Gay & lesbian: News in brief

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The Independent Online

Legendary day out

Fairytales, Myths and Legends is the theme of Pride London 2008, which will take place on Saturday 5 July. The stages will be packed with celebrities, entertainment and politics, and with over 500 000 people expected, this promises to be a truly star-studded, glittering affair. Visit www.pridelondon.org for details.

Budapest problems

Police in Budapest have cancelled a Pride march planned for 5 July because it will interfere with traffic. The Europe branch of the International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA) says it is "appalled" by the decision and called on the police chief, Gábor Tóth, to change his decision. At last year's Pride in Budapest, it was reported that skinheads and fascists massed along the 7km route of the march and threw eggs and bottles at the marchers. Later in the day almost a dozen gay people were reported to have been beaten. ILGA-Europe says the police failed to take proper action.

Greece is the word

Residents on the Greek island of Lesbos have begun a legal battle to reclaim the term "lesbian" from homosexual women. A group from the Aegean island claim the international dominance of the word in its sexual context violates the human rights of the islanders and disgraces them around the world. If the islanders are successful, they have vowed to fight for the meaning of the word lesbian internationally. The islanders claim the term "lesbian" should only be used to describe people who come from Lesbos. It was adopted by homosexual women because the island, the third-biggest in Greece, was the birthplace of Sappho, who expressed her love of women in poetry in the seventh-century BC. Human rights campaigners say the legal battle has been motivated by homophobia .

Keeping it civil

New legislation on same-sex marriage means civil marriage in Norway will be gender neutral. It will replace a 1993 law that gave same-sex couples the right to enter into civil unions. Couples with a pre-registered civil partnership will be able to convert it into marriage. The new legislation also increases parental rights, and makes it easier for lesbians to undergo the same in vitro fertilisation treatment available to heterosexual couples. In cases of adoption,both partners, gay or lesbian, will have complete joint parenting rights.

Art of the matter

The York Lesbian Arts Festival (YLAF) 2008, Europe's biggest lesbian event, will take place from 23-26 October. Highlights of this year's YLAF include a two-day book festival, Club DIVA and writing workshops with Stella Duffy.

The marrying kind

The gay US Episcopal bishop at the centre of the Anglican church's global battle over homosexuality has entered into a civil union with his long-term partner at a private ceremony. About 120 guests gathered at St Paul's Church in New Hampshire for the ceremony for Bishop Gene Robinson and his partner Mark Andrews.

Ulster outcry

There has been an outcry among gay rights campaigners in Northern Ireland following remarks made by Iris Robinson, an MP and MLA. Robinson, the wife of Northern Ireland's first minister Peter Robinson, made the comments during an interview on BBC Radio Ulster earlier this month. As well as describing homosexuality as an "abomination", Robinson went on to tell listeners, "I have a very lovely psychiatrist who works with me in my offices and his Christian background is that he tries to help homosexuals trying to turn away from what they are engaged in."

Conference call

Brazil's President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has become the first national leader to launch a conference with the sole purpose of promoting gay equality. The President inaugurated the First National Conference of Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals, Transvestites and Transsexuals and called for a "time of reparation" in Brazil.

Barack reaches out

Senator Hillary Clinton enjoyed the overwhelming support of the gay and lesbian community throughout the campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination. To help shore up support from gays and lesbians and unify the Democratic Party ahead of November's general election, Barack Obama hosted a conference call with some 1,200 LGBT journalists, many of them Clinton supporters, to begin the healing process.

In the Pink

The Pink Festival returns to Cherry Hinton Hall, Cambridge, for the fifth time on Saturday 30 August from 12-9pm. Predicted to see record crowds of 15,000, the event includes live music, comedy and theatre, as well as activities for children.

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