Mexico has reportedly become the first country in the Eastern Hemisphere to allow gay people to donate blood, according to SouthFloridaGayNews.com . As first reported in English by Blabbeando blog, a new health regulation first approved in August is going into effect, ending a 20-year ban on gay blood donations. Under the new law, the only people banned from donating blood would be HIV-positive individuals or their partners, people with hepatitis and people who engage in "risky sexual practices," regardless of their sexual identity.
Stephen Hawking and other top scientists called for the British government to pardon computer pioneer Alan Turing, who helped win World War II but was later prosecuted for homosexuality, SFGate.com reported. In a letter published in the Daily Telegraph newspaper, Hawking and 10 others urged Prime Minister David Cameron "formally to forgive the iconic British hero." Turing helped crack Nazi Germany's secret codes by creating a forerunner of modern computers.
Former South Africa President Nelson Mandela was discharged from a hospital after staying there almost three weeks, according to XinhuaNet.com . Mandela "will undergo home-based high care at his Houghton home until he recovers fully," presidential spokesperson Mac Maharaj said. Mandela, 94, was admitted into a Pretoria hospital Dec. 8 for a lung infection and gallstones.
A gay British owner apparently jumped to his death from an apartment block in the beach resort of Pattaya, Thailand, according to Gay Star News. Timothy Bertram Durell, 63, was a well-known figure in the resort's gay red-light district known as Boyztown; he was a partner in two nightspots there: Panorama and Funny Boys. Local reports suggested Durell had "insoluble financial problems" and that he was depressed.
Naftali Bennettthe chair of Habayit Hayehudi, a right-wing Israeli religious political partysaid that he opposes same-sex marriage, according to Gay Star News. Answering a question regarding same-sex marriage from a student during a political campaign, Bennett said, "I am for 'live and let live,' but this clashes with the values of Israel as a Jewish state. It has a set of family values. The state cannot absorb or contain official recognition of same-sex marriage." Israel recognizes same-sex marriages granted in other countries, although it doesn't recognize such marriages performed under its own jurisdiction.
Uruguay's Senate unanimously voted to postpone a vote on a marriage-equality bill until its next session in April, according to Gay Star News. The measure aims to modify approximately 20 articles of the Civil Code, including allowing parents (regardless of sexual orientation) to decide whose surname comes first when naming their children. The lower house approved the bill Dec. 11 by a vote of 81-6.
In Italy, LGBT-rights group CondividiLove came up with a viral response to recent anti-gay remarks that Pope Benedict XVI issued in his World Day of Peace address, the Huffington Post noted. The group first organized a peaceful demonstration on St Peter's Square, in which they wore hearts and chanted love slogans. Then, the organization created an application that would let people add a pink heart that says "I am a threat to peace" to their Facebook profile picture, with a second version also made available for couples. More than 2,500 people have used the application.
A majority of British voters support the government's plans to legalize same-sex marriage perhaps as early as next year, according to an On Top Magazine item. According to a poll conducted for the UK's The Guardian, 62 percent of respondents support legalizing gay nuptials, while 31 percent remain opposed. Support has risen 17 points while opposition has decreased 5 points.
Moldova has voted to impose fines against employers who discriminate against LGBT employees, according to Gay Star News. The country's parliament passed the second reading of a measure that would see punish those who discriminate against minorities, including the LGBT community, with fines of up to 9,000 Moldovan lei ($750). If it passes a third reading, the new law would add to the European Union-backed equal-rights legislation passed in May 2012.
The management board of Swedish amateur soccer club Sorskogen has suspended its entire team for one year after players allegedly hurled anti-gay remarks at opponents during a recent match, Fox Sports reported. Team chairman Ketil Torp says the players denied making such remarks at the Stockholm Snipers, a team that prides itself for having members of different sexual orientations.
Jenna Talackovathe Canadian who made a splash in 2012 as the first transgender competitor in the Miss Universe pageantsaid that she has a new television show she hopes to see on the air in the near future, the Huffington Post reported. Talackova said she's in the final stages of signing with a network, adding detailed plans for the program have already been laid. She added that episodes of the reality show should air around late 2013.
In the Bahamas, Bishop Simeon Hall has said that clerics who "demonize" homosexuality may actually be closet cases, according to Gay Star News. Hall admitted that he "acted in ignorance" in the past on LGBT issues; in 2011, he called male-on-male sex a "deadly" practice. However, the former president of the Bahamas Christian Council has now said, "I also believe that of the 133 sins listed in the Bible, if a pastor can only preach on one of them it could very well be that he has that problem."