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World: Paralympic athlete, intersex activists, gay Russian candidates
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2016-09-13

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When the Rio Paralympic Games are over, wheelchair sprinter Marieke Vervoort of Belgium wants to end her life, LGBTQ Nation reported. "I started thinking about euthanasia," said Vervoort, one of nine out Paralympians competing this year. Euthanasia is legal in her native Belgium, with the consent of three doctors in writing. The 37-year-old suffers from an incurable, degenerative spinal disease so painful that she has already planned her funeral, reported PinkNews.

In Germany, intersex individuals are calling for a "third gender" option for everything from restrooms to paper forms, TheLocal.de reported. The article focuses on an intersex person named Vanya, who, with advocacy group Third Option ( Dritte Option ), want to create another official identification beyond male or female, such as "inter" or "diverse"—and the group is bringing a case to the German Constitutional Court. The German Ethics Council had recommended in 2012 that the government have an "other" category.

For what appears to be the first time in Russian history, two openly gay men are running for seats in the State Duma, the lower house of the country's Federal Assembly, Towleroad noted. Both men have been outspoken gay rights activists and say that the 2013 anti-gay propaganda law spurred them to run for elected office. Bulat Barantayev and Aleksei Korolyov are both running as part of the liberal Parnas political coalition.

Netflix has released I Am the Ambassador—the documentary series that follows the career of the openly gay U.S. ambassador to Denmark, Rufus Gifford—for online streaming, Out.com noted. The six-episode series first aired on Danish television in 2014. While Gifford enjoyed making the show, he actually expressed some anxiety about the show premiering globally.

In a lawsuit against the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, an Iranian refugee claims that a 2007 documentary outed him as a gay man, subjecting him to violence and persecution in the Islamic republic, Courthouse News Service reported. The CBC film Inside Iran's Secret Gay World detailed the country's "perilous and inhuman circumstances faced by homosexuals and their struggle for civil rights," Farzam Dadashzadeh claimed in his Aug. 15 lawsuit in British Columbia Supreme Court. Dadashzadeh says he was studying English and working as a hairstylist in Tehran during the filming, and had not disclosed his sexual orientation to family or friends—nor did he ever intend to.

The Evangelical Alliance of South Africa will snub a planned tour of the country by extreme anti-LGBT pastor Steven Anderson, PinkNews reported. Anderson, of the Faithful Word Baptist Church in Phoenix, is one of the United States' most homophobic pastors, having celebrated the Orlando massacre that claimed 49 victims at Pulse Nightclub. Moss Ntlha, of Evangelical Alliance of South Africa, said it was regrettable that Anderson had chosen to come to South Africa so "his hatred for LGBTs may be spread here."

Also in South Africa, the country's first gay and inclusive competitive rugby team, the Jozi Cats, is planning a tour into the sport's heartlands to fight discrimination, Gay Times Magazine reported. The Johannesburg team is planning a December tour of the Free State, and possibly Western Cape, to play some matches, fight discrimination and provide coaching clinics in underprivileged areas.

A gay Chinese student activist lodged a suit against the ministry of education over school textbooks describing homosexuality as a mental disorder, Yahoo! News noted. Homosexuality was listed as a mental disorder until 2001; however, Chinese universities continue to use textbooks that contain terms such as "disorder" and "impediment" to refer to homosexuality—research the Gay and Lesbian Campus Association of China carried out in 2014 found.

In Australia, openly gay Olympic gold medallist Matthew Mitcham is one of 200 cultural leaders who have signed a letter opposing a public vote on equal marriage, PinkNews reported. The country's right-wing prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, has avoided a free parliamentary vote on marriage equality, instead making plans to take the issue to the public in a non-binding plebiscite ( public vote ) to avoid a rift with his own conservative anti-LGBT MPs. But the proposal is being blocked by opposition parties, who support equal marriage but see a plebiscite see it as costly measure that invites anti-gay debate rather than swiftly resolving the issue in Parliament.

A Spanish group that fights against homophobia has filed a complaint against a therapist who offers "to cure homosexuality," TheLocal.es reported. Arcopoli has brought charges against Elena Lorenzo Rego, a psychotherapist who offers treatment for those wanting to change their sexual orientation from homosexual to heterosexual. In an interview with Portaluz in 2014, Lorenzo said she didn't carry out the treatment based on any moral or religious standpoint, but to help certain people who choose to recover from same-sex attraction in order to be attracted to the opposite sex.

A trans-rights activist and actor has been shot and injured in Peshawar, Pakistan, according to PinkNews. Didar, named by the Express Tribune, was shot in the hand and taken to the Khyber Teaching Hospital. Didar apparently loaned money to a man who shot at her when she arrived at his house to ask for it back. Police earlier this year arrested a man suspected of shooting trans activist Alesha, who died in hospital from her injuries, after staff deliberated over which ward to place her.

Boxer Manny Pacquiao has said that he "regrets" saying gays are "worse than animals" but won't change his position, PinkNews noted. Earlier this year, Pacquiao ducked a fight with former world champion Shane Mosley, who said he would challenge Pacquiao to a fight and would champion gay rights. The sports star and wannabe politician has most recently claimed the comments were taken out of context.

Indonesia authorities have announced plans to ban gay dating apps like Grindr, PinkNews reported. The ban is reportedly being proposed after a pedophilia ring used the app as part of its operation. The move to ban such apps, not only limited to Grindr, comes amid a wider crackdown on gay people in Indonesia.


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