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World news: Sterilization law, Australian supremacists, Chris Hemsworth
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
2017-08-29

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The Finnish government is set to review its gender-recognition laws in a move that campaigners hope will stop forced sterilization for transgender people, PinkNews reported. Under current Finnish law, a trans person must be sterilized prior to having their legal gender changed. They are also required to be medically diagnosed with "transsexualism" and undergo extensive mental health screening. The European Court of Human Rights ruled in April that requiring sterilization for gender recognition was a human-rights violation.

A far-right white supremacist group is campaigning against equal marriage in Australia, according to PinkNews. The Australian Traditional Nationalist Group, which claims to "advocate the protection of white identity and the Traditional Western values rooted in Christian and Pagan traditions," is behind a poster campaign against marriage equality. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is pushing ahead with plans for a public vote on equal marriage next month without permission from Parliament.

Chris Hemsworth and Margot Robbie are voicing their support of same-sex marriage in Australia, according to Page Six. "Dear open minded, free speaking, laid back, life loving Aussies," Hemsworth shared on Instagram. "Marriage is about love and commitment and, in a country based on equal citizenship, it should be available to everyone! Vote now for marriage equality." Robbie shared a similar message on her Instagram account, saying, "Love is Love. Any Aussies living overseas like me, register to vote… before August 24." Aug. 24 was the final day Australians who want to enroll in the postal survey could register.

The Prison Service kept a trans woman in a male jail, even after the United Kingdom legally recognized her as a woman, Gay Star News reported. Prison officials put her ( called "XT" for legal reasons ) in a segregated in a dirty, unsanitary cell in a male prison for several months. For nine months, until April 2015, the prison allegedly wouldn't let her have gender-affirming items such as make-up, wigs and dresses; at the same time, she was abused and received threats. In July 2017, the Ministry of Justice reached a settlement with XT, who was moved to a women's prison in July 2015—months after she was legally recognized as a woman.

Justin Trudeau marched with his Irish counterpart in Montreal's Pride parade, marking the first time a foreign head of government has joined a prime minister in a Canadian Pride celebration, The Huffington Post noted. rudeau waved a rainbow flag and occasionally danced, while Irish leader Leo Varadkar ( who's openly gay ) walked beside him and waved to the crowds that lined the street. At an earlier news conference, Trudeau highlighted the importance of working with foreign allies to continue the fight towards greater equality.

British Olympic silver medallist and BBC sports presenter Colin Jackson has spoken publicly for the first time about being gay, saying he thought the time was right to reveal his sexuality, The Guardian reported. In an interview for a Swedish documentary called Rainbow Heroes, the Welsh two-time 110m hurdles world champion said the reason he had not previously spoken of his sexuality was to avoid it being "sensationalized." Jackson, 50, said he told his parents in 2006 after a former partner sold a "kiss-and-tell" story to a tabloid newspaper.

In South Africa, AmaXhosa king Zwelonke Sigcawu sought to halt the distribution of a film depicting a same-sex relationship during the traditional amaXhosa manhood initiations, News24.com reported. Inxeba ( The Wound ) tells the story of Xolani, a closeted gay factory worker in Queenstown who served as a caregiver for initiates and subsequently has a relationship with another caregiver. Sigcawu reportedly wanted to talk to the film producers at the Durban Gay and Lesbian Film Festival ( where the film was slated to show ) "amicably" before approaching the courts to avoid its distribution.

An Egyptian homeless man received a 26-year prison sentence after murdering a gay man in London's Hyde Park, Gay Star News reported. Jairo Medina, a single gay man from Chelsea, was in the park Aug. 11, 2016, when Hani Khalaf killed him. According to reports, Khalaf, 22, kicked, punched and stomped Medina, 62, to death, and then stole his wallet and phone. Once he is no longer a category A prisoner, Khalaf will reportedly be sent to serve the remainder of his sentence in Egypt.

In an open letter published Aug 14, more than a dozen British Columbian doctors and public-health groups called on Premier John Horgan to immediately cover the costs of a drug that has been shown to effectively prevent the transmission of HIV, DailyXtra.com reported. Studies show the drug, referred to as a pre-exposure prophylaxis ( PrEP ), works as well as condoms for preventing HIV infection—but it can cost nearly $1,000 a month and is only inconsistently covered by private health-insurance plans. Before the election in May, Horgan endorsed the idea of covering PrEP.

Singer Halsey has taken a stand against Russia and its policies on gay rights, BBC News noted. The openly bisexual singer posted the comments on Instagram as she performed a series of gigs in the country. She posted, among other things, "I'm out in Moscow and feelin unlucky. Scared the police gonna keep me in custody. And all these kids love me, but Russia don't **** with me. Cause I wrote some songs about women who **** with me." Halsey also posted a picture on Instagram of fans waving rainbow flags at one of her gigs alongside the caption "Soldiers."

Honduras recently hosted the Diversity in the Arts and Culture Festival in Tegucigalpa's Parque Central Amphitheater, a press release noetd. The festival aimed to showcase talent from the country's LGBTI community, and to encourage the public to safeguard LGBTI rights. "I am extremely grateful for the artists and organizers who made this event a success," said President Juan Orlando Hernandez. "Your stories, poems, plays, and dances are an integral part of Honduras's cultural identity." The embassy of Chile helped sponsor the event.

The BBC is commissioning a three part factual drama about the gay serial killer/rapist Stephen Port, according to Gay Star News. The series is going to tell the story from the perspective of the victim's families, and is being led by Jeff Pope, who received an Oscar nomination for Philomena. The working title for the show is The Barking Murders. Port is currently serving a life sentence for murdering at least four men.


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