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WORLD Taiwan marriage, Tanzania's loss, queer rap group, rugby player
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2018-11-20

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In the lead-up to Nov. 24 referendums in Taiwan in which marriage equality and inclusion of LGBTQ issues in school curricula are on the ballot, 27 Taiwanese and multinational companies operating in Taiwan released a statement in support of LGBTQ equality, according to a joint press release from the Human Rights Campaign, Out & Equal Workplace Advocates and the Taiwan Tongzhi ( LGBT ) Hotline Association. Some of the Taiwanese companies included ALPHA Camp, Hahow, FunNow and Pegatron Corporation; some of the multinational businesses included Airbnb, Deutsche Bank, Microsoft, Google and The Dow Chemical Company.

In related news, more than 100,000 people—including musicians, filmmakers and politicians—rallied on Ketagalan Boulevard in Taipei to show support for same-sex marriage ahead of the Nov. 24 referendums on the issue, the Taipei Times noted. Referendum No. 14 aims to legalize same-sex marriage by amending the Civil Code and No. 15 requires that classes on homosexuality be included in compulsory education; on the flip side, referenda 10-12 advocate opposing stances.

Tanzania has lost $10 million worth of aid funding from Denmark abecause of the African country's anti-gay crackdown, PinkNews reported. Danish Development Minister Ulla Tornaes announced the decision on Twitter, expressing her concerns about respect for LGBT+ rights and gay people in the country. Denmark is the second-largest donor to the country, gifting a total the equivalent of $53 million in foreign aid last year, Reuters noted. Also on Wednesday, the World Bank decided to scrap plans for a $300-million loan to Tanzania due to the country forbidding pregnant girls from attending school and to return to class after giving birth, CNN reported.

Five young rappers from Sao Paulo decided to create Quebrada Queer, Brazil's ( and maybe Latin America's ) first LGBTQI cypher at the beginning of 2018—and it's fighting for survival and safety in what's been called the world's LGBT murder capital, according to Remezcla.com . Claiming to be the only openly LGBTQ cypher in the world, Quebrada Queer formed from the urgency to address issues such as LGBTQI-phobia, racism and social inequality. The group consists of appers Guigo ( 26 years old ), Harlley ( 20 ), Lucas Boombeat ( 24 ), Murillo Zyess ( 23 ), Tchelo Gomez ( 26 ) and DJ Apuke ( the crew's musical producer ).

Former Wales rugby union captain Gareth Thomas has reported he was the victim of a homophobic assault by a teenager, The News Tribune noted. The 44-year-old Thomas—who announced in 2009 that he is gay—thanked the police and the people of Cardiff for their support following the incident in Cardiff. Police in Cardiff confirmed a 16-year-old boy, who was not named, admitted to assault.

Far-right militants attacked a rally in support of transgender rights held in Ukraine on Nov. 18, PinkNews noted. Led by the non-governmental organizsation Insight, trans-rights campaigners gathered in Ukraine capital of Kiev to demand an end to transphobia ahead of Transgender Day of Remembrance, observed on Nov. 20. According to U.S. journalist Christopher Miller, who tweeted about the rally, a group of religious and far-right militants confronted the LGBT+ activists early in the afternoon at a park in the city, forcing them to change the location of the legally sanctioned rally.

A provincial administration in Indonesia has said it is preparing to issue a regulation to restrict LGBTIs, Gay Star News reported. The administration of Depok, in West Java, said the regulations are in order as LGBTI influence is becoming more common in the area. However, Depok Mayor Mohammad Idris also said that such a legislation would require legal consent from the Indonesian government.

In Canada, Alberta Education Minister David Eggen is directing 28 privately run schools to post rules affirming the rights of LGBTQ students or risk having their funding pulled by next school year, CityNews Toronto reported. Private schools receive as much as 70 percent of their funding from the province. All public, separate, francophone and charter schools have policies in place, representing more than 98 percent of kindergarten to Grade 12 students, according to Eggen.

A draft new constitution for Cuba that paves the way for same-sex marriage as well as the right to private property was ready to go before lawmakers on yesterday for fine-tuning ahead of a referendum next year, PhilStar.com noted. The government formally ended three months of consultative debates in town halls, workplaces and universities across the Communist-run island of 11 million people. The hottest topic in the town hall debates was the text's definition of marriage as a union "between two persons"—not a man and a woman as specified in the Soviet-era constitution drafted in 1976.

The minister in charge of helping Britain leave the European Union, Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab, abruptly resigned from Prime Minister Theresa May's government—saying he could not support the withdrawal agreement approved by her cabinet the previous night, The Washington Post reported. Also quitting their posts were two other ministers and a junior minister in the Brexit ministry, providing a setback for May.

Unsurprisingly, U.S. House conservatives are protesting LGBT protection in a Mexico-Canada trade deal, Politico reported. They are displeased that the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement contains requirements that workers be protected from discrimination on the basis of sex, including sexual orientation and gender identity. The conservatives—including House Freedom Caucus chairman Mark Meadows and Rep. Steve King ( R-Iowa )—are hoping to revise the deal before it gets signed.

LGBT actor Ezra Miller wore yet another eye-catching look to the UK premiere of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald recently, according to Page Six. The actor, 26, chose a white feathered Givenchy Haute Couture outfit for the evening's blue carpet, adding extra drama by writing "Avada Kedavra"—known to all Harry Potter fans as the killing spell—on his palms and "Dumbledore's Army" and "still recruiting" on his boots. The previous week, he wore a dramatic puffer gown with a hooded cape and gloves as a tribute to his character's dark energy, called the Obscurus.

An Australian bridal magazine has announced it will close after contributors revealed it was refusing to feature same-sex couples, PinkNews noted. White magazine, which started 12 years ago and is one of the country's largest wedding publications, said several advertisers had pulled their sponsorship following the controversy. The publishers said, "White Magazine has always been a secular publication, but as its publishers, we are Christian. We have no agenda but to love."

Queen Elizabeth reached across the pond to give her emotional support as the deadly wildfires in California continue, People.com noted. In a statement, the queen offered her compassion to those affected by the fires in the Golden State—which happens to be the birthplace of the newest member of her family, Meghan Markle.

Australian police are seeking a potential witness after a man plunged three floors from a Sydney balcony and was impaled on a table leg on the same day he met up with another man on a dating app, PinkNews noted. The Swedish-American national was in critical condition at St. Vincent's Hospital following the incident. Local press reported that the man met up with another man earlier that day on gay dating app Grindr.

Victoria's Secret CEO of lingerie Jan Singer is resigning, NewNowNext.com noted. The news came less than a week after exec Ed Razek's fat-phobic and transphobic comments about plus-size and transgender models at the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show made the rounds. He later apologized for the offensive remarks and clarified that he "would" cast a trans model; the company has had some trans models apply; they just "didn't make it."


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