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World news: UK hate crimes, intersex report, Irma damages center
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times

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A survey has shown that the number of attacks on lesbian, gay and bisexual people in the UK has soared by nearly 80 percent in the past four years, The Independent reported. More than one in five LGBT people ( 20 percent ) have experienced a hate crime or incident due to their sexual orientation or gender identity in the last 12 months, compared with 16 percent in 2013. The findings, released by charity Stonewall and based on YouGov polling of more than 5,000 LGBT people in Britain, reveal verbal and physical attacks are taking place against the LGBT community in all spheres of public life.

Two key medical associations should publicly affirm their support to end medically unnecessary surgery on intersex children, Human Rights Watch and interACT said in a press release. The groups sent letters to the medical associations, the Pediatric Endocrine Society and the Societies for Pediatric Urology, urging them to use their upcoming international medical conferences to publicly state this position. HRW and interACT documented in a recent report that, despite decades of controversy over the procedures, U.S. doctors continue to operate on children's gonads, internal sex organs, and genitals when the children are too young to participate in the decision.

Hurricane Irma damaged an LGBT community center in central Cuba, The Washington Blade reported. Victor Manuel Duenas and his family live in the house in the town of Santo Domingo in which the Centro Comunitario de Cultura is located. Duenas told the Washington Blade in an email that Irma damaged the roof and walls; he said Irma also caused damage to the front of his house in which he and other local advocates were planning to open a press center/event space. Dueñas told the Blade the town has been without electricity for three days, adding that Irma also cut internet access, which was limited before the hurricane.

Actor-pianist Hershey Felder has announced plans to bring his new solo play—Our Great Tchaikovsky, about the life of closeted gay Russian composer Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky—to London for a Sept. 21-Oct. 22 run at The Other Palace Theatre, Playbill noted. Our Great Tchaikovsky had its world premiere earlier this year, and is fresh off a critically acclaimed run at the Wallis Annenberg Center in Los Angeles. In the production, Felder inhabits the composer famous for his scores to The Nutcracker, Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty, while also stepping out of time to directly address the audience in the present moment.

Australians will be surveyed on their support for same-sex marriage from this week after the nation's highest court dismissed challenges to the government's power to conduct the postal ballot without Senate permission, USA Today reported. Gay-rights advocates argued in a two-day emergency hearing in the High Court in Melbourne that the government did not have the constitutional power to survey the public through a $97-million postal ballot on whether the prohibition on same-sex marriage should be lifted. The judges dismissed both cases argued by separate groups of rights advocates.

A priest at a Greek Orthodox Church in Melbourne, Australia, has come under fire for allegedly demanding his flock vote "no" in the marriage equality vote, and later claiming that gay people "should be shot," Gay Times magazine reported. Parishioner Liz Tasiopoulos told .au that the comments were even more offensive as they came during a service which featured a memorial for a woman who committed suicide after struggling with her sexuality.

Scotland is set to introduce its own "Turing Law" after England, Scotland and Northern Ireland introduced legislation to pardon historically illegal gay sex offenses, PinkNews noted. Previously raised in October, if approved by the Scottish Parliament, it would mean that all convicted gay and bisexual men would receive a formal pardon for past convictions for their "crimes." The pardon would only apply to men, as gay and bisexual women were never legally criminalized.

A French company is under fire for pedaling its spyware to parents under the pretense that it could be used to out their own kids, The Huffington Post reported. The firm, Fireworld, posted a now-deleted article to its site that encouraged parents to buy its "invisible PC spy software" so it could be used "to find out if your son is gay" the BBC noted. "The article had the sole aim of improving search engine optimization and was never intended to be read by humans," the company told . "We regret not having reflected on the consequences of this type of content. … We sincerely apologize to all those who may have felt offended by this content."

Gay male couples are discriminated against by Dublin, Ireland, hosts on the website Airbnb, according to new research conducted by economists at Trinity College, The Irish Times reported. The report by Dr. Ronan Lyons and Rishi Ahuja found 25 percent of requests for bookings by gay men were ignored by hosts. A spokeswoman for Airbnb told The Irish Times, "Last year, we published a report looking at what we can do to fight discrimination and build inclusion amongst our community and we have implemented several changes."

A former German intelligence agent ( and former gay adult film star before that )—who was caught repeatedly logging onto a jihadi chat room and offering information that would assist would-be terrorists looking to attack Germany—said he was only pretending to be a terrorist because he was bored, a Queerty item noted. Roque M., a 52-year-old father of four whose trial continues in the city of Dusseldorf, now faces charges of treason.

Outsports, citing TV2, reported that some people in Denmark have united to form a campaign to fight homophobia in soccer. The campaign ( with the hashtag #fodboldforalle ) features soccer players with rainbow flags painted on their faces. Previously, the players union launched a campaign featuring rainbow-colored armbands and shoe laces.

Organizers behind Secret Solstice—the music festival held in Reykjavik, Iceland over the summer solstice during 96 hours of continuous sunlight— announced that early-bird tickets are on sale for the fifth edition taking place June 21-24, 2018, a press release noted. The 2017 festival drew a crowd of 18,000 as well as performers such as the Foo Fighters, The Prodigy, Rick Ross, Big Sean, Anderson.Paak & The Free Nationals, Richard Ashcroft, Chaka Khan, Seth Troxler, Kerri Chandler and Dubfire.

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