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WORLD Dutch vote, landmark ruling, French teen, UK items
by Windy City Times staff
2023-01-22

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Dutch senators voted 56-15 in favor of including an explicit ban on discrimination on the grounds of disability or sexual orientation in the constitution, DutchNews.nl reported. This development clears the way for the constitution to be formally amended. Article 1 of the Dutch constitution currently forbids discrimination on the grounds of religious or personal belief, political affinity, race, sex and "all other grounds."

The European Court of Human Rights—tasked with the interpretation and application of the European Convention on Human Rights—delivered a landmark ruling in the case of Fedotova and Others v. Russia, obligating member nations to recognize same-sex partnerships, per a media release. Maria Walsh MEP (EPP Group), vice-president of the LGBTI Intergroup, said, "It is high time rainbow families get the protection and recognition they deserve, and we will keep pressing to ensure that this judgment will one day be translated into a mandatory recognition of relationships in cross-border cases." Currently, six EU member states do not provide any legal framework for such recognition: Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Slovakia.

In Golbey, France, a 13-year-old student identified only as Lucas—the victim of homophobia and bullying at his school—was buried after he killed himself, The Los Angeles Blade noted. Valerie Dautreme—the academic director of the national education services in the Vosges—said, "the situation was taken very seriously by the establishment, by the head teacher," claiming that school staff and peer groups intervened. The case drew the attention of France's First Lady, Brigitte Macron, who has taken up the cause against bullying in the nation's schools, using Lucas' case to spotlight the need for reform and prevention.

First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon condemned the UK government's move to block the Scottish parliament's gender-reform bill as a "full-frontal attack on democracy," PinkNews reported. Holyrood passed the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) bill on Dec. 22 by a vote of 86-39 to make it simpler and fairer for trans people to update the sex markers on their birth certificates. On Twitter, Nicola Sturgeon blasted UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's Tory government for its "attack on our democratically elected Scottish parliament and its ability to make its own decision on evolved matters."

A new law to ban all forms of conversion therapy in England and Wales will include practices aimed at transgender people, the BBC reported. The government had previously said transgender conversion therapy would not be included in the ban. However, Culture Secretary Michelle Donelan said in a written statement that the bill would be published shortly and would "protect everyone, including those targeted on the basis of their sexuality, or being transgender."

The Church of England will refuse to allow same-sex couples to get married in its churches under recent proposals, Reuters reported. Said proposals were developed by bishops, who form one of three parts of the Church's governing body known as the General Synod, after the Church of England's six-year consultation on sexuality and marriage. The proposals will be put to the General Synod at a meeting in February.

Lingering supply-chain issues related to the COVID pandemic are affecting the amounts of testosterone available for trans men, LGBTQ Nation reported. Trans men who have not undergone a hystero-oophorectomy, hysterectomy or oophorectomy—which involve the removal of the uterus and/or ovaries—are particularly vulnerable to adverse effects. The lack of one affordable option in particular—Primoteston Depot from Bayer AG—hit the uninsured in Mexico hard. A July statement from the pharmaceutical giant said supply chain disruptions continue to reduce the manufacturer's ability to produce and supply the drug in Latin America and around the world.

Pro-LGBTQ+ New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has said she is resigning, in an unexpected announcement that came as she confirmed a national election for October, The Guardian reported. At the party's first caucus meeting of the year, Ardern said she "no longer had enough in the tank" to do the job. "It's time," she added. Her term as prime minister will conclude no later than Feb. 7 although she will continue as an MP (member of Parliament) until the election this year. Ardern became the world's youngest female head of government when she was elected prime minister in 2017 at 37. In 2020, she unveiled what she called an "incredibly diverse" cabinet that included New Zealand's first openly gay deputy prime minister and a foreign minister with a Maori facial tattoo, according to France24.

In Zimbabwe, LGBTQI+ groups continue to fight gender-based violence, the Los Angeles Blade reported. Samuel Matsikure, programs manager for Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe, said, "Mainstream dialogue of GBV (gender-based violence) in Zimbabwe has predominantly given salience to the experience of cisgender category of women over LBT women. Little to no conversation has been facilitated on the experiences of LBT women, who are disproportionally affected by GBV. GALZ (Gays And Lesbians of Zimbabwe) has recorded extreme cases of correctional rape, sexual assault and physical assault, and intimate partner violence."

The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruled in favor of a gay man who accused Polish state broadcaster TVP of ending its cooperation with him because he and his husband produced a video promoting tolerance of same-sex couples, according to Notes from Poland. The man who brought the case, Jakub Kwiecinski, had worked as a freelance AV editor for TVP since 2010; in 2017, he was suddenly taken off duty and informed that the station was ending its cooperation with him—despite, he claimed having been told a month earlier that it would continue. The case will now pass back to a Polish court for a final ruling. But it is likely to have consequences for anti-discrimination rules in Poland with regard to both self-employed workers and sexual orientation, which is currently not covered by Polish equality legislation.

A pathologist said that Kenyan fashion designer/LGBTQ+-rights advocate Edwin Chiloba—whose body was found in a metal box on the roadside near the city of Eldoret—died from suffocation caused by socks stuffed into his mouth, Reuters reported. Police believe Chiloba was killed at his home and have named his roommate Jacktone Odhiambo, with whom he is thought to have been in a relationship, as the main suspect. Odhiambo and four other suspects are in police custody.

Records reveal that a Colombian LGBTQ+ charity organization supported by the Biden administration and calling for the extension of "sex worker" rights in the nation has received thousands of dollars from left-wing Hungarian-American billionaire George Soros, according to South Florida Gay News. According to its website, Sentiido educates Colombians about "gender, sexual diversity, and social transformation" and writes articles about LGBTQ+ problems.

Pro tennis player Sam Stosur (a member of the LGBTQ+ community) plans on ending her distinguished tennis career after her 21st Australian Open, ESPN noted. Stosur—who, among other things, beat Serena Williams in the 2011 U.S. Open final—is only playing doubles during this tournament, having concluded her singles career in 2022. Stosur said, in part, "I want to say a huge thank you to my incredible parents Dianne and Tony; my brothers Dominic and Daniel; my partner Liz and daughter Evie; and all the coaches, physios, trainers, doctors and all my sponsors over the years."

A married couple in London was awarded $150,000 after suing a London restaurant for anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination, according to Q Salt Lake. The couple claimed they had been "bullied for months on end" and had to endure "constant slurs" from colleagues at the Italian restaurant where one was an employee and the other a part-owner. The company withheld partnership dividends and accused the partner of stealing company funds; the other man was a server, experienced anti-gay slurs and was threatened with bodily harm. A company WhatsApp account proved company directors conspired to force a resignation.

Actor Richard E. Grant will host the 2023 BAFTA Film Awards, which take place on Feb. 19 at the Southbank Centre's Royal Festival Hall in London, Deadline noted. Grant takes over the reins from Rebel Wilson, who hosted last year's edition, which was the first in-person ceremony since the pandemic. The ceremony will be broadcast on BBC One and iPlayer in the United Kingdom. Grant, a Swazi-British actor, has received critical acclaim for many roles, including playing a gay man in Can You Ever Forgive Me?, for which he earned Oscar and BAFTA nods.

Speaking of BAFTA, the 2023 nominees for BAFTA's Rising Star Award have been revealed, Deadline noted. The five nominees this year are Naomi Ackie (Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance with Somebody), Sheila Atim (The Woman King), Aimee Lou Wood (Living), Emma Mackey (Emily) and Daryl McCormack (Good Luck to You, Leo Grande). A panel of industry jurors—including actors Hayley Atwell, Joe Cole and Jason Flemyng—selected the final names.

And the BAFTA Film Award nominations have been revealed. According to Deadline, Netflix's German-language World War I drama All Quiet on the Western Front led all movies with 14 nods; The Banshees of Inisherin and Everything Everywhere All at Once had 10 nominations each; and Baz Luhrmann's Elvis had nine. Aftersun; The Batman; Good Luck to You, Leo Grande; Top Gun: Maverick; and The Whale each garnered four noms.

The United Kingdom banned a poster featuring pansexual and non-binary pop singer Demi Lovato, saying it is offensive to Christians, according to LGBTQ Nation. The poster, promoting Lovato's upcoming album Holy Fvck, features the singer wearing little clothing and bound in BDSM gear upon a crucifix-shaped bed. Four days after the posters appeared at six sites around London, four people filed complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority—the UK's self-regulatory organization overseeing the advertising industry.

Embattled openly gay actor Kevin Spacey praised his manager, Evan Lowenstein, in a speech, receiving a lifetime achievement award prize prior to holding a master class at Italy's National Museum of Cinema in Turin, Variety noted. The event was Spacey's first speaking engagement in more than five years, over which the Oscar-winning actor has been fighting sexual-misconduct allegations. Spacey first visited the museum last year, when he made his return to acting by starring as a police detective in the Franco Nero-directed low-budget indie drama L'uomo Che Disegno Dio (The Man Who Drew God).

Queer French pop/rock trio Hyphen Hyphen released their third studio album, C'est La Vie, via Parlophone France, a press release noted. Having already performed more than 500 concerts in Europe, Hyphen Hyphen performed at Summerstage Festival in NYC recently. The group is planning an international tour for 2023.

The Dominican Republic's Solfest Punta Cana (slated to take place Jan. 16-18) was canceled abruptly—leaving fans hanging as the concert promoter and hotel blamed each other, ABC 7 Chicago noted. Cancellation emails from Music Getaways blamed the host venue for the abrupt notification while Punta Cana's Hard Rock Hotel placed the blame on Music Getaways. New Edition, Ashanti, Ludacris and Joe (among others) were among the artists listed on Music Getaway's website as scheduled performers.


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