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WORLD Elton John, Caymans OK marriage, Grindr
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2019-04-02

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Elton John supported George Clooney's call for people to boycott a string of the world's most luxurious hotels following Brunei's new laws over gay sex, Business Insider noted. From April 3, Brunei is bringing in new laws that will make gay sex, as well as adultery, punishable by death. The Sultan of Brunei owns the Brunei Investment Agency, which owns nine of the world's most luxurious hotels, including The Beverly Hills Hotel and The Dorchester on London's Park Lane.

Marriage equality has come to the Cayman Islands, a British Overseas Territory, NewNowNext.com noted. The Grand Court of the Cayman Islands ruled that the government was wrong to have refused a marriage license to Chantelle Day and partner Vickie Bodden Bush. Chief Justice Smellie determined the action was discriminatory, saying it violated Cayman's constitution by interfering with the right to a private and family life, the Cayman Compass reported.

Chinese gaming company Beijing Kunlun Tech Co. is seeking to sell its popular gay dating app Grindr—because of U.S. national security concerns, Inc. noted. Kunlun is being pressured to sell by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, according to Reuters. Kunlun paid $93 million for a majority stake of the West Hollywood, California-based company in 2016, and $152 million for the app's remaining shares in 2018.

A transgender woman in Canada was allegedly sexually assaulted by other inmates and was bullied by staff for her gender identity in a men's prison, PinkNews reported. Hayden Patterson has filed human-rights complaints against two separate institutions, claiming that, in the first institution—Surrey Pretrial Services Centre—she was sexually assaulted and had her gender identity disregarded by staff. In the second institution—Alouette Correction Centre for women, where she currently resides—she allegedly lives with a series of "restrictions on how she may express her gender."

Slovakia has chosen its first-ever female head of state, recently electing President Zuzana Caputova, CNN.com noted. The 45-year-old liberal lawyer thanked voters not just in Slovak—but in Hungarian, Czech, Roma and Ruthenian—in a show of unity with the nation's minority groups and rejection of the nationalist rhetoric popular in some neighboring countries. In Slovakia, a country where same-sex marriage is illegal, Caputova called for more LGBT rights.

An estimated 20,000 people protested in Verona, Italy, against a conference that brought a global network of anti-gay, anti-abortion and anti-feminist activists to the northern Italian city, The Guardian reported. The hosting of the World Congress of Families ( WCF )—a U.S. coalition that promotes the values of the Christian right—has been especially contentious in Italy, as it is supported by the far-right League, a partner in the country's coalition government.

The head of the Toronto Police cold-case squad, Det.-Insp. Stacy Gallant, said the investigation into serial killer Bruce McArthur has yielded "promising" leads on a slew of unsolved homicides of gay men in the city's Gay Village that date back to 1975, CBC.ca reported. Investigators have been sifting through 23 unsolved killings from between 1975 and the late 1990s, particularly targeting Toronto's LGBTQ community, for evidence of a connection to McArthur. In January, McArthur pled guilty to eight counts of first-degree murder; he was later sentenced to life in prison.

Bosnia and Herzegovina is planning to hold its first Pride event in the capital Sarajevo later this year, PinkNews noted. Speaking to a news conference in the city, co-organizer Branko Culibrk said, "Bosnia will finally have its Pride march that will be held on Sept. 8 in Sarajevo. The march will be a manifestation against inequalities and against violation of LGBTIQ peoples' rights." Until 1998, being gay was a crime in the largely conservative country.

From attracting gay and lesbian tourists to taking part in Pride marches, businesses and governments across Latin America are stepping up efforts to tap into the potentially lucrative LGBT+ market, Reuters noted. Among other things, Ecuador officially launched the country's first LGBT Chamber of Commerce in Quito, the latest in a regional effort to highlight the LGBT+ market to the private sector. Also, Mexico's Secretary of Tourism Miguel Torruco Marques signed an agreement with the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association ( IGLTA ) to promote LGBT+ tourism.

Gillian Freeman—a British writer whose historical novels chronicled free spirits in Edwardian England and Nazi Germany, and who ventured outside the mainstream to write a pioneering study of pornography and a landmark work of gay literature—died Feb. 23 of dementia-related complications at a hospital in London, The Columbian noted. Her work The Leather Boys was published six years before homosexuality was decriminalized in England, and was part of a wave of boundary-breaking gay novels that included works by Christopher Isherwood, Mary Renault and ( posthumously ) E.M. Forster.

U.S. contestant/HIV activist Jazell Barbie Royale made history at the world's largest transgender beauty pageant, The Georgia Voice noted. Royale took home the crown as Miss International Queen in Thailand, making her the first woman of color to win the title in its 15-year history, according to the Bangkok Post.

Madonna was rejected by the mayor of Sintra, Portugal, after she wanted to bring a thoroughbred horse into a 19th-century palace to film her new video, Page Six noted. The singer, who has been living off and on in Portugal since 2017, was pictured filming a video for her song "Indian Summer" in the Quinta Nova de Assuncao palace near Sintra. Sintra Mayor Basilio Horta refused to concede to Madonna, banning the horse because the wooden floors and beams of the 1860 palace were not strong enough to support its weight, and the animal could damage the building.


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