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World news: Gay Times' icons; Russia court upholds LGBT ban
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2014-09-30

This article shared 5007 times since Tue Sep 30, 2014
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UK magazine Gay Times has released its list of 30 gay icons, Gay Star News reported. Among the individuals listed are Madonna, Elizabeth Taylor, bearded drag queen Conchita Wurst, former Prime Minister Tony Blair, Bette Midler, Sir Ian McKellen, RuPaul, actor Leslie Jordan, Neil Patrick Harris and Absolutely Fabulous' Jennifer Saunders. Gay Times published the chart to mark its 30th anniversary.

Russia's highest court has upheld the country's ban on so-called LGBT propaganda, claiming it was necessary to prevent children from being recruited into non-heterosexual society, Advocate.com reported. Activists Nikolay Alekseev, Yaroslav Evtushenko and Dmitry Isakov filed the complaint with the Constitutional Court of Russia, claiming it violated their constitutional right to freedom of speech while also discriminating against them. In so ruling, the court also said the law was not an outright ban or censure of homosexuality.

Following the international outcry over Russia's anti-gay legislation that overshadowed the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games, the International Olympic Committee ( IOC ) announced in a letter to prospective host cities that it would be adding a new anti-discrimination clause to its host city contract, according to a press release from pro-LGBT group AllOut. According to IOC Sports Director Christopher Dubi, the new clause will include "the prohibition of any form of discrimination, using the wording of Fundamental Principle 6 of the Olympic Charter." Oslo, Beijing and Almaty, Kazakhstan, are the three candidate cities for the 2022 Games.

The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission ( IGLHRC ) applauded the United Nations' top human-rights body for approving a resolution condemning discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, a press release stated. The Human Rights Council resolution—led by Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Uruguay—followed a resolution in 2011 on the same topic led by South Africa, and has asked the UN Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights to gather and publish information on how best to overcome discrimination and violence. "The Human Rights Council has taken a fundamental step forward by reaffirming one of the United Nations' key principles—that everyone is equal in dignity and rights," said Jessica Stern, executive director of IGLHRC.

Iran's police have accused a man of using Facebook to find gay men for sex, Gay City News reported. Specialist cyberpolice claim they discovered a Facebook user was posting a mobile phone number online asking other men to call him to have "immoral relations." Gay sex is criminalized in Iran and while exact details of recent punishments are sometimes disputed, it can be punished with the death penalty. The man will stand trial.

A shop teacher who was suspended in British Columbia for putting a sign that read "I'm gay" on the back of a student is teaching in the Canadian province of Alberta, according to The Globe and Mail. Daniel Mark Ogloff is listed in the 2014-2015 handbook as a teacher at Bassano School in Calgary. David Steele, superintendent of Alberta's Grasslands School Division, said staff who hired Ogloff was unaware of the gay prank.

Human-rights activists have called for the immediate repeal of new laws passed in Indonesia's conservative Aceh province that make gay sex punishable with 100 lashes of the cane, calling it "an enormous step backward," ABC News reported. Aceh is the only part of the significantly Muslim nation that is allowed to implement Islamic sharia law and already carries out public canings for gambling, drinking alcohol and fraternizing with the opposite sex outside of marriage. The bylaw will also be the first in Aceh to be applied to non-Muslims, both Indonesians and foreigners. Gay sex is not illegal in the rest of the country.

A popular Israeli gay party organizer is under fire for promoting the event Drek Fest using imagery that closely resembles ISIS' beheading videos, Fox News noted. One of the posters shows a bare-chested man draped in a black sarong standing over a man wearing an orange top—similar to the ones worn by hostages in the militant group's beheading videos. However, Amiri Kalman, one of Drek's founders, has said that the posters are "satire" and they "are trying to react to current events."

Thousands of Serbian police officers in full gear with water cannons and armored personnel carriers sealed off capital's sunny downtown for Belgrade's pride parade, according to ABC News. Several hundred LGBT individuals from Serbia, the former Yugoslavia, Italy, Greece, Germany and Canada marched their way through practically empty streets of Belgrade, for the first time since 2010, calling for greater tolerance, equal rights and the right to civil partnerships.

South Africa's first gay-friendly mosque, which also allowed women to lead prayers, has been closed, BBC.com reported. A City of Cape Town councillor said the newly established Open Mosque has violated municipal by-laws by not having any parking spaces. The mosque had officially opened its doors despite criticism from members of the local Muslim community. City councillor Ganief Hendricks denied that the closure request was part of a witch hunt.

A doctor in rural Liberia inundated with Ebola patients says he's had good results with a treatment he tried out of sheer desperation: an HIV drug, according to CNN. Dr. Gobee Logan has given the drug, lamivudine, to 15 Ebola patients, and all but two survived. ( Across West Africa, the virus has killed 70 percent of its victims. ) Logan is mindful that lamivudine can cause liver and other problems, but he says it's worth the risk since Ebola is so deadly.

In the United Kingdom, former Bishop of Winchester Michael Scott-Joynt, who strongly opposed LGBT rights in the House of Lords, has died age 71, Pink News reported. Scott-Joynt served as bishop of Stafford during 1987—1995, and sat in the House of Lords as the bishop of Winchester from 1995 until his retirement in 2011. During his time in the Lords he opposed equalizing the age of consent, the Equality Act, the Civil Partnership Act and the Gender Recognition Act, among others; in 2003, he opposed the appointment of gay Canon Jeffery John.

A Canadian man has admitted killing his lover and sending parts of his body in the post to political figures, BBC News reported. However, Luka Magnotta, 32, has pled not guilty to five charges related to the 2012 death of Jun Lin, a Chinese university student, including murder. On the first day of his trial, Mr Magnotta's lawyer said he was mentally ill, and the judge said jurors would have to determine his state of mind. Magnotta faces life in prison if convicted of all charges.


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