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World: Trans model on GQ cover, Dutch attack, Quebec's pro-LGBT move
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2017-04-04

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International model Andreja Pejic has landed a double cover of GQ Portugal April issue, making history as the first transgender model to cover the popular and well-respected men's magazine, a press release noted. Pejic was also the first transgender model to be awarded "Female Model of the Year" at the GQ Portugal Awards last October in Lisbon. "To be honest, I never expected this moment. GQ is such a classic and respected men's magazine and, while I am very proud of everything I've achieved, my modelling career has been everything but classic. So, in a way, this is a meeting of two different worlds and it represents progress," Pejic said.

A gay couple was brutally attacked by a group of teenage boys in a small town in the Netherlands, LGBTQ Nation reported. Jasper Vernes-Sewratan and husband Ronnie Sewratan-Vernes were holding hands while walking down the street when the teens set upon them. Ronnie lost four teeth and suffered a laceration to the upper lip after one of the attackers beat him with bolt cutters. Police have already arrested two people in connection with the crime—a 14-year-old and a 20-year-old—and are still looking for more suspects.

The Canadian province of Quebec has pledged $550,500 in funding for projects to tackle anti-LGBT+ discrimination, PinkNews reported. The funding, which will be shared by 30 groups across the province, was announced by Justice Minister Stephanie Vallee on April 3. A press conference was held at which Vallée said 88 percent of the initiatives to tackle homophobia between 2011 and 2016 had already been implemented.

When one lesbian woman's homophobic parents refused to come to her wedding, the woman's boss, John Li, CEO of HSBC Taiwan, stepped forward to be the one to walk her down the aisle, Shangaiist.com reported. "CEO John told us not to be nervous and to walk slowly," HSBC employee Jennifer says in a video produced by the bank. "We cried because we never thought we would make it this far." As a company, HSBC has showed its support for gay rights before, unveiling a pair of rainbow-colored lion statues outside its office building in Hong Kong. Same-sex marriage is not yet legal in Taiwan.

Airbnb has launched a campaign for marriage equality in Australia, PinkNews reported. The company is asking Australians to wear a black ring until same-sex marriage is legal in the country—but there's a catch: The ring is incomplete, symbolizing the gap in equality legislation that needs to be filled by legalizing same-sex marriage. Airbnb has promised it will not profit from selling the rings, and has received backing from Google for the campaign, called "Until We Belong."

An anti-gay marriage Australian government minister is facing allegations of homophobia after he told a gay business exec to "stick to knitting," PinkNews reported. The comments came after a joint letter signed by the leaders of some of Australia's biggest businesses urging the right-wing coalition government to stop blocking same-sex marriage. Among those to sign the letter was Alan Joyce, the CEO of Qantas, who is openly gay.

Global Network of People Living with HIV ( GNP+ ) has appointed Dr. Laurel Sprague as its newest executive director, according to an MSMGF press release. Among other things, GNP+ provides technical assistance to networks using its tools, and the group often uses the data gathered by the national networks in international advocacy, showcasing the challenges and issues of people living with HIV around the world. The MSMGF team issued congratulations in light of a longstanding collaboration with Sprague in organizing HIV activism and policy change at the global level.

The latest in the long line of Doctor Who companions isn't likely to be a love interest for the Time Lord as Pearl Mackie, who will play the new companion Bill Potts, has just confirmed her character will be openly lesbian, Business Insider reported. According to the BBC, Potts' sexuality will be revealed pretty much immediately in the show when it returns April 15. Potts told the BBC it was "about time" an openly gay character was involved in the British show, because representation is important.

Princess Diana's butler Paul Burrell married his long-term boyfriend in a lavish countryside ceremony, PinkNews noted. Burrell, 58, wed Graham Cooper, also 58, after splitting with his wife recently. The royal butler, who had been married to a woman for 32 years, said: "Life is about being true to who you are." He publicly confirmed he was gay just more than a month ago.

Three months after his unexpected death, George Michael's funeral has been held in London, USA Today noted. The private funeral service took place March 29 at Highgate Cemetery in north London. Michael's publicity agency, Connie Filippello Publicity, said in a statement it was attended by family and close friends. Highgate is a famous cemetery, and even a tourist destination, thanks to its famous interred: Karl Marx as well as authors George Eliot and Douglas Adams.

IRGT: A Global Network of Trans Women and HIV is seeking expressions of interest from trans-identified individuals to become technical advisors for a new program called Trans Education + Action = Capacity for Health ( TEACH ), according to a press release. TEACH is an IRGT-MSMGF initiative designed to strengthen the capacity of trans-led organizations to more competitively apply for grant funding and build local organizational capacity to effectively respond to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. See http://msmgf.org/teach-technical-advisor/.

Electronic musician Jean-Michel Jarre has said he wants to use an all-night concert at the Dead Sea to highlight what he sees as the anti-environmental policies of Donald Trump, The Guardian noted. The French musician, who shot to fame in the 1970s, will perform in front of the ancient Masada fortress in Israel on April 6 in a bid to draw attention to the "urgency of saving the Dead Sea." The lake shared by Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian territories—which is the lowest and saltiest body of water in the world—is receding by roughly a meter per year; experts have said it is on course to dry out by 2050.

Montreal Pride, presented by TD in collaboration with the Casino de Montreal, announced that Canadian singer Nelly Furtado will headline the festival this summer, a press release noted. Nelly Furtado will give a 90-minute performance on Friday, Aug. 18, on the TD stage in Parc des Faubourgs. This new outside venue for Montreal Pride, located at the entrance of the Jacques-Cartier bridge, will welcome up to 30,000 spectators for the occasion.


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