by Rex Wockner -
SGN Contributing Writer
Open Gays elected to Irish Dáil
Two Gay men made history by being elected to Ireland's lower house of Parliament, Dáil Éireann, on February 25.
Dominic Hannigan will represent Meath East, a parliamentary constituency in the northeast of the nation, for the Labour Party.
And John Lyons will represent the constituency of Dublin North West for Labour.
Hannigan currently is a member of the Seanad Éireann, or Senate. Members of that body are not directly elected, and its powers are weaker than those of the Dáil.
Hannigan will have to give up that seat, to which he was appointed in 2007 by fellow politicians.
Ireland's only other openly Gay member of Parliament - current or past - also is a senator. Since 1987, David Norris has represented voters who are graduates of the University of Dublin.
Mozambique LGBT group still unregistered
Mozambique's only LGBT group, Lambda, said March 1 that it has been waiting three years for the government to complete its official registration.
The group, also known as the Mozambican Association for the Defense of Sexual Minorities, submitted its documents to the registry office in January 2008.
The registrar responded that the group's existence 'offends current morality,' and forwarded the forms to the Justice Ministry for review.
In early 2009, Justice Minister Benvinda Levi suggested a rewrite of one article of the group's statutes, which the group agreed to.
In early 2010, Lambda met with the deputy justice minister. He said there was no legal impediment to registration and suggested the group submit a recounting of facts and law to the ministry, which it did.
Nothing has happened since then, which Lambda says amounts to a violation of its constitutional right to freedom of association.
Honduras special unit to investigate anti-LGBT hate crimes
Honduras is creating an investigative unit and task force to tackle hate crimes against LGBTI people, women, youth and journalists.
The government ministers of human rights and public security will be directly involved in the undertaking, which will utilize 150 researchers.
Officials estimate that Honduras has seen 200 anti-LGBTI killings in the past five years.
In January, the U.S. Embassy in Tegucigalpa urged the Honduran government to 'vigorously investigate' five murders of LGBT people that took place since December 18.
The embassy expressed 'great concern' about the killings and said 'the protection of Honduran law extends to all citizens regardless of sexual orientation.'
The government must 'take all necessary steps to protect LGBT persons, who are among the most vulnerable to violence and abuse in Honduras,' the U.S. officials said.
Belarus LGBTs hope to march in May
Gay activists in Minsk, Belarus, applied to the city government March 4 for permission to hold a 'March of Equality' on May 17, the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia.
Last year, the city's Executive Committee banned a Gay pride march and, when activists ignored the ban, several of them were aggressively arrested for taking part in an unsanctioned public action.
Moscow Pride founder Nikolai Alekseev, who joined that march, said police were 'brutal and violent.'
This year, the organizers' application expanded the scope of the proposed march to include several other minority groups in hopes of improving the odds of getting city approval and reducing hostility from anti-Gay protesters.
The march, if approved, will wrap up four days of 'Festival of Equality' events that include a film screening, a photo exhibition and other activities.
Report: Int'l AIDS Conference shortchanges at-risk populations
A new report charges that the biennial International AIDS Conference, the premier gathering for people working in the HIV field, shortchanges groups most likely to become infected with HIV, including Gay men, Transgender people, sex workers, and drug users.
An 'audit' of conference programming, conducted by the Global Forum on MSM & HIV, analyzed last year's gathering in Vienna and found that the percentage of sessions exclusively focused on such groups was 2.6 percent for men who have sex with men (MSM), 1.1 percent for Transgender people, 3 percent for sex workers, and 4.5 percent for drug users.
'While the International AIDS Society turns a blind eye, HIV rates among these populations continue to climb around the world,' said the forum's executive officer, Dr. George Ayala. 'The IAC is the world's most important opportunity for international exchange and collaboration on HIV and AIDS. Such abysmal representation of most-at-risk groups only serves to reinforce the invisibility, discrimination and disregard that drive the epidemic among these communities.'
The report recommends that conference organizers ensure a transparent process for reviewing abstracts and designing programming, increase their support of authors developing abstracts focused on key populations, and broaden representation on the committees that develop conference programming.
'It is incumbent upon the organizers to ensure that the IAC becomes a vehicle for change, shifting the global landscape so that funding, research and programs are directed to those who need them most. Right now it's part of the problem,' Ayala said.
LGBT group forms in Montenegro
An LGBT organization has formed and been officially registered in Podgorica, capital of the former Yugoslav republic of Montenegro. The group, LGBT Forum Progress, is pressing for a law granting Gay couples the rights of marriage.
Cuban TV airs Glee
Cuba's Cubavisión channel is airing the übergay U.S. television series Glee, each Saturday at 5:45 p.m. State TV also recently aired Six Feet Under.
With assistance from Bill Kelley
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