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World news: Sydney cops, torture victim, suicide study, Prince Harry
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2017-10-18

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Four cops in Sydney claim they were singled out for investigation on drug charges simply because they are gay, NewNowNext.com reported. In early 2015, New South Wales ( NSW ) police officers Christian McDonald, Christopher Sheehy, Shane Housego and Steven Rapisarda were told of an anonymous complaint that they had used illegal narcotics. The citation stated the four were "notorious for their promiscuity" and claimed "drug use is thought to be fundamental in such indiscriminate sexual encounters."

For the first time since gruesome accounts of the systematic detention and torture of gay men began leaking out of Russia's republic of Chechnya, a young man has gone public with his story, The Washington Post reported. Maxim Lapunov, 30, told reporters that he was demanding justice from the Russian government for the 12 days he spent locked in a blood-soaked jail cell, led out daily with a plastic bag over his head to be beaten by police officers demanding he confess to being gay. Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov has denied the campaign of violence, saying that Chechnya "has no gays."

A Canadian study has found that gay and bisexual men with less education and income face more than five times the risk of attempting suicide than their wealthier and better-educated counterparts, HealthDay ( of U.S. News & World Report ) noted. The study was based on a survey of more than 8,000 gay and bisexual men in Canada. The researchers focused on the answers from 145 men who said they'd tried to kill themselves within the past year.

In New Brunswick, a proposal from middle-school students to install a rainbow crosswalk in St. Stephen has met with some resistance from town councillors, CBC.ca reported. "Adding a rainbow pride crosswalk is an act of kindness, to assure that everyone inside and outside of the school has support," Jenna Densmore—faculty adviser for the St. Stephen Middle School's Gay-Straight Alliance—wrote in a letter that was placed on the agenda of the public works committee. But in the discussion that followed, at least one councillor made it clear he wouldn't support a rainbow crosswalk, and the committee did not take a position.

Prince Harry has called on the public to embrace regular testing for HIV and AIDS, as he paid tribute to his late mother's work in breaking down the stigma attached to the disease, Advocate.com noted. The prince made the remarks at the Attitude magazine awards, where Diana, Princess of Wales, was posthumously honored with the legacy award 20 years after her death. Picking up the prize on her behalf, Harry delivered a heartfelt speech about her impact on people affected by HIV/AIDS. Harry has become a global HIV activist in recent years and raised awareness for testing and addressing stigma.

A judge sentenced Becky Reid, 32, to life in prison with a minimum of 20 years for the abuse and murder of her girlfriend Lyndsey Vaux, 30, LGBTQ Nation reported. Vaux moved in with Reid in Wigan, near Manchester, England, in 2011. The autopsy identified 90 separate injuries, including broken ribs and leg injuries.

In Taiwan, LGBT-rights activists urged President Tsai Ing-wen to deliver on her promise, as they staged a rally to commemorate Jacques Picoux, a French professor whose suicide last year put the issue of legalizing same-sex marriage in the spotlight, Focus Taiwan reported. The activists made two demands to the Tsai government. First, they said, same-sex marriage should be legalized by amending the Civil Code, which currently states marriage is between a man and a woman. Second, they demanded that the Civil Code be amended before the legislative session goes into recess—expected to be by the end of this year or early next year.

A referendum on banning same-sex marriage has drawn international anti-gay marriage campaigners to Romania such as Kim Davis—the Kentucky clerk briefly jailed for refusing to issue marriage licences to same-sex couples, The Guardian reported. Davis was on a nine-day tour of Romania before a referendum to be held before the end of the year on a proposed amendment to the country's constitution, which would rule out any possibility of legalising same-sex marriage.

A Japanese TV network apologized for making viewers "feel unpleasant" over a comedy program that revived a 30-year-old stereotyped character depicting a gay man, Japan Times reported. The character called "Homo-oda Homo-o" proved popular in the 1980s in a show featuring the comedy duo act Tunnels. It made a comeback last month when Fuji Television Network Inc. aired a program marking the 30th anniversary of the show. The Sept. 28 show sparked public outrage, with LGBT groups saying it was an act of ignoring the human rights of sexual minorities and making fun of them.

Sam Smith has weighed in on Australia's same-sex marriage debate with a plan to raise tens of thousands of dollars, PinkNews noted. The multi-platinum selling artist has urged Australian voters to support the "yes" side of the debate in recent weeks. The "Stay with Me" singer plans to donate a third of the profits from his Sydney Opera House show on Jan. 16. On a related note, Dolly Parton has also back the marriage-equality movement there, joking "Why can't they be as miserable as us heterosexuals in their marriages?"

Hannah Mouncey, who would have been the first transgender player to be recruited by a professional Aussie Rules team, has been blocked from the draft, according to PinkNews. Mouncey was recently nominated to play in the Australian Women's Football League. However, the AFLW has ruled her ineligible, due to the supposed advantage her physical strength and stamina would have given her over opponents.


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