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WORLD Hong Kong, Theresa May, concentration camp
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times

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The Hong Kong government conceded that seven local laws targeting sexual activities involving gay men were inconsistent with the city's mini-constitution that provides that all residents are equal before the law, The South China Morning Post reported. The seven offenses came under scrutiny following a judicial review lodged by Yeung Chu-wing, a volunteer from local sexual minorities rights group Rainbow Action, who is demanding that the High Court declare them unconstitutional.

British Prime Minister Theresa May has announced the right to enter civil partnerships will now extend to opposite-sex couples, Gay Star News noted. Previously, opposite-sex couples living together did not have the same rights as married couples or same-sex couples in civil partnerships. The government said data showed 3.3 millions opposite-couples live together in the United Kingdom.

Chechnya has begun the torture of LGBTQ people, creating the first concentration camps in Europe since World War II, reported. According to a report in The Week, at least 100 gay men were detained—and three killed —in concentration camps since late September. Those detained in the camps are forced to agree to leave Chechnya. Chechneyan President Razman Kadyrov, who has long been staunchly anti-gay, is said to have ordered the creation of these camps.

Romania set Oct. 6-7 as the dates for a referendum to change the constitutional definition of marriage to a union between a man and a woman—aimed at preventing same-sex partnerships from ever being legal in one of the few EU states to still ban them, NBC News noted. The group Coalition for the Family has collected 3 million signatures in favor of the change. However, Romania's top court ruled in late September that same-sex couples should have the same family rights as heterosexuals—a judgment that, of course, comes ahead of the national referendum, reported.

A gay kindergarten teacher in China is suing his former school after being fired last month, in what his lawyer called a landmark case to test China's protection of minority groups, Reuters reported. The teacher ( who declined to be identified ) was dismissed in August from a school in the city of Qingdao after he posted some comment on social media about an LGBT event he had attended. His attorney said the teacher was asked to leave without sufficient severance or payment for his 10-percent stake in the school.

A gay teacher in Zimbabwe has resigned after he came out to students last week and received death threats as a result, reported. Neal Hovelmeier was deputy head for St. John's College—a high school for boys ages 12 to 18, and where he had worked there for the past 15 years. The decision came ahead of a Zimbabwean newspaper's planned expose outing him, according to a letter from the school's chairman, BBC noted.

Switzerland has voted to change its penal code to make homophobia and transphobia as illegal as racism, Gay Star News noted. The National Council voted 118-60 to make it illegal to discriminate against someone based on sexual or gender identity. National councillor Mathias Reynard said he will now push to make marriage equality legal in Switzerland. The country has allowed registered same-sex civil partnerships since 2007.

The Pakistani federal government has hired its first transgender employee, PinkNews reported. The Benazir Income Support Program announced the historic hire in a letter dated Sept. 26 that stated the new employee would join the Islamabad headquarters as a cook in its cafeteria. "It is still unbelievable I got a respectable government job on merit and now I will be able to earn money with full respect and dignity," said the new employee, known as Nomi, talking to the Pakistani newspaper The Express Tribune.

Italian courts have convicted Ciro Guarente of the murder of Vincenzo Ruggiero, a noted Italian gay-rights activist, noted. Guarente murdered Ruggiero in June 2017 before chopping up his body and attempting to dissolve it in acid. At the time of Ruggiero's death, Guarente maintained a relationship with Ruggiero's roommate Heven Grimaldi, a transgender woman; possibly motivated by jealousy, Guarente shot and killed Ruggiero while Grimaldi had left town.

Gay-rights campaigners lauded a speech from United Nations ( UN ) Chief Antonio Guterres in support of the LGBT community—but added that action must follow those words, Voice of America News noted. In the first address by the head of the United Nations to the UN LGBTI Core Group—established in 2008 to oversee gay rights globally—Guterres said the multinational body would boost efforts to end anti-LGBT+ abuse and violence. Amir Ashour, executive director of Iraqi LGBT-rights group IraQueer, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation that Gutreres' comments "normalize LGBT+ rights and acknowledge them as a part of human rights," but added "the secretary-general and the U.N. need to constantly ... and actively work on encouraging them to change policies."

Trans students in Canada are now allowed to compete on teams that are consistent with their gender identity after a governing organisation changed its rules, PinkNews reported. The policy is in effect and says that students will only be able to participate in sports as one gender for a given academic year, and they must also comply with the anti-doping program.

OutRight Action International reacted to U.S. President Donald Trump's recent speech before the United Nations. In a press release, Executive Director Jessica Stern said, in part, "President Trump is short-sighted when he asks nations to 'choose a future of patriotism.' That ignores the fact that we are all different in some way. Plurality and diversity make all our nations stronger. The future lies in embracing our collective differences."

Canadian Olympic gold medallist Gillian Apps and longtime archrival and captain of the U.S. Olympic championship team Meghan Duggan recently married in in Pownal, Maine, reported. Apps, 34, retired from Olympic hockey in 2015, but not before scoring 50 goals and racking 100 points during her international career. Duggan led Team USA to a gold-medal win over Canada at the PyeongChang 2018 Olympics in South Korea—a first for the team in 20 years.

The International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association ( IGLTA ) opened registration for its 36th Annual Global Convention, a press release noted. The conference will unfold April 24-27, 2019, at the New York Hilton Midtown. It is the first time in IGLTA's history that the convention will take place in New York City, which takes on greater significance as 2019 is the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising. See

In an unprecedented development, Bianca Del Rio is to perform a show at one of Britain's biggest and most iconic venues: Wembley Arena, Gay Star News noted. The RuPaul's Drag Race alumna will play at the London venue on Sept. 21, 2019. The performance is part of Del Rio's It's Jester Joke tour that will also take her to Plymouth, Brighton, Birmingham and Liverpool next year.

Tennis Channel and the Women's Tennis Association ( WTA ) have reached a five-year agreement that will make the network the U.S. television and digital media home of the WTA, beginning in January 2019, reported. Running from the first week of January through late October's annual tour championships, the partnership includes Premier and International tournaments as well as the WTA Finals—representing more than 2,000 matches each season.

Sharon Osbourne is leaving the British version of The X Factor, Page Six noted. The reality-show judge was due to appear on the live shows of the ITV series but has stepped down, claiming she doesn't "think she's needed." This comes amid British tabloid reports that she was fired after a scorching interview with Howard Stern, where she called contestants "little s—ts" and the show "f—king karaoke."

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