Tutu's daughter marries girlfriend

  • by Heather Cassell
  • Wednesday January 6, 2016
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The Reverend Mpho Tutu, left, married her partner, Professor Marceline van Furth, in the Netherlands on December 31. Photo: <a href="http://www.sapeople.com">http://www.sapeople.com</a>
The Reverend Mpho Tutu, left, married her partner, Professor Marceline van Furth, in the Netherlands on December 31. Photo: http://www.sapeople.com

The Reverend Mpho Tutu, the daughter of retired Archbishop Desmond Tutu, married her partner, Professor Marceline van Furth, December 31 in a small private civil ceremony in South Holland in the Netherlands.

The couple is planning a larger wedding ceremony in Cape Town in May.

This is the second marriage for both Furth and Tutu. Tutu was previously married to Joseph Burris. The couple has two children. Information about Furth's previous marriage was unavailable.

Mpho Tutu is the youngest daughter of Desmond Tutu, the well-known human rights activist who was the first black archbishop of Cape Town, South Africa and is a staunch supporter of LGBT rights.

Mpho Tutu recently presided over her parents' renewal of their vows after 60 years of marriage.

"The couple are very grateful to their families and friends for their love and support," the Tutu family wrote in a statement to the media.

Mpho Tutu is the executive director of both the Tutu Institute for Prayer and Pilgrimage and the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation.

Furth holds the Desmond Tutu chair in medicine at Vrije University in Amsterdam in the area of pediatric infectious diseases. She is also a South African HIV/AIDS activist and an advocate who campaigns on behalf of the impoverished, against homophobia and transphobia, and racism and sexism, according to media reports.


UK MP calls for genderless IDs

A member of the parliament in the United Kingdom last week called for the removal of gender markers from all government identification documentation.

The move is part of a proposal to revise the UK's current requirements that transgender people undergo to qualify for gender recognition certification.

Currently, the UK requires individuals who desire to change their gender to go through a complicated process. The process includes a mental health evaluation and diagnosis with gender dysphoria, divorce, sterilization, and to go before a judge to legally change their identification documents as a part of the process to qualify for gender reassignment surgery.

Conservative MP Maria Miller, who chairs the women and equalities select committee, called for the government to remove gender on IDs during an interview with the Sunday Times. She claims that the gender demarcation "creates an unconscious bias" in all aspects of life from education to employment.

She believes that government and society should seek ways to "strip back" on the gender talk, reserving it for only moments when it's necessary because it creates an "unconscious bias."

Furthermore, she wants the UK to be more progressive regarding transgender rights and follow Ireland and other countries' lead taking a self-determination model.

Miller's statements follow information by the National Health Service England during the committee's inquiry about transgender issues. The NHS England reported to the committee that it receives an estimated 4,500 referrals to gender identity annually, including an increasing number of the referrals that are made by children, according to media reports.

She questioned the use of having gender markers on government-issued identification and state and other applications, calling gender "not relevant."

"We need to understand that gender stereotyping can be as damaging for men as it can be for women," said Miller.

The committee is set to release an in-depth report on the state of transgender issues in the UK sometime this month.

Last year, Nicky Morgan, the minister of women and equalities, indicated that members of parliament would be open to a discussion about individuals declaring their gender, reported the Telegraph .

Miller, who formerly was the culture secretary, is expected to recommend simplifying the application process for transgender individuals to change their gender legally.

Support for the move is growing, with a petition that has garnered nearly 35,000 signatures.

If the proposal is successful the UK will join Argentina, Colombia, Denmark, Ireland, and Malta, allowing transgender individuals to legally self-determine their gender.


Family protests release of confessed killer in Brazil

Nearly 100 protesters, including families and friends of the late Brenda Lee, took to the city center in Pelotas, Brazil December 28, wearing T-shirts emblazoned with the face of the slain woman's face and carrying banners calling for her alleged murder's punishment.

"We are protesting here, demanding justice," said Carmen Lucia, Lee's aunt, angry about the release of the suspect, reported Planet Transgender. "She did not deserve what she went through. She was an honest, dignified person and this happened? And the bad guy is out loose?"

Lee, 46, was found murdered in her home December 16.

She had been out clubbing the night before and had a man in her room, her mother told Gaucha.

An unidentified 21-year-old man was arrested in a town near the Uruguay border on suspicion of her murder a week later.

Gaucha reported that during his detainment he confessed to murdering Lee and stealing her car in a statement to police. However, five days later a judge declared the man didn't pose a risk to society and released him after completing his temporary detention at the Pelotas Regional Prison.

Lee was killed just before she was to attend her graduation ceremony to receive her degree in psychology from the Catholic University of Pelotas.

Her death marked the 107th homicide in 2015, reported the newspaper.

Between 2008 and 2014, 604 murders of transgender women have been recorded in Brazil, according to Transgender Europe, which keeps track of transgender murders around the world. The report released by TGEU on November 20, Transgender Day of Remembrance, showed that a transgender individual is murdered every four days, however, confessed murderers are released because authorities deem that they "pose no risk to society."

Unfortunately, there's a lack of media coverage that is compounded by a lack of reporting of violence against transgender individuals in Brazil, according to Cris Stefanny, president of the National Association of Transvestites and Transsexuals of Brazil, reported Planet Transgender.


"Much of the trans women and transvestites do not have access to information and to the media," said Stefanny. "And they do not report."


China disses LGBTs in country's first-ever domestic violence bill

LGBT individuals weren't included in China's landmark domestic violence bill, which passed December 27.

For the first time ever, domestic issues won't be treated as a "private matter" with married and unmarried heterosexual couples, but it excludes same-sex couples in China.

The new law defines domestic violence as physical, psychological, and other harm inflicted by family members including assault, forced imprisonment, and repeated attacks (physical and verbal).

Additionally, the law streamlines obtaining restraining orders.


LGBT Estonia couples told to wait before registering civil unions

Civil Unions became official for LGBT couples January 1, however the Estonian Chamber of Notaries is requesting same-sex couples wait before registering their relationships.

Estonia became the first former Soviet state to recognize same-sex unions in October 2014.

Members of the chamber cited that parliament has yet to adopt laws required to implement the registry. They state that there are "legal uncertainties pertaining to divorce, inheritance and other practical matters," reported the Associated Press.

The law does provide many of the same rights as married couples â€" regardless of gender â€" including financial, health and social benefits, and legal protection of children. It stops short of giving full adoption rights to couples in civil unions, but it allows second-parent adoption of biological children of the other partner.

Yet, there appears to be legal confusion. Members of the chamber are requesting that the laws be clarified before same-sex couples register their relationships.


Got international LGBT news tips? Call or send them to Heather Cassell at 00+1-415-221-3541, Skype: heather.cassell, or oitwnews@gmail.com.