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January 13, 2015

Ban Ki-moon says such laws breed intolerance even if not enforced

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon 'staunchly opposes' India's anti-gay law, which he said breeds intolerance in the world's largest democracy.

He made the comments yesterday (12 January) at while addressing the Indian Council of World Affairs in New Delhi.

'We are all different from one another, but we all have the same human rights,' he said.

'I am proud to stand for the equality of all people, including those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender. I staunchly oppose the criminalization of homosexuality.

January 9, 2015

City's fire chief was sacked for writing a book equating gay sex to bestiality

Conservative radio host Erick Erickson has compared the killing of 12 French journalists for publishing cartoons of Mohammed to the sacking of Atlanta's fire chief.

Kelvin Cochran was ousted Tuesday (6 January) for distributing a self-published book that equated gay sex with bestiality.

'In light of the events, we've got to talk about the terrorism situation,' Erickson said Wednesday (7 January) to open his eponymous radio show on Atlanta-based WBS station.

'The terrorists were offended by a publication,' he said.

January 8, 2015

Activists say recognition on travel documents will help tackle discrimination

Nepal yesterday (7 January) announced plans to add a third gender category to passports, following a 2007 Supreme Court ruling recognizing third gender.

'We have changed the passport regulations and will add a third category of gender for those people who do not want to be identified as male or female,' Lok Bahadur Thapa, chief of the government’s passport department, told Reuters.

January 7, 2015

'Devout Christian' says he is unapologetic

Atlanta fire chief Kelvin Cochran has been ousted for self-publishing a book in which he equates homosexuality to pederasty and bestiality.

He was fired yesterday (6 January) on return to work after a 30-day suspension without pay.

Cochran distributed his faith-based book titled Who Told You That You Were Naked? to his subordinates without of the city's permission.

In it, he identifies himself as a 'devout Christian man' and lists gay sex as one of several 'vile, vulgar and inappropriate ways which defile their body-temple and dishonor God.'

December 14, 2014

Praised by city officials and students when he came out in June, the gay principal's contract will not be renewed next school year

Peter Cahall, principal of Wilson High School in Washington DC, made national headlines last year when he came out as gay to his students during a lunchtime Pride Day rally in June this year.

In a letter to city council members, he has called the decision by John Davis, the chief of schools, to not renew his contract 'purely capricious and arbitrary.'

November 28, 2014

Taiga Ishikawa could become the first out male lawmaker in the country

A LGBTI Tokyo assemblyman has announced that he will run for parliament in next month's elections.

If successful, Taiga Ishikawa, 40, will become the first gay male lawmaker in the conservative country.

'My goal is to promote diversity in the community,' he told the Wall Street Journal.

November 25, 2014

Faith-based book equates homosexuality to pederasty and bestiality

Atlanta fire chief Kelvin Cochran has been suspended for a month without pay for distributing a self-published anti-gay book to his subordinates.

In the book titled Who Told You That You Were Naked?, he identifies himself as a 'devout Christian man' whose first priority as Atlanta Fire Department (AFD) chief was 'to cultivate its culture to the glory of God.'

One passage equates homosexuality to pederasty and bestiality while another describes gay sex as one of several 'vile, vulgar and inappropriate ways which defile their body-temple and dishonor God.'

November 11, 2014

Pacific nation bans gay sex and marriage

The 'queen of the Cook Islands' has said it is 'unfair' to criminalize gay people because of who they love.

The paramount chief of the Takitumu tribe, Marie Pa Ariki, made the comments last week in New Zealand at Hui Takataapui, an annual gathering of indigenous people from the Pacific nations.

'[Gay] people are knowledgeable and contribute to society and to home life,' she told GayNZ.com.

'They are human like everyone else... we are all whanau.'

November 4, 2014

Ban Ki-moon says she turned Eurovision into 'an electrifying moment of human rights education'

Bearded drag queen Conchita Wurst won high praise from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon yesterday for her 'powerful message' of tolerance.

Wurst, whose real name is Tom Neuwirth, won the Eurovision song contest for Austria in May, which Ban said she turned into 'an electrifying moment of human rights education.'

'She confounds people’s preconceived ideas of gender and sexuality – and she appeals to them to accept her as she is,' he said.

October 18, 2014

Archbishop Raymond Leo Burke will instead be named to the Patron of the Knights of Malta

Anti-gay American Cardinal Raymond Burke is about to lose his job as head of the Roman Catholic Church's version of a Supreme Court.

Burke has clashed with Pope Francis since he became head of the church last year and confirmed his demotion on Friday (17 October) to Buzzfeed News.

He will go from being the church’s chief guardian of canon law to patron to the Sovereign Military Order of Malta which is a minor post.

October 16, 2014

And he calls gay people evil

A man who claims he can 'cure' gay people is facing charges he raped a teenage boy and threatened to kill him with his 'warlock powers' if he told.

Kentucky police have arrested Polly Ann Church of God youth pastor Rex Allen Murphy after the 16-year-old male came forward to say he was being sexually abused.

The abuse allegedly happened at the church and at the suspect's home for a period of at least six months.

Colin Hatfield, the chief of Eubank police, has described the accusations as 'very graphic and to the point'.

October 9, 2014

Christopher Bailey, CEO and Chief Creative Officer at Burberry, and ‘straight ally’ Sir Richard Branson at Virgin, top this year’s rankings

For the second year running, UK-based executive-level networking group OUTstanding has compiled a list of the world's Top 100 LGBTI business leaders.

The OUTstanding top 50 first appeared last year, but this year’s list has been extended to a top 100. A corresponding top 20 ranking of straight allies has also been revealed.

October 1, 2014

Social media giant had lost users over enforcement of its real names policy

Facebook on Wednesday (1 October) apologized for enacting a real names policy last month that had banned drag performers from the practice of using their stage names on their profiles.

The social media giant now plans to work on building new tools to authentication tools to use in verifying accounts that are flagged for being fake.

August 17, 2014

The Mumbai chief of India’s ruling party, BJP, says his party is now against the misuse of section 377 and will raise the issue in Parliament

'Criminalizing the gay community by misusing section 377 of the IPC [Indian Penal Code] is not acceptable to the [ruling] BJP,' Mumbai chief Ashish Shelar told some 250 attendees at a special Independence Day event 'Acceptance Meet' On Friday. The meeting was organized by The Humsafar Trust, an NGO in Mumbai which promotes LGBTI rights, and other community organizations.

August 4, 2014

New Stonewall chief, Ruth Hunt, has spoken about the organisation’s future plans to tackle homophobia in schools

In one of her first major interviews since becoming the new chief of UK-based LGBT rights charity, Stonewall, Ruth Hunt has said that she believes educating pre-primary school children that families come in all shapes and sizes – including single and same-sex parents – is vital in helping to tackle homophobia.

Speaking to The Independent newspaper, she said that she wants Stonewall to commission books ‘celebrating difference in all its forms for under-fives.’

June 26, 2014

Voters in the South Carolina town of Latta have voted to strip their mayor of his executive powers after he fired their popular lesbian police chief and was recorded making a homophobic rant

Latta, South Carolina, Mayor Earl Bullard has been stripped of his executive powers by voters after he caused a backlash by firing the town’s lesbian chief of police after she investigating one of his appointees.

Bullard was only newly elected in April of this year when he fired Latta Police Chief Crystal Moore for doing a background check into a man he had appointed the town’s Parks and Recreation office – discovering the man was driving without a license and had a string of convictions.

May 11, 2014

Judge says his decision to retire early came after an 'inappropriate invasion of my privacy'

Judge David Audlin on Friday retired as Monroe County’s chief circuit judge – with four years left in his second six-year term – to return to private practice.

March 28, 2014

The US religious right is boycotting Girl Scout cookie sales, costing the organization millions of dollars

The one place you’d hope the abortion battle would not be waged is with the Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA).

Girl Scout cookies are a ubiquitous symbol of the organization and an American staple like apple pie. They have made nearly $700million (€500million) in sales since 1999.

So the idea they have helped fund abortions at Planned Parenthood is unfathomable.

But with religious right activists fishing for another fallacious assertion to try on the American public, this one unfortunately has legs.

March 14, 2014

Nigeria’s Justice Minister and Attorney General has made the astounding claim that the so-called Jail All The Gays Bill was passed in order to protect accused homosexuals from people taking matters into their own hands

Nigerian Justice Minister and Attorney General Mohammed Adoke has claimed his country passed a bill making same-sex marriage a crime and further criminalizing homosexuality in order to protect gay people in responding to a request by UN human rights chief Navi Pillay for the law to be suspended.

‘The government had to step in with punitive measures so as to prevent citizens from taking laws into their hands,’ Adoke said, according to This Day Live.

March 1, 2014

This year saw one of the largest Sydney Mardi Gras parades ever, with massive crowds turning out to watch the event despite the threat of rain

This years Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade was one of the largest ever – with so many marching this year that over a thousand people who wanted to were told by organizers that they couldn’t to try to keep the event under its 4 hour allotted length.

The parade began in its traditional way with Sydney’s Dykes on Bikes roaring up the parade route, followed by the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and a First Australians group of indigenous Australians.

February 27, 2014

Social media giant was told by gay activists that ceasing operations in Uganda could be a death sentence for young LGBTI teens

Facebook has slammed reports that claimed the social media giant will be pulling out of Uganda over the anti-gay law.

Several African news reports printed a statement from the social media giant's chief operating officer.

‘When we launched Facebook, we thought it as a platform to advance people’s rights and liberties of self expression in all form. We were equally shocked to learn that Uganda as a country had gone ahead to sign the Anti Homosexuality bill into a law,’ Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operations officer, quoted as saying.

February 20, 2014

Citing recent success in federal courts in other US states, they want ban immediately declared unconstitutional

Feeling the momentum from judicial victories in other states, the four couples suing to overturn Idaho's ban on gay marriage are trying to move their case along a little faster.

The couples filed a motion late Tuesday (18 February) asking a federal court in Boise to issue a decision without a trial. They claim the ban violates the equal protection and due process clauses of the US Constitution.

The motion is scheduled to be heard by Chief US Magistrate Judge Candy W. Dale on 5 May 5 in Boise.

January 1, 2014

The African and diaspora communities have failed to follow in their hero’s footsteps when it comes to LGBTI people

The passing of Nelson Mandela saw mourning around the world – LGBTI activists across the globe, myself included, were among the first to give thanks for his unwavering support on behalf of our civil rights.

During his time as president, Mandela, oftentimes affectionately referred to by his Xhosa clan name ‘Madiba’, or as ‘Tata’ (father) – modeled for the world what an LGBTI-inclusive democracy entailed.

December 13, 2013

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel: 'They deserve our respect and the benefits they are entitled to under the law'

Mississippi was the last holdout.

But US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announced today that all states have now agreed to comply with federal policy and grant full benefits to gay military personnel and their families.

Mississippi and Georgia had been the only two states out of compliance at the start of the week but like Texas and Louisiana before them, have decided to now follow federal law and process same-sex benefits.