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World news: Ontario bans conversion therapy; Moscow; Mozambique
2015-07-01

This article shared 4909 times since Wed Jul 1, 2015
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COMPILED BY ANDREW DAVIS

Ontario, Canada, has prohibited "conversion therapy"—attempting to change one's sexual orientation from gay to heterosexual—for children younger than 18, according to Courthouse News Service. The province's Bill 77 received royal assent on June 4, the day the Legislative Assembly approved it on its third reading. The Affirming Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Act amends the province's Health Insurance Act and the Regulated Health Professions Act of 1991.

A plan to stage a U.S. theater company's gay-themed play in Moscow, with support from the U.S. government, has stalled amid tensions between the two nations and at a time of Kremlin hostility toward homosexuality, The New York Times reported. The Moscow New Drama Theater had been planning to present the 1997 play Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde this fall. However, the play's writer, Moises Kaufman, said the theater had informed him that the Russian government had barred the Moscow company from accepting foreign funds for artistic productions, prompting indefinite postponement of the collaboration.

Anti-gay Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe has "joked" that he might marry President Obama after same-sex marriage became law across the United States, PinkNews noted. Mugabe added ( while speaking on state radio station ZBC ), "I can't understand how this people dare to defy Christ's explicit orders as our Lord prohibited mankind from sodomy." Homosexuality is illegal in Zimbabwe, and Mugabe has been a staunch promoter of anti-LGBT persecution since he became president in 1987.

Mozambique officially legalized gay sex June 29, according to Gay Star News. The southern African nation has officially been added to the list of countries with no law against same-sex relations, 180 days after the government agreed to the revised Penal Code. Legislators specifically revised the penal code that allowed "security measures" to be taken against people "'who habitually engage in vices against nature."

Spain is celebrating the 10-year anniversary of its own legalization of equal marriage, TheLocal.es reported. From as early as 2004, Spain's newly elected Socialist government, led by Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, had been petitioning for the legalization of same-sex marriage. The country's parliament and senate passed the law on June 30, 2005, with it taking effect July 3. The law made Spain only the third country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage, after the Netherlands and Belgium; it was also 17 days ahead of Canada.

The London Lesbian and Gay Switchboard is rebranding—to adopt a name that is more inclusive of all LGBT people, according to PinkNews. The charity, founded in 1974, has announced that it will drop most of its historic name, to emphasize that it also caters for transgender, bisexual and other-identifying people as well as callers outside London. The new name is "Switchboard, the LGBT+ helpline."

Responding to the wave of pride rainbow-embossed profile photos that washed across social media in wake of the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling that legalized same-sex marriage in the United States, some conservative and homophobic Russians are shading profile images the colors of their country's flag: white, blue and red, according to Mashable. The man behind the idea is Oleg Chulakov, an art director who created an app after he reportedly received thousands of requests from friends who wanted his help in altering their profile photos. He said, however, that it was not done out of opposition to LGBT people and supporters of same-sex marriage.

A top Cabinet minister has urged Colombia's courts to legalize same-sex marriage and support the right of such couples to adopt, the Associated Press reported. Interior Minister Juan Fernando Cristo noted the June 26 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court that allows gays and lesbians to wed in the United States. Same-sex couples can enter civil unions in Colombia, enjoying the same rights as married couples, thanks to a series of Constitutional Court rulings.

Saudi Arabia won't have gay rights anytime soon, according to the country's interior ministry, which said it opposed such protections for gay people on the grounds that homosexuality does not fit with Islamic law, IBTimes.com reported. The ministry said in a post on its Twitter account that it supported other types of internationally recognized human rights—but not those specific to gays and lesbians. Among the things technically banned under sharia law ( which Saudi Arabia is the only Arab country to practice ) are smoking, drinking and same-sex relations.

In Egypt, a Syrian refugee was sentenced to a year in prison for allegedly soliciting gay sex over the Internet, after police set up a sting operation to catch gay people online, Times of Israel noted. The refugee was convicted based on his chat history with an undercover officer from Egypt's Morality Police who posed as a gay man on social media. After being arrested, the refugee was forced to undergo an anal examination, which found no evidence that he engaged in gay sex. Nonetheless, he was sentenced on several charges, including "inciting debauchery" and "solicitation to commit immoral acts in public."

A politician, scientist, radio presenter and boxing promoter are among those named the most influential transgender people in Britain in this year's Pride Power list, The Guardian reported. Among those listed are poet Dean Atta, actor/director/screenwriter Rikki Beadle-Blair, campaigner Sue Sanders, director Russell T. Davies, actor Sir Ian McKellen, Lord Browne, Bitreserve's Anthony Watson and decorated Royal Air Force flight lieutenant Ayla Holdom. The 2015 list placed people in categories instead of ranking them, as previous lists did.

Transport for London ( TfL ) introduced a rainbow-colored train ahead of London's Gay Pride parade, UK Metro reported. TfL has previously mocked up a London bus and a traditional black taxi with rainbow coloring; last year, it unveiled a rainbow pedestrian crossing to mark the moment same-sex couples could convert their civil partnerships into marriages. But this year the transport authority went a step further with the introduction of a rainbow-colored Docklands Light Railway train sponsored by Barclays.

UKIP's LGBT group joined the Pride in London parade, despite organizers having banned them due to safety concerns, PinkNews reported. LGBT* in UKIP attempted to join groups marching as they walked through the capital's West End. Asked why the group was marching, Richard Hendron, organizer of the march, said it was "in support of LGBT rights, as well as in support of our rights to be here. We want to show that if there is any homophobia [in UKIP] it is dealt with and we are progressing."

CNN devoted a segment to a purported ISIS flag that was spotted by correspondent Lucy Pawle in London during the city's gay-pride celebrations, The Huffington Post noted. However, the flag actually appeared to be an assortment of sex toys arranged to look like the ISIS flag. CNN later removed video of the segment from its website.

A 29-year-old mother in Perth, Scotland, has been sentenced to jail for three years after lying to her former lover about receiving an abortion and then secretly giving away the child to her gay friend, The Daily Beast noted. The 35-year-old gay man from Glasgow, who was raising the child, was also sentenced for three years. The birth father had originally been told that the gay friend's child was from a surrogate mother. The birth mother and adoptive father created a fake Facebook persona—a lesbian lawyer named Clare Green—to maintain the surrogate ruse.

The death of gay-porn actor Mateo Stanford, 35, has been confirmed by the MenAtPlay studio, according to PinkNews. The details surrounding his death were not revealed, but his funeral was held in June in Valencia, Spain, where he lived. He worked on productions for UKNakedMen and HardKinks, as well as MenAtPlay.

The International Association of Pride Organizers announced its 2015 Solidarity Fund grant recipients, a press release stated. This year, the Solidarity Fund will provide $12,000 to support nine projects in eight countries. Funds will be used to support art exhibitions as part of Sofia Pride Week in Bulgaria; a public gathering for LGBTI communities on World AIDS Day in Kigali, Rwanda; support for the Hong Kong Pride Parade; and a performance as part of Delhi Queer Pride in India. Public events are also being supported this year in Ulan Bataar ( Mongolia ), Riga ( Latvia ), Nairobi ( Kenya ), Cape Town ( South Africa ) and Tirupati ( India ).


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