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World news: Costa Rica ruling; Chelsea Manning statue; Gambia president's words
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2015-05-19

This article shared 3637 times since Tue May 19, 2015
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The Supreme Court of Costa Rica has upheld a ruling that professional associations may not discriminate against people who are in same-sex relationships, Gay Star News reported. The lawsuit was brought after the same-sex partner of a member of Costa Rica's Doctors and Surgeons Association was refused membership at recreational facilities owned by the association. The association voluntarily updated its policy in February in response to the issues raised in the lawsuit so that the partners of its unmarried members, regardless of sexual orientation, can access its recreational facilities as long as they have been cohabiting for at least three years.

A statue of Chelsea Manning, the transgender Army intelligence officer who leaked the largest set of confidential documents ever to the public, has been unveiled in Berlin's Alexanderplatz square, according to NewNowNext.com . Created by Italian sculptor Davide Dormino, the life-size bronze statue stands alongside sculptures of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange and whistleblower Edward Snowden as part of an art project entitled "Anything To Say." Manning, Assange and Snowden are depicted standing on chairs, with a fourth empty seat intended to represent the viewer. Manning is currently serving an 35-year sentence in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

In a speech about the nation's youth, the president of Gambia has threatened to "slit the throats" of gay people living in the country, The Independent reported. President Yahya Jammeh, who seized power in a military coup in 1994, made the chilling threat apparently in response to Western leaders who have criticized the nation's regressive attitude to homosexuality. The dictator made the comments during a nationwide agricultural tour—the latest in a long line of shockingly anti-gay comments.

Speaking of Jammeh, his comments were mentioned in National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice's recent statement on LGBT rights in honor of the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia. In a press release, Rice said, "The recent unconscionable comments by Gambian President Yahya Jammeh underscore why we must continue to seek a world in which no one lives in fear of violence or persecution because of who they are or whom they love. ... We repeat our call for the Gambian government, and all governments, to lead inclusively, repudiate intolerance, and promote respect for the universal rights and fundamental freedoms of all people."

Gay-rights campaigners have welcomed a report showing that Scotland is the best country in Europe for LGBTI legal equality, The Guardian reported. The 2015 Rainbow Europe Index was compiled by ILGA-Europe, an international human-rights association. The annual index measures progress in European countries on LGBTI equality against 48 criteria, including legal protections from discrimination in work and services, measures to tackle hate crime, rights and recognition for transgender and intersex people, and equality in family law. Scotland meets 92 percent of the criteria; Azerbaijan was last in the pack, with a rating of 5 percent.

The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association ( ILGA ) launched, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, the 10th edition of its annual report on "State-Sponsored Homophobia, a world survey of laws: criminalization, protection and recognition of same-sex love," with Aengus Carroll and Lucas Paoli Itaborahy authoring this year, a press release stated. Highlights include that there are 76 countries where same-sex sexual acts are still illegal ( down from 92 in 2006 ), and Seven countries have constitutional bans on discrimination based on sexual orientation, including Mexico ( 2011 ) and Virgin Islands ( 2007 ). The full report is at http://old.ilga.org/Statehomophobia/ILGA_State_Sponsored_Homophobia_2015.pdf.

A PlanetRomeo survey says that, worldwide, 4 million gay men were victim of serious physical violence in 2014, Gay Star News noted. The gay dating network, in cooperation with the University of Mainz in Germany, questioned 115,000 gay men from 127 countries for the survey. "When applying the survey results to the entire world population, the estimated outcome is shocking," the company said in a statement.

The United Nations Free & Equal campaign launched a new two-minute video, entitled "Faces," celebrating the contributions of LGBTI people to families and local communities. Musician Sara Bareilles has lent her hit song "Brave" as the video's soundtrack. Prime Content produced the video, with the assistance of volunteers in countries around the world. ( NASDAQ also provided pro bono support for the Times Square screenings. ) See www.unfe.org/faces.

Following a recent election, the United Kingdom now has more lesbian, gay or bisexual Members of Parliament ( MPs ) than anywhere in the world, TIME.com reported. The Westminster House of Commons now has 32 MPs who openly identify as LGB ( there are no transgender MPs ) out of 650, making up 4.9 percent of the Parliament. Elsewhere in Europe, there are only two current transgender lawmakers: Belgium's Petra De Sutter and Poland's Anna Grodzka.

A court has thrown out China's first gay workplace-discrimination suit due to lack of evidence, Gay Star News noted. The plaintiff, only identifed by the pseudonym Mu Yi, was fired from a design company in Shenzhen a week after he was outed as gay in a viral online video in October. Because the defendant did not acknowledge a related recording and Mu could not provide any supporting evidence, the court dismissed his claim. Mu said he will appeal.

A bisexual Jamaican asylum-seeker has said he is so desperate to stay in the United Kingdom, he felt like he was forced to show a photo of himself having sex with a man, Gay Star News reported. Orashia Edwards, 34, could be deported at any moment after losing his case with the UK government. Edwards was first denied asylum around a year ago due to being "dishonest" about his sexuality. Back in Jamaica, his picture and name has been printed in newspapers, having been referred to as a "batty man."

Two gay youths, 18 and 20, have been arrested in Taiwan after a video of them having oral sex on a train went viral online, Gay Star News reported. The video was filmed on a cell phone, and another male passenger can be seen in the carriage. After the video went viral last month, the Taiwan Railway Administration reported the incident to the police, who were able to track down the two youths by analyzing their facial features in the video.

A Swedish peace group has lowered an innovative broadcasting device into the Baltic Sea that is intended to be a peaceful way of stopping the increasing number of suspected Russian submarine incursions into Swedish seas, according to the UK Independent. The Swedish Peace and Arbitration Society ( SPAS ) has created the "The Singing Sailor Underwater Defence System"—a small waterproof box with a neon sign of a gyrating topless sailor wearing a pair of skimpy briefs, which transmits the words "this way if you are gay" in Morse code through the water. Below the sailor are neon letters that read "Welcome to Sweden: Gay since 1944"—the year homosexuality was legalized in Sweden.


This article shared 3637 times since Tue May 19, 2015
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