A Caribbean advocacy group launched a fund to help LGBTQ people who have been impacted by the eruption of a volcano on the island of St. Vincent, The Washington Blade reported. The Eastern Caribbean Alliance for Diversity and Equality, based in St. Lucia, has created a fund to support members of the LGBTQ community and people with HIV/AIDS who have been affected by the eruption of La Soufriere that began April 9. The fund hopes to raise $80,000. The eruption is expected to continue for weeks, if not months.
The death of a gay Latvian man after his clothes were soaked with fuel and lit on fire has shocked the country, with campaigners calling it a homophobic attack and accusing police of inaction, Euractiv reported. Normunds Kindzulis, 29, a paramedic, sustained burns to 85% of his body on April 23 and later died of his injuries. Kindzulis had received homophobic death threats in the past and had relocated from the capital Riga to Tukums. However, he was victimized in Tukums as well, and he was physically attacked at least four times.
Trinity Hufana was crowned Queen of the Pacific 2021 on April 17 at the Hilton Guam Resort & Spa, KUAM.com reported. It was the second time Hufana, who represented the Central Republic of Honduras, had vied for the title, which typically features trans women. The 2021 winners also included Xerabel Guahanila, Miss Guam, who came in second; Germany representative Madam Raven B Love, who took third; and Jessica San Nicolas, Miss Vietnam, who took fourth place.
A same-sex couple are among those marrying next to an erupting volcano in Iceland, Queerty noted. A so-called "quiet" eruption on the Reykjanes peninsula has drawn around 50,000 curious locals, who come to view the streams of lava. With the help of wedding planners Pink Iceland (www.pinkiceland.is), and a photographer and videographer, couple Sumarlioi and Jonsi made the hike to the volcano April 9. There are no local amenities near the site, including any paths, and visitors can only visit when the wind is blowing in a certain direction, to avoid volcanic gases.
A same-sex marriage bill in the Czech Republic cleared an early hurdle in the lower house of parliamentbut whether it will become law is uncertain with a general election less than six months away, Reuters reported. The legislation has languished for three years in parliament and has split parliamentary factions, as lawmakers voted both for and against the measure within their parties. In the Czech Republic, same-sex couples have been able to enter into registered partnerships since 2006.
Uzbek blogger and rights activist Miraziz Bazarovwho was severely beaten by unknown attackers in Marchhas been put under house arrest (on charges of libel and public insult) after being released from the hospital, RFE/RL reported. Bazarov's lawyer, Sergei Mayorov, said his client was immediately taken to the Tashkent City Main Directorate of Interior Affairs after he was released from hospital April 29. Bazarov. 29, was hospitalized in late March after he was severely attacked by unknown men hours after a public event he organized was disrupted by dozens of aggressive men in the Uzbek capital of Tashkent. Among other issues, Bazarov has publicly urged the government to decriminalize same-sex sexual conduct, which is still legally considered a crime in Uzbekistan.
Arlene Foster announced she is stepping down as leader of the ultra-conservative Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and Northern Ireland's first minister after a sudden internal party revolt, The Guardian reported. Foster issued a statement saying she would step aside as DUP leader on 28 May and as first minister at the end of June, casting new tumult in a region hit by protests over the post-Brexit Irish Sea border. Openly gay Irish politician Leo Varadkar tweeted he was "very sorry" Foster resigned. However, a PinkNews article questioned Foster's legacy with the LGBTQ community, saying she "threw what were ultimately the smallest of crumbs to the LGBT+ community during her time as leader of the DUP."
An elderly pastor was arrested on the streets of London for making "homophobic comments" and telling passersby that same-sex couples were against "God's created order," PinkNews reported. Pastor John Sherwood and Pastor Peter Simpson were preaching outside Uxbridge tube station in West London. Same-sex marriage, Simpson said, was "an assault upon the Biblical revelation, which tells us that marriage can be only between one man and one woman." Sherwood was released the next day "under investigation."
Rodrigo Bellott's Tu Me Manques (I Miss You), Bolivia's official selection for the Oscars, will be out on DVD/Digital on May 4, a press release noted. The plot of the movie (which stars Oscar Martinez, Rossy de Palma and Fernando Barbosa) is as follows: Following the death of his son, Jorge travels from conservative Bolivia to NYC to confront Sebastianhis son's boyfriend. While Jorge struggles to accept the life of his son, Sebastian channels his grief into a bold play honoring his lost love. The official trailer is at https://youtu.be/bMrQgNtzDY4.
Moroccan-born Israeli fashion designer Alber Elbaz, the former head of Lanvin, died of COVID-19 at the age of 59, The Daily Mail noted. Luxury conglomerate Richemont announced Elbaz's death in Paris in a statement, sparking a flood of tributes from stars such as Kim Kardashian and Anna Wintour. He was credited with reinvigorating the veteran French fashion house for a new age with styles worn by stars such as Meryl Streep, Beyonce, Lupita Nyong'o, Harry Styles and Michelle Obama. Elbaz is survived by his brother and two sisters as well as partner Alex Koo.
In Canada, all nine high schools in Ontario's Halton Catholic School Board District tweeted messages of acceptance, tolerance and diversity after the school board trustees decided against flying the Pride flag at its schools in June, CBC.ca reported. Some of the schools changed their logos to include rainbow colors to show support for LGBTQ students. Kirsten Kelly, the Burlington student trustee on the board, said the fight to fly the flag is not over yet.
An Israeli soccer referee has come out as transgender and is livingand workingas the only woman in the country's top-shelf league, ABC News reported. Sapir Berman announced she has received the support of her family, the local referees' union and Israeli and international soccer officials. She said players and fans have begun to address her as a woman, even when they gripe about her calls on the field.
Ian RobertsAustralia's first professional rugby league player to come out as gaytold The Daily Telegraph about the consequences of the historic decision he made in 1995, the Star Observer noted. Roberts said that, shortly after making the announcement, he was the victim of a violent assault. Not limited to abuse from members of the public, a fellow teammate was once overheard saying of Roberts "I feel uncomfortable rooming with Ian because he's a faggot."
Roberts had a nervous breakdown, and while he now has found the courage to publicly discuss such issues, he also said he recognizes"we still have work to do as a community about discrimination, misogyny, homophobia and racism. You need to walk a mile in someone else's shoes to understand."
A Christian actress fired for posting an anti-gay comment on Facebook could have to pay more than 300,000 British pounds in legal costs after losing a tribunal, the BBC noted. Seyi Omooba was due to perform as Celiea lesbian rolein a stage production of The Color Purple. Tribunal judges said her claims for discrimination, breach of contract and harassment had no chance of success. Omooba's Facebook post, from 2014, referenced Biblical texts and said: "I do not believe you can be born gay, and i do not believe homosexuality is right, though the law of this land has made it legal doesn't mean its right."
British actress, environmentalist and filmmaker Maisie Williams (best known as Arya, on TV's Game of Thrones) has been appointed the first WWF Global Ambassador for Climate and Nature, a press release noted. In an announcement video, Williams highlights how vital 2021 is in the fight against climate changeas the UK prepared to host a critical climate summit, COP26, in Glasgow, Scotlandand global leaders set ambitious targets to cut emissions which will limit warming and its impacts on people and nature. WWF marked its 60th anniversary on April 29. The video is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q3usTryGt80.
The West End production of Lin-Manuel Miranda's Hamilton will reopen at London's Victoria Palace Theatre on Aug.19, according to Playbill. The Tony-, Olivier- and Pulitzer Prize-winning musical has been closed since March 2020.