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WORLD Iran report, Uruguay Pride parade, anti-gay terrorist
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2020-09-29

This article shared 1119 times since Tue Sep 29, 2020
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A new survey—"Hidden Wounds: A Research Report on Violence Against LGBTI in Iran," published by the Iranian Lesbian and Transgender Network, 6Rang—is shedding light on the atrocities LGBTQ+ Iranians face on a daily basis, Out.com reported. Researchers spoke to 230 self-identifying LGBTQ+ Iranians who responded to an extensive online survey over a three-month period. Among the findings were that 69 percent of all participants chose not to report assaults to authorities, citing that they "rarely" if "ever" have or will seek assistance from police; and that 63 percent of participants reported having experienced violence by their families. Twenty-eight percent reported physical and verbal violence while being detained by police, and 13 percent reported experiencing sexual violence.

Rainbow colors and chants rang out in Uruguay's capital, Montevideo, as thousands gathered for the annual LGBT pride parade wearing masks—undeterred by the pandemic, The Canberra Times reported. A gigantic rainbow flag and three vehicles with mobile DJs and dance music accompanied the march on Friday along the Libertador avenue, as people demanded an end to discrimination against the LGBTIQ community and celebrated their rights under the slogan "Pride is fight." Protest chants such as "el Estado opresor es un macho violador" ( "the oppressive state is a misogynist rapist" ) and dance routines along with protest songs such as "Todos me miran" ( "Everyone stares at me" ) rang out on the streets.

An anti-gay terrorist and neo-Nazi from Russia was found dead in his prison cell, Queerty noted. Maxim Martsinkevich led the group "Occupy Pedophilia," which made a sport out of forcing young gay and bisexual men in their teens and early 20s to perform degrading and abusive acts on camera. In 2014, Martsinkevich was arrested and sentenced to five years in prison for his crimes; after fleeing to Cuba, he was eventually captured, extradited back to Russia, and put in jail, where he had been ever since. It is believed Martsinkevich died by suicide; however, his lawyer, Ivan Sidorov, said he wants a murder investigation launched.

A New Zealand lesbian has opened up about her harrowing experiences of abuse in hopes of helping others, Out.com reported. Joan Bellingham is one of many survivors sharing their stories as part of the ongoing Abuse in Care Royal Commission of Inquiry, a royal commission established in 2018 by the New Zealand government to investigate abuses by health care officials in state and faith-based hospitals between 1950 and 1999. During a filmed testimony published by the New Zealand Herald on behalf of the royal commission, Bellingham said she was placed in and out of a hospital over 12 years and was subjected to electroconvulsive therapy ( ECT ) more than 200 times during this time simply because of her sexual orientation.

In the United Kingdom, a tribunal reserved judgement in the case of a Christian school worker who was sacked for comments criticizing LGBTQ lessons on Facebook, the BBC noted. Kristie Higgs was dismissed for gross misconduct by Farmor's School in Fairford, Gloucestershire, last year after sharing two posts. At the employment tribunal in Bristol, she claimed her firing breached her freedoms of speech and religion.

More than three years ago, the Chilean government sent a bill to Congress to uphold same-sex marriage; however, the bill has not moved forward and Chile has been taking steps backward, Human Rights Watch stated. For example, there was the June decision by the Constitutional Court, denying a request by a lesbian couple who were married in Spain and have a child, to have their marriage recognized in Chile. The National Congress passed a civil-union law in 2015 that granted same-sex couples some of the rights of marriage.

TikTok apologized for suppressing LGBT+ content in the past, with a director telling British lawmakers that the company now removed LGBT+ images only when required to do so by law enforcement agencies. The video-streaming app came under fire last year over reports it censored depictions of homosexuality, such as two men kissing or holding hands, and artificially prevented posts from LGBT+ users from going viral in some countries. TikTok Director of Public Policy in Europe the Middle East and Africa Theo Bertram told a British parliamentary committee, "I'm really sorry; we really got that wrong."

Prominent Taiwanese LGBT-rights activist Chi Chia-wei was among those selected for TIME's 100 most influential people of 2020, Taiwan News noted. Chi, 62, said his initial reaction to the news that he had been chosen for this year's list was that it was fake. He later said it is an honor to be included along with President Tsai Ing-wen, who wrote a text to endorse Chi for the list.

German politician Friedrich Merz said he "regrets" offending people after suggesting homosexuality is fine if it "does not affect children," PinkNews noted. Merz—a candidate seeking to become chair of Angela Merkel's centre-right CDU party—had made the comments last week when asked by Bild whether he would have issues with a gay man becoming chancellor of Germany. Opponents called for Merz to apologizse for the "backwards" conflation between homosexuality and pedophilia, with SPD General Secretary Lars Klingbeil saying, "To always suspect that gay people target children shows backwards thinking."

Japan Airlines will stop using the the phrase "ladies and gentlemen" in during in-flight and airport announcements to be more inclusive of trans and non-binary people, according to PinkNews. From Oct. 1, JAL "will abolish expressions that based on ( two types of ) sex and use gender-friendly expressions" like "good morning" and "good evening," a spokesperson for the airline told AFP. Japan Airlines is the first Japanese airline to adopt this more inclusive approach, and it seems others could follow suit after a spokesperson for rival ANA Holdings told AFP they would "study the issue based on comments from our customers."

For the first time in Vogue magazine herstory, a drag queen is on the cover—and there are actually two, Out.com noted. For the October issue of Vogue Brazil, the publication has chosen Pabllo Vittar and Gloria Groove as the cover stars. Vittar has been awarded multiple trophies from MTV and has been nominated for a Latin Grammy, while Groove hosts Netflix's newest drag reality show, A Queen is Born.

British writer J.K. Rowling promoted an online store that sells transphobic merchandise, including pins that say, "Transwomen are men," LGBTQ Nation reported. The Harry Potter author plugged a T-shirt to her more than 14 million Twitter followers that said, "This witch doesn't burn"—possibly a reference to how she has faced criticism for her constant anti-transgender remarks over the last several months. In the tweet, she directed people to the online store that sells the T-shirt: the wild womyn workshop, a U.K.-based online store that bills itself as selling "a range of unique and beautifully designed items for radical womyn," including anti-trans items.

Speaking of Rowling, Pointless host Alexander Armstrong and Death in Paradise star Ben Miller have joined Graham Linehan and supporters of the LGB Alliance in signing an open letter purporting to 'stand in solidarity' with Rowling, PinkNews reported. Armstrong and Miller, previously a comedy double-act, were among more than 50 public figures and anti-trans campaigners who signed the letter published in The Sunday Times that condemns the "insidious, authoritarian and misogynistic" opposition to Rowling on social media.

A schoolteacher whose body, face and tongue are covered in tattoos and who has had the whites of his eyes surgically turned black said he was prevented from teaching at a French kindergarten after a parent complained he scared a child, CNN.com noted. But the teacher, Sylvain Helaine, 35, still teaches children 6 and older and said that—after an initial shock when they see him for the first time—his pupils see past his appearance.


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