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World: Murder suspects nabbed, new anti-HIV drug, Japan's first trans male official
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2017-03-21

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Eight suspects have been arrested in connection with the murder of Dandara dos Santos, a Brazilian transgender woman who was kicked, punched and hit with a plank of wood before being shot in the face twice and bludgeoned to death, NewNowNext.com reported. A video of the assault on dos Santos went viral, prompting a discussion on the inclusion of such disturbing footage by news outlets. The 42-year-old Brazilian was pulled from her home in Fortaleza on Feb. 15.

A new antiretroviral drug will soon be available to Canadian HIV patients—but it comes with some controversy and, likely, a high price tag, according to Daily Xtra. Odefsey, the successor to the older Complera, is the latest in Gilead Sciences' line of anti-HIV drugs; Gilead also makes Truvada to treat HIV and Truvada for PrEP to lower the risk of HIV transmission. Odefsey, which contains tenofovir alafenamide ( TAF ), is hitting the market just as Gilead's patent on tenofovir disoproxil fumarate ( TDF ) drugs is set to expire in December 2017. While the older TDF drugs are likely to plummet in price, Gilead has the patent on TAF locked down until 2022.

Japan has elected its first transgender man to a public office, The Independent reported. Tomoya Hosoda, 25, won 21 out of 22 seats to become a councillor for the city of Iruma, in the central region of Kanto. Hosoda said he does not just want to fight for LGBTQ rights but also for the rights of the disabled and the elderly by constructing a system that embraces diversity and helps minorities. Hosoda is the second transgender politician elected in Japan after Kamikawa Aya, a transgender woman who was elected as a Tokyo municipal official in 2003.

Australia's most senior conservative politician has criticized a campaign by the chief executives of 30 of the nation's largest companies for the "near-term" legalization of same-sex marriage, saying they should focus on running their own businesses instead of jamming "politically correct views down our throats," The Australian Financial Review reported. Immigration minister Peter Dutton was scathing in his response to a co-ordinated attempt by the chief executives of Telstra, Qantas, Holden, Commonwealth Bank, ANZ and others to force Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to pass laws legalizing same-sex marriage. Business leaders say they want the Prime Minister to deal with the issue urgently so he can get on with economic reform.

Intersex advocates in Australia and New Zealand have come together to declare their community's priorities for the future in a statement, Gay Star News reported. Over two days in Darlington, Sydney more than 20 advocates worked together at a retreat to create the "Darlington Statement," which identifies key priorities for intersex people. Some of these include legal reform to recognize bodily autonomy, effective rights-based oversight of clinical decisions, access to affirmative healthcare and the importance of peer support.

In Britain, LGBT groups claim that women who have sex with women are often wrongly told they do not need a cervical screening test, BBC News reported. This results in half of all eligible lesbian and bisexual women never having had a smear test, they said. Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender ( LGBT ) groups say women regularly face barriers to accessing healthcare and can have poor experiences when they do. For example, in a survey of lesbian, bisexual and other women who have sex with women, 36 percent said a doctor or nurse had assumed they were heterosexual.

In India, Ashley Tellis, an associate professor and an LGBT-rights activist, was sacked by a Bengaluru college that cited his involvement in "anti-college activities" and for hurting the "sensitivities of undergraduate students from heterogeneous backgrounds" in his classes, NDTV.com reported. St. Joseph's College released a statement saying Tellis was appointed on a temporary six-month contract in November 2016, and that he had clearly stated his orientation in his application and at the interview. "Later, while we appreciated his intellectual abilities and his scholarship, we were pained to note that he seemed to pay no heed to the sensitivities of undergraduate students from heterogeneous backgrounds," the statement also read.

The New Brunswick government introduced a bill to explicitly protect trans people under the province's human-rights act, making it the last Canadian province to do so, Daily Xtra reported. Bill 51 adds "gender identity or expression" to the list of prohibited grounds for discrimination in New Brunswick. It also adds the category "family status," intended to protect single parents from discrimination. The province has also introduced Bill 37 to amend the province's Change of Name Act and Vital Statistics Act. The bill removes the requirement for gender-confirming surgery so trans people can change the gender markers on their birth certificates, and simplifies the process of obtaining a legal name change.

A man who was stabbed to death at a known meeting place for gay men in Amsterdam's Oosterpark recently was identified as 33-year-old Jan Majdanski from Poland, NLTimes reported. Majdanski was openly gay and lived in Rotterdam. Police also revealed that they are considering other scenarios in addition to a mugging gone wrong; it is possible that Majdanski was killed because of his sexual orientation or trouble in a relationship.

A man was hospitalized and was reportedly fighting for his life after been knocked unconscious outside the Admiral Duncan gay pub in Soho, London, TheGayUK.com reported. According to witnesses, a fight broke out before the 39-year-old man was allegedly punched, just once, before falling to the ground, where he laid unconscious. The victim was drinking with friends inside the pub before the alleged attack.

A marketing ploy by the South Australian brewery Coopers that turned horribly bitter has forced the Bible Society Australia to pull a video from its website, The West Australian reported. The advertising debacle—a mix of religion, alcohol and a marriage-equality debate—is expected to cost the brewer thousands of dollars in lost sales over coming weeks, as LGBT-friendly pubs acknowledge their patrons' displeasure. Coopers released a video featured conservative Christian MP Andrew Hastie and out gay MP Tim Wilson debating same-sex marriage, along with a commemorative light beer complete with Bible Society Australia's logo on cans and Bible inscriptions on the packaging.

A long-running South African soap opera aired a same-sex kiss for the first time, NewNowNext.com reported. 7de Laan has aired about 4,000 episodes since premiering 17 years ago, but the surprise kiss between two of its male characters was still a first in the soap's history. The scene featured two waitresses crushing on the character of Logan ( Simon Tuit ) who find out—along with the audience—that he's actually gay after seeing him kiss his husband, Divan ( Arnu de Villiers ), Unicorn Booty noted.

Stephen Lehane, from Glenageary, won the 12th annual Mr. Gay Ireland ( MGI ) competition that took place in Chambers Bar, Cork—the first time the competition was held outside Dublin, according to DublinPeople.com . The event is no beauty competition, as each contestant has to raise awareness and funds for HIV to benefit the Guide Clinic at St James' Hospital Dublin. Lehane, 24, will represent Ireland at the Mr. Gay Europe Competition in Stockholm, Sweden, in August.

A British upcoming Next Top Model contestant has opened up about coming out as transgender, PinkNews noted. Talulah-Eve Brown, 22, is set to become the first transgender person to appear on Britain's Next Top Model. Brown transitioned to female a few years ago, but explains that her family were only able to fully understand her after seeing the support she got on Next Top Model. She said, "Doing it so publicly [on Next Top Model] has really helped my family accept me because they're seeing the support from people. My grandma thinks I'm crazy, to be honest."

Malaysian censors have apparently allowed Beauty and the Beast to screen in their country uncut, but have slapped a PG-13 rating on the film in part because of its highly publicized "gay moment," Page Six noted. The decision came after days of international attention on the Malaysian censorship board's demand that Disney cut four minutes of material deemed inappropriate in its live-action remake.

Marilyn Monroe Spas ( named after the iconic actress ) is partnering with La Vida Investment Holding Pvt. Ltd. to franchise spa locations throughout India—the Orlando-based company's first international franchise agreement, BizJournals.com reported. The 10-year pact calls for sales of 250 Marilyn Monroe Spa locations, with the first units expected to open in Delhi and Mumbai during the second half of 2017.


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