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In the Press

  • Schools should move away from the distinctions of 'male' and 'female', according to transsexual guidance for Scottish teachers.

    A new 30-page policy document endorses 'gender fluidity', described as a "flexible range of gender expression which may change over time and sometimes as frequently as on a daily basis".

    The guidance claims that children can choose their gender, and says teachers should help a child to withhold their 'gender choices' from parents if necessary.

    Read more.

  • Osaka has become the first city in Japan to officially recognise a same-sex couple as foster parents.

    Unlike many other developed nations, Japan has been accused of having conservative attitudes to LGBT issues.

    But officials in the city of Osaka have approved the wishes of a man in his 30s and a man in his 40s to foster a teenage boy.

    Read more.

  • If Facebook insists on the rules of censorship, it should at the very least administer those rules in a fair way. Facebook, however, does not even pretend that it administers its censorship in any way that approximates fairness.

    Posts critical of Chancellor Merkel's migrant policies, for example, can be categorized as "Islamophobia", and are often found to violate "Community Standards", while incitement to actual violence and the murder of Jews and Israelis by Palestinian Arabs is generally considered as conforming to Facebook's "Community Standards".

    Read more.

  • Dutch men are uploading pictures of themselves holding hands on to social media to stand against homophobia.

    The trend was sparked by an alleged attack on two gay men on a street in the Netherlands on Sunday.

    The images are being shared via the hashtags #handinhand and #allemannenhandinhand (all men hand in hand).

    Read more.

  • The renaming of the male and female lavatories at the Barbican Centre as gender-neutral has brought complaints that women now have to queue even longer.

    Signs outside one of the venue's cinema screens have been changed to say "gender-neutral with urinals" and "gender-neutral with cubicles".

    Samira Ahmed, a broadcaster on BBC Radio 4's Front Row, launched a tirade at the Barbican on Twitter, saying: "Women's loo labelled 'gender neutral' so full of men who also have a 'urinal' to themselves. Totally ridiculous."

    Read more.

  • A terrorist incident in a jail is more likely now than at any time since a break-out by the Provisional IRA from a top-security prison in 1994, according to a former governor who has conducted a review into Islamic extremism.

    Ian Acheson warns that radical Islam is "taking hold" in prisons and that officers lack the skills to deal with the threat.

    He highlights how some Islamist offenders who have been convicted of less serious crimes and are in prison for short periods are in medium- security jails where staff do not have the skills or numbers to manage them.

    Read more.

  • Fears of another "Trojan Horse" scandal have been reignited in Birmingham after an Islamic private school was found to have placed an advert for a male-only science teacher.

    The advert which risks being in breach of the Equalities Act, has since been retracted - but the headmaster claims that the role must be occupied by a male teacher because of "religious observance reasons".

    The decision has prompted calls for the Salafi Independent School, located in Small Heath, to be investigated, amid fears its stance promotes "gender-based discrimination" and threatens to undermine "British values".

  • An Indian man was arrested for harassment and cheating after divorcing his second wife via postcard.

    Mohammed Haneef sent the card just a week after their wedding. It said "talaq" (divorce) three times, enough to enact divorce for an Indian Muslim.

    His wife complained to Hyderabad police who found the marriage invalid as she had not declared an earlier divorce.

    Read more.

  • In another 5,000-word essay, the Very Rev'd Professor Martyn Percy, Dean of Christ Church, Oxford, demands "a thorough and wholesale review" of discrimination in the Church of England. And by discrimination he means prejudiced attitudes expressed towards people because of their 'identity'. And by identity he means those characteristics which are fundamentally 'given' (he specifies eye colour, hair colour, skin colour, etc), which is fair (and biblical) enough. He adds gender and sexuality, noting that transgender is now a 'given' identity, and "increasingly these days, sexuality is seen as a 'given', in the sense that it is a 'natural orientation', and not a lifestyle choice".

    Read more.

  • Sadly, we will never get to find out what motivates someone in northern England in 2017 to want to get up on a cross and be mock-crucified in the runup to Easter. And to spend £750 for the opportunity. For about a week, you could buy the crucifixion experience on a crowdfunding website, a wheeze to help raise money for putting on a large-scale Passion play in Manchester this weekend.

    It would have been an opportunity to empathise, says Alex Stewart-Clark, a member of the committee that organises the annual performance, "[with] what it was like to be on the cross, a humiliating public execution method". But all the other members disagreed, deciding it was sacrilegious, and the offer was taken down. "The committee are more spiritually aware. They saw the grey area."

    Read more.

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