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WORLD Queer mountaineers, race-car driver, Australian bill, German reforms
by Windy City Times staff

At the end of this year's mountaineering season, a group of climbers raised LGBTQ+ symbols on top of Mont Blanc, the highest peak in Western Europe, as part of the Pink Summits campaign, a press release announced. This campaign tackles prejudice and hatred against LGBT people. As part of the campaign, a queer team of mountaineers ascends the highest peaks of all continents—the so-called Seven Summits. The team has also scaled Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest point in Africa; and Mount Kosciuszko, in Australia. In January 2022, the group plans to climb Mount Aconcagua, in South America; Aconcagua is the highest peak outside Asia. People can support the organization at Website Link Here .

World champion race-car driver Lewis Hamilton wore an LGBTQ flag on his helmet for the inaugural Grand Prix in Qatar on Nov. 21, NBC News noted. Hamilton (who won the race) wore a headpiece that showcased the Progress Pride Flag, which includes black and brown stripes to honor queer communities of color, as well as light blue and pink colors to honor the transgender community; the back of the helmet read "We Stand Together." Qatar has been the center of numerous human-rights violations; same-sex relations are illegal in the country and can lead to jail time. In July, the champion racer called out anti-LGBTQ laws in Hungary ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Australia has introduced a new controversial bill aimed at protecting religious people from "cancel culture," the BBC reported. Among other things, it would allow Catholic schools the right to fire teachers or expel gay students in the name of "religious ethos." Critics say it is "deeply unbalanced." Human-rights and LGBTQ+ groups have also warned the law would instead grant license for people to express bigoted views.

The chancellor-elect of Germany—Olaf Scholz, of the center-left SDP—and his coalition parties unveiled pledges for sweeping reforms to LGBTQ+ rights, PinkNews reported. The coalition of the SDP, Green Party and Free Democrats, which won the federal election in September, revealed its program of reforms after lengthy negotiations. The pledges include changes to immigration laws and bringing the voting age down to 16 when the coalition takes power this month. Also, according to Der Tagesspiegel, the coalition plans to change the process by which trans folk in Germany achieve legal recognition, and bring in self-identification.

A Taiwanese national and her Singaporean partner won their same-sex marriage lawsuit against Taipei's Songshan District Household Registration Office, allowing them to officially register their marriage in Taiwan, according to The couple, Xiao C and Mei Ping, went to the office in October 2019 to register their marriage, but was rejected based on a directive from the ministry of the interior that bans same-sex couples in which one of the partners is from a country or jurisdiction where gay marriage is illegal. Singapore, where Mei Ping is from, does not allow same-sex marriage. In a press release explaining the ruling, the Taipei High Administrative Court said that marriage registration is "merely an administrative process" and is unaffected by the rules of other countries.

U.S. figure skater Jason Brown ended a near decade-long quest to land a fully rotated quadruple jump in international competition when he won a bronze medal at the Internationaux de France in Grenoble, the Team USA website noted. After placing third in the short program, Brown opened his free skate with a quad salchow, followed by a triple-axel combination and a second triple axel. This is Brown's second Grand Prix podium this fall, following a silver medal at Skate Canada last month. His chances to qualify for the Grand Prix Final—to be held in Osaka, Japan, Dec. 9-12—depend on the men's results at the sixth and final Grand Prix event, Rostelecom Cup, held in Sochi, Russia, on Nov. 26-28. Brown came out as gay in June, noted.

In Britain, a carer stabbed another man 12 times in a homophobic rage after they had sex, the Manchester Evening News reported. Stephen Taylor yelled "I'm not f***ing gay" as he grabbed a knife and attacked his victim, Liverpool Crown Court heard. The 24-year-old was drinking at the man's flat and flew into a rage when his victim declined to perform a sex act on him, the Liverpool Echo reported. Taylor, who claimed he was defending himself after his victim hit him over the head with a bottle, was cleared of wounding with intent but found guilty of wounding. He has been jailed for three years after a court heard how his victim has been left "physically and emotionally broken" by the attack.

In Canada, an end to the ban on gay and bisexual men from donating blood—promised by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in 2015—is set to be recommended within weeks in favor of new screening criteria based on sexual history and behavior, reported. Canadian Blood Services is preparing to ask Health Canada to allow it to scrap questions about gender or sexuality, basing screening on higher-risk sexual behavior instead. Potential donors could be asked if they have had multiple sexual partners, and about their sexual behavior instead of their sexuality and gender.

Russia is investigating a complaint against Netflix after the public commissioner for protecting families accused the streaming company of violating Russian law on "gay propaganda," Reuters noted, citing Vedomosti. The commissioner, Olga Baranets, complained to the Interior Ministry that Netflix was in breach of a 2013 law that bans disseminating "propaganda on non-traditional sexual relations" among Russians under the age of 18 when broadcasting LGBT-themed series with a 16+ label. Netflix could face a fine of up to 1 million roubles ($13,400) or a temporary suspension of its service if found to have violated the law.

A gay British doctor might lose his job after using his Twitter account to defend trans rights, Metro Weekly noted. Dr. Adrian Harrop currently works as a general practitioner in Liverpool, as well as for CMAGIC, a service England's National Health Service set up to provide medical support for trans people. However, between 2018 and 2019 Harrop became increasingly vocal about transgender rights on his Twitter account—including pushing back against misinformation and transphobia—leading to "hundreds" of complaints to the General Medical Council, Vice reported.

Norway's state-owned postal service Posten is marking 50 years since Norway decriminalized same-sex relationships with a heartwarming Christmas ad in which Santa Claus strikes up a romance with a man called Harry, Reuters reported. In the nearly four-minute film called "When Harry met Santa—a nod to the 1989 romantic comedy When Harry met Sally…, starring Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan—Harry spots Santa delivering gifts to his home. Among those who commented publicly was former U.S. ambassador to Denmark Rufus Gifford, who is himself gay. "Oh man I love Scandinavia. Imagine if the US Post Office put out an ad like this," he tweeted.

A man has reportedly been sentenced to death in North Korea for smuggling copies of Netflix's hit series Squid Game into the country, IndieWire noted. According to Radio Free Asia (via Variety), authorities were led to the man after they caught high school students watching the series. The smuggler faces death by firing squad, while the students involved in bringing Squid Game in to school are facing prison sentences.

Iconic fashion designer Giorgio Armani, 87, was presented with the Knight Grand Cross decorated with Grand Cordon, bestowed by Italian President Sergio Mattarella in a private ceremony at the Palazzo del Quirinale in Rome, according to a item that cited WWD. Italy's highest civilian honor is part of the country's Order of Merit, which is bestowed to those who have excelled in the fields of literature, the arts, economy, public service and social, philanthropic and humanitarian activities. The recognition has gone to other Italian fashion designers in the past, including Miuccia Prada, in 2015; and Valentino Garavani, in 1986.

A Canadian medical researcher who rose to become the nation's top voice on indigenous health has been ousted from her government job and her university professorship—after suspicious colleagues investigated her claims of Native American heritage and learned she was a fraud, The New York Post noted. Carrie Bourassa—a public health expert who was scientific director of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research's Institute of Indigenous Peoples' Health—was suspended Nov. 1, five days after the state-owned Canadian Broadcasting Corporation published a lengthy expose on her background.

Twelve people will stand trial in Paris over a $10-million jewelry heist targeting Kim Kardashian in 2016, Page Six noted. The reality TV star said she was tied up at gunpoint and locked in a bathroom after armed robbers forced their way into her rented Paris apartment during fashion week. No trial date has been set, and an official would not provide further details.

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