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Toronto to host World Pride 2014

The city of Toronto has been chosen to host World Pride in 2014.

Announced at the annual InterPride Conference Oct. 18 in St. Petersburg, Fla., this will be the fourth scheduled World Pride since the event’s inception in Rome in 2000.

“This triumph for Pride Toronto will not only be beneficial to the community, but will also have a greatly positive outcome for Toronto, for Ontario and, in some ways, for all of Canada,” said Tracey Sandilands, executive director of Toronto Pride. “Of course, the most obvious impact this event will have is on the economy.”

Last October, it was announced Pride London had won the right to hold World Pride in the summer of 2012, just ahead of the London Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Activists oppose death for gays

Seventeen human-rights groups have called for proposed new laws on homosexuality in Uganda to be rescinded immediately.

Recently, Ndorwa West MP David Bahati, of the ruling party, tabled a bill in parliament to create a new crime of “aggravated homosexuality.”

According to the bill, those convicted of having gay sex with disabled people and those under the 18 would face the death penalty.

Gay and human-rights groups have expressed concern over the bill, titled the Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2009.

“Certain provisions in this bill are illegal; they are also immoral,” said Kate Sheill, Amnesty International’s expert on sexual rights. “They criminalize a sector of society for being who they are, when what the government should be doing instead is protecting them from discrimination and abuse.”

The bill also imposes life imprisonment on those who have homosexual sex and widens the definition of the offense. Other tenets of the bill include promoting homosexuality, aiding and abetting homosexuality and keeping a house “for purposes of homosexuality.”

Couple sues after gay cruise booking

A heterosexual Italian couple is suing a cruise line after they were placed on a gay cruise holiday.

The unnamed middle-aged couple said they were not told that the holiday was aimed at same-sex couples.

They used Grimaldi Lines to book their three-day holiday from Civitavecchia, Italy, to Barcelona, Spain, but were surprised to see hordes of media as they arrived to board. They assumed someone famous was onboard but soon realized they were the only straight couple on the ship, which was hosting the world’s first gay cruise for 1,500 couples.

The hetero couple’s lawyer, Antonio Francesconi, said they were embarrassed to spot people they knew but did not know were gay.

They are seeking $4,580 in compensation but were awaiting the cruise company’s response.

The couple is denying claims of homophobia.

Half of gay, bi students self-harm

A study of gay and bisexual teenagers in New Zealand has suggested that half of them have deliberately harmed themselves in the past year.

The research, carried out by the University of Auckland, also found that around a third of respondents had thought seriously about attempting suicide.

The report also shows that gay and bisexual teens have higher rates of alcohol and drug use, STIs and ill mental health than their heterosexual counterparts.

However, there was good news in reports of better friendships and a decrease in smoking rates since a similar survey from 2000.

“The improvements are wonderful; however, it’s very clear that the rates of bullying and isolation that same-sex-attracted youth reported have real and serious consequences for these young people,” said Nathan Brown, a spokesperson for youth at the New Zealand AIDS Foundation. “By addressing the issues affecting same-sex-attracted young people, schools will improve learning outcomes for all students by teaching how to succeed in a diverse society.”

Reggae star meets with gays

Buju Banton, the Jamaican reggae artist who has been criticized for his antigay lyrics, has met with gay groups to hear their concerns.

Banton’s notorious 1988 hit, “Boom Bye Bye,” calls for the burning, shooting in the head and pouring acid over the faces of gay people. Banton claims he has not performed the song live for years, but video footage shows him singing it at a concert in 2006.

In the last few months, gay-rights activists have been working to derail his U.S. tour, and promoters concerned about adverse publicity have canceled several gigs.

On Oct. 12, the singer met with four activists in San Francisco before a planned concert. They asked him to donate to Jamaican gay group JFLAG and hold a town meeting in Kingston to speak out about gay rights.

Banton rejected the requests.

The meeting was arranged by San Francisco supervisor Bevan Dufty and included gay-rights activists Rebecca Rolfe, Andrea Shorter and Michael Petrelis.

Muslim soccer team booted

A Muslim football team that initially refused to play a gay team and then appeared to back down has been kicked out of its league.

Bebel, a team from the Parisian suburb of Creteil, was excluded from the Leisure Football Commission for making discriminatory comments and refusing a match, the commission’s Web site announced Oct. 14.

After calling off a match the night before it was due to be played, the Muslim team was accused of homophobia by gay team Paris Foot Gay. Bebel then said it was a misunderstanding.

“We had rejected playing this match not on the grounds of homophobia, as we have been accused of doing, but simply because the name of the club did not seem to us to reflect our vision of sport,” Bebel director Zahir Belgharbi said.

Larry Nichols can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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