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WORLD Marriage status in Cuba, Shigella outbreak, anti-LGBTQ crime
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2019-12-30

This article shared 4221 times since Mon Dec 30, 2019
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Cuba Justice Minister Oscar Silvera Martinez announced the Family Code—the law that could establish marriage equality in the country—will not be introduced in the National Assembly until December 2021, when one of the parliamentary commissions will be in session, The Washington Blade reported. Martinez presented an expected work agenda for the coming years, including two special sessions in addition to those that are normally scheduled, to approve the roughly 40 laws currently before the current legislature. The marriage provision was the most debated part of the constitution the National Assembly approved a year ago and put to a referendum in February; legislators decided to postpone the debate ( on marriage equality ) for two years.

There has been an outbreak of drug-resistant Shigella among gay and bisexual men in the Australian state of Victoria, Advocate.com noted. Shigella is a highly contagious gastrointestinal disease, similar to E.coli, that is spread through stool. Symptoms, which include diarrhea, fever, and stomach pain, can persist up to a week; in serious cases, symptoms last a month. An individual can remain contagious for up to two weeks after symptoms disappear.

A trans woman, a gay man and their friend were brutally battered in Palestine by a group of men—kicked and shoved into a car—before being robbed, PinkNews reported. Sammy, a trans woman, was in the West Bank to attend a doctor's appointment with two friends when refugees descended upon them from a nearby camp. Assaulting the trio, the attackers damaged their car, leaving the doors dented, and took off with their money—while nearby authorities allegedly did nothing.

The HRC ( Human Rights Campaign ) Foundation launched its third annual HRC Equidad MX: Programa Global de Equidad Laboral—a survey evaluating LGBT workplace inclusion within major Mexican businesses and multinationals, the organization noted. Since its inception, the program has experienced unprecedented growth; this year, 120 employers have earned top ratings in the 2020 HRC Equidad MX report. The full press release is at https://www.hrc.org/blog/hrc-recognizes-over-100-employers-in-mexico-for-commitment-to-equality.

Julie Berman—a 51-year-old Toronto-based transgender activist who spent 30 years opposing violence against trans women and helping trans people thrive—was found murdered in her apartment, LGBTQ Nation reported. Police have arrested 29-year-old suspect Colin Harnack at the scene of the crime and charged him with second-degree murder. For the last 30 years, Berman helped organize events at local LGBTQ charity The 519 and with the Trans Access Project, an educational charity assisting local trans people.

The Guardia Civil arrested three men for savagely beating and robbing a man who they had lured through a dating site in Seville, Spain, Euro Weekly News reported. As reported by the police, the victim had conversed with a young male that he had met online Dec. 14, and they agreed to meet later that night for sex. While driving back to the victim's home, the young man asked the victim to pull over into a secluded road; later, a vehicle arrived with two men inside the car. Then, the victim was dragged out of his car, kicked, punched and insulted about his sexual orientation.

Intersex Ugandan athlete Annet Negesa—who had irreversible surgery after her natural testosterone levels meant she was barred from competing in the Olympics—is suing World Athletics for "violating her human rights," PinkNews reported. Negesa, an 800-meter runner, was training in Kampala, Uganda, in 2012 when she was told that her natural testosterone levels meant she would not be allowed to compete in the London Olympics. Negesa, 27, claimed she was advised to have the irreversible and damaging surgery by a World Athletics doctor ( with World Athletics denying this ), and that since having it she has suffered from depression and joint pains, and hasn't competed. Other intersex women who have been barred from competing in women's sport unless they modify their testosterone levels include lesbian South African runner Caster Semenya.

The Rivne City Council in western Ukraine has barred the holding of equality marches, RFERL.org noted. The local LGBTQ community had plans to hold an event Jan. 1 in the regional capital. However, the ban—initiated by the head of the council's budget committee, City Councilman Oleh Karpyak, of the nationalist Svoboda party—cited the Family Code as justification. Thirty-six local deputies voted for the ban, two abstained and zero voted against.

Marnie McBean—one of Canada's most decorated Olympians and an athletic mentor—dispensed advice for young athletes, especially LGBTQIs: Have the courage to be authentic to unlock your potential and maximize your performance, The Japan Times reported. McBean recently took part in a seminar focused on LGBTIQ issues and sports as a panelist at the Canadian Embassy in Tokyo. "My message to young athletes is [to] take the time you need and when you're ready, be strong. There is a team around you who will love you and embrace you, and your authentic self is the strongest that you have," the retired competitive rower said.

George Michael's sister Melanie Panayiotou died at age 55—three years after the death of the famous British singer, The Huffington Post UK noted. She was found dead at her home in North London by her sister Yioda on Christmas Day, the third anniversary of Michael's death. A spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police told the Scottish Sun that the hairdresser's death is "not being treated as suspicious", adding that "a report will be compiled for the coroner into the circumstances."

Nicola Gratteri—a 61-year-old anti-Mafia investigator in Calabria, Italy ( the toe of Italy's "boot" )—revealed that the 'Ndrangheta family, the richest crime family in Southern Italy, has become more tolerant of gay members "so long as they don't parade it in public," LGBTQ Nation noted. The 'Ndrangheta family is allegedly responsible for tens of billions in the European cocaine trade. Gratteri claims that the mafia has become more accepting; he has reportedly read "passionate" love letters between a crime boss and a young lieutenant, and eavesdropped on foot soldiers admitting their love of drag bars.

NBC Out listed seven prime winter destinations in LGBTQ-friendly countries, based on their rankings in the Williams Institute's Global Acceptance Index. Among the sites are Iceland, The Netherlands, Norway, Uruguay ( with beach resort towns like Punta del Este or Punta del Diablo ), New Zealand, Puerto Rico and Hawaii.

The Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating German automaker BMW, CNBC reported, citing the Wall Street Journal. The news organization reported the investigation is regarding BMW's sales practices, specifically whether the company is "punching" its sales—when a dealer, sometimes at the behest of an automaker, self-registers cars as loaners, and later sells them as used with little mileage on them.

More than 50 years after its first publication, British writer Robin Maugham's controversial gay-themed 1967 novel The Wrong People is getting a movie adaptation, Deadline noted. Arthouse outfit Peccadillo Pictures, the UK's foremost distributor of LGBT movies, is teaming with veteran UK screenwriter David McGillivray ( Schizo ), who has adapted the novel and will make his directorial debut. The book was reprinted several times, including in the Gay Modern Classics series, and was once optioned for a film version by Hollywood actor Sal Mineo ( Rebel Without a Cause ).

A French legal ruling that ordered Jeff Koons to pay damages to another artist whose work he allegedly plagiarized has been upheld by a Parisian court, Page Six noted. Two years ago, the court found that Koons' 1988 sculpture "Naked" was copied from a photo by the late Jean-Francois Bauret, Agence France-Presse reported. Koons has been ordered to pay $22,000 to the artist's family, and the court also ruled that Koons' studio has to compensate Bauret's family an additional $4,000 for using a photo of the sculpture on Koons' website.

President Donald Trump's cameo in the 1992 movie Home Alone 2: Lost in New York was cut from a Canadian television channel's recent broadcasts, CBS News noted. "As is often the case with feature films adapted for television, Home Alone 2 was edited for time," CBC spokesperson Chuck Thompson said in a statement. "The scene with Donald Trump was one of several that were cut from the movie as none of them were integral to the plot. These edits were done in 2014, when we first acquired the film and before Mr. Trump was elected president." Some viewers were happy with the cut, while others slammed the broadcaster for omitting that scene.

Twin brothers who starred on the British TLC reality show My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding died in an apparent joint suicide, Page Six noted. Bill and Joe Smith, 32, were discovered suspended from a tree in the Kent woodlands in the United Kingdom.


This article shared 4221 times since Mon Dec 30, 2019
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