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World news: Trans-murder trial; amfAR; gay 'vampire'; Russian law
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2015-10-27

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A London man who killed his transgender escort wife after watching her have sex with a client has been found guilty of murder, The Mirror reported. Joaquin Gomez Hernandez of Fulham, 24, was sentenced to 14 and a half years imprisonment at the Old Bailey after he killed his 33-year-old wife, Vanessa Santillan. She was found dead at her home March 28; a post-mortem examination held at Fulham Mortuary said the cause of death was "blunt force trauma injuries to the head and neck."

amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, announced a new round of research grants totaling more than $1.4 million, according to a press release. The vast majority of the funding will support cure-focused research projects. Renewal funding of $850,000 will go to a consortium of European researchers that aims to replicate the case of the "Berlin patient," the first and only person known to have been cured of HIV. In addition, $600,000 will go to four researchers in the United States, via the Mathilde Krim Fellowships in Basic Biomedical Research.

A gay "vampire" is accused of killing his boyfriend by slitting his throat, drinking his blood and then painting a pentagram on the wall, according to Gay Star News. The 23-year-old Swedish man was charged with murdering his 32-year-old lover at his apartment in Stockholm in June. He admits to manslaughter but not murder, saying "threatening voices in [his] head" told him to do it.

Russian lawmakers are drafting a bill that would impose fines or jail time for "coming out" as gay, LGBTQ Nation reported. The bill would criminalize making a "public confession of their non-traditional sexual orientation." According to the proposed amendment to the law, people who are defined as having "non-traditional sexual orientation" could be fined 5,000 rubles ( $80 ) for "demonstrating [their] own expressed sexual preferences in public places." If the same is done in schools, cultural establishments or government buildings, this would be punishable by up to 15 days in jail.

In Taipei, Taiwan, 10 same-sex couples were married in a mass wedding in a government-hosted event that, for the first time, allowed same-sex couples to participate since the twice-yearly event started in 1973, Gay Star News reported. Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je presided over the event that saw 123 couples tie the knot at the University of Taipei's sports stadium. The event in Taipei was held a day after the city of Taoyuan became the first city in Taiwan to allow same-sex couples to participate in a mass wedding.

In Australia, A national vote on same-sex marriage will take place shortly after the next federal election, according to Assistant Treasurer Kelly O'Dwyer, The Huffington Post reported. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has been pushing for a public plebiscite ( direct vote ) to decide the controversial issue, while Labor wants the matter to be settled by a free vote in parliament.

A Malaysian newspaper has been ordered to pay RM200,000 ( $47,048 ) for defaming a former opposition leader by implying he supported the legalization of gay sex, Gay Star News noted. Anwar Ibrahim sued the Malay-language paper Utusan Melayu after it reprinted comments he made to the BBC about the country's anti-gay law. Gay sex is a crime in Malaysia under a colonial-era anti-sodomy law.

A London gay couple has claimed they have been denied permission to adopt because of several ridiculous reasons, Gay Star News. Matthew Broadway-Horner, 42, and Pradeep De Silva, 39, have been trying to adopt for two years now. But social workers have allegedly told them several things that have made them question whether the British adoption system is homophobic, including being asked who would take on the "role of the mother."

In Chile, a bill allowing for same-sex couples to enter into civil unions, which will afford many rights guaranteed to married couples, has come into effect, Out.com reported. Officials report that, already, more than 1,600 gay and lesbian couples have registered to have their relationships recognized. While neighboring countries Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay have legalized same-sex marriage, Chile had, for a long time, made little progress on social issues; divorce was only legalized in 2004, and abortion remains illegal.

It's been revealed that spy organization MI5 kept secret documents recording details of gay-sex parties attended by Tory peer Lord Boothby and notorious East End gangster Ronnie Kray, PinkNews reported. Documents show that both the secret service and Scotland Yard were deeply concerned about the actions of the late Conservative peer in the 1960s. The documents reveal that agents were worried that Boothby might cause embarrassment to the government due to his alleged "taste for young men" and friendship with Kray.

A Polish bishop defrocked a high-ranking Catholic priest fired by a furious Vatican earlier this month after he came out as gay on the eve of a key synod on the family, Raw Story reported. Bishop Ryszard Kasyna has decided that Krzystof Charamsa should no longer be able to celebrate Mass, administer sacraments like communion and baptism or wear a cassock. The 43-year-old priest sparked outrage at the Vatican on Oct. 3 by publicly declaring his homosexuality—and presenting his Catalan boyfriend, Eduardo—on the eve of a bishops' synod set to touch on the divisive issue of the Catholic Church's relationship to gay and lesbian believers.

In China, a gay man was forcibly sent to psychiatric care by his family in violation of law and forced to receive treatment after he confided to his family and filed for divorce, The Times of India reported. Yu Quanhu ( pseudonym ), 34, was forced to go to the Second People's Hospital of Zhumadian by his family members, Yu's boyfriend told state-run Global Times. There are reportedly more than 16 million "homowives" in China—a term referring to wives of gay men.

Slovenia's Constitutional Court has advanced a referendum on whether to implement legislation allowing same-sex marriage, an issue that has divided the central European nation, Yahoo! News reported. The court's decision came after parliament, in March, adopted a bill giving same-sex couples the same marriage rights as heterosexual couples. A conservative group close to the center-right opposition Slovenian Democratic Party and backed by the Catholic Church had contested the law; the group gathered enough votes to initiate a referendum.

A law that makes gay sex punishable by public caning took effect in a conservative Indonesian province, the Associated Press reported. The law in Aceh province stipulates that anyone caught having homosexual sex can face up to 100 strokes of a cane, a fine of up to 1 kilogram ( 2.2 pounds ) of gold ( about $37,400 ) and imprisonment of up to 100 months. Adulterers are also subject to 100 lashes of a cane, but not to the fine or imprisonment.

Attorneys have accused prison officials in Tokyo of discrimination after an inmate was refused comics depicting gay sex, The Asahi Shimbun reported. The Tokyo Bar Association warned officials of the Tokyo Detention House in Katsushika Ward on Oct. 20 that they were discriminating against sexual orientation because they allowed manga with graphic depictions of heterosexual acts but banned comics with images of homosexual sex.

A leading author of books for young adults, who has revealed that he is about to transition into a woman, has urged people not to "demonize" Germaine Greer after she claimed it was not possible to change gender, The Independent reported. James Dawson, who wrote the teen thrillers Hollow Pike and Under My Skin and a non-fiction book about sexuality called This Book Is Gay, said it was "a shame" and "disheartening" that the "icon of feminism" held that view and said he would like to speak to her to find out why. A petition was raised urging Cardiff University to prevent the 76-year-old academic from speaking there because of her anti-transgender views.

Speaking of Greer, the British feminist author is under fire for a cursing rant about trans women, PinkNews noted. The author has caused more outrage since speaking out against "man's delusion that he is female," referring to Caitlyn Jenner as a "he/she" who "wanted the limelight that the female members of the family were enjoying." Speaking to the Victoria Derbyshire Show, she also reportedly said, "Just because you lop off your d**k and then wear a dress doesn't make you a f***ing woman."

The Gay Men's Health Summit will be held Nov. 5-6 in Vancouver at the Simon Fraser University Harbour Centre, Straight.com reported. Keynote speaker Dr. Mark Hatzenbuehler will present his research on the health consequences of negative stereotypes upon sexual minorities. The evetn brings together health professionals, community members and various interested parties for a series of panel discussions, workshops and presentations. See http://cbrc.net/summit.

In Australia, former National Rugby League player Casey Conway recently came out to the public as a gay man, and now the pro athlete and model is giving more details on his past "double life," NewNowNext.com noted. Conway said not only did he spend a lot of time hiding from the presumed judgments of his teammates about his sexuality, but he also had to accept feeling judged for being an indigenous Australian. "There was a lot of casual racism," said Conway. "People would say things like, 'You're hot for an Aboriginal guy' or 'I've never been with a Black guy.' I'd think, 'You know that's not a compliment.'"

The Amsterdam Lowlanders rugby team—a gay-inclusive squad—is going nude again to raise money for its annual calendar, this time in hopes of funding a trip to the Bingham Cup, the world cup of gay rugby, taking place in May 2016 in Nashville, Tennessee, according to The Huffington Post. Dennis de Boer, Chairman of the Lowlanders, revealed in a statement that the Leo van Herwijnen Rugby Foundation will have the first calendar a place in its permanent exhibition.

In the United Kingdom, pro soccer player Luke Shaw has denied that he is gay, PinkNews noted. On Twitter, the Manchester United player distanced himself from claims in a national newspaper that two major footballers are ready to come out as gay. "Its not me," he wrote. "So everyone can shut up now!"

Former first minister Alex Salmond and Scotland's Conservative Party leader Ruth Davidson have been handed awards by gay-news service PinkNews, BBC News noted. The SNP's Salmond was honored for his contribution to achieving equality for LGBTI people, while Davidson was named politician of the year. She was praised for featuring her partner, Jen Wilson, in a party political broadcast ahead of May's election.


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