International News Highlights — May 20, 2022

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Achille Lauro — Photo by EBU / Nathan Reinds
Achille Lauro — Photo by EBU / Nathan Reinds

Italy: Queer firsts at Eurovision 2022
NBC News reported May 14 on stage gimmicks and Queer milestones at this year's Eurovision Song Contest in Turin, Italy. San Marino's singer Achille Lauro and his guitarist Boss Doms had Eurovision's first mid-performance male-male kiss (excluding winner Måneskin's reprise performance last year). Albania's act had a Lesbian moment, and the music video for Malta's "I Am What I Am" was explicitly Queer friendly.

Icelandic trio Systur, strong advocate for Trans children in Iceland, waved the Transgender flag alongside that of of their nation and made history when they entered the Grand Final with a Lesbian and the mother of a Trans child.

In addition, two of the show's on-air personalities were Queer. Out British singer Mika served as one of three hosts in Turin, and Olympic bronze medalist and NBC commentator Johnny Weir ran the American broadcast.

The Grand Final featured several out Queer acts, among them Israel's Michael ben David in a flamboyant dance number and Australia's Sheldon Riley in an outfit with thousands of Swarovski crystals. Other performances showed support for Queer sexuality, including Italy's Mahmood and Blanco.

Gimmicks included monk-supervised hand-washing, wolf masks, and riding a pink mechanical bull.

Qatar: FIFA-recommended hotels refuse service
Reuters reported on May 12 that three hotels in Qatar have refused to accommodate same-sex couples during the World Cup this year, contrary to FIFA's past assurances. A report by Norwegian Broadcaster NRK, Swedish SVT, and Denmark's DR broke the news.

Twenty other hotels on the list have said they would accommodate same-sex couples, as long as they did not openly display that they were Gay. The remaining 33 took no issue with same-sex couples.

The Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC), the group running the host country's operations for the World Cup, said that Qatar is a "conservative country" but was "committed to delivering an inclusive FIFA World Cup experience that is welcoming, safe, and accessible to all," adding that they would take action against hotels that did not align with this goal.

An SC spokesperson told Reuters that the hotels accommodating visitors for the World Cup would be "required to comply with the Sustainable Sourcing Code... The SC treats any violation of this code or instance of discrimination with the utmost seriousness."

England manager Gareth Southgate said in March that he was unhappy some fans wouldn't feel safe traveling to the event, given this, and that homosexuality is still illegal in Qatar.