International News - 11/1/19

International News - 11/1/19

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Colombia’s capital city elects first gay female mayor

Colombia’s capital city has elected its first lesbian mayor.

Claudia Lopez won the race for mayor of Bogota on a platform promising to combat corruption and advance equal rights for minority communities.

The Alianza Verde candidate captured over 1.1 million votes, or about 35 percent of the vote, defeating runner-up Carlos Galan by 2.7 percent.

With her victory, Lopez becomes the first openly lesbian mayor of a capital city in Latin America, a region slowly advancing in improving LGBT rights but where long-standing cultural biases and inequality remain barriers.

“This is the day of the woman,” she said to a jubilant crowd. “We knew that only by uniting could we win. We did that. We united, we won, and we made history!”

She vowed to continue uniting Colombians across the political spectrum and work to improve daily life issues like public transportation.

Many in the LGBT community praised Lopez’s victory as an essential step forward in a country where gay and lesbians still confront harassment.


Record 200,000 people march in Taipei LGBT pride parade

A record-breaking 200,000 people marched through Taipei Oct. 26 in a vivid and exciting annual lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) pride parade, calling for the public to embrace the LGBT community, especially now that same-sex marriage is legal in Taiwan.

The marchers brandished rainbow flags and sported flamboyant costumes as the 17th Taiwan LGBT Pride Parade, one of the largest in Asia, was launched from Taipei City Hall Plaza to Ketagalan Boulevard in front of the Presidential Office.

Organizers said the number of people attending the march had exceeded 200,000, setting a record that was first held in 2003 and attracted only a few hundred participants.

Among the marchers were personnel from several foreign representative offices in Taiwan, including the United States, Australia, the European Union, the United Kingdom, France and Belgium.

Joyce Teng, deputy coordinator of the Marriage Equality Coalition Taiwan and one of the organizers of the parade, told CNA that the theme of this year’s parade “Together, Make Taiwan Better” called for the public to understand and accept LGBT people, as more and more people have come out of the closet following the legalization of same-sex marriage in Taiwan in May.

“LGBT people might be your neighbors or someone that interacts with you on a daily basis, so we are calling for a more tolerant and understanding Taiwan,” she said.

At the parade this year, many couples say Taiwan’s legalization of same-sex marriage has made their lives with their partners easier.


Ugandan police detain 16 men over suspected homosexuality 

A Ugandan gay rights organization say 16 men have been detained by police on suspicion of homosexuality and human trafficking.

Diane Bakuraira of Sexual Minorities Uganda said Oct. 24 that the arrests took place in a neighborhood just outside the capital, Kampala, on Oct. 21 as the men were being hosted by another rights group.

A police officer confirmed the arrests and said the men were detained following a “complaint from the public.”

Activists said attacks against LGBT people are increasing amid efforts by Uganda’s ethics minister to introduce a bill that would punish gay sex with death. The government spokesman denies such a plan exists.

Uganda’s penal code punishes gay sex with up to life in prison.


Thousands celebrate the 30th Johannesburg Pride parade

Thousands of revelers packed the streets on Oct. 26 to celebrate the 30th annual Johannesburg Pride parade in South Africa’s economic capital.     

They marched through the Sandton business district, dancing and singing. “We exist,” one sign said. “It’s not a phase,” a T-shirt read.

South Africa was the first African country and the fifth in the world to legalize same-sex marriage and allow adoption by same-sex couples. The country’s constitution explicitly protects the rights of LGBT people.  

Reporting via Associated Press

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