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WORLD Taiwan march, Brazilian politics, monument desecrated
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2018-10-30

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More than 100,000 people marched through Taiwan's capital of Taipei on Oct. 27 to press the government to deliver on its promise of marriage equality amid an increasingly heated debate over whether civil laws should recognize same-sex marriage, according to an OpenlyNews.com item that cites Reuters. The self-ruled island will hold a series of public votes on same-sex marriage Nov. 24, after its election authority approved separate referendum petitions from both conservative and rights groups.

More than 50 transgender candidates ran for state and federal offices in Brazil—a deeply conservative and religious country that is also one of the most dangerous in the world for the transgender community, NBC News noted. Last year, 179 trans people were killed in Brazil, up from 144 in 2016, according to Brazil's National Association of Transvestites and Transsexuals; so far this year, 122 have been killed.

Speaking of Brazil, right-wing presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro once said he'd rather have a dead son than one who came out of the closet—but that didn't deter conservative gay voters from backing him before the Oct. 28 decisive election runoff, France24.com reported. Bolsonaro also has garnered female and minority voters despite his misogynisitic and racist comments; for these voters, Bolsonaro is tough on crime and will help create jobs in the country's flailing economy—and those stances trumped his questionable statements. Bolsonaro, a former army captain, bested leftist Fernando Haddad in the runoff, receiving about 55 percent of the vote on Oct. 28, The Washington Post reported.

The words "Death to LGBT" were found scrawled on a monument in Tel Aviv that commemorates members of the community who were persecuted by the Nazi regime for their sexual orientation and gender identity, The Jerusalem Post reported. Passersby discovered the graffiti Oct. 25 at the monument in Meir Park where their community center is located. The statue is shaped like a pink triangle—evoking the pink triangles LGBTQ community members were required to attach to their concentration camp prisoner uniform. Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai condemned the vandalism, and immediately ordered the graffiti removed.

One of the United Kingdom's most high-profile LGBTI politicians, Ruth Davidson SMP, has given birth, Gay Star News noted. Davidson announced she was pregnant via IVF treatment—and she recently tweeted a photo of herself with her partner, Jen Wilson, and their new arrival. Baby Finn was born at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

A British think tank has defended giving an award to the politician from Uganda behind the infamous "Kill the Gays" bill, Gay Star News reported. Rebecca Kadaga is the House Speaker in the Ugandan parliament, and was recently given the African Parliamentary Speaker of the Year award by Ring4Change at its recent London Political Summit ( LPS ). LPS director Godson Azu told Gay Star News, "This award doesn't have anything to do with her homophobic views. She is a remarkable woman parliamentarian and her record to improve the situation in Uganda is very good."

Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohamad has described LGBT+ rights as "Western values," PinkNews reported. "Sometimes Asians accept Western values without questioning. We should be free not to change our values according to their wishes," the 93-year-old leader said, quoted in the Nikkei Asian Review. Same-sex relations are still illegal in Malaysia.

Approximately 200 Polish schools were going to participate in Rainbow Friday, an event created by the civil rights group Campaign Against Homophobia—but the Polish government warned the schools against it, according to an Instinct Magazinte item that cited PinkNews. Anna Zalewska, the education minister of Poland, warned the schools that if they participated in the events there will be consequences and urged parents to report any LGBTQ activities to the authorities.

A gay teacher at a top Zimbabwean boys' school has resigned after death threats and pressure from parents, BBC.com reported. Neal Hovelmeier, deputy head for St John's College's sixth form, came out to his students, but some parents threatened legal action against him in a country where same-sex acts are illegal. The teacher, who has worked in the elite school for 15 years, apologised for the distress caused by revealing his sexuality, saying it has since led to "death threats as well as threats of physical danger to myself and my pets."

On Nov. 2-5, LGBTQ activists and travel-industry representatives will convene for a travel-advocacy event in Hong Kong, host destination for the Gay Games in 2022, a press release noted. IGLTA President/CEO John Tanzella and IGLTA board member Shiho Ikeuchi are among the 30 diverse speakers from 15 countries that will address the Miles of Love conference attendees at the Eaton Hotel. Set to coincide with Hong Kong's annual Pink Season LGBTQ festival, Miles of Love will explore how the travel industry can work with LGBTQ communities and activists globally to bridge the gap between human rights and travel. Planet Ally and All Out are hosting the event. The band Pussy Riot is also slated to be at the event.

In a surprise move, German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced she would step down as head of the Christian Democratic Union later this year, and retire from public life after serving out her term as chancellor, which is set to expire in 2021, The New Republic noted. Merkel has been a dominant figure in German political life and European politics, for nearly two decades.

Francois Ozon—whose latest film, Double Lover, competed at the Cannes Film Festival last year—is now making By the Grace of God, a drama looking at a real-life case of sexual abuses allegedly committed by a French priest in the late 1980s, Variety noted. Now in post-production, the film is inspired by the scandal surrounding Bernard Preynat, a Roman Catholic priest who was accused of having abused scouts from 1986 to 1991, and was only recently indicted after several victims filed lawsuits.

The World Wildlife Fund has released its signature 2018 Living Planet Report—and the news is not good, a press release noted. This year's report shows a staggering 60 percent decline in mammal, bird, fish, reptile and amphibian populations globally from 1970 to 2014. ( Freshwater populations, in particular, have seen an 83-percent decline since 1970. )The report also outlines concerning research regarding the human consumption of natural resources and its impact on the ecosystems people need—and current analysis suggests that humans have already pushed four planetary boundaries beyond the limit of a safe operating space; these are climate change, biosphere integrity, biogeochemical flows ( nitrogen and phosphorus ) and land-system change.


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