In South Korea, popular actor Hong Seok-cheon recently became the first out gay man in the country's history to discuss sex and sexuality on television, according to the L.A. Times. Hong, 41, was once the host of children's show that was the country's equivalent of Sesame Street. He recently went on the cable-TV show Star Lecture Series and said, "In South Korea, we're led to believe that gay sex is dangerous, alien and dirty. ... I'm just so happy to be here today, talking openly about who I really am." In a recent poll, 77 percent of Koreans said "homosexuality should be rejected."
In London, an extremist organization called Christian Voice has blamed a Tesco Metro's support of LGBT rights for a store's mice infestation, Pink News reported. The leader of Christian Voice, Stephen Green, recently wrote that a shopper was "horrified to see baby mice fall out of crisp packet," adding, "Nothing has gone right for Tesco since they decided to support 'gay pride.'" Tesco regularly sponsors pride events, and the staff participates in marches.
Plans to build Nicaragua's first gay resort community have been suspended following the arrest of the project's two proprietors, Francis DeFranco, 50, and Jan Van Den Broek, 50, of Belgium, according to the Nicaragua Dispatch. The two men, owners of Granada's Hotel Joluva and the nearby gay development project known as Club Alegria, were arrested along with two touristsa 55-year-old Canadian and a 65-year-old U.S. citizenand the hotel's 18-year-old bartender. All five are charged with promoting tourism for the purpose of sexual exploitation, pornography and sexual abuse.
Immigration Equality has praised the announcement from the Department of Homeland Security that would recognize LGBT families on the customs form required to enter the country, according to a press release. "Immigration Equality is proud to see this change come to fruition," said Rachel B. Tiven, the group's executive director. "We asked the Obama administration to stop discriminating against families on federal customs forms, and today's announcement is welcome news. Separating families in the customs line was a waste of government resources and a painful symbol of the double standard LGBT families face at the federal level."
Jenna Talackova will not be competing for this year's Miss Universe Canada crown because she was born male, according to US Magazine. The organization released a statement saying, "Jenna Talackova from Vancouver, British Columbia will not compete in the 2012 Miss Universe Canada competition because she did not meet the requirements to compete despite having stated otherwise on her entry form." Talackova, 23, underwent gender-reassignment surgery at age 19.
In Canada, 19-year-old University of Ottawa student Scott Heggart is the first openly gay athlete to tell his story for the "You Can Play" project that has gathered National Hockey League players to combat "casual homophobia" in sports, according to the Ottawa Citizen. In a video posted on the organization's website, Heggart predicts the organization's new campaign will save the lives of gay teens dealing with their sexual orientation.
In Chile, prosecutors have asked for murder charges in the death of Daniel Zamudio, a gay man whose attackers savagely beat him and carved swastikas into his body, according to a SeattlePI.com item. Zamudio died March 27, three and a half weeks after being attacked. The case has launched a national debate regarding hate crimes, with President Sebastian Pinera pledging to pass an anti-discrimination law.
In the wake of St. Petersburg passing a law against so-called "gay propaganda," the Russian government is considering a similar measure, the Washington Post reported. Russia's lower house of parliament is mulling a bill that would call for fines up to 500,000 rubles ( about $16,500 ) for "spreading homosexual propaganda" among minors. Pro-LGBT advocates say the legislation could be used to prohibit public demonstrations. Russia decriminalized homosexuality in 1993.
Human Rights Watch said that Albania's government should publicly reprimand Deputy Defense Minister Ekrem Spahiu for making anti-gay remarks and endorsing violence against pride-parade participants, the Huffington Post reported. Asked what he thinks of plans to hold a pride parade in the capital of Tirana, Spahiu said the participants should be beaten. Albania ombudsman Igli Totzani criticized Spahiu's remarks, saying they contradicted "the spirit of tolerance, coexistence and diversity as the traditional values of Albanian society."
In Austria, Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn is allowing a gay Catholic to serve on a parish council, the Huffington Post reported. Florian Stangl, 26who lives in a registered domestic partnershipwas overwhelmingly elected to the council recently, but a priest overruled the decision, which the archdiocese initally supported. However, Schoenborn changed his mind after having lunch with Stangl and his partner.
In Northern Ireland, parents got a surprise when a priest accidentally showed gay porn during a slide presentation at St. Mary's Primary School in Pomeroy, according to the Huffington Post. Father Martin McVeigh was setting up a slide show for parents of children taking their First Holy Communion when the sexual images "inadvertently" appeared on the screen. Child-protection authorities are investigating the incident.
Organizers of the Miss Universe beauty pageant are now saying that transgender contestant Jenna Talackova can compete after initially disqualifying her, according to CNN.com . In a statement issued April 3, the Miss Universe Organization said Talackova can compete as long as "she meets the legal gender recognition requirements of Canada, and the standards established by other international competitions." However, those requirements were not specified.
In South Africa, a second man has come forward in the case of honeymoon murder suspect Shrien Dewani, claiming he and the accused criminal had kinky gay sex sessions, News24.com reported. The second mana 53-year-old political aidesaid he had sex with Dewani in a private room at The Hoist, a London gay fetish club. Dewani is accused of masterminding his wife Anni's murder in Cape Town in November 2010.
Reuters has a "factbox" of the candidates for the French presidency, revealing each person's platform. Among the six candidates are current President Nicholas Sarkozy, who, among other things, backs nuclear power but opposes same-sex marriage and euthanasia. Francois Hollande supports gay marriage and adoption, and plans to target the rich with a 75-percent tax rate on those earning more than 1 million euros a year. Jean-Luc Melenchon of the Radical Left Front has promised to restore the legal retirement age at 60 ( instead of 62 ) for all workers, and to place a cap on rents.