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Canadian names asteroid for Kameny; Anderson Cooper inspires Chinese
World news: Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy CIty Times...
2012-07-10

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A Canadian amateur astronomer who discovered an asteroid named the celestial body after the late U.S. gay activist Frank Kameny, who died last year at age 86, according to Advocate.com . Gary Billings discovered Minor Planet 40463—located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter—and a group of astronomers requested to name it after Kameny, who was pushed out of the astronomy field because of his sexual orientation.

CNN anchor Anderson Cooper's coming out has apparently inspired Chinese microblogger Sun Yelin-Xiao Hei, according to the New York Times. Sun posted a call on a microblogging site for Chinese LGBT individuals to come out en masse Dec. 12, 2012. However, the likelihood of many coming out is unlikely; Zhang Beichuan—a leading researcher on homosexuality—said China faces an epidemic of problems related to the lack of acceptance of homosexuality, including AIDS transmission and closeted men married to women.

In Sweden, a man who was on trial for attempting to rape a woman received a lighter sentence when it was discovered the victim is transgender, according to an Advocate.com item. When the 61-year-old suspect attempted to rape the transgender woman, he was unaware that of her gender identity and that she lacked female genitalia. The judge said the "intended crime never had the possibility of being fulfilled," so the man was convicted of assault instead.

In a last-minute move, the Ukrainian parliament cancelled a scheduled vote on legislation that would ban any Ukrainian citizen from speaking out favorably about gays or lesbians, according to an AllOut.org press release. Opponents of the ban saw the move to shelve the bill as a critical victory; there is only a short window in September for it to be reconsidered before the dissolution of the sitting Parliament. The day before the debate was shelved, the global movement AllOut.org delivered its petition with 120,000 signers to Ukrainian authorities at the European Union and Council of Europe.

The European Parliament adopted a resolution on violence against lesbian women and gay and transgender rights in Africa, according to Pink News. The debate in the European Parliament was reportedly widely supportive of the rights of LGBTI people, especially lesbian women, with strong speeches by members of the Parliament and by European Commissioner Connie Hedegaard. Recently, there have been increasing reports of arrests of lesbian women in Cameroon; also, they remain regular victims of "corrective rape" and murders in South Africa.

The Chinese Ministry of Health lifted a 14-year-old ban on lesbians donating blood as of July 1, according to CNN. The ban still applies to men who are sexually active with other men, although celibate gay men are permitted to give blood. The original ban, enacted in 1998, banned lesbians and gay men from donating blood out of a fear of spreading HIV and AIDS.

More than 350 LGBT global executives, leaders and allies gathered in London July 5-6 to strategize about advancing global workplace equality at Out & Equal's 2012 Global LGBT Workplace Summit, according to an organizational press release. The conference brought together global executives and leaders from more than 26 countries—representing more than 80 different corporations, organizations and government agencies—to share their best practices and ideas for creating workplaces where LGBT people are safe, accepted and valued.

Google has launched a campaign urging countries to "Legalize Love" for LGBT people around the world, according to Gay Star News. The campaign, which started July 7, was slated to launch in Poland and Singapore but eventually spread to every country where Google has an office. Google's Mark Palmer-Edgecumbe said: "We want our employees who are gay or lesbian or transgender to have the same experience outside the office as they do in the office. It is obviously a very ambitious piece of work."

Civil-society advocates applauded the release of a landmark report by the Global Commission on HIV and the Law. According to a press release, the report—based on research and first-hand testimony from more than 1,000 people from more than 140 countries—details the role of legal barriers and human-rights violations in undermining the HIV response globally. Dr. George Ayala, executive director of the Global Forum on MSM & HIV, said, "This report confirms, with unparalleled authority, what community advocates have been saying for the last 30 years."

The Equality Network has called the group Scotland for Marriage's marriage poll "flawed and misleading," Pink News reported. Scotland for Marriage's survey said that most Scots oppose marriage equality; the poll also indicated that 50 percent of Scott want a referendum on the question—which the Network called "un-Scottish, unfair and a colossal waste of money."


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