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WORLD Gay artist, Pope Francis, OutRight gala
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times

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A Reuters item profiled South African gay artist Nakhane. He has reportedly undergone many obstacles, including getting death threats for playing a man in a same-sex relationship in the movie, The Wound. It was only five years ago that Nakhane, 30, was able to accept his sexuality; homeless and broke, the up-and-coming South African actor and singer had just released his first music album—a deeply personal account of his life. He now lives in London, although he plans to return to South Africa.

A survivor of clerical sexual abuse has said Pope Francis told him that God had made him gay and loved him, in arguably the most strikingly accepting comments about homosexuality to be uttered by the leader of the Roman Catholic church, The Guardian reported. Juan Carlos Cruz—who spoke privately with the pope recently about the abuse he suffered at the hands of one of Chile's most notorious pedophiles—said the issue of his sexuality had arisen because some of the Latin American country's bishops had sought to depict him as a pervert as they accused him of lying about the abuse. Now 87, Fernando Karadima, the man who abused Cruz, was found guilty of abuse by the Vatican in 2011.

On May 14, OutRight Action International honored Arab Foundation for Freedoms and Equality ( AFE ) with the Felipa De Souza Award at the organization's annual gala, a Celebration of Courage, an organizational press release stated. The award was accepted by Founder/Executive Director Georges Azzi. The evening's host, culture expert on Netflix's new Queer Eye Karamo Brown, shared the stage with OutSpoken Award recipient Lois Whitman.

Police in Moldova fired tear gas at anti-LGBT protesters to keep them away from a Pride march, PinkNews noted. LGBT activists feared a repeat of violent scenes at the annual Moldova Pride solidarity march, which took place in the country's capital of Chisinau on May 19. Last year's march was marred by clashes between anti-LGBT Orthodox Christian protesters and the LGBT activists—with President Igar Dodon publicly criticizing the LGBT event.

The organizer of Lebanon's beleaguered gay pride week was briefly detained days into the celebrations and the rest of the festival's events cancelled, a London Free Press item noted. Hadi Damien told The Associated Press that he was held overnight over Beirut Pride week, allegedly following complaints from critics. Lebanon became the first Arab country to celebrate gay pride last year; some events were also cancelled last year but no one was arrested.

Through May 25, the Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ) Foundation, in partnership with IBM, is launching a two-week, five-country series of business workshops across Latin America to promote LGBT workplace inclusion, an HRC press release noted. The forums will bring together hundreds of corporate leaders and civil-society stakeholders to bolster greater LGBT inclusion in Colombia, Chile, Peru, Argentina and Mexico, building off the success of HRC's in-country programs in Mexico ( Equidad MX: Programa Global de Equidad Laboral ) and Chile ( Equidad CL: Programa Global de Equidad Laboral ).

In a message marking the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia ( IDAHOBIT ), a European human-rights commissioner has warned that governments must invest more in protecting LGBT rights, PinkNews noted. Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Dunja Mijatovic made the comments urging member states to do more in combating homophobia, biphobia and transphobia. In part, Mijatovic said, "Sadly, in many European countries daily violent incidents continue to prevent people from living freely and safely, only because of prejudices against their sexual orientation and gender identity."

Belarus has hit out at the British embassy in Minsk for flying a rainbow flag to mark an international day against anti-LGBT discrimination, PinkNews reported. As part of IDAHOBIT, the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia, the British Embassy in the Belarusian capital flew a rainbow flag, posting a video of it on its Instagram account. Later, the Belarusian Ministry of Internal Affairs released a statement condemning the British embassy's decision to fly a rainbow flag, saying it was "creating problems."

Israel won the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest, with singer Netta Barzilai besting 25 other nations in the final of the international singing competition, Metro Weekly noted. Barzilai's song "Toy" prevailed in the 63rd year of the contest, giving Israel its fourth win. The winning song—written and produced by gay composer Doron Medalie with his partner Stav Beger—was heralded for being a funky electronic dance track that included chicken dancing and clucking on a loop track.

In Greece, liberal Thessaloniki Mayor Yiannis Boutaris, 75, was attacked by about a dozen far-right protesters, who kicked him in the head and legs and beat him with bottles, The Washington Post noted. Eventually, the mayor's aides stepped in, ferrying the leader away from his attackers, and he was taken to a hospital and kept overnight for treatment. Among other accomplishments, Boutaris has offered LGBTQ-friendly policies and criticized the Greeks who want Macedonia to change its name.

Researchers using digital technology deciphered the writing on two pages of Anne Frank's diary that she had covered over with brown masking paper—and they discovered four risque jokes and a candid explanation of sex, contraception and prostitution, CBS News noted. Frank, age 13 at the time, wrote the two pages on Sept. 28, 1942—less than three months after she, her family and another Jewish family went into hiding from the Nazis in a secret annex behind a canal-side house in Amsterdam. Experts on her diary said the newly discovered text, when studied together with the rest of her diary, reveals more about Franke's development as a writer than it does about her interest in sex.

The Toronto music and arts festival North by Northeast ( NXNE ) will take place June 8-17—and there will be some eyebrow-raising acts. According to, NXNE is leaning into hip-hop this year with its headliners; controversial rapper Azealia Banks will play only her second Toronto show, and local favorite Jazz Cartier and New Orleans bounce pioneer Big Freedia will play as well. Some of the other scheduled acts will include Kamikaze Girls, Yungblood and U.S. Girls.

Asia Argento delivered a scathing speech about Harvey Weinstein and issued a warning to similar sexual predators during the closing ceremony at the Cannes Film Festival in France, Rolling Stone noted. "In 1997, I was raped by Harvey Weinstein here at Cannes," the actress said before presenting the Best Actress Award. "I was 21 years old. This festival was his hunting ground. I want to make a prediction: Harvey Weinstein will never be welcomed here ever again." After calling out Weinstein, Argento issued a similar warning to others in the film industry that have committed sexual misconduct.

Also in Cannes, actor Matt Dillon's latest movie, the Lars Von Trier-directed The House That Jack Built, premiered at the annual event—and prompted more than 100 audience members to flee the theater over the gruesome violence and disturbing subject matter, noted. "Gross. Pretentious. Vomitive. Torturous. Pathetic," wrote one attendee on Twitter. Entertainment reporter Roger Friedman described the serial killer thriller as a "vile movie" that "should not have been made." Despite the controversy, the film still received a prolonged standing ovation, according to Variety editor Ramin Setoodeh.

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