Internettets centralorganisation diskriminerer – LGBT Danmark klager

ICANN er den internationale organisation, der administrerer tildelingen af topdomæner på internettet, dvs. den sidste del af en webadresse, fx “.dk” eller “.com”. Nutildags er der vide grænser for, hvad der kan godkendes som topdomæne. En gruppering – et community – kan søge at få et topdomæne anerkendt som community domæne. En organisation har søgt at få “.gay” anerkendt som community domæne, men er blevet afvist af ICANN.

Når man kigger afgørelsen efter i sømmene, ser man, at denne ansøgning er afvist med vikarierende argumenter og på en måde, som andre tilsvarende ansøgninger ikke er blevet afvist. Dette fremgår blandt andet af en vurdering fra Europarådet og af en grundig juridisk analyse af en internationalt anerkendt juraprofessor, William Eskeridge.

ICANN holder stor konference i København i disse dage, og derfor benytter LGBT Danmark lejligheden til at påtale denne diskrimination overfor bestyrelsen: (brev i pdf-format: 20170314_LGBT_Denmark_to_ICANN_Board)


Dear ICANN Board Members,

February 14, 2017

LGBT Denmark, the Danish National Organisation for Gay Men, Lesbians, Bisexuals and Transgender persons, is an NGO working with gender identity and sexual orientation. Founded in 1948, LGBT Denmark is one of the oldest existing LGBT organisations. Since 2006, LGBT Denmark has maintained consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), one of only several NGOs in the area of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Our community is diverse with numerous identities being identified including e.g. gay men, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people i.e. the identities designated by L, G, B and T in LGBT. As is well known many other identities are identified and the acronym continuously expands. Common to all these identities is, that we are people who are not both cisgender and heterosexual – we are the non-cishetero.

Our identities evolved all over the world, typically with different identification processes and emancipation history. With the Internet a truly global and diverse community has formed. This does not mean, that everyone adhere to the community. There are many people whose behaviour or attitude makes them qualify to be members of the community yet they do not themselves identify as members. There is a reason why HIV campaigns typically addresses men having sex with men, MSM, because not all MSM identify as e.g. gay men or bisexuals. This, of course, does not imply, that the community does not exist.

In asylum law people persecuted because of their gender identity, gender expression or sexual orientation are recognised as members of a “particular social group” in the sense of the UN Refugee Convention. In many countries and regions anti-discrimination legislation recognizes the group.

There is not a single term that all non-cishetero and allies would use as community designator. But gay would be one term, which has some general use.

LGBT Denmark – National Organisation for Gay Men, Lesbians, Bisexuals and Transgender Persons NGO in special consultative status with the economic and social council of the United Nations

In his analysis of the rejection of the application of dotgay LLC by ICANN Yale Law Professor William Eskeridge (1) elaborates on the case:

  • The bylaws require the string is “a well known short-form or abbreviation of the community” i.e. no requirements that it be neither the only term nor a complete designation regarding all individuals.
  • ICANN introduced a veto option to reject the application if the term “does not sufficiently identify some members of the applicant’s defined community”.
  • Bylaws, however, tests against “over-reaching” (covering more than the intended community), whereas the rejection tests against “under-reaching” (not covering the entire community).
  • “Under-reaching” is usually not considered a reason for rejecting, cf. e.g. .Osaka.
  • There is a long history of entanglement of terms used by the diverse community, and “gay”
  • is common throughout cf. analysis of frequencies of use of gay and of gay together with other terms.

As part of the global non-cishetero and allied community LGBT Denmark cannot but see the rejection by ICANN of the community application of dotgay LLC as a discriminatory action. As evidenced by the Council of Europe2 and prof. Eskeridge the logic of the rejection differs from that applied to other community applications.

The Internet is a tool of paramount importance for the global non-cishetero and allied community. In a global and historical perspective the community is subject to persecution, harassment, discrimination and neglect. Only recently the community is being recognised as a group with human rights, and the ability to communicate in a global digital community has been and continues to be essential for the development of the community and the safety and life quality of its members.

Through its coordination role of the Internet’s naming system ICANN has a fundamental responsibility enshrined in the bylaws and references to e.g. openness, transparency and fairness. It is the opinion of LGBT Denmark that these obligations and values have not been adhered to by ICANN in its evaluation of the application of dotgay LLC. LGBT Denmark urges ICANN to take responsibility to enact these values and take action to swiftly correct the inequities identified in the evaluation of the application for Community Priority to .Gay.Sincerely

LGBT Denmark
Danish National Organisation for Gay Men, Lesbians, Bisexuals and Transgender Persons

Søren Laursen


Indlæg ved konferencen

Ved selve konferencen havde deltagerne mulighed for at gå i direkte dialog med bestyrelsen. Formatet var, at man havde to minutter til at fremføre sine synspunkter. Søren Laursen fremførte følgende:

Members of the Board

My name is Søren Laursen, I am chair of LGBT Denmark, the Danish National Organisation for Gay Men, Lesbians, Bisexuals and Transgender Persons.

I am happy to be able to attend an event like this, where it is possible to address the board of the international caretaker of our Internet. This is institutionalized openness, this is democracy in action, this is exactly the kind of characteristics, we want in the governance of the Internet, which is such a fundamental and essential part of our everyday life – of yours, of mine, of the hundreds of millions of people with rich lives in inclusive communities, and of the hundreds of millions of people with less fortunate lives living in non-inclusive communities.

I am not, however, amused by the reason I have to address you, which is a case of unequal treatment.

I send you a letter the other day elaborating on the topic. Authoritative sources including the Council of Europe and a highly esteemed Yale law professor have provided thorough analysis of the evaluation process of the .gay application and found that the process is flawed. That this application has been subject to other terms and condition than other similar applications. That is has been subject to other terms and conditions than those stated in the bylaws.

Such unequal treatment is unacceptable an undermines the values enshrined in the bylaws. If we accept unequal treatment all this is a travesty.

I have – intendedly – avoided any speculation about the reason for this unequal treatment as that can only be exactly that – speculations. I just recognize unequal treatment and we ought to be able to agree that that is something we don’t want. Board, it is your responsibility to see to the enforcement of the bylaws.

The evaluation process of the .gay application has been lengthy because it has been unfair. The consequences are loss of money, loss of time, loss of opportunities. Board, please, help making a fair and swift evaluation of the .gay application, and first of all ensure that the values and the rules written into the bylaws are brought into action.

Thank you