Greece names first openly gay minister – sex and relationships

Athens, Greece (AP) — The heart-proper authorities in Greece named the nation’s first openly gay minister in a cupboard reshuffle Monday. Nicholas Yatromanolakis, 44, was named as the brand new deputy minister of tradition after being promoted from the place of basic secretary on the ministry. The authorities retained its ministers of well being and finance and most different key positions within the reshuffle.

Greece is reeling from the impression of the pandemic that brought about a spike in deaths within the fall and is anticipated to have brought about a ten.5% contraction of its gross home product in 2020.

Despite the difficulties, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis left most key cupboard positions unchanged, retaining Christos Staikouras as finance minister and Vasilis Kilikias as well being minister.

Vaccinations have been expanded from 9 to 50 hospitals nationwide Monday.

(This story has been printed from a wire company feed with out modifications to the textual content.)

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Lithuania set to legalise gay civil partnerships next year, says LGBT+ lawmaker – sex and relationships

Lithuania appears to be like set to legalise identical-sex civil partnerships next yr, however gay marriage may very well be up to a decade away, in accordance to the nation’s solely overtly LGBT+ lawmaker – elected this yr after showing on the marketing campaign path in full drag.

The Baltic nation’s structure says marriage can solely be between a person and a lady, and Tomas Raskevicius mentioned a constitutional modification permitting identical-sex marriage would battle to acquire sufficient assist within the next few years.

He is assured, nonetheless, that registered partnerships for identical-sex {couples} will turn into regulation earlier than the next parliamentary election due in 2024.

“We’re going to submit the bill in the spring session in March,” Raskevicius, 31, who represents the newly established Freedom Party, informed the Thomson Reuters Foundation in a telephone interview.

The invoice’s introduction inside the present parliamentary time period was a situation of the opposition Liberal Party for becoming a member of the ruling coalition.

“There are some members of the (majority Homeland Union party) who have already declared they are not going to vote for it, so we’re going to look for some additional votes from the opposition, but I think we should be fine,” Raskevicius mentioned.

A European Union member since 2004, Lithuania stays a largely socially conservative nation, with nearly three-quarters of its 2.8 million individuals figuring out as Roman Catholic.

Although gay sex was legalised in 1993, in frequent with many different former Soviet nations, LGBT+ persons are nonetheless unable to undertake youngsters and a regulation stopping the dialogue of homosexuality with minors stays on the statute books.

The “Protection of Minors” regulation is being thought of by the European Court of Human Rights, however Raskevicius mentioned it was his “principal position … to get that legislation lifted” earlier than the courtroom offers a ruling.

Workplace discrimination on the premise of sexuality was outlawed in 2003, however a 2014 European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights report discovered 71% of LGBT+ Lithuanians really feel uncomfortable being open about their sexuality or gender id.

“We get into this vicious circle because LGBT people don’t have the chance to come out and then society doesn’t have the chance to meet them in real life, and then they hold certain negative stereotypes about this community,” Raskevicius mentioned.

Full Drag

Lithuania’s first overtly gay MP was Rokas Zilinskas, who died in 2017, however Raskevicius was the primary to declare his sexuality earlier than getting into parliament.

As the nation’s solely overtly LGBT+ lawmaker, Raskevicius – who donned drag as he canvassed assist for October’s election to problem “stereotypes about LGBT people” – recognises the necessity to be a task mannequin.

But he stays a reluctant one.

“I’m just a normal guy who had a dream about being equal in this country and this dream has brought me to places I would have never imagined,” he mentioned, from the capital, Vilnius.

After graduating from Vilnius University in 2011 and Budapest’s Central European University a yr later, Raskevicius, who now serves as chairman of parliament’s human rights committee, labored for a variety of human rights NGOs.

Not in his “wildest dreams” did he ever think about turning into a member of parliament, he mentioned.

“(It) feels great, it feels empowering,” he added.

“But now I also feel a big responsibility because people gave me their trust and the mandate to fulfil their promises, and now I really have to work very hard to make this happen.”

(This story has been printed from a wire company feed with out modifications to the textual content.)

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Retired doctor launches new legal bid to end Singapore’s gay sex ban – sex and relationships

A retired doctor has filed a contemporary legal problem to drive the Singaporean authorities to both totally implement or introduce laws to scrap a colonial-period legislation that may jail males for participating in gay sex.

Tan Seng Kee, 62, a outstanding LGBT+ advocate higher often known as Roy Tan, launched his legal bid in Singapore’s High Court this week to goal a bit of the nation’s penal code – often known as Section 377A – that criminalizes gay sex.

“It’s a recourse that every citizen has when adversely affected by the administration of the law by the government,” Tan mentioned on Friday.

“Once the administration of law is inconsistent due to a policy or action of the government, we can have recourse at the High Court or Court of Appeal to force the government to undo their action or policy,” he instructed the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Section 377A can imprison males for participating in gay sex for up to two years, though prosecutions are uncommon within the fashionable however socially conservative metropolis-state.

Singapore has a vibrant LGBT+ scene and final 12 months Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong mentioned that whereas LGBT persons are welcome to work within the nation, Section 377A would stay “for some time”, in accordance to media experiences.

Singapore’s ministry of dwelling affairs didn’t reply to requests for a remark.

Tan was a part of an identical problem that centered on constitutional rights and was rejected by the High Court in March however is now with the Court of Appeal.

The petitions in Singapore had been launched after India scrapped an identical legislation in 2018.

Across Asia, socially conservative attitudes prevail with Myanmar, Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei banning sexual relationships between males, and Indonesia seeing a rise in raids concentrating on LGBT+ individuals lately.

The argument of inconsistencies in Singaporean legislation that’s getting used within the newest legal motion had not often been used earlier than, mentioned Tan.

“There are two ways they can do this: the first way is to make 377A enforceable again but that would be unthinkable because it would mean every gay man who had sex in private would have to be hauled up to the police,” he mentioned.

“The best option would be to get rid of Section 377A completely and that in one fell swoop would eliminate all these inconsistencies, which is what I’m aiming for,” added Tan, who helped organise Singapore’s first Pink Dot gay delight rally.

The newest High Court bid is predicted to be heard in 10 months however shall be scrapped if the constitutional problem case is a hit on the Court of Appeal first, mentioned Tan.

M. Ravi, a human rights lawyer representing Tan in his High Court bid, mentioned not reporting or imposing elements of the penal code – both by residents or police – was “problematic”.

“(The government) have already acknowledged that 377A should not be proactively enforced because it is deemed discriminatory,” he mentioned.

“We know that they cannot go back. The only way is to repeal 377A completely.”

(This story has been revealed from a wire company feed with out modifications to the textual content.)

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Shinjuku Ni-chome: Battered but unbowed by coronavirus, Tokyo’s gay district forges stronger ties – sex and relationships

When Toshitsune Tamashiro was younger and closeted in Nineteen Eighties Japan, Tokyo’s Shinjuku Ni-chome gay district was a haven. Now he runs a bar there, and has fought to maintain the district going in the course of the coronavirus pandemic. Ni-chome, believed essentially the most dense focus of gay bars globally, fulfills a significant position for Japan’s LGBT neighborhood in a nation the place some gay males nonetheless marry girls, and even just a few Ni-chome bar homeowners haven’t come out to their households. In April, beneath Japan’s state of emergency, it grew to become a ghost city. Landlords slashed rents, bars crowdfunded to remain afloat, and enterprise leaders petitioned the native authorities desperately for assist.

“We want to protect our shops, we want to protect our community. We want to protect our town,” mentioned Tamashiro, whose roughly 10-seat bar “Base” is typical of a lot of Ni-chome’s tiny institutions. Closed for a number of months, he bought “reserve” bottles to clients for further earnings. Others peddled t-shirts or held on-line “dance parties,” ready for presidency subsidies to return by.

Unlike Japan’s different leisure districts, Ni-chome, with 400 bars packed into an area of a number of blocks, has at all times emphasised neighborhood. Many cater to area of interest teams, have solely a handful of seats, and are staffed by one proprietor, whose loyal clients – usually closeted – have come for many years. “You feel safe there, and there’s almost always somebody you know,” mentioned Kye Koh, of RainbowEvents. “Plus it’s where we LGBT make the rules; straights who come here have to obey.”

Low overheads helped many muscle by the worst months, together with lease cuts, usually 30 % and typically extra. “If we didn’t do this, places were going to fail one after another and Ni-chome as a gay town might change or disappear,” mentioned realtor Takamitsu Futamura, who negotiated lease cuts for greater than 200 properties.

Yuta, who runs the favored Eagle Tokyo Blue and different bars – and prefers not giving his surname as a result of he isn’t out to his complete household – mentioned June earnings plunged 95 pct from 2019. Six months later, although, the story is a bit completely different.

Only a handful of companies failed but had been changed by new tenants, occasions are held stay once more, and most clients are used handy sanitiser, masks and social distance. Officials don’t have information on Ni-chome coronavirus instances, but bar homeowners have heard of a dozen or so. Futamura mentioned possibly 30 to 40 institutions had been linked to instances, in the summertime.

Yuta mentioned earnings are again to 65 pct from a 12 months in the past, but issues stay robust and coronavirus instances are once more spiking in Japan. He doesn’t plan to obey the newest Tokyo coronavirus guideline to shorten hours for 3 weeks. “Customers are falling again,” he added. “I hope for a vaccine soon, and inbound tourism picking up.”

Tamashiro says his enterprise is again to about 70 pct of what it was but some clients, cautious of being caught up involved tracing that would reveal their LGBT standing and out them, are staying away. But he, and others, imagine Ni-chome itself is stronger than ever, with ties strengthened by the previous months’ struggles.

“When the owners had to shut down business, they got together and talked about how to make Ni-chome better,” mentioned Futamura. “So I think there have been pluses: the growth of a sense of unity. The sense that we’ll all get through this together.”

(This story has been printed from a wire company feed with out modifications to the textual content. Only the headline has been modified.)

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