State Department ‘deeply disturbed’ by latest Chechnya anti-LGBTI crackdown

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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The State Department on Jan. 17 said it is “deeply disturbed” by reports that indicate at least two people have been killed and upwards of 40 others have been detained in the latest anti-LGBTI crackdown in Chechnya.

“We are deeply disturbed by credible reports out of Chechnya about renewed attacks against individuals perceived to be members of the LGBTI community,” said Deputy Spokesperson Robert Palladino in a statement.

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Civil partnerships bill sparks debate in Thailand

By : Victor Maung OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Thailand could become the first country in Asia to endorse same-sex marriage after a bill that would allow same-sex unions was approved.

The country’s Cabinet approved the civil partnership bill on Dec. 25, which has sparked debate among members of the LGBTI community. The move is seen as a milestone in efforts to improve legal rights for the estimated 6 million LGBTI people — an estimated 8 percent of the country’s total population — who live in Thailand.

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Removal of marriage from new Cuba constitution divides LGBTI community

By : Laura Rodríguez Fuentes OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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SANTA CLARA, Cuba | The LGBTI+ community remains divided after the National Assembly modified the marriage amendment in the draft of the new constitution. Part of it defends the yes vote and supports the official campaign, while another group says it will vote against the constitution.

On Saturday, Dec. 22, the same day the Cuban Parliament in Havana ended sessions where changes to the draft Cuban constitution were approved, a group of young people discussed them in Vidal Park in Santa Clara, 300 kilometers from the Cuban capital.

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Intersex activists denounce infant surgeries

By : Grace Perry OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Sean Saifa Wall spent more than two decades in the wrong body until he decided to live the life he had always wanted to: that of a man. 

Wall, a nationally recognized black, intersex activist, was assigned female at birth because of his “abnormally” small phallus but had undescended testis. He was one of eight in his family born with partial androgen insensitivity syndrome (AIS): an intersex variation where an individual is born with XY chromosomes but is resistant to male hormones (androgens). Thus, these individuals have the genetic makeup of a male but some or all of the physical traits of a female. 



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Report documents anti-LGBTI extrajudicial killings in Chechnya

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe on Dec. 20 released a report that documents extrajudicial killings and other human rights abuses against LGBTI people in Chechnya.

The report, which the OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights wrote, notes the first anti-LGBTI crackdown in Chechnya, a semi-autonomous Russian republic in the North Caucasus, took place between December 2016-February 2017.

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Bermuda government appeals ruling against marriage repeal law

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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The government of Bermuda has asked a British territories appellate court to overturn a ruling against a law that rescinded marriage rights for same-sex couples.

The appeal was filed in the Privy Council in London on Dec. 13, less than a month after Bermuda’s top court ruled the Domestic Partnership Act is unconstitutional.

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LGBTI migrants in Tijuana ‘seek opportunity to live’

By : Yariel Valdés González OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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TIJUANA, Mexico| Melani Sofía Rosales Quiñones, a transgender woman from Guatemala City, was on her way home one night in July 2017 when she saw a group of homophobes waiting for her. She said good evening to them and that alone provoked an atrocious attack.

“They hit me with bats and sticks,” Melani now recalls. “They broke my jaw and left jaw bone. I was in a coma in the hospital for three days and 15 days later I had surgery to reconstruct my face. They put in plates and screws. It took me four months to recover.”

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Mexico’s LGBTI community has high expectations for new president

By : Yariel Valdés González OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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MEXICO CITY | The Mexican LGBTI community has high expectations for the country’s new president, leftist Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

He won the community’s sympathy as the first president to include a message of equality in his victory speech. López Obrador reaffirmed it in his first message to the Mexican people during his inauguration.

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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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