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WORLD Pride events, UK hate crime stats, lesbian Colombian politician
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2019-10-29

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Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets of Taipei for the 17th annual pride parade, with organizers expecting a record turnout after the Taiwan government became the first in Asia to pass same-sex marriage legislation in May, South China Morning Post reported. Crowds of people waving rainbow flags and riding on flamboyant floats set off from City Hall along Ketagalan Boulevard for the 3.5-mile walk, whose theme this year was "Together, make Taiwan better." More than 200,000 people turned out for the event, organizers said, far exceeding last year's 130,000.

In South Africa, hundreds of people attended the 30th Annual Johannesburg Gay Pride in Sandton—an affluent area situated in the Johannesburg Municipality, Eyewitness News noted. The event was also used to debut a new flag representing all African countries. This year's theme was "Proudly African and Authentically You."

The Bahamas Christian Council ( BCC ) will stage a series of events opposing the Bahamas Pride celebrations slated for October 2020, EWNews.com reported. BCC President Bishop Delton Fernander said the church will also call upon its global colleagues to "stand against Sodom and Gomorrah," noting pride organizers are collaborating with international partners. Human rights advocate and spokesperson Alexus D'Marco has said the weeklong event would be held in a "safe space and enabling environment."

New hate crimes data for the United Kingdom shows a high number of incidents targeting LGBT people, Human Rights Watch noted. The data shows police recorded 14,491 crimes committed against people because of their sexual orientation in 2018-19; police recorded a further 2,333 offenses against transgender people because of their gender identity. This year reported figures were up across the board, something the Home Office said is largely due to improved reporting and recording methods.

A Colombian senator became the first lesbian and first woman elected mayor of her country's capital city, Bogota, The Washington Blade reported. Sen. Claudia Lopez—who ran on the leftist Green and Alternative Democratic Pole party ticket—won with slightly more than 35 percent of the vote. It was also reported that she is the first openly lesbian elected mayor of a Latin American capital city.

More than 30 groups have joined a campaign designed to increase support for marriage rights for same-sex couples in Costa Rica, The Washington Blade reported. Si, Acepto ( "Yes, I accept" in Spanish ) formally launched in August and includes ads that feature LGBTI Costa Ricans' relatives, friends and teammates; the campaign also includes workshops on the issue that will take place across the country.

Sydney won the rights to host WorldPride in 2023—and will become the first city in the Southern Hemisphere to ever host the major international LGBTQI event, ABC.net .au reported. The city's win was announced in Athens at an annual general meeting for InterPride, the international association of pride organizations. Sydney was chosen by 60 percent of InterPride members, with Montreal winning 36 percent of the vote and Houston, Texas, getting 3 percent.

Uganda has seen a rise in attacks on LGBT+ people since a minister proposed bringing back the death penalty for gay sex, campaigners said, warning anti-gay rhetoric was fuelling homophobia, Reuters reported. The Ugandan government has since denied it is planning to reintroduce an old law colloquially known as "Kill the Gays," but LGBT+ rights groups said there had been a series of attacks on sexual minorities after the minister's remarks. Recently, 16 LGBT+ activists were taken into police custody after a mob shouting homophobic slogans surrounded their office and residence on the outskirts Uganda's capital, Kampala.

In a PRI.org article on Turkey and Syria, it was stated that Turkey's Syrian LGBTQ refugee community is marginalized and faces unique dangers. Homosexuality is illegal in Syria, and both the government and terror groups like the Islamic State persecute sexual minorities. Being gay is culturally unacceptable according to traditional Islamic mores. Although Turkey does not criminalize homosexuality, it is not always safe for LGBTQ Syrian refugees, either; LGBTQ Syrians have suffered physical and verbal attacks, often with little response from law enforcement or the government.

On the other end, new research from the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law found that the average levels of acceptance for LGBT people and their rights have increased globally since 1981, a press release noted. Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, Canada and Spain were the top five most accepting countries, and all have increased in LGBT acceptance over time. The report is at https://williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/wp-content/uploads/GAI-Update-Oct-2019.pdf.

A senior Church of England bishop has expressed regret at comments by the Archbishop of Sydney that supporters of marriage equality should leave the Anglican church, The Guardian reported. Reflecting divisions within the global Anglican communion over LGBT+ issues, the Bishop of Liverpool, Paul Bayes, said: "I regret that the archbishop [of Sydney] seems to want to exclude people rather than to engage with them within the wider Anglican family." Archbishop Glenn Davies said last week that those who supported same-sex marriage should abandon the church, drawing criticism from other representatives of the church around Australia.

Two major U.S. biomedical research funders plan to each put at least $100 million over four years toward bringing cutting-edge, gene-based treatments to sub-Saharan Africa, Science noted. The National Institutes of Health ( NIH ) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced the unusual collaboration to launch clinical trials for gene-based cures for HIV and sickle cell disease within the region in the coming decade.

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt canceled the U.S. publication of Outrages: Sex, Censorship and the Criminalization of Love, by best-selling author Naomi Wolf, after it was discovered she got chunks of information completely wrong, Queerty noted. The 400-page book examines the persecution of homosexuality in Victorian Britain. But, for example, Wolf writes about "several dozen" men who were executed by London's Old Bailey court in the 1850s for sodomy; it didn't take long for fact-checkers to find that the last recorded hanging for gay sex in Britain was 15 years earlier, in 1835.

Justin Trudeau won a second term as Canada's prime minister—and the country's LGBT+ community breathed a "sigh of relief," PinkNews reported. The win for the Liberal Party has kept Trudeau's opponent Andrew Scheer, who is against marriage equality, out of the top seat at Parliament Hill. Trudeau, battered by scandal ( involving blackface ) during his campaign, will no longer retain a majority in Canada's House of Commons but will keep enough seats to allow him to form a government, with support from two left-leaning parties.

Alex Diaz—a 25-year-old Filipino-Scottish actor/model who lives in Manila, Philippines—came out as bisexual in an emotional Instagram post after being outed by someone online, Queerty noted. It all started when a man claiming to be an "online fitness coach" shared screenshots of a private Instagram exchange between himself and Diaz—after the actor asked him not to. "Thank you for the thousands of messages of love and support all over twitter and my message requests here on Instagram," Diaz later wrote to his 580,000 followers.


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