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German 'Milk Technician' Klaus Burkart Crowned 'Mr. Gay World': VIDEO

Burkart
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Klaus Burkart, a 21-year-old "milk technician" from Germany, has been crowned Mr. Gay World 2015 at a competition in South Africa, Gay NZ reports.

2_burkartSaid Burkart, who lists spending time with his family, Game of Thrones, and Mexican food as his favorite things:

"As Mr Gay World I would like to be a role model for young gays all over the world and help them with their coming out and also change young people's opinion of homosexuality. With my very own experience I can say that the coming out is one of the most sensitive parts in the life of young gay people. I would like to lead the world to a point where it is not essential to even have a coming out. At the moment I am planning a campaign to visit schools and talk about how to avoid bullying and gay bashing. It is my dream to share my campaign with delegates and supporters all over the world. I would really like to work together with them to create similar campaigns adapted for their own countries."

Delegates from Iceland, Belgium, Finland, and Hong Kong were also finalists. Check out all the delegates here. The U.S. did not have an entrant.

Watch an interview with Burkart conducted by Matt Fistonich (Mr. Gay New Zealand) on the bus back to Cape Town after Burkart's win, AFTER THE JUMP...

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According to competition rules:

The competition takes place over an intense four days and includes various challenges including ... ... a photo challenge ... a sports challenge ... a fashion show/run way challenge ... a swim suit challenge ... a public speaking and a local outreach challenge where MGW is able to work with a local charity to give back to the community in hosting the competition. The delegate chosen to represent his peers on a global stage will not only have the inner beauty of confidence, self assurance, charisma and natural leadership abilities but he will also take care in his outward beauty. The delegate will treat his body as his temple and will be active and outgoing. He will have impeccable grooming standards and has a thorough understanding of what attire is appropriate for each engagement he is to encounter. During the stage competitions and particularly in the personal interviews, the jury will focus on the delegate who ... 1) ... shows an interest in the world and people around him; 2) ... displays patience, has a compassionate and considerate nature; 3) ... embraces change, or things and people different from his own frame of reference, experience or cultural background; 4) ... can articulate his thoughts and conduct an intelligent conversation; 5) ... has a basic innate charm and sparkle; 6) ... is special, and authentic; 7) ... has poise and is secure with himself, without coming across as arrogant; 8) ... is the ambassador that his nation and local community is proud of; 9) ... can be a diplomat of goodwill; 10) ... has natural leadership skills; 11) ... inspires his peers and people around him; 12) ... is willing to take risks and become something larger than he had imagined; 13) ... is willing to have fun, push his personal comfort zones, and meet many wonderful people around the globe and be part of a very select and special group of men; 14) ... is Mr. Gay World

The competition made headlines last month when Thahir Mohammed Sayyed, the sole entrant from India in the 2015 Mr. Gay World competition, dropped out and went into hiding, citing threats to his religious family.

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Hipster Group Drives Around Cape Town Assaulting Men With Top-Knot Hairstyles: VIDEO

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Nicholas Smal and Gareth Allison of the South African comedy group Derick Watts & The Sunday Blue took everyones’ hatred of top-knot hairstyles too far when they posted an unfunny video to YouTube, called Stop The Knot, of the two driving around Cape Town and snipping off unsuspecting mens’ top knots. The two collect the severed top knots in a jar labeled #stoptheknot as a ploy to spread the message on social media to stop the annoying hair trend. According to info they posted on their Facebook page, the group is known for viral video hits The Car Guard Song and The Movember Song.

Despite how some may feel about the annoying hair trend, the two undeniably violate the personal boundaries of their victims. You can watch the neckbearded, tacky handlebar mustache duo’s video, moreso to help the victims identify the buffoons who did this to them, AFTER THE JUMP

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Arson Suspected in Latest Setback for Gay-Friendly Mosque: VIDEO

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On Friday night in Cape Town, South Africa's first gay-friendly mosque suffered fire damage due to a suspected arson attack.

Speaking with AFP, mosque founder Dr. Taj Hargey said video surveillance shows unidentified people making recon trips to the mosque in the hours before the fire. Hargey called the effort a "deliberate attack" noting the use of petrol and oil. But he remained steadfast, saying:

"They [the arsonists] cannot shut us down, they can try whatever they want...They have tried verbal intimidation, threats and now arson, this should be the last...Our opponents should know that they don't have a copyright on Islam."

As referenced in the above quote, this is the latest in a series of hardships faced by South Africa's first gay-friendly mosque. It has drawn denouncements from Muslim groups, and even death threats directed at Hargey.

In the last couple weeks, there was speculation that the City Council of Cape Town might close the fledgling mosque, but Hargey tells the AFP the complaints have been dealt with.

Hargey's mosque, which he emphasizes as open to the public (above) breaks from tradition in several ways. The mosque allows women to lead prayers, and as aforementioned, it is gay-friendly.

Hargey is an academic and founder of Oxford University's Muslim Educational Centre.He has given controversial statements in the past, notably in the Daily Mail, where he argued for a 'burka ban' in the UK and spoke against processed halal meats.

Watch a video from AFP on the Mosque's opening, AFTER THE JUMP...

[image via Rodger Bosch for AFP]

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Shrien Dewani, Bisexual British Multimillionaire, Stands Trial For Murdering Wife: VIDEO

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The trial of Shrien Dewani, a multimillion dollar businessman from Bristol accused of hiring hitmen to kill his wife, began today with Dewani pleading his innocence. In 2010 while on her honeymoon in Cape Town, South Africa, Dewani’s wife Anni (née Hindocha) was kidnapped and subsequently murdered.

Zola Tongo, Mziwamadoda Qwabe, and Xolile Mngeni, would eventually come forward and admit the roles they played in Anni’s death, but also revealed that they were hired by Dewani to kill the woman for R15,000. While the three men were all sentenced to prison sentences of various lengths for Anni’s death Dewani, still an English citizen, evaded South African authorities and fought attempts to extradite him back to the country.

Though an attempt to extradite Dewani was put on hold in 2012, the British High Court sided with the South African prosecution earlier this year and successfully sent Dewani to my tried for his wife’s murder. According to Tongo Dewan, a closeted bisexual man, hired the men to kill his wife in a desperate attempt to end his arranged marriage without compromising his public image.

“My sexual interactions with females were usually during the course of a relationship which consisted of other activities and emotional attachment,” Dewani’s legal defense explained on his behalf in a prepared statement.  “I consider myself to be bisexual. My sexual interactions with males were mostly physical experiences or email chats with people I met online or in clubs, including prostitutes such as Leopold Leisser.”

Leisser, according to the prosecution, was said to have had conversations with Dewani in which he explains how he was looking for a way to get out of his marriage despite his new wife being a lovely woman. The trial will reconvene on Wednesday.

Watch coverage of Shrien Dewani's murder trial AFTER THE JUMP... 

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United Nations Human Rights Council Approves LGBT Rights Resolution: READ

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Earlier today the United Nations Human Rights Commission approved 25-14 a resolution opposing anti-LGBT violence and discrimination, The Washington Blade reports:

VoteThe U.S., along with Argentina, Austria, Chile, Costa Rica, Cuba, Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Montenegro, Peru, Philippines, South Korea, South Africa, Macedonia, the U.K., Venezuela and Vietnam voted for the proposal. Algeria, Botswana, Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Gabon, Indonesia, Kenya, Kuwait, Maldives, Morocco, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates opposed it.

Burkina Faso, China, Congo, India, Kazakhstan, Namibia and Sierra Leone abstained.

The U.N. Human Rights Council before the final vote rejected seven proposed amendments put forth by Egypt, Uganda, Pakistan, South Sudan and other countries that sought to strip LGBT-specific language from the proposal

Said U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power:

I am very pleased that the United Nations Human Rights Council adopted a resolution today to combat discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) persons. This is only the second time in its history the Human Rights Council has adopted a resolution on LGBT rights, and the first time it has done so with a majority of its members. This resolution mandates a much-needed UN report that will investigate and bring to the world’s attention the violence and discrimination faced by individuals around the world simply because of their sexual orientation and gender identity.

Read the resolution, AFTER THE JUMP...

Buzzfeed adds that much attention was paid to South Africa's vote - due to recent concerns that the country might slowly be turning away from its pro-LGBT status in the region. The country ultimately voted for the resolution, but LGBT activists close to the negotiations said it worked to water down the resolution before the vote. 

MintyIn remarks delivered following the vote, South African Ambassador Abdul Samad Minty [pictured] made clear he felt squeezed by its historic commitment to LGBT rights — it was the first country in the world to protect LGBT rights in its constitution — and a desire to preserve relationships with other African countries that have recently enacted severe anti-LGBT laws like Uganda and Nigeria.

“South Africa believes that no person should fear for their safety or be deprived of their dignity because of their sexual orientation or gender identity,” Minty said, but blasted “divisive” steps taken by some donor nations to “use development aid to shift policies and laws in some countries,” an apparent reference to adjustments made by the United States and some European countries in contributions to Uganda following enactment of its Anti-Homosexuality Act earlier this year.

[vote count photo via Twitter]

Continue reading "United Nations Human Rights Council Approves LGBT Rights Resolution: READ" »


South Africa LGBT-Friendly Mosque May Close Down Barely A Week After Opening - VIDEO

Open Mosque South Africa to close down

South Africa’s first gay-friendly mosque could be shut down barely a week after it opened because it has violated municipal by-laws by not having any parking spaces, reports AFK Insider.

According to Taj Hargey, the director of the “forward thinking” organization Muslim Educational Centre of Oxford and Imam of the university’s Islamic Congregation, the Open Mosque in Wynberg, a Cape Town suburb - which opened last Friday - welcomes all genders, religions and sexual orientations. The mosque also allows women to lead prayers.

Taj hargeyHargey said that he has received many positive responses to the mosque but confirmed that he has also received “a lot of death threats.”

The Muslim Judicial Council, an umbrella organization of the South African Islamic clergy, condemned the mosque, stating that Hargey’s establishment cannot be considered a true mosque given that it does not adhere to both the Qur'aan and the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad.

However, Hargey told the BBC that although his “autonomous and independent” mosque has been targeted by the City Council using “ridiculous bylaws,” he “will not be threatened by them or anyone else.”

Protesting outside the mosque, Imam Bilal Ghorieb said that his argument against the mosque is personal and "not part of the religion['s] understanding, my understanding, a selfish understanding."

Elsabeth Muirhead said that, as a Unitarian, she went to the opening to support the mosque's message of "tolerance, interfaith dialog and equality with women."

Watch a report on the opening of the Open mosque, AFTER THE JUMP...

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