“The 9”. New EU Migration Act, Darkroom Killer, Madonna’s Tribute and more.

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. Let us know what you think about it.

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

This week, the new EU migration act, and then:

France. Crime. Tragic Death of 15-Year-Old Teenager

The private high school Saint-Jean Baptiste de La Salle mourns the loss of Batiste, a 15-year-old student found deceased in the school’s restroom. While initial speculations pointed towards potential harassment related to his sexual orientation, the Reims Prosecutor clarified that there’s no evidence linking his personal life to the tragic incident. Despite inconclusive autopsy results, investigations continue, with biological analyses pending. The teenager, who had been grappling with questions about his sexual orientation, was receiving support from the school’s life service. However, allegations of harassment by fellow students have emerged, though school management declined to comment on the matter. If the circumstances surrounding Batiste’s death still require clarification, it inevitably brings to mind the tragic cases of Dinah and Lucas, two teenagers who took their own lives in recent years after enduring school bullying exacerbated by homophobia. Despite assurances from the Department for Education following Lucas’s death in January 2023, a promised report has yet to be released, despite persistent requests from various media outlets, including Têtu and Mediapart. Former Education Minister Gabriel Attal, now the first openly gay Prime Minister, who pledged a comprehensive approach to combating school bullying, must address these concerns urgently.

Europe. Journalism. The Project World’s Top Queer Thinkers 2025 by GAY45.eu was Launched

GAY45 unveils its annual roster of intellectuals, encompassing a diverse array of disciplines, poised to guide us through the challenges of the year ahead. Carefully curated by their editorial team and esteemed contributors, this list showcases 25 luminaries whose insights transcend global hurdles. From climate crises to economic upheaval, from geopolitical tensions to technological advancements, these nominees offer expertise and activism in navigating the complexities of our time. As the world teeters on the brink of transformation, GAY45 encourages readers to engage with their selection and cast their vote for the Queer Top Thinkers of 2025, emphasizing the importance of sharing insights for a brighter future. The shortlist of 10 thinkers will be published in January 2025.

European Union. Politics. Parliament Approves Major Migration and Asylum Reform Amid Controversy

After years of negotiations, the European Parliament has greenlit a significant overhaul of the EU’s migration and asylum policies. The EU Asylum and Migration Pact, in development since 2015, aims to streamline the asylum process, bolster returns of irregular migrants, and enforce shared responsibility among member states. Despite the pact’s aim to combine solidarity and flexibility, opposition remains from some member states. Hungary and Poland have voiced staunch objections, while left-wing and far-right groups within the parliament have criticized the agreement. Protests erupted during the vote, reflecting widespread concern from NGOs over potential human rights violations and the normalization of detention. Amnesty International warned of increased suffering for asylum seekers, emphasizing the risk of quick decisions leading to wrongful deportations. While the pact represents a step forward in addressing migration challenges, its implementation and impact on vulnerable populations remain subjects of intense scrutiny and debate. You can read more about the migration act and possible implications for queer immigrants in GAY45.

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USA. Film. Documentary Chronicles Little Richard’s Trailblazing Journey

Renowned for his flamboyant persona and groundbreaking contributions to rock ‘n’ roll, Little Richard’s complex legacy is vividly explored in the documentary “I Am Everything.” Directed by Lisa Cortés, the film delves into the life of the enigmatic musician through archival footage and insightful interviews. From his early struggles as a gay black artist to his defiant presence on stage, Little Richard’s impact on music and queer culture is undeniable. Despite facing resistance and prejudice, he fearlessly challenged societal norms, blurring gender boundaries and defying expectations. The documentary sheds light on the intersections of race, sexuality, and creativity in Little Richard’s life, highlighting the injustices he endured and the barriers he broke. Through his music and persona, he became a trailblazer for LGBT+ representation in pop culture, inspiring generations of artists to embrace their authentic selves. “I Am Everything” offers a compelling portrait of a true pioneer, celebrating Little Richard’s enduring influence on rock ‘n’ roll and his lasting legacy as a queer icon. The film will be released on DVD and Blu-ray on the 25th. April.

USA. Books. “Gender Queer” Tops ALA’s Challenged Books List

Maia Kobabe’s graphic memoir “Gender Queer” retains its contentious status as the most challenged book in the United States, according to the American Library Association’s latest report. Published in 2019, the memoir, lauded with the ALA’s Alex Award, faces ongoing opposition over its content on gender identity. Conservative groups like Moms for Liberty advocate for parental control over library collections, sparking debates on book censorship. Politicians and school systems, including those in Florida and Texas, have banned “Gender Queer.” Recent incidents, such as police searches in Massachusetts, underscore the polarizing nature of the book. The ALA’s findings reflect broader trends, with LGBT+-themed literature comprising a significant portion of challenged books, alongside those criticized for sexual content. Challenged book instances reached record highs in 2023, with over 4,240 works targeted, with a substantial portion featuring LGBT+ and racial themes.

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Worldwide. Netflix’s “Nightlife Killer – Crime Scene Berlin” Delves into the Enigmatic Case of the ‘Darkroom Killer’

In a chilling exploration of one of Berlin’s most notorious crimes, Netflix’s new documentary “Nightlife Killer – Crime Scene Berlin” unveils the haunting tale of Dirk P., infamously dubbed the ‘darkroom killer’ after his string of murders in 2012. Dirk P. perpetrated three murders of gay men in Berlin, leaving the community shaken. The documentary sheds light on the investigation’s complexities, revealing lingering questions about the killer’s motives and the profound impact on survivors and victims’ families. Through poignant interviews with bar staff, investigators, and loved ones, the documentary captures the lasting scars left by the murders, unravelling the tragic narrative of lives lost and a community forever changed. Despite attempts to understand Dirk P.’s psyche, the motive remains elusive, leaving a haunting void in the wake of his suicide. With gripping storytelling and profound insights, “Nightlife Killer” offers a nuanced portrayal of a dark chapter in Berlin’s history, resonating deeply with audiences and sparking crucial conversations about safety and vigilance within the LGBT+ community. Here is an article we look behind the case.

Germany Passes Landmark Self-Identification Law for Trans and Non-Binary Individuals

Germany’s parliament has approved a groundbreaking ‘self-determination law’ on April 12, allowing easier legal recognition of gender identity for individuals aged 14 and above. Previously, navigating the 40-year-old ‘transsexual law’ required assessments from medical experts, a process deemed degrading by Justice Minister Marco Buschmann. The new legislation, named the Self-Determination Act, removes these barriers, offering dignity and autonomy to trans and non-binary people. The law, which received 374 votes in favor, 251 against, and 11 abstentions, will take effect in November without requiring approval from the Bundesrat.

Serbia. Politics. Ana Brnabić, First Lesbian Prime Minister, Steps Down

Ana Brnabić, Serbia’s first woman and first lesbian prime minister, has resigned after seven years in office as part of President Alexander Vucić’s government overhaul. Brnabić, also the longest-serving in her position, will transition to the role of parliament speaker, while Vucić appoints ally Miloš Vucević as her successor. Despite being a prominent LGBT+ figure in the conservative Eastern Orthodox nation, Brnabić didn’t advance gay rights. Her government’s civil union bill was shelved and failed to expand reproductive rights for LGBT+ people. Ana Brnabić, the first openly lesbian politician in Serbia, was also the first who helped cancel a Europride. Her mandate marked Serbia’s most radical right-wing government in the last decade.

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USA. Music. Madonna Pays Tribute to the Victims of the Shooting in Pulse.

Madonna pays tribute to Pulse nightclub shooting victims and survivors during Miami concert, denouncing gun violence. The music icon halted her “Celebration” tour, inviting over 100 survivors and family members, urging unity and action against tragedy. She emotionally recounted the 2016 Orlando attack, emphasizing the need for inclusivity and love in nightclubs. Madonna spotlighted survivors’ stories and led the audience in illuminating the venue with cell phone lights. Singing “I Will Survive” and other hits, she championed resilience and called for solidarity in the face of fear. This echoes her past activism, notably her 2019 music video “God Control,” advocating for gun control measures.

Quote of the Week

“We’ll be experiencing more of those as the world falls apart. There’s no standing under a doorframe, no ‘Stop, drop, and roll’—you’re just fucked.”

—A barista in New York, after the earthquake, imagining disasters to come.

Recommendations from our favourite newspapers. This week, NYT.

Cook: These crispy shrimp tacos are a little like quesadillas.

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