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WORLD Hong Kong decision, Pride flags, out Indian athlete
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2019-06-11

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In a victory for the LGBT community, Hong Kong's top court has ruled in favor of a gay civil servant applying for spousal and tax benefits for his husband, BBC.com reported. Angus Leung, a local immigration officer, had in 2014 legally married husband Scott Adams in New Zealand. But back in Hong Kong, Adams was unable to access the benefits civil servants' spouses are supposed to receive. The couple later sued the government, starting a four-year-long lawsuit in Hong Kong, where same-sex marriages are not recognized.

The Trump administration rejected requests from U.S. embassies to fly the rainbow-pride flag on embassy flagpoles during June, LGBTQ Pride Month, three U.S. diplomats told NBC News. The U.S. embassies in Israel, Germany, Brazil and Latvia are among those that have requested permission—and have been denied. However, several embassies and diplomats are defying the policy and flying the flag anyway, HuffPost noted. The U.S. embassy in New Delhi was illuminated with rainbow-colored lights, reported The Washington Post, which noted that rainbow-colored flags are still allowed inside embassies.

Despite all the support she has received since coming out as her country's first LGBT athlete, India's Dutee Chand has been disowned by her village, PinkNews noted. Locals from her home village in Odisha say Chand's coming-out is "humiliating." Chand's mother, Akhuji, said to the Indian Express: "I had been supporting her all along for her special interest in sports. We feel proud when she brings laurels for the State as well as the country. But I can not allow her if she wants to marry the girl. We belong to a traditional weaver community [that] does not permit such things."

A woman has spoken out about an ordeal in which she and her girlfriend were attacked by a gang of men on a London bus after they refused to kiss for their entertainment, Newsweek reported. Uruguay national Melania Geymonat, 28, posted a photo showing the aftermath of the assault in which she and her U.S. girlfriend, Chris, are covered in blood following the attack in the early hours of May 30 in the English capital. Geymonat uploaded the photo to Facebook along with a lengthy caption detailing the attack and calling for an end to "chauvinist, misogynistic and homophobic violence."

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has tapped a gay member of the Knesset to join his Cabinet, The Washington Blade noted. Amir Ohana will be the country's interim justice minister. Ohana, who is a member of Netanyahu's Likud party, is the first openly gay Cabinet member in the country's history.

Bhutan's lower house of parliament voted to scrap laws criminalizing homosexuality, local media and activists said—becoming the latest Asian nation to take steps toward easing restrictions on same-sex relationships, Openly News noted. Scrapping Sections 213 and 214 of the code, criminalizing "unnatural sex"—widely read as homosexuality—still needs to be ratified by Bhutan's upper house, the National Council, to become law.

Human-rights lawyer Doina Ioana Straisteanu—who works with LGBTI community in Moldova—was the victim of an arson attack, Gay Star News noted. Since 2010, Straisteanu has represented Moldova's only LGBTI organization, GENDER-DOC. She believed her work as an outspoken human-rights activist made her a target and also why police refused to act.

The Saint Lucia pride committee has launched a logo and theme in preparation for the country's first ever public LGBT pride celebration, St. Lucia Times noted. The logo features a heart-shaped splash in rainbow colors and black—reflecting the diversity of our human family. Also, a black fist emerges with the passion of ongoing activism to achieve full recognition of the human rights of LGBT people in the Caribbean. Pride is scheduled for Aug. 23-26.

LGBT tourism in Mexico has been growing steadily, up to 8 percent each year, as the gay-friendly destinations in the country also continue to grow, Vallarta Daily noted. According to Mariano Osores, president of the National Association of Commerce and Tourism LGBT of Mexico ( Cancotur ) , for about seven years, LGBT tourism has shown an increase and it is expected to continue that pace. Osore added that the destinations with the greatest affluence from the LGBT community are Mexico City, Puerto Vallarta, Cancun, Oaxaca, Puebla, Coahuila and Morelos.

Actor Sir Ian McKellen has launched a program to support LGBT people older than 50, Gay Star News noted. The English thespian has teamed with British charity LGBT Foundation to create Pride in Aging. The program was introduced at an event in Manchester on June 5 at the Barclays Eagle Lab in Manchester.

In Australia, a man mockingly dressed up as a member of the Ku Klux Klan ( KKK ) at Melbourne gay bar The Laird, reportedly saying "it's not KKK, it's gay gay gay," The Star Observer reported. The teams participating in a trivia contest were asked to complete a "dress-up" challenge, in which they had to utilize wrapping paper and sticky tape to dress a teammate up for points—leading to one team dressing up a teammate as a mock member of the KKK. In a statement from The Laird, co-owners Brett Lasham and Mark Carney said the venue was dedicated to being a safe space for all same-sex attracted cis and trans men.

Florence + the Machine are wrapping their 2019 tour with a special show Sept. 19 at The Acropolis in Athens, Billboard noted. The show will be Florence Welch's first in Athens in a decade, and the last of her world-spanning tour behind High As Hope, her critically acclaimed fourth album.


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