You can’t even hold hands

“This bill criminalizes homosexuality. Basically you can’t even come out anymore. You can’t even hold hands. This bill gives the green light to attack us. Violence and discrimination and hate against the LGBT community will increase.” ~ Activist in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

LGBT asylum seekers flee to safer harbors, the Catholic Church in flux, and Courts debate sex and human rights. These stories and more on the state of global LGBTI equality.

From the UN: UNAIDS is joining with local partners across Africa in a multi-country HIV testing campaign to break the Guinness World Record for most free tests in one day. And Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stepped out to support LGBT youths onSpirit Day by wearing a purple tie and matching socks. 

The UN is urging Kyrgyzstan to withdraw new legislation that would sanction discrimination against LGBT people. Meanwhile Sri Lanka tells the UN that LGBTI people are protected in the constitution despite anti-sodomy laws.

HIV and Health: As the battle to contain Ebola wages on, many in the gay community are reminded of the beginning of the HIV epidemic. Two trials on the effectiveness of PrEP have been stopped early because the drugs have been so successful at preventing HIV transmission that it would be unethical to continue giving placebos to study participants.  The latest study used PrEP at the time of sex suggesting a potential new way to prevent infection rather than taking it daily. 

In India, gay men complain that HIV prevention overlooks other health needs. In the USA, the Elton John Foundation made a large donation to the Human Rights Campaign for HIV prevention with Sir Elton John stating, 'We must put the same kind of resources and dedication and creativity that we put into the battle for marriage equality and apply it to the fight to end AIDS.' 

A study out of America shows half of HIV+ gay men are not on treatment. A new study shows 60% of LGBT people in Nepal have faced discrimination and lack accessibility to both reproductive healthcare and HIV prevention and care.  Meanwhile, a health clinic in Turkey is providing free care for LGBTI people and even allows patients to use pseudonyms to protect their identities.  

ReligiosityPope Francis has sparked discussion among the Catholic community with comments on the family and LGBT people. However, some Bishops are not so eager to accept this change yet. Meanwhile, high-ranking conservative Cardinal Burke says he has been demoted from the church’s chief guardian of canon law to a minor post in a move that reflects the ongoing evolution of the church.

Interestingly studies show that more and more young Catholics 'overwhelmingly' accept homosexuality. However, conservative politician Rick Santorum claims LGBT activists are preventing church messages from reaching youth

In the USANational Hispanic Heritage Month comes to a close and LGBT Latinos reflect on how the evolving Catholic Church could lead to less stigma and reduce HIV infection in the community.  Frederick Clarkson shares his thoughts on why religious liberty doesn't have to equal oppression. 

PolitickingThe Pacific Island country of Palau is the latest country to de-criminalize gay sex, while anti-gay organizations in Jamaica lobby for more severe penalties. Singapore's Court of Appeal has upheld a law banning gay sex.  And Armenian activists sue a local newspaper that "outed" gay rights activists and called for them to be fired. 

Activists and legal experts in Egypt have released a guide to help Egyptian LGBT avoid arrest. In Uganda a court has dismissed charges against a high profile gay rights activist after a year of delays. Meanwhile, Amnesty International has launched a new report on the discriminatory legislation and abuses in Uganda. And US President Obama reflects on LGBT rights as his judicial legacy as US senatorsurge him to act for global LGBT equality.

In Malaysia, opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim has been prosecuted under the country's anti-gay law four times  and now a local paper says backing the opposition is backing gay rights. Meanwhile in the Caribbean, CARICOM has joined activist Maurice Tomlinson in his lawsuit against Immigration Acts of Belize, Trinidad, and Tobago that ban entry to LGBT people.

In this month's Diplomat, journalist Joshua Kucera ponders whether the US and Russia using gay rights in Kyrgyzstan to gain political power in the region.

Fear and Loathing: Human Rights Watch has released a new report documenting violence against Jamaican LGBT people, including a film of raw footage showing how terrifying LGBT life in Jamaica can be. Three young people speaking out for LGBT equality in Russia were confronted by a crowd of nearly 100 anti-gay protesters who hurled vegetables and verbal abuse at the three.

The oldest Ukraine cinema was set ablaze during a screening of an LGBT film, thankfully no one was injured. Meanwhile, a local LGBT group in Azerbaijan is calling the recent murder of a lesbian by her own sister a hate crime.  

Marching and Migrating to Safety: Russia's anti-gay law has led to a spike in Russian asylum seekers to the US and to Argentina. Meanwhile, several attendees to this summer's World AIDS Conference in Sydney continue to seek asylum in Australia, fearing their return home. 

While Turkey gets its first umbrella LGBTI organization, Chili celebrates its first march for sexual diversity and tens of thousands march in Taiwan for LGBT equality.

Culture: Reflecting a zero-tolerance policy on discrimination, a Swedish teacher was fired the same day he called a student a "fag." A university in South Africa is graduating its first class of students on sexual orientation. 

Producer of banned Kenyan LGBT film "Stories of our Lives"  has been arrested over the film licence. A new documentary explores the stories of queer sex workers. And 1.7 million Indians called in to a local talk show to protest anti-gay laws.

Russia tries to ban mail from Final that carries the popular 'Tom of Finland' stamps over gay propaganda. Dolly Parton speaks out supporting her gay fans and Apple CEO Tim Cook hopes to inspire others with his op-ed revealing his sexuality: "I'm proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me." 

Check out "Mz Cracker's guide to being a Queen on Halloween" and this photo exhibit on gays in the military.

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