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Windy City Times 2023-12-13



WORLD Macron, Senegal incident, drag queen, King's Speech, lesbian artist
by Andrew Davis

This article shared 4042 times since Fri Nov 10, 2023
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French President Emmanuel Macron voiced his support for a bill banning gender-inclusive language on official state documents, according to PinkNews. During the inauguration of the space known as the Cite Internationale de la Langue Francaise, Macron said France should not give into what he described as fashionable trends. If passed, the policy would ban the teaching of "inclusive" writing, which involves writing both masculine and feminine forms of gendered words, separated by dots (such as "president.e.s," for president).

An incident in Senegal is under investigation—and it involves a video showing a gay man's body being exhumed and burned, The Advocate reported, citing Agence France-Presse. Local media speculated (but did not confirm) that the man's sexual orientation drove the act. Senegal, where homosexual acts are deemed "against nature" and punishable by imprisonment, has a history of homophobia. Human-rights organizations, including Amnesty International Senegal, have vehemently condemned the incident for violating the dignity of the deceased and his family.

In the Philippines, a group of social-media broadcasters filed a criminal complaint for offending religious feelings against drag artist Pura Luka Vega before the Pasay City prosecutor's office, Phil Star Global noted. Attorney Mark Tolentino, who represents the group, said the complaints stemmed from the video posted on Vega's TikTok account that shows the drag artist dancing while holding a sacred host and wearing a Black Nazarene-inspired costume. On Oct. 4, Vega (real name: Amadeus Fernando Pagente) was arrested on charges of "immoral doctrines, obscene publications and exhibitions, as well as indecent shows" filed by a religious group. Vega is currently out on bail.

Pro-LGBTQ+ groups and activists criticized the British government's decision to pull the conversion-therapy ban proposal from the King's Speech, calling the move "frightful negligence" and "heart-breakingly disappointing," PinkNews reported. Following long-term promises from the Conservatives to include the proposal in the speech, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak faced "intense" pressure from some MPs to withdraw it. A pre-speech press release didn't mention conversion therapy, which then-Prime Minister Theresa May first promised to outlaw five years ago.

Russian prosecutors requested a sentence of eight years in a penal colony for Alexandra Skochilenko—a lesbian artist who criticized the country's military actions in Ukraine in a supermarket protest last year, The Advocate noted, citing the Russian-language outlet Mediazona. In March 2022, Skochilenko switched the price tags at a Perekrestok supermarket with stickers that looked like price tags but that actually contained anti-war messages. She has been charged with knowingly spreading false information because of alleged political and ideological hatred.

In Australia, a Sydney Catholic all-girls school will allow same-sex couples to attend an end-of-year formal together after receiving backlash to its previous ban, PinkNews noted. Abbie Frankland, a final-year student at St. Ursula's College, created a petition after learning the school wouldn't allow her to take her girlfriend to the event—and the petition garnered almost 5,000 signatures. New South Wales Premier Chris Minns showed his support for the LGBTQ+ students, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

China's largest gay dating app, Blued, is expanding in Southeast Asia and the United States amid challenges at home due to increased state control of LGBTQ+ content and growing competition from trendier mainstream platforms, according to Rest of World. Blued's new owner, Beijing-based Newborn Town, said it is setting the groundwork to build the world's largest gay social platform. However, users and researchers say the company will face several business and geopolitical roadblocks in its quest for global expansion.

Also connected with dating apps, Ireland resident Yousef Palani, 23, was sentenced to two life sentences for the murders of two gay men he targeted on those apps, The Advocate noted, citing the BBC and other outlets. Palani, of Sligo, pleaded guilty last year to the murders of Aidan Moffitt, 42, and Michael Snee, 58; he also stabbed Anthony Burke, 50, in the face, leaving him blind in one eye.

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni fired back at the United States over its recent decision to exclude Uganda from the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) trade program, according to Business Insider Africa. On X, Museveni said, "I need to advise you not to be overly concerned about the recent actions taken by the American government to discourage their companies from investing in Uganda and removing Uganda from the AGOA list." The U.S. said the decision to exclude Uganda was due to the implementation of an anti-LGBTQ+ law, which was deemed a "serious violation" of internationally recognized human rights.

British agency Insanity Group apologized to former client Char Ellesse—founder of the online storytelling platform Girls Will Be Boys—following a Zoom call about her social-media output, per Deadline. Ellesse recently quit Insanity as a result of the Sept. 29 call; she said the company displayed a lack of understanding for the needs of Black and intersectional content creators when it requested that she increase the regularity of her social-media updates. The agent said on the Zoom call that a "whiter than white" client was "putting out content every single day" and had worked "really f*****g hard to cut through the noise."

Hungary's cultural minister fired the director of the Hungarian National Museum in Budapest, accusing him of failing to comply with a law that bans the display of LGBTQ+ content to minors, per a Seattle Times item. The dismissal of Laszlo L. Simon—who became director of the museum for a five-year term in 2021—came after Hungary's government determined in late October that five photos on display at the prestigious World Press Photo exhibition violated the law restricting children's access to content that depicts homosexuality or gender change. Writing on his Facebook page, Simon said that neither he nor the museum had deliberately violated the country's 2021 "child protection" law.

The video game Overwatch is getting its first nonbinary character, and fans are thrilled to see more LGBTQ+ inclusion in the series, PinkNews noted. Gaming convention BlizzCon 2023 provided Overwatch 2 fans with a sneak peek at the new Damage character Venture. They are a Canadian archeologist willing to use their drill weapon to dig deep for treasure and win in battle. The newest Overwatch is slated to drop sometime in May 2024, according to Dexerto. In April, Overwatch expanded its roster of LGBTQ+ characters with the introduction of Lifeweaver, an out pansexual scientist that uses plant-based tech to heal and protect teammates; then, during Overwatch 2's Pride Month celebrations, Blizzard revealed popular characters Pharah and Baptiste are both queer.

The Billie Jean King Cup Finals—taking place through Nov. 12 in Seville, Spain—will offer a record total of $9.6 million in prize money, including $2.4 million to the champions, ESPN noted. The International Tennis Federation said this puts the women competing at the BJK Cup Finals on an equivalent prize level as the men at the Davis Cup Finals. Defending champion Switzerland is joined by11 other countries: Australia (last year's runner-up), Canada, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Kazakhstan, Poland, Slovenia, Spain and the United States.

Out Montreal DJ/producer Kaytranada teased his latest single, "Out of Luck," with Mariah the Scientist, on Twitter, Complex noted. "THIS IS THE ANTHEM!" Kaytra wrote in his quote-tweet of the song playing at a release party. With a collaborative album in the books and recent singles to his name, fans could be getting closer to a complete solo album in the future.

Conservative, anti-LGBTQ+ Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni separated from longtime partner Andrea Giambruno—hours after a broadcast showed explicit comments made off-air by TV host Giambruno to female colleagues, the BBC noted. A few months ago, Giambruno was accused of victim-blaming after he appeared to say young women could avoid rape by not getting drunk; Meloni said at the time his words had been misinterpreted.

The EU has brought back the European Film Festival to Russia (Nov. 1-15) despite Russia's war against Ukraine, per RFE/RL. The festival, which did not run in 2022 due to the conflict, is showcasing 21 films from EU countries, including Germany, France, Spain, Italy, the Czech Republic and Luxembourg. It is being held online, mostly free of charge, according to the EU delegation in Russia. Ukraine had urged the EU to cancel the festival, Yahoo! News noted.

This article shared 4042 times since Fri Nov 10, 2023
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