Japan urged to stop requiring surgery for ID gender change

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TOKYO (AP) | Human Rights Watch urged Japan on March 20 to drop its requirement that transgender people be sterilized before their gender is changed on official documents.

A 2004 law states that people wishing to register a gender change must have their original reproductive organs removed and have a body that “appears to have parts that resemble the genital organs” of the gender they want to register. The Supreme Court in January rejected an appeal by a transgender man who wanted legal recognition without undergoing surgery, though the court acknowledged that the practice restricts freedom and could become out of step with changing social values.

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Japanese same-sex couples sue for equal marital rights

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TOKYO (AP) | Thirteen gay couples filed Japan’s first lawsuit challenging the country’s rejection of same-sex marriage Feb. 14, arguing the denial violates their constitutional right to equality.

Six couples holding banners saying “Marriage For All Japan” walked into Tokyo District Court to file their cases against the government, with similar cases filed by three couples in Osaka, one couple in Nagoya and three couples in Sapporo.

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Hong Kong court denies male status to 3 transgender men

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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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Panasonic a pioneer for LGBT rights in Japan

By : Wire Report
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TOKYO (AP) – For decades, Panasonic Corp. has shaped Japanese corporate tradition – be it morning exercise routines or lifetime employment. But don’t hold your breath waiting for other Asian businesses to emulate its latest policy announcement: Recognizing same-sex partnerships.

Much of Asia remains far behind the West in such attitudes. Panasonic’s move is rare, although bold, and seems unlikely to herald a sea change.

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Panasonic forges ahead with recognition of same-sex marriage and possible benefits

By : Wire Report
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Tokyo (AP) – Panasonic Corp. said it will recognize same-sex marriages in its employment policies in a rare move for a major Japanese manufacturer.

Although details are being worked out, some of the benefits currently allocated to married employees include maternity leave, health insurance and a small cash bonus, said spokeswoman Chieko Gyobu. Panasonic said the new policy will come into effect in April.

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Team Watermark: Meet our veterans on staff

By : Jamie Hyman
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This Veteran’s Day, Watermark would like to take a moment to recognize the service of two of our staff members, Sales Director Mark Cady and Tampa Bay Bureau  Chief Jeremy Williams.

Both of them are openly gay men who served their country from in the closet. 

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France lifts ban on gay men blood donors

By : Wire Report
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PARIS (AP) – France will end its ban on blood donations by gay men, its health minister said Nov. 4, calling the move the end “of a taboo and discrimination.”

Health Minister Marisol Touraine said beginning in the spring of 2016, no blood donors can be refused based on their sexual orientation. She spoke at a meeting in the Health Ministry on Wednesday after experts studied the issue.

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Argentina removes ban on gay men from donating blood

By : Wire Report
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Buenos Aires (AP) – A ban on homosexual men donating blood was lifted Sept. 16 in Argentina, a move the gay community had long demanded.

The country joined others in the region, including Cuba, Chile, Mexico, Nicaragua and Peru, which have ended similar restrictions in recent years.

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Screened Out – Mr. Holmes

By : Stephen Miller
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Ian McKellan, Laura Linney, Milo Parker

“I cannot live without brainwork. What else is there to live for?” – Sherlock Holmes in The Sign of Four.

By playing the famous detective, Sir Ian McKellan proves again why he’s one of the greatest actors of our times.

In Mr. Holmes, England is still recuperating from WWII. The legendary detective is 93 and suffering from the worst disease that could befall him: dementia. He’s taken a trip to Hiroshima, Japan, to find a cure. He comes home to his English countryside house even more feeble and frail. Only the housekeeper (Linney) and her very bright son (Parker) are part of his life now; Dr. Watson and the original housekeeper Mrs. Hudson are dead.

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Abby Wambach runs to her wife after winning World Cup

By : Staff Report
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The U.S. women’s soccer team had a spectacular win against Japan in the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup on July 5, finishing the game with a 5-2 victory.

Abby Wambach, striker for the USA team, didn’t score any of the five goals that led the U.S. team to its victory, but that doesn’t stop her from being the top international scorer for both men’s and women’s soccer, with 183 goals in 247 games.

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FDA releases plan to ease restrictions on gay blood donation

By : Wire Report
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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Food and Drug Administration is outlining its plan to end the nation’s lifetime ban on blood donations from gay and bisexual men, a 32-year-old policy that many medical groups and gay activists say is no longer justified.

The FDA on May 12 released proposed guidelines for screening blood donors at increased risk of carrying HIV. Under the proposal, the current blanket ban on donations from gay men would be replaced with a policy barring donations from men who have had sex with another man in the last year. The Obama administration previously announced the policy shift in December.

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Tokyo ward 1st in Japan to recognize same-sex marriage

By : Wire Report
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TOKYO (AP) — Fumino Sugiyama will finally be able to marry his girlfriend of four years. He couldn’t before, because same sex marriages weren’t recognized in Japan, and he is legally a woman.

With a landmark vote March 31 by the assembly of Tokyo’s Shibuya ward, the district famous as a mecca for trendy youngsters became the first locale in Japan to recognize same sex partnerships as the “equivalent of a marriage,” guaranteeing the identical rights of married couples, including hospital visitations and apartment rentals.

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