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WORLD French plan, 'gay panic' defense, trans youth case, Northern Triangle
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times

The French government unveiled a national plan to combat hatred and discrimination against LGBTQ people, and the initiative emphasises the importance of inclusive education in stamping out homophobia, reported. The three-year plan aims to make members of the LGBT community "citizens in their own right," French Junior Minister of Gender Equality Elisabeth Moreno told reporters. It contains more than 40 objectives designed to tackle homophobia or transphobia in the home, school, university, work, healthcare and sports.

The state of South Australia is poised to eliminate the controversial gay defense provision that allows defendants to claim their reaction to a person's sexual orientation can be considered as a mitigating factor at trial ( known as the "gay panic" defense ), noted. Reuters reported the state's parliament considered a reform bill which eliminated the provision, but the body adjourned until next month without taking a vote.

Transgender children cannot understand the dangers of drugs that block puberty so should only be able to take them if a court approves, a lawyer argued in a landmark case against Britain's lone youth gender identity clinic, Openly News reported. The case has shed light on the sharp rise globally in adolescents seeking to change gender, with some fearing medics are prescribing the drugs without due process and others worried about access to medication they deem life-saving.

Human Rights Watch ( HRW ) criticized the treatment of LGBT individuals in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, as well as the United States for the obstacles it places before asylum-seekers, noted. The report, "Every Day I Live in Fear: Violence and Discrimination Against LGBT People in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, and Obstacles to Asylum in the United States," found that hate crimes against LGBT people are all too common in these Latin American countries known as the Northern Triangle. The study ( at https:// Article Link Here ) highlights that the Northern Triangle is one of the most dangerous places in the world because of gang violence that permeates the lower classes.

The UK government is planning to include questions about gender and sexual identity in next year's census—a first for the island nation, noted. The Office of National Statistics ( ONS ) confirmed it is hoping to uncover more information about disadvantages faced by the LGBT community in England and Wales. There are estimates of sexual orientation at national and regional levels, but the census survey would give more granular information at local authority level, deputy national statistician Iain Bell told The Observer.

In Italy, protesters turned out in force Oct. 17 for rival demonstrations on a bill that would make anti-LGBT violence a hate crime carrying harsher penalties than under current law, coming out by the hundreds in Rome despite a resurgence of coronavirus cases in the country, reported. Demonstrations were planned throughout the country before a parliamentary vote planned for this coming week, with supporters framing the measure as a long-overdue means to provide basic human rights and protection from attack, and foes depicting it as an overreaching step that would also suppress opinion and religious beliefs.

An Irish town has become the latest in Europe to suspend twinning ties with Poland over the country's "LGBT-free zones," Euronews reported. The twinning committee in the town of Fermoy, County Cork, has confirmed the decision to officially terminate its links to Nowa Deba, in southeast Poland. The move was welcomed by the Cork East branch of the Social Democrats party, who issued a statement on social media.

Last month, an Algerian court sentenced two men to prison terms and 42 others to suspended terms after mass arrests at what the police alleged was a "gay wedding," Human Rights Watch stated. ( The group urged "the authorities [to] void the charges and release them immediately." ) On July 24, police raided a private residence and arrested the 44—nine women and 35 men, most of them university students—in el-Kharoub, a district in Constantine Province, northeastern Algeria, after neighbors complained.

The late British singer George Michael's ex-boyfriend Kenny Goss reportedly launched a legal bid for a big monthly allowance from the late star's estate, The Mirror noted, citing The Sun. Goss is suing for 15,000 pounds per month. Goss, who was dating the Wham singer for 13 years until 2011, said he was reliant on Michael's money and should therefore be provided for following his tragic death on Christmas Day 2016. Michael paid Texas native Goss a monthly allowance throughout their years together, but didn't leave him anything in his will.

Jacinda Ardern ( a staunch ally of the LGBTQ+ community ) won a second term as New Zealand's prime minister after her success at handling the country's coronavirus outbreak helped secure a landslide victory, reported. Ardern's re-election was likely buoyed by her "go hard and go early" approach to handling the coronavirus which has helped New Zealand avoid the kind of devastating outbreaks seen elsewhere. New Zealand has reported fewer than 2,000 total cases and 25 deaths since the pandemic began.

Conservative Christians were outraged by an ad from the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Iceland that depicts Jesus as having a beard, breasts and make-up, LGBTQ Nation noted. The ad, on buses in Iceland's capital of Reykjavik for several weeks, is meant "to bring attention to diversity." The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Iceland is the official national church of Iceland and has an estimated 230,000 members.

Jamaican singer Dalton Harris, who won the UK's X-Factor in 2018, has come out as pansexual on social media, noted. Harris also addressed his sexuality, saying, in part, "My privacy is my business and whoever enters my bedroom will get there because of how I feel about them, any of the other physical checkpoints I should meet to make anyone accept me. My life is mine to live." He also posted, "To the boys with fragile egos, I am a TOP to you and your girlfriend. Or non-binary partner." Harris followed all of this up with a post to Twitter of a pansexual flag graphic.

British-American actor/Olympic skier Gus Kenworthy opened up to fellow queer athlete Megan Rapinoe about his battle with depression over his sexuality, Queerty noted. In part, he said, ""It's exhausting being in the closet. There was so much time and energy put into harboring that secret that I think it really took a toll on my mental health and I struggled with depression and at moments in my life, thoughts of suicide. ... My following year after coming out was my best season to date. I felt so liberated—I had a huge weight off my shoulders."

Sir Elton John and ex-wife Renate Blauel resolved a legal dispute that was triggered by the star's autobiography and the film Rocketman, the BBC noted. Blauel sued John in June, claiming he'd broken the terms of their divorce deal by discussing their four-year marriage, which ended in 1988. She initially asked for an injunction to prevent future disclosures, as well as damages of approximately 3 million pounds ( $3.87 million US ).

A Scottish restaurant reopened with a message for people to dine elsewhere if they exhibit symptoms of illnesses such as racism, homophobia or transphobia, noted. The general manager of Wee Mexico, in Dundee, placed the warning sign outside the popular restaurant as a show of solidarity with their diverse staff and customers, as well as to let bigots know they're not welcome. "We have quite a diverse group of staff and this is something we stand for and we figured our customers would agree with it," Wee Mexico's GM Ben Wyatt told the Evening Telegraph.

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