Goodluck Jonathan, president of Nigeria from 2010 to 2015, says he's reconsidering the anti-LGBT measure he signed into law, NewNowNext noted. "When it comes to equality, we must all have the same rights as Nigerian citizens," Jonathan said at Bloomberg's headquarters in London. "In the light of deepening debates for all Nigerians and other citizens of the world to be treated equally and without discrimination, and with the clear knowledge that the issue of sexual orientation is still evolving, the nation may, at the appropriate time, revisit the law." The law imposes a 14-year jail term on gay men and lesbians "if they do not retrace their steps and renounce [same-sex] marriages."
The Canadian parliament is close to adopting a bill that would change the national anthem, "O Canada," to make it gender-neutral, USA Today reported. The bill, affecting only the English-language lyrics, would change "in all thy sons command" to "in all of us command." The initiative, strongly backed by the new Liberal government, overwhelmingly passed two readings this week in the House of Commons; it would then go to the Senate and could be adopted officially this summer, or, more likely, in the fall.
Northern Ireland's lifetime ban on gay men donating blood is to be lifted, BBC News reported. Health Minister Michelle O'Neill said the new policy will come into effect on Sept. 1. At present in Northern Ireland, any man who has had sex with another man is banned from giving blood permanently. A ban on gay men donating blood was brought in across the United Kingdom during the 1980s AIDS crisis, but was diminished to a one-year ban in England, Scotland and Wales in November 2011.
Brazil's biggest city has held what is believed to be the biggest Gay Pride Parade in the world, Euronews noted. Sao Paulo was filled with people taking part in the city's 20th pride parade, calling for an end to violence and lobbying for equal rights for the LGBT community. The 20th edition of the parade, which attracted 2 million participants, had "Gender Identity Law now! - Everyone together against transphobia" as its slogan, Fox News Latino reported.
The attorney general of Barbados has said that the country should protect gay peopleeven though gay sex is still technically illegal, PinkNews noted. Barbados law specifies that the punishment for male "buggery" is life imprisonment, although the law is not regularly enforced. According to local newspaper Barbados Today, Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite said, "As a lawmaker, if Jane decides she wants to live with Janice, that is their business as far I am concerned. But I will not change the law to allow them to be married in Barbados."
In Morocco, a gay couple was arrested in southern Morocco after being caught engaging in "homosexual acts" in a car parked in a deserted area in the outskirts of the city of Guelmim, Morocco World News noted, citing Alyaoum24. Homosexuality in Morocco is illegal under article 489 of the Penal Code, which criminalizes "lewd or unnatural acts with an individual of the same sex"; punishment ranges from three months to six years in prison, along with a fine. Following the arrest of the couple in Guelmim, the public prosecutor ordered an investigation be conducted before the case is presented to the city's Court of First Instance.
The Australian Christian Lobby ( ACL ) has compared same-sex marriage and the Safe Schools program to the Holocaust, dubbing them all "unthinkable things" that happened because societies lacked strong moral guardians, The Sydney Morning Herald announced. In a blog post, ACL director Lyle Shelton invoked the rise of Nazi Germany before arguing that Labor leader Bill Shorten's support for Safe Schools reflected "a failure of those of us who know better." Labor MP Terri Butler, one of the Parliament's leading proponents of marriage equality, said Shelton's message exemplified the "ignorant and divisive comments" that would be commonplace if a re-elected Turnbull government held its planned plebiscite on same-sex marriage.
Egyptian prosecutors are investigating the death of a teenage girl during a female genital mutilation ( FGM ) operation at a private hospital, The Guardian reported. Mayar Mohamed Mousa, 17, died in a hospital in the province of Suez on Sunday while under full anesthesia. While 200 million women and girls worldwide have been subjected to the practice, there have reportedly been major strides in Egypt, as well as Liberia, Burkina Faso and Kenya against FGM.
China-based gay social networking app Blued has announced that it has completed its latest rounds of investor financingand that it now has a value of $300 million, Gay Star News reported. The app, which was founded in 2012, has grown rapidly and now has 27 million registered users. By comparison, Grindrthe world's other best known gay hook-up appwas valued at $155 million earlier this year when it, too, turned to China for its most recent investment. In January, it announced that it had sold a majority 60-percent stake to Beijing Kunlun Tech Co.
Lesbian Korean thriller The Handmaiden has broken South Korea's box office records, PinkNews reported. Almost 2 million people flocked to cinemas to see the R-rated film, directed by Park Chan-Wook, in just one week. Adapted from the novel Fingersmith, by Welsh writer Sarah Waters, the film is set in Korea when the country was under Japanese colonial rule; the original novel is set in the Victorian era. In the film, an heiress falls in love with a pickpocket.
Kazaky, the high-heeled dancing Ukrainian boy band that gained global notoriety in 2012 after appearing in Madonna's "Girl Gone Wild" video, have officially called it quits, NewNowNext reported. Members Kyryll Fedorenko, Artur Gaspar, Artemy Lazarev and Oleg Zhezhel announced the group would officially disband so that all members could focus on their solo careers and explore their own "personal art highways."