The Toronto Catholic District School Board plans to celebrate Pride Month every June, starting this year, CBC.ca reported. The board's trustees voted in favor of flying rainbow flags outside its office and all of its schools after hearing from former Ontario premier Kathleen Wynne. A member of the LGBTQ and Christian communities, Wynne encouraged trustees to join Thunder Bay and Waterloo's Catholic boards in sending a "clear signal" of inclusiveness by formally proclaiming Pride Month.
A 20-year-old gay man was reportedly murdered by members of his own family in a so-called "honor killing" in Iran, according to Queerty. Alireza Fazeli-Monfared had plans to flee the country to Turkey to meet his refugee boyfriend when he was beheaded by his own half-brother and cousins. Fazeli-Monfared had just received an exemption from serving in the military because of "sexual depravities." The document outed him; Fazeli-Monfared's family discovered the exemption papers, learning of his sexual orientation. Under Islamic law in Iran, same-sex relations are illegal and can carry punishment of jail, lashing and in some cases, execution.
In Cameroon, a court sentenced two transgender women to five years in prison and fines of 200,000 CFA (USD $370) under a law that forbids same-sex relations, Human Rights Watch stated. The organization added that, in the last year, Cameroonian security forces have increasingly targeted people for arbitrary arrest based on their real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. Between February and April 2021, security forces arrested at least 27 people, including a 17-year-old boy, for alleged consensual same-sex conduct or gender nonconformity. Individuals have reportedly been beaten, with some allegedly subjected to forced anal examinations.
Elton John and Years & Years (the solo project of British singer Olly Alexander) duetted on the Pet Shop Boys classic "It's a sin" at the recent BRIT Awards, a press release noted. The collaboration and performance was inspired by the Russell T Davies TV series It's A Sin, which co-starred Alexander. To run alongside the performance, John and Years & Years also announced the release of a brand new recorded version of "It's a Sin," and proceeds will benefit the Elton John AIDS Foundation. The single can be purchased at eltonjohnyearsandyears.lnk.to/ItsasinPR.
Prime minister Boris Johnson has appointed a new "special envoy" on LGBT+ rights who will chair the United Kingdom's first global LGBT+ conference in 2022, PinkNews reported. Lord Herbert of South Downs, the Conservative MP for Arundel and South Downs from 2005 to 2019, has been named to "lead efforts to champion LGBT equality at home and abroad," the government announced. Herbert was the first out gay man to be elected for the party and has previously served as chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on LGBT+ rights.
In Germany, many Roman Catholic priests recently said they would conduct blessing services for same-sex couples in the next few days, defying Pope Francis's directive against such actions, The Advocate reported. "In view of the refusal of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to bless homosexual partnerships, we raise our voices and say: We will continue to accompany people who enter into a binding partnership in the future and bless their relationship," read a statement from the German Catholic group Love Wins. The group posted churches that offered these blessings, at https://www.liebegewinnt.de/gottesdienste/.
A small city in Wales elected a non-binary, genderqueer local university graduate as mayor, out.com noted. Owen Hurcum, 23, was first elected to be mayor of Bangor in Gwynedd, North Wales, last year when they were 22, making them the youngest as well as the first transgender non-binary mayor in the country's history. Due to social-distancing restrictions, Hurcum was only recently officially sworn into office. Tony Briffa was the first non-binary mayor; Briffa served as mayor of Hobsons Bay, Victoria, Australia between 2010 and 2012. Briffa is both intersex and non-binary.
In Hong Kong, two people in connection with an online gay sex video were arrested after the nine-year-old footage went viral late last month, The Standard reported. The suspectsa 40-year-old jobless man, Ng, and a 45-year-old insurance agent, Chowwere arrested in a Yuen Long apartment. The two were held for the unauthorized use of police uniforms, distributing obscene articles, possessing false instruments, handling stolen goods and possessing offensive weapons. Cyber security and technology crime bureau senior inspector Lau Chun-yu said none of the men in the video were police officers, adding that the video was made to satisfy the suspects' fetish.
An "ex-gay" former adult film star will not be serving in the Scottish parliament after failing to secure enough votes in a recent election, Queerty noted. The would-be German-born politician, Philipp Tanzer, was previously known as Logan McCree. Tanzer, who stopped identifying as gay when he was 32, is aligned with the far-right "men's rights" movement and ran for the Scottish Family Party (SFP), which adamantly stands against LGBTQ inclusivity in education.
Lobbying by Poland and Hungary led to the removal of the phrase "gender equality" from a declaration on advancing social cohesion in the European Union as it strives to rebuild from the COVID-19 pandemic, Reuters reported. Poland's nationalist ruling Law and Justice party (PiS) and eurosceptic ally Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban promote what they call traditional social values at home and have repeatedly clashed with their more liberal Western peers over the rights of women, LGBTQ people and migrants.
Japan announced that it would expand and extend a state of emergency in Tokyo through May 31 due to the ongoing COVID pandemica decision that comes a little less than three months from when the Olympic Games are scheduled to begin, CBS Sports reported. The country is coming off of "Golden Week," a string of Japanese holidays in late April and early May during which Tokyo alone logged 907 new cases of coronavirus infections. (By comparison, the city reported 635 new infections in all last month, right when another state of emergency began.) The Olympics are set to start July 23.
The Radio Times reported that scenes gay actor John Barrowman recently filmed for Doctor Who: Time Fracturean in-person "immersive experience" exhibition currently set to begin in the UK later this month, following the country lifting COVID-19 lockdown restrictionswill no longer be included in the final experience, according to Gizmodo. Barrowman recently apologized for repeatedly (and jokingly, he added) exposing his genitals on the set of Doctor Who, for which the actor was eventually reprimanded on set in 2008.
Australian musician, poet and competitive swimmer Cody Simpson is fronting Versace's new advertising campaign, promoting Versace's new men's frames featuring the Medusa emblem front and center, WWD.com noted. Embodying the brand's signature spirit, the pictures show Simpson posing in a bathtub while wearing some of the eyewear collection's key styles, including a new interpretation of the classic pilot shape, and an openwork frame with a futuristic appeal.
Figure skater Adam Rippon is teaming with Twitter and NBC Olympics to host a live daily show on the social-media platform covering this summer's games in Tokyo, out.com noted. The new daily interactive program, entitled Talking Tokyo, will be broadcast live on Twitter. Rippon won a bronze medal at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
The Tony Award-winning Dear Evan Hansen will return to Broadway's Music Box Theatre on Dec. 11, and a North American tour as well as an opening at London's Noel Coward Theatre in London will resume performances this fall, Deadline reported. The London staging returns Oct. 26, and the tour relaunches Dec. 7 in Greensboro, North Carolina before visiting more than 30 cities across the United States and Canada.
Alligator Records singer vocalist Shemekia Copeland received the UK Blues Award for International Blues Artist of the Year, a press release noted. The award was presented in a virtual ceremony hosted by BBC radio personality, actor and musician Paul Jones. The UK Blues Awards were created by the UK Blues Federation to give the blues community in the UK the opportunity to recognize and applaud those actively involved with the music.