“The 9”. News Curated Weekly. The Berlinale, Drag Race Cancelled, and Finland’s DJ President

Your guide to the queer media circus.

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.

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 1.

This week, a political protest in a sauna, and then:

Finland. Politics. Pekka Haavisto might become the Finland’s First Green, Gay, DJ President.

In the heart of Helsinki, Pekka Haavisto, a 65-year-old former foreign minister, is making a unique mark on Finland’s presidential race. Running as an independent, Haavisto aims to become the country’s first Green and gay president. With a campaign that blends politics and music, Haavisto hosts club nights featuring his DJ alter ego, “DJ Pexi,” spinning 60s and 70s hits. Despite the festive atmosphere, the campaign is facing a tough battle, with the far-right candidate Jussi Halla-aho gaining traction. Haavisto remains hopeful, emphasizing the varied choices in Finland’s political landscape and the need to address serious security concerns, including rising tensions with Russia.

France. Literature. Provocative French writer Édouard Louis translated in English.

Change by Édouard Louis will be published on 8 February by Harvill Secker. Édouard Louis, the provocative French writer, recently set down with The Guardian for an interview at Le Select in Paris, reflecting on his literary journey from the searing autofiction The End of Eddy to the more complex narrative of Change. As a public figure in France, Louis navigates the intersection of literature and politics, voicing the concerns of a disconnected younger generation. The interview delves into his exploration of class, his influences, and the challenges of transitioning between social classes. Despite criticism from various quarters, Louis remains committed to the idea that personal writing is inherently political, shaping a narrative that resonates with the complexities of modern French society. Here a short passage from his new novel.

The UK. Music. Eurovision Hit With Anti-Israel Backlash.

As the UK prepares to host Eurovision 2023, the memories of Eurovision ’98 in Birmingham serve as a reminder of the contest’s ability to embrace diversity, inclusivity, and celebrate groundbreaking moments in the world of music and identity. One of the last minute developments has seen artists from Sweden, Finland and Iceland ask Eurovision to exclude Israel from the festival. All the signing artists accuse the organization of the show of double standards for not taking the same measures against Israel that were taken against Russia a couple of editions ago where it was excluded for its war against Ukraine.

France. Politics. Prime Minister Talks on his Homosexuality in a Nation Address.

Gabriel Attal’s decision to openly discuss his homosexuality in his policy speech at the National Assembly is a powerful symbol of progress and a positive step toward increased visibility and acceptance. It’s remarkable that in just a decade, France has moved from a divisive debate over marriage equality to having an openly gay Prime Minister. This shift reflects evolving mentalities and demonstrates that the fight for LGBTQ+ rights is making significant strides. Attal’s openness about his sexual orientation, especially after it was disclosed against his will in 2018, sends a potential message of empowerment. While he previously emphasized embracing homosexuality without needing to assert it, his recent acknowledgment aligns with the philosophy of visibility as a means to continue the fight for LGBTQ+ rights. The fact that 48% of French people view Attal as a “good Prime Minister” is a noteworthy indicator of changing attitudes and acceptance within the country. This progress is a testament to the ongoing efforts to foster inclusivity and diversity in French society. He said: ” Being French in 2024 means in a country which, only ten years ago, was still torn over marriage for all, to be able to be Prime Minister by openly assuming one’s homosexuality. From all this, I see proof that our country is moving, proof that mentalities are evolving.” To see our editorial intern Danny Tye’s opinion on the matter, read his recent article here.

Germany. Politics. Scandal in the Berlin CSD – Berlin Pride association shows the need for queer investigative journalism.

A destructive conflict is currently escalating within the Berlin community, potentially imposing significant burdens not only on the two conflicting institutions and the individuals involved but also on the community itself for years to come, resulting in substantial costs. Despite a court ruling last week, a resolution remains elusive. Even with our comprehensive understanding, condensing this prolonged conflict into a brief news piece is challenging. Witnessing internal conflicts within the community, particularly when involving prominent organizations like queer.de and the Berlin CSD, is disheartening. The underlying issues appear to stem from a combination of personal disputes, structural deficiencies, and financial challenges. It’s regrettable that a vital platform like queer.de, which plays a pivotal role in queer journalism, is now entangled in legal battles that could jeopardize its existence. The complexities of the situation underscore the necessity for more transparent and accountable structures within community organizations. Personal conflicts often escalate, especially when volunteers bear significant responsibilities, and signs of corruption are evident. Recent allegations of corruption against organizations in Lithuania, Romania, Bulgaria, and now Berlin underscore a longstanding lack of scrutiny on LGBT organizations; their financial and organizational practices have gone unquestioned. This raises concerns about financial transparency within these groups, prompting a closer examination of their operations and practices. As scrutiny intensifies, it becomes clear that accountability and transparency measures are crucial, not only for restoring public trust but also for ensuring the efficacy of these organizations in advocating for LGBT rights. Perhaps it’s time for investigative queer journalism; we cannot demand justice while engaging in contradictory actions.

Photo: Die Bundestagsabgeordnete Kathrin Vogler (Linke) und Daniel Bache, Bundessprecher von Die Linke.queer, schwitzten zusammen mit den Aktivist*innen (Bild: Bündnis Selbstbestimmung Selbst Gemacht)

Germany. Politics. Unusual Protest in Sauna for Self Determination.

Protesters from the Bündnis Selbstbestimmung Selbst Gemacht (Alliance Self-Determination Self-Made) brought a unique approach to their demonstration at the German Bundestag, employing a mobile sauna hut for creative engagement. Advocating for an inclusive Self-Determination Act (SBGG) and opposing trans-hostile prejudices, activists aimed to discuss concerns regarding the government’s draft with politicians. However, their interaction with deputies was limited. Luce DeLire highlighted criticisms, particularly concerning house law exceptions, which fuel populist narratives instead of safeguarding the human rights of trans*, inter*, and non-binary individuals. The alliance proposed an alternative counter-proposal to address these issues, emphasizing the need for a non-discriminatory self-determination law.

Germany. Film. The Berlinale will show a strong queer section.

The Berlinale, beginning on February 15th with advance sales launching on February 12th at 10 a.m., brings a robust selection of queer films, particularly in the Panorama section – a staple for LGBTQI cinema at the Berlinale. Opening with Levan Akin’s drama Crossing, the narrative follows Tekla, a young Georgian trans woman fleeing to Istanbul, exploring themes of solidarity beyond the queer community. Other notable Panorama films include All Shall Be Well by Ray Yeung and The Visitor by Bruce LaBruce. Elsewhere is Claire Burger’s Langue Étrangère and thriller Love Lies Bleeding, starring Kristen Stewart.

Germany. TV. Drag Race Germany Cancelled after First Edition.

German media has confirmed that Paramount+ is dropping Drag Race Germany after just one season, delivering a blow to fans of RuPaul’s Drag Race. The cancellation of the German spinoff follows its debut season. While some speculated that reasons such as poor ratings or the jury panel might have contributed to the decision, sources indicate that it’s primarily a result of general austerity measures affecting various international productions. These measures come as part of the US streaming provider’s strategic shift towards prioritizing well-known US franchises. Despite inquiries, Paramount+ and the actors involved have remained tight-lipped regarding whether the show might find a new home. The cancellation coincides with the axing of other formats, indicating a shift in focus towards globally marketable US content.

The UK. Events. LGBT+ History Month.

LGBT+ History Month is celebrated every February across the UK and was established in 2004 by Schools OUT UK co-chairs, Paul Patrick & Professor Emeritus Sue Sanders. In 2024, the UK inaugurates LGBT+ History Month by hoisting Pride flags nationwide, with a theme of “medicine” being embraced under the hashtag #UnderTheScope. The focus is to shed light on the historical and contemporary contributions of LGBTQ+ individuals to healthcare, particularly in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Educational institutions such as University College London, University of Oxford’s Christ Church, and Cambridge’s Corpus Christi College share images of their raised flags, echoing the theme of medicine. Nottingham High School and Harris Manchester at Oxford College also join in, emphasizing the importance of recognizing LGBTQ+ contributions throughout history and promoting inclusivity. Various organizations provide resources and tributes to commemorate the month.


Recommendations from our favourite newspapers. This week, NYT.

Cook: Cut through the winter blues with a slice of lemon tart.

Dress: Can you wear your vintage concert tees to the office?

Game: Palworld, which puts machine guns into the hands of cute creatures, is currently one of the most popular video games on the planet.

Reframe: Feeling stuck? We asked experts tips for tips on jump-starting life.

Read: Four terrifying horror novels for your list.

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.

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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