Puerto Rico government issues LGBTI-friendly guidelines to public employees

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló’s administration on Feb. 8 issued guidelines that are designed to make the U.S. commonwealth’s public employees more sensitive to the needs of transgender people and same-sex couples and their children.

The guidelines specifically refer to trans Puerto Ricans who want to change the gender on their birth certificates and children whose parents are legally married same-sex couples.

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Bill to ban physical conversion therapy treatments for minors killed in Va. Senate

By : James Wellemeyer of The Washington Blade, Courtesy Of The National Gay Media Association
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A bill in the Virginia Senate that would have banned physical treatments in so-called conversion therapy for minors was effectively killed when it was sent back to the Education and Health Committee.

Senate Bill 1778, which state Sen. Stephen Newman (R-Lynchburg) introduced, originally passed with a vote of 20-19. The state Senate on the following day, however, reconsidered the vote on the bill and referred it back to committee.

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Progressive politician seeks Polish ‘Spring’ with new party

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WARSAW, Poland (AP) | A former Polish lawmaker who is openly gay has launched a progressive party ahead of two upcoming elections, presenting a program that includes phasing out coal production and liberalizing the abortion law in Poland.

At a convention on Feb. 3 in Warsaw, Robert Biedron announced the party’s name, Wiosna, or “Spring,” and vowed that he would work to unify the bitterly divided country.

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Group of 30 LGBTI migrants enter Mexico from Guatemala

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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CIUDAD HIDALGO, Mexico | A group of 30 LGBTI migrants entered Mexico from Guatemala on Feb. 1.

Estuardo Moscoso of Asociación Lambda, a Guatemala City-based advocacy group that provides assistance to LGBTI migrants, told the Washington Blade the migrants who are from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador crossed the Suchiate River, which marks the border between Guatemala and Mexico, and arrived in Ciudad Hidalgo in Mexico’s Chiapas state. Moscoso said the migrants are currently traveling to Tapachula, a city that is roughly 30 miles northwest of Ciudad Hidalgo.

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Hong Kong court denies male status to 3 transgender men

By : wire report
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HONG KONG (AP) | Hong Kong’s High Court refused to allow three transgender men to be recognized as males on their official identity cards because they have not undergone full sex-change operations.

The ruling Feb. 1 was seen as a blow to the fledgling LGBT movement in the semiautonomous Chinese city of 7.4 million people, which is preparing to host the 2022 Gay Games.

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Former landscaper pleads guilty to 8 murders in Canada

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TORONTO (AP) | A former landscaper accused of sexually assaulting, killing and dismembering men he met in Toronto’s Gay Village district over seven years pleaded guilty Jan. 29 to eight counts of first-degree murder.

Bruce McArthur, wearing a black sweater, stood up and softly said “guilty” as each charge was read.

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Mexico border city provides assistance to LGBTI migrants

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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NOGALES, Mexico | The mayor of a Mexican border city that has provided assistance to LGBTI migrants says President Trump’s continued demands for a border wall is a political “tactic.”

Jesús Antonio Pujol Irastorza told the Washington Blade on Jan. 23 during an interview at his office — less than a mile south of the Nogales port of entry — that his administration is “prepared for issues of violence,” referring to one of Trump’s justifications for a border wall.

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Members of Congress urge Pompeo to condemn Chechnya anti-LGBTI crackdown

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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More than 60 members of the U.S. House of Representatives on Jan. 29 urged Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to publicly condemn the anti-LGBTI crackdown in Chechnya.

U.S. Reps. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.), David Cicilline (D-R.I.), Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.) and the other lawmakers in their letter also urged Pompeo to pressure the Russian government to end the crackdown.

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Greek bishop convicted over comments attacking gays

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ATHENS, Greece (AP) | A Greek court has convicted a prominent Orthodox Church official of violating laws against racism and abusing his office over an anti-gay blog posting.

Amvrossios, Bishop of Kalavryta and Aigialeia in the southern Peloponnese region, received a seven-month sentence, suspended for three years.

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Angola decriminalizes homosexuality, bans anti-gay discrimination

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Lawmakers in Angola approved a new penal code that decriminalizes consensual same-sex sexual relations in the African country.

The Angolan Parliament on Jan. 23 scrapped the law that had been in place since Portugal colonized the country. Lawmakers also banned discrimination based on sexual orientation.

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Japan court upholds sterilization to register gender change

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TOKYO (AP) | Human rights and LGBT activists on Jan. 25 denounced a ruling by Japan’s Supreme Court upholding a law that effectively requires transgender people to be sterilized before they can have their gender changed on official documents.

The court said the law is constitutional because it was meant to reduce confusion in families and society. But it acknowledged that it restricts freedom and could become out of step with changing social values.

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Openly gay Brazil congressman leaves job amid death threats

By : wire report
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RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) | An openly gay congressman who frequently clashed with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said Jan. 24 he was leaving his job and the country because of mounting death threats.

In an interview published by daily Folha de S. Paulo, Congressman Jean Wyllys said he was currently outside of Brazil and had no plans to return. Instead, he said he would work in academia but did not say where.

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