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Windy City Times 2023-12-13
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WORLD Latvia, nonbinary magistrate, Gay Games end, Israel soldiers
by Andrew Davis
2023-11-17

This article shared 4271 times since Fri Nov 17, 2023
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Latvia's parliament voted to allow same-sex couples to establish civil unions, Reuters reported. Said couples now have legal recognition—but fewer rights than married couples. The new legislation, slated to take effect in the middle of next year, allows same-sex couples to register their partnership with a notary. However, some, such as LGBTQ+-rights activist Kaspars Zalitis, said same-sex couples still won't be able to adopt children and would continue to face inheritance issues.

Mexico's first openly non-binary magistrate and prominent LGBTQ+-rights activist Jesus Ociel Baena Saucedo was found dead at home in the state of Aguascalientes, The Advocate reported, citing CNN. A second person—identified as Baena's romantic partner—was also found dead in the home where they both resided. Aguascalientes' Attorney General Jesus Figueroa said there was no evidence of foul play, for the moment. The state prosecutor later said that boyfriend Dorian Daniel Nieves killed Saucedo in a murder-suicide, per Mexico News Daily. Thousands marched in Mexico City in the wake of Saucedo's death, per LGBTQ Nation.

Gay Games 11 Hong Kong (which also took place in Mexico) has ended, and organizers said it was the "best Gay Games ever," per The South China Morning Post. About 2,400 participants from Hong Kong, mainland China, the rest of Asia, the United States, Europe and Australia competed in 18 events—but the numbers were far short of the 15,000 athletes and 36 sports first envisioned. "We delivered the first Games in Asia. The Gay Games happening here shows the world that Hong Kong can be equal," co-chair Lisa Lam stated. Singers, drag queens and dance groups were among the performers at the closing ceremony at Queen Elizabeth Stadium in Wan Chai on Nov. 11.

The same-sex partners of fallen Israeli soldiers will now be recognized as widows or widowers after a legislative change approved by lawmakers, The Washington Post reported. The development comes as more than 360,000 post-army reservists have been called up to fight in the war with Hamas. Israel's Knesset voted Nov. 6 to expand the Families of Fallen Soldiers Law to include the common-law partners of LGBTQ+ members of the Israel Defense Forces; previously, the law had included partners within opposite-sex common-law marriages as well as those in religiously recognized marriages. The amendment removes gender designations.

On a related note, the BBC apologized for reporting that Israeli troops targeted medics and Arab speakers during a raid on Gaza's main hospital, Al-Shifa, Deadline noted. A BBC newsreader misquoted a Reuters report on the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) operation, saying that soldiers were "targeting people, including medical teams as well as Arab speakers." In reality, Reuters carried an Israeli military statement, saying that IDF medics and Arabic-speaking troops were on the ground to ensure that "supplies reach those in need."

In Uganda, two men were arrested for engaging in sex with each other, The Advocate reported. The controversial Anti-Homosexuality Act—signed into law by President Yoweri Museveni in May—says that people found to be "engaging in acts of homosexuality" face up to life in prison. The law also calls for the death penalty for "aggravated homosexuality," which refers to people living with HIV engaging in same-sex sexual relations as well as repeat offenders.

Gay Oscar-winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black (Milk) was recently cleared of assault after an alleged altercation with TV host Teddy Edwardes at a London club in 2022, per Out Magazine. District Judge Louisa Cieciora determined that there wasn't enough evidence to "properly convict" Black. He told Variety, "This is a moment of exoneration. This case has flown in the face of everything I am, and I am grateful to the judge for exonerating me."

In Australia, the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras—with new CEO Gil Beckwith

(she/her)—unveiled its 2024 program, per Mirage News. Fresh off its 45th anniversary in 2023, next year's Sydney Mardi Gras has the theme "Our Future." The 2024 program features new and major events such as the Bondi Beach Party, the women-centered Ultra Violet party, Hot Trans Summer, the talk series Queer Futures, Oxtravaganza and Darlo Big Drag Brunch, and Diamond Dance, among other items. The Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras will start Feb. 15-March 4; the parade will be on March 2.

Also in Australia, the former Darlinghurst Police Station, in Sydney, was once the site where gay people were detained and beaten—but supporters of Qtopia Sydney, scheduled to open early next year, say it's the perfect place for a LGBTQ museum, The World reported. However, others say the setting is too painful and they can never go back to where they were abused. In related news, Qtopia Sydney—which counts the Lachlan and Sarah Murdoch Foundation as its founding partner—is introducing three new theater spaces as part of its new Live at Qtopia Sydney program, per The Star Observer. In the lead-up to the museum's February 2024 opening, it's also calling on artists to submit shows for production in 2024. See qtopiasydney.com .au/live-at-the-bandstand/ .

More than 1 million people attended the recent Pride march in Buenos Aires, Argentina, according to The Washington Blade. This urgent call for equality and nondiscrimination resonated strongly on the eve of the presidential election's second round that will take place Nov. 19. The country is on the verge of a presidential runoff that has Libertarian economist Javier Milei, a far-right candidate known for his anti-LGBTQ+ stances, against pro-LGBTQ+ Economy Minister Sergio Massa.

Hungary's Museum of Ethnography is barring minors from part of a photo exhibition with an LGBTQ+ theme—a week after the head of another museum was fired for failing to enforce an access ban, per RFE/RL. The culture minister fired the director of the Hungarian National Museum on Nov. 6 for "failing to comply" with a controversial law that bans the "promotion" of homosexuality to people under 18. The exhibit shows a series of pictures of a community of older LGBTQ+ people in the Philippines.

In Canada, the Waterloo Catholic District School Board (WCDSB) is restricting access to four books with LGBTQ+ themes selected as part of a program intended to engage elementary and secondary school students in reading a diverse range of books, The Star reported. Danny Ramadan's middle-grade novel Salma Writes a Book is one of four works with LGBTQ+ themes or characters nominated for the annual Forest of Reading awards that have been restricted for use by students at the WCDSB. Ramadan—whose book focuses on a Muslim girl who can't understand why her queer uncle is not immediately welcomed into her nuclear family—said the decision to restrict a title dealing with the confluence of LGBTQ+ issues and religion is ironic. The other restricted works are The Mystery of the Painted Fan, by Linda Trinh; Princess Pru and the Ogre on the Hill, by Maureen Fergus; and Jude Saves the World, by Ronnie Riley.

In the Canadian province of Saskatchewan, the Saskatoon City Council will be looking at further efforts to make the city a friendlier place for the LGBTQ+ community after hearing from speakers calling for a "sanctuary city," the Saskatoon StarPhoenix reported. Among those who spoke was Blake Tait, a member of the city's transgender community. Presenting a petition with 200 signatures, Tait called for the council to declare Saskatoon an LGBTQ "sanctuary city," following the lead of various U.S. cities. He said this was a response to the recent passage of Saskatchewan's Parents' Bill of Rights, which requires parental consent for children under 16 to change their name or pronouns at school.

Diver Anton Down-Jenkins, 24, announced that he's stepping away from the boards, despite training for Paris 2024, Queerty noted. Down-Jenkins, who represented New Zealand in the 2020 Olympics, said he has no regrets about retiring. On social media, he wrote, in part, "I've accomplished so much more than I ever thought possible as an athlete in the sport of diving. From qualifying for the Olympics to competing in an Olympic final, after Tokyo I had ticked off every single goal I had ever set out to achieve in sport, something not many people can say they ever do." Down-Jenkins is currently pursuing a master's degree in sports administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Conservative Spanish politician Alejo Vidal-Quadras Roca was shot in the face in an assassination attempt on a public sidewalk, The Advocate noted, citing El Pais. He was reported to be in serious but stable condition. Roca, 78, was part of the right-wing People's Party of Catalonia and Vox, and has opposed marriage equality in the past.

The West End revival of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Sunset Boulevard—starring singer/The Masked Singer judge Nicole Scherzinger—officially opened at London's Savoy Theatre Oct. 12 following previews that began Sept. 21, Playbill noted. The limited engagement also features West End and Broadway actor Rachel Tucker (Wicked) guest-starring as Norma Desmond on Monday nights. Lloyd Webber's Sunset Boulevard (with a book and lyrics by Don Black and Christopher Hampton) is based on the 1950 film of the same name that featured Gloria Swanson as the reclusive Desmond, who falls in love with writer Joe Gillis, who happens upon her home by accident.

Spanish soccer player Miguel Guerrero has decided to move on from his pro sports career to creating OnlyFans content and starring in adult films, per Instinct Magazine. He announced his first adult film, which is reportedly 20 minutes long and was recorded at a hotel in Istanbul, Turkey. Earlier this year, he told W Radio, "I have been dedicated to [playing soccer] since I was 13 years old. How many people want to change jobs and don't do it because of the fear of what they will say."


This article shared 4271 times since Fri Nov 17, 2023
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