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WORLD Beijing couple, Dutch man attacked, Ecuador murder
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2019-08-13

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A same-sex couple in Beijing have become the first in the city to complete the process of being named as each other's legal guardian in what is being seen as a major step forward in the protection of LGBT rights, the South China Morning Post reported. The unnamed couple ( who have been together for a decade ) were married overseas, but their union is not legally recognized in China. However, the guardianship process—completed through the Beijing Guoxin Notary Public Office—will allow them to make their partner the beneficiary of their will and receive other legal protections, Beijing News reported.

A 29-year-old Dutch man was assaulted in India after he paid with his rainbow-colored Bunq card, NLTimes.nl reported. According to Travel Assist, the Dutch traveler was attacked by a group of men who thought he was gay after he paid his bill in a cafe in Lucknow in northern India. Approximately eight men started making homophobic remarks and then attacked him. ( The rainbow colors on the Bunq card are arranged differently than on the rainbow flag and the color purple is missing. )

Human-rights activists said the body of a 40-year-old trans woman known as "La Gata" was found by her family in the province of Santo Domingo de los Tsachilas in Ecuador. This is the eighth case of murder or violent death of a trans person in the South American country this year, according to Thomson Reuters Foundation. In June, Ecuador's highest court legalized same-sex marriage, ruling in favor of two gay couples who petitioned for the right to wed.

Police in St. Petersburg, Russia, reportedly detained at least 11 LGBT-rights activists—three of whom were taken away in an ambulance, at an unauthorized Pride event, The Moscow Times reported. Local administrations in recent years have either banned gay pride parades outright or backtracked on earlier promises to allow them, often citing a 2013 law banning "homosexual propaganda" toward minors. About 50 activists had gathered with rainbow flags and banners in central St. Petersburg, despite the authorities' refusal to authorize the event.

A Pride march was held in Poland on Aug. 10 after a previous march in Bialystok was marred by heavy violence from counterprotesters, Gay Times Magazine noted. This march took place in Plock, with police protection. Robert Biedron—one of Poland's first LGBTQ politicians and leader of the Wiosna Party—attended the march. Reuters reported that in a speech given before the march, he said: "For many years in Poland not much was done to handle such violence. It's time for these hateful crimes to be punished."

Scotland will continue with having a binary sex question on its 2021 census, according to Gay Times. The National Records of Scotland ( NRS ) has quietly dropped plans to include a gender non-binary option on its next census. In the statement, the NRS said, "After careful consideration, reflecting on the Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Affairs Committee recommendation, stakeholder evidence during Stage 1 of the Census ( Amendment ) ( Scotland ) Bill, and the approach being taken in censuses for the rest of the UK, National Records of Scotland now propose to continue with a binary sex question in Scotland's 2021 Census."

In England, a "homophobic" video and far-right material linked to protests against LGBT relationship lessons are being investigated by police, the BBC reported. The clip—circulated via WhatsApp—claims primary schools are teaching Islamic children about sex and warns of a "campaign against Muslims." There are now fears the situation is "being exploited" by two sets of extremists—"Islamist and far-right activists"—according to an officer for counterterrorist campaign Prevent.

An Israeli judge has ruled that advertisers cannot ban anti-gay ads from being shown, Gay Times reported. The decision was made after two advertising companies—Knaan Media in Motion Ltd. and Y Mor Advertising Ltd.—refused to allow the far-right religious party Noam to run an anti-gay advert. In his ruling, the judge said, "A duty of equality [includes] the commitment to publish election propaganda of all parties and lists, including those whose values are different … from those of the advertising agency."

The Vancouver Pride Parade saw Prime Minister Justin Trudeau march through the city's West End for the fourth straight year—the first sitting prime minister to do so—but he criticized someone who did not show, GlobalNews.ca noted. Alongside Trudeau were NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and Green Party Leader Elizabeth May—but not Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer. "It's just unfortunate that there are still some party leaders who want to be prime minister who choose to stand with people who are intolerant instead of standing with the LGBT community," Trudeau said.

The annual Prague Pride March on Aug. 10 attracted approximately 30,000 participants, despite some rain, Expats.cz reported. The march, and a week of Prague Pride events ahead of it, celebrate the LGBT+ community. The number was a bit below the 40,000 in last year's parade but above the 8,000 who attended in 2011. The parade was led by two cars with grand marshals: actor Jiri Hromada, politician Karla Slechtova ( ANO ) and Roma activist David Tišer.

Conservative Alejandro Giammattei won Guatemala's presidency on his fourth try, TIME.com reported. His get-tough approach to crime and his socially conservative values—including his strident opposition to same-sex marriage and abortion—helped him win a presidential runoff. The 63-year-old spent several months in prison in 2008, when he was director of the country's prison system, after some prisoners were killed in a raid on his watch.

Hundreds of Lebanese gathered Aug. 9 in Beirut for a protest concert in solidarity with a homegrown band whose performance at a top music festival was scrapped over alleged blasphemy, The Times of Israel reported. Mashrou' Leila—whose lead singer is gay and whose Arabic lyrics tackle a range of taboo topics—were supposed to play in the seaside town of Byblos; however, festival organizers canceled the band's performance over security concerns after clerics complained that some of their lyrics insulted Christians, and critics threatened to attack the concert. In protest, social and political activists as well as academics came together to hold a replacement concert titled "Music Is Always Louder." ( Mashrou' Leila did not attend. )

Ireland's first openly gay strongman, Chris "Big Bear" McNaghten, attended his first Belfast Pride event ( in Northern Ireland ), Queerty noted. ( He went with fiancee John, Outsports reported. ) McNaghten's experience is one of the stories chronicled in the new BBC documentary My First Pride. McNaghten, 30, said it was difficult to come out, even when it came time to tell a coach who had become a best friend. "I was just as nervous about telling him about it as I was about my dad," he explains. "It was a wee bit emotional. That was just a massive weight off my back."

UK rugby player Gareth Thomas has revealed that he made contact with a gay soccer player who is in the closet, PinkNews noted. Thomas, who is himself gay, told The Daily Star, "Away from the cameras, I reached out to him and offered him my support and gave him my number and he called me. I never asked him his name but he told me the club he played for." Thomas has made a new documentary about homophobia in sport, entitled Gareth Thomas v. Homophobia: The Legacy.

Love Island contestant Curtis Pritchard is discussing his fluid sexuality, revealing that he "wouldn't rule out" being with another dude on the British series, Queerty noted. Speaking to the Sun, Pritchard said, "I've been with women and I'm with a woman now. You can never put a label on anything. It's a cliche to say, but love is blind. I can never ever say what will happen in the future. I wouldn't rule anything out." Questions about Pritchard's sexuality arose during the series when he engaged in a passionate lip lock with fellow contestant Tommy Fury, telling him he loved him.

Korean pop superstars BTS will be taking what's being termed an "official and extended period of rest and relaxation," according to a Twitter post by its entertainment company, Deadline noted. The K-pop ensemble ended its run Aug. 11 at the Lotte Duty Free Family Concert in South Korea; it is the group's first break since its 2013 debut. Also, BTS' V has released a new song solo: "Winter Bear," Billboard reported. The song was shared through a music video that followed the South Korean star as he explored a variety of cities in what appear to be clips captured during the group's recent "Love Yourself: Speak Yourself" tour.


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