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WORLD NEWS DignityUSA reply, app crackdown, mayor comes out as gay
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2018-02-06

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Pro-LGBT Catholic organization DignityUSA responded with dismay to reports in The Irish Times that images of same-sex couples have been removed from resource materials aimed at helping people prepare for the Vatican-sponsored World Meeting of Families being held in Dublin in August. "Those in Ireland who have been preparing for this important international gathering of Catholics have worked hard to send a message that same-sex couples, LGBTQI people, and our families would be just as welcome as everyone else at the World Meeting of Families," said DignityUSA Executive Director Duddy-Burke. "It was exciting to see images that reflected our families in the early materials. Having them deliberately deleted and replaced with photos deemed more 'acceptable' is really hurtful. It feels like the welcome mat has been rolled up and put away—at least for us. It's hard to imagine Jesus being this unwelcoming."

Gay hook-up apps have been pulled from the Google Play Store in Indonesia amid a government crackdown on the LGBT community, PinkNews noted. Police have clamped down on the gay community in Indonesia over the past yearr, with more than 100 arrested in raids on gay venues and establishments in Jakarta in October. Recently, 12 transgender women in Aceh were arrested, shaved and forced to dress in men's clothing as part of a "community sickness operation."

The mayor of Nova Scotia's second largest municipality has come out as gay, saying he decided to speak publicly after someone threatened to expose his personal life, GlobalNews.ca reported. Cecil Clarke, 49—mayor of the Cape Breton Regional Municipality and a likely Progressive Conservative leadership candidate—spoke out about his personal life in an interview with CBC News, stating he's in a committed relationship with someone he loves and who supported his decision to speak publicly.

Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil, an openly gay Indian, is now opening a four-bedroom palace—which he secured when his parents tried to disinherit him—to LGBT people and their allies, according to Newsweek. Named Hanumanteshwar 1927, after the year Gohil's great-grandfather built the palace, the center will be managed by his charity, the Lakshya Trust. There will be rooms for guests, a medical facility, and English-language and vocational classes. The prince is using crowdfunding to build more structures on the site.

Russian authorities have blocked a gay parade planned north of the Arctic Circle over what they say are health dangers posed by possible hurricane winds and bad weather, The Moscow Times reported. Gay-rights activist Nikolai Alexeyev planned to hold the parade on Feb. 9 in Teriberka, a town of about 1,000 people, as part of his campaign to host LGBT rallies in 185 cities and towns across Russia. "I've never received an answer like this," Alexeyev said to The Moscow Times, adding that "95 percent of the time" the authorities cite the 2013 gay propaganda law when refusing his applications for events.

The Jamaican government prevented anti-LGBT U.S. pastor Steven Anderson from entering the country, The Washington Blade noted. Anderson told The Jamaica Gleaner that a representative of Delta Air Lines told him the airline "received a notification from Jamaica that I was not going to be allowed to enter" the country—something Jamaica's government confirmed. Jay John, a Jamaican activist, urged the Jamaican government in a Change.org petition to ban Anderson from entering the country, noting Anderson has said gay men should be stoned to death.

In Canada, the Salvation Army is opening a new space for homeless members of the LGBT community in Winnipeg, but those plans are being criticized by gay advocates concerned about the organization's history with their community, CBC.ca reported. The Sally Anne will open 15 rooms and a lounge for the LGBT community in a space that was previously being used to house asylum seekers. But the Rainbow Resource Centre—a non-profit organization that serves the LGBT community in Manitoba and Northwestern Ontario—said it has concerns about the new space, with Executive Director Mike Tutthill citing the Army's "reputation of homophobia." However, Salvation Army Major Rob Kerr said, "We serve without discrimination."

HIV-positive gay man Ricardo Querales is afraid he doesn't have much time left, as the Trump administration plans to deport him back to a country ( Venezuela ) where he is unlikely to obtain life-saving medications, LGBTQ Nation reported. "You are sending me to my death!" Querales, 43, told immigration officials when they informed him that he would have to return. Venezuela is undergoing a catastrophic shortage of food and medicine.

For the first time in its history, Stonewall has released a list of the most trans-inclusive employers in the United Kingdom, PinkNews reported. The list, compiled from 92,000 people, has marked out employers that have gone above and beyond to ensure trans and non-binary staff feel accepted. Top companies ( in no particular order ) are Baker McKenzie, Berwin Leighton Paisner, Cardiff University, Gentoo, Lloyds Banking Group, National Assembly for Wales, Pinsent Masons LLP, Swansea University, The University of Manchester, Victim Support and Your Homes Newcastle.

However, on the flip side, tennis player Zach Brookes has claimed he was rejected by the Special Olympics' British delegation because he is transgender, LGBTQ Nation reported. The 2019 Special Olympics will be held in Dubai. The board told him they feared for his safety since LGBT people are regularly jailed or deported in the Muslim country. They also told him they feared his testosterone prescription would disqualify him from competition.

Myanmar hosted its first-ever public LGBT festival to "acknowledge equality and basic human rights," according to PinkNews. Approximately 6,000 people attended &PROUD Festival at a park in Yangon on the first day. Despite same-sex relations being illegal in the country, organizers were given permission to host it in a public space—unlike previous years, when they have had to host it in a discreet garden at the French Institute.

New legislation that aims to ensure an equal gender balance on many public-sector boards has been passed by the Scottish Parliament, BBC.com reported. Women make up just more than 50 percent of the Scottish population, but currently make up only 45 percent of public-board membership. The legislation was passed by 88 votes to 28, with the Scottish Conservatives voting against.


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