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WORLD Twitch, AIDS activist dies, Europe and LGBTQ laws, India hearing

This article shared 616 times since Sun May 30, 2021
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The world's largest game streaming service, Twitch, said that players will be able to add a transgender label to their videos—a move the company said would aid inclusion among its 30 million daily gamers, reported. Twitch, which lets users broadcast themselves playing video games, introduced "transgender," "bisexual," "Black" and "disabled" among more than 350 new tags. "This has been one of the most popular requests we've heard, and the simple truth is that we should have done this sooner," Amazon-owned Twitch said in a blog. Tech firms have come under pressure to make their products more inclusive of transgender people, with Instagram and LinkedIn allowing users to add their pronouns to profiles, amid a fierce debate over what it means to be male or female.

The board of directors, staff and volunteers at AID FOR AIDS International announced the passing of the organization's founding board member, Terry Riley. A press release read, in part, "In 2000, he joined us in our mission of saving lives one by one and became a powerful ambassador among his community. He was instrumental in creating our first Board of Directors, which enabled AID FOR AIDS to grow into what it is today." Riley was an architect, curator, author and critic. He was chief curator of architecture and design at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and director at the Miami Art Museum, now the Perez Art Museum Miami.

ILGA-Europe said that progress on laws to boost LGBTQ+ rights has come to a virtual standstill in Europe amid a rise in homophobic and anti-transgender rhetoric by politicians in countries including Poland and Hungary, Reuters reported. Britain, Italy and Ukraine were among the nations that scored lower rankings in this year's "Rainbow Europe" index compiled by ILGA-Europe, which said legislative reforms had stalled due to increasing polarization over LGBTQ+ rights. ILGA-Europe Executive Director Evelyne Paradis said, "It's becoming harder to mobilize across the political spectrum to get the issues done. There's mounting opposition. There's also, frankly, a lack sometimes of political will to see it through."

In India, the Delhi High Court moved a hearing on various petitions seeking legal recognition of same-sex couple to July 6, Big News Network noted. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta sought an adjournment and said the court is hearing the only extremely urgent matters, as law officers are now busy with items pertaining to COVID. Senior Advocate Saurabh Kirpal, appealing for the petitioner, tried to have the matter decided more expeditiously.

The high court in Windhoek reserved judgment on whether same-sex marriages concluded in other countries are recognized in Namibia, according to IOL. Judge Hannelie Prinsloo postponed the delivery of the judgement to Jan. 20, 2022, but said the decision could be announced before that date if it was available earlier. Namibian citizen Johann Potgieter and his South African husband Daniel Digashu, as well as German citizen Anita Seiler-Lilles and her Namibian spouse, are suing the government to have their marriages recognized in Namibia.

In Thailand, police raided a gay sauna in the Wang Thonglang district of Bangkok after receiving a tip about a party, arresting 62 men, the Bangkok Post reported. The raid on Faros 2 was conducted by 30 police after neighbors suggested group-sex activity may have been planned, said Ekkaphop Tanprayoon, chief of Wang Thonglang police. While inspecting the place, police reportedly smelled drugs, and found some male guests having sex with other men. According to Equaldex, same-sex relations were decriminalized in Thailand in 1956.

The remains of 215 children—including some as young as 3—were found in a mass grave on the grounds of a former residential school that was once part of a nationwide effort in Canada to separate Indigenous children from their families in an attempt to assimilate them, NPR reported. The Tk'emlups te Secwepemc First Nation announced the discovery in a news release, saying the remains were found after working with a "ground penetrating radar specialist" to confirm the mass grave at the Kamloops Indian Residential School. Chief Rosanne Casimir called it an "unthinkable loss," and said that while the deaths had been long spoken about, the residential school never documented them. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the discovery was heartbreaking.

In Ghana, police arrested 21 LGBTQ activists who were attending a conference in the southeastern city of Ho—the latest raid targeting sexual minorities in the West African nation, Bloomberg reported. There have been increasing reports of LGBTQ people being targeted by police since a Jan. 31 fundraiser for a gay community center in the capital, Accra. Policemen shut down the LGBT+ Rights Ghana's community space in a Feb. 24 raid, forcing its leader to go into hiding

Tennis figures Naomi Osaka, the legendary Billie Jean King and Rafael Nadal received top honors at the recent Laureus World Sports Awards, which took place digitally, Sky Sports noted. Osaka was named Sportswoman of the Year, with fellow tennis player Nadal winning the men's title and trailblazer Billie Jean King collecting the Lifetime Achievement Award. King, who won 39 Grand Slam titles, is one of the original founder members of the WTA; the out lesbian is also an advocate for gender equality, and has long been a pioneer for equality and social justice.

Britain's human-rights watchdog has not renewed its membership of a diversity plan run by LGBTQ group Stonewall, the BBC reported. The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) said it told Stonewall it would be leaving in March. Members pay Stonewall a fee and allow it to vet their internal policies, such as who can use their toilets and changing facilities. However, the EHRC said it "did not constitute best value for money." The initiative is not without controversy; recently, an independent report commissioned by the University of Essex found that Stonewall gave it incorrect and potentially illegal advice on transgender issues.

A new pride organization has emerged in Puerto Vallarta, The Yucatan Times reported. Nuestro Orgullo Vallarta (Our Vallarta Pride) is an LGBTQ+ festival developed by and for the local community that is separate from Vallarta Pride, which has been organized since 2013 by ACT LGBT, a non-profit organization representing the various interests of LGBT owned and managed businesses. Cultural, artistic and recreational events outside of the club scene are part of this first edition of Nuestro Orgullo Vallarta.

In the United Kingdom, Steve McQueen's anthology series Small Axe and Michaela Coel's I May Destroy You dominated the BAFTA TV Craft Awards, Deadline noted. Small Axe clinched five wins—the most on a night that celebrated behind-the-scenes craftspeople— but it was I May Destroy You that secured two of the biggest victories for Coel: Director: Fiction, and Writer: Drama.

Drag Race Espana is debuting on Wow Presents Plus on May 30, noted. The competing queens include Killer Queen, Pupi Poisson, Arantxa Castilla-La Mancha, Sagittaria, Carmen Farala, Dovima Nurmi, Drag Vulcano, Hugáceo Crujiente, Inti and The Macarena. And then, of course, there is the Pit Crew, which consists of a dozen men.

Italian metal band Maneskin, winners of the 2021 Eurovision Song Contest, will take a drug test after their off-stage antics went viral during the grand final, Variety noted. Footage shared widely on social media depicts the band drinking and celebrating at their table during the event, with lead singer Damiano David's head briefly bent over the table. It's been suggested that the singer may have been taking drugs, although David denied that at a press conference. Hailing from Rome, the glam-rock group includes David, bassist Victoria De Angelis, guitarist Thomas Raggi and drummer Ethan Torchio.

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