“The 9”. Queer News Curated Weekly. Eurovision, Finding Hannah, and Gay Right-Wingers.

Your guide to the queer media circus. Queer News Curated Weekly.

As usual… 5.5 minutes to read. A weekly digest of the most important queer news in your backyard!  Exclusively for paid subscribers every Monday, “The 9” is curated weekly by Taylor Abbot + the GenZ editorial team.

If you want to hear the most important news commented on in-depth, you can listen to our podcast, GenClash: Queer Perspectives on Current Affairs. The first episode is set to be launched on March 21, 03.00 CEST. Let us know what you think about it.

Also, this month you can read the entire archive of GAY45.eu for free.

This week, we try to find Hannah, and then:

Europe. Games. Finding Hannah Offers a Unique Experience for Women Gamers.

The new hidden object game Finding Hannah tackles themes of womanhood and happiness across generations. “It’s really a story about three women from three generations looking for happiness,” says Franziska Zeiner, cofounder and co-CEO of Fein Games studio. “For each one, times are changing. But the question is: Are they getting better?”  Players follow the story of 38-year-old Hannah in Berlin as she searches for fulfilment, alongside glimpses into the lives of her grandmother and mother. The game uses a time-hopping narrative with hidden object puzzles to unlock chapters. Created by Fein Games, a studio founded by two female game designers who felt like outsiders in the industry, Finding Hannah aims to provide an authentic female gaming experience. The founders’ backgrounds even influenced the game’s art style, designed by a non-gamer artist for a broader appeal. Finding Hannah’s success highlights a shift in the gaming landscape, with studios like Fein Games creating inclusive experiences for diverse audiences.

Serbia. Art. The Play Our Son set a Precedent in the Profound Conservative Country.

A moving and humorous play, Our Son, by Patrik Lazić, is sparking dialogue about LGBT+ issues in Serbia. The play follows a young gay man navigating his relationship with his parents who are struggling to accept his sexuality. Despite conservative social norms in Serbia, the play has received a warm response from audiences, including younger generations. Many see the play as a reflection of their own experiences or those of their families. Lazić, the playwright, aimed to create a personal and honest story, drawing inspiration from his own unaddressed family conversations. He emphasizes the play’s role in self-acceptance for young people and as a tool for them to connect with their families. “Our Son” is part of a larger movement by the Serbian cultural NGO Heartefact to address social issues through art productions. The play’s success has led to touring throughout Serbia, reaching communities with limited exposure to such themes. The play’s 50th performance and growing popularity highlight its impact on audiences, encouraging dialogue and reflection on sensitive topics within families and society at large. Actors Dragana Varagić and Aleksandar Đinđić believe the play opens a crucial space for discussion and paves the way for further societal change.

Russia. Politics. Campaign Workers Arrested for Online Posts Deemed Extremist

Supporters of opposition politician Boris Nadezhdin face arrest for online activity deemed “extremist” by Russian authorities in the week of the presidential elections. Nadezhdin, barred from running against President Putin, called for election observers. Igor Krasnov, campaign head, was detained for using a rainbow flag emoji in a private Telegram chat. Two others face fines for a political meme and a sticker containing an “extremist symbol.” Another volunteer was arrested for his digital avatar, deemed “prohibited.” Nadezhdin’s team released photos confirming the arrests. These detentions occur before Russia’s historic three-day presidential election, with online voting in some regions. While past arrests involved public posts, targeting private chats raises concerns about freedom of expression in Russia.

Norway. Justice. Oslo Shooting Suspect Pleads Not Guilty in Deadly LGBTQ+ Attack

Zaniar Matapour, 44, pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to charges of murder, attempted murder, and terrorism-related to the deadly shooting spree outside Oslo’s LGBTQ+ bars in June 2022. Prosecutors allege Matapour, a naturalised Norwegian citizen, targeted the LGBTQ+ community, killing two men and injuring 29 others with a two-weapon attack. Bystanders apprehended him before police arrived. Matapour has a history of violence, drug offences, and extremist views. However, a month before the shooting, authorities reportedly deemed him not a threat. Matapour has refused to cooperate with authorities since his arrest, and continued his combative behaviour in court, according to NRK. Considered an active threat to others in the courtroom he has been denied using a ballpoint pen during the trial because it could be used as a weapon, and he must instead use the less-threatening ink-filled insert, according to the European Conservative. When asked to enter a plea, Matapour instead demanded to know why the court was in session during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. The attack shocked Norway and forced the cancellation of the city’s Pride parade. The trial continues into May.

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Japan. Politics. High Court Declares Same-Sex Marriage Ban Unconstitutional

A landmark decision by Japan’s Sapporo High Court has deemed the existing ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. The court further urged lawmakers to address the lack of legal recognition for same-sex couples. This ruling follows a similar decision from a lower court earlier this week, marking the sixth district court to reach this conclusion. However, the court does not have the authority to overturn the current law. The responsibility for legal change now falls to Japan’s parliament. This decision highlights Japan’s unique position as the only member of the G7 nations that does not recognise same-sex marriage. LGBTQ+ advocates hope this ruling will spur legislative action towards equal marriage rights. The focus now shifts to the Japanese government. Will lawmakers respond to the court’s call and take steps to address this issue? Only time will tell.

The UK. BFI Flare. Five Films for Freedom Celebrating LGBT+ Stories are Free to Watch

The British Council, in partnership with BFI Flare: London LGBT+ Film Festival, has launched the 10th edition of “Five Films for Freedom.” This free digital initiative showcases five powerful short films from the Philippines, UK, India, Spain, and the USA, all exploring LGBT+ experiences. The films, including “Little One” and “Halfway,” can be viewed for free online until March 24th on the British Council website. Since its inception, “Five Films for Freedom” has reached over 23 million viewers globally, promoting understanding and solidarity with LGBT+ communities, particularly in countries where homosexuality is criminalized. To celebrate the anniversary, the British Council is hosting a free screening with refreshments at the British Embassy in Berlin on March 20th.

Martin Sellner, founder of the Identitarian Movement of Austria, an influential figure and and the chief ideologue of the “new final solution” in the German-speaking far-right movements.

Europe. Politics. An increase of the right-wing voters in the LGBT+ community.

In a surprising turn, a survey conducted by the männer, a German gay magazine, editorial team unveils a rightward shift in the European elections. The AfD emerged as the top choice among ROMEO dating platform users, garnering 22.3%, surpassing CDU/CSU and Greens. The conservative-right coalition, including Free Voters, commands a significant 47.8%. Meanwhile, SPD trails with 13.9%. Sahra Wagenknecht’s alliance secured a notable 5th place with 7%, ahead of DIE LINKE (The Left). FDP trails at the bottom with 4.8%. With around 10,000 participants, this non-representative survey signals a noteworthy divergence in political preferences within the gay community. The results are projected for the entire European Union where the biggest number of europarlamentarians are German. Austria’s ideologists are the main lecturers in the far-right meetings in all German-speaking areas.

Germany. Travel. Taiwan Takes Top Spot in Spartacus Gay Travel Awards

Taiwan has been named the top LGBT+ travel destination in Asia at the Spartacus Travel Awards, part of the International Tourism Exchange (ITB) held in Berlin earlier this month. The island nation was praised for its progressive legislation protecting LGBT+ rights, including legal same-sex marriage since 2019 and a thriving Pride scene, with the annual Taipei Pride being the largest in the Far East. Beyond its vibrant capital, Taiwan offers stunning natural beauty, cultural richness and unique events, making it a compelling destination for LGBT+ travellers. The other awards were: Best LGBTQ Event Destination for Brussels, Best LGBT+ friendly Cruise for the American Company Seabourn and Best LGBT+ friendly Airline for Condor. This award comes amidst a growing trend of Asian countries becoming more welcoming to LGBT+ tourism. Spartacus is the oldest gay guide in the world published in Germany and distributed worldwide.

Eurovision. Music. Major Queer Representation in Malmö

This year’s Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) promises a vibrant celebration of LGBT+ artists with a record number competing: non-binary: Bambie Thug (Ireland) and Nemo (Switzerland), gay: Olly Alexander (UK), Mustii (Belgium) and members of Electric Fields (Australia), lesbian: Kenzy Loevett (San Marino), openly queer: Saba (Denmark) and Silvester Belt (Lithuania).  This strong presence has led some to call Malmö “queer as f*ck” for the duration of the contest. While bookmakers favour Olly Alexander with his catchy song “Dizzy,” Croatia’s Baby Lasagna and the Ukrainian duo Alyona Alyona & Jerry Heil are also strong contenders. Other potential standouts include Switzerland’s Nemo, Italy’s Angelina Mango, Dutch rapper Joost Klein, and Germany’s Isaak. Despite calls for a boycott of Israel, Eden Golan will compete with a revised song “Hurricane.” Iceland will send Hera Björk, following the controversy surrounding the selection process. With the semi-finals on May 7th and 9th, and the final on May 11th, the anticipation is building for a spectacular Eurovision filled with music, humour, and inclusivity!

Recommendations from our favourite newspapers. This week, NYT.

Surprise: Secret doors are having a moment.

Read: In “How to Win an Information War,” Peter Pomerantsev looks to a World War II propagandist for lessons in the battle between Russia and Ukraine.

Chill: The four best meditation apps.

Play the Spelling Bee. And here are today’s Mini Crossword and WordleYou can find all our puzzles here.

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Curated every week by our news editor Taylor Abbot & GAY45 editorial staff. Exclusive for subscribers on Monday through Substack and Wednesday on the website.

Taylor Abbot studied at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. He is passionate about journalism, contemporary literature, poetry, technology, socio-political involved art forms and queer implications in society. He wrote previously for several magazines as Bay Area Reporter or Männer. Nerdy curious, passionate about the weird parts of life and the good stories written by great journalists. Taylor decided to delete all his social media accounts two years ago. Lives and works between Berlin and London.

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