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WORLD Swiss votes, HIV+ pilot, Indonesian raids, Dutch beauty expert
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2020-01-21

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On Feb. 9, Switzerland residents will decide on extending the scope of anti-racism legislation to include discrimination based on sexual orientation, according to SwissInfo.ch. According to the website, this revision is needed, as current law does not protect against homophobia, said LGBTQ-rights advocate Muriel Waegers. Also, on May 17, the Swiss will soon vote again on a proposal that could dramatically limit immigration from the EU—six years after a similar referendum nearly destroyed relations with the bloc, TheLocal.ch noted.

An HIV-positive man in the United Kingdom who successfully challenged rules which prevented him from training as an airline pilot has decided to reveal his identity, the BBC noted. James Bushe had previously wanted to remain anonymous, using the pseudonym "Pilot Anthony" on Twitter to write about his battle to become a pilot. However, Bushe said he had decided to go public to challenge the stigma that surrounds people living with HIV.

Indonesia's human rights commission condemned plans by Depok Mayor Mohammad Idris to launch raids targeting the LGBTQ community in his city after a local man was convicted in Britain of sexually assaulting 48 men, NBC News reported. Described by a prosecutor as "the most prolific rapist in British legal history," Indonesian student Reynhard Sinaga last month was convicted of 136 rapes against the men, whom he drugged, and given a life sentence with a minimum term of 30 years. Idris plans to enlist public order officers to raid residences of members of the LGBTQ community, with groups such as the National Commission on Human Rights criticizing the move.

Dutch beauty expert and veteran YouTuber Nikkie De Jager—a.k.a. @NikkieTutorials—came out as transgender, NewNowNext.com noted. De Jager, 25,uploaded a video to her YouTube channel opening up about her gender identity to her 12.4 million subscribers for the first time ever. At one point, she explains how she was blackmailed by someone who'd learned about her life pre-transition and threatened to leak her story to the press.

Alejandro Giammattei—a conservative who is against same-sex marriage and abortion—was sworn in as president of Guatemala, PinkNews noted. Giammattei was sworn in following his surprise win in the presidential election of August 2019, the Washington Post reported. When asked in 2015 about same-sex marriage, he replied, "There is so much to solve in Guatemala that entering into that is counterproductive, that it is approved elsewhere does not mean that it is done here," according to Prensa Libre.

Also in Guatemala, however, Aldo Davila has become the country's first ever LGBTQI lawmaker, Deutsche Welle reported. He said that being elected "means that the people of Guatemala made a conscious choice in this election. I have always been openly gay and that fact that they voted for me means things are changing in this country." Davila added, "For me personally, being elected means carrying a responsibility [toward] my voters but also groups which historically have been excluded from society, like teenagers, women and indigenous peoples."

Les Mots a La Bouche, a 40-year-old Paris institution, is the top LGBT bookshop in France and considered one of the best in the world—but is being priced out of the Marais district by rising rent, The Guardian reported. The Paris tourist board still promotes the Marais as "an authentic yet trendy little village"; however, its gay scene, which began in the 1980s—when the area was still working class, shabby and cheap—is slowly being eroded.

Twitter apologized for allowing ads to be microtargeted at certain users such as neo-Nazis, homophobes and other hate groups, the BBC revealed. The news source's investigation found it possible to target users who had shown an interest in keywords including "transphobic," "white supremacists" and "anti-gay." Anti-hate charities had raised concerns that the U.S. tech company's advertising platform could have been used to spread intolerance.

A Ugandan imam is facing life in prison after he accidentally married a man, PinkNews reported. Sheikh Mohammed Mutumba exchanged vows with his "bride," Swabullah Nabukeera, in an Islamic ceremony. He met Nabukeera at a mosque and only ever saw them wearing a hijab or a gomesi—but an arrest weeks later showed that Nabukeera was actually a cis man named Richard Tumushabe, who had duped Mutumba in a bid to get his money. Although Mutumba committed no crime himself, and had actually sought counsel over his supposed wife's refusal to consummate the marriage, he has been taken to court and charged with having "carnal knowledge with a person against the order of nature."

Malaysia's solicitor general ruled out charges against Prime Minister-in-waiting Anwar Ibrahim over allegations that he sexually assaulted a former male aide, saying there was not enough evidence to proceed, Reuters reported. The former aide accused the former deputy premier last month of trying to force him to have sex in September 2018; Anwar denied the accusation, describing it as "politics at its worst."

Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden and husband Prince Daniel made a historic royal visit to an LGBT+ organization, PinkNews reported. The royals were given a tour of RFSL and RFSL Ungdom's national office in Stockholm to gain an insight into the challenges experienced by LGBT+ people in Swedish society. It was the first time the crown princess visited an LGBT+ organization, and it was requested by the royals themselves.

After the closure of nightclub XXL left a gap in London's gay scene, local councillors have secured a new LGBT+ space, aiming to open it by 2022, PinkNews noted. XXL was a fixture in London's after-hours since 2000, being hosted in Pulse, a club in Southbank, since 2012. The new space will not be the same as XXL, which catered toward bears, Tooley Street counsellor Johnson Situ said in a statement.

In Britain, the LGBT+ community in Sheffield shared an open letter in protest against the impending visit of anti-gay U.S. preacher Franklin Graham, son of preacher Billy Graham, PinkNews noted. Graham preached at Donald Trump's inauguration, has said gay people caused a "moral 9/11" in America and has declared that gay people are "the enemy" of civilization. This summer, Graham will embark on an eight-city tour of the United Kingdom, appearing at the FlyDSA Arena Sheffield on June 6.

The Argentinian football club Villa San Carlos signed its first ever transgender player for the top women's league, Primera Division A, PinkNews reported. As well as being the first for the club, Argentine striker Mara Gomez, 22, will also be the first transgender woman ever to play in an official Argentine FA tournament.

Jean Paul Gaultier's Jan. 22 haute couture show, held in Paris, was his final collection for the fashion house, Page Six reported. "This show celebrating 50 years of my career will also be my last," the iconic designer tweeted before the event. "But rest assured Haute Couture will continue with a new concept." He's perhaps most famous for his work with Madonna; after creating her infamous cone bra back in the early 1990s, Gaultier went on to design multiple tour and performance looks for the Queen of Pop.

The trial of a former French priest accused of sexually abusing dozens of Boy Scouts in the 1980s and 1990s took place in France, the BBC reported. Bernard Preynat, 74, is alleged to have assaulted more than 80 individuals; he faces 10 years in prison if convicted. Also linked to the case is Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, who was found guilty last March of failing to report the allegations against Preynat.

In a statement from the Queen and Buckingham Palace, it was announced that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will "not use" their royal titles or get taxpayer cash—and pay back $3 million for the renovation of their home, Page Six noted. Because they are no longer working members of the royal family, Markle and Harry will no longer be referred to as "HRH"—his or her royal highness. However, they will keep their Duke and Dutchess titles, and Harry will remain sixth in line to the throne.

Cult Japanese label Comme Des Garcons apologized for dressing white models in its Paris Fashion Week runway show in cornrow wigs, Fader noted. The styling choice, unveiled over the weekend, sparked immediate backlash from Twitter users and commentators, with popular fashion criticism account Diet Prada declaring the choice "problematic." Comme shared a statement to Dazed magazine apologizing for offending parts of their audience: "The inspiration for the headpieces for Comme des Garcons menswear FW'20 show was the look of an Egyptian prince. It was never ever our intention to disrespect or hurt anyone—we deeply and sincerely apologise for any offense it has caused."

Actress Priyanka Chopra was heading to Davos, Switzerland, for the World Economic Forum, Page Six noted. The Quantico star and ambassador for Global Citizen is set to speak in front of Belgium Deputy Prime Minister Alexander De Croo and Nigeria VP Yemi Osinbajo about "solutions to achieve the UN sustainable development goals and gender equality." Others headed to Davos include President Trump and teen climate activist Greta Thunberg.

In Australia, singer Solange cancelled half of her planned Sydney Opera House residency due to health concerns, Fader noted. The set of four concerts, due to begin Jan. 27 in the Opera House's famed Concert Hall, were to be part of her series of Witness! performance shows she has been staging in support of her 2019 record When I Get Home, the first of which was staged in Hamburg, Germany, last year. Solange's run of shows at the Opera House Concert Hall—with two still slated for Jan. 30-31—are the last scheduled events in the venue before it undergoes a renovation.

Madonna cancelled a Lisbon date of her Madame X Tour on Jan. 19—less than an hour before the show was set to begin, PinkNews noted. Madonna wrote on Instagram that she was "sorry" to cancel the show, adding, "I must listen to my body and rest." This marked the eighth time Madonna has had to cancel a show on her Madame X Tour, which kicked off in New York in September five days after its original start date.


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