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World news: Alan Turing, Indonesian president, Australia and marriage
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2016-10-25

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The British government announced it will pardon gay and bisexual men who were convicted of gross indecency before the decriminalization of homosexuality in England and Wales in 1967, The Washington Blade reported. Using an amendment to the Policing and Crime Bill, thousands whose crime was simply being in a consensual same-sex relationship will be posthumously pardoned. This comes as a result of the royal pardon given to mathematician Alan Turing in 2013, whose work breaking the Enigma code was said to have shortened World War II by two years. Turing took his own life in 1954, two years after being arrested for homosexual activity and subsequently convicted of gross indecency.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo said he opposes anti-LGBT discrimination, according to a Washington Blade item. BBC Indonesia reported Widodo made the comment in response to a question about efforts to prosecute people who are accused of engaging in consensual same-sex sexual relations. Widodo said the police "must act" to protect minority groups that face discrimination. He told BBC Indonesia that cultural norms do "not allow" what media reports described as the "LGBT lifestyle."

In Australia, Liberal senator Dean Smith has said the parliament should consider a vote on a same-sex marriage bill this term, in contrast to conservative colleagues' view that no vote should be held without a plebiscite, The Guardian reported. Smith, who opposes the government's proposed plebiscite, is the first Coalition MP to call for a parliamentary vote, which Malcolm Turnbull has not ruled out if the Senate blocks the plebiscite bill, as is expected.

Manchester's gay mayor has said he was subject to a homophobic attack at a Justin Bieber concert, Gay Star News noted. Carl Austin-Behan, the first gay lord mayor and a former Mr. Gay UK, has said he was called a "dirty faggot and a dirty gay" by two young women before the gig at Manchester Arena. He said the two girls, who appeared to be in their teens, were arguing with a ticket seller when one of them said, "I'm not paying that to see a dirty gay."

In the UK, a transgender man was refused service in a supermarket because the staff didn't believe the female ID belonged to him, PinkNews reported. Charlie Diesel, 19, was refused service without explanation when he attempted to buy tobacco with his passport. Diesel was told that he could not be served because the "passport presented was that of a female." He was offered a goodwill gesture by the store but refused to accept the voucher because he wants to bring a light onto the discrimination transgender people face daily.

The Russian embassy in Britain tweeted a cartoon depicting the European Union member countries as gay pigs, according to LGBTQ Nation. ( The acronym PIIGS is used by economists to refer to countries like Greece, Italy and Spain that are facing economic difficulties and causing a financial crisis on the continent. ) Blogger Joe Jervis notes that the propaganda is "an implication that the European Union's continuing financial woes are tied to their support for LGBT rights."

Also in Russia, a gay couple ( Lev Polyakov and his boyfriend ) who were set to win a competition to become cover stars on the latest Ikea Russia catalog have had their entry removed from the contest, according to the UK Independent. The furniture store's Face from the Cover contest offered members of the public the opportunity to visit a store anywhere in Russia and pose in front of a professional photographer, and then upload the photo to the Swedish chain's website. Even though an Ikea Russia spokesman told Gay Star News there'd be no censoring, a screen shot showed the gay couple's entry had been pulled.

A man who lured a police officer to his south London apartment for a drug-fueled sexual encounter that turned deadly is said to have eaten his body, as well as attempting to dissolve it in acid, LGBTQ Nation reported. PC Gordon Semple's DNA was found on a chopping board, chopsticks, the blade of a blender and the inside of a silver cooking pot during a search of Stefano Brizzi's residence, Express reported. "I spoke to Satan and he was telling me to kill, kill, kill—and I agreed at the first opportunity," Brizzi said, also telling first responders that he was HIV-positive.

The International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association ( IGLTA ) will hold its 34th Annual Global Convention in St. Petersburg, Florida, on May 4-6, 2017, a press release stated. Board chair Juan Julia, who sits on the convention education task force, said, "In St. Petersburg, we will include some Spanish-language content to better serve our members throughout Latin America. We encourage speaker applications in English or Spanish from industry leaders who will deliver dynamic presentations with a global perspective on the LGBT market." To apply to present an educational session at IGLTA's 34th Annual Global Convention, download the form at IGLTA.org/Call-For-Speakers; for more information, email convention@iglta.org .

An upcoming BBC television drama will tell two interconnected stories about gay couples, separated by six decades but tied together by a painting, NewNowNext noted. Man in an Orange Shirt explores "strands of gay male experience since the 1940s," says out novelist Patrick Gale, who is contributing the screenplay. The first story—starring Oliver Jackson Cohen and Jame McCardle—is set in WWII-era Europe. The second one, taking place in the modern day, features Julian Morris ( Pretty Little Liars, New Girl, Once Upon a Time ) and David Gyasi ( Insterstellar ) as the young couple.


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