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  WINDY CITY TIMES

Honduras' special LGBT unit
World news: Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times.
2011-12-21

This article shared 4506 times since Wed Dec 21, 2011
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Honduras has launched a special police unit dedicated to investigating crimes committed against members of the country's LGBT population, according to Blabbeando. The development follows years of local, regional and international criticism of the Honduran government's handling of crimes committed against the LGBT population in the past few years—in particular, against transgender women. Oscar Aguilar, the spokesperson for the Sexual Diversity Unit of the National Investigation Chairmanship, said that the unit would work closely with local LGBT-rights advocates and organizations.

The International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission has issued a statement urging Nigeria's president to be more humane to the country's LGBT population. Jabulani Chen Pereira, the commission's Africa program coordinator, said, "We urge the President of Nigeria to lead his government in a manner that clearly abides with the African Charter of Human and Peoples' and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The impact of the decision by the Nigerian Senate to pass this Bill, known as the Same Sex Marriage ( Prohibition ) Bill, 2011 has placed gays, lesbians, gender-variant and gender non-conforming citizens in great fear for their safety and well-being." Pereira has also called on "all United Nations Member States to denounce the bill."

Hobsons Bay, Australia, has the world's first intersex mayor, according to the Huffington Post. Tony Briffa Briffa won the position in the city, which is just outside of Melbourne. "I am excited about the future of our community and look forward to serving the city with enthusiasm and pride," he said. Briffa was born with both male and female physical attributes as a result of Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome. Briffa uses male pronouns, although he considers himself neither male nor female.

In Iceland, the Rainbow Reykjavik Festival will take place Feb. 16-19, 2012, according to EDGE Boston. The program provides a colourful mixture of various events involving entertainment, partying, relaxation and nature. Guests will be picked up Feb. 16 and transported to the Blue Lagoon geothermal spa; there will also be waterfall tours and an LGBT history walk through the Icelandic capital. See www.rainbowreykjavik.com .

Following U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's speech on LGBT rights, the African country of Malawi is reviewing—but not revoking—its anti-gay law, Advocate.com reported. Ephraim Chiume, the country's minister of justice, called for a review of the law, which condemns "indecent practices and unnatural acts." Kamanga said the government is referring the law and other provisions, especially those the public has frowned upon, to the Law Commission for recommendation.

Loree Rudd—the sister of former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd—has quit the Australian Labor Party ( ALP ) because she cannot support a party that backs "homosexuals marrying," according to the Sydney Morning Herald. Loree, 61, sent the letter to her branch after a pro-gay policy change at the Dec. 3 ALP National Conference. She said, "I no longer liked the direction the Labor Party was going at state or federal level and I couldn't work for a party that had endorsed homosexuals marrying. ... I don't believe gay marriage is good for the community."

In Amsterdam, approximately 20 boys and young men interrupted a discussion with lesbian activist Irshad Manji, spitting at people, throwing eggs and threatening to break her neck, according to Advocate.com .The audience protected Manji and gay Dutch MP Tofik Dibi when the extremists—members of the group Sharia4Belgium—burst into the venue. Manji reportedly said "I never felt afraid. Not once. Neither did Tofik. In fact, all of us refused to leave, even when police asked."

The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission ( IGLHRC ) praised the release of the first-ever United Nations ( UN ) report on human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity, according to a press release. The report is titled, "Discriminatory laws and practices and acts of violence against individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity, A.HRC.19.41." Among its most important recommendations is the report's call for the decriminalization of same-sex relations between consenting adults. To read the report, visit http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrcouncil/docs/19session/A.HRC.19.41_English.pdf.

A report says that tens of thousands of children have suffered sexual abuse in Dutch Catholic institutions since the mid-1940s, according to the BBC. The report, by an independent commission, said Catholic officials failed to deal with the widespread abuse at orphanages, seminaries and schools.

Thailand's P.C. Airlines is hiring transgender flight attendants, according to Advocate.com . Four transgender female flight attendants worked on a recent flight out of Bangkok publicized by the airline. P.C. Air—a charter carrier that runs from Bangkok to China, South Korea and Japan—featured one of its new employees in a commercial that shows a young boy who becomes a beautiful woman.

Jamaican attorney Maurice Tomlinson is the inaugural winner of a new international human-rights award named for murder Ugandan gay-rights activist David Kato, according to Care2.com . Tomlinson is involved in the unprecedented legal challenge to Jamaica's anti-sodomy law that he initiated at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. In accepting the award, Tomlinson said, "I dedicate this prestigious honour to the memory of David, Robert Carr, 16-year-old Oshane Gordon [ and ] ALL the other martyrs."

Former Czech President Vaclav Havel has died at age 75, according to CNN.com . Havel, a playwright-turned-political activist, spent four and a half years in prison for opposing Czechslovakia's Communist government before eventually becoming president of that country, and of the Czech Republic when the country split in two in 1992. He was also an ally of the LGBT community. According to liberalpastor.blogspot.com, Havel was pleased when the Czech Republic's Chamber of Deputies passed a domestic-partnership law in 2006.

In South Korea, the Seoul Metropolitan Council passed an ordinance granting more rights to students, the Korea Herald reported. Until the ordinance was passed, certain groups protested four disputed points of the ordinance: respect of students' sexual orientation, pregnancy and childbirth, religion and the right to hold collective protests. According to a letter that Windy City Times obtained from activist Jihye Kim, "the Seoul Student Rights Ordinance was not the first one that contained clauses on LGBT students. There were two other local ordinances that contained such non-discrimination clauses."

Plans to introduce a weeklong gay-pride festival to celebrate the life of the reportedly bisexual writer Hans Christian Andersen have caused problems in the writer's hometown of Funen, Denmark, according to PinkPaper.com . Trine Bramsen, the Social Democrat MP for Funen, came up with the idea to play on the Andersen's sexuality to attract more gay visitors to the area. However, Bramsen's opponent, Merete Riisager of the Liberal Alliance party, said Bramsen should not "come out with such silly suggestions."


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