“The 9”. News Curated Weekly. First American Transgender Senator and a Porn Thriller in Australia

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 British TV series, and then:

FRANCE. ART. ELMGREEN & DRAGSET’S BONNE CHANCE EXHIBITION.

Within the sweeping expanse of Centre Pompidou-Metz, the “Bonne Chance” exhibition marks a groundbreaking French dedication to the gay Daen-Norwegian duo, Elmgreen & Dragset. The display boasts a poignant portrayal of social housing from East Germany, encapsulated in a stubbornly shut plattenbau structure, evoking exclusion and mystery. Amidst this artful narrative, visitors encounter a scene – an old station wagon, a Russian registration, and two men, one tenderly embracing the other in peaceful slumber. “The Oustiders,” a striking creation by Elmgreen & Dragset, salutes the often-overlooked installers in the art world, shedding light on their marginalization within an environment that relies on their labor without true integration. Until April 1, 2024, this provocative exhibit challenges societal norms and celebrates the unsung contributors of the art realm.

Senegal procession.

SENEGAL. POLITICS. GRAVE DESECRATION OF GAY MAN’S BODY.

In an unsettling turn of events in Senegal, authorities are urgently probing the desecration and burning of a gay man’s body, captured in a viral video. The distressing incident unfolded in Kaolack, where individuals unearthed and set ablaze the grave of a man interred just a day prior, the public prosecutor confirmed to Agence France-Presse. While speculation links the act to the victim’s sexual orientation, details remain unverified. Amid widespread outrage, the judiciary swiftly launched an investigation, resulting in the arrest of four suspects. This act, perceived as a flagrant disrespect to the deceased, has drawn strong condemnation from human rights groups like Amnesty International Senegal, highlighting the ongoing challenges faced by the LGBTQ+ community in the country. The incident echoes previous instances, shedding light on the persistent hostility towards LGBTQ+ individuals in Senegal, prompting calls for justice and societal introspection.

 

NEW YORK. SOCIETY. FOOD PANTRY SUPPORT QUEER COMMUNITY.

New York City welcomes individuals like Alejandro Rodriguez, an immigrant seeking refuge from hostility against the LGBTQ+ community. Finding solace in Love Wins, a volunteer-driven food pantry, Rodriguez discovered not just nourishment but a sense of belonging. “About fifteen days ago, I found out about this organization, and since then, I don’t want to get away from this organization,” Rodriguez expressed, highlighting the profound impact of Love Wins in his life. Founded in 2020, Love Wins embodies inclusivity, serving free groceries at multiple locations, embracing individuals from diverse backgrounds. Daniel Puerto, the founder, laments the necessity of such initiatives in a wealthy nation, emphasizing the importance of offering dignity and support, particularly to LGBTQ+ individuals. Rodriguez, now a volunteer, reciprocates the aid received, embodying the ethos of shared support and communal care.

 

AUSTRALIA. FILM. QUEER EROTIC THRILLER “BIRDER” MAKES DEBUT

Australian audiences anticipate the premiere of “Birder,” a daring queer erotic thriller directed by Nate Dushku and penned by Amnon Lourie, set to unfurl at the Melbourne Queer Film Festival on Saturday. The film revolves around birdwatcher Kristian Brooks, infiltrating a remote New Hampshire nude queer campground, encapsulating a nightmarish, dark fetish, where consent takes a sinister turn. Starring Michael Emery, Uki Pavlovic, Cody Sloan, David J. Cork, and Jes Davis, the film probes the eerie dynamics of consent, delving into the depths of dom/sub space and serving as a metaphor for the queer community’s societal traumas. Debuting at various festivals, “Birder” presents a chilling commentary on consent politics, suggesting that the real threat might not be the wildlife lurking in the woods. The Melbourne Queer Film Festival, running until November 19, hosts this provocative exploration of queer horror and societal empathy.

 

Danica Roem was the first transgender person seated in any state legislature. During her campaign for state Senate, she faced transphobia but emerged victorious on Election Day.

USA. POLITICS. DANICA ROEM FIRST TRANSGENDER STATE SENATOR

Danica Roem, a Democrat, secured a groundbreaking win, becoming Virginia’s inaugural openly transgender state senator. Leading with about 52 per cent of the vote against Republican Bill Woolf, Roem’s victory in Senate District 30 marks a historic moment, with media outlets confirming her success. Roem, serving her third term in the Virginia House of Delegates, ventured into the Senate race due to redistricting changes, now representing a newly established District 30. Her triumph positions her as the second openly transgender state senator in the nation, following Sarah McBride in Delaware. Despite facing a deluge of transphobic attacks during the campaign, Roem’s win stands as a resounding response against bigotry, highlighting her dedication to addressing crucial issues impacting Virginian families. LGBTQ+ Victory Fund President Annise Parker commended Roem’s victory as a significant step towards amplifying the LGBTQ+ community’s voice and silencing the attempts to stifle it.

Fabian Nelson

USA. POLITICS. MISSISSIPPI’S FIRST OPENLY LGBTQ+ STATE LEGISLATOR

Mississippi embraces a historic moment as Fabian Nelson secures his place as the state’s inaugural openly LGBTQ+ state legislator. After clinching the Democratic primary in House of Representatives District 66 and facing no opposition in the general election, except for a write-in campaign, Nelson’s victory in the Jackson metro area is now officially confirmed.

Celebrating this milestone, Annise Parker, President and CEO of the LGBTQ+ Victory Fund, highlights Nelson’s dedication to his community and the voters who supported his campaign. Nelson, a real estate professional, pledges a commitment to amplifying marginalized voices, intending to focus on education funding, small business support, and healthcare expansion in Mississippi. This achievement adds to the strides made for LGBTQ+ representation in politics, while also highlighting progress in embracing diversity and equality in the state and beyond.

 

WORLDWIDE. GAMES. PRINCESS PEACH: SHOWTIME! SPARKLES AS QUEER ICON IN UPCOMING NINTENDO GAME

Prepare for a riot of colours and queer celebration as the much-anticipated Nintendo game, Princess Peach: Showtime!,readies for its debut on March 22, 2024. In a groundbreaking move, Princess Peach takes center stage after an 18-year hiatus from a leading role. Amidst much fanfare, Peach’s return brings a flamboyant explosion of confidence and charisma, showcasing various avatars, including Detective Peach and Sword fighter Peach. The vibrant trailer, garnering over 1.2 million views, epitomizes high camp and fierce brilliance, captivating diverse queer vibes. While alterations to the game’s box art stir debate among fans, Princess Peach’s exuberance continues to win hearts, affirming her place as a beloved LGBTQ+ icon. Notably, this release stands among Nintendo’s strides in fostering LGBTQ+ inclusion, following the company’s recent policy affirming equal employee benefits for same-sex relationships. The stage is set for Princess Peach to claim her throne as the campest game of all time, inviting fans to experience the vibrant spectacle upon its release. Pre-orders for Princess Peach: Showtime! are available on Nintendo eShop and select retailers.

 

Visitors view the award-winning work ‘Home for the Golden Gays’ by Hannah Reyes Morales at the Hungarian National Museum’s World Press Photo exhibition on November 2, 2023 in Budapest, Hungary. Photo by Janos Kummer/Getty Images

HUNGARY. POLITICS. BUDAPEST’S NATIONAL MUSEUM DIRECTOR SACKED

In a move reflective of Hungary’s strict anti-LGBTQ+ laws, Budapest’s National Museum director, László Simon, faced dismissal after permitting under-18s to visit a World Press Photo exhibition that showcased LGBTQ+ content, breaching legislation prohibiting the “promotion of homosexuality” to minors. The contentious decision resulted in Simon’s firing by the government, citing his failure to adhere to legal obligations. Simon, a former member of parliament for Viktor Orbán’s Fidesz party, previously supported the law he ultimately contravened. Tensions arose as the far-right Mi Hazánk party instigated a government inquiry, objecting to images like Home for the Golden Gays by photojournalist Hannah Reyes Morales, depicting a community-run elderly care home for LGBTQ+ individuals. Despite efforts by the museum to restrict access for under-18s, the controversy showcases the challenging landscape surrounding LGBTQ+ representation in Hungary amid stringent laws perceived as suppressing freedom of expression. Funny, right? He voted for the law which was used to fire him.

 

Nathan Stewart-Jarrettin in Culprits.

UK. TV. A NEW HEIST DRAMA QUEER BRITISH SERIES TO BINGE: CULPRITS

The British television scene has produced a series that defies convention and embraces the absurd. Culprits, a whimsical blend of mystery, humour, and queer family, has captivated the hearts of viewers. The dialogue crackles with wit, and the plot twists are as unpredictable as the British weather. Nathan Stewart-Jarrett reminds us of the charming Curtis from Misfits (played by him 15 years ago), a now-cult series. Stewart-Jarrett seems most at ease in these roles and in spy and sci-fi dramas as a culprit or a misfit. As the series unfolds, secrets unravel, and the queer front is poised to be revealed. We binged it last weekend and we liked it.

 

Recommendations from our favourite newspapers. This week NYT.

Stuff onions with saffron-tinged basmati rice.

Read What’s Cooking in the Kremlin,” which explores the past century of Russian history through its food.

Cohabit with the easiest houseplants.

Understand Gen Alpha’s slang.

Play the Spelling Bee. And here are today’s Mini Crossword and Wordle. You 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 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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