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  WINDY CITY TIMES

WORLD Abuse investigation, Australian principal, trade agreement
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2018-11-06

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A coalition of international partners, including the United States, announced plans to investigate alleged anti-gay abuses in Chechnya that have sparked worldwide condemnation, The Washington Blade reported. A 16-member group of countries in the Organization for Security & Cooperation in Europe invoked the organization's "Moscow Mechanism" to set up an international fact-finding mission to investigate the alleged human-rights abuses.

The principal of a prominent Anglican school in Australia has broken ranks on LGBT discrimination, saying she wants no exemptions from legislation, The Guardian reported. The headmistress of Sceggs Darlinghurst in Sydney, Jenny Allum, said in a letter to parents she did not want the legal right to discriminate and "welcomes all—regardless of age, race, sexual orientation or religion." Recently, 34 Sydney Anglican schools wrote to the federal education minister demanding he preserve a clause in the federal Sex Discrimination Act that allows religious schools to discriminate on the basis of sexuality, gender expression or marital status.

President Donald Trump's new North American trade agreement could benefit an unexpected group: the LGBTQ community, Politico.com reported. Buried in the mammoth agreement is a requirement that the United States, Canada and Mexico take steps to protect workers against discrimination on the basis of sex, including sexual orientation and gender identity. The provision, if it survives in the final text of the deal, would be a victory for Canada, which wanted an entire chapter on gender equality as part of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's "progressive" trade agenda.

Police in a Tanzania province had one week to catch "every homosexual," the governor said, according to Gay Star News. Paul Makonda, the governor of the economic capital Dar es Salaam, launched a violent and terrifying homophobic crackdown in late October, encouraging citizens to report gay people to the police. Makonda then warned anyone caught will be sent to prison for 30 years.

Police reportedly arrested 10 women on suspicion of lesbian activity in Indonesia, according to a PinkNews item that cites Reuters. Authorities said the women were arrested Nov. 4 for alleged "lesbian deviant behavior." In Indonesia, gay sex is illegal in the province of Aceh under Sharia law and for Muslims living in the city of Palembang.

The Canadian province of British Columbia now recognizes a third gender marker on official IDs: gender X, Gay Star News reported. British Columbians who don't identify as male or female have the option of choosing "X" in the gender field of state-issued identification. This includes driver's licenses, state ID cards, birth certificates and BC Services cards.

Australia's first openly gay High Court judge, Michael Kirby, will marry his partner on the 50th anniversary of the day they met, Gay Star News noted. Kirby revealed plans to marry Johan van Vloten during a speech to students at Bond University. The 79-year-old served as a High Court judge during 1996-2009, and has since been a vocal human-rights advocate, especially regarding LGBTI rights.

The new documentary My Name Was January focuses on a trans Canadian woman who was murdered in 2012, Straight.com noted. In September 2012, police found January Marie Lapuz, a 26-year-old transgender woman, stabbed multiple times in her New Westminster apartment and she later died in hospital. In 2014, Charles Jameson "Jamie" Mungo pled guilty to manslaughter in June and was sentenced to eight years in prison that October.

In Canada, the City of Vancouver Archives was recently awarded $71,000 to digitize the recently donated collection by the B.C. Gay and Lesbian Archives, the Vancouver Courier reported. The funding, which came from the National Heritage Digitization Strategy, will make it possible for staff to digitize the collection and make it available online.

British singer Boy George responded to a Sun report that he kicked his ex-lover Jon Moss out of Culture Club ahead of their six-week European tour, calling it "fact-starved," Gay Star News noted. Sources told the Sun that George apparently couldn't bear the thought of traveling with Moss. However, George responded on Twitter, "Any of you who have posted the 'untrue,' 'fact starved' article from 'The Sun' today, will get blocked if you don't remove it." A band spokesperson told Gay Star News, "Jon's taking a break from Culture Club but the door is open in the future."

Shakira has laid the cornerstones for two schools in her native Colombia as she wraps up a five-month world tour that included stops in Germany, Brazil and the United States, Page Six noted. The famous pop singer and philanthropist visited the historic city of Cartagena on Nov. 2 and laid down the first bricks for a school that will serve around 1,000 children. She then rushed to her hometown of Barranquilla, where she inaugurated construction of a similar facility.

Carly Rae Jepsen's video for her new song "Party For One" is being seen as an unashamed celebration of queerness ( down to the rainbow bottle a staffer holds ), PinkNews noted. The Canadian "Call Me Maybe" singer—already a favorite with the LGBT+ community—has portrayed two gay actors and a queer woman going through a break-up in her latest release. One of the characters is played by Mark Kanemura, the dancer who had a viral Instagram video to Jepsen's song "Cut to the Feeling."

Italian designer Valentino and U.S. fashion icon Tom Ford are heading the next big wave of global luxury brands seeking to open flagship stores in Australia, as they chase the pockets of tourists and an emerging buyer demographic: young Instagram-influenced hipsters, AFR.com reported. Also actively seeking premium retail space are French fashion house Balmain, German luggage retailer Rimowa, Italian luxury menswear designer Canali and shoe purveyor Roger Vivier, among others.


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