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This Map Shows Where Gay Couples Can Marry Across Latin America: INTERACTIVE

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BY IOAN GRILLO / GlobalPost

Coahuila, a Mexican state near Texas, is the newest place in the region to legalize gay marriage. But there are still some countries that ban homosexuality.

MEXICO CITY — Latin America is a staunchly conservative Catholic region with a deeply entrenched culture of machismo and homophobic attitudes. Right?

Not quite.

After sweeping reforms in the last five years, the region possesses some of the most gay-friendly legislation on the planet.

CoahuilaIn the latest move, lawmakers in the northern Mexican state of Coahuila on Sept. 1 voted to legalize same-sex marriage.

This change in a state known for cowboy hats, cattle farmers and coal mines means gay marriages will be able to be celebrated right up to the Rio Grande.

Like the United States, Mexico's been making these moves locally, rather than federally. But other Latin countries have passed reforms on a national level.

In fact, Latin America is home to three of the more than a dozen nations that have legalized gay marriage worldwide. Same-sex couples can even marry as far south as Argentina — a remarkable feat in the pope’s homeland. The region's reforms are largely passed by leftist governments, but that’s not always the case. Coahuila’s bill was backed by the centrist Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), while leftist stalwarts such as Venezuela are falling behind on gay rights.

There are still some strongholds bucking the trend. Take Belize, where even being homosexual remains illegal. Caribbean islands also maintain a ban, with Jamaica punishing male homosexual acts by seven years' hard labor (but allowing sex between females).

Homophobic violence also persists, even in some countries with progressive legislation.

However, overall the map has transformed markedly in favor of gay and lesbian rights, and it looks set to keep changing. Take a tour:

Map by Alex Leff.


Brazil Presidential Candidate Reverses Support For Same-Sex Marriage - VIDEO

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Marina Silva, who is expected to oust Dilma Rousseff as President of Brazil in an October election, has backtracked on an earlier promise to support same-sex marriage, reports Yahoo! News.

In May, Brazil authorized notaries to begin approving same-sex marriages nationwide.

Silva is an ecologist and evangelical Christian who holds conservative views on abortion and same-sex marriage.  Last Friday, her campaign team published a manifesto that included a direct pledge to “back proposals defending civil marriage.” However, the following day her team sent out a “clarification” removing the word “marriage” and asserting that she will “defend rights relating to civil unions between same-sex couples.”

Blaming an “editorial error,” Silva said the text published was not the text which had been discussed.

According to Telesur, the new version of the text also substitutes the objective of “eliminating obstacles to child adoption for homo-affective couples" with demanding “equal treatment to couples who adopt.”

However, Silva reiterated that she remains “committed to the defense of the lay state, defence of personal freedom and the respect of religious freedom. The lay state is there to defend the interests of all, the interests of those who believe or do not, independent of their social standing or sexual orientation."

Although Rousseff called Silva's government manifesto “adventurous, obscurantist, and backward,” the incumbent previously backtracked on a plan to distribute anti-homophobia kits to schools.

Watch an interview with Silva, AFTER THE JUMP...

 

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'Human Ken Doll' Plans On Releasing Meta-Dolls Of Himself

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Ever heard of Valeria Lukyanova, the Ukranian “Human Barbie Doll?” She has a Brazilian male counterpart who is being touted as “the Human Ken doll” — 20-year-old Celso Santebanes.

After family members told Santebanes that he resembled the Barbie’s plastic boyfriend, he invested over $54,000 on four surgeries to augment his chest, chin, jaw and nose. Now he’s amassing followers on his Instagram and Facebook and reportedly plans on releasing “Celso Dolls” for his fans.

A man who looks like a doll, releasing dolls that look like himself — talk about meta.

He’s also pursuing a modeling career, but has said, “I’m only 90 percent of what I want to be,” adding “I intend to do more surgeries, but do not know what. For now my investment is being in the gym, for Ken is strong and I am skinny.”

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Review: Exuberant Coming-Of-Age Dramedy ‘The Way He Looks’ Charts Blind Teen’s First Love

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BY JOSEPH EHRMAN-DUPRE

Buoyant, clever, sensitive; words can do very little to express the exuberance and authenticity of Daniel Ribeiro’s near-perfect debut feature, The Way He Looks, based on his 2010 short film with the same cast and premise. The film screened this week at NYC's NewFest. A coming-of-age dramedy with a highly original narrative, the movie’s title is provocative for calling into question the ways we “see” the ones we love and just how narrow our worldview may be.

WayHeLooks2At the center of a sun-dappled, pastel-colored Sao Paulo, Brazil is Leonardo (Ghilherme Lobo, right), a teenager who was born blind and bears the brunt of several surly bullies' wrath at his suburban high school. He longs for independence from his overbearing parents “like every teenager” director Ribeiro was quick to point out at the film’s talkback. His only real friend is Giovana (Tess Amorim, below left), a neighbor and classmate; they adore each other and spend every day together. Their routine is interrupted by the arrival of a cute new student, Gabriel (Fabio Audi, below right), who becomes fast friends with the pair. When Gabriel and Leonardo pair up for a school project, though, Giovana quickly becomes jealous, and the two boys grow even closer. 

It’d be a shame to give away too much more, but suffice to say that the film takes unexpected romantic turns while retaining a bubbly and heart-warming sheen. It won the Audience Award at NewFest for good reason. The applause following its screening was deafening.

WayHeLooks3Perhaps the most engaging element of the film is the way it film negotiates Leo’s blindness. We are constantly reminded that Leo cannot see the world around him, or even the people he is closest to in his life. One spooky dream sequence finds him interacting with shadowy black-and-white figures of his classmates, but otherwise the film plays with the idea that sound is Leo’s most prominent sense, and that the people around him are privileged to be able to see. When he and Gabriel go to the movies, the camera lingers on their mouths as he describes what is happening on screen, and the sounds of the cheesy sci-fi film are heightened; at another point, Gabriel and Leo sneak out to “watch” a lunar eclipse, a concept which Gabriel struggles to explain to someone who has never seen one.  Leo’s blindness is, therefore, a prominent plot point, one which heightens the tension surrounding he and Gabriel’s relationship with Giovana and each other.

At the film’s talkback, Ribeiro discussed the different vision of love that he hoped the film could present, one based not on the pretense of physical attraction and visual memory, or on fixed notions of sexual orientation. The Way He Looks is not a coming out film in any sense; the word “gay” is never used, Ribeiro stated proudly. Instead he sees it is a natural experience of romantic interest, that someone should fall in love with a person without the confines of a specific label. In this sense, Ribeiro recognized that his film is an ideal vision, though that does not mean the characters exit the narrative unscathed.

WayHeLooks4The Way He Looks deals frankly with jealousy, bullying, parent-child conflicts, and confusing sexual desires. There are tough scenes, and despite the sunny lensing and cheery outlook, every character has faults. Still, rarely have I left a theater feeling as fulfilled, or as happy to have gotten to know the characters on screen. Perhaps because the film’s love story, constrained by lost sight, is the most original, sensitive, and touching one to come along in quite some time.

Watch the film's trailer as well as the original short film (which *spoiler alert* gives away the whole movie), AFTER THE JUMP...

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NewFest Films: 'Futuro Beach' and 'Gerontophilia'

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Bruce LaBruce's newest provocation is intergenerational romance

BY NATHANIEL ROGERS 

Help, he’s drowning! In good movies so don’t rush to the rescue. Both the opening and closing night films of this week’s satisfying NewFest (July 24th-29th), NYC's annual LGBT film festival in partnership with OutFest, begin with a drowning. Both drownings become romantic catalysts for the lifeguard, but the films couldn’t be more different in tone or purpose so it’s surely a coincidence. NewFest got the order right, opening with the dramatic punch and ending with a sweet drive into the sunset.

In the Brazilian/German film FUTURO BEACH, which opens the annual LGBT film festival tomorrow, two tourists are hit by violent waves. Lifeguards rush in to save them but only one survives. Donato (Wagner Moura) shaken up by losing his first swimmer, seeks out the survivor's friend, a sporty motorbike enthusiast named Konrad (Clemens Schick) to explain the process for dealing with the body. Soon they're angrily rutting, caught up in the disorienting and wrenching drama. Their hookup appears destined to burn bright and die quick due to its emotionally disconnected start and its rapid and frank visual presentation -- English language cinema still lags far behind European cinema in its depictions of sex; the full frontal here is presented as if it’s no big deal.

MORE ON BOTH FILMS AFTER THE JUMP...

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Anti-Discrimination 'Task Force' Needed For 2018 World Cup In Russia

FIFA report into anti-gay chants at the World Cup

Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) has said that a special task force will be needed to deal with homophobia at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, reports DNA India.

Although FIFA President Sepp Blatter and Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff had pledged to use this year’s World Cup as a platform against racism and discrimination, FIFA has awarded the 2018 World Cup to Russia despite the implementation of anti-gay laws in the country.

FIFA has also failed to properly address homophobic and racist chants at World Cup fixtures.

Speaking at FIFA’s daily media briefing, Jeffrey Webb, the organization's vice president and head of the Anti-Discrimination Task Force, said:

"It is obvious there is a disconnect between what we in the Task Force deem as racism and discrimination and what the Disciplinary Committee deems as racism and discrimination."

According to DNA India, a proposed Task Force that trained anti-discrimination officers was not accepted by FIFA. Another official said that although there was not enough time to train anti-discrimination officers for this year’s World Cup, training will start for future events.

Watch a report on the investigation of anti-gay chants by Mexico fans, AFTER THE JUMP...

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