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World news: Death inquest, Pride parades, Queen Elizabeth
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2017-06-27

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In Australia, an inquest has heard that soldiers training at the Army School of Artillery at North Head in Sydney used to brag about bashing gay men, ABC.net .au reported. The coroner is conducting a third inquest into the death of 27-year-old U.S. mathematician Scott Johnson, whose naked body was found at the bottom of a cliff at North Head in 1988. A witness told the court it was common knowledge that gay men met for sex in the area, and said soldiers mentioned that "they'd gone bashing queers."

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spent June 25 marching in the Toronto Pride Parade and celebrating the event's central theme: inclusivity, The Huffington Post noted. Trudeau took a moment to wish Muslims a "Pride Mubarak," a nod to the parade coinciding with Eid al-Fitr, the holiday that marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan. To further honor the inclusivity theme, LGBTQ rights and Eid, Trudeau wore rainbow socks that had "Eid Mubarak" ( which means "Blessed Eid" ) written across them in English and in Arabic.

In Israel, approximately 3,500 people attended the first-ever Gay Pride parade in the southern city of Beersheba, The Times of Israel noted. However, two ultra-Orthodox men, one carrying a knife, were arrested nearby; one was found armed with a knife in the vicinity of the parade and the second had attempted to forcibly enter the procession. Two years ago, teen Shira Banki was killed and five people injured by a Jewish religious extremist at a Jerusalem Pride parade.

Turkish police were deployed in central Istanbul on June 25 to enforce a ban on the city's annual LGBT pride march, blocking off a main street and dispersing groups of demonstrators who gathered nearby, Reuters reported. Police with riot shields and helmets sealed off entrances to Istiklal Street, where organizers had planned to hold the march before authorities announced the ban on June 24, citing security concerns after threats from an ultra-nationalist group. Istanbul has traditionally been seen as a relative safe haven by members of the gay community from elsewhere in the Middle East, including refugees from Syria and Iraq.

In an address to Parliament, Queen Elizabeth pledged to protect the LGB community from discrimination, NewNowNext.com reported. "My government will make further progress to tackle the gender pay gap and discrimination against people on the basis of their race, faith, gender, disability or sexual orientation." Also worth noting is something the Queen didn't say: Her address usually mentions all the upcoming state visits, but as she didn't mention Donald Trump, some feel his trip has been canceled.

Mr. Leather Europe opened up on Facebook about being in a previous abusive relationship, Gay Star News noted. Joe King—who became Mr. Leather UK at the end of 2015 and went on to then become Mr Leather Europe 2016—wrote, in part, "In 2001, I found myself in a relationship with a man who could only be described as a malevolent bully. He was emotionally, mentally and physically abusive and systematically broke me down over the next five years, to a point where my confidence was at an all-time low." King added that the ex, among other things, ran up debts in his name and gave him HIV; currently, King's health is "excellent" and his viral load is undetectable.

Belgian supermodel Hanne Gaby Odiele discussed coming out as intersex in Glamour. In part, Odiele said of husband John Swiatek, "He's a great support for me. He really encouraged me in this coming out. We've been together eight years, and he's known from pretty much the beginning." Odiele originally revealed she's intersex in an interview with USA Today and announced a partnership with InterACT, an advocacy group.

The former leader of the Australian Labor Party has said that the marriage debate was getting too much coverage because the mainstream media is full of "gay activists," PinkNews noted. Mark Latham, now a media commentator, became upset as he wrote that "same-sex couples make up just 0.8 per cent of relationships in Australia." Speaking to Daily Mail Australia, Latham went on to accuse ABC and Fairfax Media of pushing a "militant" gay agenda on the public.

A Japanese web series will take a look at the gay community, RocketNews24.com reported. Called Tokyo Neighbors, the 12-part series is currently being released on YouTube. The article says that "[t]he absence of professional lighting and conventional camera shots gives each episode a raw feel, adding to the sense of reality, which serves to highlight the fact that these lives and these experiences really do exist in Japan."

Gay men have been blamed by a paramedic for fires in South Africa that have devastated large parts of the country, Metro reported. A paramedic has been suspended over his remarks saying that the fires were God's revenge on the country for allowing 12 same-sex marriages. The weddings he was writing about took place at the an annual Pink Loerie Mardi Gras and arts festival, according to News24.

The Chinese release of the film Alien: Covenant lacks six minutes—including Michael Fassbender's much-touted gay kiss ( with himself ), The Hollywood Reporter noted. Earlier this year, censors lopped off 14 minutes from Logan and eight minutes from Resident Evil: The Final Chapter. In those cases, the offending material was the movies' most graphic violence and gore.

The Portland Gay Men's Chorus ( PGMC ) is expanding its horizon of musical outreach and heading to China, a culturally conservative country when it comes to homosexuality, PamplinMedia.com reported. The PGMC will be the first gay chorus to embark on a tour in China. The tour, part of its 2018 season, will find its way through four Chinese cities during August 2018: Beijing, Xi'an, Shanghai and Suzhou. Suzhou is a sister city of Portland.


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