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WORLD Filipino survey, Eurovision remarks, North Macedonian march
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times.
2019-05-28

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The Philippines House of Representatives is conducting an online survey on same-sex unions, CNN Philippines noted. The poll, posted on the chamber's website, asked whether the respondents are in favor, against, or undecided about the proposal on the legalization of same-sex unions as civil partnership in the country. A petition seeking to allow same-sex marriage in the Philippines filed by gay lawyer Jesus Falcis is pending before the Supreme Court.

Homophobic remarks by a Belarussian state TV presenter during the Eurovision song contest in Israel stirred indignation on social media in Belarus, BBC.com reported. Yavhen Perlin was providing live commentary during the semi-finals on May 14, when a "kiss-cam" zoomed into affectionate couples during the performance by Israel's transgender pop diva Dana International. But after the first couple caught by the camera appeared to be two men kissing, the presenter said, "Oh, my goodness! Maybe we'd better not watch!"

The North Macedonian capital of Skopje is set to host on June 29 what activists have described as the Balkan country's first gay-pride parade., according to RFE/RL. Irena Cvetkovic, who is among the organizers, said that police officers and National Network Against Homophobia and Transphobia ( NNHT ) members will monitor the march to make all participants feel safe. North Macedonia came under fire over gay rights during the rule of the conservative VMRO-DPMNE party, which was ousted in 2017.

Kenya's High Court ruled in favor of upholding the country's ban on gay sex, which punishes the act with up to 21 years in prison, NewNowNext.com reported. Petitioners argued the colonial-era law violates Kenya's 2010 constitution guaranteeing equality, dignity and privacy for all citizens. However, the court claimed same-sex couples could carry out their sexual activities in private, without a need for a change in laws.

Kenyan author and gay-rights activist Binyavanga Wainaina has died at 48, CNN.com reported. Wainaina, the founder of the literary magazine Kwani, had previously suffered a stroke in 2015. In a 2014 article titled "I Am a Homosexual, Mum," Wainaina wrote: "Never, mum. I did not trust you, mum. And. I. Pulled air hard and balled it down into my navel, and let it out slow and firm, clean and without bumps out of my mouth, loud and clear over a shoulder, into her ear. I am a homosexual, mum."

In a victory for LGBTQ+ rights, Brazil's top court indicated that it would outlaw discrimination based on sexuality or gender, The Los Angeles Times reported. While the court has not yet formally ruled, the expected outcome would be a rebuke of President Jair Bolsonaro, who has a history of anti-LGBTQ statements. The Supreme Federal Court is acting on two cases brought by an LGBTQ-rights group and the Popular Socialist Party in 2012 and 2013, arguing that Congress was dragging its feet on criminalizing discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

More than 300 activists and elected officials from around Latin America attended an LGBTQ Victory Institute-organized conference that took place in Bogota, Colombia, on May 16-18, The Washington Blade reported. Colombian Congressman Mauricio Toro, Venezuelan National Assemblywoman Tamara Adrian, Belizean Sen. Valerie Woods, Antiguan Sen. Akika Lake, Cuban National Assemblyman Luis Angel Adan Roble, Arizona state Sen. Tony Navarrete and Colorado state Rep. Brianna Titone were among those who attended.

Hong Kong's LGBT supporters gathered to call for equal marriage rights as they celebrated Taiwan becoming the first place in Asia to legalize unions, the South China Morning Post reported. Dozens of demonstrators—some holding rainbow balloons or dressed in wedding attire—rallied at Edinburgh Place in Central in an event that the Big Love Alliance organized. But Raymond Chan Chi-chuen, the city's first openly gay lawmaker, said Hong Kong still has a long way to go before it could follow Taiwan in revising the current law.

Speaking of marriage equality in Taiwan, the new laws went into effect May 24, and hundreds of couples eagerly seized their first opportunity to finally tie the knot, CBS News reported. Taiwan's ministry of the interior said more than 500 same-sex couples registered their marriages across the island that day. The image was accompanied by Heng's message: "Today I marry my soulmate ( Li ). Looking forward to a lifetime of moments like this." Same-sex relations are illegal in Singapore.

Three men brutally attacked a gay couple in Navidad, Chile, Gay Star News reported. CCTV footage shared by leading LGBTI-rights organization Movilh shows three men attacking Sergio Acosta ( 25 ) and Jose Luis Campos ( 33 ). Local police detained the three men—but reportedly llater released them with only a fine.

The grandson of former Singapore Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew ( who died in 2015 ) married his same-sex partner May 24, NST.com .my reported. Heng Yirui published an image of himself with his boyfriend, Li Huanwu—son of the late premier's son, Lee Hsien Yang—dressed in matching white shirts and khaki pants at a game reserve in Cape Town, South Africa.

Four people were arrested during a protest by LGBT activists in central Saint Petersburg, Openly News reported. Around 10 people took part in the protest as they marked the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, and were quickly surrounded by a group of riot police. Moscow city hall had earlier rejected four requests for demonstrations, including a gay-pride march, made by Nikolai Alexeyev, a gay community leader in Russia who said the city authorities had rejected such rallies for 14 years.

Brunei's Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah has returned an honorary degree awarded by Britain's Oxford University after a global backlash led by celebrities including George Clooney and Elton John for proposing the death penalty for gay sex and adultery, The Telegraph reported. Oxford said the sultan had decided to hand back the honorary degree on May 6, while it was reviewing its decision to award it. Seeking to temper the backlash, the sultan earlier this month said the death penalty would not be imposed in the implementation of the penal code changes.

Hong Kong's airport and subway operators have reversed a ban on a Cathay Pacific advertisement featuring a same-sex couple walking hand in hand on a beach, NewNowNext.com reported. The ad was part of the airline company's rebranding campaign, under the tagline "Move Beyond." The image shows two well-suited men strolling along, gazing into each other's eyes, with the words, alongside the message, "Move beyond labels."

Britain's embattled leader Theresa May resigned her premiership May 24, although she will stay on as caretaker prime minister for now, USA Today reported. May ended her three-year term amid a barrage of criticism and mounting pressure over her failed efforts to steer the nation out of the European Union ( Brexit ) in a manner acceptable to increasingly rebellious lawmakers.

And Then We Danced, a movie about a young male folk dancer's gay awakening, premiered at the prestigious Cannes festival—but has caused a backlash in the conservative country of Georgia, RFE/RL noted. "There certainly was an expectation that there would be different reactions other than congratulations—our reality at home was obvious," lead actor Bachi Valishvili ( who's from Georgia ) said. "But we received so much positive feedback—and I want to thank everybody who has supported us and have said good things—that it creates a balance with the comments coming from the other side." Although homosexuality and gender change are legal in Georgia, society's view of the LGBT minority remains negative.

British supermarket Marks and Spencer is drawing criticism after selling a "gay sandwich" to celebrate Pride 2019, The New York Daily News noted. The sandwich, a BLT with guacamole ( or "LGBT" ), comes in a rainbow-colored container. There was some social-media backlash—but others said the LGBTQ+ community had much bigger fish to fry than a sandwich.


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