Posts Tagged ‘hate crime’

Lend Your Voice–Help STOP “Corrective Rape” in South Africa

I’m going to South Africa in a couple of weeks, and will be blessed with amazing opportunities to experience some of the best safari experiences I can imagine while traveling around–it is a ridiculous and amazing part of my job that something like this is “work” and I am extraordinarily lucky and excited. What does not excite me, about South Africa, is this horrific example of misunderstanding, ignorance, and brutality that is not being appropriately addressed. “Corrective Rape” is when a male rapes a lesbian with the intention of “turning her” heterosexual…and it happens in South African townships more than you would believe. Women are brutalized and beaten, tortured, assaulted, sometimes murdered, all in a woefully wrongheaded attempt to condone power imbalance and “normalcy.” Men who are caught and prosecuted are released on criminally low bail, and justice is NOT served.

According to activist organization Lulekwi Sizwe, in the last 10 years:
*31 lesbian women have been murdered because of their sexuality
*More than 10 lesbians a week are raped or gang raped in Cape Town alone
*150 women are raped every day in South Africa
*For every 25 men accused of rape in South Africa, 24 walk free

Please join in advocating for the implementation of hate crime laws and appropriate penalties–the system, through inaction, cannot continue to condone or even tolerate this human rights violation. South Africa has one of the world’s newest (since the abolition of apartheid) and most progressive constitutions anywhere–and this turning a blind eye to such abomination is not in any way aligned with the magnificence of that nation. has posed an online petition for international concerned citizens to put pressure on the government of South Africa. Sign here and pass the word on to the people you know. Pressure from the international community can be a powerful tool. Please help.


Tel Aviv Tragedy

peace-flagIf you haven’t heard, there was a tragic event in Tel Aviv over the weekend when a masked gunman entered a basement meeting space where a support group for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and questioning teens was taking place, and opened fire. The young adult counselor and one teen were killed and at least eleven others were injured. One more teen has since passed, bringing the death toll from this hate crime to three. One more is in serious/threatened condition in the hospital.

Your politics or personal comfort with diversity don’t matter—these were children, already frightened by societal pressures and seeking refuge in this “safe space” where unspeakable violence took their lives.

To make a donation in support of the center, The Agudah, which also does incredible work on behalf of the LGBT communities both Israeli and Palestinian, international donors can make tax-free contributions through Washington DC here: (be sure to indicate clearly that your donation is for The Agudah)


The Agudah
is a volunteer-based non-profit organization serving the LGBT community in Israel, and the organization that operates the Tel Aviv LGBT youth center that was victimized by the shooting on August 1, 2009 that killed three and wounded at least ten others.

The Agudah is the only national GLBT organization in the Middle East.

International Donors: Tax-deductible donations to the Agudah may be sent via the

The New Israel Fund
1101 14th Street, NW #600
Washington, DC 20o05

The First Funder: LGBT Rights In Israel
The New Israel Fund’s LGBT Fund aims to achieve full equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Israelis, to empower the LGBT community, and to educate Israeli society toward greater social acceptance.  The New Israel Fund was the first funder of Agudah, the organization that operates the youth center victimized by the shooting on Saturday, and donor-advised donations to Agudah continue to be directed through NIF.

In the 1980s, NIF became the first organization to seed and support civil rights organizations that have since achieved landmark legislation ensuring rights for LGBT individuals and couples, including the rights to adoption, equal pensions, inheritance, insurance and tax benefits. Thanks to the NIF family of organizations, Israel also recognizes gay marriages performed elsewhere.

Our current grantees include:
* Association for Civil Rights in Israel—ACRI’s lawyers, many of whom were trained in NIF’s Law Fellows Program, have been leading the struggle to ensure equal rights for gays and lesbians through litigation before the Supreme Court and Labor Court, advocating for legislation, testifying before Knesset committees, providing legal advice to attorneys and organizations on LGBT issues, and conducting educational and outreach programs.
* New Family focuses on the fundamental right of every Israeli citizen to establish non-traditional families. New Family performs civil marriage ceremonies, provides legal advice, advocacy, and public education (in Hebrew, Russian, and Arabic); is petitioning the High Court in the domain of biotechnology and the family; and is publishing a children’s book explaining how children are conceived using donor sperm.
* Al Qaws: Gender and Sexuality in Palestinian Society —This national organization, which is striving to lead the development of the LGBT Palestinian community both in Israel and the Palestinian Authority, provides support and information, defends the rights of the community’s members and raises awareness of sexual and gender diversity within Palestinian society.
* Aswat is a Palestinian lesbian organization, one of very few in the Arab world, which works to create a safe and anonymous space for lesbians, to promote their rights and to struggle against homophobia in the Arab community in Israel and the Occupied Territories.
* Jerusalem Open House, one of Israel’s best-known LGBT groups and the leading organization supporting the annual Jerusalem parade, received its first funding from NIF in 1997.  JOH is now running an LGBT Health Awareness Campaign which involves a new health Web site in Hebrew, Arabic, and English, outreach to the Arab sector, services provided by a medical adviser and a health coordinator, a PR campaign, and the opening of Israel’s first LGBT health clinic to offer free and anonymous HIV testing.
* Israel AIDS Task Force is also running a Right to Health Project which educates thousands of youths about HIV, including high-risk groups such as Ethiopian and Caucasus immigrants and foreign workers.
* SHATIL, NIF’s Training and Empowerment Center provides capacity building services to many LGBT groups, including some that it has helped build from volunteer-based beginnings to full-fledged, professionally-run NGO’s.