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WORLD Israel news, Egyptian activist dies, Spanish singer comes out
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2020-06-23

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In light of the coronavirus pandemic, organizers behind the four largest pride parades in Israel—Haifa, Jerusalem, Be'er Sheva and Tel Aviv-Yafo—jointly decided to postpone their prospective parades, hoping they will be able to take place later in the summer of 2020, a press release noted. However, Pride Month will still be marked in Tel Aviv via virtual and alternative celebrations, and the whole city is already filled with pride flags. In addition, the Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality announced that unmarried couples, including same-sex couples, will be registered as family units, which will make bureaucratic processes at the municipality—such as the enrolment of children in the city's educational institutions—easier.

Sara Hegazy—an Egyptian LGBT+-rights activist who was jailed and tortured for raising a Pride flag at a concert—died by suicide at age 30, PinkNews reported. After being freed from prison, Hegazy was granted asylum in Canada, but continued to suffer from PTSD and depression caused by her traumatic imprisonment. "To my siblings — I tried to find redemption and failed, forgive me," she wrote in a note. "To my friends — the experience [journey] was harsh and I am too weak to resist it, forgive me." She was honored with a candlelight vigil at the Egyptian embassy in London.

In the midst of Pride Month, Spanish singer Pablo Alboran took to social media to officially come out, Billboard reported. In a three-minute video posted to Instagram, the "Solamente Tu" singer came out as gay, reminding fans that he's always fought against every manifestation that prohibits or embarrasses any freedom or equality, from racism, sexism, xenophobia, homophobia and any other type of hatred. Alboran further emphasized that his public life will focus on his music career with the respect of his profession and fans. "Music is freedom, I want to feel as free as my songs," he said.

Romanian human-rights groups and universities condemned a blanket ban on gender-identity studies voted through by lawmakers, which they said would legitimize discrimination against the country's LGBT minority—and hundreds protested outside Romania's presidential palace after the ban was approved without public debate, Reuters reported. Parliament passed the amendment to the education law June 17, pushing Romania's sexual politics onto the same authoritarian track as neighboring Hungary and Poland. Romania decriminalized homosexuality in 2001, decades later than other parts of the European Union, and is one of the only European Union states that bans marriage and civil partnerships for same-sex couples.

In a press release, the Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ) Foundation condemned Polish President Andrzej Duda's upcoming visit to the White House ahead of the June 28 election in Poland. "President Andrzej Duda's visit to the White House on the eve of Poland's upcoming presidential election is a clear and unambiguous attempt to leverage Trump's anti-LGBTQ rhetoric in the Polish elections," said HRC President Alphonso David. "Rather than offering up effective solutions to the challenges facing Poland, especially during the global COVID-19 crisis, Duda is attempting to shore up his base by running on a virulently anti-LGBTQ platform."

The U.S. embassy in Seoul, South Korea, raised Black Lives Matter and LGBT+ Pride banners in solidarity with protesters and with the queer community—but quietly removed them just days later, PinkNews noted. The embassy mounted a rainbow flag at the beginning of Pride month and revealed the Black Lives Matter banner on Twitter on June 13—but just two days later, the Black Lives Matter banner was quietly removed and the Pride flag had also mysteriously disappeared. They were replaced a day later with a banner marking the 70th anniversary of the start of the Korean War.

YouTube yanked a homophobic Russian television commercial that uses stereotypes to denigrate LGBTQ+ families and marriage equality, Out.com noted. The commercial was produced in support of an upcoming public vote to approve a series of amendments to the country's constitution, including one defining marriage as only between a man and woman. The series of amendments also give Vladimir Putin a chance at another two terms as president.

A Brazilian tourist was slated to plead guilty to recording sex with his Australian lover and uploading it to a porn site without consent, The Daily Mail noted. Fabricio Da Silva Claudino, 31, allegedly filmed the consensual sex with his Sydney boyfriend in July 2019. Burwood Court heard that Da Silva Claudino intends to plead guilty to 11 charges of taking and distributing explicit images and video without consent. Da Silva Claudino has spent five months in Australia's Silverwater Correctional Complex and previously pleaded not guilty to the revenge-porn charges.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4, musical impresario Andrew Lloyd Webber announced plans to test measures in trial runs at The London Palladium in July, WhatsOnStage.com noted. Lloyd Webber said the trials will follow the example set in South Korea, where The Phantom of the Opera has continued to play for more than two months; he mentioned silver ion self-cleaning door handles and thermal imaging cameras. However, he added there'll be no social distancing "because it's impossible to do social distancing in the theater."

Movies about first love at an abandoned pool and love between Beijing opera performers will screen at an LGBT film festival in late June, a KhaosodEnglish.com item noted. Bangkok Screening Room will screen four films, two of them Thai, with LGBT themes to celebrate Pride Month on June 27-28. The Blue Hour ( 2015 ) features Tam, who meets Phum at an abandoned, eerie swimming pool—that Phum says is haunted. Also, Chen Kaige's legendary Farewell My Concubine ( 1993 ), starring the late Leslie Cheung, will screen; Cheung plays a Beijing opera performer who acts in feminine roles and is irrevocably drawn to a troupe member who plays masculine roles.

MasterChef Australia's Reece Hignell, who's openly gay, defended castmate Reynold Poernomo after a series of homophobic comments he made in 2014 resurfaced last month, News.com .au reported. Poernomo's past online comments included the chef remarking that gay people were "freaks" that should be "captured and put on an island." Hignell said, "I trust when Reynold says he is different now. I am friends with him and know him and I believe what he said when he apologized."

London nightlife mainstay Miss Jason is holding a designer sale to benefit the UKQTIBIPOC Hardship Fund, a UK-based grassroots organization fundraising for queer, trans and intersex people of color, Vogue.com noted. The sale features an array of second-hand designer pieces donated by members of Jason's community, including FKA Twigs, singer Neneh Cherry ( "Buffalo Stance" ) and music manager Grace Ladoja; also in the mix are vintage pieces from Jean-Paul Gaultier, Miu Miu and Alexander Wang, as well as more recent designs donated by the likes of Martine Rose, Xander Zhou and Ashish.


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