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WORLD Leaked messages, Panama action, author dies at 32, Japan court, out athletes
by Andrew Davis
2024-03-15

This article shared 9257 times since Fri Mar 15, 2024
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Hundreds of messages from an internal chat board for an international group of transgender health professionals were leaked in a report and framed as revealing serious health risks associated with gender-affirming care, including cancer, according to STAT. However, experts say this correlation is false and oversimplifies the role of hormones in the body. The report was released by Environmental Progress—a think tank founded by Michael Shellenberger, a writer who has previously been critical of gender-affirming care and said he wants to shut down the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH). However, WPATH board member and United States Professional Association for Transgender Health President Dr. Carl Street said, "When you hear of a one-off case, you have to balance that against the tens of thousands of people who've been on testosterone and are doing well."

In Panama, several LGBTQ+ groups asked presidential candidates to commit to recognizing same-sex marriage, which the country's justice system rejected a year ago, per The Tico Times. About 15 groups are seeking for the candidates to sign a pact on March 27 in which they also commit to promoting laws against discrimination towards members of the LGBTQ community. These groups intend for the future Panamanian government to comply with the advisory opinion of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, which, in January 2018, determined that same-sex couples have the same rights as heterosexual ones. In Central America, Costa Rica is the only country that allows same-sex marriage.

Tributes poured in for 32-year-old BBC Scotland presenter, journalist and children's author Nick Sheridan, who died following a short illness, PinkNews noted. Outside work, Nick Sheridan posted on social media about his personal life, writing that he'd "never been happier" since coming out at 16, and urged LGBTQ+ people to speak out about their mental health if it would help them. Former First Minister Nicola Sturgeon wrote on X that she felt "so terribly sad" to learn of Sheridan's death.

In Japan, the Sapporo High Court ruled that a ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, with strong wording that is expected to pressure the government and lawmakers for action, The Japan Times reported. It is the first time a high court has handed down a ruling that said Japan's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. The ruling was in line with a similar ruling at the Tokyo District Court that said that the ban on same-sex marriage is in a "state of unconstitutionality" due to the lack of legal protections for same-sex couples.

British Paralympian rower Lauren Rowles was recently profiled in Big Issue. She is training full-time for the upcoming Paris games, where she hopes to clinch her third consecutive gold medal—and she's about to become a mother, expecting her first child with partner Jude Hamer, a fellow Paralympian. And she is also a patron of Just Like Us, which helps queer youth. "I was bullied for being gay when I was a young girl, and for being disabled, for being in a chair. It did so much damage," Rowles said. "I tried to live my life as this person I didn't recognize, all because I was fearful. Nowadays, it's so good to see young people living that queer joy earlier on in their lives … but there's more work to be done."

Australian soccer player Josh Cavallo announced his engagement to his fiance Leighton Morrell after popping the question to him on the field at Adelaide United FC's home stadium, per PinkNews. Cavallo, 24, came out publicly in 2021 as one of the biggest queer names in Australian sport. "Being a gay closeted footballer, I've had to learn to mask my feelings in order to fit the mould of a professional footballer. Growing up being gay and playing football were just two worlds that hadn't crossed paths before," he has said.

The Coptic Orthodox Church confirmed that its recent decision to suspend dialogue with the Catholic Church was due to Rome's "change of position" on LGBTQ+ issues, the Catholic News Agency reported. Coptic Orthodox spokesman Father Moussa Ibrahim said in a video that "the most notable" of nine decrees from the church's annual Holy Synod, which took place in Egypt, was "to suspend theological dialogue with the Catholic Church after its change of position on the issue of homosexuality." The leaders also reaffirmed their rejection of same-sex relations, emphasizing their "firm position of rejecting all forms of homosexual relationships, because they violate the holy Bible and the law by which God created man as male and female, and the Church considers any blessing of such relations, whatever its type, to be a blessing for sin, and this is unacceptable."

Also, Ethiopia's largest church has condemned LGBTQ+ people, The Washington Blade reported. According to the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church—one of the world's oldest religious denominations—the LGBTQ+ community is synonymous with the West and not with Ethiopia or Africa. The church, in a statement, said, "The Permanent Synod calls for the faith, culture and ethics that has been preserved with many sacrifices to continue to have its place of honor and by ensuring that sin and evilness is not exposed to this disgusting act." The church also "strongly warns those who promote homosexuality, spread and do hidden activities to refrain from their actions." Pro-LGBTQ+ activists condemned the church's statement.

In Norway, a suspect pleaded not guilty to terror charges at the start of a trial for the murder of two people in a gun attack on two bars in Oslo, per the BBC. A three-minute police video was shown as the trial began, showing CCTV footage of how the 2022 attack unfolded outside the bars during Pride celebrations in the Norwegian capital. Two men, ages 54 and 60, were killed in the rampage and another nine people suffered bullet wounds. Police believe Oslo's LGBT community was targeted for extreme religious motives. The prosecutor said the suspect, 44, had been in trouble with police while still a teenager and had received psychiatric treatment at the time.

A rapist who attacked another man in a park in Stoke-on-Trent, England, was sentenced to 10 years in jail, PinkNews reported. Pawel Flak was sentenced after being found guilty of two counts of rape in December. In addition, Flak was placed on the Sex Offenders Register for life and given a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for 15 years. Detective constable Daniel Pearce, from the Child Protection and Exploitation Team at Staffordshire Police, thanked "the victim for the courage and determination he has shown during the court process."

The UK's medical regulator recently apologized for its past homophobia and for taking disciplinary action that ended some gay doctors' careers, the BBC noted. The General Medical Council (GMC) admitted it added to the harm some male medics faced when convicted of having sex with men. Records show eight were removed from the register, so they could no longer work, although the GMC allegedly considered up to 40 men. The last erasure was in 1966—a year before the decriminalization of sex between men in England and Wales.

In Uganda, a court denied a petition from an LGBTQ+ advocacy group seeking to compel the government to register it, The Times of India noted. Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) first filed the suit in the country's high court in 2015 after the government's registrar of companies refused to list it—which would allow the organization to operate legally—saying its name was "undesirable." It also said at the time the group promoted the interests of people who were criminalized by Ugandan laws. Two years ago, the Ugandan government suspended SMUG's operations because it was not officially registered.

In the UK, actress Seyi Omooba—fired from a production of The Color Purple for posting an anti-gay comment online—lost her legal battle during which she claimed she had been discriminated against, PinkNews noted. Omooba was dropped from the lead role of Celie in a 2019 production of the musical at the Curve Theatre after another actor, not connected to the show, uncovered a post she wrote five years earlier. (She had written, "I do not believe you can be born gay, and I do not believe homosexuality is right. Though the laws of this land has made it legal, doesn't mean it's right.") Omooba must now pay hundreds of thousands of dollars after the tribunal was told that the actress had not read the script before accepting the role.

Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling sparked more controversy after she shared a message on Mother's Day, which was celebrated on March 10 in the UK, Deadline noted. She took to social media and generated backlash for seemingly trolling trans activists and inclusive language. "Happy Birthing Parent Day to all whose large gametes were fertilized resulting in small humans whose sex was assigned by doctors making mostly lucky guesses," Rowling posted on X, formerly Twitter.

World of Wonder announced the return of Drag Race Down Under in New Zealand, premiering later this year with a new host—veteran RuPaul's Drag Race judge Michelle Visage, a press release noted. This will be the first time Visage is taking on the role as the main host of a Drag Race franchise. Aussie comedian Rhys Nicholson will also return as a judge for the new series, and will be joined on the main stage by a rotating cast of drag royalty. RuPaul will remain on the series as an executive producer for the show.

British act Bananarama marks more than 40 years in music with the release of their new album Glorious: The Ultimate Collection, out via London Records. The album features two brand new tracks: "Supernova" and "Feel the Love." The duo's past hits include "Venus," "Robert De Niro's Waiting," "Cruel Summer," "I Heard a Rumor" and others. In addition, Bananarama is immortalized in the Guinness World of Records for having the most internationally charted hits by an all-female group.


This article shared 9257 times since Fri Mar 15, 2024
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