S. Korean military decides to discharge transgender soldier

By : Wire Report
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ABOVE: Seoul, South Korea. (Photo by Laurie Nevay, from Wikimedia Commons)

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) | South Korea’s military decided Jan. 22 to discharge a soldier who recently undertook gender reassignment surgery, a ruling expected to draw strong criticism from human rights groups.

It was the first time in South Korea that an active-duty member has been referred to a military panel to determine whether to end his or her service due to a sex change operation. South Korea prohibits transgender people from joining the military but has no specific laws on what to do with those who have sex change operations during their time in service.

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First murder of transgender woman in El Salvador this year reported

By : Ernesto Valle OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Briyit Michelle Alas, photo via Facebook.

CIUDAD DELGADO, El Salvador | A transgender woman was found dead in El Salvador on Jan. 17.

The body of Briyit Michelle Alas, 22, was found in the Santa Margarita 2 neighborhood of Ciudad Delgado. She was not immediately identified because authorities did not find her ID documents at the scene; but she had been shot three times in her torso, once behind her ear and once in her shoulder. Authorities said Alas was killed at least 10 hours before they found her body.

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English 2nd-tier soccer game stopped for homophobic chants

By : Wire Report
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ABOVE: Millwall v Reading. (Screenshot from YouTube)

LONDON (AP) | A game in English soccer’s second tier between Millwall and Reading was briefly stopped due to apparent homophobic chants Jan. 18.

The assistant referee pointed out the anti-gay chants from sections of Millwall’s supporters during the London club’s 2-0 home win over Reading.

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South Korea to decide fate of 1st transgender soldier

By : Wire Report
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ABOVE: Seoul, South Korea. (Photo by Laurie Nevay, from Wikimedia Commons)

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) | In the first such case in South Korea, military officials will determine this week whether to discharge a soldier who recently undertook gender reassignment surgery, officials said Jan. 17.

South Korea bans transgender people from joining its military but has no specific regulations on what to do with those who have transitioned during their time in the service.

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House Democrats call for ICE to release all transgender detainees

By : Michael K. Lavers of the Washington Blade, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: A transgender woman inside a unit for transgender detainees in Milan, N.M. Photo public domain.

More than 40 Democratic members of the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday called for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to release all of the transgender people who are in their custody.

“The United States is bound by domestic and international law to protect — not punish — vulnerable populations escaping from persecution,” reads the letter to Acting ICE Director Matthew Albence and Acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf that U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.) spearheaded. “We demand that ICE abide by these laws by immediately bringing facilities detaining transgender individuals into compliance, and by arranging for release of transgender individuals at risk of sexual abuse and assault in ICE custody.”

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Brazil’s Supreme Court allows gay Jesus film on Netflix

By : Wire Report
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ABOVE: Porta dos Fundos’ “First Temptation of Christ.” Image courtesy of Netflix.

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) | The president of Brazil’s Supreme Court on Jan. 9 issued an order that allows streaming service Netflix to continue exhibiting a satirical film depicting Jesus as a gay man and reaffirmed Brazilians’ right to free speech.

“It is not to be assumed that a humorous satire has the magic power to undermine the values of the Christian faith, whose existence goes back more than two thousand years,” Supreme Court President Jose Antonio Dias Toffoli wrote in his decision.

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Nicaragua LGBTQ activist tortured after arrest

By : Michael K. Lavers of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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Above: Ulises Rivas (Photo courtesy of Ulises Rivas)

A well-known LGBTQ activist in Nicaragua who was arrested last September says he was tortured while in custody.

Ulises Rivas said Jan. 6 members of Nicaragua’s National Police on Sept. 1, 2019, arrived at his niece’s volleyball game in Comalapa, a town in the country’s Chontales department that is roughly 75 miles east of the Nicaraguan capital of Managua, and arrested him because “they had an arrest warrant.”

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Belize Court of Appeal upholds ruling that struck down sodomy law

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Belize’s Court of Appeal has upheld a ruling that struck down the country’s sodomy law. (Photo by dronepicr; courtesy Flickr)

Belize’s Court of Appeal has upheld a ruling that said the country’s colonial-era sodomy law is unconstitutional.

Belize Supreme Court Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin in 2016 issued his ruling in a case against Section 53 of the country’s Criminal Code that Caleb Orozco, a prominent LGBTQ activist in the Central American country, brought. The Belizean government challenged portions of Benjamin’s ruling, but the Court of Appeal on Dec. 30 upheld it.

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Methodists propose split in same-sex marriage, clergy impasse

By : Wire Report
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – United Methodist Church leaders from around the world and across ideological divides unveiled a plan Jan. 3 for a new conservative denomination that would split from the church in an attempt to resolve a decades-long dispute over same-sex marriage and LGBTQ clergy.

The proposal, called “A Protocol of Reconciliation & Grace Through Separation,” envisions an amicable separation in which conservative churches forming a new denomination would retain their assets. The new denomination also would receive $25 million.

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Chile transgender rights law takes effect

By : Esteban Guzmán OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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SANTIAGO, Chile | Dec. 27 was historic moment for transgender rights in Chile because the country’s Gender Identity Law came into force.

Trans people who are at least 18 and single can now change their name and legal gender with a simple procedure in the country’s Civil Registry. Teenagers who are between 14-18 can do so in court, but the new law does not include trans children and adolescents who are under 14.

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Colombia capital’s first lesbian mayor sworn in

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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The first lesbian elected mayor of the Colombian capital of Bogotá took office Jan. 1.

Claudia López, a former Colombian senator, on Oct. 27 was elected with slightly more than 35% of the vote. López, who ran on the leftist Green and Alternative Democratic Pole party ticket, is also the first woman elected Bogotá’s mayor.

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2019 was a year for the LGBTQ record books

By : Jeremy Williams & Ryan Williams-Jent
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Should auld acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind? Of course not! That’s why after a historical 365 days, Watermark has assembled our annual year in review.

2019 was a landmark year for us here at Watermark. In August, we proudly celebrated 25 years of serving Central Florida and Tampa Bay’s ever-expanding LGBTQ communities.

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