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  WINDY CITY TIMES

WORLD Russia items, Northern Ireland reform, Malaysia police
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2019-07-24

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The European Court of Human Rights ruled that the Russian government must pay approximately $41,000 in damages to three LGBT-rights groups for having refused their registration in recent years, Human Rights Watch noted. From 2006 to 2011, Rainbow House, the Movement for Marriage Equality and the Sochi Pride House attempted to register their respective organizations with Russian authorities; however, the government denied their applications, claiming the organizations "will destroy the moral values of society" or "undermine [Russia's] sovereignty and territorial integrity … by decreasing its population."

Russian authorities said it had opened an unprecedented criminal case accusing officials of negligence for allowing a gay couple to adopt two children, Yahoo! News reported. The Investigative Committee, which probes serious cases, said that Moscow social workers were suspected of criminal negligence for allowing the two boys to live in the family since 2010. This is the first such case ever launched, reported Interfax news agency.

Peers have backed moves to introduce same-sex marriage and abortion reform in Northern Ireland, BBC.com reported. The debate took place in the House of Lords on July 17. However, the government says there will have to be a consultation period of between eight and twelve weeks over the abortion changes. Regarding same-sex marriage, Lords backed an amendment which means it will not come into force until early January to allow changes to be made to the legislation; on a free vote, peers passed the abortion changes 182 votes to 37.

Malaysian police said a leader of a political party was behind videos purporting to show a cabinet minister—seen as a potential successor to Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad—engaged in sex with another man, The Telegraph reported. The sex tapes, allegedly of Economic Affairs Minister Mohamed Azmin Ali, were recently widely distributed to journalists and politicians via WhatsApp. Sodomy is a crime in Malaysia and Anwar Ibrahim, who Mahathir has named as his successor, spent about a decade in jail under the law on what he said were trumped-up charges. Azmin, who is said to be close to Mahathir, said the videos were a "nefarious plot" to end his career.

Conservative Boris Johnson has been selected as Britain's newest prime minister—and LGBTQ activists are already asking him for apologize for his long history of homophobic comments, LGBTQ Nation reported. The organization LGBT+ Conservatives has called on Johnson to apologize for using the phrase "tank-topped bumboys" to insinuate that a political rival is gay in a 1998 Telegraph column; also, in 2000, Johnson criticized the idea of children learning about LGBTQ people. Gay activist Peter Tatchell told PinkNews that Johnson has a "mixed voting record on LGBT+ equality"—but added, "There is no indication that [Johnson] has any commitment to remedying the remaining injustices faced by LGBT+ people."

A Polish city celebrated its first-ever LGBTQ equality march July 20, but it struck a starkly different tone to the joyous affairs associated with pride parades, CNN.com stated. Ringed by riot police, around 1,000 pride marchers walked defiantly through the streets of the northeastern city of Bialystok as thousands of nationalist football "ultra" fans, far-right groups and others threw flash bombs, rocks and glass bottles. The city of 298,000 people is in the conservative region of Podlasie, a stronghold for Poland's ruling right-wing Law and Justice party.

British diver Tom Daley—who came out via YouTube in 2013, and married screenwriter/film producer Dustin Lance Black in 2017—has qualified with his new doubles partner, Matty Lee, for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo after taking home the bronze medal from the World Championships in South Korea, LGBTQ Nation reported. "WE DID IT! WORLD CHAMPS MEDAL AND OLYMPIC QUALIFICATION FOR GB," Daley said on his Instagram account. This will be Daley's fourth trip to the Olympics on behalf of Great Britain; hee previously competed at Beijing 2008, London 2012 and Rio 2016.

A gay man in the tiny Caribbean nation of Dominica filed a legal claim challenging its laws that ban gay sex and punish it with prison terms and psychiatric confinement, Yahoo! News noted. Dominica is one of nine Caribbean countries that outlaw same-sex relations, and taking down its ban could build momentum to address the anti-gay laws throughout the region, supporters said. The person filing the case was a gay man who has reportedly faced frequent violence because of his sexuality, but authorities allegedly refused to step in and protect him.

Israel Minister Education Minister Rafi Peretz has now said he does not support conversion therapy—backpedaling after comments he made during a local news interview led to hundreds taking to the streets in protest, as well as condemnation from politicians and educators, NewNowNext.com noted. Previously, he told Israel's Channel 12 that he thought the therapy was possible. However, he faced backlash from the public. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu released a statement saying he had spoken to Peretz and that he had "clarified his remarks and stressed the Israeli education system will continue to accept all of Israel's children as they are."

A charity in London faces closure unless it can raise 40,000 pounds in the next few weeks, Gay Star News noted. The Food Chain launched in the late 1980s at the height of the AIDS crisis in the United Kingdom. CEO Siobhan Lanigan said more funding today goes toward HIV testing, prevention and PrEP, which she called all "brilliant things." However, as a consequence, the clients helped by Food Chain—the people not living well with HIV—have become, in her words, "a little bit more invisible … and less supported than they used to be, but they haven't gone away and there's no decrease in need."

Earlier this year, the HIV2020 Alliance launched a global call for submissions for community members to help us design a logo for the first ever HIV2020 conference—and the winner has been announced, according to a press release. Jon Gabriel Ortiz was chosen as the winner for his design, and was awarded a full scholarship to attend the HIV2020 Conference next July. Ortiz is the Digital Marketing Director at THRIVE SS—an organization based in Atlanta whose mission is to improve health equity for Black gay men living with HIV in the United States through direct support, advocacy, and building collective power. The conference will take place July 5-7, 2020, in Mexico City.

FIFA—the world organization that governs international soccer matches—recently launched a new simplified "disciplinary code" that highlights referees' ability to end matches if fans utter homophobic or racist chants, Outsports reported. The new code—which officially went into effect July 15—states, "A match is automatically forfeited if the referee decides to suspend it after having applied the three-step procedure." The new code further explains that if a football team's spectators use homophobic chants, then the club can be fined at least $20,312 for a first offense.

Blue star Duncan James has revealed how difficult he found it to publicly open up about his sexuality, according to Digital Spy. The British singer said, "It was a very different world. Tabloids were still doing stories about people being gay, it was still something very sly." Speaking of his biggest worries before coming out, he added, "I think, for me, I was worried I'd lose a fan base, being in Blue and having a predominately female audience. I was worried I'd let the boys down." The former Hollyoaks star added that, in hindsight, he wished he had come out sooner.

In an interview with Gayming Magazine, James "Stress" O'Leary—who spent three years as one of the most prominent voices of the European League of Legends Championship Series—revealed that he initially came to esports as a means to distract himself during a breakup, according to Outsports. He was out to friends and family before entering the booth and "never really hid the fact" that he was gay during those early days. However, O'Leary recently revealed that his "one big regret" was not always being out while working in esports.

In Brazil, during the closing ceremony of a youth camp in Cachoeira Paulista, Sao Paulo, anti-LGBTQ Father Marcelo Rossi was delivering a sermon to an estimated 50,000 attendees—when a woman rushed him and pushed him off the stage, NewNowNext.com noted. Rossi was not seriously injured, and was able to continue his sermon minutes later. According to Queerty, Rossi has a history of anti-LGBTQ remarks. For example, during an interview in 2014 he said that "sex between man causes pain. If something causes pain, it can't be a good thing."


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