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WORLD Violence in Mexico, rainbow drawings, youth survey, Israeli Pride events
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2020-05-18

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Mexico is seeing a surge of extreme violence toward LGBT+ people in its deadliest year in half a decade, rights group Letra S. said, citing cases of victims brutally stabbed and brazenly killed in public, Reuters reported. The organization said in 2019, 117 lesbian, LGBT people were killed in Mexico—up almost a third compared with 2018 and the highest number since 2015. Overall in Mexico, last year was the deadliest on record, but the increase among the gay and trans community was more severe, said Alejandro Brito, the Letra S director.

In Turkey, children are being discouraged from drawing rainbows during the COVID-19 pandemic amid fears that they will "turn children gay," Metro Weekly noted. Turkish art museum Istanbul Modern had previously encouraged children to "draw their own rainbow and paste it into the window of their home," as part of efforts to "give hope" to the country during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. However, the move angered conservative religious figures in the country, according to The Jerusalem Post, who believed the rainbow drawings were part of attempts to spread acceptance of LGBTQ people.

Young people experience the highest levels of discrimination across all age groups within the LGBTI population, according to the EU Fundamental Rights Agency's second edition of the EU LGBTI Survey, The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer & Intersex ( LGBTQI ) Youth and Student Organisation ( IGLYO ) noted. The study received 18,681 responses from 15-17 years old, and 49,761 from 18-24 years old. The report reveals that youth ( aged 15 to 24 ) is currently the age group which not only experiences the highest levels of discrimination, but feels the impact of it most acutely: The majority of young adolescents who participated in the survey ( aged 15 to 17 ) felt discriminated against in some area of life ( 53 percent ). The report also shows that 11 percent of LGBTI respondents in the EU were physically or sexually attacked in the five years before the survey because of their sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression or sex characteristics.

In Israel, organizers said that the country's four largest LGBTQ pride parades—in Tel Aviv, Haifa, Jerusalem and Be'er Sheva—will be postponed in light of the coronavirus pandemic, Haaretz reported. They hoped the annual events normally held in June, marking Pride Month around the world, could be rescheduled for later in the summer. Virtual events will take place instead of the parades, for now. Etai Pinkas Arad—a Tel Aviv-Jaffa city councillor in charge of LGBT affairs—said it was clear that Israel's annual pride parades, which began in Tel Aviv in 1998, have become mass events that could pose risks to participants if held as usual this year.

British ambassadors and embassy workers in Poland donned Pride flag-patterned face masks and lanyards on May 17 in a small but defiant gesture against the country's rising opposition against the LGBT+ community, PinkNews reported. The ruling Law and Justice party ( PiS )—whose anti-LGBT+ policies where a plank of its election campaign last year—were elected as one-third of Poland self-declared as "LGBT-free zones." To mark International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexism and Transphobia ( IDAHOBIT ), team staff at the British Embassy in Warsaw wore LGBT+ Pride-themed protective masks to celebrate, a news piece from the British government stated.

Australian police charged a man with the murder of a gay American in Sydney almost 32 years after his death, Gay Star News reported. New South Wales police charged the 49-year-old man with the murder of Scott Johnson, who died in December 1988. Meanwhile the LGBT+ community is calling for the police to investigate more unsolved deaths and disappearances of gay men and transgender women from the '70s to the '90s. Johnson had moved to the city to complete his PhD and be with his partner, Michael Noone; however, he died after falling from a beach cliff top at a gay cruising spot.

Nancy Kelley has been appointed the new chief executive of the UK LGBT+ equality charity Stonewall, PinkNews reported. Currently the deputy chief executive at the National Centre for Social Research ( NatCen ), Kelley will take up her new role June 1. Crediting Stonewall for its role in the "amazing strides" that have been made in the past 30 years for LGBT+ equality in the United Kingdom, Kelley noted that "the benefits of progress haven't been equally felt by all LGBT+ people."

On May 14, Iceland and Nepal joined the UN LGBTI Core Group, bringing the number of members of the group to a total of 31 states and the delegation of the European Union, an Outright International press release noted. Nepal is the second country in Asia ( after Japan ) to become part of the group. The UN LGBTI Core Group is an informal cross-regional group working together to mainstream LGBTIQ inclusion throughout UN mechanisms and processes at the UN headquarters in New York; it was established in 2008 and is currently co-chaired by Argentina and The Netherlands.

A transgender Instagram influencer blamed for a wave of homophobic attacks in Morocco apologized for encouraging her followers to download dating apps that were then used to locate and publicly out gay men, Reuters reported. Naoufal Moussa ( known online as Sofia Taloni ) initally told her 620,000 followers in Instagram livestreams to download apps to locate gay men—a move she said aimed to show how many people were gay in the Islamic country and to "humanize" homosexuality. Moussa said she regretted her advice was used to "target gay men instead of bringing them closer to the mainstream society" in Morocco, where homosexuality is illegal.

In Britain, the LGBT Foundation said that LGBTQ victims of domestic abuse are staying with perpetrators because they can't find a refuge space, iNews.co.uk reported. The organization has seen double the amount of phone calls to the charity's crisis helpline since March 23. There are currently no LGBT-specific refuge services in England, and less than 1 percent of refuges ( two, both located in London ) provide specialist support to LGBT survivors, according to charity Galop.

Indonesia is on track to criminalize homosexuality, LGBTQ Nation reported. If found guilty, the accused would be required to undergo "rehabilitation" to have their homosexuality removed. The process would most likely be an ex-gay Muslim exorcism.

Queen hosted a stream of the 1992 Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert for AIDS Awareness on its YouTube channel for 48 hours, May 15-17, NME.com reported. The gig, which took place to 72,000 people at London's Wembley Stadium on April 20, 1992, was in tribute to the band's late frontman, who had died from AIDS the previous November. The event had the surviving members of Queen performing their hits with a procession of stand-in vocalists, including David Bowie, Roger Daltrey, George Michael, Elton John and Axl Rose, among others.

Out Canadian country-music artist Drake Jensen has released his new single, "Burn The Floor," a press release noted. "Burn The Floor" is accompanied by an LGBTQ-inclusive music video that is at www.youtube.com/watch. The song is a modern country tune that resulted from the collaboration between Drake and Jon Hemingway, the Nova Scotia-based LBGTQ singer/songwriter/producer; and Rob Preuss, the former keyboardist of The Spoons and Honeymoon Suite as well as the former associate musical director for Mamma Mia on Broadway.

Two-time Oscar-winning director Alejandro Gonzalez-Inarritu has been busy for the last six months restoring his first feature film, Amores Perros, on the occasion of its 20th anniversary, Deadline noted. The film—about dogs trained to viciously fight each other in private gambling venues, a practice that was finally outlawed in Mexico two years ago—won the Prize of the Critic's Week at the 2000 Cannes Film Festival. Gonzalez Inarritu, who made no mention of any future projects, has not made a feature film since snaring his second best picture Oscar for The Revenant in 2015.


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