THE9. Queer News. HIV hopes, Pope Apologise and more

 Your weekly 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 subscribers every Monday, “The9” is edited weekly by Taylor Abbot + the GenZ editorial team.

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This week, HIV vaccine hopes, and then:

Switzerland. Religion. Catholic Church Elects First Openly Gay Bishop

Frank Bangerter, a pastor from Zurich, has been elected as the first openly gay bishop of the Christian Catholic Church of Switzerland. The election took place at the 157th National Synod in Aarau, where Bangerter, 61, prevailed against two competitors after six ballots. He will be ordained on September 14 in Bern. Bangerter, who has served as a pastor in Zurich since 2010 and lives with his long-term partner, expressed gratitude and a commitment to a progressive church. He emphasized the importance of an open, liberal church that embraces diversity and reforms. The Christian Catholic Church of Switzerland, part of the Old Catholic Church, has around 12,000 members and supports women’s ordination and marriage equality.

Music. The Irrepressibles Release Punk Anthem Yo Homo Celebrating Queer Pride

The Irrepressibles, a significant force in alternative music with over 270 million streams on Spotify, continue to inspire a global audience. Known for hits like “In This Shirt,” “Two Men in Love,” and “The Most Beautiful Boy,” the band now introduces “Yo Homo,” a powerful expression of gay desire and rebellion. The music video, directed by London-based artist and drag performer Joseph Wilson, captures this punk energy. Featuring performers from the alternative queer scene, it celebrates identities through dance and wild moshing in a run-down warehouse. Jamie Irrepressible describes “Yo Homo” as “a punk rock track of homo and queer rebellion, with a bit of fun.” Wilson adds, “Yo Homo explores the anger of queer youth and the power of community, a song of teenage rebellion and sweet nostalgia.” Listen to “Yo Homo” on Amazon Music

Worldwide. Fashion. , Support LGBT+ Charities

Several brands are celebrating Pride Month 2024 by releasing special collections and supporting LGBT+ charities. Abercrombie & Fitch has a ‘Made with Pride’ range and will donate $400,000 to The Trevor Project. Adidas launched its ‘Love Unites’ range with Pabllo Vittar, supporting Athlete Ally. American Eagle unveiled a gender-neutral collection and will contribute $100,000 to It Gets Better. Apple released a Pride Watch loop and supports The Trevor Project and Human Rights Campaign. Converse’s ‘Proud to Be’ campaign, designed by LGBT+ employees, supports several charities, including It Gets Better Project. Jean Paul Gaultier introduced Pride-themed fragrances honouring Keith Haring. Levi’s celebrates LGBT+ rodeo culture and donates $100,000 to Outright International. Reebok’s ‘Unity by Reebok’ collection supports The Boston Alliance of LGBT+ Youth. TomboyX launched new Pride styles, supporting multiple LGBT+ organizations. These initiatives show brands’ commitment to supporting the LGBT+ community beyond Pride Month.

Georgia. Politics. ‘Foreign Agent’ Bill Becomes Law

Georgia’s parliament adopted a contentious law on Tuesday, labelling Western-funded NGOs and media outlets as “foreign agents,” escalating tensions with the U.S. and EU. The law passed with 84 votes to 4, despite President Salome Zourabichvili’s veto, which she termed a “Russian law.” Parliamentary speaker Shalva Papuashvili will sign it into law. Critics fear a Russian-style crackdown on civil society before the October elections. President Zourabichvili has called for a referendum on Georgia’s European future. The U.S. has announced sanctions on officials undermining democracy, while the EU warns the law jeopardizes Georgia’s EU candidate status granted in December. The law affects the LGBT+ community restricting the rights of LGBT people and banning, among other things, “gatherings aimed at popularizing same-sex family or intimate relationships… and non-use of gender-specific terminology.”  Brussels’ response may hinge on the upcoming elections, but significant setbacks to Georgia’s EU aspirations are likely.

USA. Medicine. 

Researchers have made significant progress in developing an HIV vaccine by inducing broadly neutralizing antibodies. The innovative “germ train targeting” strategy manipulates B cells to produce these antibodies, which can neutralize various HIV strains. A series of targeted vaccinations stimulates B cells through several stages, culminating in the production of neutralizing antibodies. Four scientific studies document these advances, showing success in animal models, including rhesus monkeys. Phase I human trials are now underway. This method holds promise not only for HIV but also for combating other viruses like coronavirus and hepatitis C. While these findings mark a potential breakthrough, further studies are needed to assess human applicability and long-term antibody effectiveness.

Vatican. Politics. Pope Apologise to Queers

Pope Francis has apologized for using an offensive slur during a discussion with bishops about admitting gay men into seminaries. The pontiff, 87, reportedly said there was already too much “frociaggine” in some seminaries, an Italian term translating to “faggotness.” Matteo Bruni, the Vatican’s press office director, conveyed the pope’s apology, emphasizing that Francis never intended to offend and apologized to those hurt by the term. The conversation occurred during an Italian bishops conference, where the pope reiterated his objection to admitting gay men, citing concerns over leading double lives. Since his election in 2013, Francis has adopted a more inclusive tone towards the LGBT+ community, despite maintaining the Church’s stance on barring gay men from the clergy.

Music. Bronski Beat’s Smalltown Boy Turns 40 with Reworked Version

Bronski Beat’s iconic gay anthem “Smalltown Boy” celebrates its 40th anniversary with a reworked version by DJ and producer ABSOLUTE. Originally released on May 25, 1984, the electro-pop track detailed the struggles of LGBTQ+ individuals leaving repressive towns for city life. The new version, set to the original video, maintains the song’s powerful message. ABSOLUTE expressed his honour in reworking the track, emphasizing its enduring relevance. Jimmy Somerville, the last surviving member of Bronski Beat, commemorated the milestone by performing the song and reflecting on its impact. He also addressed the rise of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation, urging for acceptance and equality. Fans can purchase limited-edition merchandise, including fluorescent pink vinyl.

Politics. Young and Queer Voters Propel Far-Right Surge Ahead of European Elections

Far-right parties are gaining traction across Europe, with significant support from Gen Z and millennial voters ahead of the June 6-9 European Parliament elections. Queer young voters are increasingly declaring support for the hard right parties. In countries like Belgium, France, Portugal, Germany, and Finland, young voters are increasingly backing anti-immigration and anti-establishment parties, often surpassing older generations in their support. Austria is the most radical far-right country where the LGBT+ community is supporting anti-immigration legislation. In the Netherlands, Geert Wilders’ Freedom Party won the 2023 election by linking affordable housing to immigration restrictions, resonating with young voters. Similarly, Portugal’s far-right Chega party has capitalized on youth frustration over the housing crisis and quality-of-life issues. While young women often support left-leaning parties, young men are predominantly backing anti-migration parties. However, in some regions, such as Italy, left-wing parties still hold favour among the youth despite the rise of far-right leaders like Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni.


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Quote of the Week

The gaudy, theatrical nature of city life tends constantly to melodrama.

– Jonathan Raban: Soft City

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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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