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WORLD Danger index, Canada anniv., gay dads split, Cyndi Lauper
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2019-11-26

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Scandinavian countries performed well in a new index of 150 countries' friendliness toward LGBTQ+ travelers, Forbes.com noted. Sweden tops the list as the world's most LGBTQ-friendly country, followed by Canada and Norway. Nordic nations Finland ( 7th ), Iceland ( 9th ) and Denmark ( 14th ) all placed well. The United States, meanwhile, ranked 24th—and the research revealed the world's most dangerous countries for LGBTQ+ travelers to be Nigeria, Qatar, Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Tanzania. The LGBTQ+ Danger Index ranks the 150 most-visited countries on eight different factors that may impact gay, lesbian and trans travelers.

While the United States noted the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprisings that led to the U.S. LGBT rights movement, this year is also the 50th anniversary of the decriminalization of homosexuality in Canada, Straight.com noted. To that end, the University of British Columbia hosted a special UBC Dialogue event, "Is It Time to Wave the Pride Flag?," to reflect upon and discuss the current state of LGBT issues in Canada. Hosted by B.C. Lt. Gov. Janet Austin and UBC president and vice-chancellor Santa Ono, the event featured CBC Vancouver News host Lien Yeung moderating a panel discussion that included Olympic swimmer Mark Tewksbury and author/activist Ahmad Danny Ramadan, among others.

The well-documented relationship between Britain's "first gay dads" has officially come to an end—as one of the men is now "in love" and dating his daughter's ex-boyfriend, the New York Post noted. Tony and Barrie Drewitt-Barlow—who were England's first same-sex couple to be named on a birth certificate as parents—have parted ways. "I've fallen in love with Scott and he has done the same," Barrie, 50, told The Sun, referring to the ex of his 19-year-old daughter Saffron, who is openly bisexual. Barrie told the paper that his estranged husband and Saffron are accepting of the relationship.

Recording artist, composer/lyricist and LGBTQ advocate Cyndi Lauper will be honored with the first "High Note Global Prize" award for her impacting work to prevent and end homelessness for LGBTQ youth and promotion of human rights worldwide, a press release touted. On UN Human Rights Day, Dec. 10, The High Note Global Prize will be presented to the iconic pop star by UN Human Rights along with international recording artist and social activist Kesha at Cyndi Lauper's "Home for the Holidays" benefit concert in Los Angeles at The Novo at L.A. Live. UN Human Rights is "Global Partner" of The High Note Global Initiative founded by David Clark, a creator of cause brands and humanitarian initiatives for President Nelson Mandela, Muhammad Ali, Prince, United Nations, Amnesty International and The Anne Frank Center, among others.

Vogue is making history by featuring a Muxe person ( Estrella Vazquez ) on the cover with its December issue in the United Kingdom and Mexico, LGBTQ Nation reported. Muxe—derived from the Spanish word for woman, "mujer"—refers to a person assigned male at birth who lives her life as a woman and is sometimes seen as part of a third gender. The term is specific to the Zapotec cultures of southern Mexico.

A United Nations special envoy said some conservative politicians and churches in Latin America are inciting hate speech against LGBT+ people, Thomson Reuters Foundation noted. Victor Madrigal-Borloz, the U.N's independent expert on sexual orientation and gender identity, criticized lawmakers who believe it is a "good investment" to speak out against gay and trans people on the campaign trail to win votes and popularity. While parts of Catholic-dominated Latin America have made recent gains regarding LGBTQ+ rights, including allowing same-sex couples to marry and adopt, nine Caribbean countries still criminalize same-sex relations, Madrigal-Borloz said.

Thai LGBT+ activists submitted a legal challenge to the Constitutional Court to try to change laws that limit marriage to between a man and a woman, Reuters reported. In the latest in a series of attempts to achieve marriage equality in Asia, activists said the definition of marriage in Thailand's Civil and Commercial Code—which deals with the rights of private persons—goes against the constitution which states that "all persons are equal before the law, and shall have rights and liberties and be protected equally under the law." Earlier this year, Taiwan became the first place in Asia to legalise marriage equality.

A Canadian library was criticized for refusing to cancel an event hosting a feminist with controversial views on transgender rights, the BBC noted. Hundreds of protesters gathered outside a branch of the Toronto Public Library as writer Meghan Murphy gave a talk inside. In Canada, Murphy has spoken against a bill that amended Canada's rights act to prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender expression and identity over concerns it could undermine women's rights by eroding their "safe spaces."

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam said she'll reflect after a massive pro-Democracy vote in the first elections since the wave of protests against Beijing started, according to a Towleroad piece that cites BBC.com . One of those winners was Jimmy Sham—the openly gay leader of the Civil Human Rights Front, an umbrella group of pro-democracy organizations—who was attacked by a group of men with hammers during the campaign and still walks on crutches.

Stephen Johnson and his fiance Tori Austin remained in a Mexican hospital, waiting on doctors to give the go-ahead for Johnson to be discharged—after Tyler Perry came to the rescue, CBS46.com reported. The delay came as Perry offered financial assistance in paying a $16,000 bill ( for treatment of pancreatitis and diabetes ) that kept the couple from leaving the Progreso, Mexico, hospital for more than a week.

Scott Morrison has called now-former rugby player Israel Folau's comments linking Australia's recent bushfires with the legalization of same-sex marriage and abortion "appallingly insensitive," Yahoo! Sport reported. The country's prime minister—who's also an evangelical Christian—was joined by Labor leader Anthony Albanese in condemning Folau comments. Several people died in the bushfires that have swept across parts of Australia, and Folau's sermon came after saying that gay people would go to hell earlier this year—which is why he was fired.

Grindr for Equality—the Grindr app's program for LGBTQ health and human rights—announced it will grant $100,000 to organizations and activists providing direct services and advocacy to the LGBTQ communities throughout the Middle East and North Africa, a press release stated. The grantees represent nine countries/territories, including Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Mauritania, Morocco, Palestine, Sudan and others.

French luxury group LVMH has agreed to buy iconic New York jeweler Tiffany & Co. for $16.2 billion, adding a famed star to its portfolio that already boasts Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior and Bulgari, USA Today noted. Tiffany—known for its delicate jewelry, distinctive blue boxes and an Audrey Hepburn movie—stated the deal will ensure its long-term sustainability.

In the latest news from the fallout following Prince Andrew's interview concerning his ties to Jeffrey Epstein and his subsequent announcement to "step down" from royal duties, the Duke of York's office has been forced out of Buckingham Palace, People.com noted. Queen Elizabeth's son was told to clear out his staff and office at the monarch's London home on Nov. 22, according to the Times of London. Prince Andrew was also forced to cancel a planned trip to Bahrain with his Pitch@Palace initiative as questions have been raised about whether he will still lead the organization, which helps budding entrepreneurs.


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