French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna announced a fund to help promote the rights of LGBTQ+ people, French24 reported. She made the announcement at the 15th anniversary of an LGBTQ+ group at the United Nations at the start of the annual General Assembly. The fund of 2 million euros ($2.1 million dollars) will be used "for our embassies to support those who are defending LGBTQ rights on a daily basis around the world, sometimes at risk to their lives," foreign ministry spokeswoman Anne-Claire Legendre said. Last year, France became one of a small number of countries to appoint an ambassador dedicated to LGBTQ+ rights.
A mausoleum dedicated entirely to trans women is now in Mexico City, The Advocate noted. The mausoleumthe brainchild of Kenya Cuevas, a trans woman who left sex work to start a trans-advocacy group and shelterwill have room for up to 149 women, many of whom were sex workers who died alone or whose bodies remained unclaimed by family. Cuevas said the first person to be laid to rest will be her close friend Paola Buenrostro, who was killed in front of her in 2016.
GLAAD ran a piece on how Luis Ruiz and Andrea Natzahuatzatwo young, queer teachers from Leon, Mexicocreated the online community Abrazo Grupal ("group hug"). Every day, they share information, opinions and more about sexuality, gender, politics, pop culture, media, work, education and relationships with an LGBTQ+ angle. Ruiz said that Abrazo Grupal aims to have "conversations that aren't preachy but that aim to convince, explain, guide you to understand concepts that are, of course, uncomfortable." See www.abrazogrupal.com/; the GLAAD piece is at glaad.org/how-two-teachers-in-mexico-created-a-group-hug-for-lgbtq-youth/ .
U.S. President Joe Biden noted LGBTQI+ rights in his speech to the U.N. General Assembly, according to The Washington Blade. "We cannot turn away from abuses, whether in Xinjiang, Tehran, Darfur or anywhere else," Biden said. "We have to continue working to ensure that women and girls enjoy equal rights and equal participation in their society; that indigenous groups, racial, ethnic, religious minorities, people with disabilities do not have their potential stifled by systemic discrimination, that the LGBTQI+ people are not prosecuted or targeted with violence because of who they are These rights are part of our shared humanity. When they're absent anywhere, their loss is felt everywhere. They are essential in the advancement of human progress that brings us together."
Lesbian tennis icon Billie Jean King helped kick off the Professional Women's Hockey League draft at CBC headquarters in Toronto, CBC reported. "A trailblazer is one that blazes a trail to lead and include others, the first person to do something or go somewhere who shows that it is also possible for other people," King said before calling out Taylor Heise's name as Minnesota's first overall pick of the inaugural draft."[Having King and former Canadian hockey player Jayna Hefford] there with me was iconic," Heise said. "To have Billie Jean King to endorse us so much and really realize we do deserve what we get here and that this league is going to be one to reckon with."
In a twist, an anti-gay Ugandan activist has been jailed on charges of homosexuality in what a local paper called the first major case since the nation enacted its brutal anti-homosexuality law, LGBTQ Nation noted. The arrested person, Elisha Mukisa, advocated for the passage of the anti-LGBTQ+ law, billing himself as a former "victim" of homosexuality. In what pro-LGBTQ+ activist Frank Mugisha called a situation "laden with irony," The Daily Monitor reported that Mukisa was arraigned alongside the man with whom he has been accused of engaging in homosexuality, Kitimbo Ramon Mwesigwa; both denied the allegations.
Canada's conservative parties are suddenly joining U.S.-style culture wars centered on trans issues, announcing new policies to crack down on access to medical care and women-only spaces, and restricting trans children from using chosen names and pronouns in schools, The Los Angeles Blade reported. At the federal Conservative Party's policy convention in Quebec City, 69 percent of delegates voted to ban trans children from receiving gender-affirming care, while 87 percent of delegates voted to define "woman" as a "female person" and to demand that trans women be barred from women-only spaces. The votes came as a wave of anti-trans and anti-drag protests has appeared across the country.
The European Parliament passed a resolution against "prostitution" but removed some of its most harmful parts, per Human Rights Watch. Parliament adopted a non-binding report, "Regulation of Prostitution in the EU: Its Cross-Border Implications and Impact on Gender Equality and Women's Rights," but rejected "calls for an EU-wide approach based on the Nordic/Equality model." The report is at www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/TA-9-2023-0328_EN.html .
In the UK, Manchester authorities are asking for the public's help in identifying the owner of a motorcycle seen on video taking part in an attack on a gay shop, The Advocate noted. They believe it is the same motorcycle used in a nearly identical attack last May against Clonezone, a gay adult book and novelty store in Manchester. The store has been attacked five times since March, and police believe the attacks are related.
LGBTQ+ actress Miriam Margolyes has become the latest big name to join the cast of the longtime British series Doctor Who, per Deadline. Margolyes, a British-Australian acting veteran, will voice Meep, the iconic creature adapted from The Star Beast comic strip. Margolyes, who played Professor Sprout in Harry Potter, will be on three special episodes at the end of this year, which will see David Tennant take on the role of the 14th Doctor to coincide with the show's 60th anniversary.
Out gay British actor Stephen Fry said that an AI ripoff of his voice narrating a historical documentary is only the beginning, per Deadline. Speaking at the CogX Festival in London, Fry played a clip of an AI system mimicking his voice to narrate the film. "I said not one word of thatit was a machine. Yes, it shocked me," Fry said. "They used my reading of the seven volumes of the Harry Potter books, and from that dataset an AI of my voice was created and it made that new narration." He added that the current actors' and writers' strikes are attempts to address that potential problem for actors.
Grammy-winning international trans pop singer/songwriter Kim Petras released her album Problematique as a surprise for her fans via Republic Records/ Amigo Records, per a press release. Previously shelved after being partially leaked, the album has "10 tracks of euphoric escapist pop inspired by French house music and Parisian soundscapes," the release added.
A few years after facing backlash in the UK, Chick-fil-A is (again) aiming to open restaurants there, the BBC noted. The chain's previous foray into the UK market in 2019 faced a boycott over its founders' support for Christian groups opposed to same-sex marriage. The first restaurants are slated to open in 2025. The Atlanta-based firm, known for its chicken sandwiches, already has 2,800 outlets in the United States and Canada, and plans to open more sites in Europe and Asia.
Out British actor Russell Tovey (Looking; Quantico) and Steve Brockman are reportedly parting ways, Out noted. According to the Daily Mail, Tovey hinted at their breakup by sharing an Instagram picture with his dog that included the caption "It's just you and me kid." This picture was reportedly shared after Tovey and Brockman unfollowed each other on Instagram. This was the second time around for the couple, who initially dated during 2016-18; after breaking up, they rekindled things in 2019.
World of Wonder revealed the 13 queens competing for the crown in the third season of Drag Race Italia, which will be available on WOW Presents globally Oct. 13 and on Paramount+ in Italy, per a press release. The contestants are Adriana Picasso, Amy Krania, Leila Yarn, Lightning Aurora, Lina Galore, Melissa Bianchini, Morgana Cosmica, La Prada, La Sheeva, Silvana Della Magliana, Sissy Lea, Sypario and Vezirja.
Perth Wildcats' triple Australian National Basketball League champion Corey Webster apologized for linking the LGBTQ+ community to mental illness, per ESPN's Australian outlet. In a now-deleted comment, Webster responded "mental illness" to a social-media comment with the LGBTQI+ rainbow flag and the question "What's the first thing that comes to mind when you see this flag?" In a statement from the Wildcats, Webster said, "While it certainly wasn't my intent, I understand the hurt my comments have caused and I am sincerely sorry for this."
A joint investigation by UK media outlets the Sunday Times, the Times and Channel 4 Dispatches said actor/comedian Russell Brand has been accused of rape, sexual assault and emotional abuse during a seven-year period, Deadline reported. The reports emerged after Brand had already issued a video to deny what he called "very serious criminal allegations." Reactions have been swift, including Google-owned YouTube suspending Brand's video advertisements, although his channels remain on the platform, per Variety.
Broadway Records announced the release of London's Bridge Theatre cast recording of Guys & Dolls, available digitally on Sept. 29, per a press release. The physical CD will be released on Oct. 27, and is available for pre-order now at BroadwayRecords.com and Amazon. The 2023 London cast recording stars Daniel Mays (Nathan Detroit), Cedric Neal (Nicely-Nicely Johnson), Andrew Richardson (Sky Masterson), Celinde Schoenmaker (Sarah Brown) and Marisha Wallace (Miss Adelaide), among others.
Australian singer Darren Hayes (best known for being half of Savage Garden) officially ended his marriage to ex-husband Richard Cullen, per Out. Hayes and Cullen originally announced their separation in May, and have officially filed for divorce, citing irreconcilable differences. Hayes and Cullen, a director/screenwriter, married in 2005, and then again in 2013 after it was legalized in the United States.
Netflix unveiled four new Italian originalstwo feature films and two series, Variety noted. One of the movies is Fabbricante di lacrime (Maker of Tears), based on a best-selling teen fantasy novel that has sold more than 550,000 copies in Italy. However, one previously announced original in the Netflix pipeline is Supersexa seven-episode drama freely inspired by the real life of global porn star Rocco Siffredi, who has made more than 1,500 hardcore films. There's also Inaganno, a show about the passionate and turbulent relationship between an older woman and a man who is half her age.
And on a much different note, the film Cats of Malta will be out on digital on Tuesday, Oct. 3, per a press release. The film takes audiences on a journey through the island's cat colonies, cat cafes, parks and streets to meet local volunteer feeders, business owners and artists whose lives are affected by stray cats.