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Uganda's anti-gay bill; French handball player
World news: Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times.
2012-02-15

This article shared 4187 times since Wed Feb 15, 2012
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The week of Feb. 6, a highly controversial anti-gay bill was re-introduced in the Ugandan Parliament by conservative MP David Bahati, according to a press release. The current incarnation of the bill drops the death penalty for the "crime" of "aggravated homosexuality," but retains provisions that require citizens to report LGBT people to the proper authorities or face prosecution themselves. AllOut.org Executive Director Andre Banks said, "David Bahati and his Parliament are focused on attacking human and civil rights because it's easy and popular, rather than doing the hard work that awaits in Uganda—cleaning up corruption, delivering education and opportunities for more Ugandans to come out of poverty.

Lesbian French handball player Alexandra Lacrabère talked about her sexuality with Yagg.com . She said that she's out to everyone, and that her family has accepted her, adding, "On the French team, there has never been any barriers between us." The 24-year-old came out to Hand Action magazine when a reporter asked Lacrabère how she spends her time; she felt she couldn't honestly answer the question without mentioning her girlfriend.

In England, Pink News founder Benjamin Cohen has recorded a video for the "It Gets Better" project. Among other things, the 29-year-old Cohen talks about coming out to his Jewish family when Section 28, when discussion about being gay was limited in schools, was enforced. He also criticizes so-called "ex-gay" therapy. "When I look back at it now, I can't believe how scared I was when I first started telling my family and friends. ... I remembered a rather nasty comment my Dad said about gay people when I was younger, something I really focused on," Cohen says in the video.

At GayWhistler's WinterPRIDE's fourth annual Mr. Gay Canada competition Feb. 9-11, Thomas Egli was crowned Mr. Gay Canada 2012, according to a press release. The competition included a swimsuit appearance, mini-fashion show, sports challenge, panel interviews and presentation skills. OUTtv will air a documentary television show about the competition this spring.

In England, the House of Lords has dismissed an online petition asking the government to pardon the late codebreaker Alan Turing ( 1912-54 ) for homosexuality, according to Forbes. Homosexuality was considered a "gross indecency" by the Labouchere Amendment of the Criminal Law Amendment Act 1885. Turing, known as the father of computer science and artificial intelligence, was given a choice between chemical castration and prison after being arrested; he chose the former. He committed suicide in 1954.

Human Rights First has condemned legislative efforts introduced recently in Uganda and Russia that aim to discriminate and persecute LGBTI individuals, according to a Feb. 8 press release. The group notes that from Kampala to Saint Petersburg, lawmakers around the world are trying to limit the rights of their own citizens who are gay. "While gay rights are generally advancing globally, more efforts must be made to push back against new restrictions that represent a backlash from those on the side of bigotry and intolerance," said Human Rights First's Paul LeGendre.

In a landmark move in India, the Karnataka High Court has appointed C Anu, a 27-year-old transgender individual, as a Class IV employee, according to The Times of India. Anu will join approximately 5,500 workers of the court. According to her CV, Anu is fluent in three languages ( Kannada, Tamil and Hindi ) , and is a trained danseuse ( ballet dancer ) and beautician.

Indonesia has banned the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission's ( IGLHRC's ) website, apparently deeming it pornographic, according to a press release. LGBT activists who tried to access the website reported that they received the following message: "Site inaccessible. The site you wish to open cannot be accessed." IGLHRC Executive Director Cary Alan Johnson said, "All too often, governments use the charge of pornography as a smokescreen to attack freedom of expression. Oppressive governments can't stop the tide of LGBT voices—whether they are on the Internet, in the media or on the streets."

In England, Christian guesthouse owners Peter and Hazelmary Bull were ordered to pay damages after refusing to allow gay couple Martyn Hall and Steven Preddy to stay in a double room, according to the Huffington Post. The Bulls has challenged a lower-court ruling; however, the Court of Appeal ruled against them as well.

In the U.K., three men have been jailed for stirring hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation, according to the Huffington Post. Ihjaz Ali, Kabir Ahmed and Razwan Javed are the first to be convicted on such a charage, after handling out leaflets entitled "The Death Penalty?," which called for gay people to be executed. Ali was jailed for two years; Ahmed and Javed received 15 months each.

At a Feb. 8 press briefing, the U.S. state department responded to an inquiry regarding an anti-gay law proposed in Russia. The question was, "What is the State Department's response to reports stating the St. Petersburg city authorities have placed a ban on the reading, discussion or dissemination of anything relating to LGBT issues?" In part, the department responded, "We have called on Russian officials to safeguard these freedoms, and to foster an environment which promotes respect for the rights of all citizens. ... The United States places great importance on combating discrimination against the LGBT community and all minority groups."

Marriott International, Inc. announced the relaunch and fresh new look for the website www.marriott.com/gaytravel, the first hospitality portal tailored for LGBT customers worldwide in English and four other languages: French, Spanish, German and Portuguese. The retooled site will introduce new hotel openings and special events, destinations, and ongoing deals and promotions. The site also offers unique hospitality, wedding and honeymoon packages featuring popular global destinations and resorts.


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