At least 35 of this year's Olympic athletes are openly LGBTQ+more than double the number of queer competitors from the 2018 winter competition in PyeongChang, South Korea, according to an NBC News item that cited the LGBTQ sports website Outsports. However, the tally falls well behind the 2021 Tokyo Summer Games, which had more than 180 out athletes, an Olympic record. Acknowledging that this Games' total may not be as "eye-popping" as last year's, Outsports founder and longtime LGBTQ advocate Cyd Zeigler contended that the Summer and Winter Games are difficult to compare, especially since the Summer typically has around 11,000 competitors, while the Winter has about 3,000.
In Honduras, authorities arrested a suspected gang member in connection with the murder of transgender activist Thalia Rodriguez, per The Washington Blade. Reportar sin Miedo, the Washington Blade's media partner in Honduras, reported the Honduran national police announced agents with its Directorate of Investigations arrested a 28-year-old man. The U.S. Embassy in Honduras and U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Samantha Power are among those who condemned Rodríguez's death.
Three LGBT+ people were murdered on the same day in Honduras (Feb. 2) in a spate of violence indicative of the horrific circumstances for queer folk in the country, PinkNews reported. Jonathan Gabriel Martínez and partner Cesar Gustavo Zuniga were shot dead in the liquor store owned by Martínez in San Pedro Sula's Ticamaya neighborhood; the killers were reportedly dressed as police officers. On the same day, Maria Fernanda Martínez, 18, was shot dead in La Libertad, a municipality in Comayagua, Honduras. At least 405 queer folk have been murdered in the country since 2009, according to lesbian human-rights group Cattrachas.
Gay dating app Grindr has disappeared from multiple app stores in China as authorities tighten control of the country's already heavily policed internet and purge online behavior the ruling Communist Party dislikes, CBS News reported. The country's cyber authority is in the midst of a campaign to root out illegal and sensitive content during the Lunar New Year holiday and February's Winter Olympics. The world's most populous nation decriminalized homosexuality in 1997; however, same-sex marriage is illegal and LGBTQ issues remain taboo.
Lunfarda Travel, a boutique incoming agency based in Buenos Aires, has launched the first queer history tour in Argentina, per a press release. In "Queer BA: The History of the Argentine Sexual Diversity + Community," people will explore landmarks iconic to the fight and conquest of rights, like the National Congress or the Jauregui subway station. There will also be a visit to an NGO and, for every tour, Lunfarda donates to the NGOs fighting for visibility, inclusivity and tolerance. See www.lunfardatravel.com .
A former Ugandan ethics minister who championed a bill to introduce the death penalty for same-sex relationships and sought to regulate what women could wear has died, per inquirer.net . Simon Lokodoa one-time Catholic priest ex-communicated by the church, and whose homophobia attracted global condemnationdied at age 64 in a hospital in Geneva. Among other things, in 2012, Lokodo closed down a workshop that aimed to empower local LGBTIQA+ leadersa move Amnesty International condemned, Out in Perth noted.
To mark the beginning of LGBT+ History Month in Britain, the University of Cambridge's Gonville and Caius College flew the Progress Pride flag; one day later, the flag was banned, per PinkNews. For the last six years the collegeone of the wealthiest at the University of Cambridgehas flown Pride flags from its flagpole. However, this year, a general meeting was held by fellows, who make up the college's governing body and are responsible for changing statutes, where members voted to ban the flying of any flag other than the college banner. In a statement, Cambridge's Gonville and Caius College said: "The college flag is a symbol which unites all in the Caius community. Choosing to fly only the college flag avoids concerns regarding political neutrality."
Austria became the first country in Europe to introduce a national COVID-19 vaccine mandate for adults after President Alexander Van der Bellen signed it into law, CNN reported. Austria's sweeping measures will see those without a vaccine certificate or an exemption potentially slapped with initial fines of 600 euros ($680). Checks to see if the mandate is being adhered are slated to begin March 15. Pregnant people and those who cannot be vaccinated without endangering their health are exempt from the law, according to the Austrian health ministry's website.
Out gay British actor Ben Whishaw (A Very English Scandal; the James Bond series with Daniel Craig) has said that sometimes he simply "does not believe" straight actors who play LGBT+ roles, according to PinkNews. In an interview with The Guardian, the Emmy-winning actor shared his thoughts on Eddie Redmayne's controversial lead role in The Danish Girl. "I think Eddie did a beautiful job and it's done," he said of the 2015 film, but added, "Why shouldn't a role like that be given to someone who knows, inside, what the character is? I'm all for that. I feel the same, sometimes, about straight actors playing gay parts. I'm critical if I don't think the performance is, from my subjective experience, accurate."
Also, in the acting realm, English actor Benedict Cumberbatch admitted his non-binary Zoolander Two character "backfired" after the 2016 film drew criticism, per PinkNews. The sequel to the 2001 Ben Stiller comedy about an airhead model forever pursing his lips saw LGBT+ advocates condemn it for ridiculing trans and non-binary people. Joining fellow cast member Penélope Cruz for Variety's "Actors on Actors" series, Cumberbatch said, "There was a lot of contention around the role, understandably now. And I think in this era, my role would never be performed by anybody other than a trans actor."
A 6'1" transgender model slammed the fashion industry's body standards, saying she was once told she was "too big" to walk the runway at Paris Fashion Week when she weighed just 123 lbs., according to The Daily Mail. Arisce Wanzer, 25, from Miami, blasted the beauty industry in a recent TikTok video, stating she was told she'd have to shed 10 pounds if she wanted to participate in Paris Fashion Week.
Actor Thandiwe (formerly Thandie) Newton wants to know why the BFI London Film Festival did not accept Presidentthe award-winning documentary she produced about the 2018 Zimbabwe presidential election, Variety noted. The Camilla Nielsson-directed film chronicles young presidential hopeful Nelson Chamisa's unsuccessful bid to unseat President Emmerson Mnangagwa, the country's former vice president who staged a military coup that ousted longtime dictator Robert Mugabe. President looks at allegations that Mnangagwawho publicly promised a fair and transparent electionand his party held onto power through vote tampering and violence against his opposition. The festival said, "Our selection decisions, which are made [three] months in advance of the festival, are based on the merits of the film and whether it fits into the overall texture of the program and not guided by external factors."
Italian luxury group Dolce & Gabbana will stop using fur in all its collections, the fashion brand said in a joint statement with animal rights association Humane Society International, Reuters reported. The label will switch to eco-fur garments and accessories while continuing to collaborate with master furriers to preserve jobs and know-how. Many brands have already committed to banning animal fur, including Armani, Kering, Prada, Valentino, Versace and Moncler.