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WORLD State Dept. NZ prime minister, activist attacked
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2018-02-27

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State Department officials have been ordered to pare back passages in a soon-to-be-released annual report on global human rights that traditionally discuss women's reproductive rights and discrimination, Politico reported. The directive calls for stripping passages that describe societal views on family planning, including how much access women have to contraceptives and abortion. A broader section that chronicles racial, ethnic and sexual discrimination has also been ordered pared down, current and former officials said.

Jacinda Ardern became the first prime minister of New Zealand to walk in in Auckland Pride, NewNowNext.com reported. The festival, in its sixth year, saw 70 floats and between 25,000-30,000 participants and spectators. Ardern, who was elected last year, marched with the crowd, posed for pictures and cut the last rainbow ribbon.

A transgender-rights activist in Barbados who says her ex-roommate attacked her claims the police mistreated her because of her gender identity, The Washington Blade reported. Alexa Hoffmann told the Blade last week during a WhatsApp interview that her ex-roommate attacked her with a meat cleaver near her home in the parish of Christ Church on Feb. 18. Among other things, Hoffmann said she went to the police station and met with a "very abrasive sergeant" who told her that officers were looking for her ex-roommate. Hoffmann said the officers "did not want to deal with me" and the sergeant with whom she had spoken was "storming up and down the police station saying I was he, she, I don't know."

Kenya's High Court began hearing a case that may decriminalize homosexuality, CNN reported. It's a significant step in East Africa, where homosexuality is illegal in almost every country in the region and in 38 countries in total across the continent, according to Amnesty International. "The fact that we are being heard is an indicator that our democracy has come of age," said Eric Gitari, founder of the National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, one of the organizations that brought forward the case in 2016.

A court heard that a same-sex couple whose marriage in England is only recognized as a civil partnership in their native Northern Ireland are suffering unlawful discrimination, The Irish Times reported. Granted anonymity in the case, petitioner "X" and his husband wed in London in 2014. But under current laws they can only be classified as civil partners in Northern Ireland, an alleged "downgrading" of their relationship. They aim to secure a declaration that their marriage remains fully constituted throughout the United Kingdom.

Dutch clothing retailer Suit Supply latest advertising campaign—showing two men kissing—has already created a stir, costing the company over 14,000 Instagram followers in just a few hours, DutchNews.nl noted. The posters, plastered across the store's outlets in 22 countries—but not Russia or the UAE—have been praised by gay-rights groups; however, not all the company's fans agree. Gay-rights campaign group COC said the reactions show gay men are not yet fully accepted in the Netherlands.

Woodard Racing Organisation recently announced the signing of LGBT racing ace Freddy Niblack and the company's return to the highly competitive Britcar Endurance Championship for 2018, per a press release. Woodard Racing Organisation announced that they have signed Niblack to a two-year deal. Niblack is one of the only out race car drivers in the United States.

A Malaysian newspaper has sparked protest and ridicule by publishing a list on how to spot gay people, BBC.com reported. According to the article, gay men can be identified by their beards, and lesbians by their fondness for holding hands. Activists are warning it could put lives at risk in the conservative country. Same-sex activity is illegal in Malaysia under both secular and religious laws.

The city of Fukuoka will start recognizing partnerships of LGBT couples in April, becoming the seventh municipality to do so in Japan despite the absence of such a system at the national level, according to The Japan Times. Unlike official marriages, the recognition does not entail legal rights or obligations—but is expected to be used when couples rent city-run housing or undergo medical treatment requiring the consent of a family member at city hospitals.

Gus Kenworthy shared his medal-worthy opinion on Ivanka Trump's presence at today's Olympic Closing Ceremonies in PyeongChang, South Korea, NewNowNext.com noted. "So proud of all these people!" tweeted the 26-year-old freeskier. "Everybody here has worked so hard to make it to the Olympics and have the opportunity to walk in the closing ceremony! Well… Everyone except Ivanka. Honestly, tf is she doing here??" Like fellow out Olympian Adam Rippon, Kenworthy has been vocal in his criticism of the Trump administration.

The Australian deputy prime minister, who opposed same-sex marriage because "every child has a right to know her or his mother and father," has resigned after cheating on his wife, PinkNews reported. Barnaby Joyce announced that he would also step down from his position as leader of the National Party. He left his wife, Natalie, after she discovered his affair with his media adviser Vikki Campion.

The Commonwealth Games Federation has denied a call to ban a transgender weightlifter in the Games, PinkNews reported. New Zealand weightlifter Laurel Hubbard, 39, has competed as a woman in the weightlifting championships after transitioning at 35. In order to compete, Hubbard has to prove that her testosterone levels meet strict criteria—and her last tests indicated that she has less testosterone than a cis female. The Games will take place on the Australian Gold Coast in April.

Felix Jaehn, the German DJ/producer behind a remix of OMI's "Cheerleader," has come out as bisexual in an interview with German weekly Die Zeit, according to NewNowNext.com . The 23-year-old says he's ready to spend his life with someone, regardless of that person's gender. Jaehn also released a single, "Shine" in 2014, and a remix of.Rufus and Chaka Khan's "Ain't Nobody."

The deputy director of the United Nations children's agency, UNICEF, has resigned, saying he doesn't want allegations of sexual misconduct made against him to "damage" the agency's work, AlJazeera.com reported. Female colleagues of Justin Forsyth's at Save the Children raised complaints against him in 2011 and 2015, alleging he had sent inappropriate text messages and commented on what junior female staff members were wearing. Forsyth said the cases had been dealt with "through a proper process many years ago," adding, "I apologized unreservedly at the time and face to face. I apologize again."

Harry Styles was among the musicians who won at the recent Brit Awards, according to the event's website. Styles won British Artist Video of the Year for "Sign of the Times." Some of the other winners were Stormzy ( British Male Solo Artist and Mastercard British Album of the Year ), Lorde ( International Female Solo Artist ), Dua Lipa ( British Breakthrough Act and British Female Solo Artist ) and Gorillaz ( British Group ).

Kim Kardashian stirred controversy with her seventh Vogue cover, which was for the March issue of Vogue India, Page Six noted. There were negative comments among readers who felt that a South Asian talent should have been featured instead. ( Kardashian is of Armenian descent. ) Back in 2012, Kardashian offended the Indian community in an episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians by saying she thinks Indian food is "disgusting."


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