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Gay-rights office in Haiti attacked

Amnesty International says the office of a gay-rights group in Haiti has been ransacked and two of its members beaten.

The organization reported Nov. 27 that three men carrying handguns and machetes raided the office of the Haitian-rights organization Kouraj the previous week. Amnesty said the intruders said the center shouldn’t be allowed to operate and aimed antigay remarks at the two activists who were tied and beaten.

The attackers also stole equipment, which included two laptops and files that contained sensitive information about the group’s members.

Haiti’s small gay and lesbian community has long remained largely underground because of a strong social stigma that sparks fears of physical violence and loss of employment.

Those negative sentiments spilled into the streets this past summer when thousands joined in an antigay demonstration.

Russian activists urge gay rights at Olympics

International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach has met with Russian gay-rights activists who urged an investigation ahead of the Sochi Olympics into laws there banning “gay propaganda.”

International gay-rights group AllOut said Russian campaigners asked Bach in Paris “to launch an independent investigation on the legal implications of the antigay laws in effect in Russia during the Olympic Games.”

AllOut says “the IOC will announce later” whether to investigate.

The International Olympic Committee and its sponsors have been pressed to take a stronger position against Russia after President Vladimir Putin signed a law in June banning promotion of “nontraditional sexual relations” to minors.

The IOC has previously said Moscow assured Olympic organizers that athletes and spectators will not face discrimination at the February 2014 Winter Games.

U.K. B&B owners lose appeal

The Christian owners of a hotel in southern England have lost a U.K. Supreme Court appeal over their refusal to let a gay couple stay on their premises.

Peter Bull and his wife, Hazelmary, were ordered to pay damages in 2011 to Martyn Hall and his partner, Steven Preddy, for turning the couple away from Chymorvah Private Hotel in Marazion in Southwestern England.

The Bulls, both devout Christians, had refused on religious grounds to let Hall and Preddy share a room.

The Bulls had denied claims of sex discrimination and ultimately took their case to Britain’s highest court.

Five Supreme Court judges ruled against them Nov. 27.

Hazelmary Bull said she was “deeply disappointed and saddened” by the ruling.

Report documents Brazilian anti-trans bias

A Washington, D.C.-based international human-rights organization released a report last month that documents violence and discrimination against transgender Brazilians of African descent.

The Global Rights report includes statistics from the Brazilian Secretariat of Human Rights that indicate trans Brazilians accounted for slightly more than half of the 300 reported LGBT murder victims in the country last year. The group noted an estimated 52 percent of them were people of color.

Grupo Gay da Bahia, a Brazilian advocacy group that has tracked anti-LGBT violence in Brazil for nearly two decades, said it saw a 21-percent increase in LGBT murders in the country between 2011-12. The organization reported 128 of the 338 LGBT homicide victims in Brazil last year were trans.

Grupo Gay da Bahia further noted 250 LGBT Brazilians have been killed so far this year. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights reported 20 trans people were murdered in Brazil in August and September.

The Global Rights report also cited additional statistics that show the homicide rate among Brazilians of African descent rose 5.6 percent between 2002-10, compared to the 24.8-percent decline in these crimes among white Brazilians during the same period.

The Global Rights report also documented pervasive discrimination against trans Brazilians of African descent in law enforcement and employment and in the country’s education and health-care systems because of their gender identity and expression and race.

The organization said Brazilian police frequently force trans women of color to strip naked in public and use racial, transphobic and homophobic slurs against them. The Global Rights report also documented cases where authorities transport trans suspects and detainees in the trunks of police cars and other confined spaces.

— compiled by Larry Nichols

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