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World news: Arabic media, 'Tom of Finland,' trans women attacked
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2017-09-05

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OutRight Action International launched a new report "Arab Mass Media: A Monitoring Report Looking at Sexuality and Gender Identity in Arabic Media from 2014 to 2017." ( The report is available in both English and Arabic. ) OutRight said the report finds that currently journalists in the region often use derogatory terms that perpetuate homophobia and transphobia and reflect a wider poor human rights culture in the region. Also, the group stated the report highlights evidence of hate speech inspired by religious doctrine, medical misinformation, and legal fallacies being used to describe LGBTIQ people.

Finland has selected Dome Karukoski's Tom of Finland as its candidate for best foreign-language film Oscar consideration, according to IMDB.com . The story of the life of artist Touko Laaksanon, who created and drew early gay icons under the name Tom of Finland, has already attracted international attention and won a Fipresci prize at Sweden's Gothenburg film festival. It also made the list for the European Film Awards this year.

In Pakistan, two transgender women have allegedly been gang-raped in their own home, with two other trans women left brutally beaten, PinkNews reported. A group of five men reportedly broke into a house rented by a group of trans women in Karachi. When the women refused to entertain them, the men subjected them to physical and sexual abuse, according to activist organisation Trans Action Pakistan. Three of the alleged attackers have been identified, while the others remain unknown.

The Israeli government reversed its position on adoption by same-sex couples, telling the state attorney's office that it has no objection to the practice, Haaretz reported. The Labor, Social Affairs and Social Services Ministry informed the state attorney that it was backing down from its previous position that it would not lift discriminatory procedures, although the Knesset would have to legislate on the issue. The ministry, along with the Justice Ministry, had previously said it opposed adoption by same-sex couples.

However, in a blow to Israeli same-sex couples, the High Court of Justice rejected a petition by the Israeli Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Association to recognize same-sex marriage, The Jerusalem Post reported. Justices Elyakim Rubinstein ( former deputy to the president ), Neal Hendel and Anat Baron rejected the claim that, according to interpretations of the Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty, same-sex marriage should be recognized. They said there is no contradiction in the state's current position regarding this issue. The justices added that it is up to the lawmakers, and not the High Court, to determine this matter.

The federal government of Canada has been secretly helping gay Chechen men flee persecution, The Independent reported. The arrangement has been introduced under the guidance of Chrystia Freeland, Canada's foreign-affairs minister. The deeply conservative republic of Chechnya, a federal subject of Russia, allegedly launched a "gay purge" this spring, originally reported by Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta. Reports on numbers vary, but at least 26 men are thought to have been murdered.

Romania's ruling Social Democratic Party hope to introduce a referendum that effectively rules out hopes for same-sex marriage, Gay Star News reported. The party president, Liviu Dragnea, aims to introduce the referendum this fall. It aims to restrict the constitutional definition of marriage., which would then stop any proposed same-sex marriage reform. Vlad Viski, president of Romanian LGBTI activist group MozaiQ Association, told Gay Star News, "LGBTI people in Romania are going through difficult times."

Cirque de So Gay has marched in the Vancouver Pride parade wearing burkas before—and even won an award for originality—but this year, its design was rejected for being "culturally insensitive," NewNowNext.com reported. Co-founder Shawn Shirazi says Vancouver Pride is being hypocritical, as the Sisters of the Perpetual Indulgence appear at Pride parades worldwide wearing nuns' habits. But Vancouver Pride Society's director Andrea Arnot said Cirque de So Gay was making light of a complex issue and mocking a marginalized group. In January, a gunman opened fire at a mosque in Quebec City, killing six and wounding 19 more.

Disneyland Paris has apologized for telling a 3-year-old he couldn't take part in the park's "Princess for a Day" experience just because he's a boy, according to NewNowNext.com . The boy's mother wanted to give him the makeover as an early Christmas present, blogging, "I knew that there would be NOTHING he'd love more than to get to wear a pretty dress, put make up on like Mummy does, and have his photo taken being one of his beloved Disney princesses." However, she was stunned to receive a reply from the hotel telling her "at this time, it is not possible to book 'Princess for a Day' for a boy." On the Disneyland Paris site, the "Princess for a Day" package description now reads "Every child's wish can come true with a total princess makeover and hairstyling session."

Zimbabwean male sex worker Takunda Amina talked about his life to the the Thomson Reuters Foundation, according to AfricaLife.com . "I'm a single father of three and a male sex worker," he said. At 24, Amina has already been chased from his family home, forced to marry—twice—and fathered three children who ask him tough questions about sex and sexuality. Amina ( who chairs Male Sex Workers in Zimbabwe ) is not one of the economically disadvantaged workers, as he has a huge customer base and said he does not need to visit nightclubs or roam the streets for work; his clients simply phone him when they want sex. However, he said it is a risky job, sometimes with "violent clients who refuse to pay me after giving them services."

The head of the University of Oxford has stunned students by insisting it is not her job to stop homophobia within the university, according to PinkNews. The comments came from Professor Louise Richardson, the vice-chancellor of the University of Oxford and one of the most respected university bosses in the country. According to the BBC, she said, "I've had many conversations with students who say they don't feel comfortable because their professor has expressed views against homosexuality. ... And I say, 'I'm sorry, but my job isn't to make you feel comfortable. Education is not about being comfortable. I'm interested in making you uncomfortable.'"

A gay actor from Morocco was attacked after a director called for fans on Facebook to rape him, PinkNews reported. A group of people attacked Adam Lahlou, also known as Adouma, and threatened to kill him. The attack came after Mahmoud Frites, who calls himself a director and artist, wrote on Facebook and shared a picture of Adouma wearing a kaftan and head scarf. Frites claimed that Morocco had to stop "spreading" homosexuality and the way to do that was by raping him.

L'Oreal Paris has ended its partnership with its first transgender model just days after she was given the job, UK Metro reported. Munroe Bergdorf lost her job over controversial remarks she made in which she labelled all white people racist. She wrote, "Honestly I don't have energy to talk about the racial violence of white people any more. Yes ALL white people." The company said in a statement, "L'Oreal supports diversity and tolerance towards all people irrespective of their race, background, gender and religion."


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