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WORLD Movie premiere, Argentina's president, jail sentences in Malaysia
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2019-11-12

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Ultra-nationalist protesters in the former Soviet republic of Georgia clashed with police as they attempted to derail the premiere of a critically acclaimed movie about gay love in the capital, Tbilisi, Reuters reported. Hundreds of demonstrators blocked the road outside a movie theater in the city center ahead of the first screening of And Then We Danced—which tells the story of young two male Georgian ballet dancers falling in love. Chanting "Long live Georgia" and "Shame," the protesters tried to force their way inside the cinema but where held back by riot police that cordoned off the premises.

Argentina's president-elect is "proud" of his son—a notable drag performer and cosplayer in the South American nation, Advocate.com noted. Alberto Fernandez praised Estanislao, also known by the name Dyhzy, in a June interview with Radio Con Vos via Ushuaia Noticias. "My son is a rights activist in that community. I would worry if my son was a criminal, but he is a great man," Fernandez said. "In that world, which I don't know much about, [he] seems to be respected and very recognized. I feel proud for my son."

Five men in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur have been sentenced to jail, fines and caning after they allegedly attempted to have gay sex in an apartment complex, LGBTQ Nation reported. An Islamic court in southwest state of Selangor handed four of the men six-month jail sentences, six cane strokes, and fines; a sixth man received a seven-month jail sentence, six cane strokes and a fine. Malaysia offers zero protections for its gay, lesbian, and bisexual citizens and same-sex sexual encounters there are punishable by up to 20 years in prison, fines and whippings.

With its hard line against Catalan separatism, immigration and feminism, far-right party Vox was the big winner of Spain's repeat general election on Nov. 10, surging into third place, The Times of Israel noted. The party won 52 seats—more than doubling the 24 it took during its April parliamentary debut. Vox has pledged to curtail gay pride parades, heaped ridicule on diversity lessons it wants to scrap in schools, and has even drawn parallels between homosexuality and bestiality, Reuters reported in May.

Protesters took to the streets of Panama City to protest constitutional reforms preliminarily approved by the legislature—one of which would amend the constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman, Human Rights Watch noted. ( Panama already excludes same-sex couples from marriage under Article 26 of its Family Code. ) However, on Nov. 8, President Laurentino Cortizo recommended that many of the controversial constitutional amendments be scrapped, including the one banning marriage equality. The National Assembly will revisit the constitutional reforms in the next legislative session in 2020.

Ben and Jordan—a same-sex couple from Sussex, England—claimed they were pulled from their car by the Yorkshire Child Protectors ( YCP ), a homophobic group of so-called "pedophile hunters" who broadcasted their vigilante justice via livestream to over 30,000 viewers on social media while using homophobic slurs against the men, LGBTQ Nation reported. However, the YCP targeted Jordan based on faulty information from another vigilante group that he was planning on teaching a child how to masturbate. The group has since apologized, but didn't livestream the apology. As such, the couple said they fear for their safety, especially since viewers of the YCP's original video have no idea that they are, in fact, not child pedophiles.

Twin 3-year-old boys were rejected by a day-care center because they have two fathers, LGBTQ Nation reported. Stefan and his husband Rosha tried to enroll their sons Rafael and Rahul in a playgroup in Lenzburg, Switzerland, but they were turned away because they are both men and a gay couple raising children is "neither normal nor natural." The daycare's director "said that children can be very mean, and that's why she didn't want to welcome the kids of a gay couple," Stefan told the Swiss newspaper 20 Minutes. Lenzberg Town Clerk Christoph Hofstetter said that the playgroup doesn't receive any public money and, therefore, doesn't have to accept the children.

Bahamas Christian Council ( BCC ) President Bishop Delton Fernander indicated the church has rallied its international partners as it prepares to take a stand against the Pride Bahamas 2020 activities, and march for so-called traditional family and Christian values, EWNews.com reported. Pride Bahamas Organizer Alexus D'Marco accused the BCC of misrepresenting the LGBTI community and said as the church praises undisturbed, the community will demonstrate its pride undisturbed.

Diana Ross will return to the United Kingdom in 2020 for a tour of "music, memories and career magic," Smooth Radio noted. Also, the iconic singer is set to perform in the most anticipated "Legend" spot at the 50th anniversary of Glastonbury on June 28 with her Diamond Diana Top of the World Tour. The June and July dates includes shows in Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Glasgow, Birmingham and London.

NBC News, in an opinion piece, noted that the latest season of the TV show Queer Eye is set in Japan—with mixed results. The second episode of the season features a Japanese gay man struggling to come out; however, telling a Japanese man to be "out" and "proud" came off, at best, as a culturally tone-deaf exercise, the outlet stated. Also, NBC News stated that Western culture is highly individualistic, and what pride and empowerment looks like for an American, say, often doesn't translate in places that are comparatively more collectivist, or where there is a larger emphasis on familial relations.

However, the movement to create safe environments for sexual minorities at universities is gaining traction across Japan, with alumni groups and faculty promoting initiatives to deepen understanding and provide support for the LGBT community, Japan Times reported. In September, Pride Bridge and Hitotsubashi University's Center for Gender Research and Social Sciences formally agreed to cooperate on creating an environment where sexual minorities can study without discrimination. Other universities are taking similar steps; for example, in 2017, the University of Tsukuba in Ibaraki Prefecture set a national precedent by publishing guidelines prohibiting discrimination against sexual minorities.

Russian prosecutors opened a criminal investigation into "sexual violence" after a YouTube video series published online showed children talking with members of the LGBT community, the Moscow Times reported. The move came six years after the Russian government banned "homosexual propaganda" aimed at minors. The videos—posted on the "Real Talk" YouTube channel in early September—featured children interviewing gay people, a gender impersonator and a former porn actress, according to Russian media reports. They have since been deleted.

Sphen and Magic—a gay penguin couple at the Sea Life Sydney Aquarium who hatched an egg last year—have been given a second egg by zookeepers with the hopes of adding to their fine feathered family, LGBTQ Nation noted. Zoo penguin supervisor Tish Hannan told 10Daily.com, "They have the neatest and largest nest in the colony and when we noticed that another couple were struggling to incubate two eggs at the same time, we made the decision to foster the second egg to the power couple of the colony."

Christopher Street West—the 501( c )3 non-profit that produces the annual LA Pride Festival and Parade—announced an official bid to host WorldPride in Los Angeles for 2025, a press release noted. WorldPride was founded by the non-profit LGBTQ+ rights organization InterPride, which meets annually in different cities around the world where its members select the host city at the annual general meeting. The inaugural WorldPride was held in Rome in 2000; other cities that have hosted the celebration include New York, Jerusalem, Madrid and more.

Australia's top women soccer players will now earn the same as their male counterparts after a landmark deal that aimed to close the gender pay gap between the country's national teams, CNN.com noted. The women's Westfield Matildas and the men's Caltex Socceroos will also share an equal split of all commercial revenues. Previously, the Socceroos earned a greater share of revenues generated by the team and were paid more to play.

Australian tennis icon Margaret Court has said she "loves" gay people, but doesn't believe in same-sex marriage, 7News.com .au reported. She also said her beliefs should not prevent her from being recognized for her achievements, as she is calling for Tennis Australia to celebrate the 50th anniversary of her 1970 Grand Slam wins next year.

Same-sex couple Jakob Fauerby and Silas Holst are making Danish TV history with their appearance together on Vild med Dans, the country's version of the Dancing With the Stars franchise, LGBTQ Nation noted. The pair is the first same-sex couple in the show's 16-year history, and have scored consistently high numbers.

The Australian electronic pop band Parralox, fronted by out singer John von Ahlen, has released its ninth album, Genesis, a press release noted. The band currently features vocalists Johanna Gervin and Louise Love as well as bass guitarist Ian Burden ( formerly of The Human League ). Genesis and its forthcoming first single, "Tears of Faith," featuring Jane Badler, are available on Apple Music, Amazon, Spotify, and all digital platforms.

Jungkook—one of the members of South Korean K-pop sensation BTS—was investigated recently over a traffic accident in Seoul that left the singer and a taxi driver with minor injuries, Page Six noted. BTS' agency, Big Hit Entertainment, released a statement on Monday indicating that Jungkook, 22, took responsibility for the accident and reached a settlement with the driver. Big Hit announced in August that BTS was on hiatus.


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