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WORLD Israel incident, Cayman marriage, singer comes out, Poland arrests
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2020-08-10

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The Israel Police arrested a 16-year-old from the central Israeli city of Lod on suspicion that he took part in a violent attack on two young gay men in the Jaffa Port, Haaretz reported. The suspect is being investigated for aggravated assault and committing a hate crime. The police said they had obtained "grim video evidence of the brawl, which was even disseminated on the internet."

Cayman Islands Gov. Martyn Roper will push through the Domestic Partnership Bill, which was defeated in the Legislative Assembly, rather than legislation giving full marriage equality for same-sex couples, Cayman News Service reported. Roper will be imposing the law through his Reserved Powers under section 81 of the Constitution and not by an order-in-council directly from the United Kingdom. The governor said it was a position he had not wanted to be in but he had no choice because he must uphold the law.

Darin Zanyar—the heartthrob who became the king of pop in Sweden at age 16—has come out as gay, PinkNews noted. In an Instagram post, the now-33-year-old, born in Sweden of Kurdish parents, told his 110,000 followers that he is "proud to be gay." Zanyar torpedoed to fame in Sweden after becoming the runner-up in the first season of Idol, a talent show, in 2004. He rose to become one of the country's best-selling artists, with seven number one albums. Zanyar's announcement sent ripples among Kurdistan's fledgeling queer community, with many praising the singer's bravery for coming out—especially just a day after Dutch-Kurdish singer Raaz came out as a member of the LGBTQ+ community.

In Poland, three people accused of hanging LGBT rainbow flags off statues in Warsaw have been arrested and charged, the BBC reported. Activists protesting the anti-LGBT policies of President Andrzej Duda hung the flags off statues of Jesus Christ, the astronomer Copernicus and the Warsaw mermaid. Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki denounced the activists, saying the statues symbolize values important to millions of Poles.

Also, police in Poland detained 48 people who were defending an LGBT+ activist in Warsaw on Aug. 7, DW.com reported. The activist was accused of hanging LGBT+ flags over statues in Warsaw and damaging a car. Crowds surrounded and climbed on a vehicle in the center of the capital to try to stop the activist from being driven away. Members of the anti-homophobia group "Stop Bzdurom" said they hung flags on statues of Jesus and other figures, Reuters news agency reported.

Abigail Sperber was set to be appointed to Tel Aviv's religious council—marking the first time a lesbian has sat on the council, The Jerusalem Post reported. Sperber, 47, is a mother of two and founder of the LGBT religious women's organization Bat Kol. Sperber said she intends to close the gap between religious and LGBT identities, and help LGBT people who, regardless of their level of observance, are still Jewish and have religious needs.

In Canada, a gay man filed a human-rights complaint with the United Nations over his country's blood-donation ban on queer men, PinkNews reported. Christoper Karas, 24, from Brampton, Ontario, complained in 2016 to the Canadian Human Rights Commission over the policy, which prevents gay and bisexual men from donating blood. Karas hopes that Canada will instead move to behavior-based screening, and said the currently policy is based on homophobic and transphobic notions about queer people and HIV.

Also in Canada, Redeemer University alumni said the school's policy of any sexual behavior that occurs outside a heterosexual marriage is discriminatory, CBC.ca noted. The school says the policy is part of the Reformed Christian tradition and does not discriminate. Before 2013, the school's standards of conduct didn't allow what it called "homosexual practice." Same-sex marriage became legal in Canada in 2005.

The 42nd Berlin Pride was mostly an online affair because of COVID-19, DW.com reported. A studio with a live stage was created at the House of Statistics in the centrally located Alexanderplatz in the German capital. Approximately 30 organizations and representatives of various LGBTQ+ groups participated under the motto "Don't hide your Pride!" In addition, Northern Ireland's Belfast Pride was mostly online this year as well, BelfastLive noted; events ranged from a lecture ( "Unapologetically fabulous: Fighting to thrive during a global crisis" ) to Pride Games Night to even kids' yoga.

A residential developer is creating a pioneering co-housing project for elderly LGBTQ+ people that will be the first of its kind in the United Kingdom, PinkNews noted. Builder L&Q and London Older Lesbian Co-housing ( LOLC ) are working on an alternative care home that will allow queer elders to live alongside their peers in an intentional community, created and run by its residents. The facility would consist of separate apartments in the same building complex with communal spaces including a garden, dining room and kitchen. Although the project is still in its early stages, it's already backed by the Build London Partnership, the Greater London Authority and the Community-Led Housing Hub, and there are hopes to partner with a small housing association to fund and manage the homes.

In Switzerland, Zurich is gearing up to open apartments and nursing homes for LGBTQI elderly people by 2025, Swissinfo.ch reported. The pioneering project spans 20 apartments with 1.5 to 3.5 rooms and three medical housing units. The project is part of the "Old Age Strategy 2035" of the municipality of Zurich and was conceived with the participation of LBGT organization QueerAltern, which focuses on the elderly.

Austria issued its first intersex birth certificate after a four-year battle, as a growing number of countries offer identity documents with options other than male and female, Reuters reported. A growing number of U.S. states, as well as countries including Germany, Pakistan and Nepal, now allow people to choose a third sex option on official documents, with most opting for the letter "X". India has "T" for transgender.

Scotland will be the first to integrate LGBTQ+ education into student curriculum in all public schools, according to an Out.com item that cites Edinburgh Live. The decision was heavily influenced by the recommendations of Time for Inclusive Education ( TIE ), which has been lobbying the government for several year. The country legalized same-sex marriage in 2014, and same-sex civil partnerships have been legal since 2005.

Canadian actor Brent Carver—a stage and screen actor who won the 1993 Tony Award for his performance as the gay window dresser in Broadway's The Kiss of the Spider Woman—died in British Columbia at age 68, Deadline noted. Chita Rivera, Carver's Kiss of the Spider Woman co-star who also won a Tony that year, said, "My heart is broken at the loss of my great friend and amazing artist, Brent Carver. I shall miss him more than I can say." Other Broadway roles included Edgar in Lincoln Center Theater's 2004 production of King Lear, and as Friar Laurence in 2013's Romeo and Juliet, starring Orlando Bloom and Condola Rashad.

The Old Vic's virtual world premiere of Three Kings has been delayed again due to star Andrew Scott's continued recovery from a minor surgical procedure, Playbill noted. Scott's medical issue is not serious or COVID-19-related, according to theater organizers, and new dates will be confirmed soon. The play will be streamed live directly from the stage as part of the London theatre's Old Vic: In Camera programming.


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