“The 9” News: Pet Shop Boys, Priscilla’s Bus, and Censorship in Russia

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, Pet Shop Boys return, and then:

Iraq. Politics. Outrage with Law Criminalising LGBT+ Identity

International condemnation has erupted after Iraq’s parliament passed a law imposing harsh prison sentences on gay and transgender people. Rights groups warn it violates freedoms and threatens investment. The U.S. State Department called it a threat to vulnerable communities and free speech, while the UK Foreign Secretary termed it “dangerous.” Previously, homosexuality wasn’t explicitly outlawed. Amendments to anti-prostitution law also enable courts to sentence trans people to three years in prison adding a supplement incarceration for “intentional practice of effeminacy”.

UK. Music. Pet Shop Boys Return with “Nonetheless”

British synth-pop queer legends Pet Shop Boys unveil their 15th studio album Nonetheless this Friday. The duo, Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe, describe it as a melodic exploration of themes like isolation, yearning for freedom, and searching for new beginnings. Composed during COVID-19 lockdowns, the album’s introspective nature is evident in titles like “Loneliness” and “Why am I dancing?”. Tennant reflects on his youth in “New London Boy” while “Dancing Star” draws inspiration from famed ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev’s fight for liberty. “Nonetheless” showcases the band’s versatility with tracks like “Bullet for Narcissus,” a glimpse into the world of a former US President’s bodyguard, and “The schlager hit parade,” a playful nod to German pop music. Despite their long career, Tennant remains tight-lipped about their success, crediting a shared passion for songwriting and humour for their enduring bond. Pet Shop Boys are legendary for many queer hymns, and especially for 1987 It’s A Sin.

France. Movie. Omar Sy Calls for Unity to Combat Far-Right Rise

French actor Omar Sy, star of Netflix’s Lupin, urges France to move beyond individualism and rebuild a sense of community to counter the far-right’s growing influence. Sy, in interviews promoting his new book, acknowledges a shaken sense of justice, equality, and fraternity in French society. He highlights the challenges faced by minorities, citing the recent racist backlash against singer Aya Nakamura. “France must address the difficulties faced by Black people,” Sy told Le Parisien. Despite concerns over the resurgent far-right, Sy expresses cautious optimism. “My optimism is shaken, but it endures,” he said, referring to Marine Le Pen’s potential 2027 presidential run. Sy’s book, “Viens, on se parle,” explores his upbringing in a Parisian suburb and the struggles of minorities. Sy, a vocal critic of police brutality, has previously spoken out on the deaths of Adama Traoré and Nahel, two young men of colour killed in police encounters. In a televised interview with Le Quotidien, Sy emphasised the need for France to recommit to its core values of justice, equality, and fraternity. Omar Sy actively engages in discussions about societal issues, advocating for collective responsibility and addressing challenges faced by marginalized communities in France. But he hasn’t specifically focused on LGBT rights in the information provided. We wonder why Black Queer is not a subject.

USA. Theather. Queer Actors are Dominating the Tony Award Nominations 

The 77th Tony Awards nominations highlight LGBT+ representation in theatre, with Ariana DeBose set to host the event on June 16 in New York City. Gay and lesbian icons like Sarah Paulson, Jonathan Groff, Eden Espinosa, Jim Parson, Jessica Lange, and trans rights supporter Daniel Radcliffe are nominees. Jonathan Groff and Eddie Redmayne are nominated for leading roles in musicals, alongside Rachel McAdams, Jessica Lange, and Sarah Paulson for leading roles in plays. Jim Parsons and Daniel Radcliffe also received nods for their performances. Best Musical contenders include “Hell’s Kitchen, Illinois” and “Water for Elephants,” while “Mary Jane” and “Mother Play” vie for Best Play. The ceremony will be streamed on June 16 at 8 pm ET on CBS Television.

Australia. Movie. Priscilla, Queen of the Desert Bus to be Restored and Displayed in Museum

The iconic bus from the beloved queer movie classic Priscilla, Queen of the Desert has been rediscovered after three decades and is undergoing restoration for display in a museum. Initially vanishing without a trace after filming in 1993, the 1976 Japanese model bus became the subject of numerous claims and sightings across Australia. The History Trust of South Australia, on a mission to acquire it for the National Motor Museum, finally succeeded when Michael Mahon revealed its location on his property in 2019. Now undergoing a $750,000 restoration, funded in part by the South Australian government, the bus will soon be showcased in the Adelaide Hills museum. Director Stephan Elliott expressed joy at the find, citing the film’s enduring message of love and tolerance.

Russia. Politics. Prof. Camero Censored Essay Regarding Pasolini

A critical essay on openly gay filmmaker Pier Paolo Pasolini by Italian scholar Roberto Carnero has been heavily censored in its Russian translation. Roberto Carnero, an Italian literature professor at the University of Bologna, expresses shock as his critical essay on openly gay Italian film director Pier Paolo Pasolini faces extensive censorship in Russia. Carnero, contacted by his Italian publisher, AST, learns that the Russian translation of his book would be published only with severe cuts, citing Federal Law 478 against gay propaganda. Images circulating on Russian Telegram channels reveal significant redactions, amounting to about a fifth of the text. Despite his concerns, Carnero agrees to the cuts, though he reflects on the dilemma he faced. AST defends the move as an “interactive” approach, sparking controversy amid Russia’s crackdown on LGBT rights and wartime censorship laws. The censorship of Pasolini, known for his outspoken activism, is deemed ironic by Carnero.

Germany. Politics. Chief of a Bundestag Committee Warns Georgia about LGBT+ rights

The potential adoption of laws reminiscent of Russia’s restrictive measures in Georgia has raised concerns, particularly regarding the country’s EU accession prospects. Anton Hofreiter, head of the Bundestag Committee for the Affairs of the European Union, warns that if Georgia enacts laws akin to Russia’s “Agents Act” and a “homo-propaganda” law, its EU aspirations are jeopardized. The proposed legislation targeting NGOs and curtailing LGBT+ rights violates EU standards, imperiling democracy in Georgia. Recent protests in Tbilisi against the NGO law reflect public opposition to such measures. With tensions escalating, Georgia’s path to EU membership hangs in the balance.

UK. Media. Nancy Kelley is Announced as the new Publisher of DIVA.


Linda Riley, the Publisher of DIVA for eight years, announced at the DIVA Awards on 26 April that she is handing over the reins of the iconic LGBT+ magazine to Nancy Kelley, who will serve as Executive Director. DIVA magazine will also transition into a charity, symbolizing a commitment to give back to the community that has steadfastly supported it over the last three decades. Riley, an LGBTQIA activist, ensured DIVA was inclusive and diverse, advocating for LGBTQIA women and non-binary individuals. Nancy Kelley, former CEO of Stonewall, assumes leadership, promising to continue DIVA’s legacy of visibility, inclusivity, and advocacy. Editor-in-Chief Roxy Bourdillon expressed excitement about DIVA’s future under Kelley’s leadership, praising Riley’s extraordinary contributions. Reflecting on her tenure, Riley expressed gratitude to the LGBTQIA community and allies, emphasizing the ongoing need for advocacy and empowerment.

UK. Justice. LGBT+ Community Marks 25th Anniversary of Admiral Duncan’s Dirty Bomb Attack in London

April 30, 1999, marred by a nail bomb attack at the Admiral Duncan pub in Soho, London, leaves a sombre legacy as the LGBT+ community commemorates its 25th anniversary. The attack, claiming three lives and injuring 79, was part of a series targeting vulnerable groups in the capital. Today, a poignant remembrance ceremony takes place outside the Admiral Duncan, featuring London’s Gay Men’s Choir. Brighton drag queen Stephen Richards and London’s Metropolitan Police pay homage to the victims, echoing the community’s resilience against hate crimes. The far-right perpetrator, arrested in May 1999, received six life sentences. Advocates emphasize the ongoing struggle against extremism and the need for continued support for victims of hate crimes.

Quote of the Week

“…sometimes I can’t think of any words! If you put the title in ChatGPT and maybe even say it’s by the Pet Shop Boys, it might lead you down a path that’s quite useful.”

– David Tennant from Pet Shop Boys about AI in an FT interview

Recommendations from our favourite newspapers. This week, NYT.

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Cope: Hygiene issues are a common symptom of depression. Here’s how to change that.

Play the Spelling Bee. And here are today’s Mini Crossword and WordleYou can find all our 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 de Volkskrant or Bay Area Reporter. 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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