Andy Allen | Paul McErlane/Guardian | 17048
Andy Allen, who represents Belfast East, a former soldier who lost both his legs and most of his sight in a Taliban bomb attack in Afghanistan, has pledged that if re-elected to the Northern Ireland assembly he will support moves towards same-sex marriage equality.
due to the opposition of the Democratic Unionist party and many of Allen’s party colleagues, Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK where LGBT couples cannot get married.
“I was elected to the last assembly only in May and I was the only mainstream unionist to vote for same-sex marriage. Whenever I realised it was coming forward I spent a great deal of time talking to people on both sides of the argument, including the gay community. I reached out to individuals from that community as well as religious organisations and faiths who robustly argued against it. But I found myself coming to a view of ‘live and let live’,” Mr Allen told reporters.
Gay Afghans can be deported to their home country, where homosexuality is illegal and “wholly taboo” and they must pretend to be straight, under new British government guidelines for handling asylum applications which have been denounced by human rights groups.
The guidance puts the Home Office at odds with United Nations guidelines on refugees, which specify that LGBT people should not be required to change or conceal their identity to avoid persecution.
The Home Office declined to comment directly on the new guidelines, saying only that each claim is considered on its individual merits, and in accordance with the UK’s international obligations. “Where someone is found to be at risk of persecution or serious harm in their country of origin because of their sexuality or gender identity, refuge will be granted,” a spokesperson said.
A US-based evangelical group, Anchored North, has been using Facebook to target gay people who were interested in ‘Gay Pride’ with online ads promoting gay ‘cures.’ The ad quickly amassed more than 200,000 views until it was removed.
A Facebook spokesperson said: “This ad violates our advertising policies, and has been removed.” Facebook’s policies restrict against illegal content and must not contain discriminatory material based on sxual orientation or gender identity.
Facebook users whould watch for this type of content and always report it.
File photo | Rex | 17047
University researchers have been busy lately.
A University of British Columbia study found that in the last 15 years, lesbian, gay and bisexual youth are half as likely to play sports compared to straight teens. In 1998, five out of 10 gay students played formal or coach sports. By 2013, that proportion had dropped to three in 10.
The level of participation dropped from 62 per cent to 52 per cent for lesbian girls; bisexual girls it dropped from 48 per cent to 38 per cent, and bisexual boys, the participation dropped from 59 per cent to 42 per cent. The study involved 99,373 adolescent students across British Columbia.
Meanwhile, female bosses are more likely to hire gay and lesbian job candidates over heterosexuals, according to a new study of 400 managers by The University of Sussex. This comes as a surprise because past research showed gay and lesbian jobseekers were usually at a disadvantage.
Women favoured homosexual candidates, while males were more likely to choose a straight applicant. “These results show that bias against gay men and lesbians is much more nuanced than previous work suggests. Hiring decisions made by teams of both men and women could lead to less biased decisions,” commented Dr Benjamin Everly of the business, management and economics department at Sussex University.
Gay, lesbian and bisexual teens half as likely to play sports: UBC study
Pete Buttigieg | Joshua Roberts/Reuters | 17046
The Guardian profiles Pete Buttigieg, a gay Mayor who is being viewed as a potential leader of the Democrat party.
Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, Harvard- and Oxford-educated, served in Afghanistan as a lieutenant with the Navy Reserves – and is openly gay.
A 2014 Washington Post profile called Buttigieg “the most interesting mayor you’ve never heard of”. The next year, Buttigieg won his re-election bid with 80% of the vote, a wider margin than the first time around. In June, New York Times columnist Frank Bruni proposed: “The First Gay President?”
Since entering the race for chair of the DNC his crisp public performances have attracted the attention of influential Democratic party officials and donors.
Time will tell.
Francesco Spano | ImagoEC | 17045
Francesco Spano, the head of Italy’s anti-discrimination office, has resigned following accusations that government funds meant to promote diversity projects and tackle racism had been earmarked for gay sex clubs masquerading as cultural centres.
An investigative TV programme showed his department had authorised funding of up to 55,000 euros each for at least three businesses which housed male prostitutes and offered their members so-called “dark rooms” for sexual encounters.
Opposition parties called on the government to explain its funding program. Rightist leader Giorgia Meloni said UNAR, the anti-discrimination office, should be shut immediately. “Not one more euro of tax payers’ money should be thrown away on paying their salaries,” she wrote.
The government said in a statement that while UNAR would stay open, Spano had resigned “out of respect” for the work his office was carrying out.
Los Angeles high school students protest against the election of President-elect Donald Trump outside Los Angeles City Hall | Nick Ut/Associated Press | 17044
Research in America has revealed a decline in suicide attempts by GLBTQI students since gay marriage was introduced in their states.
Over 16 years, states that adopted laws allowing same-sex marriage saw an immediate decline in suicide attempts by gay, lesbian and bisexual high school students, a group in which attempted suicide is two to seven times more common than among their heterosexual peers.
In the year following any state’s adoption of marriage equality, rates of attempted suicide among such high schoolers in that state fell 14% below that group’s rate of suicide attempts in states that had not changed their policies on gay marriage.
From 1999 to 2015, same-sex marriage being legalised meant 134,000 fewer adolescents attempted suicide.
Undated | Uncredited | Picture Alliance/DPA
On Saturday, Tanzania announced it will publish a list of gay people allegedly selling sex online. Just days ago the government shut down dozens of AIDS clinics which it accused of promoting homosexuality.
Deputy Health Minister Hamisi Kigwangalla wrote on Twitter that his government was investigating “the homosexuality syndicate” and would arrest and prosecute those involved in the gay sex business. “I will publish a list of gay people selling their bodies online,” Kigwangalla wrote. “Those who think this campaign is a joke, are wrong. The government has long arms and it will quietly arrest all those involved. Once arrested, they will help us find others.”
Tazanian men suspected of being gay have been detained and taken to hospitals for an anal examination to find out if they are homosexual.
Tanzania is still in the Commonwealth.
Last year there was pressure on the UK Government to review its foreign aid to Tanzania, which was around £200,000,000 a year.
Emmanuel Macron | EPA | 17037
Emmanuel Macron, a contender in the French presidential election, saw his poll lead vanish after he made controversial remarks on gay marriage.
Mr Macron had overtaken François Fillon, the conservative candidate and former favourite who is embroiled in a corruption scandal, but the latest polls indicate that the two candidates are now neck-and-neck.
Mr Macron provoked outrage by describing former French colonial rule as a “crime against humanity” during a visit to Algeria.
Mr Macron then infuriated Left-wing supporters by trying to reach out to Right-wingers who opposed gay marriage, saying they had been stigmatised and “humiliated” under President Hollande’s Socialist government.
Mr Macron and Mr Fillon ended the week level-pegging on 20 per cent, with both men trailing Ms Le Pen, on 26 per cent in one poll, while another poll places Mr Macron and Mr Fillon both on 18.5 per cent.
The first round of the French Presidential election is on April 23rd.
Phil Poole and his boyfriend were beaten up on a London-bound train in an homophobic attack following a Valentine’s Day meal.
Mr Poole said he was set upon by a gang of thugs as he travelled into the capital with his boyfriend Zbynek Zatloukal following a night out in Reading.
They were assaulted by a group of up to five thugs who boarded the Great Western Railway train in west London, and hurled a homophobic slur at Mr Zatloukal while Mr Poole slept on his shoulder after the pair missed their stop at Maidenhead, where they both live.
Gay Activist wishes them both a speedy recovery and that they receive justice for this unprovoked attack.