Pride in London announced that its five most senior members, including its co-chairs, will step down following damning accounts of racism and bullying, PinkNews reported. The non-profit has been deluged by demands for new leadership after its formerly most senior Black staffer, director of communications Rhammel Afflick, quit and alleged a culture of racism in the group's leadership. Co-chairs Alison Camps and Michael Salter-Church, a former adviser to the Conservative Party who founded the group in 2012, announced they had resigned "with immediate effect." Christopher Joell-Deshields, director of community engagement, will take over as interim co-chair, a statement confirmed. Pride is slated for Sept. 11.
In Australia, two LGBTQ+ clubs in Perth have issued apologies for hosting racist drag shows and queens in blackface on their stages, PinkNews reported. Earlier this month, Aboriginal drag queen Felicia Foxx shared photos of Australian drag queens (such as RuPaul's Drag Race Down Under contestant Scarlet Adams) giving racist performances, making racist comments and wearing blackface. Perth gay bar The Court Hotel on Beaufort Street hosted a racist performance by Adams, and apologized on Facebook; Connections Nightclub, which also hosted a racist show by Adams, apologized for "the use of blackface and the mockery of the Aboriginal community" in drag shows.
Jang Yeong-jin's remarkable story as North Korea's only openly gay defector (to South Korea) was unveiled when he accomplished the feat in 1997and now he plans to marry his U.S. boyfriend, the BBC reported. Jang was initially married to a woman while in North Korea but on his wedding night, "I couldn't lay a finger on my wife," he said, adding that he "went to so many hospitals in North Korea because we thought that I had some sort of physical problem." Last year, at age 62, Jang met Korean-American restaurant owner Min-su on a dating site; they will marry once Jang finalizes divorce documents regarding his first marriage.
The Bank of England unveiled the design of a new banknote celebrating mathematician Alan Turing (1912-54), who helped Britain win World War Two with his code-breaking skills but is believed to have killed himself after being convicted for having sex with a male partner, Reuters reported. The new 50-pound note features an image of Turing, mathematical formulas from a 1936 paper he wrote that laid the groundwork for modern computer science and technical drawings for the machines used to decipher the Enigma code. The codebreaking story was recounted in the 2014 film The Imitation Game, in which actor Benedict Cumberbatch portrayed Turing.
Turkey's decision to withdraw from the Istanbul Convention on the prevention of violence against women sparked shock and backlash, MiddleEastEye.net noted. Conservatives in the country had long argued that the Istanbul Convention, to which Turkey was the first signatory in 2011, undermined the nuclear family and was too supportive of LGBTQ+ rights. In a statement about the withdrawal, the government said the convention had been "hijacked by a group of people attempting to normalize homosexuality," which it claimed was incompatible with Turkey's "social and family values."
In Canada, the openly gay mayor of Ottawa recently awoke to find a homophobic slur plastered on the street outside his home, out.com noted. Mayor Jim Watson told Newstalk 580 CFRA he initially didn't notice the graffiti; however, a neighbor reported the crime to police, who quickly announced they are investigating the incident as both an act of vandalism and a hate crime. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted he was "appalled" with the perpetrators, and expressed his support of Watson.
Two men and a 15-year-old boy were found guilty for the "feral attack" and violent killing of a gay man in England last year, out.com noted. The Sheffield Crown Court convicted Shae Nicholson, 20, of murder, and Martell Fabian Brown, 24, and the unidentified minor of manslaughter following a four-week trial. (A fourth man, Kian Gerrard, was found not guilty.) The men set an ambush and then violently attacked Jerry Appicella, 51, as he walked home from a local market last Dec. 3. Police said CCTV footage was instrumental in both the capture and conviction of the killers.
Relatives of two gay brothers who fled homophobic persecution in Chechnyabut were later capturedwere detained and interrogated by authorities, The New York Daily News noted. Last month, 20-year-old Salekh Magamadov and 18-year-old Ismail Isteyev, were forcibly returned to Chechnya on suspicion of involvement with an illegal armed group. According to a statement released by the Russian LGBT News Network, police haven't been able to provide any "objective evidence of the guilt of Ismail Isaev and Salekh Magamadov."
In Italy, authorities arrested a man they believe attacked a gay couple for kissing at a Rome metro station last month, according to out.com . According to a report in GayNews, Christopher Jean Pierre Moreno, a Venezuelan refugee and LGBTQ+ activist with Gaynet Roma, had just shared a kiss with his boyfriend Feb. 26 when the unidentified man leaped across multiple train tracks at the Valle Aurelia metro station to assault them.
In Mexico, Juan Pablo Delgado is the first openly gay candidate to seek to govern the conservative city of Leon, Guanajuato, La Verdad reported. Leon has more than 1.7 million inhabitants and is located in the conservative state of Guanajuato, in the center of the republic, where 83% of the population are Catholic. Delgado is is a lawyer and professor in public policy from Georgetown University and co-founder of Amicus, a civil organization created in 2015 to defend the rights of LGBTQ+ people.
After three days, a YouTube personality and LGBTQ-rights activist in Nigeriaone of the world's most anti-LGBTQ countriesended a hunger strike he started and swore to keep until the country's ban on same-sex marriage is repealed, according to LGBTQ Nation. "I've decided to suspend my hunger strike and protest at the National Assembly," Victor Emmanuel tweeted. "I am not ending my advocacy for the repeal of the SSMPA, I am simply taking a different approach after being advised by people who have been in the fight longer than I have." The SSMPA is the Same-Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act, which makes same-sex relationships punishable with up to 14 years in prison.
IFC Films will release Moffie, the fourth feature from South African director Oliver Hermanus, on April 9 in select theaters as well as on Digital and VOD platforms, a press release noted. An adaptation of Andre-Carl van der Merwe's memoir, the film (set in 1981) serves as a period piece exposing the psychological violence of institutionalized homophobia.
U.S. actor Billy Yostthe Blue Ranger in the iconic '90s kids' show Power Rangersis back in the news, especially in the United Kingdom, according to PinkNews. Yost, who is openly gay, has spoken publicly in the past about grim situations, such as surviving conversion therapy and dealing with alleged bullying on-set. His statements about conversion therapy cropped up again on social media as part of the ongoing backlash against the UK government's inaction when it comes to banning conversion therapy there. Three members of the government's LGBT+ advisory board quit recently, citing hostilities toward the community.
After doing its first season with three co-hosts, Canada's Drag Race announced that it will only have two leads moving forwardas Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman is leaving, out.com noted. Co-host Brooke Lynn Hytes said, "Unfortunately, our third will not be joining us this season and we are going to miss him so much. Jeffrey is filming his new show. He is busy and he is booked and he is getting paid. Unfortunately, with the scheduling things didn't work out for him to come back this season but he's going to be so missed." Bowyer-Chapman's time on the show was a contentious one, as many fans took issue with his lack of background in drag as well as his judging style.
In other drag-related news, RuPaul's Drag Race U.K. finalist Tayce is a new face of Coca-Cola, according to out.com . Tayce is joining It's a Sin actor Nathanial Hall in a new campaign. Titled "Open That Coca-Cola," the pair are joined in the project by Roman Kemp, Lady Leshurr, Saffron Barker and Rina Lipa.
A Banksy painting honoring Britain's healthcare workers in the pandemic sold for a record 16.8 million pounds ($23.2 million), auction house Christie's said, according to WGN-TV. Proceeds from the sale will be used to fund health organizations and charities across the U.K., it said. The black-and-white work by the mystery street artist, titled "Game Changer," depicts a young boy sitting on the floor playing with a nurse superhero toy, as Batman and Spiderman toy figures lie in a wastepaper basket next to him.
In the United Kingdom, Shakespeare's Globe has announced its season of shows will begin May 19, WhatsOnStage.com noted. The season will open with A Midsummer Night's Dream (until Oct. 30), which was previously seen in 2019. The same ensemble will also present Twelfth Night from July 29 until Oct. 30. Twelfth Night will star Michelle Terry as Viola, with direction by Sean Holmes and assistant direction from Prime Isaac.
Eddie Izzard and Judi Dench starred together in Stephen Frears' Victoria & Abdul in 2017and they are now together in the Andy Goddard-directed Six Minutes To Midnight, which has been released by IFC Films in theaters and on demand, Deadline noted. Written by Izzard, Goddard and Celyn Jones, Six Minutes To Midnight is based on true events from 1939. The film follows teacher Thomas Miller (Izzard) who has taken a last-minute and controversial role teaching English to the daughters of high-ranking Nazis at the Augusta-Victoria College, Bexhill-on-Seaa finishing school on the south coast of England. Dench portrays the headmistress of the school.