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World news: InterPride, HIV death warning, tennis icons clash
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2017-05-30

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InterPride, the International Association for Pride Organizers, has called on LGBTQ+ people everywhere to attend and support local Pride events everywhere, according to a press release. In part, the release stated, "Pride has taken on a new urgency in 2017. With celebrations happening in hundreds of locations throughout the month and The Equality March for Unity & Pride centered in Washington, D.C., on June 11, there will be opportunities for everyone to show their Pride, protest anti-LGBTQ efforts and put a face on the larger community at this critical time."

Researchers and advocates have said that at least 1 million people will die in sub-Saharan Africa and elsewhere of HIV if funding cuts proposed by the Trump administration to HIV-treatment programs are enacted, The New York Times reported. The United States currently spends more than $6 billion annually on programs that buy antiretroviral drugs for about 11.5 million people worldwide who are infected with HIV. In a briefing for reporters, Hari Sastry, director of the State Department's Office of U.S. Foreign Assistance Resources, said that everyone now receiving drug treatments under the programs would be allowed to continue—even if the funding cuts were approved.

Australian tennis legend Margaret Court has said she will boycott Qantas Airways because of the airline's support for same-sex marriage, PinkNews noted. The icon, who won a record 64 grand slams, made the announcement in a letter to The West Australian newspaper. In part, Court wrote, "I am disappointed that Qantas has become an active promoter for same-sex marriage. I believe in marriage as a union between a man and a woman as stated in the Bible." Tennis Australia tweeted, in part, that Court's "personal views are her own, and do not align with Tennis Australia's values of equality, inclusion and diversity."

However, another tennis legend has responded to Court's views. Retired Czech-American player Martina Navratilova—who married longtime girlfriend Julia Lemigova after proposing at the U.S. Open—said Court's comments had gone "too far," according to PinkNews. Navratilova said, "Thank you Qantas for your support. And Margaret — you have gone too far. Shame on you… #wrongsideofhistory."

The husband of Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel mingled with the wives and girlfriends of other world leaders during the NATO conference, the Daily Mail noted. Gauthier Destenay, a Belgian architect, joined the likes of U.S. First Lady Melania Trump in Brussels on May 25 while their partners were off discussing world matters. The first gentleman, who married Bettel in 2015, posed for photos with the group of women at Royal Castle of Laeken ahead of a dinner especially for spouses.

In a related matter, the Trump administration omitted Destenay's name from a photo of the gathering, Advocate.com noted. When the White House posted the official photo of that moment to its Facebook page, the Trump administration identified every other person standing with First Lady Melania Trump, except Destenay. Destenay's name was finally added to the caption about nine hours after it was posted.

Ireland is on the verge of a huge change in its political life with the likely election of Leo Varadkar as its next premier—a move that would give the once-staunchly Catholic country its first openly gay leader and its first of Asian immigrant descent, according to U.S News & World Report. Varadkar has built a huge lead ahead of a contest to succeed Enda Kenny as leader of the governing Fine Gael and prime minister. At 38, he would also become the youngest person to hold the office.

After two years waiting for a permit, on May 17 ( on the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia ), the city officially announced that La Condesa, one of Acapulco's Golden Zone's beaches, has become the destination's official LGBT neighborhood, a press release noted. This initiative, from "Sin Etiquetas Guerrero" ( "No Labels Guerrero" )—a civil association that works on promoting sexual diversity and equal rights—paved the way to the neighborhood officially debuting a multicolored crosswalk featuring the rainbow flag, along with a physical flag on permanent display. La Condesa is the first official LGBT neighborhood in the country and first LGBT beach in Latin America.

On May 28, hundreds of mourners gathered in Stockport to remember Martyn Hett, one of the 22 victims of the bombing at the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, according to NewNowNext.com . Hett was a 29-year-old PR manager from Stockport ( a town outside of Manchester ) who had appeared on UK shows such as Come Dine with Me. Aside from loving Grande, he was also a huge fan of Mariah Carey, who paid tribute to him on her Instagram.

New French President Emmanuel Macron has said he has urged Vladimir Putin to ensure that the rights of LGBT people are protected following allegations of a crackdown on gay men in the Russian republic of Chechnya, a KITV.com item stated. The Russian president was in France for talks with Macron, two weeks after his election victory. Macron's call comes after widespread reports of a brutal campaign by the authorities against gay men in Chechnya, including allegations of torture and murder.

The Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ) Foundation announced that its HRC Equidad MX: Global Workplace Equality Program is undertaking a groundbreaking new survey of Mexican businesses' LGBT inclusive policies and practices, a press release noted. Major employers Citibanamex, Accenture, Google, Kellogg and Mastercard have already committed to participate in the Mexico-focused survey and report.

A South Korean military court sentenced an army captain to a suspended prison term for having sex with a fellow male soldier in a ruling human-rights groups criticized as regressive and intimidating, ABC News reported. Kim In-sook, a lawyer for the captain, said her client was being punished for having consensual sex with his partner in a private space. She said the captain was briefly treated at a hospital for shock following his conviction.

Two gay men in Indonesia were publicly caned ( with 85 lashes ) after vigilantes got them arrested in the country's only province where homosexuality is illegal, LGBTQ Nation reported. It was the first public caning of gay men in Indonesia, where federal law has never criminalized homosexuality, but where anti-LGBTQ feelings are on the rise. The men were arrested after vigilantes in their neighborhood barged into the apartment where they were staying and filmed them naked in bed.

In Brazil, the Supreme Federal Court ( STF ) ruled for civil unions to have the same inheritance rights as in marriage, Plus55.com noted. The decision applies to heterosexual as well as same-sex couples alike. Granted by a vote of six to two, the justices ruled for partners to receive half of the inheritance. Per the Court's reasoning, half of the inheritance should go to one's spouse and the other half to their children.

Also, Brazil will make the HIV preventative drug PrEP ( pre-exposure prophylaxis ) available to populations at highest risk of HIV infection, according to Gay Star News. The susceptible populations includes sex workers, mixed HIV-status couples, transgender people and gay and bisexual men. The ministry of health announced it will offer the drug through the Brazilian Unified Health System within six months.

Ben & Jerry's is banning two scoops of the same flavor in its 26 Australian stores as part of a push for marriage equality Down Under, according to the UK Telegraph. "It is time to stand up for fair and equal rights for all by letting our leaders know that we demand Marriage Equality," the popular ice-cream chain said. Coinciding with the ban, the company has placed postcard boxes for customers to issue postal protests to their representatives.

Nelly Furtado is back as she will headline the first-ever Canada Pride in Montreal, presented by TD in collaboration with the Casino de Montreal, a press release noted. 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.

Trip.com has announced its 2017 lists of LGBTQ Rising Stars Destinations as well as Top All Time Destinations, Hotels, Restaurants and Bars, a press release noted. Some of the top Rising Star Destinations include Singapore, Puerto Rico, Bali, Nashville and Poland, while the Top Destinations of All Time for LGBQT travelers include Hawaii, Amsterdam, Miami Beach, Sao Paulo, Berlin and Palm Springs.

Universal Pictures has canceled the UK premiere of The Mummy after the Manchester terror attack, Page Six noted. The Mummy's premiere cancellation happened after Warner Bros announced the same fate for the Wonder Woman premiere. Also, bands like Blondie and Take That canceled shows in the immediate aftermath of an attack that killed 22 people at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England; Grande's performances have been canceled through June 5.


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