The U.S. condemned the so-called honor killing of a transgender woman in Iraqi Kurdistan, The Washington Blade reported. Media reports indicate Doski Azad's brother, Chakdar Azad, murdered her in Mangesh on Jan. 28. Authorities in the semi-autonomous region of northern Iraq say Chakdar had been living in Europe for several years until he returned to the region in December; he reportedly shot his sister twice, in the head and chest. Kurdish authorities issued a warrant for Chakdar Azad's arrest, but he reportedly fled the region. Jiyan Foundation Founder and Chair Salah Ahmad said in a statement, "So-called 'honor killings' are barbaric hate crimes that have no place in a civilized society. This despicable act is emblematic of a culture that invites terrorism, hatred, and violence across the Middle East. Jiyan Foundation, together with like-minded organizations across the region urge the Kurdistan Regional Government and Iraqi authorities to end the 'honor killing' tradition by prioritizing investigations of hate crimes committed against LGBTQ+ individuals."
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) praised the House of Representatives for voting to pass the Global Respect Act, an important piece of legislation that holds individuals around the world accountable for committing human rights abuses against their LGBTQ+ populations, a press release noted. The Global Respect Act would block travel to the United States for people who have been responsible for the abuse or persecution of LGBTQ+ people abroad. While the U.S. government already has the power to withhold visas from human rights violators, this legislation would require the State Department to draw up a list of LGBTQ+-rights abusers, which would be updated twice each year and submitted to Congress.
Lipian Mtandabari, founder of Ntsako Travel Africa, received the IGLTA Foundation LGBTQ+ Tourism Scholarship to participate in a master's-level program in LGBTQ+ tourism at CETT, the School of Tourism, Hospitality and Gastronomy at the University of Barcelona, according to an organizational newsletter. The virtual one-year programthe first of its kindlaunched this month. Participants have the opportunity to lead change through a tourism model based on respect and inclusion.
In Australia, Labor Party lawmaker Stephen Jones spoke out against a religious-discrimination billsaying it could do emotional damage to LGBTQ children, citing both his son, Paddy Quilter-Jones, and his nephew, Ollie, NBC News reported. Critics argued the bill could allow religious schools to discriminate against LGBTQ students. "He was just 15 when he took his own life. He was a beautiful, creative, courageous young man... His mum and dad are in anguish. We all are. He was gay," Jones said of his late nephew in a speech that has now gone viral.
Advocacy groups are up in arms with Statistics South Africa (StatsSA) over the exclusion of LGBTQ people in the ongoing national census that will end Feb. 28, The Washington Blade reported. Reacting to the exclusion of LGBTQ people on the 2022 national census questionnaire, Nolwazi Tusinicommunications and media manager at Iranti, a Johannesburg-based, pro-LGBTQ+ media advocacy organizationsaid the data will be used to make conclusions about gender in ways that completely exclude transgender and non-binary people.
One of the United Kingdom's leading human-rights watchdogs is facing an international review over its recent stance on LGBTQ+ rights, Gay Times Magazine reported. The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC)which says it aims to promote and uphold equality laws in the United Kingdom and is funded by the UK government's Equalities Officemade headlines in January for suggesting a "differentiated approach" to a trans conversion-therapy ban. It also urged Scotland to pause plans to simplify the gender recognition process, something the LGBTQ+ organization Stonewall called "an attack on trans equality." In a statement shared with the BBC, the EHRC said its position is "based on evidence in the UK and internationally."
Three months after she said an emotional goodbye to her fans via social media, Veneno star Isabel Torres passed away from lung cancer, out.com noted. Torres, who is Spanish, had long been known as a trans pioneer in her native Gran Canaria. In 1996, she became the first Canarian woman to have her gender legally changed on her ID, and she often spoke out about LGBTQ+ rights and issues in her country.
Grindr has modified its privacy settings to protect LGBTQ+ athletes at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, out.com noted, citing Bloomberg. The gay dating/hookup app disabled its "Explore" feature within the Olympic Village. The feature allows users to explore the profiles of users in locations around the world. In the past, though, some folks, including one journalist, used the app to reveal the profiles of LGBTQ+ athletes.
Gaya airport in New Delhi, India, is reportedly desperate to lose its GAY airport code because of its status as a holy city, with a parliamentary panel branding it "inappropriate," PinkNews noted. Gaya is a Hindu pilgrimage site as well as a holy city for the religions of Jainism and Buddhism. Suggesting the code YAG as an alternative, a parliamentary panel asked the government to "make all effort to take up the matter with the IATA and concerned organization as the issue involves inappropriate code naming of an airport of a holy city of our country."
British tennis player Liam Broady said he doesn't think men's tennis has a specific "culture" that is preventing players from coming out as gay or bisexual after recently wearing Rainbow Laces at the Australian Open to "send support" to the LGBTQ+ community, Sky Sports noted. Broady became the latest athlete to support Stonewall's Rainbow Laces campaign by wearing them during his first-round defeat to Nick Kyrgios in Melbourne.
In China, LGBTQ scenes from the iconic comedy Friends have been removed, The New York Daily News noted. According to the South China Morning Post, edits were responsible for the erasure of the lesbian identity of Carol Willick, played by Anita Barone in one episode, and Jane Sibbett in others. The word "lesbian" was also omitted from the Chinese subtitles, even though the English word was left uncut. One scene in which Joey (Matt LeBlanc) kisses Chandler (Matthew Perry) on episode 10 of the first season was also deleted.
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, 95, used the historic milestone of her Platinum Jubileemarking 70 years on the throneto redefine the future of the monarchy, calling for the Duchess of Cornwall to be known as Queen Camilla when Charles becomes King, per CNN. When Charles married Camilla in 2005, the couple announced she intended to be known as "princess consort" despite having a right to the title of queen. It was seen as a recognition of the sensitivities around a title that was destined for Charles' first wife, Diana. Elizabeth ascended to the throne Feb. 6, 1952, following the death of her father, King George VI, at age 56.
Steven Spielberg's Oscar-nominated West Side Story will make its streaming debut on Disney+ in the U.S. and most international countries on March 2, Deadline noted. In addition, an ABC one-hour special called Something's Coming: West Side StoryA Special Edition of 20/20 is available to stream on Disney+ now. West Side Story will launch in Taiwan on March 9 and Japan on March 30.
Heirs of Jimi Hendrix's former bandmates, bassist Noel Redding and drummer Mitch Mitchell, filed a lawsuit against Sony Music in the United Kingdom, alleging copyright infringement and seeking royalties, per Variety. The filing, in London's High Court, follows an application for a legal declaration made by Sony Music and the Hendrix estate in a Manhattan federal court last month that would preemptively exonerate them of all legal claims.
The Berlin Film Festival, which started Feb. 10, recorded more than 60 positive COVID results from its testing procedures in its first three days, Deadline noted. A festival spokesperson said, "Since the beginning of the festival we have only detected eight cases of positive tests among the film teams. The Berlinale's test buses, available for both accredited and audience, did approximately 2,700 tests and had only 54 positive tests."