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World news: Cuban custody, Gay Games, Chilean pro-trans bill
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2018-01-30

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A woman in Cuba has been granted custody of her late daughter's three children who she is raising with her same-sex partner, The Washington Blade reported. A three-judge panel apparently ruled in favor of Eunice Violeta Cardoso Perez on Oct. 19. Cardoso's daughter, Vioem Karen Diaz Cardoso, gave birth to two girls and a boy when she was married to Guillermo Gomez Vera; they divorced after the 5-year-old boy was born.

Hong Kong 2022 organizers have officially signed the license agreement finalizing the agreement between the FGG ( international governing organization ) and Gay Games 11: Hong Kong 2022 ( local host organization ), per a press release. On Aug. 12, 2018, at the Closing Ceremony of Gay Games 10 in Paris, the ceremonial Gay Games flag will be passed from Paris to Hong Kong. Paris 2018 - Gay Games 10 will take place Aug. 4-12, and will feature 36 sports, 14 cultural events, academic conference and up to 15,000 participants from 70+ countries; visit Paris2018.com .

The lower house of the Chilean Congress approved a bill that would allow transgender adults to legally change their name and gender without surgery or a court order, according to a Washington Blade item. The measure passed in the House of Deputies 68-35 vote margin, and it will now go before the country's Senate. Organizado Trans Diversidades, a trans advocacy group, celebrated the bill's passage with the hashtag LigAhora ( "gender identity law now" ).

Russia has recognized a same-sex marriage ( for Pavel Stotsko and Yevgeny Voytsekhovsky, who wed in Copenhagen ) for the first time in what may be a legal loophole that was uncovered by a couple in Moscow, The Moscow Times noted. Russia does not register same-sex marriages, however Russian family law recognizes marriages that were registered abroad if they do not "contradict article 14 of the Family Code." That article bars marriages between close relatives and people who have already been registered as married but does not mention marriages between people of the same sex. Moscow's service center later denied registering the marriage.

Northern Ireland Secretary of State Karen Bradley enraged the LGBT community by comparing the holdup of marriage equality there to the installation of internet broadband, IrishCentral reported. Responding to a question about marriage rights for gay citizens, Bradley said, "It will be a matter for the elected politicians in Northern Ireland. ... That's not for me to impose, in the same way it's not for me to impose the way that superfast broadband is rolled out across the country." Although 70 percent of voters in Northern Ireland and the majority of its Assembly Members now support marriage equality for LGBT couples, politicians there have not formed a government that can enact it, postponing its arrival.

Egyptian police arrested 10 people on Jan. 14 in Alexandria the latest assault on LGBT rights in the country under the rule of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Human Rights Watch noted. However, HRW stated that, "in the face of relentless persecution of sexual and gender minorities in Egypt, world leaders remain largely silent—or worse, praise al-Sisi as a 'moderate' leader." The latest arrests bring to more than 85 the number reported to have been caught up in a massive crackdown on LGBT people since several young people waved a rainbow flag at a Cairo concert in September. One, Ahmed Alaa, was in pretrial detention for more than three months before being released on bail Jan. 21, although his case remains open.

GLAAD condemned President Donald Trump for his inaction on anti-LGBTQ state violence in Egypt, Chechnya, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Azerbaijan as he takes the stage at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, per a press release. "As Trump addresses a room of global changemakers, his unconscionable inaction on the growing epidemic of anti-LGBTQ violence around the world must not be ignored," said Sarah Kate Ellis, president/CEO of GLAAD. "GLAAD has been on the ground in Davos, calling attention to the erosion of LGBTQ acceptance under President Trump's watch and vowing that we will not be silent while the Present stands idly by in the face of horrific human-rights abuses."

Chris Bryant, an openly gay legislator and former United Kingdom Overseas Territories Minister at Britain's Foreign Office, says Bermuda's move to ban same-sex marriage will damage Britain's international reputation if it is allowed to go ahead, The Jamaica Observer noted. Bryant told the Royal Gazette newspaper here that the British government should block a bill designed to replace same-sex marriage with civil partnerships. Bermuda Gov. John Rankin has not yet signed The Domestic Partnership Act, which aims to reverse a Supreme Court ruling last May that opened the way for same-sex marriages there.

Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies ( TCRS ), in collaboration with Aegon Center for Longevity and Retirement ( ACLR ), released a new study, "LGBT: Retirement Preparations Amid Social Progress," which unveils retirement preparations among the LGBT workforce based on a survey fielded in nine countries around the world, per a press release. Key findings include that 84 percent of LGBT workers in the U.S. ( and 70 percent around the globe ) feel personally responsible for making sure they have sufficient income in retirement. See https://www.transamericacenter.org/docs/default-source/global-survey-2017/tcrs2018_sr_lgbt_retirement_preparations.pdf.

The British government is facing a fresh push to ban "conversion therapy," which is aimed at changing gay people's sexuality, BBC.com noted. The Church of England has been calling for the highly controversial practice to be outlawed, after its ruling body voted for a ban last year. Ministers condemned the "therapy" but have refused to meet Church campaigners to discuss the issue.

An alleged serial killer in Toronto is now facing five first-degree murder charges, Vice News reported. Bruce McArthur, a 66-year-old landscaper, was charged earlier this month with two other counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Andrew Kinsman and Selim Esen who vanished from the city's gay village last summer. Homicide Detective Sergeant Hank Idsinga told reporters at a news conference that McArthur was brought back before the courts to face the three additional murder charges in the deaths of Majeed Kayhan, Soroush Mahmudi and Dean Lisowick.

In Canada, after a week of backlash, Thames Valley District School Board has reversed its decision to drop funding for the Grand Theatre production of a musical about a gay student's fight to bring his date to the prom, CBC.ca reported. The public board will give $15,000 for the production of Prom Queen: The Musical, set to be staged this fall. In reversing Director of Education Laura Elliott's decision to pull funding, Board of Trustees Chair Matt Reid drew on his own experiences as a gay student at Thames Valley while denouncing the administration's decision.

Australia Open quarterfinalist Tennys Sandgren has apologized for a social-media post from 2012 in which he said a visit to gay club had "left his eyes bleeding," ESPN.com noted. Following his breakthrough at this year's first Grand Slam, the U.S. tennis player's Twitter activity has come under the spotlight, including the 2012 tweet, amid claims that he's a supporter of the controversial alt-right movement. Sandgren, 26, took to social media asking those who he offended to accept his apology stating: "I used poor and harsh words to describe a bad experience, and is not indicative of how I feel about the people in that community." Serena Williams had previously tweeted, "[T]here is a entire group of people that deserves an apology."

Actor Simon Shelton Barnes—known for his role as Tinky Winky on the BBC series Teletubbies—passed away at 52, according to Extra. He reportedly "froze to death," with the Merseyside Police adding, "There are no suspicious circumstances, so anything else around this tragedy we are referring to the coroners." Barnes, a father of three, became embroiled in a furor over the sexuality of Tinky Winky, who was accused of being a gay role model who could be morally damaging to children by evangelical preacher Jerry Falwell in 1999, The Guardian noted.


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