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WORLD Trapped in Afghanistan, lesbian pioneer, anti-gay crimes, Valencia's bid
by Windy City Times staff

This article shared 761 times since Sun Aug 22, 2021
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Among the Americans trapped in the suburban areas of Kabul, Afghanistan, under Taliban control was Josie Thomas, 32, a transgender government contractor for the U.S. State Department and former U.S. Air Force Sergeant, The Washington Blade reported. Thomas and several others were trapped at the diplomatic support facility known as Camp Alvarado, located on the outskirts of the capital city's airport. On her Facebook page, she posted a photo of a Camp Alvarado sign on Aug. 17.

Mary Cunningham Simpson—a pioneering lesbian campaigner who fought for the rights of same-sex couples in the United Kingdom—passed away aged 74, PinkNews reported. Simpson was at the forefront of the early LGBT+ rights movement in the 1980s, as she challenged laws that discriminated against same-sex relationships. In 1986, she became the first woman to take a case to the European Convention on Human Rights in an attempt to gain legal protections for cohabiting same-sex couples. Although her case was unsuccessful, it was a basis for future cases that ultimately led to a change in the law, in her home country and in Europe.

A gay couple were left covered in blood and needing stitches following a brutal homophobic hate crime in Birmingham, England, PinkNews reported. Rob and his husband Patrick, both from Oxfordshire, were targeted by a group of four men in an SUV. Slurs quickly descended into violence, and the couple were beaten with glass bottles. Rob, Patrick and a female friend who was also injured during the incident were taken to a nearby hospital where each of them was treated for their injuries. Rob received more than 16 stitches in his head and had six more on his hand.

In another shocking example of violence, out Irish Olympic taekwondo athlete Jack Woolley is recovering after he was violently attacked by a group of men and women in Dublin, The Advocate noted. The injuries left him needing facial reconstructive surgery. Local politician John Lahart called for more police on the streets in the wake of the attack. "This horrific and unprovoked attack on Jack Woolley is both sickening and deeply concerning. It's hard to believe that barely two weeks ago we were all wishing Jack well as he was Ireland's first-ever competitor in Taekwondo at an Olympic Games, and now this terrible attack has happened," Lahart said, reported Ireland's national broadcaster RTE.

In England, Aaron Rhoods was sent to jail for five years following his conviction for a brutal 2018 homophobic assault that left a gay man unconscious in the street, per . Rhoods, 25, was part of a group of men who attacked the unnamed victim in Brighton. Two men were arrested a short time later and were convicted this past June after numerous court hearings; the accomplice, Celso Dias, 22, was sentenced to a supervision order for two years.

The Spanish city of Valencia is a frontrunner to host the 2026 Gay Games, a press release noted. Recently, the destination, including public officials and representatives of the LGTBIQ+ sports community, welcomed Gay Games inspectors and took them on an extensive tour of more than 30 sport facilities and cultural venues that would serve as locations to host the competitions of 36 sport disciplines. The Gay Games will take place May 27-June 7, 2026, and would generate a significant impact for Spain's third largest city with attendance by 12,000 athletes and nearly 100,000 visitors as well as an economic impact of approximately 135 million euros.

World Athletics—the governing body of most track and field athletic events at the Olympics—admitted the controversial policy to ban female athletes from certain sports based on their natural testosterone levels has been, in part, based on a study (published in the British Journals of Sports Medicine) now considered "misleading," LGBTQ Nation reported. Bans levied against Olympic medallists Caster Semenya, Francine Nyonsaba and other female athletes, preventing them from participating in Olympic competitions—including the most recent Olympics in Tokyo—due to fears they had an "unfair" advantage, were based largely on the study's supposed findings.

Israel announced the removal of decades-old restrictions facing gay and bisexual men seeking to donate blood, reported. "The prohibition on gay men donating blood was a relic of a stereotype that belongs in the past," Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz, himself a gay man, said in a statement. Gay men can currently donate blood if a year has passed since their last sexual encounter.

Thousands of people joined an LGBTQ pride march in Bucharest, Romania, for the first time since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, ahead of planned legislation that would chip away at LGBTQ+ rights, Reuters reported. Socially conservative Romania, which decriminalized homosexuality in 2001, still bans same-sex marriage and civil partnerships. An estimated 8,000 people joined the march, dancing and waving rainbow flags. Riot police fined the organizers for exceeding the number of participants allowed at civic protests; the organizers will challenge the fine.

Luis Angel Adan Roble—a gay man who is a former member of Cuba's National Assembly—has been banned from leaving the country, The Washington Blade reported. Adan, on Aug. 14, tweeted a picture of Cuba's interior ministry website that indicates he cannot travel "for reasons of public interest." He speculated they sanctioned him because he refused to "work with" state security officials.

Lutheran bishops from around the world issued a statement condemning the criminal prosecution of Paivi Rasanen, a Christian politician who is facing six years in prison for sharing her anti-LGBTQ beliefs on sexuality and marriage; and Finnish Bishop-elect Juhana Pohjola, who distributed a pamphlet written by Rasanen, The Christian Post reported. Rasanen, a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland, could face up to six years in prison after being charged with three counts of ethnic agitation related to statements she made expressing her beliefs about human sexuality and marriage. The mother of five has maintained that her expressions are "legal and should not be censored."

Francis "Frankie" Mossman—best known for being in the Starz series Spartacus: Blood and Sand and the gay-themed web series The Horizon—has died at age 33, The Advocate reported. Mossman died at his home in Sydney, his family reported on a GoFundMe page, and they're raising money to bring his remains to his native New Zealand. The Horizon was the most popular web series to come out of Australia, and its official Twitter feed describes it as the most-watched queer-themed online series in the world.

In Canada, a Prince Edward Island radio station apologized after one of its on-air personalities made a social-media post that drew criticism from the province's LGBTQ community, reported. Stingray Charlottetown issued a statement on behalf of Ocean 100 morning show co-host Kerri Wynne MacLeod and its Charlottetown stations. General Manager Jennifer Evans said Stingray Charlottetown will be engaging in an all-staff training session to "help advance our understanding and make sure incidents like this never happen again."

New Zealand took drastic action recently by putting the entire nation into a strict lockdown for at least three days after finding a single case of coronavirus infection in the community, NPR noted. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern invoked some of the stirring rhetoric she used early in the pandemic by urging the "team of 5 million"—New Zealand's population—to go hard and early in trying to eliminate the latest outbreak.

World of Wonder announced it is expanding its global slate of shows with the brand new Drag Race Philippines, following its other international editions of RuPaul's Drag Race in Thailand, the United Kingdom, Holland, Chile, Spain and Canada, according to . The announcement of Drag Race Philippines coincides with the news that former RPDR all-star Manila Luzon, who is Filipina-American, also announced that she's launching a drag competition show in the country, Drag Den Philippines. Luzon is launching the show with WeTV, and is holding auditions for contestants 18 and above on Aug. 16-31.

Speaking of Drag Race, the cast of the third season of the UK version of the Emmy-winning reality drag contest was just announced—and it includes the franchise's first cis woman competitor, noted. The show's Instagram account has a video of Victoria Scone with the caption "This is British drag, darling. @victoriascone is gonna 'av' ya for dinner." During the video, she says, in part, "Me being here right now is political—but you can just have fun with it."

Great British Bake Off alum Michael Chakraverty was suspended from Grindr—for impersonating himself, noted. "Your account has been reported as impersonating someone else," a screenshot noted. "To continue using Grindr, please verify your account." Chakraverty only had an exasperated "sigh" to add. In 2018, Watch What Happens Live star Andy Cohen revealed to Ellen that he's been banned multiple times for allegedly impersonating himself.

A quarantine waiver granted to Nicole Kidman by Hong Kong authorities spawned criticism from local residents, Deadline noted. The star traveled to the city for the Amazon series The Expats, which is now shooting there. According to local media reports, Kidman flew into Hong Kong on a private jet from Sydney on August 12 and in the week since has been seen out shopping in the city. Most people entering Hong Kong are subject to a 21-day mandated quarantine in a hotel, regardless of vaccination status.

Classically trained Italian musician Marco Parisi announced that his forthcoming debut solo record, Untitled, will arrive Oct. 29 via Platoon, per a press release. The ambient album will be the first of its kind, recorded solely using a Seaboard instrument. A Seaboard is an innovative type of keyboard-style MIDI controller that allows users to achieve the same level of expression on an electronic instrument as they might on an acoustic instrument.

This article shared 761 times since Sun Aug 22, 2021
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