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WORLD Singapore ruling, athlete comes out, Canadian gym owner, UK Black Pride
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2020-03-31

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Singapore's highest court upheld a law that criminalizes sex between men, dismissing three separate appeals that argued that the legislation was unconstitutional, Reuters reported. The ruling came after challenges last year to the colonial-era gay sex law 377A—an issue in the socially conservative city-state. The law does not apply to lesbians.

Denis Finnegan, a 10-time national track-and-field title winner ( in the triple jump ) in Ireland, came out as gay on the Five Rings To Rule Them All podcast, The Washington Blade noted. For younger people it will hopefully give them more confidence in what they're doing," Finnegan, 33, said. "There are still people who are scared or unsure of what's happening, so I hope just telling my story might help one person notice there's more acceptance out there."

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, a gay personal trainer and LGBTQ health advocate who runs his own workout studio in Toronto penned an open letter to gay men asking him if he could open up their gym for them, Queerty noted. Ryan Wolman ( @ryantotrainer ), who runs Motus Training Studio, wrote, in part, "Yes, I know how much you just offered me per hour. No. I won't let you in. Because it's illegal, it's irresponsible and quite frankly you need to stop. ... Maybe this is a good time to consider why you're willing to risk your health to go to a place designed to increase your health. Isn't that a bit strange? Are you maybe addicted?"

UK Black Pride announced the indefinite postponement of the UK Black Pride events for this summer, according to a press release. A statement from Lady Phyll and the UK Black Pride team read, "There is an end to this virus and to this social disruption and confusion. We ask all of you to not only practice self-care, but community care. We need each other. ... For many in our communities, COVID-19 is only making worse what it already means to live as queer people of colour in Britain. COVID-19, and the attendant lockdowns and policies, will disproportionately impact Black women, our elders, immigrants, refugees and people of colour in ways we all know too well already."

Data suggests the odds are stacked against LGBT+ tech founders and entrepreneurs trying to obtain venture capital ( VC ) funding, Reuters reported. Fewer than 1 percent of U.S. deals go in favor of LGBT+ founders, according to VC firm Backstage Capital, and 37 percent of LGBT+ entrepreneurs choose not to "out" themselves to investors, according to StartOut, a non-profit for LGBT+ entrepreneurs. Venture Out—which connects LGBT+ tech professionals and entrepreneurs—recently launched a six-week accelerator providing mentorship and other support to help a dozen early-stage LGBT+ founders in Canada find investment.

The 30th-anniversary edition of Inside Out—Canada's largest LGBTQ film festival and the single largest promoter and distributor of LGBTQ content in that country—is being postponed to Oct. 1-11 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, a press release noted. In addition to confirming the future dates in October for the festival, during the previously scheduled festival dates, May 21-31, organizers will be aiming to present several key initiatives in an online format. These include Inside Out's LGBTQ international feature film financing forum, its annual short-film pitch competition, the launch of a content platform for youth and an online sneak peek of the festival's 30th-anniversary archival exhibit.

In India, an LGBT+-rights group launched a fundraising appeal for Mumbai sex workers whose income has been hit by coronavirus, saying it wanted to help other Indians who faced prejudice, Reuters reported. The Jimme Foundation stepped in after a distress call from a charity helping sex workers in the western Indian city—many of them single mothers struggling to feed their children since the world's second most populous country went into lockdown. The appeal, launched with the charity Citizens for Justice and Peace, is among the first such drives for sex workers in Mumbai—the main destination in India for sex trafficking victims, according to campaigners.

One LGBT expert is strongly advising gay men against hooking up during the coronavirus crisis, Towleroad noted. Dr. Michael Brady, medical director for Britain's Terrence Higgins Trust, issued the warning in a post on the HIV/AIDS charity's website. In part, Brady said, "Unless you have sex with someone within your household, it's important to find sexual pleasure in other ways." Brady went on to note that although there is no evidence of COVID-19 spreading sexually, it can be transmitted through any physical contact within six feet.

Prince Charles tested positive for the coronavirus, NBC News noted. The Prince of Wales, 71, who is first in line to the British throne, was experiencing mild symptoms "but otherwise remains in good health," Clarence House said in a statement. The prince carried out a high number of public engagements during the past few weeks.

Also, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson contracted the coronavirus, Deadline noted. ( Also, his top health minister tested positive, and his chief medical adviser was self-isolated after displaying symptoms, CNN.com noted. ) Johnson confirmed the news in a tweet, saying he had developed mild symptoms, including a temperature and a persistent cough, and on the advice of the country's chief medical officer Chris Whitty had been tested.

African saxophone legend Manu Dibango died in Paris at age 86 after catching the coronavirus, the BBC noted. Dibango is best known for his 1972 hit "Soul Makossa." He collaborated with numerous artists over a long career, including U.S. pianist Herbie Hancock and Nigerian Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti.

The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games that were postponed last week due to concerns around the coronavirus pandemic have been rescheduled for next summer, NBC News reported. The games will open July 23, 2021, and close Aug. 8, 2021, while the Paralympics will be held Aug. 24-Sept. 5, 2021. Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the International Olympic Committee ( IOC ) agreed to postpone the 2020 games, as countries around the world struggle to contain the pandemic.

More than 500 cinema screens reopened in China, where the coronavirus outbreak seemed to be receding—but were then reclosed, Deadline noted. There is no immediate timeframe for reopening. The spread of COVID-19 slowed considerably in China in recent weeks; however, there has been a spike in imported cases.


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