In a Stunning Turnaround, Ecuador Pledges to Close "Ex-Gay" Torture Clinics and Names Lesbian to Lead Ministry of Health
AllOut.org mobilized thousands in Latin America to spur unheard of “people-powered” victory
January 24, 2011
New York, NY—After hundreds of thousands signed petitions denouncing abusive gay “cure” clinics in Ecuador, and months of closed door negotiations between Ecuadorian human rights defenders and the Health Ministry, the Ecuadorian government just announced a commitment to investigate - and shut down where appropriate - clinics that purportedly work to “cure” people of their sexual orientation.
Global campaigns launched last fall by AllOut.org, Change.org and CredoAction rallied over 250,000 around in the world in support of demands by local activists that the Ecuadorian government take action against these often abusive, violent, and illegal “clinics.” Almost 65,000 signed AllOut.org’s letter to Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa, the only international campaign also run in Spanish and Portuguese, attracting thousands of signers from across Latin America. More on the campaign here:
The welcome news also dovetails with another encouraging announcement - the appointment of an out and open lesbian as Ecuador’s new Minister of Health by President Rafael Correa. AllOut.org has reason to be optimistic that the Ecuadorian government will follow through on its commitment : the new Health Minister, Carina Vance Mafla, led the charge for years against these quack “clinics” as a feminist and LGBT rights leader in Ecuador.
"Credit for this victory goes to the long-term on the ground work led by courageous LGBT and women’s rights activists in Ecuador, and to people around the world who helped elevate this national scandal to global prominence," said AllOut.org Co-Founder Andre Banks. "We are proud to share in this inspiring victory for LGBT equality, and extend our congratulations to Ecuador’s new Health Minister, whose commitment to the rights, respect and health of women and LGBT people is well known."
If you are a transgender person in Sweden wanting to change your legal gender, you are forced to undergo surgery that will render you permanently infertile and unable to have children in the future. That’s right: in 2012, Swedish law still mandates forced sterilization in order to do something as simple as changing the gender on your driver’s license.
Despite a massive push to repeal the law, including support from 90% of Swedish MPs, Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt has stayed silent on the issue: allowing one small conservative party to block the change.
Right now a reform of the law is being debated in Sweden. We need a massive show of support across Sweden and Europe that finally convinces PM Reinfeldt to speak out and break the deadlock. Will you take one minute to sign our urgent letter? RFSL, the Swedish federation for LGBT rights, will publicly deliver our signatures directly to the Prime Minister and demand that he intervene right now:
Forced sterilization has a long and frightening history in Sweden. Beginning with programs in the 1930s that tried to eliminate certain “undesirable” traits in society by forcing individuals to be sterilized, Sweden has long grappled with the painful history of stripping from citizens what we now consider to be a basic human right. Even Prime Minister Reinfeldt has publicly called sterilization law a "dark chapter in Swedish history".
Now he has a chance to close that chapter for good. A reform of the law is ready to be presented directly to the Parliament - where 90% of MPs are in favor of banning forced sterilization - but without a push from the Prime Minister, the conservative KRISTDEMOKRATERNA party will use its seat in the government to block the change.
We know he is on our side: whether you are straight, gay, lesbian, bi or trans, will you take a moment to raise your voice and ask Prime Minister Reinfeldt to take a stand for human rights?
Our friends at RFSL, the Swedish LGBT Federation, will deliver your signatures directly to the Prime Minister’s office.