Lithuania appears set to legalize same-sex civil partnerships next year, but same-sex marriage could be up to a decade away, according to Tomas Raskeviciusthe country's only openly LGBT+ lawmaker, Reuters reported. "We're going to submit the bill in the spring session in March," Raskevicius, 31, who represents the newly established Freedom Party. A European Union member since 2004, Lithuania remains a mostly socially conservative country, with almost three-quarters of its 2.8 million people identifying as Roman Catholic.
As the first COVID-19 vaccines are rolled out around the world, HIV/AIDS experts and advocates have sought to reassure those living with HIV that they can safely get the coronavirus vaccination, Reuters reported. Some countries have recommended that HIV-positive people should be given priority for vaccination against COVID-19 once the most at-risk groupsthe elderly and frontline healthcare workershave received their shots. AIDSMap Executive Director Matthew Hodson said, "Some of the vaccines, such as the Oxford and Pfizer vaccines, specifically recruited people living with HIV. ... At present there has been no evidence presented to suggest that people with HIV have a different response to the COVID vaccine."
In Uganda, security agencies arrested a prominent human-rights lawyer for alleged money laundering, The Guardian reported. Nicholas Opiyo, known for representing LGBTQ+ people, was arrested in a restaurant in the capital of Kampala by plainclothes security and financial intelligence officers. Opiyo, executive director of rights organization Chapter Four Uganda, was seized along with three other lawyersHerbert Dakasi, Anthony Odur and Esomu Obureand Hamid Tenywa, human-rights officer of the National Unity Platform.
In the United Kingdom, three High Court judges ruled that trans children under 16 will need court approval in England and Wales to access puberty blockers, Reuters reported. The judges said it was "highly unlikely" that a child of 13 or under was "competent to give consent" to puberty blockers, and it was "doubtful" that 14- and 15-year olds could "weigh the long-term risks and consequences." The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trustwhich runs England's only youth gender-identity clinicvowed to appeal, setting the stage for a Supreme Court showdown.
Chilean prison drama The Prince was banned from Amazon Prime UK after distributor Peccadillo Pictures was informed the movie contained "offensive content" that clashed with the streamer's guidelines, Deadline reported. The film is a brutal look at life in a men's prison set amidst the political upheaval of Chile in the 1970s. It contains explicit and dark content but has been widely praised for its uncompromising handling of its subject matter, including winning the Queer Lion Award at Venice Film Festival last year. Peccadillo's Tom Abell told Deadline, "We have been trying to overturn their decision without avail and cannot understand why, when we have overwhelming support from all other platforms, they have taken this stance."
Your Name Engraved Hereinwhich earned five Golden Horse Award nominations and is the highest grossing LGBTQ+ film in Taiwan's historyis now available on Netflix, out.com noted. The film follows two teen boys, Jia-han and Birdy, as they fall in love in the 1980s just after Taiwan lifted its martial law. As the nation transitions from strict authoritarianism to become the most LGBTQ+-friendly country in Asia, the boys grow and have their love tested.
Shant Joshi's Canada-based Fae Pictures is joining forces with Indian director Onir's Anticlock Films on the LGBTQ-themed feature We Are, which is being set up as an India-Canada co-production, ScreenDaily.com noted. Onir is directing and co-writing the feature with Chicago/LA/Toronto-based talent Fawzia Mirza (Signature Move). The two companies describe the project as a "symbolic sequel" to Onir's award-winning 2011 anthology film I Am, which is made up of four LGBTQ-themed stories from four corners of the South Asian subcontinent.
Every party in Iceland's Parliament except one voted in favor of three bills, submitted by the prime minister's office, that will help protect intersex children and increase rights for trans children if passed into law, according to Reykjavik Grapevine (citing RUV). The first bill specifically concerns intersex children; if passed, this bill would grant children born with atypical sex characteristics freedom from non-consensual and medically unnecessary surgery on their genitalia. The second measure makes a number of edits to the gender determination act so as to use more gender-inclusive language, while the third lowers the age at which an Icelander can change his/her/their legally registered gender from 18 to 15.
The Norwegian Methodist Church apologized to the LGBT community, EvangelicalFocus.com noted. The statement read, "The Methodist Church in Norway admits and apologizes for the condemning attitudes and actions that have inflicted insults, harm and suffering on LGBT+ people instead of dignity," adding, "This is contrary to the gospel of God's unconditional grace and love. Every human being is created in the image of God and loved by God." (This was translated from Norwegian by KPK.) The head of the main board, Audun Westad, told the Methodist Church's magazine Brobyggeren that it is with sorrow that they acknowledge that they as a church have hurt others.
Young Swedish transgender gymnasts will be allowed to compete in whatever class they want, following a new decision by the Swedish Gymnastics Federation, The Local: Sweden reported. The decision was reached after the federation had done a "deep-dive in the issue around gender identity and gender expression" over the summer, the organization said. The gymnastics federation is the first national sports body to heed a call from the Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Intersex Rights (RFSL), which issued a report in October on trans people in sports, focusing on children and young people.
The organizer behind a so-called "daddy orgy" in Brussels, Belgium, attended by anti-LGBT+ Hungarian lawmaker Jozsef Szajer filed a complaint against police, citing homophobia, PinkNews noted. David Manzheley alleged that while busting the event, officers hurled homophobic insults at orgy-goers"away with gays", "p***y gays" and "AIDS gay." He compared the police to the "Gestapo in Nazi Germany" in his complaint. City of Brussels police denied any wrongdoing when shutting down the party for violating national coronavirus guidelines, The Brussels Times reported. Szajer was forced to resign both as a member of the European Parliament and from the right-wing Fidesz party led by prime minister Viktor Orban.
Anybody speaking in provincial or supreme court in the Canadian province of British Columbia will be required to share their pronouns following a new, inclusive directive, PinkNews reported. The directive, announced Dec. 16, requires lawyers and other people appearing in court to share their full name, pronouns and title, be it Mr, Ms, Mx or simply counsel. The new rule "extends to anyone who walks in the door of the court system, whether they're doing it for their own volition or not," non-binary lawyer Lisa Nevens told CTV News.
Pride Toronto chose a new executive director with a background in community health, housing and development, CBC.ca reported. The appointment of Sherwin Modeste (he/him) followed the departure of previous Executive Director Olivia Nuamah in January. Modeste has worked as the director of community health services at Vibrant Healthcare Alliance; there, he was responsible for health promotion, supportive housing, building and property maintenance, Pride Toronto said.
George Michael's ex was busted for smashing his way into the late pop star's London homejust days before the fourth anniversary of the singer's Christmas Day death, according to Page Six. Hairstylist Fadi Fawaz was confronted Dec. 22 after breaking a window to get into the "Fastlove" singer's empty $6.75 million home, the Sun said. "This is my place. George wanted me to have it," he allegedly yelled at officers who arrived at the house that Fawaz was kicked out of by Michael's family last year.
Male model Adonis Bosso, who's from Cote d'Ivoire but who now lives in Canada, has come out as sexually fluida move that came as a result of his ex Slick Woods, out.com noted. "Being with someone that was so open with herself got me more comfortable to just be where I am, without necessarily having to feel like I need to answer anyone," he told The Cut. Woodsa model and is famously known for her work with Rihanna's Fenty but also starred in the film Goldiealso identifies as queer: "I don't necessarily believe in labels. I feel like I could fall in love with anyone, regardless of their sex, or their orientation, or anything. I feel like love is energy."
British actor Max Parker talked with Attitude magazine about his sexuality and relationship with fellow Emmerdale actor Kris Mochrie, according to Queerty. Rumors the pair were dating began in the summer when they shared Instagram photos of themselves together on vacation. Parker said, in part, ""I think now, with the way life's going and the way the world is now, it's just a really good, happy thing to just be yourselfand I think that's why now's a good time. … "I think a lot of people come out in different [stages]. They'll come out to their friends, their parents, family. What I've found hardest is probably coming out to yourself. … I feel comfortable now knowing that I am gay."