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Turkish police violently break up Pride March at a university in Ankara

Footage on Twitter showed the police responding to students with pepper powder balls and excessive use of force

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Middle East Technical University LGBTQ+ Pride March (Screenshot/Twitter video)

ANKARA, Turkey – Turkish Police officers carrying clear-plastic riot shields, wielding batons and deploying pepper powder balls as well as tear gas violently broke up a Pride Parade organized by Middle East Technical University students on campus Friday.

The annual LGBTQ+ Pride event, marking its 10th year, was condemned by the university’s officials who had sent an email to all students earlier in the week, declaring the campus-based Pride march on 10 June ‘categorically banned’, and threatened participants with police intervention.

The email also noted that university has a “peaceful, productive, and creative academic environment, and that its reputation is being threatened by their students demonstrating in a nonviolent manner during Pride Month.”

Prominent Human rights group Amnesty International said in a press release that; “On 10 May 2019, the last time METU’s students and academic staff attempted to hold a peaceful Pride March in the campus, they were met with excessive police force, forbidden from marching and charged with “participating in an unlawful assembly” and “refusing to disperse despite being warned”. At least 21 students and staff were detained and 19 among them were prosecuted in a trial that ended with their acquittal in October 2021.”

In Friday’s march, multiple videos emerged on Twitter that showed Turkish police officers attacking the participants and detaining dozens as they broke up the event.

Amnesty International’s Nils Muižnieks, the organisation’s director of its Regional Office for Europe issued a statement condemning the actions of the police;

“The footage showing the police responding to students participating in the peaceful Pride Parade on the METU campus with pepper powder balls and excessive use of force is quite disturbing; especially considering that this is a repetition of the violence we witnessed here three years ago.”

“Today is a dark day when the university administration has called the police to disperse students who are marching only for their rights to dignity and equality. Anyone detained by the police must be released immediately and unconditionally.”

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The Vatican

Pope Francis says priests can bless same-sex couples

Vatican’s tone on LGBTQ+ issues has softened since 2013

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Pope Francis (Photo by palinchak via Bigstock)

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis has said priests can now bless same-sex couples 

The Associated Press reported the Vatican’s Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith on Monday released a new document that elaborates on a letter Francis sent earlier this year to five cardinals who urged him to reaffirm church teaching on homosexuality. 

Francis in the letter the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith released in October suggested priests could offer blessings to same-sex couples under some circumstances “if they didn’t confuse the blessing with sacramental marriage.”

“Ultimately, a blessing offers people a means to increase their trust in God,” reads the document the Vatican released on Monday, according to the AP. “The request for a blessing, thus, expresses and nurtures openness to the transcendence, mercy and closeness to God in a thousand concrete circumstances of life, which is no small thing in the world in which we live.”

New Ways Ministrya Maryland-based organization that ministers to LGBTQ+ Catholics, described the Vatican’s announcement as “a Christmas gift to LGBTQ+ Catholics.” 

“It cannot be overstated how significant the Vatican’s new declaration is,” said New Ways Ministry in a statement. “Approving blessings for same-gender couples is certainly monumental.” 

The Vatican’s tone towards LGBTQ+ issues has softened since Francis assumed the papacy in 2013.

Francis has publicly endorsed civil unions for same-sex couples, and has said laws that criminalize homosexuality are “unjust.” Church teachings on homosexuality and gender identity have nevertheless not changed under Francis’ papacy.

Francis earlier this year told a newspaper in his native Argentina that gender ideology is “one of the most dangerous ideological colonizations” because “it blurs differences and the value of men and women.” 

The pope was the archbishop of Buenos Aires when Argentina’s marriage equality law took effect in 2010. Francis was among those who vehemently opposed the statute before then-President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner signed it.

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The Vatican

Pope Francis fires anti-LGBTQ+ Bishop after his refusal to resign

Texas Bishop said it was a “travesty” that the subject regarding the treatment and care for its LGBTQ Catholics was even up for discussion

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Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the Rome War Cemetery on November 2, 2023. (Photo Credit: Vatican Press Office)

VATICAN CITY – Bishop Joseph Strickland of Eastern Texas has been “relieved” of his position as head of the Diocese of Tyler, Texas by Pope Francis after Strickland’s refusal to resign in a dispute over the Church’s LGBTQ+ inclusion in Catholic practices.

The Pope’s decision to fire Strickland was made public in a statement released on November 11. According to the Vatican, the decision came after an apostolic visitation ordered by the Pope last June in the Diocese of Tyler, which was entrusted to two US bishops, Bishop Dennis Sullivan of Camden, and Bishop Emeritus Gerald Kicanas of Tucson.

In the Catholic Church, an apostolic visitation is a papal representative with a transient mission to investigate a special circumstance in a diocese or country, and to submit a report to the Holy See at the conclusion of the investigation.

In the case of Bishop Strickland, who had established himself as a public critic of the pontiff, had claimed Pope Francis was “undermining the Deposit of Faith” and a “diabolically disordered clown.”

Strickland recently criticized the month long conference this past October known as a Synod of Bishops, held in the Paul VI Hall at the Vatican, regarding the future of the world-wide Roman Catholic Church that ended without a clear course of action for the church on the issues of ordaining women as deacons or the treatment and care for its LGBTQ members.

The report, titled “A synodal church in mission,” did not take a stand on LGBTQ issues despite discussion beforehand that the synod might call on the Church to be more welcoming to the LGBTQ community Reuters reported.

The Bishop said publicly that in his opinion it was a “travesty” that the subject regarding the treatment and care for its LGBTQ Catholics was even up for discussion.

“Regrettably, it may be that some will label as schismatics those who disagree with the changes being proposed,” Strickland said. “Instead, those who would propose changes to that which cannot be changed seek to commandeer Christ’s Church.”

Prior to the Synod of Bishops Pope Francis wrote a letter on July 11 saying that he is open to the possibility that the Catholic Church would allow blessings for same-sex unions. 

The Vatican’s Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith on Monday released the letter that Francis wrote to five cardinals who urged him to reaffirm church teaching on homosexuality.

Then the Vatican released a document stating transgender people, under certain circumstances, can be baptized, serve as godparents, and serve as witnesses to Catholic weddings. The document, which was signed by Pope Francis and a high-level Vatican cardinal, was released Nov. 8 on the website of the Vatican’s Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith.

This too was heavily criticized by Strickland who reportedly said he stood by his decision to call the Pope out saying that he felt “very much at peace in the Lord and the truth that he died for.”

Cardinal Daniel Nicholas DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston released a statement after the Pope’s firing of Strickland Saturday:

“The Holy Father has removed Bishop Joseph E. Strickland from the pastoral governance of the diocese of Tyler, United States of America, and has appointed Bishop Joe Vásquez of Austin as apostolic administrator of the same diocese, rendering it sede vacante.”

DiNardo noted that the prelates who made the visit, Dennis Sullivan, the Bishop of Camden, and Gerald Kicanas, Bishop Emeritus of Tucson, “conducted an exhaustive inquired into all aspects of the governance and leadership of the Diocese of Tyler by its Ordinary, Bishop Joseph Strickland.”

“As a result of the Visitation,” the statement continues, “the recommendation was made to the Holy Father that the continuation in office of Bishop Strickland was not feasible. After months of careful consideration by the Dicastery for Bishops and the Holy Father, the decision was reached that the resignation of Bishop Strickland should be requested. Having been presented with that request on November 9, 2023, Bishop Strickland declined to resign from office.” Pope Francis then decided to remove the bishop.

“Pending more permanent arrangements for the Diocese of Tyler,” Cardinal DiNardo said, “the Holy Father has, at the same time, appointed Bishop Joe Vasquez, Bishop of Austin, as Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Tyler.”

Cardinal DiNardo concluded his statement, “Let us keep Bishop Strickland, the clergy and faithful of the Diocese of Tyler and Bishop Vasquez in our prayers.”

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The Vatican

Pope Francis: Trans people can be baptized, serve as godparents

“Trans person, including those who have had gender affirmation surgery, can be baptized if the person is not likely to cause a scandal”

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Pope Francis shown here with Cardinal Louis Raphaël I Sako, the Archbishop of Baghdad. (Photo Credit: Press Office, The Vatican)

VATICAN CITY – The Vatican this week released a document stating transgender people, under certain circumstances, can be baptized, serve as godparents, and serve as witnesses to Catholic weddings.

The document, which was signed by Pope Francis and a high-level Vatican cardinal, was released Nov. 8 on the website of the Vatican’s Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Among other conditions it appears to set, the document says a trans person, including those who have had gender affirmation surgery, can be baptized if the person is not likely to cause a “scandal.” It says a trans person can also serve as a godparent if there is no “risk of scandal” to the church.

The LGBT Catholic organizations New Ways Ministry and Dignity USA issued statements saying they would have preferred the Vatican to advance its support more definitively for transgender Catholics and LGBTQ Catholics in general, but they consider the latest statement an important step in the right direction.

“This development confirms that the pope and high-ranking church leaders do not perceive gender identity as a de facto barrier for participating in Catholic sacraments,” said Francis DeBernardo, executive director of New Ways Ministry.

“This affirmation, itself a reversal of a previous Vatican decision, contrasts strikingly against the restrictions some U.S. bishops have imposed on LGBTQ+ people in recent years,” DeBernardo said. “Additionally, though the document appears to caution that people in same-gender relationships may not be suitable godparents, the new decision’s emphasis that ‘pastoral prudence’ be used on a case-by-case basis opens the possibilities for married gay people to serve in such roles,” he said.

“It is encouraging to see the Vatican making it clear that LGBTQ+ people are not automatically banned from our church’s sacraments,” said Dignity USA Executive Director Marianne Duddy-Burke in a statement.

“There have been too many bishops and priests who have made it difficult for members of our community to receive sacraments like baptism and even Communion, which are central to our lives as Catholics,” Duddy-Burke said.

“We remain concerned that our identities continue to be seen as causing ‘scandal,’ as in this document, and would like to work with church leaders to clarify what that means,” her statement continues. “The reality is that majorities of Catholics already support full inclusion in our church, including access to the sacraments, for LGBTQIA+ people,” she said. “We continue our work to achieve full equality.”

The Vatican document says it was released in response to a letter submitted in July by a Brazilian bishop raising questions about the possible participation of LGBTQ people in baptisms and weddings.

Among those who have welcomed the Vatican document as an important advancement is the Rev. James Martin, a Jesuit priest and longtime advocate for LGBTQ inclusion in the Catholic Church, according to the Associated Press.

“In many dioceses and parishes, including in the U.S., transgender Catholics have been severely restricted from participating in the life of the church, not because of any canon law, but stemming from the decisions of bishops, priests and pastoral associates,” the AP quoted Martin as saying.

“So, the Vatican’s statement is a clear recognition not only of their personhood, but of their place in their own church,” he told the AP. “I hope that it helps the Catholic Church treat them less as a problem and more as people.”

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The Vatican

Pope Francis expresses openness to blessings for same-sex unions

Pontiff vehemently opposed marriage equality in native Argentina

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Pope Francis (Photo by palinchak via Bigstock)

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis has said he is open to the possibility that the Catholic Church would allow blessings for same-sex unions. 

The Vatican’s Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith on Monday released a letter that Francis wrote to five cardinals who urged him to reaffirm church teaching on homosexuality ahead of this week’s Synod on Synodality, a meeting during which LGBTQ+ Catholics, women in the church and other issues will be discussed.  

Francis wrote the letter on July 11.

The Associated Press reported Francis said “such (same-sex) blessings could be studied if they didn’t confuse the blessing with sacramental marriage.”

“This new step, outlined in a document released on Oct. 2 by the Vatican’s Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, allows for pastoral ministers to administer such blessings on a case-by-case basis, advising that ‘pastoral prudence’ and ‘pastoral charity’ should guide any response to couples who request a blessing,” noted Francis DeBernardo, executive director of New Ways Ministrya Maryland-based organization that ministers to LGBTQ+ Catholics, on Monday in a press release. “It also indicates that permitting such blessings cannot be institutionalized by diocesan regulations, perhaps a reference to some dioceses in Germany where blessings are already taking place with official and explicit permission. ‘The life of the church,’ the pope writes, ‘runs through many channels in addition to the standard ones,’ indicating that respecting diverse and particular situations must take precedence over church law.”

DeBernardo in the same press release said the “allowance for pastoral ministers to bless same-gender couples implies that the church does indeed recognize that holy love can exist between same-gender couples, and the love of these couples mirrors the love of God.”

“Those recognitions, while not completely what LGBTQ+ Catholics would want, are an enormous advance towards fuller and more comprehensive equality,” he said. “This statement is one big straw towards breaking the camel’s back of the marginalized treatment LGBTQ+ people experience in the church.”

The Vatican’s tone towards LGBTQ+ and intersex issues has softened since Francis assumed the papacy in 2013.

Francis has publicly endorsed civil unions for same-sex couples, and has said laws that criminalize homosexuality are “unjust.” Church teachings on homosexuality and gender identity have nevertheless not changed under Francis’ papacy.

Francis earlier this year told a newspaper in his native Argentina that gender ideology as “one of the most dangerous ideological colonizations” because “it blurs differences and the value of men and women.” 

The pope was the archbishop of Buenos Aires when a law that extended marriage rights to same-sex couples in Argentina took effect in 2010. Francis was among those who vehemently opposed the marriage equality bill before then-President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner signed it.

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Europe

Andorra’s prime minister comes out as gay

Xavier Espot Zamora spoke with country’s public broadcaster

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Andorran Prime Minister Xavier Espot Zamora. (Photo courtesy of the Andorran government)

ANDORRA LA VELLA, Andorra — Andorran Prime Minister Xavier Espot Zamora has come out as gay.

“I’m gay. I’ve never hid it,” he said during an interview with Radio and Television of Andorra, the country’s public broadcaster, on Monday. “Now, if I’m not asked I don’t have to say it, in the sense that it doesn’t define the entirety of who I am and even less my personal politics, but at the same time I think it shouldn’t be a problem to express it. And if this helps many children, young people or teenagers who are going through a difficult time see that in the end, regardless of their condition or sexual orientation, you can prosper in this country and reach the highest magistracy, then I am happy to express it.”

Andorra is a small country known for its ski areas that is nestled between Spain and France in the Pyrenees.

Espot has been prime minister since 2019. The country’s lawmakers in 2022 extended marriage rights to same-sex couples.

The prime minister is one of a handful of heads of state and government who are openly gay or lesbian.

Latvian President Edgars Rinkēvičs took office in July.

Luxembourgish Prime Minister Xavier Bettel has been in office since 2013, while Ana Brnabić became Serbia’s prime minister in 2017. Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar is openly gay.

Deputy Belgian Prime Minister Petra De Sutter is a transgender woman.

Then-Icelandic Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir in 2009 became the world’s first openly LGBTQ+ head of government.

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Europe

Rikkie Valerie Kollé named Miss Netherlands 2023: Historic first

Rikkie Valerie Kollé was selected as Miss Netherlands and will represent her country at the 72nd Miss Universe pageant

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Rikkie Valerie Kollé being crowned Miss Netherlands 2023. (Photo courtesy Miss Universe Pageant)

LEUSDEN, Utrecht, the Netherlands – In a historic first for the beauty pageant where the finalist will go on to compete in the Miss Universe pageant, the title and tiara of Miss Netherlands was awarded to a 22-year-old transgender woman on Saturday, July 8 at the AFAS Theater in Leusden.

Rikkie Valerie Kollé was selected as Miss Netherlands and will represent her country at the 72nd Miss Universe pageant set to take place in El Salvador later this year. Kollé, a Dutch-Moluccan model and actress living in Breda succeeds her predecessor, Ona Moody.

In a press release, pageant officials noted that Nathalie Mogbelzada, 26, from Amsterdam, was named first runner-up while Habiba Mostafa and Lou Dirchs were awarded Miss Congeniality and Miss Social Media, respectively.

Reigning Miss Universe R’Bonney Gabriel from the United States attended the glittering event as a special guest.

Kollé will be the second transgender representative at the Miss Universe pageant after Spain’s Angela Ponce who participated in 2018.

NPR reported the 71-year-old competition first began allowing transgender contestants in 2012.

More trans women have been competing in the preliminary pageants in recent years. In 2021, former Miss Nevada Kataluna Enriquez became the first trans contestant in a Miss USA pageant. Trans woman and activist Daniela Arroyo González will compete for this year’s Miss Universe Puerto Rico title next month.

Thai business mogul Anne Jakrajutatip, a trans activist who is also transgender, bought the Miss Universe Organization last year. She has said she’s committed to advancing the organization as an inclusive platform and wants to transform the brand for the next generation.

NPR also noted that Kollé has another chance to make history: If she takes the Miss Universe title in December, she would be the first out trans woman to do so.

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Europe

Turkish police detain dozens of Istanbul Pride march participants

Anti-LGBTQ crackdown expected to worsen after president re-elected

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A Pride flag hangs from a building in Istanbul on June 25, 2023. (Photo by Tuğçe Yılmaz via Istanbul LGBTI+ Pride Week's Twitter page)

ISTANBUL — Turkish police on Sunday detained dozens of people after they participated in an Istanbul Pride march.

Reuters reported police in riot gear blocked access to the city’s Istiklal Avenue and Taksim Square and limited access to public transportation in the area.

The news agency noted police detained at least 50 people. An activist with whom the Washington Blade spoke on Sunday said police took 60 “of our friends … into custody.”

“Two of the people the police unlawfully took from the streets to take statements are under the age of 18,” said the activist.

Turkish authorities over the last decade have cracked down on LGBTQ+ and intersex activists in the country.

Police in 2015 used tear gas and water cannons against people who were about to participate in an Istanbul Pride march. Authorities in 2017 arrested nearly two dozen people who defied a ban on Pride events in the city.

Police in Ankara, the Turkish capital, on May 10, 2019, arrested 18 students and an academic who participated in a Pride march at the Middle East Technical University. They faced up to three years in prison, but a court in 2021 acquitted them. Police in 2022 violently broke up a Pride parade at the same Ankara university.

The State Department in 2021 criticized Turkey after police once again used tear gas to disperse Istanbul Pride march participants. Security forces last June arrested more than 370 people who tried to participate in another Istanbul Pride march.  

The activist with whom the Blade spoke noted police in Izmir, the country’s third largest city, on Sunday detained at least 10 people who participated in a Pride march. 

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, a former Istanbul mayor who has governed Turkey since 2003, won re-election on May 28. The activist and others across the country say they expect Erdoğan will further restrict on LGBTQ+ and intersex rights.

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Europe

Iceland to ban conversion therapy

Country’s lawmakers passed bill on June 9

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The Icelandic Parliament in Reykjavík, Iceland. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

REYKJAVÍK, Iceland — Lawmakers in Iceland on June 9 approved a bill that will ban so-called conversion therapy in the country.

Media reports note 53 members of the Icelandic Parliament voted for the measure, while three MPs abstained. Hanna Katrín Friðriksson, an MP who is a member of the Liberal Reform Party, introduced the bill.

“This is a really important issue for all gay people and a step worth celebrating,” said Samtökin ’78, an Icelandic LGBTQ+ and intersex rights group, after the vote. “There is no cure for being gay and any attempt to do so is violence. It’s so good that the government recognizes it with legislation.”

Malta, Cyprus, Brazil and Ecuador are among the other countries that ban conversion therapy.

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Ireland

14 year-old schoolboy brutally beaten in Ireland for being gay

The boy, who was hospitalized after the assault, suffered from a concussion, broken teeth and a shoe print on his forehead

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Students from Beaufort College post primary school in Navan, County Meath, Ireland leaving campus in 2022. (Photo Credit: Beaufort College/Facebook)

NAVAN, County Meath, Ireland – A thirty second video that circulated on TikTok, Twitter, and Instagram this past week showed a young boy being jumped by a group of other young males, one punching the victim in the face, knocking him to the ground at which point the others joined in kicking and pummeling him.

A spokesperson for An Garda Síochána, the national police service of Ireland, told the Blade that the victim had been transported to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda, where he was treated for serious facial injuries. The spokesperson also noted that the attack had taken place on Monday, May 15, 2023 at approximately 2.30 pm.

Some of the teens in the video are wearing school uniform jackets from Beaufort College, a post primary school in Navan, a medium-sized city located 54.3 km northwest of the Irish capital city of Dublin.

According to witnesses and in an interview with British LGBTQ+ Media outlet PinkNewsUK, the teen was attacked over his sexual orientation. A family member, who wanted to remain anonymous, said the victim had been verbally harassed since the beginning of the last term. “The whole family is aware of this, and that it’s been an ongoing issue,” the relative told PinkNewsUK.

The boy, who was hospitalized after the assault, suffered from a concussion, broken teeth and a shoe print on his forehead, the family member and the Garda confirmed.

A screenshot from the video on Twitter showing the moment the attack commenced.

“No 14-year-old should be beaten like that for anything at all, especially because of who he is. He is only a child and it happened across the road from a family member, where he was trying to get to, the family member told Irish media adding: “We are shocked, horrified and upset at what can happen in this day and age. It was a number of people against one boy, while others filmed it and posted it online. That is horrific and wrong.”

The Garda spokesperson confirmed that investigators are aware of the video online. “An Garda Síochána is aware of a video circulating on social media of this incident and out of respect for the victim in this case we would request that people refrain from sharing this video. An Garda Síochána is appealing to any person with information on the assault to contact Navan Garda Station at 046 9079930,” the spokesperson said.

The Irish Taoiseach, (prime minister), Leo Varadkar, who is openly gay himself, condemned the attack on the boy telling Irish media outlet RTÉ Radio 1 Wednesday that he hoped “everyone would condemn [the attack] utterly.” He added: “I want to send my solidarity to the person who was harmed and injured in this way. I would say to them that life does get better.

“It is very sad that people experience violence and bullying in school, but life does get better and I’d say not to give up. I would say how sad I am that in this day and age we still see this kind of bullying and violence in our schools.

“I understand there is a Garda investigation underway and that the victim has been treated for their injuries [and] I would ask anyone who has information to co-operate with the investigation.”

The Taoiseach also condemned the bystanders in the video who took no action to intervene and to stop the beating.

PinkNewsUK reported that five male teenagers were taken into custody by the Gardaí in Navan on Friday (19 May) and have been released without charge. 

A Gardaí spokesperson said: “Gardaí in Navan are continuing to investigate the assault of a teenage boy which occurred in Navan on Monday.

“Yesterday, Gardaí arrested five juvenile teenagers in the Navan area for alleged offences under Section 3 of the Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act, 1999. All five were detained under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act, 1984 at Garda Stations in the Meath Region.

“The five juvenile teenagers were later released without charge and a file will be referred in the first instance for consideration for admission to the Juvenile Diversion Programme in accordance with Part 4 of the Children Act, 2001.”

Ireland has a reputation for being LGBTQ+ friendly according to Rainbow Europe – ILGA-Europe’s annual benchmarking tool. It shows the Republic of Ireland as in the upper tier of European nations, being scored in seven thematic categories: equality and non-discrimination; family; hate crime and hate speech; legal gender recognition; intersex bodily integrity; civil society space; and asylum.

A recent article by Dylan O’Sullivan writing for Queer Majority noted that Ireland is considered the 9th most gay-friendly country in the world, the fourth country to elect an openly gay head of state, the first country to legalize same-sex marriage by popular vote, and the list goes on. And all this from a country that, as recently as 1993, considered homosexuality a criminal act.

Additional reporting by PinkNewsUK

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The Vatican

Pope Francis once again condemns gender ideology

Argentina newspaper published interview with pontiff on March 10

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Pope Francis (Photo by palinchak via Bigstock)

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis earlier this month said gender ideology is “one of the most dangerous ideological colonizations” in the world today.

“Gender ideology, today, is one of the most dangerous ideological colonizations,” Francis told La Nación, an Argentine newspaper, in an interview that was published on March 10. “Why is it dangerous? Because it blurs differences and the value of men and women.”

“All humanity is the tension of differences,” added the pontiff. “It is to grow through the tension of differences. The question of gender is diluting the differences and making the world the same, all dull, all alike, and that is contrary to the human vocation.”

The Vatican’s tone towards LGBTQ+ and intersex issues has softened since since Francis assumed the papacy in 2013.

Francis publicly backs civil unions for same-sex couples, and has described laws that criminalize homosexuality are “unjust.” Church teachings on homosexuality and gender identity have nevertheless not changed since Francis became pope.

Francis told La Nación that he talks about gender ideology “because some people are a bit naive and believe that it is the way to progress.” The Catholic News Agency further notes Francis also said these people “do not distinguish what is respect for sexual diversity or diverse sexual preferences from what is already an anthropology of gender, which is extremely dangerous because it eliminates differences, and that erases humanity, the richness of humanity, both personal, cultural, and social, the diversities and the tensions between differences.”

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