Lottery funds youth program
BRISTOL, U.K. — A variety of initiatives are planned by Bristol-based Educational Action Challenging Homophobia (EACH) following a cash award of $640,473 (£391,668) from the Big Lottery Fund.

“EACH’s lottery win, in the year we celebrate the 20th anniversary of the United Nations’ Convention of the Rights of the Child is most welcome,” commented Jonathan Charlesworth, EACH’s executive director and co-author of the Department for Children, Schools and Families’ workbook, “Safe to Learn: Homophobic Bullying.”

“Far too many homophobically bullied gay young people leave our schools with few or poor qualifications, regardless of their actual academic potential,” he said Aug. 25. “This initiative strives to build their confidence in the very institutions set up to nurture them. We want to see many more young people thrive: realize their academic and social potential and engage positively in all aspects of life.

“Each and every young person participating in this initiative will be encouraged to become the best person they can be,” he said.

Included in the group’s planned programs are youth-led awareness-raising sessions to complement EACH’s ongoing school training in North Somerset, South Gloucestershire, Bath and North East Somerset and Bristol.

Staff will learn about issues that profoundly affect young gay people’s well-being.

A wide range of agencies will be involved and receive training from young people to devise action plans to help eliminate homophobic bullying and harassment.
— by Andy Harley .

Political shift
TOKYO — Japanese LGBT community members are hoping a new political shift will move their legislative agenda forward.

Recent elections ushered in two LGBT-friendly political parties, the Social Democratic Party and the Democratic Party of Japan. Both parties have spoken out on LGBT equality.

Human Rights Watch’s Boris Dittrich, director of Human Rights Watch’s LGBT advocacy programs, said the election’s results are promising. He said the island nation needs anti-discrimination legislation protecting LGBT people.

“There is no law in Japan that protects people who are being discriminated against on the basis of sexual orientation,” Dittrich said, according to The Japan Times. “So for instance, a landlord would evict somebody because he is gay or she is lesbian and there is no law that you can refer to for protection.”
The last movement on LGBT rights in the nation occurred in 2002, when a government-sponsored anti-discrimination bill was introduced in the Diet, the national legislature. If passed, the bill would have created legal protections for LGBT citizens and “burakumin,” the descendants of ancient outcast castes. The bill was never picked up before the end of the Diet’s session.
— by Matt Comer . Q-Notes staff

Adoption legalized
KARLSRUHE, Germany — The Federal Constitutional Court has ruled in favor of a woman seeking to adopt the daughter of her partner, according to

A lower court had decided against the woman and said the adoption would be unconstitutional, as it would place the rights of the same-sex partner above that of a biological parent. The father of the child and social services had agreed to the adoption and were not opposing it.

The Federal Court rejected the lower court’s ruling. The Court ruled that life partners assuming the role of parent have the right to legal recognition in that role.

“The earlier decision failed to consider the fact that the role of a child’s parent is not only determined by his or her biological progenitor but based on the social-familial community caring for the child,” the Court said.

Same-sex partners in Germany were given the right to register their domestic partnerships in 2001. Marriage between same-sex couples is not recognized, although the legal domestic partnerships offer many of the same rights and privileges given to heterosexual couples. Unlike other European nations, Germany has not legalized adoption of children to which neither same-sex parent has a biological relation.
— M.C.

Lawmaker: Ban parade
BUDAPEST — A lawmaker with the Hungarian Fidesz Party asked local police to ban an LGBT Pride parade scheduled for Sept. 5.

The lawmaker, Ilona Ekes, is a member of the parliament’s human rights, minorities and religious affairs committee. She said homosexuality is a “mental injury” and that a gay parade could create fear and endanger minors.

Ekes’ statements triggered an international condemnation. Thirteen foreign embassies, including the U.S., issued a joint statement of support for LGBT equality in Hungary. Other nations joining the statement included Australia, Canada, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

Police will work to prevent counter-demonstrators from interfering with the Pride parade. In 2008, a similar event resulted in protesters throwing feces, eggs and rocks at marchers.

The Fidesz Party is Hungary’s most popular. Party media director Bertalan Havasi said Ekes’ statements reflected only her personal opinion.
— M.C.