News Archives

Viral Video of Feminine-Looking Male Stars Causes Chinese to Debate What it Means to be a Man

Global Times, China, 9/11/2018

A heated debate on China's new effeminate male celebrities has flooded Sina Weibo, China's Twitter-like social media platform, as the country's State broadcaster aired four young male singers in its television special ‘First Class of the New Semester’. Designed for China's elementary school students, the TV special jointly produced by China Central Television and the Ministry of Education is compulsory for most of the country's elementary students. Some parents criticised the male celebrities on the show with homophobic and transphobic comments, calling on authorities to ban the effeminate stars. On the other hand, many voices are urging society to respect people's rights to be as feminine or masculine as they choose, leading to an interesting debate about gender performativity.

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HIV Infections and AIDS Related Deaths Decline in India since 2010: UN Report

Deccan Chronicle - Coimbatore, India, 9/8/2018

Recent data released by the United Nations brings to light that new cases of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infections in India have decreased by 46 per cent, and AIDS-related deaths have declined by 22 per cent since 2010. According to the data, the State of Tamil Nadu is the one witnessing the most decrease in HIV-positive cases, with the number of HIV cases registered falling to 8,718 in 2017-18 from 13, 315 in 2015-16 – which is huge, considering how the first reports of the HIV virus in the country were detected in Tamil Nadu. The state-level policies and infrastructure have played a major role in bringing this about, with nearly four lakh people being tested for HIV every year.

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Singapore Gay Community Urged to Fight Sex Ban after India Ruling

News 24, Singapore, 9/8/2018

A senior Singapore diplomat on September 7, 2018, urged the country's gay community to challenge a law banning homosexual sex after India's top court struck down similar legislation, a rare high-level intervention on the issue. Tommy Koh, ambassador-at-large in the Singapore foreign ministry, made the comments on Facebook in response to a post about India’s historic ruling, which was the result of a decades-long campaign against the law in the subcontinent. ‘I would encourage our gay community to bring a class action to challenge the constitutionality of Section 377A,’ Koh said, referring to the Singaporean law which currently criminalises sex between men.

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India's Top Court Decriminalises Gay Sex in Landmark Ruling

CNN - New Delhi, India, 9/6/2018

India's Supreme Court has struck down Section 377, a colonial-era law criminalising consensual gay sex, overturning more than 150 years of anti-LGBT legislation. The court announced the landmark verdict in Delhi on September 6, 2018, as jubilant crowds cheered and rights activists hugged one another, overcome with emotion. Section 377, an archaic law imposed during British rule that penalised intercourse ‘against the order of nature’, had previously carried a maximum sentence of life imprisonment, and had been used over the years to harass and discriminate against LGBTQ people. The decision to read down the law is a major victory for India's LGBTQ activists and allies after years of determined struggle.

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Unmarried Couples Banned from Sharing Tables in Indonesia

Business Standard - Jakarta, Indonesia, 9/6/2018

A regency in the conservative Indonesian province of Aceh, where Islamic or Sharia law is applied, has issued a ban on unmarried couples sharing the same table unless accompanied by family members. The new law adopted in Bireuen also prohibits attending to same-sex couples and serving single women from 9 pm, human rights activists said on September 6, 2018. Multiple groups – from rights activists to local businesses – have protested this ban, saying that the regulations limit the freedom of working women and are detrimental to not just women but also businesses. Sharia law in Aceh has come under constant scrutiny because it criminalises homosexual relations, adultery, alcohol consumption, and now, the mobility of single women.

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