International News – 7/5/19


Thousands join gay pride parades around the world

Thousands of people turned out for gay pride celebrations around the world June 29, including a boisterous party in the Mexican capital.

Rainbow flags and umbrellas swayed and music pounded as the march along Paseo de la Reforma got underway, with couples, families and activists seeking to raise visibility for sexual diversity in a country still plagued by macho attitudes.

Same-sex civil unions have been legal in Mexico City since 2007, and gay marriage since 2009. A handful of Mexican states have also legalized same-sex unions, which are supposed to be recognized nationwide.

Pride participants said Mexico has a long way to go in becoming a more tolerant and accepting place for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals.

“There’s a lot of machismo, a lot of ignorance still,” said Monica Nochebuena, who identifies as bisexual.

Nochebuena attended the Mexico City march for the first time with her mother and sister on Saturday, wearing a shirt that said: “My mama already knows.” Her mother’s shirt read: “My daughter already told me.”

Nochebuena, 28, said she views the Pride display as a way to educate others so that “they don’t see us as a threat because we prefer other things.”

Human rights activist Jose Luis Gutierrez, 43, said the march is about visibility, and rights, especially for Mexico’s vulnerable transgender population. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights said that poverty, exclusion and violence reduce life expectancy for transwomen in the Americas to 35 years.

Other LGBTQ celebrations took place from India to Europe.

In the North Macedonian capital of Skopje, U.S. Charge d’Affaires Micaela Schweitzer-Bluhm attended.

Activists say Istanbul Pride banned by Turkish authorities

Activists in Istanbul say Turkish authorities have banned a pride march for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex rights for the fifth year.

In a statement June 30, the volunteer group organizing Istanbul Pride said the governor’s office banned the march in central Taksim district as well as a square designated for demonstrations west of the city.

Amnesty International called on Turkey this week to lift the “arbitrary ban.” It said authorities rejected all suggested locations in the city by deeming the LGBTQ community “societally objectionable.”

Up to 100,000 people gathered for the Pride march in Istanbul in 2014, but police have blocked such marches since.

Activists said they would continue voicing their demands.

Pakistan’s police arrest father for killing transgender son

Pakistani police have arrested a man for murdering his own transgender son, in the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Officer Azmat Khan said June 30 that the father, Aurangzeb Akbar, had given the police written assurance that he wouldn’t harm his son, when returning him home.

Police say the transgender Aftab Aurangzeb, 19, also known as Maya, had been staying with friends in Peshawar, the provincial capital.

Khan said Maya’s friends were worried that the family would harm the son, so they involved the police when Maya was brought home, asking for written assurance.

Maya’s bullet-riddled body was found June 29 night at a river bank in his home town of Nowshera.

In Pakistan’s conservative society, transgender persons can be subjected to abuse and sometimes so-called “honor killings” by their families.

Prince William said he’d be ‘absolutely fine” with gay child

Britain’s Prince William said it would be “absolutely fine” if one of his children came out as gay though he’d worry about how the public would respond.

William made the comment on June 25 while visiting a London nonprofit group that works with young LGBT people who are homeless or living in hostile environments.

A participant in a group discussion at the Albert Kennedy Trust asked him, “If your child one day in the future said, `Oh I’m gay, oh I’m lesbian’ whatever, how would you react?”

William replied that it would be “obviously absolutely fine by me.”

The father of three said: “It worries me not because of them being gay. It worries me as to how everyone else will react and perceive it, and then the pressure is then on them.” n


Reporting via Associated Press