“The 9”. Queer News Curated Weekly. Israel to be Excluded from the Venice Biennale and Eurovision, Gayming Awards and much more.

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 21, 03.00 CEST.

This week, the Venice Biennale and Eurovision urged to exclude Israel, and then:

The UK. Games. Baldur’s Gate 3’s Remarkable Five Gayming Magazine Award Nominations.

The acclaimed role-playing game “Baldur’s Gate 3,” developed by Larian Studios, continues to make waves in the gaming realm with its

groundbreaking LGBT+inclusivity. Nominated for five Gayming Magazine Awards, the game stands out as a frontrunner in celebrating diversity within the industry. Featuring extensive LGBTQ+-friendly and sex-positive content, it has captured the hearts of gamers worldwide. With categories including Game of the Year and Best LGBT+Character, Baldur’s Gate 3 leads the pack in nominations. The Gayming Magazine Awards ceremony will be live-streamed on April 7, 2024, on TikTok and Twitch.

The USA. Film. All of Us Strangers Get’s Dorian Awards’ Best LGBT+ Film.

Andrew Haigh’s poignant gay romance, All of Us Strangers, starring Andrew Scott and Paul Mescal, has triumphed at the Dorian Awards, securing the coveted title of Best LGBT+ Film of the Year. The film, portraying a middle-aged gay writer confronting his past with the apparitions of his parents, resonated deeply with audiences and critics alike. Notably, it also clinched the Film of the Year and LGBT+ Screenplay of the Year awards. Despite its acclaim at the Dorians, the film faced notable snubs elsewhere, including the Oscars and BAFTAs. GALECA President Walt Hickey expressed delight at the film’s recognition, hailing it as a “sweet homecoming” for the organization.

The UK. Entertainment. Royal Family Witnesses First Lesbian Wedding.

In a historic moment for the Royal Family, Ellen Lascelles, the great-great-granddaughter of King George V, exchanged vows with her Australian girlfriend, Channtel McPherson, in a picturesque outdoor ceremony in Byron Bay Hinterland, New South Wales. The joyous event marked the first lesbian wedding within the royal lineage. Ellen, an aristocrat, and Channtel, a design company owner, celebrated their union surrounded by loved ones, including Ellen’s children from a previous relationship and Channtel’s daughter. The couple’s love-filled day showcased a blend of tradition and modernity, symbolizing a significant step forward in the Royal Family’s history.

Italy. Art. Thousands Demand Israel’s Exclusion from Venice Biennale Over Gaza War

Over 9,000 artists and cultural workers are urging the organizers of the Venice Biennale to exclude Israel from the prestigious art event, citing ongoing atrocities against Palestinians in Gaza. The petition, initiated by the Art Not Genocide Alliance (ANGA), underscores concerns about the Biennale’s decision to include Israel’s pavilion while Palestine remains excluded. Prominent figures within the art world, including Nan Goldin, Michael Rakowitz, and Rehana Zaman, have joined the call for Israel’s exclusion, highlighting the need to refrain from platforming a state engaged in what they deem as unacceptable behaviour. The controversy arises amidst an international legal backdrop, with the International Court of Justice recently acknowledging evidence suggesting Israel’s actions in Gaza may breach the 1951 Genocide Convention. While the Biennale has defended its decision based on protocol and state recognition, critics argue that allowing Israel’s participation perpetuates a narrative of political neutrality while Palestine remains marginalized. The rejection of a Palestinian collateral project, “Foreigners in Their Homeland,” has further fueled speculation about the political motivations behind the Biennale’s decisions. In response to mounting pressure, the Palestine Museum US has launched a separate petition urging the Biennale to reconsider its stance. The issue has sparked global engagement, with over 22,000 signatories from 124 countries expressing solidarity with Palestinian narratives. As the debate intensifies, the Biennale maintains that all recognized countries have the autonomy to participate, signalling a potential clash between artistic expression and geopolitical sensitivities on the world stage. The protest follows another one this week demanding Israel to be excluded from Eurovision, the European music contest.

Ukraine. Politics. Church Revokes Award from Gay Soldier, Citing “Sinful Ideology”

The Ukrainian Orthodox Church has stirred controversy by retracting an award bestowed upon Viktor Pylypenko, a gay combat medic and soldier, for what it deems as the propagation of “sinful ideology” and a denial of God’s existence. The Church’s statement, issued this week, cited Pylypenko’s advocacy for LGBT+ rights and his perceived departure from religious doctrine as grounds for revoking the honour, which recognized his military service and devotion to Ukraine. Despite Pylypenko’s commendable contribution to Ukraine’s defence against Russia’s invasion, the Church emphasized its opposition to what it views as incompatible beliefs with its teachings. Pylypenko’s activism, including his founding of a charity supporting LGBT+ soldiers and veterans, appears to have triggered the decision. While the Church underscored its gratitude for Pylypenko’s service, it asserted that the award was solely in recognition of his military role and not an endorsement of his LGBT+ advocacy. Pylypenko, in response, expressed disappointment with the Church’s stance, particularly highlighting the timing of the decision amid the ongoing conflict in Donetsk. However, he found solace in the support of his comrades, who rallied behind him amidst the controversy. The incident underscores the tensions between religious institutions and LGBT+ rights advocates in Ukraine, reflecting broader societal debates over identity and belief.

Qatar. Politics. British and Mexican National Detained in Qatar Amid Grindr Entrapment Allegations.

Manuel Guerrero, a dual citizen of Mexico and the United Kingdom, finds himself detained in Qatar after an alleged entrapment incident involving the dating app Grindr, as reported by his family. The 44-year-old Qatar Airways employee was apprehended on February 4 in Doha, where he claims to have fallen victim to a deceitful scheme orchestrated by Qatari authorities via a fake Grindr profile. Guerrero asserts that he was led to a designated location under the guise of meeting fellow members of the LGBT+community, only to be met by law enforcement and subsequently arrested. Moreover, Guerrero alleges planted evidence, with a small quantity of methamphetamine purportedly discovered in his apartment during the arrest, according to his family’s accounts. Guerrero, who is HIV positive, further claims deprivation of his antiretroviral medication and describes experiencing psychological distress. Advocates for Guerrero’s release have raised serious legal and human rights concerns, highlighting his alleged denial of legal representation and coerced signings of documents in Arabic. They emphasize the withholding of his HIV medication as tantamount to torture and a threat to his life. Family appeals for diplomatic intervention have seen mixed responses, with dissatisfaction expressed toward British officials’ efforts. While seeking aid from the Mexican Embassy in Doha, Guerrero’s family is reminded that his status as a British resident in Qatar places the onus of negotiation primarily on U.K. authorities. Both the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the British Foreign Office have issued statements pledging assistance and support to Guerrero and his family during this challenging ordeal. The case underscores broader concerns surrounding LGBT+rights and legal protections in Qatar, as well as the intersection of diplomatic efforts and individual rights in cases of international detention.

Georgia. Politics. The notion of LGBT+ Propaganda was Dismissed by Political Scientists Amid the New Legislation to be Voted.

The notion of “LGBT propaganda” in Georgia is dismissed by political scientist Paata Zakareishvili as nothing more than a ploy to garner votes, akin to the absurd idea of being dragged into war. Zakareishvili’s remarks come in response to the ruling party’s announcement of plans to introduce a law against so-called LGBT propaganda, echoing similar legislation in Russia. Zakareishvili emphasizes that such rhetoric has no basis in reality and is merely a tactic to appeal to conservative segments of the population ahead of parliamentary elections. He asserts that pro-European and pro-democratic voters are unlikely to support the ruling party. Furthermore, Zakareishvili highlights the lack of relevance of this issue in Georgian society, noting that neither political parties nor the general public discuss it as a priority. He underscores that the focus on this topic is manufactured to sway voters and compares it to the false narrative of being dragged into war. The commentary sheds light on the political manoeuvres behind the proposed legislation and raises questions about its true motivations and implications for Georgia’s democratic values.

Czech Republic. Politics. The Government has Expanded Unions for Same-Sex Couples but has Rejected Marriage.

The Czech Republic’s lower house of Parliament recently passed a bill expanding unions for same-sex couples, though it rejected the possibility of marriage and full adoption rights for LGBT+individuals. The new legislation passed with a vote of 123-36, extends existing partnerships for queer couples, granting them additional rights, including limited adoption rights. However, joint adoption is only permitted if one partner is a biological parent.

President Petr Pavel, who assumed office last year, expressed his support for same-sex marriage, emphasizing his commitment to LGBT+rights and advocating for the principle of freedom and equality for all individuals under the law. Despite widespread public support for marriage equality in the Czech Republic, with 58% of citizens favouring it according to the CVVM agency, Parliament’s decision was met with disappointment by advocacy groups such as Jsme Fer (We are Fair), who view it as a setback for justice and equality. While same-sex couples have been able to enter into registered partnerships since 2006, granting them certain legal rights, including inheritance and healthcare benefits, the recent rejection of full marriage and adoption rights highlights ongoing challenges faced by the LGBT+community in the country.

Ghana President Nana Akufo-Addo. Getty Images.

Ghana. Politics. UN and Human Rights Groups Condemned the Passage of a Bill that Criminalises LGBT+ people.

The recent passage of an anti-LGBT+ bill in Ghana has sparked condemnation from the United Nations (UN) and various human rights groups, who describe the legislation as “profoundly disturbing.” The bill, passed unanimously by Ghana’s parliament, criminalizes LGBT+ individuals and their allies, with potential punishments including imprisonment ranging from a few months to three years for LGBT+ people and three to five years for advocates of LGBT+ rights. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk expressed deep concern over the bill, emphasizing that consensual same-sex conduct should never be criminalized and urging the Ghanaian government to ensure the protection of LGBT+ individuals from violence, stigma, and discrimination. Known as the Human Sexual Rights and Family Values bill, the legislation has faced criticism from advocacy organizations both within Ghana and internationally. LGBT+Rights Ghana denounced the bill for criminalizing identity and depriving various groups, while Rightify Ghana condemned it as draconian and a violation of democratic and human rights principles. The passage of the bill has drawn outrage from the American LGBT advocacy group, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), which described it as cruel and a violation of fundamental rights. David Stacy, HRC’s vice-president of government affairs, called on the international community to stand up for the rights of LGBTQI+ people in Ghana and pledged support to Ghanaian partners during this challenging time.

 

Recommendations from our favourite newspapers. This week, NYT.

Cook: This macaroni and peas recipe produces layers of flavour.

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Imbibe: Does drinking beer before liquor actually make you sicker?

Quiz: How well do you know Berlin’s literary landmarks?

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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