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Germany to introduce a third option for gender

Starting Nov. 1, birth certificates in Germany have the option “blank,” as well as “male” or “female.” Germany is the first country in Europe to do so.

Parents who use the “blank” option will allow for their offspring, such as those born with characteristics of both genders, to decide their gender identity in later life, or to opt out of the gender binary all together.

Dr. Philipp Spauschus, spokesman for the Federal Ministry of the Interior, said the change “makes it clear that, if a gender is not entered in the birth entry, it is not absolutely certain.”

Barilla to make ‘inclusive’ ads

Barilla, the Italian pasta company that came under fire after its chairman said he would “never feature an ad with a gay family,” now plans to do just that.

Barilla Chairman Guido Barilla, 55, came under fire in September after he said, “I would never make a spot with a homosexual family. Not out of a lack of respect but because I don’t see it like they do. [My idea of] family is a classic family where the woman has a fundamental role.”

Many organizations called for a boycott of the 130-year-old brand.

The chairman has since held at least eight meetings with LGBT organizations in the United States and Italy.

“Italy is a very insular country, and in cities like Parma it’s even more so,” Luca Virginio said on behalf of Barilla. “We are already working on a new advertising concept that will be much more open and much more inclusive.”

The company plans to introduce a gay American activist to its board.

Attack on LGBT meeting in Russia

Antigay attackers invaded a private meeting in St. Petersburg, Russia, Nov. 3. The incident took place at the offices of LaSky, an HIV and STD information and treatment clinic that serves LGBT people.

Two masked men entered the center claiming to be looking for a friend, and then one opened fire while the other brandished a baseball bat, injuring two of the LGBT and ally youth who were at the Rainbow Coffee Party, according to LaSky.

One man was transported to the hospital with “a bullet stuck in his eye” and doctors did not expect to be able to save the eye. The second victim was a young woman, who was injured by the baseball bat.

“Today’s attack is a result of escalation of homophobic climate in the city,” said Valery Sozaev, LaSky’s project manager. “Those who foster the feelings of hatred on the ground of sexual orientation or gender identity including politicians and religious leaders must be accounted for it.”

About 30 people were at the meeting.

Police came to the LaSky office to investigate the assault but left immediately, saying they saw no evidence of a crime.

Just one day before the attack at LaSky, activists took to the streets of St. Petersburg for the ninth annual March Against Hatred, an officially sanctioned rally that called for an end to discrimination, intolerance and xenophobia in Russia.

— compiled by Larry Nichols

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