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  WINDY CITY TIMES

WORLD Intersex survey, Russian activist, Polish publication
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2019-07-30

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Kenya will, for the first time, collect data on intersex people in its national population census, in a major victory for rights activists, the BBC reported. The August survey will determine the number of citizens who do not identify as either male or female. There are thought to be more than 700,000 intersex people in Kenya out of a general population of 49 million. Intersex people often face violence and discrimination in the socially conservative country.

A prominent Russian LGBTI activist was found dead in St. Petersburg, The Washington Blade reported. The woman, Yelena Gregoryeva, 41, was an outspoken and prominent activist in the city, having campaigned with the Alliance of Heterosexual and LGBT for Equality and other civil-rights organizations. She was fatally stabbed, and police detained a 40-year-old man in connection to the killing. On July 23, several dozen demonstrators rallied in St. Petersburg to mourn her death, RFERL.org reported.

A Polish news magazine has announced plans to distribute stickers proclaiming an "LGBT-free zone" to its readers, CNN.com reported. The right-wing weekly publication Gazeta Polska said it will include the stickers, which feature an image of a black cross over a Pride flag alongside the inflammatory slogan. "I am disappointed and concerned that some groups use stickers to promote hatred and intolerance," U.S. Ambassador to Poland Georgette Mosbacher tweeted.

Japan's first openly gay male lawmaker, Taiga Ishikawa, said he believed the country would legalize same-sex marriage—months after Taiwan became the first place in Asia to allow gay unions, Reuters noted. Ishikawa was elected to parliament's upper house July 21 on a platform calling for marriage equality. Japan's laws on LGBT+ issues are relatively liberal compared with many Asian countries, with same-sex relations being legal since 1880, although being openly gay remains largely taboo. Same-sex marriage is illegal and Japan's prime minister, Shinzo Abe, has opposed efforts to legalize it.

In a related matter, lawyers in Japan have asked the government to swiftly legalize same-sex marriage, arguing that the current legal procedures go against the Constitution, NHK reported. The Japan Federation of Bar Associations submitted an opinion paper to the government. It began compiling the document after a group of more than 450 people submitted a claim for human rights relief to the organization in 2015.

The Western Hemisphere's human-rights tribunal has given Barbados three months to answer a petition to have its laws against same-sex intimacy struck down, Barbados Today reported. The challenge to the laws—filed by a trans woman, Alexa Hoffmann, and two other Barbadians, a lesbian and a gay man—has been reviewed by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights ( IACHR ) in the last year. The IACHR sent the Government a copy of the petition challenging sections 9 and 12 of the Sexual Offences Act.

A proposed law to protect the rights of transgender people in India falls short of the country's human-rights obligations, Human Rights Watch said in a statement. The organization claims the Transgender Persons ( Protection of Rights ) Bill, 2019—introduced in parliament on July 19—is unclear on a transgender person's right to self-identify, which India's Supreme Court recognized in a landmark judgment in 2014. The group also said even though the bill says that a transgender person "shall have a right to self-perceived gender identity," its language could be interpreted to mean transgender people are required to have certain surgeries before legally changing their gender.

Openly gay priest Jide Macaulay wants to end the stigma around being HIV-positive, PinkNews revealed. Macaulay discovered he was HIV-positive on a routine check up, and said he immediately "was hit with a shock." He founded House of Rainbow to create a safe environment for BAME and LGBT+ communities and was recently the subject of a BBC documentary about being gay and religious. After being diagnosed with HIV in 2003, the Church of England deacon feared leaving his house. Now, 16 years later, he wants to change the conversation around HIV—especially within his faith community.

The Hong Kong government has amended its rulebook to allow same-sex couples to file joint tax returns—a month after a historic victory for the LGBT community in a case over spousal rights handed down by the city's top court, the South China Morning Post revealed. In a written reply to the Post's inquiry, a spokeswoman for the Inland Revenue Department confirmed the latest change, and said same-sex married couples could now submit joint tax assessment through the electronic filing system or in paper form.

A "Rainbow Cruise" from Shenzhen to Da Nang had more than 1,000 gay Chinese and their families, the South China Morning Post related. During the five-day return voyage, guests could attend workshops, talks and activities including speed dating on board the cruise ship, and get support and advice on LGBT issues; it was also a place for some to come out of the closet. In its third year, the annual event in June was organized by PFLAG China—an NGO-based in Guangzhou that supports the LGBT community, their parents and friends.

A petition has been set up calling on the United Kingdom government to launch a public inquiry into "transphobic" national media, PinkNews noted. In part, the petition states, "Transgender people are now exposed to significant hate. On 27/06/19 the BBC revealed that recorded hate crimes against transgender people had increased by 81% since 2016/17. Many news groups continue to allege that trans people are a risk to others, and misrepresent the law." The petition was set up by Rebecca Stinson, an equality and human-rights campaigner.

Male and female students will be allowed to wear skirts at a school in Taiwan after it announced plans to drop gender-specific uniforms—a move LGBT+ campaigners said was a boost for gender equality, Reuters reported. The change came after male students and teachers at Banqiao Senior High School near Taipei wore skirts in May during a weeklong campaign seeking to break down gender stereotypes. The school—in New Taipei City, just outside the capital—has more than 2,000 students ages 16-18.

A new security feature rolling out on Tinder will help protect LBGTQ+ users who travel to dozens of nations that still criminalize same-sex acts or relationships, TechCrunch stated. As part of the update, users who identify on the app as LGBTQ will no longer automatically appear on Tinder when they arrive in a hostile state. This feature, which Tinder calls the Traveler Alert, relies on your phone's network connection to determine its location; from there, it will give users the choice to keep their locations private.


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