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World news links: Jan. 25

Tel Aviv named world’s ‘Best Gay City,’ British spy agency MI5 named most gay-friendly UK employer, and an Italian bishop calls for recognizing same-sex couples



Some of the following international LGBT stories are making waves overseas:

  • American Airlines — a company with a history of strong support for the LGBT community — has named Tel Aviv the world’s ‘Best Gay City,’ over New York City, Tortono, Sao Paulo, Madrid, London, New Orleans, and Mexico City. The airlines described it as “the gay capital of the Middle East, exotic and welcoming, with a Mediterranean c’est la vie attitude” (ThinkProgress)
  • Meanwhile, Stonewall, the British counterpart of the Human Rights Campaign, has named UK’s domestic spy agency MI5 the most gay-friendly employer in the kingdom. Just a few decades ago being found to be gay would have been cause for removal from intelligence jobs in most countries (HuffPo).
  • LGBT activists in Malta have launched an educational campaign pushing for tolerance and support in the popular Mediterranean island nation (Times of Malta).
  • Paolo Urso, Catholic bishop of the Sicilian city of Ragusa has called for the civil recognition of same-sex couples (ThinkProgress).

Last week LGBT protesters gathered in ‘Red Square’ in Moscow to call for an end to the local bans on “gay propaganda” in Russian municipalities:

The Russian video description can be translated as follows:

“January 20, 2012 in Red Square detained gay activists, Piggy, Stepashka, Phil and Karkusha. Participants of the rally called for an end to bans gay propaganda in Russia and wished good night to the kids at Red Square in Moscow detained activists of Moscow Pride, Nikolai Alekseev, Alexey Kiselev and Cyril Nepomniachtchi, published in an unauthorized rally by the authorities, “Good night, mylyshi!”, Dated the second anniversary of the decision of the Constitutional Court on the constitutionality of the laws of the Ryazan region of Russia to ban propaganda of homosexuality to minors. Activists took to the Red Square at midnight under a chiming clock on the Kremlin’s Spassky Tower, when all the children in Russia need to sleep. They were holding characters in popular children’s TV program “Good night, kids!” Piggy, Stepashka, Fil and Karkushu with bright icons of Moscow Pride. Participants of the rally also carried signs “Give a gay pride parade in Red Square,” “propaganda of homosexuality is not possible. Prohibit the promotion of homophobia and the deputy feeble mind.” Earlier, the Moscow authorities have banned a gay activist shares in Pushkin Square, with reference to the position of the federal law that public events can not be conducted between 23 pm and 7 am. Organisers have promised to appeal the ban by the Constitutional Court of Russia. GayRussia.Ru”

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Victory Fund honors Maine House speaker at D.C. conference

Ryan Fecteau is gay Catholic University alum



Maine House Speaker Ryan Fecteau accepts the Tammy Baldwin Breakthrough Award at the Victory Fund International LGBTQ Leaders Conference in D.C. on Dec. 4, 2021. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

The Victory Fund on Saturday honored Maine House Speaker Ryan Fecteau on the last day of its International LGBTQ Leaders Conference in D.C.

Fecteau — an openly gay Catholic University of America alum — won a seat in the Maine House of Representatives in 2014. He became the chamber’s speaker in 2018.

“Hate and intolerance will not derail us,” said Fecteau after Florida state Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith presented him with the Tammy Baldwin Breakthrough Award, which is named after U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.). “Our community will not be intimidated.”

The Victory Fund on Friday honored Guatemalan Congressman Aldo Dávila, a gay man who is living with HIV.

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Victory Fund honors gay Guatemalan congressman at D.C. conference

Aldo Dávila a vocal critic of country’s government



Guatemalan Congressman Aldo Dávila speaks at the 2021 International LGBTQ Leaders Conference after he received the Global Trailblazer Award. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

The Victory Fund on Friday honored an openly gay Guatemalan congressman who has faced death threats because of his efforts to fight corruption in his country.

Dávila — a member of the Winaq movement, a leftist party founded by Rigoberta Menchú, an indigenous human rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner — in 2019 became the first openly gay man elected to Guatemala’s congress. Dávila, who also lives with HIV, had previously been the executive director of Asociación Gente Positiva, a Guatemala City-based HIV/AIDS service organization.

Supporters of President Alejandro Giammattei have lodged several formal complaints against Dávila after he publicly criticized the government over corruption, its response to the pandemic and other issues.

Three men on April 19 approached Dávila’s vehicle near Guatemala’s National Library and tried to rob him. One of Dávila’s bodyguards shot one of the men, but the two other assailants fled the scene before police officers and passersby arrived.

Dávila told the Washington Blade in September during an interview at a Guatemala City hotel that he and his partner installed cameras in their apartment after someone killed their dog.

Two female police officers who arrived at the hotel with Dávila sat in the lobby while he spoke with the Blade. The government a few weeks later reduced his security detail.

“Guatemala is living through the worst democratic crisis in the last 40 years,” said Dávila after he accepted the Victory Fund’s Global Trailblazer Award at its 2021 International LGBTQ Leaders Conference that is taking place in-person at the JW Marriott in downtown D.C. “Guatemala right now is being paralyzed by corruption and impunity and my voice is uncomfortable because of this.”

Dávila became emotional at the end of his remarks.

“I will keep fighting for our rights,” he said.

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Comings & Goings

Nathanson takes role at Outright Action



Rikki Nathanson

The Comings & Goings column is about sharing the professional successes of our community. We want to recognize those landing new jobs, new clients for their business, joining boards of organizations and other achievements. Please share your successes with us at: [email protected] 

The Comings & Goings column also invites LGBTQ+ college students to share their successes with us. If you have been elected to a student government position, gotten an exciting internship, or are graduating and beginning your career with a great job, let us know so we can share your success. 

Congratulations to Rikki Nathanson on her new position as Senior Advisor – Global Trans Program with OutRight Action International in New York. Nathanson will be based in D.C.  

 “I am absolutely thrilled to be taking on this new role as Senior Advisor in OutRight’s Global Trans Program,” said Nathanson. “I have finally found the perfect fit for me: as a trans woman who has been fighting for equality not only for myself, but for others globally, this position is not only a job, it’s intrinsically part of who I am. So, what better way to live, nurture and grow myself.” 

Nathanson will be working closely with all program staff to ensure a cohesive and intentional approach to gender issues throughout OutRight’s programs, including its approach to gender ideology movements. She will lead new initiatives on gender advocacy and policy change, focused but not limited to legal gender recognition and anti-discrimination legislation and policies.

Prior to this Nathanson was director of housing programs at Casa Ruby in D.C. She has also held a number of other positions including: founder/executive director of Trans Research, Education, Advocacy & Training (TREAT), Zimbabwe; chairperson Southern Africa Trans Forum, SATF, Cape Town, South Africa; executive director, Ricochet Modeling Agency, Zimbabwe; and company secretary for Dunlop Zimbabwe Limited, Zimbabwe. 

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