International News: September 2014

UK Ballroom Dance Council Seeks to Ban Gay Couples from Competition

Same-sex ballroom dancers the Sugar DandiesThe British Dance Council is considering a proposal that would ban same-sex couples from mainstream competitions, instead creating same-sex-only categories, The Guardian reported.  The proposed rule would recognize partnerships as “one man and one lady…unless otherwise stated.”

The council’s president says that so far he’s heard more support for the change than opposition. If the proposal were enacted, it would prevent the current leaders in the over-35 pre-championship category, John Church and Alex Lewall, from defending the title.

LGBTI Homeless Shelter Planned in Poland

Poland’s LGBTI support group, Lambda Association, is seeking funding for a shelter for marginalized young LGBTI people under a European Economic Area and Norway Grants program which would house 250 at risk people and provide them with free meals, help finding work, and access to social workers, Gay Star News reported. The start up costs for the project is estimated to be €85,000, roughly $120,000.  Lambda Association hopes that the shelter – which will be in Warsaw – will be largely funded grants from Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

Honduran GLBT Activists Fight for Their Lives

According the Washington Blade, anti-LGBT violence in the impoverished Central American country has skyrocketed since a coup toppled then-President Manuel Zelaya in June 2009. Nelson Arambú of the Diversity Movement in Resistance told the Blade that 176 GLBT Hondurans have been reported killed between the 2009 coup and May of this year.

Conversely, 20 GLBT Hondurans were reported murdered between 1994 and 2009. Arambú also said that at least three Honduran GLBT rights advocates have received death threats or have been threatened at gunpoint since 2011.

Kids Raised by Same-sex Couples Happier, Healthier

o-GAY-PARENTS-facebookA new study conducted by the University of Melbourne in Australia finds that children of same-sex parents enjoy better levels of physical health and wellbeing than their peers from traditional families.

Described as the largest study of its kind in the world, researchers surveyed 315 same-sex parents and 500 children, and found that children of same-sex partnerships scored, on average, 6 percent better children from traditional families on health categories like “emotional behavior and family cohesion.”

American Quakers Offer Safe Passage for GLBT Ugandans

A group of American Quakers is offering a way out for desperate Ugandans fleeing the country’s new Anti-Homosexuality Act. The Olympia, Washington-based group calls its project the Friends New Underground Railroad (FNUR) because it follows in the footsteps of the Quakers who helped bring slaves out of the American South, Buzzfeed reported.

The group works with about 10 Ugandan “conductors” while reporting that they have funded passage out of the country for 107 people with grants in the range of $52 to $185. The refugees travel in small groups using back roads to make their way to safe houses in neighboring GLBT-friendly countries.

FNUR says at least 12 people have continued on to other countries like South Africa and Sweden with unconfirmed reports that about 30 have reached Europe.

By Rachel Roth

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