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WORLD Student freed, Dutch rally, Kenyan bill, Kumbia Queers, 'Thrones' actor
by Andrew Davis
2023-05-05

This article shared 2653 times since Fri May 5, 2023
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After being detained for two weeks over accusations of violating President Vladimir Putin's so-called "LGBT propaganda" law, queer Chinese student/social-media figure Haoyang Xu was freed from Russian prison, GCN reported. According to reports, he endured inhumane conditions while detained and faced deportation from Russia to China; however, he was recently reunited with his boyfriend, Gela Gogishvili. Prior to their arrest, the queer, interracial couple lived in Kazan, Russia, where they regularly posted TikTok videos of themselves, sometimes sharing affection.

In the Netherlands, a rally to protest against anti-LGBTQ+ sentiment and violence in asylum seekers' centers was slated to take place at the International Gay Rights Monument in The Hague, the NL Times noted. Rally organizers pointed out that the Netherlands has fallen in the Rainbow Index, falling from fourth in 2014 to 13th globally in 2022. This index is a tool used to measure the level of legal and social acceptance and protection of LGBT+ people in different countries.

In Kenya, a parliamentary committee is considering the Family Protection Bill, 2023—which would criminalize homosexuality with a life sentence, The Washington Blade reported. The measure, which MP Peter Kaluma has sponsored, proposes changes to Kenya's Penal Code that sentences those involved in consensual same-sex relations with a 14-year prison term. Also, LGBTQ+ refugees and asylum-seekers would be expelled from the country.

Argentinian band Kumbia Queers released "Descalzas en la Pista" (Spanish for "Barefoot on the Dance Floor"), an electronic song featuring Mula, per a press release. After releasing "Delivery de Vino" and "Ghosteo" and their successful performance at the Rock al Parque Festival in Bogota 2022, Kumbia Queers—Ines Laurencena (drums and percussion), Pila Zombie (guitar), Juana Chang (voice), Pat Pietrafesa (bass) and Flor Linyera (keyboard)—have toured several cities, including Montevideo, Cordoba Capital and Buenos Aires City, where they recently performed at Konex and the Cinecannabico International Festival. The band specializes in songs set to the rhythm of cumbia, complete with lyrics full of queer elements.

Actor Kristian Nairn (Game of Thrones' Hodor) publicly spoke for the first time about witnessing the fatal shooting of a policeman in a gay nightclub, the BBC noted. Darren Bradshaw, 24, was gunned down in Belfast's Parliament bar—the city's only LGBTQ+ venue at the time—in May 1997. (Nairn was 21 at the time.) Hairn told the BBC's Blood on the Dance Floor podcast, "I made eye contact with [the shooter]; I think we all made eye contact with him as he was coming out. It happened so fast. It was just like stunned silence, just like a bomb had gone off." The Irish National Liberation Army claimed responsibility but no one was ever convicted.

The film Badhaai Do (meaning "Give Congratulations") won big at the Bollywood Filmfare awards, India's equivalent of the Oscars. The movie—whose plot involves a sham marriage between a gay cop and a lesbian teacher—stars Bhumi Pednekar and Rajkummar Rao. Badhaai Do won for Best Film (critics' choice), Best Actor (Rao), Best Actress-Critics' Choice (Pednekar), Best Supporting Female actor (Sheeba Chaddha), Best Screenplay and Best Story, The Hindustan Times noted.

Prospects that legislation addressing LGBTQ+ issues will be introduced before the Group of Seven (G-7) summit is held in Japan later this month have dimmed due to division within the nation's ruling party, according to Kyodo News. After a former aide made discriminatory remarks against sexual minorities earlier this year (with him being fired), Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has been under mounting pressure to pass a law to protect Japan's LGBTQ+ community, with the country lagging behind other G-7 members on the issue.

Paraguay residents elected a president from the right-wing party that has been in power for nearly eight decades, RTHK.hk reported. Economist and former finance minister Santiago Pena, 44, won the election with more than 42 percent of the vote. Pena is socially conservative, with strong stances against abortion and same-sex marriage in an overwhelmingly Catholic nation. According to The Washington Blade, openly gay U.S. Ambassador to Paraguay Marc Ostfield congratulated Pena on Twitter, added, "We will continue to work together to strengthen our excellent bilateral relations and promoting transparency and an inclusive democracy."

In Denmark, the townsfolk of Solvang have been waging an ugly battle over just how visible its LGBTQ+ community should be, per the Los Angeles Times. The City Council rejected a proposal to hang pride-themed banners downtown—and both critics and supporters now say they've received death threats. And Councilman Robert Clarke has called his critics "Chardonnay Antifa" on social media, writing that "for every butt hurt person" who spoke out at a City Council meeting, he would donate $10 to Gays Against Groomers, a far-right group that protests drag-queen story events. The full story is at https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2023-05-01/copenhagen-danish-mayor-solvang-california-homophobic?sfmc_id=1818415.

The BBC reported that the contest known as Eurovision 2023 is inspiring Ukraine's LGBTQ+ troops. "We are looking forward to seeing Ukraine perform in Eurovision this year," said Oleksandr, who is fighting alongside Antonina, his non-binary partner of nine years. "We've had very difficult times. And Eurovision is like a breath of fresh air… because when you see people doing what they like, and enjoying what they're doing and that life is still going on." As the Eurovision 2022 winner, Ukraine is guaranteed a place in the Eurovision final on May 13.

In Hungary, LGBTQ+ Catholics expressed hope before a visit by Pope Francis that he would bring a message of acceptance to a nation where anti-LGBTQ+ policies are intensifying, often with Catholic support, according to a New Ways Ministry item. In recent years, Prime Minister Viktor Orban has pursued laws targeting the rights of LGBTQ+ people and their families, as well as women and migrants, frequently citing the nation's Catholic history as his reasoning.

And ahead of King Charles' coronation in the UK, experts said that many residents would rather part from the monarchy than pledge loyalty to it—especially in light of its ties to colonialism and anti-LGBTQ+ laws around the world, according to PinkNews. Human Dignity Trust Head of Strategic Communications Emma Eastwood said that "many [anti-LGBTQ+] laws remain virtually unchanged since they were first introduced in the 19th century. The British Empire first tested modern forms of criminalization in its colonies, in India and Australia for example, before introducing them in the UK itself." The article added that, now, many independent countries have begun working to overturn anti-LGBTQ+ laws, but it can be difficult to undo generations of attitudes.

A new study from Australia claims that gonorrhea may spread from one throat to another through tongue kissing, according to Metro Weekly. It recommends that public-health authorities update their guidance on the disease. Chlamydia and gonorrhea are infections passed on through unprotected vaginal, anal or oral sex.

After allegedly being subjected to homophobic abuse at an Association of Secondary Teachers in Ireland (ASTI) delegate conference in 2022, gay teacher James Turbitt received a standing ovation for discussing his experience at the same event a year later, per GCN. Turbitt addressed colleagues at the convention in Wexford on April 13, urging people in education to watch how they speak about marginalized communities. When attending last year's ASTI conference in Cork, Turbitt said he was in an elevator with a group of three young men who allegedly called him slurs such as "queer," "f*ggot" and "poof."

WorldCrunch recently published a roundup of transgender women who have become part of some of the world's beauty pageants. For example, in 2018, Angela Maria Ponce became the first openly transgender woman to win Miss Universe Spain and the first transgender contestant of Miss Universe; in 2020, Angel Lama was the first trans woman to be a finalist in the Miss Universe Nepal; and, in 2023, Daniela Arroyo Gonzalez became the first openly transgender woman to compete in Miss Puerto Rico to represent her country in the Miss Universe contest. The article is at https://worldcrunch.com/lgbtq-plus/transgender-women-in-beauty-pageants.

U.S. athlete Kayla White upset fellow countrywoman (and LGBTQ+ runner) Sha'Carri Richardson in the 200-meter finals at the Botswana Golden Grand Prix with a title of 22.38 seconds, according to Watch Athletics. (Richardson was second with a time of 22.54 seconds while Egyptian Basant Hemida ran the distance in 22.75 seconds for third place.) However, Richardson dominated the 100-meter sprint at the 2023 Miramar Invitational just a few weeks ago, finishing the race in 10.57 seconds (which registers at a legal-wind time of 10.77 seconds); the late Florence Griffith-Joyner still holds the record with a 10.49 that she ran in 1988.

Irish singer/songwriter Ezra Williams fka Smoothboi Ezra (they/them)—a non-binary musician on the autism spectrum—shared their single "Until I'm Home"—the latest single off of their upcoming debut album, Supernumeraries, out June 16, per a press release. Of "Until I'm Home," Williams said, "I wrote this song on the train home from hanging out with my girlfriend at the time. I overthink everything and cannot be left alone with my own thoughts for a second or I'll feel like the world is collapsing in on me."

An extremist European anti-LGBTQI+ group is now expanding into Australia—and it's looking for a campaign director, per The Daily Mail. CitizenGO, founded in Madrid in 2013, describes itself as a "community of active citizens who work together to defend and promote life, family, and liberty." Among other things, the organization is against Disney holding a Pride concert; that event will feature the San Francisco Gay Men's Choir performing some of its classic songs.

Oscar winner Damien Chazelle (the director of La La Land) will be the international jury president for the main competition of the 80th Venice International Film Festival, taking place Aug. 30-Sept. 9, Deadline noted. Chazelle has opened Venice twice—with 2016's La La Land and 2018's First Man. French filmmaker Alice Diop will be the president of the "Luigi De Laurentiis" Venice Award for Debut Features, while Italian director Jonas Carpignano will lead the Orizzonti jury.

The full jury at The Cannes Film Festival has been revealed. According to Variety, the jury members are actors Paul Dano and Brie Larson, Moroccan director Maryam Touzani, French actor Denis Menochet, British-Zambian screenwriter and director Rungano Nyoni, Afghan author Atiq Rahimi, Argentinian director/screenwriter Damian Szifron and director Julia Ducournau, who won the Palme d'Or in 2021 for her film Titane. The jury will award the Palme d'Or to one of the 21 films playing in competition; honors will be revealed on May 27 at the festival's closing ceremony.

And Michael Douglas will receive the Honorary Palme d'Or at this year's Cannes Film Festival, per Variety. Cannes revealed that the Basic Instinct star will return to the Croisette this month for the festival, and will be honored as part of the May 16 opening ceremony. Douglas was most recently in Cannes for Steven Soderbergh's Behind the Candelabra, which is about the life of Liberace.


This article shared 2653 times since Fri May 5, 2023
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