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WORLD Kenyan magazine, Russian anti-LGBT ruling, Brazilian films
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2019-10-08

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Pride Umbrella Kenya, a member organization of The Refugee Coalition of East Africa ( RefCEA ), announced the launch of QR Magazine, a press release noted. The first issue of this quarterly publication, The Transgender Issue, will focus on the trans refugee experience and is currently available online. The entirety of the contents of QR Magazine is conceived and written by LGBQTI refugees in East Africa. The current issue can be accessed on line at online.fliphtml5.com/mzbyy/osld/ and will be available in print at a future date TBD.

A Russian court ruled that two popular LGBT networking sites be blocked for disseminating "anti-family values"—including a major online group with nearly 200,000 members, IBTimes.com noted. One of the groups mentioned in the court decision is called the Russian LGBT Community, which has more than 187,000 members. The other group, LGBT Russia, is overseen by the NGO Russian LGBT Network.

Brazilian prosecutors have filed charges against citizenship minister Osmar Terra for suspending government funding for films—a move they said was motivated by discrimination against LGBT+ people, Reuters reported. Brazil's film agency ANCINE ( which Terra oversees ) halted approximately $17 million in grants in August that were set to fund about 80 films, four of which were about the LGBT community. Lawyers, artists and politicians are pushing back against what they describe as rising censorship of LGBT+ artistic expression under President Jair Bolsonaro, a self-proclaimed "proud" homophobe who came to power in January.

New sex education guidelines for schools in Ghana have been released and religious anti-LGBT+ activists in the country are calling them "satanic"—despite the fact that there is no LGBT content, PinkNews reported. The president of the Ghana Pentecostal and Charismatic Council called CSE "satanic" and said: "We don't hate gays but just like armed robbery and prostitution, their action is against the Bible and we don't want our children to be victims." None of the modules for any age group explicitly covers LGBT+ issues, and the two modules recommended for 4 and 5-year-olds are "what we believe in, how we interact" and "oral hygiene."

In Ecuador, LGBTQ+ rights activists Pamela Troya and Gabriela Correa are divorcing, El Telegrafo reported. They were among the first couples to wed after the approval of equal marriage by the Constitutional Court. In her Twitter account, Troya said that the issue of separation is something that only concerns her ex-spouse and her, adding that "finally #MatrimonioIgualitarioEC was achieved and that nobody can take it away."

At least 15 people in England have tested HIV-positive while waiting to get a place on a trial for pre-exposure prophylaxis ( PrEP ), which prevents the disease, the BBC reported. England is the only place in the UK where places on a trial to access the drug through the National Health Service are restricted. PrEP is freely available for high-risk patients in Scotland and the British HIV Association—which represents healthcare professionals involved in the treatment and care of people with HIV—is calling for the same in England.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics ( ABS ) has abandoned preparations to ask about sexual orientation and gender identity in the 2021 census, although a question whether people are male, female or non-binary is still under consideration, The Guardian reported. On Oct. 15, the ABS will test the census on 40,000 households in Wagga Wagga and south of Brisbane, including proposed new questions on non-binary sex, long-term health conditions and Australian defense force service. Equality Australia Chief Executive Anna Brown said, "It is disappointing that the ABS will not be collecting information about sexual orientation in the next census."

A conservative ally of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has called for discussion on revising Japan's constitution to allow same-sex marriage, Reuters reported. Former Education Minister Hakubun Shimomura recently floated the idea of adding same-sex marriage to a list of other potential constitutional changes. "It is important to proceed with debate without any taboo, including of the idea that a man can marry a man and a woman can marry a woman," NHK public TV quoted him as saying at a meeting of local LDP members. Japan has no anti-LGBT laws, although many LGBT people still conceal their sexuality.

A Macau resident was recently not allowed to marry his partner in Taiwan—as same-sex marriage is not recognized in the special administrative region—with Anthony Stephanos Lam, the head of local gay rights group Rainbow of Macau, saying there will be similar cases in the future, Macau Business reported. Same-sex marriage was legalized in Taiwan in May of this year, making it the first Asian jurisdiction to do so. However, marriage with Taiwanese nationals is not allowed to residents of jurisdictions that do not recognize same-sex marriage.

Mixed sex couples will be able to enter a civil partnership for the first time under new legislation introduced to the Scottish Parliament, Gov.scot reported. Social Security and Older People Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said, "Fundamentally, extending civil partnerships to mixed sex couples is about equality, fairness and choice. This bill means all couples will have the same choices if they decide they want to make a lasting commitment to each other through a legally recognized relationship. Just like same sex couples, mixed sex couples will be able to choose to enter into a civil partnership if they feel this is right for them."

A gay man has revealed that he underwent electric shock therapy while a student at Queen's University Belfast ( QUB ) in the 1960s in an attempt to "cure" his homosexuality, PinkNews reported. The man spoke anonymously to BBC Northern Ireland about his ordeal, saying he was shown pictures of naked men and was given electric shocks if he became aroused. Queen's University Belfast said in a statement that it regretted the use of such aversion therapy and said there is "no scientific support" for it.

In the Netherlands, a diverse group of queer activists came together recently to found a new initiative: Queers4ClimateNL, ILGA-Europe.org noted. The group said it is "dedicated to bring about system change in the way we deal with climate change, and to contribute to the climate movement regarding its queerness, intersectionality and inclusiveness."

In Doha, Qatar, U.S. heptathlete Erica Bougard said she wasn't trying to make an international political statement against Qatar's anti-LGBTQ policies at the IAAF World Athletics Championships, according to a Time magazine item. She has worn the shoes—with a rainbow flap across one foot to symbolize gay pride—all season. I'm not afraid of the consequences," Bougard said. "I feel like I'm well protected, adding that if anything does happen, "I'll be on the first flight out."

In Britain, actress Seyi Omooba has said she is planning to sue a theater and her former agents after she was fired from the play The Color Purple over a "homophobic" Facebook post, The Independent reported. In March, Omooba was given a starring role as Celie—whose relationship with another woman is a central part of the story—in a stage adaptation of Alice Walker's novel set to run in Birmingham and Leicester. She was then dropped by both the Curve theatre in Leicester and her agents, Global Artists, after Hamilton star Aaron Lee Lambert revealed a Facebook post Omooba had written in September 2014 that said, in part, "I do not believe you can be born gay, and I do not believe homosexual practice is right." Omooba denies that Celie is a lesbian character.

Queer As Folk creator Russell T. Davies announced the cast for Boys, his next series exploring British gay life, NewNowNext.com noted, citing Variety. Out Years & Years frontman Olly Alexander stars as 18-year-old Ritchie Tozer, one of three queer men starting new lives in London in the early 1980s. Ritchie will face the dawn of the AIDS epidemic alongside friends Roscoe and Colin, played by Omari Douglas and Callum Scott Howells, respectively. The cast of Boys also includes Neil Patrick Harris, Keeley Hawes, Stephen Fry, Tracy Ann Oberman, Shaun Dooley, Lydia West and Nathaniel Ash.

On Nov. 1, Grammy-nominated, UK electronic duo Underworld ( the single "Born Slippy" ) will be releasing Drift Series 1—an album composed of selections from their 52-week DRIFT multimedia project during which they released new music, text and video every Thursday for a year, a press release noted. Underworld just released "S T A R," the lead single from Drift Series 1. The duo will be heading out on tour spring 2020.

In Britain, Peccadillo Pictures was slated to present three LGBTQ features at this year's Iris LGBT+ Prize Festival in Cardiff, Wales, running Oct. 8-13, a press release noted. The releases included Israeli/German film Jonathan Agassi Saved My Life, the Swedish/Georgiam/ French feature And Then We Danced and the British movie Monsoon. More about the festival is at IrisPrize.org .

Singer Demi Lovato said she feels like a new woman following her spiritual trip to Israel, iHeart.com noted. On Oct. 1, the "Sorry Not Sorry" singer, honoring her Christian beliefs and Jewish roots, revealed on Instagram that she'd gotten baptized in the Jordan River. Lovato's spiritual trip happened more than a year after the musician overcame her struggles with sobriety following the near-fatal overdose she suffered in July 2017.


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