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WORLD Tom of Finland, India items, Denmark legislation, PrEP study
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2020-09-02

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The works of the iconic Finnish artist Tom of Finland will be exhibited in Japan for the first time ever, a press release noted. The exhibition is the result of a collaboration between the Finnish Institute Japan, the Embassy of Finland in Japan, the Tom of Finland Foundation, The Container gallery and PARCO. The exhibition is curated by the Tokyo-based curator and director of The Container, Shai Ohayon. "Reality & Fantasy: The World of Tom of Finland"—showing Sept. 18-Nov. 5, and including 30 historical works from 1946 to 1989—was designed to coincide with Tom's 100th-birthday anniversary. In addition, there's the release of the 2020 special edition of the artist's official biography. See TomOfFinland.org .

Police in India recovered the bodies of two trans women and a third person after members of the local trans community captured and turned over their suspected murderers to authorities, Out.com reported. Police in the city of Tirunelveli recovered the bodies from separate wells in the nearby town of Palayamkottia, according to The Hindu. The three victims and suspects, identified only by single names, were part of the trans community in the area.

Discrimination, housing and the impact of COVID-19 are among the top priorities for India's new National Council for Transgender Persons, Reuters reported. "One point that runs as a spinal cord in all of this is stigma and discrimination," said Laxmi Narayan Tripathi, one of India's highest profile trans leaders and a member of the council, which she described as "historic." Headed by the social-justice minister, the council will be packed with representatives from a dozen federal ministries and departments—including health, housing and employment—and state governments as well as five trans representatives.

Denmark's government launched historic legislation initiatives, as Minister for Equal Opportunities Mogens Jensen ( SocDem ) presented a number of far-reaching initiatives regarding LGBTI-related measures, Komiteen.dk reported. The measures cover areas such as gender, discrimination and hate crimes, and family law.

A new study revealed gay and bi men who use PrEP ( pre-exposure prophylaxis ) report lower levels of sexual addiction ( "sexual compulsivity" ) and notably lower use of so-called "party drugs," Instinct Magazine noted. Researchers at the largest STI clinic in Amsterdam tracked PrEP users over three years to assess how longtime use might impact mental health and addiction issues. While levels of alcohol use and depression remained statistically the same, PrEP users reported a significant decline ( from 38 percent at baseline to 31 percent at last visit ) in the use of two specific drugs: ecstasy ( MDMA ) and nitrates ( poppers ). Sexual compulsivity also showed a notable decrease—from 23 percent to 10 percent at last visit.

The Australian Capital Territory passed a bill to ban harmful LGBT "conversion therapy" across the territory, QNews reported. The bill defines sexuality or gender identity conversion practices as "a treatment or other practice… the purported purpose of which is to change a person's sexuality or gender identity." Starting early next year, anyone using the practices would face up to 12 months jail or a fine of $24,000.

In the United Kingdom, a Pride train has been launched by Avanti West Coast that will be staffed by an all-LGBT+ crew, PinkNews noted. The company—which operates on routes from London to Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Wales and Scotland—unveiled the train two months after the end of Pride Month. The 11-carriage, 265 meter-long train was waved off for its maiden journey by Avanti West Coast staff at London Euston, with the train "filled with literature, stories and colourful posters and will feature Pride related information and fun facts during the onboard announcements."

The Queensland government and prison operator Serco will appeal a ruling by the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal ( QCATA ) that prison staff must refer to transgender women inmates by female pronouns, according to QNews. The tribunal found that Serco and a prison director discriminated against inmate Leilani Tafao. Tafao brought an action for compensation because of guards referring to her by male pronouns.

Bodybuilding gay couple Christian Pandolfino and Ivor Maciejowski were found dead in their residence in Malta, according to Out.com . The Times of Malta reported both men suffered multiple gunshot wounds, and police are looking for three persons captured on security cameras leaving the residence, as well as a suspected driver in an awaiting vehicle. Pandolfino and Maciejowski were well-known and -liked members of the local community, described as fixtures at the MedAsia Playa beach club. Pandolfino was a doctor who had returned to Malta after several years working as an investment banker in the United Kingdom; Maciejowski was a contemporary art dealer.

BlueCity BLCT.O ( which owns Blued, China's biggest dating app for gay men ) said it had bought a Chinese lesbian dating app LESDO—marking the first ever deal within the country's LGBTQ market, Openly News reported. Launched in 2014, LESDO is an app for lesbian users to socialize and secure dates. It is believed to be the second most popular lesbian social app in China based on Reuters' interviews among customers after another app, Rela.

One of Britain's first-ever gay fathers proposed to his daughter's ex-boyfriend while the trio was holidaying in Croatia, PinkNews noted. Tony and Barrie Drewitt-Barlow became part of history when, in the late 1990s, they became the first queer men in Britain to father children via surrogacy. But their marriage of 32 years ended last year when Barrie announced he was divorcing Tony after falling "head over heels" for his 25-year-old personal assistant Scott Hutchinson—who once dated his 20-year-old daughter, Saffron. Both Barrie and his former husband—a multimillionaire couple—live together in their Florida mansion.

VETS Canada has received funding to support LGBTQ+ veterans, Yahoo! Finance noted. A press release stated, "The aim is to raise awareness of the fact that there are people who are LGBTQ2+ among the Veteran population and that VETS Canada is here to provide immediate support to those who are in need in an open and welcoming manner." With this funding, VETS Canada has hired a part-time staffer from the LGBTQ+ community who will be based out of the organization's Ottawa drop-in support center to provide in-person support to LGBTQ+ veterans accessing the center.

Hugh Jackman and Margot Robbie are among several celebrities announced as ambassadors for a new anti-racism campaign, DoMore, that has launched in Australia, NME.com noted. The DoMore Australia launch video features personal messages from other ambassadors, including NBA star Ben Simmons, actors Miranda Tapsell and Samara Weaving, pro tennis player Nick Kyrgios and more, who address the Australian community at large. The goal of DoMore is to amplify current discussions around racism and the impact it can have, and encourage positive change from those conversations.

Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman—an actor who is one of a multi-pronged hosting panel for the debut season of Canada's Drag Race—deactivated his Twitter account, Out.com noted. The move came after Bowyer-Chapman was widely criticized for his critiques on the show. Fans of the show have called him a bully, demanded that he be fired and tweeted insults to the star directly.

A gay teen's hook-up obsession sends him down a dangerous path in the queer Australian film Sequin in a Blue Room, QNews noted. The film follows a 16-year-old student ( played by newcomer Conor Leach ) who pursues no-strings-attached sex on fictional hookup app Anon. The teenager communicates under the alias Sequin—from the sequined crop top he wears during each encounter.

The Nigerian lesbian love film Ife is going online to avoid the censorship board, Reuters reported. The topic is controversial in Nigeria, where same-sex relationships are theoretically punishable by up to 14 years in prison. "I really feel that the censors board is playing a big part in stopping these kinds of stories from coming to the big screen ... and it is just really stifling creativity," said producer Pamela Adie, who declined to provide a release date. "Ife" means "love" in the Yoruba language widely spoken in southwest Nigeria.

Shinzo Abe, the longest-serving Japanese prime minister in history, has resigned, citing health reasons, CNN.com reported. Abe suffers from colitis—a factor in his sudden resignation as prime minister in 2007, ending his first term after just over a year in office. Following his previous resignation in 2007, Abe was reelected in 2012. Since then he has been the dominant force in Japanese politics, winning a landslide third term in 2017 and a fourth in 2019, despite multiple scandals and plummeting popularity.

Swedish activist Greta Thunberg's story is set to be told in the documentary I Am Greta, NME.com reported. Production and distribution company Dogwoof has announced the UK and Irish theatrical release is set for Friday, Oct. 16, following the film's World Premiere at Venice Film Festival in September. Thunberg became the figurehead for the movement to halt climate change and save the planet after going on strike from school in 2018. She returned to school in August 2020.

Colombian singer Maluma revealed he collaborated with Balmain's creative director, Olivier Rousteing, and his stylist, Ugo Mozie, on his 2020 VMAs performance outfit, Page Six noted. During the Aug. 30 show, he took the stage in the neon anise-green double-breasted silk suit, matching silk collarless shirt and Balmain sneakers to perform his latest single, "Hawai," off his album Papi Juancho. In July, Page Six exclusively confirmed that the song is about his ex Natalia Barulich's new relationship with soccer star Neymar.


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