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WORLD Marriage news, Oscar Wilde, Ugandan activist dies, Iris Prize
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2019-10-22

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People of the same sex are now allowed to get married in Northern Ireland, the BBC reported. It's been legal in England, Wales and Scotland since 2014; now the rules have changed for Northern Ireland, too. The first same-sex weddings in the country will take place in February 2020. Northern Ireland has also legalized abortion, NewNowNext.com noted.

A Hong Kong court turned down the city's first judicial challenge for same-sex marriage and civil union partnerships, but urged the government to "undertake a comprehensive review" to save time and money from court actions arising from discrimination, The South China Morning Post reported. Court of First Instance's Mr Justice Anderson Chow Ka-ming ruled against a lesbian ( known as "MK" ) who complained that the government's failure to provide the options of marriage or civil union partnerships had violated her constitutional rights.

The Victorian jail where gay playwright Oscar Wilde served most of his two-year sentence for "gross indecency" is for sale, Euronews noted. The move drew criticism from campaigners who had hoped to turn Reading jail—just west of London—into an arts center to honour the Irish writer's legacy. "It's a hugely significant space," said Joseph Galliano, CEO and co-founder of Queer Britain, the national LGBTQ+ museum.

Ugandan LGBTQ activist Brian Wasswa died Oct. 5—one day after the 28-year-old was attacked at home amid rising tensions in the east African nation over its beleaguered LGBTQ community, NBC News reported. Sexual Minorities Uganda, a local advocacy group, said Wasswa's death was the fourth LGBTQ-related murder there in three months. Uganda is highly conservative and a dangerous place to be openly gay. In 2010, the local tabloid The Rolling Stone published a list of "top homos" and, soon after, activist David Kato was killed.

Award-winning writer/producer Russell T Davies ( Queer As Folk ) gave an exclusive interview during his recent visit to the Iris Prize LGBT+ Film Festival in Cardiff, Wales, a media release stated. In part, Davies said, "I think the world is changing now, and it's becoming a much more scary place. It's becoming the sort of world where we have to fight for our rights. I thought all that was over 10 years ago. It turns out there was just a little lull, and now we need to defend ourselves and speak for our rights more than ever." Davies was attending the festival in Cardiff to present the Iris Prize to Black Hat, directed by U.S. director Sarah Smith, and which tells the story of a closeted Hasidic Jewish man living in Los Angeles.

Five men have been arrested in Pakistan after a transgender person was allegedly tortured and raped at gunpoint on the night of Sept. 20, PinkNews reported. According to local news outlet Dawn, a district police officer had to order a first information report because the Harappa police were reluctant to listen to the victim. The victim, identified only as 'S," was the leader of a group of four transgender people who were booked for a show at a village festival.

GLAAD partnered with the United Nations ( UN ) to fight bullying based on sexual orientation and gender identity, The Washington Blade reported. The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and its Free and Equal campaign worked with GLAAD to create a "Purple the World" video that is available in English, Spanish, French, Chinese, Arabic, Russian and Portuguese. The video debuted Oct. 16—a day before GLAAD's Spirit Day that has taken place on the third Thursday of October since 2010. The Free and Equal campaign has also created a Spirit Day tab at UNFE.org/spiritday/.

Registration is now open for the HIV2020 conference, which will take place July 5-7, 2020, in Mexico City, Mexico, a press release noted. The event will focus on a diverse range of topics, including community-led responses to HIV, universal health coverage, decriminalization and much more. Also, there are scholarships available to help some people attend. See HIV2020.org .

Chick-fil-A will cease trading at its first UK outlet amid a controversy over donations to anti-LGBT groups, BBC.com reported. Gay rights campaigners called for a boycott of Chick-fil-A, which opened its first branch at The Oracle shopping center in Reading on Oct. 10. In 2012, Chick-fil-A's chairman sparked a U.S. boycott when he said he opposed same-sex marriage.

In Scotland, gay and bisexual men convicted under discriminatory laws which have now been abolished are to receive automatic pardons, the BBC reported. Same-sex activity between men was illegal in Scotland until laws banning those relations were repealed in 1980. However, the convictions of those convicted of offences before then were retained on official records; they can now apply to have them removed under a "disregards" scheme.

The mayor of El Salvador's capital, San Salvador, talked about marriage equality in his country during a visit to D.C., The Washington Blade noted. El Tiempo Latino, a Spanish-language newspaper in D.C., asked Ernesto Muyshondt about the issue. Muyshondt said he is not reluctant to talk about it within his Republican Nationalist Alliance ( ARENA ) party, and called out ultra-conservatives and other ARENA members who do not want to support the issue—especially given they put it and abortion on the same line with the LGBTI community's rights, he said.

An openly gay Saudi man claimed on Twitter that he was arrested for wearing shorts at a beach in the ultra-conservative Islamic country, The Jerusalem Post reported. Suhail al-Jameel wrote to his more than 171,000 Twitter followers that authorities charged him with sharing nudity online."The police [have changed] my charges to electronic crimes, taking photos of nudity," he wrote, adding, "How am I nude if I am wearing shorts on a hot beach?" Jameel posted a photo of him wearing leopard-print shorts Oct. 6.

In Jamaica, Montego Bay Mayor Homer Davis will be challenging a Supreme Court ruling that granted the LGBT-rights group Montego Bay Pride an interim order that allows them to rent the Montego Bay Cultural Centre for an upcoming event, The Jamaica Gleaner noted. "We have instructed our attorney to file an appeal," Davis said in response to the Supreme Court ruling, which Montego Bay Pride has hailed as a victory for their cause.

In the United Kingdom, a man who arranged to meet a date on Grindr was ambushed by hammer wielding teens in a suspected premeditated homophobic attack, Metro reported. Marc Power, from Dublin, was lured to the assault by what he believes to have been a fake profile on the gay dating app Grindr. Power, who is in his early 50s, said he believed the teens were trying to murder him.

A U.S. preacher known for his hateful stance against LGBTQI people has been refused entry to New Zealand on character grounds, TVNZ reported. Steven Anderson of the Faithful Word Baptist Church announced on his YouTube channel that New Zealand had become the 34th country worldwide to refuse him entry. Anderson said he had planned to spread his views in Auckland and Christchurch while in New Zealand.

The International LGBTQ+ Travel Association ( IGLTA ) recently signed another two-year organizational partnership with the Pacific Asia Travel Association ( PATA ) in its ongoing efforts to strengthen ties to the Asia Pacific region, a press release noted. "PATA has been a great strategic partner," said IGLTA President/CEO John Tanzella. "IGLTA2020 will be the fourth time they have collaborated with us to bring a young tourism professional to our Annual Global Convention, and they also help us to spread our message of inclusive travel within the Asia Pacific region." Previous recipients of the PATA-IGLTA convention fellowship came from China, Hong Kong and Nepal.

Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, opened up about being a newlywed and first-time mother amidst media scrutiny in an interview with ITV News at Ten anchor Tom Bradby, Variety noted. "Any woman, especially when they're pregnant, you're really vulnerable, so that was made really challenging," the duchess said at one point. "When you have a newborn, you know. Especially as a woman, it's a lot. You add this on top of being a new mom and trying to be a newlywed." Markle, along with her husband, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, were interviewed for the new documentary, Harry & Meghan: An African Journey.

Elton John has seen Disney's remake of The Lion King, and now he's calling the film a "huge disappointment," CBS News related. The singer-songwriter, who composed the songs for the original 1994 score, said that he is not happy with the new soundtrack. Over the summer, the new film—which stars Beyonce, Donald Glover and James Earl Jones, among others—surpassed Frozen as the highest-grossing animated film of all time, earning more than $1.6 billion globally. John told British GQ, "Music was so much a part of the original and the music in the current film didn't have the same impact. The magic and joy were lost."

A Russian man who claims an iPhone app turned him gay has dropped his lawsuit against Apple, NewNowNext.com noted, citing The Daily Mail. Attorney Sapizhat Gusnieva told reporters at the first hearing that her client, identified as D.E. Razumilov, "no longer wants to continue with the case." NewNowNext previously reported that the iPhone user claimed he received a cryptocurrency called "GayCoin" with the message "Don't judge without trying." He subsequently broke up with his girlfriend and started a relationship with a man.

Sophia Kokosalaki, the London-based Greek designer, died at 47, The Guardian reported. Kokosalaki was known for her talent for drapery and clothes that had a female-friendly glamour. They were worn on the red carpet by Chloe Sevigny, Kirsten Dunst and Jennifer Connelly.


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