US ‘troubled’ by anti-LGBTI crackdown in Tanzania

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert on Nov. 9 said the U.S. is “troubled” by the Tanzanian government’s anti-LGBTI crackdown.

“The United States government is deeply concerned over escalating attacks and legislative actions by the government of Tanzania that violate civil liberties and human rights, creating an atmosphere of violence, intimidation and discrimination,” she said in a statement. “We are troubled by the continued arrests and harassment of marginalized persons, including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, and others who seek to exercise their rights to freedom of speech, association and assembly. Legislation is being used to restrict civil liberties for all.”

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State Dept.: US not seeking trans people’s removal from UN documents

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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The State Department on Oct. 24 denied a report that says the U.S. wants to remove transgender people from U.N. human rights documents.

The Guardian newspaper reported U.S. diplomats are “seeking to eliminate the word ‘gender’ from U.N. human rights documents, most often replacing it with ‘woman,’ apparently as part of the Trump administration’s campaign to define transgender people out of existence.”

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EXCLUSIVE: Nicaragua activists attend Victory Institute workshop

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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SANTA LUCÍA, Honduras | Five activists from Nicaragua who are participating in protests against their country’s government attended a regional LGBTI workshop that took place in Honduras over the weekend.

The activists — who are from the Nicaraguan capital of Managua and the city of Chinandega — are among the 28 people who attended the Victory Institute-sponsored workshop that took place outside the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa from Sept. 28-29.

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Puerto Rico: A year after Hurricane Maria

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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SAN JUAN — Sept. 20 marked a year since Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico.

Many of the U.S. commonwealth’s more than 3 million residents are trying to return to some sense of normalcy, but signs of Maria’s destruction remain visible throughout Puerto Rico. Anger over the pace of recovery and President Trump’s response to Maria remain widespread across the island.

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San Juan mayor: Trump ‘unhinged from any sense of reality’

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz on Wednesday reiterated her sharp criticism of President Trump’s response to Hurricane Maria that devastated Puerto Rico a year ago.

“More than 3,000 people have died, that’s for sure,” she told the Washington Blade during an interview in Old San Juan. “They died of neglect. They died because they couldn’t have their insulin refrigerated because we didn’t have power. They died because hospitals weren’t ready and because hospitals didn’t have power. Those are deaths that could have been preventable and they weren’t.”

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Cuban president backs same-sex marriage

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel has said he supports an amendment to his country’s new constitution that would extend marriage rights to same-sex couples.

“I defend that there should be no type of discrimination,” he told Telesur, a television station that is largely funded by the Venezuelan government, during an interview that aired on Sunday. “The will of the people and the people’s sovereignty will have the final word.”

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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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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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Arizona group advocates on behalf of undocumented LGBTI immigrants

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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PHOENIX |  An Arizona organization that advocates on behalf of undocumented LGBTI immigrants says more of their clients are living in fear because of President Trump’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy.

Trans Queer Pueblo, which operates out of a small house in Phoenix’s Garfield neighborhood, runs a monthly clinic that offers health care to undocumented LGBTI migrants. Trans Queer Pueblo Project Coordinator Dagoberto Bailón told the Washington Blade during a July 19 interview that his organization also works to provide undocumented LGBTI immigrants “fair and dignified work” and access to immigration-related services.

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El Salvador government employee attacks activist, mother

By : Ernesto Valle OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador | An employee of the El Salvador Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday attacked a prominent LGBTI activist and her mother in the country’s capital of San Salvador.

Espacio de Mujeres Lesbianas por la Diversidad (ESMULES) Executive Director Andrea Ayala arrived at the ministry’s offices at a San Salvador mall 3:25 p.m. to fill out some paperwork. The guard did not allow her and her mother to enter, saying it was 3:30 p.m., the time at which the office closes for the day.

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Irish prime minister raises LGBTI issues during papal visit

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar raised LGBTI-specific issues during Pope Francis’ two-day visit to the country.

Varadkar, who is openly gay, on Saturday in a speech in front of Francis at Dublin Castle pointed out same-sex couples can legally marry in Ireland. Varadkar also noted Irish voters in May voted overwhelmingly to legalize abortion in the country.

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Cuban YouTubers document LGBTI life, issues

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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SAGUA LA GRANDE, Cuba — A growing number of Cuban internet users are using YouTube to document LGBTI life and issues on the Communist island.

Nelson Julio Álvarez Mairata, who lives in Sagua la Grande, a small city on Cuba’s north central coast that is located roughly three hours east of Havana, launched his YouTube channel, Nexy J Show, in 2016.

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