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WORLD NEWS Theresa May, lesbian couples, gender-neutral Jesus
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times

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In Britain, Labour has demanded that Prime Minister Theresa May reverse the appointment of Toby Young to the board of the new universities regulator because of what it said was a history of "homophobia and misogyny," The Independent reported. It was announced last weekend that Young, a right-wing journalist who has helped establish a number of free schools, is to join the board of the newly created Office for Students. Among other things, Young has posted items on social media such as describing a gay celebrity as "queer as a coot" and writing about visiting a bar full of "hardcore dykes."

A lesbian couple in Bulgaria ( who married in the United Kingdom in 2017 ) have become the first to fight a legal battle for the recognition of their same-sex marriage, PinkNews reported. Lilia Babulkova and her wife, who goes by the initials DK, could set a court precedent in the battle for recognition by an EU court for their same-sex marriage to be officially recognized in the country. After they filed a request to their local government, Sofia Municipality, to change their marital status on their identification cards, they were told they could not—hence the legal fight.

A lesbian couple who hit the headlines last year after they set themselves the challenge to get married in 24 countries has announced that one of them is dying, according to PinkNews. Fleur Pierets, 44, and Julian P. Boom, 39, announced Project 22 in August last year. Originally it was 22 countries; however, part way through the project two more countries, Germany and Malta, were added to the list. Boom, unfortunately, has been diagnosed with tumors around her brain and heart.

A Swedish church has defended its decision to refer to Jesus using gender-neutral pronouns, according to PinkNews. The church—in Vasteras, Sweden—infuriated traditionalists with a poster for a Christmas service. The poster referred to Jesus using the pronoun "hen"—a gender-neutral pronoun often used by non-binary people or when a person's gender is not known. The Church of Sweden recently advised its clergy to stop referring to God using male pronouns.

A joint funeral has been celebrated for a gay Italian couple after their tragic deaths, and the presiding priest focused on the families' grief of losing their two loved ones, according to a New Ways Ministry blog. Alex Ferrari and Luca Bortolaso died from carbon monoxide poisoning while spending the New Year's holiday at a vacation home with two other friends. Families of the men, who had been engaged for over a year, requested a joint funeral that was approved by the presider and affirmed by the Vicenza diocese.

One of ISIS' most feared executioners has been captured by Iraqi security forces, according to reports, The Sun reported. The jihadi kingpin—Abu Omer, nicknamed "White Beard"—is said to have presided over dozens of killings in the terror group's former stronghold of Mosul. He was reportedly present when gay people were thrown from buildings as well as when victims when beheaded and stoned to death for minor offenses.

Britain's Virgin Trains has stopped stocking copies of the Daily Mail in its on-board shops after staff complained about the paper's stance on immigration, gay rights and unemployment, Press Gazette reported. Richard Branson's company also said the newspaper was "not compatible" with the company's brand and beliefs. Branson has previously been critical of the vote to leave the EU and Donald Trump's "Muslim" immigration ban.

Sputnik—a state-funded news agency in Russia best known in the US for disseminating fake news during the 2016 election cycle—published a story with the title "Tranny Troops: US Military to Accept Transgender Recruits Beginning 2018," LGBTQ Nation reported. The article says, in part, "Following a capitulation by the administration of US President Donald Trump to a federal court ruling overturning a Trump attempt to ban transgender US military recruits, American soldiers will now comprise a much wider spectrum of humanity."

A Chinese court is to decide on a test case concerning the depiction of gay people in the media, Variety reported. Mainland Chinese newspaper The Global Times reported that a Beijing court accepted a case brought by a private citizen, Fan Chunlin, demanding that the country's media regulator State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television clarify its current regulations. A verdict is likely to be announced within six months.

In Britain, a transgender cab driver has won 4 million pounds ( $5.4 million ) on a National Lottery scratchcard—and has no intentions of sharing the windfall with the four adult children who have cut her out of their lives, LGBTQ Nation noted. Melissa Ede, 57, has gained some notoriety for her off-the-wall YouTube videos, and for fighting for trans rights. She plans to spend money on a wedding to her girlfriend, Rachel Nason, as well as a new house and a Mercedes. She also plans to share some of the cash with her fans who donated money so she could get her teeth fixed.

Egyptian prosecutors have ordered the detention of a little-known female singer over a racy video posted online, the second female singer to face legal action within a month, according to a Courthouse News Service item. The prosecutors charged Laila Amer with violating public decency and inciting debauchery in the video, titled "Bos Omak," or "Look at Your Mother"—a pun on a popular Arabic profanity. In September, authorities arrested dozens for waving an LGBT rainbow flag at a Cairo concert by a popular Lebanese indie rock band, Mashrou' Leila, whose lead singer is openly gay.

Conservative politicians in Madrid condemned the decision to cast two women and a celebrated drag queen as an alternative "Three Wise Men" in a local Epiphany parade, noted. The trio were featured on one of 16 floats at the event in the Puente de Vallecas district on Jan. 5. Drag queen La Prohibida was joined by cabaret dancer Roma Calderon and hip-hop singer Dnoe Lamiss. This year's alternative version was proposed by the Orgullo Vallekano association, an LGBT-pride collective in Madrid's Vallecas neighbourhood.

Olympic diver Tom Daley has been hit with new anguish after intimate photographs of him naked in bed were leaked online, less than a year after the out British athlete admitted to having an online tryst, .au noted. The selfies, taken while the Olympic athlete was involved in the secret relationship in 2016, include him posing naked in his bedroom. The athlete tied the knot with U.S. screenwriter Dustin Lance Black last year—and the photos were reportedly taken long before they married.

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