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WORLD Police entrapment, Belgian secretary, Japanese hotel
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times

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Police in Kyrgyzstan are using false nicknames on LGBT dating apps to entrap gay and bisexual men, PinkNews reported. Nazik, an advocate for LGBT+ rights in Kyrgzstan, said she's has been "beaten with a bottle" because she is a lesbian; she added, "When we called the police asking to protect us, they acted very unprofessionally and expressed their homophobic views." Strongly influenced by Russian politics, Kyrgyzstan is an increasingly hostile environment when it comes to LGBT+ rights. The Kyrgyz government even "copied Russian legislation" to draft a bill on "gay propaganda."

Belgian Secretary of State for Asylum, Migration and Administrative Simplification Theo Francken has posted some homophobic and transphobic comments on his Facebook page, according to Gay Star News. The secretary, part of the Flemish nationalist party N-VA, recently commented, "Men who wear makeup, who pluck eyebrows, wear lingerie, wear a bag, become pregnant… Is the world turning or is it just me?' He also said he is not against LGBTI rights. The president of the Flemish greens, Meyrem Almaci, has asked Prime Minister Charles Michel to reprimand Francken.

In Japan, while accommodation options are numerous, one international hotel in the Tokyo area is set to tap into the LGBT community by offering a special accommodation package, Asian Correspondent reported. Located in the skyscraper district of Shinjuku in Tokyo, Japan, the Keio Plaza Hotel Tokyo said the package includes access to its 45th floor Premier Grand Club Lounge for the LGBT community. Also, the hotel will also be offering a 10-percent discount on a special "Gay Area Night Tour" of the Shinjuku 2-Chome LGBT area provided by Out Asia Travel, which offers a variety of tour packages in Asia for LGBT tourists.

Also, in Japan, activists have submitted a petition with more than 25,000 signatures to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's party, demanding that lawmaker Mio Sugita apologize for saying that sexual minorities are unproductive and don't deserve public support, a item noted. Sugita said in a right-wing magazine in July that the government shouldn't use tax money for LGBT rights because same-sex couples don't produce children and have "no productivity."

India's Manvendra Singh Gohil, who is believed to be the first openly gay prince in the world, has pioneered an LGBT+ module at Karnavati University in the western state of Gujarat, according to PinkNews. The course is reportedly the first module to focus on LGBT+ issues at a university in South Asia, according to The Times of India. All students aiming for a degree in law and liberal studies will be required to take the module, called "Proclivity of Gender: Socio-legal approach to LGBTQ Community."

Kim Davis—the infamous Kentucky clerk who refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples and was ultimately arrested for ignoring a court order on the matter—had a secret private audience with Pope Francis on Sept. 23, 2015, and now details are being revealed about that meeting, LGBTQ Nation noted. "What is certain is that the Pope knew very well who Davis was [despite what Vatican officials told news outlets], and he and his close collaborators had approved the private audience," Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, a Vatican ambassador from 2011-2016, has now claimed in a three-page letter that has gone viral.

Marcos Cruz Santana—a 40-year-old social activist and leader of the LGBT community in the northeastern city of Itororo, Bahia, Brazil—was murdered, with his genitals mutilated, noted. Cruz Santana was the president of the Association of Partner Movements and Friends of Health and Human Rights of Gender Minorities. Referred to as "Marquinhos Tigrezza," according to Pragmatismo Politico, he was also responsible for organizing the annual LGBT Parade in Itororo. Marcelo Cerqueira, president of the Gay Group of Bahia, said the murder "is the most concrete expression of homophobia" due to its butchering cruelty, which is typical of such crimes in Brazil.

An Australian YouTuber has spoken out about an alleged sexual assault at Sitges Bears Week in 2017, saying his abusers left him feeling "so violated," "physically sick" and "humiliated," PinkNews noted. Brad Guy uploaded a video to YouTube, explaining that he had gone to the gay bear festival with two friends, a couple, in the Spanish coastal town of Sitges. Guy said a man pulled down his pants, while other men assaulted him. He added, "Don't f***ing touch me. Don't ever f***ing touch me, unless I invite you to."

The executive board of Grindr's parent company has approved an initial public offering ( IPO ) for the popular gay dating app on international stock exchanges, noted, citing BBC News. The app, which was acquired in full by Chinese mobile gaming company Kunlun Group in 2017, will offer shares overseas pending approval from Kunlun's shareholder board. Founded by Joel Simkhai in 2009 and currently headquartered in Los Angeles, Grindr has approximately 3 million daily users and remains one of the most popular gay dating apps in the world.

Myanmar last month opened what could well be the country's first LGBTI cafe, named My Place, Gay Star News noted. Actress Khine Hnin Wai and partner Junior Dennis set up the cafe in the country's commercial hub, Yangon. Same-sex relations are illegal in Myanmar under article 377 of the colonial-era penal code, although it is rarely enforced. LGBTI people in Myanmar do, however, face widespread stigma and discrimination.

In Canada, a controversial billboard with messages such as "God says no to homosexuality and abortion" that was erected in a southwestern Ontario community has been taken down, The Province reported. The billboard—located at a rural intersection about 20 kilometers north of Chatham, Ontariio—appeared just days after the community's pride week took place. Marianne Willson, e president of the Chatham-Kent Gay Pride Association, said the billboard triggered an immediate response among residents of the community who wanted it taken down.

In honor of the groundbreaking series Queer As Folk's upcoming 20th anniversary, the original show's soundtrack is being turned into a live concert experience in Manchester, England, where the show was set, noted. Still Doin' It Live! will be performed Feb. 22, 2019, at Manchester's Albert Hall and will star the Manchester Camerata and feature special guests like Faye Tozer, from STEPS, and Hannah Jones, who covered "I Am What I Am" on the series soundtrack. The live show is named after "Doin' It"—the club track off the compilation that featured some of Nathan's ( Charlie Hunnam ) most iconic lines from the series. said Bangkok and Phuket are the top two destinations in Southeast Asia for LGBT Chinese looking for condos to live in because such buyers feel comfortable in these cities, The Bangkok Post reported. The website's chief executive, Carrie Law, said mainland LGBT Chinese purchasers probably account for 5-8 percent of total inquiries in Bangkok.

White—one of Australia's most popular bridal magazines—is coming under fire for allegedly refusing to publish same-sex content, Gay Star News noted. Some of White's contributors ( including lesbian photographer Lara Hotz ) have gone public, saying they tried to submit same-sex content to the bridal magazine but editors ignored them. Its editor even told one photographer, "We aren't sharing Same Sex ( sic ) weddings at this point."

Brazil's oldest and most important historical and scientific museum has been consumed by fire, and muchof its archive is believed to have been destroyed, The Guardian noted. The fire at Rio de Janeiro's 200-year-old National Museum began after it closed to the public on Sunday and raged into the night. There were no reports of injuries, but the loss to Brazilian science, history and culture was incalculable, two of its vice-directors said.

Lady Gaga's world premiere of A Star Is Born took the Venice Film Festival by storm, literally, Page Six noted. About halfway through the screening of Bradley Cooper's music drama at the Sala Grande, the theater was apparently struck by lightning, which blew out the projector bulb, according to sources close to the producers. The delay lasted about 15 minutes, after which the power was restored and the film began again.

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