Brexit: Barnier warns ‘huge’ differences remain in talks

Brexit: Barnier warns 'huge' differences remain in talks

"Huge and serious" differences remain between the UK and EU in Brexit talks, the EU’s chief negotiator has warned.

Michel Barnier invited UK negotiators back to Brussels next Monday, warning: "The time is very short."

Talks continue over the terms of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU in March next year. What happens to the Irish border remains a sticking point.

The UK says agreement on vital security co-operation after Brexit is being blocked by EU negotiators.

Arriving on the second day of the European Council meeting on Friday, Mr Barnier said: "We have made progress but huge and serious divergence remains, in particular on Ireland and Northern Ireland." May warns EU: Put citizens’ safety first

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He also said he hoped to see "workable and realistic" proposals from the UK on what the future relationship between the UK and EU should look like.

"The time is very short. We want a deal and are working for a deal, the time is short and I am ready to invite the UK delegation to come back to Brussels next Monday."

European leaders at the summit welcomed progress on the legal text of the withdrawal agreement but noted that "important aspects still need to be agreed" including the territorial application of the deal "notably as regards Gibraltar". Talks between Spain and the UK over Gibraltar, including access to its airport and the exchange of tax information, continue.

They also expressed concern that "no substantial progress has yet been achieved on agreeing a backstop solution for Ireland/Northern Ireland", if a deal on customs arrangements is not agreed by December 2020. when the transition period is due to end.

And they called on member states and EU institutions "to step up their work on preparedness at all levels and for all outcomes" – European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has said the EU must prepare for the possibility that no Brexit deal will be reached.

Prime Minister Theresa May has called her cabinet together for what has been billed as a make-or-break meeting at her country residence, Chequers, on 6 July to agree the UK’s blueprint for its future relations with the EU.

Her own cabinet is divided over what the UK’s customs arrangements after December 2020 should look like, when the transition period agreed with the EU is due to end.

And there are disagreements over the future movement of goods and people across the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Theresa May says restricting UK access to EU policing schemes could put citizens’ safety at risk On Thursday, Mrs May said a strong future partnership with the EU was in everyone’s interests.

"I think both sides are keen to continue that work at a faster pace than we have done up till now and certainly we would welcome that," she said.

She added that the UK would publish a White Paper setting out "in more detail [the] strong partnership the United Kingdom wants to see with the European Union in the future".

But she urged fellow EU leaders to tell their negotiators the UK should be allowed to continue to take part in schemes like the Prum mechanism for sharing DNA profiles, the Second Generation Schengen Information System – a database of "real time" alerts about certain individuals – and the European Criminal Records Information System.

Without UK participation in such schemes, she suggested their collective ability to fight terrorism would be reduced.

Mr Barnier has argued the UK cannot remain part of some policing agreements after Brexit because it wanted to leave the European Court of Justice and free movement rules.

Labour MP Virendra Sharma, a member of Best for Britain, which campaigns for a referendum on the final Brexit deal, said Mr Barnier’s warning was a "confirmation of the government’s lack of professionalism": "It’s been two years and they are still fighting amongst themselves."

Wimbledon: Rafael Nadal & Roger Federer’s 2008 final – what made it so special?

Wimbledon: Rafael Nadal & Roger Federer's 2008 final - what made it so special?

The 2008 Wimbledon men’s singles final was the third in succession between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal John McEnroe describes it as "the greatest match ever played" and, 10 years on, the 2008 Wimbledon final between Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer remains the high point of a rivalry that continues to dominate tennis.

The final – played out over nearly seven hours because of rain delays – ended with a 22-year-old Nadal finally dethroning Federer, holding off a thrilling fightback from the five-time champion to win 6-4 6-4 6-7 (5-7) 6-7 (8-10) 9-7 as darkness descended on an enraptured Centre Court.

It was the last of three successive Wimbledon finals between two players who have won a combined 37 Grand Slam titles. They have not met at Wimbledon since but, incredibly, will go into this year’s tournament ranked one and two in the world, having split the past six Slams between them.

Here, BBC Sport speaks to four people who witnessed an extraordinary occasion – seven-time Grand Slam champion McEnroe, who commentated on the match for NBC, umpire Pascal Maria, long-time Wimbledon locker-room attendant Doug Dickson, and Jonathan Overend – the BBC’s tennis correspondent from 2003 to 2013.

This is how they saw "the greatest match". ‘Nadal was edging closer but still Federer was the king’

On 6 July 2008 – the day of the match – Federer was a month short of his 27th birthday and had spent 231 consecutive weeks as world number one.

But Nadal was close to toppling him. Four weeks earlier, he destroyed Federer at Roland Garros – winning 6-1 6-3 6-0 for his fourth consecutive French Open title. Could the Swiss recover to take revenge on his favoured surface?

Federer had beaten Nadal in four sets in the 2006 Wimbledon final, and five sets 12 months later. Both men were playing for a slice of history – Nadal trying to become the first man to win the French Open and Wimbledon back to back since Bjorn Borg in 1980, Federer attempting to go ahead of Borg by winning a sixth consecutive Wimbledon.

It was also the last match played on Centre Court before a roof was installed, so the circumstances – with repeated rain interruptions, and a final finishing at twilight – are unlikely to be repeated.

Jonathan Overend: "Everybody was wondering whether this was going to be the day Federer’s great Wimbledon reign came to an end. Nadal was edging closer but still Federer was the king. It was beautifully set up."

Doug Dickson: "Roger was his usual calm, collected self. If he was nervous, he did not show it. Rafa was also his usual self, a tiny bit on edge, which was due, I think, to the weather."

Rain delayed the scheduled 14:00 start by 35 minutes, and the first point set the tone – a superb 14-stroke rally with both players moving each other round the court until Nadal whipped a forehand down the line. The Spaniard broke serve first – in the third game. As he served for the set at 5-4, Federer created two break-back opportunities but they were fought off, the younger man getting the job done on his third set point. Nadal wins first set against Federer in 2008 Wimbledon final ‘There was always that sense Federer would come back’

Federer came back firing in the second set, breaking Nadal’s serve at the first opportunity by whipping a vicious cross-court forehand winner and establishing a 4-1 lead. But he could not capitalise and Nadal won five games in a row to go two sets to love up.

JO: "I remember how well Nadal was moving, how cleanly he was striking the ball, how well he was serving. In those first two sets Federer knew this was going to be his toughest Wimbledon final yet. But there was always that sense that Federer would come back. Even at two sets to love, I don’t think anybody saw it as being over, simply because of Federer’s experience on that court." Nadal wins second set against Federer in 2008 Wimbledon final Federer had never faced a challenge on this scale in his previous Wimbledon finals. Dark clouds were gathering overhead as he failed to convert four further break points in the sixth game of the third set. At 3-3, Federer was down 0-40 but won five straight points. At 16:51, with Federer leading 5-4, the rain started falling and the players left the court.

DD: "During the first rain break, Roger went into the physio room and lay down on one of the beds. Rafa re-taped his fingers and had a mobile CD player plugged in."

Pascal Maria: "I went in an office and sat down and did not turn my phone on at all. I talked to different guys in there very quietly, not talking about the tennis, not talking about what could happen next or what did happen."

It was more than an hour before the rain relented and the covers came off. At 18:11, play resumed with the third set, and potentially the match, about to be decided. Three service holds took it into a tie-break. Federer seized the initiative with a couple of trademark fizzing forehands to go 5-2 up and closed out the set with an ace that was greeted with a huge roar from the crowd. ‘The rain delay probably woke me up’

Federer, speaking in the Strokes of Genius documentary, said: "My problem was I had lost in the French Open final a month earlier against Rafa in a terrible way. He crushed me. So when I went into the Wimbledon final, I felt like, ‘Oh my God, this is going to be really difficult.’ I think it took me two sets to shake it off and I believe that rain delay probably woke me up. I said: ‘If you’re going to go out of this match, at least you’re going to go down swinging.’" Roger Federer seals third set with ace The fourth set went with serve, with excitement levels rising the longer it went. Federer served to stay in the match at 4-5. At 0-30, he was again on the precipice but four straight points allowed him to escape and prompted chants of "Roger, Roger". It had been gripping enough but, with the time approaching 19:30, the match was about to go to another level in a tie-break of astonishing drama.

JO: That was just an unbelievable tie-break. The nature of the way we do the radio commentary is one of us does sets one, three and five. My colleague Alastair Eykyn did sets two and four. We have a little bench at the back of our commentary box which I was sitting on. I was absolutely transfixed. Of course, part of you is hoping you get a fifth set because you’ll be the commentator for it but on the other hand you know you’re watching a great final and potentially a new champion. Nadal was so close to finishing it there and all those emotions were going on. As well as being there working, you’re there as a fan as well, thinking, ‘this is too good’.

Nadal went 5-2 ahead with two serves to come. A first Wimbledon title was on his racquet but suddenly the Spaniard’s left arm was gripped with tension, a double fault and netted backhand bringing the tie-break back on serve at 5-4. Federer had a set point at 6-5 but missed a forehand. Nadal had a championship point at 7-6 but couldn’t do anything with a powerful Federer serve.

At 7-7, somehow, from way behind the baseline, Nadal whipped a forehand down the line that left the champion grasping at thin air. It was a staggering shot. He had a second championship point, this time on his serve, but it was Federer’s turn to come up with breathtaking inspiration, a nerveless backhand down the line. In his BBC commentary, Andrew Castle said: "The two best passing shots of the tournament, without doubt, have just taken place on the last two points."

The next two points saw a Federer forehand winner and missed Nadal return The roars grew louder. It was two sets all. Federer levels match after thrilling fourth-set tie-break John McEnroe: "What made the final so great was a combination of things. It was obviously the players, the magnitude of the situation, playing the Wimbledon final, and certainly the way it panned out. The battle that Roger was having with Rafa but also with himself, squandering the lead in the second set and getting way down and then having to pull out two sets in the tie-break."

JO: "If ever there was a tie-break to prove Federer’s champion quality, it was that one. The greatest pull out their greatest shots when it really matters and that’s what Federer did. That felt absolutely massive, him winning that tie-break."

PM: "Two incredible players playing an incredible match. You cannot be screaming or clapping but you can deeply enjoy it. I can remember a few points in that match and inside I was saying, ‘wow, what a great shot’ or ‘what a great point’."

The match went into a final set but, as is Wimbledon tradition, this one would not be decided by a tie-break. Federer would have the advantage of serving first. Nadal had to clear his mind after failing to convert two championship points.

Nadal, speaking in Strokes of Genius said: "I could lose the final. But I wasn’t going to fail. I’d be ready to compete till the end. Federer could win, but I wasn’t going to lose." ‘Nadal wasn’t going anywhere’

JO: "All bets were off by that point. The momentum was with Federer because he’d won the fourth set. History was with Federer because he was the five-time champion, but there was still this unknown of what Nadal was going to offer in the decider. He had played so well to that point. Only a fool would have written him off. It was clear in the early games, even though Federer was serving first, that Nadal wasn’t going anywhere."

At 19:53, with the decider poised at 2-2, deuce, the rain came again. The players went off and the covers came across. It looked like they would be coming back on Monday to finish it but it would prove a short interruption. Half an hour later, they resumed with, realistically, a maximum of an hour’s playable light left. The quality and intensity would never drop, the two men throwing all they had at each other. It was heart-stopping stuff.

JM: "I was fortunate enough that people talked about my match with Bjorn in 1980 as one of the great matches. But I was watching the 2008 final and sitting back and saying to […]

Migrant crisis: EU leaders plan closed migrant centres

Migrant crisis: EU leaders plan closed migrant centres

Why is the Aquarius migrant rescue ship empty? Closed migrant centres are to be set up in EU states to process asylum claims under a deal reached after marathon talks at a leaders summit in Brussels.

The centres, hosted on a voluntary basis, would determine who are illegal migrants "who will be returned".

Italy – the entry point for thousands of migrants, mainly from Africa – had threatened to veto the summit’s entire agenda if it did not receive help.

Resettlement of genuine refugees would also take place on a voluntary basis.

There were no details on which countries would host the centres or receive refugees.

But French President Emmanuel Macron, returning to Brussels for more talks on Friday morning, said the centres would be in countries where migrants first arrive in the EU.

"We have struck the right balance between responsibility and solidarity," he said.

The numbers illegally entering the EU have dropped 96% since their 2015 peak, the European Council says. Could the migration crisis finish the EU?

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The EU leaders’ joint communique also speaks of restricting the movement of asylum seekers between EU states.

"After this European summit, Europe is more responsible and offers more solidarity," said Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte. "Today Italy is no longer alone."

But German Chancellor Angela Merkel said more needed to be done to resolve disagreements. The EU’s new migrant prisons?

By the BBC’s Adam Fleming in Brussels

A few things stand out as wins for Italy’s new prime minister. The summit’s conclusions now include a statement about the need for boats that pick up migrants in the Mediterranean to respect international law.

But the big one is approval of the concept of closed, secure processing facilities for migrants arriving in the EU. Some say this will make it easier to send back people whose claims for asylum are rejected, others are already describing them as prisons.

This paragraph is full of caveats, commas and sub-clauses – all the hallmarks of something drafted in the middle of the night.

Another striking pledge is for an ambitious partnership with Africa. That’s the EU trying to balance its tough internal approach with a friendly external one, and offering incentives to North African countries to host facilities where migrants can be assessed for resettlement in Europe. What else has been agreed?

The 28 EU leaders also agreed several other measures : strengthening external border controls, and boosting financing for Turkey and countries in North Africa

exploring the possibility of "regional disembarkation platforms", which are aimed at breaking the business model of people-smuggling gangs by processing refugees and migrants outside the EU. However getting North African countries to host such centres could be very difficult and Morocco again on Thursday rejected the idea

internal measures taken by member states to stop migrants moving within the EU, which the agreement said undermined asylum policy and the border-free Schengen travel area

more investment in Africa to help the continent achieve a "substantial socio-economic transformation" so people no longer leave for a better life

Further work to reform EU asylum policy, including changes to the so-called Dublin regulation under which migrants must be considered for asylum in the first safe country where they arrive

Whose needs does the deal meet?

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte had earlier taken the rare step of blocking the conclusions of the joint communique until the leaders had settled the migration issue. Both Italy and Greece want other countries to share the burden.

However several Central European states have so far rejected an EU scheme to relocate 160,000 refugees from overcrowded camps in Greece and Italy.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel had said that the migration issue could be a defining moment for the EU – but she also needed the summit to avert a political crisis at home that could bring down her government. Migrant crisis: EU border force Frontex explained Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, from her Bavarian coalition partner, the CSU, had given her a deadline of this weekend. He has threatened to start turning away migrants who have already registered elsewhere from the border in his home state. Merkel’s Bavarian ally threatens migrant mutiny

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Without the CSU, Mrs Merkel would lose her parliamentary majority.

Speaking to reporters after the talks, she acknowledged the EU still had "a lot of work to do to bridge the different views". How many migrants are entering the EU?

The flows of people include refugees fleeing the Syrian war and other conflicts, urgently seeking asylum.

It is not a crisis on the scale of 2015, when thousands were coming ashore daily on the Greek islands. But this month’s tensions over migrant rescue ships barred from entry to Italian ports – most recently the German charity ship Lifeline – have put the issue firmly back in the EU spotlight. Reality Check: Who is responsible for migrants at sea?

The Aquarius: Migrant taxi service or charitable rescuers?

The Lifeline was only allowed to dock in Malta after intense diplomacy among several EU states , who each agreed to take some of the migrants on board. Malta said that Norway had now also agreed to take a share.

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New York City unveils first LGBTQ memorial and it reflects rainbows

New York City unveils first LGBTQ memorial and it reflects rainbows

Country boy Brandon Stansell: ‘My RPDR favorite Eureka will be in my next video’ This station had a Pride makeover and you need to see the pictures A view of the new memorial | Photo: Facebook/Anthony Goicolea New York City unveiled its very first memorial dedicated to the LGBTQ community.

Governor Andrew Cuomo unveiled the art in Hudson River Park this week. He was joined by other elected officials, including Corey Johnson, who became the first openly gay politician with HIV elected in New York .

Cuomo first revealed the design a year ago.

As said at the unveiling, the monument honors ‘the LGBT community, those lost in the Orlando Pulse nightclub shooting in June 2016, and all victims of hate, intolerance and violence’.

New York commissioned Brooklyn artist Anthony Goicolea to create the piece.

It is located on the waterfront of the park, between West 12th Street and Bethune Street. More than just about one person

Goicolea posted photos of the completed memorial on Facebook.

It consists of nine boulders in a circular pattern. Six of the boulders are bisected and bonded together again with glass.

About the use of glass, Goicolea told Curbed : ‘Traditionally glass is something delicate and fragile, but here it is used to make the boulders stronger.’

When light hits the glass in certain ways, it reflects various colors, such as a rainbow.

The largest of the split six stones is empty in the middle. That’s because there’s a quote inscribed inside, as seen below.

The quote is by LGBTQ activist Audre Lorde and reads: ‘Difference is that raw and powerful connection from which our personal power is forged…’

Goicolea also wanted to make sure his monument fit in its environment, and was more than just something to look at. Instead, people can walk around and through it, sit on the boulders, and feel connected.

‘The people who visit this memorial become a part of it, in a sense,’ he said. ‘This is more than just about one person.’

Pennsylvania Catholic priest removed after lawsuit accuses him of sexually abusing teen boy

Pennsylvania Catholic priest removed after lawsuit accuses him of sexually abusing teen boy

Country boy Brandon Stansell: ‘My RPDR favorite Eureka will be in my next video’ This station had a Pride makeover and you need to see the pictures There are numerous stories like these | Photo: Unsplash/James Coleman The Allentown Catholic diocese in Pennsylvania removed one of their priests after a lawsuit accused him of sexually abusing a teen boy via Skype and Facetime.

Reverend Monsignor Francis Nave was the pastor at the Sacred Heart parish in Bath, Pennsylvania prior to his removal.

The lawsuit alleges Nave coerced the 16-year-old victims to commit sex acts during their video sessions.

Nave reportedly first contacted the boy in 2012 through a gay social media site. At the time, the boy suffered depression and Nave offered his counsel. He began to mentor the teen, telling him he just wanted to help and be his friend.

As the began to talk more, Nave convinced the teen to move their talks to Skype and Facetime, according to the lawsuit.

During some of the encounters, Nave would undress and masturbate on camera. He convinced the teen to do the same.

The teen allegedly took screenshots of some of these video sessions. Preventing further trauma

‘This brave young man is coming forward to expose a sexual predator in a position of power at the Diocese of Allentown,’ said the teen’s lawyer, Jeff Herman.

‘He hopes to prevent future victims. It is appalling that in 2018 there are still sexual predators in the Catholic Church disguising themselves as men of God.’

The diocese contacted the police and removed Nave following the allegations. Police are investigating the case. They have not filed any charges yet.

Last year, the Vatican’s third-highest ranking Cardinal was charged with sexual assault .

Prior to that, a priest was suspended after being accused of molesting a teen boy and another cardinal groped male priests .

H/t: NBC Philadelphia More from Gay Star News

Student activist against sex abuse charged with child sex crimes

Student activist against sex abuse charged with child sex crimes

Country boy Brandon Stansell: ‘My RPDR favorite Eureka will be in my next video’ This station had a Pride makeover and you need to see the pictures LGBTI Sexuality Lates: an adults-only night at the Science Museum Davis attended events like the HRC Gala in New York | Photo: Instagram @supercoolkid212 Joel Davis, a 22-year-old Columbia University student and founder of Youth to End Sexual Violence, was charged with various child sex crimes.

Authorities arrested Davis on Tuesday (26 June) on charges of charges of attempting to sexually exploit a child, enticing a child to engage in sexual activity, and possessing child pornography.

Davis has entered no plea according to The Washington Post , who broke the news.

The FBI first discovered Davis when they posted a message on a site where people post ads soliciting children for sex.

An agent posted the following message: ‘Looking for other no limits TABOO pervs in DC area. Bi dad here.’

Another user, ‘yngperv22’, responded: ‘Need me to come down and watch ur kids for a night : ).’

Authorities subsequently traced the user to Davis. ‘Unfathomable and sickening’

An undercover agent began texting with Davis in May and June to gather more evidence.

The criminal complaint states that Davis told the agent he had an interest in children aged ‘0+’ with ‘no limits’. He previously had sexual relations with children of both genders aged 9 months, 6, and 7, he claimed.

Davis also sent the agent ‘disturbing’ photos of adults sexually abusing naked children.

‘When do u have that baby alone next,’ he said in a text to the agent. He was referring to the supposed 9 and 2-year-old daughters. ‘I mean even for a few mins enough to FaceTime.’

A search warrant later revealed a large collection of child pornography on Davis’ cellphone.

Authorities said he later admitted to his interest in children and toddlers.

‘Joel Davis started an organization devoted to stopping sexual violence, while allegedly engaged in the duplicitous behavior of sharing explicit images of infants engaged in sexual activity,’ said U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman in the Southern District of New York.

Berman said it was ‘unfathomable as it is sickening’. 3/3 The conduct alleged against Joel Davis is as unfathomable as it is sickening, and as this case demonstrates, law enforcement will keep its watchful eye on the darkest corners of the internet to bring predators to justice. — US Attorney SDNY (@SDNYnews) June 26, 2018 A double life

Davis founded the organization Youth to End Sexual Violence in 2014. Its mission is ‘dedicated to eliminating the use of rape and sexual violence in conflict’. It also aims to get more youth survivors, leaders, and activists involved.

Davis traveled around the world doing this work.

He was a youth ambassador for the United Nations special representative on sexual violence in conflict. Another role saw him on the committee of the International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict.

He gave TED talks and worked with the likes of Angelina Jolie.

A report in 2015 claims he was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize when he was a student at American University before transferring to Columbia. Davis further wrote about this in the Columbia Spectator and opened up about his own experiences with sexual abuse.

Now he faces the possibility of a long sentence.

GSN reached out to Columbia University for a comment.

Update 28 June, 5:43 pm:

A Columbia spokesperson told GSN: ‘We share the view expressed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office that the allegations in this matter are unfathomable and sickening.’

Milo Yiannopoulos wanted journalists ‘gunned down’ before newspaper mass shooting

Milo Yiannopoulos wanted journalists 'gunned down' before newspaper mass shooting

Country boy Brandon Stansell: ‘My RPDR favorite Eureka will be in my next video’ This station had a Pride makeover and you need to see the pictures Milo Yiannopoulos Controversial alt-right poster boy, Milo Yiannopoulos, said he was joking when he said ‘can’t wait for the vigilante squads to start gunning (down) journalists’.

But days after he made the comments a mass shooting at a newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland has left five people dead and more seriously injured. On Thursday a gunman opened fire in the Capital Gazette newsroom, but police have not yet released his identity.

Yiannopoulos claimed he trolled ‘hostile’ journalists days before the mass shooting as way of telling them to ‘fuck off’.

He sent the text message to journalists Davis Richardson at the Observer and to the Daily Beast’s, Will Sommer. Couple of days ago Milo Yiannopoulos commented “i can’t wait for vigilante squads to start gunning down journalists” And now Annapolis Journalists getn gunned down Again all you… — T’Questlove (@questlove) June 28, 2018 The former editor of conservative news site, Breitbart, took to Facebook saying he was not responsible for Thursday’s shooting.

‘You’re about to see a raft of news stories claiming that I am responsible for inspiring the deaths of journalists,’ Yiannopoulos wrote.

‘I regret nothing I said, though of course like any normal person I am saddened to hear of needless death.’ Am I getting this right: Two days ago, Milo called on people to kill journos. A few hours ago, someone started gunning down reporters at a newspaper… Right!? — James Findlay (@james_findlay) June 28, 2018 It was a ‘joke’, not a ‘threat’

Yiannopoulos said the journalists should not have made his message public. He argued the onus of Thursday’s death was on them for making the message public.

‘I sent a troll about “vigilante death squads” as a *private* response to a few hostile journalists who were asking me for comment, basically as a way of saying, “Fuck off.” They then published it,’ he wrote.

‘Amazed they were pretending to take my joke as a “threat,” I reposted these stories on Instagram to mock them — and to make it clear that I wasn’t being serious.

‘If there turns out to be any dimension to this crime related to my private, misreported remarks, the responsibility for that lies squarely and wholly with the Beast and the Observer for drumming up fake hysteria about a private joke, and with the verified liberals who pretended they thought I was serious.’ More from Gay Star News

Enough is enough, it’s time to decriminalize homosexuality in the Pacific Islands

Enough is enough, it's time to decriminalize homosexuality in the Pacific Islands

Country boy Brandon Stansell: ‘My RPDR favorite Eureka will be in my next video’ This station had a Pride makeover and you need to see the pictures LGBTI Sexuality Lates: an adults-only night at the Science Museum Eva and Fatima star in the documentary ‘Leitis in Waiting’. | Photo: Supplied Momentum is gathering for greater equality for LGBTI people in the Pacific Islands, especially because the situation is deteriorating there.

A coalition of LGBTI advocates have come together to start a petition to push nations in the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) to create policies which would force member states ‘to support full inclusivity, equity and equality for all people of the Pacific’.

PIF is the region’s political and economic policy organisation. It 18 member states are; Australia, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, French Polynesia, Kiribati, Nauru, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Republic of Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu. Enough is enough

The coalition has timed the petition with this year’s PIF forum in September. Nauru will host the forum and is one the few countries in the region to have decriminalized homosexuality. Nauru’s President Baron Waqa who decriminalized homosexuality is the current PIF chair.

Joey Joleen Mataele is one of Tonga’s and the region’s most high profile LGBTI advocates. She is also a founder of the Tonga Leitis Association (TLA) who work to shelter LGBTI youth. Leitis is the name of trans women in Tonga.

‘Things have actually gotten worse rather than better in recent years due to the influence of fundamentalist religious groups from abroad,’ Mataele told Gay Star News.

‘These fundamentalists are agitating to resurrect the colonial era laws that criminalize our lives.

‘While many say it’s not likely that these laws would be enforced, the fact that they’re on the books gives cover to those who claim that LGBTI people are inferior and not deserving of dignity and respect.’ ‘Our lives don’t matter’

Mataele argued the colonial era laws sent a message to LGBTI people that their lives don’t matter. The laws also tell people they don’t deserve equal treatment or access to the same opportunities.

‘The hostile environment that such attitudes foster is what forced me to endure years of bullying as a young person, even to drop out of school to escape the abuse,’ she said.

‘It’s a similar story for so many young leitis, even today. At the Tonga Leitis Association, we never have enough room to shelter the youth who are being rejected by their families and need a roof over their head .’

Organizations struggle to make sure that LGBTI people can access basic health care services and employment.

‘Elimination of these archaic laws will be the first step in the right direction toward reducing the bias and discrimination that make our daily lives so difficult,’ Mataele said. Overlooked and ignored

The LGBTI coalition wants allied to step up to ‘make their voice heard’ and sign the petition. It needs as much support when it takes it concerns to PIF.

‘The Pacific Region is often overlooked, ignored, and under-resourced, especially when it comes to LGBTI issues. You hear all the time about important global issues in the Pacific, like climate change, but you hardly ever hear about gay or trans people,’ Mataele said.

‘It’s critical that all people of the Pacific, regardless of who we are and whom we love, are empowered to contribute to the development of solutions to these problems because we are all affected and we cannot leave anyone behind.’

Sign the petition here. More from Gay Star News

And the winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race season 10 is…

And the winner of RuPaul's Drag Race season 10 is...

Country boy Brandon Stansell: ‘My RPDR favorite Eureka will be in my next video’ This station had a Pride makeover and you need to see the pictures LGBTI Sexuality Lates: an adults-only night at the Science Museum Kameron Michaels, Aquaria, Eureka O’Hara and Asia O’Hara. | Photo: Vh1 *** Warning this post contains spoilers for the season 10 finale of RuPaul’s Drag Race ***

The record breaking season ten of RuPaul’s Drag Race has come to an end with a spectacular finale in Los Angeles.

The finale opened by acknowledging the show’s ‘herstory’ and invited the season one cast to open the show.

Bebe Zahara Benet – season one winner and All Stars 3 contestant – started the show with the classic line ‘Gentleman start your engines and may the best women win’.

Host RuPaul then danced her way on to the stage and had a political message for President Donald Trump.

‘There’s no walls here to divide us here, only love,’ RuPaul told the audience and asked to join in on the message.

‘Now let’s say it loud enough so they can hear us in Washington, LOVE!’ And the winner is

Completely slaying the lip sync challenges, RuPaul named New York’s Aquaria America’s Next Drag Superstar. #DragRace Finale is ovahh! AMERICAS NEXT DRAG SUPERSTAR IS… — RuPaul’s Drag Race (@RuPaulsDragRace) June 29, 2018 Aquaria battled Eureka O’Hara in the first lip sync performing to Janet Jackson’s, If. They both absolutely slayed the lip sync, forcing RuPaul to send them both to the final round. What?! Looks like we have a top 3, y’all! #DragRace — RuPaul’s Drag Race (@RuPaulsDragRace) June 29, 2018 The two then competed against Kameron Michaels to the song, Bang Bang by Jessie J, Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj.

‘Sometimes in life, you’re not always given a second chance. But if you do, take advantage of it and go out with a bang!’ Aquaria said after winning the crown. Celebrities, celebrities, celebrities

In case anyone was left wondering how much Drag Race has permeated mainstream culture, the show confirmed its power status in the finale.

Not only did big name celebrities attend the finale, but Oprah Winfrey herself sent a video message to RuPaul.

The talk show queen hailed Drag Race’s message of inclusivity.

Dame Judi Dench also had a message for RuPaul: ‘Congratulations on the past ten years, it’s was brilliantly done. All I can say is “shantay you stay”.’

Olympian Gus Kenworthy appeared at the theatre to ask Asia O’Hara if she’d ever been catfished (she had). Miss Congeniality

Drag Race fans voted for Miss Congeniality and they chose this season’s lip sync assassin, Monét X Change.

The St Lucia queen won over fans with her quirky looks and iconic lip syncs.

‘Soak it up bitches,’ Monét said after winning Miss Congeniality, referring to her episode one dress, handmade from sponges.

Monét had to work hard for acceptance on the Caribbean island she calls home. It was only yesterday that her mom finally realized how big a deal Drag Race is.

‘Getting that love and acceptance from your mommy is unquantifiable…and not something I knew I needed, until I just got it ,’ she said yesterday. Asia’s epic butterfly fail

A blunder in what would have been a historic reveal may have cost Asia the crown.

Competing against Kameron Michaels and performing to Janet Jackson’s Nasty, Asia tried to release a flutter of butterflies from a container on her wrist. Then when she opened up her bra to release more butterflies, none came out.

It was awkward. I felt so bad for Asia O’hara but THIS reaction #DragRace #DragRaceFinale — Ashley Howell (@Elfleeyz) June 29, 2018 My face when the butterflies didn’t fly: #DragRaceFinale — Rubix Garcia (@Rubiix0321) June 29, 2018 This was legit TRAUMATIC to watch #DragRace #DragRaceFinale — Linda Evangelista (@LesFleursDeFeu) June 29, 2018 More from Gay Star News

This is why everyone has to watch the comedy stand up show, Nanette

This is why everyone has to watch the comedy stand up show, Nanette

Country boy Brandon Stansell: ‘My RPDR favorite Eureka will be in my next video’ This station had a Pride makeover and you need to see the pictures Hannah Gadsby’s Nanette is a must see. | Photo: Supplied In December 2017 I went to see a comedy show in Melbourne, Australia for the purpose of reviewing it. But it’s taken me seven months to be able to write about it.

Hannah Gadsby’s Nanette, now streaming on Netflix, is without a doubt one of the most profound and moving pieces of art I have seen.

Many people left the theater in tears, deep in thought reflecting on their own life traumas or at the very least, what they could do to better support the women and LGBTI people in their lives. Why would I want to see a comedy show that makes people cry?

Gadsby is one of Australia’s most well known comedians and has built a career on taking the piss out of herself.

As a bigger lesbian from Tasmania (it’s kind of like Australia’s Florida), she thought she had plenty of material to mine.

But it turns out her career of playing to stereotypes was deeply rooted in shame. A shame she had picked up from Tasmania’s homophobia and as we come to learn in the show from violent trauma.

‘You learn to hate yourself,’ she says.

Hannah Gadsby with one of her dogs. | Photo: Supplied

Nanette is Gadsby’s swan song because she has decided to move on from comedy.

‘I built a career out of self-deprecating humor and I simply won’t do that anymore,’ she says in Nanette.

‘Not to myself or anybody who identifies with me.’

Gadsby expertly mines the basic craft of comedy – building tension in the audience through story telling and releasing that tension with a joke.

‘Every story has a start, middle and an end,’ Gadsby says.

‘But comedy only has the start and middle.’

Gadsby has never told the end of her story, one it turns out was very violent and deeply rooted in misogynistic homophobia. #MeToo and Australian marriage equality

Nanette is not an hour long lecture, but it certainly does teach some very important lessons.

Gadsby first performed the award winning show at the Melbourne International Comedy festival in March, 2017.

By the time I saw it in December, the #MeToo movement had happened and Australians voted on whether same-sex couples could marry . The postal survey on marriage equality was a grueling ordeal for LGBTI people as rates of homophobic incidents rose during the two month period.

It would have been very interesting to watch Nanette before and after these events, because Gadsby was already angry.

By December last year, she was absolutely seething at the treatment of LGBTI people who were told they weren’t fit to be around children and they didn’t deserve equal rights. Pablo Picasso

I also have never seen a person use art history as a tool for telling jokes, which Gadsby does masterfully.

She really lays in to Pablo Picasso’s sexual abuse of a minor and society’s willingness to overlook it because of his ‘genius’. This analogy of course ties into #MeToo, society ignoring the men’s abuse of power because of their positions and influence.

‘We are overvaluing these men’s reputations, but what about their humanity?’ Gadsby asks. This is why everyone has to watch Nanette

My only critique of the Netflix special – shot at the Sydney Opera House – is that it didn’t feel as angry as when I saw it live.

To get a feel for the rage Gadsby has, listen to The New Yorker’s Emily Nussbaum’s excellent interview with the comedian. Snippets from her shows in New York convey the power and anger of the show.

‘There is nothing stronger than a woman who has rebuilt herself,’ she says in Nanette.

But the reason that I think everyone should watch this show, is because I believe Gadsby is the only person who is able to convey the inherent fear of existing as a ‘non-normal’ in the world.

‘It’s dangerous to be different, normals don’t know what it’s like to carry around this tension,’ Gadsby says.

By building tension in her show Gadsby is able to explain the real tension LGBTI people, women or other persecuted groups face daily.

Even though she has to relive her trauma every night on stage, Gadsby knows what she’s doing is important.

‘My story has value, your resilience is your humanity,’ she says.

‘What I would have done to hear a story like mine (growing up).’ Tell your cis het male friends

Now, I might get a bit of flack for this, but I really believe white, cisgendered straight men are the people who need to watch this show the most.

They do not pass through life like the rest of us, their very existence doesn’t put them in danger.

It’s important for them to understand how terrifying life can be and how we do face discrimination everyday because of our gender, race, ability or sexuality.

I know for a fact cis het men will come away having learned something from Nanette. Some of the most open-minded, friendly men I know left the show shaken, not realizing what life can be like for women and/or LGBTI people.

It’s important because a greater understanding of what we experience will not only create empathy but maybe lead to a societal change.

Regardless of who you watch the show with, all I can recommend is you clear your schedule to watch it, because you will need a lot of time to recover from the hilarity and tragedy that is Nanette.

Nanette is streaming now on Netflix. More from Gay Star News