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WORLD NEWS Marriage in Australia, Amsterdam reception, HIV controversy
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times

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Australian Senator Dean Smith confirmed that he is drafting a bill to legalize same-sex marriage in Australia, Gay Times Magazine reported. Many parliament members want the bill debated when the Australian parliament returns in August. This comes after a new poll suggested Australian voters want to go to the polls for same-same marriage, rather than let politicians have a free vote in parliament. Smith, who is openly gay himself, has been seeking to end the "embarrassment" of the nation, as he has called it, and legalize same-sex marriage.

The Amsterdam municipal council will invite global victims of anti-gay violence to a reception at this year's Gay Pride festival, according to a Dutch News item that cites Parool. Liberal democrat group D66 said it would be a nice gesture to do something, given a number of recent incidents, including one against a Surinamese tourist. The event runs July 29-Aug. 6, with a canal parade and street parties on the final weekend.

HIV activists are upset with Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters, the reigning Miss South Africa, after she posted a photo of herself wearing white medical gloves while visiting an orphanage full of HIV-positive children, Plus Magazine reported. After the photo was posted, the 22-year old beauty queen began facing allegations of stigma and racism; however, Nel-Peters, who is mixed-race, responded to the outrage by saying she wore the gloves for hygiene purposes due to her handling food. There were nearly 7 million people living with HIV in South Africa in 2015, according to Avert.

A gay British retiree has won a legal battle to secure the same occupational pension rights for his husband that a wife would enjoy, The Washington Post reported. Five judges at the Supreme Court, Britain's highest court, ruled that if John Walker died, his husband would be entitled to a spouse's pension, provided they stay married. Walker launched a discrimination lawsuit when the company he worked for said it would not pay out spouse benefits because his pension plan predated 2005, when same-sex civil partnerships became legally recognized.

Newlyweds Jahed Choudhury and Sean Rogan are helping make history in the United Kingdom, which legalized same-sex marriage in 2013, Time noted. ( It's still not on the books in northern Ireland. ) But another element of Choudhury's identity set this wedding apart: Choudhury grew up in a traditionally Muslim family, and said he is ostracized from his relatives for his sexual orientation. There was an official ceremony at the registry office in Walsall, West Midlands on June 22; both chose to come decked out in traditional wedding attire, a nod to Choudhury's heritage.

Attacks on the LGBT community in France are on the rise—with five gay-bashings reported across five different cities in just the past several weeks, according to . Joel Deumier, president of SOS Homophobie, said his group had received 22 percent more calls in May compared to the same time last year. Of those calls, a dozen involved verbal harassment and nine concerned physical violence.

In Turkey, a woman has alleged that she experienced transphobic harassment from the staff in a Victoria's Secret store when she tried to use the changing rooms, PinkNews reported. Gulsen Afife claimed that she entered the changing rooms in the Istanbul shop to try on a bra—and a sales clerk laughed at her. Two women who said they were the managers then allegedly told Afife she wasn't allowed to use the changing rooms, as they were for women only.

A Belgian man is pleading for help after his Ghanaian boyfriend was forcibly deported by authorities, Gay Times Magazine noted. In a series of emotional messages posted to Facebook, Jurgen Hendrickx, a gay Belgium man, has been asking for help after his boyfriend, Festus, was physically forced onto a flight back to Ghana after a two-year struggle. Hendrickx, an electric engineer from Antwerp, isaid his boyfriend has been repeatedly threatened by family members because of his sexuality.

A Russian religious television channel offered to pay for one-way plane tickets for gay people serious about emigrating from the country., BBC News reported. In a video on its social-media channels, Tsargrad TV called on gay people to compete for a one-way plane ticket overseas. The channel regularly uses offensive terms to refer to LGBT people.

In Ireland, Michael McCarthy and Paul Carroll went into the record books at the weekend by becoming the first same-sex couple to pick up the best dressed couple award at Bellewstown Races, The Irish Times noted. The competition was held during ladies' day at the July festival meeting. The couple, who are together three years, share a passion for clothes and started a popular Facebook page, Funky Fashion Frolics, several months ago.

A posh Stockholm neighborhood will soon see its traffic lights receive a facelift, as the standard lone figure on the crossing signals is replaced by same-sex couples, reported. Forty-eight of the new lights will be temporarily installed in the Ostermalm district to mark Stockholm Pride on July 31-Aug. 6, in an initiative from the City of Stockholm. The lights will be installed around the Pride Park, which this year is located near the Stockholm Olympic Stadium.

The Young Vic has announced a new season, with highlights including the UK premiere of Tony Award-winning musical Fun Home, reported. Jeanine Tesori and Lisa Kron's Broadway hit Fun Home will run June 27 June-Sept. 1 2018, with previews from June 18. Based on the graphic novel by lesbian Alison Bechdel and with direction by Sam Gold, the five-time Tony Award-winning musical introduces viewers to Bechdel at three different ages, revealing memories of her uniquely complicated family.

British comedian Alan Carr revealed that he's "not totally comfortable being gay" during an interview with Radio 4's Front Row, which was broadcast as part of its Queer Icons series, Gay Times Magazine noted. The Queer Icons series is being broadcast on Radio 4 to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the partial decriminalization of homosexuality in England and Wales. Carr got engaged to his partner Paul Drayton last year, and revealed that Adele will sing at the wedding.

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