World News Briefs – February

Male Model Murders Gay Activist
In New York, a Portuguese male model was charged with the brutal murder of a well-known journalist. The naked body of Carlos de Castro, 65, was found bludgeoned and castrated in his Times Square hotel room on January 7, according to the NY Daily News. The 21-year-old model Renato Seabra was charged with second-degree murder when police found him at Roosevelt Hospital hours later. The Daily News reported Seabra was being treated for injuries from the struggle between the two lovers. Reports suggest Seabra attacked his older lover after Castro accused him of stealing money. Castro was also a well-known gay rights advocate.

Lesbian Couple Denied Marriage
The French Constitutional Council has denied a lesbian couple the right to marry after they challenged the country’s current marriage ban. Corrine Cestino and Sophie Hasslauer already have a PACS (pacte civil de solidarité – the equivalent of a civil union) but argued for the right to marriage. The council said that the law did not violate the constitution and was a matter for the French parliament. The couple, who have been together for 15 years and have four children, told Associated Press that marriage was the only way to ensure the protection of their children should one of them die. France has had PACS since 1999.

Teenager ‘Smiled’ During Gay Bashing
A teenage girl was sentenced to seven years in jail after she was convicted of manslaughter for the 2009 killing of Ian Baynham. The Old Bailey heard how Ruby Thomas, 18, stamped the 62-year-old to death after she saw Baynham holding hands with another man in central London. Thomas’ accomplice Joel Alexander, 20, received a six year sentence and admitted to punching Baynham to the ground and claimed he had acted to protect Thomas. Pink News reported the court heard Thomas smiled as she ‘put the boot’ into him. It is understood Thomas may only have to serve two-and-a-half years due to time already served.

Differences Found In Trans* Brains
Researchers from Spain have discovered differences in the brains of transgender people. Doctors could use this information to make a case for delaying puberty to improve the success of a sex change later, the New Scientist reported. The team from the National University of Distance Education in Madrid found significant differences in the white matter of brains from men and women – with the white matter of female-to-male transsexuals resembling a man’s brain. One of the researchers, Antonio Guillamon said it was the first time it had been shown the brains of female-to-male transsexual people were masculinised. In another study from the team, they found the white matter of male-to-female transsexuals halfway between a male and female brain.

Ugandan Activist Murdered In Home
A prominent gay rights activist was killed last month after winning a landmark court case that ensured the future protection of the identities of homosexuals in Uganda. Ugandan activist David Kato was killed on January 26 when a man reportedly entered his home in Mukono and hit him twice in the head. On January 3, Kato along with two other activists won a court case against Rolling Stone, a local tabloid unrelated to the US namesake, for publishing the names, faces and residences of homosexuals with the headline ‘Hang Them’. Kato had also fought against Uganda’s anti-homosexuality bill which sought to criminalise all homosexuality, not just the sexual act which was already illegal in the country.

Trans* Model Steals The Show
Transsexual runway model Lea T kicked off Latin America’s top fashion event for 2011. The Brazilian model represented French brand, Givenchy in the Sao Paulo Fashion Week for next winter’s collection. According to Ninemsn, the model was born Leandro Cerezo and left Brazil for Italy to pursue her modelling career. The Brazilian has drawn much attention since her high-profile appearances throughout Europe recently and for a magazine cover where she was kissing British supermodel Kate Moss.

25th Birthday For Gay Media Awards
The Kids Are Alright, The Girl Who Played With Fire and Burlesque were among the nominees for this year’s Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Discrimination (GLAAD) Annual Media Awards. Marking the 25th anniversary for the advocacy organisation, GLAAD President Jarret Barrios said this year’s nominees represented some images and stories at the root of the growing acceptance of our community. The awards are held in New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles between March and May. Television comedies Glee, Modern Family and United States of Tara have been nominated for outstanding comedies. The GLAAD awards cover television, films, music, theatre and journalism for outstanding images of the LGBT community.

Thai Airline Hires Trans* Staff
A new Thai airline recruited six transgender flight attendants last month and claimed to be the first airline to hire gender-diverse people. PC Airline president Peter Chan told AFP he was a pioneer and predicted other airlines would do the same. ‘I think these people can have many careers, not just in the entertainment business, and many of them have a dream to be an air hostess…,’ Chan said. More than 100 trans* people applied for the first round of jobs. Thailand has one of the largest populations of transgender people in the world, according to AFP, although the airline does not require applicants to have undergone surgery.

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