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WORLD Chelsea Manning, gay couple, Malaysia caning
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2018-09-11

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Rights groups in Australia criticized the government for failing to grant transgender activist Chelsea Manning a visa, Gay Star News noted. Think Inc invited Manning to Australia to discuss the potential human-rights violations she exposed as a whistleblower. The outspoken LGBTI advocate will now appear via video link from New Zealand at all the scheduled events.

A gay couple who fled their home countries so they could be together, only to be forcibly separated in Turkey, have arrived safely in Canada—thanks to the efforts of private refugee sponsors, CBC.ca reported. Alireza, who is from Iran, and his partner Kiran, who is from India, arrived in Vancouver, greeted at the airport by members of the Vancouver Rainbow Refugee group who sponsored them. At one point during their odyssey, Turkish immigration authorities moved Kiran from the small town they had been settled in to Istanbul to receive mental-health treatment for his severe anxiety.

Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has condemned the caning of two women for having sex in the country, saying the punishment "does not reflect the ideals of justice and compassion of Islam," PinkNews reported. The two women, aged 32 and 22, were caned Sept. 3 in front of approximately 100 people. "The cabinet discussed the case of the two women and is of the view that [the caning] does not reflect the ideals of justice and compassion of Islam," the 93-year old prime minister said, according to a translation by Channel NewsAsia. "As this was the first case for them, they should've been given advice and not punished."

Sept. 10 was World Suicide Prevention Day. According to an LGBTQ Nation article, two in six LGBTQ youth are at risk of suicide—which led to a video featuring Olly Alexander from the group Years & Years to speak out, holding a pride flag with two stripes ripped away. Among transgender people, a study published in the Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine showed that the rate of attempted suicide is anywhere from 32 percent to 50 percent across all countries, largely due to stress factors around a lack of acceptance, harassment, and bullying.

In Wales, patrons of the Cardiff gay-club scene are mourning the loss of not one, but two men who both made an impact on the local LGBTQ community, LGBTQ Nation reported. Steven Collyer and his husband Jason Roe died six weeks apart; they were together for 28 years. The couple joined forces in business to open the famous fish-and-chip shop Shiphay Chippy in Torquay, Devon, in England.

The U.S. Senate, by a voice vote, confirmed Randy Berry as the next U.S. ambassador to Nepal, The Washington Blade reported. Then-Secretary of State John Kerry in 2015 named Berry, a career Foreign Service officer who is openly gay, as the first special U.S. envoy to promote LGBTI rights abroad. Berry was the consul general at the U.S. consulate in Amsterdam before Kerry named him to the position.

Robert Biedron, the openly gay mayor of the Polish city of SÅ‚upsk, has founded a social movement to counter the conservative parties in his run for presidency, Gay Star News noted. Biedron said his movement is "a successful alternative" to PiS ( Law and Justice )—a right-wing populist, national-conservative and Christian democratic political party in Poland. He also said he will announce his political program in full in February.

Far-right Brazilian presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro was stabbed during a campaign event, TheHill.com noted. Officials and Bolsonaro's son have said his injuries are not life-threatening, the AP stated. In 2015, Bolsonaro was fined for saying that Congresswoman Maria do Rosario was "not worth raping," the BBC reported. He told Playboy magazine in 2011 that he would be "incapable of loving a gay son" and would rather see his son "die in an accident" than come out as gay.

The national #EndFGMToday initiative lauded law enforcement from the United States and United Kingdom, as both nations recently hosted a "week of action" focusing on the eradication of the brutal practice of female genital mutilation ( FGM ), according to a press release from HamiltonStrategies.com . U.S. and U.K officials conducted outreach efforts at major international airports with the goal of education and prevention of female genital mutilation. The outreach, called "Operation Limelight." was conducted at four international airports in the United States—John F. Kennedy International Airport, Newark Liberty International Airport, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, and Los Angeles International Airport—and at Heathrow Airport and train stations throughout the United Kingdom.

A petition to maintain the law that criminalizes male same-sex relations in Singapore has received more than 60,000 signatures, Gay Star News noted. The petition says that repealing Section 377A would "normalize homosexual behaviours" and "lead to greater push for other LGBT rights in our conservative society." Section 377A traces its roots back to Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, which India's Supreme Court recently repealed.

A transgender teen confronted the Australia Prime Minister Scott Morrison over an anti-trans tweet he posted, Gay Star News reported. Morrison shared a Daily Telegraph article claiming training teachers to be aware of transgender students would lead to a surge in young people transitioning, adding, "We do not need 'gender whisperers' in our schools. Let kids be kids." However, when Morrison was on the show The Project, he was presented with a video featuring transgender 13-year-old Evie Macdonald, who said, in part, "There are thousands of kids in Australia that are gender-diverse and we don't deserve to be disrespected like that through tweets from our Prime Minister."

In Wales, a council member has been suspended for describing homosexuality as "unnatural, perverted, immoral and wrong," BBC.com reported. Former Monmouthshire county councillor Graham Down also made a comparison between homosexuality and pedophilia, according to an adjudication panel. Down—now a Mathern community council member—said the comments, sent in emails, were "private."

A Church of Scotland minister made history by becoming the first to officially open a Pride event when the Rev. Scott Burton opened the inaugural Perthshire Pride event in Perth, HeraldScotland.com noted. He apologized to members of the LGBT community on behalf of the Church for any "cruelty and injustice" they might have experienced. Earlier this year, the Church moved a step closer to allowing ministers to conduct same-sex marriages.

A popular music festival in Uganda went ahead as planned, after a government minister attempted to get it cancelled on the grounds that it caters to the "celebration and recruitment of young people into homosexuality and LGBT movement," PinkNews noted. Simon Lokodo, Uganda's minister for ethics and integrity, wrote a letter to the country's minister of internal affairs Jeje Odongo calling for the annual MTN Nyege Nyege music festival to be shut down. However, the Ugandan government rejected Lokodo's recommendation to cancel the Sept. 6-9 event.

At a massive concert to protest neo-Nazis, two straight male musicians—KraftKlub frontman Felix Brummer and rapper Casper—kissed each other, LGBTQ Nation reported. Performing in front of a banner that said said #WirSindMehr, or "We are more"—a reference to their message of how decent people outnumber Nazis in Germany—musicians performed at the concert in the city of Chemnitz, Germany, for tens of thousands of people.

It was revealed that Dolores O'Riordan, the frontwoman of the Irish band The Cranberries, died by drowning due to alcohol intoxication in what the coroner called a "tragic accident," TheWrap.com noted. Early this year, O'Riordan was found submerged in her London hotel bathtub. She died on January 15, a day after checking in to the Park Lane Hilton. O'Riordan, who was 46, was recording music in England at the time.

X-Factor UK judge and pop star Robbie Williams caught some heat on social media after asking a transgender contestant his birth name prior to his performance, according to Instinct Magazine. Before Felix Shepard of Birmingham could launch into his take on Kodaline's "All I Want," he mentioned that he was trans, and it was his hope was to be "more than just a transgender guy" on the show. Williams then asked him what his birth name had been as well as inquiring, "When did you know you were Felix?" But in an interview with The Sun, Shepard explained that Williams had asked in private before he took to the stage if he could pose the question.

British luxury fashion brand Burberry saidy it will stop using real fur in its products and also stop destroying products that it cannot sell, ABC News noted. The company said there will be no real fur in its London Fashion Week catwalk show later this month, and it will also phase out existing real fur products. Burberry said it has made only limited use of real fur in recent years with clothing incorporating fur from rabbit, fox, mink and Asiatic racoon.


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