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World news: Apologies to gay men, activist stabbed, Taipei parade
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times.
2017-11-07

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The first minister apologized on behalf of the Scottish government to gay men convicted of now-abolished sexual offenses, BBC.com reported. Nicola Sturgeon made the apology at Holyrood Nov. 7 to coincide with new legislation giving an automatic pardon to those affected. Sturgeon promised the legislation when she presented her program in September; the law will also allow the removal of such offenses from criminal records.

The state government in Western Australia has apologized to men convicted of homosexuality, Gay Star News reported. Premier Mark McGowan delivered the apology speech in Parliament; he also introduced a bill to expunge the criminal records of men convicted of homosexuality. "Today is about doing what we can to right the wrongs of the past," McGowan said in Parliament.

LGBT-rights activist Julian Aubrey was found stabbed to death this week in his West London flat, according to a NewNowNext item that referenced the Evening Standard. Police discovered Aubrey, 55, with multiple knife wounds. The British campaigner was a former co-chairman of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea LGBT liaison group. He met Princess Anne in 2014 in recognition of his work as a counselor with victims of sexual abuse.

Rainbow flags and glitzy costumes filled downtown Taipei as tens of thousands marched in Asia's largest gay pride parade, the first since Taiwan's top court ruled in favor of equal marriage, The Guardian noted. The island looks set to become the first place in Asia to legalize gay marriage after the constitutional court said in May that laws preventing same-sex unions violated the guarantee of freedom of marriage. It gave the government two years to implement the decision.

Advocacy groups say that Russia and Egypt are attempting to block protections that would prevent anti-gay discrimination at next year's Olympic games, The Daily Dot reported. In the coming weeks, the United Nations is set to approve what is known as the "Olympic Truce Resolution," which has included Principle 6, a policy forbidding discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation ( but not gender identity ). Jessica Stern, executive director at OutRight Action International, said in a press release: "After systematic attacks on LGBT people in their own countries, they are now setting their sights on promoting violence and discrimination in every country of the world. The Olympics Games are supposed to be a time for sport, technique, pride and community, not for politicking, hatred and violence."

Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ) President Chad Griffin has called on U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to speak out against the anti-LGBTQ human rights abuses occurring in Egypt, Chechnya, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Georgia, Tanzania, Azerbaijan and Tajikistan, a press release noted. In part, Griffin stated, "I urge you to speak out against the serious attacks on LGBTQ people around the world by loudly condemning these arbitrary arrests, detentions, and persecution of LGBTQ people. There are countless lives—in these countries and many others across the globe—depending on America's action and leadership."

American Jewish World Service ( AJWS ), Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice ( Astraea ) and Global Action for Trans Equality ( GATE ) released the findings of their global surveys of intersex and trans organizations in 107 countries engaged in advocacy, services and education in two new reports, The State of Intersex Organizing and The State of Trans Organizing, a press release noted. More than 450 groups working on trans issues and more than 50 groups working on intersex issues participated in the surveys. The reports conclude that, despite increased awareness and media coverage of both intersex and trans people and issues, intersex and trans groups are deeply under-resourced and continue to be neglected by international funders.

Theresa May has appointed a defense secretary who voted against allowing armed forces personnel to enter same-sex marriages, PinkNews noted. The prime minister appointed Gavin Williamson as the new secretary, replacing the embattled Sir Michael Fallon, who quit amid a sex scandal. Fallon also opposed marriage equality.

Three Marines who were caught on video drunkenly exposing themselves and performing sex acts on each other in a Scottish nightclub have avoided jail time, although they've been expelled from the service, NewNowNext noted. Police in Arbroath, Scotland say Luke Bowen, Jordan Coia and Ben James committed "puerile and repugnant" acts outside DeVitos nightclub near the Royal Marine base in Angus. The trio pled guilty to charges of public indecency and will perform community service, but will face no jail time and won't be placed on the sex offenders registry, as the court accepted there was "no significant sexual element" to their actions.

In Canada, a bisexual Christian pastor and an indigenous graphic novelist are among the 2017 Future 40 finalists, CBC.ca noted. Pastor Jamie Arpin-Ricci has been serving marginalized groups in Winnipeg's West End for 15 years; Jennifer Storm is an award-winning writer, editor and visual artist who has influenced a generation of young Indigenous women; and Andrew Kaplan helped start his school's first gay-straight alliance group, which won the Sybil Shack Human Rights Youth Award. CBC Manitoba's Future 40 showcases some of the brightest young minds and influential change-makers under 40 working to make this province better for future generations.

Ugandan rapper Keko confirmed her alleged Canadian citizenship on Twitter and, with the news of the big move came an even bigger announcement—Keko has come out as lesbian, Out.com reported. She tweeted, "My gay ass is free, yes free, and there will be a wedding you best believe." Keko, 30, has slowly risen to prominence over the last few years with her 2011 breakthrough single "How We Do It" and endorsements with Mountain Dew and Pepsi, in addition to winning Female Artist of the Year at the 2016 UG Hip Hop Awards.

Robbie Manson, an openly gay Olympic rower from New Zealand, won an "Athlete of the Year" award from the Association of National Olympic Committees in Prague, according to a NewNowNext item that cites Outsports. Manson was the winner from Oceania along with Sarah Goss, a female rugby player. Awards were also given to athletes from the Americas, Africa, Asia and Europe. Manson—who won two gold medals at international rowing events and also set a world record this year—hopes to compete at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

In the wake of two male lions in Kenya's Masai Mara Park having a same-sex encounter, a government official has blamed gay men visiting the national park for shaping the animals' behavior, according to an Express Tribune item that cites MailOnline. Dr. Ezekiel Mutua, who is responsible for TV and film censorship in Kenya, has demanded that the two lions in question be caught and kept in isolation until scientists can "determine how they acquired homosexual behavior." Mutua also called for an investigation into whether the two lions, despite their grand manes, were really male.

Italian students found out that their math teacher used to be a gay-porn star, Attitude reported. Ruggero Freddi used to work under the stage name Carlo Masi and has appeared in multiple Colt Studios films. After deciding to quit porn in 2013, Freddi got a degree in mathematics and has entered to life of academia as a teacher while sticking with his partner of 11 years, Gustavo Alejandro Leguizamon.

In the world of professional tennis, ATP Executive Chairman/President Chris Kermode and tournament sponsor Red Bull apologized for the draw ceremony for the Next Gen Finals held in Milan, Italy, Tennis.com reported. Several people, including lesbian former pro player Amelie Mauresmo, called the ceremony—in which female models provocatively revealed letters when they were picked by the male tennis players—as a "disgrace" and sexist. Kermode, at a press conference, said, "The intention was to mix the heritage of Milan, of fashion. Unfortunately, the execution was unacceptable. We apologize and I can assure it won't happen again." The Next Gen Finals featured the top seven 21-and-under players in the rankings, plus one Italian wild card.


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