“The 9”, your guide to the queer media circus.
2024 is shaping up to be a huge year. For journalists, it will be a challenging year, a landmark year for democracy, with watershed elections almost every month including in the USA and Taiwan and two wars in development. So, back to work.
As usual… 5.5 minutes to read. Your guide to the queer media circus. 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.
This week, a new and exciting podcast, and then:
Europe. Media. New unique queer podcast in English to be launched from Vienna and London.
GAY45, a leading platform for LGBT+ content, is set to pioneer in the podcast realm with the upcoming launch of “GenClash: Queer Perspectives on Current Affairs.” This bimonthly podcast, debuting on February 15, features spirited debates between brilliant journalist Miruna Tiberiu, Editor-in-Chief of GAY45, and Răzvan Ion, a dynamic professor of critical thinking, representing different generations (Z and X). GenClash delves into the week’s hottest queer news distributed by GAY45, offering insightful discussions on diverse topics. Audiences can expect a vibrant exploration of queer perspectives on current affairs. The podcast comes in a crucial moment in 2024, a landmark year for democracy and LGBT+ rights. The podcast reflects GAY45’s commitment to providing a dynamic platform for meaningful LGBT+ discourse. The podcast will be free and you can listen at www.gay45.eu/podcast.
Russia’s raids and ban on ‘LGBT+ Movement’ Sends Chill Through Gay Nightlife
Reports in the late weeks indicated that the cruel members of Russian riot police are raiding gay bars and clubs in many major cities. Russia was not gay-friendly, but gay bars where ignored and let alone exist. The images remind us of a very ugly time in Eastern Europe, 30 years ago. The crackdown now appears to be extending to LGBT+ groups and anything the government dubs as an expression of LGBT+ identity, as President Vladimir Putin has targeted them and anti-war activists as scapegoats. In a Nov. 30 ruling, Russia’s Supreme Court endorsed a Justice Ministry application to ban the “international LGBT+ public movement” as an extremist organization, following other repressive laws. A raunchy party for Moscow’s elites earlier this month drew the ire of Russian politicians and Christian Orthodox activists, leading to police investigations and a tearful public apology after the partygoers were accused of violating laws prohibiting “gay propaganda.” One rapper, who attended the party in nothing but a sock, was arrested for 15 days for hooliganism and “spreading gay propaganda.” The scandal has highlighted how increasingly anything that deviates from Russia’s conservative patriotism will not be tolerated.
Last hour: Queer journalist Pavel Lobkov, a former presenter on Russia’s independent TV Rain channel, was attacked and beaten in the middle of Moscow. We will come beck with details.
USA. Music. Benefit Show for Gaza and Sudan with Queer Artists. GAY45 is Happy to be a Media Supporter.
Mustafa has unveiled a star-studded line-up for the Artists for Aid benefit concert, set for January 4 at Newark Symphony Hall in New Jersey. The show aims to support humanitarian efforts in Gaza and Sudan, with all proceeds directed to Human Concern International. The initiative focuses on ensuring the safe passage of aid from Egypt into Gaza and Sudan. The lineup includes notable artists such as Omar Apollo, Clairo, Faye Webster, 070 Shake, Nick Hakim, Daniel Caesar, Ramy Youssef, 6lack, Charlotte Day Wilson, and Mohammed El-Kurd. Mustafa expressed gratitude to the performers for contributing their time and effort to give a voice to those affected by the conflicts in Sudan and Palestine.
Germany. Politics. 340 Measures in Berlin enhancing support for the LGBTQ+ community.
Berlin’s Senate introduces a sweeping action plan, comprising 340 measures, aimed at enhancing support for the LGBTQ+ community. An extension of the “Berlin Stands Up for Self-Determination and Acceptance of Gender and Sexual Diversity” initiative, the plan prioritizes combating discrimination and fostering self-determination. Senator Cansel Kiziltepe emphasizes Berlin’s commitment to maintaining its status as a welcoming metropolis for all. Addressing gaps in support, the plan targets marginalized LGBTQ+ groups and addresses issues such as Israel-related anti-Semitism in the queer scene. With a focus on safety, the plan includes measures for violence prevention, anti-discrimination, health, and education. The Senate aims for collaborative efforts with district levels, appointing dedicated contact persons and establishing local meeting spaces, ensuring ongoing adaptation to meet the evolving needs of the LGBTQ+ community. Berlin remains for sure a safe haven for queers.
Ukraine. Politics. Same-Sex Couples Advocate for Civil Union Legalization.
The ongoing conflict in Ukraine has prompted discussions within the LGBTQ+ community regarding their legal rights, particularly for same-sex couples. Ukrainian activists, including Stanislava Petlytsia and her partner Alina Shevchenko, are urging the Kyiv government to enact a draft civil union law, providing legal recognition to same-sex partnerships. Petlytsia, a 27-year-old LGBTQI+ activist, questions why the state can’t protect the families of those who sacrifice for the country. The proposed law addresses concerns such as official recognition for partners of soldiers killed, the right to make medical decisions, and access to death benefits. The European Court of Human Rights ruled in June that Ukraine violated anti-discrimination and family life articles by denying a same-sex couple marriage. While societal attitudes improve, particularly with 58% of Ukrainians feeling positive or neutral towards the LGBTQI+ community, military structures lag, posing challenges for couples like Petlytsia and Shevchenko. The Ukrainian parliament aims to approve the bill by the end of 2023, according to the European Commission.
Estonia. Politics. Same-Sex Marriage Becomes Legal.
Same-sex couples in Estonia can now legally marry from 1st of January 2024, marking a historic milestone as the Baltic nation becomes the first former Soviet-ruled country to embrace marriage equality. The progressive legislation, passed by the Riigikogu (Estonia’s parliament) in June, garnered support from 55 MPs out of 101, reflecting shifting attitudes in the largely secular nation. Prime Minister Kaja Kallas, at the helm of Estonia’s progressive coalition government, is credited with advancing the cause. Registrations for same-sex marriages opened online on New Year’s Day, with applications expected to be processed by February 2. The move symbolizes Estonia’s integration with Northern Europe, signalling equality and recognition for the LGBT+ community. Despite advancements, challenges persist, as illustrated by a recent stabbing incident during Pride celebrations and reported scrutiny faced by LGBT+ army conscripts.
Italy vs. EU. Politics. Queer parents fight against custody restrictions in Italy, EU strengthen the rights of LGBT+ parents
The situation for queer parents in Italy is getting worse as the government recently passed a bill that restricts the rights of these parents. The change in the law, which is called by the government the protection of the “traditional family”, makes it difficult for queer parents to adopt children and preserve custody. This at the same time EU Parliament strengthens family rights. The European Union has taken a historic decision to strengthen the rights of LGBTIQ* parents. The European Parliament voted by an overwhelming majority (420 to 146 votes) for a resolution calling for the mutual recognition of family relations in the EU. The aim is to end discrimination and legal hurdles for LGBT+ parents and their children within the EU. Of course, Italy and Hungary had already expressed rejection.
USA. Entertainment. Iconic Works, including Mickey Mouse, Enter the Public Domain
A wave of creativity is set to sweep through the artistic realm as several significant works, including the original Mickey Mouse, entered the public domain on January 1 in the United States. Thousands of copyrighted works from 1928, including J.M. Barrie’s “Peter Pan,” D.H. Lawrence’s “Lady Chatterley’s Lover,” and Virginia Woolf’s “Orlando: A Biography,” will be free for adaptation without permission. In this newfound creative landscape, a variety of imaginative projects are envisioned, from a slasher film featuring Tigger from Winnie the Pooh to a Broadway musical inspired by Huey Lewis. The move is hailed for preserving cultural records and fostering future creativity. The public domain status also extends to musical compositions, like “Mack the Knife,” opening doors for fresh interpretations and samples. As the creative world eagerly embraces this artistic emancipation, the coming decade will witness more iconic characters, including Superman, James Bond, and Batman, joining the realm of freedom and creative reinvention.
Uganda. Politics. LGBT+ activist and collaborator in critical condition after stabbing
In Uganda, prominent LGBT rights advocate Steven Kabuye faced a brutal attack, stabbed by unidentified assailants near his home. Coloured Voices Media Foundation reported the incident on social media, sharing a distressing video showing Kabuye in critical condition with a knife protruding from his stomach. Police, initially unaware, pledged to investigate. Activist Frank Mugisha attributed the assault to homophobia fuelled by Uganda’s stringent anti-gay law, which prescribes the death penalty for certain same-sex acts. Rights groups assert the law has triggered a surge in abuses against the LGBTQ community. Uganda’s government denies this, framing the law as targeting same-sex activities, as a court evaluates its constitutionality.
Recommendations from our favourite newspapers. This week NYT.
Drink: Get that Champagne feeling on a sparkling wine budget.
Cook: This wine-braised chicken is perfect for dinner.
Declutter: When using dating apps, experts suggest focusing on the connections that feel right.
Move: Combat sluggishness with this 10-minute workout.
Taylor Abbot is a 23 y.o. staff writer for GAY45 and MA student at the University of Oxford. Previously he 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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