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WORLD Spain, South Korea festival, Eurovision, marriage items, Sri Lanka
by Andrew Davis
2023-05-19

This article shared 5240 times since Fri May 19, 2023
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Spain became the latest country to join a U.S. initiative that seeks to promote LGBTQI+ rights around the world, The Washington Blade reported. "Promoting and protecting the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBTQI+) persons is an important part of our shared foreign policy objectives," read a statement from the U.S. and Spanish governments that the State Department issued. The statement also noted that Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares "participated in a signing ceremony to mark this commitment."

In South Korea, the Seoul Queer Culture Festival has been bumped from a venue it's used for year—and the space will instead be used for a Christian youth concert connected with anti-LGBTQ+ broadcaster CTS, according to CNN. Organizers for both the festival and the Christian concert applied to use the Seoul Plaza venue from June 30 to July 1; neither organization would budge, so a committee chose the concert, the Seoul Metropolitan Government said in a statement. Festival organizers called the move an act of discrimination. "We are angry at the Seoul Metropolitan Government that is trying to push out sexual minorities and fill the plaza with discrimination and hatred," said a statement from festival co-organizer Rainbow Action Against Sexual-Minority Discrimination of Korea.

Ukraine was unable to host the 67th Eurovision Song Contest due to the war taking place inside the country—and, recently, event owners banned President Volodymyr Zelenskyy from addressing the huge audience at the event, Deadline noted, citing The Times. Zelenskyy had been expected to press for international support for his country in the face of Russia's ongoing invasion; however, the European Broadcasting Union has always insisted that no political statements be made during the performances. The contest was held in Liverpool, England.

On a related note, Sweden won the Eurovision Song Contest 2023. Per Variety and Queerty, bisexual Swedish contestant Loreen came first with her song "Tattoo," beating out 25 other countries to garner 583 points; Finland's Kaarija was runner-up with 526 points and Israel's Noa Kirel had 362 points. Loreen's win means the contest will likely be held in Sweden next year.

Namibia's Supreme Court ruled that the government must recognize the unions of same-sex couples who married in countries where it was legal for them to do so—even though same-sex marriage remains illegal in Namibia itself, Reuters reported. The case stemmed from the residency applications of a German woman who married a Namibian woman in Germany, and of a South African man who married a Namibian man in South Africa (the only country on the continent that allows same-sex marriage).

On May 16, Taiwan's legislature passed a bill that allows same-sex couples to jointly adopt a child neither of them are related to, MSN reported. In 2019, Taiwan became the first jurisdiction in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage; however, it stopped short of granting fully equal rights of adoption to same-sex couples. The Taiwan Alliance to Promote Civil Partnership Rights called the decision a big step toward achieving full marriage equality.

Sri Lanka looks to be making moves toward decriminalizing homosexuality, following a "historic development" by its Supreme Court, according to PinkNews. The Sri Lankan Supreme Court ruled that a private members bill, from MP Premnath C Dolawatte, to legalize homosexuality, was not unconstitutional, Reuters reported. However, the next steps forward are not clear because no government or opposition politicians have said if they will support the bill.

Dutch Ambassador to the U.S. Andre Haspels said the Netherlands remains committed to LGBTQI+ rights in his country and around the world, according to The Washington Blade. Haspels spoke with the Blade a day after the embassy, the Capital Pride Alliance and the Amsterdam Rainbow Dress Foundation showcased the Amsterdam Rainbow Dress at the Lincoln Memorial; the dress sports the flags of the 68 countries in which consensual same-sex consensual relations remain criminalized.

Activist/punk musician Ash Jones said becoming the first openly trans elected representative in Ireland would send a clear message that transgender people aren't "hiding away," according to PinkNews. If successful at the polls on May 18, Jones would be the first out trans elected representative on the island of Ireland, and the area's first Green councillor. On Twitter, Jones stated, "We'll find out on Saturday [May 20] what the future brings."

New research in the UK revealed that most LGBTQ+ journalists feel it is becoming more dangerous to be "out" in the current media landscape, with many facing harassment and abuse for just doing their jobs, PinkNews reported. The study—conducted by the Sir Lenny Henry Centre for Media Diversity at Birmingham City University—involved 40 LGBTQ+ journalists and six one-to-one interviews take place. Seventy-eight percent of respondents either agree or strongly agree that it is becoming more dangerous to be an LGBTQ+ journalist.

Recently, approximately 200 Cubans marched in Havana to the rhythm of conga,, protesting against homophobia and transphobia while celebrating the legalization of same-sex marriage, France24/AFP reported. The march was led by Mariela Castro, daughter of one of Cuba's revolutionary leaders Raul Castro and a supporter of the Family Code, alongside Lis Cuesta, wife of President Miguel Diaz-Canel. The Family Code (passed in September 2022) allows surrogate pregnancies as long as no money changes hands and legally recognizes same-sex adoptions, as well as several fathers or mothers in addition to the biological parents. It also defines marriage as the union between two people, rather than that of a man and a woman.

Flo Health, a women's health app globally with 50 million monthly active users, released the findings of a nationwide survey of women aged 18—55—and highlighting a large degree of misinformation and prominent gaps in the knowledge women have about their own bodies, according to PRNewswire. Among other key findings, the survey revealed that 72% of women never double-check the health information they get on social media, and that 21% strongly agreed or somewhat agreed that masturbation is shameful or wrong.

Also, eight years after the United Kingdom became the first country to regulate the reproductive technique known as mitochondrial replacement (or three-person IVF), news emerged that children have been born using the procedure, according to Nature. The Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority (HFEA), the UK fertility regulator, confirmed that fewer than five UK children had been born using the procedure as of April 2023. Reproductive geneticist Dagan Wells said, "It's exciting news, but at the same time it doesn't tell us anything about whether the method has actually worked."

The first full day of the 2023 Cannes Film Festival was marred by a massive mishap that resulted in some attendees being turned away from a screening of the Pedro Almodovar short film Strange Way of Life—his answer to Brokeback Mountain that stars Ethan Hawke and Pedro Pascal, per The Hollywood Reporter. Such a situation as the overcrowding should not have been possible, given the digital booking system employed by the festival.

Out actor Ben Whishaw was among the victors in BAFTA TV Awards on May 14, The Guardian reported. He won the Leading Actor award for his role in BBC One's This Is Going to Hurt. Some of the other winners included Kate Winslet (Leading Actress, in I Am Ruth), Platinum Jubilee: Party at the Palace (Live Event and P&O Cruises Memorable Moment), Casualty (Soap and Continuing Drama, beating EastEnders and Emmerdale), Bad Sisters (Drama series), the Netflix limited series Dahmer—Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story (International) and Friday Night Live (Comedy Entertainment Program, edging The Graham Norton Show, among others). Comedians Rob Beckett and Romesh Ranganathan hosted the event.

Australian dance-music superstar Kylie (aka Kylie Minogue) will release her newest album, Tension, on Sept. 22, per a press release. Discussing Tension, Kylie said, "I started this album with an open mind and a blank page. Unlike my last two albums there wasn't a 'theme,' it was about finding the heart or the fun or the fantasy of that moment and always trying to service the song. I wanted to celebrate each song's individuality and to dive into that freedom. I would say it's a blend of personal reflection, club abandon and melancholic high."

LGBTQ+ actors Luke Evans and Callum Scott Howells (who will portray Holly Johnson in the forthcoming Frankie Goes to Hollywood biographical film, Relax) are among the stars of upcoming BBC drama The Way, from Michael Sheen, James Graham and Adam Curtis, Deadline noted. Sheen, who is also directing, will also star in The Way, along with Steffan Rhodri and Mali Harries. The Way follows the Driscoll family, who are forced to escape their small hometown when it becomes ground zero of a civil uprising.

The San Sebastian Film Festival, running Sept. 22-30, will honor actor Javier Bardem with its prestigious Donostia Award at its 71st edition, Deadline noted. The actor will receive the career achievement prize on Sept. 22 at the Kursaal Auditorium, thirty years after his first visit to the Spanish festival for the competition screening of Bigas Luna's film Golden Balls in 1993.

French luxury fashion house and cosmetics giant Dior—which stood by Johnny Depp when he had his legal battle with ex-wife Amber Heard—signed him to a massive $20-million deal, marking the biggest men's fragrance pact ever, Variety noted. The agreement eclipses Robert Pattinson's $12-million deal to serve as a spokesperson for Dior Homme and Brad Pitt's $7-million pact to promote Chanel No. 5.

CNN Chief International Anchor Christiane Amanpour spoke out against Donald Trump's recent CNN town hall, during which he described moderator Kaitlan Collins as a "nasty person," per Variety. No matter how much flack the moderator tries to aim at the incoming, it doesn't often work. I would have dropped the mic at 'nasty person,' but then that's me," Amanpour said at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

Rafael Nadal will miss the French Open for the first time since he made his debut in 2005 after the 14-time champion announced that he has withdrawn from the tournament due to a hip injury, adding that "next year is my last year" in professional tennis, per CNN. Nadal also revealed that he will be away from the court for the next "few months" as he continues to recover, meaning the 36-year-old will also likely miss Wimbledon.

The head of the Cannes Film Festival, Thierry Fremaux, asked journalists if they really believed Cannes was celebrating rapists, as recently suggested by Portrait of a Lady on Fire actor Adele Haenel in an open letter that was published in Telerama, according to Variety. Haenel—who quit acting in films after Roman Polanski won best director at the Cesar Awards in 2020—said she retired from the film industry for political reasons, and said Cannes was "ready to do anything to defend their rapist chiefs," citing Polanski, Gerard Depardieu and National Film Board President Dominique Boutonnat. Fremaux also addressed criticism about the inclusion of Maiwenn's opening night film Jeanne du Barry, starring Johnny Depp as French king Louis XV, saying he believed in "the freedom of thinking, and the freedom of speech and acting within a legal framework."

Jane Fonda revealed to Watch What Happens Live host Andy Cohen that the late French film director Rene Clement propositioned her while filming 1964 thriller Joy House, per IndieWire. Host Cohen asked Fonda to name "one man in Hollywood that tried to pick you up once that you turned down," to which Fonda replied, "The French director Rene Clement," adding, "He said it in French and I pretended I didn't understand." (Clement was 51 and Fonda was 27.) Natalie Wood was originally set to star before dropping out; Fonda replaced the Rebel Without a Cause actress.


This article shared 5240 times since Fri May 19, 2023
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