Transitioning to be reviewed

The government proposes that trans people should be able to choose their legal sex more easily.

Reforms making it easier for transgender people to legally choose their sex by removing the need for a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria and speeding up the bureaucratic process of changing sex will go out to consultation this autumn.

Trans people currently have to provide evidence that they have been in transition for at least two years before they can apply to legally change their gender. They also have to convince an intrusive interview panel. This is now widely viewed as demeaning and discriminatory.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jul/23/gay-men-blood-donation-three-months-after-sex

Gay blood ban relaxed again

Gay men in England will be allowed to donate blood three months after having sex instead of a year. Medical advances mean the time limit will be reduced again in England and Scotland.

The limit has been one year since it was readjusted in 2011.

Sex workers were barred from donating, but they now will be able to, subject to the same three-month rule.

The Advisory Committee on the Safety of Blood, Tissues and Organs – which advises UK health departments – recommended the changes after concluding that new testing systems were accurate and donors were good at complying with the rules.

Prof. James Neuberger, from the advisory committee, said: “Technologies to pick up the presence of the virus have greatly improved, so we can now pick up viruses at a much earlier stage in the infection, and therefore it’s much easier to tell if a blood donor has the virus.”

The new limits will take effect at blood donation centres in Scotland in November, and in early 2018 in England.

The changes mean that men who have sex with other men, people who have sex with high-risk partners – for example, those who have been in areas where HIV is common, and commercial sex workers will be able to donate blood after abstaining from sex for three months.

The rules around people who have undergone acupuncture, piercing, tattooing and endoscopies, and for those with a history of non-prescribed injecting drug use, are now being reviewed, but those are European rules and are subject to EU legislation.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-40669950

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jul/23/gay-men-blood-donation-three-months-after-sex

German gay marriage legal, but faces legal challenge

The President of Germany, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, signed the “marriage for all” bill into law on Thursday. The new law will come into effect after 1 October 2017.

The final step in the legalisation of gay and lesbian marriage comes three weeks after the country’s Bundestag approved the law at the end of June.

The law was controversial, and was rushed through both houses of parliament before the summer break.

Lawmakers who are opposed to “marriage for all” have threatened to have the legality of the new law checked by the Federal Court of Justice, which is Germany’s highest court.

The main change between civil partnerships and marriage equality in German law means same-sex couples will be able to jointly adopt children.

http://www.dw.com/en/german-president-signs-gay-marriage-bill-into-law/a-39795137

Chengdu conference cancelled without good reason

Organizers of the Speak Out conference in Chengdu, China had to scrap the event this week, the second time in as many months a public seminar aimed at expanding awareness of LGBT issues has run into snags.

The conference was due to be held on July 23, but the venue canceled the booking, citing conflicting events.

Many people were surprised by the cancellation. Many young Chinese people regard Chengdu as “gaydu”, or “the city of the gays”, due to its liberal views.

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-lgbt-idUSKBN1A616B

Mrs May backs gay marriage in Churches

The Prime Minister has told the Church of England to “reflect” on allowing same-sex couples to marry in church. She also said her father, the Reverend Hubert Brasier, would have supported church blessings for gay couples. She believed her father “very much valued the importance of relationships of people affirming those relationships and of seeing stability in relationships and people able to be together with people that they love”.

Church of England priests are currently not allowed to marry gay couples in church or bless same-sex marriages, an issue which has split the church – progressives are pushing for greater inclusion of gay people while conservative evangelicals are resisting change.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/07/19/prime-minister-church-should-reflect-allowing-gay-couples-marry/

Worried of Toronto

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Global Toronto | 17140

Toronto’s gay community is worried about a series of disappearances of gay people from the city.

Fears are growing over the disappearances of Andrew Kinsman, Skanda Navaratnam, Abdulbasir Faizi, Raymond Burnett and Majeed Kayhan.

Toronto Police confirmed they are treating Kinsman’s disappearance as suspicious. “Investigators are aware of the similarities, but there aren’t enough facts to connect the cases,” said Const. Allyson Douglas-Cook, adding there are no leads on his whereabouts.

Mindful of the Stephen Port case in the UK, the Toronto gay community is concerned. “These people going missing are customers that support out community. It’s concerned and reminds us all that we need to take precautions,” a concerned citizen told Global News. “We all see the links. They’re all gay men in their 40s, and it’s frightening because it could be someone in our community.”

http://attitude.co.uk/fears-grow-as-fifth-gay-man-in-a-matter-of-years-goes-missing-in-toronto/

US Gays feel less safe since President Trump was elected

Nearly two-thirds of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people say they feel less safe since President Donald Trump took office, according to Time.

34% said society would be “a lot” more accepting in the next 10 years, a drop from 54%.

37% said they have faced different treatment since President Trump took office.

Gay and Lesbian Americans say 12% of them voted for Trump, and 67% voted for Hillary Clinton. 7% identified as Republicans, 57% identified as Democrats and 35% as Independents.

http://time.com/4842910/donald-trump-lesbian-gay-bisexual-lgbt-poll-safe/

New drugs strategy targets chemsex

The Home Office has published its 2017 drug strategy, at a time of a sharp rise in drug-related deaths despite falling levels of use.

It targets psychoactive substances – formerly known as legal highs – performance-enhancing drugs, including “chemsex” substances, and misuse of prescription medicines.

There is a shift away from an “abstinence-only” approach to drug treatment and a return to an emphasis on harm-reduction and recovery.

203,800 people in England and Wales received treatment for drug misuse in 2015-16 and fewer drug users were coming into treatment. The number entering treatment under 25, particularly for heroin use, has fallen substantially in the past 10 years.

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/jul/14/chemsex-drugs-former-legal-highs-targeted-home-office

Malta said Yes

As predicted a week ago, last night Malta’s parliament legalised gay marriage.

Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat praised the passage of bill, which his Labour Party had vowed would be the first legislation it would bring forward after winning a second term in a snap parliamentary election in June.

“I think it is a historic vote,” said Muscat. “It shows that our democracy and our society is maturing, has reached an unprecedented level of maturity and it is a society where we can all say we are equal.”

http://www.politico.eu/article/malta-legalizes-gay-marriage/