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  WINDY CITY TIMES

WORLD Trevor Project, Ukraine items, LGBTQ politician, Kosovo's anti-gay move
by Andrew Davis
2022-03-20

This article shared 1084 times since Sun Mar 20, 2022
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The Trevor Project—the LGBTQ+ suicide-prevention organization named after "Trevor," an Academy Award-winning short film about a gay teenager who attempts suicide—is expanding its services into Mexico, NBC News reported. The organization estimated that more than 745,000 Mexico-based LGBTQ youths ages 13 to 24 are in crisis each year, although it noted that figure is a rough approximation due to the "severe lack of data." To counter the harrowing numbers, the group said that it will offer its round-the-clock digital services—including text and online chat suicide prevention and crisis services—for LGBTQ youths in Mexico by the end of 2022. The expansion into the U.S.'s southern neighbor is the first time the group will offer its services abroad since its founding in 1998.

A queer law student/activist was killed by Russian bombing in Kharkiv, Ukraine on March 1, PinkNews noted. Elvira Schemur, 21, also known as Elya Schemur, was a civil-society activist who was "one of the first Pride volunteers to join the Kharkiv regional defense" when Russia invaded, according to Ukrainian activist Maksym Eristavi. Schemur was volunteering at a regional administration building in the city when it was struck by a Russian missile.

The special U.S. envoy for the promotion of LGBTQ rights abroad told The Washington Blade she and her office continue to provide support to advocacy groups in Ukraine and in countries that border it. Jessica Stern said she has held "multiple roundtables" with Ukrainian activists and organizations "to make sure that my office and I both have the relationships and then getting information directly from people on the frontlines." She added the State Department has "activated" its grant mechanisms to provide financial support to LGBTQ organizations in Ukraine and in surrounding countries.

The Kremlin nightclub in Belfast, Northern Ireland, doesn't plan on changing its name, per PinkNews. The decades-old bar is one of the country's largest LGBTQ+ nightclubs, promising partygoers a "sexy and Soviet night out." Kremlin's managers aren't rebranding anytime soon for one simple reason—to give aggressively anti-LGBT+ Russia President Vladimir Putin the "middle finger." (Interestingly, the Lisbon, Portugal, nightclub called Kremlin has its logo in the colors of Ukraine.)

The first openly LGBTQ person elected to the Colombian Senate was re-elected, The Washington Blade noted. Angelica Lozano, a bisexual woman who is a member of the Coalicion Alianza Verde y Centro Esperanza (Green Alliance and Center Hope Coalition), won with 84,064 votes. She is married to current Bogota Mayor Claudia Lopez and has been a member of the Senate since 2018.

Kosovo's parliament rejected a new law that would allow same-sex couples to form civil partnerships, with only 28 out of 120 members voting in favor of the measure, Euronews reported. There were hopes that Kosovo would become the first Muslim-majority country to recognize same-sex unions. Prime Minister Albin Kurti had urged MPs to pass the bill because "rights belong to us; they belong to everyone."

In the United Kingdom, LGBTQ-rights campaigner George Montague—the self-titled "oldest gay in the village"—has passed away at age 98, per PinkNews. Montague, a famous fixture of Brighton Pride who joined the parade year after year on his rainbow mobility scooter, fought to receive an apology from the government for a conviction for gross indecency in the 1970s; his mission, though ultimately successful, took 43 years. Montague passed away peacefully at home on March 18 with husband Somchai Phukkhlai by his side.

French Open organizers said that Novak Djokovic is allowed to defend his title as the tournament prepares to stage what is expected to be the first Grand Slam without any coronavirus-related restrictions since the pandemic began two years ago. "As things stand, nothing stands in the way of Djokovic taking part in the French Open," tournament director Amelie Mauresmo said at a news conference. Russian tennis players, including top-ranked Daniil Medvedev, will also be admitted to play in the French Open but as neutral athletes because of the war started by their country in neighboring Ukraine.

Actor and former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (who's Austrian) appealed to the Russian people in a video posted on social media, asking them to resist their country's disinformation as the invasion of Ukraine continues, CNN noted. "Ukraine did not start this war. Neither did nationalists or Nazis," he said. "Those in power in the Kremlin started this war." Schwarzenegger also spoke fondly of his experiences visiting Russia during his movie career and said his childhood hero was Russian heavyweight weightlifter and Olympic gold medalist Yuri Vlasov. Russia President Vladimir Putin follows only 22 accounts—one of them being Schwarzenegger's.

In Scotland, MP for Glasgow East John Mason, during a debate on legislation to ban the practice of conversion therapy in the Scottish Parliament, compared it to getting therapy assistance for saying no to eating too much chocolate, according to The Washington Blade. Mason said sexual orientations must be accepted "to a large extent" but argued that, for conservative religious communities, being LGBTQ was an issue not dissimilar to "self-control and choosing not to put your thoughts or desires into action." Mason's remarks set off criticism from people such as Blair Anderson, an Out Scots human-rights activist and a conversion-therapy survivor.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was denied permission to appeal at Britain's Supreme Court against a decision to extradite him to the United States, Reuters noted. While Assange's extradition must still be approved by the government, this decision dealt a serious blow to Assange's effort to fight his deportation from Britain in the courts. U.S. authorities want Australian-born Assange to face trial on 18 counts relating to WikiLeaks' release of vast amounts of confidential U.S. military records and diplomatic cables that they said had put lives in danger.

Riviera Nayarit took home the best beach destination award for LGBTQ+ travelers at the LGBT+ Travel Awards Mexico, held in Guadalajara in February, Travel Weekly noted. Nayarit is one of the many states in Mexico that recognizes same-sex marriage, and it has quickly become a favorite destination for same-sex weddings and celebrations. Also winning recognition were the St. Regis Punta Mita, as the best luxury hotel; and the Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit, in the Hotel We Love category.

The Berlin International Film Festival has joined fellow events such as Cannes and Venice in saying it will not ban Russian movies at the next edition of its fest, but will block official Russian delegates, Deadline noted. In a statement, organizers wrote, "Even in face of the criminal Russian war of aggression, therefore, it cannot be the intention to exclude filmmakers or cultural workers from the Berlinale on the basis of their nationality, or to isolate them."


This article shared 1084 times since Sun Mar 20, 2022
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