The LGBTQ+ news round-up: 24 April 2016

In the latest edition of The Queerness’ global news round-up Tom Ana shares the most important stories from the last 7 days.

Australian telecoms giant Telstra reaffirmed their support of same-sex marriage following a flip-flop in their stance late last week. The company initially stated they would remove their support for same-sex marriage campaigners following threats of a boycott by conservative religious groups. The decision however sparked outrage among Australia’s pro-equality community, leading to the company this week stating that they would remain in the pro-equality camp.

Also in Australia, national IVF business the City Fertility Clinic this week announced the launch of four fertility clinics specifically aimed at LGBTQ+ families and couples. The company stated that the Rainbow Fertility units would open later this year in New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and South Australia. The clinics will be the first of their kind in the country offering IVF and fertility services specifically for LGBTQ+ couples.

In Queensland, an Australian transgender woman has described how she was repeatedly raped and abused while serving a prison sentence in a male facility. Mary, who served time for auto robbery until earlier this year, claimed she was sexually assaulted over two thousand times during her four-year sentence.

Israeli LGBTQ+ groups have discussed the potential cancellation of a planned pride event following their government’s recent decision to promote LGBTQ+ tourism in the country. According to local activists and campaigners, the government is using the nearly $3 million to pinkwash opinion among foreign groups, and has not made any meaningful commitment to support local LGBTQ+ campaigns. Members of the Israel LGBT Task Force stated that despite attempts to paint Israel as pro-equality, individuals within the community were actually facing increasing discrimination.

Amnesty International’s Turkish division this week launched an online video campaign aimed at tackling anti-gay stigma. The #GayTurtle video, released on Monday, features potential pet buyers reacting to news of a ‘gay turtle’. The video hopes to draw attention to the hateful attitudes many Turkish people hold while promoting more sensitive attitudes.

A court in Kampala, Uganda, has released a former nightclub owner imprisoned in 2015 on anti-gay ‘sodomy’ charges. Chris Mubiru was arrested in 2015 as a suspected homosexual, but contested the decision in an official appeal. Officials at the court stated that there was not enough evidence against Mr. Mubiru to justify the ten-year sentence originally issued and ordered his immediate release.

41 people were arrested in Kuwait following a police raid of a massage parlor in Kuwait City. The group, composing mostly of transgender Asian women and gay man, are believed to have been involved in illegal sex work, including homosexual sex. The identities and nationalities of the individuals arrested are not currently known. In Kuwait homosexuality is illegal, though not often persecuted, while transgender sex workers have previously faced jail time and deportation.

A South African social campaign has launched the first LGBTQ+ business network in the African continent. The Other Foundation, with support from the US National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, this week launched the initiative, which aims to promote LGBTQ+ representation within South African business. The group will also advocate for social inclusion in the business sector, and support LGBTQ+-led start-ups across the region.

UK travel authorities have this week issued guidance that advices LGBTQ+ individuals to take additional care when travelling to the US. The new guidelines were launched in response to a series of discriminatory laws launched in the Southern United States.

A Jerusalem court has convicted an Israeli man of murder for his violent attack against a pride event in 2015. Yishai Schlissel, an orthodox Jew, claimed he was told to target the event by the voice of God. The attack took place in early 2015, leading to the death of a 16-year old, and took place just months after Schlissel was released from prison for a similar attack in 2005.

Follow Tom on Twitter (@tom_ana_)

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