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International News Highlights — June 10, 2022

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Photo by Jose de Jesus Cortes / Reuters
Photo by Jose de Jesus Cortes / Reuters

Community rallies to save Queer-friendly nude beach
Reuters reported June 3 on the community of Zipolite, Oaxaca, a town on the southern Pacific coast of Mexico that was hit by Hurricane Agatha on May 30. Three days after the storm hit, a GoFundMe campaign had raised over $21,000 "for the reconstruction of this paradise," the campaign said.

Zipolite is a popular spot for LGBTQ residents and visitors and is famous more broadly for being laid-back and home to one of Mexico's few nude beaches.

The fundraiser was organized by Zipolite Diverso, a group made up of LGBTQ-owned and inclusive small businesses. Its first priority was immediate needs, such as food and water, and the rebuilding that would follow.

"None of us were expecting to have such a large response," said one organizer, Ricky Castellanos, who owns a bed-and-breakfast that was damaged by the storm.

Artist and Diverso coordinator Thomas Flechel said, "We're organizing this as members of the LGBTQ community, but the aid will be directed to those who need it the most, whether they're part of the community or not."

Setting its fundraising goal from $10,000 to $50,000, the campaign said, "Thanks to all, Zipolite will come back, and stronger."

Baltic Pride pulls record numbers as parliaments debate human rights bills
NBC News reported on June 7 that about 10,000 people from across the Baltics attended a Baltic Pride event in Lithuania, a country that as early as 2009 banned information about nontraditional families, as defined by the country's constitution — in critics' words, a ban on "gay propaganda."

Twenty-one-year-old Nonbinary Lithuanian Eddie Bal?i?nait? (he/she/they) said before the Pride march that he'd first heard about Queer people in church. "It wasn't a very positive portrayal, as you can imagine. You Google stuff, you talk to your friends, and hopefully you learn something about yourself — but not with the help of the school or your teacher."

Companies like Google, Moody's, and Swedbank sponsored the march, along with national embassies, including the United States, Canada, and Norway.

NBC put the event into a larger historical context by noting that Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia were all under Soviet occupation from 1944 to 1991 and joined the European Union in 2004 when the Iron Curtain fell. Their human rights records, especially concerning sexual minorities, has lagged behind other countries.

Now though, the Lithuanian and Latvian parliaments are debating bills that would introduce civil partnerships for same-sex couples, a move that would grant some of the same rights as marriage.