Politics and Society: September 2015

September 2, 2015 in General

 Kentucky:  Even after the US Supreme Court ordered her to start issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, the now-infamous fundamentalist Kentucky clerk Kim Davis continued to refuse. When marriage equality was implemented nationwide earlier this year, she point-blank refused to play ball – and now, even with the threat of prosecution hanging over her, she’s still standing her ground. It has also emerged that Kim is a serial monogamist herself- having had three marriages herself, despite conservative Christian ‘dispproval.”

According to The AP, she today rejected a same-sex couple’s request for the fifth time, and when asked “under whose authority”, she replied: “Under God’s authority”. Sheriffs have reportedly now cleared out her office; telling supporters of both sides to leave the premises along with her hundreds of colleagues.

Davis’ husband, Joe, compared Kim to biblical figures Paul and Silas, who were sent to prison before being rescued by God. He said of the gay rights protesters: “They want us to accept their beliefs and their ways. But they won’t accept our beliefs and out ways.” Because the Supreme Court refused to side with Davis, she too could now face jail time – or, at least, steep fines – should a district judge find her to be in contempt of court. The United States had been dealing with marriage equality on a state-by-state basis until June 26 of this year when the Supreme Court ruled that individual state bans were unconstitutional; concluding that refusing licenses to couples of the same gender violates the Due Process and the Equal Protection clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution.

Due to her continued defiance of United States law, Davis has now been imprisoned. She will remain in jail until she agrees to sign, and allows her staff to issue, marriage licenses to all eligible couples, regardless of gender. Regardless of her status, Rowan County clerks have stated providing new licenses to same-sex couples. Republican presidential nomination aspirants Mike Huckabee, Scott Walker and Rand Paul supported her, while Donald Trump, Carly Fiorina and Lindsey Graham disagreed, however.

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

 Madrid: LGBT tourists contribute $6.8 billion to the Spanish economy.

Tel Aviv:  A survey on sexuality in Israel has revealed that approximately 30% of Israelis would consider themselves bisexual. Israeli website Mako and the Pannels institute, conducted a survey on August 23rd asking 600 non-religious Israeli Jews, who were 18 and over, about their sexual preferences. The results show that 67% of them characterised themselves as straight and only 3% of them considered themselves “exclusively homosexual”. The remaining 30 per cent of participants said they were in-between being heterosexual and homosexual. The survey used a Kinsey scale, where the participants ranked themselves from 0.0 to 6- 0 meaning completely heterosexual and 6 meaning completely homosexual. A third of the people surveyed fell in between the scale 1-5, showing that they had bisexual tendencies.

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

 Brisbane:  A motion to request a restoration of funds to the Queensland AIDS Council (QuAC) and several other LGBTI-specific motions put forward by the Queensland branch of Rainbow Labor were all successfully — and unanimously — carried during last weekend’s state Labor conference in Brisbane. State funding for the organisation has been an ongoing issue after the former Newman Liberal National government stripped it of $2.3 million in funding, accusing QuAC of becoming “too political”. A restoration of funding was a commitment made to the LGBTI community by Queensland Labor during January’s state election campaign.   Along with the motion regarding QuAC, several other LGBTI-specific issues were discussed, voted on and also passed unanimously. These included a gender diversity policy specifically for the trans* community with regards to identity documents, as well as equalising the age of consent, expungement of historic homosexual convictions, civil unions and adoption rights.

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

Kiev: Ukrainian neo-Nazis have destroyed an LGBTI group’s office, nearly killing a man in order to do it. Queer Home Kryvbas, the only LGBTI group that welcomes the community in the western city of Kryvyi Rih, was the victim of an attack at around 8.30pm on 30 August. Six masked men holding fire sticks and iron poles are believed to have thrown smoke bombs into the community center, trapping the seven victims inside. Struggling to breathe, they tried to leave. When one activist tried to stop the six men, he was hit over the head and beaten mercilessly. He is currently being treated for a severe concussion in hospital.

Source: http://www.gaystarnews.com

 London: The 56 Dean Street HIV clinic accidentally sent out a newsletter disclosing the names and email addresses of HIV+ patients. UK Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt describes the incident as “unacceptable.”

Following a recent data breach, which accidentally leaked the names and email addresses of 780 HIV patients, 56 Dean Street have published a formal online apology.

The incident occurred last week after an employee at the clinic mistakenly emailed the details of HIV patients being treated at the clinic via a newsletter. Chelsea and Westminster hospital NHS trust’s director for sexual health Dr Alan McOwan sent patients an apology hours after the breach: “I’m writing to apologise to you. This morning at around 11.30am we sent you the latest edition of OptionE newsletter.

The clinic has since posted their latest OptionE newsletter online, explaining how they “really want to apologise to anyone who has been affected by our mistake and want to update you about what’s happening. First of all, it’s important to say that we’ve emailed everyone who has been affected to let them know. If you haven’t heard from us, your email address was not involved,” it added.

The e-letter has expressed how all patient details have been deleted from the Outlook contacts list that was previously used to send out the letter. The letter will also now-on be hosted on a webpage. Two formal investigations are to begin to examine the incident in depth. The Online Apology also stated: “We promise we will act on the outcomes of these investigations. The finding and recommendations will be made public.”

56 Dean Street Clinic was the first in the world to have an on-site Infinity machine, allowing patients to know their HIV test results within 6 hours. The clinic was also the first NHS service to offer rapid 1 hour HIV POC testing.

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

Sydney: The New South Wales Young Nationals have broken party ranks to support marriage equality.

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

Atlanta: Octogenerian US televangelist Pat Robertson says that marriage equality will lead to…financial crisis…???

Damascus: Sixteen Islamic State (ISIS) militants in Syria who tested HIV-positive are being forced to become suicide attackers, according to the International Business Times.  The report originated with ARA News, a Kurdish news outlet in Spain, which claimed that the mostly foreign-born militants were in the eastern Syrian city of al-Mayadeen. A civil rights activist in the city told ARA that ISIS “leadership is planning to assign suicide attacks for it’s militants who are tested positve with AIDS.”  The report said they had been diagnosed by a local doctor and were in “quarantine.”  The militants were suspected of contracting HIV after having sex with two Moroccan women thought to be sex slaves. The two women fled to Turkey, according to the doctor who treated the militants and wished to remain annonymous.

Source: http://www.advocate.com

 Washington DC: According to former Bush era Vice President Dick Cheney, all Americans need to realise that marriage equality is now the law of the land.

London: A UKIP candidate who the party refused to sack for discussing ‘cures’ for homosexuality could be running for Mayor of London. Former UK fundamentalist microparty  Christian Peoples Alliance leader Alan Craig defected to the UK Independence Party earlier this year, and was inserted as a candidate for Brent North over an existing local candidate.

 Washington DC: “God is very angry” with Barack Obama for putting up rainbow lights at the White House, according to one anti-gay pundit. Tony Perkins, the leader of anti-LGBT hate group the Family Research Council, made the claim months after the White House was illuminated with rainbow lights, to celebrate the Supreme Court verdict on same-sex marriage. Despite having two and a half months to get over it, Perkins is still very upset – and apparently thinks God is as well. God will give Obama leprosy, raves Perkins.

Singapore: The South East Asian island city-state has ended its former HIV+ visitors ban.

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

 Ghana: A young Ghanaian man has been rescued by an unlikely savior after he was lured into a park and beaten for being gay. According to a report by Pulse.com.gh, Abdul Kadiri Mutawakil was invited to watch a football game by a friend in Kawukudi park near the town of Nima in the capital Accra on Sunday. However when he got to the park he was ambushed by a mob of youths who began to beat him up, demanding that he confirm whether the rumors about his sexuality were true.

Source: http://www.gaystarnews.com

London: Courtesy of Public Health England, Gay Times has some depressing news about STI exposure amongst UK  gay and bisexual men under 35 during 2014, from when the last cache of statistics have become available. New chlamydia cases increased by ten percent amongst this age cohort, leading to a total 1474 new cases. Genital warts increased by ten percent as well, leading to 3456 new cases, while new syphilis cases increased by forty-six percent, resulting in 3477 new cases. Most alarmingly, however, new gonorrhoea cases rose by 32 percent, resulting in 18,629 new cases. Have gay and bisexual men been so intent on HIV prevention that we’ve forgotten about other STIs? Birmingham tops the numbers of total new STI cases reported, followed by East London, Glasgow and South-East London. The culprit seems to be mobile casual dating apps, compared to online chat hook-ups or club or pub meetings. US gay STI research indicates that particular option is likelier to experience gonorrhoea or chlamydia than others, as well as having a higher number of sexual partners. The article concludes with some warnings- left untreated, syphilis can be fatal, and moreover, new treatment-resistant gonorrhoea variants have arisen, while Hepatitis C can severely damage one’s health and is currently incurable. The answers are condoms, monogamy and/or slower lane sex lives. Moreover, gay and bisexual men should have three month to one year STI and HIV checkups.

Source: “The Big Issue” Gay Times: September 2015: 52-55.

 Beijing:  Chinese censors have approved movie centered around a gay love story for the first time in the country’s history. Seek McCartney follows one Chinese and one French man as they embark on a secret romance. The film was co-produced in both countries and stars popular singer Han Geng in one of the lead roles.   China’s movie watchdog took a whole year to arrive at its decision, which means the production can be released to cinemas in the winter. Back in 2005, not even Ang Lee’s heavily acclaimed Brokeback Mountain was allowed to be screened; and it was only in 2010 that homosexuality was taken off the country’s list of subjects deemed inappropriate for exposure in the media.

But despite the celebration, Beijing-based filmmaker Fan Popo has warned that Seek McCartney won’t necessarily set a precedent going forward.

“The fact that this film can be released in theaters doesn’t mean gay films in the future will be able to release in China,” he told the Associate Foreign Press. “China’s system for evaluating films is still very unstable, because the rules are very unclear. It depends heavily on the individual censor’s whims.”

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

 Canberra:  The Public Health Association of Australia (PHAA) and the Council of Academic Public Health Associations (CAPHIA) have become the latest health authorities to urge the Australian Government to stop obstructing efforts to legalize same-sex marriage in Australia. PHAA CEO Michael Moore and CAPHIA chairs Catherine Bennett and Colleen Fisher wrote to all members of the House of Representatives and senators to make ‘the public health case for marriage equality’ – noting the large body of research showing that marginalizing groups in society impacted on their general wellbeing.

Source: http://www.gaystarnews.com

Mandalay:  Nine gay men have been arrested in Mandalay for ‘acting inappropriately’ even though they had not committed any crimes.

The region’s minister of border and security affairs, Myint Kyu, vowed to crack down on LGBTI people and increase police presence at the city’s moat, an oasis for the LGBTI community.

‘The existence of gay men who assume they are women is unacceptable and therefore we are constantly taking action to have the gays detained at police stations, educate them, then hand them back to their parents,’ he told a regional parliamentary session in August. Kyu also indicated that authorities had recently ‘checked on’ a group of gay men after being informed they were ‘acting inappropriately’ and arrested nine of them. He said the men were ‘educated’ and then released on bond when it was found they had not committed any crimes.

Graeme Reid, Human Right Watch’s LGBT rights director, said:

‘Burma’s government has a responsibility to ensure noxious statements about gay people don’t go unchallenged. Unless the government speaks out against such hateful words, it could open the door to more abuse of the sort described by this minister.’ Gay sex is illegal in Burma under a British colonial-era law and punishable by up to life imprisonment. In July 2013, plainclothes police officers arrested 10 gay men and transgender women and abused them in detention.

Source: http://www.gaystarnews.com

 Nairobi: Twelve gay sex workers arrested in Kenya could face fourteen years imprisonment.

San Francisco:  Over 600 people have been found to not have contracted HIV after using PrEP for two and a half years. Researchers at the Kaiser Pemanente Medical Center in San Francisco have given over 600 people Truvada to use daily. mNo one contracted HIV. mThe average age of the study participants was 37, 99% were gay or bisexual men and the average length of individual usage was 7.2 months. This group was more likely to have multiple sex partners than those who did not use PrEP. Published in Clinical Infectious Diseases, lead author Jonathan Volk said this is the first time to understand the use of PrEP in a real-

Source: http://www.gaystarnews.com

Washington DC:  A US appeals court has granted a transgender illegal immigrant the right to stay, as she would face discrimination in Mexico. The court ruled that Edin Carey Avendano-Hernandez was protected under international anti-torture conventions. The judges said Mexico suffered from “an epidemic of unsolved violent crimes against transgender persons”. They said US immigration officials who wanted to deport her had mixed sexual orientation with gender identity. Writing in the ruling for the 9th Circuit panel, Judge Jacqueline Nguyen said: “Country conditions evidence shows that police specifically target the transgender community for extortion and sexual favours and that Mexico suffers from an epidemic of unsolved violent crimes against transgender persons.

Ms Avendano-Hernandez was born male and grew up in Oaxaca, Mexico. After seeking refuge in the US, Ms Avendano-Hernandez was convicted twice of driving under the influence in 2006. She was thus ordered deported by immigration officials. Ms Avendano-Hernandez suffered further abuse on her return to Mexico and went back to the United States, where she was later arrested for probation violation. Facing deportation again, she applied for refuge under the United Nations Convention Against Torture.

Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news

 Malawi:  The people of Malawi will decide not only if equal marriage should be legalised but also homosexuality itself in an upcoming referendum. The African nation’s president, Peter Mutharika of the Democratic Progressive Party, will also ask the public to vote on abortion, although it is not clear if and how the ballots will be grouped together, or when they will take place.

Murtharika told the Malawi Broadcasting Corporation: “On the issue of gay marriages, again I have said in our manifesto that we will leave that to the people.” A Yes Equality campaign has already been mounted, and the group has told the Nyasa Times that Pride parades will take place in the hope of educating and winning over the public.

“Everyone has a right to be free from discrimination in the enjoyment of their human rights, including to marry an found a family. Love does not discriminate and neither should our laws,” they said in a statement.   Murtharika will be in power until at least 2019, so he may not be in any immediate rush to hurry through the process. The country’s current law criminalises sex between two men, and carries a sentence of up to 14 years in prison. It was briefly wiped out in 2012 when a transgender woman married her male partner and their sentence of years of hard labour sparked international outrage, but after fierce religious backlash it was quickly re-instated. However, Malawi is now backing away and it has been clarified that Murtharika doesn’t have the authority to call such a referendum.

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

Melbourne: The Victorian Government recently announced it will provide $1.2 million to programs across the state to help support the rights and mental health of young LGBTI.

Brisbane: A push to create a Brisbane City Council LGBTI Advisory Committee was warmly received when local advocate Phil Browne spoke directly to council earlier this week, along with an agreement to work on the possible creation of a rainbow crossing for the city.

Sydney:  NSW Premier Mike Baird has said he was “personally very distressed” at the fallout from the controversy surrounding LGBTI parenting documentary Gayby Baby and has conceded that some rainbow families may have felt wronged by the media coverage and a subsequent government edict to schools restricting when the film could be shown. Baird has been under pressure on the issue  – including from members of his own party – since his Education Minister Adrian Piccoli announced last week that Gayby Baby would only be permitted to be shown in state schools outside of study time or in classes where anti-bullying was part of the curriculum.

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

 Kentucky: The Anti-Defamation League has condemned comments by Matt Staver,  the antigay  lawyer of Kentucky clerk Kim Davis – after he compared his client’s treatment to the gassing of Jews in the Holocaust.   In a statement to PinkNews, the National Director of the Anti-Defamation League, Jonathan A. Greenblatt, condemned the remarks.

He said: “It is outrageous and the worst sort of hyberbole for anyone to draw comparisons between Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis’ refusal to grant marriage licenses in defiance of American court rulings and the systematized persecution of European Jews during World War II. Mat Staver’s remarks are not only profoundly offensive; they also wrongly cast someone seeking to impose her religious views on others as a victim akin to those who were murdered because of their religion.’ On September 4, Kim Davis said that she would appeal the contempt of court ruling against her, her attorney told reporters at a press conference outside the detention center where she is being held.  The Rowan County clerk “has no remorse,” he added, saying her “constitutional rights were violated and her conscience trampled.” He and the rest of Davis’s legal team had just visited her at the Carter County Detention Center in Kentucky.

Davis ceased issuing all marriage licenses shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled for nationwide marriage equality in June. She said that because of her Christian beliefs, she could not facilitate same-sex marriages, so her solution was to end all marriage license services in her office.

Four couples, two same-sex and two opposite-sex, sued Davis over her action. That resulted in an order from Bunning that she do her job and grant licenses to all eligible couples, regardless of gender. After she appealed that order all the way to the Supreme Court without success, she still refused to issue licenses or allow her deputies to do so, leading to Bunning’s contempt of court ruling yesterday. Five out of six deputies in her office, however, said they would be willing to grant licenses to same-sex couples, and at least three such couples have obtained them today. Davis’s son was the only one who refused. Mike Huckabee, one Republican presidential nominee aspirant, is planning a rally outside her jail.

The name of jailed Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis has been missing from same-sex marriage licenses issued since her arrest. While Davis sits in jail, her clerks have started issuing licenses to same-sex couples – making her entire tantrum seemingly pointless. However – according to Kentucky state law – marriage licenses must be “issued by the clerk for the county in which they are issued.” As a result, members of staff – and even a couple who obtained a marriage license – have questioned whether the licenses were valid. And now Mike Huckabee has compared Davis’ imprisonment to “slavery.”

Update: (08/09):

A Judge has ordered that the Kentucky Clerk be  released ‘immediately’. Yahoo News reported that Kim Davis was released from prison after being detained for six days for contempt of court.

Kim Davis famously refused to issue same-sex couples marriage licenses despite being ordered to do so by a federal Judge and the US Supreme Court. Roger Gannam, Davis’ attorney, told the news organisation that the release has come “six days too late, but we’re glad to report Judge Bunning has ordered that she be immediately released from custody.” Judge David Bunning was allegedly satisfied that the marriage licenses Davis had refused to issue had now been granted by her deputies. But the attorney stressed his client “never changed her mind” on the issue.

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

 Dublin:  Ireland’s government has put its revolutionary new Gender Recognition Act to come into effect – meaning transgender people can gain legal recognition from next week without seeing a doctor. Until now, the Republic of Ireland has provided no legal recognition for transgender people at all – but following a protracted legal battle with trans woman Dr Lydia Foy, the government committed to passing a trans recognition law. The bold new Gender Recognition Bill, which passed through Parliament in July without issue, includes sweeping changes to allow transgender people to gain legal recognition without seeing a doctor or requiring medical treatment.

Tánaiste (Deputy Prime Minister) Joan Burton today signed a commencement order – giving the go-ahead for the law to come into effect next Tuesday, September 8. This means that from next week, trans people will be able to obtain Gender Recognition Certificates from the Irish Government, as well as amended birth certificates in their preferred name and gender. Broden Giambrone of the Transgender Equality Network Ireland said: “The wait for legal recognition is finally over. The practical and symbolic importance of being recognised in the eyes of the State cannot be underestimated.

“This is a turning point for trans rights in Ireland and I hope this leads to further positive changes for our community. This is also the end of a very long journey for Dr Lydia Foy who will soon have her correct birth certificate.”

The country has also passed same-sex adoption laws this year, and the Irish public overwhelmingly voted for same-sex marriage in a referendum.

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

 Rome:  Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said Wednesday (2 September) parliament will pass a bill legalizing civil unions nationwide by the end of the year. The pledge comes after the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Italy was discriminating against LGBTI people by not recognizing same-sex relationships – the only major country left in Western Europe that does not allow either civil unions or gay marriage.   A Senate committee is studying the bill, to which opponents have proposed 1,500 amendments in an attempt to block the legislation. Several major Italian cities and regions have already established civil union registries, but they only have symbolic value and are not legally binding.

Source: http://www.gaystarnews.com

 Washington DC:  The US Department of Health and Human Services on Thursday (3 September) released proposed rules aimed at eliminating discrimination against transgender people in the US health care system. The proposed Nondiscrimination in Health Programs and Activities rule would make it illegal for healthcare plans to not cover services for transgender people if they offer those services to non-transgender people. The rules seek to eliminate the common practice of excluding all gender transition-related health care from coverage – something that is common with private health insurance plans, state Medicaid and other programs. The rules are designed to implement the Affordable Care Act’s non-discrimination provision, Section 1557. The Affordable Care Act is commonly known as ObamaCare. The Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund calling this a ‘monumental step’ towards ensuring that transgender Americans get fair treatment within the health care system.

The proposal would apply to all health insurance plans sold on the state and federal exchanges. It would also apply to any plan sold by a company with a federal contract or that is receiving federal funds. It may not cover some private health insurance plans that do not receive any type of federal financial assistance or federal government contracts. It would also be up to non-Health and Human Services federal health programs to apply the rules to their programs. The Department of Health and Human Services will hear comments on the proposed rule until 7 before taking final action on the proposal.

Source: http://www.gaystarnews.com

 Manila:  Five police officers in the Philippines have been relieved of their duties after they allegedly took part in the extortion of a gay couple they pulled out of a taxi. Manila Police District Chief Superintendent Rolando Nana told a press conference that an investigation was underway into allegations against SPO1 Renato Ablaza, PO3 Ruel Aguilar, PO2 Patrick Guevarra, and PO2 Ronald Robles. The complainant Michael Hingpit says that he and his boyfriend were riding in a taxi around 1am on 28 August when it was stopped by officers who then claimed they had been carrying a sachet of methamphetamine, known locally as ‘shabu.’ The officers then took them to the V Mapa precinct station where they were searched and cash was allegedly taken from them. Hingpit alleges that he was then assaulted by Aguilar and Ablaza who slapped and punched him. The officers are then alleged to have ordered Hingpit and his boyfriend to perform oral sex on each other in order to humiliate them but they refused. The police officers allegedly told Hingpit that he would have to pay them 25,000 Philippines Pesos (around $US500) before they would be released.

Source: http://www.gaystarnews.com

 Virginia:  In a ruling by a federal judge on Friday that is a setback for transgender students’ civil rights in K-12 schools, a trans high-schooler in Virginia won’t be allowed to use the boys bathroom that he’d already been using for months. Judge Robert G. Doumar of the U. S. Eastern District rejected the request for immediate injunctive relief of Gavin Grimm, a 16-year old transgender boy who wanted to keep using the boy’s bathroom during the rest of this school year at Gloucester County High School in Virginia.

Source: http://www.advocate.com

Dhaka:  A gay rights group has launched the country’s first gay comic strip character in a bid to raise awareness about the plight of homosexual people. Homosexuality is still a criminal offence in the conservative Muslim-majority nation – with gay people being forced to keep their identity secret. However, the country’s largest official gay rights group – the Boys of Bangladesh – says it now hopes to use the comic to spread the message that “people should be free to choose who they love”.

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

Edinburgh:  A Scottish Nationalist Party councillor has resigned as a candidate and been suspended from the party. The action was take after SNP’s Andy Doig allegedly made homophobic comments about an out gay minister, which he insists were intended as “humorous”.

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

 Columbus, Indiana:  The hometown of Mike Pence,  the Indiana governor who tried to legalize anti-gay discrimination has passed LGBTI protections. Columbus councilmen voted unanimously Tuesday (1 September) to add sexual orientation and gender identity to the city’s human rights ordinance. The council could take a final vote on the ordinance change on 15 September.

Source: http://www.gaystarnews.com

 Moscow:  According to claims made in a new book, Russian President Vladimir Putin president said that improving gay rights in his country would mean Russia “would not have enough children” to ensure its future. It’s reported that Putin made the comments in a personal debate with Prime Minister David Cameron, when confronted on the issue of gay rights in Russia. Cameron has been determined for Putin to consider the legislation of same-sex marriage, noting a candid conversation in the “middle of the night” at the G20 event in 2013 that ended in a ‘bickerfest’ about gay rights.

While Cameron has chosen to leave the conversation a mystery – a new biography, ‘Cameron at 10’ by Anthony Seldon and Peter Snowdon, looks further into the bizarre meeting of political minds.

The book, cited by the Mail, states: “Cameron is riding a high horse, using arguments fresh from his jousting on gay marriage back home, while Putin argues that Russia’s future demography will have problems if gay people are allowed to marry each other, and that the country will not have enough children to secure its future.”

In the conversation, Putin revealed he feels the ‘West has humiliated’ him for 10 years and that while relations seem warm between the pair, “neither likes being lectured by each other” on the topic. Their opinions differ dramatically – “at times they seem to be enjoying it, at times they seem angry.”

“Aides on both sides just wish they’d shut up so they can all go to bed, amazed that they are still talking so late into the night in the midst of such an important international event.”

It appears both leaders are moving closer towards a mutual understanding, but Putin remains firm on his stance on same-sex marriage.

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

Canberra: Forty parents of LGBT children have travelled to Canberra to protest at the lack of a free vote on marriage equality within Australia as a cross-party bill is debated and dispatched in less than 10 minutes.

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

Little Rock: Republican Presidential nominee aspirant  Mike Huckabee has been challenged to back up his opposition to marriage equality – by resigning rather than recognise same-sex couples. Huckabee is one of 17 politicians seeking his party’s nomination to run for President, and like the majority is strongly opposed to LGBT rights.

Sydney: Andrew Guy shared his story with the nation after appearing on popular panel talk show The Project. Australia’s first transgender television host shared his story on the country’s TV screens, talking candidly about his childhood expMr Guy appeared on Channel Ten’s The Project on Monday night as a temporary panel member – after winning a nationwide competition to take part. After being formally introduced, viewers were shown a clip from the 33-year-old’s documentary titled, ‘It’s Not About The Sex.The clip included photos from his childhood and before his transition, which he discussed openly with his co-panellists.

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

Ghana: Ghanaian politician fighting to be president has said, if elected, he would have all gay people killed by firing squad. George Boateng has vowed to unseat President John Mahama in the National Democratic Congress party’s presidential primaries in November. And in doing so, has already started making pronouncements about what he will deliver if he is elected.  Gay sex is currently illegal in Ghana, punishable by up to three years in jail if it is consensual. There is uncertainty over whether female homosexuality is illegal. Violence against LGBTI people is widespread but highly under-reported and not prosecuted.

Source: http://www.gaystarnews.com

 London:  Homophobic hate crimes are on the rise across London, according to newly-released figures – or at least the amount being reported are. Data comparing the borough-by-borough numbers from August 2013-July 2014 and August 2014-July 2015 shows that police dealt with 30% more offences against lesbian, gay and bisexual people over this most recent 12 months; with the tally rising to 1,667 from 1,289.

Rather than pinning the upsurge on there simply being more crimes occurring, the Metropolitan Police Service has suggested instead that victims are feeling more able to report and police staff more able to identify them. The biggest growth is in Bromley, where the annual total shot up 217.6%; followed by Croydon (185.7%) and Kingston upon Thames (100%). At the other end of the spectrum, falls were recorded in Sutton (down 50% from 14 to 7; the smallest number for any borough) and Greenwich (down 25%). Westminster, home of Soho, had the highest homophobic crime rate of any borough, with 166 – a 23% increase year-on-year. Lambeth, which houses Vauxhall, comes second with 150; a 25% increase annually. Harrow, Richmond upon Thames and Barking & Dagenham join Sutton at the bottom of the list.

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

Canberra: It has now been confirmed that any referendum on marriage equality would cost $A44m on election day and $158m in total. Meanwhile, New  South Wales’ Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby,  one of Australia’s leading LGBTI sexual health organisations issued a strong statement opposing a plebiscite.

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

 Brisbane:  Compared to other states of Australia, Queensland is often accused of having outdated laws governing the rights of its LGBTI citizens. That difficulty was further cemented during the Campbell Newman government, which saw blatant attacks on the queer communities with the defunding of Queensland AIDS Council and the repeal of the Queensland Civil Unions Act.

However,  it now looks like the new ALP state Government is determined to right some of the wrongs of the previous government and at last update some laws that have needed attention for more than a decade. During last week’s State Labor Conference, several LGBTI-centric motions were put forward with unanimous votes in favour, showing that the new Government was indeed determined to keep its pre-election promises made back in January this year

The funding of Queensland’s main LGBTI-run health organisation has been an ongoing issue after the shocking and widely publicised stripping of government funding that took place under the Newman Government back in 2012, with MPs accusing the organisation of becoming “too political.”

“I think it was very unfair what happened to to the Queensland AIDs Council when the Newman Government came in. After a couple of weeks in government, we found overnight an organisation that had done an excellent service for the LGBTI community for the last 30 years had a majority of its funding ripped away where it really knee-capped the services, support and addressing the needs of the LGBTI community. We think that this is grossly unfair,” she reiterates. “We see the Queensland AIDS Council as an excellent peer-supported organisation and we made a commitment to restore funding to QuAC.”

While this is welcome news, but there’s no date for refunding confirmed yet. Grace says that even though it was unanimously supported, there’s a process currently being worked through.

“We don’t want to operate like the previous government did where they ripped away money from community organisations without any plan any policy any checks and balances,” she explains. “We don’t want to fall into that same category. We had to wait for the budget to come down. My understanding is the budget has come down and there is a process in place that QuAC is going through and we have to ensure that we get funding to them as soon as possible.”

One of the other controversial changes to legislation under the Newman Government was the repeal of the Labor introduced Civil Unions Act. The decision caused a massive outcry from the public and was seen as a spiteful attack on the LGBTI community. Grace Grace says this is another way the current government hopes to right the wrongdoings of its predecessor.

“What we’re trying to do is have a look to see exactly what we need to do, but it think it’s more about being able to hold a ceremony. I mean, how cruel you can have a civil union but don’t celebrate it. It’s just ridiculous. Our commitment is to restore as much of it as possible to what it was before the pre-Campbell Newman days when parts of the Act were taken away. I think it’s our duty to try and restore them and once again it’s gonna be up to some of those people on the crossbenchers to support us. It was a commitment we made and we’re working towards these laws as well.”

In Queensland, the age of consent for male homosexual sex acts is 18, but it’s just 16 for heterosexual sex acts. There’s nowhere else in Australia where the age of consent are so discriminatory.

“I think there’s a few of us in the parliament now that just believe that this has never made sense,” says Grace. “I’m one of those people. It just doesn’t add up to me, I don’t understand why it’s been like that. Society has moved on whereby people are much like myself, saying ‘what is the reason for this? It just doesn’t make any sense whatsoever.’ It should be equalised and I think we’re moving forward towards making sure we can get the laws in place to make that happen.”

While homosexuality has been decriminalised for many years now, many elders in our communities still have marks on their criminal records from being wrongly convicted for simply being who they are. The expungement of those criminal records is another motion for change brought up at the conference that Grace Grace also supports.

“I support it,” she makes clear. “I think where it’s just clearly because of a bad law I think expungement should occur. Obviously there are more difficult cases which you don’t want to expunge for things other than consent amongst two adults having adult sex together,” she clarifies. “If that’s all it was then of course expungement. But if there was more involved, I think this is where we’ve gotta be careful that we’re not letting people who really shouldn’t be let off and don’t fall into that category of consenting male adults deciding that they want to have a relationship. We’ve just got to be careful of how it’s done. I think everyone accepts that and I think even the LGBTI community accepts that as well.”

Another motion that was spoken about and unanimously passed at Labor’s State Conference was a Gender Diversity Policy specifically aimed at transgender citizens relating to being able to more easily change their documents of identification.

“It’s a really interesting one – I’m not sure what the solution is but there was a resolution that we should look at this,” Grace tells us. “We had two people in the transgender community speak at the conference about how we put their proper gender identity on their identification documents and that was supported unanimously. In fact there was a standing ovation for the two speakers. I think the main angst was you had to have some very painful operation and go through dramatic surgery in order to have these documents changed. Really, should that be what’s needed to change your documents? It was agreed that it shouldn’t be and we should find another solution.”

A future policy will need further investigation to find a solution that will make a majority of the transgender community happy. “The resolution was very much there to say you do not have to have the full operation in order to identify the sex that you want to be.”

While advances in law reform will be welcoming news to Queensland’s LGBTI communities, there is still going to be some time before any action happens. Changes to legislation will come with their fair share of hurdles, says Grace, highlighting the fact that Queensland now has a minority government, with Labor not certain in getting the numbers to push a lot of these motions through.

“We’re going to have to carefully discuss these issues with the cross-benchers,” she promises. “We need their numbers – at least two of them – to get these issues across the line. It’s not as easy as saying we want to do it. We want to make sure that we keep them in the conversation and that we can get this stuff happening. We’ve been optimistic, and we’re hoping they will recognise that these are election commitments that we made,” she adds. “We don’t want to do anything that is controversial in those commitments, we just want to honour them and they’ve been pretty good with making sure they support us with that. But quite clearly if there are issues in those that they are very uncomfortable with we’re gonna have to tiptoe around making sure whatever we do we have support of at least two of those four people.”

So the Queensland government will take steps to make good on the promises given to the LGBTI communities at the election and right the wrongs of the previous government – and as you see above, there’s lots of work to be done.

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

 Toronto: Christian Right groups have been protesting the province’s comprehensive sex education policies.

Ottawa: Xtra Canada has denounced Bill C-51, the Harper administration’s “Orwellian” new surveillance and security legislation.   Bill C-51 was comprehensively condemned by privacy and security experts for empowering CSIS to conduct dragnet information collection on  Canadians. Given  that the bill has passed, seventeen Canadian government agencies and even foreign governments have access to  sensitive private information.

Xtra also claims that Bill C-51 will also criminalize peaceful protestors and indigenous communities, censor free speech, and allow the government to pick and choose which parts of the population to subject to surveillance. Bill C-51 enables the Canadian Security Intelligence Service to go to a secret court hearing and apply for permission to explicitly break the law, including by contravening Canadians’ Charter of Rights and Freedoms rights.  C-51 is just one element of the Harper administration’s unfortunate track record on privacy. According to documents exposed by Edward Snowden, spy agencies like Canada’s CSE and the American NSA are analyzing and collecting details of private Canadian online activity on a huge scale — vacuuming up information that can be used to build deeply revealing profiles on Canada’s citizens.  This may include sensitive information that can reveal everything from  sexual orientation, to financial status, medical history, and even religious and political beliefs.

That’s not all. In August, CBC News revealed that the Harper administration is actively planning new systems to enable the police to obtain “real-time or near real-time” access to our private information without a warrant. This flew in the face of a Supreme Court of Canada ruling in 2014 that prohibited the police from obtaining our private information without a warrant — a ruling that was desperately needed as police had been making such requests a staggering 1.2 million times a year, or once every 27 seconds. Xtra argues that people’s livelihoods and careers have already been ruined by the widespread sharing of their private information with foreign agencies, including US immigration authorities. To take a specific example, numerous law-abiding Canadians have reported being denied entry to the US because Canadian police handed their private mental health records over to US authorities. 

This concerted government onslaught  prompted Canadians from across the political spectrum, even many principled grassroots conservatives and libertarians, to come together to defend Canada’s  privacy rights. The Privacy Coalition  is strikingly diverse, including groups spanning the political spectrum from left to right. It includes Pink Triangle Press (PTP), publisher of Daily Xtra. Explaining the decision to join the coalition, PTP’s president Ken Popert said he was especially concerned about the disproportionate impact of state surveillance on LGBT people.

“The deeper issue here is that the whole politics of equality do not address the content of our sexual and emotional lives, and those are the things that remain vulnerable to surveillance abuse,” he said.  With the passage of invasive spying bills like C-13 and C-51, along with recent international revelations about what spy agencies are up to, Xtra argues that Canada has now clearly reached a tipping point. Bill C-51 has become a core election issue- Canadians need to decide whether to continue to go down the Harper administration road toward more and more all-enveloping government surveillance — or whether to push back and start making a concerted effort to roll back the surveillance state. In the coming weeks, Canada’s OpenMedia will be publishing report cards grading all the political parties as to their stance on privacy, alongside other pressing digital rights issues. Already there are encouraging signs — not least the unequivocal commitment by the NDP and the Greens (along with smaller parties including the Libertarians) to completely repeal Bill C-51.

Source: http://www.dailyxtra.com

West Hollywood: Encouragingly, non-sexworker gay men are now opposing the recent Obama administration crackdown on the Rentboy.Com website.

When the Department of Homeland Security and the New York City police raided the Manhattan offices of Rentboy.com on August 25, they arrested seven people on charges of promoting illegal prostitution. Since then, the response from the LGBT community has been strong, with many organizations, including Lambda Legal and the Transgender Law Center calling for the decriminalization of sex work.  Following a ”Labor of Love” protest at Harvey Milk Plaza in San Francisco on September 5, several  protesters met in West Hollywood on Saturday at the intersection of La Cienega and Santa Monica boulevards and marched to The Abbey, the area’s most famous gay bar, with signs and fliers. The protest was organized by Danny Cruz, who advertised on Rentboy.com and has come out in strong support of the site and its CEO, Jeffrey Hurant, 50, who was among the seven people arrested.   Prominent LGBT figures including gay writer and activist Dan Savage, porn stars and escorts Dirk Caber and his fiance Jesse Jackman, and James Michael Nichols, deputy editor of Gay Voices at Huffington Post, have made similar statements.  Cruz viewed Rentboy as one of the safest venues to work in, and believes decriminalization will help stop “a cycle of violence” that many sex workers find themselves in.

Source: http://www.advocate.com

London:  Despite an NHS England target that all patients should be seen within 18 weeks, gender services across the United Kingdom have been under increasing strain – with a leading NHS gender surgeon warning last year that gender identity backlogs are ‘spiralling out of control as the number of referrals outstrips the number of possible appointments. Statistics released earlier this year showed the issue has grown worse since – and in some parts of the country, trans people could be facing waits of as long as five years to access gender identity services Steve Shrubb, Chief Executive of West London Mental Health NHS Trust warned there was a “whole system problem” on the issue, citing the rising number of referrals to gender services.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, an NHS doctor refused to treat a transgender patient because of his religion, a Parliamentary inquiry has heard. The Women and Equalities committee today heard evidence from a range of health experts and trans campaigners, as part of an inquiry into trans healthcare issues. Speaking to the Parliamentary committee, Terry Reed OBE, co-founder of the Gender Identity Research and Education Society (GIRES), warned about attitudes to trans issues inside the NHS.  Steve Shrubb, Chief Executive of West London Mental Health NHS Trust, highlighted the need for change in the system, adding he believes that currently trans people are not treated equally. Dr John Dean, Chair of the Clinical Reference Group for Specialised Gender Identity Services for NHS England, called for existing doctors and GPs to be trained on trans issues.

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

 Amsterdam:  The Dutch government has declared Russian LGBTI asylum seekers a risk group following a letter by the State Secretary for Security and Justice. In the letter Klaas Dijkhoff wrote to the Tweede Kamer der Staten-General – the Dutch House of Representatives – he states that the Russian anti-gay laws ‘further fueled anti-gay sentiments among the population’.

‘The law also gives radical groups carte blanche to attack, intimidate or discriminate against LGBTIs, because authorities hardly take action againstacts of violence against them ’ Dijkhoff wrote.

He also highlighted the growing number of attacks and the steep rise in violence against LGBTI people since the law came into force, according to Dutch gay newspaper  de Volkskrant. By appointing them as a risk group, Russian LGBTI asylum seekers will be eligible for asylum if they show minor indications of persecution in their home country, although they must still demonstrate this through personal circumstances and facts. Before the change, cases were treated on an individual basis, with asylum seekers having to explain their situation and lay out the dangers they would face upon their return to Russia.

Source: http://www.gaystarnews.com

 Bangkok:  A Thai university is making classes on trans issues mandatory for all incoming freshmen. Starting this term, all new students at Bangkok’s Thammasat University, the country’s second-oldest institute of higher education and the national university, will have to take a trans-inclusive Social Life Skills class.

Source: http://www.gaystarnews.com

 Belfast: The British  Labour Party have announced that they will back demands for a Northern Ireland same-sex marriage referendum, with shadow Northern Ireland secretary Ivan Lewis saying he wants a public vote to over-turn the ban. At present, Northern Ireland is the only place in UK not to have legalised same-sex marriage.

Ivan told the Guardian before his speech to a group of LGBT people in Belfast that: “Ideally, there would be sufficient support in the Northern Ireland assembly to introduce legislation for same-sex marriage. This is currently not the case as as in the Republic of Ireland I would propose a referendum be held which allows the people to decide.”

The shadow secretary of state has voiced his concerns regarding religious and faith groups influencing any chance of a referendum: “Naturally, legislation triggered by a yes vote would include provisions as in the Westminster legislation which ensure faith groups are not required to undertake any activity which they deem as contrary to their beliefs.” The Labour politician has described Northern Ireland as a “cold home” for LGBT people. Recently, a Christian gay couple who got married in London are using their religion to keep their marriage status. The current law means that their marriage would be downgraded to a civil partnership. HereNI, Cara-Friend, The Rainbow Project, SAIL and Gender Jam NI have all objected to the idea, saying that referenda shouldn’t decide fundamental questions of human rights.

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

 Portland:  An Oregon judge who recently refused to officiate same-sex marriages is facing multiple ethical complaints after displaying a picture of Adolf Hitler in the Salem courthouse he works in. Despite same-sex marriage being legalised back in late June 2015 across the whole of the United States, a small handful of elected fundamentalist clerks and court-judges have opposed the ruling on religious grounds. According to a notice by the Commission on Judicial Fitness and Disability: Marion County Circuit Court Judge Vance Day is to face an ethics review after he allegedly screened wedding applicants for same-sex couples and refused to perform the marriages.

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

 Canberra: Existing services combating domestic violence, organised along gender lines, often don’t know how to deal with the same-sex partners of lesbian victims of violence, says LGBTI health body ACON.

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

London:  A former Church of England bishop has pleaded guilty to indecent assault – admitting to pursuing men and young boys who were hoping to become priests. Peter Ball, the ex-Bishop of Lewes, admitted indecent assault and misconduct in public office in a trial at the Old Bailey yesterday. The retired clergyman, 83, admitted to two counts of indecent assault on two males – between 1980 and 1983 and between 1990 and 1991. However, he denied two further charges of indecent assault on a boy aged 12 or 13, and a 15-year-old boy.

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

 Little Rock: Matt Staver, fundamentalist  lawyer for the anti-gay clerk who has just got out of jail after being found contempt of court, has compared her issuing marriage licences to gay couples to “grant a licence to sodomise children”.

Source: http://www.gaystarnews.com

Mangere:  A Pacific Island fundamentalist Christian school in South Auckland has had its Ministry of Education registration suspended after continued  ”serious and ongoing” questionswere raised about the safety and welfare of  pupils at the institution.   On Friday (11 September),  the Ministry of Education confirmed it was suspending Pacific Christian School’s registration after the school failed to provide assurances that the children weren’t at risk from its continued organisational deficits.  The Mangere school was the scene of an assault last year, when an eleven-year-old pupil stabbed another in the head with scissors.  Since that incident,  four teachers had also been formally warned by police about their physical discipline practices.

The Ministry of Education’s enablement and support deputy secretary, Katrina Casey, said the decision wasn’t a sudden one and had been precipitated by continued failures to upgrade the institution’s compliance with Ministry guidelines. The suspension takes effect on September 25 and all 70 pupils will be enrolled at new schools by the beginning of term four in October.   The school had about 90 pupils on its roll last year.  In 2012 the Education Review Office identified some concerns with the school in a formal report. It said risk management systems for taking pupils off the premises needed to be addressed by the institution and more detailed systems for managing potential local risks to students were needed. At the time, no staff had a first aid certificate.

Head of the Tongan Advisory Council Melino Maka also liaised between the school and social agencies brought in to help the victim and young offender. He said despite getting outside support, the school failed to put a lot of the suggested remedies in place to protect the children. He said the biggest problem was a lack of money, as the school is funded by church members.

“It’s sad but at the end of the day we need to be mindful of the safety of the children and the education of children is paramount,” he said.

He said if the school is serious about re-opening, it needs to rethink its approach and get professional people from outside to help.

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

 New Orleans: The Ashley Madison hacker scandal continues to claim victims.  A US fundamentalist pastor committed suicide six days after hackers disclosed his name on the Ashley Madison website, his wife told CNN Wednesday. Canadian police have said that at least two suicides were linked to the hacker leak of thirty-two million customer profiles from the Canada-based site last month. It’s not clear if John Gibson’s death was one of them as police released no details. His wife Christi Gibson discovered her husband’s body, as well as  a suicide note which chronicled his personal struggles with his sexual needs and his shame at being exposed  as an adulterer at their New Orleans home on August 24.

Gibson, 56, taught at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Gibson said her husband, who had struggled with depression and addiction in the past, was terrified that his outing would lead to his sacking from that position.

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

 Detroit:  Two Michigan state lawmakers have been recommended for removal from office after admitting misconduct in concealing their extramarital affair. Tea Party Republicans Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat concocted a false story that Mr Courser had solicited a male sex worker, to make the story of their affair less credible. Mr Courser apologised to a disciplinary panel and pleaded for leniency. The state’s House needs a two-thirds majority to expel the politicians. Only three legislators have been removed from office in Michigan’s history. The state’s House disciplinary committee voted on Thursday to recommend that the full House remove the pair from their positions.

Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news

Sacramento:  California lawmakers have passed legislation that would allow terminally ill patients to end their lives with a doctor’s supervision. The California Assembly narrowly passed the bill on Wednesday, and the state senate is expected to follow suit. The bill is partly inspired by the case of a terminally ill California woman who moved to Oregon to end her life.  Brittany Maynard, who was a California resident who was dying of brain cancer, made her plight public and eventually moved to Oregon to legally end her life. Currently, doctors are allowed to prescribe life-ending drugs in the US states of Oregon, Washington. Vermont and Montana.

Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news

Tennessee: US hardware store owner who’s been at the centre of a media furore over the last few months after putting a ‘No gays allowed’ sign in his shop window has hit the headlines again after creating his own range of homophobic merchandise. Jeff Amyx originally came under fire shortly after legalisation of marriage equality across the US in June after banning gay people from his hardware shop in Grainger County, Tennessee, but says he’s recieved plenty of support from the local community after printing his message on a new range of merchandise.

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

 Miami:  Ted Cruz’s lead Political Action Committee head, David Barton, believes that scientists will not be able to create a cure for AIDS. He thinks the bible says that AIDS in God’s retaliation for sin. David Barton,  head of  the Keep The Promise PAC, has so far raised $38 million in 2015 for Ted Cruz’s presidential candidacy.

In a discussion posted on the RWW YouTube account in March, David said: “I don’t think they will ever find a vaccine for HIV/AIDS. I say that based on a particular Bible verse.”  Romans 1:27: “Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due. The Bible says if you engage in homosexuality, your body will do things that penalise you,” Barton continues. “So if you can have a vaccine for AIDS, then you’re keeping your body from penalising you. I don’t think they’ll ever find a vaccine for AIDS.”

In 2012, th polemicists bestselling book The Jefferson Lies: Exposing the Myths You’ve Always Believed About Thomas Jefferson, was removed from shelves and had its publishing rights removed because of historical inaccuracies. In the novel, David refers to Thomas Jefferson, who owned over 200 slaves, as a “civil rights visionary.”

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

Belfast:  Conservative Christian pressure fgroups have attacked Labour’s calls for a referendum on equal marriage in Northern Ireland. Labour’s Shadow Secretary for Northern Ireland yesterday (September 9) spoke out on the issue to back a referendum in the country.

  Ivan Lewis, the MP for Bury South, said: “Ideally, there would be sufficient support in the Northern Ireland assembly to introduce legislation for same-sex marriage.

“This is currently not the case and as as in the Republic of Ireland I would propose a referendum be held which allows the people to decide.”

Conservative religious groups were quick to challenge Mr Lewis’ proposal – claiming that the Northern Ireland’s Stormont Assembly should have the final say on same-sex marriage.

“We feel that four democratic votes in the Assembly in three years is enough. We don’t need to see a referendum or another vote for some time,” a spokesman for the Northern Ireland Evangelical Alliance told Christian Today.

The group also took the chance to reiterate their anti-equality stance:

“We believe there is value in retaining a distinct definition of marriage as between a man and a woman as a platform for flourishing.”

What that “value” is was not explained – however the group’s statement serves as further proof of the deep religious divisions that still exist in Northern Ireland. The issue continues to be blocked in the country’s Assembly – with the governing fundamentalist-dominaDemocratic Unionist Party blocking equality four times by filing a ‘petition of concern’ to veto marriage bills. The DUP has also ruled out following in the footsteps of the Republic of Ireland – where the public voted overwhelmingly in favour of equality in a referendum earlier in 2015.

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

In an attempt to avoid further religious tensions, Mr Lewis said: “I respect the right of politicians to cite their faith as reason for their opposition to same-sex marriage.”

“I do not condemn or attack them as ‘bigots’ or ‘homophobes’. My difference with them is that in a democracy they are wrong to impose their religious beliefs on the legislative framework, which governs the rights of their fellow citizens.

“Naturally, legislation triggered by a yes vote would include provisions as in the Westminster legislation which ensure faith groups are not required to undertake any activity which they deem as contrary to their beliefs.”

However, it is not just faith groups that oppose Mr Lewis’ proposal. LGBT support group The Rainbow Project, has said that it is opposed to the idea of a referendum – but only because they feel the Northern Irish Assembly should support equality through the country.

“We would prefer the legislation to go through the Assembly,” Gavin Boyd – a spokesman for the group – said.

“We don’t think people’s right to equal marriage should be in a public vote. This won’t be going away until we have equal marriage for people in Northern Ireland,” he added.

Since the referendum in the Republic of Ireland earlier this year, the DUP has faced mounting pressure to stop blocking progress on the issue.

Source; http: www.pinknews.co.uk

 Bangkok:  The Thai government passed the 2015 Gender Equality Act in March and it is being implemented this week. The law aims to protect LGBT people from discrimination and is the first of its kind in Thailand. Those who break the law may have to pay up to 20,000 baht in fines and could face up to six months in prison. The law protects people from unfair discrimination among the sexes and this is defined as any action that “segregates, obstructs or limits the rights” of a person because they have “a sexual expression different from that person’s original sex.” Effectively, this new law will protect transgender individuals from discrimination in Thailand. The law also prevents those government agencies, private organisations and people in Thailand from developing anti-LGBT policies, rules and regulations.

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

 North Carolina:  One North Carolina county is turning to officials from neighboring counties after all four of its magistrates announced they would stop performing weddings for all couples — gay or straight. In North Carolina, magistrates can legally opt out of performing marriage ceremonies after the state legislature passed a “religious exemptions law” shortly before the Supreme Court ruling in favor of marriage equality. After North Carolina’s ban on same-sex marriage was struck down in court, legislators rushed to pass a law that gives magistrates and register of deeds employees “the right to recuse from performing all lawful marriages…based upon any sincerely held religious objection.” After the magistrate declares they will not perform marriages for same-sex couples, they are barred from officiating weddings for straight couples, as well. The exemption lasts for six months and can be renewed.

Philadelphia:  Single-occupant public restrooms in Philadelphia would have to be designated gender-neutral if a bill introduced Thursday before Philadelphia’s City Council becomes law, reports the city’s Daily News.  The proposed legislation reflects the views of top public officials like Valerie Jarrett, senior adviser to President Obama, who championed trans-inclusive accommodations in an April commentary penned for The Advocate the same month that the White House created its first gender-neutral bathroom.

Source: http://www.advocate.com

Dallas:  The Texas Attorney General has filed a motion in an attempt to stop a woman from inheriting any of her late partner’s estate. This came just a day after Attorney General Ken Paxton pledged to comply with the Supreme Court’s ruling in favour of same-sex marriage. Paxton filed a motion on 25 August, in an attempt to block Sonemaly Phrasavath from inheriting any portion of her late partner Stella Powell’s estate. Powell died in 2014 without a will, and her siblings set out to exclude Phrasavath from inheriting any of the estate, despite that the couple had been together for eight years. Phrasavath has since appealed to have the relationship recognised retroactively as a common law marriage. Paxton got involved in February, to defend the state of Texas and its same-sex marriage ban.

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

United States:  The leader of a US anti-gay Christian group designated by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group has proposed that Christians who disagree with LGBTI rights all go and live in their own cities so that they will not have to come in contact with anyone who thinks differently to them. Mission America founder Linda Harvey put out the call earlier this week in a column for far-right American news website WND in which she proposed the creation of anti-gay ‘marriage sanctuary cities’ – suggesting that Christians gravitate towards certain US cities as sanctuaries from the law in the way that she claims undocumented workers do.

Source: http://www.gaystarnews.com

Melbourne:  Plans to allow LGBT couples to adopt may not pass the Victorian Parliament after Liberal leader Matthew Guy declared he would not support any laws that penalised faith-based organisations. The Andrews government last week rejected calls to grant religious agencies special exemptions that would have given them the right to refuse placing a child in the care of a same-sex couple. The fundamentalist antigay Australian Christian Lobby had been pushing for the discriminatory religious exemptions for months, arguing that some agencies could be “forced”  to close unless they were protected under law to preference heterosexual couples, in line with their religious beliefs.

The Victorian  state government will soon introduce new laws giving gay couples the ability to jointly adopt children, most of whom are already under their care through foster parenting or blended family relationships. But while Coalition MPs are likely to get a conscience vote on the bill, Mr Guy’s latest comments suggest the opposition could also try to amend the legislation to ensure religious exemptions apply. Such protections were granted in NSW when same-sex adoption was legalised there in 2010. Victorian Labor only has 14 out of 40 seats in the upper house and would therefore require support from the Greens and the crossbench to vote down such an amendment, and would also need to wrangle seven votes to ensure its own adoption reforms pass. Greens MP Sam Hibbins said his party would oppose any amendments from the Coalition to allow religious agencies to discriminate.

Equality Minister Martin Foley also rejected this, saying the government had committed to removing discrimination in the Adoption Act “at any level” and that “genuinely equality, particularly for LGBTI people, should not be something that’s up for some kind of debate.” Asked for his views on the matter, Mr Guy said while he “supported” giving LGBT couples the right to adopt, he would not support any move that “undermined” religious institutions.

Source: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/gay-adoption-could-be-hindered-over-push-for-religious-exemptions-20150912-gjl2jz.html

 London:  Jeremy Corbyn has promised to lead a Labour “fightback” after being elected the party’s new leader by a landslide. The veteran left-winger got almost 60% of more than 400,000 votes cast, trouncing his rivals Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall. He immediately faced an exodus of shadow cabinet members – but senior figures including Ed Miliband urged the party’s MPs to get behind him. Corbyn was a 200-1 outsider when the three-month contest began. But he was swept to victory on a wave of enthusiasm for his anti-austerity message and promise to scrap Britain’s nuclear weapons and renationalise the railways and major utilities.

Attitude noted their opinions on LGBT concerns.  Corbyn pledged to continue pressurising for same-sex marriage progress in Northern Ireland, telling LGBT Labour: “What happened in the Republic with the same-sex marriage vote was absolutely seismic. It would not have happened without a lot of steadfast campaigning for a very long time by a lot of people, and congratulations to them.

“This is a devolved issue, but we must put pressure on the unionist parties that have resisted this change – and support those people in North Ireland who are campaigning for equality. I recently met with politicians from different parties in west Belfast and will continue to raise this issue.”

On education, he declared: “I believe sex, consent and relationships education should be compulsory in all schools, as I set out in the Youth Manifesto produced by young supporters of my campaign. I do think we need to review equality legislation in schools. It cannot be right that the places where we educate our children have leeway to discriminate.

“I was in Parliament when Section 28 went through – I campaigned against it and spoke against it in the debate. Section 28 was preventing local authorities using their public premises for anything that was deemed to be promoting homosexuality. We’ve moved on a lot since then.”

Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news

 Vancouver:  Organizers of Vancouver’s Sept 12 Sin City fetish cruise say the event was cancelled after the provincial Liquor Control and Licensing Branch (LCLB) and the Vancouver Police Department (VPD) “took a sudden and extreme interest in this event.” Police initially denied any involvement but later confirmed that a VPD liquor coordinator had contacted the owners of the boat rented for the cruise. VPD spokesperson Constable Brian Montague tells Daily Xtra the liquor licence holders who own the boat were told they could be in contravention of their licence if planned activities took place on the cruise. According to Sin City’s website, sincityfetishnight.com, the event’s dress code specified that “during boarding and while docked, attire and behaviour must be kept public beach friendly, but . . . 30 minutes into the cruise, full nude and sex play are permitted on premises.” The dress code also stated that 30 minutes prior to docking, an announcement would be made onboard and “attire and play levels must be returned to public beach friendly levels.” Organizers say they were unexpectedly told their event could not proceed as planned — unless they cancelled some of the fetish aspects of the event.

Source: http://www.dailyxtra.com

 Vancouver: Elsewhere in British Columbia’s capital, more than 100 people turned out at Vancouver’s Odyssey nightclub Sept 10 to see the front-runner candidates vying for Vancouver Centre’s seat in Parliament debate some of the most important issues facing the LGBT community this election. The debate was lively between incumbent Liberal Hedy Fry, Constance Barnes from the NDP, and Lisa Barrett from the Green Party. Missing from the debate was Conservative candidate Elaine Allan, whose camp had not responded to numerous invitations to attend. An empty chair with a name placard marked her empty spot. The candidates fielded a diverse range questions from a community panel and from audience members both at the debate and watching it live on streaming video. Affordable housing, not only for the West End but also for LGBT youth and seniors, was identified as a priority this election.

Barnes said the NDP will create a national housing strategy and work with the provinces to implement it. She said working with existing housing as well as co-operatives would be part of the mix. Fry described housing as one of the most important issues facing the Vancouver Centre riding, and said the Liberal Party would renew its national housing strategy, including its support for co-op housing and supportive housing for seniors and the disabled.

“One of the most important things I’m hearing,” she added, “is that a lot of gay men are finding that when they need assisted or supportive housing, they’re having to go back in the closet because a lot of people in their age group, who are in that same housing, never did in those days approve of gay men. This is unacceptable,” she said, “and we’re going to create specific housing for gay men who are elderly to be able to find a safe place in which to live.”

Source: http://www.dailyxtra.com

Toronto: A Canadian organization is raising funds to bring lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Syrian refugees to Canada, as calls to resettle thousands of migrants and refugees from the war-torn region increase. Justin Taylor, the executive director of the Toronto-based Rainbow Railroad, says that before September 2014, the organization hadn’t had a request from a Syrian person requesting assistance. This year, Rainbow Railroad has had 16 asylum seekers approach them directly, as well as word of many more who are currently in Jordan and Lebanon. LGBT Syrians have been targeted by ISIS, an extremist fundamentalist group that has stretched into Syria as the nation endures another year of a civil war that started in 2011. According to Al Jazeera, ISIS has claimed responsibility for the death of 30 people who were accused of  sodomy. Other escapees from the region have recounted how the group persecutes LGBT people, sometimes using social media to find them. Rainbow Railroad, which has helped many LGBT refugees worldwide escape persecution in their home countries, is working with Lifeline Syria, an organization that is helping to bring 1,000 Syrian refugees into the Greater Toronto Area over the next two years on sponsorship applications. Taylor says Rainbow Railroad also plans to establish settlement teams in Toronto who will support Syrian refugees during their first year in the city.

Source: http://www.dailyxtra.com

Washington DC:  Dozens of #TransLivesMatter activists took over the stage at the U.S. Conference on AIDS in Washington, DC, to draw attention to HIV-positive trans women and men as well as gender nonconforming people. Spokeswoman Bamby Salcedo, a Latina trans woman, activist, and subject of the documentary TransVisible, wore combat boots and looked ready for battle as she grabbed the microphone during the unexpected protest at the lunch-time plenary.  Salcedo was allowed to speak for nearly 20 minutes as she outlined a list of actions the group called for, including a demand that the federal government set aside research money to study trans women and HIV. Despite the fact that trans women represent one of the highest at-risk populations they are rarely included in HIV studies, and when included they are frequently misgendered as men who have sex with men.

 Source: http://www.advocate.com

London:  The Cameron administration has rebuffed calls to allow people to self-define their gender – claiming it has a “legitimate” interest to block it due to “important legal and social consequences”. The UK Ministry of Justice was responding to a Parliamentary petition calling for reforms to the UK’s gender recognition laws – after the Republic of Ireland made revolutionary changes that make changing your legal gender as simple as renewing your passport. The petition called for the United Kingdom to adopt legislation akin to the Irish GRA, in place of its current “humiliating, outdated and unnecessary” system of requiring medical evidence and an application to a Gender Recognition Panel. Over 30,000 people have signed the official Parliamentary petition, mandating the government to reply – but it smacked down the main arguments.   Despite the claims, Ireland has so far experienced no issues with its process of self-defining gender, which has been adopted by a number of countries around the world. The reply from the Ministry of Justice also claimed the government was “not aware” of any specific detriment experienced by non-binary people who don’t identify as male or female – just days after Parliament’s Women and Equalities Committee heard from trans activists who raised very specific issues.

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

 Canberra: Children  of same-sex parents could be “bombarded” with anti-gay marriage messages, if the public if given a vote on it, an inquiry has heard. The Australian legal and constitutional affairs committee on Thursday evening heard that children with gay or lesbian parents could be negatively affected if a plebiscite were to take place. In addition, a number of policy experts and legal experts told the committee that the plebiscite was not necessary given that parliament already has the power to constitutionally legislate for marriage equality.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott earlier this week pledged to pass legislation to legalise same-sex marriage, if the public votes in favour in a plebiscite. Abbott, a staunch opponent of same-sex marriage, has refused to give coalition MPs a free vote on the issue. His preference is to go ahead with a plebiscite, after the next election. Some have pointed out that a plebiscite is not binding, but Warren Entsch, a Liberal MP who has introduced a bill for same-sex marriage, said he had received a guarantee from the Prime Minister.

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

 Jersey: The Channel Islands have celebrated their first Pride. Three thousand people attended.

Source: http://www.gaystarnews.com

 Kentucky:  The chair of the anti-gay National Organisation for Marriage has claimed that Kentucky clerk Kim Davis will be the “spark” to ignite a revolution against equal marriage in the US. Davis, the clerk for Rowan County, Kentucky, was jailed for contempt of court earlier this month after she repeatedly ignored direct court orders to block staff from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The clerk, who has been married four times, cited her Christian faith and belief in ‘traditional’ marriage as the reason she couldn’t let gays even marry once. Since her release from jail, she has become a darling of the far-right anti-gay movement, with her lawyer Mat Staver condemned by the Anti-Defamation League for comparing her to ‘Jews in the gas chamber’.  However, John Eastman – the chair of  NOM, which failed to stop marriage equality – has claimed that she will now spark a revolution.

 Brussels:  The opinions of UKIP MEP David Coburn have been branded “worthless” by the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker. Coburn is UKIP’s most senior openly gay figure, as its leader in Scotland and a Member of the European Parliament – but is also known for his outspoken comments. However, his constant heckling in the European Parliament did not go down well this week in the European Parliament, when he attempted to shout down President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker during a ‘state of the union’ address.

Belfast:  A number of leading LGBT groups in Northern Ireland oppose Labour’s calls for a referendum on marriage equality. Marriage equality has been passed by elected representatives in both the Westminster Parliament in England and Wales, and by Holyrood in Scotland. However, the issue continues to be blocked in Northern Ireland’s increasingly dysfunctional  Stormont Assembly – with the governing Democratic Unionist Party blocking equal marriage bills four times by filing a ‘petition of concern’ to veto them. In a bid to break the deadlock on the issue, the British  Labour Party has called for Northern Ireland to follow in the footsteps of the Republic of Ireland, by holding a binding public referendum on the issue, and putting same-sex marriage to a public vote.However, following the call from Labour’s Shadow Secretary for Northern Ireland, Ivan Lewis, a number of Northern Irish LGBT groups have come forward to say a referendum is unnecessary and demeaning. In a joint statement, a number of LGBT organisations – The Rainbow Project, HereNI, Cara-Friend, SAIL and Gender Jam NI – said that the idea of putting equality to a public vote was fundamentally wrong, and that their resources are better spent helping LGBT people than running an election campaign.

Italy:  For decades people have attempted to link homosexuality and mental illness – but a new study suggests highlights a “remarkable” link between homophobia and psychoticism. The study was  conducted by Italy’s University of L’Aquila and published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, attempted to find psychological factors that correlate with homophobia. The researchers gauged the reactions of over 500 students to gay people through a questionaire, while also looking at homophobia levels, psychopathological symptoms, defence mechanisms and attachment styles. However, they made a surprising finding – there is a strong correlation between those who have hostile attitudes to gay people, and those displaying signs of psychoticism. Psychoticism is a personality trait “typified by aggressiveness and interpersonal hostility” – and is believed to be linked to increased vulnerability to psychosis such as schizophrenia.

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

 Canberra: On September 14, Malcolm Turnbull ousted Tony Abbott as Australian Prime Minister (54-44). While Abbott was elected Prime Minister via a landslide win over former PM Kevin Rudd in 2013, his fortunes have wavered ever since, as voters have expressed disappointment over his handling of many issues – including his continued lack of support for same-sex marriage. Abbott will now go down in history as one of the shortest-serving Liberal Prime Ministers in Australian history, with one year and 361 days in the job – just ahead of Harold Holt, who drowned while Prime Minister in 1967. In what must be a bitter pill for the departing PM to swallow, it’s being reported that to qualify for the AU$600,000 per year pension allotted to former Australian Prime Ministers – as well as the flights, superannuation, travel and other lifelong perks that come along with that – a PM has to serve for at least two years. Abbott missed that milestone by less than a week.   However,  while new Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is a centre-right social liberal with a history of support for marriage equality, it may not be good news for those expecting him to instantly reverse Abbott’s party line against the issue. Sources close to Turnbull have told the Star Observer that at this stage, he would stick with the “party position on a plebiscite on marriage equality” should he be successful in taking the top job from Abbott.

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

 Ottawa:  With Canadian federal election day still more than a month away, there may be massive gains by progressive forces in Canadian politics. A spate of recent polls are drawing a picture of a two-way NDP-Liberal race, with the Conservatives fading into third. And yet with victory in grasp, Liberal and NDP leaders swinging through Pride parades during the campaign, and an enormous number of openly LGBT candidates running — at least seventeen across the major parties — the parties are being circumspect on LGBT issues.

At this stage, no party has released its full platform (the NDP recently scrubbed its 2013 policy book from its website, saying it no longer reflects what the party is running on), but a picture of where both parties stand on the issues can be pieced together. Both the NDP and Liberal leaders have gone on the record as supporting a trans rights bill if put in government. Both parties have sections on their websites about ending the discriminatory ban on gay men donating blood. In the last Parliament, the NDP introduced bills to equalize the age of consent for anal and vaginal sex, to suspend criminal convictions for gay sex and to apologize and amend the records of civil servants and military personnel who were fired or discharged due to sexual orientation.  None of these appear on the current NDP agenda, although they all seem uncontroversial- and probably will be implemented if either party forms a minority government or coalition.

What about sex work?  While individual Liberal and NDP candidates have spoken out in the past against Bill C-36, the law that recriminalized most aspects of sex work after the Supreme Court struck down Canada’s prostitution laws in 2013, the parties have announced no position on whether they will repeal it or maintain the almost certainly unconstitutional criminal prohibition on sex work. In a particularly galling move, in August 2015, NDP leader Tom Mulcair announced a suite of policies aimed at “ending violence against women” and was silent on the issue of sex work, despite the fact that the Supreme Court found that criminalization was a major factor in exposing sex workers to danger and violence.

However, there’s also the issue of   a national prescription drug plan. It appears that this NDP goal has been displaced in favour of a national daycare plan. Xtra Canada argues that  a national drug plan could be a major boon for the LGBT community, especially when it comes to trans people accessing hormone therapies, HIV-positive people accessing treatments, and gay and bi men, and other high-risk populations, accessing PrEP to help prevent the spread of HIV. However, the only drug policies the parties seem interested in debating this season are whether to decriminalize pot (as the NDP favours) or legalize it (as the Liberals prefer), and whether to approve more safe injection sites for heroin users (both parties are in favour).  Some might say that even these are ameliorative moves for HIV+ people, though.

Nova Scotia:  Religious freedom does not extend to distributing religious pamphlets condemning homosexuality at an elementary school during school hours, the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal ruled Aug 26, upholding a provincial supreme court ruling. The earlier ruling held that some of the materials fundamentalist Christian Sean Bonitto wanted to distribute specifically stated that homosexuality and worshiping another God were sins which would lead to eternal damnation if not repented from. Halifax Regional School Board policy says distribution of materials at the school requires the principal’s approval.  Another policy says religious instruction on school premises may only occur outside the regular school day.  Bonito sued in the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia and lost. He was ordered to pay costs in the case in November 2014.

Muise noted that the school has accommodated Bonitto’s request that his children not be exposed to materials or teachings that run contrary to his fundamentalist Christian beliefs, by allowing them to be exempt from sessions, activities and materials relating to things like Halloween, the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus, the occult, magic, homosexuality and transgender issues. Evidence before the court said imagery in some of Bonitto’s pamphlets included a cat being sacrificed with a knife, a human figure wearing a pumpkin on its head carrying a chainsaw with a caption that it wanted a human as a sacrifice, a person being thrown over a cliff and someone celebrating that happening, references to muscles being sliced wide open and blood spurting and a detailed medical description of the injuries inflicted during crucifixion and the body’s reaction to those injuries.

Source: http://www.dailyxtra.com

Mississippi:  It doesn’t matter what the US Supreme Court said about marriage equality, the Republican Mississippi governor is defending his state’s ban on letting couples adopt children. Gov. Phil Bryant and Jim Hood, the state’s attorney general, argued to a federal court last week that the ban remains constitutional, despite the recent Supreme Court decision that lifted the state’s prohibition on same-sex marriage, reports BuzzFeed. Bryant, Hood, and Richard Berry — the executive director of the state’s Department of Human Services — are being sued by same-sex couples challenging Section 93-17-3(5), a provision adopted in the state’s constitution in 2002. The provision declares, “Adoption by couples of the same gender is prohibited.”

Source: http://www.advocate.com

Brussels: The European Parliament has condemned anti-LGBT activities in Azerbaijan.

Moscow: President Vladimir Putin has honoured rabidly antigay Russian MD Vitaly Milonov.

Kentucky: Kim Davis has said she will no longer obstruct same-sex marriage applications.

Source: http://www.gaystarnews.com

Canberra:  Liberal backbencher  Cory Bernardi may  emerge as the head of a new political party that would sit significantly to the right of Malcolm Turnbull’s Liberals and their National Party colleagues. Appearing on The Project, an Australian current affairs programme, right-wing columnist and commentator Bolt was asked by regular panellist Steve Price if Australia’s freshly minted 29th Prime Minister, widely seen as far more mainstream  in his views than Tony Abbott, would be able to win the trust of social conservatives. Bolt replied that in the wake of Turnbull’s challenge and subsequent win on Monday, he had received 1000 comments and emails from readers who criticised the development.  South Australian Liberal senator Bernardi has been widely ridiculed for his views on climate change (it’s nothing to do with humans), women (it’s OK to treat them a bit rough some times), Islam (it is fundamentally bad) and same-sex relations (they are akin to bestiality). He was profiled in Australian current affairs magazine  The Monthly a few years back as “a person without any intellect” who “should really never have risen above the position of branch president”…and that was by a Liberal Party colleague.

Source: http://www.theage.com.au/entertainment/tv-and-radio/andrew-bolt-raises-prospect-of-cory-bernardi-as-leader-of-new-conservative-party-on-the-project-20150915-gjngrt.html

Brisbane: The Queensland AIDS Council will start offering assistance to people interested in undertaking PrEP through its Clinic 30 sexual health service, along with providing access to PEP medications.

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

Clacton:  A UK Independence Party councillor in the party’s Clacton stronghold has been forced to resign – after it emerged he was on a list of members of the neofascist British National Party. Laurie Gray was one of 22 UKIP councillors elected in May this year to sit on Tendring District Council in Clacton-on-Sea, Essex.

However, he says he is unsure why his details were on the membership list, and denies he was an active member of the far-right party. He claimed to the Clacton Gazette: “As far as I know, I wasn’t a member of the BNP. I remember a few years ago filling out a questionnaire. I got an email, but I didn’t go to any meetings or anything. I’m 62 and the first time I voted was for Douglas Carmichael. Former BNP leader Nick Griffin, who was expelled from the far-right party following an internal coup, previously revealed that he now votes for UKIP.

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

Chester:  A woman has been found guilty of sexual assault, after duping a fellow student into having lesbian sex with her by pretending to be a man. Gayle Dawn Newland, 25, was found guilty of three counts of sexual assault over the incidents in 2013, while both studied at the University of Chester. She was cleared of two further charges. Newland’s alleged victim – a woman who cannot be named for legal reasons – told Chester Crown Court that she had embarked on a relationship a “man” that she met on Facebook, who used the name ‘Kye Fortune’. However, after the pair’s romance progressed, she met up with ‘Fortune’ in real life to have consensual sex. Kye turned out to be Gaye.

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

 Canterbury:  The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has called together Anglican leaders from across the world, to attempt to prevent a split over gay issues. The Anglican Communion is an international alliance of churches including the Church of England and a number of other Protestans around the world – with an estimated combined 80 million members. However, while the Church of England  is relatively moderate when it comes to LGBT rights and the Anglican Churches of Canada and New Zealand and US Episcopal Church are progressive , a number of other churches within the global Anglican Communion remain militantly opposed. There have long been fears that divides the more liberal churches and others within the Communion – particularly fundamentalist African “Anglican” churches who reject mainstream teachings on LGBT rights – could provoke a schism.   The  Archbishop acts as head of the Communion as well as the Church of England and has called for a special meeting of Communion Primates, in a bid to save the global Christian alliance from disintegration.

Meanwhile, the former Anglican Bishop of Oxford has openly said that homophobia can be attributed to religion in many areas of the world. Lord Harries was in the job from 1987 to 2006 and is now a member of the House of Lords.

Speaking yesterday in a debate on global LGBT+ equality, he said: “There is no avoiding the fact that hostility to same-sex relationships is shaped and fuelled by the teaching of most religions. We cannot sensibly address this challenge without facing the uncomfortable truth head-on.”

He called for religious institutions globally to face up to the fact that their support for the criminalisation of homosexuality is what reinforces so much of the “toxic” culture LGBTs have to face. “Change can take a long time but it can take place: we know it has happened in at least some churches. Church leaders and institutions in those countries where LGBTI people are criminalised have to be urged to make a distinction between teaching which may be applicable for their own members in their private lives and the basic rights and dignity that need to be accorded to everyone in their society, whatever their religion or belief…The way that such people are treated in those countries is an affront to any concept of human decency, and the church must be challenged to see that its support for their criminalisation is a direct cause of this.’

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

 Kampala:  Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has said he will not pursue further anti-gay legislation in the country. The long-standing leader has declared that he will not pursue further anti-gay legislation, after previous attempts to strengthen the country’s anti LGBT legislation were defeated. President Museveni signed the draconian Anti-Homosexuality Bill last February. The law called for repeat offenders to be sentenced to 14 years in prison and to make it a criminal offence not to report someone for being gay. However, the country’s Constitutional Court later struck down the bill, finding that the speaker of parliament acted illegally by moving ahead with a vote on the law despite at least three lawmakers objecting to a lack of quorum.

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

Nairobi:  Five Anglican priests in Kenya have been suspended ‘for being gay’. Their actual ‘sins’, however, have nothing to do with homosexuality at all. Bishop Joseph Kagunda, the diocese of Mount Kenya West, suspended the clerics when it was found in a tribunal that they were ‘guilty of the sin of homosexuality’. Kenyan newspaper The Star reports the tribunal said the priests involved had been found guilty of taking advantage of children in their custody. This involved having sex with the children and then forcing them to keep it quiet. The tribunal called this homosexuality when it is very clearly pedophilia.

Madrid:  A lesbian couple are suing the Spanish government in  a campaign to ensure no Spanish woman is denied the right to have a child. The couple, who were not named in the report, has lodged a case against the Spanish health ministry, regional authorities and a Madrid hospital after they were denied artificial insemination purely because they are gay. Women’s Link Worldwide, the human rights group helping the couple, say the two women were refused as the government regulation states artificial insemination can only be given to couples who have tried for a year to get pregnant through sexual intercourse. This regulation, according to the group which was only imposed in November, is discriminatory as it excludes lesbian couples.

Vienna: Austria’s minister of justice has proposed a new law pardoning homosexual men and women sentenced under former anti-homosexuality laws – if they apply for it and a court finds them not guilty. The proposal published on Monday (14 September) comes two years after the European Court of Human Rights accused Austria – among other countries – of violating the European Convention on Human Rights by not clearing their criminal records. In 1971, Austria legalized homosexuality and at the same time introduced special legislation: the age of protection for homosexual relationships was set at 18 years, while it was 14 for heterosexual couples. It was lowered to 14 for everyone in 2002. The 1971 legislation also made it illegal to be a gay male sex worker,  to “promote”  homosexuality (‘sodomy between people of the same gender’) or belong to an LGBTI group or association. Those laws were scrapped in 1989 and 1997. But the proposed new law doesn’t mean every one of the 200 people whose criminal register carries a sentencing under one of these laws will automatically be pardoned.

Source: http://www.gaystarnews.com

Alabama: Probate Judge Nick Williams calls same-sex marriage ‘license to engage in sodomy’ and wants permission to deny rights to same-sex couples.

Source: http://www.advocate.com

Rio de Janeiro:  Argentina has changed its rules to allow gay and bisexual men to donate blood immediately. The country’s health ministry announced a resolution which allows men who have had sex with men to donate blood. It does away with previous rules which blocked gay and bisexual men from donating blood. The previous rules had been condemned by LGBT rights campaigners who said it was discriminatory. The official statement from the ministry said the plan was to “advance towards a national blood system that is safe, caring and inclusive”, as well as to “end a long history of institutional discrimination against the LGBT community.” Campaigners have pushed the ministry to address the issue of the blood ban for over fifteen years. The new measure also hops to educate people about risky behaviours, and to move away from blanket bans on specific groups.

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

 London:  Trans activists have accused Britain’s Secretary of State for Justice, Michael Gove of trying to sabotage the first ever UK Parliamentary enquiry into transgender issues. His Ministry of Justice issued an official statement saying it wouldn’t update legislation to allow trans people to just choose their gender for themselves, without having to get approval from ‘experts’. And it refused to recognize non-binary people, who don’t identify as fully male or female.The Ministry of Justice’s intervention came after just one week of evidence at the Women and Equalities Select Committee’s parliamentary inquiry on trans issues. Today a number of trans activists have signed an open letter to Maria Miller, MP, chair of that inquiry. The letter accuses Gove and his department of ‘a deliberate attempt to sabotage [the] inquiry’. It was co-ordinated by Jane Fae, a gender activist and GSN contributor.

Source: http://www.gaystarnews.com

Sydney:  Here are nine things you need to know about the  ex-gay movement.

1. Ex-gay is a movement — it’s not therapy   

Organisations like Living Waters and Exodus were the face of the ex-gay movement for many years. Most of these closed down in New Zealand. However, these groups were not the custodians of ex-gay — they were merely manifestations.

The ex-gay movement will continue to exist  in much-reduced scale  because it is first and foremost an ideology built on the premise that homosexuality is a sign of trauma or a disorder. It is a toxic air that LGBTI people breathe in some religious communities. The mental scars incurred by those who walk the ex-gay path are often irreparable. In February 2015, the Australian Psychological Society (APS) issued an updated position statement condemning ex-gay movements: “The APS strongly opposes any approach to psychological practice or research that treats lesbians, gay men, and bisexual people as disordered [or] attempts to change an individual’s sexual orientation.”

2. It’s not gone away — it’s gone underground

Countless websites, online resources, online support programs, conferences and even radio shows are still available to New Zealanders that contain versions of the ex-gay message. Right now throughout Australia, on couches, in prayer groups, in churches and in counselling practices — often linked to religious organisations — LGBTI people of faith are still enduring sustained mental abuse.

Counsellors and pastoral staff justify this torture believing they are doing “God’s work”. The irony is that many of these so-called “professionals” are struggling to rectify their own homosexual sexual desires.  Despite this, almost all former leaders of the world’s largest ex-gay institutions have come forward to renounce the movement or apologise to LGBTI people who have been victims of it. Many have also left opposite-sex marriages and are now in same-sex relationships. There is no evidence that conversion therapy is successful at changing a person’s sexual orientation from homosexual to heterosexual, although the definitions of bisexuality, sexual orientation and sexual identity have caused much confusion and double-talk in ex-gay circles.

3. ”Haters gonna hate”

Fundamentalist religious groups are able to quickly mobilise and censure people who speak out. Clergy, faith leaders and lay preachers who affirm LGBTI people are marginalised within their own communities. There are six verses in the Bible consistently used to abominate homosexuality. Howerver, the beauty of selectively quoting scripture to reinforce a point is that one can avoid “eating the flesh of your sons and daughters” (Leviticus 26:29), also mentioned in at least six passages throughout the good book.

4. Ex-gay creates carnage

LGBTI people of faith often experience homophobia from their families, churches, schools and/or communities. A hypersensitivity to homophobia leads to internalised fear, expressed through denial, deception, depression and even suicide. It is not just the duress of gay conversion therapy that drives self-harm, but rather the ideology of “gay = damaged” and community rejection. Forced into leading double lives, people struggling to reconcile their faith and sexuality sometimes engage in sexual risk-taking and delay treatment for STIs. Relationships built on lies ultimately lead to shallow friendships, family breakdowns and crippling shame if outed within their communities.

5. Banning conversion therapy is important but insufficient

Ontario and several  US states have passed legislation “banning” ex-gay therapy. However, the fine print indicates that these bans only apply to situations where children are exposed to ex-gay through registered therapists. Given the APS has already issued a directive on the matter, and as ex-gay is more common among adults engaging in private unregulated counselling, such legislation would merely be symbolic in Australia. Furthermore, it would not stop the disconnect some feel between their sexuality and faith — nor will it make them feel at home among their churches, at peace with their God and at one with themselves. Legislation and regulation can encourage faith communities to realise the broader community does not accept their ill-formed position, but understanding and acceptance will only be achieved through a cultural change within the church. The time is fast approaching for an apology from church leaders for the damage they have caused LGBTI individuals and their communities.

6. Ex-gay is fraudulent

In June, a New Jersey court found the Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing (JONAH) ex-gay organisation was guilty of consumer fraud, awarding plaintiffs over $74,000 in damages.  As part of JONAH’s program, one plaintiff was forced to watch a re-enactment of his childhood sexual abuse while another was forced to publicly undress. These strategies were deemed fraudulent because no evidence existed as to their effectiveness. Recent legislation in Illinois has implemented these findings and combined a ban on conversion therapy to minors with provisions for civil fraud proceedings.

7. Additional steps: 

– Providing more powers — particularly power to investigate — for health services and consumer protection commissioners.

– Introducing provisions to classify the “gay = damaged” declaration as vilification.

– Investigating the regulation of the counselling industry. At the very least, introducing compulsory clauses in all tertiary counselling education that debunk the ex-gay movement.

– Tighter regulation for media so that independent third-party productions that feature ex-gay messaging won’t receive airtime or government grants.

– Legislation that encapsulates the recent APS statement and the “consumer fraud” findings of courts in other jurisdictions.

8. You can help

LGBTI people comfortable in their own skin have a responsibility to ensure those who are not so comfortable are cared for,  welcomed and embraced. There is a need to encourage and support the emerging allies within faith communities. They often experience the discrimination and exclusion that LGBTI individuals experience and it is the battles they fight that ultimately benefit us all, especially those struggling to reconcile their faith and sexuality. The  New Zealand government and its political parties  need to know the prevalence of damage that is caused by ex-gay  ideologies. They need to realise it is more than just a kooky therapy performed by fringe groups — it’s the air many LGBTI Christians breathe in their churches. Ultimately, it is the leadership of elected representatives that will drive the change required to undo the damage of the past and ensure an inclusive future for all members of society, regardless of their religion, faith or spiritual belief.

To learn more, visit insideexgay.org

 Edinburgh: A young St. Andrews busker (local street performer) was recently cheered in Scotland after he shut down an antigay preacher by blasting “Scotland The Brave” on his bagpipes.  In the video, the preacher can be seen using an amplifier as he reportedly shouts an antigay message claiming same-sex marriage is ruining the country’s economy. Moments later, the young bagpiper begins to play, slowly walking toward the preacher as the crowd cheers, grateful the young man was drowning out the ranting preacher who was casting a dark cloud on an otherwise sunny day in town.

Source: http://www.advocate.com

 Leeds: In the United Kingdom, a  national health alert has been triggered following the discovery of a highly drug-resistant strain of gonorrhoea in Leeds. According to Public Health England, fifteen cases have been discovered so far. Previous PHE reports have shown that gonorrhoea resistance to the azithromycin drug has been report. The outbreak has since spread to Macclesfield, Oldham and Scunthorpe. Sexual health consultant Peter Greenhouse has warned that there may be more undetected cases. He told the BBC:

“This azithromycin highly-resistant outbreak is the first one that has triggered a national alert. It doesn’t sound like an awful lot of people, but the implication is there’s a lot more of this strain out there and we need to stamp it out as quickly as possible. If this becomes the predominant strain in the UK we’re in big trouble, so we have to be really meticulous in making sure each of these individuals has all their contacts traced and treated.”

The World Health Organization has declared gonorrhea a global concern and warned that without new drugs, infections may one day become untreatable:

“This is clearly a superbug,” says Peter Leone, M.D., an infectious disease specialist and professor of medicine at the University of North Carolina. Last year, 35,000 cases of gonorrhoea were reported in England, making it the second most common bacterial sexual transmitted infection after chlamydia. The British Association for Sexual Health and HIV has reported that all cases so far have been diagnosed in heterosexuals.

The organisation’s president Dr Jan Clarke, told the BBC: “It was sufficiently serious to alert our whole national chain of clinics that there is the possibility that we’ve got a very resistant strain of gonorrhoea. We are really skating on thin ice as far as treating gonorrhoea is concerned at the moment.”

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

 Sydney:  In a rare gathering of anti-gay marriage equality opponents in Sydney this afternoon, around 200 conservative religious activists led by New South Wales MLC and Christian Democratic Party leader Fred Nile marched from Belmore Park to Martin Place – but not without some attention from marriage equality supporters.  At times, police struggled to keep the opposing groups apart, but the day ended without any serious incidents.   Rallies “in support of traditional marriage” had been planned across Australia for today, with varying degrees of success, and rain dampening their actions in some cities.   Participants in Sydney held up signs with slogans including “Natural marriage – anything else is ‘pretend’” and quoting Bible passages.  Even though the marriage equality debate does not involve adoption or surrogacy rights for same-sex couples to rights children – which are already legal in New South Wales – many of the protesters had the rights of children on their minds.

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

Little Rock: Republican Presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee slammed President Barack Obama’s decision to nominate an out gay man to lead the Army, claiming the President is “more interested in appeasing America’s homosexuals than honoring America’s heroes,”

Obama’s nominee,  is Eric Fanning , who has been a specialist on defense and national security issues for more than 25 years in Congress and the Pentagon. As secretary, he would head the Army in partnership with Gen. Mark Milley, named the branch’s top general last month. Despite Fanning’s qualifications, Huckabee felt the need to highlight his sexuality as an area of concern. The Human Rights Campaign immediately reacted to Huckabee’s statement with one of their own, claiming the former Arkansas governor’s homophobia is a clear indicator he is “unfit to be commander in chief.”

Source: http://www.advocate.com

Hong Kong: There was a highly successful Pink Dot rally in the Chinese commercial hub, where private sector employment discrimination is unshielded and where there is no LGBT relationship equality legislation.

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

 London:  Prince William is to make an appearance at a London school to highlight the problem of LGBT bullying in British schools. The workshop aims to to give tips on how to deter and prevent LGBT bullying and cyber bullying. The Prince is going to be joined by specialist staff from the Diana Award. A Kensington Palace spokesperson said: “William visited Diana Award Ambassadors in South Shields in 2013. He hopes it will help de-stigmatise bullying issues in schools.”

The organisation has trained more than 16,000 ambassadors who support students in 3,000 schools across the UK and Ireland. The Duke of Cambridge will watch as ambassadors are taught to recognise signs of bullying and learn how they can encourage victims to seek help and speak out.

During a discussion about how to handle bullying against an LGBTI person, William said he would comfort the victim then confront the bully.

‘I would try to confront, to tackle the person. I usually find myself right in in the middle of problems so that’s pretty much where I’d be,’ the Duke of Cambridge said during the one-hour session.

William’s remarks drew high praise from some of those in attendance. Tom Broughton (17) said:

‘It was great to have his support, to have somebody of that stature and that high up, speaking up against homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia. It’s something that must be really deeply rooted in his want for justice and for everybody to be equal. It’s just amazing to see someone from royalty‎ stand up and say this.‎’ Broughton had shared with William that after he came out, an anonymous online stalker urged him to kill himself.

Source: http://www.gaytimes.co.uk, http://www.gaystarnews.com

Gambia: Gambian Ambassador to the US Omar Faye has dismissed an 81-page report publish by Human Rights Watch last Thursday that documents anti-LGBT persecution in the west African country.

Tennessee: Republican legislators are trying to pass a bill against marriage equality in that Deep Southern US state.

Paris: A new poll suggests 56% of French citizens oppose marriage equality.

Alabama:  The Alabama Supreme Court has refused to recognize a lesbian mother’s adoption of her three children, granted in Georgia in 2007.The two women, identified only as E.L. and V.L., were in a relationship for 16 years, and planned to have children together, according to court documents.The non-biological mother, V.L., adopted the children in Georgia, with the biological mother’s consent.When the parents broke up, the biological mother kept her ex-partner from seeing the children, and opposed her request for visitation, arguing the Georgia adoption was invalid in Alabama, where the family live.The court found on Friday that Alabama did not have to recognize the adoption, arguing that Georgia law does not allow second-parent adoptions.

Source: http://www.gaystarnews.com

Montenegro: Montenegro has banned yet another national LGBT Pride march.

Source: http://www.gaystarnews.com

Stockholm:  Kiruna’s  professional  ice hockey team  in North Sweden wear their rainbow jerseys with pride. In June 2014, Kiruna IF became the first professional sports team in Sweden to apply for LGBTQ certification. They changed their official uniform to rainbow jerseys and continue to fight for true inclusion in sport today. Despite being recognised with worldwide media attention and awards  it’s been a struggle to keep supporters and sponsors. The team believe in the importance of standing up for LGBT representation in sport. They have noted that young LGBTQ people are “often excluded from many sports” because of “locker room talk” and “an overall unwelcoming environment”. Showing publicly that there are role models in the sports world, and that the sports community works proactively for true inclusion is very important to them.

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

 Ballarat: Anne and Edie  live in Ballarat, Victoria, their story of loving longevity made all the more powerful because Edie has early onset dementia. Fiftysomething lesbians have gradually left for less expensive places, suburbs further west, rural and regional Australian towns – sea and tree changers – even interstate.This also applies with straight friends too but it feels as if it has more impact when exacerbated by the noticeably fewer fifty plus cohort lesbians and gays around to bump into at Mardi Gras, film festivals, inner-west shopping centres, high streets and coffee shops.

Sydney’s expense, of course, has led to much of this dispersal and loss of familiar faces. It costs a lot to live here and people understandably leave because they cannot afford a place, or even to downsize but within a suburb in which they want to live. Article author Deborah Cooper and her partner  are caught in this bind, too, and go round in circles thinking of the pros and cons of various options. We keep meeting creative people, in particular, who live in the Blue Mountains, Port Macquarie, the Central Coast, or are thinking of moving interstate. Cooper attended a gathering for older gays and lesbians organised by ACON and the lesbians besides me came from Lismore and other out-of-Sydney coastal towns.

She wonders about  what demographics will Sydney have when only finance, entrepreneurial, investment, real estate and similar jobs are available to be filled there – and then by many workers renting for the privilege, increasingly dubious perhaps, of living in the inner-city. There are no answers. I love cities, I am a city person, I cannot imagine not living in a city (all my adult life I have lived in either London, Hong Kong or Sydney). What do you do if there is no Dendy or Palace Cinemas, or the Bay Walk, or parks, or streets with galleries and cafes? I do not mind density, in fact I have long promoted the benefits of dense places, but this needs to be accompanied by transport and infrastructure, and when this is inadequate, more people do move out, including the over 50s.

On our visits to the south coast and the Mountains, Southern Highlands and Homebush, Blacktown and Rouse Hill and beyond, Cooper and her partner have enjoyed the rash of new cafes and restaurants opening up everywhere by ex-inner-city people or for them. Community is in vogue, finding connections, being mindful and kind and gentler. Increasingly quality matters more than quantity. Shops stock hand-made products, artisan skills are valued, in a turnaround, the political is personal.

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

Cyprus: A gay man has been kicked out of the hotel he was staying in in Cyprus and had his bedsheets burned because he is HIV+. The holiday goer was taken to a private clinic after an injury in Paphos. He told the staff that he was HIV+  and was tended to accordingly. However, when the unnamed man returned to his Cyrpiot hotel, he was told he could no longer stay.

Head of the HIV/AIDS Support Centre, Stella Michaelidou, told the Daily Mail that the man was “in shock” and “feeling dizzy.”

She explained that “a doctor from the clinic called the hotel where the injured man was staying and informed them of his condition”. A clear breach of medical confidentiality and “strictly forbidden. The clinic informed the hotel to burn the sheets and the bedspread and to disinfect the room. It’s like in the eighties before we knew what HIV was.”

The hotel told other local hotels about the situation and the man was repeatedly refused accommodation and even denied treatment at other private clinics. He returned to the UK after six days without medication. Commissioner for administration and human rights, Eliza Savvidou said in a statement: “Unfortunately, the elements of the case reveal the deeply rooted, widespread and extremely persistent prejudices surrounding the issue of HIV/AIDS and are based on ignorance and lack of information, even by health professionals. Respect for human rights of HIV carriers is a basic obligation of the state as a whole. Observing medical confidentiality and providing care without discrimination is a fundamental duty of every health professional and administrative staff members at healthcare providers, both public and private.” Cyprus still lags behind neighbouring European Union countries in terms of LGBT rights, there is no same-sex marriage and LGBTI inviduals cannot serve in the military. The health ministry and medical association have both launched investigations into the incident.

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

 Wellington: 500 same-sex Australian couples have gotten married in New Zealand.

Washington DC: US pharmaceutical company Turing Pharmaceuticals has been met with controversy after it increased the cost of one of its recently-acquired prescription drugs Daraprim, required for HIV+ people, from $US15 to $US750.    However, Donald Trump has laid into a former hedge fund manager who acquired the rights to a drug used to treat AIDS-related illnesses and raised the price by 5,500 percent. Martin Shkreli, the 32-year-old founder and chief executive of Turing Pharmaceuticals, came under fire after buying the rights to 62-year-old drug Daraprim, which is used to treat parasitic infections including AIDS-related infections

Phnom Penh:  According to Billy Chia-Lung Tai, an independent human rights consultant who worked as a human rights adviser to the Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee (CHRAC), “the status quo remains that LGBTI groups are neither legislatively discriminated against nor legislatively protected”. He also feels the Cambodian  government takes a “blind eye” approach to LGBTI issues: “If they don’t acknowledge it, then it is not a problem that needs addressing.” In March 2015, at the second periodic review of Cambodia before the UN Human Rights Council, Cambodia was questioned about the lack of anti-discrimination legislation and marriage equality, as well as the extent to which LGBTI people are stigmatised. A representative for the Cambodian government tersely responded: “With regard to the LGBT community, the government had been urged by activists to enact an anti-discrimination law, but there is no indication that members of that community were actively discriminated against.”

Incredibly, back in 2004 Cambodia’s former King Norodom Sihanouk proclaimed his support for  marriage equality in Cambodia. He argued that because the Cambodian government had in 1993 chosen to be a “liberal democracy”, it should follow some US states’ example by allowing “marriage between man and man… or between woman and woman”. Norodom argued that before God “homosexuals” and “transvestites” were equal because “[God loves a] wide range of tastes…” In contrast, in 2007 Prime Minister Hun Sen declared he was legally disowning his daughter because she had married another woman. In a speech at the time, Hun Sen said: “My adopted daughter now has a wife. I’m quite disappointed.” However, by 2012, Hun Sen called for the end to discrimination against gay Cambodian citizens.

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

 Philadelphia:  New policies which went into effect this week in Pennsylvania may afford greater respect to transgender inmates, who will no longer be sent into solitary confinement based solely upon gender identity, The Philadelphia Inquirer reports. Pennsylvania, like many other states, had previously housed inmates according to their gender assigned at birth, Shirley Moore Smeal, Pennsylvania executive deputy secretary of corrections, told the paper.

Solitary confinement, which is often used as punishment, was the only protective option for transgender inmates, who face transphobic violence while incarcerated. While LGBT inmates in general are at a nine-times a higher risk for sexual assault according to government data, one 2009 California study found that trans women faced 13 times the risk of other LGB inmates when detained in male facilities.

Although transgender inmates are often placed in solitary confinement “for their own protection” according to prison officials, isolating individuals who are already at an elevated risk of harassment and ostracization can have long-lasting psychological effects.  Indeed, the mother of one transgender inmate told the Inquirer that her daughter was raped and beaten in the state prison system. ”I’m scared I’m going to get a call my child is dead,” Valerie Burton told the paper. ”My understanding is they’re supposed to take care of her.” The changes in policy bring Pennsylvania prisons in line with the 2003 federal US Prison Rape Elimination Act, designed to study prison rape and provide recommendations to protect prisoners from attacks. Regarding transgender inmates, PREA recommends that facilities be aware of trans prisoners’ unique safety needs, and assess “case-by-case” how to protect them from sexual assault.

Source: http://www.advocate.com

 Washington DC: Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Fozzie and the rest of their Muppets gang are coming under fire by Christian fundamentalists who claim their new program is “perverted,” ”sinful” and promotes “interspecies relationships.” Franklin Graham and “One Million Mums” are the culprits.

Source: http://www.advocate.com

 Washington DC:  Bisexual adults face physical, mental, and sexual health disparities at alarming rates, says a report from the Human Rights Campaign. Health Disparities Among Bisexual People was published in preparation for Bisexual Awareness Week, which started Monday, and Wednesday’s Celebrate Bisexuality Day.

The study highlights the bisexual health crisis.  Issues faced by bisexuals include elevated rates of cancer, heart disease, obesity, sexually transmitted infections, and mental health. Bisexual adults largely suffer from depression, substance abuse, and self-harm and suicide attempts at alarming rates. Additionally, bisexual women are at the highest rates of cancer, obesity, and emotional distress of the general population of women. Bisexual men, on the other hand, are disproportionately affected by infection of HIV, human papillomavirus, and other sexually transmitted infections.

Source: http://www.advocate.com

 Jersey: Marriage equality is now legal on this UK Channel Island.

Belgrade: Serbia has hosted its first LGBT Pride parade without reprecussions.

Source: http://www.gaystarnews.com

 London: In the eyes of the law, rape is defined in black and white: any form of non-consensual penetration is considered rape. Even if consent is given and then withdrawn, sexual penetration must stop. The similar crime of sexual assault covers a wide range of non-consensual behaviours.

And yet, when confessing the worst, bleakest corners of our sex lives we seem to stumble into some very shady grey areas.In a recent Attitude webpage article, contributor James Dawson spoke to a fairly diverse cross-section of gay and bi men on the subject of rape. While only one of the men interviewed agreed the word ‘rape’ was applicable to his experience, all the men Dawson spoke to admitted they had experienced a cocktail of coercion, physical assault, unwanted molestation, threats of so-called ‘revenge porn’ and one had even been locked in a perpetrator’s flat against his will.

According to statistics, stranger rape is very rare.  Far more usual, in fact in 82% of cases, a rapist is someone we know, be it an acquaintance, colleague, friend or lover. Statistics would have us believe male-on-male rape is “much, much rarer” than male-on-female rape, but even if this is true, do  reported cases of male rape represent the tip of the iceberg? Many studies have explored how deep-rooted shame and emasculation often prevent male victims of rape from coming forward, but what if this is compounded by the fact that so many of us don’t even use the word ‘rape’ to describe the non-consensual sex that they may have had?

When talking to men about their experiences, there was a depressing fatalism to the conversations. ‘Well I learned from it,’ ‘I wouldn’t do it again,’ ‘God that’s the last time I go to a chem party’ and so forth. Classic victim blaming; absorbing responsibility from the only people who should be blamed – the rapist or would-be rapist.

Little research is carried out on male-on-male rape, and much of that is conducted in men’s prisons in the States. In cases of male-on-female rape, the imbalance of power and privilege is so pronounced, it’s easy to identify who is the victim. Between men it’s not always so instantly clear. It’s difficult for men to come forward as victims of rape; they worry they won’t be believed and there is an inaccurate assumption that they should have been physically strong enough to prevent the attack. Gay and bisexual men are so versed in the vocabulary of masculinity, we’re hardly encouraged to admit weakness and admit we are victims too.

Gay and bisexual men  need to  a) recognise that men can be victims of rape and sexual assault and b) we need to shatter the silence and c) we need to stop blaming ourselves when things go wrong. Being gay or bisexual does not place us outside the law in terms of being both victims and rapists. Being on Grindr does not mean anyone deserves to be a victim of sexual assault. Having had numerous sexual partners in the past does not mean you can’t withhold consent now. Consenting to sex does not mean you can’t change your mind. Just because you consented to sex once does not mean you’ve given automatic lifetime consent to a partner. Does exposure to a gay scene start to chip away at a man’s self-worth?No gay or bi man deserves to be raped or sexually assaulted.

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

Perth: Western Australian State  Premier Colin Barnett has become the second Liberal Premier to  call on his federal colleagues to “urgently” deal with marriage equality through a free vote, and expressed concern about the impacts a plebiscite could produce.

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

 New York: Intersex rights have been addressed for the first time at a UN human rights conference.    The landmark meeting highlighted the lack of awareness around issues faced by the intersex community around the world, and much more. A representative from Australia was also present.

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

Washington DC: Pope Francis won a hearty and enthusiastic standing ovation for his groundbreaking address to a joint session of Congress but also raised eyebrows for his subtle but unmistakable sermonizing on marriage.

“I am most grateful for this invitation to address this joint session of Congress,” said the pope, in halting, carefully phrased English, “in the land of the free and the home of the brave.”

Those anticipating his speech might attack U.S. policy regarding legal abortion, same-sex marriage, and transgender rights were relieved to hear only tangential references, such as when Pope Francis called for a defense of life at “every stage of development.” Invoking the Golden Rule, Francis referred not just to fetuses but more directly to the 3,002 Americans currently facing capital punishment and  made a passionate plea for the abolition of the death penalty.

But it was his remarks near the end of his speech that especially concerned LGBT members of Congress and allies on Capitol Hill and across the country:

“I cannot hide my concern for the family, which is threatened perhaps as never before, from within and without. Fundamental relationships are being called into question, as is the very basis of marriage and the family. I can only reiterate the importance and, above all, the richness and the beauty of family life.”

The pope’s visit brought about a bipartisan assemblage of lawmakers, aides, and invited guests who packed the chamber of the House of Representatives for the historic speech. Some 50,000 people were invited to watch on jumbo TV screens set up on the Capitol’s West Lawn. But it was inside where the pope stood face-to-face with 138 members of the House who are Catholic, alongside 26 senators. That’s almost 31 percent of the U.S. Congress who identify as Catholic,  according to The New York Times, far more than the 22 percent of Catholics in the country’s overall adult population.

Pope Francis was invited by a Catholic, Republican House Speaker John Boehner, who has tried for 20 years to get a pope to come to Capitol Hill. Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi of California, the House Democrat  leader, is also a (pro-choice and pro-gay) Catholic, as is Vice President Joe Biden, who serves as president of the Senate. In his remarks, the pope also touched on the issues of immigration,  capitalism, the environment, the arms trade, and poverty.

“Politics is, instead, an expression of our compelling need to live as one, in order to build as one, the greatest common good,” said Francis.

At a welcoming ceremony at the White House on  Wednesday 23rd Sept., the pope was asked why he was attending the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia, which was a commitment first made by his predecessor, Pope Emeritus Benedict. “To celebrate and support the institutions of marriage and the family at this critical moment in the history of our civilization,” Francis explained.

GLAAD president Sarah Kate-Ellis told WNYC radio what she thought of that statement, which she said implied that so-called traditional, heterosexual marriage was being threatened by marriage equality.

“That was disappointing. I think you know, we have five more days ahead of us. … Nothing was direct. The only thing he was direct about was the environment.” The National LGBTQ Task Force, meanwhile, welcomed to the pope’s reference to the Bible’s Golden Rule, which commands one to “do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” with an important caveat: ”This doesn’t seem to apply to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people and our families,” said Rea Carey, executive director of the Task Force, in a statement Thursday. “Nor does it apply to the millions who need vital access to reproductive health services. We urge Pope Francis to use his position of immense power to create a truly welcoming and affirming church for all LGBTQ people — and to treat our families with dignity and equal respect. We also urge him to modernize the church’s position on reproductive health. … It’s unfortunate that a leader who can be so good on these issues [of environment, immigration reform, poverty, and promoting peace] can be so out of touch on others.”

Source: http://www.advocate.com

 Salt Lake City: Utah Republican Gov. Gary Herbert is scheduled to give a welcoming address when the antigay World Congress of Families convenes October 27 in Salt Lake City — an act the  US LGBT Human Rights Campaign says amounts to welcoming hate to the state.

The World Congress of Families is a project of the Howard Center for Family, Religion, and Society, based in Rockford, Ill. The center bills itself as “a center for research on the natural family” and calls the WCF “the world’s premier pro-family gathering.” Opposition to homosexuality is a hallmark of both the center and the congress, which together are designated as an anti-LGBT hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The list of speakers and panelists for this year’s congress includes such well-known antigay figures as National Organization for Marriage president Brian Brown; veteran US homophobe and transphobe Family Research Council fellow Peter Sprigg; columnist Robert Knight; publicist Frank Schubert, a leader of the  failed campaign to pass anti-SSM Proposition 8 in California; Mark Regnerus, author of a discredited study that disparaged the parenting skills of gays and lesbians; anti–marriage equality activists Janice Shaw Crouse and Jennifer Roback Morse; and minister Rick Scarborough. Crouse, who is executive director of the conference, has in the past “urged the Ugandan government to take a ‘biblical and cultural stand against the radical homosexual agenda’ and traveled to Russia in support of the regime’s deeply anti-LGBT ‘propaganda’ law,” Cobb noted. WCF managing director Larry Jacobs has acknowledged, proudly, that the group has contributed to the anti-LGBT climate in Russia, Cobb added.

“WCF has praised Vladimir Putin as the standard-bearer for ‘morality’ and honored a Nigerian activist [Theresa Okafor] who claims LGBT advocates conspire with the terrorist group Boko Haram with a ‘Woman of the Year’ award. Their advocacy abroad harms LGBT people from Russia to Nigeria and beyond. Try as they may to mask their views, WCF’s positions and support for policies that target and marginalize LGBT people and incite animus around the world are undeniable.” New Zealand’s fundamentalist nuisance Family First activist Bob McCoskrie has also spoken at WCF events in the past, including the previous Sydney WCF conference.

Source: http://www.advocate.com

 Perth:  A right-wing Australian  Liberal State MP has claimed that same-sex marriage should remain banned, citing his country’s past racist actions against indigenous Australians. During a debate in Western Australian Parliament, on a motion to allow a free vote on marriage equality, Liberal MP Peter Abetz set out why he was against extending marriage to same-sex couples. Throughout his barely comprehensible speech, he included a string of shocking and controversial ideas in an attempt to justify his position. Perhaps the most contentious remark was his comparison of same-sex parenting to the Stolen Generations, in which children were forcibly removed from their indigenous Australian parents during the early-to-mid 20th century. Understandably, this has angered indigenous Australian advocacy groups.

Edinburgh:  Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has vowed to block the repeal of the UK Human Rights Act, as proposed by the Tories. Sturgeon said it is “inconceivable” that the Scottish Parliament in Holyrood would go along with the plans to scrap the HRA and its right of appeal to the European Court of Human Rights, and that it would be a “monumental mistake”.  In addition, she said she had “no interest” in a deal to protect human rights in Scotland if it weakened them in other parts of the United Kingdom.    There has been speculation that Justice Secretary Michael Gove will propose that the HRA will still remain in Scotland, even if it is repealed in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Sturgeon predicted that the move would be opposed in the Scottish Parliament.

Washington DC:  Donald Trump will speak at a summit for a listed anti-LGBT US Christian Right group alongside Kentucky clerk Kim Davis, despite efforts to appear more ‘gay friendly’. The reality TV boss, who is currently the frontrunner for the Republican Presidential nomination, was confirmed today to speak at this weekend’s Values Voter Summit, organised by the Family Research Council. The Family Research Council is listed as an active anti-LGBT hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, due to overt homophobia and militant opposition to LGBT rights.

Perkins, the President of the FRC, is an extremist who has been slammed in the past for repeated comparisons between gay rights and the Holocaust, but both he and his group continue to be prominent in conservative politics. He also recently  called for God to strike down President Obama for putting up rainbow lights at the White House, previously blamed gay people in the military for suicides in the armed forces and claimed that  the US  Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage could lead to “revolution”.

Rick Santorum, Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee, Marco Rubio, Dr Ben Carson and Lindsey Graham will also speak at the event, as will Kentucky clerk Kim Davis However, Jeb Bush – currently polling second in the race – is not present on the line-up, as is the only female Republican candidate Carly Fiorina.

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

 Baltimore:  A court has ruled that a transgender inmate who was told to kill herself by a prison guard and called “it”, was mistreated. Sandy Brown was sent to the state prison in Patuxent, Maryland in February 2014.   She was kept in solitary confinement for 66 days, despite the jail warden instructing staff not to separate her from the prison population. During the time in solitary confinement, Brown was harassed by guards who poked fun at her, sometimes while she showered.

In the ruling, Administrative Law Judge Denise Oakes Shaffer said that Brown’s treatment was in violation of the federal Prison Rape Elimination Act. She said the prison “failed to train all employees in how to effectively and professionally communicate with transgender inmates.” Shaffer’s ruling will force Maryland prisons to develop policies for dealing with trans inmates appropriately.

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

 United States: Gay men in their 20s are far more likely to consider their sexual orientation to be a core part of their identity than gay men in their 40s, according to a study released by Logo TV on Wednesday (23 September).The Gay Men Redefined survey was given to 1,000 men in the US between the ages of 18 and 49. It found that 55% of men in their 20s view being gay as extremely or very important to their identity. This is 15% higher than gay men in their 40s.

Almost all respondents (95%) seem to agree that younger gay men are embracing their gay identity more so today than in the past.They also almost all are united (92%) in hoping the community becomes more accepting of each other, that there a a need for more open dialogue among gay men (91%), and 87% wish the gay community was as united during the rest of the year as we are during Pride. With same-sex marriage now legal in all 50 US states, six in 10 of the respondents who are in their 20s say their families expect them to get married and have children one day.  But 67 percent still believe that being gay means you have the freedom to do things differently.The survey also showed that coming out is no longer the most defining experience for many young days. Of those in their 20s and 30s, 65% said they are focused on life after coming out and are struggling to figure out what kind of gay man they want to be.

Other findings include:

  • 61 percent of gay men in their 20s and 30s believe gay community was more united in the past.
  • 85 percent agree that even as gay people become more accepted, they should have places that are just for them and many are sad to see gay neighborhoods and bars disappear.
  • 67 percent say their life is more interesting because they are gay.
  • 75 percent believe that being gay has had a positive effect on their life.
  • 86 percent still wish there were more gay role models and mentors they could look up to

Source: http://www.gaystarnews.com

 Brisbane: Queensland’s Liberal-National Opposition is likely to vote against the Palaszczuk Labor Government’s plans to reinstate civil unions and state-sanctioned ceremonies. However, there is confusion over one LNP state MP’s reported plans to cross the floor.

 Melbourne:  The Victorian AIDS Council (VAC) recently held a forum earlier this week to discuss HIV prevention and pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) with a focus on the major impact it has already had overseas. The evening’s presenter was San Francisco AIDS Foundation’s chief medical officer Dr Robert Grant, an expert in HIV research who has undertaken various studies on HIV prevention. The forum, held on Tuesday night, was similar to one in Sydney  that was hosted by ACON.

Since the US Food and Drug Administration approved PrEP in 2012, new HIV transmissions in San Francisco have dropped by 30 per cent. Grant said he believed this success could be achieved in Australia, with PrEP being one of the keys to ending new transmissions.

“We’re here to imagine possible futures, and I think we’re excited and grateful to be imagining together a world with no HIV disease, no HIV transmissions, and no HIV stigma. We’re here to imagine Australia free of HIV, and in this moment I think we need to appreciate that this is a moment of possibility.”

PrEP has not yet been approved in Australia, and to purchase it locally costs upwards of $1000 per month. This forces most local gay men to import it online from overseas for over $100 per script. For it to be affordable and accessible, PrEP needs to be approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) — Australia’s peak regulatory body for medicines, equivalent to New Zealand’s MedSafe — and placed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), equivalent to our Pharmac, bringing the cost down to around $38.80 per script. VAC health promotion and policy director Colin Batrouney said the forum reaffirmed the effectiveness or PrEP and the need to make it accessible in Australia.

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

Taipei: A Taiwanese presidential candidate has made progay comments in the run up the country’s election. James Soong Chu-yu said that if he had an LGBT child he would treat them with nothing but “empathy, tolerance and respect.” The chairman of the People First Party – who is currently second in the polls – was asked what he would do if he had a gay or trans child in a Facebook question and answer session with voters.  In the latest polls, Soong is second with 17% of the vote, behind the Democratic Progressive Party’s Tsai Ing-wen, who has also spoken out for LGBT rights.

Last year, an online poll revealed that 68% of the Taiwanese population supported same-sex marriage. Taiwan’s LGBT community have been campaigning for same-sex unions for years. In July, thousands of supporters flooded the streets of Taipei in a bid to urge the government to change the country’s stance on gay marriage.

 Kentucky: Kim Davis has crossed to the dark side and become a Republican.

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

Berlin: Germany’s Federal Assembly has decided on a proposed law granting same-sex couples full marriage equality. Representatives of nine of Germany’s 16 federal states voted for the resolution, called the proposed law for the establishment of the right to marry for people of the same gender; no support came from the seven states governed by Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union. The assembly’s decision puts pressure on the German government, as the proposed law will now go before the German Federal Parliament and delegates will have to vote on the matter.

Another same-sex marriage bill has been approved by Germany’s Bundesrat – though it is unlikely to proceed further due to opposition from Angela Merkel’s government. Chancellor Merkel has repeatedly ruled out calls to introduce equal marriage, saying: “For me, marriage is a man and a woman living together.”

However, in a challenge to her government, the upper house of the German Parliament has today passed another call for equality – after setting up to do so in June this year Unlike the Bundestag (main chamber of the Germany Parliament), where Chancellor Merkel’s Grand Coalition holds control, the Bundesrat (equivalent to the Upper House/Senate) is controlled by the 16 state governments, with a current left-wing majority. A coalition of the Social Democrats, the Greens and the Left this week backed a bill in the Bundesrat that would recognise unions between same-sex couples, despite Chancellor Merkel’s insistence it is between a man and a woman. However, it is unlikely to make any real difference – as legislation on the issue is unlikely to pass the Bundestag without the government’s blessing

Despite today’s decision, experts predict the Bundestag coalition government of Christian Democratic Union and the Social Democrats will reject the law.  Irene Alt, minister of the state of Rhineland Palatinate, said:

‘It’s about time to abolish the prohibition of marriage for lesbian and gay couples. I believe today is going to be a good day for equality in this country.’

She also called the ban of same-sex couples adopting a child together – doing so is only possible through successive adoptions – harassment; even more so considering Germany frequently uses rainbow families as foster homes due to their ‘exceptional sensitivity and care’ in fostering. Volker Beck, an openly gay Green MP, demanded there should be no party line enforced in the vote – before offering the Chancellor a cup of tea ‘for her gut feeling’, which she said was keeping her from granting marriage equality.

‘Mrs Merkel, give up your blockade and let members of parliament vote freely and without diktat on the Federal Assembly’s proposed law,’ he wrote on Facebook. On Sept. 25, the Lesben- und Schwulenverband (association of lesbians and gay men, LSVD), the Green Party and members of the public staged a protest outside the assembly building, demanding marriage equality.

Germany allows same-sex couples to enter into registered life partnerships that provide some of the benefits of marriage – but the Chancellor’s CDU/CSU coalition continues to oppose same-sex marriage.

Of the 631 seats in the Bundestag, Merkel’s Grand Coalition holds 503 seats. Though the Social Democrats, part of the governing coalition, holds 193 seats, it is bound by the coalition agreement.

Source: http://www.gaynz.com

Phnom Penh:  ‘Cambodian society does not discriminate against LGBT people. It is only individuals who do so,’ the Khmer Times quoted him as saying. ‘No Cambodian laws discriminate against them, and nothing is banning them from loving each other or getting married.’

However, the Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR) paints a very different picture of life for LGBTI people in the Southeast Asian country.

‘LGBT Cambodians face discrimination and abuse due to their SOGI, both at the hands of the State and within society in general. This is due in large part to the legal framework, which does not specifically protect LGBT people, failing to include SOGI in the list of prohibited grounds for discrimination. This impacts the way in which LGBT Cambodians are seen by society and contributes to fueling discrimination and marginalization.’

The group expressed its delight at Nepal’s new constitution and called on the Cambodia government to pass similar laws.

‘I share my sincere delight with the Nepalese nation and its peoples for adopting a constitution which provides for protection of LGBT rights,’ said CCHR’s Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Project Coordinator Nuon Sidara.

‘Nevertheless, this development also provides a vivid reminder that similar protections are not currently afforded to Cambodian LGBT people and I urge the RGC [Royal Government of Cambodia] to immediately take measures to introduce laws to remedy this and which provide equality for LGBT people and prohibit discrimination on the basis of SOGI.

Source: http://www.gaystarnews.com

 Tunisia: A court in Sousse, Tunisia on 22nd September sentenced a student to a year in jail for gay sex. The unidentified man was taken in for questioning on 6 September over murder after his phone number was found on the victim, his lawyer Fadoua Braham told AFP. He denied any involvement in the murder but admitted to having sex with the victim.

‘Another statement was drawn up and my client had to undergo an anal exam against his will,’ Braham said.

Gay sex is still a crime in Tunisia punishable by up to three years imprisonment. The youth said through his lawyer: ‘I don’t understand why I was sentenced… nor why I was detained for six days without being allowed to contact my lawyer. I want to get out and resume a normal life. I wonder what I’m going to do about my job and studies. I don’t want to be rejected by society.’

Source: http://www.gaystarnews.com

 London: UKIP has selected Peter Whittle, one of its few gay candidates, to stand for the London mayoral elections.  Meanwhile, UKIP Member of the European Parliament David Coburn claims he might be ‘stoned to death’ by refugees. [Fat fool- Craig]  

Colorado Springs: Donald Trump failed to mention God or homosexuality at all in an address to the US Christian Right’s “Values Voters Summit” in late September.  Trump is currently the frontrunner for the Republican Presidential nomination and was speaking at the Values Voter Summit honouring Kentucky clerk Kim Davis, organised by the Family Research Council. The Family Research Council is a prominent US Christian Right organisation and  listed as an active anti-LGBT hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, due to its overt homophobia, misleading anti-LGBT propaganda, and militant opposition to LGBT rights.

The Summit presented awards to Kim Davis and a number of other self-proclaimed Christian ‘martyrs’ who discriminated against gay people – but Trump failed to mention them at all in his speech. The billionaire, who made clear to the crowd that he was speaking without a teleprompter, delivered a bizarre 25-minute speech in which he did not once mention Kim Davis, God, Jesus, gay people, LGBT rights or any of FRC’s goals. Instead he spoke about his poll ratings and the size of his vast wealth empire, waved around a Bible, and at one point literally pledged to bring back the true meaning of Christmas.

Unbelievably, Davis was compared to Dr Martin Luther King at the aforementioned “Cost of Discipleship” get-together, despite the fact that she discriminated against others when she refused to provide marriage certificates to lesbian and gay couples.

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

 Toronto:  Toronto’s public rail network have removed all adverts for cruising website Squirt from their trains. Adverts for the hook-up app had been running in throughout Toronto since June 10 and were recently introduced to subway trains. They were pulled because of Toronto Transit Commission  concerns that they were advertising gay public sex.

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

 Saxony, Germany: The Saxony branch of  German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union have announced one of Germany’s best-known anti-equality speakers to be part of an expert group aiming to tackle homo- and transphobia. As part of their 2014 coalition agreement, the Christian Democrats and the Social Democratic Party drew up the so-called roadmap for the acceptance of the diversity of lifestyles (Aktionsplan zur Akzeptanz der Vielfalt von Lebensweisen). One of the consultants  is  Birgit Kelle, a journalist and member of the CDU, has written a number of books and is a frequent guest on talk show panels discussing gender and LGBTI matters; she is known for her conservative and homophobic attitudes.

Journalist and author Bettina Roehl, another panel member, was nominated by the eurosceptic party Alternative fuer Deutschland (AfD). With a stance similar to Kelle’s, she has called the sex education reforms and ‘antieducational platform of indoctrination against children and young adults’. Both have also supported the ‘Demo fuer alle’, a movement opposing these reforms; arguing they will lead to premature sexualization of children. The SPD’s LGBTI organization criticized the decision to add both women to the panel, saying especially Kelle’s appointment undermined the roadmap’s purpose

Source: http://www.gaystarnews.com

 Los Angeles: ABC’s critically-acclaimed legal drama/murder mystery series How to Get Away with Murder was notable for its unabashed portrayal of gay relationships during its first season last year, and has continued in the same vein by becoming the first network television drama to address the topic of PrEP.   The recent season two premiere saw law students Connor (Jack Falahee) and Oliver (Conrad Ricamora) discuss their relationship and use of the anti-retroviral drugs, which have proved almost 100% effective in preventing HIV transmission but have been criticised by some for ‘encouraging’ people not to use condoms and thus put themselves at risk of other STIs. While Looking, which aired on premium cable channel HBO, dealt with the issue of PrEP during its second season, this marks the first time a network television drama has broached the topic.

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

 Moscow: Russian President Vladimir Putin has spoken out on American television explaining how his country is just as accepting, welcoming and representative to gay people as the United States. Speaking to CBS’ 60 Minutes Putin explained that “the problems of sexual minorities in Russia had been deliberately exaggerated from the outside for political reasons.” When asked to explain the situation he went on to say: “It’s well known that in four states in America, homosexual orientation is a crime… It’s not completely removed from American legislation, but we don’t have that.” I believe there should not be any criminal prosecution or any other prosecution or infringement of people’s rights on the basis of their race, ethnicity, religious or sexual orientation.

President Putin also said in the interview: “People of non-traditional sexual orientation work, they live in peace, they get promoted, they get state awards for their achievements in science and arts or other areas. I personally have awarded them medals. But we have a ban on gay propaganda aimed at minors.  I don’t see anything un-democratic in this legal act.”

He continued on the subject of the controversial anti-gay propaganda law saying: “I believe we should leave kids in peace. We should give them a chance to grow, help them to realise who they are and decide for themselves. Do they consider themselves a man or a woman? A female? A male? Do they want to live in a normal, natural marriage or a non-traditional one? That’s the only thing I wanted to talk about. I don’t see here any infringement on the rights of gay people. I believe this has been a deliberate exaggeration aimed at making an enemy image of Russia for political consideration. I believe this one of the lines of attack against Russia.”

The interviewer pressed him on this important issue asking: “As far as you’re concerned, there is as much recognition of gay rights and gay marriage as their is in the United States?”

Putin replied: “We not only recognise but we ensure their rights. In Russia there are equal rights for everyone, including people of non-traditional sexual orientation as well.” [Delusional much, Mr Putin?!-Craig]

Source: http://www.gaytimes.com

San Diego:  A privately-run fundamentalist Christian school in Southern California has barred a 5-year-old student from returning because her parents are lesbians, according to San Diego TV station KGTV.

“I love my two moms,” said the girl at the center of this decision, which legal experts say pits the rights of a religious school against the rights of her parents. The identities of the girl and her parents are not being disclosed. One of the mothers, Lashaune, is in the Navy and away on deployment; the other parent, Sheena, is a stay at home mom.  Sheena told KGTV she and her wife were summoned to the school before classes began in September. They met with a pastor there, and after a prayer, he reportedly told them they were not welcome at Mt. Erie Christian Academy, where her daughter had attended preschool and summer school.

Source: http://www.advocate.com

Riyadh: Saudi Arabia has insisted that the United Nations keep LGBT concerns out of development goals.   The UN recently launched its global goals as a series of ‘ambitious targets’ for its 193 member states related to poverty, equality and ending climate change – though overt references to LGBT equality were stripped out of the final agreement. Saudi Arabia, one of the world’s most repressive countries, called for the UN to make sure that gay rights stay off the table entirely. The Saudi government is protesting a target under the section of health and well-being, which states: “By 2030, ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health-care services, including for family planning, information and education, and the integration of reproductive health into national strategies and programmes.”

The regime is worried that this reference to sexual rights could include rights for gay people. The Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir told told the UN General Assembly that “mentioning sex in the text, to us, means exactly male and female. Mentioning family means consisting of a married man and woman,” He stated that Saudi Arabia, where homosexuality is illegal and the punishment for same-sex relations can be extremely harsh, had the right not to follow any agenda that runs “counter to Islamic law.”

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

 Minneapolis:  Right-wing Republican Michele Bachmann has claimed that God might destroy America over same-sex marriage, like he destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah in the Bible. The former Tea Party congresswoman, who sat in the US House of Representatives until earlier this year, is renowned for her reparative therapist husband and militant opposition to LGBT rights.

Oxford:  UKIP’s former Oxford Chair has lashed out at Pinknews, and claimed that homophobia is all fake. Julia Gasper formerly headed the UK Independence Party in Oxford, before defecting to the far-right English Democrats party.  Dr Gasper last stood for the English Democrats in 2014’s European Elections, where the party managed to scrape just 0.76% of the vote in the region,  winning just 17,771 votes.

New York:  A homeless centre has released a heartbreaking video showing the harm done by religious homophobia – after the Pope Francis shunned an invitation to speak out on his US tour. New York’s Ali Forney Centre took out an open letter to the Pope in the New York Times last April, inviting him to see for himself the harm done by Catholic anti-gay doctrine on his US tour that took place this month.  The Pope recently spent ten days touring the US, including multiple appearances in New York and pre-planned photo opportunities with homeless people – but as expected he shunned the invite to condemn homophobia from the Ali Forney Centre. He instead warned lawmakers that “the very basis of marriage and the family” is being called into question, and claimed that Kentucky clerk Kim Davis has a “human right” to block same-sex weddings.

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

United States: A new YouTube video from La Strega Entertainmentw honors the satirical legacy of composers Gilbert and Sullivan by skewering renegade Kentucky clerk Kim Davis’ anti-gay crusade. While the “Major General’s Song” from Pirates of Penzance is one of the most widely parodied songs from the duos catalog, director Richard Kraft brings out the best in performer Rena Strober as she sings about impersonating one of the current worst religious zealotsin America.

Peru:  As renegade Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis received the Cost of Discipleship award at the Values Voter Summit in late September,  lawyer Mat Staver claimed his client has widespread global support, saying 100,000 people had gathered at a prayer rally for her in Lima, Peru.  But the photo Staver and former Liberty Counsel staffer (and archconservative commentator) Matt Barber both tweeted wasn’t of a weekend rally in Lima for Kim Davis. It was actually an image “from a prayer rally known as ‘Jesús Te Ama Y Te Cambia’ (‘Jesus Loves You And Changes You’), which did take place in Peru — over five days in May, 2014.

Source: http://www.advocate.com

New York:  President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe took to the floor of the United Nations on Monday to speak out against LGBT rights. Complaining about “double standards,” the African leader declared his country’s dedication to “human rights” while denigrating efforts to raise awareness about the abuse of LGBT people in his nation.

“Respecting and upholding human rights is the obligation of all states, and is enshrined in the United Nations charter. Nowhere does the charter abrogate the right to some to sit in judgment over others, in carrying out this universal obligation. In that regard, we reject the politicization of this important issue and the application of double standards to victimize those who dare think and act independently of the self-anointed prefects of our time. We equally reject attempts to prescribe “new rights” that are contrary to our values, norms, traditions, and beliefs,” he continued, before barking, “We are not gays!” LGBT people face constant persecution in Zimbabwe and is often used as a whipping post for the country’s economic issues. Mugabe has often railed against LGBT rights, once saying gays and lesbians are “worse than pigs and dogs.”

Source: http://www.advocate.com

London: New Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn challenges Prime Minister David Cameron to do more about Saudi Arabia’s LGBT and other human rights abuses.

London: Several UK LGBT organisations have adopted a strong new anti-racist ethos. They include lesbian magazine Diva, UK LGBTI lobby group Stonewall, the Rainbow Intersection, Black Pride and Black Out London.

London: A trans beauty pageant dedicated a controversial ‘prize’ of gender surgery to a transgender teen who took her own life. 22-year-old Jai Darra Latto won the tiara and a controversial surgical ‘prize’ at the pageant this weekend, which was due to be hosted by former boxing promoter and UKIP candidate Kellie Maloney. Ms Maloney is understood to have withdrawn from the event, however. The pageant saw a number of trans girls competing for the title and £5000 cash – but came under fire for offering the winner a voucher for an all-inclusive trip to a surgical clinic in India, where they can undergo free gender procedures. Trans activists hit out at the “insulting” prize, accusing the pageant of taking advantage of the trans healthcare crisis as people are forced to wait years for surgery on the National Health Service.

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

 Tunisia: In a  case where a 22-year-old student was sentenced to a year’s jail after his same-sex relationship was uncovered as part of a murder investigation, Tunisian Justice Minister Mohamed Salah Ben Aissa has commented on the future of the country’s anti-sodomy law, stating that it should be repealed. The unnamed student was arrested on 6 September in the resort city of Sousse after his number was found on the body of a man he had been sleeping with. He denied any involvement in the killing but confessed his relationship with the deceased to explain his connection to him. Authorities believed his story after subjecting him to a medical examination but handed him over to prosecutors as a result of his confession. The case provoked outcry by human rights groups both inside and outside Tunisia including Human Rights Watch (HRW), prompting the group’s deputy Middle East and North Africa director Eric Goldstein to call out the Tunisian Government over the continued use of the law.

Morocco: Three men have been arrested in Morocco in connection with an anti-gay assault after a video of the attack was posted online. ‘A suspect was arrested for assaulting a young man, who was undressed, for his assumed homosexuality, and another two were arrested for trying to blackmail the victim’s family with a video,’ Casablanca police said on Monday (28 September). A 23-year-old was detained for his suspected implication in the assault, and two others, aged 19 and 20, for alleged blackmail, according to the MAP news agency.

 

Source: http://www.gaystarnews.com

 

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