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Ghana LGBTQ+ activists see church blessings as distant luxury

Ghana LGBTQ+ activists see church blessings as distant luxury

IN a country where religious leaders openly condemn homosexuality and gay sex is punishable with jail time, Ghanaian couple Kay and Naa Shika fear more for their lives and safety than whether a church will bless their same-sex union. They have lived together for eight months, hiding their relationship by pretending to be sisters, even as they face gossip that risks spilling into hostility due to suspicions about their sexual orientation. "We are not safe," said 27-year-old Kay, a lesbian woman who spoke to Reuters in the capital Accra on condition that she and her partner's real names were not…
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South Korean court upholds ban on gay sex within armed forces

South Korean court upholds ban on gay sex within armed forces

SOUTH Korea's constitutional court narrowly upheld a law banning same-sex relations within the armed forces, citing a possible risk to the military's combat readiness in a ruling criticised by activists as a setback for gay rights. Under the country's military criminal act, members of the armed forces face up to two years in prison for same-sex relationships. The law has been referred to the court and upheld by it four times since 2002. In Thursday's five-to-four ruling, the court said allowing same-sex relations could undermine discipline within the military and harm its combat capabilities. Rights groups have been urging the…
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From trans rights to the Olympics: 10 LGBT+ issues in 2021

From trans rights to the Olympics: 10 LGBT+ issues in 2021

FROM the United States to Japan, the list of countries mulling legislation that impacts LGBT+ rights in 2021 is lengthy, encompassing issues from gay sex to so-called conversion therapy to same-sex marriage. Conversion therapy will be a major theme in 2021 with potential national bans being considered in Britain, Israel and Mexico. Gay sex is still illegal in 69 U.N. member states, according to LGBT+ rights group ILGA World, but advocates hope countries such as Kenya and Singapore will follow the lead of Bhutan and Gabon last year in decriminalising same-sex relations. LGBT+ advocates also hope that U.S. president-elect Joe Biden will overturn a ban on new transgender military personnel,…
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U.N. urges respect for LGBT+ Ugandans ahead of polls

U.N. urges respect for LGBT+ Ugandans ahead of polls

NITA BHALLA THE  United Nations has called for LGBT+ Ugandans to be treated with respect and dignity, following homophobic remarks by some politicians, including the president, ahead of today’s polls. Sexual minorities face widespread persecution in Uganda, where gay sex is punishable by life imprisonment, and LGBT+ rights groups fear politicians exploiting anti-gay sentiment to win votes could stoke fresh attacks on the community. Winnie Byanyima, head of UNAIDS, the U.N. agency for HIV and AIDS, said the vilification of LGBT+ people could worsen violence and discrimination and reduce their access to HIV/AIDS treatment. "Using offensive language that describes LGBT…
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Botswana appeals ruling allowing gay sex, court delays judgment

Botswana appeals ruling allowing gay sex, court delays judgment

BOTSWANA judges have postponed ruling on a case in which the government is seeking to overturn a 2019 ruling that decriminalised gay sex, saying the matter needed more research and debate. The case was initially brought by a university student, Letsweletse Motshidiemang, whose representatives argued then that the government should do away with the law in light of a changed society where homosexuality was more widely accepted. Gay sex has been punishable by up to seven years in prison. Representing the state, Sydney Pilane told the Court of Appeal there was no evidence that people's attitudes had changed. "People don't…
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Namibia to scrap colonial-era gay sex ban

Namibia to scrap colonial-era gay sex ban

KIM HARRISBERG NAMIBIA could soon scrap a colonial-era law that criminalises gay sex between men, the justice minister said on Friday, calling the legislation "outdated and discriminatory". The law is rarely enforced in the Southern African country and is among several dozen laws that the government will consider abolishing following recommendations by a reform commission. "The LGBTQI community are human beings and we must not allow them being excluded from the bouquet of rights enunciated in our constitution," Justice Minister Yvonne Dausab told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. "This sodomy law is outdated and discriminatory ... All Namibians should enjoy life,…
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