Thursday, October 28, 2004


(from: lgbt-india)

Dear Friends,

The Government of Kerala on Wednesday launched its ambitious scheme of providing free anti-retroviral therapy to HIV-infected persons.

This is the first time in the country that a State Government is taking an initiative to launch free treatment for the HIV-infected, using its own funds.

The Government is investing Rs. 1.65 crores for buying the drugs, which will be made available to patients through the five Medical College Hospitals in the State.

Inaugurating the programme, the Health Minister, K. K. Ramachandran, said that steps would be taken to make the drugs available through district hospitals also, once the programme took off. He pointed out that despite being a highly literate society; the people here continue to discriminate against HIV-infected persons.

The anti-retroviral drugs will help those infected with HIV to lead near-normal lives for a long time, Mr. Ramachandran said.

Three-drug regimen

The therapy, which includes a three-drug regimen, will be handled by the General Medicine departments in medical colleges. Persons, who have confirmed their HIV positive status through tests at the Voluntary Counseling and Testing Centres, can register their names at the General Medicine department. Not all those who are HIV-infected require anti-retroviral therapy. Doctors can decide on therapy for a patient only after measuring the plasma viral load and CD4 lymphocyte count in blood.
The former is an indication of the magnitude of the viral load, while CD4 indicates the extent of damage that has been caused to the immune system.

Life-long treatment

According to the estimates of Kerala State Aids Control Society (KSACS), the number of those who require drugs in the State would come to around 1,500. The treatment costs for one person would come to nearly Rs. 1,000 a month.

As the treatment is a life-long affair and cannot be discontinued, patients will have to undergo counseling and awareness classes before the treatment is started. Patients would also be apprised of the possible side-effects of the drugs before beginning the treatment.

Those who spoke at the inaugural session included E. K. Bharat Bhushan, Principal Secretary (Health) and the Project Director, KSACS; K. Shailaja, Additional Director of Health Services, the president of Council of People living with HIV/AIDS, O. Joseph, among others. K. Mohan Kumar, MLA, presided.

  Comments from the  Human Rights Angle

Though government of India announced in 2003 December that it would provide ARV treatment to 100,000 children, mothers, and others who need it in six high-prevalence states beginning April 1, 2004, it has not been implemented
so far in other states except in Delhi.  It had begun administering treatment to small numbers of people living with AIDS in a few areas. We welcome this development.  In addition to ARV medicines, people with HIV/AIDS have a desperate need for other basic medical care, which our public health system has failed to provide to the marginalized (Eg: Sabira).  It is very important that people already facing discrimination, such as sex workers, children of sex workers, street children and tribal
populations, are not discriminated against in the administration of the anti retroviral program, and that testing is done and drugs provided in such a way that does not reveal to the rest of the community that a person is HIV-positive, thus exposing her or him to discrimination.  If the program is successful, more people will be tested, learn their status, and be treated:  more HIV-positive children may well be living in our communities, schools, health care facilities, and orphanages.Thus, it is
crucial that the Kerala government immediately put into place protections against discrimination for people living with HIV/AIDS. (Courtesy to the Hindu and HRW)


T.C.14/1514,Beatrice Mansion
Thycaud Post, Thiruvananthapuram-695 014, Kerala, India.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Obituary of Paulo Longo

From: lgbt-india

Paulo Longo, 40, worked to promote the human rights of sex workers

Paulo Henrique Longo, co-founder of the Network of Sex Work Projects, died of a heart attack at his home in Rio de Janeiro on Friday, October 8, 2004. He had suffered from diabetes and its complications for twenty years.

He was an influential leader in the fight for human rights for gay people and sex workers in Brazil and around the world. Mr. Longo was instrumental in the emerging gay rights movement in Brazil. He wrote a regular column addressing gay rights for the Brazilian press. Mr. Longo was an ex-prostitute who co-founded the Network of Sex Work Pro! jects. The Network began as an informal association that has since grown in influence. At the time of his death, Mr. Longo was the coordinator of the Network. Mr. Longo was known for his eloquence and his talent for oratory, as well as tact and diplomacy that did not cloud sensitive issues related to prostitution. He was co-author with his wife, Cheryl Overs, of Making Sex Work Safe, a handbook for offering services to sex workers.

Mr. Longo advocated for the rights of sex workers in many international forums, including AIDS Conferences and UN meetings on public health and human rights. In an interview at the most recent AIDS Conference this past July, Mr. Longo emphasized the importance of the participation of sex workers in determining policies addressing sex work. We are most of us sex workers ourselves, or we have personal experiences with the sex industry. The slogan of the NSWP is Sex workers are part of the solution. We strongly believe that we who have been affe! cted by the issues can contribute more than people from the outside. Of course we recognize the contributions of others, from technicians, health care professionals, social workers, but believe that we hold the solutions within ourselves.

Mr. Longo discussed the rise of his strong convictions in a 2003 interview. "In 1988," he recalls, "I was training at a public hospital and I was asked by a local NGO to help a researcher do a study of rent boys in Rio." A year later, when Longo saw the so-called results in a British medical journal, he reacted with horror: "They were saying that 43 percent of Brazilian male sex workers were infected with HIV -- but I knew that this study only tested 33 people, eight of whom were zeropositive." The boys, whether infected or not, were never told about their results. Longo was discovering a pattern of unethical research: "Getting the blood of boys and women on the streets, everywhere in the world. Never giving them the results. That's when I ! started to get more politically involved."

Mr. Longo continued his efforts to improve research ethics throughout his career. He supported Cambodian sex workers' protests of unethical practices in a recent study in Cambodia. Mr. Longo brought his ethical standards to his own research over the past three years as the principal investigator on a study of community development among sex workers in Rio de Janeiro. Sex workers were intricately involved in designing the methodology of this study and conducting the research.

Mr. Longo is survived by his wife, Cheryl Overs, of Brighton, UK, a brother, and his mother, in Rio de Janeiro.

Contact: Melissa Ditmore, Network of Sex Work Projects,,or Prostitutes of New York, +1 212 713 5678

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Sabira a Sex worker Passed away of AIDS

From: lgbt-india

Obituary of Sabira
14th October 2004

We take this opportunity to announce the death of Sabira.Sabira, 45, was a sex worker and worked to promote the health and human rights of sex workers in her locality, Kozhikode, Kerala.

Sabira is one of the first women in Kerala to declare that "I AM A SEX WORKER" in a public meeting held in the capital city of Kerala, Thiruvananthapuram.Unfortunately she died of AIDS at Santhi Nagar Colony, Kozhikode, last week. She has been an active member of the Vanitha Society, a Sex workers' society in Kozhikode.

Sabira spoke in her own unique style at the SOORYA FESTIVAL 2001 organized by one of Asia's largest cultural groups SOORYA.She was beaten and severely tortured by the police while she was working as a peer educator at CSRD a PSH project in Kozhikode.She underwent such severe pain and was admitted to the hospital where it was detected that she had a serious infection at the braest.She complained to the National Human Rights Commission. The commission ordered for an enquiry and a member of the commission visited her for fact-finding. That was the first incident in Kerala that National Human Rights Commission ordering for an enquiry based on a sex workers' complaint.

Sabira was an active member of Kerala sex worker's Forum also. She had attended National Sex workers Conference held in Kolkotta organized by DMSC and the Festival of Pleasure,Thiruvananthapuram organized by SWFK and NNSW.She also attended a secretariat Dharna organized by Sex Workers Forum Kerala against police brutality towards Sex workers working in AIDS prevention programs.Sabira attended other meetings held for peer educators in AIDS Prevention in Pune and Delhi.

Sabira is survived by her two Sons, Calicut, Kerala.

Subhash T.V

T.C.14/1514,Beatrice Mansion
Thycaud Post, Thiruvananthapuram-695 014, Kerala, India.
Tel: ++91-471-2324060, ++ 91-9447389517

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

First pro-trans decision in the United States IGLHRC

Human Rights Spanish Network

The Civil Rights Law of 1964 and the Equal Protection Clause of amendment XIV prohibits employment discrimination against transsexuals. The U.S. Third Court of Appeals for the sixth Circuit, which covers Kentucky, Michigan and Ohio , recently defined this. Legal background Federal Courts of Appeals for different circuits are – after the United States Supreme Court – the highest Federal authority regarding federal legal cases. In addition, either federal civil rights laws or Michigan 's civil rights laws include discrimination due to gender identity or expression, which is the one that affects the transgendered community. Likewise, the Civil Rights Law of 1962 is a law that deals with sexual employment discrimination and it is applicable for the State as well as for private employers. Lastly, the Equal Protection Clause of amendment XIV of the US Constitution is used in cases where a group of people has been discriminated by the government. After effects If this decision holds up in future appeals, it could result in the useless efforts by transgendered rights activists that want gender identity to be included in the Employment Non Discrimination Act, which has Federal coverage and is still pending approval. The Civil Rights Law of 1962 gives more protection than ENDA, which demands that an employer have a certain minimum number of employees to be reached under their instructions and that allows employers to use religion as a defense if they are accused of discrimination.

The Smith case: First verdict Jimmie Smith, who was born a male, had a successful job history with the Salem Fire Department in Ohio . He was diagnosed with gender dysphoria and started his transition from male to female gender. After he informed his immediate supervisors about the transition, they met with municipal authorities to discuss a plan that would allow them to fire Smith. The Salem Security Director, who attended that meeting, told Smith about the plan and smith contacted his attorney who in turn talked to the mayor and warned him about the legal ramifications the city would suffer if they continued with the plan. Four days later, the Chief of the fire department suspended Smith because of an alleged violation Smith had committed against the municipality or Fire Department, this accusation was later found to be unfounded. Smith file a suit charging them with “sexual discrimination” in violation of the Civil Rights Law of 1964 and Equal Protection Clause of amendment XIV of the US Constitution. The Municipality requested that the accusation be dismissed and the Federal District Court agreed, Smith appealed to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals and the three-judge panel reversed that decision. The Court held that employment discrimination based on gender stereotypes, meaning, the fact that an employee does not fit gender stereotypes accepted by employers or co-workers, violates the Civil Rights Law of 1964. The Court also explained that since the government of Salem is a municipality and Smith is a public employee, the sexual discrimination that she suffered violated the Equal Protection Clause and that the Municipality had taken measures against Smith when they suspended her after her attorney spoke with the Mayor. This is the first verdict by a Federal Appeals Court that states that transgendered people who have been discriminated against at work can sue their employers because of sexual discrimination on the job. According to this theory, it would also be possible for gay and lesbian employees to sue their employers under the Civil Rights Law protection.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Brutal Murder of Fanny Ann Eddy, Lesbian and Gay Activist from Sierra Leone

From: lgbt-india

Fanny Ann Viola Eddy, the courageous lesbian and gay activist from Sierra Leone, and founder of the Sierra Leone Lesbian and Gay Association (SLLAGA), has been brutally murdered last Wednesday night or Thursday morning. Assailants entered the office of SLLAGA at night when nobody was in the entire building, and after apparently raping and stabbing her head with a sharp object, finally broke her neck. The lesbian and gay community of Sierra Leone is in deep shock and totally frightened by this event.

Fanny Ann is survived by a son of about ten years.

Fanny Ann worked as an activist in both Sierra Leone and in southern Africa. I knew her from three visits to Sierra Leone in the last two years, in which I regularly met with the SLLAGA members, who were wresting with how to grow their organization in a hostile environment. I met her again at the recent All Africa Symposium on Human Rights in Johannesburg, where she was elected to the interim steering committee of the All Africa Rights Initiative. She was extremely courageous, a fighter, and very hard working. She and her contribution to lesbian and gay rights in Africa will be deeply missed by all who knew her.

I am devastated, and express my deepest sympathy to her son and family,
and all her friends.

Hans Binswanger

Senior Advisor, Africa Region
World Bank

Sunday, October 03, 2004

thank you Queer day

I want to personally acknowledge the folkz at, (a queer news source that inspired me to action, thank you) for creating an opening for a dialogue, though virtual, non-the-less a dialogue.

In their original listing of Richfield teen charged with attempted murder
, Queerday headlined it as "Gay sexual encounter leads to shooting; 16 year old arrested," and then went on to reiterated pretty much verbatim some of the thoughtlessness of news article ..

I sent off a curt note, along with my a letter to the editor.. . they have since changed the head line Sexual encounter leads to shooting; 16-year-old arrested and rewrote the lead in paragraph... so thank you..

they also mentioned my note I sent them and though that was not necessary, I want to thank you (them) for that...

but my point being, this is an example of how we can grow as a community... tempers may flare, but it is always with the intention of making a difference and working for a more humane world..

thank you Queer day thank you

Saturday, October 02, 2004

a letter to the editor...

below is a letter I wrote in response to Richfield teen charged with attempted murderand here

Please send a letter to Dear Editor, about this thoughtless reporting

Dear Editor,

Concerning your article on October 2, 2004, by Pat Doyle, "Richfield teen charged with attempted murder"

There seems to be some major acts of ignorance and thoughtlessness in this article by Pat Doyle.

1. the victim who Pat Doyle labeled "a transvestite prostitute," who supposedly got it from "Police and court records," which goes on to state this individual, this female had a criminal record for "prostitution and loitering and received a stayed jail sentence in July for prostitution."

So, the question would be, what do the police in your community know of the difference between; transgender, transvestite and transsexual. I would take it none! And is it the reporters place to defer all knowledge and reporting to the police in labeling humans. it is a known fact that police are aggressive in their labeling, and that is backed by criminal code and pathological behavior models that are usually outdate, not an understanding of the diversity of humanity. basicly are to you labeled a "bad" person, so they can arrest you. not how to understand individuals.

and I am sure you know in most cases, many Transfemales cannot afford surgery or can get good jobs; they are reduced to prostitution, just like the history of woman in society. and just because this individual may or may not have had a penis does not make them a transvestite or male.

also, your are speaking here of a victim, who you further victimize by using overt prejudicial and discriminatory language. Is there a reason to know a history of some one who was shot, or is it you slight of hand, back handed way of justify it? very poor journalism.

2. the victim was 19, the alleged shooter was 16, what makes one a man and one a boy?

or is it in this case, more apprehensible for a "man" to be cross-dressed, or to be transgender, then a boy. the way you wrote this creates a vast power differential i.e, boy over man... it sound like "the boy" had to protect himself from the terrible deviant prostitute with a criminal record." come on, there's only three years apart in age...

please, clean up your reporting, get some training on gender diversity, and stop victimizing females.

kari edwards
San Francisco, CA

Friday, October 01, 2004

A thoughtful response to discrmination

FInal update: Discrimination against trans person on Folsom weekend

Location SF Bay Area From Ren Davis Phoenix, with her/his permission:

~ Please forward to Reverend Michel St. Germain and as may be deemed
appropriate. Thank you. ~

Dear Reverend Michel St. Germain,
& To Whom It May Concern,

This letter is sent to you as a formal apology for the inappropriate treatment I mistakenly caused you to experience while attending the Revels of Venus fundraiser this previous Sunday, September 26, 2004 at the Cherry Bar, 917 Folsom, San Francisco, CA. I clearly understand that it was wrong to make you feel unwelcome and to have caused you to leave said event.

In an effort to acknowledge my error of judgment and make a gesture of amends, please be assured that this circumstance will not be repeated. In addition, you have my word that neither you nor any persons of any self-identified gender preference will be prevented from any event that I may be the producer of in the future. More over, I personally will see to your complimentary entrance of any such event, should you so choose to attend.

Ren Davis Phoenix
Executive Director
Leather Dyke Family, Charity Events