Romania's Constitutional Court overturned a ban on gender-identity studies voted through by lawmakers but which rights groups and universities said would infringe on human rights and fuel discrimination, Openly News reported. Parliament passed the amendment to the education law earlier this year; however, Centrist President Klaus Iohannis challenged the bill, which was approved without public debate, at the top court.
Senior faith leaders from around the world gathered at an event backed by the UK government to call for an end to the criminalization of LGBTQ+ people and a global ban on conversion practices, The Guardian reported. More than 370 figures from 35 countries representing 10 religions signed a historic declaration ahead of a Dec. 16 conference in a move highlighting divisions within global religions. The signatories included Archbishop Desmond Tutu and eight other archbishops; the Catholic former Ireland President Mary McAleese; more than 60 rabbis; and senior Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus and Buddhists.
The Mexican Catholic Church's highest-ranking bishop agreed with recent comments by Pope Francis in support of civil unions for same-sex couples, NBC News noted, citing Reuters. Cardinal Carlos Aguiar, archbishop of Mexico City, said, "I completely agree" regarding comments Pope Francis said in the documentary Francesco, which debuted in October. Mexico, which has historically been conservative, is the second-biggest Catholic country after Brazil, with around 80% of its nearly 130 million people affiliated with the church.
In Britain, a gay man who endured months of electroshock conversion therapy at the University of Birmingham psychology department is seeking an apology, PinkNews reported. Speaking out under the pseudonym "Chris," he told the BBC that in the 1970s he went to his GP for advice after realizing he was gay. The doctor referred Chris to a University of Birmingham psychologist who would be able to "cure" him. The university initially said it had "no record" of the "treatment," as it only kept records for 25 years; later, it "blamed the researcher, saying it was just his private project, and nothing to do with the university."
Hungary amended the definition of family in its constitution to allow an effective ban on adoption by same-sex couples, Reuters reported. The nationalist Fidesz party of Prime Minister Viktor Orban has worked to recast Hungary in a more conservative mold since winning a third consecutive landslide in 2018, and anti-gay verbal attacks and legislation have become common. The new Hungarian constitution defines family as "based on marriage and the parent-child relation. The mother is a woman, the father a man." It also mandates that parents raise children in a conservative spirit.
The Cuban government voted on next year's legislative schedulebut has delayed debating a new Family Code that would include marriage equality, PeriodicoCubano.com reported. Urgent issues such as the recognition of same-sex marriage have been pushed back to undetermined dates. Cuba's most recent Constitution was enforced in 2019, but marriage equality still has not been officially recognized.
In Italy, a man was sentenced to two years in prison after he hired a hitman to break the fingers of his successful gay son, who's a surgeon, according to out.com, citing the Italian outlet la Repubblica. "My son is a thug. Break his fingers," the father reportedly told the hitman who was paid 2,500 euros (about $3,000) to do the deed. After following the son and his partner for two weeks, the hitman realized the father was lying; although he had slashed the son's tires, he came clean and told the son about his father's plans. There are currently no hate-crime laws for LGBTQ+ people in Italy.
The city of Paris was fined 90,000 euros (almost $110,000) for appointing too many women to senior positions in the government, NPR reported. In 2018, 11 women and five men became senior officials. That meant 69% of the appointments were womenin violation of a rule that dictated at least 40% of government positions should go to people of each gender. Mayor Anne Hidalgo said she would deliver the check to the Ministry of Public Service herselfalong with the women in her government.
British comic Eddie Izzard is now using "she" and "her" pronouns, Page Six disclosed. "I'm gender fluid. I just want to be based in girl mode from now on," Izzard told UK TV's "Portrait Artist of the Year." Izzardwho has worn makeup and traditionally feminine clothing for yearssaid she chose to appear on the Sky TV show because it was "the first program I've asked if I can be 'she' and 'her.'"
Actor Sir Ian McKellen said he felt "euphoric" after receiving his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, CNN.com noted. The actorwho has starred in The Lord of the Rings films and the X-Men franchisereceived the injection at the Queen Mary University of London, in east London. NHS (National Health Service) England said in a press release that McKellen, 81, was in one of the first "eligible groups" for the vaccine, which is being rolled out to people older than 80, healthcare workers and care home residents.
The Tel Aviv International LGBT Film Festival took place Nov. 12-21, a press release noted. (It normally takes place in June but was postponed because of the pandemic.) More than 100 international movies (features and shorts) from more than 30 countries were screened at the festival; 75 Israeli movies were screened at the festival as well. Individuals who participated in various discussions were actors Zachary Quinto and Jacki Weaver; filmmakers Daniel Nolasco and Isabel Sandoval; and drag queen Jackie Beat, among others. Films that won awards included Lingua Franca, Sangro, Johnita, Don't Be Silent and Keyboard Fantasies: The Beverly Glenn-Copeland Story.
Twenty-five-year-old Venezuelan lesbian triple jumper Yulimar Rojas was named the female athlete of the year by World Athletics Awards Dec. 5 during the streamed event, alongside Swedish pole vaulter (male athlete) Mondo Duplantis, HipLatina.com noted. She became the second South American female triple jumper to win Athlete of the Year in the last three years, joining Colombian Olympic champion Caterine Ibarguen. Rojaswho was born in Caracasis now Venezuela's first recipient of the award.
Amanda Chidester and Anissa UrtezOlympic softball players who will be competing against each other at the Summer Olympics in Tokyo next yearrecently became engaged to each other, out.com noted. Chidester is a catcher for Team USA while Urtez is a shortstop representing Mexico. Chidester and Urtez started dating in 2018 while they were teammates on Scrap Yard Fast Pitch; they are currently both signed to the Athletes Unlimited pro softball league, which held its first season in 2020.
The new trailer for Russell T. Davies upcoming AIDS drama It's A Sin has dropped, out.com noted. It's A Sin is a five-part series from Davies, the man behind Queer as Folk and the revival of Doctor Who, and it will premiere on Channel 4 in the United Kingdom and HBO Max in the United States next year. The show stars Years & Years frontman Olly Alexander as Ritchie Tozer, a gay teen who moves to London in the early '80s as the AIDS crisis is just starting; Neil Patrick Harris, Omari Douglas, Lydia West and Stephen Fry co-star.
Peter Nygard, the former CEO of a Canada-based fashion line, was arrested and charged with racketeering, sex trafficking and other crimes after authorities in Manitoba acted on a U.S. request for his extradition, NPR.org reported. The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York said in a statement that Nygard had been taken into custody the day before in Winnipeg at the request of the U.S. under an extradition treaty. Nygard International filed for bankruptcy in March, a month after its New York offices were raided by the FBI and NYPD as part of the investigation that led to the recent arrest and indictment.
Australian singer Cody Simpsonwho is also an avid swimmerrevealed he had qualified for his first Olympic trials, people.com noted. Although Simpson was dedicated to swimming as a young childeven winning two gold medals at the Queensland Swimming Championships when he was 13the 23-year-old said his career was cut short "when I was given an opportunity in music that I couldn't refuse." "Lfg!! Congrats mate," wrote Michael Phelps, who won 28 Olympic medals during his swimming career.