Rizi Xavier Timane, a transgender activist/gospel singer from Nigeria, has shot a music video featuring all LGBT individuals to protest anti-gay laws and actions, including the one recently passed in Uganda, according to an email Timane sent to Windy City Times. ( The video for the song, "The Way God Made Me," is at www.youtube.com/watch. ) Timane is also a registered associate clinical social worker with the state of California.
As England and Wales prepare for the new Marriage ( Same Sex Couples ) Act to come into effect March 29, civil servants have identified a list of statutes and regulations dating as far back as 1285 to be amended. According to a Gay Star News item, the proposed amendments will prevent the male spouse of a gay king or the prince of Wales from becoming queen or princess of Wales, respectively, as current laws would allow. Likewise, the male spouses of dukes, earls and other male peers would not be called duchess, countess or lady.
On Feb. 24, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni signed into law a bill that criminalizes homosexuality, CNN reported. Last month, Museveni said he wouldn't sign the bill, describing gay people as "sick" individuals who needed help, not imprisonment. Then he changed his mind this month and said he'd sign it because scientists had determined that there's no gene for homosexuality and that it's merely abnormal behavior. He then said he would seek advice from U.S. scientists before he made any decision. Although same-sex acts are illegal in Uganda, the measure toughens penalties for certain acts, adding the possibility of life imprisonment.
Several European nations on Tuesday said they were suspending assistance to Uganda, a day after the country's president signed a law that could see some homosexuals jailed for life.
Norway, the Netherlands and Denmark are moving toward withholding aid to the Ugandan government in protest of the new law, according to the Wall Street Journal.
In a related matter, South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu pleaded with Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni to use the debate on the controversial Anti-Homosexuality Bill as a "catalyst" for improvements to human rights in the country, according to Gay Star News. The 82-year-old anti-apartheid champion said improving other areas of law would provide families and children with more protection than criminalizing "acts of love between consenting adults." Tutu said Museveni had promised him he wouldn't sign the anti-gay bill, and that the president's change of heart has disappointed him.
In Australia, intersex activist and former Hobsons Bay Mayor Tony Briffa has announced resignation from the council after five and a half years of service, according to the Star-Observer. Briffa said one of the reasons for resigning was a desire to increase focus on human-rights work in Australia and abroad, and with Organisation Intersex International Australia, with whom Briffa serves as vice president. After serving two terms as deputy mayor, Briffa was appointed as an independent to the position of mayor in 2011, becoming the world's first openly intersex mayor and serving in the role until 2012.
The Netherlands-based Hague Centre for Strategic Studies ( HCSS ) has released the LGBT Military Indexthe first-ever global ranking of countries by inclusion of LGBT service members in the armed forces, according to the organization's website. The index ranks more than 100 countries ( on a scale of 0-100 ) in an overview of 19 policies and best practices. Scores varied widely, with the United States ( 72.8 ), Israel ( 92.0 ), Canada ( 94.3 ), Brazil ( 86.8 ), Algeria ( 31.0 ), the Russian Federation ( 32.5 ), India ( 34.0 ) and Australia ( 95.0 ) providing evidence of that. New Zealand was tops with a 100.0 rating, while Nigeria was at the bottom with a score of 3.0.
The International Transgender Day of Visibility is Monday, March 31. Michigan-based transgender activist Rachel Crandall started the day as a Facebook event in 2009, and it has now become a day that includes "protests, actions, sit-ins, poetry events, social events and other activities to show that the Transgender community is important, and intrinsic to the fabric of human existence," according to the event's website.
In Britain, Anthony Kavanagh, better known as "I Can Make You Feel Good" singer Kavana, has revealed that he is gay, according to The Daily Mail. The 36-year-old star opened up in an emotional interview, and admitted that he has been keeping his sexuality a secret for the past 14 years. Kavana added that he didn't tell his father about his sexuality before his passing four years ago, and won't tell his mother because she suffers from Alzheimer's and is in a care home.
Two players for Italy's national soccer team have spoken out on the taboo of homosexuality in the sport, Gay Star News noted. Mattia Perin, a 21-year-old goalkeeper, has said it would be incredibly difficult for a gay player to come out while 31-year-old striker Alberto Gilardino stated he would have no problem playing alongside a gay teammate. Many soccer pundits, and gay fans of the game, predict 2014 will be the year when a top soccer star will reveal his sexuality and continue to play.
A Russian court dismissed the case against a freelance journalist who founded an online LGBT teen-support group, ruling that it found no evidence that she had been promoting "non-traditional sexual relations," according to LGBTQ Nation. Elena Klimova had been charged for violating the country's anti-gay propaganda law for creating the "Children 404" group on Russian social media website VKontakte ( vk.com ) and Facebook. The name of Klimova's group is a reference to the Internet message "Error 404, Page Not Found," inferring that LGBT Russian youth are unable to be visible.
Germany's top court has ruled gay couples are banned from joint adoption, despite being allowed to on a technicality, according to Gay Star News. The Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe dismissed a request from a Berlin district court to rule on whether same-sex couples living in a registered civil partnership could adopt children together. However, gay-rights activists have said the ruling is effectively meaningless, as same-sex couples are allowed to use a system called "successive adoption," when gay individuals can adopt a child already adopted by their civil partners.
In Australia, a billboard advertising a gay film festival that featured two men kissing has been banned from being displayed in Brisbane, Pink News noted. The image, which displayed two men kissing on a beach, was intended as one of three to advertise the Brisbane Queer Film Festival. However, Krista Adams, the chair of the city's lifestyle committee, thought the poster was too inappropriate for the eyes of the public, so she requested it be banned.
NSW ( New South Wales ) Health has issued a warning following an outbreak of shigella among gay men in Sydney, according to the Gay News Network. Shigella is a bacteria that causes bowel infections; the infection is transmitted through feces, and symptoms include stomach cramps, diarrhea, fever and nausea. With an influx of thousands of gay visitors expected for the Mardi Gras season, NSW Health's Communicable Diseases Branch was concerned more infections may occur.
Former Australia's Next Top Model judge and Mardi Gras host Charlotte Dawson, 47, was found dead in her home in non-suspicious circumstances in Woolloomooloo, Gay News Network noted. The New Zealand-born television presenter was also an anti-bullying campaigner and LGBT-rights advocate who had hosted the Mardi Gras parade twice. Dawson suffered a long battle with depression and was hospitalized in late 2012 after an extreme bullying campaign against her on Twitter.
In Singapore, it is believed that Faith Community Baptist Church senior pastor Lawrence Khong is responsible for a leaked guide that supports the anti-gay Section 377A of the country's penal code, according to Yahoo! News. Under Section 377A, "any male person who, in public or private, commits, or abets the commission of, or procures or attempts to procure the commission by any male person of, any act of gross indecency with another male person, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years."