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WORLD Lyra McKee, controversial billboard, George Clooney, Chilean school
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2019-05-22

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The detective leading the investigation into the murder of LGBT journalist Lyra McKee in Londonderry has called on the gunman to hand himself in to police, BBC.com reported. McKee, 29, was shot while observing rioting in Northern Ireland. Also, McKee's partner, Sara Canning, has challenged British Prime Minister Theresa May's government to ignore the objections of the Democratic Unionist Party and impose marriage equality on the region, The Guardian noted. Canning told several thousand demonstrators at Belfast City Hall that equal marriage was "not an Orange and Green issue" and that its implementation in the region should not be seen as a victory for one community over another.

Anti-Brexit campaigners said they will take down a billboard that featured a homophobic quote, according to Gay Star News. Led By Donkeys put up a billboard in Christchurch, Dorset, featuring a quote by former MP Ann Widdecombe, who currently running to be a Member of the European Parliament for the conservative Brexit Party: "Homosexual acts are wrongful." However, after a backlash from members of the LGBTI community, the group have issued and apology and promised to take it down.

Oscar-winning actor George Clooney was criticized by LGBT+ activists after he called a boycott of luxury hotels owned by Brunei a "warning shot" to Indonesia and Malaysia should they consider introducing similar anti-gay laws, Yahoo! News reported. "I call on George Clooney and Hollywood to listen and work together with local activists and human-rights defenders on the ground," Numan Afifi, president of the LGBT+ advocacy PELANGI Campaign in Malaysia, said to the Thomson Reuters Foundation. "Local activists have been putting their lives at risk on the ground working, for years," Afifi said. "His statement, while well-meaning, might also be counterproductive for our case."

For more than a year, Chile's Amaranta School has been helping trans children to escape bullying and discrimination suffered at mainstream schools, PinkNews noted, citing BBC.com . The school, which is believed to be the first school predominantly for transgender children, opened in 2017 with just five students and now has 38 pupils aged 6 to 17. The school is named after Mexican transgender politician Amaranta Gomez Regalado.

A British doctor providing care for trans patients has been suspended, Gay Star News noted. The General Medical Council ( GMC ) has suspended Dr. Mike Webberley, the sole provider of care for 1,600 transgender patients. Webberley's wife, Dr. Helen Webberley, was fined in 2018 for failing to register her trans health online services with a health regulator in Wales. He is the fourth UK gender-affirming doctor to be subject to GMC restrictions.

One of the United Kingdom's leading LGBTI human-rights charities has appointed Phyll Opoku-Gyimah as executive director, Gay Star News noted. Kaleidoscope Trust's previous executive director, Paul Dillane, announced his departure from the charity last month. Opoku-Gyimah—widely known as Lady Phyll—is hoping to bring dynamism and diversity to her role, she told Gay Star News.

A few hours after the polls opened in Spain's recent general election, the far-right Vox party attempted to recruit author J.R.R. Tolkien fighter Aragorn to its cause, tweeting a photo of the character fighting several enemies—including a small, rainbow-hued ghost intended to represent LGBTQ people, The Guardian noted. Twitter users pointed out that Viggo Mortensen, who starred as Aragorn, is a member of the pro-independence Catalan group Omnium Cultural, and that Gandalf was played by out actor Sir Ian McKellen—one of the founding members of Stonewall, Britain's biggest LGBT charity. However, the ghost, known as "Gaysper"—a combination of gay and Casper—has been adopted as an LGBT mascot and now has its own Twitter account and more than 5,000 followers.

After the premiere screening of the Elton John movie Rocketman wrapped at France's Cannes Film Festival, lead actor Taron Egerton was spotted in the audience crying as viewers rose from their chairs to give the actor a massive standing ovation, IndieWire noted. Asked about his reaction at a press conference, Egerton said, "I got a bit emotional. It was one of the best days of my life. ... The response has been so wonderful. For me, personally, thank you so much to everyone that said nice things. You've made a young man from Aberystwyth incredibly happy. You've made a 72-year-old rock star [John] even more happy." Paramount is leading the way as the first major studio to depict gay male sex onscreen with Rocketman, The Hollywood Reporter stated.

India's fastest female sprinter, Dutee Chand, has revealed that she is in a same-sex relationship with her "soulmate"—a girl from her hometown of Chaka Gopalpur in Orissa, TheQuint.com noted, citing The Indian Express. This is the first time that an Indian sports star has publicly admitted to being in a same-sex relationship. Chand holds the 100-meter national record, and won two silver medals at the 2018 Asian Games.

A Mexican singer known as the "Frank Sinatra of ranchera music" said he refused a liver transplant in 2012 because he feared the donor could be gay or a drug addict, according to a Boston25News.com item that cites WOAI. Vicente Fernandez, 79, made his comments during an interview with De Primera Mano, a Spanish-language television station. Fernandez later had a procedure done to remove the cancerous tumor on his liver in Chile, the San Antonio Current reported. In an interview with El Universal, transplant surgeon Mario Antonio Cardona called Fernandez's statements "an abomination" and irresponsible.

Actor and singer Tosh Zhang will step down as Pink Dot 2019 ambassador following a Twitter controversy, Gay Star News noted. After the appointment, Zhang's old homophobic and sexist tweets—dating back to 2010 until 2013—resurfaced. A visibly emotional Zhang explained he doesn't want to be a "distraction" for the June 29 Singapore event, saying it should focus on the love and LGBTI community.

For the first time in its history, Univision will launch a prime-time telenovela with two male stars as the lead power couple, WeAreMitu.com noted. The new show will be in Spanish and is called El Corazon Nunca Se Equivoca ( The Heart is Never Wrong ), and it's a spinoff of the Mexican telenovela Mi Marido Tiene Mas Familia ( My Husband Has More Family ). Viewers will follow the love story of Cuauhtemoc ( JoaquÃn Bondoni ) and Aristoteles ( Emilio Osorio ), the popular couple from "Mi Marido." No official air date has yet been stated.

Singer Estelle broke out with her hit "American Boy" featuring Kanye West back in 2008—but the London-based signer said she didn't need West to become a star, Page Six noted. "I knew people would love [the song] because we loved it. Ninety-year-olds loved it and 44-year-olds loved it and 20-year-olds loved it," she said at a party for her appearance on the cover of Resident magazine's entertainment issue. "With or without Kanye, I was confident."


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