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  WINDY CITY TIMES

WORLD German soldiers, UK HIV rates, OutRight, Chopin
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2020-11-30

This article shared 1282 times since Mon Nov 30, 2020
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Chancellor Angela Merkel's government agreed on a draft bill that would compensate gay soldiers who faced discrimination in the armed forces between 1955 and 2000, TheLocal.de reported. Under the proposed law, which needs to be approved by parliament, soldiers who were convicted by military courts for being gay, demoted or who otherwise saw their careers damaged because of their sexual orientation would each receive a "symbolic amount" of 3,000 euros (about $3,600 US). The compensation would apply to soldiers from the Bundeswehr, which was created in West Germany in 1955, and to troops from former East Germany's National People's Army, founded in 1956.

According to a recent report from Public Health England, the United Kingdom has seen a big drop in new HIV diagnoses among gay and bisexual men, Instinct Magazine noted. Specifically, the report shows that there were 1,700 new HIV diagnoses of gay or bisexual men in 2019, and the diagnosis rate declined by 10 percent from the prior year. This marks the newest low in 20 years, after 2000's 1,500 diagnoses. As for straight citizens in the UK, 1,600 were diagnosed in 2019. This is the first time that numbers between straight, gay and bisexual people have been so close, according to BBC News.

OutRight Action International issued a press release praising President-Elect Joe Biden's choices for secretary of state and ambassador to the UN: Antony Blinken and Linda Thomas-Greenfield, respectively. OutRight Action International Executive Director Jessica Stern said, in part, "We look forward to collaborating where possible with Antony Blinken to reestablish respect for LGBTIQ rights throughout US foreign policy, and with Linda Thomas-Greenfield to restore US support for UN agencies and mechanisms generally, and in relation to LGBTIQ rights specifically. We will also hold them accountable for an intersectional human rights agenda that values LGBTIQ people, people of color, immigrants, women and other vulnerable groups."

A new show on the life of the legendary Polish composer/pianist Frederic Chopin claimed that biographers and archivists deliberately overlooked his same-sex attractions, The Guardian reported. Widely recognized as Poland's greatest composer, Chopin published his first composition at age 7, and began performing when he was just 8 years old; he died at age 39 in Paris in 1849. In "Chopin's Men," a two-hour radio show that aired on Swiss public broadcaster SRF's arts channel, music journalist MoritzWeber argued that a number of the composer's letters that showed his attraction to other men were purposely mistranslated and edited in a way that his desires were camouflaged.

In Britain, several trans and cis women walked out of a courthouse without any jail time after they were arrested for beating a man who called them racial slurs and made anti-transgender comments near a subway station, LGBTQ Nation reported. Transgender women Tamzin Lush, 29, Tylah-Jo Bryan, 24, and Amarnih Lewis-Daniel, 24, and cisgender woman Hannah Bryan, 24, were accused of beating and kicking a man referred to in court only as Al Shaheeb, 19, after he called Bryan a "black c**t," according to court documents. The alleged attack occurred June 24, 2018 outside the Leicester Square station in London.

In Australia, the Victorian government will introduce legislation to outlaw conversion "therapy" seeking to change someone's sexuality or gender identity, with fines of close to $10,000 or up to 10 years in jail, The Guardian reported. The Change or Suppression (Conversion) Practices Prohibition Bill 2020 will empower the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission to investigate reports of conversion practices.

And speaking of conversion therapy, Yukon has become the first Canadian territory to ban conversion therapy, and it is the fourth province or territory in Canada to prohibit the discredited practice of trying to change someone's sexual orientation or gender identity, The Georgia Straight noted. On Nov. 9, the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Protection Act, which prohibits healthcare professionals from providing this treatment to minors, received assent at the Yukon legislature in Whitehorse after a unanimous vote of support, according to CBC News. The measure also prevents conversion therapy from being an insured health service.

British bi charity Bi Pride UK won the award for Charity of the Year at the LGBT Awards 2020, a press release announced. The organization prevailed over other nominees including nominees including the Elton John AIDS Foundation, Colours Youth Network, Goal Diggers FC, Hidayah, London Gaymers, Mind Out, Sparkle, The Outside Project and The Proud Trust. The British LGBT Awards ceremony, hosted by Rylan Clarke-Neal, was streamed online this year because of the pandemic. Sir Elton John and David Furnish received the Global Impact Award for their longtime work to raise awareness of HIV/ AIDS with the Elton John AIDS Foundation, according to Yahoo! News.

In a New York Times op-ed, Pope Francis praised medical workers and criticized groups protesting COVID-19 restrictions, The Hill reported. In the article, his Holiness talked about the ways in which his own personal health crisis helped him to understand how science is used to help people recover. (At 21, the pontiff had part of his lung removed.) The United States and other countries have dealt with groups of protestors claiming that measures such as social distancing, wearing masks and stay-at-home orders infringe upon their personal freedoms.

Australian singer (and LGBTQ icon) Kylie Minogue expressed a desire to collaborate with Madonna, NME.com noted. Minogue added, "Certainly, I'd love to collaborate with more women, because I haven't done much of that." She went on to cite Dua Lipa, Lady Gaga and Miley Cyrus as potential collaborators in the future, as well. Minogue's latest album, Disco, entered the UK album charts at number one upon its release—making her the first female artist to top the UK albums chart in five consecutive decades.

In celebration of the holidays, Grammy-nominated artist Sarah Brightman headlines her first-ever Christmas livestream event, "Sarah Brightman: A Christmas Symphony," on Sunday Dec. 20, from the historic Christ Church Spitalfields in London, a press release noted. Fans can purchase tickets for "Sarah Brightman: A Christmas Symphony" via store.sarahbrightman.com; the stream will be accessible to ticket holders for 48 hours after the event.

Daria Nicolodi, the Italian actress and screenwriter, died in Rome at age 70, Deadline reported. Her daughter, actress Asia Argento, confirmed the news in an Instagram post, writing in Italian: "Rest in peace, beloved mother. Now you can fly free with your great spirit and you won't have to suffer anymore." Argento's father was famed Italian horror director Dario Argento. The filmmaker co-wrote the classic 1977 film Suspiria with wife Nicolodi, who would also have appeared in the movie were it not for an unfortunate injury she suffered prior to shooting.

Heaven—a large "superclub" venue in London that's renowned for being home to the "G-A-Y" nightclub—had planned to partner with a neighboring McDonald's so it could show an event, LGBTQ Nation noted. London is moving to a "Tier Two," or "high alert" COVID lockdown protocol, on Dec. 2; under those restrictions, hospitality venues can open—but only if they are serving "substantial meals," which Heaven didn't previously offer. After initially promoting the reopening event with a flyer complete with a McDonald's logo, the images were apparently deleted and reposted without the image. While some are excited for the G-A-Y to reopen, many expressed outrage in the venue's alleged attempt to flaunt coronavirus restrictions. "G-A-Y" owner Jeremy Joseph has criticized leadership in the UK government, and repeatedly "warned about the impact of government restrictions on his venues."

Iconic singer/actress Cher was set to visit Pakistan to celebrate the departure of Kaavan—dubbed the "world's loneliest elephant"—who will soon leave a Pakistani zoo for better conditions after years of lobbying by animal rights groups and activists, USA Today noted. The elephant had been in the zoo for 35 years, losing his partner in 2012. Cher took up Kaavan's cause and has been a loud voice advocating for his resettlement.


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