International News Highlights — May 13, 2022

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Brittany Griner — Photo by Phelan M. Ebenhack / AP
Brittany Griner — Photo by Phelan M. Ebenhack / AP

Russia: Lesbian ball player "wrongfully detained" on drug charges
LGBTQ Nation reported on May 5 that the US State Department has declared that Russian authorities "wrongfully detained" Lesbian pro basketball player Brittney Griner, and promised to lead an an "interagency" effort to have her released, including consular support.

The Department of State's special presidential envoy for hostage affairs, Roger Carstens, will lead the team. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the US embassy is also working on Griner's case.

Griner was arrested on charges of "large-scale transportation of drugs," with authorities claiming they found cannabis oil vape cartridges in her luggage. Such a charge presents the possibility of 5—10 years in prison.

For context, LGBTQ Nation noted that Russia recently released US citizen Trevor Reed in a prisoner exchange, after Reed was accused of assaulting Russian police officers, which may indicate that Griner's chances for release are good.

London: UK's first LGBTQ museum opens
NBC News reported on May 5 that the United Kingdom's first national LGBTQ museum has opened in London's King's Cross neighborhood. Organized and fundraised by Queer Britain, the project has been a long time coming, according to its co-founder and director, Joseph Galliano.

"There've been attempts to set up museums like this before," Galliano said, "but I think the cultural landscape and the activism landscape weren't yet quite right at that point. It's also a long job that requires somebody hitting the streets every day to make it work, and I've done that for the last five years now."

The funds, according to Galliano, came mostly from private donors via the project's patron and membership programs. Some pieces were also funded by corporate partnerships.

The exhibit itself, called "Welcome to Queer Britain," is meant to introduce the organization and its mission with works from its archives and beyond.

Galliano stressed that the museum's trustees have been recruited with diversity as a priority. "I'm really delighted to be working with them," he said, "as they all bring in different perspectives."

As for the experience of the museum, Galliano said popularity wasn't his biggest concern. "What we're looking for are the qualities that the people leave the door with, and the emotions and understanding that they leave the museum with. I want people to feel celebrated, I want people to feel thoughtful, and I want people to be seen and to feel that they've been seen."