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World news: Trans child bullied, Sapporo milestone, sauna deaths
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2017-02-15

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In Britain, an 11-year-old who has been severely bullied for months has reportedly been shot with a BB gun because she's transgender, an LGBTQ Nation item noted. The child, identified only as G, was targeted by a bully who wrote transphobic slurs and insults and drew penises on her art workbook, her mother, identified as A, tells Gay Star News. A believes that recent newspaper reports and a BBC documentary called Transgender Kids: Who Knows Best? could be to blame for stirring up transphobia.

Sapporo is set to become the first city in Japan to recognize same-sex legal partnerships, Gay Star News reported. In 2015, Tokyo's Shibuya district announced it would allow same-sex couples to have a "proof of partnership certificate." Sapporo would be Japan's first city to allow give gay couples some legal rights, as well as recognize relationships of non-binary people. It is the fourth largest in the country, is the largest on the northern island and hosted the first-ever Asian Winter Olympics in 1972.

German officials say three men have died and one was seriously injured in a fire at a gay sauna in Berlin, ABC News reported. The fire broke out at the Steam Works club ( formerly known as the Apollo Splash Club ) in the German capital's Schoeneberg district. Emergency workers searched the club, which has dozens of rooms, and found the three bodies.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government is under increasing pressure to explain why it started turning away LGBT Iranian refugees during the Syrian airlift, ending a program that resettled hundreds of persecuted Iranians through the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees ( UNHCR ), Daily Xtra reported. "Why has the government ended the practice of prioritizing persecuted Iranian LGBT [people] as refugees to Canada?" asked Conservative MP Michelle Rempel during question period on Feb 10. Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen touted his government's intake of Syrian refugees and stressed its commitment to queer and trans refugees.

A Palestinian says he is unable to go home after a countrywide ban was issued on his new novel, which has a gay character, PinkNews reported. Twenty-nine-year-old Abbad Yahya says he learned of an arrest warrant in his name while visiting Qatar. The novel Crime in Ramallah follows the lives of three young men who work together in a bar where a murder takes place. One of the three is a gay, and although he is cleared of the crime, the officers who interrogate him realize his sexuality and abuse him.

One of the most unpredictable French presidential election in decades has taken another turn after Emmanuel Macron—the leading candidate who is married to his former high school teacher—was forced to deny a gay extramarital affair with with Radio France chief executive Mathieu Gallet, The Telegraph reported. The centrist took the lead in the opinion polls two weeks ago after his conservative rival, Francois Fillon, became embroiled in a scandal centring on alleged misuse of public funds. Macron has previously dismissed claims he is gay, but his latest comments may have been sparked by a report in the Russian government-controlled news site Sputnik in which a French from Fillon's Les Republicains party said he was backed a "gay lobby."

The mayor of a village in Hungary has said Muslims and gay people are not welcome, despite a need to fill houses in the area, The Independent reported. Laszlo Toroczkai—mayor of Asotthalom, a remote village of around 4,000 on Hungary's southern border with Serbia—said that while he would like to attract more inhabitants to the village, he did not want to attract Muslim or gay people, citing his desire to "preserve traditions." Toroczkai was elected in 2013 and is also vice-president of Hungary's far-right party, Jobbik.

Canadian scientists will soon start research aimed at assuring the federal government that it's safe for sexually active gay and bisexual men to donate blood—although the Liberals are facing increasing criticism after pledging to end these restrictions entirely, Daily Xtra noted. MP Randy Boissonnault, the Liberal's special advisor on LGBTQ2 issues, appeared at the House of Commons health committee on Feb 2 for its ongoing investigation into the federal policy that bars men from donating blood if they've had sex with another man in the past 12 months. In June 2016, Canada dropped its deferral period for men who have sex with men from five years to one, making it among the last western countries to do so.

New HIV infections in gay men have fallen by nearly a third since 2015 across England, New Scientist revealed—and it may be down to people buying medicines online, against mainstream medical advice. Four London sexual-health clinics reported a similar fall in December. The new results, which are preliminary figures from all sexual health clinics in England for 2016, show the trend is happening across the country.

South African beauty queen Sharon-Rose Khumalo has opened up about her intersex identity in a revealing interview, PinkNews reported. Talking with Glamour magazine, Khumalo revealed her gender identity and took a stance against those who attack the LGBT community. In part, Khumalo said, "Being a person of substance has nothing to do with being straight, gay, lesbian, transgender or intersex. The most important issue for us human beings is what we do with our lives."

A gay member of the European Parliament ( MEP ) has become an internet meme after he held up a sign saying "HE'S LYING," PinkNews reported. Seb Dance, a Labour MEP for the London region, was spotted holding the sign during a debate in the parliament. Dance has seen been pictured behind such individuals as U.S. Press Secretary Sean Spicer and Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway.

Harrington Park Press will release the Handbook of LGBT Tourism and Hospitality: A Guide for Business Practice on March 7, a press release noted. Authored by LGBT travel experts Jeff Guaracino and Ed Salvato, the book includes interviews with nearly 100 industry experts, and analyzes multiple emerging trends among LGBT travelers. It is intended for industry specialists in the tourism and hospitality fields, as well as academics and students in tourism and hospitality studies.

International Condom Day was promoted Feb. 14, in conjunction with Valentine's Day, according to WinCalendar.com . The aim was to promote the use of condoms as a means of cutting down on unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections ( STIs ). International Condom Day is promoted by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation in an effort to reduce the spread of HIV through safe sex practices, and it has been noted since 2009.

The gay drama Against The Law will premiere at the London LGBT Film Festival March 16-26, Gay Times noted. Based on Peter Wildeblood's affair with a handsome serviceman he met in the 1950s, the BBC film will chronicle his imprisonment for simply being gay. It was Wildeblood's imprisonment that led to the creation of the Wolfenden Committee on sexual law reform, that ultimately resulted in the 1967 Sexual Offences Act that partially decriminalized same-sex acts.


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