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WORLD Singapore ruling, journalist killed, Ukraine items, 'Flee'
by Windy City Times staff
2022-03-06

This article shared 1021 times since Sun Mar 6, 2022
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Singapore's highest court dismissed a challenge by three LGBTQ+-rights activists against a law criminalizing sex between men—ruling that since authorities did not enforce the law, it did not breach plaintiffs' constitutional rights, Reuters reported. The Court of Appeal's ruling follows emboldened efforts to get rid of the colonial-era law by activists after India scrapped similar legislation four years ago. Previous challenges in the socially conservative city-state in 2020 and 2014 also failed. In a statement, law firm Eugene Thuraisingam LLP, which represented one of the activists, said the ruling "may be seen as a small step in the right direction" after the court noted the law was legally unenforceable.

In Azerbaijan, Avaz Shikhmammadov-Hafizli—a 24-year-old journalist and LGBTQ+-rights activist—was found stabbed to death near the capital, Baku, The Washington Blade reported. In a joint statement released by the Ministry of Internal Affairs in conjunction with the attorney general's office, Amrulla Gulaliyev, Shikhmammadov-Hafizli's cousin, was arrested for his killing. Some LGBTQ+ Azerbaijani sources are disputing the official narrative, saying Gulaliyev murdered his cousin as a so-called family honor killing.

Russian soldiers hiding out in a basement were discovered by a group of Ukrainian LGBTQ people who use the space as a community room—and they beat the Russians and took them prisoner, according to a Dallas Voice item that cited the newspaper Israel HaYom. "This is our war, the Ukrainians, but we have also been fighting as LGBTQ people, and I'm sure that the comrades in Kharkiyv understood that," Ukrainian LGBTQ-rights activist Viktor Pilipanko said. "We are confronting a tyrannical, homophobic enemy." Same-sex relationships are legal in Ukraine.

The people behind a gay dating app were blown away by the response of its users to the plight of Ukrainians fleeing their country, Queerty noted. The social-media site/app ROMEO (formerly known as Planet Romeo), which launched about two decades ago, started a group called Shelter for Ukraine to "connect those who can offer shelter and assistance." The group now boasts thousands of members, with hundreds of offers to help. One entry read, "We live in Prague and can offer a place to stay in our small guest room with one bed (140x200 for one person or couple)."

The LGBT animated feature Flee won best feature at the International Documentary Association's annual awards ceremony, Variety noted. Directed by Jonas Poher Rasmussen, Flee is also nominated for best documentary feature at this year's Oscars. Leading the ceremony with the most wins, however, was Summer of Soul, which took home the best director prize for Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson as well as best music documentary and best editing.

Activists warned that "cruel" immigration plans drawn up by the British government would be deeply damaging to LGBT+ Ukrainians seeking asylum, PinkNews noted. The Nationality and Borders Bill has been pitched by home secretary Priti Patel as a way to stiffen Britain's already hardline immigration policy. To activists, the bill that is hurtling toward parliament has raised alarms given that millions of Ukrainians—including LGBTQ+ people—are fleeing amid the Russian invasion that has torn through the eastern European country. The majority of queer Ukrainians have sought asylum in countries like Poland and Hungary, where anti-LGBTQ+ attitudes are on the rise.

In Israel, the prosecution closed a sexual-assault investigation against screenwriter/gay activist Gal Uchovsky, concluding he had not committed any crime, Haaretz reported. Police launched an investigation against Uchovsky after three people filed complaints. One was not pursued because the statute of limitations had expired; in the other two cases, police found no evidence that a crime had been committed. In response to the decision, the Aguda: The Association for LGBTQ Equality in Israel tweeted, "We'll always believe the victims. We'll always believe you."

Meretz has become the first party in Israel to establish a framework in the party's bylaws on preventing sexual harassment, per The Jerusalem Post. The change is the initiative of Meretz minister Tamar Zandberg and the head of the faction, Michal Rozin. It happened three months after allegations against Tel Aviv city councilman Etai Pinkas Arad, of Meretz, by a former partner that forced him to resign from the city council. Pinkas Arad was seen as a role model in the LGBTQ+ community.

The A-League—the top level of professional soccer in Australia—had its first-ever Pride Games on Feb. 26, when the Adelaide United women hosted Melbourne Victory and the men hosted Central Coast Mariners, Outsports noted. The event was part of the league and the club's continued inclusion messaging after the coming-out of Adelaide United player Josh Cavallo, who was the league's first active male athlete to come out publicly late last year. In contrast, by 2018, three-quarters of MLS teams (in the United States) had held Pride Games. According to the Verve Times, the Adelaide men edged the Mariners 2-1; the Adelaide women prevailed 3-0, per SofaScore.

The Czech Republic joined Poland and Sweden in refusing to play Russia in the 2022 World Cup qualifying next month in response to that nation's invasion of Ukraine, USA Today noted. The Czech soccer association's executive committee said it "unanimously approved a decision that the Czech national team will not in any case play Russia." The Czech Republic is a potential opponent of Russia in next month's playoffs. The winner of the Poland-Russia match is due to host Sweden or the Czech Republic on March 29 for a place at the World Cup being played in Qatar on Nov. 21-Dec. 18.

Also, U.S. band Green Day canceled their concert scheduled for May 29 at Spartak Stadium in Moscow over Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Variety noted. The band said, in part, "We are aware that this moment is not about stadium rock shows[;] it's much bigger than that." While dozens of Western acts have shows scheduled in Russia and even Ukraine in the coming months, it seems unlikely that most if any will take place, although Green Day was just the second to cancel.

Giorgio Armani played no music during his Milan fashion show in silence out of respect for the people caught in the Ukrainian conflict, CNN Style noted. Models strutted down the catwalk in an eerie quiet, interrupted by applause from the audience, wearing short jackets in pastel hues and shiny, sequined black and silver dresses. "My decision not to use any music was taken as a sign of respect towards the people involved in the unfolding tragedy in Ukraine," read a post across a black banner on the fashion designer's Twitter account.

Australian-based singer, DJ, artist and queer community member Tanzer released her new disco-tinged single, "Fantasy," alongside the new music video, per a press release. In the music video, directed by Alex Smith, Tanzer urges her toxic lover to abandon all logic and reason for one more sip of poison before their inevitable demise. In addition to releasing "Fantasy," Tanzer announced her upcoming mini-album Disco Automatic, which will arrive April 22.

Out British actor Sir Ian McKellen told the BBC he regrets never coming out as gay to his dad before his death, insisting he would not have had any "moral judgement," per PinkNews. McKellen said of his father, "He'd been to see me at my first show in the West End, I'm always glad of that, and three weeks later in a car crash, he died. The idea that he couldn't have coped with the fact that his son was gay is inconceivable to me, even though I'm not aware that we had any gay friends or that he'd ever thought about it or that it had any impact on his life."

French drag queen performer Nicky Doll—who viewers in the States best remember as a contestant on the 12th season of RuPaul's Drag Race—will host the upcoming international spin-off Drag Race France, per out.com . Doll has already made history as the first US Drag Race alum to solo host an international version of Drag Race. Season 11's Brooke Lynn Hytes hosts Canada's Drag Race, but she split her hosting/presenting duties in both seasons.

Neighbours is to be canceled after 37 years, as producer Fremantle couldn't secure an alternative funder for the show, per Deadline. The Australian soap is having its funding pulled by UK broadcasting partner Channel 5 in August and cannot rely solely on investment from Australia's 10 Peach, which has seen declining ratings in recent years. There were 15 queer characters on the show, according to LezWatch.TV.


This article shared 1021 times since Sun Mar 6, 2022
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