Pope Francis made headlines when he told the Associated Press on Jan. 24 that "being homosexual is not a crime," although he also described being gay as sinful, Gay City News noted. The pontiff called on Catholic bishops to recognize the dignity of all people, even as he conceded that some bishops still support laws criminalizing homosexuality. The comments drew praise from national and local LGBTQ+ Catholic groups. "Since the Vatican led the opposition to a 2010 United Nations proposal to decriminalize homosexuality DignityUSA has repeatedly challenged our church leaders to reverse this stance," said DignityUSA Executive Director Marianne Duddy-Burke.
In a first for Mexico, the country recognized the non-binary identity of a minor on their birth certificate, per a Worldcrunch item. The decision benefited Emiliano Citlalli, 17, thanks to strategic litigation, as the Tabasco state (like most other Mexican states) doesn't have a trans identity law. Citlalli explained the significance of the move to Presentes: "Today, in my certificate, my gender identity is reflected with an X. It's relevant because I am going to access rights such as health, education, or work, with my identity being recognized."
Openly gay Australian rugby player/bobsledder Simon Dunn suddenly died at 35, Out noted. The athlete's body was found in his home on Jan. 21. Although the cause of Dunn's death hasn't been revealed, law enforcement noted that it is "not being treated as suspicious." In rugby, Dunn played for teams like the Sydney Convicts Rugby Club and the Kings Cross Steelers. He subsequently started a career in bobsleighing and even represented Australia as part of the national team at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. Last October, Dunn revealed on Instagram that he and his partner had split after five years together, according to Queerty.
In a sudden policy reversal, Taiwan decided to allow same-sex couples with one Taiwanese and one foreign national to register their marriages even if the foreign partner is from a jurisdiction where same-sex marriages are illegal, Focus Taiwan reported. The Ministry of the Interior (said the previous rule was discriminatory against cross-national gay couples and contradicted the law that guarantees same-sex marriage in Taiwan. Taiwan became the first country in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage, doing so in 2019.
Hate-crime incidents against LGBTQ+ people in Scotland have soared by 75 percent in just eight years, PinkNews reported. The new data was released by the Scottish Government's Justice Analytical Services on Jan. 24 and presents "the findings of a study into the nature of police recorded hate aggravated crimes in Scotland" as well as data for each year dating back to 2014. The report is at www.gov .scot/publications/justice-analytical-services-jas-safer-communities-justice-statistics-monthly-data-report-january-2023-edition/pages/5/ .
BBC published an article on the new Russian law that bans "propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations." The fear generated by the legislation is already leading to censorship, as online cinemas have deleted LGBTQ+-themed films and TV series and removed gay scenes from shows such as The White Lotus. LGBTQ+-rights activist Piotr Voskresenskywhose short-lived LGBTQ museum was recently shut downsaid the link to the war in Ukraine is "obvious," adding the law is an attempt by the Kremlin to divert the public's attention away from setbacks on the battlefield.
In Guatemala, a man was sentenced to 21 years in prison for the transfemicide of Nancy Sacul Tut, Presentes reported. The sentence was handed down by the Unipersonal Tenth Court, which established a sentence of 15 years and added six for "contempt for the offended party." Tut was 24 years old and a Q'eqchi trans woman originally from Chisec, Alta Verapaz.
The LGBTQ Victory Institute condemned the threat that Brazilian LGBTQ+ lawmakers received during a conference in which it participated in the country's capital, The Washington Blade noted. A press release noted that Sao Paulo Legislative Assemblywoman-elect Thainara Fariaa Black bisexual woman who is a member of President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva's Workers' Party"received a threatening, racist and LGBT-phobic email that indicated that [the] physical integrity of the representatives-elect at our event was at risk." Faria, along with transgender Congresswomen Erika Hilton and Duda Salabert and 11 of the other elected officials, attended the first-of-its-kind conference in Brasília.
Europe's highest rights court sided with a deceased Lithuanian children's book author in a dispute stemming from the government's view that gay fairy tales harm children, Courthouse News Service noted. The European Court of Human Rights ruled that Lithuania's decision to restrict the publication of a fairy tale collection by author Neringa Macate was discriminatory as it showed the preference of authorities for opposite-sex marriage over same-sex unions. The Strasbourg-based court also found the government violated her freedom of expression.
Lesbian couple Rachel Davey and Martina Sebova have now visited every country in the world, according to a CNN profile. The couple met during a 49-day overland tour of Europe in 2008; some time later, they were having coffee together in Melbourne, Australia, when they first discussed the idea of visiting the approximately 90 remaining countries on their lists. They quickly decided to spend the next two years doing that together. Before setting off in 2018, Davey and Sebova decided that they would not reveal that they were a couple and simply travel as friends, not wanting to risk conservative countries denying them entryalthough the COVID pandemic delayed the completion of their journey for a while.
In Israel, a trans boy was forcibly removed from a school following months of anti-trans pressure by parents, PinkNews noted. The parents of the child told Israel's public broadcaster they planned to appeal the decision and that it was a punishment for "who he is." Controversy arose last September after the trans boy was forcibly outed to the community without his consent.
London's "Black Boy Lane," in Tottenham, will be renamed after a renowned Black publisher following concerns about its racial connotations, The Independent noted. The street will now be called La Rose Lane after John La Rose. There was a planned name change following the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May 2020 and subsequent Black Lives Matter protests. It is understood that Black Boy Lane was named after a pub in the late 17th century.
Famed children's entertainers The Wiggles sent parents into a frenzy when they posted a photo with out rapper Lil Nas X to their Instagram account and wrote, "New collab in the wind?," according to LGBTQ Nation. Both Nas and the Wiggles had performed at the same festival in Australia. Many parents were supposedly outraged and could not believe The Wiggles would even associate with Nas, who sparked a flurry of conservative backlash with his song and video for "Montero (Call Me By Your Name)," in which he gives a lap dance to the devil.
Sean Penn, Jesse Eisenberg, Canadian actor/director Matt Johnson, South Korean auteur Hong Sang Soo and Korean-Canadian director Celine Song are headed to the upcoming Berlin Film Festival, Variety reported. Berlinale artistic director Carlo Chatrian and executive director Mariette Rissenbeck unveiled the main Competition and Encounters selections for the fest's 73rd edition. Out actress Kristen Stewart will preside over the jury and Steven Spielberg will receive an honorary Golden Bear for lifetime achievement.
Beyonce faced backlash for her concert in Dubai, United Arab Emiratesher first live performance in years, AllHipHop noted. Some members of the LGBTQ+ community and their allies took issue with Beyoncé performing in a nation with anti-same-sex laws. However, according to TMZ, Mathew Knowles (Beyonce's father and ex-manager) believes his daughter united a diverse crowd and brought people closer together; LGBTQ+ media personality TS Madison agreed during an appearance on TMZ and on social media (mentioning that Beyonce has performed in U.S. states with anti-LGBTQ+ laws in place). As for show details, fireworks exploded above the venue at the no-phones show as the artist opened the show singing Etta James' "At Last," Variety noted. (She portrayed James in the film Cadillac Records.) Among other songs she sang were "Freedom," "Beautiful Liar" (originally released with Shakira) and "Naughty Girl." Chloe and Halle Bailey, Nia Long, Kendall Jenner and Rebel Wilson were among the guests.
Dave Grahamwho came out live on air in 2006 during the Australian version of Big Brotherhas proposed to his boyfriend; however, he's now lost thousands of social-media followers as a result, Out noted. Graham recently posted photos of his proposal to his partner, Shazli, on Lord Howe Island in New South Wales. "It's a funny thing," Graham captioned in another post with his man. "I lost a few thousand people from this app when I announced my engagement… so here is another photo of me in pure bliss with the fella. I wonder is it cause I'm no longer single or is it cause peeps be realizing I'm a gay…"
Dyllon Burnsidewho's been in the Ryan Murphy shows Pose, American Horror Story and Dahmer-Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Storywill make his London stage debut in Black Superhero, the debut play from British actor/activist/playwright Danny Lee Wynter, Deadline noted. Burnside will play Kinga Black, queer movie star "with the world at his feet"Wynter told Deadline. The production will run at the Royal Court Jerwood Theatre Downstairs on March 14-April 29.