Connect with us

Travel

Fukuoka in Japan begins official recognition of LGBT partnerships

The Fukuoka Municipal Government has started to officially recognize the partnerships of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) couples, adding to the Japan-wide efforts to eliminate discrimination against sexual minorities.

Published

on

IMAGE FROM PIXABAY.COM

Small steps to equality.

The Fukuoka Municipal Government has started to officially recognize the partnerships of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) couples, adding to the Japan-wide efforts to eliminate discrimination against sexual minorities.

With this development, the city becomes the seventh municipality in Japan to issue such certificates following Tokyo’s Shibuya Ward, which established a similar system in 2015.

Fukuoka Mayor Soichiro Takashima handed the first official partnership certificate to a couple at City Hall.

It is worth noting that the certificate does not entail legal rights or obligations like marriage under the civil law. However, such couples will be treated as the equivalent of traditionally married couples when they rent city-run housing or seek treatment at municipal hospitals.

LGBT couples need to make reservations to receive the certificate. As of reporting, five other couples had already done so, according to the municipal government.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Protected by WP Anti Spam

Editor's Picks

What it’s like to be trans in Taiwan

Tamsin Wu visits gay-friendly Taiwan, where she meets Abbygail Wu, founder of Intersex, Transgender and Transsexual People Care Association (ISTSCare), who said that the country is still failing its LGBTQ citizens, and particularly lags in promoting trans rights.

Published

on

Photo detail by Thomas Tucker from Unsplash.com

Taiwan may be the most gay-friendly country in Asia, but according to Abbygail Wu, founder of Intersex, Transgender and Transsexual People Care Association (ISTSCare), the country still receives a “failing mark” when it comes to LGBTQ equality. Transgender people, in particular, usually bear the brunt of sex-based discrimination.

ISTSCare has a one-woman 24/7 hotline service. Abby has dealt with calls concerning struggles related to suicide attempts, job insecurity or homelessness, and even domestic violence. To provide support and assistance to hotline callers, ISTSCare also partners with NGOs and other LGBTQ-related organizations.

Aside from the hotline service, the organization does its advocacy work through protests, by maintaining an online presence, as well as directly communicating with political figures and trans-friendly journalists to rouse awareness and discussion on transgender and intersex issues.

ISTSCare in Taiwan

In 2014, four years after the first official notice regarding gender reassignment procedures in Taiwan was issued, the Ministry of Interior (MOI), with the support of the Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW), announced the easement of legal requirements on changing gender identity. MOI promised that it would immediately work on letting transgender citizens change their gender marker without having to go through rigorous psychiatric assessments, sex reassignment surgery (SRS) and parental approval. However, MOI backtracked since then.

“MOI, which is handling the national ID cards, they said there are still a lot of research to do about the gender issue and they try to get some professional opinions, but MOHW already said this is not a medical issue, it’s an internal affair issue. So MOI, they’re just under the pressure and paused a lot of meetings… and now the issue is still under research for four years,” Abby lamented. “We’re the first Asian country to pass the bill but it’s not implemented.”

READ:  Do gay men hate fat people?

Despite MOHW already stating that medical professionals should not have a say when it comes to determining one’s gender identification, transgender citizens are still presently forced to consider SRS. Besides that, they are also required to seek the expensive involvement of psychiatrists and, outrageously, the consent of their parents. Otherwise, their gender identity cannot be legally recognized.

Abby clarified that not all transgender people want the help of doctors to validate their gender identity. Hence, SRS is especially discriminatory towards transgender citizens who do not wish to undergo surgery. “What is gender? Is it just based on our anatomy? Or is it in our behavior? In our mind? Or in the way we dress?… There are a lot of factors that influence what gender one identify as, but society focus on the least publicly visible aspect – our sex organ.”

Abby continued, “There are risks to surgery and that is one of the reasons why not all transgenders want to go through it. And also, they may question themselves, ‘Do I really want to have surgery or is it just for the sake of getting this ID?’”

Abby standing beside the transgender pride flag.
Photo credit: Ketty W. Chen

“One day before the presidential election, I went to the DPP (Democratic Progressive Party) headquarters to talk with the Department of Woman. I told them, ‘tomorrow is already the day for voting, are you going on stage and advocate for transgender rights? This has been neglected for the past 3-4 years. Then they just told me, ‘this requires social consensus’… I went out of that meeting deeply upset,” Abby shared.

READ:  #Pride setback in Hong Kong as court overturns landmark LGBT ruling

With lack of funding, community support and societal understanding of trans issues, how could transgender rights obtain social consensus when this feat requires acceptance and approval from the status quo in order for the relevant social change to take effect? Why should the rights and well-being of a minority group fall in the hands of the majority? Currently, both the public and the government possess inadequate knowledge in dealing with transgender issues, which exacerbates the struggles transgender citizens face.

Prejudice against transgender folks can also be felt within LGBTQ communities. On one hand, some non-transgender members of the LGBTQ community question the gender identity of trans people. On the other hand, there is also internalized transphobia.

“A lot of transgender are more binary [in the way they see gender]. They think a man should act and look a certain way and that a woman should act and look a certain way… ISTSCare does not condone this kind of thinking,” Abby said.

Trans activist Abbygail Wu and her partner in a protest for their marriage right.
Photo credit: Ketty W. Chen

When asked why ISTSCare is run by only three people (including Abby and her partner), she shared that many transgender citizens in Taiwan find it difficult to prioritize doing advocacy work because their life situation is oftentimes mentally and emotionally taxing. On top of having to deal with an unsupportive family, they often face discrimination in the job market. Hence, there’s a high level of difficulty for them to get a good job, gain professional working experience and make a decent living, let alone have the financial resources to go through SRS. As of now, they’re in this loop of societal discrimination and economic vulnerability with no recourse.

READ:  1-in-4 girls, 1-in-10 boys report self-injury or attempt suicide due to fighting, bullying or forced sex

Another reason for the lack of transgender-focused activists in Taiwan is attributed to the problem of privilege. Abby adds that well-off transgender citizens tend to be exclusive in their social group. Post-surgery and after assimilating in heteronormative society, they also tend to ignore the struggles faced by less fortunate transgender citizens. They would rather not get associated for fear of being found out and face discrimination. Albeit joining Pride Parades, they are at other times nowhere to be found when it comes to advocating for transgender rights.

Abby clarified that not all transgender people want the help of doctors to validate their gender identity.
Photo credit: Abbygail Wu

Abby said that ISTSCare’s main goal right now is to push for a non-discriminatory, comprehensive gender identity law in Taiwan.

“We hope to be like Argentina. Just file [required] papers to the courthouse and they will assign the legal gender change. No need to go through any kind of medical process.”

Having a well thought out gender identity law may not help solve all transgender issues and alleviate them from all of their struggles. However, getting the said law done and implemented right would be one significant progress for the recognition of the human rights and dignity of, not only transgender citizens, but also intersex and non-binary people.

Continue Reading

LIFESTYLE & CULTURE

Protecting yourself while traveling

Here are just a couple of different ways that you can protect yourself while you are away with just a little planning in advance.

Published

on

If you intend to go traveling for an extended period of time, you’re going to have to put a whole lot of planning into your venture. Now, it’s all good and well working out where you are going to be going, where you are going to be staying, what activities you intend to try out, and what swimwear will look best in your traveling snaps. But you also have to take care of some more serious aspects of your trip too. Safety is just one of these.

Taking out a thorough travel insurance policy and learning a few key phrases in your host country’s language may sound simple, but you do need to do these things before taking off.
IMAGE FROM PEXELS.COM

Here are just a couple of different ways that you can protect yourself while you are away with just a little planning in advance.

Travel Insurance

Whenever you leave the country that you live in, you should take out a travel insurance policy. This will help to protect you from harm financially. If you lose your belongings, you will be able to claim their worth back. If you have to undergo medical treatment while you are away, a good travel insurance policy will be able to cover the costs.

Though we don’t like to focus on this, if the worst were to happen, travel insurance will also ensure that a body can be transported home where it could be laid to rest. Your loved ones could then focus on contacting wrongful death attorneys to seek justice rather than struggling over how they are going to fund transport arrangements.

Learning Useful Phrases

You tend to take the ability to communicate with the people surrounding you for granted while you are on home turf. You can order food and drinks, find out information regarding transport pick up times and departure spots, and ask whatever other questions you might want to know the answers to without hesitation. What’s more? If you’re in trouble you can easily call for help and if you are lost you can negotiate your way back home with a little help from passersby.

However, when you are overseas, you may find that you do not speak the same language as the people around you, and can have difficulty in expressing yourself or getting what you want or need. So, it’s always important to learn a few key phrases in the native language of your travel destination. This can come in extremely useful while you are away.

Work out how to express things like dietary preferences, so you can highlight any allergies when eating or purchasing food products. Figure out how to say the name of where you are staying, so you can instruct a taxi driver to drop you back at your hotel or hostel. These can help you to avoid negative situations.

These are just two aspects of your trip that you should plan in advance for safety’s sake. Taking out a thorough travel insurance policy and learning a few key phrases in your host country’s language may sound simple, but you do need to do these things before taking off. So, get them sorted out sooner rather than later.

Continue Reading

LIFESTYLE & CULTURE

Luxembourg named best country for workers in LGBT community

Luxembourg tops the list of 30 countries, thanks to the Grand Duchy’s anti-discrimination laws, low unemployment, high minimum wage and – most significantly – its “recognition as one of the most LGBT-friendly countries according to the Gay Travel Index.”

Published

on

IMAGE DETAIL BY CODE83 FROM PIXABAY.COM

Rainbow at work.

Luxembourg is apparently the best country in the world for LGBT workers, according to data released by Silver Swan Recruitment via its LGBT Worldwide Workplace Index.

Luxembourg tops the list of 30 countries, thanks to the Grand Duchy’s anti-discrimination laws, low unemployment, high minimum wage and – most significantly – its “recognition as one of the most LGBT-friendly countries according to the Gay Travel Index.”

The LGBT Worldwide Workplace Index was compiled by analysing the following factors:

  • LGBT laws and rights
  • LGBT employment laws
  • Minimum wage
  • Unemployment rate
  • Average salary
  • LGBT-friendliness

For each of the six factors, a score from zero to three was awarded to each country, meaning that the top possible result was 18. Luxembourg scored a total of 17.

Only the top 30 countries in the rankings were awarded a place on the LGBT Worldwide Workplace Index.

Image source: Silver Swan Recruitment

Second in the list is Australia, followed by New Zealand, then Monaco, France and Belgium. The Netherlands, known as a strong supporter of gay rights only made seventh place on the list. This was mostly due to the country’s average salary rating.

At the bottom end of the 30 countries index comes Spain, Slovenia and Colombia, respectively.

Continue Reading

Travel

San Francisco’s Castro District highlights Pride is still a long way away…

Outrage Magazine visits San Francisco’s Castro District to see that the LGBTQIA community may have achieved a lot, but so much more needs to be done before Pride is really felt by all.

Published

on

Where we’ve been. Where we are. Where we’re headed.

That, in a gist, is how I perceive San Francisco’s “LGBTQIA central”, Castro District to be. It celebrates where we are now by paying (some) attention to our shared past; but it also highlights the areas where our community needs to act (and act fast) before we can truly say that we have Pride.

Castro District is a neighborhood in Eureka Valley in San Francisco, California. It was named after José Castro (1808–1860), who opposed US rule in California in the 19th century. As one of the very first gay neighborhoods in the US, it actually became LGBTQIA-centric starting only the late 1960s, aided by the hippie and free love movements in neighboring Haight-Ashbury district.

By the 1970s, it was already an upscale gay community (first mitigated by people’s movement here before it became the prime spot that it is now).

Castro’s influences in the (global) LGBTQIA community are numerous.

Harvey Milk was from here; in 1973, he opened a camera store here, Castro Camera, and he also began his political involvement as a gay activist here. So this place sorta helped exemplify LGBTQIA political involvement, particularly at a time when we had even harder times.

Then in the 1980s, the area was hit hard by the HIV and AIDS crisis. This is a defining moment for the LGBTQIA community (with HIV “blamed” on gay people, and with the American government not lifting a hand to do something/anything about this sitch then), so this helped galvanize the (particularly) gay community.

Castro also shows cracks in the rainbow. Perhaps most apparent is the blatant commercialization of Pride. In Castro, everything LGBTQIA-related can be bought.

And then there are some of our stereotypical concepts of “beauty”, which surfaced from Castro. The one that immediately comes to mind is the “Castro clone” that exemplified butchness and masculinity; to date, this idiotic penchant for “straight-acting and straight-looking” continues…

READ:  What it’s like to be trans in Taiwan

Truly, nowadays, Castro is a “living” reminder of the LGBTQIA community’s history.

But Castro also shows cracks in the rainbow.

Perhaps most apparent is the blatant commercialization of Pride. In Castro, everything LGBTQIA-related can be bought.

This – not surprisingly – highlights the social stratification within the LGBTQIA community. Exactly because the we’re talking moolah, and because not everyone has this, the social classes that divide the community is highlighted. Even the nearby LGBT Center isn’t immune to this, with some LGBTQIA people critical of it (supposedly) for being elitist.

Then there’s the leaving behind of members of the LGBTQIA community. For instance, in San Francisco, the homeless population is approximately 7,499 – 29% of them identify as LGBT; and 11% of them have HIV or AIDS. If you want to see some of them, try waking up early – like 6.00AM or so – and take a walk along Castro Street to see them, living in the midst of the trash from the partying that happened the night before.

Castro has long become a tourist trap that highlights “progressive LGBTQIA community” a la America. And – as such – it can’t be denied how it’s a good reminder that we’ve (well, at least ‘they’ have) made progress.

But it also stresses – for me – that so much more still needs to be done…

Continue Reading

Travel

Ecuadorian court rules that nation’s ban on same-sex marriage is illegal

A court in Ecuador ruled that the nation’s ban on same-sex marriage is illegal. The decision was rendered following a January ruling by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights that the 20 countries under its jurisdiction must offer equal marriage rights to same-sex couples.

Published

on

IMAGE DETAIL BY DEZALB FROM PIXABAY.COM

Big hurrah for marriage equality.

A court in Ecuador ruled that the nation’s ban on same-sex marriage is illegal.

This decision was rendered by two judges in the Family, Women, Children and Adolescents Court in response to two cases brought by same-sex couples who were denied marriage licenses. The judges ruled that they must be allowed to wed immediately, as they cited a January ruling by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights that the 20 countries under its jurisdiction must offer equal marriage rights to same-sex couples.

Last year, a decision in favor of marriage equality was released by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in response to a case filed in Costa Rica. Thereafter, the member countries of the Organization of American States across Central and South America have to comply with the ruling.

Ecuador initially did not follow the ruling of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights with the country’s Civil Registry denying licenses to the two female couples, leading to the cases that came before the Ecuadorian court in the city of Cuenca. Family, Women, Children and Adolescents Court Judges Iliana Vallejo and Ruth Alvarez both ruled that rejection of the women’s marriage license applications was a violation of their human rights.

The Civil Registry is appealing the ruling to the Provincial Court in Azuay, the province in which Cuenca is located.

Continue Reading

Travel

British gov’t launches action plan against LGBT discrimination, to ban ‘conversion therapy’

The British government launched a 75-point action plan, and set aside almost $6 million to better handle discrimination against LGBT people. A major move from this action plan is the banning of “conversion therapy”, as well as a plan to help defend the rights of LGBT people globally.

Published

on

IMAGE DETAIL BY WALKERSSK FROM PIXABAY.COM

One big move. Finally.

The British government launched a 75-point action plan, and set aside almost $6 million to better handle discrimination against LGBT people.

A major move from this action plan is the banning of “conversion therapy” — a practice that the British government called “abhorrent” and said can range from “pseudo-psychological treatments to, in extreme cases, surgical interventions and ‘corrective’ rape.”

The plan comes just as the British government released an online survey to better understand the experiences of its LGBT population.

This survey found that of 108,000 self-identified LGBT respondents, more than 70,000 have avoided holding hands with a same-sex partner in public because they fear how others will react, while 23% said people at work had reacted negatively to them being LGBT and over half of those who accessed or tried to access mental health services said they had to wait too long. On conversion therapy, 2% of the survey’s respondents said they participated in some form of it, and 5% said they had been offered it.

While the survey is not nationally representative, the number of respondents represented around one-tenth of the country’s LGBT population.

British PM Theresa May said she was “struck by just how many respondents said they cannot be open about their sexual orientation or avoid holding hands with their partner in public for fear of a negative reaction.”

But according to Ruth Hunt, Chief Executive of Stonewall UK, these findings reflect what many LGBT people already know, that there’s still a long way to go until we reach full equality. The simple act of holding hands is something all same-sex couples do with a high degree of caution. Attitudes have changed but there are still pockets of society where we’re far from safe.”

READ:  Celebrating the 'different' at The Collective

In addition to dealing with the issues facing LGBT people in the UK, the action plan has an international element to help defend the rights of LGBT people globally. The British government promised to “deliver an international conference with governments and civil society groups focusing on how to progress LGBT equality, and to provide funding to promote LGBT equality worldwide.”

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Facebook

Most Popular