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World news: Grindr arrest, Chinese 'boy band,' trans murder
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times

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In an unexpected move, police in Ghana have arrested two men who targeted gay men they found on gay-hookup site Grindr, PinkNews reported. The men—Torsu Stephen, 23, and Aikins Atitsogbe, 21—were arrested in the capital Accra after an unnamed victim reported they threatened to post naked photos of him on the internet if he did not pay them. Some commenters on the article on GhanaWeb said the victim who reported the crime should also be jailed because he used Grindr. Male same-sexual activity is illegal in Ghana and can lead to up to three years in prison.

Acrush is considered the hottest new boy band in China—but the members are not actually boys at all, according to Queerty. As Quartz reported, the band consists of five twentysomething women who dress as standard teen heartthrobs: floppy flannels, bulky leather coats and skinny ties. Acrush already has 900,000 followers on its Weibo page.

A court in the Philippines has upheld a jail sentence for a U.S. Marine found guilty of killing a trans woman, accodring to PinkNews. Joseph Scott Pemberton, in 2015, found guilty of homicide for killing Filipina trans woman Jennifer Laude, avoiding a murder charge. The lance corporal had been charged with the murder of Laude, who was found dead in Olongapo City in October 2014, and claimed he had acted in self defence when he killed Laude. The killing took place near a former U.S. naval base north of Manila.

There is a move underway by several city councillors to have Pride Toronto denied city funding because of its decision to exclude the Toronto Police Service from this year's festivities, CBC News reported. Coun. John Campbell ( Ward 4, Etobicoke Centre ) has drafted a motion that he says he'll present that asks city staff to withhold Pride's $260,000 grant "pending Pride's reaffirmation of its core value of inclusivity." The parade last summer was held up by a contingent from Black Lives Matter until Pride organizers agreed to a list of demands, including a promise to prevent uniformed police from participating in future.

Scotland has become the first part of the United Kingdom to approve the use of HIV-preventing drugs, PinkNews reported. Pre-exposure prophylaxis ( PrEP ) drug Truvada can drastically reduce people's chances of being infected with HIV, and is available in a number of countries to at-risk groups, including sex workers, gay men and people in serodiscordant relationships. Health experts say rolling out PrEP would be cost-effective if it leads to even a small reduction in HIV infections.

In Japan, Osaka has become the first city in the country to officially recognize a same-sex couple as foster parents, BBC News reported. Officials in the city of Osaka have approved the wishes of a man in his 30s and a man in his 40s to foster a teenage boy. The government's department of health, labor and welfare has said nowhere else in the country has done anything similar. The Japan Times reported the older of the men as saying: "I am happy we became foster parents [and recognised] as a single household, not just as individuals."

Nearly six months after queer teenager Oliver Zamarripa, 19, disappeared off the streets of Vancouver, his friends are still looking for answers, Daily Xtra reported. Zamarripa went missing Oct 15, 2016. His body was found two weeks later hundreds of miles away in Lytton, a tiny town where friends say he had no reason to be. Authorities have only told Xtra the investigation into Zamarripa's death is ongoing, and that they have no reason to believe he was targeted because of his sexuality.

Five brothers were arrested for the murder of a trans woman in Malaysia's capital, Kuala Lumpur, in February, Gay Star News reported. Shameera Krishnan was found dead with four of her fingers sliced off and shot in the bottom on Feb. 23; she was killed the day before her 27th birthday. The Star Online reported five brothers aged between 19 and 30 were arrested by police and given a seven-day remand by the Kuantan Magistrate's Court.

Insiders say China's censors are now contending with a fresh test of their newfound tolerance after controversy over Beauty and the Beast: Oscar best picture winner Moonlight, The Hollywood Reporteer noted. But few expect Barry Jenkins' award-winner to get the same liberal treatment "Beast" received. Says one source close to state-backed distributor China Film Group: "They think Moonlight is unsuitable for the China market and not politically correct." Depicting gay relationships on TV is banned in China, but no rules explicitly prohibit such stories in feature films or online.

A gay Brazilian banker has been fired from his job after posting photos of his engagement online, NewNowNext noted. The unnamed worker, who was commended as an above-average employee, told a local paper that he was wrongfully terminated from his position at Banco Itau because he's gay. According to the source, the man worked at the bank for a year and a half, in which time he received not only numerous awards for meeting target goals, but also a deluge of anti-gay comments from his employers.

Sherlock star Mark Gatiss has announced a new project that will chronicle the last century of gay life in Britain, Gay Times reported. Titled Queers, the series will comprise eight 15-minute monologues to be aired on BBC Four this July, after being staged at the Old Vic theatre in London. It will begin with The Man on the Platform, which is set in 1917 and has been written by Gatiss himself. Other pieces will address the Wolfenden Report of 1957, which recommended homosexuality should no longer be considered a crime; the 1967 Sexual Offences Act that partially decriminalized gay relationships in England and Wales; and the 1980s HIV/AIDS crisis.

Out & Equal has launched its 2017 Global Fellowship Program, an intensive five-week leadership development program for visiting fellows from outside the United States, according to a press release. The 2017 Global Fellowship will take place Sept. 10-Oct. 14. Fellows will first spend several weeks at Out & Equal headquarters in San Francisco, where they will develop unique projects while gaining experience working side-by-side with Out & Equal staff. Applications are due May 1; visit

British Vogue has appointed its first male editor—who happens to be gay, PinkNews reported. Edward Enninful will succeed Alexandra Schulman, who announced earlier this year that she would step down from the role after 25 years. He worked as fashion director for i-D magazine at age 19 after being scouted as a model when he was just 16. The Ghanaian-born model-turned-stylist will be the magazine's 11th editor, but has contributed to American Vogue between 1998 and 2011.

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