Caribbean pastors ask U.S. to stop promoting LGBT rights abroad

By : Michael K. Lavers of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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Nearly 300 religious officials from the Caribbean and Guyana have urged the U.S. to no longer promote LGBT and intersex rights abroad.

The 289 ministers who are from the Bahamas, St. Maarten, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana made the request in a letter they sent to President Trump on Jan. 31.

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German Cabinet OKs plan to annul homosexuality convictions

By : Wire Report
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BERLIN (AP) — Germany’s Cabinet on Wednesday approved a bill that would annul the convictions of thousands of gay men under a law criminalizing homosexuality that was applied zealously in post-World War II West Germany.

The decision also clears the way for compensation for those still alive who were convicted under the so-called Paragraph 175 outlawing sexual relations between men.

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Prominent LGBT activist to run for Chile congress

By : MICHAEL K. LAVERS OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL GAY MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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A prominent LGBT rights advocate in Chile has announced he is running for a seat in the country’s congress.

Luis Larraín, who is the co-founder and former president of Fundación Iguales, declared his candidacy for the Chilean House of Deputies in an interview that La Tercera, a Chilean newspaper, published on March 12.

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Activist loses bid to become first LGBT member of Honduras congress

By : Michael K. Lavers of the Washington Blade, Courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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A prominent Honduran activist has lost his bid to become the first openly LGBT person elected to the country’s congress.

Diversity Movement in Resistance’s Human Rights Committee Coordinator Erick Martínez finished 71st out of the 207 candidates from the Francisco Morazán Department in primary elections that took place on March 12.

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Pope Francis to visit Colombia

By : Michael K. Lavers of the Washington Blade, Courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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CARTAGENA, Colombia — The Vatican on March 10 announced that Pope Francis will travel to Colombia in September.

Francis is scheduled to arrive in the Colombian capital of Bogotá on Sept. 6. He is expected to visit the cities of Villavincencio, Medellín and Cartagena before returning to Rome on Sept. 11.

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Activist threatened for challenging Trinidad and Tobago sodomy law

By : Rachael Espinet of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad and Tobago — A Caribbean LGBT activist has received almost 50 death threats following his lawsuit against the attorney general of Trinidad and Tobago to remove the country’s anti-gay sodomy laws.

Trinidad and Tobago is among the 74 countries around the world that has discriminatory laws against same-sex consensual adults. Jason Jones, who has been an activist in both Trinidad and Tobago and the U.K. for 28 years, filed a claim against the state on February 23 contesting Sections 13 and 16 of the country’s Sexual Offenses Act (SOA) that criminalizes sodomy between consensual adults and serious indecency, which is defined as a sexual act outside of intercourse involving genitals.

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Mariela Castro: Marriage does not stop hate crimes

By : Michael K. Lavers of the Washington Blade, Courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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The daughter of Cuban President Raúl Castro on Saturday said hate crimes remain a problem in countries that have extended marriage rights to same-sex couples.

EFE reported Mariela Castro, who directs Cuba’s National Center for Sexual Education that is known by the Spanish acronym CENESEX, made the comments in the Mexican city of Guadalajara after organizers of a film festival honored her for her work to promote LGBT-specific issues on the Communist island. The Spanish news agency said hate crimes were among the topics about which she specifically spoke.

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Out Colombia congresswoman to seek higher office

By : Michael K. Lavers of the Washington Blade, Courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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BOGOTA, Colombia — The first openly LGBT person elected to the Colombian Congress on Tuesday confirmed that she plans to run for a seat in the country’s Senate.

“I am optimistic,” Congresswoman Angélica Lozano told the Washington Blade during an exclusive interview at the Colombian Congress in the country’s capital of Bogotá. “Optimism is a condition that factors into my decision . . . but you must fight.”

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Revised travel ban allows Kurdish activist to travel to U.S.

By : MICHAEL K. LAVERS of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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A human rights activist from Kurdistan can now travel to the U.S. to attend a Human Rights Campaign conference next month after President Trump signed a revised executive order that allows Iraqi citizens to enter the country.

The original executive order that Trump signed on Jan. 27 banned citizens from Iraq and six other predominantly Muslim countries — Iran, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan and Libya — from entering the U.S. for 90 days.

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LGBT migrants flee violence, poverty in Central America

By : MICHAEL K. LAVERS of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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(AboveFrancela Méndez was a member of Colectivo Alejandría who was killed at a friend’s home in 2015. The transgender rights organization has hung this tribute to her at its offices in San Salvador, El Salvador. Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers.)

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador — The offices of Colectivo Alejandría, a transgender advocacy group, are located in a house in the Magaña neighborhood of the Salvadoran capital of San Salvador that is surrounded by a thick wall with barbed wire on the top of it. A heavy metal gate with a narrow slit through which a person can look outside spans the driveway, while bars cover the house’s windows.

Colectivo Alejandría Director Karla Guevara told the Washington Blade on Feb. 6 during an interview with two of her colleagues that an average of 20 people are killed in El Salvador every day. Francela Méndez, a prominent activist who was a Colectivo Alejandría board member, is among the more than a dozen trans women who were known to have been killed in the Central American country in 2015.

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Australian prime minister rules out attending Sydney Gay Mardi Gras

By : Wire Report
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CANBERRA, Australia (AP) – Australia’s prime minister said Thursday that he won’t attend this year’s Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras following a furor over his change of stance on same-sex marriage.

Malcolm Turnbull last year became Australia’s first serving prime minister to attend the annual street parade that is staged in his wealthy electoral division, angering the more conservative elements of his ruling party.

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Finland same-sex marriage law takes effect

By : MICHAEL K. LAVERS of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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A law that extends marriage and adoption rights to same-sex couples in Finland took effect on Wednesday.

Members of Finland’s Parliament approved a same-sex marriage bill — which also extended adoption rights to gay and lesbian couples — in 2014.

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