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World news: Burger King kiss-in; British poll; 'Doctor Who'
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times

This article shared 5235 times since Tue Dec 30, 2014
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A protest was held at a Burger King in Madrid, Spain, in response to an incident where a same-sex couple were kicked out for kissing, the UK Independent reported. A security guard told the couple, aged 18 and 19, to leave the Plaza de los Cubos restaurant after families allegedly complained that they were setting a "bad example" to children. A kiss-in protest that LGBT-rights organization Arcopoli organized was held by same-sex couples in the same Burger King as a response to the incident—to applause from staff.

A Pink News poll has found that, in Britain, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has been named the most gay-friendly party leader—but that support for his party, the Liberal Democrats, has plummeted. Also, the survey found that the Labour Party has overtaken the Lib Dems to become the most popular party for LGBT voters, and that support for the Greens has also surged. UKIP leader Nigel Farage was the only party leader that more people said was homophobic than pro-equality for gay people—with 94 percent of readers labelling him either moderately or extremely anti-LGBT.

Among the complaints included in a report released is criticism that the long-running sci-fi drama Doctor Who is "promoting" a "gay agenda," On Top Magazine noted. The BBC Trust report details complaints received by the BBC spanning a period from February 2013 to September 2014. Among other things, Doctor Who is known for featuring the "omnisexual" character Captain Jack Harkness ( played by out gay actor John Barrowman ). Also, some viewers objected to a kiss between lizard-woman Madame Vastra ( played by Neve McIntosh ) and her human wife, Jenny Flint ( Catrin Stewart ).

NPR recently spotlighted U.K. citizen Adebisi Alimi, the first person ever to come out as gay on Nigerian television ( when he was 29 in 2004 ). Now, Alimi's the founder of Bisi Consultancy, an organization that develops social policy recommendations based on HIV research on the LGBT community. For his birthday on Jan. 17, Alimi has also started a campaign called 40four40 to raise 40,000 pounds ( about $62,000 U.S ) for four LGBT charities. Previously, he founded the Independent Project For Equal Rights-Nigeria, a nonprofit for LGBT youth, and helped set up the international LGBT organization Kaleidoscope Diversity Trust.

Openly lesbian ski legend Anja Paerson says the International Olympic Committee ( IOC ) is out of touch on LGBT issues, and that she has little confidence that recent changes to the Olympic Charter will prevent discrimination in the future, noted. The Swede—who retired in 2012 after a career that included Olympic gold and seven world championship titles—has said the IOC should have taken a firmer stance in the controversial build-up to the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi. Paerson also believes her own sport's ruling body, the International Ski Federation ( FIS ), needs to step up to the plate and better support gay athletes.

The Guardian reported that a referendum on legalizing same-sex marriage in Ireland will be held in May. Tanaiste and Irish Labour leader Joan Burton confirmed that the cabinet in Dublin had agreed to hold the vote then. A gay Christian group, Changing Attitude Ireland, was among the first to welcome the announcement. The latest opinion poll in the Irish Times found that 71 percent of the republic's electorate would vote yes and allow for legal gay marriages in the state.

In Montreal, Luka Rocco Magnotta was found guilty of five charges, including one for first-degree murder in the 2012 killing and dismemberment of Jun Lin, according to Yahoo! News Canada. Quebec Superior Court Justice Guy Cournoyer sentenced Magnotta, 32—a former gay-porn actor, has noted—to life imprisonment on the murder charge, with no chance of applying for parole for 25 years. The other charges Magnotta was convicted of were criminally harassing Prime Minister Stephen Harper and other members of Parliament; mailing obscene and indecent material; committing an indignity to a body; and publishing obscene materials.

In Russia, a St. Petersburg special-education teacher was fired for being lesbian after anti-gay activist Timur Isaev outed her to her superiors, Towleroad noted. However, according to LGBTI group Coming Out, the educator is the first in the country to fight her termination and defend her rights. The teacher has said, "I was fired because someone thinks my sexual orientation harms children. This is not supported by any law and I have not done anything wrong. I am determined to seek justice to the end!" Isaev claims he has had more than 30 teachers fired for being gay or lesbian, according to Gay Star News.

An Egyptian appeals court upheld the convictions but reduced the sentences of eight men who appeared in a same-sex wedding video, according to PBS Newshour. Last month, the men were convicted of "inciting debauchery" and sentenced to three-year prison terms after a video surfaced online of them at what appeared to be a gay wedding. The sentences were reduced to one year. Same-sex marriage is illegal in Egypt—although homosexuality is not, in itself, an offense.

Closer—the French gossip magazine that revealed President Francois Hollande's affair with an actress—has been fined 20,000 euros ( more than $24,000 U.S. ) for publishing photos of the National Front's deputy leader, Florian Philippot, with a man identified as his boyfriend, reported. A court in Paris ruled that Closer had "invaded the privacy" of Philippot. Closer was also ordered to publish the verdict on its front page and pay Philippot 3,500 euros ( about $4,300 U.S. ) for his legal fees.

A brutal gang rape forced 27-year-old Milton Amezquita-Guzman to flee Guatemala for the United States, according to a Queerty item that quotes The Washington Blade. However, after fleeing to the U.S., his troubles were only just beginning. Immigration and Customs Enforcement ( ICE ) reportedly detained Amezquita-Guzman and suffered additional mistreatment ( such as no psychological treatment ) before a judge granted him asylum.

In January, Taiwanese authorities will stop requiring trans people to undergo reassignment operation before changing their legal gender, scrapping a policy that they now consider "inhumane," Gay Star News noted. A special gender-change commmitee will be set up to consider applications filed by trans individuals aged 18 or above, who will each be given a six-month consideration period. Rights activists and political heavyweights announced the government's decision in a press conference at the Legislative Yuan, which passed a bill for the move.

Gambian authorities arrested three men and accused them of committing homosexual acts, which are punishable with a maximum sentence of life imprisonment under a law signed in October, according to Yahoo! News UK. The arrests followed a security operation and the men have confessed that they are gay; their nationalities are not named. In a post-event release, the Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ) commended the Obama Administration for taking concrete action against the Gambian government. The United States has suspended Gambia's eligibility for trade benefits under the African Growth and Opportunities Act ( AGOA ).

An activist from the feminist group Femen bared her breasts in St Peter's Square on Christmas Day and rushed the nativity scene, grabbing the Baby Jesus figurine, according to .au. The words "God Is Woman" were daubed in large letters on her chest. Although the incident occurred well after Pope Francis delivered his Christmas message from the balcony of St Peter's Basilica, thousands of pilgrims were still in the famous square. A Vatican police officer quickly arrested the blonde activist.

Doctors in Barcelona, Spain, announced they believe they've found a cure for HIV—but it won't be available soon, according to . Similar to the report that Harvard researchers published, the Spanish research team hypothesizes that a blood transplant from a donor with a genetic mutation could prevent HIV from entering cells and replicating. The announcement is based on results of an experimental treatment given to a 37-year-old man ( "the Barcelona patient" ) who contracted HIV in 2009 and lymphoma in 2012. Unfortunately, the patient has since died—of the cancer.

In Australia, Richelle Menzies and Rhonda Bruce won a judgment against a gun lobbyist who, while serving as a local councillor, invited their regional Queensland town to share his contempt for gay people, according to the UK Guardian. A state legal tribunal found Ron Owen broke state anti-discrimination laws by expressing his contempt toward gays and lesbians in a council report, a community newsletter and a website posting in 2005. Menzies, a lesbian, and Bruce, a transgender bisexual, were not Owen's only constituents who felt dismayed and vilified by his public pronouncements; however, they were the only ones who affixed their names to the complaint.

In a British soccer match, Lee Mansell, a midfielder with the Bristol Rovers, was penalized for kissing J.J. O'Donnell, a midfielder for Gateshead FC, according to . Mansell seemed to be going in for a second smooch, but the referee gave him a yellow card for poor sportsmanship. Mansell later told the BBC the kiss was his way of defusing a potential fight during the match.

This article shared 5235 times since Tue Dec 30, 2014
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