International News: June 7-13

International News: June 7-13

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Italy elects its first transgender mayor


General allegiances may lie with Matteo Salvini’s right-wing League party, but voters in a small town south of Milan have voted against the right-wing League candidate to elect Italy’s first transgender mayor.

Gianmarco Negri, a 40-year-old lawyer, was elected mayor of Tromello, a town of 3,700, with 37.5 percent of the vote May 26 for his left-wing civic list. He handily defeated the League’s candidate, who finished second in the four-way race with 26 percent.

The victory is especially striking given that in the European Parliamentary vote at the same time, 53 percent of the votes went for Salvini’s League and just 16 percent to the center-left Democratic Party.

Negri, an activist for transgender rights, ran under the slogan: “CambiaMenti per Tromello,” which has a double meaning of “Changes for Tromello,” and “Changing Minds for Tromello.”


Hong Kong court abolishes four offences that criminalize gay sex


The High Court in Hong Kong has abolished four offences and changed the definition of three more that criminalize sex between men.

The court ruled May 30 that the four offences were unconstitutional and repealed them immediately.

The decision came about following a case taken by LGBT-plus activist Yeung Chu-wing challenging the laws.

Under the laws, gay men could be prosecuted for engaging in sexual acts that are legal for heterosexual people and for some same-sex female couples.

The crimes that have been overturned are: procuring others to commit homosexual buggery; gross indecency with or by a man under 16; gross indecency by a man with a man otherwise than in private; and procuring gross indecency by a man with a man.

Justice Thomas Au Hing-cheung also ruled that three other offences will now apply to both men and women in order to meet constitutional obligations.

The offences that will apply to both men and women under the law are: homosexual buggery with or by a man under 16; gross indecency by a man with a male mentally incapacitated person; and permitting a young person to resort to or be on a premises or vessel for intercourse, prostitution, buggery or homosexual acts.


Lebanon telecom authorities order blocking of Grindr


Lebanon’s Telecommunications Ministry has ordered the blocking of the popular dating application Grindr, used mainly by gay men and trans men, saying it facilitates meetings between bisexuals or people of the same sex.

Amnesty International on May 29 called the decision “a deeply regressive step, and a blow” to the LGBT community in Lebanon.

A decades-old law in Lebanon punishes sexual relations “contrary to nature” with up to one year in prison. But activists and legal groups have actively challenged the law.

The ministry’s decision, obtained by The Associated Press, was issued May 24. It asked internet service providers to block the application and associated website, following a request from the public prosecutor. The application was still accessible on some providers on May 29.


Russians criticize heavily edited version of Elton John film


Russian gay rights activists and cultural figures are criticizing the local distributor of a new movie about Elton John for cutting scenes depicting homosexual activity and drug use.

The deletions became known recently after a Moscow screening of the film “Rocketman.”

The Moscow movie theater Pioner, noted for its adventurous programming, says it will ask for an original cut of the movie with Russian subtitles. But the theater said June 1 it had not received a response from the distributor.

Russian news agencies reported the distribution company said the scenes were cut to conform with Russian law but that the Ministry of Culture said it was not involved in the decision.

The Russian LGBT Network said in a Facebook statement, “In this way, the Russian distributor indirectly supports homophobia.” 

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