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WORLD Brazilian LGBT figures, 'Kill the Gays' bill, singer Hozier
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2019-10-15

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The European Parliament announced the finalists for the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought—and, for the first time in its 30 years of existence, a person from the LGBTI community is on the list: Marielle Franco, The Intergroup on LGBTI Rights noted. Franco was a Brazilian politician, feminist and human rights defender. A Black bisexual activist, she fought for the rights of women, young Black people, favela residents and LGBTI people in Brazil until she was brutally murdered in March 2018 at age 38. Franco and Jean Wyllys—an openly gay Brazilian politician and LGBTI rights defender, now in exile in Europe—were together the first-ever nominees for the Sakharov Prize to come from the LGBTI community; however, Wyllys' nomination was withdrawn at his request.

Time magazine named a top Brazilian drag queen and LGBT+ advocate as one of 10 young people "changing the world" in its biannual list, Openly News noted. Pabllo Vittar—a 24-year-old Brazilian drag pop singer—was included alongside other rising stars from around the world such as rapper Stormzy in Time's roster of "Next Generation Leaders."

Uganda will not impose the death penalty for gay sex, a presidential spokesman said after major aid donors said they were monitoring a plan by the African nation to reintroduce a bill colloquially known as "Kill the Gays," Reuters reported. Last week, Uganda's Ethics and Integrity Minister Simon Lokodo said the government planned to re-introduce an anti-homosexuality bill in parliament within weeks to curb the spread of homosexuality in the east African nation. Later, international donors such as the European Union, World Bank, the United States and the Global Fund said they were monitoring the situation closely and stood by the rights of LGBT+ people.

During a string of sets at the London Palladium for his 2019 tour, singer Hozier draped himself in the colors of pastel blue, pink and white—the shades of the transgender flag, PinkNews reported. On Oct. 3, a fan tossed a trans Pride flag onto the stage during Hozier's performance of "Nina Cried Power." Thrusting it into the air, the star, whose real name is Andrew Hozier-Byrne, hung it behind him for the rest of the gig. Ending the show with his 2013 hit, "Take Me to Church," he grabbed the flag again and hoisted it up high to the cheering of the packed-out venue.

Tens of thousands of people marched in Paris to protest against a new law allowing lesbian couples and single women the right to conceive children with medical help, The Guardian reported. The measure is Emmanuel Macron's first major social reform: a law to end discrimination over women's reproductive rights by allowing lesbian couples and single women access to medically-assisted procreation, such as IVF and sperm donation. Many of the protesters had also been active in the large 2012 protest movement against same-sex marriage.

As of the end of August, nearly 2,000 same-sex couples had registered for marriage in Taiwan, with another 34 having already ended their marriages, according to a report by the Ministry of the Interior, Taiwan News reported. Of the 1,827 registered same-sex marriages, the number of married female couples is more than double that of males. The law that legalizes same-sex marriage—the Enforcement Act of Judicial Yuan Interpretation No. 748—was implemented May 24, with household offices starting to accept same-sex marriage registrations and terminations on the same date.

In Brazil, a federal judge ruled funding that had been stopped for about 80 films—including a handful with LGBT+ themes—must be resumed, granting a victory to LGBT+ and other filmmakers whose upcoming grants had been frozen, Openly News reported. Brazil's citizenship minister Osmar Terra ordered the suspension in August, days after the country's right-wing president, Jair Bolsonaro, criticized four LGBT+ themed films and said that supporting such movies was "throwing money away." The temporary measure can still be taken up for review by higher courts.

Poland's governing right-wing populist party won a weekend election—retaining a parliamentary majority that could allow it to pursue a judicial reform agenda that has put it at loggerheads with the EU, Yahoo! News noted. The triumph by the Law and Justice ( PiS ) party followed a campaign focussed on a raft of new welfare measures coupled with attacks on LGBT rights and Western values. Condemning the PiS's anti-LGBT drive and close church ties, but sharing its welfare goals, the left returned to parliament after a four-year hiatus with 12.56 percent of the vote and 49 seats.

U.S. opera singer Lucia Lucas has made history by becoming the first trans singer to perform with the English National Opera in London, PinkNews noted. Lucas played Public Opinion in Orpheus in the Underworld alongside the English National Opera at the London Coliseum. In a BBC video, Lucas described how she dresses as a man, including a stick-on mustache, when she performs—to match her baritone voice. "If I'm out on the street I'm probably going to talk higher on the spectrum than I normally do," she said.

Elton John opened up about his tempestuous relationship with his mother in his memoir, Me, People.com noted. Among other things, John claims his "raving sociopath" mother tried to stop his 2005 civil partnership with David Furnish. At John's Old Windsor home, "Mum [Sheila Farebrother] announced she wouldn't be joining the convoy of cars setting off for Windsor nor would she be coming to the private lunch afterwards." Things quickly deteriorated from there. "Oh great," John recalled thinking. "The most important day of my life and one of Mum's moods appeared to be upon us."

A new study by researchers at Canada's University of Waterloo and published in Body Image stated that weight stigma is a serious issue for queer men using dating apps, Instinct Magazine noted. The app used was Grindr—the most popular dating app for gay, bisexual and trans men in the Western world. In order to get their data, the researchers used "an exploratory, qualitative study design, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 13 current and previous Grindr users [from cities in the Toronto area] and analyzed thematically." The results found that participants saw being overweight as a stigma.

Out Adventures is launching a trio of lesbian tours for its 2020 season, a press release noted. These are the first tours the company has offered specifically for women, and were created to fill a gap in the offerings for lesbian travelers. Croatia ( July 2020 ), Peru ( August 2020 ) and Iceland ( August 2020 ) are the first trips, with more destinations to come in 2021. To celebrate the launch, Out Adventures has released an episode of its Gay Travel Podcast about the new lesbian travel experiences; visit OutAdventures.com/gay-travel-blog/podcast-introducing-lesbian-tours/ .


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