Mitcham gets star treatment
SYDNEY, Australia — While openly gay Olympic diving champion Matthew Mitcham (pictured) is touring Europe with his partner Lachlan Fletcher, organizers back home are readying for next year’s Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade.

“Matt is someone we’re considering, along with a few others, and we’re keen to have a discussion, and we’re keen to have a discussion with him,” new Mardi Gras general manager Anna McInerney told The Busselton-Dunsborough Mail. “But it’s not a done deal.”

Gays aren’t the only ones chomping at the bit to get a piece of Australia’s new Golden Boy — whose notoriety was sealed when he aced his final dive to win gold in the 10-Meter Platform in Beijing. Sponsors and sports agents are looking to snap him up, as well.

Principal faces gay sex charges
BANJUL, Gambia — A high school principal in this African nation’s western region appeared before a magistrate’s court on Sept. 5 over sex charges stemming from students’ allegations. Alimameh Dukureh was arrested July 29 for allegedly engaging in homosexual acts at the school. It is not clear if the allegations involved sexual relations with students. He has denied the charges.

Two teenage students from Dukureh’s school, whose names were withheld, recently pleaded guilty to homosexuality when they recently appeared before the same magistrate’s court. The students told court officials Dukureh encouraged them to engage in sexual activity.

Lesbian moms face harassment
CWMBACH, Wales — A lesbian mother recently spoke to the website Wales Online about the brutal treatment she and her family were dealt by neighborhood teens and others.

Calling the teens “homophobic thugs” and “vandals,” Josie Henly-Einion said, “We would get groups of kids, youngsters of 12 and 13, shouting abusive things. Some of them were things I don’t want to repeat, saying lesbian, homophobic things, sexual things and making gestures.

“That started happening when we were taking our child out to the park. He would be hearing it and I didn’t want him hearing that.” Henley-Einion also said the family experienced anti-gay vandalism and that her son was routinely hit by other children in the village.

Gay men decry motorcycle law
TULUÁ, Colombia — The mayor of Colombia’s fourth largest city has banned all men from riding on the back seat of a motorcycle. The new law, criticized by the gay male community, applies to mopeds, scooters and other small motorcycles. Commonly an easy and cheap mode of travel, motorcycles have lately been used in numerous robberies as a way for criminals to make a quick getaway with the thief hopping on the back seat. The city government is looking for ways to curb the trend.

“This measure has affected us very much, since the ban keeps us from going out on a trip with our partner and from doing other activities,” said Saulo “Sandino” Hernández, a fashion designer, to El País and translated by Andrés Duque of The local gay community said the ban “violates the right of freedom to develop one’s personality.” They also argued that “the basic principles of the right to equality would be broken, next to the right to free mobility of any person.”

According to Yorlavi Victoria, a representative of the mayor’s office, the ban is only in effect from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. and is still in a trial stage. She said the city would consider giving gay men living in the city an exemption from the ban if the mayor’s office received a list with their names. Frank Salazar, a spokesperson for the opposition, said the idea of a list of names was a delicate issue. Both sides have agreed to talk more.

Islands pass gay marriage ban
CAYMAN ISLANDS — Lawmakers in this Caribbean territory of the U.K. voted Sept. 5 in favor of a ban on same-sex marriage, according to The Cay Compass. At press time, the bill, in the form of an amendment to the marriage laws of the territory, still required the legal formality of a third vote before complete passage. Lawmakers unanimously approved the measure in its second vote.

“The people of the Cayman Islands are sending a clear signal that they do not wish to change the definition of marriage,” Leader of Government Business Kurt Tibbetts said. “The purpose [of this amendment] is to confirm and clarify what the Marriage Law has always meant in Caymanian society.”

Lawmakers believe their action reflects the wishes of the majority of the islands’ population. And some government leaders want the ban to go further — banning recognition of same-sex civil unions performed by the Islands’ mother country and ensuring that transgender people cannot wed according to their gender-identity.

Attorney General Samuel Bulgin said the government needs more time to research the law and any possible changes, as well as the ramifications of those changes. “The definition is sufficiently wide enough for the time being,” he said.

Official caught in gay visa scandal
SYDNEY, Australia — An immigration official is being investigated for his involvement in what The Sydney Morning Herald has called a “bizarre bid to gain political asylum for his clients.

According to the daily paper, Raymond Solaiman took Indian and Bangladeshi men to a gay sex worker and photographed them in sexually explicit positions. The photographs were then used by Solaiman to argue his clients were gay and faced persecution in their home countries.

The Department of Immigration became aware of the problem when as many as a dozen immigration applications arrived containing photographs of different men with the same male partner.

Matt Comer

Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016.