“The 9”. Legendary Country Music Launch, Europride 2027, Chemsex Deaths

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

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.

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This week, 40 years fighting AIDS, and then:

Thailand. Politics. Marriage Equality Bill Passed in Landmark Move

Thailand’s parliament has made history by overwhelmingly approving a marriage equality bill, bringing the country closer to legalizing same-sex unions and potentially becoming the third territory in Asia to do so. The bill, which received support from all major parties, recognizes marriage between two people regardless of gender, marking a significant milestone after more than a decade of advocacy. With 400 out of 415 lawmakers voting in favour, the bill now awaits approval from the Senate and endorsement from the king before it becomes law. If passed, Thailand would join Taiwan and Nepal in allowing same-sex marriages, signalling progress toward reducing disparities and promoting equality in Thai society. While hailed as a step forward, some activists note that unresolved issues remain, such as the use of gender-neutral terms in family-related matters. Nevertheless, the bill grants same-sex couples full rights under civil and commercial codes, including inheritance and child adoption. Thailand’s move toward marriage equality underscores its reputation as one of Asia’s most liberal countries on LGBT issues, although challenges persist in ensuring full rights for the community.

France. Legal. Three Deaths Linked to Chemsex Sessions Prompt Urgent Response

In Bordeaux, a series of tragic deaths have occurred, shedding light on the dangers of chemsex sessions. Three men lost their lives, with one more admitted to the emergency room in a coma, highlighting the urgent need for action from health authorities. The incidents, reported by BFMTV, occurred over a few days in March, sparking concerns about the risks associated with drug use in a sexual context. The deaths of two men, aged 44 and 47, were discovered after neighbours alerted police due to a foul smell emanating from their building. Subsequent investigations revealed a significant quantity of narcotics at the scene. Following these deaths, the Bordeaux prosecutor’s office launched an investigation to determine the causes, considering possibilities including double suicide. Additionally, a 61-year-old man passed away after engaging in sexual activities under the influence of drugs. This alarming situation underscores the need for a comprehensive response to chemsex-related risks. Health authorities must prioritize the collection of data on accidents and deaths associated with chemsex, enabling the development of effective prevention and risk reduction strategies. The call for a national policy on chemsex prevention has gained traction among concerned associations and advocates, urging swift action to address this pressing issue.

Worldwide. AIDS. 40 Years of Fighting AIDS

In the early 1980s, the HIV epidemic began to devastate the gay community, marking the start of a relentless battle against the virus. Among the first associations to form to confront this crisis was Aides, founded in 1984 by Daniel Defert after the death of his partner, philosopher Michel Foucault, from AIDS-related complications. Aides’ primary objective was to break the taboo surrounding AIDS and to inform the community to promote prevention. The association’s volunteers quickly took action to distribute leaflets and condoms in places frequented by the gay community, despite encountering resistance. Concurrently, a telephone helpline, later becoming the AIDS Info Service, was established to answer questions from patients and their loved ones. However, Aides also faced criticism within the gay community itself, with some perceiving it as a threat to sexual liberation. Despite these oppositions, the association quickly gathered a large number of members and volunteers, playing a crucial role in supporting those affected by the virus. A division emerged within the association, with some members wanting to focus on supporting patients while others advocated for a more health professional-focused approach. Thus, in 1987, Arcat-Sida was created by some of Aides’ founders, continuing the fight against AIDS with a different orientation. Despite these differences, both Aides and Arcat-Sida played a major role in the fight against AIDS in France, contributing to awareness, prevention, and support for those affected by the disease.

USA. Diplomacy. LGBT+ Takes Hit as US Embassies Ban ‘Pride’

Flag Republicans enforce the removal of “pride” flag from American embassies, halting Biden administration’s tradition during “pride month”. Embedded in the $1.2 trillion budget signed by President Biden, the move halts a practice started under Obama, halted by Trump, and reinstated under Biden. The budget text prohibits flying flags other than US, POW/MIA, state, tribal, agency-branded, or sovereign flags. White House criticizes the move, vows to repeal. Democratic Rep. Greg Casar mocks GOP over prioritizing flag policy. House Speaker Mike Johnson hails it as a conservative win. Past criticism from Rev. Franklin Graham resurfaces.

USA. Politics. Republicans Criticize Biden’s Easter Transgender Day Proclamation

In an unexpected collision of events, President Joe Biden’s proclamation of Easter Sunday coinciding with the Transgender Day of Visibility has drawn sharp criticism from Republicans. The Transgender Day of Visibility, established in 2009 to celebrate transgender achievements, coincides annually on March 31, while Easter’s date varies yearly. Former President Donald Trump’s campaign decried the move as “appalling and insulting,” while House Speaker Mike Johnson accused the Biden administration of betraying Easter’s essence. White House spokesperson Andrew Bates defended Biden’s stance, emphasizing unity and inclusivity. Biden’s proclamation hailed transgender Americans’ contributions but faced GOP backlash over timing. Amidst the broader debate on transgender rights, accusations also arose regarding alleged bans on religious-themed designs at White House Easter events. The American Egg Board refuted claims, affirming consistent guidelines spanning administrations.

Pride. Europe. Four European Cities Vie to Host EuroPride 2027

EuroPride, the annual celebration of European LGBT+ pride, has unveiled the four contenders bidding to host EuroPride 2027. Turin, Vilnius, Torremolinos, and Gloucestershire are all in the running. These cities now have five months to finalize their bids, with the European Pride Organisers Association set to reveal them on September 6. Following a voting process, the winning city will be announced on November 2. EuroPride, originating in London in 1992, is set to take place in Thessaloniki, Greece, from June 21 to 29 this year. Lisbon and Amsterdam are slated to host in the subsequent years, with Amsterdam hosting both WorldPride and EuroPride in 2026. Lenny Emson, President of the European Pride Organisers Association, emphasized the growing significance of Pride events in the face of rising right-wing politics in Europe. Emson highlighted the importance of unity and strength in the LGBT+ community, stating that EuroPride stands as a counterforce against the politicization of LGBT+ rights. EuroPride is also a very disputed economic activity with a huge profit for the organising city.

Germany. Art. Schwules Museum Unveils Provocative Exhibition on Sex Work

Berlin is set to push boundaries with its latest exhibition, “With Legs Wide Open – A whore’s ride through history,” opening on March 26, 2024. Spearheaded by the “whores from the Museum of Sex Work,” this showcase aims to offer a unique perspective on the evolution of sex work. The project challenges the conventional narrative surrounding sex work, emphasizing the importance of including the voices of those directly involved. It critiques existing regulations and societal perceptions while shedding light on overlooked aspects of sex work culture. With departments ranging from a medicines cabinet to a chapel, the exhibition promises a diverse exploration of themes including alternative body knowledge, working conditions, and non-normative sexuality. Funded by the Berlin Senate Department for Culture and Social Cohesion, the project is poised to provoke thought and spark conversation. While celebrating the resilience of sex workers and envisioning a utopian future, the exhibition’s scope remains ambitious. Yet, questions linger about whether it will engage with critical issues such as exploitation and human trafficking. Running until December 31, 2024, this extended exhibition promises to challenge perceptions and invite reflection on the complex realities of sex work.

Ireland. Theatre. Dublin Gay Theatre Festival Unveils 2024 Programme.

The International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival returns for its 21st edition, promising an electrifying celebration of LGBT+ artistry from May 6 to 19, 2024. With 23 productions from Ireland and beyond, the festival showcases diverse stories and voices across various genres. From drama to comedy, cabaret to historical plays, the festival’s program offers a rich tapestry of LGBT+ experiences. Five venues across Dublin – Clink I Làr, Teachers Main Hall Theatre @ 36, Outhouse, DV8, and the Ireland Institute – will host the vibrant performances. Founder and Artistic Director Brian Merriman expressed his enthusiasm, reflecting on the festival’s growth since its inception in 2004. He highlighted the milestone year’s emphasis on diversity, with a lineup reflecting varied genres and geographical influences. After record-breaking success last year, the 2024 Dublin Gay Theatre Festival promises to be a dynamic celebration of queer creativity and storytelling.

Worldwide. Politics. UN Passes Landmark Resolution on Intersex Rights

The United Nations Human Rights Council has approved its inaugural resolution focusing on the rights of intersex individuals, marking a significant milestone in global human rights advocacy. Backed by 24 countries, the resolution calls for intensified efforts to combat discrimination, violence, and harmful practices faced by intersex people, highlighting the need for greater protection and support for this marginalized community. Intersex individuals, often subjected to unnecessary and irreversible surgeries as children, are at the heart of this resolution. The decision to undergo these surgeries is frequently made without the consent of the individuals, raising serious ethical concerns. With approximately 1.7% of the global population identified as intersex, the resolution’s passage underscores the urgency of addressing the rights and welfare of this diverse community. The resolution sets the stage for the first-ever official UN report on the human rights situation of intersex people, slated for release in 2025. Expected to document widespread abuses and shed light on social stigma and legal challenges faced by intersex individuals, this report represents a crucial step towards achieving justice and equality. In response to the resolution, Human Rights Watch has hailed it as a signal of growing international resolve to tackle rights violations experienced by intersex individuals, highlighting the importance of this historic moment in advancing human rights globally. This landmark resolution underscores the imperative of recognizing and protecting the rights of all individuals, irrespective of their sex characteristics, and reaffirms the UN’s commitment to upholding human dignity and equality for all.

USA. Music. Orville Peck and Willie Nelson Unveil LGBT+ Anthem in Collaborative Music Video

In a groundbreaking collaboration, enigmatic country artist Orville Peck and legendary musician Willie Nelson have released a poignant rendition of “Cowboys Are Frequently Secretly Fond Of Each Other.” Premiered exclusively by Rolling Stone, the music video signifies a pivotal moment for LGBT+ representation in the genre. Speaking to Rolling Stone, Peck highlighted Nelson’s unwavering support for the song’s relevance today. Nelson emphasized the song’s enduring themes, particularly poignant amidst contemporary discourse surrounding LGBT+ issues. The video, set in Nelson’s Luck Ranch, juxtaposes scenes of LGBT+ individuals in a saloon with Peck and Nelson strumming guitars. Nelson’s initiative to cover the queer-themed track underscores his allyship. Peck, famed for his masked persona, expressed gratitude for Nelson’s collaboration, emphasizing its significance in challenging industry norms. Their rendition amplifies the song’s timeless message of acceptance and inclusivity.


Recommendations from our favourite newspapers. This week, NYT.

Read: This book about queer lives and subcultures in the Gulf.

Strengthen: Exercise can improve your cognitive and mental health.

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


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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