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May 2, 2015

South Australia, New South Wales and Victoria already have similar schemes to expunge criminal records of men who were convicted for consensual gay sex

Tasmania's anti-discrimination commissioner Robin Banks has in her final report recommended that the state implements a dedicated scheme to erase historical convictions for consensual sexual activity between adult men.

The report recommends establishing a three-person panel made up of the Anti-Discrimination Commissioner, the registrar of the Working with Vulnerable People Registration Scheme and the dean of law at the University of Tasmania to review applications from men who want their criminal record expunged.

April 30, 2015

It is unknown whether he has ever heard of the Streisand effect

A former Irish political candidate is calling on Google to take down any published item that apparently wrongly branded him as a homophobe.

Mark Savage, of Lios Cian, Swords, said he is seeking judicial orders in the Circuit Civil Court against the Data Protection Commissioner and Google Ireland.

He claims that any time anyone searches for him on Google, he is labeled 'Mark Savage, North County Dublin's Homophobic Candidate'.

This may be to do with his 2014 local election manifesto, where Savage described himself as an 'advocate for family values'.

April 25, 2015

Aaron and Melissa Klein, of the Sweet Cakes By Melissa bakery, refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple for 'religious reasons'

 An Oregon judge has proposed that a lesbian couple who were turned away by a Christian bakery for asking them to make a same-sex wedding cake should receive $135,000 in damages.

Alan McCullough, an administrative law judge who ruled in January that Aaron and Melissa Klein, owners of Sweet Cakes By Melissa, discriminated against Rachel and Laurel Bowman-Cryer for their sexuality, proposed an offer on Friday (24 April) which awards the couple $75,000 and $60,000 respectively for emotional suffering.

April 14, 2015

The wife of a young Indian actor says he was recruited by a group of at least eight Government Railway Police officers to pose as a gay man in railway bathrooms so that they could demand money from gay men who feared being outed

India’s Government Railway Police (GRP) Commissioner has ordered an internal inquiry after it was alleged that a group of police officers in Maharashtra state were running a corrupt operation where they shook down gay men for cash with threats of outing them.

According to the allegation railway police officers recruited Ajinkya Shinde, a Marathi speaking aspiring actor, and got him to pose as a gay man in order to entrap gay men using railway station bathrooms.

March 10, 2015

Up to 200 couples will marry in two ceremonies scheduled for 2015

A Taipei government official has promised to do his utmost to include gay couples in the city's mass weddings.

Xu Li-min, secretary of Taipei city's bureau of social affairs and gender equality office, made the vow on Friday (6 March) at a public gender forum at National Taiwan University.

He said he would need to discuss with other departments whether gay couples would marry alongside straight couples or separately, but either way he hoped to bring about 'symbolic' ceremonies for gay couples this year.

March 4, 2015

Reverend Ann Kansfield was sworn in as the New York City Fire Department’s newest religious chaplain after complaints about a lack of diversity inside the organization

New York City’s Fire Department has appointed its first ever woman chaplain and she is also the first ever openly lesbian person to serve in that role.

The Reverend Ann Kansfield was sworn into the role on Tuesday and joins six other chaplains on the force that are Christian and one that is Jewish.

New York Fire Commissioner Daniel A Nigro praised Kansfield for her community work around her Greenpoint Reformed Church in Brooklyn and welcomed her as the first ever female fire chaplain in New York.

February 24, 2015

Chhattisgarh will also pay for sex reassignment surgery

In a first for India, Chhattisgarh state has set aside a 2% housing quota for its estimated 3,000 transgender residents.

The move comes nearly a year after the Supreme Court recognized transgender citizens as third gender. In its ruling, the apex court directed governments to provide transgender people with quotas in jobs, education and basic amenities in line with other minorities.

AK Saxena, additional commissioner at the Chhattisgarh housing board, said from now on transgender residents would have the quota in all government housing schemes.

January 9, 2015

ACT follows Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia

The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) is set to erase all historical convictions for gay sex, which was illegal there until 1976.

Attorney-general Simon Corbell today (9 January) announced that the laws would be changed to allow men convicted of consensual homosexual acts to have their criminal records expunged.

'It is important that the ACT provides equality and access to justice for men who were convicted of a crime that by modern day standards is no longer considered a criminal act,' he said.

November 21, 2014

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein has warned the government of Gambia to stop persecuting LGBTIs after it passed laws that would see homosexual ‘serial offenders’ and people with HIV jailed for the rest of their lives

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has warned Gambia that it is failing its international human rights commitments by its continued persecution of LGBTI people, citing the passage of new laws that even further criminalize sexual minorities.

Homosexuality was already punishable with up to 14 years in prison in Gambia but earlier this year the government passed a vaguely defined law punishing ‘aggravated homosexuality.’

November 10, 2014

But the Medical Defence Union appears to be changing for the better

UK doctors are recieving advice on how to treat transgender patients, and in some cases, this could lead to potentially life-threatening mistakes.

The Medical Defence Union (MDU), Britain's legal advisory group for the medical community, was found to be giving outdated counsel.

November 4, 2014

Ifeanyi Orazulike was arrested on the same day a challenge to the country's anti-gay law was dismissed

Nigerian LGBTI rights activist Ifeanyi Orazulike was arrested and detained without charge on the night of 22 October, the same day a constitutional challenge to the country's anti-gay law was dismissed.

The executive director of the International Center for Advocacy on the Rights to Health was arrested at his office in Abuja while celebrating his birthday with friends and colleagues.

He has filed a motion in Abuja High Court alleging he was arrested, detained and dehumanized without charge.

August 8, 2014

Republican lawmaker had said 'to be gay is like injecting heroin'

Tennessee state Senator Stacey Campfield, the man responsible for the homophobic ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill last year, has been dumped by voters after a decade in the legislature.

Campfield lost badly in his bid for reelection to Knox County Commissioner Richard Biggs who received more than twice the number of votes as the Republican incumbent.

Campfield received just 5,824 votes (28 percent of the overall vote) while Briggs received 13,977 (67 percent).

August 7, 2014

All nine members of the city council of the Washington city of Seattle have signed a letter urging the US Food and Drug Administration to end its lifetime ban on men who have sex with men giving blood

Seattle, Washington’s city councilors have unanimously backed the repeal of America’s ban on gay and bisexual men giving blood, signing a letter to federal Food and Drug Administration commissioner Dr Margaret Hamburg in which they urge the Government to screen out donors based on risky behavior rather than sexual orientation.

‘We join Seattle Mayor Edward Murray, the American Medical Association, and the Puget Sound Blood Center to ask you to lift the lifetime ban on blood donations from men who have sex with men,’ the city councilors write in the letter dated 4 August.

August 5, 2014

20 years ago this month Victoria state police officers stormed the Tasty nightclub, strip searching nearly 500 patrons in view of each other and holding them for seven hours - now they have received an official apology

The police force in the Australian state of Victoria has issued a formal apology 20 years after a notorious raid on a Melbourne gay night spot in which nearly 500 people were stripped search.

The Tasty nightclub was raided on 7 August in 1994 and its 463 patrons were held for seven hours, stripped and cavity searched and in some cases assaulted by Victoria state police officers.

Not only were the club’s patrols forced to strip fully nude by police officers but they were made to do so in front of other club patrons.

July 31, 2014

Tico Perez, national commissioner of the Boy Scouts of America, has ruled out having adult gays and lesbians as scout leaders any time soon but says it's not because the scouting movement views them in any way as potential sexual predators

Boy Scouts of America national commissioner Hector 'Tico' Perez has made it absolutely clear that the reason why his organization will not let openly gay or lesbian people be scout leaders is not because they are viewed as more likely to be pedophiles.

July 16, 2014

Announcement comes as MLB also pays tribute to the late Glenn Burke who was out to his teammates in 70s and 80s

Major League Baseball on Tuesday (15 July) announced the appointment of former outfielder Billy Bean as the league's first Ambassador for Inclusion.

The announcement came prior to the league's All-Star Game in Minneapolis at a press conference that also included a tribute to the late Glenn Burke, a player who suffered greatly for being out to his teammates and coaches in the late 70s and early 80s.

Burke was recognized posthumously by the league as the sport's gay pioneer.

June 17, 2014

Botswana has backed a call by the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights for states to take steps to protect people from being subjected to human rights abuses because of their sexual orientation or gender identity

Botswana has backed a call by the African Union’s highest human rights body to protect the human rights of LGBTI people – though it has not yet said it will repeal its laws criminalizing same-sex relationships.

The 55th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights adopted a resolution in May calling for member states to respect the rights of LGBTI people in the strongest statement to date from a continent level body in Africa.

June 1, 2014

US trans activist and author Janet Mock has written an open letter of support to a trans teenager being held in prison without charges

US transgender author and activist Janet Mock has written an open letter to a transgender teenage girl being held in an adult prison without charges.

The girl, given the name Jane Doe by the media because her real name cannot be disclosed as she is a minor, is reportedly being held in a Connecticut adult facility without any charges being pressed against her.

Doe wrote a letter to Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy pleading for her release.

May 28, 2014

Prime Minister advisor’s rant sparks concern across Hungary’s LGBTI community

Hungary must ‘clear the faggot-lobby’ out of its theaters, says a top director who is now the Prime Minister’s culture commissioner.

Imre Kerényi –former director of the country’s National Theater and many other arts companies who is now a politician – made the comment following a Christian Theater Festival.

But his views have been condemned in an open letter to Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, who Kerényi advises on the ‘preservation and development of Hungary’s cultural values’.

May 22, 2014

The United Nations has voiced its concerns that both pro-Russian and pro-Ukraine elements have been targeting LGBTI people during the conflict over whether eastern Ukraine splits to join Russia

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) is warning that Ukraine’s LGBTI community is getting caught in the middle of the struggle between pro and anti-Russian factions in the country, with groups on both sides targeting them for persecution.

The United Nations’ Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine (HRMMU) report for the period 2 April to 6 May this year found that both sides in the conflict viewed LGBTIs negatively.

April 27, 2014

Mersyside police have promised to crack down on homophobic and transphobic crimes, which figures show are on the rise

The police and crime commissioner for Merseyside, UK has promised to tackle homophobic and transphobic hate crimes, which figures show are on the increase.

Jane Kennedy has said she is committed to stamping out these hate crimes, which police figures show have increased from 2012 to 2013.

Numbers show there were 1,256 incidents of hate crimes in 2013, 11% of these were homophobic and 4% were transphobic.

Altogether the figures show a 7% increase from hate crimes reported in 2012.

April 17, 2014

The Namibian Government plans to deny refugee status to gay and lesbian Ugandans fleeing persecution from their homelands and Namibia’s gay community is not happy about it

Namibia’s Commissioner for Refugees Nkrumah Mushelenga has said that gay and lesbian Ugandans will never be granted refugee status in his country.

‘Our domestic refugee law does not have a provision granting refugee status for being gay. And we will never do that,’ Mushelenga said in comments reported by the Namibian Sun newspaper.

‘We will not accept them. They are not part of the criteria we use.’

February 11, 2014

Kenyan LGBTIs have held a protest action in solidarity with their Ugandan brothers and sisters – calling on Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta to dissuade Uganda from passing a law which could see people jailed for life for being gay

Kenyan LGBTI rights activists protested outside the Ugandan High Commission in Nairobi on Monday to stand in solidarity with the Ugandan LGBTI community as their Parliament again prepares to consider draconian legislation to further criminalize homosexuality.

January 30, 2014

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police have promoted openly lesbian Marianne Ryan as commander of the Alberta province Mounties – making her the first LGBTI person to lead the province’s police force

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), affectionately known as the Mounties, have appointed the first openly lesbian woman to lead the police force for the province of Alberta

Assistant Commissioner Marianne Ryan assumed the command of the RCMP in Alberta on Wednesday after a handover of responsibilities from Deputy Commissioner Dale McGowan.

‘I can’t think of a greater privilege than to lead such a dedicated team of employees who are truly committed to public safety in this dynamic and progressive province,’ Ryan said yesterday.