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WORLD India's Section 377, Stonewall charity, Andy Cohen
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2018-05-08

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In its ongoing deliberations over whether to repeal Section 377 of the India's penal code, the country's Supreme Court asked the Indian government to explain its stand on consensual sexual relations between same-sex adults, Gay Star News reported. It has given the government until July to return with an answer. LGBTI advocates have declared the ultimatum a "watershed" moment in the ongoing campaign to legalize homosexuality in the country.

A co-founder of Stonewall was honored with Welsh Labour's inaugural LGBT-rights award, PinkNews reported. Lisa Power, who helped found what is now the UK's largest LGBT-rights charity, was presented with the award by UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and First Minister of Wales Carwyn Jones. The Lily Summers Award for LGBTQ activism is named after the transgender Labour activist of the same name, who died in 2016.

The Israel Ministry of Tourism announced that Bravo executive producer and talk/radio-show host Andy Cohen will serve as the official international ambassador of Tel Aviv Pride 2018, a press release noted. Tel Aviv Pride Week will take place June 3-10. Tel Aviv Pride is one of the largest Prides in the world and the biggest of all of Asia and the Middle East. In 2017, more than 200,000 people from Israel and around the world participated in the Tel Aviv Pride Parade.

A bakery owned by a Christian family asked Britain's Supreme Court to overturn a ruling that it discriminated against a gay customer for refusing to make a cake supporting same-sex marriage, STL.news reported. In 2014, Ashers Baking Co. in Northern Ireland refused to make a cake iced with the "Sesame Street" characters Bert and Ernie and the slogan "Support Gay Marriage." David Scoffield, lawyer for the bakery's owners, argued Tuesday that the family should not be compelled to create a product "to which they have a genuine objection in conscience."

The army's top lawyer, Brig. Gen. Sharon Afek, will be promoted to the rank of major general—becoming the first openly gay officer in the Israel Defense Forces to hold that rank, The Times of Israel reported. In addition to the change in rank, the military advocate general will have a fixed tenure of five years, with the option for a sixth, "depending on the needs of the IDF chief of staff and the agreement of the military advocate general," the army said. In the past, the position was open-ended.

In Japan, sexual minorities and their supporters have paraded in central Tokyo to promote equality and greater awareness of LGBT issues, NHK World reported. The organizer says a record 37 organizations, including companies and embassies, supported the seventh annual event. The participants in the event in the Shibuya and Harajuku districts stressed the importance of tolerance in society.

Pride Toronto Executive Director Olivia Nuamah told those who attended Pride's official launch that they're asking all parade attendees to wear black to mourn the loss of the eight victims of alleged Gay Village serial killer Bruce McArthur and the 10 victims of the April 23 Yonge St. van rampage, the Toronto Sun reported. Also, a #BlackMarch will occur at the end of the June 24 parade, followed by a moment of silence to honour the lives lost.

Russia's media regulator is shutting down an HIV health website as it continues to target LGBT+ websites in a media censorship crackdown, PinkNews reported. The Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, known as Roskomnadzor, has ruled that LGBT+ portal/health website Parni PLUS ( Guys Plus ) can no longer run, as it allegedly "promotes unconventional sexual relations." Although the website will be able to appeal to decision, efforts to save the domain don't look bright.

A 28-year-old man and a teenager have been convicted of raping two men they met through gay dating app Grindr, the BBC reported. Mohammed Khan and the 17-year-old Slovakian national called themselves "two discreet lads" on the app. They arranged to meet the men at their homes, where they attacked them. The teenager, along with Afzaal Hassan, 20, from West Calder, West Lothian, and Julius Horvath, 20, from Glasgow, were also found guilty of attacking and attempting to rob another man. All four men had denied the charges at the High Court in Livingston.

Lesbian Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson announced that she is pregnant with her first child, according to Yahoo News. The 39-year-old opposition leader—heralded a political pioneer for her progressive stances and seen as her party's saviour in Scotland after a period of decline—expects to give birth towards the end of the year. An outspoken advocate for same-sex marriage, she and Irish partner Jen Wilson were "delighted" about the news, Davidson said.

Even the Nobel Prize in Literature has been hit by a sex scandal, Page Six noted. For the first time since 1949, the award will not be handed out, the Swedish Academy, which bestows the prestigious prize, announced. The 2018 award will be postponed until next year as the academy reels from a #MeToo scandal. Swedish reports allege 18 women were sexually harassed by Jean-Claude Arnault, a photographer married to an academy member, poet Katarina Frostenson, and whose cultural center got academy funding.

A candidate standing for election to Westminster Council in London who previously suggested gay sex was "immoral" has failed to win her seat, Gay Star News reported. Hillary Su was one of the new Conservative candidates hoping to secure a place on the council. However, the central London district has been heavily targeted by Labour party candidates who hoped to take control.

A griffon vulture raised by gay parents has been released into the wild as part of a conservation program, the BBC reported. Artis Amsterdam Royal Zoo set two birds free in Sardinia, a year after they were born in the Dutch capital. One of the chicks was raised by two male vultures in a long-term relationship.

LGBT travel firm OutofOffice.com acquired Out4You, the company behind the TravelGayAsia.com and TravelGayEurope.com websites, TravelWeekly.co.uk reported. The deal, for a reported six-figure sum, comes as OutofOffice.com aims to raise 10 million pounds to invest in growth of the TravelGay brand. OutofOffice.com was founded in 2016, and specializes in tailor-made holidays to LGBT-friendly destinations.

On the Australian version of the TV show The Voice, Boy George stirred controversy by inviting a contestant ( Sam Perry ) on his team—and then since questioned it was fair for Perry to be on a singing show, since he performed Prince's "When Doves Cry" using vocal looping and beatboxing, the Sydney Morning Herald noted. "You're a red sock in a white wash," George said to the singer before arguing with co-judge Kelly Rowland about Perry's eligibility. "This is The Voice and you're not really a singer." Rowland selected Perry to join her team.


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