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  WINDY CITY TIMES

WORLD Activist attacked, LGBT+ flight, Richard Grenell, sterilization
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2018-10-23

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French LGBT-rights activist Guillaume Melanie has suffered injuries, including a broken nose, after he was violently beaten up in a what he called a homophobic hate crime, PinkNews reported. Melanie is the president of Urgence Homophobie, which aims to help LGBT+ victims of violence across the world. The attack was recorded on CCTV cameras, and two men were subsequently arrested in connection with the crime. The crime is just the latest in a string of such attacks taking place in Paris in recent weeks.

The world's first known flight fully staffed by LGBT+ people is due for takeoff from London Heathrow Airport in June 2019, PinkNews reported. The LGBT+ pilots and cabin crew will head the one-time "Pride Flight" to New York, which is the first U.S. city to host the World Pride event next year, on June 28—the day marking 50 years since the beginning of the Stonewall riots. Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Holidays has teamed with tourism bureau NYC & Company, and have enlisted Broadway actor and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt star Tituss Burgess to be the master of ceremonies during the flight.

President Donald Trump is considering naming Richard Grenell as Nikki Haley's replacement at the United Nations—despite concerns from some in his camp, according to NewNowNext.com . Grenell is the U.S. ambassador to Germany, already making him the highest ranking gay official in the administration. He was confirmed despite the objections of Democrats over his history of sexist and insulting tweets, which many saw as disqualifying. Other top contenders for the position include Kelly Knight Craft, the U.S. ambassador to Canada; and Jamie McCourt, the U.S. ambassador to France and Monaco.

Human Rights Watch reported that a policy in the Czech Republic forcing transgender people to undergo sterilization surgeries to legally change their gender violates the right to health, according to the European Committee of Social Rights. Non-governmental groups ILGA-Europe and Transgender Europe argued that the Czech Republic's requirements for legal gender recognition violated the European Social Charter, a Council of Europe treaty focused on social and economic rights.

The Netherlands has handed out its first gender-neutral passport, PinkNews reported. Leonne Zeegers received the document, which marks her as gender X instead of male or female, after a two-year court battle which she won in May. The 57-year-old former nurse and sex worker is intersex, had gender confirmation surgery to become a woman in 2001, and now identifies as gender-neutral, using she/her pronouns. Other countries including Australia, Denmark, Germany, New Zealand, Pakistan, India, Ireland and Nepal have introduced a third gender on passports or are in the process of doing so, as well as a few U.S. states.

Transgender people in Uruguay are celebrating after the country's Congress passed a comprehensive trans-related law Oct. 18, Gay Star News reported. Most notably, trans people can now self-identify their gender and update their legal name, without approval from a judge. The new law also creates scholarships for trans people to access education, as well as sets up affirmative action.

New Zealand is planning on removing restrictions to the number of gender-confirmation surgeries that can be performed every year, according to PinkNews, which cited the Kiwi publication Newsroom. The country currently limits the number of publicly-funded gender confirmation surgeries to three male-to-female and one female-to-male operations every two years. The government is led by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who became the first New Zealand leader to take part in a Pride march when she did so earlier this year.

In Australia, Labor indicated that fixing the law to prevent discrimination against LGBT teachers may be accompanied by changes to allow religious schools to preserve their "ethos" and prevent contradiction of church doctrines, The Guardian reported. Despite Labor offering to help the government legislate to remove discrimination against LGBT teachers and staff, a recent debate revealed some Labor senators had serious reservations that the Greens bill does so without provisions that allow religious schools to preserve their character.

A Canadian village with a population of about 1,200 people has taken down a straight pride flag after just one day following a public backlash, PinkNews reported. The Village of Chipman in Queens County, New Brunswick, put up the flag beside a main road on Oct. 21. The raising of the straight pride flag—consisting of black and white stripes—was done in response to a rainbow Pride flag being flown by the council in the week of June 24.

A rabbinical student who was allegedly throw out of a Jerusalem pizzeria for being gay is suing the restaurant, PinkNews reported. Sammy Kanter, a U.S. attendee of Jerusalem's Hebrew Union College, first reported the incident on social media in August. He is now suing the company with the help of human rights organisation Israel Religious Action Centre, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency has reported.

A queer couple's date night ended badly after a security guard tried to kick one of them out because she used the women's restroom, Gay Star News noted. Author Jessica Walton and her wife, Charlie, decided to hit their local Strike bowling alley in Australia to celebrate their birthdays. However, at one point, a security guard stopped Charlie and told her to leave the venue because she had used the women's toilets. Once Walton found what had happened, she demanded to speak to the manager, who apologized and forced the security to apologize as well.

Viewers have lashed out at X Factor Malta after it aired an audition of a man who said he used to be gay before becoming a Christian, PinkNews noted. X Factor hopeful Matthew Grech said he stopped living as a gay man after joining anti-LGBT+ group River of Love Christian Fellowship, reported Lovin Malta. Three out of the four judges gave Grech a "yes" vote ( of him and two others singing "Where Is The Love?," but none of them commented on his anti-gay remarks.

MTV will honor Janet Jackson with its 2018 "Global Icon" award at the 2018 MTV EMAs ( Europe Music Awards ) on Nov. 4, a press release noted. Jackson—who has won six Grammys and a Golden Globe Award—will perform a medley of her greatest hits, including her recent single "Made for Now." The 2018 MTV EMAs will broadcast live from Bilbao Exhibition Centre, Spain.


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