Tag: claims

Serbia’s gay prime minister wins landslide victory amid corruption claims

Serbia's gay prime minister wins landslide victory amid corruption claims

Ana Brnabic, Prime Minister of Serbia, at the Western Balkans Summit in Poland on 5 July, 2019. (Beata Zawrzel/NurPhoto/Getty)

Serbia’s first female and first openly gay prime minister Ana Brnabic has won a second term following an election marred by claims of corruption.

Prime minister Brnabic, leader of the ruling Serbian Progressive Party, was nominated by the Serbian president Aleksandar Vucic to remain in office after securing 188 deputies in the 250-seat parliament.

Her landslide victory came amid a rocky campaign that saw the June 21 election being boycotted by the main opposition parties, who accused president Vucic of suppressing media critical of his rule.

Defending Brnabic at a press conference on Monday, Vucic said: “Brnabic didn’t use her term of office to benefit foreign or local power centers, she just fought for the interests of this country.”

He added that he had asked Brnabic to choose half of the new cabinet. “The new government will have three main goals, namely to strengthen the country in the fields of the economy, health, and defence,” he said.

The approval of Brnabic’s new cabinet is largely a formality, and parliament is expected to reconvene in the coming days.

Brnabic, 43, became Serbia’s first female and first openly gay prime minister in 2017 after Vucic resigned the post in order to stand in the presidential election.

Her appointment seemed unlikely as same-sex marriage remains constitutionally prohibited in Serbia and homophobia is common.

While she appears to have the support of the electorate, she’s an unpopular figure among Serbia’s LGBT+ community, who told her she wasn’t welcome at the 2018 Pride parade because of a lack of progress on LGBT+ issues.

She attended the previous year but stoked tensions when she told crowds that LGBT+ issues would only be addressed once Serbia had tackled more important problems, including inflation, pensions and the standard of living.

It was “a scandalous statement,” the head of Serbia’s Gay Lesbian Info Centre, Predrag Azdejkovic, told the BBC at the time. There has been little improvement on LGBT+ issues in the years since.

In 2019 Brnabic’s government moved to ban artificial insemination and IVF for anyone who has “a history of homosexual relations” within the last five years – even though artificial insemination was the very method Brnabic herself used to conceive a child.

Polish bishop claims conversion therapy fears are ‘a misconception’

Polish bishop claims conversion therapy fears are 'a misconception'

A Polish bishop dismissed fears that the Catholic church wants to force LGBT+ people into conversion therapy (Artur Widak/NurPhoto/ Getty)

A Polish bishop has insisted it’s a “misconception” that the church wants to force LGBT+ people into conversion therapy, despite calling for the creation of conversion therapy clinics just days earlier.

After a three-day Polish Episcopal Conference, bishops in Poland produced a 27-page document outlining their stance on LGBT+ issues. It included the claim that it is “necessary to create [conversion therapy] clinics… to help people regain their sexual health and natural sexual orientation”.

“These clinics also make sense when complete sexual transformation is too difficult,” it continued, “as they can still help psychosexuals to deal with significant challenges.”

The document was the latest in a string of attacks against the LGBT+ community by the Polish Catholic church, and prompted considerable backlash.

But in a September 2 statement, Bishop Józef Wróbel, an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Lublin and chairman of the bioethics committee of the Bishops’ Conference of Poland, said that it was a “misconception” to suggest that the bishops wanted to coerce people into “therapy”.

According to the Catholic Herald, he said the recommendation was aimed only at those “who seek such help and ask for it, because they experience suffering because of their inclinations”.

So-called ‘conversion therapy’ refers to the dangerous and discredited practise of trying to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. It has been rejected by every mainstream medical and mental health organisation for decades, is often compared to torture and has been linked to higher risks of depression, suicide, and drug addiction.

The fact that conversion therapy is “clearly in contradiction” to scientific evidence was acknowledged in the Episcopal conference, yet Bishop Wróbel maintained that it is effective.

He said: “In rare cases, transformation is possible under two conditions, namely that the LGBT person must really desire such a change (usually making an outright heroic effort in this direction) and there is as yet no homosexual sexual experience.

“Such help is not possible if, at the starting point, a person adopts the attitude that this inclination is natural, willed by the Creator, and should be accepted.”

The United Nations has compared conversion therapy to torture and has long called for a global ban. But the bishop opposed this, insisted that a ban on such therapies does not “make sense”.

He said: “In practice, such a position does not make sense, because it means that the UN demands to control who goes to a psychologist and for what purpose, or who goes to the Church, who confesses and what they confess.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Democrat claims calling Trump homophobic is ‘as offensive as the n word’

Democrat claims calling Trump homophobic is ‘as offensive as the

Donald Trump holds an LGBT+ Pride flag given to him by supporter. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty)

An “old-fashioned Democrat” has claimed that calling Donald Trump homophobic, misogynistic, xenophobic or racist is “as offensive as the n word”.

In a letter to the editor of Southern Maryland News, the “old-fashioned ‘America first’ Democrat” wrote that they were “offended by opponents of the president wanting the economy of our country to fail for political advantage”.

They continued: “I am disappointed in the media giving celebrities a platform to constantly accuse the president of being a misogynist or homophobic or xenophobic or racist person; to exacerbate the hatred and division in our great country, I am finding the use of those words as offensive as the n word.

“I dislike my Democratic leaders hatred of the president and their apparent support of these spiteful individuals.

“Our media even suggests that the president’s use of ‘Chinese virus’ is xenophobic while the Chinese government’s state propaganda is blaming the USA as the cause of the Wuhan coronavirus. During WWII that would be treason.”

They did not leave their name, but simply signed off: “God bless America.”

However, calling Trump homophobic is not exactly a stretch, as the US leader has consistently worked to dismantle LGBT+ rights throughout his presidency.

The Trump administration has banned transgender people from serving in the military, actively supported discrimination against LGBT+ people in employment, services and healthcare and erased LGBT+ resources, data and language from government websites.

Last month, Trump’s Republican Party announced that it would be leaving its 2016 party platform unchanged, meaning that the GOP will continue to officially support the reversal of marriage equality.

On June 12, the fourth anniversary of the Pulse massacre, the Trump administration cruelly erased precious healthcare protections for trans patients.

The White House also failed to officially recognise Pride Month for yet another year, in contrast to the Obama administration.

While Joe Biden’s comprehensive LGBT+ policy plan has won him plaudits from campaigners, Trump’s re-election campaign has published no policies whatsoever on LGBT+ issues – though he is raising funds by selling rainbow ‘Make America Great Again’ t-shirts.