International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia

14 May 2010

To commemorate the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, the following key events are taking place on Monday May 17th:

Hong Kong: A high level dialogue on punitive laws, human rights and HIV prevention among men who have sex with men in the Asia Pacific Region

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Asia Pacific Coalition on Male Sexual Health (ACPOM) and the Center for Comparative and Public Law (CCPL) at the Faculty of Law, The University of Hong Kong will release the key findings and recommendations of the UNDP-APCOM study entitled: “Laws affecting HIV responses among men who have sex with men and transgender people in Asia and the Pacific: an agenda for action” during a high level dialogue to honour the International Day against Homophobia on Monday, 17th May 2010.

Throughout the Asia and Pacific Region, current legal environments often fail to adequately protect the rights of men who have sex with men and transgender people.  Criminalization of male-to-male sex exists in 19 out of 48 countries of the region, and in some cases has led to vigilantism and abuse by local authorities. Even in the absence of criminalization, other provisions of law and practice obstruct intervention, outreach, and delivery of essential HIV, health and support services. This very debate was at the heart of the recent landmark ruling by the Delhi High Court that Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code unfairly discriminates against men who have sex with men and consenting adults in general.

This High Level Dialogue will bring together key members of the Judiciary, Parliament, Community advocacy groups and the UN system.  The discussion will explore how effective HIV prevention can only be achieved in a conducive legal environment that allows unimpeded dissemination of evidence based prevention messages, appropriate service provision, and creates confidence among the most marginalized and vulnerable to seek information and access health related services. The 120-minute High Level Dialogue will be followed by a 20-minute Press Conference.

Panelists:Hon. Michael Kirby, Australia
Hon. Ajit Prakash Shah, India
Hon. Dame Carol Kidu, Member of Parliament and Minister for Community Development Papua New Guinea 
Dr. Mandeep Dhaliwal, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), New York
Shivananda Khan, O.B.E, Asia Pacific Coalition on Male Sexual Health (APCOM)
John Godwin, HIV and Development Consultant

Moderator:  Thomas Abraham, Director of the Public Health Communications Programme, Journalism and Media Studies Centre, University of Hong Kong

For additional information please contact Edmund Settle, UNDP HIV policy specialist at:  edmund.settle@undp.org


Geneva: UNAIDS Event for International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia

The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) Secretariat has prepared a half-day programme on May 17th to provide insight into some of the key challenges and progress made in addressing homophobia and transphobia.

The programme will explore the challenges in removing barriers to universal access for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. The event will commence with a message from Michel Sidibé, UNAIDS Executive Director and Paul de Lay, UNAIDS Deputy Executive Director.  

Featured sessions include guest speaker Frank Mugisha, Executive Director of Sexual Minorities of Uganda (SMUG); a short video titled, “A Deadly Cycle” from Jamaica and a feature documentary “Translatina” on the experiences of transgender people in Latin America co-sponsored by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), UNAIDS and UNDP. The programme will also include an interactive session with representatives from UNAIDS Country Offices. 

Audiences can view and participate in question and answer sessions through the following link: http://www.unaids.org/multimedia/streaming/live/index.htm


Panama: UN House Event and Presentation on an Anti-discrimination Bill

An event was held at the UN house in Panama on Friday May 14th for the lead-up to the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia on May 17th.  The event featured a video message from the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon as well as a presentation of a draft anti-discrimination bill jointly prepared by UN GLOBE (the Association of LGBT UN staff members) and the non-governmental organization  Asociación Hombres y Mujeres Nuevos de Panamá. Audiences were encouraged to participate in a survey on Homophobia through inclusion in a raffle and the event also included music, dance and other prizes. 

On Monday May 17th, UN GLOBE and the Asociación Hombres y Mujeres Nuevos de Panamá are jointly presenting a draft proposal for the country’s first anti-discrimination bill at the Human Rights Commission of the National Assembly.

Other resources:

UNAIDS: International Day Against Homophobia

            Press coverage of High Level Dialogue on MSM in Hong Kong-May 17

UNDP:  UNDP Press Release on High Level Dialogue on MSM-Hong Kong

THE LANCET:  Attention to HIV prevention in Asia Pacific