If Andres Duque at Blabbeando is correct, then Mexico just bested the United States in the race to lift an archaic and homophobic ban on gay men and men who have sex with men from donating much-needed plasma:
A little noticed Mexican health norm first approved in August and then published in the country's regulatory Official Federation Diary on October 26th has gone into effect today essentially doing away with a two-decade ban on blood donations from gay and bisexual men....
The old norm (NOM 003-SSA2) explicitly banned gay and bisexual men from donating blood based on their "practices" and their "increased probability of acquiring HIV or hepatitis infection".
The new norm (NOM 253) eliminates specific bans on gay and bisexual men and instead bans blood donations from people with HIV or hepatitis and their partners and people who engage in "risky sexual practices" regardless of their sexual identity.
First striking down a ban on marriage equality and now this? Mexico's really coming into its own on LGBT inclusion.
As Maryland plans to celebrate its first same-sex nuptials following November's big marriage win, trolley company Discover Annapolis tours has announced it's getting out of the wedding business because it doesn't want to allow gay couples to marry on their route.
Well, announce is a strong word: rather, as the Baltimore Sun reports, Discover Annapolis owner Matt Grubbs (pictured, polishing his pole) wrote to a potential client, a straight man, Chris Belkot, that his company is Christian and therefore won't participate in Maryland's inclusive laws.
"We're a Christian-owned business, and we are not able to lend support to gay marriages," Grubbs wrote. "And as a public accommodation, we cannot discriminate between gay or straight couples, so we had to stop doing all wedding transportation."
Grubbs then urged Belkot write to his representatives to "request they amend the new marriage law to allow an exemption for religious conviction for the layperson in the pews." Grubbs also described marriage equality as "repressive bigoty."
He went on, "The law exempts my minister from doing same-sex weddings, and the Knights of Columbus don't have to rent out their hall for a gay wedding reception, but somehow my religious convictions don't count for anything."
Shocked and appalled by Grubbs' comments, Belkot wrote back, "It is your right to run your business any way you see fit, but let's be honest here, you drive a trolley up and down a street. Not exactly God's work."
Grubbs had no other comment other than that his discriminatory decision is costing his business $50,000.
David Kuria made history this year by becoming the first openly gay political candidate in Kenya. Unfortunately, financial constraints, particularly pricey security, led him to end his campaign. But that doesn't mean it didn't still make a huge impact.
In an interview with The Guardian on his ill-fated run for public office, Kuria reflects on how Kenyans are starting to understand and accept gay people, largely because of people like him who are brave enough to come out of the closet.
I had seen changes in the way our people in the villages view gay people. For many people, gay people and gay rights are perceived though mediated interpretation of politicians and religious leaders. For the first time it was possible to talk with the people, answer their questions as well as point out the nexus areas of different forms of marginalization, including poverty and other challenges that affect them, too.
Later in the interview, Kuria noted that while it's tempting to view Kenya as entirely homophobic and agreed that many Kenyans still think being gay is "unAfrican," he says things are changing for the better, and will continue to do so...
"I think the narrative of Kenya being a homophobic society is taken out of context. True, many people do not approve of same-sex relationships, but that is because of the stereotypes they have been made to believe in," he said. "Again [the idea that being gay is "unAfrican"] is one of those stories that have been told over and over again that it has come to be seen as true. But there are also very few public LGBT voices – these need to increase for the narrative to be debunked."
First there was Bishop Mark Davies and his unimaginative comparisons of Hitler and LGBT advocates; and now we have Archbishop of Westminster Vincent Nichols, who has been using his Christmas greetings to claim that Prime Minister David Cameron's plan to include same-sex couples in marriage laws is a "shambles."
Nichols first laid the groundwork in his Christmas sermon, praising "the love of husband and wife, which is creative of new human life," and declaring, "Sometimes sexual expression can be without the public bond of the faithfulness of marriage and its ordering to new life."
"Even governments mistakenly promote such patterns of sexual intimacy as objectively to be approved and even encouraged among the young," he said.
Later, in an interview with the BBC, Nichols took his argument to the next level, saying that the plan, "from a democratic point of view," is a "shambles."
"There was no announcement in any party manifesto, no Green Paper, no statement in the Queen's Speech. And yet here we are on the verge of primary legislation," he said.
"From a democratic point-of-view, it's a shambles. George Orwell would be proud of that maneuver, I think the process is shambolic."
Well, on that note, and with regard to both Nichols and Davies' comments, a quote from Orwel himself, "As with the Christian religion, the worst advertisement for Socialism is its adherents."