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  WINDY CITY TIMES

WORLD Japanese ruling, Pride events, Colombia election, Boris Johnson
by Andrew Davis
2022-06-26

This article shared 2500 times since Sun Jun 26, 2022
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A Japanese court ruled that the country's ban on same-sex marriage does not violate the constitution, and rejected demands for compensation by three couples who said their right to free union and equality has been violated, NPR reported. The Osaka District Court ruling is the second decision on the issue, and contrasts a ruling last year by a Sapporo court that found the ban on same-sex marriages unconstitutional. The plaintiffs—two male couples and one female couple—were among 14 same-sex couples who filed lawsuits against the government in five major cities (Sapporo, Tokyo, Nagoya, Fukuoka and Osaka) in 2019 for violating rights to free union and equality.

Athens Pride saw the central square of Syntagma filled with rainbow colors, banners calling for equality and inclusion, and tens of thousands of participants at the Athens Pride march, Neos Kosmos reported. This year's theme, "Unconditional," called for equality in legal and social terms, including in marriage and family—and, according to the group Athens Pride, approximately 150,000 people attended. Deputy Minister for Culture and Sports Nicholas Yatromanolakis was among those representing the government, while Opposition Leader Alexis Tsipras, PASOK-KINAL's Andreas Spyropoulos and MeRA25's Yianis Varoufakis were also present.

In Brazil, approximately 4 million people attended Sao Paulo's annual Pride parade, The Washington Blade noted. AIDS Healthcare Foundation Brazil, Alianca Nacional LGBTI (National LGBTI Alliance) and Associacao Nacional de Travestis e Transexuais (National Association of Travestis and Transsexuals) are among the groups that participated. Openly gay Brazilian Sen. Fabiano Contarato was among the elected officials who marched in the event, which had the theme "Vote with Pride." The first round of Brazil's presidential election will take place on Oct. 2.

Speaking of voting, the Blade also reported that former Bogota Mayor Gustavo Petro won the second round of Colombia's presidential election. Petro will be Colombia's first leftist president when he takes office in August; his running mate, Francia Marquez, will be Colombia's first female vice president of African descent. Angelica Lozano, a bisexual woman who became the first openly LGBTQ person elected to the Colombian Senate in 2018; and Mauricio Toro, the first out gay man elected to the country's Congress, both praised Petro and Marquez.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson released a video message on his official Twitter and YouTube accounts celebrating Pride Month in the United Kingdom under the social hashtag of #WhyPridematters, according to The Washington Blade. However, within literal minutes he was promptly criticized and in the Twitter pushback was told by one user, "You're an absolute disgrace." Johnson's Tory-led government seemingly has been more indifferent to Britain's LGBTQ and intersex community—transgender people, in particular—according to activists and the largest LGBTQ and intersex advocacy group, Stonewall UK.

Speaking of which, British Tory MP Nick Fletcher doubled down on his biased view that trans kids are "going through a phase" after circulating a private letter to schools, per PinkNews. It was reported that the MP for Don Valley called on headteachers in the area to clarify their positions on trans pupils, sharing his own anti-trans views in a letter. In response to the letter going public, the MP told the Doncaster Free Press that he "stands by his views" but is "deeply regretful" if the letter caused any hurt.

In Ghana, human/LGBTQ-rights activists protested after a crowd, urged on by a member of parliament, tore down a billboard that promoted tolerance toward the LGBTQ community, Voice of America reported. To mark Pride Month, LGBTQ+ activists mounted billboards in the capital of Accra and two other cities with the inscription "Love, Tolerance and Acceptance"—but conservative MPs called for their destruction. Last year, Ghanaian security shut down a European Union-supported LGBTQ community center, and some lawmakers are seeking to make LGBTQ-rights advocacy illegal.

In the UK, a Devon secondary school announced plans to ban pupils from wearing skirts in an effort toward gender neutrality, PinkNews reported. Tiverton High School publicized the new policy to parents in a newsletter detailing various changes that the school would be making, including a move to a more "gender-neutral" school uniform. Headteacher Sammy Crook assured parents that the decision was approved by governors in matters "including standards of education, parental cost, inclusivity and student health."

The International LGBTQ+ Travel Association (IGLTA) launched a new one-to-one online business marketplace exclusively for IGLTA members, per a press release. #IGLTAgo is set on a digital platform provided through partnership with Brand USA, allowing the association's network of LGBTQ+-welcoming tourism businesses to enhance their global connections. Don Richardson, Brand USA's CFO and chief diversity & inclusion officer, sits on the board of directors for the IGLTA Foundation, which helped to drive the partnership.

A Ukrainian LGBTQ+ group Volodymyr Zelensky's top adviser, Alexey Arestovich, fired after he said LGBTQ+ individuals are "people with deviations," MENA/FN reported. On June 19, Arestovich was questioned in a livestream on his view on the LGBTQ+ community. Arestovich said, "I've said this before and I won't hide it: I treat LGBT as people with deviations—meaning deviations from normal behavior. In this sense, I am a conservative," noting that he was "completely against the persecution" of LGBTQ+ people.

Vice President Kamala Harris ceremonially swore in Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Swiss Confederation and to the Principality of Liechtenstein Scott Miller, The Washington Blade noted. Miller is the co-chair of the Gill Foundation's board of directors along with his husband, Tim Gill. Randy Berry, Jeff Daigle, Bob Gilchrist, Erik Ramanathan and Christopher Lamora (all members of the LGBTQ+ community) are ambassadors to Nepal, Cabo Verde, Lithuania, Sweden and Cameroon, respectively. Chantale Wong, the U.S. director of the Asian Development Bank, is the first openly lesbian and first out person of color to be a U.S. ambassador.

At the UK's Glastonbury Festival, teen U.S. singer Olivia Rodrigo slammed the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade—in the same terms as Phoebe Bridgers did at the festival a day earlier, per Variety. Rodrigo said to the crowd, "I wanted to dedicate this next song to the five members of the Supreme Court who have showed us that at the end of the day, they truly don't give a shit about freedom. The song is for the justices: Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Amy Coney Barrett, Brett Kavanaugh. We hate you! We hate you." She then brought out British singer Lily Allen and performed the song "Fuck You."

Mark Fleischman, who once owned Manhattan's Studio 54 nightclub, told the New York Post that he plans to use the Swiss nonprofit assisted suicide group Dignitas to end his life on July 13, Deadline noted. The group helps assisted suicides with a lethal dose of barbiturates after a lengthy screening process. "I can't walk, my speech is f—ked up and I can't do anything for myself," Fleischman—now 82 and confined to a wheelchair—told The Post. He took over Studio 54 in December 1978 when partners Steve Rubell and Ian Schrager were raided and charged with tax evasion, obstruction of justice and conspiracy.

Swedish Grammy-nominated singer Tove Lo has released the single "True Romance" in advance of her fifth studio album, Dirt Femme, to be released Oct. 14 on Pretty Swede Records/mtheory, per a press release. The album has special guests such as SG Lewis, Channel Tres and First Aid Kit, and tracks include "2 Die 4," "I'm to Blame," "Grapefruit" and "Attention Whore," among others. Also, Lo will perform at various events in July, including Lollapalooza and Montreal's Osheaga Music and Arts Festival.


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