Politics and Society: October 2015

October 1, 2015 in General

Denver:  A prominent extremist US anti-abortion campaigner who wants doctors that perform the procedures to be executed has been denied a visa to Australia, where he was to conduct a speaking tour. Troy Newman responded to the decision on Facebook, saying his visa was revoked mid-flight and he was “pulled off a plane in Denver and told I could not travel to Los Angeles” and then on to Melbourne, where he was due to speak on Friday night.  Labor MP Terri Butler welcomed the decision, saying it “sends a strong message to those who would seek to cause discord in the community, and disrupt the ability of women to access lawful reproductive medicine”.

The ALP had written to Immigration Minister Peter Dutton asking him to cancel Mr Newman’s visa.  The letter cited excerpts from a book Mr Newman co-authored, which said women who have abortions are “guilty of murder” and doctors who perform the procedures should be executed “in order to expunge bloodguilt [sic] from the land and people”. The Right to Life Australia website says Mr Newman was due to speak in Melbourne, Hobart, Sydney, Brisbane and Cairns.

Update: Newman  has been granted a temporary reprieve, after Immigration Minister Peter Dutton agreed not to remove him from Australia in the next 24 hours.  Newman was detained at Melbourne Airport on Thursday after flying to Australia despite Mr Dutton this week revoking his visa amid concerns the speaker would incite community harm.

United Airlines, which flew Mr Newman to Australia, faces a potential fine for carrying him. Counsel for the Commonwealth gave the undertaking not to immediately remove Mr Newman at a hearing in Melbourne before High Court justice Geoffrey Nettle on Thursday evening, at which counsel for Mr Newman sought to have the decision to bar him from Australia overturned.

High Court Justice Geoffrey Nettle has adjourned the matter until Friday afternoon to give Mr Dutton time to consider the case overnight. Newman, who wants doctors who perform abortions to be executed, was scheduled to speak at a national Right to Life tour from Friday.  Counsel for Mr Newman told the hearing that the federal government’s decision to prevent the speaker from coming to Australia was flawed because Mr Newman has never incited violence. While Newman has been arrested for taking part in anti-abortion protests in the US, he has never been charged or advocated violence, the court heard.

The Public Health Association has applauded the move. The fundamentalist Australian Christian Lobby has condemned it, despite Newman’s advocacy of violence against abortion providers.

Further Update:  In a welcome move, the Australian  High Court has thrown out an emergency bid by controversial American anti-abortion campaigner Troy Newman to restrain authorities from removing him from Australia. Tom Howe, QC, who appeared for Immigration Minister Peter Dutton, said the minister wanted to remove  Newman, who is being held at Melbourne’s Maribyrnong detention centre, “at the earliest opportunity”. Following the ruling, Mr Dutton issued a statement announcing he had instructed his department to “expedite” Newman’s removal.

Newman, who was due to begin a national speaking tour for Right to Life Australia in Melbourne on Friday night, had his visa revoked by the Immigration Department as he was on his way to Australia. The department believed Mr Newman’s presence would be “a threat to good order”, and his views on abortion could lead to protests that would compromise the safety and wellbeing of women seeking legal medical procedures, and medical staff performing those procedures.  Right to Life chief executive Katrina Hellar claimed Mr Newman “was not being deported” and she believed he and his wife Mellissa would leave Australia voluntarily.  Labor MP Terri Butler said the department was right to cancel Mr Newman’s visa and she welcomed the court’s decision.

Source: http://www.theage.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/us-antiabortion-campaigner-troy-newman-loses-legal-bid-to-enter-australia-20151002-gk058e.html#


Source: http://www.theage.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/us-antiabortion-campaigner-troy-newman-barred-from-entering-australia-20150930-gjy6a5.html

 London: Today in London a petition of over 65,000 signatures will be marched to the Nigerian High Commission. The activists are demanding that Nigeria repeal it’s archaic anti-gay law. Nigeria has one of the harshest anti-gay laws out of the 76 countries that currently criminalise LGBTI people. The Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Bill punishes same-sex “amorous relationships” with 10 years in prison. It also prohibits same-sex marriage with up to 14 years and jails members of LGBTI equality or advocacy groups for 10 years. The author of the Care2 Petition, Aderonke Apata, says: “Since the insidious 2014 anti-LGBTI law was passed in Nigeria, there have been waves of police arrests and torture, anti-LGBTI mob attacks, public whippings, evictions from homes, harassment and discrimination against ‘suspected’ LGBTIs. Equality advocacy organisations and activists in Nigeria are not spared mistreatment.

Source: http://www.gaytimes.co.uk

Petition available at: http://www.thepetitionsite.com

Los Angeles:  He grew up in front of the camera in the cast of hit sitcom ‘Who’s the Boss?’ and came out as gay back in 1997 – but now Danny Pintauro has spoken for the first time about his HIV status and experimentation with methamphetamine.

“I’m HIV-positive, and I have been for 12 years,” the 39-year-old tearfully told Oprah Winfrey. He says he struggled with his self-esteem following his diagnosis at age 27.

“I had just come out of a two-year relationship and I discovered in that relationship that there was more I wanted to explore sexually. Crystal meth takes away your inhibitions. I was experimenting and believe it or not, I thought I was being safe in that encounter.”

Source: http://www.samesame.com.au

Brisbane: Queensland may soon catch up with other states in Australia in extending adoption rights to same-sex couples after a call for public submissions into a review currently underway.

Indiana: Indiana House Majority Leader Jud McMillin, a cosponsor of the state’s controversial “religious freedom” law resigned his seat abruptly Tuesday, after a sexually explicit video starring the representative was sent via text message from McMillin’s cell phone. The Indianapolis Star reported it is unclear who sent the text or how broadly it was distributed.

New York: The New York City Police Department is again being accused of anti-LGBT harassment, as a new study indicates that homeless LGBT youth are are being repeatedly harmed by NYPD officers. The Urban Institute surveyed 283 homeless LGBT youth in New York City who currently engage in survival sex — sex in exchange for shelter and food — and found that 71 percent have had interactions with the NYPD, most of them negative and often turning physical. Seventy percent of the youth said they had been arrested at least once, usually for crimes like fare evasion. Of those arrested, 49 percent said they felt “unsafe” in the patrol car after the arrest, and had experienced violence at the hands of officers.

“This abuse consisted of verbal harassment, physical assault such as beating and choking, sexual assault including being propositioned for sex in exchange for release from custody and rape, denial of help when reporting a crime against police, and destruction or theft of personal property. In addition to physical injury, youth identified police violence as leading to psychological injury, including post traumatic stress disorder.”

Source: http://www.advocate.com

Moscow: Russian homophobe MP Vitaly Milonov is going to set up a new “international” antigay group entitled “Volunteers for Freedom.”

Jerusalem: The Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem, Shlomo Amar, has said he believes homosexuality will “disappear” because Jerusalem is “disgusted” by it. Shlomo Amar hit out at the LGBT community during an interview with the ultra-Orthodox website Behadrey Haredim.

Los Angeles: Transgender actor and activist Laverne Cox has expressed concern about the exclusion of transgender question items and binarism of the US census.

Toronto: Transgender activists complained that Stonewall excludes people of colour and transwomen and distorts US LGBTI history at a protest against a Canadian screening of the film.

Marseilles: A French Muslim deputy mayor in the French city of Marseille has been given a five month suspended prison sentence over her ditching her responsibilities when faced with the prospect of having to perform the marriage of two lesbians. Socialist Party deputy mayor Sabrina Hout performed the marriages of four heterosexual couples on 16 August last year, but when she realized she also had a same-sex marriage to perform that day she claimed she was feeling unwell and asked a colleague to perform the marriage instead.

Source: http://www.gaystarnews.com

 Washington DC: Gallup Polls show that just less than 4 percent of the American population identifies as LGBT. That means in a school of 1,000 students, roughly 40 are likely to be LGBT. The average age of coming out has been dropping significantly in recent decades–a 2010 study by Stonewall shows that it has decreased by over 20 years since 1960. Pam Locke, a veteran social worker at Lyons Township, correlates this drop in age with an attitude change.

“Kids are more comfortable with themselves at a much earlier age and are therefore identifying at an earlier age,” Locke said. The increasing comfort levels of LGBT teens may be credited to a greater acceptance of homosexuality than ever before. The University of Chicago found that while only a slim 11 percent of people approved of same-sex marriage in 1988, 46 percent did in 2010. In 2012, President Obama publicly voiced his support for gay marriage, and since then, the gay pride movement has only grown stronger.  Whether influenced by the media, politicians or school support, society is certainly starting to change its tune on homosexuality. According to the Pew Research Center, in 2013 over 70 percent of Americans aged 18-29 reported that society should accept homosexuality–this is reflected in increasingly supportive households and schools nationwide.

Source: http://www.advocate.com

Edinburgh:  TIE campaign aka Time for Inclusive Education is campaigning for an end to homophobic and transphobic school bullying. According to Gay Times website, they submitted a petition to the Scottish Parliament calling for the statutory teaching of LGBTI+ issues and topics in schools to help combat bullying. After months of campaigning, transatlantic support and people submitting their personal stories, TIE have been invited to speak at the Scottish Parliament.

GT caught up with the campaign founders, Jordan Daly and Liam Stevenson, to see how things have been going, what they hope will happen at the end of the month and how the fight for LGBTI education is progressing.

After months of campaigning for LGBTI+ education on the Scottish Curriculum you’ve had to change your remit slightly, why is that? And what specifically are you campaigning for now? In the initial stages of the campaign, we were calling for the statutory inclusion of LGBTI+ topics and issues within all Scottish schools – with the best intentions. However, throughout the campaign we sought a lot of advice from educational professionals, who advised that this route was perhaps too hard line for the government, and that we should redress in a way that is more tactical.

Following a public meeting, that we invited activists, teachers and LGBTI+ organisers to, we consecutively agreed that we would focus on teachers and pupils. So, we are campaigning to improve teacher training – we want all trainee teachers to receive LGBTI+ training as part of their qualification, so that new teachers can be part of the solution and not a perpetuation of the problem. Further to this, we are campaigning to ensure that LGBTI+ training sessions are offered to all current teachers, many of whom were trained under Section 28 and have not since been retrained. We’ve also created a pupil pack, that informs LGBTI+ pupils of their rights in schools, and also how to set up an LGBTI+ support committee.

You’ve been invited to give evidence at the Scottish Parliament, how do you begin to approach something like that?Over the next few weeks, we have set up quite a lot of meetings with LGBTI+ organisations and teaching staff, so that we are fully equipped and prepared to answer any questions that may be asked. We’ll probably have a few drinks the night before to calm our nerves!

What are you going to presenting to them? How do you hope they’ll respond? We’ll be submitting evidence consisting of people’s personal stories that we have collected since the beginning of this campaign. We’ll discuss our own experiences, and try to offer a range of solutions to the issues that we have repeatedly raised throughout the campaign trail. We are hoping that the Committee will take our contributions on board, and advise both the Scottish Government and local authorities to take the appropriate steps to improve inclusivity of the education system.

You’re going to be attending parliament with someone who actively teaches in Scottish Education system. Do you think this is going to be the wake up call politicians need? Yes, hopefully John Naples Campbell will provide a wake up call. He has already told us that he has suffered more homophobia in the staff room than in the class room, and has many examples of this. Throughout his teaching career, John has campaigned for LGBTI+ rights and inclusion within schools: so he’s absolutely a strong asset to us, and he fully understands the Scottish education system.

What would be a best outcome from the session on 27 October? That the Committee take on board our advice and forward their recommendation that the Scottish Government discuss this issue in the Chamber. We just hope that we can put LGBTI+ issues to the forefront from that day, and hopefully kick start changes that will save the lives and wellbeing of many young LGBTI+ kids.

Do you think anyone will be attending on that day who oppose what you say? Yes, it is likely: but we want to be open and offer a hand of friendship where, by sharing our experiences and the diversity of our movement, we can appeal to these individuals and show them that – perhaps – the issues that we raise may not be far from home for them. Many of those who oppose our campaign may well have young children who, themselves, could be LGBTI+ – and one day may benefit from the work that we are doing.

As well as support from the Black Lives Matter campaign in America – another group slightly closer to home has pledged their support, haven’t they? First of all – receiving an endorsement from Alicia Garza of Black Lives Matter is massive, and we are very proud that we can show solidarity with other marginalised communities across the world. As for support closer to home… We were overwhelmed when the Unite Branch SC/51/9, which looks after petrol tanker drivers in Grangemouth, gave our campaign a donation and pledged ongoing financial support. Not only does this break down huge stereotypes and barriers, but it is a really encouraging display of unity between two unlikely communities – we love that our campaign has encouraged this. From what we’ve heard: not one of the drivers objected or questioned the decision to support us. It’s just a really nice story.

Where do you go after giving evidence, what’s next? We want to get into more schools, and we also want to branch out into delivering workshops within workplaces – homophobic language can be rampant in particular industries, and we want to tackle this. Essentially though, we’ll continue to campaign until no more young kids feel the need to take a blade to their wrists or put a noose around their necks. We are in this until it is no longer necessary for us to be. Success for us would be ending the TIE campaign – we want to build a society where we are no longer needed.

Source: http://www.gaytimes.com

Canberrra: A new genetic condition has been discovered that will help form another piece of the puzzle when it comes to understanding why some people are born intersex, although it has been questioned by a national Australian intersex rights group.  People who are intersex have reproductive organs, sexual anatomy, or chromosome patterns that don’t fit the typical binary definition of male (XY) or female (XX). Researchers from the Hudson Institute of Medical Research in Victoria led a study that showed a mutated form of the FGFR2 gene can also cause XY sex reversal. The rare genetic intersex condition is called craniosynostosis with sex reversal (CSR).  The latest discovery came after researchers studied mice with a very similar mutation. Currently, only 30 per cent of intersex people have a specific genetic cause.  Morgan Carpenter, the president of Organisation Intersex International Australia, believes the “disordering” of intersex has led to accelerated biomedicalisation.

Sydney: NSW HIV NGOs ACON and Bobby Goldsmith Foundation welcomed the NSW Government’s removal of the co-payment of HIV medication charges on Medicaid, Australia’s national health insurance scheme.

Source: http://www.starobserver.com.au

Melbourne:  The results of a recent study into the experiences of LGBT people living with dementia have been released, with the aim of debunking the notion that gay and lesbian people “become straight” when they get dementia. The research was the first of its kind in Australia, undertaken in partnership between the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society (ARCSHS) at La Trobe University and Alzheimer’s Australia.  Members of the queer community, including those living with dementia, were interviewed about their first-hand experiences as a way to improve service providers and carers. ARCSHS senior research fellow Dr Catherine Barrett believes the results will provide an important foundation for future care responses.   The research project also found that some LGBT people living with dementia lost their capacity to hide their sexual orientation or gender identity as their disease progressed. It found the fear of inadvertent disclosure was a significant source of anxiety for LGBT people living with dementia.

Source: http://www.starobserver.com.au

 Rome: The Vatican is pushing back against antigay US activist Kim Davis’s meeting with the pope, saying he was ‘blindsided’ and ‘exploited’, which Davis’ antigay fundamentalist advocacy group Liberty Counsel denies.

Berlin: Ugandan LGBT rights campaigner Kasha Nabagesera has won a Right Livelihood Award for her outstanding courage and commitment in a country in which gays and lesbians have to contend with prejudice, hatred and violence.

Source: http://www.advocate.com

Isle of Man: After Jersey introduced Channel Island marriage equality, the Isle of Man is set to convene consultations to do so.

Rutgers University: The Tyler Clementi Institute, an LGBT-inclusive internet safety institute has been launched in memory of Tyler Clementi, a teen who killed himself after footage of him hooking up with a man was leaked online.

Source; http://www.pinknews.com

Atlanta: Fundamentalist 700 Club host Pat Robertson thinks gay people want to imprison all fundamentalist Christians. Idiot.

Source: http://www.gaystarnews.com

 Rome: The Vatican has sacked a senior Polish gay priest after he came out.  Poland-born Monsignor Krysztof Charamsa, 43, said he wanted to challenge the Church’s “backwards” attitude to homosexuality. Msgr Charamsa said he was in a relationship and was “happy and proud” of his identity. Charamsa has been a member of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith – which is tasked with defending Church doctrine – since 2003.

Source: http://www.stuff.co.nz

Canberra: Marriage equality supporters have condemned Malcolm Turnbull’s backflip to supporting a referendum on marriage equality during a march in Australia’s federal capital.

Source: http://www.theage.com.au

Auckland: A rape victim in the Serco-run Mount Eden Prison is reportedly transgender.

Source: http://www.stuff.co.nz

 London:  New figures released today have shown that 1.6% of the UK population consider themselves gay, lesbian or bisexual. The Office for National Statistics has said that an average of 1.1% of the population said they were gay or lesbian, while 0.5% described themselves as bisexual. 0.3% classified themselves as ‘other’ while 3.9% didn’t know or refused to answer. London had the highest figure, where 2.6% of respondents said they were lesbian, gay or bisexual. The findings are taken from a household survey conducted last year, which also shows that 2.1% of professionals – such as lawyers or doctors – are gay, lesbian or bisexual, in comparison to 1.4% among manual workers. You can see the full findings below.




Toronto: Ontario NDP MPP Cheri DiNovo announced a new bill that would change Ontario’s laws around parental recognition, making it more accessible for LGBT families. Unveiled at a Queen’s Park press conference on Oct 1, 2015, the new bill will address how existing laws differ greatly for gay and lesbian couples and trans individuals and families of more than two parents, in comparison to cisgender, heterosexual couples.  Ontario’s Children’s Law Reform Act is gender specific and only creates a presumption for a man married to or co-habitating with a woman. For gay and lesbian couples, this means a second parent adoption or declaration of parentage is needed for both individuals to be recognized as parents, which can take several months after a child is born. Additionally, birth registration forms do not take gender identity into consideration, nor do they make room for families with more than two parents.
Source: http://www.dailyxtra.com
Leeds:  A gay escort blackmailed a married businessman who paid him for sex by threatening to expose their affair to his wife. John Walker was jailed after a court heard he sent the victim’s wife a picture of her husband on a hotel bed wearing a pair of knickers.  In the picture, he also taking drugs and watching hardcore gay pornography according to The Yorkshire Evening PostLeeds Crown Court heard Walker extorted almost £5,000 from his 49-year-old victim before the businessman went to the police. David Lampitt, prosecuting, said the victim met Walker on a gay escort website and made arrangements to meet him after depositing £1,800. The two men then met in a hotel where took ketamine, had sex and watched pornography. However, the next day, Walker turned on his client – and threatened to expose him to his wife.

Source: http://www.pinknews.co.uk

United States: Gay right-wing Brietbart journalist Milo Yiannopoulos has claimed he would choose to cure his homosexuality – and insisted everywhere without Biblical values is screwed up.

Tehran: Iran’s women’s soccer team includes eight transwomen. Repressive though it may be insofar as lesbian and gay rights are concerned, Iranian Shia Islam is an oasis of inclusion when it comes to transgender rights.  However, the country has been accused of testing the limits of sporting codes – by including eight transgender women in its women’s football squad. According to the UK Daily  Telegraph, the country’s football association has fielded a number of trans women who have not undergone gender surgery. In the UK, most major sporting bodies now allow trans people to compete in their chosen gender category – but many require them to undergo rigorous tests, and there are few cases of trans athletes at the highest professional level.  It also reports that authorities have ordered gender testing for all leading players, alongside the entire national squad. The names of the eight players were not revealed. Iran reportedly carries out more gender reassignment operations than any other nation in the world except for Thailand, although the numbers cannot be independently verified.

Source: http://www.pinknews.co.uk

Moscow:  Russia has confirmed it will still broadcast and take part in Eurovision – despite pressure from anti-gay lawmakers to drop out of the ‘Eurovision Sodom show’. Russia has participated in Eurovision since 1994 – but as the country has taken a more hardline approach to LGBT issues, lawmakers have been increasingly been at odds with the event, which is renowned for its inclusiveness and large gay following.  Vitaly Milonov, who masterminded the country’s ‘gay propaganda law’, has repeatedly called for Russia to withdraw from the contest due to its gay content.

Source: http://www.pinknews.co.uk

Warsaw: Polish President Andrzej Duda on Friday vetoed the Gender Accordance Act which was approved by the Polish Parliament (Sejm) in July this year. The act will now return to the parliament where the veto can only be rejected with 3/5 of votes. According to advocacy group Transgender Europe, the Gender Accordance Act ensures that ‘no one, except for the applicant, is involved in the gender recognition process.’ A transgender person will not require any surgery, medical intervention or hormone therapy. To apply for recognition, the applicant will need to be a Polish citizen, unmarried and present two independent confirmations (not older than 12 months) of ‘being a person of a different gender identity than the gender legally assigned’ from a clinical psychologist who is also a sexologist, a psychiatrist or a sexologist who is also a medical doctor. The application will then be assessed by a regional court in Łodz (which will also be the only court assessing these applications) within three months of submission. The applicant will also receive a new birth certificate and new documentation proving their education and employment history.= The Act was introduced by the country’s first transgender MP, Anna Grodzka, in May 2012, and it was passed on 23 July by 252 votes to 158, with 11 abstentions.

Source: http://www.gaystarnews.com

Aceh, Indonesia: Two young women in Banda Aceh have been arrested for allegedly being a lesbian couple after the two were seen sitting and hugging in a public space. Located at the northern end of Sumatra, the conservative Indonesian province of Aceh enforces Islamic sharia laws unlike the rest of the country. Sharia Police’s legislation and Islamic law execution division head Evendi A Latief was quoted by the Jakarta Post as saying that the women who have only been identified in the media only as N, 19, from Banda Aceh, and AS, 18, from Makassar were arrested on Monday when they were seen hugging by police on patrol in the Ulee Lheue area.The two women were still detained at a Sharia Police station as of Tuesday. He added the police have been unable to contact the women’s parents, said the report which was published by the Post. Human Rights Watch has called for the women to be released immediately and for the federal government to ‘press Aceh to repeal its discriminatory new by-laws.’   Aceh’s criminal code, which went into effect in September 2014, prohibits lesbianism and sodomy which are not illegal under Indonesia’s national criminal code. The province’s Islamic laws, which also applies to non-Muslims and foreigners, permit punishments of 100 lashes and 100 months in prison for consensual same-sex sex acts. Aceh is the only one of Indonesia’s 34 provinces that can legally adopt by-laws derived from Sharia due to a ‘Special Status‘ agreement brokered in 1999. Two years later, then-President Megawati Sukarnoputri signed into law an autonomy package that included comprehensive regulations on establishing Sharia courts and Sharia bylaws.Source: http://www.gaystarnews.com
Bangkok: A  Thai gay man  has been charged with the murder of his gay lover who died in a sex game gone wrong, local media reports. Kritsamon Thanadolpaisarnkul, 27, was arrested Thursday (1 October) at his home in the northeastern city of Khon Kaen after the decomposing body of an unnamed 37-year-old irrigation official was found near a sugar plantation outside town. The mother and brother of the victim had reported him missing on Tuesday after he failed to return home on the night of 22 September. According to police, the man had died at least nine days ago and was found fully clothed with a plastic bag over his head and a telephone cord around his neck. After a three-hour interrogation, Thanadolpaisarnkul – a former bank employee – confessed that he had met the victim online and that the older man had died during sex.Source: http://www.gaystarnews.com Rome: While LGBT Catholics and their supporters wind down from Pope Francis’s visit to the United States, with questions about the nature of his meeting with Kentucky antigay registrar Kim Davis, the news that he met with a gay couple, and the Church’s recent announcent that it fired a high-ranking Polish monsignor who came out, they’re gearing up for another major event in the Roman Catholic Church. The Synod of Bishops on the Family will convene Sunday at the Vatican, with bishops from around the world meeting to discuss a variety of issues related to the family, including divorce, remarriage, and birth control as well as LGBT issues. It will continue throughout this month until October 25.The Global Network of Rainbow Catholics, a coalition of LGBT and allied groups that grew out of last year’s synod, is holding its first meeting, with the theme “LGBT Voices to the Synod.” It opened Thursday and continues through Sunday. At the end, it will have “a statement of pastoral concerns to be sent to the Vatican and to all the bishop participants in the synod,” according to a blog post from New Ways Ministry, one of two U.S. groups in the coalition, the other being DignityUSA. The coalition has also organized a meeting called “Ways of Love: Snapshots of Catholic Encounter With LGBT People and Their Families,” devoted to the presentation of case histories of inclusive treatment of LGBT people by Catholic clergy and laity. The session will include an interview of former Irish President Mary McAleese, who is the mother of a gay son and an equality supporter, by journalist Robert Mickens. It will close with an address by Mexican Bishop Raùl Vera, known for his supportive approach to LGBT Catholics.   The Catholic Right is also there, including the Catholic “exgay” group Courage.Source: http://www.advocate.comAlabama:  Some judges in the southern American state of Alabama are reportedly using a long-forgotten amendment written in 1961 to prevent mixed-race marriages to get out of the marriage business altogether rather than risk issuing even one wedding license to gays or lesbians. The 54-year-old provision says ‘Marriage licenses may be issued by the judges of probate of the several counties.’Judges who oppose same-sex marriage say the word ‘may‘ as opposed to ‘shall’ gives them an option whether to issue a license or not, the Associated Press explains.Judges in at least nine of Alabama’s 67 counties have quit issuing any marriage licenses to anyone straight or gay since the US Supreme Court legalized same-sex unions in June.Nick Williams, a probate judge in Washington County and Baptist minister, is one of those who has quit the marriage license business. He says issuing a license for a same-sex union would violate his Christian beliefs and would go to jail before he would approve a marriage license for a same-sex couple. Judges in three adjoining counties in southwestern Alabama have also stopped issuing licenses effectively creating a region in where marriage licenses aren’t available for 78,000 people.Source: http://www.pinknews.co.uk London:  John Walker lost his bid yesterday to gain the same pension rights for his husband that heterosexual couples have. John retired in 2003 before civil partnerships were introduced. He previously worked at the chemical group Innospec Ltd and is on a pension worth £85,000 a year.After being with his partner for 20 years they entered a civil partnership in 2006 and then converted it into a marriage. The Court of Appeal rejected his appeal as his pension was accrued before civil partnerships were recognised in law. Jonn’s lawyers argued that if he dissolved his same-sex marriage and married a woman, she would be entitled to about £41,000 a year, after his death.But, because John retired before laws banning discrimination on the ground of sexual orientation came into force, the most his husband can claim is £500 a year.John, who was represented in court by human rights group Liberty, told the Telegraph: “It is utterly reprehensible that my employer – Innospec – a large, successful company with a pension fund surplus – is unwilling to follow the example of the vast majority of major British companies in giving homosexual partners exactly the same spousal benefits as heterosexuals.Source: http://www.gaytimes.co.uk London:  LGBT asylum seekers who were forced to flee for their lives may be sent back to their home countries, if homosexuality is decriminalised. People from across the world have attempted to seek asylum in the UK on the grounds of sexuality, often after fleeing vigilante violence and death threats in their home countries. However, Home Secretary Theresa May signalled changes to the asylum system in her speech to the Conservative Party conference – revealing that under a new ‘safe return’ system, people granted asylum may be ordered to leave if circumstances have changed.

 Source: http://www.pinknews.co.uk

Washington DC: President Obama has said that he is not prepared to endorse the US Equality Act yet.

London: British  Prime Minister David Cameron has been challenged over an alleged ‘deal’ that saw Saudi Arabia join and head up the UN’s Human Rights Council. The Saudi kingdom is is one of the most repressive regimes in the world, with gay people facing the death penalty, women facing legal discrimination, and extreme curbs on free speech. However, despite its poor rights record, the United Nations elected Saudi Arabia’s ambassador Faisal bin Hassan Trad to chair the UN Human Rights Council last month, after they were allowed to join the Council last year.

London:  The UK is no longer the best country in Europe on LGBT rights, after topping the rankings for four years in a row. For four years, rights group ILGA-Europe has put the United Kingdom at the top of its extensive rankings system on LGBT equality.   Malta is now ranked #1 on LGBT rights, with a score of 89% across a selection of nearly forty criteria, while the UK lags in second on 86%. The move comes following a raft of changes in Malta – which saw a boost after becoming thefirst country to outlaw surgery on intersex babies, introducing LGBT-inclusive education, and beginning civil unions.

Source: http://www.pinknews.co.uk

 London: British campaigners calling for a gender-neutral legal third gender will give evidence to Parliament, it has been announced. Currently, only male and female are legally recognised in the UK – meaning people with gender expressions outside the gender binary – such as those who believe they have no gender, or a mixture of both – receive no legal recognition. However, as Parliament’s Women and Equalities Select Committee continues its inquiries into trans rights, it will hear from campaigners who are arguing for legal recognition for people who aren’t male or female. The committee will sit for the third time on October 13, following evidence sessions surrounding issues including trans healthcare and trans children. The upcoming session will include evidence from campaigner Christie Elan-Cane, who has fought to attain legitimate identity for non-gendered individuals and for non gender-specific X passports.

Source: http://www.pinknews.co.uk

 Los Angeles: A Californian LGBT antibullying initiative is being copied in other US states.

Philadelphia: City of Brotherly Love? Another African-American transwoman has been murdered.

Source: http://www.gaystarnews.com

Melbourne: New Victorian Assisted Reproductive Treatment Authority (VARTA) figures show that almost half of the 1362 women who received sperm donor treatment in Victoria last year were single.  The data, which the authority has collected for the first time this year, also shows lesbian couples made up 35 per cent of those undergoing treatment, while women in heterosexual relationships made up the remaining 15 per cent. And more children are being conceived with donor sperm – a total of 396 such pregnancies were recorded last year, compared with 238 five years ago.

Authority chief executive Louise Johnson said the increase was because of a 2010 change in legislation that allowed single women and lesbian couples to obtain donor sperm. But she said demand was outstripping supply, and there was a shortage of registered donors, despite 120 more being recruited last year. Up to 10 women can receive sperm from the same man, in a bid to reduce the number of children with the same genetic make-up. Ms Johnson said Victorian women typically used sperm from donors fertility clinics recruited locally, and there were only a handful of cases last year of samples being imported from interstate or overseas. IVF pioneer Gab Kovacs​ said changes to anonymity for donors several years ago, which now make it easier for children conceived through sperm donation to find out who their biological father is, had made little difference to those wanting to donate.

Source: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/single-and-lesbian-women-drive-demand-for-donor-sperm-20151008-gk4kq9.html

 Rock Hill:  A South Carolina woman has been reported to social services after coming up with a rather drastic punishment for her son’s homophobic behaviour. Police attended Rock Hill’s local branch of Walmart on Sunday evening (October 3) after being called to address a disturbance at the store. According to the police report seen by The Herald, officers arrived to find a boy of unspecified age dressed in a tutu, women’s boots and underwear, and a t-shirt with slogans written across it in permanent marker.

Source: http://www.attitude.co.uk

 London: The gay men’s health charity GMFA and FS magazine have released the results of a survey into gay men’s sex lives. The survey found that over half of the men in the sample had fewer than five sexual partners within the last year and 14% were unable to remember the name of the person they last had sex with. A whopping 58% had sex within the last week, with 55% describing themselves as sexually versatile. 37% met their most recent sexual partner via a dating app. The survey found that although the majority of gay men are still concerned, apathy and fatalism have set.

Iraq: ISIS have executed two more Iraqi gay men.


China: Chinese doctors are still offering painful electroshock therapy to ‘cure’ gay people, a new documentary has revealed. In a new Channel 4 film Unreported World, activists go undercover to expose the psychiatrists and doctors still purporting that dangerous ‘gay cures’ therapy can work. In one undercover scene, a doctor is seen telling her patient to take nausea inducing drugs so he feels sick every time he feels ‘urges’.

Last year, a Beijing court ruled against a clinic that offered electroshock therapy and hypnosis to ‘cure’ gay people. They were forced to apologize and pay out a fine. But it is still happening. In the film, one activist writhes in pain as he takes the horrific shock ‘treatment’. He also says half of his face has gone numb. The Huashan clinic then charges him 3,500 yuan ($550, €490), more than double a typical average Chinese worker’s pay, and tells him to return for repeat treatments.

Source: http//www.gaystarnews.com

Canada: The Conservative Party of Canada has found itself without a candidate in the electoral district of Mississauga-Malton in Ontario province ahead of an election after it disavowed itself from a candidate over his alleged views on homosexuality when it was too late to replace him. Jagdish Grewal says he intends to still run for office and will still use the Conservative Party’s signs as part of his campaign – and he will still appear on the ballot as the Conservative candidate as it is too late to reprint them.

 India: Transgender people will be among the judges of Kolkata’s Durga Puja religious festival for the first time this year as Hindus compete to build the best offering displays to the goddess Durga.The festival’s date is set by the traditional Hindu calendar and so changes from year to year, but in 2015 Durga Puja occurs from 19 October to 23 October. The Durga Puja festival marks the victory of the goddess Durga over the evil buffalo demon Mahishasura and celebrates the victory of good over evil.During the festival ritual structures with statues and ceremonial gates celebrating Durga are set up in the city and the Kolkata Municipal Corporation holds an annual competition to select the best of these.

‘There will be two bodies of judges for two tiers of screening — primary and final — and transgenders will be members of both,’ awards panel organizer Debasis Kumar told the Hindustan Times.

‘While people like Anindya Dutta and Ranjita Sinha would represent the transgender community in the primary panel of judges, Manabi Bandopadhyay, the country’s first third gender principal of a government college, would be our celebrity judge.’ Another proposal by West Bengal state Women and Child Development Minister Sashi Panja would see transgender people recruited as traffic police during the festival but it is yet to be decided.

 Source: http://www.gaystarnews.com
Slovenia: One of the leading Catholic voices in Slovenia has backed the campaign for a referendum on same-sex marriage in the hope that the right can be stripped away. Lawmakers passed a bill that legalized same-sex marriage in Slovenia in March, making it the first Central European country to do so, but opponents initiated the process of implementing a referendum to repeal the law and the issue ended up in court. Slovenia’s Constitutional Court has been weighing the legality of a referendum as the country’s constitution expressly prohibits popular votes on laws eliminating an unconstitutionality in the field of human rights.
Source: http://www.gaystarnews.com
India: India’s Kerala state is set to become the first in the country to provide transgender people with their own separate prison accommodation according to plans announced this week. Viyyur Central Jail in Thrissur will be the first to get a special prison block just for transgender inmates and there are plans to roll the initiative out to other prisons in the state.Kerala’s state prison department says there are around 40 transgender prisoners across its 52 prisons which house a population of around 8,000 offenders.  Transgender prisoners are currently placed in jails depending on the gender they were assigned at birth, exposing them to sexual violence and other forms of harassment.
Source: http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/indian-state-of-kerala-will-be-first-to-introduce-transgender-only-prison-blocks/
London:  A new study into gay men’s sexual habits has revealed that one in three admit they didn’t use a condom the last time they had sex. The Gay Men’s Health Charity (GMFA) has published the findings of biggest ever survey into gay men’s sex lives, with over 3000 respondents answering questions on everything from their to use of hook-up apps, condoms, partner numbers and feelings about PrEP.   Just 66% of respondents who identified as HIV-negative said they used a condom with their last casual partner. The results come just months after new figures were published showing number of STIs being spread among men who have sex with men (MSMs) is soaring, despite declining across England as a whole.According to GMFA’s  ‘Big Gay Sex Survey’:

  • Less than 50% had had more than five sexual partners in the last year
  • 55% described themselves as ‘versatile’
  • 58% had had sex in the last week
  • 37% said met their most recent sexual partner via an app
  • 14% said they did not remember the name of the last person they had sex with
  • 51% of gay men who have not been diagnosed with HIV admitted that they were worried about becoming HIV-positive
  • 44% of gay men who have not been diagnosed with HIV said that they would not have sex with someone if they were HIV-positive
  • 23% of gay men who have not been diagnosed with HIV did not know what undetectable viral load is.
  • 71% of gay men said they would use PrEP right now if it were available on the NHS.
  • 90% of HIV-positive men used a condom with a casual partner compared to 66% of HIV-negative men who said they didn’t use a condom.
  • Less than a third of HIV negative respondents say they would have with someone with HIV
  • 90% of gay men with HIV said that they used condoms the last time they had anal sex with a casual partner, compared to just 34% of the men who believed themselves to be HIV-negative.

GMFA’s Chief Executive said Matthew Hodson said of the findings: “This illustrates that there is still a need for more information about HIV in the treatment era and that given the right information we can change not only attitudes but also behavior. Our community remains plagued by low self-esteem, leaving many vulnerable to harmful drug taking and alcohol use. For many gay men expressing intimacy is a major challenge and all of these factors play a role in the poor sexual health that still besets our community. We’ve come a long way but so long as these health inequalities persist, we are not equal.”

Meanwhile, sexual health experts have put the UK on a ‘national alert’ after confirming that an outbreak of highly drug-resistant ‘super-gonorrhoea’ has hit the north of England. The full results of the GMFA’s ‘Big Gay Sex Survey’ are published in the lates  issue of their  FS Magazine.

Source: http://www.attitude.co.uk

 Delhi:  An investigation published by The Times of India has highlighted the abuse of gay men in Nagpur, India. The investigation highlights two cases of abuse. The first mentions how two young gay men were arrested after the police noticed that one of the guys was effeminate. They were subsequently taken to the police station, imprisoned, and allegedly asked for a huge sum of money to stop a complaint being registered against them for indulging in ‘indecent acts’ –  which is forbidden under Section 377 on the Indian Penal Code. In 2009 homosexuality was decriminalised by the Delhi Hight Court. However, in December 2013, the Supreme Court of India overruled the decision – homosexuality became a criminal offence again. The second case, a man who overdosed on sleeping pills – attempting to commit suicide after breaking up with his boyfriend – was told that he could be incriminated for being gay. He was also threatened with life imprisonment, but instead received a charge of attempted suicide. Indian gay rights activist, Anand Chandrani said: “Such instances are becoming increasingly common. Cops only know that Section 377 criminalizes gay sex without realizing that they cannot punish someone they have not caught red-handed in a compromising position. Often, they visit the pick up points where gay men meet and extort money from them.”

He added that in other instances, it has been enough for a person to simply acknowledge being gay for police to start harassing and blackmailing. Fear of being ‘outed’ to family or a community keeps them from taking any action against the authorities. The joint commissioner of police, Rajvardhan Sinha has said that he is unable take action until a formal complaint is made.

Source: http://www.gaytimes.co.uk

Sacramento: One of the men who was injured while thwarting a planned gun massacre on a French train in August has been stabbed outside a gay bar in Sacramento, California. Spencer Stone, who serves in the US Air Force, was hailed a hero after helping tackling a gunman aboard the train from Amsterdam to Paris. Mr Stone was slashed by the attacker and later required surgery to reattach part of his hand.

The 25-year-old was leaving Badlands Dance Club with friends in the early hours of Thursday morning when they were involved in a confrontation with another group, the BBC reports. Stone was stabbed while defending a friend, and is currently in hospital, where his condition is described as “serious”.  His friend escaped uninjured. Deputy Ken Bernard of the Sacramento police said that the incident is not related to the train attack, and described it as a “random act”.  Stone and the two others, Alek Skarlatos and Anthony Sadler, were hailed by French President Francois Hollande after preventing the potential massacre in August, and later met President Brack Obama and received awards from US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter.

Source: http://www.attitude.co.uk

 Washington DC: HIV+ diagnoses continue to escalate for black and Hispanic US gay men.

Washington DC:  October is Coming Out Month, and it is also Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Within lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer communities of color, not enough information and statistics come out about domestic violence. And neither does attention, education, intervention, and advocacy to prevent it. It’s estimated that 25 percent to 33 percent of the LGBTQ population will experience some form of partner abuse or domestic violence in their lifetime. The Inter-Personal Violence study conducted in 2011 stated that LGBTQ communities of color are one of the demographic groups experiencing a high incidence of domestic violence. However, it’s often hard to determine accurately how prevalent interpersonal violence is in these communities because of social stigmas and cultural taboos that prevent people from accurately reporting abuse. Other forms of oppression and discrimination figure in this as well. What also prevents the gathering of accurate data in these communities of color is that same-gender interpersonal violence is clouded with myths. There is a belief that because the victim and the abuser are of the same gender, and are also in a consensual sexual relationship, the battering that occurs starts out as a mutual act of S&M. Another myth is that same-gender sexual abuse is not as bad because men and men and women and women are on equal playing field when it comes to defending themselves. Sadly, these untruths still abound among many health care workers and law enforcement officials. Domestic violence is not only an act of physical violence; it can also be an act of sexual violence as well as mental violence such as threatening and stalking.

Another major problem is the lack of police intervention. In same-race relationships, many victims will often not prosecute their partners for fear of community abandonment, isolation, and scorn. Rather, some rationalize the violence as the root cause of persistent micro and macrolevels of racism their partner encounters. But not all LGBTQ people of color feel that way.

“People of color are expected to stay silent in the face of violence and as part of the LGBTQ community the silence becomes louder when law-enforcement, judicial, and political figures ignore our calls for help,” Sean Smith wrote in his 2013 article ”Imprisoned by Violence: Domestic Violence in the (Black) LGBT Community.” ”Not having power over our own behaviors and emotions causes us to exert dominating and violent attitudes within our community and toward our partners.” Resources and services have to be made available to LGBTQ communities of color. And this is the time to reach out to us. Everyone deserves a safe, loving, healthy, and violence-free relationship.

Source: http://www.advocate.com

 Manchester: Two speakers at a debate on feminism and censorship have been banned from appearing at the University of Manchester. Manchester University Students’ Union has banned radical feminist Julie Bindel, saying she has “dangerous” views on transgender people. She has frequently come under fire in the past for her controversial views about the validity of trans people’s experiences. In addition, Breitbart associate editor Milo Yiannopoulos has also been banned from appearing at the debate. The event is hosted by the university’s Free Speech and Secular Society, titled ‘From liberation to censorship: does modern feminism have a problem with free speech?’

Source: http://www.pinknews.co.uk

Kuala Lumpur:  Malaysia’s highest court has dealt a major blow to the trans community in Malaysia. The Federal Court upheld a ban on cross-dressing, which sees trans women in Malaysia criminalised. Thilaga Sulathireh, an activist representing the trans appellants, said of the most recent decision: “Of course we are disappointed… After today, we are concerned over the safety and security of the transgender community.”

The newest ruling overturned a decision – taken last year – on a technicality citing ‘procedural non-compliance’. In November, the Appeals Court ruled that Section 66 of the Sharia code of the state of Negeri Sembilan – that bars Muslim men from dressing or behaving as women – was unconstitutional. This had been seen as a legal victory and a progressive step forward for trans women as it had been hoped that the decision could be used as legal precedence to extend trans rights across the whole country. The judge said at the time : “As long as section 66 is in force the appellants will continue to live in uncertainty, misery, and indignity. … Therefore, section 66 is unconstitutional and void.”

In Malaysia, of which the population is more than 60 per cent Muslim, sodomy and oral sex are both illegal for both gay and straight citizens and sodomy is punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

Source: http://www.pinknews.co.uk
Warsaw:  The Polish government has rejected a new law granting more rights to trans citizens. A week after Poland’s president Andrzej Duda rejected the proposed law, a vote in the lower house, the Sejm, set for today (9 October) failed on formal grounds. Today also marked the Sejm’s last day of the legislative process before Poland’s general election on 25 October. The vote, which would have had to return a 3/5 majority, was kept from going ahead because the two committees responsible for carrying out the vote failed to produce the necessary reports and name reporting secretaries in advance. Prior to today, they had recommended the Sejm to overrule Duda with their vote.The new law, proposed by trans MP Anna Grodzka, would have increased the legal protection of trans people in Poland.It was intended to grant trans members of society the right to change the gender on official documents to match their gender identity without having to undergo reassignment surgery. Currently, there are no rules guiding the authorities on such decisions so trans people looking to make those changes have to face a court in trials Grodzka describes as lacking ‘respect for human dignity’. Under the proposed law, they would only be required to present authorities with two written expert reports.Source: http://www.gaystarnews.com Sacramento:  The Governor of California, Jerry Brown, yesterday signed into law a historic bill that requires all companies that do significant business with the state offer the same health care and benefits to transgender employees as they do to non-trans workers. California is the first US state to introduce such a ruling. Senate Bill 703, which takes effect on 1 January 2016, will require that any state contractor entering into a contract to the amount of $100,000 or more must offer the same benefits to all staff regardless of gender identity.Source: http://www.gaystarnews.com Washington DC:  Coinciding with the return of its annual Workplace Summit, which runs from today until Thursday (5-8 October) in Dallas, the non-profit organization Out and Equal Workplace Advocates has issued a new publication to help businesses support their trans employees. Workplace Gender Identity and Transition Guidelines has been produced to help companies better understand how to support all transgender and gender-diverse staff.

‘There are great disparities in workplace equality that disproportionately affect the transgender community,’ said Out & Equal Founder and CEO Selisse Berry in the forward to the guide.

‘The Workplace Gender Identity and Transition Guidelines emerged from overwhelming requests from our corporate partners asking how to best support their transgender and gender-diverse employees.  The guidelines examine company policies, employee expectations, gender fluidity, how to address the concerns of co-workers, planning for transition, health insurance, restroom access and confidentiality considerations, among other topics.

Source: http://www.gaystarnews.com

 Los Angeles:  Researchers have revealed details of a saliva test that has enabled them to predict the sexual orientation of sets of male twins with 67% accuracy. The lead researcher, who is gay, is so concerned about the possible consequences of the research that he has now decided to not pursue it further. Working at University College Los Angeles’ Center for Gender-Based Biology, postdoctoral scholar Tuck C. Ngun and his colleagues have followed up previous research that found that gay brothers share a sequence of five genetic markers in the region of the X chromosome, reports New Scientist. Other research has also found that there is an increased chance of women giving birth to a son who grows up to be gay with each subsequent male boy born – rising from a 2% chance for her first boy to a 6% chance for a third male child.

It has been theorized that the male pregnancy may leave behind some sort of marker that affects subsequent pregnancies – most likely leading to the addition or subtraction of methyl groups to specific genes. Methyl is a specific type of hydrocarbon molecule group. Ngun and colleagues looked at the genetic make-up of 47 pairs of male twins; 37 sets of twins were both gay, while the other ten sets differed in their sexuality. They also analyzed the genes of heterosexual and homosexual volunteers. They specifically looked at methylation patterns between gene codes. They found several genetic sites of interest – one of which has previously been identified as having an influence on sexual orientation. Ngun presented his findings yesterday at the University of Baltimore in Maryland at the 2015 meeting of the American Society of Human Genetics. He said that having identified a particular gene code of interest, the team took things further and tested whether some of the twins were gay or straight based on the methylation patterns of their genes. They found their results to be accurate 67% of the time.

Source: http://www.gaystarnews.com


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