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Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2022-06-08



WORLD Pride disruption, trans journalists, Tunisian play, marriage bills
by Andrew Davis

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Turkish police officers carrying clear-plastic riot shields, wielding batons and deploying pepper powder balls as well as tear gas violently broke up a Pride parade that Middle East Technical University students organized in the capital of Ankara, according to The Washington Blade. The annual LGBTQ Pride event, marking its 10th year, was condemned by the university's officials who had sent an email to all students earlier in the week. The email also noted that the university has a "peaceful, productive and creative academic environment and that its reputation is being threatened by [its] students demonstrating in a nonviolent manner during Pride Month."

Two transgender journalists pulled out of the Guardian's Pride special coverage due to the paper's alleged "ingrained prejudice against trans women, according to LGBTQ Nation. In a letter to the U.K. newspaper's bosses, freelance journalists Freddy McConnell and Vic Parsons said they were declining all future work with The Guardian; they were commissioned to write pieces about their experiences of being transgender for the paper's upcoming Pride special. McConnell and Parsons say they believed a recent opinion piece was "misleading and discriminatory" about cisgender lesbians dating transgender women and said it was "the final straw" for them.

The first queer play to be staged in Tunisia has premiered in the capital, Tunis, Africa News noted. Director Essia Jaibi's latest work, Flagranti, aims to challenge conservative attitudes in a country where same-sex acts are punishable by prison terms. Infused with dark comedy, it tells the stories of people who have suffered violence at home, in the workplace and in public. Tunisia is seen as relatively liberal on social issues compared with other Arab countries, but nevertheless imposes sentences of up to three years in prison for "sodomy" for both men and women.

Lawmakers in Thailand passed, at first reading, four different bills on same-sex unions—moving a step closer to becoming the second territory in Asia to legalize same-sex marriages, Reuters reported. Thailand has one of Asia's most open and visible LGBTQ+ communities, adding to its image of tolerance and attraction as a liberal holiday destination for foreign tourists. However, activists say Thai laws and institutions have yet to reflect changing social attitudes, and they still discriminate against LGBTQ+ people and same-sex couples.

OutRight Action International's Celebration of Courage Awards gala took place at Tribeca Rooftop on June 6, Gay City News noted. It was the first time that the event was held in person since 2019. Some patrons gathered in suits and cocktail dresses, while others wore clothing native to their country in a nod to the organization's LGBTQ+-rights role at the United Nations. Influencer and TV personality Nikkie de Jager—also known as NikkieTutorials, and who came out as transgender in 2020—was the emcee.

A straw trans woman was burned in effigy in Bassersdorf, Switzerland, to celebrate the end of this past April—and that is now getting attention in German-language media, according to LGBTQ Nation. Bassersdorf has a yearly tradition of constructing large dolls, or "Boogg," meant to represent the concept of winter. The dolls in the town usually depict someone negative—and this year's figure was named Diversity Boogg, and it had a rainbow skirt, red tie, a penis and breasts. Mayor Doris Meier said that she was sorry "if people's feelings were hurt" and that "the action triggered different opinions on this sensitive topic."

Amid intense backlash, conservative supporters from across the world backed Senegalese football player Idrissa Gana Gueye following his decision not to participate in a match due to its LGBTQ-colored jersey during a Paris Saint-Germain match, Morocco World News reported. The National Council of Ethics of the French Football Federation (FFF) summoned Gueye while politicians in France asked for a penalty against the Senegalese international for refusing to show solidarity with the LGBTQ community. However, conservative figures such as Senegal President Macky Sall have supported the player.

After an in-person world-premiere screening at Toronto's Inside Out 2SLGBTQIA+ Film Festival, director/producer Ry Levey's look at pro wrestling's history of queer representation, Out in the Ring, was awarded the prize Best Canadian Feature by the jury, per a press release. The film features interviews with historians, wrestling legends, and contemporary performers discussing the various characterizations and performers both straight (Gorgeous George, Adrian Street, Adrian Adonis and Goldust) and gay (Pat Patterson, Sandy Parker, Chris Colt, Jim Barnett, Darren Young, Chyna and Chris Kanyon).

The Sydney Morning Herald removed a column about Australian actress Rebel Wilson's new relationship, LGBTQ Nation noted. Columnist Andrew Hornery has apologized after being accused of forcing Wilson into coming out about her relationship with clothing designer Ramona Agruma, which she recently did. SMH editor Bevan Shields said the paper did not out Wilson, but "simply asked questions and as standard practice included a deadline for a response." Wilson acknowledged the situation in a Twitter reply, stating "Thanks for your comments. It was a very hard situation but trying to handle it with grace," according to Entertainment Weekly.

The largest African fashion event in Europe, Africa Fashion Week London, is taking part in the iconic Grace Jones Meltdown Festival that happens June 10-19, noted. Jones was her usual commanding self during her opening performance, as the 74-year-old wore high heels and an explosively feathery headpiece while twirling a hula hoop and singing, according to MSN. Jones was an hour and a half late taking the stage for her first concert in two and half years, but her audience seemed to cheerfully accept that as par for the course.

Out British singer/songwriter Calum Scott has released his second album, Bridges, per a press release. To celebrate the album's arrival, Scott has shared the slice-of-life video for his recent single "Heaven." He is also embarking on a tour of North America that will start July 30 in Seattle and end Sept. 3 in Montreal, with stops at such cities as Chicago, Dallas, San Diego and Toronto.

In London, the West End's production of Cinderella took its final bow—but there were boos as the production's director, Laurence Connor, read a letter from composer Andrew Lloyd Webber thanking the members of the production before calling the endeavor a "costly mistake," Variety noted. Notably, Webber's name had already been booed earlier in the curtain call, following Connor's announcement that the composer had sent a letter in lieu of his attendance.

In support of Pride Month, L.A.-based Australian LGBTQ+ pop artist RIP YOUTH partnered with Peloton to deliver an exclusive remix of his single, "It's A Vibe," from DJ/producer R3HAB, per a press release. The remix was premiered during Peloton instructor Cody Rigsby and Peloton's DJ John Michael's 'Pride Live DJ Ride' at Peloton New York Studios on June 10.

Fourteen markets in majority-Muslim countries or territories have reportedly banned theatrical showings of Pixar's Lightyear for its depiction of a same-sex relationship, The Hill noted. The United Arab Emirates banned the film, joining Bahrain, Egypt, Indonesia, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Malaysia, Oman, the Palestinian territories, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Syria, according to the Wall Street Journal. The film also appears unlikely to open in China, Reuters reported. In a statement, GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said, "We're happy to see Disney standing firmly behind their LGBTQ storytelling. The countries banning this family-friendly film are a reminder of the nearly 70 countries where LGBTQ people are criminalized, and a wake-up call for global business with stakeholders in these countries that they must take urgent action to stand with LGBTQ people there."

Saudi authorities have been seizing children's rainbow-patterned toys and clothes because they supposedly promote homosexuality, Sky News noted. A report on state TV station Al Ekhbariya shows officials in a shop, telling a reporter the products posed a risk to young people. The reporter tells viewers that the items, such as hairpins, poppets, stylized animal face design bags, unicorn headbands, multicolored nail polish sets and other rainbow-hued gifts, have been "confiscated."

Britain's interior minister approved the extradition of Julian Assange to the United States to face espionage charges—the latest twist in the WikiLeaks founder's long-running legal saga over leaked documents he published, USA Today reported. However, the decision does not completely end Assange's decade-long fight to avoid facing a U.S. trial in a case that could have implications for First Amendment protections. WikiLeaks said Assange will appeal Home Secretary Priti Patel's decision with Britain's High Court.

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