AZERBAIJAN. Police “hunting” LGBTQ individuals through the internet, and then arresting them: ‘Report says, the number of detained and fined persons is at least 8-9 people. They were also referred to forcible medical examination. However, the reason for the detention is unknown at present. The detainees were later taken to Binagadi District Police Department, the report said. ‘
ISRAEL. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with LGBTQ activists for first time in a decade, won’t commit to equal rights laws: “In a rare meeting with activists at his residence in Jerusalem, the prime minister said opposition from religious and ultra-Orthodox parties blocked him from meeting their demands. But he pledged that should he form the next government after Tuesday’s elections, the education portfolio would remain with his Likud party, which was committed to advancing the LGBT community.”
POLAND. Gay artist wants to change Poland, starting with one village: ‘But Mr. Rycharski said that, despite the positive reviews, he felt lonely. His art’s focus on religion and the countryside means that he is unfashionable in liberal art circles. The fact that he is gay — and that much of his art is about his sexuality — means he does not sit well with Poland’s conservatives either. “Sometimes, I think the only place for me is this village,” Mr. Rycharski said.’
RUSSIA. Prisoner authorities defend yoga against claims by religious scholars that it turns prisoners gay: “Yoga classes were suspended last month after a conservative lawmaker forwarded to prosecutors a theologian’s complaint that yoga could cause prisoners to become gay and start prison riots as a result, according to reports. The classes were first introduced in a Moscow pre-trial detention center for women and the famous Butyrka jail last year.”
BULGARIA. Right-wing politicians seek to halt LGBTQ photography exhibit: ‘Plovdiv, one of the 2019 European capitals of culture, has become embroiled in a homophobia scandal as local officials attempt to remove the head of the organising committee over a photographic exhibition featuring LGBT themes. Officials in the Bulgarian city, which is co-hosting the 2019 edition of the European capital of culture with Matera in Italy, said a “Balkan Pride” photo exhibition due to open in July should be stopped. “We don’t want them to do it. And we will stop them, using all legal and, if required, illegal means,” said Alexander Sidi, an MP from the nationalist VMRO party.’
SPAIN. Catholic Church defends bishop accused of running gay conversion therapy sessions: ‘The regional government of Madrid said on Tuesday it was investigating whether the diocese of Alcala de Henares had broken anti-homophobia laws after online newspaper El Diario reported a journalist posing as a gay man trying to change his sexuality attended a counselling session provided by the diocese. The newspaper said the diocese has allegedly been running “illegal courses” to “cure” homosexuality since 2009 when Juan Antonio Reig Pla, who has a long history of speaking out against homosexuality, became its bishop.’
VATICAN CITY. LGBT group meets with Vatican to discuss decriminalization of homosexuality: “Approximately 50 international representatives traveled to Rome to share with the Pope their preliminary research on human rights violations in the Caribbean, where the groups did research on LGBT rights in 10 jurisdictions. The group was met by the Vatican’s secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, who said he would pass on the information to Pope Francis, according to the Vatican’s spokesman.
SRI LANKA. Novelist arrested for gay Buddhism story: “A Sri Lankan novelist has been arrested for writing about homosexuality in the Buddhist clergy and charged with violating international human rights law, officials said Tuesday, outraging free speech advocates. Shakthika Sathkumara, 33, was arrested in the north-central town of Polgahawela on Monday and remanded in custody for nine days after monks complained about his writing. The short story contained indirect references to homosexuality among the clergy, who hold considerable sway in the Buddhist-majority nation of 21 million.”
TAIWAN. How it became the most LGBT-friendly country in Asia? (VIDEO) “As far as Asian countries go, Taiwan is not very big. It is home to about 23 million people, compared to 127 million in Japan, and, you know, 1.4 billion in China. Even so, every autumn Taiwan hosts the largest gay pride parade in Asia. This year, more than 130,000 people showed up to march. The reason such a small country hosts such a large parade is that Taiwan has become the most LGBT-friendly country in Asia. Last year, for example, its highest court declared that same-sex marriage would be legal within two years, a first in the region.”
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