International News: October 4, 2019


Polish police stop protesters who disrupt gay pride parade


Police in Poland used force and pepper spray on far-right protesters trying to disrupt an LGBT parade.

The trouble occurred Sept. 28 during the Equality March in the eastern city of Lublin. It comes as Poland’s gay rights movement has become more vocal, prompting a backlash by social conservatives in the mostly Roman Catholic country.

Police detained some protesters who tried to block the march.

It is the second time that a gay rights parade has taken place in Lublin.

Only a handful of parades took place each year in Poland until activists last year began organizing them even in small conservative towns, with a record number this year.

The ruling Law and Justice party depicts the LGBT movement as a threat to Polish traditions.



Same-sex couple from Japan to get married in Guam


A same-sex couple from Japan is planning their wedding in Guam, the first U.S. territory to recognize same-sex marriage, officials said.

Tsuyoshi Kumagai and Robert Francis Yocum have been in a relationship for 20 years and planned to have their wedding on Sept. 24.

This is believed to be the first same-sex couple from Japan to get married on Guam, said Sumie Kuba, president and general manager for Micronesia Assistance Inc. Same-sex marriage is not recognized in Japan, Kuba said.

Lt. Gov. Josh Tenorio, the first openly gay lieutenant governor in the nation, is expected to officiate, officials said.

“I feel that strength in legal LGBT wedding on Guam is that the couple can legally marry within a four-day stay, and the marriage certificate can be issued … (and they can) bring it back home,” Kuba said.

Guam’s attraction as a wedding destination for members of the LGBTQ communities in the region is growing, Kuba said.

Since recognizing same-sex marriage four years ago, Guam has seen 362 marriages between June 2015 and March this year, officials said.



Beirut Pride: Organizers say clerics forced cancellation of opening concert


The opening concert of Beirut Pride has been canceled because of pressure from religious institutions and threats of violence, organizers said.

Clerics complained to the Lebanese authorities, linking the festival to “the promotion of same-sex marriage and associating it with debauchery and immorality,” a statement said.

The opening evening will now be suspended until further notice.

Last year, some events were canceled after an organizer was arrested.

Lebanon is seen as more tolerant than most other Arab countries, but lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people say they still face harassment and have no rights.

This year’s nine-day Beirut Pride had been scheduled to begin on Sept. 28 night with a free concert at the Palace, a venue in the center of the capital.

But on Sept. 25 night, organizers announced that they had been forced to cancel the concert after the Palace’s management was contacted by security services and “and multiple parties issued statements, threatening with violence against the theatre and against the participants.”

It came after Lebanon’s former chief mufti, Mohammed Rashid Qabbani, accused the organizers of violating “good morals”.

There was also a separate call to boycott Beirut Pride backed by several LGBT activists and members of the community. A document posted online accused the founder of the festival of failing to be transparent and inclusive, and questioned his dealings with the authorities.

LGBT people have faced prosecution in the past for violating Lebanon’s penal code, which punishes “any sexual intercourse contrary to the order of nature” with up to one year in prison. 


Reporting via Associated Press