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WORLD Trans pageant winner, N. Ireland, Lagerfeld, Angola first
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times

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In a historic development, a transgender woman was crowned as Miss Universe in Spain on June 29, Gay Star News reported. This is a first for the international beauty pageant. Angela Ponce, 25, will represent Spain in the upcoming Miss Universe pageant scheduled end of the year. She She defeated 19 other candidates to become the first trans woman to win the title.

Northern Ireland's first openly gay assembly member recently spoke with PinkNews about what his appointment means. The Alliance Party chose councilmember/longtime activist John Blair to take a seat in the Northern Ireland Assembly, after David Ford retired from his position as MLA for South Antrim. Blair, who has been out for many years, said he had been taken aback by the "hundreds" of positive messages of well wishes he had received after the appointment. He added, "In my political party, these simply aren't issues, and all people, whatever their background, are encouraged to develop, run for public office and do whatever they want to do."

The 1920s classical villa that fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld restored along the Elbe River in Germany and named after his longtime partner, Jacques de Bascher, has hit the market for 10 million euros ( U.S. $11.7 million ), Page Six noted. The German-born Lagerfeld—who's head creative director of both Chanel and Fendi—purchased the Roman-style hilltop estate in the Hamburg suburb of Blankenese in 1989, around the same time his partner, Parisian socialite de Bascher, passed away.

Angola has given legal recognition to a gay-rights lobby group, marking a major breakthrough for the closed and conservative society, noted. The LGBT association that was founded five years ago, called Iris Angola, called the justice ministry's decision a "historic moment." Iris, which has 200 members, is one of two gay rights groups active in Angola; however, the other has not yet been given legal recognition.

Human Rights Watch ( HRW ) has accused Indonesian authorities of fueling an HIV epidemic through complicity in discrimination against LGBT people. According to, the government's failure to halt raids by police and militant Islamists on private LGBT gatherings has effectively derailed public health outreach efforts to vulnerable populations. A 70-page report, "Scared in Public and Now No Privacy: Human Rights and Public Health Impacts of Indonesia's Anti-LGBT Moral Panic," documents how hateful rhetoric has translated into unlawful action by Indonesian authorities against people presumed to be LGBT. The report is at

The British government has vowed to pursue all options to outlaw so-called "gay cure" therapy in the United Kingdom, PinkNews reported. Minister for Women and Equalities Penny Mordaunt has set out a firm stance against the discredited practise of conversion therapy. It is currently legal for unregulated persons and faith groups to attempt to "cure" people of homosexuality in the United Kingdom, although the practice is banned on the NHS under a voluntary "Memorandum of Understanding."

Despite being banned by the authorities and threats to arrest anyone "looking gay," Istanbul Pride went ahead before being broken up by police, PinkNews noted. Istanbul's Pride parade has been banned four four consecutive years, despite homosexuality not being illegal in Turkey. Each year, organisers and participants have proceeded anyway, despite threats and arrests.

The organizer of a Ukrainian Pride event was beaten by more than 10 people in a brutal attack that left him in hospital, PinkNews noted. Boris Zolotchenko, the head of Kryvbas Pride 2018, was left hurt and scared by the ambush, which took place just weeks ahead of the three-day festival. He called the police, only to be told that no officer would be coming to help.

Rainbow pedestrian crossings painted on roads in the Marais district of Paris before the June 30 Gay Pride march will become a permanent feature, the city's mayor has decided, after one of them was tagged with homophobic graffiti, reported. The words "LGBT out of France" were painted on the road at the crossing at the junction of Rue des Archives and Rue de la Verrerie, in the heart of the Marais. "Today I am making a symbolic decision: we will make the rainbow pedestrian crossings that we installed in the Marais permanent," said Mayor Anne Hidalgo, adding that two more pedestrian crossings will be adorned with the rainbow colors.

An England fan has spoken of his "frustration" after he was told to take a rainbow flag down inside a Russian stadium while attending the World Cup, The Irish Examiner reported. Joe White said a steward removed the 3 Lions Pride St George's Cross, which features a rainbow stripe, shortly before England's win over Panama. He said the steward told them "those colors are not allowed" before they contacted FIFA and the Football Supporters' Federation, who both overruled the decision.

Olympic diver Tom Daley, 24, and Oscar-winning filmmaker Dustin Lance Black, 44, are officially parents: Robert Ray Black-Daley was born June 28, noted. "Welcome to the world our precious little Robbie Ray Black-Daley," Daley wrote earlier today on social media. "The amount of love and joy you have brought into our life is immeasurable, our precious little son." The couple also made the birth announcement in the Times of London, which previously published their engagement announcement.

Action movie star Jean-Claude Van Damme was criticised by the French minister for Gender Equality Marlène Schiappa for talking about same-sex unions in the same breath as dogs getting married, according to PinkNews. On the French talk show On n'est pas couch, Van Damme first clashed with the minister early on in the program, interrupting her as she spoke about the female identity. The actor later said ( attempting to make a joke ), "Men get married, women get married, dogs get married. … Everybody is getting married and everybody is getting divorced.:

Professional wrestling champion Nir Rotenberg has come out as gay, hoping to inspire others, according to Gay Star News. Also known as Rixon, the Israeli athlete lives in Tel Aviv with partner Ronen and Ronen's two children. The two have plans to get married and have children of their own.

A pair of gay swans in Austria have been forcibly removed from the lake they called home after a series of violent, escalating attacks to defend their nest from intrusive humans, noted. Interestingly, the nest they were protecting didn't actually contain eggs or cygnets, but at least one colorful plastic cup. While nobody drowned, numerous bathers and people simply strolling beside the lake are reported to have suffered attacks—and some of them were serious.

Singer-songwriter Annie Lennox has been made chancellor of Scotland's Glasgow Caledonian University—becoming the first woman to occupy the ceremonial post, according to Page Six. Lennox—who had critical and popular success during the 1980s as the voice of British duo The Eurythmics, as well as for her own solo work—said she was "humbled and awed" by her appointment. Lennox said that while she never earned a degree, she could be considered "an honorary graduate from the school of life."

Bee Gee legend Sir Barry Gibb paid tribute to his late brothers as he collected his knighthood on June 27 as he was honored for his services to music and charity, The Independent noted. Gibb—arguably the world's most famous male falsetto and the last surviving member of the iconic pop group—was knighted at Buckingham Palace by Prince Charles. The Bee Gees are considered to be one of the most successful bands in history, selling more than 120 million albums worldwide and releasing hits such as "Staying Alive," "How Deep Is Your Love," "Night Fever" and "Tragedy."

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