Huang Jie said her election to Taiwan's parliament as the island's first openly gay MP represents progress, according to the Hong Kong Free Press. "I hope (my election) will bring courage to many people as I've demonstrated I've done it standing on the front line," said Huang. Calling her win a "positive outcome," she believes her election reflects "certain progress in Taiwan's society," although it has not always been smooth sailing since she started in politics at age 25. (She's 31 now.) Democratic Taiwan is one of the most liberal societies in Asia, becoming the region's first to legalize same-sex marriage, in 2019.
In the UK, a lesbian couple looking to start a family have said they were asked by a doctor why they did not find a man to sleep with to get pregnant, The Independent noted. Elissa Hillier and wife Kaylee, from Manchester, said they were also asked during the consultation whether they knew that to have a baby they needed "human sperm." The couple had booked an appointment with a GP at the Orient Road Medical Practice in Salford to discuss their options in February 2023; however, the doctor reportedly did not know how to proceed and that his advice left them feeling "scared, disappointed and upset." They are currently doing IVF and are also launching a podcast about their fertility journey called NoMoreMen.
In India, the Mumbai Pride March returned to the city after a four-year-long hiatus, PinkNews noted. The Feb. 3 parade featured people marching through the streets of Gamdevi, in South Mumbai, to raise awareness of queer rights in India. Around 1,000 people were expected to attend the event. Mumbai held the last Pride parade in early 2019, with more than 8,000 people attending; however, in recent years, event organizers ran into issues obtaining police permissions, and there was the COVID pandemic.
Also in India, at least 36 prisoners at Lucknow District Jail tested positive for HIV during health tests conducted in December 2023, per NDTV. The total count of HIV-infected prisoners in the prison now stands at 63.Jail authorities cited the unavailability of HIV testing kits since September as the reason behind the delayed testing. According to the authorities, the majority of the infected inmates are individuals with a history of drug addiction, and they claim that no prisoner has contracted HIV after entering the jail.
In Ghana, four people assaulted a man who they perceived as gay, per The Washington Blade. According to the Queer Ghana Education Fund (QuGEF), the four men who attacked the man in Zuarungu referenced the Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill, an anti-LGBTQ+ bill that is currently before their parliament. The assailants, according to QuGEF, told the 25-year-old man that the measure had become law. QuGEF also said two of the four men who attacked Francis have been arrested and charged with "assaulting and stealing from" him. Another pro=LGBTQ+ group, Rightify Ghana, lauded the police's fast response.
In Nepal, Maya Gurung and Surendra Pandeywho made history last November by becoming the first queer individuals in the country to officially register their marriagehope to make Nepal a more queer-friendly destination for tourists, per The South China Morning Post. Through their newly founded non-profit group Maya Ko Pahichanwhich loosely translates as "recognition of love"they aim to attract more LGBTQ+ travelers. While there is no data available on the number of LGBTQ+ travelers visiting Nepal, tour operators, activists and government officials say Nepal's progressive laws make it a safe and welcoming destination for queer visitors.
Former UK Prime Minister Liz Truss has described supporters of LGBTQ+ people as "left-wing extremists," per PinkNews. Truss made the comment at the launch of the Popular Conservatism "PopCon" movement, a new faction of the Conservative Party she is leading; people such as former business secretary Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg, ex-deputy chairman Lee Anderson and former UKIP leader Nigel Farage attended. Truss, whose premiership in 2022 lasted just 45 days, made several claims during the opening event, including that "environmentalists" and those "in favor of supporting LGBTQ+ people or groups of ethnic minorities" are "left-wing extremists." In September 2023, Truss wanted schools to be banned from allowing transgender pupils to socially transition.
An Australian bikini brand responded to criticism over its decision to use a male model to advertise women's swimwear, The Independent noted. Moana Bikini shared a video on Instagram of male model Jake Young showing off the white one-piece around a pool. Some social-media users said they were "done" with the brand because of its model choice. A company response read, "Moana Bikini areand have always beenone of the most inclusive and empowering brands in existence. This is not only in terms of our size and style range for women butmost importantlyin our love and acceptance of all races, ethnicities, body shapes and sizes, genders and sexual orientations. This hasn't changed and never will change."
During the 2024 Grammys, iconic Scottish singer-songwriter Annie Lennox appeared on stage with fellow '80s icons Wendy & Lisa to give a moving performance of "Nothing Compares 2 U" during a tribute to late Irish singer Sinead O'Connor, Billboard noted. As the song came to a close, Lennoxwho had a single glitter-encrusted tear painted on her faceraised her fist and shouted, "Artists for ceasefire! Peace in the world!" Over the last few months, Lennox has dedicated much of her social media output to advocating for a ceasefire.
Out gay British Vogue Editor-in-Chief Edward Enninful is stepping down after helming the publication in 2017, USA Today noted. Enninful marked the end of his tenure with a March cover of 40 women who've created some of fashion's biggest moments, including Victoria Beckham, Oprah Winfrey, Jane Fonda, Laverne Cox, Naomi Campbell, Dua Lipa, Serena Williams, Iman, Salma Hayek, Linda Evangelista and mother-daughter duo Cindy Crawford and Kaia Gerber. Enninful became the outlet's first man and first Black editor to hold his position as editor-in-chief. He became part of the cultural shift of the magazine, landing Cox as the first trans women on the cover of British Vogue in September 2019, and doing a size-inclusive issue in April with plus-size models such as Paloma Elsesser and Precious Leeall of whom appear on the 40-person cover.
Actress Malin Akerman (TV's Billions and the upcoming The Hunting Wives) will host this year's Eurovision Song Contest in Sweden alongside Swedish singer/comedian Petra Mede, per Variety. The Eurovision Song Contest is set to take place in Malmo on May 11 after Swedish contestant Loreen won last year's competition in the UK with her song "Tattoo," following tradition that the winning country host's the following year's contest. This year's extravaganza also marks the 50-year anniversary of the group ABBA.
Former The Great British Bake Off winner John Whaite has married his partner of 16 years, Out noted. The baker-turned-TV-personality recently announced via Instagram that he recently wed longtime partner Paul Atkins in New York City. They initially announced their engagement in 2017. However, during an interview with The Times last year, Whaite admitted that they "spent some time apart" after he fell for Johannes Radebethe dancer he was partnered with on Strictly Come Dancing in 2021.
British actor Tom Holland will play Romeo in director Jamie Lloyd's West End production of Romeo & Juliet, per Deadline. Additional casting, including Juliet, was not announced. It was also not noted if the production will follow the path of other Lloyd hitsincluding the pared-down versions of A Doll's House, starring Jessica Chastain; and Betrayal, with Tom Hiddleston, Charlie Cox and Zawe Ashtonand ultimately move to Broadway.
Australian actor Jacob Elordi (Saltburn; TV's Euphoria) was the subject of a New South Wales police investigation after allegedly being involved in an altercation outside a hotel in Sydney regarding a prank, per News.com .au. He allegedly got into a dust-up with KIIS FM employee Joshua Fox at the Clovelly Hotel. Elordi was said to have been approached by Foxknown for crashing Married at First Sight weddings for his Instagram account, MAFS Funnywhen the Priscilla actor became frustrated by his line of questioning, which included requesting Elordi filling a jar with his bathwater (a reference to the "bathtub scene" in Saltburn), per The Hollywood Reporter.
HBO has parted ways with Serbian-Russian actor Milos Bikovic, who will no longer be part of The White Lotus' upcoming third season set at a Thailand hotel, Deadline noted. Bikovic attracted controversy when soundbites of him showed that he appeared to back Russia's occupation of Crimea, which became a precursor to the 2022 invasion of Ukraine. In 2021, Bikovic was granted Russian citizenship by a decree signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin, who also awarded him a medal in 2018.