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World news: HRW statement, British prime minister, Dubai situation
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2017-10-24

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Human Rights Watch said that doctors, medical professionals and national medical associations should heed the World Medical Association's October 2017 resolution to end forced anal examinations on people accused of same-sex conduct, according to a press release. The General Assembly of the World Medical Association ( WMA )—an international organization consisting of national medical associations from 111 countries—condemned the use of forced anal examinations to seek evidence of consensual same-sex conduct.

British Prime Minister Theresa May has vowed to "streamline and de-medicalize" the process for updating genders, according to a NewNowNext.com item. Updating the Gender Recognition Act, the Conservative leader said at the Pink News Awards, will reflect that "being trans is not an illness and it shouldn't be treated as such," adding that the trans community "still face[s] indignities and prejudice—when they deserve understanding and respect." May also impressed upon the need to protect LGBT youth in the United Kingdom.

A Scottish man who was jailed in Dubai for touching another man's hip has been cleared, after intervention by UAE's prime minister, according to PinkNews. In July, Jamie Harron was sentenced to months in prison for public indecency after he touched another man in a bar, apparently to avoid spilling a drink. Action group Detained in Dubai said that the charges were dropped under orders from Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, the United Arab Emirates prime minister and ruler of Dubai.

Kosovo ignored the hate and celebrated its first pride parade Oct. 10 under the theme "In the name of love," LGBTQ Nation reported. About 300 people marched through the capital, Pristina, chanting, "There is no gender in love." Hateful messages directed at the event were reportedly prevalent on social media and elsewhere.

British man Kevin Wilshaw—after a lifetime devoted to the far-right cause—has renounced his hate-filled past, and revealed that he is gay and has Jewish heritage, The Washington Post reported. Wilshaw joined the National Front, Britain's far-right and fascist political party, soon after turning 18, and rose to become a prominent figure as an organizer for the party in the 1980s, according to Channel 4; he later joined the far-right British National Party. Regarding his shift in allegiances, Wilshaw said, "I saw people being abused, shouted at, spat at in the street. It's not until it's directed at you that you suddenly realize that it's wrong."

Authorities in Tajikistan ( a primarily Muslim country ) have compiled a register of 367 allegedly gay citizens, Gay Times reported. The authoritarian central Asian country has suggested that the suspected gay and lesbian citizens they have on file would be required to undergo testing in order to avoid "the spread of sexually transmitted diseases." They have stated that they have identified 319 gay men and 48 lesbians but no transgender people in the country, which has a population of 8.5 million.

Two South Africans are among 12 men arrested for presumed homosexuality in Tanzania as part of an ongoing crackdown against gay people, News24.com reported. "We arrested the criminals at [the hotel] Peacock; they were promoting homosexuality. Two are South Africans, one Ugandan and nine Tanzanians," Dar es Salaam police head Lazaro Mambosasa said at a press conference. Police made 20 arrests—eight men and 12 women—on similar grounds on Tanzania's semi-autonomous archipelago Zanzibar last month.

The Swedish government has ordered the Public Health Authority to carry out an in depth study into the living conditions and mental health of transgender people, TheLocal.se reported. The decision came after a report showed that mental illness is widespread among transgender people in Sweden and a large percentage of them have, at some point, considered taking their own lives. The authorities will also allocate project grants to non-profit organizations working with mental health and to prevent suicide among transgender people, with a focus on the young.

Lesbian couples are more than twice as likely to get divorced than gay men, new figures from Britain's Office for National Statistics ( ONS ) have revealed, The Independent noted. The data shows that there were 112 divorces of same-sex couples in 2016—a fivefold rise on the previous year, when there were 22. More than three quarters of the splits ( 78 per cent ) in England and Wales were between lesbian couples. In total, 87 ended their unions, compared with just 25 for divorces between gay men.

A transgender woman who suffered years of discrimination and abuse in the United Kingdom has been granted residency in New Zealand on exceptional humanitarian grounds, The Guardian reported. The 57-year-old woman was granted New Zealand residency by the immigration and protection tribunal in Auckland, who decided the woman was safer to remain in her adopted country where she had experienced no abuse or discrimination since arriving in 2009.

Sources are reporting that Russian singer Zelimkhan Bakaev, 26, was arrested, tortured, and murdered by by Chechen authorities due to suspicion of homosexuality," according to Back2Stonewall.com . Bakaev was last seen Aug. 8 in Grozny, where he had come from Moscow for his sister's wedding. Igor Kocketkovof the Russian LGBT Network made a statement to the media that touched on the disappearance, saying, "At the end of August, we received confirmation of our earlier presumption that [Bakaev] was detained by Chechen authorities due to suspicion of homosexuality."

Australian Miss World contender Esma Voloder has declared her support for same-sex marriage as she prepares for the prestigious pageant, The Daily Telegraph reported. Her Islamic faith sparked some criticism when she was handed her Australian crown, but the former social science and psychology student said she was prepared for that. The title will be announced Nov. 18.

Adrienne Warren—Tony-nominated for her performance in Shuffle Along…—will portray Tina Turner in the world premiere of Tina, the new musical about the rock icon, Playbill noted. Directed by Phyllida Lloyd, Tina will begin previews at London's Aldwych Theatre March 21, 2018, with an official opening April 17, 2018.

In London, Westminster Council has ruled that an iconic LGBT venue will be allowed to extend its opening hours to avoid closing, PinkNews noted. G-A-Y Late, on the edge of Soho, has been given special permission by licensing bosses to remain open until 4 a.m. Howeve another of its venues, G-A-Y Bar on Old Compton Street, has had its licensed opening hours cut by an hour as part of the deal.

A 186-year-old tortoise on St. Helena has spent the past 26 years shacking up with a mate he's never bred with—because it turns out they're gay lovers, The New York Post noted. It turns out the elderly reptile fell in love with another male tortoise—long believed to be a female named Frederica. The pair has been inseparable since 1991, when the French consul gifted Frederica to the governor of St. Helena as a mate for Jonathan.

French television station M6 is suspending La France a un incroyable talent—the country's version of America's Got Talent—for the remainder of its season after one of the show's judges was accused of sexual harassment, Page Six noted. The judge, Gilbert Rozon, is also the president of Montreal's Just For Laughs comedy festival, and announced his resignation from that and other posts. CBC News reported that Rozon pled guilty to sexual assault in 1998.


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