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World news: Israeli activist, rabbi's comments, Irish pol wants to meet Pence
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2016-11-22

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In St. Louis, prominent Israeli LGBT-rights activist Etai Pinkas—named one of the 100 most influential people in Jewish State—spoke to about 50 community members at Washington University to cap a day spent with students and others on the campus, The St. Louis Jewish Light reported. Pinkas and his partner have become notable for advancing issues related to marriage equality and the right to have children through surrogacy, eventually taking both matters before the Israeli Supreme Court. Today, Tel Aviv is considered a gay-friendly city, with an LGBT center in town.

Dozens of LGBT activists have protested in Jerusalem against comments reportedly made by the city's chief rabbi disparaging the gay community, LGBTQ Nation noted. Rabbi Shlomo Amar told an Israeli newspaper last week that gay people were an "abomination" and homosexuality a "cult." Protesters holding rainbow pride flags faced off outside the rabbinate in Jerusalem against ultra-Orthodox Jews supporting the rabbi. Police say a large pride flag was hung outside the building.

Irish Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar would welcome the U.S. Vice President-elect Mike Pence to Ireland so he could tell him his story of coming out as a gay man, The Irish Independent reported. Pence, who will be Donald Trump's number two in the White House, has said he would support the use of federal money to treat gay people "seeking to change their sexual behavior." "When it comes to Mike Pence, I'd like him to come to Ireland. I'd personally like to meet him. I'd love to tell him my story, but more importantly I'd love to tell him the story of our country," Varadkar told RTE radio.

In the UK, Stefano Brizzi, 50, has been convicted of murder for strangling a police officer to death during a bondage sex session and then trying to dispose of the body in an acid bath, The Independent reported. Brizzi admitted he was inspired by the TV series Breaking Bad as he tried to get away with killing 59-year-old PC Gordon Semple by dissolving his flesh. The former Morgan Stanley IT developer was found guilty of murder by a majority of 10 to two after the jury had deliberated for more than 30 hours. Brizzi will be sentenced Friday, Dec. 9.

Pink filing cabinets will be placed at London landmarks by campaigners calling for the capital to get its first dedicated museum of gay history, The Evening Standard reported. The decorated cabinets symbolise millions of stories and events involving LGBT Londoners that lie buried in official archives. Campaigners want them to be unearthed to chronicle the city's battle for equality, and are appealing for support to mark next year's 50th anniversary of the 1967 Sexual Offenses Act that relaxed laws against homosexuality.

A petition has been launched to ban Matthew Leveson's older lover, Michael Atkins, from all Australian gay nightclubs, The Daily Mail reported. The campaign was lodged with change.org following revelations Atkins, now 54, took drugs, partied, and attempted to get younger men to have sex with him. The petition has already attracted 500 signatures after it was revealed the older electrician's lifestyle wasn't revealed to a jury at the 2009 trial for Leveson's murder. An inquest into his 20-year-old's boyfriend's death has continued since 2015.

Fifty percent of the transgender population in Russia are rejected from job positions because of their gender identity, PinkNews reported. In a study conducted by Russian group Pravo Trans, employers were found to have been concerned that hiring a transgender person could cause issues during inspections. It also found that 62 percent of respondents did not even apply to jobs, 41 percent avoided seeing a doctor or using public health services, and 34 percent opted out of going to school or university all because of fear surrounding discrimination.

Considering how popular curling is in Canada, it should not be all that surprising that the country has 12 gay curling leagues with hundreds of four-member teams, The New York Times reported. Gay curling leagues have blossomed in recent decades, highlighting a distinctly Canadian aspect of modern gay life. The country's oldest gay curling league, Rotators, was started in Toronto in 1962 and went publicly gay six years later. Its founders were largely men who worked as train porters.

Anal sex is to be decriminalized in Canada, The Independent reported. The country's center-left Liberal government has said it intends to repeal Section 159 of the criminal code, which states that every person who engages in an act of anal intercourse is guilty of an "indictable offense" and "liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years." Exceptions are made in the law for heterosexual married couples and for any two people over the age of 18 who both consent to the act; however, anal sex is illegal for 16- and 17-year-olds, in public places and if more than two people "take part or are present."

Soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo has hit back at an alleged homophobic attack by saying he was "a fag*ot with a lot of money, sh*thead, PinkNews reported. The Real Madrid striker was responding to Atletico Madrid player Koke, who allegedly called him "a fag*ot." Spanish radio revealed the exchanged occurred during a game between the two teams where Real Madrid won 3-0 thanks to a hat trick that Ronaldo scored.


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