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Kato Award; trans woman wins custody battle
World news: Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2012-12-04

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The 2013 David Kato Vision & Voice Award has been awarded to Ali Erol, a leading LGBTI-rights activist in Turkey, according to a press release. The award was announced at the International Planned Parenthood Federation's 60th anniversary celebration in South Africa. Erol founded Kaos GL organization in 1994, the first of its kind in Turkey. The award is named after Kato, an activist who was murdered in his home in Kampala, Uganda, in 2011.

In Australia, a 49-year-old transgender woman has prevailed in a three-and-a-half-year custody battle against her ex-wife in the Federal Magistrates Court, according to Gay Star News. The trans individuals—who maintained her anonymity to protect the childrens' privacy—was awarded equal, shared responsibility in all areas except education and health for the former couple's three daughters (ages 7, 12 and 17). The children will live with their mother, who has remarried, but will be allowed to visit their father, who now lives as a woman.

A Global Forum on MSM & HIV (MSMGF) study of 5,779 gay men and other men who have sex with men (MSM) in 165 countries indicates that only one third of MSM can easily access condoms, lubricant, HIV testing and HIV treatment, according to a press release. (In addition, the MSMGF collaborated with African Men for Sexual Health and Rights to conduct focus group discussions with 71 MSM across five cities in South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria.) The study suggests that structural barriers like homophobia play a significant role in blocking access to HIV services for MSM, while greater comfort with health service providers and more community engagement increase chances of access.

In France, a married father of two has won 197,000 euros ($255,824) after claiming that using a prescription drug used to treat Parkinson's disease turned him into a compulsive "gay-sex and gambling addict," the Huffington Post reported. A French appeals court in the city of Rennes ordered GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) to pay Didiet Jambart, 52, who began taking the drug Requip in 2003. Jambart said he developed an "uncontrollable passion" for gay sex and gambling within two years of taking Requip; he said he also attempted suicide eight times and experimented with cross-dressing, among other things. A lower court had ordered GSK to pay Jambart 117,000 euros ($151,000), a decision it had appealed.

In the UK, Independence Party politician Winston McKenzie has ranted against same-sex parenting after losing his bid to become a member of Parliament, according to Gay Star News. McKenzie, a former boxer and X Factor hopeful, had already made headlines before the election for saying gay people should not be allowed to adopt; however, he has now said that same-sex adoption is like throwing kids to "dogs." McKenzie attempted to represent Croydon North in London but lost to the Labour Party's Steve Reed.

A gay couple filed a constitutional challenge in a Singapore court aimed at repealing a long-standing law that criminalizes gay sex, according to the Huffington Post. The couple, Gary Lim and Kenneth Chee, filed their challenge with Singapore's High Court; Chee said they did because "I know that section 377A [of Singapore's penal code] labels me a criminal." The case comes after a man was arrested in August for having oral sex with another man in a shopping mall toilet; he eventually was fined 3,000 Singapore dollars ($2,460).

In Iran, state medical records have indicated that, between 2006 to 2010, 1,366 people have undergone gender-reassignment surgery, according to Gay Star News. Fifty-six percent were seeking male-to-female surgery while 44 percent were female-to-male operations. While homosexuality is considered a sin and a crime punishable by death in Iran, transgenderism is classified as an illness subject to cure (i.e., gender reassignment).

Air New Zealand's joke about a female Olympic shot-putter's testicle has Twitter followers claiming it is transphobic, according to Gay Star News. Recently, a gag for travelers entering the airline's competition read, "What large heavy ball was responsible for Valerie Adams' gold medal? The Belarusian's left testicle." The intended joke referred to New Zealand athlete Adams being awarded a gold medal at this year's London Olympics after Nadzeya Ostapchuk of Belarus, the original women's champion, tested positive for steroids.

French First Lady Valerie Trierweiler said that she'd happily serve as a witness for a same-sex wedding ceremony as soon as the marriage law takes effect, according to France24.com . "I'm delighted that I'm going to be a witness at one of the very first marriages for all," the first lady told RTL radio, referring to the bill that the ruling Socialist government has called the "Marriage and Adoption For All" law. Trierweiler, who is the longtime partner of President FranÃïois Hollande, said she had already accepted invitations to participate in two future weddings for gay friends.


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