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WORLD South African judge, China on marriage, teens plead not guilty
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2019-08-27

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In South Africa, after 25 years in the judicial arena, Edwin Cameron has retired as a Constitutional Court judge, TheSouthAfrican.com reported. According to the article, Cameron—who is openly gay and HIV-positive—will forever be remembered for his contribution in securing the inclusion of an express prohibition on discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. He was also known for challenging the now-defunct discriminatory policy known as apartheid.

Classifying marriage solely as an opposite-sex relationship will remain China's legal position, a parliament spokesman said—ruling out following neighboring Taiwan in allowing same-sex marriage, despite pressure from activists, Reuters reported. Taiwan's parliament passed a bill in May that endorsed same-sex marriage. China, which claims Taiwan as its territory, has a thriving gay scene in major cities; however, there has been little sign the ruling Communist Party will legalize same-sex marriage.

Four teenage boys accused of viciously attacking a lesbian couple when the pair refused to kiss on a London bus pled not guilty, The New York Post reported. The group—who range in age from 15 to 17—allegedly harassed Melania Geymonat, 28, and her girlfriend Christine Hannigan, 29, as the couple headed home from a date May 30. The alleged perpetrators entered not guilty pleas to a charge of causing harassment by using threatening or abusive words or behavior, according to The Guardian. Their next court date is Nov. 28; the bus driver and the two women are expected to testify.

Thailand's new government has revived a debate over a measure that would make the country the first in Southeast Asia to legalize same-sex unions—but which has split the LGBT community for falling short of proposing full equal rights, VOA Cambodia reported. Justice Minister Somsak Thepsuthin said at a forum in Bangkok that the bill's fate would be "decided by public sentiment," according to local media. An online survey of more than 1,000 people via YouGov published in February found strong support for same-sex civil unions in Thailand.

The United States was one of three countries to vote against a U.N. resolution condemning the glorification of Nazism over freedom-of-speech issues and concerns that Russia was using it to carry out political attacks against its neighbors, CBS News reported. The resolution was approved by the U.N.'s human rights committee with 131 in favor, three against with 48 abstentions; Ukraine and Palau were the other no votes. Deputy U.S. Representative to the Economic and Social Council Stefanie Amadeo explained the "no" vote by saying "Due to this resolution's overly narrow scope and politicized nature, and because it calls for unacceptable limits on the fundamental freedom of expression, the United States cannot support it."

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte is planning to call for a national convention for the LGBTQ to hear concerns of community members, according to his former special assistant and now senator Christopher Lawrence "Bong" Go, The Manila Times reported. Go said Duterte thought of the convention after his meeting with transgender woman Gretchen Diez and other members of the LGBTQ community in Malacanang. On Aug. 16, Diez filed a complaint against Araneta Center Inc., Starline Security Agency Inc. and the sanitation services agency contracted by the Araneta Center for supposedly violating the Quezon City Gender Fair Ordinance. Duterte has said some rather controversial statements about LGBTQs, including that he "cured" himself of being gay, HuffPost noted.

Two-time Olympic champion Caster Semenya—who has been locked in a battle over her testosterone levels with athletics authorities—said that she has not felt supported by other women in sport, HuffPost reported. "Since I have been in sport I have never really felt very supported, I've never felt recognized mostly by women," said Semenya during a women's conference in Johannesburg where she was the headline speaker. The South African athlete will not be able to defend her 800-meter title at the world championships in September after the Swiss Federal Tribunal reversed a ruling that temporarily lifted testosterone regulations imposed on her.

The Pentecostal Assembly of the West Indies ( PAWI ) vehemently opposed what it called "the LGBT agenda" in Saint Lucia and strongly reiterated this stance at a meeting before the island nation's first-ever Pride festival, held Aug. 23-26, LoopSLU.com noted. The guest speakers at the meeting were Wayne West, a medical doctor and professor at the University of the West Indies, and Philippa Davies, an advocacy officer of the Jamaica Coalition for a Healthy Society. The festival's theme was "Persist with Pride."

The government's appeal against a Grand Court decision to legalize same-sex marriage in the Cayman Islands will be heard starting Aug. 28, The Cayman Compass reported. In March this year, Chief Justice Anthony Smellie ruled that the definition of marriage as between a man and a woman was unconstitutional and violated multiple rights. Three Court of Appeal judges, including president Sir John Goldring, will hear arguments from both sides; a decision is expected in October.

Reykjavik Pride President Gunnlaugur Bragi Bjornsson recently rang the Icelandic Stock Exchange bell to celebrate a new collaboration between the two organizations, according to an Iceland Review piece that cites Visir. The aim of the partnership is to get a conversation going around the status of LGBTQIA people in the business world, as recent studies published in the United States have shown, for instance, that gay men are less likely than straight men to become senior executives.

An Australian version of the Emmy-winning show RuPaul's Drag Race is set to hit screens next year, PinkNews noted. ITV's Australian production arm confirmed that it has secured the local rights for the show, which CEO David Mott said is "arguably one of the biggest formats globally at the moment." RuPaul's Drag Race and RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars both stream on Stan in Australia; ITV said it will soon enter discussions with "potential broadcast and streaming partners."

Taron Egerton—who starred as Elton John in the musical biopic Rocketman—will read the audiobook of the singer's memoir, Me, out Oct. 15, Page Six noted. John himself will also appear on the 13-hour, unabridged audiobook of his upcoming autobiography. Me, published by Henry Holt & Co., will be John's "first and only autobiography," tracing his life and work as a singer-songwriter and his rise to fame. ( The book will further discuss John's road to sobriety; and his relationship and family with David Furnish.

Ariana Grande performed in Manchester, England, for the first time in two years, Page Six noted. She headlined the Manchester Pride Festival, marking her first appearance in the British city since her One Love Manchester benefit concert in honor of the Manchester Arena bombing during her show that killed 22 people. While on stage, Grande reportedly admitted to the audience she was "nervous" to be back.


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