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Judge Blasts Hawai’i Juvenile Detention Facility for Pervasive Harassment of Gay and Transgender Youth (2/8/2006)
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Issues Findings in ACLU Federal Lawsuit on Youths’ Behalf
HONOLULU – In the first case in the country to specifically address the treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth in juvenile facilities, a federal judge has agreed with the American Civil Liberties Union that conditions at the Hawai’i Youth Correctional Facility (HYCF) are dangerous, that harassment is pervasive, and that the facility is “in a state of chaos.”
The ruling came in response to a federal civil rights lawsuit the ACLU filed in September on behalf of three young people who say they’ve been abused and harassed because of their sexual orientation and gender identity while at the facility. The judge is expected to issue specific instructions on what steps HYCF must take to address the problems at the facility within the next two weeks.
“While the conditions at HYCF are particularly bad, this should serve as a wake-up call to the juvenile justice system throughout the U.S.,” said Tamara Lange, a staff attorney with the ACLU’s national Lesbian and Gay Rights Project. “Citizens entrust the government to protect our most troubled youth and teach them how to be productive citizens, and this facility has failed miserably at providing even the most basic guarantee of safety for these vulnerable young people.”
In his 77-page order, U.S. District Judge J. Michael Seabright blasted HYCF officials for allowing such incidents as the following to take place:
*Staff routinely call LGBT youth slurs like “fag,” “butchie,” “fruitcake,” “fucking little bitches,” and “fucking cunts.”The Hawai’i Youth Correctional Facility (HYCF) is one of two facilities is the state where minors who have had trouble with the law are sent primarily for rehabilitation. The court made preliminary findings that paint a picture of a punitive, terrifying atmosphere for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth at the facility. Citing an extensive list of shocking incidents, the judge found that officials at the Hawai’i Office of Youth Services and HYCF ignored and sometimes even participated in an atmosphere of anti-gay harassment, humiliation, and fear for youth in the facility, despite repeated pleas by doctors and psychologists who were concerned about the wards’ safety and well-being.
“We’re certainly pleased that the judge understood just how hazardous the conditions at HYCF are for the young people in its care,” said Lois Perrin, Legal Director of the ACLU of Hawai’i. “This ruling clears the way for what we hope will be tremendous, desperately-needed changes in Hawai’i’s juvenile justice system.”
Representing a 17-year-old male-to-female transgender girl, an 18-year-old lesbian, and an 18-year-old boy perceived to be gay, the ACLU claims that the young people are being singled out for mistreatment by staff because of their sexual orientation and gender identity and that the facility failed to adequately protect them.
The ACLU of Hawai’i has long been involved in efforts to improve conditions at HYCF. In 2003, the ACLU issued a 34-page report detailing systemic problems at the facility. A year later, the U.S. Department of Justice also launched an investigation into conditions, policies, and practices at HYCF, and on August 4, 2005, released its findings. Like the ACLU, the Department of Justice found widespread violations of the Constitutional rights of juveniles in the facility.
Recognizing that youth often face anti-LGBT harassment and abuse in foster care and out-of-home care, including in juvenile detention and correctional facilities, the Child Welfare League of America will soon publish best practices guidelines for working with LGBT youth in child welfare and juvenile justice systems.
The ACLU of Hawai’i is working with the national ACLU Lesbian and Gay Rights Project in handling the case, with assistance from Paul Alston and Mei-Fei Kuo of Alston Hunt Floyd & Ing and Angela Padilla, Matthew Hall, Derik Fettig, Maya Hoffman, and Natalie Naugle of Morrison & Foerster LLP.
The judge’s order, other legal documents, and additional information on the case, R.G., et al. v. Koller, et al. can be viewed online at:
Pregnancy may force rethink on female heirs for Japan throne
Justin McCurry in Tokyo
Thursday February 9, 2006
Junichiro Koizumi, Japan's prime minister, yesterday appeared close to abandoning plans to alter the imperial succession law, a day after it was revealed that Princess Kiko, the wife of the second in line to the throne, was pregnant.
On Monday Mr Koizumi had repeated his determination to revise, by mid-June, a 1947 law banning females from ascending the Chrysanthemum throne. Yesterday he admitted that public opinion was now split and that more time was needed to discuss the proposed change.
"I want to proceed cautiously so as not to make this a political tool. It would be better for the bill to revise the imperial household law to be enacted after cautious discussions and in a manner that convinces everybody that this is a desirable revision," he said.
The news that Kiko, 39, is six weeks pregnant will embolden conservative politicians and academics who are determined to derail the plan, a key constitutional reform of Mr Koizumi's administration. Kiko's baby is due in September, the same month Mr Koizumi is expected to step down as prime minister.
If the baby is a boy, he will solve a succession crisis triggered by the dearth of male heirs. He would be third in line to the throne after his uncle, Crown Prince Naruhito, and his father, Prince Akishino. But if there is a girl, who would be the couple's third, Japan will again have to face up to an imperial crisis.
No boys have been born into the imperial family since Akishino in 1965, and the public has shown little enthusiasm for alternative suggestions, such as finding a male among the descendants of aristocrats who lost their titles at the end of the second world war.
If the legislation is passed Princess Aiko, Naruhito's four-year-old daughter, could become Japan's first reigning empress since the 18th century.
Hopes that Naruhito, 45, and his wife, Princess Masako, would give Japan a male heir were dashed when she gave birth to Aiko in December 2001. The prospect of the couple having a second child receded when Masako, 42, a former diplomat, became ill with depression thought to have been brought on in part by pressure to have a son.
Although Japan has had eight reigning empresses, none passed the throne on to her offspring and each reigned only temporarily until a male heir was old enough to take over.
Last year a panel of officials concluded that the government should alter the 1947 law banning women from the throne to allow Aiko to take the crown. Her children could then assure the family's survival.
A majority of Japanese back Mr Koizumi's plans, but support has declined since MPs and academics this month stepped up their campaign to preserve the male line. A poll this week showed that although 63% were in favour of the idea of a reigning empress, opposition has risen from 15% to 21% since November.
Koizumi hints at U-turn on succession
By Colin Joyce in Tokyo
Japan's prime minister signalled a possible about-turn yesterday on plans to amend the laws of succession to allow an empress to reign.
Junichiro Koizumi had said only the day before that he intended to bring a Bill before parliament in the summer.
But his commitment to the law appears to have been shaken by the announcement that Princess Kiko, the wife of Emperor Akihito's younger son, is pregnant. Momentum for reform has been gathering pace for the past five years but has been driven largely by the lack of a male heir.
Now, with Princess Kiko possibly to give birth to a boy, conservatives opposed to reform have been handed an ideal argument for postponing the measure.
Mr Koizumi has been a consistent supporter of a reigning empress. He appointed a panel that recommended last year that the best way to secure the succession was to allow the women of the imperial family to inherit the throne. However, yesterday he suggested that the Bill may have to wait.
Pregnant princess could cloud debate on Japanese succession
By Colin Joyce in Tokyo
The people of Japan were astonished to learn yesterday that Princess Kiko is expecting a baby, throwing into turmoil a campaign to allow women to ascend the Chrysanthemum throne.
The nine babies born into the imperial family in the past 40 years have each been girls, leaving the country without a male heir beyond the next generation.
Princess Kiko, 39, is the wife of 40-year-old Prince Akishino, the younger son of Emperor Akihito and second in line to the throne.
Under Japan's current laws, a son born to the couple would enter the line of succession behind his uncle, Crown Prince Naruhito, and his father.
Few Japanese considered there was any prospect of a son being born to either prince. The crown prince and his wife, 42-year-old Princess Masako, have only one daughter Princess Aiko, four, after 12 years of marriage. Princess Kiko has two daughters but the younger of them was born in 1994.
Parliament burst into applause when the news was announced. But the unexpected development will complicate a passionate debate over plans to end the ban on a reigning empress.
However, Junichiro Koizumi, the prime minister, said he would push ahead with submitting a Bill to parliament this year to pave the way for Princess Aiko to succeed.
MP's warning over 'blue-eyed foreigner' on Japanese throne
By Colin Joyce in Tokyo
A senior Japanese politician has attacked plans to allow a reigning empress in case the child of "a blue-eyed foreigner" succeeds to the ancient Chrysanthemum Throne.
The remark by an MP and former trade minister, Takeo Hiranuma, highlighted the way conservatives see the emperor as head of the Japanese race and equate national vigour with racial purity.
The government wants to change the law to allow Princess Aiko, the four-year-old granddaughter of Emperor Akihito, to become second in line to the throne.
Polls show overwhelming support for the plan. But determined opposition has emerged, centred on Prince Tomohito, the emperor's cousin and diehard conservatives in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party.
"If Aiko becomes the reigning empress, and gets involved with a blue-eyed foreigner while studying abroad and marries him, their child may be the emperor. We should never let that happen," Mr Hiranuma said in Tokyo.
Conservatives are particularly hostile to proposals to allow matrilineal succession, which they view as a breach of a 2,000-year-old tradition.
Though Japan has had eight reigning empresses, they were widows or unmarried and served as regents until the throne could revert to a son born through the male line.
Traditionalists believe that holy blood, transmitted from son to son over 125 generations of emperors, is central to the well-being of Japan.
However, all nine children born into the imperial family for 40 years have been girls. Even Japanese in favour of reform are aware that finding a suitable spouse for a future Empress Aiko will be tricky.
Japan has no titled aristocracy and the neutrality of the imperial family means it may be difficult for her to marry the son of a political or business family.
Japan princess's pregnancy renews chance for male heir
An Israel man waves the Israeli and rainbow flags during a gay pride parade in the centre of Jerusalem, June 30, 2005. An ultra-Orthodox Jew who stabbed and wounded three marchers in a Jerusalem gay pride parade last summer was sentenced on Wednesday to 12 years in prison after being convicted of attempted murder. (Gil Cohen/Reuters)
Ultra-Orthodox Jew jailed in Israel gay pride case
Wed Feb 8, 4:41 AM ET
An ultra-Orthodox Jew who stabbed and wounded three marchers in a Jerusalem gay pride parade last summer was sentenced on Wednesday to 12 years in prison after being convicted of attempted murder.
Ishai Schlussel told police he was on a mission from God to stop what he described as the abomination of homosexuals and lesbians marching through the holy city, Israeli media reports said.
Calling Schlussel a fanatic, the court said in its verdict that he had carried out the attack aware that he might have to pay a heavy personal price for his crime.
Authorities in Jerusalem, a city holy to Muslims, Christians and Jews, had tried to ban the parade for fear it could provoke violence, but they were overruled by Israel's High Court.
Thousands took part in the procession last June, dancing and waving through the center of the city. At the entrance to Jerusalem, protesters had erected a banner that read "Welcome to Sodom."
A spokeswoman for the parade's organizers said the 12-year sentence handed down by the Jerusalem District Court was a victory for freedom of expression and equality for the gay community in Israel.
Israeli policemen arrest Yishai Schlisel during Jerusalem's annual gay parade, in June 2005. An ultra-Orthodox Jew who stabbed three people during a gay pride parade in Jerusalem last summer was sentenced to 12 years in prison for attempted murder(AFP/File/Gali Tibbon)
Ultra-Orthodox Jew jailed for gay pride stabbings
Wed Feb 8, 8:17 AM ET
An ultra-Orthodox Jew who stabbed three people during a gay pride parade in Jerusalem last summer was sentenced to 12 years in prison for attempted murder.
Yishai Schlisel told police immediately after his arrest that "I have come to kill in the name of God" for what he considered as the abomination of homosexuals and lesbians walking through the streets of the holy city.
One man was seriously injured and two women were lightly hurt when Yishai began indiscriminately stabbing marchers in the parade that crossed through the centre of Jerusalem.
On Tuesday the Jerusalem district court called Schlisel "a fanatic" after he was convicted last week.
The court also ordered Schlisel to pay 150,000 Israeli shekels (30,000 US dollars) compensation to the victims.
The holding of the gay pride parade in Jerusalem sparked fierce controversy in Israel.
Jerusalem's municipality, headed by ultra-Orthodox mayor Uri Lupoliansky, initially refused to authorize the parade, terming it a "provocation." It was forced to backtrack after the event received clearance from the supreme court.
In 1988, Israel lawmakers recognized the rights of gay couples, despite the opposition of religious camps in the country.
「わいせつ」と音声カット NFL、ストーンズが批判 (共同 2006/02/08)
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