Almost a dozen of U.S. senators want President Barack Obama to reconsider trade agreements with Nigeria and Uganda because of their homophobic laws, according to Gay Star News. Obama is scheduled to meet with African leaders Aug. 4-6 during the first-ever African Leaders Summit held in Washington, D.C. Ahead of this summit, 10 senators have penned a letter to the president asking him to hold the two countries to their human-rights commitments as members of the African Growth Opportunity Act. Some of the senators ( all Democratic ) are Al Franken ( Minn. ), Sherrod Brown ( Ohio ), Tammy Baldwin ( Wis. ), Barbara Boxer ( Calif. ) and Mark Udall ( Colo. )
Police in Yevpatoria, a resort town in western Crimea, are investigating the killing of a foreign tourist who may have died at the hands of anti-gay individuals, according to The Moscow Times. The local news agency KrymInform cited the press service of the Crimean police as saying "the deceased was a foreigner of nontraditional sexual orientation, who for the past five years had been visiting Crimea regularly for vacations." The incident comes as Russia's Federal Tourism Agency seeks to promote Crimea as an ideal tourist destination.
While at the 2014 International AIDS Conference in Melbourne, Australia, former U.S. President Bill Clinton paid tribute to the victims of the MH17 airplane crash, according to The Sydney Morning Herald. "The people we lost on that airplane gave their entire lives to the proposition that our common humanity matters a hell of a lot more than our interesting differences," Clinton said. Clinton's speech was interrupted by protesters arguing for a so-called "Robin Hood" tax on financial transactions to fund the fight against HIV/AIDS, The Daily Mail added. After a number of minutes, Clinton spoke over the chants, asking, "Have you got the message? Give them a hand and ask them to let the rest of us talk."
A French mayor known for his stance against marriage equality says he made an exception for his son, according to On Top Magazine. Raymond Bardet, mayor of Haute Savoie village of Ville-la-Grand, said he put aside his opposition to marry his gay son but promised it wouldn't happen again. Bardet, 72, strongly opposed last year's passage of a law allowing gay couples to marry, organizing a protest that included a mock marriage between two male members of his staff.
An archaeologist in Greece has discovered ancient grafitti that celebrates gay sex, according to The Advocate. Andreas Vlachopoulos of the University of Ioannina says he has found carvings that are "monumental in scale," including illustrations of large phalluses and inscriptions that describe the act of sex between two men. Vlashopoulos, who uncovered the site on the Greek island of Astypalaia, dates the carvings to the fifth and sixth centuries B.C., which would make them some of the oldest erotic grafitti ever found.
Two members of the feminist group Pussy Riot are suing the Russian government in the European court of human rights ( ECHR ) over their imprisonment for a 2012 "punk prayer" protest at a Moscow cathedral, Raw Story noted. Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, who were given an amnesty in December after serving 21 months in prison and pre-trial confinement, are demanding compensation and court fees. Yekaterina Samutsevich was given a suspended sentence in October 2012, while Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova served time in prison colonies.
Speaking of the conference, a study released there shows that anti-gay laws can fuel the spread of HIV, according to USA Today. A study shows that vulnerable communities in Nigeria fared far worse after legislation was passed criminalizing gay male sex. The study adds that patients who lack treatment are more likely to transmit HIV, making it harder to control the epidemic, which has already infected 35 million worldwide.
Acknowledging that 42 out of 53 Commonwealth nations criminalize homosexuality to some extent, gay Torchwood actor John Barrowman made a point to publicly kiss a man during the Commonwealth Games' opening ceremonies in Glasgow, Scotland, according to Out Traveler. Barrowman, who's Scottish, kissed Dunbar, a comedian, as millions watched ( and Queen Elizabeth was in attendance ). Britain's deputy prime minister was also there and voiced support for LGBTs.
The majority of the hate crime in Spain so far this year has been motivated by sexual orientation or gender identity, according to Pink News. Two police reports showed that during the first six months of the year, there were 235 incidents ( out of 550 ) motivated by those factors. Racism/xenophobia and ableism were found to be the motive for 124 crimes each. The crimes included sexual abuses, injuries, threats, thefts and rapes.
In a review of Japan's record on civil and political rights, the United Nations Human Rights Committee raised concerns about social harassment and stigmatization of LGBT individuals and asked the government to pass comprehensive legislation to prohibit discrimination on all grounds, including sexual orientation and gender identity, according to a press release. The committee also urged Japan to provide effective complaint mechanisms and remedies for violations. An International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission report released earlier this year concluded that those who suffer intimate-partner violence in same-sex relationships in Japan have no legal recourse.
The 1st Global Virtual Reality GLBT Travel Expo will be held Nov. 15-16 in New York City, according to a press release. Producer Steven Levenberg said, "Guests will land on an exotic island and be able to walk down aisles of booths filled with airlines, cruises ships, hotels, exotic destinations and CVBs [convention and visitors bureaus]." Hyperfair is providing the technology for this event.
Toronto Councillor Doug Fordthe brother of Mayor Rob Fordis apologizing to gay-rights protesters taunted with homophobic slurs at Ford Fest, but said they share blame, according to TheStar.com . "We were just standing there being gay holding signs ... This was an unprovoked situation where we did very little engaging with them," said Brian De Matos about what reportedly happened at the massive Ford family barbecue. However, Doug said that some of the mayor's supporters said a man with a rainbow flag draped over his shoulders had baited the crowd at Thomson Memorial Park. Nobody was charged.
A new video documentary has been released that highlights the lives of homeless gay, bisexual and transgender youth in Jamaica, Pink News reported. The Vice.com video Young and gay: Jamaica's Gully Queens takes the viewer into the water gullies of Jamaica's streets to meet and talk with the GBT youth who live there.
The first gay British clergyman to marry a same-sex partner has been blocked from taking up a promotion within the NHS ( National Health Service ), according to BBC.com . Canon Jeremy Pemberton was prevented from officiating as a priest in Nottinghamshire after he married his long-term partner in April. He still works as a chaplain for an NHS trust in Lincolnshire. The decision was made by the same acting bishop, the Rt. Rev. Richard Inwood, who revoked Pemberton's permission to officiate as a priest in June.
Intesa Sanpaolo, Italy's second-largest bank, has formally recognized the rights of gay and lesbian newlyweds, going against a ban on same-sex marriage in Italy, according to TheLocal.it. The agreement, signed with unionists on Thursday, will give gay employees the same marital leave as their straight colleagues. The agreement refers to "a civil or religious marriage, celebrated in Italy or abroad, even if it is not recognized by the Italian system."
A 2015 beefcake calendar starring out Olympic diving champ Tom Daley has gone on sale in Britain, according to On Top Magazine. "It's never too early to buy your 2015 calendar right... ;- )" Daley tweeted to his more than 2.61 million followers. The 20-year-old Daley came out gay in a YouTube video released in March.
Out singer Ricky Martin has joined the cast of Mexico's version of the reality TV franchise The Voice, On Top Magazine noted. Season four of La Voz premieres on Mexico's Televisa network Sept. 7, and will also include Mexican stars Yuri and Julion Alvarez as well as Italian singer Laura Pausini. Martin recently wrapped up his second year on The Voice Australia, where he replaced Keith Urban.
A photo showing two emotional Canadian fathers with their newborn child ( via surrogate birth ) has gone viral, Yahoo! Canada noted. Gananoque, Ontario, photographer Lindsay Foster captured Milo's dads' first moments with their son and shared them on Facebook. According to Foster, thrilled fathers Frankie and BJ have been "loving" the positive attention, and have dubbed their bundle of joy their "Pride Baby."
Ready Steady Cook star Ross Burden has died at age 45 after losing his battle with cancer, Pink News reported. The MasterChef finalist, originally from New Zealand, died in an Auckland hospital following complications with treatment for leukemia. Once declared one of TV's most eligble bachelors, Burden came out as gay shortly after that designation.