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LGBTQI News Roundup – 17th June 2022

US white supremacists arrested at Idaho gay pride event

Police in the US state of Idaho have arrested 31 members of a white supremacist group and charged them with plotting to riot at a gay pride event. Police say they were tipped off by a local resident in the city of Coeur d’Alene, who had spotted the men with masks and shields getting into a truck. The truck was stopped near where the North Idaho Pride Alliance was holding the Coeur d’Alene Pride in the Park event.

The vehicle was soon stopped, and the men – members of the Patriot Front group – were arrested. “They came to riot downtown,” Coeur d’Alene Police Chief Lee White said. He added that riot gear and a smoke grenade were found in the vehicle.  The arrested men in the north-western US state have so far made no public comments. Photos and videos have emerged on social media showing the accused in masks kneeling on the grass with their hands tied behind their backs.

The police revealed that they were alerted by the local resident, who called them to say that it “looked like a little army” was loading up into the truck. The arrested members of Patriot Front are from 11 different US states – and only one of them from Idaho, police said. Patriot Front was formed in 2017 after the deadly Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. The group’s manifesto calls for the formation of a white ethnostate in the US, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups.


Australian paper denies outing actress Rebel Wilson amid a storm of criticism

An Australian newspaper has denied outing actress Rebel Wilson amid a storm of criticism over its reporting of her new relationship with a woman. On Friday, Wilson said she had found her “Disney princess” as she shared a selfie with her partner on Instagram. But on Saturday the Sydney Morning Herald revealed it had known about the relationship before it was public and had given Wilson two days to comment.

The Herald denied pressuring Wilson, saying it had “simply asked questions”. In response to a Twitter post saying it wasn’t Wilson’s choice to come out, the 42-year-old Australian actress, who is known for roles in Bridesmaids and Pitch Perfect among others, said it was a “very hard situation but trying to handle it with grace”.  But the paper has faced criticism on social media, with LGBTQ+ campaigners saying it was unacceptable to put pressure on people to come out.


German ex-football star says Qatar’s treatment of gay people is unacceptable

The treatment of gay people in World Cup host Qatar has been described as “absolutely unacceptable” by German football official Oliver Bierhoff. Mr Bierhoff told German newspapers he was unhappy that homosexuality was still illegal in the Gulf state.

The former German football star also questioned the criteria used in selecting Qatar to host the tournament. Fifa has said all LGBTQ+ symbols will be allowed in stadiums during the event, which begins in November. But Qatari authorities have appealed for outsiders to respect their “conservative” culture. Homosexuality is illegal in Qatar and human rights organisation Amnesty International has said women and LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersex, queer or questioning) people “continue to face discrimination in law and practice”. 

Qatar has been heavily criticised over the country’s human rights record, including the treatment of migrant workers building stadiums for the competition. Mr Bierhoff, the technical director of the German football team and a World Cup runner-up in 2002, said Qatar’s position on gay rights “does not correspond in any way to my convictions”.




New Zealand school criticised for ‘discriminatory’ marriage belief

A Christian college in New Zealand is under fire for asking parents to acknowledge a belief that marriage is between a man and a woman – something one LGBTQIA+ advocate has labelled “discriminatory”. But Tauranga’s Bethlehem College says the statement is not intended to tell anyone what they are required to believe but to “transparently explain what we believe”.

The school has a Statement of Belief and Statement of Special Character which is signed by parents enrolling students. The Statement of Belief contains 13 items a student’s parent or caregiver must read and tick the box beside “confirming you acknowledge that these statements summarise key beliefs of the Christian Education Trust, and underpin the School’s Special Character”.

It says all students and their families are expected to “demonstrate a commitment to the School’s Special Character” and has dotted lines for two parents or caregivers to sign the document. 

The last point in the Statement of Belief is: “Marriage is an institution created by God in which one man and one woman enter into an exclusive relationship intended for life, and that marriage is the only form of partnership approved by God for sexual relations”.

But Tauranga pride advocate Gordy Lockhart said this point was “discriminatory” and against the Marriage Amendment Act which enabled couples to marry regardless of their gender or sexual orientation.  “It’s totally inappropriate in 2022.”

He said it was easier for people to come out these days but “it’s still a frightening and very brave thing for kids to do”.¬†Lockhart said that for someone navigating how they might view themselves in the world on the LGBTQIA+ scale, the school’s black-and-white approach to sexual orientation was concerning.


Saudi authorities seize rainbow toys for ‘promoting’ homosexuality



 



Authorities in Saudi Arabia have been seizing rainbow-coloured toys and children’s clothing, which they claim encourage homosexuality, state TV says. An Al-Ekhbariya report showed commerce ministry officials removing a range of items from shops in the capital Riyadh.

They included hair clips, pop-its, t-shirts, hats and pencil cases.

One official said the items “contradict the Islamic faith and public morals, and promote homosexual colours targeting the younger generation”.

The commerce ministry tweeted separately that its teams were confiscating “products that contain symbols and signs calling for deviation and contradicting common sense”. 

Shops found to be selling them would face legal penalties, it added. 

In December, authorities in neighbouring Qatar announced that they had confiscated rainbow-coloured pop-its and other toys from shops for “bearing slogans that go against Islamic values”.

Although Sunni Muslim-ruled Saudi Arabia has no laws regarding sexual orientation or gender identity, sexual relations outside marriage, including homosexual sex, are strictly prohibited.

Under the country’s interpretation of Islamic law, consensual same-sex sexual conduct is punishable by death or flogging, depending on the perceived seriousness of the case.

It is also illegal for men to “behave like women” or to wear women’s clothes, and vice versa, and for anyone to carry out online activity impinging on “public order, religious values, public morals, and privacy”.

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