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April 14, 2014

Gay campaigners ‘jubilant’. Civil unions could be signed into law as early as tomorrow

The island nation of Malta is set to finally legalize civil unions for gay couples this evening (14 April).

Traditionally conservative, the small European Catholic nation is one vote away from giving gay couples the right to have their unions recognized.

If the bill passes, as is widely expected, it will be signed into law as early as tomorrow.

The bill will give gay couples exactly the same legal rights as straight couples have with marriage.

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has described the change as a very important moment for Malta.

April 9, 2014

Jamaican Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller has backed away from an election pledge to decriminalize homosexuality, saying stakeholders must decide the issue, and she can’t say when that will happen

Jamaican Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller has again said that decriminalizing gay sex is not a priority for her government in the latest sign that she intends not to honor her 2011 election promise to do so.

Simpson-Miller told Television Jamaica, ‘We have to go to our constituents, consult our constituents and then we go with the decisions of those consultations.’

April 9, 2014

The President of South Africa has said he respects Uganda’s right to criminalize gays and lesbians despite his country having the strongest laws protecting LGBTI people on the African continent

South African President Jacob Zuma said Tuesday that he respects Uganda’s right to pass legislation severely criminalizing LGBTI people and their supporters in the latest sign that South Africa will not join with Western nations in taking formal action against the country.

‘South Africa respects the sovereign rights of other countries to adopt their own legislation,’ Zuma said in a statement in response to a question from a member of the National Assembly.

April 5, 2014

Social Security Administration will no longer require additional legal scrutiny for claims made by transgender spouses

A case involving a 92-year-old transgender widow has resulted in the US Social Security Administration making a change in policy regarding survivor benefits.

Robina Asti is a WWII veteran and pilot who has been a transgender woman since 1976. She had been denied benefits after the death of her husband for two years because she had been born a male.

She finally got her benefits on 14 February after a legal appeal.

April 5, 2014

Stateless and stranded for six months after what was supposed to be a quick trip to Hong Kong to update her passport photograph results in her having to surrender her Colombian passport and becoming a refugee under the protection of the UN's refugee agency

Eliana Rubashkyn recently became the first transgender woman in Hong Kong to be officially recognized as female without having completed gender reassignment surgery.

But life is far from being a bed of roses for the 25-year-old who has been stateless and stranded as a refugee in Hong Kong for the last six months.

April 4, 2014

The world’s second openly gay leader of a country has told a European Union-Africa leadership summit that the rights of minorities, including LGBTI people must be respected

Belgian Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo has told a European Union-Africa summit that he is hosting in Brussels that the rights of LGBTI people must be respected in Africa.

Di Rupo, only the second openly gay person to be elected a national leader, made the comments in a speech in front of the leaders of Nigeria and Uganda amongst other delegates.

‘We cannot tolerate that some are denied their rights and persecuted for their origins, their sexual orientation, their religion and their convictions,’ Di Rupo said on Wednesday at a dinner for some 80 leaders.

April 4, 2014

Authorities are alleged to have shut down the US-funded offices and interrogated one of the Ugandan citizens working there

Uganda police raided the offices of a HIV charity for ‘training youths in gay sex’, a spokesman said today (4 April).

The authorities are alleged to have shut down the Makerere University Walter Reed Project in Kampala yesterday, arresting and interrogating at least one Ugandan citizen.

Government spokesman Ofwono Opondo confirmed the raid, saying on Twitter: ‘Police burst Water Reed Project in Makerere University #training youths in homosexuality.’

March 12, 2014

New president Michelle Bachelet campaigned on promises of equal marriage, trans rights, and improvements in anti-discrimination and hate crime law

Chile’s new president is expected to fight for same-sex marriage.

Michelle Bachelet, who officially took office yesterday (11 March), is expected to boost efforts for the LGBTI community.

The socialist leader was inaugurated in a ceremony in the city of Valparaiso after her election win in December over conservative rival Evelyn Matthei.

She won 62% of the vote, and is the first Chilean president in over half a century to return for a second term. She originally served from 2006 to 2010.

March 7, 2014

Uganda's Frank Mugisha, Russia's Igor Kotchetkov and Nepal’s first openly gay politician Sunil Babu Pant is in the running for the million-dollar prize

President Vladimir Putin will have to face off competition from gay rights activists to win the Nobel Peace Prize.

Ugandan activist Frank Mugisha, Russia advocate Igor Kotchetkov, Nepal’s first openly gay politician Sunil Babu Pant are among the record 278 nominees for the million dollar prize.

The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association is also among the nominees.

Despite Russia’s actions in the Crimea region of the Ukraine, Putin was reportedly nominated for helping to defuse last year’s crisis in Syria.

March 6, 2014

Russian president, who is involved in the Ukraine crisis and approves the country's homophobic laws, is nominated for the million-dollar prize

Despite the rampant homophobia in Russia, and the conflict in Ukraine, Putin is in the running to win the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize.

A record 278 candidates, including 47 organizations, received nominations for the million-dollar prize.

He was reportedly nominated for helping to defuse last year’s crisis in Syria.

Russia’s International Academy of Spiritual Unity and Cooperation of Peoples of the World, who also nominated the president last year, said Putin is more deservning than 2009 winner Barack Obama.

February 24, 2014

US Senator John McCain, business leaders, and even state senators who voted for it are among those now against legislation

As Arizona Governor Jan Brewer continues to offer no clues about whether or not she plans to sign a controversial anti-gay discrimination bill into law, other leaders in the state are stepping up urging her to veto it.

'I hope Governor Brewer will veto #SB1062,' Arizona Senator John McCain tweeted this morning.

The state's other US Senator, Jeff Flake, had tweeted similar sentiments over the weekend.

February 24, 2014

'Let us manage our society if we are wrong we will find out by ourselves'

On the day Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni signed the country’s controversial anti-homosexuality bill into law, he called gays 'disgusting' in an interview with CNN.

Museveni was asked if he personally disliked homosexuals and he said: 'They are disgusting. What sort of people are they?’

February 21, 2014

Secretary of State John Kerry slams Yahya Jammeh for calling gay people ‘vermin’ that must be dealt with like mosquitoes

Secretary of State John Kerry said the US is 'deeply troubled' by Gambia’s President Yahya Jammeh calling gay people ‘vermin’ that must be dealt with like mosquitoes.

Kerry labeled Jammeh's remarks 'hateful rhetoric' and called on the international community to condemn them.

'All people are created equal and should be able to live free from discrimination, and that includes discrimination based on sexual identity and sexual orientation,' Kerry said in a statement.

February 19, 2014

Video shows members of performance art group being attacked in public plaza

Video of members of the performance art group Pussy Riot being attacked with horsewhips by Cossack militia emerged Wednesday and is quickly causing outrage.

The pro-gay, anti-Putin group was trying to perform in Sochi, Russia, under a sign advertising the Winter Olympics.

As they pulled out a guitar and microphone,  at least 10 Cossacks and other security officials moved in.

The women chanted in Russian: 'Putin will teach you to love the Motherland,' the name of the song for which they had arrived in Sochi to make a new protest video.

February 18, 2014

Rival politicians and right-wing broadcasters have accused the popular prime minister Elio Di Rupo of being 'shameless' by appearing shirtless

Belgium’s gay Prime Minister is being accused of trivializing his job by appearing topless in pictures.

While Elio Di Rupo’s physique is nothing to be ashamed of, the 62-year-old has angered rival politicians who have criticized him for being ‘shameless’ and ‘outrageous’.

In a documentary to be screened on Belgian television this week, a three-second clip of the popular Socialist leader changing his shirt is caught on camera.

It was from a national day last July that saw the inauguration of the country’s new King Philippe.

February 18, 2014

A spokesperson for Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has said his country can ‘do without’ humanitarian and development aid from the United States if it tries to force it to back down on making homosexuality an offense worthy of life imprisonment

Following a statement by President Barack Obama that passing the notorious Anti-Homosexuality Bill would damage diplomatic relations between Uganda and the US, a spokesman for Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has said his country can do without US aid.

February 14, 2014

DOMA plaintiff was among those invited to State Dinner for President of France

President Barack Obama was flying in Air Force One last June when he placed a call to Edie Windsor to congratulate her on making history.

It was the day that because of Windsor's landmark lawsuit, the US Supreme Court gutted the anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act. She sued the US government for denying her tax benefits after the death of her spouse of 42 years, Thea Spyer.

This week, Windsor and Obama met face-to-face for the first time and the president invited the 83-year-old LGBTI icon into the Oval Office for a private chat.

February 14, 2014

Parents of seven and eight-year-olds reported the school to the authorities after their children made Valentine's cards for their same-gender friends

A Russian school is being accused of gay propaganda after kids gave Valentine’s Day cards to other students of the same gender today (14 February).

To celebrate the day of love, a teacher in the city of Smolensk, western Russia, encouraged students aged seven to eight to make cards to each other – and it didn’t matter if they were given to a boy or a girl.

But when the students went home and told their families what they did in school, their parents were ‘shocked’.

February 13, 2014

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has introduced measures to ensure gay and unmarried straight couples from countries with equal marriage are banned from adopting Russian children

Russia has introduced measures to enforce the ban on adoptions of children to people in countries that recognize same-sex marriage.

A decree published on the government’s website today (13 February) states a ban on adoptions will apply to gay and unmarried straight couples.

Affected countries that often traditionally adopt from Russia includes Spain, France and Canada.

England and Wales will be on the list once same-sex weddings begin to be carried out on 29 March.

February 11, 2014

Russian President Vladimir Putin has personally congratulated bisexual Dutch speed skater Ireen Wust with a ‘cuddle’ during a party that was held to celebrate her gold medal win

The first LGBTI athlete to win a gold medal at the Sochi Winter Olympics has been personally congratulated by Russian President Vladimir Putin and she says he gave him a cuddle.

Dutch speed skater Ireen Wust has been billed by much of the media as ‘the first openly gay gold medalist’ at the Sochi Games but she identifies as bisexual and has had relationships with both men and women.

February 10, 2014

President Yoweri Museveni has reportedly days before he decides to assent or send the Anti-Homosexuality Bill back to parliament

Uganda’s Prime Minister has said the Anti-Homosexuality Bill will be ‘fully debated’ before it becomes law.

Amama Mbabazi has hinted the draconic legislation, originally known as the ‘Kill All The Gays’ bill before the death penalty was removed, will go back to parliament before it is signed back into law.

Writing on Twitter today (10 February), he said: ‘To all those who sent me messages about the Bill on homosexuality, I want to assure you that it will be fully debated and democratically resolved.’

February 8, 2014

After finishing his crusade in Sochi, anti-gay US preacher Larry Craft will go to New Orleans to protest gays, abortion, sex addiction, and 'church gossips'

An anti-gay US preacher is in Sochi to offer support to President Vladimir Putin.

Larry Craft, a resident of Rochester, New York, spent the opening day of the Winter Olympics passing out anti-gay pamphlets in downtown Sochi.

He told the Wall Street Journal that he, and two other men, were briefly held at a police station because their sign said 'God bless Putin for his stance on homosexuals.'

February 7, 2014

Dutch prime minister and Russian president meet despite extreme tension between the two countries following assaults and humiliation

President Vladimir Putin has told the world the Olympics is not the place to discuss Russia’s treatment of gay people.

In a meeting with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, the Russian president demanded politics and sport should not mix.

‘I know you always give much attention to humanitarian issues and adherence to human rights,’ Putin said, according to Reuters.

‘We are always open to discussion.’

February 4, 2014

'Hello My Name is Vladimir' is the world's first 'protest beer' to be sold in stores and online

'Protest beer' mocking anti-gay laws in Russia is being sent to Vladimir Putin today (4 February).

A Scottish craft brewery believe they have launched the world's first 'protest beer', produced to fight against homophobic legislation.

BrewDog’s new craft beer, Hello My Name is Vladimir, is a double IPA ale containing Limmonick berries - an ingredient regarded by some Russians to enhance sexual performance in men.

The bottle is styled with a gaudy Andy Warhol-style label showing an image of the Russian president wearing lipstick and eyeshadow.