Iceland LGBTI group criticizes Pence ahead of visit to country

By : Michael K. Lavers of the Washington Blade, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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The president of an LGBTI advocacy group in Iceland has criticized her country’s government’s decision to host Vice President Pence next month.

Þorbjörg Þorvaldsdóttir, president of Samtökin ’78, the National Queer Organization of Iceland, in an op-ed that Vísir, an Icelandic newspaper, published on Aug. 11 wrote Pence is “against our marriages” and is “in favor of us being discriminated against.” Þorvaldsdóttir also noted Pence as governor of Indiana in 2015 signed a controversial religious freedom law that sparked widespread outrage among LGBTI activists and their supporters.

“He feels it is natural for people to deny us service for who we are,” wrote Þorvaldsdóttir.

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Berlin memorial to gay victims of Nazis vandalized

By : Wire Report
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BERLIN (AP) | Berlin police say a central memorial to the gay victims of the Nazis has been vandalized.

The concrete Memorial to Homosexuals Persecuted Under Nazism in Berlin’s Tiergarten park, near the memorial to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust, features a window into which visitors can look and view a video of a same-sex couple kissing.

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Palestinian police ban LGBTI group from holding events in West Bank

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Palestinian authorities have banned an LGBTI advocacy group from holding events in the West Bank.

AlQaws for Sexual and Gender Diversity in Palestinian Society in a statement it posted to its Twitter page said Louay Arzeikat, a spokesperson for the Palestinian Civil Police Force, on Saturday stated authorities “would prohibit any event organized or held by alQaws for Gender and Sexual Diversity in Palestinian Society.”

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Northern Ireland activists renew push for LGBTI rights

By : Alex Cooper OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Lyra McKee, an investigative journalist and LGBTI rights advocate who was killed on April 18, 2019. Photo by International Journalism Festival via Wikimedia Commons.

The last few weeks have been busy for LGBTI activists in Northern Ireland.

Lawyers representing a man who sued a bakery after it refused to bake him a cake with a pro-same-sex marriage message on Thursday announced they will take the case to the European Court of Human Rights.

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Gay Jamaican swimmer says coming out has not affected career

By : Michael K. Lavers of the washington blade, courtesy of the national lgbt media association
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ABOVE: Michael Gunning came out on ‘The Bi Life,’ a British dating show. (Photo courtesy Gunning)

A gay swimmer of Jamaican descent says concerns that his decision to come out would adversely impact his career have not come to pass.

“Everyone has a different story, but for me personally I was worried that ‘coming out’ would take away from my sporting achievements/performances that I’ve worked and decided my whole life to,” Michael Gunning told the Washington Blade on Aug. 8 in an email.

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Gay penguin couple adopt egg at Berlin zoo

By : Mariah Cooper of the washington blade, couretsy of the national lgbt media association
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Skipper and Ping, a same-sex penguin couple, have adopted an egg at Zoo Berlin, the New York Times reports.

The 10-year-old emperor penguins arrived together to Zoo Berlin from a zoo in Hamburg in April. They made it known they were interested in parenthood when they attempted to hatch stones and fish.

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Polish city has peaceful pride march surrounded by police

By : wire report
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ABOVE: Police in Poland lead the city’s pride parade. Photo via Twitter.

PLOCK, Poland (AP) | LGBTQ activists held a central Polish city’s first pride parade with only minor incidents on Aug. 10 amid a deep divide in the country over gay and lesbian rights.

The parade in Plock, about 100 kilometers (60 miles) west of Warsaw, came three weeks after anti-gay violence marred the first pride march in the eastern city of Bialystok. Far-right radicals attacked march participants with rocks, glass bottles and firecrackers on July 20, causing injuries and riot police to intervene.

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Lawsuits in four Caribbean countries challenge colonial-era sodomy laws

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Sean Macleish on July 29, 2019, filed a lawsuit against the colonial-era sodomy law in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. (Photo courtesy of Sean Macleish)

LGBTI people in four Caribbean countries over the last year have filed lawsuits against their nations’ colonial-era sodomy laws.

Javin Johnson and Sean Macleish on July 26 filed a lawsuit against two laws in St. Vincent and the Grenadines that criminalize consensual same-sex sexual relations.

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European band pulls out of Lebanon festival after organizers cancel LGBTQ group’s concert

By : Wire Report
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ABOVE: Rock band Within Temptation. (Photo from Facebook)

BEIRUT (AP) | European rock band Within Temptation says it is cancelling its concert at a Lebanese music festival in solidarity with a local group whose show was pulled from the program under pressure from Christian groups.

In a statement posted on Facebook, Within Temptation said Aug. 4 they would withdraw from the Byblos International Festival in solidarity with Mashrou’ Leila and in support of tolerance and freedom of speech. It said Lebanese authorities have been unable to provide artists the security “to perform in peace.” Within Temptation was to perform Aug. 6.

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Kevin Spacey makes first public appearance since sex assault case dropped

By : MARIAH COOPER OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Kevin Spacey. (Screenshot via YouTube)

Kevin Spacey gave a public poetry reading to a crowd in Rome marking his first public appearance since sexual assault charges against the actor were dropped.

Spacey appeared at the National Roman Museum’s Palazzo Massimo alle Terme on Aug. 2 to recite the poem “The Boxer,” written by Italian poet Gabriele Tinti, next to an ancient Greek sculpture of a wounded boxer.

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France ponders giving lesbians, single women access to IVF

By : wire report
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ABOVE: French President Emmanuel Macron, photo via Macron’s Facebook page.

PARIS (AP) | Single women and lesbians in France won’t have to go abroad to have babies anymore under a proposed new law that would give them access to medically assisted reproduction for the first time.

French President Emmanuel Macron’s government has presented a draft law on bioethics that includes expanding the eligibility for treatments such as artificial insemination and in vitro fertilization, or IVF. French law currently restricts assisted reproduction to infertile heterosexual couples.

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LGBTQ pride parade in Amsterdam features boats as floats

By : wire report
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ABOVE: Crowds gather for the closing of Pride Amsterdam Aug. 4. Photo courtesy Pride Amsterdam Facebook page.

AMSTERDAM (AP) | Tens of thousands of spectators are lining an Amsterdam canal to watch a parade of decorated boats during the Dutch capital’s LGBTQ pride festival.

Organizers said 80 boats officially took part in the canal parade on Saturday, including ones representing Dutch police, the military and an undertakers’ organization.

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