World

Russia: Founder of support group for LGBT youth fined for "gay propaganda"

MOSCOW, Russia -- Yelena Klimova, the founder of an online support group for LGBT teenagers, has been fined 50,000 rubles ($780) for violating Russia's controversial law against the "propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations among minors," she announced Friday.

France: Court convicts three over homophobic tweets

PARIS, France -- A French court has handed out convictions for anti-gay hate crimes on Twitter for the first time, after three people used the hashtag “let’s burn the gays.”

In what a major French LGBT rights group called a “significant victory,” three people were convicted in a Paris court this week after they accompanied tweets with hashtags including “let’s burn the gays on..." or "#brûlonslesgayssurdu).”

During the same period in August 2013, “#Lesgaysdoiventdisparaîtrecar,” or “gays must die because...” was also trending.

Five same-sex couples denied marriage certificates in Tijuana

TIJUANA, Baja California, Mexico -- The same-sex marriage dance has now begun in Tijuana, San Diego's sister city south of the border.

Five same-sex couples this week have applied for marriage licenses and have been denied, according to local media. This action was fully expected, since Baja California's Article 143 of the Civil Code prohibits gay marriage.

Mexicali finally allows gay couple to marry, and Tijuana may be next

MEXICALI, Baja California, Mexico -- Victor Fernando Urias Amparo, 37, and Victor Manuel Aguirre Espinoza, 43, came to Mexicali City Hall on Saturday to join hundreds of protesters against ongoing city efforts to prevent them from marrying.

But in an unexpected twist, they ended up in the middle of a hastily planned wedding ceremony in front of jubilant supporters and a crush of media from Mexico and the United States.

Mexicali officials may face criminal charges for refusing to allow gay marriage

MEXICALI, Baja California, Mexico – The mayor of Mexicali and other city and state officials may face criminal charges for refusing the Mexican Supreme Court’s order to marry two gay men, according to news reports.

European Parliament urges Kyrgyzstan to drop anti-LGBTI bill

In a resolution adopted today, the European Parliament calls on Kyrgyzstan to reject a bill which would censor information on LGBTI issues. The draft law would punish the dissemination of information “aimed at forming positive attitudes toward non-traditional sexual relations.”

The Kyrgyz bill closely resembles the Russian anti-propaganda law, but foresees harsher punishments: persons found "guilty" face up to one year imprisonment.

Turkey: TV music channels fined for sexual videos, one showing lesbian kiss

ANKARA, Turkey -- The nation's media watchdog has issued fines to two TV music channels for broadcasting videos that showed sexuality scenes, including one that featured a lesbian kiss.

The conservative nation that straddles Europe and Asia is overwhelmingly Muslim and although secular has shown in recent years to be bowing to pressure from right-wing religious groups.

Thailand: Moving to recognize third gender in new constitution

BANGKOK, Thailand -- The nation's constitution will include the term "third gender" for the first time, a member of a panel drafting a new charter said on Thursday, in a move to empower transgender and gay communities and ensure them fairer legal treatment.

Thailand has a large gay community, but remains largely conservative, although LGBT people play key roles in its entertainment industry.

Thai law does not recognize same-sex unions, which keeps gay couples from taking joint bank loans and medical insurance, besides barring changes to gender categories on national identity papers.

UAE: Filipina, Romanian get added jail term due to lesbian affair

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- A Filipina and a Romanian detained at the Dubai Central Jail in the United Arab Emirates will get added time behind bars after authorities reportedly discovered their lesbian affair.

Fellow prisoners had complained about the behavior of the two inmates, according to a report on UAE news site Gulf News on Wednesday.

The Filipina, 36, and the Romanian, 28, were meted an additional month in jail over their consensual lesbian relationship, the report said. Homosexual relations are illegal in the UAE, which punishes it with jail terms.

UK: "I’m a lesbian spy and MI5 couldn’t be more helpful"

LONDON, England -- A lesbian MI5 officer today told how she is fighting Islamist extremism as the intelligence agency revealed that more than 70 gay men and women are among the spies it employs to protect the country from terrorism.

Anna, a psychology graduate, said she was “delighted” by the way in which she and her gay colleagues had been welcomed to the service.

She works as an intelligence officer assessing the threat posed by supporters of Islamic State and al Qaeda and said that the encouraging atmosphere helped her to better perform her role.