Matthew Fenner of North Carolina thought he was “going to die” when members of his evangelical church beat and choked him for two hours to expel his “homosexual demons,” he told a court on Thursday.
Mr Fenner was the first person to take the stand in the assault and kidnapping trial of Brooke Covington, a 58-year-old minister at Word of Faith Fellowship in Spindale, North Carolina.
Covington is alleged to be the leader of a 2013 beating involving numerous congregants who pointed out his sexual orientation, saying, “God said there is something wrong in your life.”
Fenner said he had cancer as a child and had a biopsy one week before he was assaulted. “I’m frail and in my mind, I’m thinking, ‘is my neck going to break, am I going to die?'” Fenner said.
If convicted, Covington faces up to two years in prison. She is the first of five church members to face trial in the case. Each defendant will be tried separately.
The trials continue.
Susan King, a Liberal Democrat candidate in our general election, thinks that plastic residue in drinking water is turning people gay, and ‘feminising hormones’ in the mains supply can change sexuality.
In an online debate she said: “People’s choice of lifestyle is again down to their personal preferences. I do feel environmental influences are affecting reproduction. All the pollution is having an effect on our DNA and our population is changing and evolving.”
Well, it’s a change from the gay cure nutters.
Conan G Shore | Twitter | 17093
Ireland’s best known gay club’s exterior was vandalised with homophobic messages overnight. Discriminatory messages were chalked on the The George on Dublin’s George street in the early hours of this morning.
The vile messages were promptly washed away by staff.
The vandalism comes during a weekend of celebrations as Ireland marks two years since the Marriage Equality Refendum passed.
Looks like GLEN’s work is far from finished.
27 men have been arrested in Bangladesh by the Rapid Action Battalion on suspicion of being gay, which is a criminal offence in Bangladesh. Police plan to charge them with drug possession.
Mostly students aged 20-30 years, the men were arrested in a raid on a community centre at Keraniganj early today.
Zahangir Hossain Matobbar said they recovered illegal drugs and condoms and plan to charge them with drug offences, not homosexuality, because they were detained before they had engaged in sex.
The owner of the community centre, where the suspects used to gather every two months and stay overnight for partying, was arrested.
Bangladesh is a dangerous place for gays and lesbians. 35-year-old Xulhaz Mannan, a USAID official, was hacked to death in April last year at his home after founding Bangladesh’s only LGBT magazine.
Since then, many gays and lesbians have left Bangladesh after they received death threats.
Stephen Port | 16284
The families of four men murdered by “Grindr killer” Stephen Port, who met his victims on a gay dating app before spiking them with lethal doses of GHB and dumping their bodies close to his east London flat between June 2014 and September 2015, are suing the Metropolitan Police for more than £200,000 over claims that police failed to link the deaths due to homophobia inside the police force.
The men, Anthony Walgate, 23, Gabriel Kovari, 22, Daniel Whitworth, 21, and Jack Taylor, 25, all died of GHB poisoning. Three of them were found in a churchyard next to Mr Port’s home in Barking.
Port left a fake suicide note with Mr Whitworth that read: “Please do not blame the guy I was with last night.” Police initially thought the youngsters had overdosed and dismissed concerns raised by their friends and family members. Officers only realised they had been murdered after a fresh investigation was launched following the death of Mr Taylor, who was Mr Port’s final victim.
Seventeen family members of the victims are suing Scotland Yard in the High Court, claiming that officers discriminated against their relatives because they were gay. They allege there were “breaches of duty and inaction” and accuse the force of breaching the Equality Act 2010, of negligence, and misusing or abusing their power by failing to properly investigate; and are seeking “aggravated and exemplary damages” in excess of £200,000.
Officers admitted they “missed opportunities” after failing to spot similarities between the killings.
Under West Virginia law it is unlawful to threaten, injure, intimidate or oppress any individual because of their race, colour, religion, ancestry, national origin, political affiliation or sex.
West Virginia’s Supreme Court agreed that the word “sex” has ambiguous meaning and it is unclear if the law protects individuals based on sexual orientation.
“A review of similar laws from other states demonstrated that ‘there are two distinct categories of potential discrimination: discrimination based on sex and discrimination based on sexual orientation,'” the court decision states. “West Virginia legislature could have included sexual orientation as an area of protection … [as] [n]umerous other states have done.”
But it didn’t. So there.
Julian Simmons | UTV | 17085
The Belfast Telegraph has been speaking to long time Northern Ireland television personality Julian Simmons about being gay.
He remembers one occasion when he was the victim of a homophobic attack in Belfast.
“On one particular day I went down Bedford Street to cross at the back of City Hall into Donegall Place and I was standing at the traffic lights and a red courier van comes along and as it came along a window went down and this fella shouted out ‘Ye big fruit ye’ and spat. As he spat me the wind caught it and the spit landed on a woman six feet down the road, and of course everyone was looking, and I said ‘I’m so sorry about that’.”
Nobody, anywhere, should ever be subjected to homophobia. Not even people who work on television.
Undated file photo | Copyright control | 17081
German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged Russian President Vladimir Putin to help protect gay rights at her first visit to Russia since 2015. She held talks with Mr Putin at his summer residence in Sochi.
At a joint news conference, Mrs Merkel said she had received “negative reports on the way that homosexuals are dealt with, particularly in Chechnya. … I asked President Putin to use his influence to ease the way that homosexuals… are dealt with in the country.”
Andrew Turner, the Conservative MP for the Isle of Wight, is standing down after reportedly telling local college students that homosexuality was “wrong” and “dangerous to society”.
His comments were quickly posted on social media by one of the students, Esther Poucher, 16, who expressed “outrage”. Another student, Toby Sheard, 17, said: “Everyone was shocked, no-one moved, it was complete silence, all of which he was unfazed by and carried on talking.”
Isle of Wight Pride said: “Any person who makes such a statement in a public forum as our MP is dangerous. Suicide rates amongst LGBT young people are still disproportionately high. Mr Turner did not know if anyone in the room was struggling with their sexuality or gender identity.”
Mr Turner said it was time for “a new generation” to take over after his 16 years in Parliament.
Miami Dade State Court | 17067
In Florida, Gabor Acs (left) and Viktor Berki (right) were found guilty of human trafficking, conspiracy and racketeering in February and have now been sentenced to 30 years in prison. They preyed on young Hungarian men in their 20s who had moved to the US to start a new life.
They would meet their victims online, through social media sites, and would promise them a visa and free flights to the US if they carried out ‘legal escort work’ but the hopeful young men were forced into sex slavery and were made to perform multiple sex acts for up to 20 hours a day, either over webcams or with clients.
Five of the victims were forced to live in a one-bedroom apartment. While there they were fed extremely little, and were not paid. The abuse continued for years until the ring moved from Miami to New York. They attracted attention when they started a car washing service, presumably using their slaves to do the work.
Pair jailed for keeping countless men as gay sex slaves for years