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WORLD Travel meeting postponed, Hong Kong ruling, African refugees, Grindr sold
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2020-03-10

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The International LGBTQ+ Travel Association—scheduled to take place in Milan, Italy—has been postponed to September/October because of coronavirus concerns, an organizational press release announced. The release stated, "The outbreak of the coronavirus has left all of us with many unknowns. We will announce new dates and plans as soon as possible. We will join you in monitoring the situation closely through our Italian governmental contacts and trusted sources such as the World Health Organization."

A Hong Kong court ruled that married same-sex couples have the right to apply for public housing, in a move that could make it easier for LGBT+ people to live in one of the world's most expensive cities, Openly News reported. Hong Kong does not recognize same-sex marriage but the case was brought by permanent resident Nick Infinger, who married his partner in Canada in 2018 and applied for public housing. The Hong Kong Housing Authority, a government department, said it would seek legal advice "before taking appropriate follow-up actions." It said there were no other applications for public housing from same-sex couples, apart from Infinger's.

In recent weeks, HIAS ( the Refugee Trust of Kenya ) announced the cessation of funding for urban refugees located in greater Nairobi, according to a press release from The Refugee Coalition of East Africa ( RefCEA ). These LGBTQI refugees were transplanted from the refugee camp in Kakuma in late 2018 because of homophobic attacks within camp. In response to the potential crisis the discontinuance could cause, RefCEA has invited concerned parties to come together and work to find a solution. Also, RefCEA said it is aware of planned demonstrations in response to the sudden cutting off of funding and cash grants to LGBTQI refugees who had been receiving assistance.

Chinese gaming company Beijing Kunlun Tech Co. Ltd. agreed to sell Grindr LLC—the popular gay dating app it acquired in 2016—for about $608.5 million, Reuters reported. The deal happened after a U.S. government panel set a June 2020 deadline to sell the app. Kunlun said it agreed to sell its 98.59-percent stake in Grindr to San Vicente Acquisition LLC.

British feminists stood in solidarity with the trans community and cancelled plans to speak at a feminist conference at the University of Oxford, citing the event's ties with the "transphobic" Woman's Place UK ( WPUK ) group, PinkNews reported. Trans-inclusive feminist and author Lola Olufemi pulled out of the event, saying that the organizers of the conference had not done enough to investigate links between invited speakers and WPUK. WPUK was recently branded a "trans-exclusionary hate group" by the Labour Campaign for Trans Rights.

While partygoers celebrated at Cape Town Pride Festival recently, three men held a lesbian captive and raped her nearby, Gay Star News reported. Police believe the suspects gang-raped her with the excuse they were "correcting" her sexuality. Officers arrested two boys, ages 14 and 17, for the attack, and were looking for the third suspect.

More than 100 LGBT filmmakers abroad have signed a petition calling for a boycott of an annual LGBT film festival in Tel Aviv, TLVFest, out of solidarity with the struggle by the Palestinian queer community, Haaretz reported. The signatories include the British filmmaker Charlotte Prodger, winner of the Turner Prize for visual artists; AIDS historian Sarah Schulman; and the French director Alain Guiraudie, who directed the film Stranger by the Lake, which won acclaim in Israel. The festival, scheduled to take place July 4-13, receives support from the Tel Aviv municipality and the Culture and Sports Ministry.

LGBT+ people in Myanmar's capital of Yangon took Pride to the water for a colorful boat parade—despite the country criminalizing LGBT+ people, Gay Star News reported. Approximately 800 participants boarded a small flotilla of three boats at Botahtaung Jetty for the sunset cruise. Yangon Pride is Asia's only LGBT+ boat parade—and one of the few Prides in the world to take place on water.

A small town in Ireland planned to end its twinning arrangement with a town in Poland that has declared itself an "LGBT+-free zone," PinkNews reported. Fermoy, which is in County Cork in the southernmost part of Ireland, followed the French town of Saint-Jean-de-Braye in severing its partnership with the Polish town of Tuchow. Almost 100 towns and municipalities in Poland have declared themselves LGBT+-free areas.

Also in Ireland, a man who was fired from the country's police force in 1982 because he is gay is suing the state for damages and for the distress the decision caused him, PinkNews reported. The man, who has been named as "Liam" by The Irish Times, served in An Garda SíochÃˇna and was suspended due to suspicions of his "alleged involvement in homosexual activity." Liam is now suing the state on a number of grounds, including how he was treated by the organization, the distress the decision caused him and the impact it had on his life; he is also suing for lost earnings.

Australian Olympic gold-medal diver Matthew Mitcham married Luke Rutherford in Great Britain, followed last week with a public ceremony in Belgium and a honeymoon in Amsterdam, The Bay Area Reporter noted. Mitcham—who won a gold medal in 2008, just months after coming out—will be inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in April. Many family members of the couple attended the Belgium ceremony; however, Mitcham's uncle could not attend because he was quarantined along with fellow passengers from the cruise ship Diamond Princess, which had an outbreak of the coronavirus.

British comedian Joe Lycett changed his name to Hugo Boss by deed poll as part of a surreal revenge mission for a number of small businesses, including a Welsh craft brewery, The Guardian noted. Lycett ( who is pansexual ), now Hugo Boss, took the action after the other Hugo Boss was accused of taking heavy-handed legal action against small businesses and charities that use the word boss in their names.

The Federation of Gay Games announced that 20 cities from 14 countries and six continents have submitted initial bid documents to host Gay Games XII in 2026, according to The Bay Area Reporter. Interested bidders include Mexico's Guadalajara, which was a finalist for the 2022 Gay Games that were eventually awarded to Hong Kong; 1998 Gay Games host Amsterdam; San Diego; Brisbane, Australia; and Fort Lauderdale, Florida, among others.

Japan's Olympic minister said the Tokyo 2020 Games could be postponed from the summer until later in the year amid fears over the coronavirus outbreak, the BBC reported. In a response to a question in Japan's parliament, Seiko Hashimoto said Tokyo's contract with the International Olympic Committee ( IOC ) "calls for the Games to be held within 2020." The Games are slated to take place July 24-Aug. 9.

Canadian politician Richard Decarie was barred from the Conservative Party of Canada's 2020 leadership race after—and perhaps because—he said being LGBTQ+ is a "choice," Queerty noted. Decarie told followers that the Leadership Election Organizing Committee provided him with "no reasons" for their rejection. Decarie aired his views on LGBTQ+ individuals in an interview on CTV's Power Play in January after saying that the "real people" he meets agree that same-sex marriage shouldn't be allowed.

As Italy's deaths from the infectious virus have surpassed 100 people, the government implemented a plan that closed all schools and universities, Radio.com noted. Additionally, the government, under Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, was expected to release new rules advising the nation not to kiss. Italy had the highest number of coronavirus-related deaths of any country outside of China, where the toll was more than 3,000 as of the first week of March.

Queen and Adam Lambert notified fans that the group's planned May 26 show at the AccorHotels Arena in Paris has been postponed "following a government decree in France to cancel all indoor events over 5,000 capacity in France until [May 31] in an effort to contain the spread of Coronavirus," Billboard.com noted. The band is working with the promoter to reschedule the date and will announce a new one soon.

With the coronavirus hurting the Asian box office, MGM, Eon and Universal are postponing the next James Bond movie, No Time to Die, from its UK and international release date of April 2 and its U.S. Easter weekend global day-and-date of April 10, and moving the U.K. debut of the 25th 007 movie to Nov. 12 ( and the U.S. debut to Nov. 25 ), Deadline reported. China alone is poised to lose more than $2 billion since shutting 70,000 theaters this year.


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