International News: Oct. 18-24, 2019

International News: Oct. 18-24, 2019

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Polish election: Leader says gay rights are a threat to society

LGBT+ rights have become the single most significant cultural issue in Poland’s election campaign ahead of the vote Oct. 6.

In the eyes of Jaroslaw Kaczynski’s national-conservative party and the Catholic Church, those rights are a threat to traditional Polish families and values.

During the election campaign four years ago, Kaczynski said Middle Eastern immigrants might bring “parasites and protozoa” to Poland.

This time around, according to Kaczynski, the threat comes from LGBT+ people and from Europe, where families can have “two mummies or two daddies,” he said.

Poland’s 1997 constitution states that a marriage is between a man and a woman. Civil partnerships, be they between heterosexual or same-sex couples, are not legally recognized.

“Christianity is part of our national identity, the [Catholic] Church was and is the preacher and holder of the only commonly held system of values in Poland,” he said. “Outside of it… we have only nihilism.”

Senior Catholic Church figures have gone further, most notably the Archbishop of Krakow, Marek Jedraszewski, who on numerous occasions has identified the “LGBT lobby” and “gender ideology” as the new threat to Polish freedom following the end of communism in 1989, calling it “totalitarian” and a “great threat to our freedom.”

 Gay man in Rwanda notes’ intense pressure’ after coming out

A Rwandan gospel singer who recently came out as gay said he quit his day job as an accountant after “intense pressure” from colleagues.

Albert Nabonibo said he felt alienated and no longer a part of the beverages company that employed him in the capital, Kigali.

He said that after he came out in August, some of his managers said they should not employ gay people “because the company will not do well.”

The company’s human resources manager, Rosine Humure, denies that Nabonibo was forced out, saying he voluntarily resigned last month.

Nabonibo also said he has been evicted by his landlord, underscoring the risks faced by gays in a region where homosexuality is widely despised.

Same-sex marriage is banned in Rwanda.

Ugandan official says new bill will target homosexuals

A senior Ugandan official said draft legislation targeting homosexual acts is set to be introduced in the national assembly after a previous effort failed years ago.

State ethics minister Simon Lokodo told local broadcaster NTV that lawmakers supporting anti-gay legislation have “remobilized” so that the bill gets strong support.

He said that while Uganda’s penal code “only criminalizes the act,” the country needs legislation against “recruitment, promotion, exhibition” activities related to gay rights.

Lokodo has long called for the introduction of strict new legislation after a panel of judges nullified an anti-gay law enacted by President Yoweri Museveni in 2014.

That law had prescribed punishments of up to life in prison for those convicted of engaging in gay sex.

Brazil must reinstate funding for LGBT films

A federal judge ruled that Brazil must reinstate suspended funding for LGBT+ films because they “deserve protection,” in a victory for LGBT+ activists and filmmakers.

Jair Bolsonaro’s decision to halt government film grants took away $17.42 million from around 80 movies, including a small number with LGBT+ content and themes.

The Brazilian president, who previously described himself as proudly homophobic, said in a live stream in August that funding films with LGBT+ themes was like “throwing money away.”

One of the targets was “Transversais,” a five-part documentary series about the lives of five transgender people in Brazil.

“Transversais”’ director Emerson Maranhão said at the time that the president was “harming 80 projects” to censor his.

He added: “The first project he called out [during the live stream] was ours, and in such a pejorative and dishonoring way.”

Brazil’s citizenship minister Osmar Terra said that during the funding suspension, the government film agency ANCINE would be restructured in terms of how it allocates funding. 

Reporting via Associated Press

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