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Years & Years singer Alexander speaks out on breakup

Indie musicians part ways, cite grueling schedules

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Olly Alexander, Years & Years, gay news, Washington Blade
Years & Years, Years and Years, Olly Alexander, gay news, Washington Blade

(Photo by Fiona Garden)

Olly Alexander, frontman of British indie-electronic band Years & Years, and Neil Amin-Smith from indie-electronic group Clean Bandit, have broken up.

Alexander, 25,  revealed to Attitude how their busy schedules led to their break up. Both Years & Years and Clean Bandit have been on extensive global tours recently. Alexander says that he and Amin-Smith “both decided it wasn’t working.”

“We’ve had less and less time to spend together and the time we did have together were such short periods it put so much pressure on our relationship,” Alexander says.

Alexander went on to say that the couple parted on good terms and still speak to each other.

“I don’t feel differently towards him. I still have a lot of feelings towards him and that hasn’t changed. I think I need to give it time and see how I feel,” Alexander says. “We’re still in touch. We’re just giving each other a bit of space. It’s still pretty new to be honest.”

Alexander has been very open about being gay and his relationship with Amin-Smith in the past. He told the Washington Blade earlier this year that he was grateful for the positivity fans had about his relationship. He also stated that being a couple in the public eye was hard in general.

“I think it’s been really kind of humbling for me to meet people who are so welcoming. They’re really grateful that we’ve been open about our relationship. The difficult thing is, you can imagine having a relationship that’s somewhat in the media can have its own pressure regardless if you’re a gay couple or not,” Alexander says.

Amin-Smith spoke in an interview with Capital FM that he wanted his relationship with Alexander to set an example for young LGBT people.

“It’s important for people to see that you can be happy as a gay couple and a young, gay couple” Amin-Smith says.

The couple were quite public about their relationship. This past September, Alexander and Amin-Smith kissed on-stage at U.K. festival Jersey Live in front of thousands of fans.

 

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PHOTOS: Tennessee all-ages drag brunch

New Beginnings in Johnson City raises $3,500 to combat gun violence in schools

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A member of the Little City Sisters, a newly-formed chapter of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, holds a sign during the all-ages drag brunch at New Beginnings in Johnson City, Tenn. on Sunday. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

New Beginnings in Johnson City, Tenn., held an all-ages drag brunch on Sunday, March 26 — just days before the state’s anti-drag law was scheduled to take effect. The event was a fundraiser for the Johnson City school system to help prevent gun violence. Organizers announced that $3,500 was raised.

(Washington Blade photos by Michael Key)

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PHOTOS: Miss Charm City

Stormi Skye crowned the winner

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Stormi Skye is crowned Miss Charm City 2023 at the Baltimore Eagle on Friday. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The Miss Charm City pageant was held at the Baltimore Eagle on Friday, March 24. Stormi Skye was crowned the winner. Both Skye and first alternate Sorority Heights qualified to compete in the upcoming Miss Gay Maryland competition later this year.

(Washington Blade photos by Michael Key)

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Sports

Trans women banned from track and field, intersex athletes restricted

World Athletics Council policy to go into effect March 31

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CeCé Telfer (Photo courtesy of Instagram)

The organization that makes the rules for track and field meets around the world declared Thursday it will bar transgender women who have experienced male puberty from competing, a move that was anticipated following a similar trans ban issued last year by the governing body for world swimming.

As the Associated Press noted, at this moment there are zero trans women competing at the elite level of track and field. But the edict, which the World Athletics Council announced will take effect on the Transgender Day of Visibility, March 31, is crushing news for one hopeful. 
In May 2019, CeCé Telfer won the 400m hurdles at the Division II championships and became the first out trans woman to win an NCAA title. She’s been training ever since for her shot at the Olympics, despite being ruled ineligible for Beijing at the trials in 2021. The Jamaican-American had set a goal of qualifying for Paris in 2024. But the World Athletics ban ends that dream.

Telfer tweeted Thursday, “It feels as though the world stopped moving.”

Another ruling by the group will likely mean no shot at the Olympics for another Black woman athlete, two-time gold medalist Caster Semenya. The South African track icon is not trans, but because of her higher than typical testosterone levels, she has been barred from competing in her signature event, the 800m. World Athletics took that from her around the same time Telfer made history, in May 2019. 

The group issued an eligibility ruling that prohibits female athletes like Semenya who have Differences in Sexual Development from competing in women’s events, from the 400m to one mile (1600m), unless they reduce their testosterone levels. So, Semenya chose to run in longer events than she did previously. She finished 13th in her qualifying heat at 5,000 meters at world championships last year as she worked to adapt to longer distances, in preparation for Paris. 

“I’m in the adaptation phase, and my body is starting to fit with it. I’m just enjoying myself at the moment, and things will fall into place at the right time,” the South African runner told the AP.

That time may now never come. On Thursday, World Athletics announced athletes who have DSD will have to undergo hormone-suppressing treatment and maintain a testosterone level of below 2.5nmol/L for 24 months, in order to be eligible to compete in any event in the female category.

Semenya vowed following the 2019 ruling that she would never again take any testosterone suppressing medication, terming the rules discriminatory and unfair.

This new rule could impact not only Semenya but also as many as a dozen other elite runners, World Athletics President Sebastian Coe said. Among them, Olympic 200-meter silver medalist Christine Mboma of Namibia, who won a silver medal in Tokyo two years ago but didn’t compete last year because of an injury. Mboma has not publicly stated whether she would be willing to undergo hormone therapy.

Like Semenya, Olympic 800-meter silver medalist Francine Niyonsaba of Burundi has said she will not undergo hormone suppression. 

Even though Niyonsaba, Mboma and Semenya are not trans like Telfer and former Connecticut high school track athletes Andraya Yearwood and Terry Miller — who have been targeted in federal court by opponents of inclusion — there is one thing all these women have in common: They are all women of color, and all targeted for being too fast because of their natural gifts.

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