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World news: Abbott's anti-gay move; Kenyan couple; Blanco's appearance
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times.
2015-08-18

This article shared 3348 times since Tue Aug 18, 2015
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Australia Prime Minister Tony Abbott called a surprise meeting with members of Parliament ( MPs ), and the group voted against letting MPs vote on same-sex marriage, according to LGBTQ Nation. Abbott, who is opposed to marriage equality, is being accused of "stacking the deck." In the past, Abbott has said that same-sex marriage is a "deeply personal … subject on which decent people can differ."

In Kenya, a pastor and his partner—the first gay couple to have publicly married in Kenya—say they now feel forced to flee the country and seek asylum elsewhere, Frontiers Media noted. Edwin, a 37-year-old pastor in the Lutheran church, and Isaiah, a 25-year-old laborer, first met on Facebook through a mutual friend. After talking for three years, they met in person for the first time in 2014. The couple are now hiding in what they describe as a "cave" while they try to raise the funds to stay with friends in Tanzania, Zanzibar or elsewhere.

A gay Cuban-American poet who took part in President Obama's second inauguration took part in a ceremony at the U.S. Embassy in Cuba where the American flag was raised, The Washington Blade reported. Richard Blanco recited a new poem during the ceremony that marked the official reopening of the U.S. embassy along Havana's oceanfront promenade that overlooks the Florida straits. Blanco told the Blade that the poem's inspiration came from Cuba's geographic proximity to the United States, and that the work contains a "very human-based, centered theme" that stresses "healing" between the two countries.

Italian fashion designer Domenico Dolce of Dolce & Gabbana has apologized for controversial comments he made opposing gay adoption and in-vitro fertilization, The Huffington Post reported. "I've done some soul-searching," Dolce told Vogue. "I've talked to Stefano a lot about this. I realized my words were inappropriate, and I apologize." The designers, who are both openly gay, came under fire in March when Dolce told Italian magazine Panorama "we oppose gay adoptions" and "the only family is the traditional one."

A gruesome video has emerged that shows ISIS jihadists executing two gay men, The Daily Mail reported. The video shows two men being thrown to their deaths from a roof in Homs, before being stoned by a mob that included children. It goes on to show the killers apparently conducting the rituals of an Islamic burial—only to be dumped in an unmarked grave.

A former Mr. Gay World has died at age 33, Gay Star News reported. Charl Van Den Berg died in South Africa, reportedly from lymphoma. He was known for having won Mr. Gay South Africa in 2009 and the 2010 Mr. Gay World competition in Oslo, Norway.

A teenager in the South Africa town of Bethlehem has killed herself apparently because of her family's unwillingness to accept her sexuality, according to Gay Star News. The mother was so angry to learn of the news that she took a belt to beat her 18-year-old daughter. "The next morning when I went to look for her, I found her," said the mother ( to News24.com ), who later also found a letter her daughter had written to her that read, "I just wanted you to accept me for who I want to be, mom. I am a lesbian." The teen was the mother's only daughter.

British gay-rights activist Peter Tatchell is undergoing major surgery in order to save his eyesight, according to Gay Star News. He is hoping the damage caused after being beaten up by President Robert Mugabe's minders in Brussels in 2001 and by neo-Nazis in Moscow in 2007. The 63-year-old has a chronic detached retina and has lost 50 percent of his vision in his right eye.

The United States and Chile are putting the spotlight on "the barbaric treatment" of LGBT people by the Islamic State extremist group, the Associated Press reported. U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power and Chile's U.N. ambassador, Cristian Barros Melet, have invited members of the U.N. Security Council, the head of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission and others to an open meeting on Aug. 24 to hear from an Iraqi and a Syrian who have been targeted by the militant group for being gay.

Israeli newspaper Haaretz turned many heads when it referred to U.S. Sen. Al Franken ( D-Minn. ) as "gay" on Twitter, The Hill reported. The tweet was deleted minutes later, but not before it raised several eyebrows for its mischaracterization of Franken's sexuality. Haaretz has since tweeted a retraction, calling the previous post a "misfired tweet."

GLSEN Chief Research & Strategy Officer Dr. Joe Kosciw, who leads the organization's international work, made a statement in recognition of International Youth Day, celebrated on Aug. 12. He said, in part, "Today we recognize International Youth Day which celebrates the crucial role youth play in improving their communities and their vital contribution to every country and society. This year's theme, 'Youth Civic Engagement,' aligns with GLSEN's work to empower lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender ( LGBT ) and ally youth to create safe and affirming schools in their communities."

On Facebook ( Facebook.com/yousef.farhad.story ), the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission ( IGLHRC ) has launched the first episode of a commissioned graphic novel, Yousef and Farhad—a story about the struggles for acceptance by two fictional gay men in Iran, a press release stated. This weekly publication will be the start of the digital campaign entitled #LoveForAll. The campaign kickoff on Facebook includes weekly episodes in both English and Farsi, with additional posts about the real-life struggles of LGBTIQ people in Iran and around the world.

Several dozen Ugandans marked Gay Pride recently, cheering that such a parade could go ahead in a country that only last year tried to impose long jail terms for gay sex, according to Business Insider. At a secluded beach in Entebbe, just outside the capital of Kampala, a group of about 70 people held banners, including one that read, "I have a relationship with Jesus and I'm gay." Last year, Uganda enacted anti-gay laws that some deemed harsh; however, a constitutional court later overturned the law because of legal technicalities.

A prominent defender of the traditional blood sport of bullfighting has made headlines in Spain after he suggested that a bullfight was a more appropriate sight for a child than a gay-pride parade, Gay Star News reported. Carlos Zuninga, co-owner of bullfighting company Circuitos Taurinos, told Europa Press that he respected other kinds of "fiestas" even if they weren't his cup of tea and that Spain's National Association for the Rights and Freedoms of Animals should respect the traditional "fiesta" of bullfighting. He added that, compared to bullfighting, gay-pride parades are "what is harmful for children to watch." He had been responding to criticism about children being allowed to view bullfights—particularly those where the animals are wounded or killed by the matador.

A British rugby league player has become the first professional in his sport to come out as gay, Messenger Newspapers reported. Keegan Hirst, 27, told the Sunday Mirror, "At first I couldn't even say 'I'm gay' in my head, let alone out loud. Now I feel like I'm letting out a long breath that I've held in for a long time." Hirst, a father of two, plays for the Batley Bulldogs. Gareth Thomas was previously the only openly gay rugby player after he came out while playing for Wales rugby union side Cardiff Blues in 2009.

BBC host Evan Davis has aroused some anger with his comment that the dating app Tinder lets straight people "behave like gay men," Advocate.com reported. Several observers thought that Davis, who is himself gay, was implying that gay men are interested primarily in casual hookups. Davis' critics included Little Britain star and co-creator Matt Lucas, who is also gay, and tweeted that the comments were "pathetic."

Vitus Huonder, a Catholic bishop in Switzerland, delivered a recent sermon on the evils of homosexuality, LGBTQ Nation noted. Using a Bible verse to imply that Catholics should kill gays, he's being charged with "inciting people to crimes," which, under Swiss law, is considered a federal offense. Huonder said the passage, which is from the book of Leviticus, should "suffice to clarify unambiguously the church's position on homosexuality."

ITV.com reported that Londoners would be much happier with a gay mayor than a Muslim mayor, according to a new opinion poll of more than 1,100 people by LBC Radio. The survey reveals almost a third of Londoners ( 31 percent ) would be uncomfortable with a mayor who was a Muslim, while 16 percent would dislike having a gay mayor. The poll also showed that former Labour Olympics minister Dame Tessa Jowell is still the front-runner to replace Boris Johnson in 2016.

Russia's state media watchdog is investigating whether gay-themed emojis on Facebook are in violation of Russian laws against promoting homosexuality, Time.com reported. In his written appeal to The Federal Service For Supervision of Communication, Information Technology and Mass Media, Mikhail Marchenko ( the senator from the region of Bryansk ) called for an investigation into whether the emojis violate Russia's controversial 2013 law against "homosexual propaganda" among minors.

The Oxford English Dictionary added a new honorific for inclusion in their dictionaries: the gender-neutral Mx, used as a title for those who do not identify as being of a particular gender, and for those who are transgender —or, for people who simply don't want to be identified by gender, according to Merriam-Webster. Pronounced to sound like "mix" or "mux," the title Mx. is used increasingly on various official forms in the United Kingdom, including driver's licenses and banking documents.

Scottlish professional tennis player Andy Murray dedicated his newest title—winner of the Rogers Cup in Montreal on Aug. 16—to French coach Amelie Mauresmo, Tennis.com noted. Mauresmo, an out lesbian, gave birth to a boy on Aug. 15. Murray ended an eight-game skid against Novak Djokovic, beating him 6-4, 4-6, 6-3.

Patrick Couderc, the managing director of Herve Leger in London, told the UK's The Mail that not all women should wear the brand's iconic, skintight bandage dresses, US Weekly noted. Couderc said that "voluptuous" ladies and those with "very prominent hips and a very flat chest" should steer clear of the body-hugging garments, and that lesbians should also avoid the look. "If you're a committed lesbian and you are wearing trousers all your life, you won't want to buy a Leger dress," he said. "Lesbians would want to be rather butch and leisurely."

The White Party is joining forces with Will Gorges and Latin Fever to launch White Party Puerto Vallarta Nov. 27-30, according to SDGLN.com . Jeffrey Sanker's White Party Palm Springs started as a small celebration with only a few hundred people in the desert in 1989—but now attracts more than 30,000 attendees. Early-bird tickets will go on sale Sept. 1 at JeffreySanker.com and WillGorges.com .


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