Trump’s gay ambassadorial pick handles questions on Russia’s hostility

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Robert Gilchrist. Washington Blade photo by Michael Key.

Russia’s belligerence — which manifested itself during the 2016 election — was a key issue Tuesday during the confirmation hearing for President Trump’s pick to become the next U.S. ambassador to Lithuania.

Robert Gilchrist — who’s gay and a former president of GLIFAA, the affinity group at the State Department for LGBT employees — was skilled in drawing on his foreign policy expertise to answer the questions before the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee on Russia’s aggression.

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Prominent Russian LGBTQ activist stabbed to death

By : ALEX COOPER OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Yelena Gregoryeva, a prominent Russian LGBTQ rights activist, was murdered in St. Petersburg on July 21, 2019. Photo via Facebook.

A prominent Russian LGBTI activist was found dead in St. Petersburg on Sunday, according to activists and local media. The woman, Yelena Gregoryeva, 41, was an outspoken and prominent activist in the city.

Authorities on Sunday said they found the body of a woman who had been stabbed. She was later identified as Gregoryeva by activists and family, the Russian outlet Fontanka reported.

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State Department disputes HRC claim US refused to sign Chechnya statement

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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The State Department on March 20 disputed the Human Rights Campaign’s claim the U.S. refused to sign a U.N. statement that calls for an investigation into Chechnya’s anti-LGBTI crackdown.

Albania, Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Montenegro, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, the U.K. and Uruguay signed the statement that was presented during a meeting of the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva on March 18.

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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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Countries use registration laws to hinder LGBTI advocacy

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Russian LGBT Sports Federation President Alexander Agapov holds a rainbow flag during Russian President Vladimir Putin’s speech at the 2018 World Cup in Moscow. Russia is among the countries that use registration laws to hinder LGBTI advocacy efforts. (Photo courtesy Agapov)

A new report indicates governments around the world are using registration laws to target LGBTI advocacy groups.

The report, which OutRight Action International released on Tuesday, indicates 28 percent of the 194 countries surveyed have LGBTI groups that “cannot legally register as LGBTIQ organizations.”

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Russia fomenting discord over guns, gays, race

By : Lou Chibbaro Jr OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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A 29-year-old Russian woman living in D.C. who was indicted last week for allegedly engaging in a conspiracy to clandestinely act as a Russian agent is part of a longstanding effort by Moscow to foment discord in the U.S. by exploiting divisive issues such as guns, LGBT rights, and racial bias, according to a source close to the investigation into the woman’s activities.

After hearing evidence presented by federal prosecutors, a D.C. grand jury on July 17 indicted Maria Butina on charges of criminal conspiracy and illegally acting as a foreign agent within the U.S. A U.S. District Court judge the following day ordered her held without bond after prosecutors said she had moved out of her D.C. apartment and was at risk for leaving the country.

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LGBT advocates outraged over Trump’s deference to Putin

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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ABOVE: U.S. President Donald Trump faced criticism after his Helsinki news conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin (Screen capture via YouTube)

The news conference that followed President Trump’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki led to jaw-dropping reactions across the globe, including from LGBT advocates and observers who say it had a negative impact on LGBT rights despite Trump’s backpedaling days later.

Trump on Monday appeared alongside Putin at a news conference and sided with the Russian leader over the assessment of U.S. intelligence agencies and the Senate Intelligence Committee that Russia interfered in the 2016 U.S. election, which led to U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s indictment of 12 Russians who implemented the plan.

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Tillerson out as secretary of state

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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President Trump on Tuesday announced he has ousted Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

Trump in a tweet that announced the decision said he plans to nominate CIA Director Mike Pompeo to succeed Tillerson. Trump also said he will nominate Deputy CIA Director Gina Haspel to succeed Pompeo.

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Russia registers its 1st same-sex marriage — by mistake

By : wire report
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MOSCOW (AP) — Two men have been able to register their marriage in Russia, a first for the country that the Interior Ministry attributes to a bureaucratic error.

Russia doesn’t recognize same-sex marriage and has a law banning the dissemination of gay “propaganda” to minors, so Pavel Stotzko and Yevgeny Voitsekhovsky’s claim that their marriage was officially registered has caused an uproar.

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Underwear dance in dorm nearly gets Russian cadets expelled

By : wire report
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MOSCOW (AP) — An underwear dance video filmed in a college dormitory nearly got some Russian cadet pilots expelled and sparked a discussion among Russia’s political elite.

The mock striptease recorded by cadets at the Ulyanovsk Civil Aviation Institute went viral earlier this week. Some Russian politicians called on the public training school located in Lenin’s birthplace to expel the students. The Federal Agency for Air Transportation decried the video as an “immoral incident” and an “insult to civil aviation professionals.”

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FIFA advisers: ‘Danger’ for LGBTQ fans at World Cup in Russia

By : wire report
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MOSCOW (AP) – FIFA’s anti-discrimination advisers are warning gay soccer fans going to the 2018 World Cup in Russia that displays of affection could be met with an aggressive response from intolerant locals.

Homosexuality was decriminalized in Russia in 1993, but anti-gay sentiment remains strong and intensified after a law was introduced in 2013 prohibiting dissemination to minors of “propaganda” legitimizing homosexuality.

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Situation for LGBT Chechens remains perilous

By : Helen Parshall of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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Advocates say that the situation in Chechnya remains dire roughly six months after initial reports of arrests, torture and killings of LGBT Chechens emerged.

“It should not be like this. We are all people. We all have rights,” Maxim Laponov said in a press conference on Monday outside the Moscow offices of Novaya Gazeta, an independent Russian newspaper that broke the story of the crackdown. “If those rights can be violated [in Chechnya], it could happen in any region. And no one knows whose son or daughter will be next.”

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