News briefs from around the world in the past week.

 

Nepal's Sexual Minorities Parade to Demand Rights

(AP) Hundreds of LGBT people paraded through Nepal's capital Sunday to demand that rights for sexual minorities be included in the country's new constitution that is being finalized.

The colorful rally in downtown Kathmandu - an annual affair - drew about 500 participants.

"Our main demand is that the rights of the sexual minorities should be guaranteed in the new constitution," said Pinky Gurung of the Blue Diamond Society, a gay rights group in Nepal.

They are also demanding same-sex marriage be guaranteed in the new constitution, permitting gay and lesbian couples the right to adopt, buy joint property, open joint bank accounts and inherit from one another.

Nepal this year issued passports under the category "others" for those who do not want to be identified as male or female.

These people who identify themselves as "third gender" have also been issued citizenship certificates by the Nepalese government. But the community is saying only a few have been issued and it is still difficult to get them from government offices.

The parade has been held annually for the past few years on Gaijatra, a Hindu festival to remember the dead.

The much-delayed constitution draft is being finalized by members of the Constituent Assembly, but political parties are still unable to agree on the number and border of the proposed federal states.

SD Legislator Wants Inspections of Trans HS Athletes Genitals

(EDGE) ThinkProgress reported that South Dakota legislator Roger Hunt has proposed legislation "that could require examination of a transgender athlete's genitals before competing in high school sports. Hunt has stated that he believes gender begins at conception and that only birth certificates and visual inspections should be used to determine a student's gender identity."

"This is South Dakota," Hunt told the Rapid City Journal. "We haven't adopted the East Coast culture. We haven't adopted the West Coast culture. We maintain our own culture."

A controversy arose over how to determine a student's gender. Last year the South Dakota High School Activities Association board of directors enacted policy that allow students to decide which gender they want to call themselves. This would determine which gender group they would compete with.

But Hunt and other legislators have taken issue with that policy.

"The proposal from Rep. Roger Hunt, R-Brandon," reported the Rapid City Journal, "would rely on official birth certificates and visual inspections for determining gender rather than allowing people to decide and declare their gender on their own."

"He said gender is determined at conception and the transgender debate is riding the gay marriage wave."

"The current policy,' ThinkProgress noted, "requires that parents notify the school of their child's gender identity and the school collects information from the family, such as parents, friends and teachers, that the student's gender identity is different than what is listed on their birth certificate or school registration records and receives written verification from a health care professional who can attest to the child's consistent gender identification and expression."

Mormons Keep Ties with Boy Scouts despite Gay Leaders

(AP) The Mormon Church - the nation's largest sponsor of Boy Scout units - is keeping its longtime affiliation with the organization despite its decision to allow gay troop leaders.

Church leaders decided to stay with the Boy Scouts after getting assurances they can appoint troop leaders according to their own religious and moral values, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said in a news release Wednesday.

The church "will appoint Scout leaders and volunteers who uphold and exemplify church doctrine, values, and standards," Mormon leaders said in the statement.

The decision comes as something of a surprise. Mormon leaders had said they were deeply troubled after the Boy Scouts announced on July 28 that it would lift its ban on gay adult leaders, while allowing church-sponsored Scout units to continue excluding gay adults.

The church said it will continue evaluating and is open to alternatives to the Boy Scouts. With more than half of the religion's 15 million members living outside the United States, there has long been speculation the Salt Lake City-based religion will create its own scouting-type program.

The Boy Scouts of America said it appreciates the decision, noting that the organization is successful because of affiliations with groups like the Mormon Church.

"The BSA affirms, and will defend, the right of all religious chartered organizations to select their Scout leaders in accordance with their religious beliefs," the Boy Scouts said in a statement.

Ashley Madison Looked to Hook Up with Grindr

(EDGE) Forbes reported that the adultery-enabling site, Ashley Madison, looked to buy the gay-hook-up site Grindr earlier this year. If it had, imagine the fracas the hacker data dump would have had on the gay male community?

"Amongst the masses of emails dumped by The Impact Team, a group of hackers who have made a mockery of Ashley Madison's digital [defenses] this month, are a handful of conversations showing it was considering a purchase of Grindr, a dating application for gay, bisexual and bi-curious men, which many see as a quick and easy tool for initiating coitus," Forbes reported on Thursday.

While the relationship between Avid Life Media, which owns Ashley Madison, and Grindr stretches back three years, it was earlier this year when Ashley Madison founder Noel Biderman and "major Avid Life Media shareholders considered making an offer for a significant stake in the company."

That was at the time when Grindr, which was founded in 2009 by Joel Simkhai with $5,000, was looking for a buyer, according to Bloomberg Business. At first, Forbes reports in its analysis of leaked emails, Biderman was reluctant to buying Grindr, but made inquiries into the company's financial status. Apparently they were impressed. 

For its part, Grindr estimated its revenue for 2015 would rise to $38.1 million with EBITDA of $16.5 million. It also claimed to have 324,000 paying subscribers this year.

Read the Forbes story to find out the further machinations between the companies. In the end, though, "it appears Biderman and his cohorts considered the acquisition too costly. In light of recent events, it's unlikely they will be making any deals in the near future whatsoever," Forbes concluded.

Los Angeles will Host 2016 NGLCC Conference

(NGLCC) During the closing session of the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce 2015 conference, the NGLCC announced Los Angeles as the host city for their 2016 International Business & Leadership Conference. The event will take place August 23-26 at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza.

American Airlines will be a presenting sponsor for their fourth year, and will be joined next year by Bristol-Myers Squibb and Southern California Edison to present the LGBT business development. The 2016 conference is expects more than 1000 LGBT and allied entrepreneurs, business owners, corporate representatives, and LGBT chamber leaders from across the country and around the globe.

We must continue to push for economic opportunities to help our community to thrive. We look forward to bringing together over 1,000 attendees to our 2016 conference and keeping the momentum of success moving forward," said NGLCC co-founder and President Justin Nelson.

LGBT Christian Conference Explores “What’s Next?”

(GCN) Evangelical conservatives and progressive Christians will meet at the Gay Christian Network (GCN) Conference, next January in Houston, TX. Experts and laypeople from various theological, social, and racial backgrounds will gather to ask the question, “What’s next for LGBT people and the Church?”

Christians continue to be strongly divided on LGBT issues, but there are LGBT people in every denomination, including those with the most anti-LGBT reputations,” said GCN executive director Justin Lee. “The GCN Conference is a unique opportunity for families, church leaders, and individuals on all sides of this debate to listen to and get to know one another. This is where we learn to love each other in spite of our disagreements and work together for a better world for everyone. In our polarized climate, there’s nothing else like it.”

More than 15,000 Christians are expected to attend the four day conference. Organizers say that through workshops and keynote presentations, attendees are as likely to discuss ways to biblically strengthen their same-sex marriages as they are to learn about ways to live out celibacy, tackle homophobia in their church, provide support to their LGBT children, or live a fulfilling faith life as a transgender Christian. Singer/song-writer and out lesbian, Mary Lambert is also scheduled to perform.

For more information visit gcnconf.com and follow @GCNconf.

DNC Passes Resolution Celebrating Marriage Equality

(DNC) The Democratic National Committee passed a resolution celebrating marriage equality at its Summer Meeting in Minneapolis.  This is in stark contrast to the resolution passed at the Republican National Committee’s Summer Meeting supporting a so-called “First Amendment Defense Act” that would discriminate against LGBT people and single mothers. 

According to a report in the Washington Blade (http://bit.ly/1hrVB5B ) “The DNC committee approved the resolution two days after four Republican presidential candidates — Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum and neurosurgeon Ben Carson — signed a National Organization for Marriage pledge that, among other things, indicates their support of efforts to overturn the Obergefell ruling.”


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