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Open thread 9/25


This is an open thread. We’ll post any breaking news.


  • 1. VIRick  |  September 25, 2018 at 12:13 pm

    India: Court Rules Lesbian Couple Should Live Together

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    On Monday, 24 September 2018, the High Court of Kerala in south India ruled that a lesbian couple should live together. Most importantly, it is believed to be the first time a different Indian court upheld the recent Supreme Court decision to dismantle Section 377 of the Penal Cade and legalize gay sex since that Supreme Court ruling. The bench said 24-year-old Aruna should live with her partner, 40-year-old Sreeja Kollam, according to local media.

    Kollam filed a court petition to release Aruna from her parents. Upon discovering Aruna’s lesbian relationship, her family trapped her in their home and admitted her to a mental hospital, according to the Times of India. But, the hospital refused to hand Aruna over to Kollam. Kollam then filed her case and referenced the recent striking down of Section 377.

    When Aruna was produced before the court, she told the judges she wanted to live with Kollam. Justices C K Abdul Rehim and R Narayana Pisharadi issued a ruling that Aruna could go with Kollam.

  • 2. VIRick  |  September 25, 2018 at 12:44 pm

    Scotland: New Anti-Hate Billboard Campaign

    A new ad campaign is being rolled out in Scotland confronting homophobic and transphobic hate crime. The provocative ads were produced by the Scottish Government and Police Scotland as part of the One Scotland campaign, a bold new project which seeks to reduce the risk of hate crime.

    One states:

    “Dear transphobes, do you think it’s right to harass people in the street? Right to push transgender people around in clubs? Right to humiliate, intimidate and threaten them online? Well we don’t. That’s why if we see you doing harm, we’re reporting you. We believe people should be allowed to be themselves. Except if they’re spreading hate.

    Yours, Scotland”

    Another says:

    “Dear homophobes, we have a phobia of your behavior. If you torment people because of who they love, shout words that we are not going to write, or use violence because you don’t like who someone is holding hands with, you should be worried. If we see or hear your abuse, we’re calling the police. That’s because love lives in this country, not hate.

    Yours, Scotland”

  • 3. VIRick  |  September 25, 2018 at 3:32 pm

    Switzerland: LGBT Anti-Discrimination Measure Passes National Council

    Per Pink Cross, the Swiss LGBT rights organization, and Perchy Bird:

    In Switzerland, on 25 September 2018, a bill to fill all remaining gaps in LGBT anti-discrimination laws and to outlaw all incitement of hatred sailed through the National Council in a landslide vote, 118 to 60, with 5 abstentions. A final vote in the Council of States has been scheduled for this December.

  • 4. DevilWearsZrada  |  September 25, 2018 at 5:23 pm

    I hope there won't be a referendum on that law.

  • 5. VIRick  |  September 25, 2018 at 3:48 pm

    US Social Security Admininistration Sued Over Denial of Survivor's Benefits

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    As of 25 September 2018, a 63-year-old lesbian woman is suing the US Social Security Administration for failing to recognize her relationship with her deceased partner of 27 years, who died in 2006 before same-sex couples in Washington State were allowed to marry. The lawsuit, brought by Lambda Legal on behalf of Helen Thornton, asks the federal District Court for the Western District of Washington to rule that the Social Security Administration’s exclusion of same-sex couples from survivor’s benefits is unconstitutional.

    Thornton and her late partner, Marge Brown, were in a committed relationship from 1979 until 2006, when Brown died of cancer at age 50. Social Security generally requires that a couple be married nine months before a spouse dies in order for the surviving spouse to qualify for survivor’s benefits, but same-sex couples were ineligible to marry until 2012 in Washington State.

    “The federal government is requiring surviving same-sex partners like Helen to pass an impossible test to access the benefits that they’ve earned through a lifetime of work: they need to have been married to their loved ones, but they were barred from marrying by discriminatory laws then in existence,” Lambda Legal Counsel Peter Renn said in a statement. “We are beyond the day when the government can deny equal treatment to same-sex couples. But, by withholding these benefits, the federal government is breathing life into the same discriminatory marriage laws that the Supreme Court has already struck down.”

    The lawsuit argues that same-sex partners who were unable to marry should be treated like straight spouses in common-law marriages. In addition, the lawsuit asks not only that the Social Security Administration recognize Brown and Thornton’s relationship and Thornton’s eligibility for survivor’s benefits, but also asks the court to issue an injunction preventing the agency from denying those benefits to similarly-situated same-sex couples, and, should the case be successful, pay attorney’s fees and other legal costs incurred by Thornton in the process of bringing her lawsuit.

  • 6. FredDorner  |  September 25, 2018 at 5:31 pm

    The surviving spouse will easily win that case since the courts have consistently been retroactively recognizing these pre- marriage equality relationships as marriages when it's appropriate, as is clearly the case here based on the facts in the complaint.

    Good to see that she's asking for a broader injunction too.

  • 7. VIRick  |  September 26, 2018 at 5:52 pm

    Inter-American Court of Human Rights to Cite Chile by 2 October for Not Advancing Marriage Equality

    Corte Interamericana de DDHH Cita a Chile para el 2 de Octubre por No Avanzar en Matrimonio Igualitario

    La CIDH citó al Gobierno de Chile para que avance los trámites legislativos del matrimonio igualitario en el país, tal y como se comprometió a hacerlo en el Acuerdo de Solución Amistosa (ASA) firmado ante el ente continental.

    Desde que se firmó el ASA en 2016, explicaron desde el Movilh de 26 de septiembre 2018, esta es la primera vez que la CIDH cita al Gobierno, ante una denuncia por incumplimientos de dicho acuerdo.

    The IACHR summoned the Government of Chile to advance the legislative procedures for equal marriage in the country, as it had promised to do in the Friendly Settlement Agreement (ASA) signed before the continental body.

    Since the ASA was signed in 2016, per explanation from Movilh of 26 September 2018, this is the first time that the IACHR will cite the Government, given a complaint for breaches of said agreement.

  • 8. VIRick  |  September 26, 2018 at 8:09 pm

    National LGBT Veterans Memorial in DC's Congressional Cemetery

    Longtime LGBT rights advocate Nancy Russell, a retired US Army Lieutenant Colonel, was hopeful that the three 11-foot-tall black granite panels designated as the centerpiece of a National LGBT Veterans Memorial would be installed in DC’s Congressional Cemetery in time for a Memorial Day dedication in 2015 or 2016. Russell, who’s 80 years old and serves as chair of the memorial’s board of directors, joined several other LGBT veterans in announcing plans for an LGBT veterans memorial in the nation’s capital in 2012. The proposed memorial was immediately embraced by LGBT veterans and their supporters throughout the country.

    But now, six years later, the board has raised only about 25 percent of the estimated $500,000 cost for building and installing the monument and paying the balance owed for the purchase of the land in the Congressional Cemetery where the monument and surrounding space will be located, according to Marty Gunter, the memorial project’s development director.

    Paul Williams is president of the Congressional Cemetery, which is privately owned by the LGBT-supportive Christ Church of Capitol Hill. He said the cemetery enthusiastically supports the LGBT Veterans Memorial. He said the cemetery allowed the memorial’s organizers to make a down payment on the cemetery plots where the memorial will be located, knowing they had yet to raise the money to pay it all at that time. But he said that under the Congressional Cemetery’s financing policy, the memorial cannot be installed until the plots are paid in full.

    Williams said the place reserved for the memorial is located near the gravesite of US Air Force Sgt. Leonard Matlovich, who came out as gay on the cover of Time magazine in 1975 as the first active duty service member to challenge the military’s ban on gays. Matlovich, who died in 1988, was buried in a section of the cemetery that Williams says has become the burial site for other LGBT people, including LGBT military veterans, and is referred to as the cemetery’s “gay corner.” He said the Congressional Cemetery is believed to be the only known cemetery anywhere that has an LGBT section.

    Matt Thorn, executive director of OutServe/SLDN, a national group that advocates for active duty LGBT service members, said his group would be willing to help the LGBT Veterans Memorial project in any way it can. Contributions can be made through the memorial’s website at or by mailing a donation to NLGBTVM, PO Box 780514, San Antonio, Texas 78278-0514.

  • 9. theperchybird  |  September 26, 2018 at 11:51 pm

    Using Google translate for Icelandic and my own knowledge of Norwegian, it seems Faroe Islands is aiming for a gender identity bill. According to Wikipedia there is no current gender change legislation there. The bill had its first reading on the 20th.

    I hope I am not mistaken, but it also seems like they will add T to their anti-discrimination laws, which are very limited. I hope this is an entire overhaul of LGBT protection laws along with the gender clauses. Can anyone who speaks a Nordic language help me verify exactly everything that is in this bill?

  • 10. VIRick  |  September 27, 2018 at 2:34 pm

    Faroe Islands (Færøerne, Færeyjar, Føroyar) Gender Identity Bill

    According to this proposal, a person 18 years of age and older will be allowed to change their sex (av hinum kyninum) on their driver's licenses and passports (koyrikort og pass), 6 months after their written application, and will receive a new personal number (nýtt persónsnummar) in order to be able to do so. If given final approval, the law will come into effect from 1 January 2019.

    The bill was introduced into the Løgting (legislature, literally, Law-thing, and pronounced to match) by Sonja Jógvansdóttir on 21 August 2018, and had its first reading on 20 September.

    Faroese, with its Germanic declensions, is akin to written Icelandic, but is pronounced more like modern Danish, and contains a fair amount of modern Danish vocabulary. For example, "koyrikort" does not translate from Icelandic (ökuskírteini), but rather, from Danish (kørekort). A lot of very basic vulgar words in English come from the same source, like "kyn" (pronounced kewn), or "snegelfart," which truly needs no further explanation.

  • 11. theperchybird  |  September 29, 2018 at 1:32 am

    Takk. I saw it mentioned something about 2007 and that's when they finally got an anti-hate speech law so I wasn't sure if there was more.

    Yes, Faroese with their k as ch.

    Now we need Greenland to get on board and the Danish Kingdom is complete.

  • 12. VIRick  |  September 29, 2018 at 1:05 pm

    And thanks for encountering this legislative proposal, as that was a good find, given that it is written in the very obscure and difficult Faroese language.

    As an introduction and explanation, it begins by providing some background history as a means for justifying the need for the current proposal, including the fact that, at the moment, 51 other countries, worldwide, are further ahead of the Faroe Islands in providing for transgender rights.

    Basically put, this measure, if passed, will allow for self-determination of one's gender marker on officially-issued government documents. Originally, I had translated koyrikort as "ID card," and I suppose it still could be, until it suddenly occurred to me, while reading the word aloud, that it was actually the Danish, kørekort, literally, "drive-card" or driver's license. I then edited my original comment accordingly. Although Faroese follows the same grammatical structure as Icelandic, it appears to insert modern Danish vocabulary where needed.

    The Faroe Islands, in Danish, Færøerne, are literally, "the far islands," as opposed to "the near islands," Lofoten and Vesterålen, right off the Norwegian coast.

    Question: Does Greenland have roads, to the point where they would even need to issue driver's licenses?

  • 13. arturo547  |  September 27, 2018 at 1:27 pm

    Chile: Family comission approves LGBT adoption and will now head the Chamber of Deputies.


  • 14. VIRick  |  September 27, 2018 at 1:48 pm

    Chile: Significant Movement on Joint Adoptions Bill

    Per Luis Eduardo de Uruguay‏:

    Yesterday, 26 September 2018, the Commission on the Family approved the bill to allow joint adoption by same-sex couples, 8 votes in favor and 5 against. Now it will head the Chamber of Deputies.… …

    Note: This joint adoptions measure is one of several "side issue" measures which are required of the government of Chile according to the 2016 CIDH accord (ASA), in addition to that of marriage equality.

  • 15. guitaristbl  |  September 27, 2018 at 2:26 pm

    Kavanaugh's enraged blatantly partisan performance today demonizing "the left" and liberals like an unhinged trump-like political candidate rather than a judge has to be one of the most disgraceful performances in any part of any judicial confirmation hearing. What justice can more than 50 percent of the US seek now from a man who has shed even a pretense of impartiality ?

  • 16. Fortguy  |  September 28, 2018 at 1:05 am

    Since the hearing, these are some new developments:

    *The American Bar Association now calls for Kavanaugh's confirmation to be halted until an FBI investigation can be concluded.

    *America, The Jesuit Review has rescinded it's previous endorsement of Kavanaugh calling for his replacement. Georgetown Prep, Kavanaugh's high school alma mater, is a Jesuit school.

    *Prominent lawyer Alan Dershowitz, frequent Fox News contributor and former member of the O.J. Simpson "Dream Team", has also called for the postponement of the confirmation pending an FBI investigation.

  • 17. guitaristbl  |  September 28, 2018 at 7:00 am

    None of that will matter at the end. Commitee is bound to let him through after Flake confirmed he is voting for him. And the usual reliance and hope on Murkowski and Collins will lead nowhere.

  • 18. Fortguy  |  September 28, 2018 at 1:28 am

    Ever thought that the Trump Administration would provide enough material for its own Law & Order spinoff series? Well, not quite but almost. Dick Wolf's production company has signed a deal with NBC for a 13-episode season of Law & Order: Hate Crimes whose characters will first be introduced later this season on Law & Order: SVU

    Nellie Andreeva, Deadline Hollywood: NBC Orders ‘Law & Order: Hate Crimes’ Series From Dick Wolf & Warren Leight

    I suspect hate crimes against the LGBT community will figure prominently in story lines since they can't have African-American and Hispanic victims every week.

  • 19. JayJonson  |  September 28, 2018 at 6:12 am

    IN a conference on the Appropriations Bill, an anti-gay amendment that would have permitted child-placement agencies to discriminate against gay couples has been stripped away.

    On Wednesday, the U.S. House of Representatives agreed to a conference report — ironing out the differences between the Senate and House versions of the government funding bill — from which the potentially harmful amendment was excised.

    The so-called “Aderholt amendment,” introduced by U.S. Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.), was passed on a nearly-party-line vote in July, with U.S. Rep. Scott Taylor (R-Va.) being the only Republican to vote against it.

    Had the amendment stayed intact, it would have allowed adoption and foster care agencies — even those that accept taxpayer dollars — to claim a religious objection to placing children with same-sex couples, as well as heterosexual couples and single parents who could potentially be discriminated against based on a number of characteristics, including their religion, disability, political beliefs, or marital history.

  • 20. arturo547  |  September 28, 2018 at 9:33 am

    Romania: Constitutional Court rules in favour of LGBT family rights.

    "Romania’s constitutional court ruled Thursday (27 September) that gay couples should have the same family rights as heterosexuals, a judgment that runs counter to a referendum next month seeking to interdict gay marriage".


  • 21. DevilWearsZrada  |  September 28, 2018 at 11:19 am

    That article makes no sense.
    "Thursday’s ruling was in a case brought by a US-Romanian couple who had asked the authorities to recognise their marriage, registered in Belgium, so the American could move with his husband to Romania. The constitutional court based its judgment on a ruling issued in June by the Court of Justice of the European Union." — That ruling was issued on Wednesday, July 18 (here is the text, Google Translate help us:… ). Romanian CC was the very party that referred the Coman case to CJEU for an opinion, and after the ruling was issued by CJEU on June 5 Romanian CC issued a final ruling. CJEU ruling was based solely on the EU law, namely its freedom of movement directive, EU law doesn't regulate family/marriage law at all. And there is no need for a conservative court in a conservative country to step farther than CJEU stepped, even if the court was liberal it wouldn't want its ruling to inspire a new constitutional referendum that could punish the CC for its expressly pro-gay stance that wasn't induced by the evil, undemocratic, godless, lefty EU. If it was liberal it wouldn't want to rise the homophobic voter turnout at the upcoming October 7 same-sex marriage ban referendum by such a ruling as well.
    We should understand that the both rulings do nothing at recognising gay couples' _family life_. Romanian family/marriage law was not touched by them. They just tell that due to EU law some persons are entitled to residency rights (and the freedom of movement within the EU) in Romania and, by the nature of the precedent, in several other EU member states.
    Romanian CC's site doesn't mention such a ruling as was described in the article that was issued yesterday. There is a press release though dated September 27 but it is about a totally different ruling. I don't know why that was (mis)reported but sometimes such a mistakes happen to AFP, AP or Reuters.

  • 22. VIRick  |  September 28, 2018 at 1:21 pm

    Curaçao: LGBT Activists Present MPs with Draft Bill for Marriage Equality

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    Willemstad – During the opening of Curaçao Pride 2018 on the Wilhelminaplein on 28 September 2018, the FOKO, Curaçao Gay Pro, and Igualdat Kòrsou organizations have handed over a draft National Ordinance on the Equality of Marriage to the Member of Parliament for MAN, Giselle McWilliam.

    The bill aims to eliminate the discriminatory treatment because of the prohibition against same-sex couples who wish to marry. When the proposal is adopted by parliament, two adults, regardless of their gender, will be able to marry each other if they want to. Marriage, as described in the law, remains civil marriage. Nothing else changes. A couple must first marry before the law (civilly), before they can enter into a religious marriage.

    Note: This is the very first instance of a marriage equality draft proposal being presented to a parliament in a predominately Afro-Caribbean insular territory, albeit one heavily influenced culturally and linguistically by neighboring Colombia and Venezuela, but most especially by Hispanic-majority Aruba, which already has same-sex civil unions, and by Bonaire, which already has marriage equality, the latter two being adjacent Dutch jurisdictions.

    At the moment, same-sex couples from Curaçao need only to fly over to Bonaire to be civilly married under Dutch law, a marriage which is then legally recognized in Curaçao.

  • 23. VIRick  |  September 28, 2018 at 1:38 pm

    Kenya: High Court to Hear Submissions Re: India Decriminalization Ruling

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    The constitutional division of the High Court of Kenya will hear submissions from both parties on 25 October 2018 in the LGBT decriminalization case, in particular as to how India's decriminalization ruling on this same subject may be relevant, given that both countries have shared the same law, dating back to the days of British colonial rule, that criminalizes “sexual acts against the order of nature.”

  • 24. VIRick  |  September 28, 2018 at 2:40 pm

    "Marriage for All" in Germany: The First Year

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    Since 1 October 2017, more than 10,000 same-sex couples have married in just under a year of marriage equality in Germany. The demand for the so-called “marriage for all” was especially high in big cities. In Berlin alone, a total of 1537 same-sex couples were married in eight out of the twelve districts. No data was available from the capital’s other four districts, as some municipalities did not collect separate statistics on same-sex couples.

    Munich registry offices reported 833 same-sex marriages. In Cologne, 1056 gay and lesbian couples said “I do” there, which constituted 18% of all marriages. The figure was similarly high in Leipzig at 19%, where 800 same-sex couples were married. In Stuttgart, the figure stood at 708, and in Frankfurt-am-Main at 673.

    While considerably more male same-sex couples married in big cities, there were more lesbian marriages in many smaller towns. Around the country, more than two-thirds of all same-sex couples converted long-term civil partnerships into marriages. In Bremen, that conversion rate constituted three-quarters.

  • 25. ianbirmingham  |  September 28, 2018 at 8:50 pm

    The inside story of Trump’s shambolic transition team

    Bannon and Christie together set out to explain to Trump federal law. Months before the election, the law said, the nominees of the two major parties were expected to prepare to take control of the government. The government supplied them with office space in downtown DC, along with computers and rubbish bins and so on, but the campaigns paid their people. To which Trump replied: "Fuck the law. I don’t give a fuck about the law. I want my fucking money." Bannon and Christie tried to explain that Trump couldn’t have both his money and a transition. "Shut it down," said Trump. "Shut down the transition." …

    Obama’s preparations to hand over the government had been superb: the Obama administration had created what amounted to the best course ever on the inner workings of the most powerful institution on earth. What could go wrong? …

    Chris Christie was sitting on a sofa beside Trump when Pennsylvania was finally called. It was 1.35am, but that wasn’t the only reason the feeling in the room was odd. Mike Pence went to kiss his wife, Karen, and she turned away from him. “You got what you wanted, Mike,” she said. “Now leave me alone.” She wouldn’t so much as say hello to Trump. Trump himself just stared at the TV without saying anything, like a man with a pair of twos whose bluff has been called. His campaign hadn’t even bothered to prepare an acceptance speech. …

    Trump always avoided firing people himself. The man who played Mr You’re Fired on TV avoided personal confrontation in real life. The surprise was that [abruptly firing Christie, head of the Trump transition team] was being done now, just when the work of the transition team was most critical. … It wasn’t just Christie who had been fired. It was the entire transition team – although no one ever told them so directly. As Nancy Cook reported in Politico, Bannon visited the transition headquarters a few days after he had given Christie the news, and made a show of tossing the work the people there had done for Trump into the bin. Trump was going to handle the transition more or less by himself. Not even Bannon thought this was a good idea. “I was fucking nervous as shit,” Bannon later told friends. “I go, ‘Holy fuck, this guy [Trump] doesn’t know anything. And he doesn’t give a shit.’” …

    The parking spots that had been set aside for Trump’s people remained empty, and the briefing books were never opened. You could walk into almost any department of the US government and hear people asking the same question: where were these people who were meant to be running the place? … Only on inauguration day did they flood into the building, but the people who showed up had no idea why they were there or what they were meant to do. Trump sent, among others, a long-haul truck driver, a telephone company clerk, a gas company meter reader, a country club cabana attendant, a Republican National Committee intern and the owner of a scented candle company. One of the CVs listed the new appointee’s only skill as “a pleasant demeanor”. All these people had two things in common. They were Trump loyalists. And they knew nothing whatsoever about the job they suddenly found themselves in. A new American experiment was underway.

  • 26. VIRick  |  September 29, 2018 at 7:30 pm

    Uruguay Pride March 2018

    Per Maria Eugenia Viera:

    Yesterday, all day and on into the evening, 28 September 2018, an absolute outpouring of humanity in a sea of color, some 120,000 strong, marched through the streets of Montevideo in celebration of Uruguay Pride (Marcha por la Diversidad 2018).

  • 27. VIRick  |  September 29, 2018 at 7:47 pm

    Paraguay Pride March 2018

    Per Alfredo Narváez:

    Llega la primavera en el hemisferio sur, y el Pride 2018 llega en un país que fue una terrible dictadura militar.

    Spring arrives in the southern hemisphere, and Pride 2018 comes to a country that had a terrible military dictatorship.

    Per El Duque:

    Earlier today, 29 September 2018, at LGBT Pride in Paraguay:

    "Nací en una familia de militares, vengo a contradecir esa cultura violenta y el estigma que tiene el color rosado. Hoy, estoy luchando por mis derechos," Manuel Alviso, 38 años.

    "I was born in a military family, I am here to counter that violent culture and the stigma that the color pink elicits. Today, I am fighting for my rights," Manuel Alviso, 38.

  • 28. VIRick  |  September 29, 2018 at 8:01 pm

    Uruguay: A Second, New Gender Identity Bill

    Per Opus Gay de Chile:

    En el año 2009, el Congreso uruguayo aprobó una Ley de Identidad de Género, convirtiéndose en el primer país de Latinoamérica en reconocer el derecho a la identidad, permitiendo así, que las personas trans pudiesen cambiar su nombre y sexo legal dignamente. A raíz de eso, algunos países vecinos legislaron al respecto: Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Perú, Ecuador, y Colombia (y Brasil a través de los tribunales).

    Ya que hasta el momento, ningún Estado ha avanzado tanto en protección y reparación de daño en razón de la identidad de género. Así, entre los puntos que prevé este nuevo proyecto de ley, se pueden destacar:
    •La creación de un sistema de becas estudiantiles que contemple a esta población.
    •La reparación económica de 11.500 pesos uruguayos (345 dólares estadounidenses) a aquellas personas que hayan sufrido discriminación por ser trans durante la dictadura militar uruguaya de las décadas de 1970 y 1980.
    •La habilitación de la posibilidad de que menores de edad puedan cambiar de sexo quirúrgicamente sin necesitar del consentimiento de sus padres.

    In 2009, the Uruguayan Congress approved a Gender Identity Law, becoming the first country in Latin America to recognize the right to identity, thus allowing transgender people to change their name and legal gender with dignity. As a result, some neighboring countries legislated in this regard; Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Perú, Ecuador, and Colombia (and Brasil through the courts).

    However, until now, no State has advanced quite as far in their protection and repayment for damages due to gender identity. Thus, among the points provided by this new bill, we can highlight:
    • The creation of a system of student scholarships that includes this population.
    • The economic reparation of 11,500 Uruguayan pesos (345 US dollars) to those who have suffered discrimination because they were transgender during the Uruguayan military dictatorship of the 1970s and 1980s.
    • Enabling the possibility that minors can change sex surgically without needing the consent of their parents.

    Note: In selecting its name, Opus Gay de Chile has employed a clever play on words to make its point, and needless to say, it has absolutely no connection to the hyper-right-wing, anti-LGBT, regressively anachronistic and secretive "catholic" organization, Opus Dei (other than to mock it). As a group, I love Opus Gay de Chile for being so open and radically "in their face."

  • 29. VIRick  |  September 29, 2018 at 9:25 pm

    Mexico: Transgender Muxe Festival of the Zapoteca People

    Per Jacqueline L'Hoist T‏.:

    Es un agasajo ser partícipe de la Vela Muxe, remembranza prehispánica llena de alegría, comida, música, arte, y gran colorido con los hermosos vestidos que distinguen la cultura del Istmo (de Tehuantepec).

    It is a tribute to be a participant in the Vela Muxe, a pre-Hispanic remembrance full of joy, food, music, art, and great color with the beautiful dresses that distinguish the culture of the Isthmus (of Tehuantepec).

    Note: The transgender Muxe vela of the Zapoteca people of Oaxaca is quite similar to the pollera of the transgender Inca descendants of modern-day Bolivia.

    "Muxe," in the Zapoteca language, refers to transgender women. "Vela" is the historic, embroidered costuming in which they dress whenever they put on a festival performance, with the entire performance itself also being referred to as a "vela." In Bolivia, "pollera" is the elaborate period costuming, with the full multiple petticoats, in which the transgender Inca women dress whenever they put on their festival show, with the show itself also referred to as a "pollera."

  • 30. VIRick  |  September 29, 2018 at 9:46 pm

    Cuba: Archbishop of Camagüey Favors Marriage Equality

    El arzobispo de Camagüey, Wilfredo Pino Estévez, pide que las parejas gays tengan "los mismos derechos" que las heterosexuales y aboga por que la Constitución cubana reconozca las relaciones entre personas del mismo sexo.

    Cuba fue el primer país de América Latina en aprobar la ley del divorcio, que entró en vigor en julio de 1918 (hace exactamente 100 años). El aborto, por su parte, es legal en Cuba desde 1936. Ahora se pretende cambiar el concepto de matrimonio.

    The archbishop of Camagüey, Wilfredo Pino Estévez, asks that gay couples have "the same rights" as heterosexual couples and advocates that the Cuban Constitution recognize same-sex relationships.

    Cuba was the first country in Latin America to pass the divorce law, which came into force in July 1918 (exactly 100 years ago). Abortion, for its part, is legal in Cuba since 1936. Now it is intended to change the concept of marriage.

  • 31. VIRick  |  September 30, 2018 at 10:45 am

    Global Marriage Equality Watch List

    As of 29 September 2018, Rex Wockner has again updated and expanded his Marriage Equality Watch List to include the latest commentary on 21 different nations: Austria, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Chile, Costa Rica, Cuba, Curaçao, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, India, Mexico, Northern Ireland, Panamá, Paraguay, Perú, Philippines, Switzerland, Taiwan, and Venezuela.

  • 32. VIRick  |  September 30, 2018 at 11:42 am

    The Deepening Economic Crisis in Venezuela

    Here is the latest extended report on the dire economic crisis in Venezuela, as seen from Cúcuta, Colombia, a major city of 670,000 practically on the border, and the one bearing the brunt of the mass exodus, as reported by Karla Zabludovsky and Andrea Hernández.

    The busy, chaotic Cúcuta-Táchira border crossing area, as featured in this article, is the one with which I am familiar, having crossed there multiple times (including the time I was rescued by the Spanish ambassador). Pushing strollers and carrying suitcases on their shoulders, Venezuelans hold up their IDs for inspection as they cross the bridge into Cúcuta, where as many as 30,000 people arrive every day, either to stay, make their way to the capital city of Bogotá, or return home after buying basic food items. Colombian authorities barely glance at their documents. A banner announcing medical attention, including rehydration, vaccinations, and psychological support, greets visitors arriving on the Colombian side of the bridge. A series of tents further down the road house volunteers from the Colombian Red Cross, Argentine White Helmets, and other international aid organizations. People start forming a line outside the tents at 5 AM, with dozens of pregnant women at the front.

    In terms of numbers alone, here are some additional highlights from the report:

    In June 2018, more than 60% of the babies delivered at the Erasmo Meoz public hospital (in Cúcuta), just 2.8 miles from the border, were Venezuelan, underscoring the unprecedented number of fleeing migrants (and pregnant women refusing to have their babies born in Venezuela). With more than 2.3 million Venezuelans in exile since 2014 and the number rising dramatically in recent months, the exodus from the South American socialist country is approaching levels reminiscent of the European migrant crisis that began in 2015.

    More than 935,000 Venezuelans are now living in Colombia. There are around 547,000 Venezuelans in Ecuador. More than 353,000 in Perú. In Argentina, 135,000. At least 40,000 in tiny Trinidad/Tobago. Venezuelans have trekked across most borders in the Americas, even along the sole road leading directly to Brasil and across the Caribbean, and in extraordinary numbers in recent months, creating a logistical challenge and triggering a wave of xenophobia across the continent. Ecuador and Perú tightened immigration controls in August. According to the United Nations Refugee Agency, about 117,000 Venezuelans claimed asylum across the world between January and August this year — more than during the whole of 2017.

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