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WORLD Conversion therapy, Tunisia attack, Bolsonaro, 'West Side Story'
by Windy City Times staff
2021-12-12

This article shared 921 times since Sun Dec 12, 2021
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In Mexico, LGBTQ activists in Sonora are spearheading a call for a national ban on so-called conversion therapy, Fronteras reported. The Coalicion Mexicana LGBTTTI+ Sonora gathered more than 18,000 signatures for a petition demanding the Mexican Senate approve a stalled reform measure that would criminally sanction practices intended to change people's sexual orientation or gender identity. A 2020 United Nations report found such practices to be "inherently humiliating, demeaning and discriminatory," and called for a global ban.

Barclays Bank is in the middle of a fight between a nonprofit Christian fundamentalist ministry and LGBTQ activists over the practice of conversion therapy, Newsweek noted. That battle is underway in a court hearing in Belfast while in the UK, the government announced it has extended its deadline regarding consultations it instituted to ban the controversial practice. Barclays decided to cancel bank services for Core Issues Trust (CIT) because of its support of the practice; CIT CEO Mike Davidson launched legal action against Barclays seeking damages and claiming unlawful discrimination against his Christian beliefs and political opinions.

A prominent LGBTQ activist in Tunisia has reported that two men—one dressed in police uniform—threw him to the ground, beat and kicked him during an assault they said was punishment for his "insulting" attempts to file complaints against officers for previous mistreatment, ABC News reported. "This was not the first time that I had been attacked by a policeman, but I was really surprised. The attack was horrifying," Badr Baabou, president of the Tunisian Association for Justice and Equality said. "They aimed for my head. …. At a moment they stood on my neck. This was very symbolic for me, as if they wanted to reduce me to silence." Baabou is a veteran activist who founded his first LGBTQ rights group in 2002, when autocratic President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali still ruled Tunisia. In 2016, some civilians beat him so badly he lost seven teeth.

A Brazilian Supreme Court justice ordered a probe be opened into President Jair Bolsonaro for having said during a live broadcast on multiple social media platforms in October that COVID-19 vaccines may raise the chance of contracting AIDS, per Openly News. Bolsonaro, who has declined to take the vaccine, was temporarily suspended from both Facebook and YouTube after his comments. According to the Joint United Nations Program on HIV and AIDS, COVID-19 vaccines approved by health regulators are safe for most people, including those living with HIV.

At least two countries will not screen the new West Side Story remake, reportedly due to it featuring a non-binary actor, Page Six noted. Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have not granted the live-action film a release certificate, preventing it from being seen in those countries, according to The Wrap. Meanwhile, censors in other Middle Eastern nations—Bahrain, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates—reportedly requested cuts to the new film adaptation of Stephen Sondheim's classic musical; Disney refused to agree with the cuts. The reason for the ban has not been specified, but The Wrap suggested it's due to Anybodys—a teenage character written to be transgender and played by actor Iris Menas, who identifies as non-binary.

Nick Herbert, a member of the British House of Lords—and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's special envoy on LGBTQ+ issues—applauded his government's efforts to help facilitate the successful evacuation of LGBTQ+ Afghans from the country, The Washington Blade noted. A group of 29 LGBTQ Afghans who Stonewall, Rainbow Railroad and Micro Rainbow evacuated from Afghanistan with the help of the British government arrived in the United Kingdom on Oct. 29; Herbert, on Nov. 6, announced a second group of LGBTQ Afghans had reached the country. Herbert said he expects more LGBTQ Afghans will be "brought to safety," but he declined to provide a specific number.

The State Department launched a fund that seeks to bolster LGBTQ rights around the world, The Washington Blade reported. A press release from the State Department stated the Global LGBTQI+ Inclusive Democracy and Empowerment (GLIDE) Fund will "provide up to $5 million … to facilitate the participation and leadership of LGBTQI+ community members in democratic institutions." The GLIDE Fund is a program under the Global Equality Fund, a public-private partnership the U.S. helped launch in 2011 that seeks to promote LGBTQ rights around the world. A State Department spokesperson told the Blade the Swedish International Development Agency and the United States provided the GLIDE Fund's initial funding.

Five Metropolitan Police officers who were disciplined over failings that let Stephen Port slay four young queer people in Britain were promoted, PinkNews reported. Port murdered at least four young men over 16 months, and raped many more; he targeted his victims on queer dating apps to drug, rape and kill them before disposing of their bodies by his East London apartment. Officers in Barking, east London, missed repeated opportunities to catch Port (who was sentenced to life in prison in 2016) after he injected first victim Anthony Walgate with a fatal dose of date-rape drug GHB, also known as liquid ecstasy.

Race-car driver Lewis Hamilton—who recently made waves for wearing a Progress Pride flag on his helmet at a race he won in Qatar—again wore the headgear during a dramatic victory in the inaugural Saudi Arabian Grand Prix in Jedda, Saudi Arabia, out.com noted. He also planned to wear the helmet Sunday, Dec. 12, in Abu Dhabi for the season's final race. According to OTB Sports, Hamilton has vowed to continue using his voice as a weapon of change, adding, ""Whilst we are here it's important we do try to raise awareness," he said. "In the last race you saw the helmet that I wore.

On The Graham Norton Show, Oscar-winning actress Olivia Colman accidentally subjected actor Jack Whitehall to what PinkNews called "the shadiest read of all time." Watching a clip from the film Clifford the Big Red Dog, Norton praised Whitehall's "American accent" in his role of Uncle Casey. "Yes, I was doing an American accent," Jack Whitehall told Norton—to which Colman asked, "What, in that clip?" "Olivia!" Whitehall shouted, before putting his head in his hand and adding, "I feel the Oscars buzz fizzling away."

K-pop phenomenon BTS will take a hiatus at the completion of their scheduled upcoming events, which include the BTS Permission to Dance on Stage shows and the Jingle Ball Tour, according to Billboard. BTS is the year's top international artist, finishing 2021 with the top song on Apple Music and the Billboard Global Excl. U.S. chart, with "Dynamite." BTS has gone where no other K-pop act has gone before, snagging five No. 1s on the Billboard 200 chart and five leaders on the Hot 100.


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