Tag: homosexuality

Trans women facing five years in prison for ‘attempted homosexuality’

trans women

Mildred Loic, also known as Shakiro, one of the trans women currently held in jail (Facebook/ Shakiro)

Two trans women in the central African country of Cameroon are facing five years in prison on charges of “attempted homosexuality”.

Mildred Loic and Moute Rolland were arrested for wearing women’s clothes in the country’s largest city, Douala, on 8 February. Police are said to have made the arrests while the pair were eating in a restaurant.

The women were denied bail on Wednesday (24 March) after a judge adjourned their case and sent them back to jail, their lawyer Richard Tamfu said.

Loic had built an online reputation as a cosmetician, becoming a local social media celebrity known as Shakiro with more than 100,000 Facebook followers.

She and Rolland are also facing charges of public indecency and not carrying identification, according to Reuters. They have pled not guilty.

Their arrests come amid a spike in LGBT+ crackdowns by Cameroonian authorities over the last year, leading to dozens of arrests.

“We have observed a resurgence in homophobic attacks this year,” said Ilaria Allegrozzi, researcher at Human Rights Watch. “It is common for people to be abused in detention.”

Homosexuality is illegal in Cameroon and punishable by up to five years in prison. The LGBT+ advocacy group CAMFAIDS reports that between 2010 and 2014, at least 50 people were convicted for crimes ranging from cross-dressing to a man texting “I love you” to another man.

Vigilante executions, beatings and torture are also tolerated, according to GLAAD.

Alice Nkom, a prominent LGBT+ rights lawyer who is representing the trans women, said last month she was “confident” they would be acquitted as there was no actual evidence of a crime.

“It is not illegal to be homosexual or transgender. According to our law, it is the act which is the crime. This is a flagrant violation of their human rights,” she told Reuters.

However, continuing delays have caused concern. Loic and Rolland’s case was expected to be heard on Wednesday but was pushed back to 5 April while the prosecution builds its case, Tamfu said.

“They were hoping that today everything would come to an end. The prosecution has not established concrete evidence… We think they should be released,” he said.

He added that the defendants were “very depressed” and staying in overcrowded prison cells where they risked contracting COVID.

 

 

Finland military warned homosexuality was ‘obstacle’ to training

Finland

Finland military troops (Creative Commons/A. v. Z.)

Finland’s defence forces have been criticised for using discriminatory training material that described homosexuality as an “obstacle” to service.

The shocking advice came from the Centre for Military Medicine, which is responsible for the health of conscripts and defence personnel.

According to a report by the Finnish Parliamentary Ombudsman, the centre said in a training manual that sexual orientation, specifically homosexuality, was an obstacle to military service.

The material referred to “demanding terms of service” and community housing, Nord News reported. For this reason, it said, cadets should doubt their chances of successfully completing the training.

Gay cadets were advised to opt for the Class C category in fitness checks, a category that is exempt from peacetime military service and includes those with mental health issues.

In response to criticism from the ombudsman, the Defence Command insisted that the Finnish military does not consider homosexuality to be a mental disorder, nor should it have been a criterion in Class C.

However, the ombudsman said that the training material might have given health professionals the impression that sexuality could hinder military service, despite Finland declassifying homosexuality as an illness in 1981.

The ombudsman found that the material was offensive and discriminatory, and these sections have now been removed from the document.

The controversial guidance is surprising coming from Finland, which is widely viewed as one of the most LGBT-friendly countries in the world.

Last year the Gay Happiness Index ranked it as the happiest country for LGBT+ people, beating Denmark, Norway, Iceland, The Netherlands, Sweden and New Zealand.

Public opinion is similarly high: a 2019 poll found that 80 per cent of Finns think LGBT+ people should enjoy all the same rights as heterosexual people, and their newly-elected prime minister Sanna Marin is the proud daughter of same-sex parents. She says her family’s strong belief in equality is the foundation of her political views.

Franklin Graham hits out at Pope Francis for ‘normalising homosexuality’

Franklin Graham hits out at Pope Francis for 'normalising homosexuality'

Evangelical preacher Franklin Graham has lashed out at Pope Francis for “trivialising Christ’s sacrifice” by “normalising homosexuality”.

Pope Francis suggested in a documentary that premiered on Wednesday (October 21) that gay people “have a right to be part of the family” and threw his support behind “civil union law” so same-sex relationships can be “legally covered”.

The comments made global headlines and represented a major break from traditional Catholic teaching.

And it’s safe to say that Franklin Graham is not impressed.

In a lengthy Facebook post on Thursday (October 22), Graham hit out at Pope Francis, branding his comments “unthinkable in light of the Word of God”.

Graham went on to reference the Old Testament in his efforts to prove that the family is composed of a “male husband and a female wife” and a number of children.

The right-wing preacher suggested that the love of God is “completely inclusive”, but went on to claim that people must “repent” in order for society to be “saved”.

Franklin Graham hit out at Pope Francis for ‘trivialising Christ’s sacrifice’.

“For Pope Francis to attempt to normalise homosexuality is to say that Holy Scriptures are false, that our sins really don’t matter, and that we can continue living in them,” Graham wrote.

“If that were true, then Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection wouldn’t have been needed. The cross would have been for nothing. No one has the right or the authority to trivialise Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf.”

Graham continued: “I want everyone to know the truth and to find the peace that come sonly from fully surrendering our lives to Him and His commands.

“The consequence of an unrepentant, unbelieving heart is also clear in the Word of God – eternal death.

“Unless we repent and receive His offer of forgiveness, surrendering our lives to Him, we will spend eternity as part of a different family when we leave this earth – the family of the condemned.”

No one has the right or the authority to trivialise Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf.

Graham’s firm rebuke came just hours after Pope Francis sent shockwaves across the world when his comments were revealed in the documentary Francesco, which debuted at the Rome Film Festival on Wednesday.

His pro-gay remarks came as a surprise to many within the LGBT+ community, as the pope has previously kept firmly with Catholic Church teachings that oppose any progress in LGBT+ rights.

In 2013, he made global headlines when he called on the Catholic church to “show mercy, not condemnation” to gay people – representing a stark shift in tone from his predecessors.

But in 2019, he told a Spanish newspaper that parents who see signs of homosexuality in their children should “consult a professional” – a comment that was considered by many to endorse conversion therapy.

Meanwhile, he has been staunch in his opposition to trans identities, comparing them to nuclear war and genetic manipulation in 2015.

In 2019, the Vatican released a document claiming that “gender ideology” is a “move away from nature”.