Compiled by David Webb

New LGBTQ resource center opens in Melbourne

AUSTRALIA — The recently-opened Victorian Pride Centre in Melbourne’s seaside suburb of St. Kilda will house a dozen LGBTQ groups and provide spaces for cultural events. The center opened after a year of delays caused by the pandemic lockdown.

The project is the only one of its kind in Australia, and it will be one of the largest in the world.

The tenants include the LGBTQ radio station Joy 94.9, Transgender Victoria, bookstore Hares and Hyenas, the Melbourne Queer Film Festival and the Gay and Lesbian Switchboard.

The St. Kilda area was once a seaside resort for the wealthy, but it was transformed into an area for society’s outcasts in the mid-20th Century. It was home to the first gay nightclubs.

Berlin Pride parade attendance stuns organizers, authorities

GERMANY — Some 65,000 revelers marched for LGBTQ rights in Berlin’s annual Christopher Street Day celebration on July 24.

Organizers and police estimated 20,000 would attend this year’s event, but three times as many people showed up for the event. Social distancing rules and a ban on alcohol led organizers to forecast low attendance. Last year’s celebration was cancelled because of the pandemic.

The larger than expected turnout was attributed to widespread concerns about the plight of the LGBTQ community in neighboring Hungary and Poland where laws have been enacted to restrict gay rights.

Proposed new African law scares LGBTQ community

GHANA — A new law under consideration would make the self-identification of being gay or even being an LGBTQ ally a second-degree felony punishable by five years in prison, and a gay rights advocate could be sentenced to 10 years behind bars.

Same-sex conduct is already a crime in this West African country with violators facing three-year sentences. The proposal that was submitted to Parliament last month also bans same-sex marriage and adoptions. Cross-dressing and same-sex displays of affection would be considered misdemeanors with jail sentences of up to one year.

An LGBTQ activist with Rightify Ghana called the measure a “homophobe’s dream law.” LGBTQ people living in Ghana are said to be shocked and afraid to go out in the community. Many want to leave the country. A vote on the proposed law has not yet been scheduled.

Budapest Pride parade marchers target right-wing policies

HUNGARY — Thousands marching in a Pride celebration on July 24 protested a new law that bans the dissemination of information about homosexuality and gender change to minors.

Organizers estimated that record crowds would attend the event, and they called on participants to express opposition to Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s policies that they fear will stigmatize sexual minorities in Central Europe.

Hungarian lawmakers passed the anti-propaganda law in June, and they attached it to another bill that assessed tougher penalties for pedophiles.

The European Union has denounced the new law, and activists report that many LGBTQ people are feeling unsafe living in Hungary.

Olympic games feature wave of LGBTQ openness, acceptance

JAPAN — A record number of openly-LGBTQ competitors are taking part at the Olympic games in Tokyo this year.

The gay website has tallied the number of out LGBTQ athletes at the games to be 168 this year. That is three times the number noted at the games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

At the 2012 London games only two dozen Olympians were publicly out.

Olympic diver Tom Daley said being gay is no longer an impediment to athletic achievement. He came out in 2013 and is now participating in his fourth Olympics game.

“I hope that any young LGBT person out there can see that no matter how alone you feel right now you are not alone,” he said at this year’s games.

San Juan police raid gay hangout near University of Puerto Rico

PUERTO RICO — About 20 police officers raided Loverbar in San Juan on July 22 for operating without a business permit.

Some of the officers entering the bar at about 11 p.m. carried shotguns, according to social media posts. San Juan Mayor Miguel Romero said police also raided seven other businesses the same night for either not having business permits or excessive noise.

LGBTQ activists who called for an official investigation of the raid at the bar near the University of Puerto Rico blamed the police action on homophobia and transphobia. They accused police of excessive force and intimidation.

Thousands march in London to denounce the focus of traditional Pride celebrations

UNITED KINGDOM — The first “Reclaim Pride” demonstration was held in London on July 23 to complain about the state of LGBTQ rights in the country and the “commercialization of Pride.”

Participants said the treatment of the transgender community mainly was at issue because of transphobic articles in the media. They noted the British government scrapped a proposed reform last year that would have allowed trans people to change their gender without a medical diagnosis.

An official with UK Black Pride attending the parade said a lack of diversity and racism also continues to be a problem in the country.