts to challenge Guyana’s law against ‘cross-dressing’

Long misunderstood and seen as legitimate targets for discrimination and abuse, transgender citizens used the occasion of the international commemoration of World Day of Social Justice to file a motion against Guyana’s law criminalizing ‘cross-dressing.’ On Friday, February 19, 2010, the notice of motion was filed before the Supreme Court of Judicature for redress claiming, among other relief, to have section 153(1)(xlvii) of the Summary Jurisdiction (Offences) Act, Chapter 8:02, invalidated as irrational, discriminatory, undemocratic, contrary to the rule of law and unconstitutional. The law makes an offence of “being a man, in any public way or public place, for any improper purpose, appears in female attire, or being a woman, in any public way or public place, for any improper purpose, appears in male attire.

February 20, 2010, marks the second annual commemoration of World Day of Social Justice, which recognizes, in the words of United Nations General Assembly Resolution (A/RES/62/10), that “social development and social justice cannot be attained… in the absence of respect for all human rights and fundamental freedoms.” In his message to mark the day, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon explained that “social justice is based on the values of fairness, equality, respect for diversity, access to social protection, and the application of human rights in all spheres of life.”
The day was chosen to address an act of social injustice against one of Guyana’s most marginalised social groups which took place last year. Transgender persons refer to people whose gender identity and/or expression differs from the sex they were assigned at birth, including cross-dressers, female or male impersonators, pre-operative, post-operative or non-operative transsexuals. Trans people may define themselves as female-to-male (FtM, assigned a female biological sex at birth but who have a predominantly male gender identity) or male-to-female (MtF, assigned a male biological sex at birth but who have a predominantly female gender identity); others consider themselves as falling outside binary concepts of gender or sex.
In a series of crackdowns last year between February 6 and 7, the Guyana police arrested a number of male-to-female transgender persons (MtF Trans) and charged them for ‘cross-dressing’ under the archaic Colonial section 153(1)(xlvii) statute. Unrepresented and completely unaware of their rights, the defendants were detained in police custody over the week-end and then hustled through the legal system. When they appeared before Chief Magistrate Melissa Robertson on February 9, 2009, they were further ridiculed and told that they are men not women, before being fined by the learned Chief Magistrate. Seon Clarke, also known as Falatama, one of the persons arrested, said: “It was one of the most humiliating experiences of my life. I felt like I was less than human.” The motion also pleads that the Chief Magistrate was improperly influenced by irrelevant considerations, discriminated against the MtF Trans on the basis of religion, and violated a fundamental norm of Guyana as a secular state. Vigorous and wide-ranging calls within and out of Guyana for the repeal of these discriminatory laws which facilitate such injustices have been ignored by the government.
Since then, SASOD has forged partnerships with human rights interests in the local and regional arenas who have been working collectively and consistently on a voluntary basis over the past year to assist this marginalized group to obtain access to justice for the atrocities endured at the instance of the law enforcement authorities. The 2009 ‘cross-dressing’ crackdowns and prosecutions provided clear illustrations of how discriminatory laws are facilitating grave human rights’ abuses, in spite of the existence of an entrenched regime of human rights protection in the Guyana constitution. Leading the research initiatives to support strategic-impact, human-rights litigation in the region, Tracy Robinson of the University of the West Indies Rights Advocacy Project (U-RAP) based at the Cave Hill campus’ law faculty in Barbados described the arrests and prosecutions as “an unfortunate embodiment of the patriarchal use of coercive state power for no clear or rational purpose,” highlighting the need for law reform to ensure social justice and gender equity in Guyana and across the region.
SASOD has mobilized support from local and regional human rights attorneys to provide representation in what amounts to a ground-breaking constitutional case. According to Dr. Arif Bulkan, also of U-RAP and one of Guyanese attorneys involved in the litigation, “unless the wide-ranging constitutional reforms conducted in 2001 and 2003 are to be dismissed as pure window-dressing, then the emphasis placed on non-discrimination during that process should guide the High Court to interpret the expanded equality rights generously in order to protect one of our society’s most marginalised groups.”
Veronica Cenac, a St. Lucian attorney who serves as the human rights focal point on the Caribbean Vulnerable Communities Coalition board of governors, lauded SASOD for spearheading the case. “For way too long, we have allowed abuses against the most affected populations to go unchallenged,” she said, quoting the closing words of the UN Secretary-General’s message: “Lack of social justice anywhere is an affront to us all.”

2009 No. DEMERARA

IN THE HIGH COURT OF THE SUPREME COURT OF JUDCIATURE

CIVIL JURISDICTION

In the matter of the Constitution of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana.

-and-

In the matter of an application by QUINCY McEWAN, SEON CLARKE, JOSEPH FRASER, SEYON PERSAUD and SOCIETY AGAINST SEXUAL ORIENTATION DISCRIMINATION (SASOD) for redress under Article 153 of the Constitution for contravention of the applicants’ fundamental rights guaranteed by Articles 1, 40, 139, 144, 145, 146, 149 and 149D of the Constitution of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana.

BETWEEN:
  1. QUINCY McEWAN
  2. SEON CLARKE
  3. JOSEPH FRASER
  4. SEYON PERSAUD
  5. SOCIETY AGAINST SEXUAL ORIENTATION DISCRIMINATION – a duly constituted and registered Trust in Guyana by Trust Deed No. 1032 of 2006.
Applicants

-and-

THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
Respondents

ORIGINATING NOTICE OF MOTION
TAKE NOTICE that this Honourable Court will be moved on Monday the 21st day of February, 2010, at 9:00 o’clock in the forenoon or so soon thereafter as Counsel can be heard by MESSRS MILES FITZPATRICK S.C., C.A. NIGEL HUGHES, ARIF BULKAN and GINO PERSAUD, Counsel on behalf of the applicants, for redress under Article 153 of the Constitution of the Republic of Guyana in the following terms:
  1. a declaration that the refusal of the police to inform the first to the fourth named applicants of the reason for their arrest on February 6th and February 7th, 2009 and subsequent detention constituted a violation of their rights to be so informed as guaranteed by Articles 139(3) and 144(2)(b) of the Constitution of Guyana, for which they are entitled to redress;
  2. a declaration that the refusal by the police to permit the first to the fourth named applicants to retain and instruct a legal adviser of their choice upon their arrest and before they were first taken to court violated their rights under article 139(3) of the Constitution, for which they are entitled to redress;
  3. a declaration that the conduct proscribed by section 153(1)(xlvii) of the Summary Jurisdiction (Offences) Act, Chapter 8:02 of the Laws of Guyana, under which the first to the fourth named applicants were subsequently charged, is vague and of uncertain scope, rendering the offence purportedly created thereunder contrary to the Rule of Law and unconstitutional;
  4. a declaration that the said offence under s. 153(1)(xlvii) of Chapter 8:02 is irrational, discriminatory, undemocratic and contrary to Articles 1 and 40 of the Constitution;
  5. a declaration that the said offence under s. 153(1)(xlvii) of Chapter 8:02 affords different treatment to different persons because of non-conformity to stereotypes based on sex in contravention of the prohibition of discrimination on the grounds of sex and gender contained in Article 149(1) of the Constitution;
  6. a declaration that the said offence under s. 153(1)(xlvii) of Chapter 8:02, by authorizing different treatment based on sex stereotypes, contravenes the guarantee of equality before the law in Article 149D of the Constitution;
  7. a declaration that the said offence under s. 153(1)(xlvii) of Chapter 8:02, by preventing persons from giving expression to their gender identity and dressing in conformity with their innermost beliefs and orientation, contravenes the guarantee of freedom of expression contained in Article 146 of the Constitution;
  8. a declaration that all criminal proceedings against the first to the fourth named applicants arising out of their arrest between February 6th and 7th, 2009 based on the allegation of wearing female attire were unconstitutional, null, void and of no legal effect by reason of the contraventions of the Rule of Law and the explicit guarantees contained in Articles 1, 40, 139, 144, 149 and 149D of the Constitution;
  9. a declaration that the learned Chief Magistrate, in telling the first to the fourth named applicants in the course of the hearing that they must attend church and give their lives to Christ, was improperly influenced by irrelevant considerations, discriminated against them on the basis of religion, and violated a fundamental norm of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana as a secular State, in contravention of Articles 1, 40, 145 and 149(1) of the Constitution;
  10. damages
  11. such further or other relief as may be just;
  12. costs.
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……………………………………………
Attorneys-at-Law for the Applicant

Dated at Georgetown, Demerara,

This 19th day of February, 2010


AND TAKE NOTICE that this Honourable Court is asked to make
such orders, issue such writs and give such directions as it may consider necessary for the purpose of enforcing the applicants’ fundamental rights guaranteed under the Constitution.
AND TAKE FURTHER NOTICE that the following are the grounds of this application:
  1. On Friday the 6th day of February, 2009 at approximately 8:30 p.m. the first and second named applicants were arrested at the corner of North Road and King Street in Georgetown, Demerara by members of the Police Force then on mobile patrol. At the time, these applicants were merely waiting on a taxi in order to meet up with friends at the D&J Snackette at 67 Leopold and Cross Streets in Werk-en-Rust, Georgetown.
2. Upon their arrest the first and second named applicants were ordered into the police vehicle and taken to the Brickdam police station. They inquired as to the reason for their arrest but the police refused to tell them. At the station they were photographed and then made to undress, after which they were placed in the lock-ups until Monday February 9th when they were taken to the Georgetown Magistrates’ Court.
3. In the course of the same night, at about 3:30 in the morning of February 7th, 2009, the third and fourth named applicants along with a third person were arrested out of an incident which arose while they were eating at the K&VC Snackette in Stabroek Market, Georgetown. At the time, these three were dressed in skirts and were wearing wigs, which attracted verbal abuse from onlookers.
  1. When the three responded, the said onlookers began to pelt them with bottles and other objects. They attempted to defend themselves, but outnumbered by the hostile crowd they were overpowered and forced to retreat.
  2. In the course of running away, the three persons were stopped in the vicinity of Parliament Buildings by members of the Police Force, arrested and taken to Brickdam police station.
  3. At the police station the three persons each inquired why they were being detained, but the police refused to answer, instead stating that they were not obliged to answer questions asked by “certain people”. They were all made to undress, in the course of which they were also subjected to full body searches.
  4. The three persons asked for medical attention because of the injuries received in the course of the incident at Stabroek Market at the hands of the hostile crowd, but the police denied their request.
  5. All four applicants along with the fifth person were detained at Brickdam police station until Monday, February 9th, and they did not learn of the charges against them until they were taken to court, when the Chief Magistrate informed them that they were charged with “loitering” and “wearing female attire” contrary to section 153(1)(xlvii) of Chapter 8:02.
  6. The four applicants along with the fifth person all pleaded guilty to the charge of “wearing female attire”, though at the time they were unrepresented and did not fully understand the nature of the proceedings or the applicability of the charge to them.
  7. After imposing sentence, the learned Chief Magistrate, Her Worship Ms. Melissa Robertson, told the applicants that they must go to church and should give their lives to Jesus Christ. Her Worship also told the applicants that they are confused about their sexuality and that they are men, not women. Her comments, which we are informed and verily believe to be true, were reported in the newspapers, including the Stabroek News of February 10th and 15th, 2009.
  8. The remaining charges against the applicants were eventually dismissed for want of prosecution.

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Attorneys-at-Law for the Applicant

Dated at Georgetown, Demerara,

This 19th day of February, 2010

AND TAKE FURTHER NOTICE that the applicant intends to use the affidavits of the Applicants filed in support of this Originating Notice of Motion and such other affidavits and/or viva voce evidence as Counsel may advise.
THIS ORIGINATING NOTICE OF MOTION is issued by MESSRS MILES FITZPATRICK S.C., NIGEL HUGHES, ARIF BULKAN and GINO PERSAUD whose address for service and place of business is at the Chambers of
De Caires, Fitzpatrick and Karran, 80 Cowan Street, Kingston, Georgetown, Demerara, Attorneys-at-Law for the Applicant.

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……………………………………………
Attorneys-at-Law for the Applicant


Dated at Georgetown, Demerara,

This 19th day of February, 2010
2010 No. DEMERARA

IN THE HIGH COURT OF THE SUPREME COURT OF JUDICATURE

CIVIL JURISDICTION

In the matter of the Constitution of the Republic of Guyana.

-and-

In the matter of an application by QUINCY McEWAN, SEON CLARKE, JOSEPH FRASER, SEYON PERSAUD and SOCIETY AGAINST SEXUAL ORIENTATION DISCRIMINATION (SASOD) for redress under Article 153 of the Constitution for contravention of the applicants’ fundamental rights guaranteed by Articles 1, 40, 139, 144, 145, 146, 149 and 149D of the Constitution of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana.

BETWEEN:
  1. QUINCY McEWAN
  2. SEON CLARKE
  3. JOSEPH FRASER
  4. SEYON PERSAUD
  5. SOCIETY AGAINST SEXUAL ORIENTATION DISCRIMINATION – a duly constituted and registered Trust in Guyana by Trust Deed No. 1032 of 2006.
Applicants

-and-

THE ATTORNEY GENERAL

Respondent

AFFIDAVIT IN SUPPORT OF MOTION
I, Joel Simpson, of ……………………………………………………………………………, being duly sworn, make oath and say as follows:
1. I am the agent of the fifth-named applicant herein and am authorised to swear this Affidavit on its behalf.
2. The Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (hereinafter referred to as ‘SASOD’) is a Trust, duly constituted and registered in Guyana by Trust Deed No. 1032 of 2006, and whose registered office is at 180 Charlotte Street, Lacytown, Georgetown.
3. SASOD is a non-profit organisation whose registered objects are to advocate for the human rights of all persons in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to encourage acceptance of diversity in a plural society, and to work towards the elimination of discrimination particularly on the grounds of sexual orientation and identity as well as gender identity and expression.
4. The first to the fourth named Applicants herein were variously arrested between February 6th and February 7th, 2009, though at no time were they informed by any officer of the charge for which they were arrested, after which they were taken to Brickdam Police Station and detained without charge until February 9th, 2009.
5. On Monday the 9th February 2009 the first to the fourth named applicants were taken to the Georgetown Magistrate’s Court along with one Anthony Bess who had also been arrested with them, where they were all charged (inter alia) with ‘wearing female attire’ contrary to section 153(xlvii) of the Summary Jurisdiction (Offences) Act, Chapter 8:02 of the Laws of Guyana.
6. The said applicants, who were all unrepresented, pleaded guilty to the charge of ‘wearing female attire’ and were fined the sum of $7,500.00. In the course of the arraignment they were told by the Chief Magistrate Madame Melissa Robertson that they are confused about their sexuality in that they are men and not women, and that they must go to church and give their lives to Jesus Christ.
7. On 13th February, 2009 the first to fourth named Applicants came into the registered office of the fifth named Applicant where I interviewed and took statements from them as related above.
8. SASOD has been advised by its Attorneys-at-Law Messrs. Miles Greeves Fitzpatrick S.C., C.A. Nigel Huges, Arif Bulkan and Gino Peter Persaud and verily believes that the refusal of the police to inform the first to the fourth named applicants of the reason for their arrest and detention was contrary to article 139(3) of the Constitution and accordingly unlawful.
9. SASOD has been further advised by its Attorneys-at-Law herein and verily believes that by instructing them to attend church and give their lives to Jesus Christ the Chief Magistrate discriminated against them on the basis of religion, and violated a fundamental norm of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana as a secular State, in contravention of Articles 1, 40, 145 and 149(1) of the Constitution.
10. Because the first to the fourth named applicants are transgendered persons who are accordingly compelled to dress in the manner of the gender with which they identify, there exists an ever-present danger of them being arrested and charged in the future under the same section 153(1)(xlvii) of the Summary Jurisdiction (Offences) Act. In these circumstances SASOD has been advised by its Attorneys-at-Law herein and verily believes that the provisions of this offence pose a continuing threat to the Applicants’ right to be protected from discrimination on the ground of sex and gender under article 149 of the Constitution of Guyana, as well as their right to equality before the law and equal protection and benefit of the law under article 149D and their right to freedom of expression under article 146 of the said Constitution. SASOD is further advised by its Attorneys-at-Law herein and verily believes that this likelihood renders the said offence unconstitutional, null, void and of no effect.
11. SASOD is further advised by its Attorneys-at-Law herein and verily believes that section 153(1)(xlvii) of the Summary Jurisdiction (Offences) Act, Chapter 8:02 of the Laws of Guyana is vague and of uncertain scope as well as irrational and discriminatory on the ground of sex, rendering it a violation of articles 1, 40, 149 and 149D of the Constitution and thereby null, void and of no effect.
12. In the premises I respectfully pray that this Honourable Court would be pleased to grant the orders as prayed for in the Notice of Motion filed herein.


……………………………………………
Joel Simpson


Sworn to at Georgetown, Demerara,

This 19th day of February, 2010


BEFORE ME

A COMMISSIONER OF OATHS TO AFFIDAVITS