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Current Affairs

  • 25th July 2007

    Activists demand investigation into Pride explosion 1

    This year gay marchers in Tarija and Cochabamba took to the streets for the first time.

    12:48 PM — Human rights advocates are urging the authorities in Bolivia to properly investigate an explosion at a Pride event last month that injured several people.The incident occurred in the capital city of La Paz on the 30th June, the same day as London Pride.While celebrating Respect For Sexual Diversities Day in the city, and just before the parade started, one of the floats was attacked with dynamite.

  • Trans truck driver takes legal action against employer

    Vikki-Marie Gaynor, 37, from Wallasey in Wirral, is bringing a sexual discrimination claim against Exel Europe.

    12:31 PM — A transsexual who claims she was hounded out of her job as a trucker after she began her transition from her former male gender is seeking thousands of pounds in damages from her former employer.Vikki-Marie Gaynor, 37, from Wallasey in Wirral, is bringing a sexual discrimination claim against Exel Europe, part of delivery giant DHL, and recruitment agency Blue Arrow.The ex-soldier claims that previously friendly members of staff started ignoring her, and began a campaign of harassment.

  • Joy as gay couples register in Washington

    Last July, Washington state rejected arguments in favour of same-sex marriage.

    11:51 AM — Gay and lesbian people in the US state of Washington came a step closer to marriage this week, as a new state law granting same-sex couples some of the rights enjoyed by heterosexuals came into effect.Domestic partnerships give registered partners several of the rights granted to married couples.To qualify, couples have to be at least 18, live together and not already be married or in a domestic partnership with another person.

  • House of Commons marks decriminalisation

    It is fitting that in 2007, three of the signatories of today's EDM, Chris Bryant, Nick Herbert and Stephen Williams were all elected as  out and pround gay men.

    11:44 AM — MPs from across the political divide have signed an Early Day Motion celebrating the 40th anniversary of the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality in England and Wales.The EDM was sponsored by Stephen Williams, the Liberal Democrat MP for Bristol West.Other signatories include Nick Herbert and John Bercow, both Tories, and Chris Byrant, the Labour MP for Rhonnda.

  • 24th July 2007

    US given sexual orientation information on travellers 7

    Franco Frattini, vice president of the European Commission, said more sensitive information would be filtered out

    4:04 PM — The European Commission quietly approved an agreement this Monday which gives the US Department of Homeland Security unprecedented access to the personal information of anyone on a transatlantic flight, including details of their sexual orientation.The DHS insists on the right to use the information for disease control, and there are fears that gay passengers may be singled out as possible HIV risks.The agreement adds 19 possible new categories, including details of passengers' sex lives.

  • Elton John still standing with Nepalese gay community 2

    The Elton John AIDS Foundation has raised more than $125m (£63m).

    3:57 PM — The Elton John AIDS Foundation has expressed its support for the work of the Nepal's only gay rights organisation, the Blue Diamond Society.In a statement to be sent to government departments in the Himalayan country, the foundation's executive director Robert Kay said they were proud to be associated with BDS's work on safe sex education.Mr John today revealed his guilt at not speaking up for gay rights earlier in his career.

  • University honours MEP for gay rights work

    Mr Cashman co-founded gay equality organisation Stonewall in 1989 and is president of the European Parliament's Intergroup on Gay and Lesbian Rights.

    12:41 PM — Michael Cashman, the Labour politician, actor and campaigner for gay rights, has been awarded an honourary degree by Staffordshire University.Before he became an MEP in 1999, his ground-breaking portrayal of Colin Russell in EastEnders between 1986 and 1989 saw the first gay kiss in a UK soap.Mr Cashman co-founded gay equality organisation Stonewall in 1989 and is president of the European Parliament's Intergroup on Gay and Lesbian Rights.

  • Homophobic judge under investigation

    he Spanish Federation of Gays, Lesbians, Transsexuals and Bisexuals said the case went against basic human rights.

    11:50 AM — A Spanish judge who ordered a mother to choose between her partner and her daughters, because "a homosexual environment threatened their education," is under investigation.The woman, from Murcia, south east Spain, was faced with the impossible choice after her husband discovered her in a compromising position with another woman.He filed for divorce and was awarded custody of the couple's two daughters, after 'proving' his wife is a lesbian.

  • Trans tax challenge trial begins 3

    Ms O'Donnabhain paid approximately $25,000 (£12,500) out-of-pocket for her care, including therapy, hormone treatment and surgery.

    11:12 AM — Rhiannon O'Donnabhain "lived in anguish" as a male, struggling with the sense that she was, in fact, a female.In 1996, she was diagnosed with gender identity disorder and undertook a course of professionally prescribed medical treatments that included her 2001 sex reassignment surgery.O'Donnabhain claimed the cost of her treatment as a deductible medical expense on her federal income tax return, but the Internal Revenue Service denied the claim.

  • 23rd July 2007

    Australian laws “discriminate against gays”

    LGB couples are denied some basic financial and work-related entitlements.

    5:40 PM — An audit by the Australian National University has revealed that the federal system in the country is proving a barrier for gay equality.The Australian federal government is trailing behind some of its state and territory counterparts, where gay families are accorded the same rights as heterosexual ones.The inquiry considered the impact of legislative and policy frameworks, as well as social attitudes that affect the rights of gay families in Australia.

  • Home Secretary may consider gay hate crime law 3

    Ms Smith has impressed many MPs of all sides with her performance as Britain's first female Home Secretary.

    12:51 PM — Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary, has told the House of Commons she may consider passing new laws creating an offence of homophobic hate crime.She was responding to a question from Labour MP Chris Bryant, who is gay. He drew attention to the murder of David Morley in October 2004.The 44-year old barman was set upon on London's South Bank, close to Parliament, by a gang of four people, one of them a teenage girl.

  • Extreme protest wins gay asylum seeker a stay in UK 28

    Iran is one of the six countries where homosexuality is punished with a death penalty.

    12:37 PM — An ayslum seeker who sewed shut his eyes and lips in protest at being returned to Iran has been granted leave to remain in the UK.Shahin Portofeh, 27, an gay Iranian national, was seeking asylum in Coventry, but he was deported from the UK after his application was rejected.Despite his protests that he would be persecuted in his home country because of his sexuality, he was sent back.

  • LGBT groups get UN recognition 1

    Canada and others argued that LGBT people should be heard at the UN.

    11:25 AM — The United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) has voted to accredit two gay rights organisations.Delegates came down in favour of allowing the Coalition gaie et lesbienne du Québec and the Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights (RFSL) consultative status..22 countries voted in favour of both groups. Thirteen voted against the Quebec coalition and fourteen against the Swedish federation.

  • Out US general to speak against gay ban 5

    More than 11,000 service members have been discharged under 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell.'

    10:50 AM — Army Brigadier General Keith H. Kerr, Army Colonel Stewart Bornhoft, Navy Captain Joan E. Darrah (all retired) and five other former military officers will speak out against the US military's anti-gay 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy at a programme benefiting the Servicemembers Legal Defence Network (SLDN) in Chicago next month.General Kerr was one of three senior military officers - two generals and an admiral - to "come out" in the New York Times in December 2003.

  • 20th July 2007

    Gay Tory makes Mayor of London shortlist 1

    Mr Boff announced a new policy yesterday. Londoners will have the right to draw up their own policies and have them voted on by fellow Londoners if he becomes mayor.

    5:57 PM — Andrew Boff has been selected as one of four candidates for the Conservative party nomination for Mayor of London.The 49-year-old IT consultant and publisher joins former Tory frontbencher and TV personality Boris Johnson on the list, which was chosen from over 40 hopefuls by a selection panel on Saturday.The other candidates are Kensington Chelsea councillors Warwick Lightfoot and Victoria Borwick.

  • Scottish bishop’s threat over gay adoptions 1

    Adoption agencies have until December 2008 to apply the new regulations or face prosecution.

    3:08 PM — The Roman Catholic Bishop of Motherwell said yesterday that the Church in Scotland would close its biggest adoption agency rather than help same-sex couples to adopt children.Bishop Joseph Devine said that St Margaret's Catholic Adoption Agency in Glasgow would close rather than abide by the Sexual Orientation Regulations.Catholic agencies place around 40 of the 200 children adopted in Scotland every year.

  • Sperm donor stops lesbian parents taking their baby abroad 5

    One of the three High Court justices hearing the appeal dissented, saying the only relationship the father has with the child is that of a sperm donor.

    3:05 PM — A court in Dublin has ruled in favour of a man who wants to stop a lesbian couple leaving Ireland with their child. The man is the biological father of the 14-month-old baby.The High Court ruled that the child's birth mother may not holiday in her home country of Australia with the child and her partner.The lesbian couple have entered into a civil partnership in the UK and are considering moving to Australia permanently.

  • UN votes today on accreditation for gay rights groups 1

    ECOSOC promotes international economic and social co-operation and development.

    2:45 PM — The United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) is due to vote today on whether to accredit two non-governmental organisations (NGOs) who address human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity.It is thought nine countries are going to vote against accrediting the groups.ECOSOC accreditation governs whether NGOs can attend UN meetings, submit written statements, make oral interventions, host panels and get access to UN buildings.

  • Analysis: The bishop, the youth worker and the tribunal 8

    Mr Reaney brought his claim under the Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003, which make it unlawful to discriminate against employees or prospective employees (such as Mr Reaney) because they are gay.

    12:30 PM — This week saw a landmark victory for a gay youth worker against the might of the Anglican Church.An employment tribunal decided that Kevin Reaney, a gay man, had been discriminated against by the church on grounds of his sexual orientation.Mr Reaney brought his claim under the Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003, which make it unlawful to discriminate against employees or prospective employees (such as Mr Reaney) because they are gay.

  • TURING: Of homosexuality and the church 2

    It is not acceptable for us to discriminate against our brothers and sisters on the basis of sexual orientation.

    11:06 AM — Love or hate it, it's hard to ignore organised religion.While your columnist is of the opinion that religion should strictly (and I do mean strictly) restricted to consenting adults in private, and while some leading intellectuals want religion completely wiped off the map of the earth, it is hard to reconcile these opinions with the fact that more than 90% of the world's population subscribe to some form of organised religion.

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