Equal Eyes: Asia and the Pacific round-up for March 2018

Catch up on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex news and issues around Asia and the Pacific in this latest edition of Equal Eyes.

March 2018

HIV, Health, and Wellness: In Australia’s state of New South Wales, a PrEP trial was so successful in recruiting participants, that researchers petitioned the government to double enrollment. With higher participation, they announced that new HIV infections had declined by a third over the previous year. As of 1 April, Australia began offering PrEP through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme to subsidize costs and make it more accessible outside of research trials

From China, the Beijing Municipal Commission of Education (BMCE) reported that college students accounted for half of the city’s HIV-positive cases. The BMCE has ordered that colleges and universities provide courses on “scientific and systematic knowledge about sex and reproductive health” to fight the epidemic.

From Asia, a panel of experts discussed new approaches in harnessing social media to increase HIV testing, especially among gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men, youth, and trans people.
From the World of Politics: As Indonesia’s Parliament prepares to vote on whether to criminalize same-sex behavior and sex outside of marriage through an amendment to the Criminal Code, the Chairman of the People’s Consultative Assembly (MPR) told students that “globalization and modernization” have led to “rampant LGBT people”, drugs, and promiscuity.

In Australia, the state of Tasmania elected Alison Standen, the first openly lesbian candidate to Parliament.

Fear and Loathing: Indonesian authorities in the Aceh province have conducted more raids on hair salons and private residences. The recent raids led to four more arrests of people accused of same-sex conduct.

On the March: In the Philippines, many students, LGBTQI+ groups, and other allies continued to protest the government’s delay in moving forward with the Anti-Discrimination Bill, now titled the SOGIE Equality Bill.

Winds of Change: The World Bank released a new report, Economic Inclusion of LGBTI Groups in Thailand, that recommends policies and program options to help move Thailand from “tolerance to full economic and social inclusion of LGBTI groups”.

In Pakistan, fashion model Maavia Malik became the first openly trans news anchor joining the Kohenoor News show.

Thousands praised Australian TV correspondent Karl Schmid for his emotional social media post revealing he is HIV-positive in which he wrote:”For anyone who has ever doubted themselves because of those scary three letters and one symbol, let me tell you this, you are somebody who matters. Your feelings, your thoughts, your emotions count. And don’t let anybody tell you otherwise.”

School Days: In India, maths and science teacher Abhijit Kundu is suing the Calcutta International School for allegedly firing him after his autobiography “Amar Shamakami Ejahar (My Homosexual Confession)” was featured at the Kolkata International Book Fair.

Sports and Culture: In India, the Aravani Art Project is employing trans women to paint murals in public spaces across the country in an effort to give trans people a voice and to encourage dialogue across communities.
Equal Eyes is edited by Christina Dideriksen and Richard Burzynski. The views presented here do not necessarily represent the view of UNAIDS or its Cosponsors. 

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