Issue:  Vol. 47 / No. 42 / 19 October 2017
 

Danish brewery offers cheers to Pride

NEWS


Danish brewery Mikkeller's limited edition of Excuse Me While I Kiss This Guy IPA, featuring Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump kissing, has sold out. Photo: Courtesy Mikkeller
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Danish brewery Mikkeller introduced Excuse Me While I Kiss This Guy IPA with a label depicting Russian President Vladimir Putin and President Donald Trump embraced in an impassionate lip-lock.

The limited edition of 120 bottles is to support LGBT Chechens who have been under attack and imprisoned this year.

"Only four bottles will go on auction with 100 percent of the proceeds going to the Russian LGBT Network in support of Chechen gay rights – this is an IPA that makes an impact," a Mikkeller representative wrote on Facebook, according to the Copenhagen Post.

"Stay gay (and thirsty)!" the post ended.

The IPA was created in collaboration with Chinese microbrewery Great Leap Brewing.

The brew has generated approval on the brewery's Facebook page, but some naysayers registered their complaints.

"Hi Mikkeller HQ you're probably brewing the best beers in the world but you should just brew beer and not do politics. Thanks," wrote Gus Berthollier in a June 16 post.

A Mikkeller representative responded, "Duly noted – respectfully ignored."

The beer sold out.

 

Firsts for LGBT elected officials

Pride month has rung in firsts for LGBT officials in Ireland, Serbia, and Nepal.

 

Ireland

In Ireland, Leo Varadkar formally became the country's prime minister after a 57-50 vote June 14 in the Irish Parliament.

The opposition Fianna Fail party, led by Michael Martin, abstained its 47 votes to allow Varadkar to take over as Taoiseach, or prime minister, according to media reports.

Varadkar, 38, and leader of the Fine Gael party, is the Emerald Isle's first gay and youngest person to serve in the high-ranking position.

Former Prime Minister Enda Kenny told parliament before the vote, "As the country's youngest holder of this office, he speaks for a new generation of Irish women and Irish men, he represents a modern, diverse and inclusive Ireland and speaks for them like no other."

Varadkar succeeded Kenny, who retired.

In his acceptance speech, Varadkar harnessed youthful energy and vision for Ireland, arguing that the politics of the past were no longer fit for the nation's purpose.

"The government that I lead will not be one of left or right because those old divisions do not comprehend the political challenges of today," he said, according to media reports.

Pulse, an Irish publication, reported that Varadkar is regarded as relatively liberal on social issues, but criticized by opposition parties for his "right-wing economic views."

The new prime minister is the son of an Indian-born father and Irish mother. He was born in Dublin in 1979. In 2015, he came out publicly in the run-up to the public vote to legalize same-sex marriage throughout Ireland.

Before becoming prime minister, Varadkar was appointed or elected to many government positions. He initially followed in his father's footsteps becoming a doctor, however, he returned to his original interest in politics that he took up as a teenager. He was elected as councilor in 2004. He later was appointed to minister for transport, tourism and sport; health minister; and minister of welfare. In 2007, he was elected to the Irish Parliament, representing West Dublin.

 

Serbia

Last week, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic nominated political newcomer Ana Brnabic, a gay woman, as the country's prime minister-designate to lead the conservative southeast European nation.

Ultimately, it's a watershed moment for the conservative Balkans as Brnabic, 41, could become the country's first out and first female prime minister in Serbia's history, according to media reports.

Next week parliament, which is led by Vucic's populist Progressive Party, will meet to formally approve or decline Brnabic's cabinet.

Brnabic, who has spent less than a year in Serbian politics, isn't affiliated with any political party, but appears to be loyal to Vucic.

Last August, Brnabic was appointed as minister of public administration and local government, reported the Telegraph. Prior to taking the government position, she spent a decade working for international organizations, foreign investors, local governments, and the public sector in Serbia, reported First Post.

"I would like to thank the president for placing enormous trust in my capabilities to lead the government," said Brnabic, who has sought to slash Serbia's stifling bureaucracy as minister for public administration, reported the Irish Times.

She vowed to work "honestly and with passion" for "citizens who expect to feel the results of the government's work through better quality of life," she added.

Brnabic doesn't believe that her sexual orientation is of any importance and won't interfere with her work, she told RTV.

"I don't like when being gay is used as an indicator of personality. Why is that important?" she said.

However, the decision to nominate Brnabic was difficult but "reached in the interest of Serbia and its citizens," Vucic told reporters.

A former extremist-turned-reformist, Vucic, who won the presidency in a landslide election in April, has promised to boost LGBT rights as a part of efforts to move Serbia closer to European Union membership, reported ABC News.

"I believe Ana Brnabic has all the personal qualities and expertise," Vucic told the media, according to the Times. "I am confident she will work hard, show respect to political parties and work for the benefit of Serbia with other ministers."

The move has infuriated conservative factions, the Christian Orthodox Church, and ultranationalists who are pro-Russia, according to media reports.

"Is it possible that the ruling majority has no other candidate for the prime minister-designate but one imposed by the West, which dictates all moves by this government?" the opposition Dveri party asked, reported the Times.

Dragan Markovic Palma, an outspoken nationalist whose small party is a member of the ruling coalition, declared, "Ana Brnabic is not my prime minister."

His ideal Serbian prime minister is someone who "should be a family man who knows what children are," the paper reported.

In Sputnik, a Russian media outlet, far-right conservative Vojislav Seselj blamed the West for placing strong pressure on Vucic to select Brnabic.

Born in Belgrade, Serbia, Brnabic, who is fluent in English and Russian, completed her undergraduate studies at Northwood University in the United States and received her MBA in marketing from Hull University in the United Kingdom in 2001. She returned to Serbia, working in the wind power industry and on multiple development projects funded by the United States Agency for International Development, according to media reports.

Brnabic has won multiple awards recognizing her accomplishments in business.

Currently, Brnabic is a board member of PEXIM Foundation, a scholarship organization for Serbian and Macedonian students identified as talent to help accelerate development in economic and social spheres, according to media reports.

 

Nepal

Nepal has its first out transgender candidate, Aanik Rana Magar, running for local office.

Magar, who identifies as third gender, filed her nomination to run for ward eight of the Tilotama Municipality in Western Nepal as the Naya Shakti Nepal Party candidate in the second phase local election, reported Pahichan.

Nepal legally recognized the third gender in 2015.

The Naya Shakti Nepal Party was created by former Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai to encourage and give a vehicle for political leaders to be publicly elected rather than by members of parliament, reported Pink News.

Magar, a social worker and LGBT activist, perceives her bid for office as a victory, whether or not she wins her seat. She said that her campaign would bring visibility to gender and sexual minority communities in Nepal.

"In the elections, victory or defeat is a normal process, but I think my candidacy itself is a victory for me," she said, noting that her candidacy would "provide a further boost for the members of the community" and "contribute" to bring changes for the LGBT community, reported Pahichan.

Nepal recently passed a new constitution, which included protections against discrimination of LGBT people. The constitution was hailed by the Washington, D.C.-based Human Rights Campaign as a "historic first for a nation in Asia," reported Pink News.

The election will be held June 28.

 

Got international LGBT news tips? Contact Heather Cassell at oitwnews@gmail.com.

 






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