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WORLD Elton John, AIDS confab, Israeli rally
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times.
2018-07-24

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On July 24, Prince Harry joined Sir Elton John on the second day of the International AIDS Conference in Amsterdam—where the two will launch the new MenStar Coalition, a global partnership aimed at researching and halting male transmission of HIV infections, with the goal of ending AIDS by 2030, USA Today noted. John shares a close relationship with Prince Harry and his family, having played three songs at Harry and Duchess Meghan's May wedding luncheon. ( She was not in attendance at the event. )

The results of a major new study into HIV transmission have been announced at the International AIDS Conference in Amsterdam, Gay Star News reported. The PARTNER 2 study looked at the how effective HIV medication is in preventing the transmission of HIV. It found not a single incidence of HIV transmission between men who are positive and on effective treatment and their HIV-negative male partners—even when not using condoms. AIDSMap, which reported the PARTNER 2 findings, stated, "It remains the case that the most likely probability, by far, that an HIV-positive person with a viral load under 200 copies/ml can infect their partner is zero."

Some 60,000 people attended a rally in Tel Aviv's Rabin Square on July 22, according to police estimates, capping a day of demonstrations and a partial strike around the country in support of equal rights for Israel's LGBT population, Haaretz reported. The strike call and demonstrations were sparked by the amendment to the surrogacy law and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's actions—saying that he supports surrogacy for single fathers, but later voting against an amendment that would have done that. But the wave of protest, which gained momentum over the past few days, seemed to go far beyond opposition to a specific law, relating more generally to what the protesters say is a deprivation of the rights of LGBT individuals in many aspects of life.

Australian Jesuit priest Father Frank Brennan was recently barred from a recent Catholic religious conference due to his public support for same-sex matrimony, The Georgia Voice noted. He was asked to speak at an event in Tasmania; the get-together, called CatholicCare, is slated for February 2019. But the progressive priest's message of tolerance didn't sit well with Archbishop of Hobart Julian Porteous, who barred Brennan.

In Lebanon, a Mount Lebanon appeals court has ruled that the country's law does not ban homosexuality, according to a PinkNews item that cites AFP. The decision to uphold the acquittal of nine people prosecuted for being gay in 2017 has been celebrated by activists, who view it as a landmark moment in the fight to decriminalize homosexuality. It rejected an appeal to overturn a lower court's ruling in January last year that said if Lebanese citizens wanted to have gay sex, it was "a practice of their fundamental rights."

In the United Kingdom, a new study has revealed that nearly a third of LGBT young people avoid careers in science, technology and engineering due to worries about discrimination, PinkNews noted. Institution of Engineering and Technology Diversity and Inclusion Manager Jo Foster said that subjects such as science, technology and engineering have an "image problem" that prevents both women and LGBT people from pursuing careers in them. This study echoes findings of a similar report in 2015 that discovered that homophobia in engineering was costing billions of pounds every year.

Legislation that will make it easy to erase the criminal records of Canadians convicted of same-sex acts is now law, News1130.com noted. Bill C-66 allows Canadians, or family members of Canadians who have died, to apply to erase past criminal convictions for three offenses: buggery, gross indecency and anal intercourse. The law's critics say it doesn't go far enough, omitting convictions from bathhouse raids that they say targeted gay men even if the statutes themselves were not specific to sexual identity.

Ahead of Singapore Pride's ( Pink Dot's ) 10th-anniversary bash, a very important person in the city nation has come out publicly as gay, according to Gay Star News. Li Huanwu, 31—the grandson of Singapore's first prime minister, Lee Kuan Yew, and the nephew of current prime minister, Lee Hsien Loong—has come out of the closet as gay. Li has long supported Pink Dot ( which took place July 21 ) and encouraged all people to attend.

Another queer public Facebook group has decided that it will discriminate against potential members—and this time, the victims are trans men, SDGLN.com reported. Previously, the site reported that a community forum called "Muscle Bear" put up a barrier against Asians and African-Americans with a discriminatory survey wall. Now, Vintage Gay Toronto uses the disclaimer, "VTG is exclusively for gay MALES ( actual, born, genetic ) over 18 years old," it reads. "Are you a gay male in the actual definition? ( Member requests will be declined, failing to answer all three questions. )" Administrator David Bennett said, "Dysphoric females are not and can never be men, so are therefore naturally ( and quite obviously ) excluded."

Prosecutors in Kazakhstan say Olympic figure skating medalist Denis Ten, 25, has been killed—and they are treating the case as murder, according to ESPN.com . Kazakh news agencies report Ten was stabbed after a dispute with people who tried to steal a mirror from his car. Ten won bronze at the Winter Olympics in Sochi in 2014, becoming Kazakhstan's first medalist in figure skating. The suspects have been identified as Nuraly Kiyasov and Arman Kudaibergenov, according to ExtraTV.com .

The International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association has teamed with the Paris-based startup company Hopstay to develop an LGBTQ travel chatbot to assist travelers in planning their trips, a press release noted. The chatbot, which resides within Facebook Messenger, is available on desktop, tablet and mobile, and shares LGBTQ-welcoming travel opportunities, including recommendations for destinations, travel agents, hotels, transport, tours, events and special offers in more than 80 countries. Visit www.messenger.com/t/IGLTA, or IGLTA.org .

George Michael's ex-boyfriend has joined the battle for a slice of the late superstar's millions, according to News.com .au. The British "Faith" singer, who died in December 2016, left his estate and properties to his sisters, Melanie and Yioda. But Kenny Goss, 59, his former partner of 15 years, is claiming a large portion of his estate on the grounds he helped the troubled singer through hard times, The Sun reported. Goss joins hairdresser Fadi Fawaz, 45—who was together with George for five years until his death on Christmas Day—in challenging the will.

British diving champ Tom Daley has viewed a nude portrait of himself by artist David Hockney last August—and had an interesting reaction, Gay Star News noted. Daley posted a photo to his Instagram yesterday of himself standing next to the subsequent charcoal-and-crayon drawing. Daley posted on YouTube, "Taking my Mum ( NANA DEBS ) sightseeing in LA was so much fun, we even got to take Robbie Ray [his son with Dustin Lance Black] to his first art gallery! Although it was embarrassing for them to see me naked!"

The story of Britain's Olympic-winning ice-dancing pair Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean will be told in a TV drama for ITV in the United Kingdom, Variety noted. Will Tudor ( Game of Thrones ) will play Dean and Poppy Lee Friar ( Ackley Bridge ) portrays Torvill in the 120-minute drama, which Endemol Shine will sell internationally. The film will track the artistic and personal relationship between the two skaters, who were British, European, world and Olympic champions in their discipline.

Ladies of London's Annabelle Neilson died suddenly from a stroke, the Westminster Coroner's Court confirmed to Radar Online, according to US Magazine. Neilson died July 12, at age 49. Neilson worked as a model for years and was close friends with fashion designer Alexander McQueen, who committed suicide at age 40 in February 2015. She joined the Bravo reality series in 2014 but announced her exit the following year after two seasons.


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