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Activists from Sri Lanka,
Jamaica & Chile To Be Honored

Compiled by GayToday

Chilean activist Luis Gauthier will receive the Felipa Award posthumously from IGLHRC for his work to fight Chile's sodomy laws San Francisco, California--The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) will honor inspiring activists from Sri Lanka, Jamaica, and Chile at its 2001 Felipa Awards Ceremony on May 9, 2001, at the Lesbian & Gay Community Services Center in New York.

The Felipa Awards, now in their 7th year, recognize the outstanding contributions of activists around the world striving to defend the human rights of all those who are subject to discrimination because of their sexual orientation, gender identity or HIV status.

This year's awardees are Companions on a Journey (CJ) and its Women's Support Group (WSG) of Sri Lanka, and the Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays (J-FLAG). A posthumous award will honor the life and achievements of Chilean activist Luis Gauthier (1950-2000).

"After a strenuous selection process we are very excited to recognize the work of these sister organizations and activists who inspire our mission," stated Surina Khan, IGLHRC's Executive Director.

Companions on a Journey and its Women's Support Group work with and on behalf of people with alternative sexualities in Sri Lanka. Last year, when a virulent editorial letter to a well-known newspaper, The Island, advocated for unleashing a gang of convicted rapists on a national lesbian conference proposed by the Women Support Group, Sherman de Rose, a founder of CJ, filed a complaint over this letter to the Sri Lanka Press Council.

In May 2000, the Press Council issued a judgement rejecting the complaint, condemning lesbianism as sadistic and salacious, and fining Mr. de Rose.

The Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays (J-FLAG) has also experienced its share of media attacks and vituperations. J-FLAG strives in a hostile climate to build a society which guarantees the human rights and equality of lesbians, all-sexuals (bisexuals and others not easily classifiable) and gays.

The penal codes of both Sri Lanka and Jamaica penalize homosexual relations (sec. 365-365a and sec. 76-79 respectively). Activists in both countries are aiming to repeal these laws.

Related Stories from the GayToday Archive:

Raping Lesbians Upheld by Sri Lanka's Press Council

Jamaica: Lesbians & Gay Males Organize

MSMóDeath & the Erasure of Gay Identities

Related Sites:
International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission

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Luis Gauthier (1950-2000), a longtime Chilean activist for the rights of GLBT people and people living with HIV/AIDS, was a leader in the struggle against Chilean sodomy laws, finally repealed in 1999 after years of intense efforts by local activists. Mr. Gauthier's expansive work reached beyond Chile to cover regional and international issues and networks.

The Felipa Awards are named in honor of Felipa de Souza, a woman convicted and tortured in Brazil by the Portuguese Inquisition in 1591 for having sexual relationships with other women.

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