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Ruling Highlights Need for Legislative Protections

A court in Seoul, South Korea has rejected a same-sex couple’s bid for spousal health insurance benefits, underscoring the lack of legal protections for same-sex couples in the country. Although South Korea does not recognize same-sex partnerships…
Participants march with a rainbow flag during a gay pride parade in Seoul, South Korea.
News

Struggle for LGBT People’s Rights Will Not Be Silenced

I have never met Samuel, the gay Kenyan protagonist of the acclaimed documentary “I Am Samuel.” But I feel as if I know him. Not only does filmmaker Peter Murimi’s quiet, steady, honest portrayal of Samuel’s daily life create a sense of intimacy and…
“I Am Samuel” documentary, 2020
News

Revise Laws to Recognize Diversity in Families

On January 26, the South Korean government announced it would seek to revise the legal definition of “family” in South Korea, and held a public hearing on the need to recognize the full diversity of families, including single parents and unmarried…
A rainbow flag is carried during a parade as a part of the Seoul Queer Culture Festival in Seoul, South Korea, Saturday, July 14, 2018. © 2018 AP Photo/Lee Jin-man
News

Government Should Act to Prevent Discrimination

South Korea is experiencing a marked increase in online threats and discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people who are being unfairly accused of spreading Covid-19. The backlash illustrates the need for governments…
A rainbow flag is carried during a parade as a part of the Seoul Queer Culture Festival in Seoul, South Korea, Saturday, July 14, 2018. © 2018 AP Photo/Lee Jin-man
News

Lockdown Measures Increase Risks for Women and Girls

For 4 days, Juliet M., a 16-year-old Kenyan, was held captive by a man and sexually assaulted. She was rescued by neighbors and is now being cared for in a safe house in Nairobi. The attacker reportedly said he kidnapped her because he needed…
Kenyans make their way home before the daily dusk-to-dawn curfew in Nairobi, Kenya, April 6, 2020.
News

Lawmakers Should Strengthen Protections, Not Weaken Them

  Conservative lawmakers in South Korea have already blocked the passage of nondiscrimination laws that would protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people and other minorities. Now, they’re trying to…
Participants march with a rainbow flag during a gay pride parade in Seoul
News

Steps Needed to Protect Sexual and Gender Minority Children

The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child is urging South Korea to revamp its sexuality education curriculum to cover age-appropriate topics like pregnancy, HIV/AIDS, sexual orientation, and gender identity. These steps…
A rainbow flag is carried during a parade as a part of the Seoul Queer Culture Festival in Seoul, South Korea, Saturday, July 14, 2018. © 2018 AP Photo/Lee Jin-man
News

South Korea Should Do More to Fight Sexual Harassment Assault

The allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein together with social media’s #metoo phenomenon, where hundreds of thousands of women and girls spoke out about their experiences of being sexually harassed or assaulted, have struck a real…
A woman takes part in a SlutWalk protest, in central Seoul July 16, 2011.
News

Tunisia and Kenya Move to Consign Discredited Medical Procedure to History Books

It’s shocking that in 2017 people are still subjected to forced anal testing to try to “prove” their sexual orientation. But Tunisia and Kenya are the latest countries to take steps toward ending these archaic and abusive exams,…
Poster by Shams, a Tunisian activist group, condemning the use of forced anal exams.
News

Court Ruling Opens the Way to Marriage Equality

Taiwan’s constitutional court this week paved the way for marriage equality in the country by striking down the legal definition of marriage as “between a man and a woman.” The landmark decision declared this limited…
Supporters hug each other during a rally after Taiwan's constitutional court ruled that same-sex couples have the right to legally marry, the first such ruling in Asia, in Taipei, Taiwan May 24, 2017.
News

Excluding LGBT Topics From Curriculum Risks Health, Education

Education ministry officials in Seoul said this week that South Korea’s new national sex education curriculum, due to roll out in March, will not mention homosexuality. This continues a backsliding that began nearly two years ago, when the government…
News

Transgender Woman Helps People ‘Searching for Answers’

I was in Colombia last week to speak at an event about my work for Human Rights Watch with a focus on homophobic and transphobic bullying. I was to be interviewed by Brigitte Baptiste, who I had never met. When I took my seat in front of hundreds of…
Brigitte Baptiste (L) and Human Rights Watch LGBT Advocacy Director Boris Dittrich, Colombia, February 2017.
News
The rapid spread of the Zika virus has raised concern among public health officials across the Americas. The World Health Organization warned Sunday that the virus is likely to spread further across the region. At first glance,…
A woman walks away from her apartment as health workers fumigates the Altos del Cerro neighborhood as part of preventive measures against the Zika virus and other mosquito-borne diseases in Soyapango, El Salvador January 21, 2016.
News
Accused of not being “girly enough,” she was frequently swarmed by students and beaten with a roll of paper. Her teachers witnessed the abuse again and again but did nothing. She begged her junior high classmates for help -- but they told her to endure…
A 20 year old Japanese woman who was bullied by her classmates in junior high school holds a notebook displaying the message...
News
Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta made his strongest statement to date in support of basic rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people, in an October 18 interview with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria. For the first time, he publicly condemned…
News
At midnight last Friday, after a week of camping out at a Seoul police station, a group of about 100 lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) activists and supporters submitted an application to hold a pride parade. The police swiftly denied the…
News
“We women must respect ourselves. You cannot stay with a man drinking until 3 a.m.” This was the response from Mary Wambui, a member of parliament, to recent protests by female legislators and women’s rights activists over accusations that Gideon Mwiti,…