International News: Oct. 11-17, 2019

International News: Oct. 11-17, 2019

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French conservatives protest bill allowing IVF for lesbians

Conservative activists are gathering in Paris to protest a French bill that would give lesbian couples and single women access to in vitro fertilization and related procedures.

Traditional Catholic groups and far-right activists who held mass demonstrations against France's legalization of gay marriage in 2013 organized the Oct. 6 protest, arguing that it deprives children of the right to a father.

LGBT activists and left-wing groups plan a counter-demonstration, and police have blocked off several streets in Paris to prevent violence.

Several other countries already offer assisted reproduction to lesbians and single women, but French law currently allows it only for infertile heterosexual couples.

The bill is part of a broader bioethics draft law under debate at the National Assembly. France's health care system would cover the cost of the procedures for all women under 43. 

A U.S. Athlete's gay pride shoe is causing a flap in Qatar

American heptathlete Erica Bougard said she wasn’t trying to make an international political statement against Qatar’s anti-LGBTQ policies. She was just wearing her favorite high jump shoes.

She has worn the shoes, with a rainbow flap across one foot to symbolize gay pride, all season. She didn’t consider how that would be taken in Qatar, a conservative Muslim nation, where homosexual acts are illegal.

By slipping on the high-jump shoes Oct. 2, she stepped into a touchy subject that organizers for the track world championships and the 2022 World Cup have tried to avoid.

IAAF president Sebastian Coe ducked the issue when asked about anti-LGBTQ laws on the eve of the championships. Dahlan Al Hammad, the head of the local organizing committee, said Qatar would comply with international laws.

Bougard said she didn’t know all the background.

“But I’m not afraid of the consequences,” Bougard said. “I feel like I’m well protected.”

If anything does happen, “I’ll be on the first flight out.”

Bougard started dating her girlfriend about a year ago and wants to be an advocate for people struggling with sexual identity.

“I feel like we have a voice, us as athletes, because more people look at us to perform,” said the 26-year-old who competed at Mississippi State. “It’s important because I feel like people hate people for loving who they love. Some people don’t believe in it, which is totally fine. I wanted to show my side and put the symbol on my shoe.” 

LGBT groups from both sides of divided Cyprus join forces

Gay rights groups from both sides of the ethnic divide in Cyprus have formalized their cooperation in raising public awareness about gay rights and working toward buttressing those rights through legislation.

Accept-LGBTI Cyprus from the internationally recognized Greek Cypriot south and Queer Cyprus Association from the breakaway Turkish Cypriot north converged Oct. 5 on the U.N. controlled buffer zone cutting across the capital Nicosia to mark their partnership by holding a festival replete with a fire juggler.

The groups hailed the move as a milestone helping to break down the east Mediterranean island nation's physical divide and complex politics.

Accept-LGBTI Cyprus President Monica Panayi said a key focus will be to pool knowledge in order to help in the advancement of gay rights on both sides. 

Pope meets with Jesuit targeted by right for gay outreach

Pope Francis has met privately with an American Jesuit who has been attacked by conservative U.S. Catholics for reaching out to gays.

The Vatican listed the audience with the Rev. James Martin among the pope's activities Sept. 30, in a clear sign that Francis wanted it publicized. The implicit message was a vote of confidence in Martin's ministry.

Martin, author of “Building a Bridge,” a book about how the Catholic Church should reach out more to the LGBT community, has had several talks canceled in the United States because of pressure from conservative groups who oppose his advocacy.

In a tweet Sept. 30, Martin said that during the 30-minute audience, he shared with Francis “the joys and hopes, and the griefs and anxieties, of LGBT Catholics and LGBT people worldwide.” 

Reporting via Associated Press


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