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  WINDY CITY TIMES

WORLD Greece appointee, India trans items, top LGBTQ issues
by Windy City Times staff
2021-01-11

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The center-right government of Greece announced the country's first out minister, out.com reported. Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis appointed Nicholas Yatromanolakis as the new deputy minister of culture. The 44-year-old native of Athens—who holds a BA in political science and international relations from Panteion University in Athens, and also a masters in public policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University—had previously served as the culture ministry's general secretary.

The Indian government drafted a five-year plan for the welfare of transgender people that includes student scholarships and programs to provide livelihood opportunities, among other measures, The Economic Times reported. The plan, which aims to help end the societal stigma faced by the community, comes more than a year after Parliament passed the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act. The plan period would begin April 1.

In India, two transgender women made history with local village election wins, GayTimes reported. Devika, 46, was elected from ward number seven in Saligrama panchayat and secured 115 ballot votes in total, winning the election by five votes. Also, hailing from Ballari, the district Hosapete village, Sudha won the 2020 Karnataka Gram Panchayat elections in Kalahalli.

Openly News published a list of what are likely to be 10 of the main LGBTQ-related issues the world will face this year. Among the topics are marriage equality; European Union (EU) sanctions on Hungary and Poland; conversion therapy; trans rights; the United States (specifically, the Equality Act, trans rights and religious rights); hate-crime statutes; The Caribbean; decriminalization of same-sex relations; LGBTQ+ asylum seekers; and Japan (specifically, the relative absence of pro-LGBTQ+ laws in advance of the Summer Olympics).

Chinese activists say the city's permissive streak is under threat, as the central Communist leadership puts the squeeze on the few bastions of sexual freedom across the country, according to france24.com . But the LGBTQ community is not ready to be forced into the closet. The recipe for survival, one activist said, is "making small progress" rather than big political and social statements that rattle China's hypersensitive authorities. Neither same-sex marriage nor civil unions are recognized in China.

Laura Weinstein—director of Fundacion Grupo de Accion y Apoyo a Personas Trans (GAAT), a trans rights group based in the Colombian capital of Bogota—passed away four days after she was hospitalized with difficulty breathing, The Washington Blade reported. "I have been hospitalized since yesterday because of breathing difficulties," tweeted Weinstein on Dec. 31. "They gave me a COVID test and we are waiting for the results, but not being able to breath is something that I never wish upon anyone." Wilson Castañeda Castro—director of Caribe Afirmativo, an LGBTQ advocacy group that works in areas along Colombia's Caribbean coast—told the Blade that Weinstein's test came back negative, but that her health had deteriorated in recent months.

LGBTQ-rights campaigners said that homophobic comments by Uganda's president and other politicians are making some LGBTQ+ Ugandans too scared to vote in elections scheduled for Jan. 14, Reuters reported. LGBTQ+ people face widespread persecution in the east African nation, where same-sex relations are punishable by life imprisonment. "We have seen increased harassment against LGBT persons and those who speak up for gay rights," said Frank Mugisha, who has received dozens of threats over the years as head of the leading LGBT+ rights group Sexual Minorities Uganda.

British teenager Matthew Mason, 19, was found guilty of murdering his 15-year-old gay lover after paying him thousands to stop him disclosing their relationship, PinkNews reported. Mason bludgeoned Alex Rodda in a quiet woodland in Cheshire, England, on Dec. 12, 2020, leaving him to die. Mason—who lived with his millionaire family on a farm in Knutsford—first began messaging Alex Rodda, who attended Holmes Chapel High School, in October 2019.

Ahead of the Belgian cyclocross national championships last weekend, Belgian pro cyclist Justin Laevens came out as gay—the first person in his field to do so in his country, Cycling News reported. "I had been thinking about it for two years. It was a big step," Laevens said. "My parents were very positive about it. I was especially afraid of the reactions of bigger riders or teams, that they would look at me differently, but I don't think that's the case." On his Instagram story, Laevens referenced a social media campaign by Belgian rower Simon Haerinck, #samesportdifferentsexuality, that Haerinck hoped will "call out homophobia in sports and encourage tolerance and acceptance."

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have "no plans" to return to social media almost a year after they left Britain, Page Six noted. A source close to the ex-royals told The Times of London that they're "very unlikely" to have an online presence, mostly due to the "hate" they've received. The couple announced their Megxit plan to the world through an Instagram post on their "Sussex Royal" profile; although the profile is still up, it's not active.

George Michael's ex-lover Fadi Fawaz was charged with smashing a beauty salon window days before the fourth anniversary of the singer's death, The Daily Mail noted. Fawaz was accused of causing damage by shattering a window at London's Le Fix Natural Beauty. The case was adjourned until Jan. 26 to be heard at Westminster Magistrates' Court. Fawaz found the former Wham! star dead in bed on Christmas Day in 2016.

After crowning Priyanka as the winner of its first season, Canada's Drag Race has announced that it would return for a second, according to Out.com ."Category is: Canada's Drag Race season 2," the show's Instagram account posted in a caption. "Do you think you're Canada's Next Drag Superstar? Tap the link in bio to apply now." The first season of Canada's Drag Race didn't feature a host but had its three main judges—Brooke Lynn Hytes, Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman and Stacey McKenzie—take on the duties; it is unclear as of now whether they will all return to judge. As a result of backlash from the show, Bowyer-Chapman deleted his Twitter account and limited comments on his Instagram.

British band Duran Duran kicked off its 2021 40th-anniversary celebrations by releasing a cover of David Bowie's "Five Years," a press release noted. The song came as part of the global streaming tribute event "A Bowie Celebration: Just For One Day!," that took place Jan. 8—on would have been Bowie's 74th birthday. A portion of ticket proceeds will go to the Save The Children organization, a charity important to Bowie.


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