Face to face


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France welcomed its first gay refugee from Chechnya on Monday on the same day French President Emmanuel Macron pushed Russian leader Vladimir Putin to investigate the treatment and imprisonment of transgender and gay people in Chechnya, which is led by pro-Kremlin leader Ramzan Kadyrov.

Russian leader Vladimir Putin visited Paris to hold talks with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron and to open a French and Russian exhibition. Mr Macron said that Putin had promised “the whole truth”.

“I had the chance to bring up how important it is for France to respect all people, all minorities and all sensibilities in a civil society,” he said, as Mr Putin stood beside him listening to the translation.

“President Putin told me… he had undertaken several initiatives on the subject of LGBT people in Chechnya with measures aimed at establishing the whole truth about the activities of local authorities,” Macron said at a press conference with Putin after talks in Versailles. “I spelled out France’s expectations very precisely.”

Mr Macron warned Mr Putin that he would monitor further civil rights violations of gay people in Chechnya. The pair of leaders shook hands for the cameras in front of the Palace of Versailles, but their body language appeared tense.




We quite like Spain, too!


File photo | Alamy | 17099

People in African countries overwhelming think homosexuality is ‘unacceptable’ compared to those living in Europe according to research by the Pew Centre. People in Spain are the most morally accepting, with only six per cent saying it’s unacceptable; Germany comes a close second with only 8 per cent saying it’s unacceptable.

The research shows that 98 per cent of those in Ghana, 95 per cent of those in Egypt and Jordan say ‘unacceptable’ when asked “Do you personally believe that homosexuality is morally acceptable, morally unacceptable, or is it not a moral issue?”

Canada and France are joint top for not thinking sexuality is a moral issue, with exactly half of the participants in each country asked saying it’s ‘not a moral issue’.

In the UK, 17 per cent of people (or one in six), people think homosexuality is ‘morally unacceptable’, 36 per cent say it’s morally acceptable, and the majority (43 per cent) say ‘it’s not a moral issue’. The Czech Republic have the highest proportion of those saying homosexuality is morally acceptable – with 56 per cent of those questioned saying it is.

Pew sampled a whopping 40,117 respondents in 40 countries worldwide.


First at NATO


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Gauthier Destenay, the husband of Luxembourg’s gay prime minister Xavier Bettel posed alongside the other wives and partners of Nato leaders at their summit this week for a group photo.

He looks as if he is enjoying the occasion. He stood behind a grinning Mrs Trump and Emine Erdogan, the wife of Tayyip Erdogan, President of Turkey.

Husband of Luxembourg’s gay prime minister joins Nato leaders’ wives in photo

The non existent purge and torture continues

It is reported that Russian officials are examining claims that a deadly anti-homosexual purge has been unfolding in Chechnya. Detainees who spoke to the Guardian reported being held in a secret location for days or weeks, beaten and tortured with electric shocks.

After international outcry, Russian President Vladimir Putin has been briefed on the situation by the country’s human rights ombudsman, Tatyana Moskalkova. The Guardian reports there is evidence Russian authorities are investigating the allegations.

Human rights groups have urged Moscow to investigate the reported abuse and alleged deaths of gay men. German Chancellor Angela Merkel confronted Putin about the issue during a recent meeting with him.

Today Human Rights Watch issued details of alleged abuses of gay men at the hands of Chechen authorities. The report says the men who are released face reprisals not only from Chechen security forces, but also from their own families.

Chechnya is an extremely conservative society and homosexuality is considered a “stain” on the family honour.

A spokesperson for Ramzan Kadyrov, Chechnya’s strongman leader, again dismissed reports of the purge by saying that there are no gay people in the quasi-independent state. “You cannot arrest or repress people who just don’t exist in the republic,” he said, according to the New York Times.


Captain Convicted


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A military court in South Korea sentenced an army captain to six months in prison on Wednesday for having sex with other servicemen, igniting an outcry against what rights groups called a homophobic “witch hunt” in the country’s military.

The prison term for the captain was suspended for one year, so if he did not break the law again in the next year, he would not go to prison but he will be dishonorably discharged (unless his conviction is overturned by an appeals court).

The captain, whose name was not disclosed, collapsed when the verdict was announced in military court, and was taken to a hospital after hurting his head, said Lim Tae-hoon, the director of the Military Human Rights Centre.

The South Korean military criminal code outlaws sodomy and other unspecified “disgraceful conduct” between servicemen, whether or not there is mutual consent and whether or not that conduct takes place in or outside military compounds. Those found to have violated the act face up to two years in prison.

In South Korea powerful right-wing Christian groups have intensified a campaign against homosexuality, scuttling a bill that would have given sexual minorities the same protections as other minority groups.

The captain was arrested days before he was scheduled to leave the army. All of his sexual activities were consensual and took place in private spaces, like his home. None of the servicemen the captain had sex with served in his unit.

Into the Glen

The Irish Republic’s Charities Regulatory Authority has appointed inspectors to carry out a statutory investigation into GLEN, the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network. Glen announced last week it will close following a review of its operations.

The CRA emphasised that the opening of a statutory investigation is not in itself a finding of any wrongdoing, and the scope of the investigation will include the administration, governance and financial management of the charity by Glen’s trustees and whether charitable assets have been used exclusively for charitable purposes and can be accounted for.


Gay marriage okayed in Taiwan


Tyrone Siu/Reuters | 17095

A top Taiwan court ruled for of gay marriage today, in a landmark ruling that paves the way for the island to become the first place in Asia to legalise same sex unions.

Twelve of 14 judges in the court, the Judicial Yuan, said current marriage laws violate the constitutional rights of same-sex couples.

Taiwan’s government has two years to implement the ruling.