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World news: Scotland's pardons, UN intersex video, Dutch anti-gay leaflets
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2016-11-01

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Scotland will introduce its own pardons law for historical gay-sex offenses, the government has announced, PinkNews noted. Recently, the UK government announced the fulfillment of a 2015 Conservative Party manifesto pledge by accepting a Lib Dem amendment to a policing bill that will see men previously convicted for consensual same-sex relationships formally pardoned. Scottish Justice Minister Michael Matheson MSP confirmed he would be bringing about its own law to allow men with historic gay-sex offenses to receive pardons.

The United Nations has released a new video to help spur the conversation about intersex individuals and their rights, WAAYTV.com reported. The term "intersex" is defined by the Intersex Society of North America as a person who is born with reproductive anatomy that does not fit within the typical definitions of male or female. About 1.7 percent of the population are considered intersex, and the UN wants these people protected under the same umbrella as LGBT individuals. The video says this is about as common as someone being born with red hair.

Police in Amsterdam say they have received more than 20 complaints about an anti-gay leaflet which has been distributed door to door in western parts of the city, DutchNews.nl noted. The leaflet states that homosexuality is forbidden in Islam, Christianity and Judaism and goes on to list a number of 'facts' about gay people. Labour MP Ahmed Marcouch is among the people who found the leaflet had been put through their letter boxes. "We need to take serious action against this lack of tolerance," he said. "This is inciting hatred and needs to be reported to the police."

World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim announced Clifton Cortez as the bank's advisor on sexual orientation and gender identity ( SOGI ) issues —a newly created senior position responsible for promoting LGBTI inclusion throughout the work of the World Bank, according to a press release. Cortez will oversee expanding the inclusion of LGBTI groups through bank operations and will serve as a liaison to external groups. Cortez has more than 20 years of professional experience working in developing countries with the UNDP and USAID, focusing on health, HIV and sustainable development.

In England, a man was raped and robbed in an early-morning attack in Manchester's Gay Village, BBC News reported. The 23-year-old was walking on Brazil Street when he was approached by another man. They walked together for a short distance before the other man raped and robbed him in a doorway, police said. Detective Inspector David Moores said the victim "has shown immense bravery in coming forward."

British-Australian fashion designer Richard Nicoll has died at age 39 in Sydney because of a suspected heart attack, PinkNews reported. His graduate collection was bought by Dolce & Gabanna in 2002 and went on to launch his fashion company in 2005, and his label has since been worn by Kylie Minogue, Anne Hathaway and Kiera Knightley; he closed his label in 2014, stating that he needed a break, but planned to become creative director at Adidas in Germany in January.

Tens of thousands of people took to the streets of Taiwan's capital, Taipei, to participate in Asia's biggest gay-pride parade, BBC News noted. Many of those who attended carried placards calling on the government to legalize same-sex marriage. The ruling Democratic Progressive Party ( DPP ), which controls Taiwan's parliament and took power five months ago, is widely considered sympathetic to the LGBT community.

A firefighter has won compensation after enduring abuse and equipment tampering at a Halifax, Nova Scotia, naval base because he is gay, TheStar.com noted. The Workers' Compensation Appeal Tribunal says the unidentified man was subject to "multiple incidents of traumatic events" while a firefighter for the Department of National Defence. During a hearing last month, he testified that he endured insulting and humiliating comments, was threatened with physical assault—and that someone had even tampered with his breathing apparatus. The tribunal also said the worker testified that co-workers posted gay pornography in his dorm room.

Romania's president called for "tolerance and acceptance" of minorities as the nation's highest court considers whether to legally recognize a same-sex marriage between a U.S. citizen and a Romanian man, LGBTQ Nation reported. Klaus Iohannis, an ethnic German and Lutheran, noted that he belonged to two minorities. "Tolerance and acceptance of others are vital. These are the values I believe in," he said. Claibourn Robert Hamilton, a U.S. graphic designer and Adrian Coman, an activist, have petitioned the court to recognize their marriage; they married in Belgium in 2010, where same-sex marriages are legal, and live in the States.

European Commissioner Gunther Oettinger was on the defensive after a video surfaced online of him making jokes his critics called racist and homophobic, DW.com reported. A YouTube user named "Sebas Travelling" posted the video, which shows Oettinger ( during a speech reportedly given in Hamburg, Germany ) criticizing Germany's current political agenda, listing off issues such as maternity leave, retirement and child care allowances; he finished the list by saying that "perhaps compulsory gay marriage will be introduced." Oettinger told German newspaper Die Welt that his comments—including statements about Chinese diplomats some have deemed racist—need to be heard "in context," and that he has nothing against same-sex marriage.

The gay community in Papua New Guinea wants police to look more seriously into the murder of Harry Peter, according to Radio Australia. The openly gay man was killed, allegedly by a relative, in his family home in early October. Under Papua New Guinea law, male same-sex activity is illegal, punishable by between three and 14 years in prison. It is understood local police spoke to Mr. Peter's family after the man's death.

The Mexican football federation ( FMF ) is appealing the fine and warning dished out by FIFA for anti-gay chants from fans during El Tri's World Cup qualifying game in Estadio Azteca on Sept. 6 against Honduras, ESPN FC reported. The $30,600 fine was the fifth time within 11 months that FIFA has acted on the chant in games involving Mexico. The chant in question is directed at opposition goalkeepers as they take goal kicks and first came under the international spotlight in Brazil 2014, when FIFA investigated it at the 2014 World Cup.

A lesbian businesswoman whose father offered a multimillion "marriage bounty" on her head has topped the list of the most influential LGBT and business person in the world, The Independent reported. Gigi Chao was reluctantly thrown into the spotlight in 2012 when her father, the property tycoon Cecil Chaor, declared his refusal to accept she was a lesbian by issuing a huge "dowry" to the man who would marry her. Gigi, the executive vice chairman of Cheuk Nang Holdings, a Hong Kong-listed property developer, became the first Asian woman to top the annual OUTstanding ranking produced in partnership with the Financial Times. Chao is an LGBT activist and has become closely involved in Big Love Alliance, a gay-rights group that lobbies the government to pass anti-discrimination legislation.

Two recent contestants on The Bachelor Australia have found their happily ever after—by giving up on the guy at the heart of the show and running off with each other instead, PinkNews noted. Megan Marx and Tiffany Scanlon both competed in the 2016 season of the show in Australia, but have revealed on Instagram that they found more chemistry with each other than with the Bachelor himself, Richie Strahan. Marx's most recent Instagram post has declared her love for Scanlon, celebrating a relationship that grew from a friendship "into something bolder."

Singapore posted new public speaking rules, clarifying that foreign companies and individuals need a permit to sponsor or take part in certain events, in an amendment that will restrict foreign support for an annual gay-rights gathering, NBC News noted. The Ministry of Home Affairs ( MHA ) did not mention any particular event, but authorities warned in June they would take steps to prevent foreign firms from funding or supporting the city-state's gay-pride event. Sponsors for this year's rally in June included Facebook, Google and Goldman Sachs.

In Northern Ireland, activists have welcomed an appeals court ruling against a bakery that claimed it would be a sin to bake a cake with a pro-gay message on it, according to PinkNews. The owners of Ashers Bakery in Belfast were found guilty of unlawful discrimination based on sexual orientation and political or religious grounds, after the company in Newtownabbey, Northern Ireland refused to bake a cake showing the message 'Support Gay Marriage' above an image of Sesame Street's Bert and Ernie.

A hotel owner pal of Donald Trump has been slammed for an anti-gay outburst, The Mirror reported. Stewart Spence, who owns a hotel in Scotland, horrified guests at a posh dinner by using the word "p**f" in bizarre comments about gay people. Steve Harris, boss of Visit Aberdeenshire, issued a formal statement on the matter, saying, "As the official tourism body for the region, we seek to encourage visits from everyone. The LGBT community will find a warm welcome here."

Australia's Loton Park Tennis Club ( LPTC ) is celebrating its 100th year this 2016/2017 season, Out in Perth noted. LPTC has been a special part of the LGBTIQ sporting and social community in Perth. In mid-late October, Loton Park will open its grass courts and officially commence the playing season. In January, LPTC is hosting Perth's first Gay and Lesbian Tennis Alliance tournament, the Perth Lawn Tennis Championships.

Striker Sports Bar, which advertises itself as "officially Toronto's only gay sports bar," recently opened for business, GlobalNews.ca reported. Kevin Lee, the bar's co-owner, says everyone is welcome. "The whole idea behind Striker is to bridge that gap between the predominantly straight—I would say straight—sports leagues and the gays," said Lee. "Toronto has the most gay sports leagues in all of North America."


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