“The 9”. Queer News Curated Weekly. Cannabis Decriminalised in Germany, New App for LGBT+ Businesses, and a Poppers-Dealing Priest.

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.

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 7.

This week, cannabis was decriminalised in Germany, and then:

The UK. Film. Homoerotic Art of George Platt Lynes, now a documentary, at BFI Flare

Sam Sahid’s sumptuously-made documentary Hidden Master: The Legacy Of George Platt Lynes, delves into the life and work of early gay photographer George Platt Lynes, whose stunning homoerotic art, nearly a century on, is at least gaining recognition. Lynes, known for his intimate and explicit portraits of the male form, defied the societal norms of his time and left a profound impact on the art world. Despite his commercial success, much of his personal collection remained hidden until recently. Now, the documentary sheds light on his revolutionary vision, premiering at LGBT+ film festivals worldwide and slated for release in theatres and home entertainment platforms this spring. The documentary travelled the festival and in March will be projected at BFI Flare in London, arguably the most important queer film festival.

Germany. Politics. Cannabis Legalization Bill Passes

Germany approved a landmark cannabis legalization bill this week, Reuters reports, paving the way for implementation by April 1. The legislation, long delayed due to internal opposition, will decriminalize recreational cannabis use, allowing adults to cultivate up to three plants and possess 25 grams for personal consumption, Health Minister Karl Lauterbach confirmed. Additionally, non-profit cannabis social clubs limited to 500 members will be permitted to cultivate and distribute cannabis among its members starting in July. Opponents argue the move could harm youth and strain law enforcement, while proponents anticipate economic growth and reduced black market activity. The law mirrors Luxembourg’s partial legalization, signalling a regional shift in cannabis policy

Russia. Authorities Shut Down My Little Pony Convention

Russian federal agents reportedly raided and shut down a My Little Pony convention in Moscow, citing the promotion of LGBT+ propaganda, according to news site The Insider.

The event, named Mi Amore Fest, organized by fans of the show, faced disruption despite attempts to avoid persecution by altering a character’s rainbow mane to Russian flag colours on event flyers. Attendees lamented the abrupt end, citing police accusations of LGBT+ propaganda. This crackdown follows Russia’s Supreme Court’s 2023 ruling labelling international LGBT+ movements as extremist and outlawing related activism.

Shortly after, police targeted LGBT+ events in nightclubs, alarming club-goers, including foreigners, who reported passport photographing without consent. In a puzzling move, Yandex-owned Kinopoisk, a movie database, marked My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic as 18+, speculated to be linked to a character named Rainbow Dash and the series’ portrayal of LGBT+ themes, including a same-sex couple in a 2017 episode. Writers behind the episode emphasized the show’s core message of friendship and acceptance, with Michael Vogel, a gay writer, affirming the importance of inclusivity.

The World. Politics. World Continues Struggle for LGBT+ Rights in 2024

The global LGBT+ community braces for a mix of victories and challenges in the ongoing fight for equal rights, says Openly news magazine. Thailand leads the charge, poised to legalize same-sex marriage after lawmakers endorsed draft legislation. Estonia commenced same-sex marriages on Jan. 1, while Latvia prepares for same-sex civil unions from July 2024. Ukraine’s civil partnership bill ignites hope, while Namibia’s High Court weighs decriminalizing same-sex relations by May. Legislation to expand LGBT+ discrimination protections looms in Colombia, Costa Rica, New Zealand, the Philippines, the United States, and Venezuela. Japan’s Aichi Prefecture pioneers a district-level certificate for same-sex couples’ children in April. Germany deliberates a gender self-determination law for smoother transitioning. Vietnam eyes legal gender recognition, lacking a framework for gender changes. Meanwhile, Russia’s Supreme Court crackdown on LGBT+ activism takes effect, threatening imprisonment, while U.S. House Republicans target gender-affirming care in federal funding bills. Ghana and Malawi grapple with stringent anti-LGBT+ laws. Ghana’s bill seeks harsher penalties for same-sex relations, while Malawi’s High Court considers the constitutionality of anti-gay statutes in a landmark trans woman’s case. The European Court of Human Rights scrutinizes Caster Semenya’s discrimination claim, and Malawi’s High Court weighs laws against gay sex and cross-dressing. As the world progresses, LGBT+ individuals and allies remain vigilant in the fight for equality and justice.

Spain. Politics. Spain Passes Historic Laws On Trans Rights, Abortion And Menstrual Leave.

Spain’s recent legislative actions mark significant progress in LGBT+ rights and reproductive health. The newly passed laws reflect a more inclusive approach towards gender identity and abortion access. The law brings incredible changes in the legislation: self-ID from the age of 14, conversion therapy is banned, intersex surgeries on babies are prohibited, equal parenting rights are granted to lesbian mothers, 16 and 17-year-olds can undergo abortions without parental consent, abortion rights are enshrined in state hospitals, free menstrual products are provided in schools and prisons and free hormonal contraceptives and the morning-after pill are available at state-run health centres. Also, Spain becomes the first European country to introduce menstrual leave, acknowledging the impact of severe period pain on women’s lives.  Spain is one of the few countries to allow gender change with a simple declaration. These legislative changes demonstrate Spain’s commitment to advancing human rights, gender equality, and public health. While celebrated by LGBT+ activists and reproductive rights advocates, they also face opposition from certain political factions and concerns from other groups regarding potential implications. Now, they have to sort out that barbaric bullfighting.

The World. Economy. “Everywhere is Queer” App Revolutionizes LGBT+ Business Discovery

LGBT+ communities globally have gained a powerful tool with the launch of the Everywhere is Queer app, transforming how users locate and support queer, trans, and allied businesses. Developed by Everywhere is Queer, known for its LGBT+ business directory, the app functions as a Yelp-like platform, offering real-time access to LGBT+-owned establishments worldwide, with a focus on the U.S. market. Users are greeted with an interactive map, dotted with green markers representing LGBT+-friendly businesses. Features include location-based discovery, category filtering, and favouriting options, providing seamless navigation of the vibrant queer landscape. Founder Sprinkman spearheads the project, emphasizing community engagement and support. The app’s release follows significant growth, with the directory boasting nearly 9,000 entries covering diverse business categories. While prioritizing user experience, the app also offers businesses a platform for visibility and promotion. Premium features, available at a modest monthly fee, promise enhanced visibility and permanent recognition as a “founding supporter.” The app’s launch marks a significant milestone in LGBT+ advocacy, championing economic empowerment and community solidarity.

Russia. Politics. Sberbank Removes Books from their Megamarket.

Russia’s Sberbank (who’s is working with Austrian Raifaissen International Bank) has confirmed the removal of over 250 book titles from its online marketplace, Megamarket, in compliance with the country’s laws against “LGBT propaganda.”, Reuters reports. The banned list, initiated by the Association of Internet Trade Companies (AITC) in December 2022, features classics and contemporary works alike, such as Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, Haruki Murakami’s Norwegian Wood, Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s Netochka Nezvanova, and several titles by Stephen King. Sberbank Europe is based in Vienna and working with Raifaissen Bank International. Austria is known to be the centre of Russian operations in Europe.

Moldova. Politics. Government Denies Asylum to LGBT+ Russians, Risks Lives

Moldova rejected refugee status for five LGBT+ Russians, raising concerns about their safety. The General Inspectorate of Migration stated that “simple membership in a social group” doesn’t warrant refugee status, despite fears of conscription into Ukraine’s war and persecution based on sexual orientation. Genderdoc-M, an LGBT+ rights centre, expressed shock at the explanations, citing Russia’s anti-LGBT+ laws and risks faced by queer individuals. IGM’s uniform responses indicate a lack of comprehension of LGBT+ realities, prompting calls for intervention. The denial, including that of Valery, from an earlier interview with NewsMaker, exacerbates their plight amid Russia’s extremist label on LGBT+ communities.

Spain. Crime. Priest Arrested for Illegal Viagra and Poppers Trafficking

Police in Don Benito, Extremadura, Spain, apprehended a priest and his partner for allegedly trafficking Viagra and other potent aphrodisiacs. The cleric, known in the parish of San Sebastián, faces charges of distributing harmful substances. His partner remains in custody without bail. Civil Guard officers raided the priest’s home, discovering substances ready for sale. The diocese of Plasencia expressed regret over the scandal, awaiting further investigation. The popular priest, scheduled to appear in court bi-monthly, garnered community support despite the allegations. Of course, he did. Who is going supply them with the needed merchandise during the Sunday mass now?

And a very special bonus this week:

The UK. Film. Queer As Folk celebrates 25 Years.

Russell T. Davies’ groundbreaking gay drama Queer as Folk turns 25, remembered for revolutionizing LGBT+ representation on British television and then the world. Airing amidst Section 28 and the AIDS crisis, the show followed Vince and Stuart’s escapades in Manchester’s Canal Street. Debuting with its iconically provocative episode, the series boldly addressed gay themes, sparking controversy with its explicit content and challenging societal norms. Despite criticisms, its joyful portrayal of queer life resonated deeply, defying the prevalent homophobia of the era. While not without flaws, Queer as Folk remains a seminal cultural touchstone, paving the way for subsequent LGBTQ+ dramas like Sugar Rush and Lip Service. As it celebrates its legacy, the series continues to influence and inspire generations.

 

Recommendations from our favourite newspapers. This week, NYT.

Conserve: These six tips will help you shop more sustainably.

Watch: The Oscar-winning documentary “Navalny” is chilling to see after the opposition leader’s death.

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 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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