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August 12, 2022 2:07 am

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“gay” – Google News: Chengdu: China’s permissive ‘gay capital’ – New Straits Times

Chengdu: China’s permissive ‘gay capital’  New Straits Times

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“gay tv” – Google News: ‘I’m not bisexual, I’m gay’: when Ricky Martin spoke of his sexual chemistry with women – Explica

‘I’m not bisexual, I’m gay’: when Ricky Martin spoke of his sexual chemistry with women  Explica

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“gay tv” – Google News: Lucy Lawless as Stevie Nicks is New Zealand’s forgotten comedy masterpiece – The Spinoff

Lucy Lawless as Stevie Nicks is New Zealand’s forgotten comedy masterpiece  The Spinoff

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“gay” – Google News: Chengdu: China’s permissive ‘gay capital’ refusing to fold – FRANCE 24

Chengdu: China’s permissive ‘gay capital’ refusing to fold  FRANCE 24

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Washington Blade: Gay News, Politics, LGBT Rights: Top 10 international news stories of 2020

2020 international news stories

The coronavirus pandemic was the dominant international story in 2020, but other news impacted the LGBTQ community around the world over the past year. Here are our picks for top 10 international stories of 2020.

No. 10: Anti-democracy crackdown looms over Hong Kong Gay Games

Hong Kong Gay Games, gay news, Washington Blade
Recent unrest in Hong Kong has led to speculation the Gay Games would be moved, but organizers in 2020 assured athletes the events would happen in 2022.

Organizers of the 2022 Gay Games that are slated to take place in Hong Kong insist the event will take place as scheduled, despite ongoing human rights abuses in the former British colony.

Hong Kong’s pro-Beijing government continues to target pro-democracy protesters. The U.S. and other countries have criticized the crackdown.

Shiv Paul, a spokesperson for the Federation of Gay Games, which will oversee the games, in November told the Blade the Gay Games Hong Kong 2022 committee has a contingency plan that will address “potential scenarios/risks such as an ongoing pandemic, social unrest or unseasonal weather events.” The games’ opening ceremony is scheduled to take place on Nov. 12, 2022.

No. 9: Sudan repeals death penalty for homosexuality

Abdel Fattah Abdelrahman al-Burhan (Photo courtesy of the Office of the President of Azerbaijan; Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License)

Sudan in July repealed a provision of its Penal Code that imposed the death penalty upon anyone found guilty of engaging in consensual same-sex sexual relations.

Article 148 of the Sudanese Penal Code from 1991 said anyone who is convicted of sodomy three times “shall be punished with death, or with life imprisonment.” Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, chair of Sudan’s Sovereignty Council, which was created in 2019 to govern the country on an interim basis after then-President Omar al-Bashir’s ouster, approved the removal of the death penalty provision from Article 148.

Saudi Arabia and Iran are among the handful of countries in which consensual same-sex sexual relations remain punishable by death.

Lawmakers in Bhutan on Dec. 10 voted to amend portions of their country’s Penal Code that have been used to criminalize homosexuality. The amendment will become law once King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck signs it.

No. 8: Costa Rica becomes first Central American country with marriage equality

More than 30 groups in Costa Rica joined a campaign in support of marriage rights for same-sex couples. (Photo courtesy of Gia Miranda/Sí, Acepto)

Costa Rica on May 26 became the first country in Central America to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples.

Two women became the first same-sex couple to legally marry in Costa Rica when they exchanged vows in the municipality of Heredia shortly after midnight. President Carlos Alvarado Quesada is among those who celebrated the historic milestone.

“Today we celebrate liberty, equality and democratic institutions,” tweeted Alvarado. “May empathy and love be the moral compass that allows us to move forward and build a country where everyone belongs.”

No. 7: Anti-LGBTQ crackdown in Poland draws international condemnation

Polish President Andrzej Duda

The Polish government’s continued anti-LGBTQ crackdown sparked global outrage in 2020.

Police over the summer arrested Margot Szutowicz, a non-binary person, three times. One of the arrests stems from charges she allegedly damaged a truck promoting anti-LGBTQ messages and assaulted a pro-life demonstrator on June 2.

President Andrzej Duda in the lead up to the Polish presidential election said LGBTQ “ideology” is more harmful than communism.

Duda on June 24 met with President Trump at the White House. Duda on July 12 won re-election.

No. 6: ICE releases Blade contributor from Cuba

Yariel Valdés González on South Beach on March 6, 2020. (Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

A Blade contributor who was in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody for nearly a year was released on March 4.

An immigration judge in September 2019 granted Yariel Valdés González asylum based on the persecution he suffered in Cuba because he was an independent journalist. The Board of Immigration Appeals on Feb. 28 dismissed an appeal of the judge’s ruling.

“I really feel that I am alive now,” Valdés told the Blade after he reunited with his aunt and uncle in Miami. “It is a wonderful feeling to feel free and to be able to take control of your life and above all knowing that you will not be persecuted again because of your ideas or your work.”

Valdés now lives with his boyfriend in Wilton Manors, Fla., and continues to contribute to the Blade.

No. 5: U.N. calls for global conversion therapy ban

(Photo public domain)

The U.N. in July formally called for a ban on so-called conversion therapy.

Victor Madrigal-Borloz, the independent U.N. expert on LGBTQ issues, submitted a report with 130 submissions on practices and testimonies of victims who have experienced conversion therapy from civil society organizations, faith-based organizations, medical practitioners and individuals.

Germany, Brazil, Ecuador, Malta and Taiwan have all banned the widely discredited practice. Maryland, D.C. and Virginia are among the U.S. jurisdictions that ban conversion therapy for minors.

A federal appeals court in November ruled bans on conversion therapy for minors in the Florida cities of Boca Raton and Palm Beach are unconstitutional under the First Amendment.

No. 4: Trump policies further endanger LGBTQ migrants, asylum seekers

President Donald Trump

The Trump administration’s hardline immigration policy continued to put LGBTQ migrants and asylum seekers at even more risk in 2020.

Three police officers in El Salvador who were convicted of murdering Camila Díaz Córdova, a transgender woman who the U.S. deported in 2017 after she fled anti-LGBTQ violence, were sentenced to 20 years in prison on July 28.

Activists say LGBTQ asylum seekers who are forced to await the outcome of their cases in Mexico under the Trump administration’s “return to Mexico” (MPP) policy puts them at increased risk of violence and human trafficking. A Human Rights Watch report notes the closure of the U.S.-Mexico border in March left asylum seekers “to suffer persecution in their home countries or in Mexico.

People with HIV, among other vulnerable groups, who were in ICE custody in 2020 were also at increased risk for the coronavirus as the pandemic spread throughout the U.S.

No. 3: Pope Francis publicly supports civil unions

Pope Francis

LGBTQ Catholics and activists around the world in October welcomed Pope Francis’ public support of civil unions for same-sex couples.

Francis made the comments in “Francesco,” a documentary about his life that debuted at the Rome Film Festival on Oct. 21.

Francis DeBernardo, executive director of the Maryland-based New Ways Ministry, described Francis’ comments as a “historic moment” that “signals that the church is continuing to develop more positively its approach to LGBTQ issues.” Esteban Paulón, an activist in Argentina, noted Francis “in private expressed his support” for civil unions for same-sex couples during the marriage equality debate in his homeland before he became pope.

The Vatican’s tone toward LGBTQ Catholics has become more moderate under Francis’ papacy. Church teachings on homosexuality and gender identity remain unchanged.

No. 2: Biden election celebrated around the world

President-Elect Joe Biden

President-elect Biden’s election in November renewed hopes the U.S. will once again champion LGBTQ rights abroad in an impactful way.

The incoming administration has said Biden will “immediately appoint” a special LGBTQ rights envoy at the State Department and a special coordinator at the U.S. Agency for International Development to handle the aforementioned issues. Biden has, among other things, also pledged to use the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Act to sanction those responsible for anti-LGBTQ rights abuses.

Former U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell led the Trump administration’s initiative that encouraged countries to decriminalize homosexuality, but many LGBTQ activists around the world remained highly skeptical of it.

“The planet is crying out for more compassionate, mature, visionary, unifying and empathetic leaders, and we now look to President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris to be an example,” ILGA World Executive Director André du Plessis told the Blade after the election.

No. 1: Coronavirus sweeps the world

coronavirus, COVID-19 discrimination, gay news, Washington Blade
(Image courtesy of the CDC)

The coronavirus pandemic had a devastating impact on LGBTQ people around the world in 2020.

The vast majority of Pride celebrations took place virtually, with Global Pride drawing an audience of more than 57 million people on June 27. Ecuador is among the countries in which advocacy groups launched relief efforts to help LGBTQ people pay their rent and buy food and other basic supplies during coronavirus lockdowns.

The pandemic further exacerbated existing economic, social and racial inequalities. Efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus — such as “pico y género” rules in Panamá, Colombia and Perú that allowed people to leave their homes on certain days based on their gender — sparked criticism among transgender activists who felt they caused further discrimination based on gender identity.

The post Top 10 international news stories of 2020 appeared first on Washington Blade: Gay News, Politics, LGBT Rights.

Washington Blade: Gay News, Politics, LGBT Rights

1. Gay News Reflections on a Terrible Year and Hope for 2021 Redemption

new year

Is it naive to think 2021 will improve upon 2020?

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“gay tv” – Google News: Disney+: The best new shows and movies on right now –

Disney+: The best new shows and movies on right now

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Washington Blade: Gay News, Politics, LGBT Rights: Top 10 local news stories of 2020

(Washington Blade photos by Michael Key)

Of course, COVID-19 looms large across this year’s annual Year in Review issue. From the shocking death toll, to the devastating impact on local businesses, to the cancellation of Pride, coronavirus upended all of our lives. Here are the Blade’s staff picks for the top 10 local news stories of 2020.

#10: Va. passes major LGBTQ rights legislation

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam attends an Equality Virginia event on Feb. 4 in Richmond celebrating the impending passage of the Virginia Values Act in the Virginia General Assembly.

The Virginia General Assembly, which convened in January 2020 with a Democratic Party majority for the first time in more than two decades, passed several major pro-LGBTQ measures, including an LGBTQ nondiscrimination bill that had been blocked for years under the former Republican controlled legislature.

The Virginia Values Act, which calls for adding sexual orientation and gender identity to the state’s existing civil rights law, was a top legislative priority among LGBTQ advocacy groups. Both houses of the General Assembly passed the measure with bipartisan support.

The General Assembly passed a separate bill banning so-called conversion therapy for minors, making Virginia the first southern state to prohibit the widely discredited practice that seeks to change people’s sexual orientation from gay to straight. All the nation’s professional mental health associations, including the American Psychiatric Association, have said conversion therapy is ineffective and harmful to the mental health of those who undergo the therapy.

Among the other LGBTQ supportive bills the General Assembly approved in 2020 was a measure that repealed Virginia’s statutory ban on same-sex marriage. Although a U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the country made the statute unenforceable, LGBTQ activists said it should nevertheless be removed from the state’s legal code.

#9: Life and death of Alice Carter

Alice Carter, gay news, Washington Blade
Alice Carter died in 2019. The city released a case study in August 2020 that took an unprecedented, in-depth look at the transgender woman’s struggle with drug and alcohol abuse and mental illness.

A case study commissioned by the Office of the D.C. Auditor released in August 2020 takes what observers considered an unprecedented in-depth look at a transgender woman’s struggle with drug and alcohol abuse, mental illness, and homelessness and the valiant but unsuccessful attempt by dozens of social services experts from city agencies and community groups to help her over a period of at least a dozen years.

The study, “Lessons From The Life and Death of Alice Carter,” was prepared by the D.C.-based nonprofit group Street Sense Media at the request of D.C. Auditor Kathleen Patterson. Street Sense Media was among several groups, including the LGBTQ organizations Whitman-Walker Health and Casa Ruby, that provided assistance to Carter.

People who knew Carter, who was 35 at the time of her death, said she became a beloved figure among residents and visitors of the 17th Street business strip where she hung out and often slept on the street.

Patterson said she decided to commission the case study of Carter’s life to determine what, if anything different, the city government could do to help people like Carter survive with substance use disorder and mental health issues.

#8: Most gay candidates lose bids for Council, school board

GLAA ratings, Randy Downs, gay news, Washington Blade
Randy Downs

Gay education advocate Allister Chang won his race for a seat on the D.C. State Board of Education in the city’s Nov. 3 general election, becoming the only one of six openly gay candidates to emerge as a winner for seats on the nonpartisan school board and the D.C. Council.

In the race for the Ward 2 D.C. Council seat, incumbent Council member Brooke Pinto (D) defeated gay Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Randy Downs by a margin of 68.3 percent to 20.6 percent in a four-candidate race. Downs ran as an independent.

Gay Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Alexander Padro and gay Libertarian Party activist Joe Bishop-Henchman were among 23 candidates competing for two at-large D.C. Council seats, one of which was held by incumbent Council member Robert White (D-At-Large). White finished in first place with 25.9 percent of the vote. Bishop-Henchman finished in 15th place with 0.96 percent of the vote. Padro came in 18th place with 0.7 percent of the vote.

The other two unsuccessful gay candidates ran for an at-large seat on the State Board of Education in a six-candidate race. Gay former teacher and education advocate Mysiki Valentine finished in third place with 19.4 percent of the vote. Gay Howard University Political Science Department Chairman Ravi K. Perry finished in fifth place with 11.3 percent of the vote.

#7: D.C.’s pro-LGBTQ Archbishop promoted to Cardinal

Wilton D. Gregory, gay news, Washington Blade
Washington Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory

Pope Francis announced in October that he had promoted Washington Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory, who has expressed support for LGBTQ Catholics, to the rank of cardinal, making him the first black cardinal in the United States.

Gregory, 73, became Washington’s archbishop in May 2019 after having served as the archbishop of Atlanta for 14 years and where he spoke out on several occasions in support of the LGBTQ community.

Gregory drew attention in D.C. in August 2019 when he told a transgender man during a gathering of young Catholics that the man was welcome in the Catholic Church. His comment came in response to a question by the trans man, who asked Gregory, “What place do I have as a confirmed transgender Catholic and what place do my queer friends have here in this archdiocese?”

“You belong to the heart of this church,” Gregory replied. “There is nothing that you may do, may say, that will ever rip you from the heart of this church.”

#6: Three long-time gay clubs close

Members of the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington perform at the Brother, Help Thyself Foundation Grant Awards ceremony in the now-shuttered DC Eagle.

The DC Eagle and Ziegfeld’s-Secrets, two of D.C.’s longest operating gay bars, and the Crew Club, the D.C. gym, sauna and bathhouse for gay men that operated near Logan Circle for more than 25 years, closed in 2020 with prospects for their possible reopening uncertain.

Sources familiar with the DC Eagle and Ziegfeld’s-Secrets say their closing does not appear to be related to the COVID pandemic. The Eagle’s majority co-owner filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy following financial difficulties that began long before COVID. Gay businessman Mark Hunker has purchased the legal rights to the Eagle’s name and trademark and has hinted he may consider reopening it.

Ziegfeld’s-Secrets, which featured popular drag shows and nude male dancers, was forced to close when the owner of the building it rented terminated its lease to make way for a real estate development project. The club reportedly is looking for another location but it is uncertain when or if a suitable new space can be found.

Crew Club co-owner DC Allen said he and co-owner Ken Flick, his husband, retired earlier this year. The two entered a business arrangement just prior to COVID with others who were going to operate the club with Allen and Flick remaining as partners. But when COVID restrictions resulted in the forced closing of gyms and other similar establishments, the group that planned to operate the club withdrew. Allen and Flick have since placed the Crew Club building, which they own, up for sale and do not plan to reopen the club.

#5: LGBTQ activists respond to calls to defund D.C. police

Protesters direct anger over racism against Trump in White House protests. (Blade photo via Michael Key)

LGBTQ activists in D.C. expressed strong support for the Black Lives Matter movement’s calls for reform in the nation’s police departments on racial justice issues, but most local activists said they do not support calls by some for fully defunding the D.C. police department.

Some local activists pointed out that LGBTQ people, especially transgender women of color, have been subjected to anti-LGBTQ hate crimes and other violent crime to a greater degree than other population groups. They said fully defunding the police could place LGBTQ people in danger.

Rehana Mohammed, chair of the DC LGBTQ Center’s board of directors, told a D.C. Council hearing in June that the Center opposed a proposal by the mayor to increase the D.C. police budget by $18.5 million in 2021.

“We recommend instead investing those funds in community safety, social services, violence interruption programs, and community support programs,” Mohammed said. “The current strategies of creating reforms and increasing funding are simply not working,” she said.

#4: D.C. Council passes, mayor signs two LGBTQ bills

The year 2020 saw the D.C. Council pass and Mayor Muriel Bowser sign two bills considered a top priority by LGBTQ activists.

The Care for LGBTQ Seniors and Seniors with HIV Amendment Act of 2020, which the Council passed in October, provides nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ seniors who reside in long-term care facilities in the District.

The Bella Evangelista and Tony Hunter Panic Defense Prohibition and Hate Crimes Response Amendment Act of 2020, approved by the Council in December, bans the use of the so-called gay and transgender panic defense in criminal trials. The legislation also strengthens the city’s existing hate crimes law.

LGBTQ advocates say a ban on the panic defense is needed to prevent defense attorneys from inappropriately asking juries to find that a victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity is to blame for a defendant’s criminal act, including murder. Defense attorneys have argued that their clients “panicked” after discovering the person against whom they committed a violent crime was gay or transgender, prompting them to act in a violent way as a form of self-defense.

#3: D.C. Council member Jack Evans resigns

Jack Evans, gay news, Washington Blade
Jack Evans

D.C. Council member Jack Evans (D-Ward 2), one of the Council’s strongest supporters of the LGBTQ community during his 29 years in office, lost his attempt to win back his seat in the city’s June 2 Democratic primary after he resigned from the seat in January.

Evans’ resignation came after all 12 of his Council colleagues made it clear they would vote to expel him from office in response to a Council investigation that found he violated multiple ethics rules when he allegedly used his office to assist companies that paid him hundreds of thousands of dollars in consulting fees.

Evans acknowledged he made some mistakes but denied any wrongdoing and insisted he did not violate any laws. Ten days after his resignation he announced his candidacy for the seat he had just given up in the Ward 2 Democratic primary. But when the June 2 primary votes were counted Evans came in seventh place in an eight-candidate race with just 3.4 percent of the vote.

#2: DC Pride events cancelled

A Jeep in the Out Brigade passes by the United States Supreme Court.

Like other cities across the country, organizers of D.C.’s annual Capital Pride Parade and Festival, which are normally held in June and which draw over 200,000 participants, cancelled the events this year due to restrictions on public gatherings brought about by the coronavirus pandemic.

Ashley Smith, president of the Capital Pride Alliance board, said the organization would postpone some of its virtual events so that it could focus on its support for Black Lives Matter protests and advocacy work to fight police brutality and racism.

Capital Pride Alliance joined forces with the D.C. Center for the LGBT Community to hold an alternate Pride event on Oct. 10 called the Out Brigade. The event included a caravan of cars and other vehicles decorated with LGBTQ Pride related signs or ornaments that traveled across the city.

#1: D.C. hit hard by COVID

Several of the city’s LGBT bars and restaurants, including Annie’s, moved operations outdoors during the pandemic.

In addition to the staggering death toll of the coronavirus — more than 300,000 American lives lost as of mid-December — the disease wreaked havoc on small businesses in D.C. and across the country. More than a dozen bars, restaurants and nightclubs in the nation’s capital with a mostly LGBTQ clientele and at least seven nonprofit groups that provide services for D.C. area LGBTQ youth and adults say they were hit hard financially in 2020 by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Activists have long considered gay bars to be important meeting places for LGBTQ people who often cannot be out or open at work or at home. The possibility of these clubs being forced out of business, just like dozens of other D.C. bars, restaurants and nightclubs facing financial hardship from the epidemic, could have a greater detrimental impact on LGBTQ people, activists said.

Meanwhile, local LGBTQ supportive nonprofit groups like Casa Ruby, Whitman-Walker Health, SMYAL, HIPS, Wanda Alston Foundation, Us Helping Us, and Food and Friends said the pandemic disrupted their fundraising efforts while increasing expenses, at least in part by prompting more people to come to them for help.

LGBTQ workers in the D.C. area hospitality industry were also hit hard by COVID related restrictions in 2020, especially those working for hotels and restaurants that were forced to close. LGBTQ people were among many hospitality industry workers furloughed or laid off from their jobs due to the COVID shutdowns and restrictions.

Honorable Mention: Blade, Tagg oppose ad tax

The Washington Blade and Tagg magazine, the local publication that covers issues of interest to lesbians of color, joined the Washington Informer, one of D.C.’s two African-American newspapers, in calling on the D.C. Council to drop a 3 percent sales tax on advertising that it approved in a preliminary vote on July 7.

In response to a groundswell of opposition to the proposed advertising sales tax from local media outlets and small businesses that rely on advertising in newspapers, the Council two weeks later voted 11 to 2 to remove the tax from the city’s Fiscal Year 2021 budget. A request to remove the tax came from Council Chair Phil Mendelson (D-At-Large), who had introduced and backed the proposal at the time of its preliminary approval.

Mendelson said he reversed his position after hearing the outcry from small publications, including the Blade, that such a tax would force some outlets to lay off more employees and would force other media outlets to close as they struggled to survive amid the COVID pandemic.

The post Top 10 local news stories of 2020 appeared first on Washington Blade: Gay News, Politics, LGBT Rights.

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Washington Blade: Gay News, Politics, LGBT Rights: Cayman Islands recognizes same-sex couple’s overseas marriage

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Immigration authorities in the Cayman Islands have recognized the marriage of a same-sex couple who legally married outside of the British territory.

The Cayman Compass newspaper on Dec. 23 reported
Paul Pearson and Randall Pinder legally married in Ireland.

The Caymanian Status and Permanent Residency Board denied
the couple’s application to have Pinder acknowledged as a “spouse of a
permanent residency holder”
on grounds the Cayman Islands’
Constitution defines marriage as between a man and a woman. The Immigration
Appeals Tribunal last week overturned the board’s decision.

“Recognizing opposite-sex foreign marriages and failing
to recognize same-sex foreign marriages would be affording different and
unjustifiable treatment to different persons on the grounds of sexual
orientation,” states the ruling in the couple’s favor.

Cayman Islands Grand Court Chief Justice Anthony Smellie in March 2019 struck down the territory’s same-sex marriage ban. The Cayman Islands Court of Appeal a few months later overturned the ruling.

The territory’s Civil Partnership Law took effect in September.

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Washington Blade: Gay News, Politics, LGBT Rights

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“gay tv” – Google News: Homing’s In, Jan 1-10, 2021 – Bay Area Reporter, America’s highest circulation LGBT newspaper

Homing’s In, Jan 1-10, 2021  Bay Area Reporter, America’s highest circulation LGBT newspaper

“gay tv” – Google News