The linkage of HIV with homosexuality has created serious barriers to prevention and education initiatives since the beginning of the epidemic. The criminalization and marginalization of gay men and other sexual minorities in many countries handicap national HIV responses.
Examples of the impact of homophobia on responses to HIV, on HIV prevention, and on the care, support, and treatment of people living with HIV include the following:
- Because HIV has primarily affected gay men and other marginalized populations, governments have been, and continue to be, less committed to fighting the disease.
- Because many school systems remain reluctant to provide positive education about sexuality, young gay men are more vulnerable to contracting HIV.
- Because of a fear of being identified as gay, some people may not seek (or may not seek early enough) testing for HIV, or care, support and treatment for HIV-related illnesses.
Our work includes making recommendations to legislators, policy-makers, UN human rights bodies, and other stakeholders on how discrimination against gay men and other sexual minorities — including, but not limited to, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, intersex, and two-spirited people — could be decreased, and prevention and care efforts in the area of HIV improved.
The following blog post was written by Andrew Beckerman, a long-term HIV survivor and an active board member of the Legal Network since 2014. “I didn’t always believe in magic, but I am starting to believe. My epiphany came as a result of the inspiring and incredible work being done by the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal […]
November 15, 2016 — The Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network welcomes Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s announcement today to appoint a Special Advisor on LGBTQ2 issues who will work with Egale Canada Human Rights Trust and other stakeholders to address the urgent human rights and public health issues outlined in The Just Society Report.
By Maurice Tomlinson, Senior Policy Analyst, Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network October 24, 2016 How do you measure an event’s success? Is it the number of participants compared to previous events? Montego Bay Pride 2016, co-sponsored by the Legal Network, had over 244 participants — a 50% increase in participation from last year — with participants […]
By Maurice Tomlinson, Senior Policy Analyst, Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network August 16, 2016 When Caleb Orozco, whom I met at an Organization of American States General Assembly in Panama in 2007, decided to be the claimant in a challenge to the Belize anti-sodomy law, I was elated but a bit nervous for him. Belize is […]
The Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network applauds yesterday’s landmark decision from the Supreme Court of Belize, which overturned the country’s archaic law prohibiting “carnal intercourse against the order of nature,” setting a precedent for LGBTI human rights that we hope will ripple across the region.
When International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau took up her post in November 2015, she was tasked with leading Canada’s efforts to “provide humanitarian assistance to help reduce poverty and inequality in the world” and refocusing Canada’s development assistance “on helping the poorest and most vulnerable.” This renewed focus on marginalized communities must underlie the current […]
“The Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network welcomes this opportunity to provide our perspectives on the government’s priorities for establishing an international assistance policy and funding framework. When International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau took up her post in November 2015, she was tasked with leading Canada’s efforts to ‘provide humanitarian assistance to help reduce poverty and inequality in the world’ and […]
TORONTO, July 8, 2016 — The Jamaican Supreme Court on July 6 handed down its ruling on applications by nine religious groups and the Public Defender to be interested parties in a challenge by Jamaican lawyer Maurice Tomlinson to the country’s anti-sodomy law. All the groups except the Public Defender were allowed in the case with […]
Highlights of our work in Canada and around the world from April 1, 2015, to March 31, 2016.
By Maurice Tomlinson, Senior Policy Analyst, Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network June 15, 2016 On June 10, 2016, the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) delivered a landmark, but decidedly mixed, decision on the rights of LGBTI people. Three years ago, as a gay Jamaican citizen, and with the support of AIDS-Free World, I launched a challenge […]
May 17, 2016 The Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network applauds the federal government’s introduction today of Bill C-16, which will update the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code to recognize the rights of transgender people. As Canada’s leading organization working on human rights issues related to HIV, we have previously called for federal legislative […]
By Maurice Tomlinson, Senior Policy Analyst, Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network March 4, 2016 Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recently indicated that he will posthumously pardon George Klippert for engaging in consensual sodomy. Klippert’s 1965 conviction under the British imposed anti-gay law and his subsequent sentence as a sex offender led to a public outcry that […]
February 1, 2016 — Today the Jamaican Court of Appeal will begin hearing a landmark case brought forward by Jamaican attorney and human rights activist, Maurice Tomlinson. The case is challenging national television stations that refused to air a “tolerance ad” promoting respect for the human rights of LGBTI people. The original hearing set for July 22–24, 2015, […]
December 9, 2015 Please note, an abbreviated version of this commentary was published earlier today by The Jamaica Gleaner under the headline “Why the sodomy law must go“. On December 10, 2015, International Human Rights Day, a new constitutional challenge to the Jamaican anti-sodomy law is being launched in Kingston. This outdated holdover from the […]
Jamaican human rights activist Maurice Tomlinson has filed a claim in the Jamaican Supreme Court of Judicature, challenging the country’s laws criminalizing “buggery” and other consensual sex between men as violating numerous rights guaranteed in Jamaica’s constitution. This backgrounder answers some key questions related to this constitutional challenge. Related news release: Jamaican Gay Activist Launches Constitutional […]
TORONTO, December 9, 2015 — Jamaican human rights activist Maurice Tomlinson has filed a claim in the Supreme Court of Judicature, challenging the constitutionality of Jamaica’s laws criminalizing consensual sex between men. The legal challenge — which will be announced at a press conference tomorrow in Kingston, Jamaica — is being supported by the Canadian […]
December 4, 2015 Two separate, but related events supported by the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network took place in the Caribbean last week: Police LGBTI Sensitization Training in Antigua and Barbuda from November 24–27 and the launch of the Barbados Pride Committee in Barbados on November 28 and 29. The police training in Antigua was facilitated […]
Toronto, November 30, 2015 — In a briefing paper released to parliamentarians in advance of World AIDS Day (December 1), the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network is calling on the new federal government to take decisive steps to address the HIV epidemic, both in Canada and abroad. Laying out five key areas and recommending associated actions, […]
It is time for Canada to re-commit to the global project of ending HIV, including by basing our response on sound scientific evidence and fundamental human rights principles.
November 20, 2015 Today is the 17th International Transgender Day of Remembrance. Since 1999, this day has been an opportunity to raise public awareness of the ongoing violence experienced by trans people, and to honour the lives of those trans people murdered because of stigma and hate. It is an appalling global tragedy that, even in […]
Why the Caribbean? And why LGBTI human rights? As a region, the Caribbean has the second-highest HIV prevalence rate in the world, after sub-Saharan Africa. UNAIDS and regional and national agencies have identified homophobia as a factor contributing to this troubling statistic. In numerous countries, particularly the Commonwealth Caribbean, the criminalization of consensual same-sex relationships […]
“We, activists and representatives of the key populations affected by HIV and non-governmental organizations working in the field of combating the HIV epidemic in Eastern Europe and Central Asia (EECA) and other countries, with this open letter would like to express our concern in anticipation of your expected participation in the 5th Eastern Europe and […]
This is the first in a series of blog posts being published by the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network ahead of Election Day on October 19, 2015. Recently, we sent a questionnaire to the five major federal parties, asking their position on key questions related to HIV and human rights. Four out of five parties responded. […]
On October 19, 2015, Canada’s voters have an opportunity to decide what kind of government they want — one that has regard for evidence and upholds health and human rights for all, or one that perpetuates outmoded and ill-informed policies
October 1, 2015 On September 24 in Toronto, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) issues were front and centre on the campaign trail as the Dignity Initiative (co-founded by the Legal Network) co-hosted “Proud to Vote: LGBTQ Issues in the Federal Election.” September 24 also marked the launch of the Dignity Initiative’s Call to […]
In 2012, Jamaican human rights activists and AIDS-Free World produced “Love and Respect,” a short, 30-second video advertisement calling for respect for the basic human rights of Jamaican LGBTI people. However, television stations in Jamaica refused to air it as a paid advertisement. prompting this legal proceeding. Jamaican human rights activist, Maurice Tomlinson, is pursuing […]
The Abominable Crime, by Micah Fink Screening at AGO Jackman Hall, April 16, 2015, 7:30 p.m. REGISTRATION REQUIRED
“We, the undersigned non-governmental organizations and activists working for the promotion and protection of human rights and empowerment of all persons, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or intersex status, would like to express both disappointment and cautious optimism on the occasion of the adoption of the Political Declaration at the 59th […]
“We are deeply concerned about the continued criminalization of consensual sexual relationships between adult men in Jamaica and the stigmatization, marginalization and violence that it helps perpetuate. Our concern has intensified in recent years in light of a seeming surge in virulent expressions of hatred, up to and including mob assaults, torture and murder, directed […]
“We welcome your public statements as Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs condemning the adoption of anti‐LGBTQ laws in Russia, Nigeria and Uganda…. However, such statements are not enough…. We therefore call upon the Government of Canada to act, individually and in concert with other like‐minded governments, to defend the fundamental human rights of LGBTQ people. […]
This joint statement to the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, and to the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, was delivered on behalf of several intersex NGOs from around the world at the 25th session of the UN Human Rights Council.
“The following organizations, representing a broad cross section of civil society groups from across Canada, urge the Senate to pass Bill C-279, the Gender Identity Bill, as drafted and without delay, to ensure that the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Canadian Criminal Code protect the human rights of all people in Canada.”
“On behalf of the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, and our more than 100 members, I write to express our deep dismay at recent reports that you are planning to sign into law the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, 2009 that was passed by Parliament in December of last year.”
Judging the epidemic has been prepared as a resource to help judges, magistrates, arbitrators and other judicial officers throughout the world adjudicate cases involving HIV-related issues. This handbook may also be used by judicial trainers and ministries of justice to deliver educational programmes to judges and magistrates on legal issues related to HIV and human […]