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WORLD Israel's lawmakers, Poland, Pride flag, Global Pride grants
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2020-07-21

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Israel swore in its latest openly gay lawmaker recently—marking a record for the country considered a regional pioneer on LGBT rights despite opposition from religious conservatives, VOA News reported. Yorai Lahav Hertzanu ( from the centrist Blue and White alliance ) became the latest politician to join the 120-seat Knesset, bringing to six the number of openly gay lawmakers.

Poland's incumbent anti-LGBTQ President Andrzej Duda narrowly beat challenger Rafal Trzaskowski in the country's recent presidential election, the BBC reported. The National Electoral Commission said Mr Duda had won 51.2 percent of the votes—Poland's slimmest presidential election victory since the end of communism in 1989. Duda is a social conservative allied with the government led by the nationalist Law and Justice ( PiS ) party, while Trzaskowski is the socially liberal mayor of Warsaw.

Also in Poland, an administrative court in Gliwice annulled the resolution of the Istebna Commune Council contested by a Polish ombudsman last September regarding the suppression of "LGBT ideology" by the local government, WBJ.pl reported. Pursuant to the resolution, an "LGBT-free zone" was established in the commune. The court found that by adopting such a resolution, the commune council exceeded its powers and adopted it in violation of the law.

Despite platitudes welcoming dialogue, the president of Pride London said police gave the organization no advance notice of its response to a request that the Pride flag not be raised at police headquarters this year, GlobalNews.ca reported. In a letter made public on July 13 but dated July 10, the Pride London team requested—in a move meant to demonstrate solidarity with Black Lives Matter London—that police refrain from raising the Pride flag this year. However, the London Police Service and London Police Services Board issued a joint statement confirming the Pride flag would still be raised at police headquarters.

Through sponsorship and public donations, Global Pride raised more than $100,000 to be granted to Pride organizations worldwide, an InterPride Communications newsletter noted. Grants will be distributed to Pride groups that are in financial distress due to COVID-19 ( maximum grant: $1,000 ) as well as organizations that support projects that empower LGBTQI+ communities or Pride events in underserved communities or regions ( maximum grant: $1,000 ), and Pride groups with specific work that promotes change to end generations of inequities, racism, injustice and systemic oppression ( grants: $1,000 to $10,000 ). Applications end Saturday, Aug. 15; visit GlobalPride2020.org/apply.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced visa restrictions on the head of the Chechen Republic and his family, citing human-rights abuses that are getting worse amid the coronavirus pandemic, The Hill reported. The restrictions will bar entry to the U.S. for Ramzan Kadyrov, head of the Chechen Republic of the Russian Federation and a key ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin. In 2018, an independent investigator with the Organization for Security Cooperation in Europe said that the Chechen Republic, under Kadyrov's leadership, was operating under a "climate of impunity" where political opponents, journalists, LGBTQ individuals and more were targeted for harassment and persecution, torture, enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings.

Edward Enninful, the Black gay editor-in-chief of British Vogue, said he was "racially profiled" by a security guard at his job who told him to use "the loading bay," LGBTQ Nation noted. Enninful said, "Just because our timelines and weekends are returning to normal, we cannot let the world return to how it was. Change needs to happen now," according to The Guardian. In an Instagram post to his 1 million followers, he said: "It just goes to show that sometimes it doesn't matter what you've achieved in the course of your life: the first thing that some people will judge you on is the colour of your skin."

In late June, three gay men died in a terror attack in the United Kingdom, Advocate.com noted. Friends James Furlong, 36, Joe Ritchie-Bernett, 39, and David Wails were stabbed to death in Forbury Gardens in Reading, a town in Berkshire County 40 miles outside of London. The Thames Valley Police, which oversees Reading, arrested Khairi Saadallah for the crime; the 25-year-old, initially charged with murder, was rearrested under the U.K.'s Terrorism Act 2000.

On July 9, the Sudan's Sovereign Council approved new laws, and passed a package of amendments to the existing ones—including the removal of the death penalty and flogging for sodomy, a Bedayaa Organization release stated. The council also voided ( among other things ) articles that undermine the human dignity of women; this includes criminalizing female genital mutilation, and recognizing women's right to accompany their children while traveling outside Sudan without requiring the permission of their fathers.

Netflix canceled filming on its latest Turkish original, If Only, amid pressure from local authorities to remove a gay character from the series, Deadline reported. The eight-part relationship drama was announced in March and was set to be made by Turkish production outfit Ay Yapim, with screen star Özge Özpirinçci leading the cast. But Netflix has scrapped the plans after producers were refused a filming license because of the existence of a gay character.

International Gay Rugby ( IGR ) directly addressed the transgender and non-binary rugby-playing community with the message "You will always be welcometo play rugby' following reports that ongoing work to update World Rugby guidelines would exclude transgender women from the game, an organizational press release noted. The release also said, "Following a meeting of stakeholders from across the sporting world in February 2020, attended by IGR, a first draft of revised guidelines for transgender athletes in rugbyhas been circulated to National Unions for feedback. This draft was supposed to remain confidential; however, it has been leaked to a news outlet known for its hostility to [trans] athletes by an unknown source." According to an email from IGR, "The Guardian has recently published an article regarding the World Rugby consultation of proposed guidelines for the future of transgender rugby players."

A new video clip from Assassin's Creed Valhalla shows that Ubisoft—the France-based video-game company that produces Assassin's Creed, Tom Clancy and Prince of Persia—gave players a same-sex scene between two male viking characters: Eivor, the lead character who can be played as either male or female, and a side character named Broder, Out.com noted. At one point, Eivor says, "A good plough-sword is a rare thing. Lead the way." In a recent interview with IGN News Live, game host/writer Youssef Maguid explained that "there are multiple people you can romance in the game, and you can romance all of them as either gender." According to Ubisoft's website, the game is slated to be released Tuesday, Nov. 17.

Out actor Andrew Scott ( possibly best known as Moriarty on the TV series Sherlock ) will star in a new play streamed live from an empty Old Vic auditorium in London, WhatsOnStage.com noted. Entitled Three Kings, the performance of Stephen Breresford's piece is directed by Matthew Warchus and will be presented five times July 29-Aug. 1. The play follows Patrick, a man who reflects on the role of his father in shaping his life following eight years of absence.

Madonna said the Russian government fined her for a speech she made supporting LGBTQ rights at a concert in St. Petersburg eight years ago, NBC News noted. The singer posted a clip of her speech on Instagram and Twitter, alleging that she never paid the $1 million penalty for her words. Madonna told the audience that they had the power to make a difference through love, according to the video. Tour dates from Madonna's "MDNA" world tour did show her scheduled to perform in St. Petersburg on Aug. 8, 2012.

Former Miss World Aishwarya Rai Bachchan has been hospitalized in India with COVID-19 along with her 8-year-old daughter, The New York Post noted. The Bollywood superstar's entire family is now in Mumbai's Nanavati Hospital. Recently, it was announced her husband Abhishek Bachchan and father-in-law Amitabh Bachchan, also famous actors, had been hospitalized.

The Duke of York was nowhere in sight for his Princess Beatrice's wedding, Page Six noted. Grandparents Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip were on hand for the socially distanced ceremony in Berkshire, but the Daily Mail reported Bea's father was nowhere in sight as accusations continue to swirl over his repeated past visits to his pedophile pal Jeffrey Epstein's now-infamous Little Saint James Island in the Caribbean. Beatrice, 31, who wedded businessman Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi, 37, wore an heirloom, diamond fringe tiara for her big day—the same topper Elizabeth wore at her wedding in 1947.


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