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The government of Bermuda has asked a British territories appellate court to overturn a ruling against a law that rescinded marriage rights for same-sex couples.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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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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