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World news: African LGBT campaign, custody win, suicide report, gay imam
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2016-05-04

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Scalabrini Centre, a migrant rights and resources organization, officially launched its "Let's Face It" campaign as part of an effort to promote gay and lesbian rights and highlight emerging hate-crimes legislation, AllAfrica.com reported. They've cited the 20th anniversary of South Africa's constitution, the first to recognize gay rights, as a fitting time to take up the issue. In a photo-campaign called "Pop Up Pride," the human-rights team at Scalabrini has been taking a rainbow cutout of Africa around various areas in Cape Town; organizers hope to reach 1,000 photographs by Khumbulani Pride, a May 21 event in Khayelitsha to commemorate victims of anti-gay violence.

A same-sex American-Spanish couple has won a high-profile custody battle against a surrogate mother in Thailand who gave birth to their child but then decided she wanted to keep the baby when she found out they were gay, The Associated Press noted. The couple—American Gordon Lake and Spaniard Manuel Santos, both 41—have been in Thailand since launching their legal battle after baby Carmen was born in January 2015. The couple's lawyer, Rachapol Sirikulchit, said that Bangkok's Juvenile and Family Court "granted legal custody of Carmen Lake to [biological father] Gordon Lake."

Young gay and bisexual men in the United Kingdom are six times more likely to attempt suicide than their counterparts who are older than 45, The Daily Beast reported. That number only goes up for those who are black, poor, or less educated, researchers at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine ( LSHTM ) found. The team used nearly 6,000 responses to the Stonewall Gay and Bisexual Men's Health Survey to analyze how age, ethnicity, income and other factors affected depression, anxiety and suicidality. The report is at www.stonewall.org .uk/sites/default/files/Gay_and_Bisexual_Men_s_Health_Survey__2013_.pdf.

A prominent Saudi Muslim scholar has criticized the persecution of gay people, PinkNews reported. Although homosexuality is illegal in Saudi Arabia, Dr. Salman al-Ouda—a member of the International Union for Muslim Scholars and director of Islam Today—has called for an end to the persecution. In part, he said, "Homosexuals are not deviating from Islam. Homosexuality is a grave sin, but those who say that homosexuals deviate from Islam are the real deviators."

Australia has its first gay imam, The Daily Mail reported. Melbourne Imam Nur Warsame—a well-respected leader of a mosque in the Islamic community in Australia—was once married and has a young daughter. The Somali-born man revealed his battle with reconciling his faith and sexual identity for decades—and, at one point, he attempted to take his own life after suffering years of trauma. He came out publicly in a bid to provide support to young gay Muslims who are too afraid to speak up.

The European Broadcasting Union ( EBU ) is pleased to announce that it has signed a deal to broadcast the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest Grand Final live in the United States for the first time, according to its website. Logo, part of Viacom's Music & Entertainment Group including VH1, MTV and Comedy Central, will air the Grand Final of the 61st Eurovision Song Contest live on May 14. Logo, the United States' LGBT cable network, is available in nearly 50 million homes. As well as the 42 participating nations, Eurovision will be broadcast in Portugal ( sitting out a year ), China, New Zealand and Kazakhstan, PinkNews noted.

In Australia, federal Liberal MP Andrew Hastie called on Facebook to explain why it deleted a Sydney academic's post about same-sex marriage and reinstated it only after being quizzed by free-speech advocate Tim Wilson, The Australian reported. The post—by John Dickson, an ordained Anglican minister and founder of the Centre for Public Christianity—was removed because it did not adhere to Facebook's "community standards." The 500-word opinion piece, which called for a more respectful debate on the issue of gay marriage, was reinstated, with Facebook telling Dickson one of its employees had "accidentally" deleted it.

An Auckland, New Zealand, man was allegedly robbed and battered after an Internet date turned into a vicious attack, Maori Television reported. The gay man, believed to be in his 30s, had arranged to meet a date through the social-media app Grindr at his home. However, two carloads of people allegedly arrived at his home instead. Police are investigating the attack as an aggravated robbery.

One of India's most senior lawyers has been ordered to study condom and other contraceptive packets to determine if their pictures are too racy and should be banned, Yahoo! News noted. Additional Solicitor General Maninder Singh is spending weeks poring over photographs—often of scantily clad women or couples in steamy embraces—promoting the products after the Supreme Court said they may breach India's obscenity laws.

Travel-planning app/website Gogobot has announced its 2016 LGBT Rising Stars Destinations and 2016 LGBT Declining Destinations Worth a Second Look lists, a press release stated. Some of the Rising Stars awardees were Atlanta, Hong Kong, Boston and Minneapolis, while Las Vegas, Paris, greater Tokyo, Bangkok and Orlando/Walt Disney World were some of the Second Look items. See Gogobot.com .

In Britain, Coventry City soccer player Chris Stokes could face suspension or massive fines after calling other soccer players a "bunch of faggots" on Twitter, Gay Star News reported. As the world was celebrating Leicester City come from 5000-1 to winning the Premier League, the 25-year-old defender posted a homophobic slur to describe the team. Shortly after the tweet, Stokes apologized, claiming he had no idea what the term "faggot" meant. He later added, "It's unacceptable and it won't happen again[.] I am very sorry if I've caused offence to anyone." An FA spokesperson said, "We're aware of the tweet and we'll be investigating it."

A gay male vulture couple in Germany's Tierpark Nordhorn zoo is trying to start a family by adopting and incubating an abandoned egg, Inside Edition noted. According to ENEX, the gay vultures have already built a nest in preparation of raising a family before even adopting the abandoned egg. However, zoo officials said they were not sure which male vulture at their zoo is the biological father, or if the egg was even fertilized.


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