British Institute Of Human Rights Launches Human Rights Toolkit

The British Institute of Human Rights launched ‘Human rights in action – a toolkit for change’ in October 2010.

The toolkit is an introductory resource on human rights in the UK. It is aimed at anyone working in the voluntary and community sector in the UK, in particular those campaigning and providing advocacy on equalities issues. In will also be of general use for anyone wanting to know about how human rights apply to UK issues. It provides basic and practical information about what human rights are, how they are relevant to the voluntary and community sector and how you can effectively apply them in your work.

Click here to view ‘Human Rights In Action – A Toolkit For Change’

GIRES Updated Workplace Guide

In October 2010, the Gender Identity, Research and Education Society (GIRES) published an updated version of ‘Legal protection and good practice for gender variant, transsexual and transgender people in the workplace’.

The document explains the law and good practice in regard to gender variant, transsexual and transgender employees and the issues that an employer has to address when employees propose to change their gender role.

Click here to download ‘Legal Protection & Good Practice For Gender Variant, Transsexual & Transgender People In The Workplace’ (PDF)

Using The Equality Duties To Make Fair Financial Decisions

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has published a new guide to using Great Britain’s equality duties to ensure fair financial decisions.

With major reductions in public spending, organisations in Great Britain may have to make tough financial decisions and the equality duties do not prevent public authorities from making difficult decisions such as reorganisations and relocations, redundancies, and service reductions.

What the equality duties do is enable public authorities to demonstrate that they are making financial decisions in a fair, transparent and accountable way, considering the needs and the rights of different members of their community. This is achieved through assessing the impact that changes to policies, procedures and practices could have on different equality groups.

View the guidance – ‘Using The Equality Duties To Make Fair Financial Decisions’ – by clicking here.

Ugandan Newspaper Publishes ‘List Of Gays’ And Calls For Execution

A Ugandan newspaper has published the names, addresses and photographs of the country’s “top” gays and lesbians.

Rolling Stone, which has no connection to the US magazine of the same name, had a banner across its front page which read “hang them”.

The article, published earlier this month, claimed that the men and women were trying to “recruit one million innocent kids”.

The weekly newspaper began publishing six weeks ago and its editor, Giles Muhame, defended the list and said authorities could use it to arrest gays and lesbians.

Human rights activist Julian Onziema told Associated Press that at least four people on the list had been attacked since it was published, while others are in hiding.

Julian Pepe, 29, who works for Sexual Minorities Uganda, was named in the list. Although she is an out lesbian, her parents are supportive of her.

She told CNN: “People have been attacked, we are having to relocate others, some are quitting their jobs because they are being verbally abused. It’s a total commotion.”

The government’s media council has ordered Rolling Stone to cease publishing – but because of incomplete paperwork, rather than the article.

When the newspaper organises its paperwork, it will be free to continue publishing.

The article was was published just five days before the one-year anniversary of the ‘kill gays’ bill, which received worldwide condemnation.

The bill, introduced by politician David Bahati, called for the death penalty or lengthy prison sentences for gays and lesbians.

It was shelved earlier this year.

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HIV Hardship Fund To Be Re-Opened

A national Hardship Fund for people with HIV on low incomes is to be re-opened.

The Hardship Fund was operated by Crusaid until the charity merged with Terrence Higgins Trust in March.

THT said it would work to keep the Hardship Fund, which provides low-income HIV sufferers with money for essentials such as utilities, food and clothing.

The fund will be relaunched in spring 2011. An interim fund is available now and will offer grants of up to £100 to those suffering poverty.

Sir Nick Partridge, chief executive of THT, said: “In the current economic climate, it is vital that people living with HIV receive the support that they need. Research tells us nearly one in three people with HIV have ongoing problems getting enough money to live on, which has clear implications for how they manage their condition.

“For years the Hardship Fund has been an important resource, making a real difference to the lives of people with HIV, and THT is fully committed to preserving its legacy. We are working hard to get the national fund fully operational by next spring, and in the meantime we hope our interim fund will continue to help those who need it most.”

The new Hardship Fund is currently under review to make it more efficient.

A report released this week by THT and the National AIDS Trust said that one in six people diagnosed with HIV make use of the fund, and that the majority of beneficiaries are living in “extreme” poverty, on just 20 per cent of the average weekly income.

People can apply for Hardship Fund grants through thirteen services across the country. For more information, call THT Direct on 0845 12 21 200.

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Christine Burns Becomes First Trans Patron Of LGBT History Month

Trans activist Christine Burns has become the first trans patron of LGBT History Month.

The writer, campaigner and former Tory branch secretary was instrumental in helping the government pass the 2004 Gender Recognition Act and was awarded an MBE in 2004.

She joins other patrons for the yearly event, including Gareth Thomas, John Amaechi and Sir Ian McKellen.

LGBT History Month co-chair Tony Fenwick said that trans people were still largely “invisible”.

He added: “LGBT History Month has always celebrated the lives and contributions of trans people. We hope to work with Christine to highlight the common ground trans and LGB people share, and to educate people about the important differences.”

Ms Burns, who runs the Just Plain Sense podcast channel, commented: “May I say straight away how incredibly honoured I feel to receive this invitation. I’m not exaggerating when I place it up there on a par with the letter from the Palace inviting me to accept my MBE.”

LGBT History Month is celebrated every February in the UK, while the US marks GLBT History Month in October.

In the next two years, LGBT History Month will focus on sport in the run-up to the 2012 Olympics.

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Trans Golfer Sues After Being Banned From Tournament

An American trans woman is suing the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) because it only allows women who were “female at birth” to participate.

Lana Lawless, 57 and of Palm Springs, California, completed her transition from male to female in 2005.

She won the Women’s Long Drive Association in 2008 but was barred from the contest this year because it changed its rules to match the LPGA’s.

Her lawsuit demands that the LPGA suspends events in California until the “female at birth” policy is changed.

It also mentions the Long Drivers of America, which runs the Women’s Long Drive Association contest and two of the Long Drivers of America’s sponsors.

She argues that the policies violate California’s equality laws.

Ms Lawless, a former police officer, said: “I just want to have the same opportunity to play professional golf as any other woman.

“I am, in all respects, legally, and physically female. The State of California recognises me as such and the LPGA should not be permitted to come into California and blatantly violate my rights.”

Her lawyer, Christopher Dolan, said in a statement. “California’s civil rights laws prevent discrimination against all minorities, including transgender persons.”

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