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WORLD Thailand feat, U.S. ambassador, MP assaulted, 'Game of Thrones'
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2019-03-26

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Thailand, on March 24, elected filmmaker Tanwarin Sukkhapisit as its first transgender member of the House of Representatives, Gay Star News noted. It was the first general election since a military coup in 2014. Sukkhapisit decided to run for office with FFP after a five-year legal battle over a movie the filmmaker made.

Richard Grennell—Donald Trump's openly gay ambassador to Germany—has been a complete "failure," according to German politicians who want to expel the gay diplomat from the country, LGBTQ Nation reported. Wolfgang Kubicki, deputy chairman of the opposition Free Democrats ( FDP ), has called on Foreign Minister Heiko Maas to revoke Grennell's credentials and boot him out of the country. Also, while the ambassador has pressed parliamentarians to invite him to their districts, most have reportedly declined.

A gay British member of Parliament ( MP ) claimed he was assaulted in the street by an angry Brexit voter, Gay Star News noted. Labour MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle says a man lunged for his face and grabbed his glasses during a heated discussion; the assailant allegedly called the politician a traitor. The incident happened a day after Prime Minister Theresa May made a speech about Brexit in which she blamed the United Kingdom's MPs for delaying leaving the European Union.

Game of Thrones actor Kristian Nairn ( who played Hodor ) said it is "crazy" that same-sex marriage is still banned in his home of Northern Ireland yet legal in the rest of the United Kingdom, Reuters reported. "It confuses me why we always have to be that little step behind on social issues like this," said Nairn, who is himself gay. The Democratic Unionist Party ( DUP ), one of the most socially conservative in Europe, has repeatedly blocked same-sex marriage despite opinion polls in recent years showing a majority in Northern Ireland in favor.

Brunei is reportedly planning to introduce anti-LGBT laws that could see people whipped or stoned to death for same-sex activity, PinkNews reported. Homosexuality is illegal in the east Asian country and punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Under the upcoming changes to Brunei's penal code, punishments could include whipping and stoning to death for people found guilty of adultery, sodomy and rape, according to human-rights groups.

Japan has cancelled plans to deport a gay Taiwanese man in a long-term relationship, according to PinkNews. Lawyers representing the man told local media the move represents progress toward legal protection for same-sex couples in the country. The Taiwanese man, in his 40s, has lived in the country for around 25 years with his Japanese partner, Japanese broadcaster NHK reported.

Belgian authorities are investigating an anonymous Grindr profile that has threatened an attack on gay bars in the city of Ostend, PinkNews reported, citing The Brussels Times. The threatening anonymous user—whose name simply reads "Aanslag," the Dutch word for "attack"—stated that the LGBT+ community should "prepare" and that the attack would be carried out "[last] weekend" in Ostend, naming two popular gay bars in the region: Valentino and Your Place.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro reiterated his opposition to LGBTI rights when he spoke alongside President Trump during a press conference in the White House Rose Garden, The Washington Blade noted. Bolsonaro, speaking through a translator, stressed his government's "respect of traditional family values" and opposition to "gender identity." Bolsonaro—who also met with Pat Robertson and other evangelical Christians—praised Trump.

A gay Rabbinical student won nearly $5,000 in damages after being turned away at a Jerusalem pizzeria because of his sexual orientation, LGBTQ Nation noted. Sammy Kanter claimed he was denied service at Ben Yehuda 2 in 2018 after an employee noticed he was wearing a T-shirt which read "CINCY"—a reference to his hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio—in rainbow letters. It's illegal to refuse service to individuals in Jerusalem for being lesbian, gay or bisexual.

A blogger suing Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale has denied that tweets he posted in March 2017 were homophobic, PinkNews noted. Blogger Stuart Campbell is suing Kezia Dugdale after she accused him of being homophobic in a Twitter post on his blog Wings Over Scotland, reported the BBC.

The leading actor from an upcoming UK production of The Color Purple has been dropped following her homophobic comments, Gay Star News noted. Oluwaseyi "Seyi" Omooba came under fire over the weekend for a re-surfaced social media post she made in 2014. People connected with the musical later posted, "The comments made by Seyi in that post have caused significant and widely expressed concerns both on social media and in the wider press."

After 10 years providing gay adventure tours, Toronto-based Out Adventures has launched the world's first gay mystery expedition, a press release noted. The 10-day trip kicks off Aug. 28, 2020, but spots are limited to only 16 travelers. During the trip, guests will only learn about their daily itinerary the night before. Learn more at OutAdventures.com .

Ahead of the Spice Girls' reunion tour this summer, the British group's Scary Spice, Mel B, revealed in a bombshell interview with Piers Morgan that she slept with bandmate Geri Halliwell, aka Ginger Spice, USA Today noted. At first, the now-former America's Got Talent judge insisted that she and her bandmate "slept in a bed together, but not like that," but then nodded when Morgan asked her if things escalated with Halliwell. Following the initial reports of Mel B's revelations, a 2003 Howard Stern interview with Halliwell resurfaced in which she admitted to "having lesbian sex once" with a bandmate and that she could "never say who it was."

Some people aren't happy with British writer JK Rowling's assertions about the love match between Dumbledore and Grindelwald in the Harry Potter universe, CNN.com noted, citing Mashable. Rowling talks about the couple in a feature included in the DVD and Blu-ray versions of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, saying, "Their relationship was incredibly intense. It was passionate, and it was a love relationship." However, there was some blowback, with one person tweeting, "I have the exact same reaction to JK Rowling trying to retroactively diversify the Harry Potter universe as I do to James Cameron promising four Avatar sequels. Nobody asked for this."

Renowned for dating some of the world's most beautiful women, British 1960s film icon Terence Stamp said he was as surprised as anyone to become a gay icon after playing a trans woman in the film The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, Reuters noted. In the Australian LGBT+ movie—which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year—Stamp played Bernadette, winning praise for the sensitivity he brought to the role. The Oscar-nominated actor, who held the title of the world's best-looking man in the 1960s, said that to be approached by "gay guys on the street ... saying how much they liked Priscilla brings a light into my life."

Actor/heartthrob Oh Seung-yoon is slated to be playing a gay role in an upcoming Korean TV drama, Gay Star News noted. Major network JTBC will air the new drama, called Romance is my Nature in Korean, in July. The country had its first on-air lesbian kiss in 2015—and it sparked a lot of debate.


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