Tuesday, September 30, 2014

NEWS: Lapuz's Killer Sentenced, Gay Nunavut, The Queen Pardons Turing, Trinity Western

Gay In Nunavut: How Politics, Culture, Religion and Language Shape Sexuality In The North
[Nunavut, Canada] Years from now, when the children of homosexual Inuit are old enough to understand, they’ll learn how Nunavut joined the global gay rights movement on a bitter cold, blue-sky morning, Feb. 10, 2014, when a man in a hoodie hoisted a rainbow flag on a pole outside Iqaluit city hall. As is often the case with memorable things in retrospect, it was just a small, spontaneous event, organized by a handful of people with modest intentions — a show of support for gay athletes at the Sochi Olympics. And even as the lesbian, gay, transgendered and queer community of Iqaluit gears up for its big Pride event Sept. 27 at the Francophone Centre, they could never have predicted what would come from that simple act. It’s the first Iqaluit Pride event in several years, following a series of annual Pride picnics held at Sylvia Grinnell Park from 2000 to 2006. The February flag-raising spawned a public debate over city protocol and due process, which quickly transformed into a series of broader questions over homosexuality in the North which had perhaps been brewing for a while.

Law Society Of BC To Hold Binding Referendum On Trinity Western Law School  
[British Columbia] The governing members of the Law Society of British Columbia have decided to hold a binding referendum to determine the future of a faith-based law school at Trinity Western University. The board members, who are known as benchers, voted on Friday morning to hold the referendum at the earliest possible date, with the results to be released by the end of October. The move comes after members of the society triggered a non-binding vote earlier this year that effectively overturned the benchers' April decision to accredit the new law school at the Fraser Valley university. The law school, which is due to open in 2016, has come under fire because of the Christian covenant TWU students must sign. The covenant states that sexual relations are to be confined within the bounds of a marriage between a man and a woman. Critics say that discriminates against anyone involved in an LGBTQ relationship. READ MORE

Queen Elizabeth Grants A Royal Pardon For Gay Computer Scientist Alan Turing  
[United Kingdom] Queen Elizabeth II this week granted a Royal pardon for internationally acclaimed British codebreaker and computer scientist Alan Turing, who took his own life in 1954 after being convicted two years earlier of having consensual sex with a 19-year-old male. The pardon came more than a decade after gay activists and straight allies lobbied the British government for a posthumous pardon for Turing, saying his conviction on a charge of “gross indecency” was an injustice even though gay sex was considered a crime at the time under British law. “Alan Turing was a remarkable man who played a key role in saving this country in World War II by cracking the German Enigma code,” The Telegraph newspaper quoted British Prime Minister David Cameron as saying. “His action saved countless lives. He also left a remarkable national legacy through his substantial scientific achievements, often being referred to the as father of modern computing,” the newspaper quoted Cameron as saying. Cameron was referring to Turing’s groundbreaking work for one of Britain’s intelligence agencies during World War II in which he applied his own research on information processing – considered a forerunner to modern computer science — to devise a means of breaking the code used by German submarines to attack and sink British ships. Turing, who continued his research after the war, is widely considered by computer experts to have developed the foundation for high tech devices such as smart phones. READ MORE

January Marie Lapuz's Killer Sentenced To Eight Years
[New Westminster, B.C.] Charles Jameson (Jamie) Neel, 22, pleaded guilty to manslaughter in June and was sentenced in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster to eight years in prison. According to an agreed statement of facts, Neel contacted 26-year-old January Marie Lapuz, a transgender woman who worked in the sex trade, by text on Sept. 29, 2012 to arrange an exchange of sex for money. Neel did not know Lapuz before that night, but knew she was transgender. Lapuz gave Neel her address and he left the Vancouver home he shared with his brother and twin sister, arriving at Lapuz’s apartment in New Westminster around 9:45 p.m. Before they had sex, Neel and Lapuz got into an argument about the price Lapuz would be paid for the sexual encounter. Antonuk stressed in his submissions that Lapuz’s death resulted from an argument and she was not killed because she was transgender. “This is not a hate crime,” he said. READ MORE

Read our previous January Marie Lapuz posts here.