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WORLD Mariela Castro, HIV news, Greek legislation
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2018-05-15

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Mariela Castro, a Cuban lawmaker and daughter of Communist Party chief Raul Castro, has said she will push for same-sex marriage to be included in a constitutional reform process expected to begin in July, NBC News noted. Castro—who made the announcement at a press conference kicking off a week of events leading up to Havana's annual march against homophobia and transphobia—also spoke of the need for tougher sanctions for anti-LGBTQ violence, according to Latin American news outlet Telesur. Cuba's constitutional reform is expected to encompass a wide range of modernizing changes to the country's 1976 constitution, which was designed for a Soviet-style command economy.

Professor John Idoko, the newly elected president of the Society for AIDS in Africa ( SAA ) has said in the past decades, there were rise in other diseases that have direct or indirect relationships with HIV/AIDS, Modern Ghana reported. He said diseases such as Ebola and Lassa fever threaten to alleviate the fight against HIV/AIDS on the continent. Idokoh—who was speaking at the handing-over ceremony of the 5th SAA Board to the new SAA baord-elect—also emphasized the need to train more researchers and young scientists to improve research results in that direction.

A recent Danish study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology found that overall, people with HIV had an increased risk of developing certain types of skin cancer, HIVPlusMag.com noted. In the study, researchers found that people living with HIV were twice as likely to develop basal cell carcinoma, and five times as likely to develop squamous cell carcinoma. Despite these findings, it's unclear if HIV itself is associated with an increased risk of skin cancer; the main cause of skin cancer is sun exposure or ultraviolet light, but immunosuppression may also increase the risk.

Same-sex couples will now be able to foster children in Greece, as the groundbreaking legislation was passed 161-103 on May 9, PinkNews noted. It will enable same-sex partners who are in civil partnerships to become foster parents, although adoption is still off-limits for gay people. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras welcomed the result of the vote.

For the first time in five years, Ireland has advanced to the finals of Eurovision Song Contestant—thanks to a same-sex dance performance, Advocate.com noted. Irish contestant Ryan O'Shaughnessy sang "Together," a song about a failed relationship, at the semifinals in Lisbon. The crowd went wild when dancers Kevin O'Dwyer and Alan McGrath took to the stage to perform an interpretive dance as this couple. The Grand Final was held May 12.

The Georgian Orthodox Church will mark International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia ( IDAHOT ) on May 17 with its own demonstration of "Family Purity" by holding 400 opposite-sex weddings across the region, Gay Star News noted. Back in 2013, a priest-led rally clashed with LGBTI rights demonstrators in Tblisi, the capital of the former Soviet Republic. The following year, the Church decreed May 17 as "Family Purity Day" in Georgia.

Two seminarian priests studying at the Irish College in Rome were sent home to Ireland after being found in bed together, according to Gay Star News. Reports stated that the two men were drinking earlier at an event for the 50th anniversary of Pope Paul VI's 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae. When the rector found them, they were promptly sent home. It is unclear if either man will be allowed to continue their training and studies to become priests.

A family in Nyeri County is facing a dilemma after their child was kicked out of school because their child is intersex, StandardMedia.co.ke reported. The family produced documents which indicated medical records from a visit to county referral hospital on March 18, 2013, where a doctor indicated that the child had undergone an examination and been found to be intersex. For a few years the family had enrolled the child in a private school—but after falling on hard financial times, they had no alternative but to take the pupil to a public school in Kiganjo town. Nyeri County Deputy Education Director Mwangi Kabora said the was no reason the child should be out of school as the Basic Education Act was clear on providing all children with the right to education.

Mahathir Mohamad, Malaysia's former prime minister who came out of retirement in his 90s to challenge his own party's embattled incumbent, has won a surprise victory in elections—ending more than six decades of rule by the country's dominant party, NPR reported. To gauge how he possibly feels, he said in September 2005 about enemy-turned-ally Anwar Ibrahim, "I cannot have a person who is like that in my cabinet who may succeed and become the prime minister. Imagine having a gay prime minister. Nobody would be safe," Bloomberg noted. Ibrahim is married to wife Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, and they have four daughters and a son.

The film Rafiki ( a Swahili word for "friend" ) made waves at the Cannes Film Festival for several reasons, TheWrap noted. For example, it's the first Kenyan film ever to make Cannes' main selection. However, it's also a rare same-sex romance to come out of Africa, where intolerance for homosexuality runs strong ( and has been encouraged by religious-right westerners ).

The new Cannes Film Festival harassment hotline is receiving multiple calls per day, Deadline reported. According to France's Equality Minister Marlène Schiappa, one complaint from an "Anglo-Saxon woman" has been escalated to the local police. The festival was unable to provide further information on the nature of the police complaint but told us that the hotline had received "a few calls" each day of the festival, which began May 8. These were mostly from general public rather than industry professionals, a spokesperson said.

Grace Jones, Jason Derulo and Ellie Goulding will perform at the May 17 amfAR Cannes gala, Page Six noted. They join Sting and Shaggy as part of the black-tie evening's star attractions. The non-profit organization has raised more than $210 million from the party to support AIDS research but, despite its charitable contributions, amfAR has been battling a wave of negative publicity. Much of that stems from the event's long-association with disgraced film mogul Harvey Weinstein.

Cher's returning to Australia after more than a decade away, The Daily Mail noted. The 71-year-old musician announced via personal statement obtained by The Fix that she intends to tour Australia one last time in 2018. She was inspired to return after visiting for Sydney's Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.

A same-sex couple has reached the grand final of Ballando con le Stelle—Italy's version of Dancing with the Stars, according to Gay Star News. Despite facing some early criticism from the judges, the pair have won over TV audiences. Giovanni Ciacci is a well-known openly gay fashion designer and stylist in the country; he was paired by the show's producers with professional dancer Raimondo Todaro.


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