SPI Group, which owns the Luxembourg-based vodka brand Stolichnaya, has modified its employee nondiscrimination policy to include protections for sexual orientation (although not for gender identity), Advocate.com noted. A boycott of Russian products followed the Eastern European nation's adoption of a ban on so-called "gay propaganda," the refusal to allow gay and lesbian international citizens to adopt orphaned Russian children, and a series of violent demonstrations against the country's LGBT community in recent months.
Controversial Mexican band Molotov has dedicated the rest of its U.S. tour to gay Chilean teenager Esteban Navarro Quinchevil, who lost his leg in June during an alleged anti-gay attack, the Washington Blade reported. Six men reportedly attacked the 19-year-old in Chile. Molotov faced criticism from some local LGBT rights advocates over the use of "maricon" and "puto," which are often derogatory toward gay men in Spanish, in several of its songs. The band has since said it would not use "maricon" in the rest of its U.S. tour.
The pope has replaced Archbishop Simon Victor Tonye Bakot of Yaoundé, Cameroon, who fought LGBT rights and called gay marriage a "crime against humanity," Gay Star News reported. The decision to replace him came in the same week Pope Francis indicated a softer stance on LGBT issues. He has been temporarily replaced by Monsignor Jean Mbarga, bishop of Ebolowa.
U.S. soldiers deployed to Afghanistan are using Craigslist to meet and have sex with each other on bases across the war-torn country, according to the Daily Mail. The vast majority of the posts on Craigslist involve male soldiers seeking sex with other mena practice that could have resulted in the discharge of both parities from the military under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," which barred gays in the armed forces.
Austria has become the 13th European country to allow same-sex second-parent adoption, according to fidh.org . The development occurred only five months after the European Court of Human Rights condemned Austria for discrimination. The other European Countries allowing such adoptions include Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
Aleksandra Efimova, chair of the Moscow Committee of Chicago Sister Cities International, insists that despite requests of LGBT group Equality Illinois, Chicago will not sever ties with its Russian sister city, Moscow, according to Out.com . "As a person who has lived their life in both the United States and Russia, I firmly believe the best way I can affect change on this situation is to continue to keep relations open between Chicago and Moscow," said Efimova. "One of the reasons that I have made Chicago my home is because it is an understanding and tolerant city that respects all of its citizens."
Russia's sports minister has confirmed LGBT athletes are not exempt from anti-gay laws at the Sochi Winter Olympics, despite claims to the contrary, Gay Star News reported. The International Olympic Committee claims the government had promised them the laws wouldn't be used during the 2014 games. However, Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko has said, "No one is forbidding an athlete with non-traditional sexual orientation from coming to Sochi, but if he goes onto the street and starts propagandizing it, then of course he will be held accountable."
Despite the current ban on LGBT propaganda, one Russian author has published a children's book that features a gay character, according to Buzzfeed.com . Daria Wilke's new book, The Jester's Cap, features one gay teen who struggles to find acceptance in his own country. The plot focuses on a teenage boy named Grisha, who lives in a puppet theater with an older boy, Sam, who is gay. Wilke said, "When I started to write and realized that there would be a homosexuality theme, I was a little scared, because there was no such book written in Russian." She added, "I haven't had any bad reactions from the government, but then again, the book has only been out for a month."
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe has won a seventh term in office, officials say, amid claims of electoral fraud, according to the BBC. Mugabe, 89, won 61 percent of the vote, against Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's 34 percent. Mugabe is virulently anti-gay, and recently told a group of people that gay men should be decapitated if they cannot conceive children, according to Pink News.
Twelve years after he started the gay-rights movement in Nepal, Sunil Babu Pant, the nation's only openly gay member of parliament, relinquished charge of the non-profit Blue Diamond Society he had founded, according to Gay Star News. Pant, a 41-year-old computer engineer, stepped down partly to groom other leaders. However, it was also due to an ongoing campaign against him that saw government officials frequently refuse to renew the society's license, jeopardizing its existence.
More than 300,000 people have signed an online petition demanding an end to Russia's "gay propaganda" law, according to Gay Star News. All Out's petition states, "We stand with citizens across Russia who are calling on their government to stop the crackdown against lesbian, gay, bi and trans people that is fuelling anti-gay violence. We urge leaders around the world and within Russia to work to eliminate all anti-gay laws and protect all citizens from violence and discrimination in Russia." All Out will deliver the signatures to the headquarters of the International Olympic Committee.
Rodrigo Borda and Sergio Mirando (who have been together 14 years) became the first same-sex couple to register for marriage in Uruguay, according to Advocate.com . The couple reportedly rushed to the Montevideo civil registry before dawn on Monday, Aug. 5, when marriage equality went into effect. Uruguay passed legislation to legalize same-sex marriage in April, becoming the second South American country, after Argentina, to have marriage equality.