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Porn, Privacy and the HIPAA

By Michael Fattorosi

How can an industry that bears all to its consumers ever consider privacy to be a hot topic? The story of the possible infection spread rapidly throughout the community and even into mainstream press. I was personally contacted by Los Angeles's Tribune affiliate KTLA for a quote after the reporters there picked up the story from the Los Angeles Times.

As I write this article, what did not make it into the press were the actual identities of the performers infected or exposed in this most recent outbreak.

Dr. Sharon Mitchell, director of the AIM Healthcare Foundation, declined to make the identities of those performers known, citing confidentiality issues.

What Mitchell was referring to was a rather unknown law within the industry, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). Within HIPAA are confidentiality provisions of the Patient Safety Rule that prevent, in certain circumstances, the public disclosure of private healthcare information of a patient by a medical provider, health plan and health care clearing houses.

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Gender Advocates Keep a Close Eye on Climate Talks

By Lynette Lee Corporal

BANGKOK, Sep 29 (IPS) - After nine months of a rollercoaster ride pushing for a gender perspective on climate change, advocates are finally beginning to reap the fruits of their labour.

Amid dire predictions from various quarters that they will not make much of an impact on the Copenhagen Climate Change Summit scheduled for Dec. 7 to 18, representatives of the Global Gender Climate Alliance (GGCA) are nonetheless keeping their hopes high that their hard work in the last several months will pay off.

GGCA is a network of non-governmental and intergovernmental organisations as well as United Nations agencies working to ensure that climate change policies at the global, regional and national levels are gender-responsive.

Already the Alliance is watching closely the ongoing talks at the second to the last round of climate change negotiations before the December summit — otherwise known as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference of Parties (COP) 15 — which are currently underway in the Thai capital.

The Bangkok climate change conference, which opened Monday and will conclude on until Oct 9., is being attended by some 4,000 delegates from 177 countries. The last round will be held in Barcelona, Spain on Nov. 2-6.

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Japanese Women: ‘We Want Greater Gender Equality’

By Mutsuko Murakami

TOKYO, Sep 29 (IPS) - "I hope to see a society where women can comfortably work and raise a family … at the same time."

University student Eri Ochiai’s words may well echo the sentiment of many a Japanese woman, hopeful for a change that has eluded them for many years under the previous administration.

When Ochiai, 20, trooped to the polls for the first time in late August, she was resolute to give her vote to her district’s female candidate, who had pledged "to improve the social environments for women."

Ochiai’s optimism resonates with many women in Japan.

"The Japanese voters have greater expectations of women than before," said Yoriko Madoka, a member of the House of Councilors (the upper house of Japan’s National Diet) since l992. The women in parliament will bring changes to Japanese politics, added the acknowledged gender advocate within the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ).

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Decriminalisation of Homosexuality is Not "Some Kind of Democracy"

New UN Assembly President Treki's Statements on LGBTI Rights and Decriminalisation of Homosexuality is Not "Some Kind of Democracy"

ILGA is deeply worried and outraged by UN Assembly new President Ali Abdussalam Treki's failure to consider the protection of the life and safety of lesbians, gay men, trans, intersex and bisexual people all over the world a matter of human rights.

In an interview prior to his first address to the UN Assembly in his new role, Mr Treki declared himself to be "not in favour at all" with reference to the Statement in favour of the decriminalisation of homosexuality signed by 66 Countries and read by the Argentinian representative last December at the General Assembly in New York.

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Is the Women’s Cause in Jordan a Lost One?

Written by Abdullah Omar(Media Line)

Women say discrimination and barriers still abound despite major reforms.

[Amman, Jordan] Pleading to be re-united with her six-year-old daughter, Afaf could not help her tears from flowing down the thick layers of make-up covering her face.
  The 23-year-old woman divorced her abusive husband after three years of marriage, taking advantage of some rare legislation that empowers women in this male dominated society and allows them to divorce their husbands.

"My family turned against me after I filed for divorce. Police were even supportive of my husband when I spoke out against him," Afaf told The Media Line.  Uneducated, married at the age of sixteen and divorced at nineteen, Afaf turned to prostitution.

"My husband used to beat me unconscious. He used to imprison me at home and if I complained to my family, they would tell me he is your husband and you must be patient," added Afaf, who lost custody of her daughter after the lawsuit against her husband.

Afaf said she tried to do many jobs, but was unable to keep one.

"When you take a decision to divorce your husband, the whole society stands against you," said Afaf, who has not seen her daughter for over a year.

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American Labor Movement Calls for Full Inclusion of LGBT Workers

AFL-CIO Convention Passes Historic Resolution on Diversity



PITTSBURGH, PA -- If there were any doubts that the American labor movement stands strongly in favor of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender ( LGBT ) rights, they were set to rest the minute former United Mine Workers president Richard L. Trumka took the podium last Wednesday as the newly elected President of the AFL-CIO. Speaking at the labor federation's quadrennial national convention, the feisty third-generation coal miner issued a clear call for the full inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender voices in the labor movement and American life.

"What does labor want?" Trumka asked the 3,000 elected delegates and guests gathered in Pittsburgh's David L. Lawrence Convention Center. "We want a nation where it doesn't matter what the color of your skin is...or what sex or religion you are...or whether you're gay or straight or what country your family's from because here, in America, we believe everyone ought to have their chance to step into the winner's circle."


Trumka's election, along with the selection of 39 year old Liz Shuler as the AFL-CIO's new Secretary-Treasurer and the return of Arlene Holt Baker as the labor federation's Executive Vice President, capped a week that LGBT activists called historic. Delegates to the convention, elected to represent 11.5 million members across the country, repeatedly included issues of concern to the LGBT community during debates and speeches, including marriage equality and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act ( ENDA ) . President Barack Obama, Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis and Caroline Kennedy were among the guest speakers at the convention, which marked a high point in the labor movement's commitment to LGBT equality.

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Uganda women seek gender recovery plan

By Wambi Michael

KAMPALA, Sep 26 (IPS) - After two decades of war during which thousands of children were used as child soldiers and many women raped, Northern Uganda’s recovery plan is to be spent on building roads rather than helping the country’s most vulnerable.

Civil society and women parliamentarians are not happy with the government and donors, as there are no concrete measures to meet gender-related concerns over the recovery plan for Northern Uganda.

The over 600 million dollar Peace, Recovery and Development Plan (PRDP) – of which was 70 percent sponsored by donors and the remained by the Ugandan government – was designed to stabilise and bridge the economic disparities between Northern Uganda and the rest of the country.

Most of the money, to be spent over three years, is to be used to construct feeder roads and infrastructure destroyed during the war.

And while roads were needed, the needs of the women also needed to be met, said Oyam District Member of Parliament, Amongi Beatrice Lagada. "The women took on so many burdens during the war. So unless we recognise those gender roles we shall not restore the gender perspectives which were there before," she said.

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EL SALVADOR: Anti-Gay Reform Fails in Congress

By Edgardo Ayala

SAN SALVADOR, Sep 25 (IPS) - Constitutional reforms that would ban same-sex couples from marrying and adopting children in El Salvador failed to obtain the required number of votes in Congress.

The proposed amendments were backed by right-wing parties in Congress, but opposed by the governing leftwing Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN).

During the weeks running up to the vote on Thursday, Catholic and evangelical churches in El Salvador joined forces with rightwing parties to try to push through the constitutional reforms.

Hundreds of Catholics and evangelicals carrying placards with messages like "Marriage is Sacred, Let's Defend It" marched through the streets of San Salvador on Saturday, Sept. 19 in support of the rightwing opposition bloc in parliament and to press the FMLN to ratify changes to three articles of the constitution.

The church groups held a permanent "prayer chain" and organised more street demonstrations early this week, in the hope that the reforms would be approved in the legislative vote on Thursday, Sept. 24.

Supporters of the reforms said they were defending public morality and the foundations of the family.

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UN and partners open new front in war on sexual violence against girls

25 September 2009The United Nations joined with other partners today to launch a new initiative in the fight against sexual violence against girls, a scourge which affects 150 million victims in a given year and contributes to the spread of HIV and AIDS.

The programme seeks to provide funding to expand surveillance of sexual violence against girls in developing and emerging countries, develop a technical package of interventions for implementation at a country level to reduce the incidence of such abuse, and launch a major media campaign to motivate social and behavioural change.

“These three intervention strategies are pillars of what is expected to emerge as a global movement to address this devastating human injustice and public health problem,” the partners said in a joint news release.

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Move to take domestic violence cases out of religious courts in Lebanon

BEIRUT, 23 September 2009 (IRIN) - As lawmakers struggle to form a government three months after Lebanon's parliamentary elections, women's rights activists await the opening of parliament to debate a new bill on domestic violence.

Ghida Anani, programme coordinator of KAFA, a Lebanese organization campaigning against violence and the exploitation of women, estimates that as many as three-quarters of all Lebanese women have suffered physical abuse at the hands of husbands or male relatives at some point in their lives.

In Lebanon's multi-confessional democratic system, cases of domestic violence are ruled on in one the country's 15 religious courts, or family courts, whose laws date back to the Ottoman era and which campaigners say almost always favour men over women.

The new bill proposes to take domestic violence out of the religious courts and into the civil system and will cut across confessional lines, giving both Muslim and Christian women equal rights under the law, and, say campaigners, will be a key step towards equality between men and women.

"The family courts don't treat men and women equally," said Nadya Khalife, a researcher on women's rights in the Middle East and North Africa at NGO Human Rights Watch (HRW). "The law is a step in the right direction, but we still have far to go before we have equality in Lebanon."

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