Dressed in rainbow-colored vests, members of the LGBTQ+ community marched in a dangerous demonstration in Nigeria's capital, Abuja, to protest a bill introduced by lawmakers in Nigeria's lower house of parliament last month seeking to ban "cross-dressing," VOA News reported. The new measure calls for a punishment of six months in jail or a fine of about $1,200 for rule violators. Recently, a mob chattered as a transgender woman was beaten and stripped in Lagos weeks after the bill was introduced. The bill is an expanded version of Nigeria's 2013 Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act that punishes same-sex relations with up to 14 years in prison.
The exhibition and book Flag in the Mapa collaboration between the Gilbert Baker Foundation (named after the creator of the rainbow flag) and the UK-based ReportOUTwill launch Thursday, June 2, at NYC's Highland Nine Galleries, a press release noted. In this project, freedom fighters from Kenya, China, Ukraine, Brazil and dozens of other countries describe how the rainbow flag has changed their everyday existence. This exhibition will be open to the public one night only before launching online, and the event will feature an appearance by Monica Helms, creator of the trans flag. This exhibit will also be opening at the Old Street Gallery in London on June 24, then in Leeds, San Francisco, Paris and beyond throughout 2022-23. For more, see gilbertbaker.com/flaginthemap/ .
After a two-year wait, the streets of Brussels were decked out in rainbow colors as this year's Belgian Pride Parade physically took place for the first time since the pandemic, The Brussels Times noted. "We really need our spaces to meet again. This is what Pride is about: the importance of safe spaces for the LGBTQ community to meet," said Belgian Pride President Laurent Mallet.
In a related matter, the Belgian federal government launched an action plan with 133 concrete actions that aim to make the country more LGBTQ+-friendly, The Brussels Times also noted. The plan, which consists of 133 concrete actions to be taken by 10 federal ministers and state secretaries, aims to increase safety and maximize inclusiveness. This will be done through awareness campaigns, an inclusive government, better access to welfare and healthcare, and combating discrimination. The initiative was launched on May 17the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT).
Also on May 17, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Dunja Mijatovic expressed the importance of protecting LGBTQ+ people in Ukraine, according to a press release. "On the occasion of this year's International Day against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia, I call on all member states to pay attention to the situation of LGBTI people who are either still in Ukraine or are fleeing the war, so that their vulnerability and needs are fully taken into account in the human rights and humanitarian response," Mijatovic stated. Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Luigi Di Maio and incoming President of the Committee of Ministers, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ireland Simon Coveney joined Mijatovic in expressing similar sentiments. Mijatovic's entire statement is at https://www.coe.int/en/web/commissioner/-/lgbti-people-affected-by-the-war-in-ukraine-need-protection.
McDonald'sthe oldest U.S. fast-food chain in Russiaannounced it would exit that country completely after more than three decades, setting the scene for the sale of its 850 restaurants in the country, Politico reported. The Chicago-based fast-food chain temporarily closed its Russian stores in March in response to the Kremlin's war on Ukraine, but continued to pay its 62,000 workers full salaries. Now, McDonald's says it is seeking a Russian buyer who will continue to pay its employees at least until a sale closes while it begins removing its iconic golden arches from stores across Russia.
Turkish police broke up an LGBTQ+ pride parade at one of the country's top public universities and detained all of the participants, ABC News reported. Riot police entered Bogazici University and surrounded dozens of students who were waving rainbow flags and calling for tolerance. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's conservative government has banned LGBTQ parades since 2015, citing security concerns, "public sensitivities" and other issues. Authorities have ordered other LGBTQ+ events to be stopped as well.
Australia's new leaders are yet to be sworn in following the Labor Party's victorybut the nation is already dissecting what seems to be a seismic shift in its politics, CNN noted. After almost a decade of conservative leadership, voters turned their back on the ruling coalition, instead backing those who campaigned for more action on climate change, greater gender equality and political integrity. Labor Party leader and new Prime Minister Anthony Albanese promised to end the "climate wars" and promised to improve gender equality; he was even endorsed by his former boss, Julia GillardAustralia's first and only woman prime minister.
MMA Fighting ran a profile of Washington Duarte, who became the first openly gay man to come out during his MMA career in Brazil, with him saying he hopes it inspires others to follow his steps in the future. A bantamweight fighter out of Laranjal do Jari, Brazil, "Golden Princess" (as Duarte is known) was scheduled to return for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic. Set to defend his Macaco Fighter title in his hometown against Rodrigo "Bad Boy" Melonio, Duarte expects his career to take off in 2022.
Brazil LGBTQ+-rights activists and HIV/AIDS service providers fear the possibility of President Jair Bolsonaro being re-elected, per The Washington Blade. Bolsonaro took office as Brazil's president on Jan. 1, 2019, after he defeated then-SÀ�o Paulo Mayor Fernando Haddad in the second round of the country's presidential election that took place the previous Octoberand activist Fernanda Fonseca noted one of the first things Bolsonaro did as president was to remove HIV from the name of the Health Ministry department that specifically fights HIV/AIDS in Brazil. Also, Bolsonaro, among many things, has encouraged fathers to beat their sons if they think they are gay. (His son, Rio Municipal Councilman Carlos Bolsonaro, is reportedly gay.)
A 17-year-old professional soccer player made history as only the second person in the past 30 years to acknowledge their sexual orientation publicly in the sport in the United Kingdom, The Washington Blade noted. Blackpool FC forward Jake Daniels joins Justinus Soni "Justin" Fashanu (who died in 1998) as the only two soccer players to declare themselves openly out. Fashanu had come out in an exclusive with The Sun tabloid newspaper on Oct. 22, 1990, and retired in 1997. The LGBTQ+ group Stonewall tweeted, "We are proud that Jake has felt able to share his truth with the world. … We're honored to be supporting him!"
Ukraine's folk-rap group Kalush Orchestra won this year's Eurovision Song Contest, riding a wave of goodwill from European nations to clinch the country's third win at the glitzy event, CNN noted. The band's song "Stefania," written about the frontman's mother, beat competition from main rivals the United Kingdom and Spain at the competition in Turin, Italy. "Stefania," sung in Ukrainian, is a tribute to frontman Oleg Psyuk's motherwho still lives in the western city of Kalush, from which the band takes its name.
Following the success of the Morozov Collection exhibition, Paris' Fondation Louis Vuitton will inaugurate two new exhibitions"Simon Hantai (1922-2008): the Centenary Exhibition" and "Fugues in Color"set to run simultaneously from May through the end of August. For more information, visit www.fondationlouisvuitton.fr and https://vimeo.com/showcase/9534304.
The Grabby Awards Europe, which honors the best in gay adult entertainment, took place April 22-24 in Torremolinos, Spain, per a press release. Kristen Bjorn was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award as well as the Best Producer Award. Some of the other winners included Allen King, Nicholas Bardem, Ruslan Angelo and Sir Peter.