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Current Affairs

  • 5th October 2007

    Australian trans passport victory

    The tribunal ruling makes Ms Abrams and Ms Power the first legally-recognised same-sex married couple in Australia.

    4:55 PM — A tribunal in Australia has created the country's first legally recognised same-sex married couple and overturned a government decision about a trans woman's new passport.Grace Abrams was refused a female passport by the Foreign Affairs department despite having undergone transition between 2001 and 2005.She married her partner Fiona Power while still transitioning, and the authorities said that in order to get a new birth cerificate and therefore a passport idenitfying her as female, she would have to divorce.

  • Sentenced to 7,000 lashes for sodomy in Saudi Arabia 8

    In Saudi Arabia, homosexuality is illegal under sharia, or Islamic Law.

    1:15 PM — Two men have been publicly flogged in Saudi Arabia after being found guilty of sodomy and sentenced to 7,000 lashes.The men, who have not been identified, received an unspecified number of lashes in the south-western city of Al-Bahah on Tuesday evening, according to a report from the Al-Okaz daily.The men will remain in prison until the rest of their punishment can be completed.

  • Conservative anger over cruising ground firefighters 41

    Avon Fire and Rescue Service is holding a conference in Bristol next week on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) equality in the fire service.

    12:49 PM — A Conservative councillor is seeking to overturn the punishment of four firefighters from Avon Fire and Rescue Service who were reported after shining torches on gay men cruising in Bristol Downs.Bristol city councillor Spud Murphy labelled the decision to discipline the men for misuse of fire equipment and bringing the service into disrepute after the incident in June as "barmy", echoing outrage already shown by the tabloids.One of the men caught in the firefighter's torchlight later filed a complaint under advice from charity Terrence Higgins Trust.

  • Senator refused appeal against cruising confession 3

    News of Senator Craig's guilty plea brought intense pressure on him from Senate Republican leaders and other colleagues in Washington to resign.

    11:23 AM — A leading Republican politician has been refused permission to challenge his guilty plea to charges of cruising in an airport toilet.US Senator Larry Craig, 62, served in the House before winning his first Senate term in 1990, and compiled a strongly conservative voting record.He was arrested on June 11th by an undercover police officer in a Minneapolis airport men's room.

  • Comment: ENDA only protects straight-acting people 21

    Congressman Barney Frank has chosen to introduce a straight-acting-only version of ENDA.

    10:56 AM — After many years working as a bartender for Harrah's Casino, Darlene Jespersen was fired for failing to conform to the Casino's new 'personal best' grooming policy.As a female bartender, Jesperson was required to have her hair "teased, curled, or styled," and to wear stockings.Jesperson was also suddenly required to put on makeup everyday: lipstick and nail polish mandatory.

  • Teenagers face jail for homophobic hate crime

    According to WCAX News, the sisters are related to the one of the victims and targeted the men.

    10:37 AM — Two Vermont teens are being charged with a hate crime and face up to five years in prison for allegedly spray painting antigay slogans on and slashing the tires of a pair of vehicles belonging to two men joined in a civil union.16-year-old Melissa Gaboury pleaded not guilty to charges of hate-motivated unlawful mischief and unlawful trespass after police found a knife and spray paint underneath the backseat of her SUV, while her sister, Meghan Gaboury, 18, is still being sought by police.According to WCAX News, the sisters are related to the one of the victims.

  • Mystery death of lesbian solider in Afghanistan

    The Servicemembers Legal Defence Network (SLDN) has demanded that Pentagon officials conduct a full and thorough investigation into the death.

    10:10 AM — Senior American politicians and a group fighting for gay rights in the military have called for an investigation into the suspicious death of Specialist Ciara Durkin, a lesbian service member with the Massachusetts Army National Guard.Specialist Durkin's body was discovered on September 27th at Bagram Airbase in Afghanistan with a gunshot wound to the head.She was set to return from duty in January to marry her partner. Same-sex marriage is legal in Massachusetts.

  • 4th October 2007

    Rising star pledges Tories to gay rights 4

    Mr Herbert was promoted to Shadow Cabinet by David Cameron in July, just over two years after entering Parliament as the first out gay man elected as a Conservative MP.

    7:40 PM — A meeting of gay Tories at the party's conference in Blackpool this week discussed gay hate crime legislation, the battle against homophobia in schools, sport and internationally, and "fingering" Gordon Brown on his gay rights voting record.More than fifty delegates and party activists attended the fringe event, organised by gay equality organisation Stonewall.Shadow Justice Minister Nick Herbert, a rising Conservative star, addressed the meeting.

  • Christians are ‘anti-homosexual’ according to US poll

    Of believers, 80% identified “anti-homosexual“ as a negative adjective describing Christianity today.

    6:30 PM — A survey in the United States conducted by the Barna Group between 2004 and now has found that both Christians and non-Christians have a 'bad impression' of Christianity.The religion is also waning in popularity with a rapid increase in people describing themselves as 'non-Christian' since the same poll was conducted in 1996.Surveying 440 Christians and the same amount of non-believers, nine out of ten non-Christians found Christians too "anti-homosexual."

  • Taiwan gays demand action not words from politicians

    The gay scene in Taiwan has blossomed since the first pride parade in 2003.

    2:45 PM — This weekend, Taiwan will see its eighth annual gay carnival and fourth annual pride parade, the biggest events of this kind in Asia.After the government-funded carnival a procession, expected to be 10,000 strong, will march through the capital, Taipei.Gay activism in Taiwan has grown stronger in past years, with politicians courting the pink vote, especially in the run up to the legislative elections at the end of the year and the presidential elections next March.

  • Gay bishops and same sex unions ‘inappropriate’ says report

    The denomination's General Convention instead agreed to “exercise restraint“ in ordaining gay bishops.

    1:15 PM — A report to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, has given assurances that bishops around the world will 'exercise restraint' in ordaining any more openly gay bishops, and not bless same sex marriages.But the report, published yesterday by the Joint Standing Committee, which influences policy within the Anglican communion, has proved unsatisfactory to both sides by avoiding condoning or condemning gays.

  • Police appeal over missing gay man

    Police are asking for John himself or anyone who knows of his whereabouts to contact police at Stockport on 0161 856 9151.

    12:51 PM — Police are appealing for the public's help in tracing a man who has been missing from his home in Cheadle Hulme.John Chadwick, who is aged about 42, of Hall Meadow, was last seen by his landlord on Monday evening, 2 July 2007, at about 8pm at The Ryecroft Arms on Turves Road.John visited a cousin in the Brixton area of London between 6 and 8 July, but since leaving his cousin's house, he has not been seen or heard from and police are now unable to reach him.

  • Trans activist resigns from HRC over employment bill

    Ms Rose said that the uneasy relationship between HRC and the transgender community meant that she had become “a focal point for much of that frustration.“

    12:01 PM — Donna Rose, a well-respected advocate for the rights of trans people, has resigned from the board of America's leading gay rights organisation, the Human Rights Commission.HRC has been widely criticised over its response to proposals to remove protections for trans people from a new workplace protection bill currently before the US Congress.Gay, lesbian and bisexual people are expected to receive protection under the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.

  • Firefighters fined for disturbing cruising ground activity 41

    The firefighters had been en route from Temple Fire Station to Avonmouth Fire Station at 10:30pm on June 27 when they came across the men.

    11:42 AM — A group of firefighters have been disciplined over an incident on Bristol Downs where they "interrupted" four gay men in a cruising ground.They shone their torches from their engine into bushes catching men engaged in outdoor sex.One of the men caught by the torch light then filed a complaint under advice from HIV charity Terrence Higgins Trust.

  • Stonewall FC set their sights on London World Cup

    Leftfooters FC, a gay football club based in Regent's Park, have been working with the Football Association for the past two years.

    10:45 AM — They took silver in Buenos Aires last week, but gay football team Stonewall FC are going for gold at next year's International Gay and Lesbian Football Association World Championships in London.The annual event, established in 1997, took place in South America for the first time this year.Douglas Edward, Stonewall FC's first team striker, was upbeat despite losing 1-0 to Argentine team Los Dogos. "The tournament was fantastic and Stonewall FC again proved that we are the premier gay football team," he said.

  • Comment: Gay rights may not swing US voters in White House race 1

    55 percent of voters would vote for a candidate even if that candidate did not agree with them on issues such as same-sex marriage.

    10:10 AM — One never knows what to expect in American Presidential politics.Already during the 2008 race for the White House, Hillary Clinton has been asked whether she is a lesbian, John Edwards has been labelled a faggot, and Bill Richardson has himself declared homosexuality a choice. That's just the pro-gay Democrats.On the considerably less friendly Republican side, opponents of Rudy Giuliani have publicised videotapes of him in full drag regalia and opponents of Mitt Romney have posted videotapes of him expressing strong support for gay civil rights.

  • 3rd October 2007

    Tatchell slams Gibraltar over gay rights 1

    The Gibraltar government is failing to respect gay rights, Mr Tatchell says

    10:04 AM — Outspoken human rights activist Peter Tatchell has slammed the Gibraltar government over its failure to ensure equal rights for the LGBT community on the Rock.Speaking at the end of a local fact-finding mission yesterday, Mr Tatchell said: "The people of Gibraltar are wonderful, but the government appears tobe drifting towards autocracy."It is failing to respect the human rights of its own citizens, especially gay people, the disabled and immigrants," he said.

  • Tory welcome for new equality commission 2

    Ms May personally thanked the EOC for making sure there were more women in Parliament

    10:04 AM — A senior member of the Conservative Shadow Cabinet has welcomed the creation of the Commission for Equality and Human Rights (ECHR).Speaking at a reception at the party conference in Blackpool, Theresa May paid tribute to the work of the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC).The ECHR came into being on Monday. It incorporates the Commission for Racial Equality, the Disability Rights Commission and the EOC.

  • Cameron praises controversial minister but makes no mention of equality 7

    Mr Cameron called on Gordon Brown to “go ahead and call that election.“

    10:04 AM — David Cameron used his vital leadership speech at the Tory party conference to praise the work of Baroness Warsi, the controversial shadow community cohesion secretary who said BNP voters have some "very legitimate views."The passage praising Baroness Warsi constituted the only part of the speech where he mentioned equality.The Conservative leader said he was proud to have the first Muslim woman in a cabinet or shadow cabinet.

  • Putin’s grab for power spells trouble for gay rights groups 2

    Mr Putin's record on gay and human rights leave much to be desired

    10:04 AM — Russian president Vladimir Putin's admission that he would stand for the post of prime minister is a worrying sign for gay rights groups in the country, human rights activists have warned.Mr Putin is prevented from seeking a third term as president by the Russian constitution, but if he undertakes a four year period as prime minister he would again be eligible for the post in 2012.The move, announced last Monday, is being condemned by human rights groups, who have been horrified by the attacks on free speech and gay rights in the country during Mr Putin's time in office.

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