England's Prince William has taken part in a session on bullying and homophobia in schools, in which he specifically spoke out against homophobia for the first time, PinkNews reported. The future King visited Hammersmith Academy to take part in a session with pupils to provide practical tips to prevent anti-LGBT bullying and cyberbullying. Joining a session on LGBT issues, the students were asked how they would react to homophobic bullying. The Duke of Cambridge indicated he would confront those behind any comments and comfort the victims.
In England, a former prison officer has admitted selling stories about George Michael's time behind bars to the press, The Guardian reported. Amanda Watts, from Suffolk, was paid by the Sun for five pieces of information that resulted in five stories about the British singer. She appeared before Judge John Bevan QC at the Old Bailey in London to plead guilty; Watts was granted conditional bail until her sentencing on Oct. 16.
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe shouted "We are not gays," Sept. 28 during his speech to the United Nations General Assembly, IBTimes.com reported. The remark was made to criticize against what he called "new" human rights. He continued, "We reject the politicization of this important issue and the application of double standards to victimize those who dare think and act independently of the self-anointed prefects of our time." ( The line reportedly drew laughter. ) Last year, he called same-sex relationships "inhuman" and threatened to expel any diplomats who supported the rights of LGBT people.
Days before the Oct. 1 start of the 2016 fiscal yearwhere President Barack Obama recently announced the United States would hold 10,000 additional spaces for Syrian refugeesthe Organization for Refuge, Asylum & Migration ( ORAM ) launched a petition urging the U.S. government to safeguard 500 of those 10,000 slots for LGBTI refugees, according to a press release. The petition reads, "LGBTI people are targeted by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria ( ISIS ) and other extremists. ISIS has carried out 30 brutal public executions of suspected LGBTI people videotaped, photographed and distributed via the Internet. No one knows how many have died silently. Thousands more are living in daily terror of being smoked out and murdered."
Emails leaked to a Chilean newspaper show two cardinals conspired to prevent a gay man from being named to a sex-abuse commission that Pope Francis created, The Washington Blade reported. The email showed that Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati, the archbishop of Santiago, wrote to his predecessor, Cardinal Francisco Javier ErrÃ¡zuriz, on June 28, 2014, that concludes Juan Carlos Cruz's nomination to the commission "would be extremely serious for the Chilean [Roman Catholic] church." Cruzwho now lives in Philadelphia and is the head of global communications for DuPont Crop Protection in Delawareis among the hundreds of people who Rev. Fernando Karadima sexually abused in his parish in El Bosque, a wealthy neighborhood in the Chilean capital, over more than three decades.
This time, Elton John appears to have had an actual phone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin, CNN noted. Putin called the British musician Thursday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the Russian state-run Sputnik news agency, days after news emerged that a prankster claiming to be the Russian leader had phoned him to talk about gay rights. In the real Putin-John call, the Russian President agreed to meet the singer if their schedules allowed. A report in December by Human Rights Watch said Russian authorities are failing to protect gay people from persecution and are not prosecuting the perpetrators of anti-gay attacks.
The Saxony branch of Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union ( CDU ) have announced one of Germany's best-known anti-equality speakers to be part of an expert group aiming to tackle homo- and transphobia, Gay Star News reported. Birgit Kelle, a journalist and member of the CDU, has written a number of books and is a frequent guest on talk-show panels discussing gender and LGBTI matters; she is known for her conservative and homophobic stances. Journalist and author Bettina Roehl, another panel member, has positions similar to Kelle's.
A case where a 22-year-old student was sentenced to a year in jail after his same-sex relationship was uncovered as part of a murder investigation has prompted Tunisian Justice Minister Mohamed Salah Ben Aissa to comment on the future of the country's anti-sodomy law, TVC News reported. The unnamed student was arrested on Sept. 6 in the resort city of Sousse after his number was found on the body of a man he had been dating. "My problem is Article 230 [the anti-sodomy law]. … Nothing can justify infringement on private life," Ben Aissa said, according to reports. Consensual sex acts between males in Tunisia can result in sentences of up to three years in prison.
Police in Finland received a complaint after two pranksters ( Swedish comedy hip-hop duo Far & Son ) erected a makeshift gay bar based on the Blue Oyster from the Police Academy films to protest against Russia's anti-gay laws, The Guardian reported. The bara wooden structure hung with fairy lights and decorated with blue letteringas built on a plot of land belonging to the Russian presidency on the remote Aland archipelago, a Swedish-speaking region of Finland. Pictures posted by the pranksters show people outside the bar, some wearing leather and yellow builders' helmets, with one couple kissing.
England's Warwick Rowers are in the middle of their 2016 crowdfunding campaign as they get set to release their annual naked calendar and "making of" video, Outsports noted. The rowers use proceeds from their merchandise to assist Sports Allies, a group that combats homophobia. Visit http://www.warwickrowers.org/crowdfunder/.
The Great British Bake Off's Tamal Ray has revealed he is gay and looking for a boyfriend, Gay Star News noted. Ray has been somewhat flustered by the idea of being hit on every minute of the day on Twitter. "Some of the lustier tweets have had me crying with laughter," he has said. "Also glad my folks aren't on twitter! #GBBO #blushingbaker."