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WORLD Chile's marriage law, Tokyo's move, Iran arrest, Mr. Gay World resigns
by Windy City Times staff
2021-12-19

This article shared 553 times since Sun Dec 19, 2021
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Chilean President Sebastian Pinera signed a historic bill legalizing same-sex marriage into law, days after the measure was approved by Congress, Al-Jazeera reported. The law "puts all love relationships between two people on an equal footing," Pinera said at a ceremony at La Moneda government palace alongside LGBTQ activists, civil society representatives, legislators and other officials. The new statute includes recognition of parental ties, full spousal benefits and adoption rights for married same-sex couples, among other reforms.

Japanese LGBTQ+-rights activists praised Tokyo's move to introduce a same-sex partnership system as a huge step in their fight for equality in the only G7 country that does not fully recognize same-sex marriage, Reuters reported. Tokyo's Shibuya ward in 2015 was the first place in Japan to introduce the partnership system. The system already covers 41% of Japan's population and the extension to Tokyo means over half of the nation could potentially benefit. "This is amazing news," said Masa Yanagisawa, head of Prime Services Japan at Goldman Sachs and a board member of activist group Marriage for All Japan.

Iranian authorities have reportedly arrested a lesbian as she tried to leave the country, according to The Washington Blade. The Iranian Lesbian and Transgender Network tweeted that, on Oct. 27, members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps arrested the woman, who the group identified as Sarah, in the West Azerbaijan province "while crossing the border and going to Turkey." The group stated Dec. 13 that Sarah "still lacks a lawyer and her detention is renewed every two weeks," adding, "Sarah's children are denied access to their mother, and Sarah is denied access to her family in person."

Mr. Gay World has resigned. According to Instinct Magazine, South African human-rights activist Louw Breytenbach relinquished his title less than two months after winning it Oct. 30. He said in a statement from his publicist that his relationship with the Mr. Gay World organization "deteriorated" over contractual disputes. Apparently, the contract stipulates that Mr. Gay World must be his exclusive agent when he lands any bookings or acting roles; however, Breytenbach argued he already has an agent for TV roles. According to The Citizen, Breytenbach said he was concerned his image was being "abused." The Mr. Gay World organization responded, in part, noting, "the unfortunate press release issued on Mr. Breytenbach's behalf [that] includes a series of defamatory allegations about the [organization] and its officials."

Norway's Data Protection Authority (DPA) issue dating app Grindr a reduced fine of 65 million Norwegian crowns ($7.14 million) over the illegal disclosure of user data to advertisers, saying the company had moved to address issues surrounding its practices, Reuters reported. The DPA's initial plan last January was to fine Grindr 100 million crowns. U.S.-based Grindr, which describes itself as the world's largest social networking app for gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people, told Norwegian broadcaster NRK that it strongly disagrees with the decision to fine the company.

In a conservative turn, Britain's Supreme Court rejected efforts to introduce gender-neutral passports, saying "X" gender markers would undermine a legal system built on a male-female dichotomy, Openly News noted. Campaigners for change called the ruling "demeaning" and "dehumanizing," noting that Britain had now parted ways with a slew of countries that recognize gender-neutral documents. Christie Elan-Cane, who has been trying to get a gender-neutral passport since 1995, said the case would be appealed to the European Court of Human Rights, arguing a violation of the right to privacy.

India's Tata Consumer Products Ltd (TCPL) extended its group health insurance policy to cover the partners of its LGBTQ+ employees, trak.in reported. The company is the maker of fast-moving consumer goods such as Tata Tea and Tata Salt. TCPL is the second company from the Tata Group to introduce an inclusive HR policy for its LGBTQ employees. In 2019, Tata Steel introduced a new policy for its LGBTQ employees under which they could disclose the identities of their partners and take advantage of benefits offered by the company.

In what LBGTQI activists in Sri Lanka are calling a welcome win in a country where harassment of the community at the hands of law enforcement is not uncommon, the Court of Appeal allowed a petition filed against the police over a widely condemned homophobic training session to proceed, EconomyNext noted. A video recording of the training program went viral on social media in August 2021 in which a counselor was seen openly making homophobic remarks to a packed audience of policemen and women. The trainer is heard advising the police officers against the union of same sex couples, adding that the members of the audience would not have been born had their parents been gay.

Russia's protest art collective Pussy Riot has released a Rage Remixes collection, per a press release. The act already shared the remix by German-Iraqi artist Boys Noize "RAGE" ("Besit" in Russian) and sold it as an NFT. Other remixers are LA-based electro-pop artist HANA, experimental producer Count Baldor, Gold Glove, Not a Friend, PUTOCHINOMARICON, punk-hip hop duo WHOKILLEDXIX and Dutch musician/graphic artist Young & Sick. Next February and March, Pussy Riot will go on tour, opening for Marina (formerly Marina & The Diamonds); some of the stops will include New York City, Atlanta, Nashville and Dallas.

Steve Bronski, co-founder and a keyboard player in the 1980s pop group Bronski Beat, died at age 61, the BBC reported. Bronski, from Glasgow, was born Steve Forrest and formed the group in 1983 with singer Jimmy Somerville and fellow-musician Larry Steinbachek. They enjoyed UK top 10 hits with the gay anthem "Smalltown Boy," "Why?" and a cover of Donna Summer's "I Feel Love." Somerville said, "Sad to hear Steve has died. He was a talented and a very melodic man." "At the time we were just three gay guys who started a band—we didn't feel like part of any particular movement," Bronski told The Guardian in 2018. "Of course, it would transpire many years later that there were more gay artists than the public were led to believe."

Out British-American pro skier Gus Kenworthy revealed he is suffering from the after-effects of a COVID-related breakthrough infection that forced him to withdraw from a recent competition, out.com noted. "Despite being fully vaccinated I had caught a breakthrough case," he said on Instagram. "I checked into a hotel and did a 10-day self-isolated quarantine until I tested negative and was cleared to fly home." Kenworthy might have been cleared to return to the slopes, but he noted that he has been experiencing "ongoing issues with my head" that he initially thought "had to do with the concussion" but now, after consulting with specialists, he believes his current symptoms might be "residual effects" from his breakthrough case.

London's new LGBTQ+ Community Center has opened for a six-month trial period, The Evening Standard reported. Billed as an accessible intergenerational and intersectional facility, those behind it are keen to provide a space that "feels like home." Director Angus Waite said "part of this whole project is about creating more acceptance within the community and providing a beacon for everyone in London to see how amazing our community is." The center has a cafe, social area and quiet room, all of which can be used by LGBTQ+ community groups.

Lina Wertmuller—the Italian filmmaker who made history in 1977 when she became the first woman to be nominated for the Best Director Oscar—recently died at age 93, Deadline reported. Her passing was widely reported in the Italian press including in La Republica, which noted that she died at home in her birthplace of Rome. Her 1975 comedy-drama Seven Beauties was nominated for four Oscars. Among her other films were The Seduction of Mimi and Swept Away; then-couple Madonna and Guy Ritchie remade the latter in 2002.

Queer Eye has a new international spinoff: Queer Eye Germany, out.com noted. Following last year's announcement of Queer Eye Brasil, Deadline reported that another international version of the reality makeover show featuring a group of five LGBTQ+ experts will have a European spin.

Former Olympic figure skater Michelle Kwan has been nominated for the position of U.S. ambassador to Belize within the Biden administration, people.com noted. Kwan posted the announcement from the White House to her Twitter account, writing, "I am honored to be nominated by President Biden to serve as ambassador to Belize, and if confirmed, I will be very proud to serve my country" along with an American flag emoji. She most recently served during Biden's presidential campaign in 2019 as director of surrogates and worked on Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign in a similar capacity.

Jordan's Royal Film Commission withdrew Oscar hopeful Amira from the 2022 Oscar race following a backlash over the film's subject, Deadline noted. The Venice Film Festival drama from filmmaker Mohamed Diab (Clash) deals with the issue of children conceived with sperm smuggled from prisoners in Israeli jails. In the film, a Palestinian girl's world is turned upside down when she learns the man she grew up idolizing is not her real father and that she was conceived by sperm from an Israeli prison guard rather than a Palestinian prisoner—sparking backlash among families of Palestinian prisoners and organizations working on prisoners' rights.

BAFTA CEO Amanda Berry is leaving her post in 2023 after a 25-year tenure at the awards body, Deadline noted. BAFTA Chief Operating Officer Kevin Price has also announced he will leave in September 2022, after 20 years working alongside Berry. The chief exec will oversee the recruitment process for Price's replacement next year, while the BAFTA board will convene to begin looking for a new CEO to appoint in 2023.

In a new interview with The Sunday Times, the late Swedish DJ Avicii's father, Klas Bergling, continues to advocate for the mental health of rising musicians, EDM.com noted. "It's fame and fortune, and that's a very dangerous combination," Bergling explained. "When you have an up-and-coming artist there should be some structure." Today, Avicii's parents are co-founders of The Tim Bergling Foundation (named after the entertainer's real name), an organization advocating for the recognition of suicide as a global health emergency; see www.timberglingfoundation.org/ .

South Korean actress Park So-dam—who's in Bong Joon Ho's Oscar-winning film Parasite—was diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer, The Hollywood Reporter noted. The 30-year-old actress' agency, Artist Company, released a statement to South Korean media that Park had been diagnosed with cancer following a regular health check and that she has undergone surgery.


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