Gay Portuguese journalist killed in NYC
by Rex Wockner
Well-known openly gay Portuguese journalist Carlos Castro was killed in his New York City hotel room January 7. He was 65.
Reports said he was tortured at length, poked in the eye with a corkscrew and castrated at the InterContinental Times Square hotel.
Castro's traveling companion, 20-year-old model Renato Seabra, reportedly confessed to the attack, told police he isn't gay anymore, and said he castrated Castro to get rid of homosexual demons.
Seabra has been charged with second-degree murder.
Correspondent João Paulo from PortugalGay.pt said Castro "was a very well-known journalist here in Portugal and a dear friend of mine."
"Despite what we have seen in the U.S. news, he was not seen as a gay activist in Portugal, but he was a gay man who was also a part-time activist, especially on the HIV fight," Paulo said.
For 18 years, Castro had organized the annual "Gala dos Travestis" event to support Associação Abraço, Portugal's leading HIV/AIDS charity, Paulo said.
Gay senator leads Irish presidential race
A poll has found that openly gay Irish Senator David Norris leads the pack seeking to be the nation's next president.
The Red C poll conducted in early January found that Norris, 66, is favored by 27 percent of voters, followed by Member of the European Parliament Mairead McGuinness at 13 percent, former Prime Minister Bertie Ahern at 12 percent, Dáil member Michael D. Higgins at 11 percent, and MEP Brian Crowley and charity executive Fergus Finlay at 10 percent.
The poll found that 13 percent of respondents support none of the candidates and 5 percent do not plan to vote.
In a famous 1988 gay rights case, Norris took the Irish government before the European Court of Human Rights and forced the nation to decriminalize sex between men.
McDonald's Wi-Fi blocking gay news
The fast food giant McDonald's has come under fire in New Zealand for blocking access to gay websites on the free Wi-Fi available at its restaurants. The banned sites included GayNZ, PFLAG, and Rainbow Youth.
The company responded that it uses filtering software to be sure pages viewed at its locations are "child-friendly."
Following media coverage, the chain unblocked Rainbow Youth and PFLAG but refused to budge on GayNZ.com, saying some of the advertisements placed on the site by third parties are not "friendly" to children or families.
GayNZ was a finalist last year in the Qantas Media Awards in the investigative-journalism category.
Court: Officials can't refuse to marry gays
Marriage commissioners in Canada's Saskatchewan province cannot refuse to marry same-sex couples, the Court of Appeal ruled January 10.
The top court ruled in advance on a proposed law that would have let commissioners opt out of performing gay marriages for religious reasons.
The court said: "It is not difficult for most people to imagine the personal hurt involved in a situation where an individual is told by a governmental officer, 'I won't help you because you are black (or Asian or First Nations) but someone else will,' or 'I won't help you because you are Jewish (or Muslim or Buddhist) but someone else will.' Being told, 'I won't help you because you are gay/lesbian but someone else will' is no different."
The legislation was proposed after a commissioner who did not want to marry gays had exhausted legal options in appealing rulings against him.
Transgender people killed in Honduras
Several transgender people have been killed in Honduras within the past month, with two of them being set on fire, according to the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission.
The victims include Alexis Alvarado Hernández, 23, who was stoned and set alight in the city of Comayagüela; Oscar Martínez Salgado, 45, who was stabbed and set on fire in her Tegucigalpa home; and a person identified only as "Cheo," who was found stabbed to death on a Tegucigalpa street.
IGLHRC said that since the 2009 coup d'état, there have been at least 31 murders of Honduran LGBT people.
Canada bans broadcast of old Dire Straits song
The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council on January 12 banned the old Dire Straits song "Money for Nothing" from the airwaves because the lyrics contain the word "faggot."
The council said broadcasting the word violates both the Canadian Association of Broadcasters' Code of Ethics and its Equitable Portrayal Code.
The 1985 hit song says: "The little faggot with the earring and the makeup. Yeah, buddy, that's his own hair. That little faggot's got his own jet airplane. That little faggot, he's a millionaire."
CNSC determined: "[L]ike other racially driven words in the English language, 'faggot' is one that, even if entirely or marginally acceptable in earlier days, is no longer so. The panel finds that it has fallen into the category of unacceptable designations on the basis of race, national or ethnic origin, color, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation, marital status or physical or mental disability."
More reports of vandalized newspaper boxes in Canada
The Toronto gay newspaper Xtra says its newspaper boxes are under attack from suspected homophobes.
The hapless containers have been stolen, set on fire, glued shut, filled with garbage, and defaced with the word "fag."
Xtra's sister paper in Vancouver has been similarly targeted. Fourteen Xtra West boxes have seen their front windows dismantled and their papers purloined.
The boxes cost about $200 each.
Nepal to count transgender residents
A new "third gender" category is being added to Nepal's census forms in order to count transgender people. The move follows a similar decision in neighboring India.
Bill Kelley contributed to this report.