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WORLD Leaders conference, Germany's ban, colonial-era laws
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times

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On Nov. 13-16, LGBTQ Victory Institute will bring together more than 550 LGBTQ elected officials, advocates and other leaders for four days of programming aimed at strengthening the power of LGBTQ leaders worldwide, an organizational press release stated. The 2019 International LGBTQ Leaders Conference ( to be in Washington, D.C. ) will feature more than 140 LGBTQ elected officials—including U.S. Reps. David Cicilline, Angie Craig and Sharice Davids, former Colombian Congressmember Alberto de Belaunde and Virginia Delegate Danica Roem. Allied U.S. representatives to attend include Deb Haaland and Pramila Jayapal, and non-politician speakers are slated to include Party of European Socialists LGBTI Rights Adviser Jose Santoro, The AIDS Institute Deputy Executive Director Carl Schmid and Google Strategic Outreach & Senior Partnerships Counsel Chanelle Hardy, among others.

A draft law has been published in Germany aimed at banning so-called "gay conversion therapy" in most cases nationwide, the BBC reported. The law is aimed at teens; consenting adults can still request the service, but they would have to show that they had not been deceived, coerced or threatened into taking part. Any violation could result in a fine or up to a year in prison. Research suggests the controversial practice can lead to depression and increase the risk of suicide.

The Eastern Caribbean Alliance for Diversity and Equality ( ECADE ) announced the launch of five legal challenges to the remnants of colonial-era laws, the St. Lucia Star reported. The claims—all expected to be filed before the end of 2019—will challenge the buggery and indecency laws in Barbados, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada and Saint Lucia. The intention to file these cases challenging the constitutionality of the laws is the result of a process that started with a meeting organised by United and Strong of Saint Lucia and GrenCHAP of Grenada in 2015. Adult, consensual, same-sex intimacy is criminalized in nine Caribbean countries—all of which are members of the Commonwealth.

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce married longterm partner Shane Lloyd in a ceremony overlooking Sydney's famous harbor, .au reported. The pair tied the knot on the rooftop of The Museum of Contemporary Art in Circular Quay in front of about 120 family, friends and business executives. Joyce was a key campaigner for same-sex marriage—personally donating $1 million to the campaign—and the nuptials happened nearly two years after the Yes vote.

In Toronto, a man was charged with a hate-motivated assault after a gay bashing in Newmarket, The Toronto Sun reported. Police said the victim of the assault had been sitting in his vehicle which had a rainbow logo on it when an attacker yelled a homophobic slur; the assailant hit the victim and broke his phone before fleeing. Umair Ahmad Qurashi, 33, was charged with assault and mischief.

Janne Puhakka, a 24-year-old former forward for the Finnish pro hockey teams Espoo Blue and Espoo United, came out as gay, Outsports noted. "He's the first ice hockey player in the Finnish Championship League to dare to publicly claim to be homosexual," the Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat reported. "Ideally, you wouldn't have to talk about it," he said. "But as long as the topic has been silent, we have to talk about it." He added he hoped his coming out would help other players to do the same in the future.

A woman in Cape Town, South Africa, attempted to sue her husband for R9million ( about $600,000 ) after discovering he is gay, Queerty noted, citing Times Live. The pair had been married for just under six years when he came out to her. Judge Mark Sher criticized the 368-page Rule 43 application ( a legal attempt to obtain money for maintenance ahead of a divorce settlement ), which he said had included everything but "the proverbial kitchen sink" and, in his eyes, constituted an abuse of process. Sher dismissed the case, and ordered the woman's attorney to forfeit his fees and pay the husband's costs.

A gay couple in Canada sparked anger on social media for their questionable Halloween costumes, noted. Marty Fortier and Manuel Navarro, from Toronto, each posted a photograph of their ensembles on Instagram that were criticized as racist. Fortier dressed as a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officer in a T-shirt and hat printed with ICE, aviator sunglasses, and a badge hanging from his neck; Navarro, sporting a sombrero, mustache, and serape sash over a bare torso, resembled a caricature of a Mexican man. After the backlash, the men removed the images from their accounts.

Two Queen-related releases came out in the last month, Forbes noted. Never Boring—a three-CD/one-DVD/one-Blu-ray collection—focuses on Freddie Mercury's solo music recorded during the 1980s. Also, Queen + Bejart: Ballet for Life—currently available on DVD, Blu-ray and digital platforms—revisits a seminal collaboration with a new documentary directed by Lynne Wake and Simon Lupton. The new documentary highlights young lives cut short during their prime—especially Mercury and Bejart dancer Jorge Donn, both of whom died of AIDS a year apart from each other in the early 1990s.

Kmart Australia recently introduced a line of doll families featuring same-sex parents, noted. The discount department store chain's Sydney and Melbourne locations have already reported selling out of the new doll sets, which come with a mom and dad, two moms or two dads, the Star-Observer reported. The $15 "Family Playset—Assorted" doll packs ( which lack ethnic/multiracial families ) are also available online, but the retailer stated, "We cannot guarantee which design you will receive as products are selected at random for online orders."

The UK show Strictly Come Dancing moved viewers to tears with the show's first ever same-sex dance, Gay Times reported. On Nov. 3, professional dancers Johannes Radebe and Graziano di Prima made history when they performed to Emeli Sande's 2019 romantic pop anthem "Shine." Speaking to Hello Magazine, Radebe said: "I've never felt so liberated. For the first time in my life, I feel accepted for who I am. That says so much about the people of this country."

Nigel Farage, leader of the United Kingdom's Brexit Party, described British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's divorce deal with the European Union as a "sellout" and threatened to run a national election campaign against him unless he promises to ditch the agreement, The Wall Street Journal noted. The intervention by Farage as he launched his party's election campaign on Nov. 1 highlights the challenge Johnson faces in uniting pro-Brexit voters behind his Conservative Party in the Dec. 12 election.

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