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WORLD Icelandic Pride, Peter Tatchell, World Cup
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2018-06-19

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Seyoisfjorour, a town in Iceland with only 700 residents, has created a rainbow path to show its support for its LGBTQ residents, LGBTQ Nation noted. The path, "Norourgata," was painted down the center of the main street through town, with both residents and local businesses taking part in painting the road in rainbow colors. Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland, hosts an annual pride celebration of its own, which usually attracts more than 100,000 people—roughly a third the population of the entire country.

Gay-rights campaigner Peter Tatchell has been detained in Moscow after protesting Russia's treatment of LGBT+ people, The Independent reported. He stood near the statue of Marshal Zhukov near Red Square and the Kremlin, holding a poster that read "Putin fails to act against Chechnya torture of gay people," before several police officers moved in to apprehend him. One-man protests are usually legal in Russia; however, during the World Cup, a temporary rule has been introduced in some areas, meaning even one-man protests are illegal.

The opening ceremony of the FIFA World Cup featured a welcome speech by Russian President Vladimir Putin, dancing and UK pop star Robbie Williams flipping the bird—which Fox apologized for, Deadline noted. The gesture came as Williams performed on the field at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow ahead of the opening game between Russia and Saudi Arabia, which kicked off the tournament that runs through July 15. It apparently didn't air in the UK but it very much did live on U.S. airwaves on Fox. Labour MP Chris Bryant said he was "disappointed" that Williams was going to perform at the ceremony, suggesting he should donate his fee to LGBT charities in the country, PinkNews noted.

In a related matter, a gay soccer fan was hospitalized in Russia after a vicious attack in St. Petersburg ahead of the FIFA World Cup, PinkNews reported. Also, LGBT-activist group Pride in Football revealed that it had been sent death threats saying that any gay fans going to the World Cup would be hunted down and stabbed. A gay couple were targeted after catching a taxi together, according to Telegram channel Operdrain; the main victim, O. Davrius, was taken to the hospital, where doctors discovered that he had a brain contusion, open craniocerebral injury and an upper jaw fracture.

The World Health Organization ( WHO ) will no longer classify being transgender as a mental disorder, NewNowNext.com reported. The WHO, an agency of the United Nations, released its latest version of the International Classification of Diseases—moving all trans-related categories out of mental disorders and into a new category of sexual-health conditions. The American Psychiatric Association removed "Gender Identity Disorder" from The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders ( DSM ) in 2012.

In Ireland, Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan has apologized in the Seanad to members of the LGBT community who suffered as a result of the criminalization of homosexuality, RTE.ie reported. He was speaking as both the Dail and Seanad prepare to debate a motion from the Labour Party on the 25th anniversary of the decriminalization of homosexuality in 1993. The minister also said Ireland is now celebrated around the world for the value which its citizens place on equality, following the same-sex marriage referendum in 2015.

The first pride parade held in one of the world's biggest refugee camps was a success, despite violence, Gay Star News noted. About 200 people attended the different Pride events at the Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya. Kenyan government officials and representatives from the United Nations attended the events, which included a trans fashion show and Pride parade.

The first member of the British royal family to come out as gay is set to marry, PinkNews noted. Lord Ivar Mountbatten opened about his sexuality in 2016 after a decades-long struggle. Later this summer, the royal—a cousin to Queen Elizabeth and the great-nephew of Earl Mountbatten of Burma—will wed long-term partner James Coyle, who was by his side when he revealed he was gay. The lord, who is the great-great-great grandson of Queen Victoria, will wed Coyle at a private chapel in Devon in front of the couple's close friends and family, including Mountbatten's three daughters from his previous marriage: Ella, Alix and Luli.

Seeking to build on the United States' fight for LGBTI equality to be a foreign policy priority both at home and abroad, U.S. Sen. Edward J. Markey ( D-Mass. ) and Congressman Alan Lowenthal ( CA-47 ) have introduced the International Human Rights Defense Act of 2018 in the House and Senate, a press release noted. More than 80 nations have enacted laws that criminalize the LGBTI community. The legislation can be found at https://www.markey.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/LGBTI%20Special%20Envoy.pdf.

Three well-known LGBTI rights advocates in the Mexican state of Guerrero were recently killed, The Washington Blade noted. Authorities found the bodies of Rubén Estrada, Roberto Vega and Carlos Uriel Lopez in Taxco, a city between the state capital of Chilpancingo and Mexico City that is popular with tourists. Estrada, 35, was the main organizer of Taxco's annual Pride march and a local gay beauty contest; Vega and Lopez, who was his partner, were also activists.

A man who killed a prominent transgender activist in Argentina has been jailed for life—becoming the first person to be sentenced under a legal provision specifically targeting anti-transgender crimes, PinkNews reported. Diana Sacayan, a campaigner for transgender equality and the first trans person in Argentina to gain legal gender recognition, was violently stabbed to death in her Buenos Aires home in October 2015. The activist's killer, Gabriel David Marino, received a life sentence from a Buenos Aires criminal court.

The new prime minister of Spain has chosen two openly gay men to serve as cabinet ministers, according to PinkNews. The cabinet of recently appointed leader Pedro Sanchez was announced as one of the most diverse cabinet offices in Europe. Sanchez—who became prime minister after a vote of no-confidence prompted former leader Mariano Rajoy to step down—appointed 11 women and six men ( including openly gay men Maxim Huerta and Fernando Grande-Marlaska ) to the cabinet.

A group of apparently coordinated agitators have been protesting Pride celebrations in rural Ontario, including targeting festivities and the homes of organizers, a Fierte Canada Pride press release stated. The organization expressed its concern given the high level of hate crime that LGBTQ2 Canadians experience. Fierte Canada Pride, the national association of Pride organizations, is working with local Pride organizations to help them consider appropriate security protocols should similar situations arise over the summer.

South Africa's National Department of Health will be providing a newer, more effective tuberculosis drug as part of the country's national care regimen for people living with multidrug-resistant tuberculosis ( MDR-TB ), a Doctors Without Borders press release noted. South Africa is the first country in the world to take this step aimed at increasing access to bedaquiline, a drug with fewer side effects that makes painful, less tolerable injectable treatments no longer necessary.

The Instagram account of the Warwick Rowers has been deleted without warning, PinkNews noted. On June 18, the rowing club best known for its nude annual fundraising calendar announced that their Instagram account had been deactivated. Proceeds from the iconic calendar benefit the Rowers' outreach program, Sport Allies, which works to eliminate homophobia in sports through education and support of young LGBT athletes. The team had more than 180,000 followers on the photo-sharing site. Instagram's content guidelines state it will remove images of "sexual intercourse, genitals, and close-ups of fully-nude buttocks."


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