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WORLD Japan ruling, Kenya groups, World Cup, Almodovar
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by Windy City Times staff

This article shared 892 times since Sun Dec 4, 2022
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A district court in the Tokyo Prefecture ruled that Japan's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage is legal, according to The Washington Blade. In a statement to Reuters, plaintiffs' attorney Nobuhito Sawasaki said, "This is actually a fairly positive ruling. While marriage remains between a man and a woman, and the ruling supported that, it also said that the current situation with no legal protections for same-sex families is not good, and suggested something must be done about it." Japan has nine regions that are divided into 47 prefectures, which rank immediately below the national government.

Two LGBTQ+-rights groups in Kenya used Transgender Awareness Week and the Transgender Day of Remembrance to honor transgender refugees and asylum seekers in the country, The Washington Blade reported. On Nov. 20, the Refugee Trans Initiative and Entrepreneur Empowerment and Advocacy Health hosted an event in Nairobi, the country's capital. Entrepreneur Empowerment and Advocacy Health Director Vanilla Hussein said, "We had time to reflect on the memory of our friends we have lost and most recently Francis, who was murdered in Uganda."

At least one sign of progress took place at the World Cup in Qatar as referees Stephanie Frappart, Neuza Back and Karen Diaz became the first all-women crew to oversee a game at a men's World Cup match, ESPN noted. They refereed the match between Costa Rica and Germany—and despite Germany winning 4-2, the European country failed to advance to the knockout round of 16, with Japan and Spain representing their group.

Spanish director Pedro Almodovar's gay western romance Strange Way of Life will feature Ethan Hawke and Pedro Pascal in the lead roles, and it will premiere in May at the Cannes Film Festival, Out noted. Heartthrob Manu Rios (from the Netflix series Elite) has also been cast in the film in a yet-undisclosed role. Almodovar revealed the movie's premiere date on the podcast At Your Service, launched by pop star Dua Lipa.

Indonesia's parliament is expected to pass a new criminal code on Dec. 15 that will penalize sex outside marriage with a punishment of up to one year in jail, Reuters reported. "We're proud to have a criminal code that's in line with Indonesian values," Indonesia Deputy Justice Minister Edward Omar Sharif Hiariej said. Also in the code are the criminalization of abortion, with the exception of rape victims, and imprisonment for "black magic."

In a related item, two Indonesian male soldiers have been sentenced to seven months in prison for engaging in consensual sex, which is considered a form of "inappropriate behavior" that is banned by the country's military, Metro Weekly noted, citing the South China Morning Post. The soldiers, who joined the army last year and were based on the country's main island of Java, were expelled from the army. Same-sex intimacy is technically legal for civilians in almost all parts of Indonesia, except for conservative Aceh province, which is run by Sharia law; however, the military bans same-sex relations.

In an interview with Attitude, It's A Sin star Callum Scott Howells criticized Harry Potter author JK Rowling for giving Conservatives "permission" to suppress trans rights, PinkNews noted. "These governments—I've lost count of how many we've had the last year—it's really scary. With trans rights being attacked, JK Rowling isn't helping. She's stoking the fire and giving the Tories permission to do it. It's terrifying," he said. Rowling has regularly taken aim at trans rights on social media, despite claiming that she is not transphobic. Recently, she faced criticism for liking a tweet by the notoriously anti-LGBTQ+ account Libs of TikTok.

U.S. Special Envoy to Advance the Human Rights of LGBTQI+ Persons Jessica Stern traveled to Vietnam on Nov. 28-Dec. 2, and will visit the Philippines on Dec. 3-6; and Indonesia on Dec. 7-9, according to a media note from the State Department. During her visits, Stern will meet with government officials and representatives from civil society to discuss human rights, including advancing the human rights of LGBTQI+ persons.

Award-winning LGBTQ+ comedian Mae Martin will be filming their hour-long Netflix comedy special debut on Dec. 8 at the Vogue Theater in Vancouver, a press release noted. They previously made their Netflix comedy special debut with a half-hour set in COMEDIANS of the world in 2019. The special will be directed by creator Abbi Jacobson.

Bjork has shared her music video for "Sorrowful Soil," a press release noted. Directed by Vioar Logi, it sees her singing at the recently erupted Icelandic volcano Fagradalsfjall on the Reykjanes peninsula. The volcano was dormant for 6,000 years before 2021. The official video is at .

Anwar Ibrahim, 75—who was once imprisoned for sodomy and corruption—is now the 10th prime minister of Malaysia, per CNN. "No one should be marginalized under my administration," he said in a recent speech. Anwar's appointment came nearly a week after a chaotic general election that resulted in the first hung parliament in Malaysian history.

Prince William's office said "racism has no place in our society" as he sought to prevent the backlash over his godmother's treatment of a Black advocate for survivors of domestic abuse from overshadowing his trip to the United States, NPR noted. Lady Susan Hussey resigned Wednesday as an honorary member of the royal household after the chief executive of an east London women's refuge said Hussey repeatedly asked her where she "really came from" after she told the older woman that she was British. Ngozi Fulani—the head of Sistah Space, a charity that supports victims of domestic abuse—alleged in a tweet that the household member repeatedly pressed her for information about her nationality, according to NBC News.

Mel B has fueled rumors of a Spice Girls reunion at Glastonbury Festival 2023, according to PinkNews. Appearing on The Big Narstie Show on Channel 4, Mel B described late-night talk-show host James Cordon as one of the "biggest d**kheads in showbiz" before being asked by Big Narstie: "If you do Glastonbury can I be the hype man?" She replied, "Yeah, I would like that. That would be cool." Then, when asked if they're performing at the festival, Mel B said, "Yes, I think so—but I've got to convince the four b***hes to do it with me!" Sir Elton John has been announced as Glastonbury's first headliner.

Embattled actor Kevin Spacey has booked a role in an upcoming British indie thriller, Variety noted. The feature, Control, will see Spacey play a voice role, similar to Kiefer Sutherland's in 2002 film Phone Booth. The development happened just weeks after it was revealed Spacey will face more sexual-assault charges in the United Kingdom and he won a $40 million sexual battery lawsuit in the United States against actor Anthony Rapp.

In Lithuania, an ice rink in Vilnius' century-old former prison is inviting skaters to disco happy hour, per a press release. Vilnius Ice Rink 2.0 is open in the main yard of Lukiskes Prison until the end of February. The ice rink—which has a circulating glycolic coolant that reduces energy consumption by 26%—can accommodate 80 skating aficionados at once. A "gastro market" will be open near the rink on Dec. 8-11.

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