Asia – India – Trans and Third Sex communities given rights

Contestants pose for photographs during a beauty pageant for transgenders in Mumbai, India, Monday, Jan. 11, 2010. | Rafiq Maqbool/Associated Press

Mixed news from India, where the Supreme Court has given two rulings which affect the trans and gay communities.

Trans citizens can self-identify their own gender “without any discrimination.” In 2012 India’s National Legal Services Authority brought a case on behalf of India’s trans and third-gender communities.

Lawyer Tripti Tandon explained that

“The Supreme Court ruled that everyone has the fundamental right to have their gender identified and recognized in the law without any discrimination … and it’s self-identification of the gender as opposed to medically or surgically assigned one.”

Hindustan Times, 16 April 2014: Transgender and third sex explained

Unfortunately, the Court went on to uphold the law that criminalizes homosexual relationships. It remains a matter for the Indian Parliament to consider whether the law should be changed.


Finland stamps on Tom; did the Tories stamp on Iain?

One of the stamps | Tom of Finland/Itella

Images by Tom of Finland, the legendary artist who was born in south-west Finland in 1920, and died in 1991, are to be used on a set of Finnish postal stamps, which will be issued in September.

Iain Corby, the former head of a Tory research unit who is being investigated by Parliament’s expenses watchdog for organising a gay party during the 2011 party conference, has allegedly been removed from the party’s approved list of candidates to become an MP at the next election. Mr Corby set up Parliament’s LGBT network in 2010.


UK – Law – Anonymity in sex offence cases

Nigel Evans | Press Association

Nigel Evans called for a review at whether the defendants in sex offence cases should have the same rights to anonymity as their accusers, as he pledged to speak up for other men who have been wrongly accused. The UK coalition government said it would look at the subject when it came to power, but backed away, concerned that it would stop further victims of an alleged sex offender from coming forward.


UK – Gay Marriage – Priest defies the church and ties the knot

Off on honeymoon | Canon Pemberton

A priest has become the first in Britain to defy the Church of England’s ban on gay clergy marrying. Canon Jeremy Pemberton, 58, wed his long-term partner Laurence Cunnington, 51, both pictured, on Saturday afternoon.

The House of Bishops decided earlier this year to ban gay clergy from marrying, which means that anyone defying the ban could face lengthy disciplinary measures.


UK – Funding – Taxpayers ended up paying for Tory gay sex party in posh hotel

Parliament’s expenses watchdog is to investigate claims that, through funding MP’s support staff, taxpayers ended up paying for a hotel suite that was used for a gay-sex party which was advertised on the gay app Grindr during the 2011 Conservative Party conference. It is alleged that money which had been claimed legitimately by MPs for their support services and paid by them to a company which provides those services, was used by the company to pay for the party.


Gay business – Conduct – Gay marriage

Uncredited | Newham Recorder

Good news stories are just like buses; you go for ages and ages without seeing any, then three come along together.

With his bright pink van, there’s no missing Newham builder Ray Bulloch, pictured, who owns a gay building company which is thought to be the UK’s first. He had the last laugh when his gay community building business became a roaring success, after facing homophobia in the industry for more than 30 years. After a colleague sabotaged a gay client’s home, he decided to set up R&G LGBT Builders 13 years ago. After forcing the culprit to repair the damage, Ray refused to let him in his van. “I said to him, ‘Only gay people are allowed in my van’, and left him by the side of the road. I received a call from my boss and he said, ‘Let’s forget about it’, but I just quit.”

The hardest part is recruiting workers as many people are concerned about the stigma attached to working for a gay company. Last year he became the first builder to take part in the Pride London parade, and he will appear again this year with his newly repainted bright pink van. “It was a very big decision, as it used to have the rainbow flag, but I decided that it wasn’t enough. Some people can’t believe that I had the courage to get my van repainted, but it is a real talking point.”

Nigel Evans | Lynne Cameron/PA

Former Deputy Speaker Nigel Evans was cleared of all charges against him. The jury unanimously found Mr Evans not guilty of one count of rape, five sexual assaults, one attempted sexual assault and two indecent assaults. The 56-year Ribble Valley MP burst into tears as the verdicts were announced.

An Italian court has ordered the Tuscan city of Grosseto to recognize the marriage of a gay couple who were wed in the United States. Gay marriage is not allowed in Italy. The court said the town hall had to transcribe the marriage into its records, giving the two men the same rights as a heterosexual married couple.