Anti-gay outcry has forced Ghana's first LGBT+ community center to temporarily close to protect its staff and visitors three weeks after it opened, Reuters reported. Church groups, politicians and anti-gay rights groups have called on the government to shut down the center, run by local charity LGBT+ Rights Ghana, and arrest and prosecute those involved. "We did not expect such an uproar," said LGBT+ Rights Ghana Executive Director Alex Kofi Donkor; the center's launch on Jan. 31 was attended by European and Australian diplomats.
A Malaysian man won a groundbreaking court challenge against an Islamic ban on sex "against the order of nature"raising hopes for greater acceptance of LGBTQ rights in the mostly Muslim country, Reuters reported. The Muslim manwhose name has been withheld by his lawyer to protect his privacyfiled the suit after he was arrested in the central Selangor state in 2018 for attempting gay sex, which he denies. Same-sex acts are illegal in Malaysia, although convictions are rare; however, pro-LGBTQ advocates say Islamic laws have been increasingly used to target the Southeast Asian country's gay community, with a rise in arrests and punishments ranging from caning to jailing.
The International LGBTQ+ Travel Association (IGLTA) has become a media/event partner of Copenhagen 2021, organizers of WorldPride and EuroGames taking place in Denmark and Sweden in August, a press release announced. With human rights being a key theme running through all Copenhagen 2021 events, IGLTA will also use the partnership as an opportunity to explore the relationship between human rights advocacy and the tourism industry, especially during the Human Rights Forum. Copenhagen 2021 Chair Katja Moesgaard said, "Like many industries, the travel sector has been hit hard by the global pandemic and IGLTA's support alongside our careful planning and roadmap toward August shows that we are on the right track for an outstanding WorldPride and EuroGames celebration. We are confident many people can join us this summer to put the last 18 months behind us, and focus on the future."
A group of major Brazilian churches came under fire for supporting LGBT+ people for the first time in an annual Lent fundraising campaign that stated that homophobia leads to murder, Reuters reported. Every year the Brazilian Bishops' Conference (CNBB) kicks off a Fraternity Campaign on Ash Wednesday. A declaration from the Fraternity Campaign added that pushback against LGBT+ rights was also causing deaths, with about 420 LGBT+ people killed in 2018 in Brazil, while rates of violence were also high against Black and indigenous people as well as women.
In India, The Delhi High Court adjourned the batch of petitions it is hearing regarding the legalization of same-sex marriages under the Hindu Marriage Act, the Special Marriage Act and the Foreign Marriage Act to April 20, LiveMint.com reported. The government has informed the Delhi HC that it has prepared its reply to petitions seeking the legal recognition of same-sex marriage.
In Canada, five teams have been short-listed in the competition to design the LGBTQ2+ National Monument on land between the Portage Bridge and Library and Archives Canada, the Ottawa Citizen reported. The finalists were announced by the federal government, the LGBT Purge Fund and the National Capital Commission. The project is meant to commemorate those who faced discrimination during the purgethe period between the 1950s and mid-1990s when LGBT members of institutions such as the Canadian Armed Forces, the RCMP and the federal public service faced systemic harassment and discrimination due to their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.
Also in Canada, the new organization Positive Space Nunavut aims to create inclusive spaces, culturally relevant resources and eventually jobs for sexually and gender-diverse Nunavut residents, nunatsiaq.com reported. The society has $100,000 in new funding from the federal government to develop Inuit-specific educational resources, gather community knowledge and hold events, said Positive Space President Bibi Bilodeau. The funding came from Women and Gender Equality Canada, which announced money for 76 LGBTQ community-serving organizations across the country.
Scottish nationalist MP Joanna Cherry sent a letter to River City actor David Paisley demanding he pay 2,500 pounds sterling (about $3,000 U.S.) after he posted tweets questioning her views on trans issues, PinkNews noted. The "gender-critical" Cherry had come under scrutiny from Paisley in November after she made a donation to a crowdfunder backed by anti-trans pressure group Fair Cop, which was seeking to challenge the enforcement of hate-crime laws. Paisley had asked, "Why is [Joanna Cherry] funding a self confessed hate group that says #SayYesToHate?"
Inside Out LGBTQ film festival chose Lauren Howes (non-binary) as the new executive director for the organization, Deadline reported. They take on the role that Andria Wilson stepped down from in September 2020. Howes' role will take effect March 1. In addition to being one of the largest LGBTQ film festivals in North America, Inside Out is the largest promoter and distributor of LGBTQ content in Canada.
In Britain, a new, contemporary adaptation of Oscar Wilde's classic novel The Picture of Dorian Gray will star Stephen Fry, Joanna Lumley and Russell Tovey, out.com noted. Written by Henry Filloux-Bennett and directed by Tamara Harvey, the production will "utilize elements found in radio plays, films and documentaries, as well as traditional theatrical techniques" to make a version of the story like we've never seen before, according to the Gay Times. The new production of Dorian Gray will be available to stream March 16-31, with online performances every day; visit www.pictureofdoriangray.com/ for tickets.
Retired Australian diver Matthew Mitcham took home the gold in the 10-meter platform competition and set the highest score for a single dive in the process at the 2008 Beijing Olympicsbut recently told BBC Sports of the struggles with mental health, addiction, and shame that troubled his life since childhood, according to out.com . "I was so scared of it," Mitcham said, referring to his gay sexuality. "That I would actually tie a rubber band around my wrist and every time I had a gay thought I would snap it, to try and associate pain and suffering with the gay thought, to try and train myself out of being gay." Last year, Mitcham married British boyfriend Luke Rutherford.
The Greatest Showman director Michael Gracey is set to direct Better Man, a fantastical coming-of-age story about the unlikely rise of British singer/songwriter Robbie Williams, Deadline noted. The film tells the story of Williams' ascent, exploring the experiences that made him who he is, and the demons he battled both on and off the stage as he became a huge star on the back of hits like Angels. Williams first became famous at 16 as a singer in the boy band Take That, but really hit stride as a solo artist.
Auction house Sotheby's planned to auction a sample of Virgil Abloh's Louis Vuitton x (RED) LV Trainer, signed by the designer himself, InputMag.com noted. All proceeds will be donated to (RED) to assist its fight against pandemics. The (RED) organization raises money to fight two pandemicsCOVID-19 and AIDSand this shoe auction could help raise thousands for the causes. Since 2008, Sotheby's has helped raise a total of almost $80 million in partnership with (RED).
Actor Gerard Depardieu is under formal investigation in France for alleged rape and sexual assault, judicial sources confirmed to CNN. The complainant is a young actress who accused the actor of several rapes and sexual assaults in the summer of 2018. Depardieu has been under investigation since December 2020.