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August 2018

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31 August 2018

Seventh Circuit Affirms Grocery Store Employee's Same-Sex Harassment Title VII Victory

UNITED STATES, Illinois: On 02 August 2018, the Court of Appeal for the Seventh Circuit upheld the lower court's ruling in the Title VII sex discrimination claim of Robert Smith alleging an unlawful hostile environment harassment created by his male coworkers and male supervisor at Rosebud Farm. According to the worker, and trial testimony, the employee’s male coworkers grabbed his genitals, groped him, mimed sexually explicit acts and even reached down his pants and despite the employee's complaints, nothing changed.
• Opinion: Robert Smith v. Rosebud Farm Inc No. 17-2626 PDF 182.59kb 02 AUG 18
California lawmakers pass bill allowing transgender foster youth to access transition-related care

UNITED STATES, California: On 29 August 2018, the legislature passed historic bill (AB-2119) ensuring that transgender youth in foster care will be able to access medical care, including hormones and mental health counseling, in order to assist them with their transition.
Gay conversion therapy bill dropped by California lawmaker

UNITED STATES, California: On 31 August 2018, Assemblyman Evan Low reportedly withdrew Assembly Bill 2943. Had the Bill become law, gay conversion (or reparative) therapy would have been declared an unlawful, fraudulent business practice. The withdrawal came after a fierce outcry from the state's religious community.
US top court rebuffs Catholic agency over same-sex foster care

UNITED STATES, Pennsylvania: On 30 August 2018, the US Supreme Court declined (5-3) to force the City of Philadelphia to resume the placement of children in need of foster care with a Catholic agency that refuses to accept gay couples as foster parents.
• Miscellaneous Order: Fulton, Sharonell, et al. v. Philadelphia, PA, et al.18A118 PDF 19.56kb 30 AUG 18
Police Arraign 57 Youths for Alleged Homosexuality

NIGERIA: On 30 August 2018, the State Criminal Intelligence and Investigation Department (SCIID), Panti-Yaba, Lagos, reportedly arraigned fifty-seven youths between the ages of 20 and 33 before a Chief Magistrate Kikelomo Ayeye led-court, on three counts charge, bordering on conspiracy, belonging to a secret cult, and unlawful gathering. The defendants were arrested after investigation revealed that they engaged in homosexual activities. All the defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges and were granted bail in the sum of N200,000, with one surety each.

30 August 2018

Bereaved mum-of-four 'cried and beamed with joy' after landmark ruling for unmarried couples

UNITED KINGDOM, Northern Ireland: On 30 August 2018, the Supreme Court allowed an appeal which confirmed entitlement of unmarried couples to Widowed Parents Allowance. Siobhan McLaughlin, 46, was refused bereavement benefits after her partner of 23 years, John Adams, died from cancer in January 2014 because the couple were not married or in a civil partnership. The case may have application to same-sex couples in similar circumstances.
• Judgment: In the Matter of an application by Siobhan McLaughlin 18UKSC-NI-30AU PDF 644.01kb 30 AUG 18
Charleston man acquitted of hate crime in federal court

UNITED STATES, West Virginia: On 29 August 2018, a US District Court, Southern District of West Virginia jury of 10 men and two women acquitted a Charleston man John P Taylor IV of violating the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. Taylor was accused of assaulting a woman at a bar last year, in part, because she is a lesbian.

29 August 2018

Chelsea Manning threatened with visa denial ahead of Australian tour

AUSTRALIA, Federal: On 29 August , it was reported that the Australian government is considering refusing entry to former intelligence analyst in the US Army, whistleblower and activist Chelsea Manning, who was released from military prison in 2017, under s501 of the Migration Act. She is due to speak at the Antidote festival at the Sydney Opera House on Sunday.

28 August 2018

Russia Recognized This Gay Couple’s Marriage, Then Forced Them to Flee to the Netherlands

RUSSIA: On 28 August 2018, it was reported that Russian gay couple Pavel Stotsko and Yevgeny Voitsekhovsky (also spelled Eugene Wojciechowski) whose January marriage in Denmark was recognised by the Department of the Interior, fled to the Netherlands following plainclothes officers banging on their door, disconnection of their internet and power and receipt of a government letter declaring their passports as invalid.
California: Resolution Affirms Intersex Rights

UNITED STATES, California: On 28 August 2018, the legislature passed 25-13 Senate Concurrent Resolution 110 (SCR110) that supports the autonomy of intersex people and their right to decide about cosmetic surgical alteration and establish standards of care for intersex children that take into account their human rights.
Bill: Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 110 PDF 262.09kb 27 AUG 18

27 August 2018

Judge declares lesbian couple of 50 years married ­ after 1 dies

UNITED STATES, Utah: On 21 August 2018, 3rd District Judge Patrick Corum declared 74-year-old Bonnie Foerster legally married to her longtime partner Beverly Grossaint, who died in May in Salt Lake City at age 82.
Appeals court allows lesbian resident to sue senior living facility over discrimination

UNITED STATES, Illinois: On 27 August 2018, the Court of Appeal for the Seventh Circuit reversed the district court's decision to dismiss a lawsuit Marsha Wetzel brought against Glen St. Andrew Living Community in Niles, ruling that an Illinois senior living facility can be held liable for failing to protect a lesbian resident from harassment, discrimination and violence.
• Opinion: Marsha Wetzel v. Glen St. Andrew Living Community LLC, et al. No. 17-1322 PDF 220.45kb 27 AUG 18

26 August 2018

British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal maintains anonymity of transgender complainant over objections of respondent

CANADA, British Columbia: On 24 August 2018, Tribunal Member Emily Ohler in the Human Rights Tribunal upheld an application from a transgender woman to keep her identity secret concluding that the complainant's ''privacy interest outweighs the public interest'' in identifying her. The woman asserted that in her country of origin, being a transgender person 'is not generally accepted in society and one can face grave threats and violence both from one's family and from the wider community as a result'.
Reasons for Decision: Employee v. Life Labs (No. 2) 2018 BCHRT 202 PDF 262.09kb 24 AUG 18

25 August 2018

Gay men are finally allowed to donate blood in Denmark

DENMARK: On 25 August 2018, it was reported that Health Minister, Ellen Trane Nørby, revealed plans for a more modernized blood screening system. Gay men will be able to donate if they haven't slept with another man within the preceding four months. However, the time period is voided if the person is in a relationship. The law is expected to come into place sometime in 2019.

24 August 2018

Bombay HC accepts 'gay panic defence', reduces murder term of city man

INDIA: On 24 August 2018, it was reported that the Bombay High Court struck down the murder conviction and life imprisonment given to the man, and held him guilty of the lesser charge of culpable homicide not amounting to murder. The 35-year-old man was arrested for stabbing his friend to death in Nagpada, he used the rare and controversial ''gay panic defence'' to get a lighter sentence. A division bench of Justices Bhushan Gavai and Sarang Kotwal sentenced him to imprisonment for the term he had already served and ordered his release.
States Ask Supreme Court to Limit LGBT Protection

UNITED STATES, Michigan: On 23 August 2018, a group of 16 states lead by Nebraska asked the US Supreme Court justices to overturn an appeals court decision against a Michigan funeral home that fired a transgender worker. They said Congress didn't intend the ban on sex discrimination in Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act to cover bias against lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender employees.
• Brief for the States of Nebraska, et al.: RG & GR Harris Funeral Homes, Inc v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, et al. No. 18-107 PDF 272.25kb AUG 18
'Fake gay': Iraqi man denied asylum in Austria because he was 'too girlish'

AUSTRIA: On 24 August 2018, it was reported that the asylum authorities rejected the application of an Iraqi man, telling him his behaviour was ''not authentic''.

23 August 2018

Surgery coverage for Wisconsin transgender workers restored

UNITED STATES, Wisconsin: On 22 August 2018, the Group Insurance Board that oversees insurance for state employees reportedly voted 5-4 to cover sex reassignment surgery and related treatments for transgender people seeking to match their sex to their gender identity. The board had approved such services in 2016 before reversing its decision in 2017 at the request of Gov. Scott Walker. Sex reassignment surgery will be covered for state workers starting 01 January.
Victory! Lambda Legal Obtains Settlement for Oswego County Transgender Employee Denied Coverage for Transition-Related Care

UNITED STATES, New York: On 23 August 2018, the Oswego County and the Oswego County Department of Social Services agreed to compensate former case worker for the county Sean Simonson, in settlement for out-of-pocket medical expenses he incurred after the country's health insurance plan refused to cover his gender confirmation surgery.
Stipulation of Voluntary Dismissal: Sean Allen Simonson v. Oswego County, et al. No. 5:17-CV-1309-MAD-DEP PDF 141.12kb 23 AUG 18

22 August 2018

ACLU statement on Federal Court decision granting treatment to transgender woman in custody of the Florida Department of Corrections

UNITED STATES, Florida: On 22 August 2018, Chief US District Judge Mark E Walker declared it unconstitutional to deny social transition as part of medically necessary care for a transgender inmate and ordered the Department of Corrections to permit Reiyn Keohane access to female clothing and grooming standards and requiring the Department to continue to provide Ms. Keohane with hormone therapy so long as it is not medically contraindicated and while Ms. Keohane remains in Defendants custody.
Order on the Merits: Reiyn Keohane v. Julie Jones No. 4:16cv511-MW/CAS PDF 265.83kb 22 AUG 18

21 August 2018

US Army Chaplain Cleared of Accusations of Discrimination in Case Involving Same-Sex Couple

UNITED STATES, Federal: On 17 August 2018, the US Army reportedly announced it rejected the findings of an investigation into alleged discrimination and will abandon charges of ''dereliction of duty'' against Chaplain Scott Squires and Chaplain Assistant SSG Kacie Griffin. Squires said he could not conduct a Strong Bonds marriage retreat with same-sex couples due to the requirements of his chaplain-endorsing agency, the North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. Squires made sure the soldier was included in the next available Strong Bonds retreat run by another chaplain who did not have restrictions.
Transgender people cant collect hides on Eidul Azha

PAKISTAN: On 15 August 2018, it was reported that the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) Administration refused to issue the no-objection certificates (NOC) to some members of the capital's transgender community. The certificates are required for collecting hides of sacrificial animals on Eidul Azha and were sought to raise funds.

20 August 2018

Threatening violence against gay or intersex person could see someone jailed for three years

AUSTRALIA, News South Wales: On 27 June 2018, Crimes Amendment (Publicly Threatening and Inciting Violence) Act of 2018 was assented to. The Act makes people who threaten or incite violence against religious minorities, transsexuals, those who are gay or have AIDS liable to fines of up to $11,000 and three years in jail. Corporations face a maximum penalty of $55,000.

18 August 2018

Honduras: Congress Approves Ban on LGBTI Adoptions

HONDURAS: On 16 August 2018, the Congress reportedly approved a bill prohibiting same-sex couples from adopting children. The prohibition was unnecessary because at present only married couples can adopt.

17 August 2018

Court: Same-sex partner can pursue claim in toddler's death

UNITED STATES, New Jersey: On 17 August 2018, Presiding Judge Appellate Division Jose Fuentes for the Superior Court ruled that Valerie Benning whose same-sex partner's biological daughter was killed in a traffic accident can seek damages for emotional distress even though she and her partner I'Asia Moreland weren't married or in a civil union at the time.
Opinion: I'Asia Moreland et al and Valerie Benning v. William Parks et al. No. A-4754-16T4 PDF 124.49kb 17 AUG 18
Austria official disciplined after gay Afghan migrant ruling

AUSTRIA: On 17 August 2018, it was reported that the Federal Office for Foreigners and Asylum conducted an internal review of a gay Afghan man's rejected asylum application in May following complaints and the official's authority to sign decisions was revoked. It said he had made decisions that weren't up to standard in terms of formulation.

16 August 2018

Syariah Court's judgement against lesbian couple is final

MALAYSIA: On 15 August 2018, it was reported that Saiful Bahri Mamat, the state exco chairman for syariah implementation, education and higher education said the Syariah High Court's decision to fine and cane two women who pleaded guilty to having same-sex relations in a car here is final, and no one should interfere in the matter. The sentence will be carried out on 28 August.

15 August 2018

Christian cake maker in Lakewood is now suing Colorado in federal court

UNITED STATES, Colorado: On 15 August 2018, it was reported that Masterpiece Cakeshop owner Jack Phillips of Lakewood is now suing Democratic Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, Republican Attorney General Cynthia Coffman and members of the state's Civil Rights Commission, seeking to stop anyone from enforcing a state public accommodations law against Phillips for declining to create cakes with messages that conflict with the religious beliefs he holds.
German gov't adds third sexuality option to official birth registry

GERMANY: On 15 August 2018, in response to a 2017 ruling by the Federal Constitutional Court, the Federal Government cabinet reportedly passed a motion to introduce a third ''divers'' (literally meaning diverse in German) sexuality option in the country's official birth registry.
Austria rejects asylum claim from 18-year-old Afghan because 'gait and posture' were not 'homosexual'

AUSTRIA: On 15 August 2018, it was reported that an 18-year-old gay asylum seeker, who claimed he faced persecution in his native Afganistan because of his sexuality, had his application dismissed by asylum authorities because he didn't walk or dress ''like a homosexual''. The Afghan has appealed against the decision.
Federal Judge Deniews Trump Administration's Attempt to Block Discovery in Transgender Service Member Case

UNITED STATES, Federal: On 14 August 2018, US Magistrate Judge A David Copperthite in the Stone v. Trump case, rejected the Trump Administration's effort to shield information it used to implement a ban on transgender people in the military, finding that the documents were relevant to the Trump Administration’s intent and ''whether [the ban] was for military purposes or whether it was purely for political and discriminatory purposes­is at the very heart of this litigation''.
Memorandum Opinion: Brock Stone, et at. v. Donald J Trump, et al. No. GLR-17-2459 PDF kb 14 AUG 18

14 August 2018

Outcry in Malaysia over two women sentenced to caning for lesbian sex

MALAYSIA: On 14 August 2018, it was reported that Shariah judge Kamalruazmi Ismail in the Shariah High Court in Terengganu sentenced two women, aged 32 and 22, who pleaded guilty to having consensual sex, to six strokes of the cane and a 3,300 ringgit (£632) fine.

09 August 2018

Two men convicted of gay sex in Zambia after forced anal examinations

ZAMBIA: On 09 August 2018, it was reported that Japhet Chataba, 38, a carpenter, and resident of Ndeke compound in Kapiri Mposhi, and Stephen Sambo, 30, who is a planning officer at Ndola City Council were found guilty by the Kapiri Mposhi District Court of having had ''carnal knowledge against the order of nature'' under section 155 (a) of the penal code.
Constitutional Chamber in Costa Rica Pronounced Itself on Same Sex Marriage

COSTA RICA: On 09 August 2018, Judge Fernando Castillo for the majority of Constitutional Chamber reportedly ruled on same sex marriage and domestic partnerships, giving the Legislative Assembly 18 months to adhere to the ruling of the Inter-American Court with regards to same sex marriage and domestic partnership between same sex couples and recognize and guarantee these relationships. If the Legislative Assembly doesn't comply, the court ruled that it will invalidate laws prohibiting same-sex marriage.

08 August 2018

16-year-old is first minor prosecuted by Russian 'anti-gay propaganda' laws

RUSSIA: On 21 July 2018, it was reported that Maxim Neverov was found guilty of 'propaganda of homosexuality among minors' despite being only 16-years-old himself. The teenager from Biysk was fined 50,000 rubles on 7 August for publishing photos on social network site Vkontakte.

07 August 2018

U.S. judge rules against Trump policy restricting transgender troopsUNITED STATES, Federal: On 06 August 2018, U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly denied a request by the administration to lift an injunction she had issued against Trump's original ban, finding the new policy effectively implements the original ban ''by targeting proxies of transgender status, such as 'gender dysphoria' and 'gender transition', and by requiring all service members to serve 'in their biological sex''.

06 August 2018

Victory: Court grants preliminary injunction in favour of Evansville High School student

UNITED STATES, Indiana: On 03 August 2018, US District Judge William T Lawrence issued a ruling requiring that the Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation allow a transgender high school student, J.A.W., to use male restrooms, the restrooms consistent with his gender identity.
• Entry on Motion for Preliminary Injunction: J.A.W. v. Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation No. 3:18-cv-37-WTL-MPB PDF 101.96kb 03 AUG 18

05 August 2018

Kerala to pay for sex change surgeries of transgenders

INDIA, Kerala: On 05 August 2018, the Kerala government was reported to have approved reimbursing Rs200,000 as hospital expenses for each transgender person undergoing sex change surgery. Those who have already undergone surgery can also apply for assistance.

03 August 2018

Judge ruling a blow to transgender rights in Hong Kong as inmates told they must do time according to their biology not what they identify as

HONG KONG: On 03 August 2018, it was reported that Mr Justice Thomas Au Hing-cheung ruled against the discrimination claim of Luigi Recasa Navarro, who was 19 at the time and still had male genitalia. She alledged she was forced to serve her sentence in all-male facilities, was subjected to strip-searches and cavity searches by male guards, and was denied access to hormones she had been taking since she was 12 years old for almost the entire length of her incarceration. The Judge said prisoners should have right to be searched by man or woman, and says denying access to hormone treatment while in jail is 'unreasonable'.
Ulster County bans gay conversion 'therapy'

UNITED STATES, New York: On 20 June 2018, the Ulster County Legislature passed a ban on the so-called ''conversion'' or ''reparative'' therapy that was signed into law by County Executive Mike Hein one month later. The law imposes penalties of up to one year in prison and fines up to $500 for anyone who practices conversion or ''reparative'' techniques on a minor under the age of 18 within the bounds of Ulster County.

01 August 2018

Employee awarded €8,000 after colleague linked homosexuality to child abuse

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND: On 18 July 2018, Workplace Relations Commission Adjudication Officer Patsy Doyle ruled that an unnamed general store assistant be awarded €8,000 in compensation following six months of discrimination about her sexual orientation. The woman was a sales assistant at the store and complained of a number of incidents of harassment by another colleague, named Mr A, that she was a lesbian and making at least four separate comments insulting her sexuality.
• Adjudication: A General Store Assistant v. A Large Company ADJ-00010217 HTML 18 JUL 18

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