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WORLD Historic ruling, Pope Francis, photo contest, Methodist Church
by Windy City Times staff

This article shared 830 times since Sun Jul 4, 2021
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In a first-of-its-kind decision in Latin America, The Inter-American Court of Human Rights found the Honduran state guilty of the extrajudicial execution of transgender activist Vicky Hernandez, which occurred June 28-29, 2009, according to The Washington Blade. The ruling came after 12 years of struggle by Hernandez's family (including the mother, Rosa) and a team of professionals led by Red Lesbica Cattrachas, Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights and other Honduran organizations. The trans activist was 26 when she was murdered by state security forces, according to her lawyers' arguments.

Pope Francis sent a letter praising the work of a Jesuit priest who has been an outspoken advocate for more respectful treatment of LGBTQ people within the Catholic Church, Religion News Service reported. In the letter, the pontiff described Father James Martin's work as imitating the "style of God." The letter—written in Spanish and dated June 21—was in response to a statement sent to the pontiff by Martin that referenced the Outreach LGBTQ Ministry Conference, a recent event at Fordham University.

MTV and All Out, a global movement for love and equality, announced the winners of the organization's first-ever international LGBTQ+ photography competition that sought submissions in three categories that tracked the lives and experiences of LGBTQ+ people through the pandemic: Resisting, Supporting and Healing, a press release noted. The winners were Cansu Yildiran,, of Turkey (Resisting); Inesio Samuel, of Mozambique (Supporting); and Hao Nguyen, of Canada (Healing). The winning photos are being featured on MTV's billboard at 1515 Broadway in Times Square to celebrate Pride and to commemorate the Stonewall riots of June 28, 1969.

The Methodist Church has become the largest religious denomination in Britain to permit same-sex marriages, the BBC reported. A vote to change the definition of marriage at the Methodist Conference passed by a vote of 254-46. Same-sex marriage is not allowed in the Church of England or the Roman Catholic Church. However, it is welcomed in the Scottish Episcopal Church, the United Reformed Church and the Quakers in Britain.

France's lower house of parliament adopted a law that will allow single women and lesbians access to medically assisted reproduction for the first time, PBS reported. The wide-ranging bioethics law, presented by French President Emmanuel Macron's government, was approved at the National Assembly by a vote of 326-115. The measure had been awaited by LGBTQ-rights groups, who had pushed for the reproduction measure since France legalized same-sex marriage in 2013. The new law does not address France's ban on surrogacy arrangements.

The spring/summer 2022 collection of millennial knitwear designer Archie M. Alled-Martinez included a bold statement: T-shirts emblazoned with the names of cultural figures who died from AIDS-related complications and the ages which they passed, according to . Alled-Martinez—the menswear line founded and run by the Barcelona native—displayed the '70s-inspired T-shirts and matching shorts recently on Instagram. The sets are part of the "Unsung Heroes" line and honor designers Roy Halston and Antonio Lopez, minor disco pop star Sterling Saint Jacques, socialite Jacques de Bascher and porn star Al Parker.

In Turkey, riot police in Istanbul fired tear gas and blocked streets during a march in support of LGBT+ rights, detaining 25 people, reported. The march participants were several civil society groups that gathered under the motto "the street is ours." Footage and photos of demonstrators showed some being pushed and dragged by riot police on Istiklal Avenue in the heart of the city. AFP photographer Bulent Kili was among those detained, and he was reportedly released the evening of when he was arrested.

In Malawi, members of the LGBTQI community held their first-ever Pride parade in the capital, Lilongwe, Voice of America reported. Attendees pushed for recognition by the government, legalization of same-sex marriage and equal access to healthcare. During the parade, marchers—some of whom wore masks for COVID- and privacy-related concerns—carried placards with messages like "We Are Also Human Beings," "Diversity Creates Community" and, "We Are Also an Image of God."

The documentary Taiwan Equals Love was pulled from an LGBTQ film festival after the Hong Kong authorities refused to approve the film in its entirety, the Hong Kong Free Press reported. "The Film Censorship Authority did not authorize the screening of the full documentary. We jointly decided to cancel the screenings of the film, in accordance with our agreed policy not to screen censored films in this [program]," Broadway Cinematheque posted in a statement on Facebook. Directed by Yan Zhexuan, Taiwan Equals Love is the first documentary that discusses same-sex marriage after it became officially recognized in Taiwan in 2016.

In Britain, Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) Deputy Leader Paula Bradley apologized for remarks made by some of her party colleagues in the past about the LGBT community, the BBC reported. Bradley admitted that some of the things said by the DUP over the past 50 years had been "absolutely atrocious." She was taking part in an online event that PinkNews hosted, during which she was asked if the DUP should apologize for comments over its history.

Two 18-year-old cisgender sprinters from Namibia—Christine Mboma and Beatrice Masilingi—have been banned from running in the Olympic 400-meter dash because they have a "natural high testosterone level," according to LGBTQ Nation. They are the two latest African women to be banned from track events because they don't fit into the World Athletics organization's definition of womanhood. The organization capped testosterone levels for women's events more than 400 meters but below 1600 meters in 2019—a rule that limited the career of cis lesbian South African runner Caster Semenya.

Brazilian governor and potential major party presidential candidate Eduardo Leite—a prominent critic of President Jair Bolsonaro—came out as gay in a TV interview, according to Openly News. Leite, governor of the state of Rio Grande do Sul, would be the first openly gay presidential candidate in the country's history. Anti-LGBTQ rhetoric has been a staple of speeches by Bolsonaro, who once declared that if he had a gay son, he would rather the child died in an accident. Leite, 36, will be a candidate in his party primaries scheduled for November to choose the presidential candidate for the 2022 elections.

While celebrating making the cover of DNA Magazine, Australian actor Hugh Sheridan came out as non-binary, noted. "I AM still a human (non-binary/bi/me/Hughman)," they wrote on Instagram about their new cover of DNA. "But I'm in a monogamous relationship with another human, who I love. I don't accept a label 'cause it limits me...if you want it; take it."

Also, Hikaru Utada—one of the most successful pop singers in Japan in the late '90s and '00s and who became internationally famous for singing the theme songs to Kingdom Hearts video games like the iconic "Simple and Clean"—came out as non-binary in a recent livestream, noted. Their album First Love became the country's best-selling album of all time, and they have several chart-topping singles and million-selling albums. They also clarified their identity in a livestream June 26, when they said "It's the month of June, and I'm non-binary, so happy Pride Month!"

Professional Irish rugby player Jack Dunne has come out as bisexual, according to PinkNews. He opened up about his sexuality on the BBC's LGBT Sports Podcast, telling host Jack Murley that hearing homophobic and biphobic language at school made it more difficult for him to come out. Dunne—who is 22 years old and 6'8" tall—said he first realized he was bisexual when he was aged 15; however, being surrounded by other teenage boys every day and hearing barbed comments about sexuality sent him a "subconscious" message that he should keep it to himself.

Ghana's speaker of parliament referred to the LGBTQ+ community as "a pandemic worse than COVID" in recent statements, noted, citing Citi Newsroom. Speaker of Parliament Alban Bagbin made the remarks to a group of parliament members who had just presented him with a new proposed bill that would reportedly increase existing penalties for same-sex sexual relations and criminalize all LGBTQ+ activities. In February video captured the scene as authorities raided and closed the offices of LGBT+ Rights Ghana, a queer-rights advocacy group based in Accra. The following month, police broke up a wedding party for two women in Kwahu-Obomen, arresting 22 people.

The Canadian version of the Emmy-winning RuPaul's Drag Race franchise announced that runway model Stacey McKenzie is not returning to the series as a regular judge, noted. "We're sad to share that Stacey McKenzie won't be able to return for Season 2 due to COVID-related challenges," the tweet read. The news of McKenzie's Drag Race exit came after now-former co-judge Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman's exit from the series in March. However, according to, Amanda Brugel, Brad Goreski and Traci Melchor will join Brook Lynn Hytes at the judges' table next season.

Tennis icon Serena Williams will not appear at the upcoming Tokyo Olympic games, but the four-time gold medal winner initially declined to state why, Deadline noted. Speaking at her pre-Wimbledon press conference, Williams said: "I'm actually not on the Olympic list—not that I'm aware of. If so, then I shouldn't be on it." When asked why, Williams refused to be specific: "There's a lot of reasons that I made my Olympic decision. I don't feel like going into them today. Maybe another day. Sorry." Other top tennis players, such as Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem, are also skipping the Olympics. (Williams subsequently withdrew from Wimbledon in the first round because of an injury.)

Mumford & Sons' lead guitarist has quit the band following backlash to a tweet supporting a right-wing author, the BBC noted. Winston Marshall took time away from the British folk-rock band in March after saying journalist Andy Ngo was "brave" for his book which says far-left activists have "radical plans to destroy democracy." Winston said he regrets the distress to his bandmates caused by his tweet.

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