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World news: Jewish lawmaker, LGBT crimes, trans school reopens
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2017-09-20

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An ultra-Orthodox Jewish lawmaker resigned from the Israeli legislature after drawing rabbis' wrath for attending his gay nephew's wedding, Business Insider reported. Yigal Guetta, of the Shas party, said in an Israeli radio interview that he and his family had gone to the celebration—held two years ago in Israel—because he wanted his sister's son to be happy, although same-sex marriage violated his own religious beliefs. A letter from five prominent Israeli rabbis said same-sex marriage is an "abomination." Accusing Guetta of "desecrating God's will," they called on his party to fire him.

A manhunt has been launched after two men were targeted in a vicious homophobic attack near Waterloo station in London, Evening Standard reported. The victims, aged 53 and 49, were rushed to hospital following the assault, with one of the men losing a number of teeth. The couple was set upon by four hooded men in Windmill Walk on July 30.

A gay man received 15 stitches to his face after a violent gay-bashing in Chile, NewNowNext.com noted. Cartoonist Patricio Diaz Bravo was in a bar in Puerto Natales when he was attacked by a woman yelling homophobic slurs at him. She then rushed him with a piece of broken glass and slashed his face and body, causing serious cuts. Interestingly, the same weekend as the assault against DÃïaz Bravo, Chilean President Michelle Bachelet sent a same-sex marriage bill to congress.

A former South African minister was convicted of brutally beating two women at a Johannesburg nightclub after one of them called him gay, The Sun Daily reported. Ex-Deputy Higher Education Minister Mduduzi Manana pled guilty to three counts of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm and described how he kicked and punched the women after one asked "Who do you think you are? You gay." He will be sentenced Nov. 7.

The only trans-inclusive Islam school in Indonesia has re-opened after it was forced to close by transphobic religious hardline groups, PinkNews reported. The school had closed after a local hardline Muslim group pressured authorities to shut it down amid other anti-LGBT moves across the country. The school also offers other services such as providing vocational training, a pop-up health clinic and help with applying for ID cards.

Australian tennis legend Margaret Court has claimed that Christmas, Easter and Mother's Day will be cancelled if the country votes in favour of equal marriage, PinkNews reported. Australia is currently holding a public postal vote on whether same-sex couples should be allowed to marry, backed by Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull. Court made a splash earlier this year with a string of homophobic comments; Martina Navratilova was among those who criticized Court.

An LGBT-rights activist in Russia has been charged with "gay propaganda" for sharing articles on Facebook, Advocate.com reported. Evdokia Romanova— staffer at the Samara Regional Public LGBT Movement, a.k.a. Avers—was charged July 26 with violating the Russian law, which prohibits "propaganda of non-traditional sexual relationships to minors" but has been historically applied to real-world demonstrations.

An author has been forced to pull out of a literary festival after her book featuring lesbian parents was met with outrage from far-right groups, PinkNews noted. Larysa Denysenko—a UN Goodwill Ambassador who wrote Maya and Her Mums—has said she is the victim of a "21st-century witch hunt." More than a dozen ultra-nationalist groups sent a letter to city authorities in Lviv, Ukraine, warning that they would "take all possible measures" to stop her appearance.

In Australia, a Victorian church refused to marry a young couple and cancelled their wedding plans because the bride-to-be expressed support for same-sex marriage on Facebook, The Brisbane Times noted. The 26-year-old bride and 25-year-old groom were to be married in November at their Presbyterian church, Ebenezer St John's in Ballarat, by minister Steven North. In early August, when the Turnbull government announced the postal survey on same-sex marriage, the bride posted a Facebook status declaring her support for change—and, days later, the couple were summoned to Mr North's office and were told he would no longer marry them.

A storm over artistic freedom and censorship erupted in Brazil after an art exhibition at a multinational bank's cultural center was cancelled following a campaign by right-wing protesters, The Guardian reported. The controversy broke out when the Queermuseu ( "Queer Museum" ) exhibition at Santander Bank's cultural center in Porto Alegre was abruptly closed a month ahead of schedule. Brazil's artistic community has criticized the protest as dangerous censorship.

Gareth Thomas, an openly gay former rugby player from Wales, has shown his contempt for Australian rugby star Israel Folau's opposition to same-sex marriage that stirred up a social media storm, Wales Online reported. Folau, a devout Christian, tweeted his opposition to same-sex marriage as Australia readies itself for a postal referendum on the issue. Thomas wrote: "I love and respect all people for who they are and their opinions, but personally..." before placing a middle-finger salute emoji that summed up his disdain for Folau's stance.

Australian rugby legend Andrew Johns has come out in support of same-sex marriage—by kissing another player, according to PinkNews. Johns posted a photo of him kissing with fellow Newcastle Knights player Billy Peden. "Two boys from Cessnock will be voting yes. Ha ha sorry Bill," he captioned the image. Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull opted to put the issue of same-sex marriage to the people in a contentious and controversial public vote.

For the second consecutive season, The Amazing Race Canada TV show has gone gay, Straight.com noted. While season four was won by two dating women—Toronto's Steph LeClair and Kristen McKenzie, who broke through the gender barrier to become the first female winners on the show—season five has been won by the first gay male couple. In Québec City, 25-year-old student Sam Lambert ( originally from Oakville, Ontario ) and 24-year-old account manager Paul Mitskopoulos of Toronto were the first to reach the finish line on the Sept. 12 season finale.


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