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WORLD WorldPride items, Afghanistan resident, Irish exhibit, Poland
by Windy City Times staff

This article shared 696 times since Sun Aug 29, 2021
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The WorldPride 2021 Human Rights Conference that took place in Copenhagen was the largest in-person LGBTQ rights gathering since the pandemic began, the Los Angeles Blade reported. More than 1,000 LGBTQ activists from around the world attended the conference.

WorldPride 2021 Director of Human Rights Aron Le Fevre told the Blade that 215 activists received scholarships. Some of these recipients come from the 69 countries that criminalize homosexuality or have been forcibly expelled from their homes because of their sexuality.

On a related note, Swedish immigration officials detained two activists from Uganda who were en route to WorldPride 2021, South Florida Gay News noted, citing the Washington Blade. LGBT+ Danmark, a Danish advocacy group, in a statement said Swedish authorities "detained for more than two hours two activists originally from Uganda" at the border between Sweden and Denmark. The activists were on one of three buses bringing WorldPride 2021 attendees from Copenhagen to a summit on LGBT refugees in the Swedish city of Malmo that was part of WorldPride.

An Afghan resident named Abdul (not his real name) told Radio 1 Newsbeat that revealing his sexuality to the Taliban will now have him "killed on the spot," the BBC reported. Under the Taliban's interpretation of Sharia Law, homosexuality is strictly prohibited and punishable by death. "Even when I see the Taliban from the windows I feel really scared. My body starts shaking from seeing them," he said. "Civilians are being killed. I don't think I will ever speak in front of them."

The exhibition "Out in the World: Ireland's LGBTQ+ Diaspora," staged in partnership with the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs, will be on display at EPIC: The Irish Emigration Museum until December, according to the venue's website. It will also travel to embassies and consuls worldwide, collecting stories and experiences from Ireland's LGBTQ+ diaspora. The exhibition, curated by Dr. Maurice Casey, highlights 12 stories under six themes—exclusion, community, love, defiance, solidarity and return—that speak to significant parts of the Irish LGBTQ+ experience.

The threat of losing as much as 2.5 billion euros in EU funds wasn't enough to deter a regional parliament in Poland from refusing to drop an anti-LGBTQ+ resolution, Politico reported. Two years ago, the Małopolska region in southern Poland passed a resolution opposing "public activities aimed at promoting the ideology of LGBT movements"—part of a wave of similar resolutions passed by local governments. However, after the threat of losing funds, Jan Duda—the head of the assembly and the father of anti-LGBTQ+ Polish President Andrzej Duda—said the only aim of the declaration is to "protect families."

Also in Poland, Pride marches took place under heavy police presence, with homophobic counterdemonstrations threatening violence, People's World noted. Marches for LGBTQ rights were held at the foot of Czestochowa's Jasna Gora Catholic monastery in southern Poland as well as in Gdansk, on the Baltic coast. The demonstrators were surrounded by officers, including on horseback, while beyond the police columns far-right activists gathered, chanting slogans including "No homosexual love."

GLAAD is highlighting the participation of out LGBTQ athletes in this year's Paralympic Games in Tokyo, per a press release. This year, the number of out LGBTQ athletes (29) is more than double the amount that competed (12) in at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio. GLAAD hosted an Instagram Live interview with Sitting Volleyball champion Monique Matthews as part of the ongoing GLAAD Hangouts IGTV series.

Queer Eye co-star Tan France accused the British TV industry of being tokenistic when it comes to diversity, PinkNews reported. France—originally from Doncaster, England—said the United States was "lightyears ahead of the UK" regarding diversity, calling it "embarrassing." France said that the United Kingdom pays "lip service" to diversity, especially in the wake of last year's Black Lives Matter protests.

In Australia, a former executive chef for Pegasus Hotel Apartments in Melbourne CBD pled guilty to the rape and attempted rape of two men, the Star Observer noted, citing the Herald Sun. Michael "Mick" Stafford had worked for Pegasus Hotel Apartments since 2014. Stafford will be sentenced Sept. 2.

Also in Australia, legendary Sydney drag queen Shirley Valentine passed away at the age of 65, the Star Observer reported. Valentine, according to her friends, had been battling lung cancer for the last three months and various other health problems. A GoFundMe page had been started to help raise funds for Valentine's memorial service and funeral, and to have her body flown back to Queensland so she can be buried with her mother; see

Also in Australia, a father of three was sentenced to three years in jail after he beat up his son after discovering him seated on the lap of another boy and thinking the two were engaged in an unspecified gay sexual act, noted. According to a report in the Courier Mail, the August 2020 attack took place over several days and left the boy battered physically and emotionally and his mother unconscious. The man pled guilty to all charges in court, and he was sentenced to three years in jail by judge Tony Moynihan; however, with time served, he could be out of jail on parole by Christmas.

A Moscow man was abducted and taken to Chechnya—where he was interrogated for information on LGBT+ activists, according to a PinkNews item that cited the Russian LGBT Network. The group said that a Dagestan native named Ibragim Selimkhanov was approached by four Chechen-speaking men near a subway station in the city's Novogireyevo District in May; the men kidnapped Selimkhanov. On arrival he was handed over to the local police, who reportedly threatened and exerted psychological pressure on him while seeking the information about the emergency assistance program run by the Russian LGBT Network, Radio Free Europe said.

Berlin Archbishop Heiner Koch said he'll be appointing a pastoral minister for the LGBTQI community after a meeting with the Lesbian and Gay Association, the Star Observer reported. The meeting came at the request of the Lesbian and Gay Association of Berlin-Brandenburg "to look at the contradictions within the Catholic Church and the simultaneous solidarity shown toward LGBTQ people in the wake of the Vatican's renewed rejection last February of any church blessing for homosexual couples."

Less than a month before the Toronto International Film Festival is set to take place, organizers announced new COVID-19 prevention measures on Twitter, Deadline noted. The requirements apply to attendees, staff and visitors. "Festival staff, audience members and visitors entering #TIFF21 venues on Sept. 9-18 will be required to show either proof they have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or proof that they have tested negative for COVID-19 within 48 hours prior to entering any TIFF venue," according to the statement. Toronto has reached Ontario's Stage 3 reopening phase, which allows for the Festival to take place in person while still mitigating risks.

Elton John was among the celebrities sending condolences after the death of Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts, Deadline noted. Friend Elton John called Watts, "the ultimate drummer." The sartorially-minded John also remembered Watts as "The most stylish of men, and such brilliant company." Beatle Paul McCartney posted a video message in which he offered his condolences to Watts' family and the band saying, "He was a lovely guy. I knew he was ill, but I didn't know he was this ill." Legendary songwriter Nile Rodgers, who produced one of Mick Jagger's albums, wrote, "Rest In Power #CharlieWatts RIP. You are a smooth brother. Thanks for all the great music."

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