World LGBT Briefs: Women Take On Traditionalists

Manji, Clinton and the Forum for Empowerment for Women lead the LGBT charge


South African Bloc Suggests Removing Gays from Constitution

Responding to an invitation from the South African Parliament’s constitutional review committee to submit comment, that country’s National House of Traditional Leaders, a statutory body established in 1997, responded by suggesting that ”sexual orientation” be removed from the document, according to South Africa’s City Press.

South Africa’s groundbreaking post-apartheid constitution includes language that reads, ”The state may not unfairly discriminate directly or indirectly against anyone on one or more grounds, including race, gender, sex, pregnancy, marital status, ethnic or social origin, color, sexual orientation, age, disability, religion, conscience, belief, culture, language and birth.”

Patekile Holomisa, a member of Parliament who heads both the constitutional review committee and the Congress of Traditional Leaders (CONTRALESA), said the ”great majority does not want to give promotion and protection to these things,” referring to the sexual orientation.

The country’s Forum for the Empowerment of Women released a May 8 statement reading, in part, ”Hate crimes against the LGBTI community are on the rise in South Africa, and we have leaders who claim that homosexuality is a condition, an ailment that has to be remedied. We seem to be regressing rather than progressing if we have leaders who think the way that the National House of Traditional Leaders thinks.”

Police Block Irshad Manji Talk As Threat to Public Order

Indonesian police halted a speaking engagement Saturday, May 5, by Irshad Manji, in the country as part of a book tour for her recent Allah, Liberty and Love: The Courage To Reconcile Faith and Freedom.

The Jakarta Globe reported that police ended Manji’s presentation after about 15 minutes of her speaking on the grounds that she was promoting homosexuality among Indonesian Muslims, posing a threat to public order. Manji, a Canadian, Muslim and lesbian, heads the Moral Courage Project at New York University’s Wagner School of Public Service.

After being escorted from the Salihara cultural center in South Jakarta, Manji issued a statement. ”Last evening at Salihara, progressive Indonesians showed why there is hope in Islam; they stood for liberty and love in the face of thuggery and hate,” she said. ”In doing so, these brave citizens of Jakarta lived up to the best ideals of the Koran: ‘God does not change the condition of people until they change what is inside themselves.”

Secretary Clinton Wins First ”World LGBT Award”

The Kaleidoscope Trust, a Britain-based nonprofit ”committed to upholding the basic human rights of LGBT people around the world,” and London Pride announced May 5 that U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will be the first recipient of the World LGBT Award. She will be awarded the honor in London in July during World Pride.

”Secretary Clinton not only believes that gay rights are human rights, but has acted to ensure that others begin to recognize these rights,” said Kaleidoscope’s Harjeet Johal in a release announcing the award. ”It is for this reason she has been selected for the award. Her bravery, leadership and personal commitment has shone the spotlight onto those nations where being gay remains illegal. Her support has strengthened our cause and advanced our fight beyond measure.”

Follow Will O'Bryan on Twitter @wobryan.