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WORLD Peru items, Kenya, UK government, Poland city
by Windy City Times staff
2021-04-18

This article shared 1437 times since Sun Apr 18, 2021
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The first lesbian elected to Peru's Congress promised to put up a "strong battle" for LGBTQ+ rights in the South American nation as two social conservatives go head to head for a presidential run-off vote in June, Openly News reported. Attorney Susel Paredes—who will become the country's only openly LGBTQ+ lawmaker—was elected April 11 following two previous unsuccessful congressional runs—achieving the most votes of any female candidate. However, she was cautious about the chances of broader LGBTQ+ gains following the outcome of the presidential election, which pits socialist candidate Pedro Castillo against right-wing Keiko Fujimori in a runoff on June 6.

Also in Peru, the first openly transgender person elected in that country died from the coronavirus, The Washington Blade reported. Luisa Revilla Urcia, 49, passed away in Trujillo, a city in northwestern Peru. Media reports indicate she tested positive for the coronavirus two weeks ago and had been admitted to a Trujillo hospital. In 2014, she won a seat on the local council in La Esperanza, a city adjacent to Trujillo.

A University of Michigan researcher said there's an urgent need for culturally appropriate mental and physical health services for sexual and gender minorities in Kenya, the school's Michigan News noted. "There's still a lot of social stigma, a lot of violence around being gay or lesbian or transgender in Kenya," said Gary Harper, professor of health behavior and health education at the U-M School of Public Health. Harper is co-author of a new study recently published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. The study was conducted by researchers from U-M, the University of Nairobi and the University of California, Los Angeles; and grassroots organizers from the Western Kenya LBQT Feminist Forum as well as the Nyanza Rift Valley and Western Kenya LGBTI Coalition. See news.umich.edu/lgbtq-people-in-kenya-urgently-need-mental-health-support/. (Update: Security will be increased at the camp, Reuters reported.)

In Britain, the official LGBT+ Labour group was criticized for holding a "secret, unverifiable" meeting with Keir Starmer that resulted in little but "hollow platitudes," PinkNews reported. Starmer had a meeting with representatives of LGBT+ Labour, and the group described the meeting as "positive," claiming Starmer, among other things, "repeated his apology to the LGBT+ community" for his recent visit to anti-LGBT+ church Jesus House. However, many LGBT+ Labour members criticized the group for a lack of transparency around what was discussed at the meeting; others questioned if transphobia within the Labour Party was given sufficient airtime during the meeting, or whether it was raised at all.

The UK government's LGBTQ advisory panel has been disbanded after three members quit last month, the BBC reported. A government spokesman said a replacement for the panel, which was set up under Theresa May's premiership, "will be set out in due course." Three advisers quit last month over the government's handling of LGBTQ rights and amid claims it was "dragging its feet" on a pledge to ban so-called conversion therapy. The first to resign, Jayne Ozanne, accused ministers of creating a "hostile environment" for LGBTQ people.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said prayer for someone exploring their sexual orientation or gender identity will not be criminalized in any conversion-therapy ban, as LGBT+ activists and conservative Christians clash over the issue, Openly News reported. Johnson said that "appropriate pastoral support (including prayer)" would remain legal, in a letter to the Evangelical Alliance, a conservative Christian lobby group representing 3,500 churches. Pro-LGBTQ+ campaigners and politicians expressed concerns that Johnson's letter could mean the government granting religious exemptions in any proposed ban, despite previous promises to include religious practices.

After declaring itself an "LGBT-free zone" two years ago, the town of Krasnik, Poland is reportedly regretting the decision, unilad.co.uk noted. The town has been dubbed "a synonym for homophobia," according to its mayor Wojciech Wilk—something he vehemently denies is the case. In May 2019, Krasnik declared itself as being "free of LGBT" in a bid to appease the right-wing religious conservatives living in the area and the country's governing right-wing Law and Justice party and the Roman Catholic Church, which still bears a huge hold over Poland. However, in the two years that have followed, Krasnik has lost millions of pounds in foreign funding. Last month, the European Parliament passed a resolution declaring every country in the European Union—including Poland—as an LGBT Freedom Zone, in response.

The family and lawyers of a gay man in a Turkish prison have called for the public's help in repatriating him to France following horrific, torturous abuses from fellow inmates (including an attack with boiling water that left him with second-degree burns over much of his body), out.com noted. According to a report from France 24, Fabien Azoulay, 43, a French national of Jewish descent, was sentenced to 20 years in prison after he bought a narcotic product online—not knowing it had been banned in Turkey only months before. Azoulay's family and lawyers have launched a petition calling for the public's help; visit https://www.change.org/p/emmanuel-macron-extradez-fabien-azoulay-fran%C3%A7ais-en-prison-turque-harcel%C3%A9-et-tortur%C3%A9-car-juif-et-gay?recruiter=false&recruited_by_id=16b020f0-9a1e-11eb-8bd4-6bbe167cac3e.

In Canada, nearly five decades after they tied the knot, a gay Winnipeg couple is still fighting to have their marriage registered by the Manitoba government, CBC.ca reported. "We're dealing with irrational prejudice here," said Chris Vogel, who married Richard North in 1974. The two became the first gay couple to get married in a Canadian church, and had the only same-sex marriage before 2004, according to court documents. That year, Manitoba became the fourth province to legalize same-sex marriage. That year, a judge called their marriage a "nullity," and in 2018, a human rights adjudicator ruled he was bound by the 1974 ruling, which found there was nothing to be registered because there had been no marriage.

In Cameroon, security forces have arrested, beaten or threatened at least 24 people—including a 17-year-old boy—for alleged consensual same-sex conduct or gender nonconformity, since February 2021, Human Rights Watch reported. At least one of them was forced to undergo an HIV test and anal examination. Sexual relations between people of the same sex are criminalized in Cameroon, and people are punished with up to five years in prison.

Queer British filmmaker Francis Lee—also the writer/director of God's Own Country and Ammonite—is branching into a new genre: horror, out.com noted. Lee told Esquire that Josh O'Connor, who starred in God's Own Country, will once again work with him, starring in the unnamed film. "It's about deep intimate human relationships, again," he told Metro Weekly. " It's a period piece. But it's set in the 20th century. And it is a horror film."

Rachael Blackmore became the first female jockey to win Britain's grueling Grand National horse race—breaking down one of the biggest gender barriers in sports, ABC News reported. Blackmore, a 31-year-old Irishwoman, rode Minella Times to the groundbreaking victory at odds of 11-1 in the 173rd edition of the steeplechase at Aintree in Liverpool, England. Blackmore is the 20th female jockey to compete in a race that has been a mud-splattered British sporting institution since 1839.

The BAFTA film awards, selected by members of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, were presented. Nomadland led films with four wins, including best film, leading actress (Frances McDormand) and best director (Chloe Zhao). Some of the other winners included the movie Promising Young Woman, actor Anthony Hopkins (leading actor, for The Father), Yuh-Jung Youn (supporting actress, for Minari) and Daniel Kaluuya (supporting actor, for Judas and the Black Messiah).

The BBC's diversity chief Miranda Wayland said Luther—the broadcaster's hit crime series starring Idris Elba—isn't "authentic" when it comes to storytelling surrounding its Black lead, ET Canada noted. Elba's DCI John Luther "doesn't have any Black friends, he doesn't eat any Caribbean food, this doesn't feel authentic," she said. However, many on social media criticized Wayland's stance, with one user posting, "So Luther wasn't diverse because he wasn't a stereotype?"

Fans of the Korean pop group BTS lashed out at the Chilean sketch comedy program Mi Barrio after a skit aired that lampooned the group and associated them with North Korea's Kim Jong Un, HuffPost reported. A translation posted by BTS Chile—a prominent Twitter account for BTS fans in the country—revealed that as the skit went on, the presenters imitated Korean accents and made a punchline about getting the COVID-19 vaccine. Following the backlash, Mi Barrio issued a short statement via Instagram that said the show would "continue improving, learning, listening" and would "remain firm in our intention: to bring fun to families."

The U.S. skater Nathan Chen won the men's singles title at the recent ISU World Figure Skating Championships that took place in Stockholm, Sweden, OlympicChannel.com . noted. Japan placed second through fourth, with Kagiyama Yuma, Hanyu Yuzuru and Uno Shoma, respectively. The Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic took the top three spots in ladies' singles, with Anna Shcherbakova winning while Elizaveta Tuktamysheva and Alexandra Trusova behind her; the U.S. skater Karen Chen finished fourth. The Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic's Anastasia Mishina and Aleksandr Galliamov won pairs in their debut and that country's Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov won the ice-dance competition.

The only saving grace of a Zoom call gone wrong in Canada was the fortuitous placement of his cellphone after Liberal MP William Amos was caught naked during the event, The Australian noted, citing The Canadian Press. A screenshot showed him standing behind a desk between the Quebec and Canadian flags, his private parts hidden by what appears to be a mobile phone in one hand. Amos—who has represented the Quebec municipality of Pontiac since 2015—said, "My video was accidentally turned on as I was changing into my work clothes after going for a jog. I sincerely apologize to my colleagues in the House of Commons for this unintentional distraction. Obviously, it was an honest mistake and it won't happen again."


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