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Legal recognition of gender equality is gaining a bigger foothold in Europe. Same-sex partners are getting more access to more and more rights in more and more European countries. This is evidenced by research by legal scientists from Leiden and French demographers. They have published a detailed data bank and a comparative analysis on the subject.

Jun 2017       
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On March 31st, Gilbert Baker died in his sleep in his house in New York City. He was sixty-five years of age. “The cause of death is hypertensive and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease,” Julie Bolcer, spokeswoman of the New York City medical examiner’s office stated. Baker has earned a place in our history for designing the rainbow flag in 1978.

May 2017       
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In the new Dutch Lower House there are now seven openly LGBTI MPs. Eleven so-called rainbow candidates were also elected - candidates who had registered with COCs election website GayVote, indicating that they are committed to LHBTI emancipation.

May 2017       
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The German government has approved the rehabilitation of men convicted of homosexual acts under section 175 of the Criminal Code in post-war Germany, as suggested in a bill by Justice Minister Heiko Maas (SPD). In Germany, homosexual acts were a punishable offence between May 15, 1871 and March 10, 1994.

May 2017       
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Anniversaries are celebrated with gusto in many COC departments. Some even considered it a good idea to write down their own history and publish a book for educational and entertainment purposes. At best a few dates, including the formation, are recorded, as well as some memories from important events. Usually it contains the acquisition of the housing, and sometimes a beloved person - a commendable director or a prominent bar owner - is put in the limelight.

Apr 2017       
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In the Russian autonomous republic of Chechnya homosexuals are widely persecuted because of their sexual orientation, independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta reports. The information has been confirmed by Human Rights Watch. In Chechnya, at least one hundred people were arrested without grounds, and three people were reportedly killed since the beginning of the year.

Apr 2017       
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As of last March same-sex couples can get married in Finland. This means that marriage is now opened up for same-sex couples throughout Scandinavia. A bill to make marriage for same-sex couples possible was already adopted in November 2014 by the Finnish Parliament and signed by the President of Finland in February 2015.

Apr 2017       
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The CDA party convention unanimously backed a proposal on the inclusion of an explicit prohibition of LGBTI discrimination in the Constitution. With this, a majority in parliament for such a ban is finally in sight. The COC has urged the CDA (Christen-Democratisch Appèl) to do so, and is extremely happy with the party’s decision.

Mar 2017       
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The United Nations General Assembly again gave its support to the independent LGBT human rights expert at the UN. A proposal by Burkina Faso to make the expert's work impossible was voted out. In cooperation with other organisations and governments, COC Netherlands has worked hard for this victory.

Feb 2017       
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News comes and goes, usually only the 'main' news-items are remembered, such as the Orlando shootings. But as the smaller news items usually bear as much sorrow and greef as for the people concerning it, below our yearly news overview, so we will not forget.

Feb 2017       
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The COC is positive about the first steps that were announced by the government in order to limit gender registration. COC Netherlands has been advocating this since November 2015. The interest groups call on the government to "quickly tackle this issue" and eventually abolish gender registration by the government.

Feb 2017       
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On the eve of the unification of Germany, the citizens of the Prussian capital Berlin attentively followed the reports on a serious sex crime. On a cold Sunday afternoon in January 1869, the five-year-old Emil Hancke had been lured away from his pals and was seriously abused and raped in an attic. Two years earlier, another boy had been killed under similar circumstances, in 1869 still an unsolved case.

Jan 2017       
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Corine van Dun (63) is 46th on the D66 candidate's list for next year's Lower House elections. Van Dun is President of Transgender Netwerk Nederland (TNN).

Dec 2016       
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Botswana expelled an American hate preacher and made him persona non grata after he called on the government to kill all homosexuals in Botswana in a local radio show. The organisation LeGaBiBo played an important part in the deportation.

Nov 2016       
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A report by a Russian and Ukrainian human rights organizations reveals that since the beginning of the Crimean Crisis in 2014, the situation for LGBTs in the Crimean and Eastern Ukraine has deteriorated.

Nov 2016       
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COC Netherlands and Minister Ard van der Steur discussed the safety of lesbians, homosexuals, bisexuals, transgender people, and those with an intersex condition. The gay interest group COC wants perpetrators of LGBT discrimination persecuted more often, and calls for performance agreements with the police and the Public Prosecution.

Nov 2016       
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On July 2, 2016, the monument for poet Jacob Israël de Haan was unveiled in Smilde, his place of birth. The monument stands in the beautiful park behind the old church of Smilde, not far from the synagogue with living quarters in which he was born. As a member of the board of the De Haan Society, Gert Hekma spoke the following appreciation.

Sep 2016       
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For many people, the Caribbean is the perfect holiday destination with an ideal combination of sun, sea, beaches, and historic sites. One of these tourist destinations is Belize, the former British Honduras, which is fully independent since 1981. A combination of natural circumstances, the climate, the Barrier Reef, numerous islands, excellent opportunities for fishing, safe waters for water sports, snorkeling and scuba diving, and the beautiful flora and fauna, has created a thriving tourism industry in the country.

Sep 2016       
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Reports in the press indicate that President Barack Obama is planning to honor the Stonewall Inn as the first ever National Monument dedicated to GLBT rights. The bar on Christopher Street in New York’s Greenwich Village was the site of riots on June 28, 1969.

Jun 2016       
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The Magistrate in Leeuwarden passed sentence that the owner of agricultural wholesaler De Boer in Drachten has to pay compensation to Bas van der Meer, the student who was refused an internship because of his homosexual orientation.

Jun 2016       
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In Bangladesh the gay activists Xulhaz Mannan and Tonoy Mojumdar were killed with chopping knives, most likely by Islamic activists, in their apartment in Dhaka. The five or six murderers accessed the apartment by pretending to be couriers delivering a package. One of the guards of the apartment was injured and admitted to hospital.

Jun 2016       
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The city council of Melbourne, the capital of the federal state of Victoria, has put aside 21 million AUD for the LGBTI community.

Jun 2016       
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Kezia Dugdale, 34, and party leader of the Scottish Labour Party, has come out of the closet. She is the fourth party leader to come out in Scottish politics.

Jun 2016       
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The state of Mississippi soon will be known as the most homophobic state in the US. We can thank the approval of a bill by the Republican majority for this. The Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act goes a lot further than other anti-gay laws in other states.

Jun 2016       
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The boycott threat of many big American movie theatres, film directors, businesses, and others against the approval of an anti-gay law has worked in the US state of Georgia. The Republican governor Nathan Deal stated that he would use his veto right to stop the bill.

May 2016       
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The government of the Seychelles will remove homosexual acts from its penal code. A bill to arrange this will be introduced to the National Assembly, the Parliament of the Seychelles.

May 2016       
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In a joint statement, Pope Franciscus and Patriarch Kirill have strongly spoken out against ‘alternative cohabitation,’ which, according to the church leaders, is wrongly treated as equal to a marriage between a man and a woman.

May 2016       
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Hungary has blocked EU support for the LGBTI emancipation policy of European Commissioner Vera Jourová. As EU President, the Netherlands suggested that all member states should endorse Jourová's plan.

Apr 2016       
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The Central Board of Appeal decided that the city of The Hague was in its rights to fire Wim Pijl, a civil servant with religious objections. The verdict disappoints Mr. Pijl. The Central Board of Appeal is the highest authority on the rights of civil servants, the sharing of pension rights, and civil administration. The verdict of the Central Board of Appeal is the final verdict in this case.

Apr 2016       
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The ministry of Education will organise education on gay rights in shelters for asylum seekers. Minister Jet Bussemaker announced this. The city of Amsterdam has taken the initiative to educate asylum seekers on gay and women's rights already.

Mar 2016       
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Delano Felter, the leader of the local Amsterdam party Republikeinse Moderne Partij, was fined EUR 1000 after making anti-gay statements in 2010. Of the fine, EUR 500 is conditional, as long as he does not express his opinions about his homosexual fellow man. At the time, Mr Felter was campaigning against the dominance of the homosexual, according to local TV station AT5.

Mar 2016       
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In a letter to the Dutch Lower House and State Secretary Klaas Dijkhoff (Asylum), COC Netherlands has made an appeal to grant homosexual asylum seekers from Iran the highest possible status.

Mar 2016       
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The American city Baltimore has never exactly been a topper of gay tourism. The city is, however, the birthplace and longtime residence of cult director and author John Waters (born 1946). The last few years friends and longtime Baltimoreans Michal Makarovich and Alex Fox heard the enthusiasm of lots of city residents and visitors who were curious about John Water’s 1972 cult film “Pink Flamingos.”

Mar 2016       
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In his “Petite bibliographie biographico-romancière” (1821) the publisher Pigoreau commented on the novels of Madame Grandmaison Van-Esbecq and noted that they were “interesting and well-written,” and that by saying so, he was free of resentment. In the past, she had treated him with little elegance. He did not give any details. We know nothing about this author, not even her first name, her date of birth and death. Her debut appeared in 1797 and showed courage.

Mar 2016       
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With a generous majority, the Greek parliament has adopted a bill that will make registered partnership for same-sex couples possible. Of the 300 parliamentarians, 193 voted in favour of the bill. Gay marriage is still not possible in Greece, and same-sex couple are also incapable of adopting children.

Feb 2016       
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Eric Samisa, 26, made a brave but also dangerous decision. He publicly came out of the closet in the African country of Malawi, where theoretically, homosexuality is still criminalised. Mr Samisa had his coming out on national TV and said that the government urgently needed to come to a decision: "Or you kill us all, or you give us equal rights, so that we don't have to go underground and live like second rate citizens."

Feb 2016       
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The Chinese government has passed a bill that makes domestic violence punishable. This new law, the first of its kind, protects partners in a relationship, both married and cohabiting. Children and elderly are also protected, but homosexuals and lesbians living together are not.

Feb 2016       
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COC Netherlands sounded the alarm on the situation of LGBT asylum seekers in emergency shelter in the Netherlands on October 22, 2015. Even though COC Netherlands is of the opinion that the government is still not doing enough to improve the situation, there are now plans for separate and safe emergency shelters for LGBTs on four locations in Amsterdam and Rotterdam. In addition to this, around 100 ‘buddies’ for LGBT asylum seekers registered with the COC. Below, and overview of recent developments.

Feb 2016       
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What do a barrister, an actress, the virtuous, sensitive housewife, the courtesan, the sanctimonious lady, the shop keeper, the woman farmer, and the shoe polisher have in common? A chronicler asked himself this question in 1801, when the economy in consular France revived. The answer: they read - no, they devour - novels (the sanctimonious lady in secret). The supply of novels saw a strong increase; the book trade had become a goldmine, also because of the lending libraries that were springing up everywhere. They brought the novel in reach of those with less capital, as books were expensive. Only the rich could afford them, and they had their octavos and duodecimos beautifully bound. Mr Average had to settle for a more austere edition of his easy reading.

Feb 2016       
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One does not make the emperor wait, especially if he is the first in the Bonaparte house. His arch chancellor humbly apologized this way when he arrived late in the halls where the Council of State was gathering. “My apologies, Sire,” he said, “I was attending to a lady.” He was lying, and Napoleon knew it. “Next time, tell him,” he snapped at the latecomer, “get your walking stick and hat and leave.”

Jan 2016       
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Former MP for the Dutch Green party (GroenLinks) Tofik Dibi (34) announced in an interview with newspaper de Volkskrant that he is homosexual. By doing so, he has become the most well-known openly gay Muslim in the Netherlands. According to Dino Suhonic and Döne Fil, he is an important role model.

Dec 2015       
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In an unprecedented joint statement in no uncertain terms, 12 UN organisations* have spoken out for ending violence against and discrimination of lesbian women, homosexual men, bisexuals transgenders, and people with an intersex condition (LGBTIs).

Nov 2015       
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“Greek philosophers, risen from the dead, desired ephebes, a rain of rose petals, poetry... Orgies in the manner of the Marquis de Sade... Fusion and release. The angels of Sodom celebrated their obscene rituals by means of lengthy and varied pleasures.”

Nov 2015       
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The Tolerance Rainbow in Warsaw, Poland, has been removed. Since its unveiling in 2012 during Poland's EU presidency, the monument has been a symbol for tolerance of homosexuality. The monument was 9 meters high and 26 meters wide, and was created out of artificial flowers.

Nov 2015       
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Last August, the US and Chile have organised a hearing for the members of the Security Council of the United Nations on the violence against and the executions of LGBTs (or those who are mistaken for them) by Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.

Oct 2015       
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Now that Ireland has voted in favour of gay marriage in a referendum, the pressure on the German government to give same-sex couples the same rights as straight couples has increased. Germany still has not implemented gay marriage, and even a registered partnership has limitations.

Sep 2015       
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In a joint statement, gay organisations on Curaçao, Aruba and Sint Maarten have called on their islands’ parliamentarians, government leaders, and leaders of the community to open up marriage for same-sex couples. These gay organisations are partners of COC Netherlands in the Pink Orange Alliance project.

Sep 2015       
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The Dutch Labour party PvdA now also wants an explicit ban on LGBT discrimination in the Constitution. Last August, the PvdA spokeswomen for emancipation announced that her party is embracing the plea for this ban by the Dutch gay interest group COC. The party also wants to include a ban on transgender discrimination in the Equal Treatment Act.

Sep 2015       
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Klaas Dijkhoff, the Dutch State Secretary for Asylum, does not offer LGBT asylum seekers from Iran enough protection. COC Netherlands poses this in a response to a letter on this issue from the State Secretary to the Dutch Lower House last July. The COC advocates a policy change. In this letter, Klaas Dijkhoff informs the Lower House that he has no intention of changing the policy for asylum seekers from Iran. This means that he will continue to test each individual story of Iranian gay asylum seekers on an individual basis, and is at liberty to extradite them.

Aug 2015       
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The European Commission issued a statement that current anti-discriminatory EU legislation will protect all transgender against unequal treatment. The European Commission makes it clear in this statement that the ban on discrimination on the grounds of gender does not only apply to transgenders undergoing a sex change. On the basis of gender identity, it applies to all transgenders, even those who are not undergoing a sex change.

Aug 2015       
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In 1931, Thomas Mann’s children Erika and Klaus published the travel report “Das Buch von der Riviera” as the fourteenth volume in the series “Was nicht im ‘Baedeker’ steht.” It was the intention of this series to give a subjective description of holiday destinations that would help tourists with less money and little luggage, unlike the other, more established middle-class travel guides. They did a wonderful job. For example in Marseille, they visit a “small, dirty” cinema near the red light district, that showed a silent movie with Ramón Novarro.

Aug 2015       
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As of last June, sex with someone of the same gender is no longer punishable in Mozambique. It is the result of the work of Lambda, a partner organisation of COC Netherlands in Mozambique

Aug 2015       
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The Constitutional Council of Kazakhstan has stricken the country’s anti-gay law, as it considers the law to be unconstitutional. The media suggests that this step has been taken because of Kazakhstan's ambition to organise the 2022 Winter Olympics. LGBTI activists point out that even without an anti-gay law, homo/bi/transphobia is a growing problem.

Aug 2015       
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New legislation will make changing one's gender registration a lot easier. Irish Deputy Prime Minister Joan Burton announced this, while stating that the Irish cabinet has agreed on the Gender Recognition Bill. The Bill will now be debated by Irish parliament.

Jul 2015       
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Last May, the Moscow Pride was banned again for the tenth year in a row, with violent arrests taking place. Everyone in the Netherlands knows that the Russian Federation is a homophobic country. COC Netherlands has asked the Dutch Immigration and Nationalization Service (IND) to treat gay asylum seekers with leniency. But if only this were true.

Jul 2015       
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The Tory Schools Minister Nick Gibb has announced that he is gay, and that he will marry his partner Michael Simmonds later this year. The news comes as a big surprise, as Mr Gibb and Mr Simmonds have been in a relationship for 29 years. They have kept this relationship to themselves to political relations, friends, and family members.

Jul 2015       
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Claude François Michéa was the first doctor in modern age to propose a biological theory on homosexual preference as a congenital identity and come with an unusual term for this: “philopédie.” The word was a reversal of the term pederasty, or as we say nowadays: paedophilia (the love of boys).

Jun 2015       
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The Maltese parliament has unanimously voted in favour of a ground-breaking Gender identity law early April. The act offers an unprecedented broad recognition and protection to transgenders and people with an intersex condition.

May 2015       
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Irish senators have approved a bill on the right of adoption by gay and lesbian couples. The Lower House had already passed the bill at an earlier stage. Now, the LGBT community only has to wait for the Irish president Michael D Higgings to sign it.

May 2015       
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The homophobic bill that was passed in the US State of Indiana will be adjusted in a way that it will protect gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgenders.

May 2015       
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