A gang of youths reportedly beat gay singer Darren Hayes' gay friend in a robbery some say is a hate crime, according to News.com .au. Christopher Bryant, editor of gay and lesbian online magazine Polari, was walking home from his birthday celebrations with partner Damon Truluck in London when a group of six men confronted them. "This makes me SO ANGRY.This is a FRIEND of mine who was BRUTALLY BEATEN in a homophobic attack. WHEN WILL THIS STOP??", Hayes tweeted. Hayes is best known as half of the onetime band Savage Garden.
Canada is lifting its strict lifetime ban on gay men giving blood, although restrictions will still be in place, Gay Star News reported. The Canadian Blood Services hope to have the new policy in place by midsummer. While there will no longer be a lifetime ban, men who have not had sex with other men in the last five years will be allowed to donate blood. The existing criteria excludes potential male donors who have had sex with another man since 1977.
Meituan, a Chinese version of the deals website Groupon, offered a same-sex couple the chance to marry in Canada for free, Gay Star News reported. More than 120,000 people registered to win the prize, which includes travel from China to Canada, one night's accommodation and marriage registration fee. Last year, Meituan gave away a free T-shirt celebrating rainbow love in honor of President Obama's support for same-sex marriage.
At least 50 gay-rights activists marched peacefully in Ukraine's first gay rally, despite a court ban and attempts to disrupt the event, according to the Washington Post. Participants of the rally in the Ukrainian capital, Kiev, held banners against discrimination and derogatory stereotypes of gay people. Riot police guarded the rally and prevented attempts by a dozen men to attack the activists.
Controversy is brewing over a beer billboard that refers to New Zealand's legalization of gay marriage, the Huffington Post reported. The Tui beer billboard at the center of the debate reads, "Dad's new husband seems nice." However, over the logo is the line, "Yeah right." On the brand's Facebook page, several critical comments appeared, prompting marketing manager William Papesch to explain, "Our intention with the current Tui Yeah Right billboard 'Dad's new husband seems nice' was to highlight the common situation or uncertainty experienced when someone's parent remarries. Given the recent passing of the Same Sex Marriage Bill in Parliament, this 'Yeah Right' line is a topical spin at the age-old situation of a parent's new partner."
In Turkey, a man on trial in the city of Diyarbakir for the murder of his gay son said the shooting was accidental and that his intention in confronting him with a loaded firearm was to "cure" him, according to Gay Star News. The man, using the court alias "MC," admitted to shooting 17-year-old Rosin C but said the gun had gone off in a struggle after he confronted him about running away for 10 days. Prosecutors are seeking life sentences for MC, an uncle accused of demanding Rosin C's death, and another uncle believed to have been involved in the killing.
LGBT teens are reportedly being forced to become monks by their Buddhist Thai parentsbut are taking to social media to express their identities, Gay Star News reported. Director-general of the Thai National Office of Buddhism Nopparat Benjawatananun acknowledged that many Thai parents believed that sending LGBT teens to monasteries would turn them heterosexual. However, he added there was no problem with monks being gay or effeminate as long as they obeyed the same rules that applied to heterosexual monks.
In Moscow, Russian activist Nikolai Aleskeev was recently arrested for his part in organizing a gay-rights march, according to Gay Star News. The activist posted a photo to his Facebook page where he and a group of protesters were under police custody in the back of a police van. The Russian government had sent Aleskeev two written warnings declaring that protestors would be fined and jailed for up to 15 days for "unsanctioned protests" against Russia's law banning the so-called "propaganda of homosexuality."
Tens of thousands of people rallied in Paris May 25 against a new French law allowing same-sex marriage, the BBC reported. Police estimate that up to 150,000 people joined marches that converged on the city center, but organizers put the figure closer to 1 million. Nearly 100 people were arrested. President Francois Hollande signed the marriage bill, which also legalizes adoption by same-sex couples, after months of heated debate.
In Sierra Leone, gay-rights activist George Reginald Freeman narrowly escaped death when two unidentified assailants attacked him in his car, according to Gay Star News. Freeman, executive director of Pride Equality, had his car destroyed as two men on a motorbike beat him with broken glass and sharp metal objects after they intercepted Freman in an isolated suburb of the capital, Freetown. The incident happened on the same day a local tabloid, Exclusive Newspaper, ran a feature on Freeman, entitled, "I was born a gay"the first time local media ran a story about an openly gay person.
In Italy, the president of the Chamber of Deputies, Laura Boldrini, invited to Parliament a suicidal gay teenager who wrote an impassioned letter that a newspaper published, according to Pink News. Teen Davide Tancredi wrote to La Repubblica newspaper, "I am gay, I am 17-years old and this letter is my last alternative to suicide in a troglodyte society." Boldrini invited Tancredi to Parliament to discuss LGBT rights with him; she has already angered the Italian right by defying her neutral position as speaker to make statements on social issues such as LGBT rights.
In what is believed to be the first ceremony of its kind in Britain, a Muslim lesbian couple has been civilly united, according to Gay Star News. Lesbian couple Rehana Kausar and Sobia Kamar, both from Pakistan, became civil partners in a ceremony in Leeds. After the civil union they applied for political asylum in Britain, saying they would be persecuted for their sexuality if they returned to their home country.
A jailed member of the Russian punk group Pussy Riot was hospitalized on the seventh day of a hunger strike to protest what she calls a persecution campaign against her, USA Today reported. Maria Alekhina was transferred to a hospital in her prison colony in the town of Berezniki; she went on strike after being prohibited from attending her own parole hearing. Three members of the band, including Alekhina, were convicted last year of "hooliganism motivated by religious hatred" for an impromptu punk protest against Vladimir Putin in Moscow's main cathedral.
Staunchly Catholic Croatia held its first-ever marriage-equality march May 27, with about 400 people participating, according to Gay Star News. Equal marriage supporters marched without incident through downtown Zagreb chanting "Love is Love" and "Marriage for All" while carrying banners that read "Different FamiliesSame Rights."
In Jamaica, residents are complaining after a group of gay homeless men took over an empty house that is almost opposite an ambassador's official residence, according to Gay Star News. The publication The Jamaica Observer said that "dozens" of gay men are living there "behaving in a manner that churns their [the neighbors] collective stomachs." The property is in the capital of Kingston, and is close to the official residence of Cuban Ambassador Yuri Gala Lopez.
Toronto-based Xtra, Canada's largest LGBT publication, has announced the launch of a new print item, Xtra Living (XL), a consumer-focused publication to be released in the spring and fall, according to Press Pass Q. "Each issue is a content-rich product and services directory that focuses on the best of Toronto: where to eat, shop, hang out and find the products and services needed for getting the most out of life," said Derrick Branco, Xtra's national account manager. The premiere edition of XL hit streets May 16.