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WORLD Anti-gay law, Middle East report, serial killer
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2018-04-17

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In Trinidad and Tobago, judge Devindra Rampersad said sections of the Sexual Offences Act—which prohibited "buggery" and "serious indecency" between two men—criminalized consensual same-sex activity between adults, and were unconstitutional, The Guardian reported. The decision followed a similar ruling in Belize in 2016. "The High Court in Trinidad and Tobago, with this ruling, made a powerful statement that the legal sanctions on same-sex intimacy impinge on basic rights, ranging from privacy and family life to freedom of thought and expression," said Boris Dittrich, LGBT-rights advocacy director at Human Rights Watch, in a statement.

LGBT activists from Arabic-speaking countries in the Middle East and North Africa are defying state-sponsored repression and social stigma, Human Rights Watch and the Arab Foundation for Freedoms and Equality ( AFE ) said in a video series. In the 75-page report "Audacity in Adversity: LGBT Activism in the Middle East and North Africa" and video series "No Longer Alone," activists tell their stories and describe how they are building their movements. See HRW.org .

A suspected serial killer has been charged in the murder of a seventh man in Toronto's Gay Village, according to NewNowNext.com . Bruce McArthur was arrested Jan. 18 in connection with the disappearances of Selim Esen and Andrew Kinsman, who went missing last spring in the city's Gay Village. Since then, he's been linked to several more killings. The most recent charge involves 42-year-old Abdulbasir Faizi, who went missing in 2010.

Out U.S. screenwriter Dustin Lance Black ( who won an Oscar for the movie Milk ) was stopped and accused of shoplifting at a Woolworths grocery store in Australia's Gold Coast, LGBTQ Nation noted. Black took to Twitter immediately following the encounter, tweeting that he was stopped and had his bag checked, later adding that the store hadn't apologized.

And Black's husband, British diver Tom Daley, has made a plea for anti-gay laws to be scrapped across the Commonwealth as he won a diving gold medal at the Games, Evening Standard noted. Daley aimed his comments at the 37 member countries where homosexuality remains a criminal offense. Speaking after he won the 10-meter synchronized platform event with dive partner Daniel Goodfellow, 21, Daley called for more to be done to "help push some of the other nations to relax their laws on anti-gay stuff."

Poland's first openly gay mayor, might just become the country's first ever openly gay president, Gay Star News noted. Robert Biedron ( the mayor of the northern area of Slupsk ) is throwing his hat in the presidential campaign ahead of a national vote in 2020. Biedron's popularity is unusual in Poland, a country where 90 percent of the country is Roman Catholic: Not only is he openly gay, but he's also an atheist.

Prime Minister Theresa May has told Commonwealth leaders that the United Kingdom "deeply regrets" its legacy on anti-gay laws, PinkNews reported. Thirty-six of the 53 countries in the Commonwealth continue to criminalize same-sex acts, primarily under laws imposed during the British Colonial era that were never repealed. May was responding to calls from LGBT activists for an apology over the UK's legacy on the issue.

Greater Manchester police have recorded 775 cases of domestic abuse in the LGBT community since it became the first UK force to officially log figures a year ago, The Guardian reported. The force said it was encouraged by the reporting of the cases since last April, but the issue was still underrecorded. It accounts for about 2 percent of the total domestic abuse recorded by police in the region.

Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter, has backed down from a plan to ban "gay" content after a protest was seen by millions of users, according to PinkNews. The microblogging platform announced new censorship rules to tackle content "with pornographic implications, promoting bloody violence, or related to homosexuality." The decision sparked unrest on the site, with users protesting by posting messages with the hashtag #IAmGay.

Austrian drag queen Conchita Wurst has revealed that she is HIV-positive after being allegedly blackmailed by an ex-boyfriend, Gay Star News reported. The 2014 Eurovision winner revealed she had "been HIV positive for many years" in an Instagram post. Best known for performing in drag with a full beard, Wurst won Eurovision with her song, "Rise Like A Phoenix."

Former Ontario Tory leadership hopeful Tanya Granic Allen—who is now seeking a party nomination ahead of a spring provincial election—is defending herself after coming under fire for comments made online years ago about Muslims and same-sex marriage, CBC.ca reported. Granic Allen, a parental rights and anti-abortion advocate, denied that posts and tweets in which she suggests gay marriage shouldn't be legalized in the United Kingdom and says women should not wear burkas in public reflect Islamophobic or homophobic views.

A soccer commentator in France has been suspended for making anti-gay remarks in the Europa League quarterfinals, NewNowNext.com reported. Denis Balbir was reporting for W9 during a match between RB Leipzig and Marseille, but it was his unaired post-game comments that caused a backlash: Balbir called RB Leipzig arrogant and referred to the team with an anti-gay slur. In a statement announcing the suspension, W9 Channel said "respect of the opponent is essential in all circumstances." Balbir has apologized on Twitter for his "inappropriate words" but added that "the diffusion of this private and private sequence on social networks is however particularly malicious."

In England, a gay couple were refused entry to a bar when bouncers told them they let in "mixed-sex couples" only, BBC.com noted. Patrick Hannon, 30, and Jake Archer, 25, had enjoyed a meal before heading to Jake's Bar in Leeds for a drink—but the Newcastle couple were left "speechless" when they were not allowed in because they were both men. The venue said it "never discriminates" and is investigating the incident with its "externally supplied" door team.


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