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  WINDY CITY TIMES

WORLD Foreign aid policy, India trans council, torture claims, rainbow flag
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2020-08-24

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The lead U.S. foreign aid agency has proposed a new policy on gender and women's empowerment that eliminates any mention of transgender people or contraceptives, ProPublica reported. The draft policy released by the U.S. Agency for International Development was billed as an update and replacement to the original 2012 policy, released under the Obama administration. Also, the new policy doesn't use the acronym "LGBT" or its more inclusive variants, or the words "lesbian," "gay," "bisexual," "transgender" or "identity" at all. The 2012 policy mentions LGBT people twice—once in a footnote and once in a reference to partnering with LGBT advocates to advance gender equity.

In India, the Centre has formed a national council for transgender persons, headed by the Union social justice minster and comprising representatives from 10 central departments, five states and members of the community, Hindustan Times reported. The council—India's first and formed under Transgender Persons ( Protection of Rights ) Act, 2019—was announced in an Aug. 21 gazette notification. The council will have joint secretary-level members from the ministries of health, home, minority affairs, education, rural development, labor and law. In addition, there will be a member from each of the following: the department of pensions, think tank Niti Aayog, National Human Rights Commission and National Commission for Women.

Reuters reported that a town mayor and senior prison official in Uganda have been summoned to appear before a criminal court over allegations of torture, inhuman and degrading treatment against a group of LGBTQ+ youth, according to the youths' lawyers. Witnesses and the victims say Hajji Abdul Kiyimba, chairman of Kyengera town council, beat members of the group and bound them with ropes before marching them barefoot to a nearby police station as onlookers jeered and threatened them.

Alexander Donskoy—a gay Russian performance artist and former mayor of the city of Arkhangelsk—flew a giant rainbow flag toward the Kremlin in Moscow as an act of protest, Out.com noted. The flag, which was lifted by dozens of rainbow-colored balloons in Manezhnaya Square, sent a message to the Russian government, which continues to enforce a so-called "gay propaganda" law since 2013 that prohibits "promotion" of anything outside of what they consider traditional family values to minors. Donskoy came out as gay in October 2017 and has since used his voice to shed light on Putin's anti-LGBTQ+ agenda.

A group of members of the European Parliament ( MEPs ) called on the European Commission to react to a mass arrest of LGBT activists in Poland, potentially escalating a conflict between the bloc and its largest eastern member over gay rights, Reuters reported. On Aug. 8, Polish police arrested 48 LGBT activists who were demonstrating against the detention of Malgorzata Szutowicz, or Margot—a non-binary activist accused of hanging flags on statues of Jesus and others and destroying a van belonging to an anti-abortionist. French MEP Pierre Karleskind said he had mobilized 64 MEPs to officially refer the matter to the European Union's executive arm.

Hungary Prime Minister Viktor Orban said that Central European nations should unite to preserve their Christian roots as western Europe experiments with same-sex families, immigration and atheism, NBC News reported. Orban, a nationalist who has been in power for more than a decade, was speaking at an event to inaugurate a monument commemorating the Treaty of Trianon, which was signed after World War I and led to Europe's maps being redrawn. "Western Europe had given up on ... a Christian Europe, and instead experiments with a godless cosmos, rainbow families, migration and open societies," Orban said.

In the United Kingdom, a father who was accused of giving his 15-year-old son 20 lashes with a cable because he caught the son with a gay app was sentenced to 18 months of prison, LGBTQ Nation reported. "In my judgement, this cruel and brutal punishment was motivated by his sexuality," the judge, Marcus Pilgerstorfer, said at sentencing. The father pled guilty and his lawyer said that he is a "loving father" who wasn't mad that his son is bisexual, but instead he was mad that the teen posted a pics of himself on Grindr.

In Turkey, the Radio and Television Supreme Council ( RTUK ) fined five broadcasters for various reasons—such as having a program that featured same-sex relationships, Bianet.org reported. The TLC TV was imposed a monetary penalty fined over its "Extraordinary Pregnancies" program for "depicting homosexual relationships as normal." The program that presented two women as parents having a child was "against the society's spiritual values" and "harmed gender roles and the social structure," according to the RTUK.

Bermuda's final day in court to settle same-sex marriage has been set for Feb. 3-4, 2021, The Royal Gazette reported. The matter was sent on to the final court of appeal in London after the Bermuda government appealed a Bermuda Court of Appeal ruling that opened the way for same-sex marriages in 2018. In 2019, Bermuda recorded four same-sex marriages, as well as two same-sex unions on Bermudian-registered ships.

In India, Kolkata's transgender commuters will now have designated seats in some of the city's public buses, The Times of India reported. The person behind the idea is 23-year-old Sobhan Mukherjee, who was also instrumental in setting up restrooms for trans people throughout the city.

BBC presenter Graham Norton announced the publication of his third novel, Home Stretch, after finishing the book during lockdown, The Southern Star noted. Norton is set to release the novel in October, making it his fifth overall book release to date. Norton said that this novel is his most personal so far, and its rural setting seems to be once again inspired by his native West Cork. Norton will narrate the audio version of the book; the paperback copy is available for pre-order now.

Toronto joins Auckland, Brisbane, Guadalajara, Munich, San Diego, Taipei and Valencia as cities vying to host the 2026 Gay Games, GlobalNews.ca reported. The Gay Games is both a sport and cultural event that will attract 10,000 athletes in more than 35 sports. There are no qualifying standards, and the Games are open to anyone who wants to participate. More than 2,000 people will also take part in cultural activities and a human-rights conference.

Cantopop singer Terence Siufay recently came out of the closet when he was a guest on former TVB exec Stephen Chan's YouTube show, TodayOnline.com reported. A few years back, a number of media outlets had ran reports speculating about the entertainer's sexual orientation after they discovered that Terence was following a number of social media accounts that routinely posted pictures of scantily-clad men. At that time, Siufay denied the rumors, saying that while he was not gay, he does not discriminate against homosexuality.


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