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WORLD Librarian's death, Baja OKs marriage equality, parade news
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times

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The National Human Rights Commission of Myanmar will investigate the death of gay librarian Kyaw Zin Win, Gay Star News noted. The librarian, 26, shared details of homophobic bullying from colleagues in a Facebook post before taking his own life recently. Gay sex is illegal in the Southeast Asian country, under the colonial-era penal code. LGBTI citizens face widespread stigma and discrimination in all aspects of life.

Marriage equality has been approved in the Mexican area of Baja California Sur, BCS Noticias ( translated ) reported. Among the changes to the Civil Code, which included the Draft Decree, was the modification of Article 150. Before, it said that marriage should be "of one man and only one woman" for the purpose of "perpetuation of the species"—and now it reads that "it is the free union of two people to realize the community of life."

Police pushed back crowds celebrating Istanbul's 17th gay pride march on June 30—an event Turkish authorities had banned for the fifth year in a row—by using tear gas, reported. The rally, on a side street off Istanbul's main pedestrian avenue, drew several hundred people who cheered and waved rainbow flags. Organizers said the Istanbul governor's office banned the march from the central Taksim district.

North Macedonia held its first Gay Pride march on June 29, in a test of the conservative Balkan country's record on respecting minority rights as it seeks to join the European Union, Reuters reported. Several hundred gay and human rights activists marched through central Skopje, dancing and waving a long, trademark rainbow flag. The event was also attended by state officials and Skopje-based diplomats.

The first pride parade taking place during the official Pride Month in Nepal had participants swaying their bodies to a diverse range of anthems in Maitighar ( Fibwa-Khya ), The Himalayan Times reported. Hundreds of participants with decorative face paintings ( being done on the spot by some participants themselves ), colorful umbrellas, and vibrant clothes flooded the Mandala area in anticipation of the parade. The parade was organized by Queer Youth Group ( QYG ) and Queer Rights Collective, in collaboration with various organizations.

A gay London man claims he lost his LGBT officer role in his Labour party to a straight man, Gay Star News noted. Academic and Councillor Rohit Dasgupta has served as the representative for LGBTI people in the West Ham Labour party for the past two years—but lost his bid for re-election 49-45. Dasgupta, also a lecturer in global communication at Loughborough University, tweeted, "I lost the LGBT Officer post because a str8 white man stood against me.His statement did not have one sentence about LGBT [campaigning]."

The lesbian co-founders of Cuba's first independent fashion brand visited the United States amid mounting tensions between their country's government and the Trump administration, The Washington Blade reported. Idania del RÃo and Leire Fernandez, of Clandestina, were two of the Cuban women entrepreneurs who participated in a panel discussion that took place at the Washington Office on Latin America's offices in Dupont Circle. A second Clandestina pop-up store was recently open in Brooklyn.

Russian President Vladimir Putin fired the latest round in a tiff with Elton John over gay rights, noted. The war of words started with a Putin interview in the Financial Times in which he said, in part, "We have no problem with LGBT persons. God forbid, let them live as they wish. But some things do appear excessive to us. They claim now that children can play five or six gender roles." John, who is gay, fired back in a social-media post, saying he was "deeply upset" by the interview. On June 29, Putin said, "Speaking of Elton John, I respect him very much ... but I think he is mistaken. ... We have a law that everybody is angry at us because of the law that doesn't allow propaganda of homosexuals among underage population. Let's let the kids grow and then let them decide what they want to do."

Burundi national Nina Muregwa has said she feels threatened again, reported. After escaping death threats back home over her sexual identity, the 17-year-old thought she had found a sanctuary in Kenya—but she said she's experiencing harassment again. Kenya is the only East African nation where someone can seek asylum and be registered as a refugee based on his/her/their LGBT status, the United Nations refugee agency says.

Some 150 people—including representatives of the government and relevant ministries, the LGBTIQ community, local authorities, ambassadors, parents and guardians—held a meeting under the theme "Dialogue on Legal and Public Policies to Protect LGBTIQ People in Cambodia," the Phnom Penh Post reported. Keo Remy, head of the Cambodian Human Rights Committee, said at the meeting that the government had called for an end to discrimination against the LGBTIQ community and supported all forms of freedom of expression.

The Duke of Cambridge has said he worries about the pressures his children may face if in future they came out as gay or lesbian, The Guardian reported. Prince William said he would be "absolutely fine" if they did, but had concerns about the persecution they may face, admitting he had discussed the subject with his wife, the Duchess of Cambridge. He also expressed his shock at the recent bus attack on a lesbian couple, saying, "I was really appalled." William voiced his concerns during a visit to the London headquarters of the Albert Kennedy Trust—an LGBT charity in Hoxton, east London, dedicated to helping young people experiencing homelessness because of their sexual orientation and gender identity.

In Canada, students in the small Saskatchewan town of Stoughton discovered their Pride flag had been burned, reported. The rainbow flag was pulled down from its pole and burned at Stoughton Central School. Keith Keating—the deputy director with the South East Cornerstone Public school division—said the school division has taken the initiative to promote diversities and gay-straight alliances in schools.

Former professional rugby player Israel Folau hopes fans will help bail him out—with $3 million, Queerty noted. In April, the now ex-New South Wales Waratahs player took to Instagram to lecture his 330K+ followers about the evils of homosexuality, urging gay people to "repent," as "only Jesus saves lives." In response, Rugby Australia and New South Wales Rugby announced they were terminating Folau's four-year $5-million contract. Now, Folau is suing, but legal fees are expected to cost approximately $3 million.

Canada has added to its list of terrorist organizations a neo-Nazi group and its "armed branch"—the first time the country has classified white supremacists that way, noted. Blood and Honour and Combat 18 were labeled terrorist entities, joining about 60 groups that include al-Qaeda, Boko Haram and the Islamic State. Recently the Canadian Security Intelligence Service cited right-wing terrorism as a threat to the country's national security and said it was increasing resources to understand it.

On the TV show Mystic Britain, Smithsonian Channel is revealing the secrets of Britain's most mysterious sites via a road trip mixing mysticism with very British humor, a press release noted. In this 10-part series, television and radio presenter Clive Anderson ( Whose Line Is It Anyway? ) and anthropologist Mary-Ann Ochota explore the island's ancient places and rituals. "Witches and Demons," the first episode, premieres Aug. 5.

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