In Senegal, lawmakers stopped from passing to parliamentary vote a draft bill that sought to toughen already severe laws against same-sex relations, Openly News reported. Gay sex is punishable by up to five years in prison in Senegal, where arrests and prosecutions have risen sharply, according to a 2020 global review by the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA). But in December, a group of lawmakers drafted a new bill to lengthen prison terms to up to 10 years and criminalize LGBT+ activities.
For the first time in the country's history, Germany has appointed a commissioner for the acceptance of sexual and gender diversity, Deutsche Welle reported. Green Party lawmaker Sven Lehmann will oversee an LGBTQ+ national action plan. In the newly created role of "Federal Government Commissioner for the Acceptance of Sexual and Gender Diversity," Lehmann will be responsible for working with government ministries on policy projects affecting the LGBTQ+ community. He will also spearhead the government's National Action Plan for Sexual and Gender Diversity.
A Swiss museum is showcasing same-sex relationships in the animal kingdom in a new exhibition, The Hill noted. The exhibition, "Queer: Diversity Is In Our Nature"at the Natural History Museum in Bern, the Swiss capitalexplores the diversity of gender and sexual orientation in humans and other species. Displays range from biological discoveries to current debates on homosexuality, aiming to bridge the gap between nature and society. The exhibit (translated into German and French only) will be shown until March 19, 2023, according to the museum's website.
In St. Moritz, Switzerland, Vito Schnabel Gallery is presenting "Gus Van Sant: Mona Lisa," an exhibition of new paintings by the out gay Los Angeles-based artist/filmmaker behind movies such as My Own Private Idaho, Milk, Drugstore Cowboy and Good Will Hunting, FAD Magazine noted. Opening Dec. 27 at the gallery's St. Moritz space, the exhibition will be Van Sant's first in Switzerland. "Mona Lisa" will debut a series of large-scale canvasesexecuted in gold leaf, crayon and oilthat take as their subject Leonardo da Vinci's Renaissance masterpiece created during his second Florentine period the celebrated, ubiquitous cultural icon Mona Lisa (La Gioconda or La Jaconde), ca. 1503-1519.
An LGBTQ+-rights activist lost a seven-year discrimination dispute over a cake order, as the European Court of Human Rights ruled his case inadmissible, the BBC reported. Gareth Lee started legal action in 2014 after a Christian-run Belfast bakery refused to make him a cake with the slogan "Support Gay Marriage." The European court ruled Lee's case inadmissible, saying he had failed to exhaust all options in the UK courts.
Trans people in Lithuania will be allowed to change their legal name without undergoing gender-reassignment surgery, according to PinkNews. Justice Minister Evelina Dobrovolska signed the order permitting legal name changes on Dec. 31. However, trans people who wish to change their name on official documents will still have to obtain certificates from a Lithuanian or EU healthcare establishment of "diagnosed transgenderism." The new law will take effect Feb. 2.
British MP Priti Patel said anyone with convictions for having consensual gay sex will have them removed from their records as part of the UK government's Disregards and Pardons scheme, The Star Observer noted, citing The Independent. Patel, the home secretary, is expanding what has been called Turing's Law (after the late British gay codebreaker Alan Turing) in a bid to expand what are a "narrow set of laws." Applicants will also receive automatic pardons; those who die before the changes take effect or up to 12 months after will receive posthumous pardons.
A transgender woman was referred to prosecutors for suspected trespassing after using the women's washroom in a commercial facility in Osakaa case an expert on LGBT issues fears might lead to more prejudice and discrimination against sexual minorities, the Japan Times reported. The fortysomething woman, who police later confirmed had entered the ladies' room in May last year, has told investigators she knew she was not supposed to use the facility because her gender is listed as male on her family registry. Other experts propose efforts to increase the number of all-gender restrooms.
Out diver Tom Daley has received the title of OBE (the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) for his services to his sport, LGBTQ+ rights and charitable works, The Advocate reported. Daley said he sees the honor as a calling to continue his fight for the rights of marginalized people. The gold medal-winning diver has repeatedly spoken out in support of LGBTQ+ rights globally, most recently calling out sports leagues for holding events in countries with poor LGBTQ+-rights records.
Josh Cavallothe only openly gay top-flight male professional player currently playing in world soccersaid "hate will never win" after he was the target of anti-gay slurs during Adelaide United's 1-1 draw with Melbourne Victory on Jan. 8, ESPN.com reported. In an Instagram post, Cavallo revealed he had been the subject of anti-gay slurs from individuals in the stands and on social media after making a 36-minute appearance off the bench that concluded with him being walked past Victory's active supporters after being withdrawn with a suspected concussion. In a statement, Adelaide United Chief Executive Officer Nathan Kosmina said that "to see one of our players subjected to homophobic abuse is disappointing and upsetting. … We will continue to work with the Australian Professional Leagues and Melbourne Victory to identify perpetrators and prosecute them accordingly."
French parliament suspended debate on a new COVID-19 law as opposition lawmakers demanded explanations from President Emmanuel Macron about comments in which he said he wanted to "piss off" unvaccinated people, NBC News reported. He also told Le Parisien newspaper that unvaccinated people were "irresponsible" and that he planned to make their lives so complicated that they would end up having a vaccine. The legislation will make it mandatory for people to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination to enter a restaurant or movie, or take the train.
Irish singer Sinead O'Connor posted that her 17-year-old son, Shane O'Connor, died after he went missing, NBC News noted. "My beautiful son, Nevi'im Nesta Ali Shane O'Connor, the very light of my life, decided to end his earthly struggle today and is now with God," she tweeted. "May he rest in peace and may no one follow his example. My baby. I love you so much. Please be at peace." The singer blamed a Dublin hospital for letting the teen "out of [its] grasp."
In Singapore, authorities arrested popular bisexual OnlyFans star Titus Low, 22, on obscenity chargesand the young influencer said in a recent YouTube video that he regrets not living a more sustainable lifestyle, but also questions the motives of his unnamed accuser, out.com noted. The performer said he still does not know the identity of his accuser and questions their motives for filing a complaint. If convicted on all counts, Low would face up to a year in prison and thousands of dollars in fines.
The multinational vocal quartet Il Divo has announced that its U.S. tour will go on as scheduled beginning Feb. 2, despite the Dec. 19 death of member Carlos Marin, according to Variety. Mexican American baritone Steven LaBrie will join the surviving members for the tour, which has been rechristened as a "Greatest Hits" trek and will now be dedicated to Marin's memory.
Controversial French celebrity scientists and twins Grichka and Igor Bogdanoff recently died within days of each other of COVID-19 at age 72, Yahoo! News noted. A source close to the brothers told French outlet Le Monde that neither had been vaccinated against the virus. Despite the fact that their faces looked physically altered, the brothers denied having extensive plastic surgery. The socialite scientists made headlines almost exactly a year ago for allegedly "swindling" a millionaire, a 53-year-old man identified only as "Cyrille P."