Breaking the mould in the Philipines

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AFP | 17077

Philippine Congresswoman Geraldine Roman, in the yellow top, is the first transgender woman to be elected to public office in the Philippines. Geraldine replaced her mother as a district representative after the 2016 elections.

“I may be a neophyte congresswoman but I’m a veteran in politics,” she said over a quiet lunch in her ancestral home.

The election of Roman, who underwent sex reassignment surgery in New York in the 1990s, symbolised many things to many people: a transition to progressive liberalism in a country where religion is meshed with law; a breaking of stereotypes; a hope for change.

Hate crimes against transgender women are particularly horrific. The Philippine Hate Crime Watch reported 157 cases of hate related murders from 1996 to 2011 – a number which advocates say is likely to be underreported.

But Roman’s win meant a lot to the LGBT community, which saw in her a champion for acceptance and an advocate for the Anti – sexual orientation and gender identity expression discrimination bill.

http://www.scmp.com/week-asia/society/article/2090744/transgender-politician-fighting-gay-rights-philippines

Zero. None. And Six Prisons full.

As we have been told repeatedly, there are no gays in Chechnya. None at all. Zilch. Ne rien. Absolutely none at all. There can’t be a round-up of gay men, because there are none in Chechnya.

And six prisons are full of them.

Reports had initially centred on two jails in the villages of Argun and Tsotsi-Yurt. But Novaya Gazeta, the respected Russian newspaper that made the initial claims, now says there are a further four prisons illegally holding men for their sexual orientation, reports the Daily Mail.

The men, who face torture in jail, are only released once their families offer bribes to police.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4440258/At-SIX-prisons-holding-gay-men-Chechen-Republic.html

Anyone for tennis? No

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Gay Gooners/Islington Gazette | 17074

The Islington Gazette profiles the Gay Gooners, gay supporters of Arsenal football club. They are the biggest LGBT football fans group in the world. There are 500 members, with 40 per cent women. Dave Raval is chairman, and was one of the founding members in 2013.

The Gooners aim to stamp out homophobia in football, provide a safe forum for LGBT people to enjoy Arsenal, and act as a social group.

“The recent question has always been: ‘When is a male player going to come out?’ [Players have come out in women’s football.] But when we started Gay Gooners, our question was: ‘When are the fans going to come out?’

“It’s just as important for LGBT fans to be visible in the game. There are hundreds of us. We don’t accept what some people would call ‘banter.’ We don’t accept a football culture where a male player has yet to come out.”

Gay Gooners was the first LGBT fans group to be recognised by a professional club, as Arsenal did. There are now 30 groups in the UK.

http://www.islingtongazette.co.uk/news/arsenal-gay-gooners-biggest-lgbt-football-supporters-club-in-the-world-1-4985766

Campaigning, Bath style

Ben Howlett the Tory MP who was accused of groping a gay couple at a Eurovision Song Contest party last May will not be charged. It was alleged he put his hands in a man’s pants and tried to kiss him at a bar in his Bath constituency.

The party was held in a private residence at one of the city’s poshest addresses.

Howlett was accused of putting his hands inside a gay man’s pants and trying to kiss him; he is also alleged to have said “let me f*** you” to another man and grabbed his crotch. Prosecution chiefs said there was not enough evidence to proceed.

https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/3387629/tory-mp-ben-howlett-accused-of-groping-a-gay-couple-at-a-eurovision-song-contest-party-will-not-be-charged/

Korea over for gay Korean soldiers

The South Korean army is trying to weed out gay soldiers after a video emerged online of two of their male soldiers having sex.

Lim Tae-hoon of the Military Human Rights Center for Korea told the Associated Press that there are “credible reports” that army investigators have seized mobile phones and “outed” soldiers who were secretly using dating apps or threatened those who have already been identified as gay by the Army.

There is no rule against gay men serving in South Korea’s armed forces but they are banned from engaging in “homosexual activity” while serving and face two years in prison if prosecuted.

http://www.newsweek.com/south-korea-army-gay-587310

The nastiest place in the world?

A group of 53 people have been charged in Nigeria after they were arrested last week from what police say was a party celebrating an unofficial gay wedding.

The group pleaded not guilty to charges relating to conspiracy, unlawfully assembly and membership in an unlawful society.

The defendants were mostly students who are alleged to have been illegally detained for more than 24 hours.

LGBT-rights activists refute the police’s report that the men were celebrating a same-sex wedding, saying the event in the northern city of Zaria was a birthday party.

http://time.com/4749868/nigeria-gay-wedding-arrests/

Gay men right wing shock

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BBC | 17073

The BBC have discovered that 20% of their sample of French gay men,many of whom are in same sex relationships, will be voting for the Front National in the French Presidential election this weekend.

They are more concerned about immigration and other cultural issues than any threat to end gay marriage in France.

“There are priorities in France other than homosexuality. I myself am in a same-sex couple and there have been many advances in this area,” Cedric explains. “But for me there are more pressing issues like the economy, the national debt and unemployment.” He thinks the anti-gay marriage policy of the FN is a ploy to win conservative voters over to their cause.

Polls suggest the party is now more popular in the LGBT community than perhaps many would want to admit. Of the 3,200 gay French men the dating app Hornet spoke to, one in five said they would be giving Marine Le Pen their vote.

Why does Marine Le Pen appeal directly to some LGBT voters? For many, it’s her tough stance on immigration.

“Where are the gays most in danger? In Islamic countries,” says Pascale, who doesn’t want to be photographed. “Gay people are being crucified – it’s a danger and I don’t want it coming to France, definitely not.” But further north, in the poorer and more multicultural suburb of Pont-de-Flandre, it’s a different picture. “The FN supporters you spoke to, were they white?” house DJ Kiddy Smiles asks us, “Yes? I’m not surprised.”

The first round of voting in the French Presidential election takes place this Sunday.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/article/39641822/why-gay-french-men-are-voting-far-right

Kirk criticised

The Church of Scotland has been asked to apologise for its “history of discrimination” against homosexual people and could be a step closer to allowing ministers to perform same-sex marriages.

A report by the Theological Forum of the Church of Scotland to be debated at the Kirk’s General Assembly in May proposes having a church committee research allowing nominated ministers and deacons to carry out the ceremonies while retaining the ability for “contentious refusal” from those opposed to same-sex marriage.

The report also calls for “the Church to take stock of its history of discrimination at different levels and in different ways against gay people and to apologise individually and corporately and seek to do better”.

http://www.scotsman.com/news/church-of-scotland-urged-to-apologise-for-gay-discrimination-1-4422320

Trouble in the glen

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File photo | Irish Times | 17071

The Irish gay rights group Glen is being investigated into whether it breached rules on political campaigning and financial management. The charity has appointed an external investigator to examine allegations of bullying made by staff.

The Charities Regulator has told Glen to provide it with financial records, details of credit cards and the report of an independent auditor by the end of this month. One of the issues being examined by the regulator concerns the use of the charity’s resources to support political campaigning.

Glen’s co-chairman Kieran Rose stepped down after it emerged that campaign literature for his Seanad election campaign last year was printed at the charity.

The intervention by the regulator follows a disclosure made by Glen in response to concerns raised by the executive director, Áine Duggan, appointed last October, who raised a number of issues with the board after carrying out a due diligence of the organisation, which works on issues such as sexual health, mental health and education in the LGBT community.

http://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/gay-rights-charity-glen-hit-by-bullying-and-financial-investigations-1.3050746

Pardons by numbers

The “Turing Law”, or to give it its correct name the Police and Crime Act 2017, which grants automatic pardons to gay men who were convicted of obsolete sexual crimes under the old Sexual Offences Acts and who have since died, and allows living convictees to apply for a pardon, has received the Royal Assent.

Gay Activist understands that pardons have been automatically granted to 59,000 men who have died.

16,000 men who are still alive will be asked to fill out a form to have the conviction removed from criminal records.

https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/2013875/alan-turing-world-war-2-turings-law-gay-men-ardoned/