Chile’s congress passes ‘historic’ gender identity law

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SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) | After a five-year battle, Chile’s congress passed a gender identity law September 12 that allows transgender people over 14 years of age to change their name and gender in official records.

Activists called the with 95-46 vote in favor of the law “historic,” with Chile’s Movement for Homosexual Integration and Liberation saying it “will change the quality of life of thousands of people.”

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Singapore DJ mounts challenge of colonial-era anti-gay law

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SINGAPORE (AP) | A Singaporean disc jockey is challenging a law that bans sex between men, a holdover from British colonial days that conservatives insist on keeping but authorities have promised not to enforce.

The case brought this week by Johnson Ong, whose stage name is DJ Big Kid, is the first against the anti-gay law since an appeal by three people was thrown out by the Supreme Court in 2014.

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Activists in Commonwealth countries respond to India sodomy law ruling

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Activists in Commonwealth nations with whom the Washington Blade spoke this week said it remains unclear whether last week’s landmark India Supreme Court ruling that struck down the country’s colonial-era sodomy law will bolster efforts to decriminalize homosexuality in their own countries.

Maurice Tomlinson is a senior policy analysist with the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network who is challenging Jamaica’s anti-sodomy law. He also represents three LGBTI Barbadians who are challenging a similar statute in their country.

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Vocal LGBTI rights opponent named Colombia’s ambassador to OAS

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Colombian President Iván Duque’s decision to name a vocal LGBTI rights opponent as his country’s ambassador to the Organization of American States has sparked outrage among activists.

Former Inspector General Alejandro Ordóñez has, among other things, challenged efforts to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples and criticized then-Education Minister Gina Parody, who is a lesbian, in 2016 over a proposed handbook that would have contained recommendations on how teachers and school administrators should respond to LGBTI-specific issues. Duque’s government on Aug. 24 confirmed it named Ordóñez as Colombia’s next OAS ambassador.

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Stripes removed from Pride Flag in observance of World Suicide Prevention Day

By : Christen Kelley
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World Suicide Prevention Day is Sept. 10, and is aimed at raising awareness to the prevalence of suicide as well as ways to help prevent it.

Suicide is the second leading cause of death among individuals ages 10 to 24, with LGB youth being five times as likely to have attempted suicide compared to heterosexual youth, according to The Trevor Project. The Williams Institute reports that nearly half of transgender and gender non-conforming youth ages 18-24 have attempted suicide.

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Sanctions, sex abuse and silence: A primer on the pope saga

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VATICAN CITY (AP) | Two weeks after Pope Francis’ papacy was thrown into crisis by accusations that he covered-up sexual misconduct by ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, Francis has refused to respond, his accuser has changed his story and a host of new characters have entered the fray.

Cardinals, bishops, priests and ordinary faithful, meanwhile, are demanding answers, given that the Vatican knew about it as early as 2000.

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Former US LGBTI envoy confirmed as next ambassador to Nepal

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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The U.S. Senate on Thursday by a voice vote confirmed Randy Berry as the next U.S. ambassador to Nepal.

Then-Secretary of State John Kerry in 2015 named Berry, a career Foreign Service officer who is openly gay, as the first special U.S. envoy to promote LGBTI rights abroad.

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Amnesty slams Guatemala bill to punish abortion, gay couples

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MEXICO CITY (AP) | Amnesty International says a proposed Guatemalan law on abortion providers and gay couples is  “absurd.”

The Guatemalan congress is debating proposals that would ban recognition for same-sex couples and forbid teaching that homosexuality is acceptable.

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Malaysian PM says public caning of lesbians tarnishes Islam

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KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) | Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on September 6 criticized the public caning of two Muslim women for attempting to have sex, saying it tarnished Islam’s reputation as a merciful and compassionate religion.

Mahathir made the comment after the rare caning of the two women in an Islamic court on Monday, which was witnessed by more than 100 people. Lawmakers and rights groups criticized the punishment as a form of torture.

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India Supreme Court ruling decriminalizes homosexuality

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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NEW DELHI, India (AP) | The India Supreme Court on September 6 ruled consensual same-sex sexual relations are no longer criminalized in the country.

The ruling, which was unanimous, struck down India’s colonial-era sodomy law known as Section 377.

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Aceh region bans unmarried couples at same table in cafes

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BANDA ACEH, Indonesia (AP) |A district in Indonesia’s deeply conservative Aceh province has banned unmarried couples from sitting at the same table in restaurants, cafes or coffee shops, an official said Wednesday.

The head of Bireuen district’s Islamic affairs office, Jufliwan, said the measure also forbids restaurants, cafes and coffee shops from serving female customers after 9 p.m. if they are not accompanied by their husbands, fathers, brothers, or other close relatives.

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Chilean Senate approves trans rights bill

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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The Chilean Senate on Tuesday by a 28-14 vote margin gave its final approval to a bill that would allow transgender people to legally change their name and gender without surgery.

The bill that lawmakers approved does not include Chileans who are under 14-years-old.

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