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Barilla meets with LGBT groups; Baryshnikov slams anti-gay law
World news: Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2013-10-16

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Barilla pasta. Photo by Matt Simonette


Guido Barilla, owner of the Barilla pasta company, has met with Italian LGBT associations, according to Gay Star News. The man who made the headlines for his anti-gay remarks apologized once again to the LGBT community and proposed "some pro-gay policies in the future." Barilla met Arcigay, Arcilesbica, Famiglie Arcobaleno, Gaynet and Equality Italia associations at the Regione Emilia-Romagna headquarters, where former Arcigay president and current regional councillor Franco Grillini has his office. Grillini said that Barilla was "really worried [about] the boycotting in North America."

Mikhail Baryshnikov, former principal dancer with Russia's Kirov Ballet, has criticized his former homeland over its treatment of LGBT people, GayStar News reported. In a statement the No More Fear Foundation released, the 65-year-old dancer said, "My life has been immensely enriched by gay mentors, colleagues and friends and any discrimination and persecution of gay people is unacceptable." The New York-based No More Fear Foundation is a not-for-profit organization supported by prominent members of the New York City legal, financial, business and entertainment communities that provides a lifeline to resettlement services to LGBT Russian individuals.

Thomas Bach, the president of the International Olympic Committee ( IOC ), responded to more than 78,000 All Out members from around the world in a letter to All Out's executive director and co-founder, Andre Banks, according to a press release. All Out—which says its mission is to mobilize people worldwide for love and equality—stated that "Bach did not directly address the question posed by members, but rather reiterated previous statements from the IOC." The full letter is at www.scribd.com/doc/174203622/IOC-President-Responds-to-Allout.

Pope Francis wrote a personal response to a letter sent to him in June by a group of gay and lesbian Italian Catholics, according to Advocate.com . Italian Catholic LGBT group Kairos of Florence wrote a letter to the pope in June, asking for "openness and dialogue" and noting that a lack of such "always feeds homophobia." The group declined to reveal the contents of its original letter or of the pontiff's response, but confirmed that the pope issued his blessing to Kairos and its members. Kairos also received a letter from the Vatican's secretariat of state that reportedly said Pope Francis "really enjoyed" the letter.

Transgender journalist Paris Lees tops this year's Pink List, an annual roster of the most influential LGBT people in the United Kingdom that the London newspaper Independent on Sunday compiled, according to Advocate.com . Lees has been the first transgender woman to be a presenter on Channel 4 and Radio 1, is the founder of META magazine, and received a Positive Role Model Award at the inaugural National Diversity Awards. Some of the repeat honorees are activist Peter Tatchell; former rugby player Gareth Thomas; retired basketball player John Amaechi, now a psychologist and philanthropist; and actor/singer Will Young. Newcomers to the list include Rehana Kausar and Sobia Kamar, the first Muslim women to marry each other in the United Kingdom.

In Canada, a man attacked outside a lounge in Nova Scotia has been left paralyzed from the waist down in what friends and family are calling an anti-gay hate crime, according to LGBTQ Nation. Police said 27-year-old Scott Jones was airlifted to a Halifax hospital with critical injuries after being stabbed twice in the back and across his throat. A 19-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the stabbing, and will be charged with attempted murder, aggravated assault, and possession of a weapon dangerous to the public peace.

In a milestone moment for the Indian state of Gujarat, LGBT residents filled the streets for the area's first-ever gay pride parade, according to LGBTQ Nation. More than 100 citizens came out for the event "bearing rainbow flags and banners and dancing to traditional music." However, many participants wore scarves and masks in an effort to protect their identity.

Also in Canada, a straight man perceived to be gay was left bloody after what is believed to be an anti-gay attack, Gay Star News reported. Kerry Tyler Street was skateboarding when a 6-foot, 200-pound man allegedly punched him in the face and knocked him off his board. Street claimed he was then punched and kicked in the face, with the attacker screaming "faggot this, faggot that." Street has to undergo surgery for the four teeth that were kicked out in the attack.

A gay-rights rally in St. Petersburg, Russia, ended in scuffles after several dozen protesters were confronted by about 200 conservative and religious activists, according to the Toronto Star. The police standing nearby waited until clashes broke out between the two groups before intervening. According to Russian news agencies, the police detained 67 people from both sides. The scuffles started after anti-gay protesters tore a rainbow flag out of a woman's hands.

In Britain, a report states that one in six gay or bisexual people—about 630,000 individuals—has been a victim of an anti-LGB hate crime or incident in the past three years, according to The Guardian. The poll, commissioned by gay-rights charity Stonewall, found that two-thirds of victims of hate crime did not report the incident to anyone, and that more than three-quarters did not report it to the police. The findings are based on a YouGov poll of 2,500 gay people and published in the Gay British Crime Survey 2013.

Two men who murdered a gay man after a sex orgy at his home in South Africa were slated to be sentenced Oct. 16, according to Gay Star News. Barney Van Heerden, 39, was killed at his Johannesburg home after a sex orgy in September 2011. The Palridge Circuit of the South Guateng High Court found Mthokozisi Ndlovu and Themba Maseko guilty Oct. 11. A third man, Maxwell Nyathi, earlier admitted to the murder and was sentenced to 20 years.

A bill to introduce civil unions for gay couples in Malta arrived in the country's Parliament the week of Oct. 14, Pink News reported. Malta Equality Minister Helena Dalli told a press conference that the Civil Unions Bill will recognize same-sex partnerships and give them the same rights and duties as married heterosexual couples. In June, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat announced that gay couples should be able to enter civil unions by the end of 2013.

An employee of Jetstar, a discount subsidiary airline of Qantas in Australia and New Zealand, apparently wrote the words "I AM GAY" on a traveler's suitcase in block letters made of luggage tags, according to The Huffington Post. In a blog post, the unnamed father of two wrote that he's a "white heterosexual male ... [b]ut for a few minutes I got to walk in the shoes of a gay person in a public place. ... I was degraded. I was shamed. I was humiliated." He added that he now understands why gay people feel persecuted. Jetstar has apologized and is reportedly conducting a "thorough investigation."

In Nigeria, the bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Asaba, Justus Mogekwu, has appealed to President Goodluck Jonathan to assent to the anti-gay marriage bill, according to PremiumTimesng.com . The cleric said that same-sex marriage had nothing to do with human rights, describing it as a curse. In addition, he thanked the National Assembly for insisting that same-sex marriage was evil. Several western nations have criticized the bill, which Jonathan has yet to sign into law.

Two Russian men broke into a Dutch diplomat's apartment, beat him, and scrawled a heart and "LGBT" on a mirror in lipstick, according to Gay Star News. Onno Elderenbosch, an assistant to the Dutch ambassador, was attacked after two men had reportedly shown up posing as electricians. Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans said the diplomat had been lightly wounded, and was recovering well.


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