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  WINDY CITY TIMES

WORLD Myanmar activist, Cyprus official, brutal crimes, UK youth
by Windy City Times staff
2021-05-23

This article shared 588 times since Sun May 23, 2021
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In Myanmar, Equality Myanmar Executive Director Aung Myo Min broke another barrier, becoming the first LGBTQ person to become sworn in as a member of cabinet after being appointed by the National Unity Government as its Union Minister for Human Rights, SCMP.com reported. Three decades ago, he became the first openly gay person to become involved in Myanmar's pro-democracy movement, when the bloody 1988 students' uprising led him to dedicate his life to activism. His work defending human rights and protecting LGBTQ communities from prejudice has won him several international awards, including the Felipa de Souza Award in 1999 and the Schuman Award in 2017.

Cyprus Minister of Justice and Public Order Emily Yiolitis condemned discrimination, hate speech, violence against those due to sexual orientation and gender identity in marking the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (May 17). She assured her continued support for every policy and action aiming to fight discrimination due to sexual orientation, gender identities or sex characteristics. Yiolitis said Cyprus had taken important steps to fight discrimination, lift injustices and discrimination against LGBTQ members, and protect and safeguard all citizens' human rights at a legislative and institutional level.

Police in Brazil announced the arrests of three suspects in the brutal murder of a gay activist teacher, according to out.com . The charred and bullet-ridden body of Professor Lindolfo Kosmaski, 25, was found in a burned car on the side of a highway in the municipality of Sao Joao do Triunfo on April 30. At the time of his murder, Kosmaski was teaching in four different schools in the Parana State Education Network; he also was involved with Brazil's Landless Workers Movement (MST), a Marxist-inspired group that advocates for land reform and social justice. He made an unsuccessful run for municipal councilor last year as a member of the Partido dos Trabalhadores or Worker's Party.

Philippine National Police (PNP) chief General Guillermo Eleazar created a special investigation task group to probe the murder of trans man Ebeng Mayor, and said he would "personally" oversee the case to track down Mayor's killers, according to Rappler. Mayor's body was found in Quezon City, on May 20, three days after the trans man went missing. According to out.com, the Transman Equality and Awareness Movement-Philippines reported Mayor's body was discovered, with the victim's body showing evidence of rape and genital mutilation.

An inquest into the death by suicide of a 12-year-old schoolboy in the United Kingdom heard how the young lad was mercilessly bullied at school in part because he was questioning his sexuality, out.com noted. Devon Live reported Riley Hadley, a former student at Sidmouth College, died Oct. 15, 2019, after learning he might have to return to the school after enduring physical and verbal abuse from classmates.

Some UK doctors are asking trans women to wear more lipstick and "feminine" clothing in order to prove their gender, according to a Yahoo! News item that cited The Telegraph. British members of Parliament heard testimony on the issue as an example of medical transphobia during a discussion on reforming the Gender Recognition Act. According to Equal Recognition Scotland, the act currently requires a trans person to submit a detailed account of their gender dysphoria in order to access medical care. Activists and trans rights organizations are calling for the act to be reformed with more inclusive definitions around gender dysphoria.

Namibia issued emergency travel documents to the twin daughters of a gay couple who have been battling to take them home following their birth to a surrogate in South Africa, Reuters reported. Namibian Phillip Luhl and his Mexican husband, Guillermo Delgado, had already been fighting for citizenship for their two-year-old son when the twins, born in March, were refused the documents required to enter Namibia. Namibian authorities said Luhl must prove a genetic link to the children. Also, Namibia's legal system does not recognize same-sex marriages and criminalizes same-sex relations, although the law is seldom enforced.

Cuba draped its health ministry with a giant rainbow flag on May 17 to mark the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia—in a key year for LGBT+ rights as the Caribbean country decides on a new family code that could approve same-sex marriage, Reuters noted. Cuba—which sent gay people to correctional labor camps in the early years after its 1959 leftist revolution—made considerable advances in LGBTQ+ rights in the 2000s and 2010s.

In Japan, the LGBT Equality Act is currently under intense negotiation between Japan's ruling and opposition parties, according to Human Rights Watch. In April, the conservative ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) announced it would pass an LGBT law during the current Diet session, set to end in June. However, the measure only requires the government to "promote understanding of LGBT people."

In Lithuania, thousands rallied in the capital of Vilnius against draft legislation allowing civil unions for same-sex couples, Barron's reported. Openly gay MP Tomas Vytautas Raskevicius is behind the drive for legal recognition for same-sex partners, which parliament is expected to consider next month. Centrist President Gitanas Nauseda issued a statement in connection with the protest, insisting that any legal recognition of same-sex couples must be in line with the constitution, which defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

Dan Levy and the show Schitt's Creek accrued more honors at the recent Canadian Screen Awards, out.com noted. The show won for Best Comedy, while Catherine O'Hara prevailed in the Lead Actress category; the show also won for Best Costume Design, Best Achievement in Hair, Best Achievement in Casting, Best Writing in a Comedy and Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy award (for Emily Hampshire). The Schitt's Creek documentary special, Best Wishes, Warmest Regards, also won the award for Best Biography or Arts Documentary Program or Series. Levy was also recognized for winning the 2020 Radius Award, recognizing special contributions to Canadian culture.

Out gay diver Tom Daley won a silver medal in the individual 10-meter platform event on the final day of diving at the European Aquatics Championships in Budapest, the BBC reported. Russia's Aleksandr Bondar won gold, ending Daley's run of winning individual European gold in an Olympic year, following previous victories in 2008, 2012 and 2016. However, Daley said he is optimistic about his form before the delayed Tokyo 2020 Games.

United States land borders with Canada and Mexico will remain closed to non-essential travel until at least June 21, Reuters reported. The restrictions were first imposed in March 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and have been extended in 30-day increments. It remains unclear whether restrictions will be lifted before the busy summer travel season. U.S. officials are also weighing whether to loosen air travel restrictions that prevent much of the world's population from visiting.

An independent inquiry into the tactics used by the BBC to secure a bombshell 1995 interview with Princess Diana concluded that reporter Martin Bashir "deceived" his way to accessing the Princess of Wales, and that the BBC's response to his deception was "woefully ineffective," Deadline noted. The BBC apologized after the findings of Lord Dyson's inquiry were published following a six-month investigation by the former supreme court judge, which has cost the UK broadcaster $2 million. In a statement, Bashir acknowledged his error in judgment. The BBC will also return its BAFTA award related to the interview.

Dozens of charitable causes have cut ties with Prince Andrew in the wake of the Jeffrey Epstein scandal, Page Six noted. Nearly 50 "patronages," or causes supported by different members of the royal family, told The Telegraph they had ended their relationship with the embattled prince, who stepped back from public life more than a year ago in the wake of the Epstein affair. Recently, Prince Charles took over one of Andrew's high-profile patronages: the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

For those who have always wondered what it would've been like to be a passenger on the Titanic, a theme park in China is set to offer the closest experience one can get, CNN.com noted. A massive replica of the sunken ocean liner is now under construction in Daying County in Sichuan province. Called the "Unsinkable Titanic," the ship (which will not sail but remain at the dock) is the same size as the original—269.06 meters (882 feet) in length and 28.19 meters (92 feet) wide.


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