We express our deepest condolence for the losses of precious lives during the Orlando massacre, which we heard on Monday June 13th in Asia. We strongly condemn all forms of crimes against every human being, particularly those targeted towards LGBTIQ persons/groups. What happened in Orlando added to the already grieving LGBTIQ communities in Asia following the recent atrocities in Bangladesh and Indonesia.
At the same time, we express grave concerns as to the using of LGBTIQ issues for political interest causing more hatred for certain groups and individuals.
There is no denying that LGBTIQ persons all around the world have become targets of violence from aberrant groups and individuals who affiliate themselves with self-defined religious beliefs. However, let us not forget about the root causes of such atrocities, which lie in systematic marginalization of LGBTIQ persons, as well as persons of color, indigenous people, people with disabilities, people in working classes, migrants and refugees.
This unfair system is fueled and sustained by authoritarian and patriarchal practices in all spheres of life in all religion, intentionally or not.
We stand with our sisters and brothers in Islam in condemning the ignorance, inequality, injustice and hatred that perpetuate such mindless violence rather than placing superficial accusation on the religion.
In the wake of the LGBTIQ massacre in Orlando, let us remember the other killings of LGBTIQ persons happening on daily basis in many countries across the globe. These involve physical attacks and outright discrimination stemming from unjust social and legal systems. Statistics identify more than one murder of LGBTIQ persons in a day (Transgender Europe’s Trans Murder Monitoring project, 2016). That is more than 365 LGBTIQ murders in a year. In April and May 2016 alone, Asia was in shock of successive negative developments in Indonesia and Bangladesh, forcing many LGBTI persons to seek asylum, creating wide public hatred and promoting violence, in which cases numerous LGBTI organizations issued statements to governments without yielding any action.
It is time we invest resources to fight against sexuality and gender-based phobia at home. It is time for true political will from both government and public to tackle the issues at their root causes and end them altogether in this decade. We renew our call for action and propose the followings:
- To governments of Asian countries:
- Adhere to Yogyakarta Principles and international human rights standards. Ratify and implement all the international treaties to ensure human rights for all LGBTIQ persons.
- Decriminalize same-sex relationship and formulate anti-discrimination laws with specific protection on the grounds of sexual orientation, gender identity and expression and sex characteristics (SOGIESC).
- Establish public awareness programs with allocated resources on gender and LGBTIQ issues bearing in mind the intersectionality for broader social justice.
- Reform education curriculums to include subject-wide informative contents with a positive outlook on gender, sexuality and sexual health and wellbeing.
- To religious organizations and leaders around the world:
- Vocalize your position for love and peace and make a call for people to stop violence against LGBTIQ persons.
- Contribute in bringing forth respect and empathy for others, particularly those who are marginalized by the unfair social systems.
- To Asian families and caretakers:
- Stand with your family members who are LGBTIQ persons. This is the time they need you the most.
- Vocalize your support for your loved ones who are LGBTIQ persons.
- To teachers and educators in Asia:
- Introduce positive contents on LGBTIQ in all of your subjects across the curricula.
- Teach respect for diversity in all aspects.
- Allow children and youth to be creative, critical and, most importantly, to be themselves to create active and responsible Asian and world citizens.
- To human rights organizations and allies:
- Include SOGIESC as a core principle of your human rights work and advocate for the promotion and protection of LGBTIQ issues.
- Provide support for the LGBTIQ persons at risk and come up with a mechanism for reprisal
- Work in collaboration with local LGBTIQ organizations