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  WINDY CITY TIMES

WORLD Barbados items, EU's criticism, Billie Jean King, Equality Act
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2020-09-21

This article shared 1385 times since Mon Sep 21, 2020
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Barbados is ready to grant legal status to same-sex couples, in a major breakthrough for gay rights lobbying in the Caribbean Community ( CARICOM ) region, The Jamaica Gleaner reported. Gov. General Dame Sandra Mason made the announcement as she opened the new parliamentary session. However, Mason added that the administration of Prime Minister Mia Mottley will allow citizens to decide through a referendum whether same-sex civil unions will be permitted in the island nation of almost 300,000. A civil union is a legal status that allows same-sex couples to benefit from specified rights and responsibilities similar to married couples.

Also, Barbados plans to remove Queen Elizabeth II as head of state next year—the first time in nearly 30 years since a commonwealth country dropped a monarch, ABC News noted. Barbados Gov. General Sandra Mason said the Caribbean nation would move "toward full sovereignty and become a republic" by Nov. 30, 2021, on the country's 55th anniversary of independence from the British empire. The queen is recognized as head of state in more than a dozen countries that were previously under British control.

The European Parliament condemned Poland for rolling back LGBTQ+ rights and demanded that the European Union ( EU ) take action against the country's nationalist government, including potentially denying it funding from the bloc, Openly News reported. Poland and the EU have increasingly clashed over LGBT+ rights; the country's ruling Law and Justice party ( PiS ) politicians and Catholic bishops have denounced the rights as a foreign "ideology" that threatens traditional values. In July, the EU withheld funding from six "LGBT-free zone" towns that had applied for a town twinning scheme.

Tennis' Fed Cup is changing its name to honor icon Billie Jean King—the woman whose lifelong battle for equality and social justice laid the foundation for generations that followed, Tennis.com noted. The Billie Jean King Cup will become the first major global team competition to be named after a woman, the International Tennis Federation said. "I'm still in shock," King said of the tribute. "It's really a privilege, and it's also a responsibility. It's wild, it's great, it's wonderful." Player Naomi Osaka, who took stances against racial injustice en route to her U.S. Open victory, said the newly named tournament will "mean a lot more" now.

A UK employment tribunal has ruled that non-binary and gender fluid people are protected under the Equality Act, Forbes.com reported. The Equality Act protects people from discrimination on the basis of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation.However, a landmark ruling has now confirmed that protection to non-binary and gender fluid people does fall under the gender reassignment category, after years of ambiguity.

Belize's government considered the Equal Opportunities Bill—and withdrew it, 7 News Belize reported. The government released a position about the anti-discrimination measure, saying, "The decision was taken to not proceed with the bill at this time, and to withdraw it. While this is Cabinet's position, it views with deep regret the circumstances surrounding the bill being brought before the Cabinet for its approval which is a mere part of the legislative process. While for some, there might have been genuine consternation, it is regrettable that there was purposeful misinformation from some stakeholders."

Hong Kong's High Court ruled in favor of gay homeowner Edgar Ng Hon-lam, who was seeking equal inheritance rights for his partner—but rejected a bid to recognize foreign same-sex marriages, the South China Morning Post reported. Justice Anderson Chow Ka-ming ruled on two separate cases on Sept. 18—a year after he concluded the government had no positive obligation to provide an alternative legal framework for equal treatment, as it was not unconstitutional to deny same-sex couples their right to marriage.

A gay man claimed he was knocked unconscious by a bigoted Uber driver in Paris, Out.com noted, citing Tetu. The 27-year-old victim, identified only as "Mohamed," was allegedly forced from the car and beaten by the driver who fled the scene before police could arrive. While riding with a female friend, Mohamed told his friend about a boy he was chatting up at the party. The topic of the conversation was apparently too much for the unidentified driver, who eventually demanded Mohamed get out of his car.

A mural has been unveiled in London in memory of George Michael, NME.com reported. The artwork, created by British artist Dawn Mellor, features scenes from the late star's music videos and other visual vignettes commissioned as part of the Brent Biennial. Brent Biennial was set up following the borough being named London Borough of Culture for 2020, and more than 20 other artworks have been planned to pay homage to the area's history and culture. The mural includes scenes from the videos for "Careless Whisper" and "Outside."

France's highest court ruled that a transgender woman cannot be officially recognized as the biological mother of the child she conceived with her wife before transitioning, Yahoo! News noted. The court ruled that a 51-year old transgender woman, referred to in court as "Claire," would have to adopt the 6-year-old child in order to become one of its two legal mothers. The case has now been referred back to a lower court for a new hearing.

Yanic Duplessis is a 17-year-old elite-level Canadian hockey player who just came out as gay, Queerty noted. Duplessi—drafted by the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League's Drummondville Voltigeurs in 2019—said he hopes that by publicly addressing his sexuality, he can help destigmatize coming out in the hockey community. Duplessis said he's received overwhelming support, including a tweet from former NHL and current Quebec MNA player Enrico Ciccone.

New Ways Ministry has partnered with Progetto Gionata, an Italian LGBTQ faith group, to publish an English language translation of its collection of six stories of the spiritual journeys of parents and grandparents who have lesbian and gay children, New Ways Ministry announced on its website. The Italian version of the book was presented to Pope Francis in a private audience with the authors Sept. 17. Among other things, the book has English-language resources for Catholic parents of LGBTQ children. Those interested in receiving a copy of the book should visit NewWaysMinistry.org/blessedparents/.

A French film playing at the Toronto International Film Festival sparked controversy for casting a cisgender actor as the transgender lead, Out.com noted. A Good Man, directed by Marie-Castille Mention-Schaar, follows a trans man, Benjamin ( Noemie Merlant ), as he decides to carry a child after his partner, Aube ( Soko ), learns she cannot. While some film critics have praised the "great empathy" of the film, others have questioned the casting of Merlant, a cisgender woman who became an international name after starring in the acclaimed queer period romance Portrait of a Lady on Fire.

In an interview with CNN, Netflix co-CEO Reed Hastings explained that in order to keep queer titles up on the Saudi Arabian version of its platform, the team had to make compromises regarding some other Netflix projects—namely, comedian/writer Hasan Minhaj's Patriot Act, Out.com noted. Back in January of last year, Netflix pulled an episode from the first season of Minhaj's ( now-canceled ) political comedy/talk show that was critical of an account given by Saudi officials about the killing of writer/journalist Jamal Khashoggi—effectively censoring Patriot Act in order to save the streamer's LGBTQ+ lineup of shows ( like Queer Eye and Orange Is the New Black ) from their own censorship.

In Taiwan, the Rainbow City Symphonic Band was slated to perform a live concert titled "HEROES" at New Taipei City's Luzhou KHS Concert Hall to honor individuals who have advocated for the LGBT community in the country, Taiwan News reported. Consisting of LGBT-friendly musicians, the band was founded in 2015 with the intention of pursuing marriage equality in the country. It has participated in several parades over the years, including the 2019 Taiwan Pride event.


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