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WORLD Central America migration, New Zealand, asylum, Olympics
by Windy City Times staff
2021-08-01

This article shared 1297 times since Sun Aug 1, 2021
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A State Department spokesperson said the United States will continue to urge the governments of Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras to protect LGBTQ rights as part of its efforts to address the "root causes" of migration from the three countries, The Washington Blade reported. Vice President Kamala Harris, who met with Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei last month during her trip to Guatemala City, has repeatedly stated that violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity is one of the factors behind migration from the region. Harris and other administration officials have also told migrants not to travel to the U.S.-Mexico border because it remains closed to them due to the pandemic.

New Zealand introduced a new bill on July 30 that, if it becomes law, will make "conversion therapy" aimed at LGBTQ people an offense punishable by up to five years in prison, The Washington Post reported. "Conversion practices have no place in modern New Zealand. They are based on the false belief that any person's sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression is broken and in need of fixing," Kris Faafoi, the country's justice minister, said in a statement. New Zealand's justice minister said that the country is joining bans put in place or being considered in other countries, including the United States, Canada, Germany, Britain and some Australian states.

The International Rescue Committee and HIAS—two organizations tapped by the Biden administration to recommend which migrants should be allowed into the United States to seek humanitarian protection—said they are halting their work with the government and demanding an end to the Trump-era ban on asylum imposed during the coronavirus pandemic, The Boston Globe reported. The withdrawals are blows to the government's effort to join advocates in helping those deemed particularly vulnerable as they wait in Mexican border cities, including women with children and LGBTQ people. Both groups had been part of a consortium the Biden administration chose to refer a limited number of asylum-seekers waiting along the Mexican border to U.S. authorities so they could be exempted from a public-health order that then-President Donald Trump put in place in March 2020; under the order, nearly all single adults and many families at the border are quickly expelled from the United States without a chance to seek asylum.

Team Netherland's women's field-hockey team just sent a strong message of support for the LGBTQ+ community and against all forms of bias and discrimination, out.com noted. The entire Olympic team posed in the shape of a heart with their hands folded behind their backs, and posted the pic to their Instagram page. "Respect and acceptance are two of our team's core values, respecting and accepting people from every race, gender, ethnicity, sexuality, ability and age," the caption read. "We strive to continually develop and educate ourselves to become the change we wish to see in the world."

Out LGBTQ Olympians, and possibly closeted ones, are being exposed online in a new social-media trend, according to Instinct Magazine. Apparently, new TikTok and Twitter posts are showing the Grindr profiles of participating athletes—with some even including faces and names. Homosexuality remains a crime in several countries, many of which are represented at the Olympic Games.

The British reality-competition show Strictly Come Dancing has reportedly signed up a celebrity for its first all-male dance pairing following the success of Nicola Adams and Katya Jones last year, PinkNews noted. Comedian Alan Carr and gold medal-winning diver Tom Daley are among the famous faces approached by the BBC for the primetime show, according to The Sun. The celebrity, who has yet to be announced, will be partnered with professional dancer Graziano Di Prima after he impressed TV bosses with his performance with co-star Johannes Radebe.

The Canadian professional soccer player Quinn—a midfielder for OL Reign and the Canada women's national soccer team—made history as the first openly trans and non-binary athlete to participate in the Olympic games when they started in a 1-1 draw in Sapporo between Canada and Japan, The Washington Blade reported. "I feel proud seeing `Quinn' up on the lineup and on my accreditation. I feel sad knowing there were Olympians before me unable to live their truth because of this world," they wrote on Instagram. "I feel optimistic for change. Change in legislature, Changes in rules, structures, and mindsets." Quinn, who came out as trans in 2020, was also a member of the Canadian team that won the bronze medal at the 2016 Olympics held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Team Poland's Olympic rower Katarzyna Zillman used her silver medal-winning performance at the women's quadruple sculls to publicly thank her girlfriend, according to out.com . "I called my girlfriend," Zillman (who also thanked her mother) told Wirtualna Polska following her victory. "This is Julia Walczak, a Canadian woman. I showed her the medal, she confessed to me that for the last two weeks she had been one big bundle of nerves. And today she was relaxed." Coming out as LGBTQ+ carries great risks in Poland, which has seen rises in homophobia and right-wing politics in recent years.

The five months that two transgender women in Cameroon spent in prison were "hell," one of them told Reuters after they were released, describing how they were initially forced to sleep with chains around their legs. Shakiro and Patricia were arrested Feb. 8 for wearing women's clothing in a restaurant and convicted of "attempted homosexuality," public indecency and failing to carry identification. Human-rights activists say the arrests reflect a growing criminalization of sexual minorities in Cameroon. Their appeal is expected to be heard in September.

Nationalist users on Chinese social-media platform Weibo attacked foreign consulates in the southern capital of Guangzhou for seeking to "bring down China" with an LGBTQ film festival jointly hosted by 17 foreign governments, Variety reported. Such users say they have flooded the platform's censors with reports that posts about the festival are politically problematic, seeking to get them banned. Actually, an account named "German Consulate in Guangzhou" was indeed banned, although the German diplomatic mission clarified this was not an official account.

The Hungarian justice minister accused British race-car driver Lewis Hamilton of spreading "fake news" for speaking out against the country's anti-LGBTQ+ "propaganda" law, according to PinkNews. Commenting ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix, Hamilton criticized the "cowardly" Hungarian government over the new law, which bans the portrayal of LGBT+ people in media, school materials and advertisements. The racer's remarks prompted fierce criticism from Hungary Justice Minister Judit Varga, who told Austrian newspaper Kronen Zeitung, "I have sadly seen that Lewis Hamilton is also joining the camp of international fake news manufacturers by attacking our child protection law."

RuPaul's Drag Race champion Bianca Del Rio announced Canadian dates for her Unsanitized Comedy Tour, per a press release. Spanning March 7-22, 2022, spots include Vancouver; Calgary; Edmonton; Thunder Bay, Ontario; Toronto; and Montreal, among others. Del Rio made history on her previous global comedy tour as the first drag queen to headline Carnegie Hall and Wembley Arena—selling out both venues. Tickets and info are at thebiancadelrio.com .

In Britain, Sheppey United FC soccer player Jahmal Howlett-Mundle came out as bisexual to his teammates—and the moment was captured in a video posted to Twitter by his football club, out.com noted. Howlett-Mundle later wrote about the experience on Twitter and how being closeted had caused him emotional turmoil. "I have been in many dressing rooms and not been able to fully express myself," Howlett-Mundle wrote of his time in the closet. "I wanted to be myself and talk about my anxieties regarding the stigma of sexuality in football but felt I always had to hold back in conversations."

Singer-songwriter Pink offered to pay fines handed out to the Norwegian women's beach handball team after they refused to wear bikini bottoms while competing, CNN.com noted. The European Handball Federation (EHF) fined the team 1,500 euros (about $1,765), asserting that the women competed in "improper clothing" by wearing shorts like their male counterparts during the 2021 European Beach Handball Championships. (Normally, the women are supposed to wear bikini bottoms.) The Norwegian women's beach handball team showed their gratitude to the 41-year-old singer-songwriter, reposting her tweet on their Instagram story.

The reality show Survivor is to return to Indian screens after a 10-year hiatus, Deadline noted. Survivor India is the 48th iteration of the format since its launch in 1997, with the show being produced in a record 22 territories this year. It remains popular on CBS in the United States, where 40 seasons have been made.


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