LE MONDE (France), WASHINGTON POST (US), BERLINGSKE (Denmark) MOSCOW TIMES (Russia)

Worldcrunch

PARIS - The lastest piece of good news for gay rights activists came from the Episcopal Church, which has become the largest U.S. denomination to bless same-sex unions. During the church's general convention in Indianapolis, Indiana, an overwhelming majority voted in favor Tuesday night of a blessing ceremony for same-sex couples.

The US Episcopal Church, which has over two million worshippers, also approved anti-discrimination language for transgender people that could lead some to become members of the faith's clergy.

Just past the midpoint mark of the year, 2012 is already shaping up to be the best year in memory for LGBT rights.

1. Barack Obama became the first President of the United States to publicly support same-sex marriage.

2. French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault announces that French same-sex couples will get the right to marry and adoption in 2013.

3. A Canadian astronomer has named an asteroid after a US gay rights pioneer, Frank Kameny, who died last year. In 1957, Kameny was fired from his job as an astronomer for the US Army Map Service in Washington, D.C. because of his sexual orientation, and subsequently became an early militant activist for gay rights in the 1960s.

4. Denmark, the first country in the world to recognize same-sex civil partnerships back in 1989, passed a law to allow same-sex marriage in the country, including in the Church of Denmark, which came into effect on June 15.

5. In a landmark case, three men became the first people in Britain to be convicted for inciting hatred after distributing leaflets calling for gay people to be killed. Two of the men were jailed for 15 months and one for two years.

The gay rights movement still has a long way to go, however, in reaching worldwide equality:

Russia passed a controversial law in February to ban, what it deemed as "propaganda", material to promote LGBT rights awareness among minors. The Moscow Times reported that people from the LGBT community were attacked when protesting against the bill.

A similar proposed law to ban LGBT events, meetings and parades in the Ukraine was dropped at the last minute from parliamentary debate.

The 1980s action star, Chuck Norris was criticized last month for saying there is no place for gay people in the Boy Scouts. In an article in AmmoLand.com, he blamed Obama for pushing a "pro-gay" stance.

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Society

Face In The Mirror: Dutch Hairdressers Trained To Recognize Domestic Violence

Early detection and accessible help are essential in the fight against domestic violence. Hairdressers in the Dutch province of North Brabant are now being trained to identify when their customers are facing abuse at home.

Hair Salon Rob Peetoom in Rotterdam

Daphne van Paassen

TILBURG — The three hairdressers in the bare training room of the hairdressing company John Beerens Hair Studio are absolutely sure: they have never seen signs of domestic violence among their customers in this city in the Netherlands. "Or is that naïve?"

When, a moment later, statistics appear on the screen — one in 20 adults deals with domestic violence, as well as one or two children per class — they realize: this happens so often, they must have victims in their chairs.

All three have been in the business for years and have a loyal clientele. Sometimes they have customers crying in the chair because of a divorce. According to Irma Geraerts, 45, who has her own salon in Reusel, a village in the North Brabant region, they're part-time psychologists. "A therapist whose hair I cut explained to me that we have an advantage because we touch people. We are literally close. The fact that we stand behind people and make eye contact via the mirror also helps."

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