News from the Global South

Update Us on Steps for Transgender People: Gauhati HC

The Hindu, India, 10/9/2021

The Gauhati High Court has asked the Union and Assam Governments to provide an update on the steps taken for the education, health and social security of the transgender community. The order was focused on Chapter VI of the Act dealing with education, social security and health of transgender persons. The chapter says the government shall formulate welfare schemes for the livelihood of transgender persons. The Act seeks the establishment of separate human immunodeficiency virus centres to conduct serosurveillance for transgender persons in accordance with the guidelines issued by the National AIDS Control Organisation and a comprehensive insurance scheme for gender affirmation surgery, hormonal therapy, laser therapy or any other form of treatment.

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Venezuela Women’s Soccer Players Allege Abuse

News Americas Now - Caracas, Venezuela, 10/8/2021

Two dozen Venezuelan women’s soccer players have said in an open letter that many players suffered years of sexual abuse and harassment by a former coach of the national team, Kenneth Zseremeta. In the letter posted to Twitter by Deyna Castellanos – a player on the national team and Atletico de Madrid in Spain – the players asked World soccer governing body FIFA, as well as other soccer organizations and leagues to not allow Zseremeta, who is of Panamanian nationality, to continue working in women’s soccer. The allegation by the players comes several months after several women accused a prominent Venezuelan writer, Willy McKee, of sexual misconduct.

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Odisha Frames Policy for Giving Equal Opportunity to Transgender People

The Economic Times - Odisha, India, 10/7/2021

The Odisha government has come up with a policy providing equal opportunity to transgender people in all offices of the nodal department. A notification issued by the Social Security and Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (SSEPD) department stipulates the designation of a complaint officer for redressal of grievances of transgender people within 15 days from the date of receipt of such complaints. The head of the department will take action based on the recommendations stated in the inquiry report submitted by the complaint officer within a fortnight of its submission. The new policy will also ensure that the work environment is free from any discrimination against transgender persons.

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‘Woman’s Consent for Sexual Act Doesn’t Mean Forsaking Reproductive Rights’: Delhi Court on Forced Abortion

The Indian Express - New Delhi, India, 10/6/2021

A Delhi court has ruled that women exercising sexual autonomy through consent cannot be additionally presumed to have also consented for the violation of their reproductive rights. The court made the ruling on September 30, 2021 while denying bail to a man whom a woman accused of rape and coerced abortion. The court also observed that women’s reproductive rights had been recognised as being part of the right to life and personal liberty in multiple judgments. It held that for people in a consensual relationship, the act of contravening reproductive autonomy through multiple pregnancies and abortions “takes away the element of consent which may have been present in the sexual act itself”.

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Continuous Effort Needed to Remove Prejudices Against LGBTQIA+ Persons: Madras High Court, India, 10/5/2021

The Madras High Court on October 4, 2021 observed that continuous efforts need to be made to tackle prejudices against the LGBTQIA+ community. The court was hearing the petition filed by a same-sex couple seeking protection against harassment from the police and their families. In their plea filed in June, 2021, the couple had accused the police of asking harassing questions while investigating a missing person’s report filed by the parents of one of the women. Justice N Anand Venkatesh, who made history by going through an educational session with a psychologist to understand same-sex relationships better, said that prejudice against the LGBTQIA+ community requires effort on part of all stakeholders.

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