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WORLD Polish anti-LGBT zones, conversion therapy, HRC's Chile report
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2020-07-27

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A Polish court annulled a town's LGBT-free zone declaration, Out.com noted, citing Polsat News. The provincial administrative court in Radom invalidated the Klwow Commune Council's resolution because the term "LGBT-free" refers to persons rather than an ideology and is, therefore, discriminatory and against the law. ( A similar decision was announced for the city of Istebna the day before. ) The ruling came in response to lawsuits filed by Adam Bodnar, the country's commissioner for human rights.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said plans to ban controversial "gay conversion therapy" will be brought forward after the government completes a "study" on the issue, the BBC reported. Johnson said the practice was "absolutely abhorrent" and "has no place in this country." All major UK therapy professional bodies and the NHS disagree with conversion therapy on logical, ethical and moral grounds.

On a related note, Barclays has closed the bank account of UK Christian charity the Core Issues Trust, which offered LGBT conversion therapy, according to a Forbest item. It follows criticism from LGBT activists, who say the bank—the lead sponsor of Pride in London for several years—was hypocritical. The Core Issues charity, based in Northern Ireland, rejects the name conversion therapy for its counselling services that offer "one-to-one support for individuals voluntarily seeking to leave homosexual behaviours and feelings."

On July 24, Mexico City's regional congress approved a bill to criminalize gay conversion therapy, Reuters reported. Methods applied by proponents of conversion therapy to change a person's sexual orientation or gender identity have ranged from psychological counseling to religious instruction and even electroshock therapy. Conversion-therapy providers now face up to five years in prison, with higher sentences for those who subject minors to the practice.

The Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ) Foundation released its second annual "'HRC Equidad Chile: Global Workplace Equality Program" report, according to a press release. The document recognizes 20 major employers in Chile who have demonstrated a commitment to LGBT equality by adopting vital LGBT-inclusive policies and practices for their employees. Said employers include BASF Chile, Uber, Entel, General Electric and IBM, among others. See https://www.hrc.org/resources/hrc-equidad-cl-global-workplace-equality-program.

Marriage equality and other LGBTQ+ rights in Russia have been set back as lawmakers there make good on President Vladimir Putin's promised crackdown on the queer and trans communities, Out.com noted. An author of new legislation proposed claims her bill will ban marriage equality, adoption by transgender persons, and recognition of same-sex unions registered abroad. "The bill ends the practice of marriage between persons of the same sex, including those who changed genders," Senator Yelena Mizulina, the bill's co-author, told Interfax. The Moscow Times reported Mizulina also claims the bill bans transgender adoption.

An overhaul of Haiti's penal code that punishes marriage officiants who refuse to perform same-sex weddings is provoking outcry among religious leaders in the socially conservative Caribbean nation, VOANews.com reported. At the heart of the current discussion is the rewrite of the 185-year-old penal code, decreed by Haitian President Jovenel Moise last month. Critics object to the sweeping changes issued by decree as well as the new penal code's treatment of sexual minorities that, would seemingly make Haitian tribunals among the most LGBT-friendly in the Caribbean.

A new church in Rwanda has opened its doors to the country's LGBTQ+ community, providing individuals with a safe space to worship on their own terms, DW.com reported. The church, called the Church of God in Africa in Rwanda, is based in the country's capital, Kigali. The church also provides a place of comfort to those without support systems, or who are shunned by society and their families.

In India, the Punjab and Haryana High Court granted police protection to a same-sex couple, LiveLaw reported. Justice Arun Monga said that "even though gay marriage is not yet legitimate, per marriage laws in the country, live-in relationships" are increasingly common. The female couple wanted protection against their families' threats.

IKEA is being sued by the government in Poland for allegedly infringing upon an employee's religious rights after he was fired for making anti-LGBT+ comments, PinkNews noted, citing Bloomberg. The former Ikea employee, identified as Tomasz K, was fired last year when he refused to take down a homophobic comment he posted on the company's internal site. Prosecutors in the country—which recently re-elected staunchly homophobic president Andrzej Duda—have charged the IKEA human resources director with restricting the employee's religious rights.

The northeastern French town of Tilloy-lez-Marchiennes marked a significant achievement in the country's history when it elected Marie Cau as its mayor—become the first town in that nation to do have a transgender mayor in that post, the Victory Institute noted. Following her election to town council earlier this year, Cau's leadership was quickly recognized as the council almost unanimously selected her to fill the town's mayoral position.

A conservative politician from the United Kingdom is under fire for sending unsolicited sexts to multiple members of his staff, Queerty noted. Rob Roberts is a Welsh Conservative Party politician first elected to be the Member of Parliament for Delyn in North Wales last year. Now he's making headlines for allegedly hitting on two junior members of his parliamentary team—one male and one female. In a set of messages obtained by BBC Wales, Roberts admits to a colleague that he propositioned an unnamed male parliamentary staffer, saying "I liked him and asked him to dinner," adding, "Really poor judgement on my part, hands up. He didn't react very well because it created a problem for him that I felt that way."

A man has been jailed for attacking Guardian journalist Owen Jones outside a north London pub, the BBC reported. James Healy admitted assaulting Jones, claiming it was because the reporter had spilled his drink. However, Recorder Anne Studd QC ruled that Healy—who was was sentenced to two years and eight months for affray and assault occasioning actual bodily harm—carried out the attack because of Jones' sexuality and political views.

Reuters ran a profile of Jamaican Olympic hopeful Michael Gunning—who happens to be openly gay. "The world is turning slowly and I think it is changing and I'm sure in time, Jamaica will accept LGBT people and legislation will change, but it's a slow process and I think the more role models we have, the better," he said. Gunning—who holds both British and Jamaican citizenship—now represents Jamaica, having switched after being caught up in the Manchester Arena bombing in 2017 at an Ariana Grande concert, in which 23 people died.

British middleweight James Hawley was dropped by his management company after making hateful comments about gay men and transgender people in a TikTok video, the New York Daily News reported. "Do you support LGBT?" a viewer asked the rising boxing star; "I one-thousand, one-million percent do not agree with this," he started his rant, adding that he has no problem with lesbians. "But boys, on the other hand, and transgenders—there's something seriously wrong with you." The TikTok caught the attention of RuPaul's Drag Race U.K.'s Baga Chipz, who shared the video on Twitter and encouraged people to reach out to Hawley's management company, MTK Global.


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