Monday, March 31, 2014

Our Gay Wedding: The Musical

Channel 4 has unveiled a snippet of ‘Our Gay Wedding: The Musical’, which will air at 10pm this monday evening.

The programme, hosted by Stephen Fry, is the work of grooms Benjamin Till and Nathan Taylor, who decided to write and stage their real wedding as a musical.

The clip features a guest appearance from Channel 4 newsreader Jon Snow, just one of many famous guests who will make an appearance.

The wedding, which took place at Alexandra Palace on Saturday, includes sung readings and vows, and features the whole congregation of family, friends and special guests, including Gok Wan, actress Julie Hesmondhalgh, Peter Tatchell, former Equalities minister Lynne Featherstone, and Pink News publisher Benjamin Cohen.

The programme will also include special messages for the couple from Boy George, Will Young, Paul O’Grady, Olivia Newton John, Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband, and performances from The Feeling, Erasure singer Andy Bell and The London Gay Men’s Chorus, among others.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

First Gay Weddings in UK

Same-sex marriage in England and Wales became legal at the stroke of midnight on Friday.

After being passed equal marriage law in the British House of Commons last year, and two-thirds of people in the UK supporting the right to gay marriage, since today same-sex couples can tie the knot in England and Wales.

Included David Cameron, UK Prime Minister, tweeted a congratulatory message to all the new gay married couples.

Congrats to all British newlyweds!

Sean and Sinclair after getting married at midnight 
at Camden Town Hall in London

Friday, March 28, 2014

A Gay Man is Rejected as Organ Donor

Rohn Neugebauer, a 48-year-old man who died suddenly of a heart attack March 16, was prohibited from becoming a donor after his death because he is gay.

The Center for Organ Recovery and Education told Neugebauer’s family that his sexual orientation made him ineligible to donate his lungs, kidneys or other potentially lifesaving body parts to someone on its organ waitlist.

More specifically, a representative from the center informed Neugebauer's sister that he was barred from donating after she responded affirmatively when asked if her brother had been in a homosexual relationship in the past five years.

Simply a shame!

Reugebauer and his partner of eight years Dan Burda just
had cohosted a fundraiser for the Pittsburgh-based health organization. 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Ethiopia Follows the Anti-Gay Steps of Uganda and Nigeria

Ethiopia is planning to follow in the footsteps of countries like Uganda and Nigeria by introducing anti-gay laws.

After Uganda and Nigeria banned and punished homosexual relations and other LGBT rights, Ethiopia could be the next African country with homophobic legislation. 

The Ethiopia’s council of ministers has approved a bill to equate gay sex with other offenses such as terrorism, human-trafficking and rape. The bill will be presented at Parliament next week and it would be signed into law because of this endorsement. 

Then homosexuality will be punished like other non-pardonable offenses.

A new retrograde step to equality for LGBT people.

Robel Gizaw Hailu, Mr Gay World contestant from Ethiopia, 
was forced to flee country after death threats.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The rainbow flag is raised on London's Whitehall

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has ordered the rainbow flag to be flown at Whitehall in order to mark the historic arrival of equal marriage in England and Wales this weekend.

"Raising the rainbow flag on Whitehall is a small symbol to celebrate a massive achievement. I want to wish everyone getting married this weekend the very best of luck, on what is a truly momentous occasion", said Clegg.

"Finally, after years of campaigning, any couple who wants to get married can get married. Together we’ve made our country a place where we celebrate love equally, gay or straigh", he added.

The rainbow flag will be flown at the top of the Cabinet Office and the Scotland Office from Friday afternoon until Monday morning. Same-sex couples in Scotland will be able to marry in the country by the end of 2014, following this month’s Royal Assent of Scotland’s equal marriage law.

Northern Ireland is now the only remaining UK nation where equal marriage has not been legalised.

Bravo Mr Clegg!

Clegg and Cameron totally support equal marriage

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

First Kiss Gay Version

The New Zealand group Love Your Condom has created its own version of the “First Kiss” viral video in an effort to promote safe sex between gay and bi men.

The video features 10 gay strangers who are asked to kiss for the first time as the beautiful song “We Might Be Dead by Tomorrow” by Soko plays in the background.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Obama's Administration Cuts Aid to Uganda cause its Anti-Gay Law

The Obama administration named nearly $10 million in aid cuts to the Ugandan government in response to enacting the draconian Anti-Homosexuality Act.

That includes $6.4 million granted to the Inter-Religious Council of Uganda, a group that came out in strong support of the Anti-Homosexuality Act and which has historically received millions in U.S. grants to fight HIV and AIDS. The council will still receive $2.3 million to maintain treatment for an estimated 50,000 patients.

These actions are the strongest and most direct taken by the Obama administration since Secretary of State John Kerry announced that the U.S. was launching an "internal review" of its relationship with the Ugandan government, after Uganda's president Yoweri Museveni signed into law the Anti-Homosexuality Act

The Anti-Homosexuality Act imposes lifetime prison terms on those convicted of "aggravated homosexuality", which the law defines as those who engage in repeated instances of same-sex sexual contact. Anyone charged with the offense must undergo a medical examination (which in practice is usually a forcible anal examination) and HIV test, regardless of the individual's consent. 

The law also imposes harsh sentences on those convicted of aiding, abetting, or conspiring to engage in homosexuality.

Uganda's president signed the anti-gay law on February

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Asian LGBT Activists Call for Protection

LGBT rights activists attending the conference of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Yangon, Myanmar, from 21 to 23 March 2014. 

ASEAN brings together ten member-states to promote and protect the rights of its LGBT people. The ten member-states are: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

The ASEAN demands that laws that directly or indirectly criminalize LGBT people be immediately repealed. It also calls for all individual national level human rights groups to include the promotion and protection of the equal rights of all people as well as to ensure equal access to health and social services regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Remember that four of member-states (Brunei, Singapore, Malaysia and Myanmar) criminalize gay sex, and none of the ten member-states recognize same-sex unions or marriage.

There is still a lot of work to do.

Asian LGBT activists from ASEAN

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Turkey Bans Twitter

The Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan had stated his intention to block the social media platform which has been an essential means of communication and organization in Turkey.

Finally, Prime Minister did what he said and he banned Twitter. After midnight, Twitter was blocked across the country. 

"We now have a court order. We’ll eradicate Twitter. I don’t care what the international community says. Everyone will witness the power of the Turkish Republic", Erdogan said.

Those who tried to access Twitter were taken to a statement from Turkey’s telecommunications regulator that cites court orders allowing the government to ban Twitter.

The move by Erdogan’s administration appears to be the latest attempt to stifle a damaging series of online leaks alleging widespread corruption in his inner circle, and came just 10 days before nationwide local elections.

Mr Erdogan, freedom of speech is essential on Democracy!

Erdogan threatened two weeks ago to ban Facebook and YouTube along with Twitter. After incriminating audio recordings revealing corruption inside his government popped up on these services, Erdogan said his enemies were abusing the platforms.

Friday, March 21, 2014

U.S. Federal Judge Strikes Down Michigan's Ban on Gay Marriage

Bernard Friedman, the senior judge of the United States Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, has struck down the Michigan state's ban today. Here is the conclusion of his ruling:

In attempting to define this case as a challenge to "the will of the people", state defendants lost sight of what this case is truly about: people. No court record of this proceeding could ever fully convey the personal sacrifice of these two plaintiffs who seek to ensure that the state may no longer impair the rights of their children and the thousands of others now being raised by same-sex couples. It is the Court’s fervent hope that these children will grow up "to understand the integrity and closeness of their own family and its concord with other families in their community and in their daily lives". Today’s decision is a step in that direction, and affirms the enduring principle that regardless of whoever finds favor in the eyes of the most recent majority, the guarantee of equal protection must prevail.

Accordingly, IT IS HEREBY DECLARED that Article I, § 25 of the Michigan Constitution and its implementing statutes are unconstitutional because they violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

You can read the whole ruling here.

Jayne and April are two pediatric nurses who adopted children. 
Their case originally only argued against Michigan’s ban on joint adoption by same-sex couples. 
But it was Judge Friedman himself who suggested the couple change their lawsuit to go after the state ban on same-sex marriage.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Colorado Supports Gay Marriage

Support for gay marriage has hit a new record high in Colorado. 

A recent Public Policy Polling shows that 56% of voters support same-sex marriage to only 36% who are opposed. There's been a 20 point net increase in support for it since August of 2011 when voters in that state evenly divided on the issue. Among voters under 45, 71% think gay marriage should be legal with just 21% thinking it should continue to be illegal.

About civil unions, 79% of Colorado voters support legal recognition for same sex couples to only 18% who think there shouldn't be any at all. Even 66% of Republican voters in Colorado at least support civil unions.

Check full results here.

Will Colorado be next equality state in U.S.?

Monday, March 17, 2014

First Gay Hug

After First Kiss video, where unknown people were asked to kiss each other didn't mind their genere, now there is a new experiment with some homophobic people who are asked to hug gay men and women. 

Watch their reactions in the video below.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

European Parliament wants to sanction Nigera and Uganda over anti-gay laws

The European Parliament voted in support of targeted sanctions against Nigeria and Uganda over their treatment of LGBT people after they passed harsh new laws eroding the rights of gay people.

This is the strongest statement to date from the European Union that it intends to get tough on Uganda and Nigeria over their persecution of LGBT people.

A speaker said that the laws violate the Cotonou Agreement on human rights, democratic principles and the rule of law, and the European Union should develop aid strategies for Uganda and Nigeria with a view to redirecting aid to civil society and other organizations and away from those governments.

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan signed the Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Bill into law in January. And Uganda passed in February a law which would impose lifetime jail sentences for certain instances of homosexuality and would sentence anyone who performs a same-sex marriage to seven years' imprisonment.

Sadly, I don't think they will change their behaviour.

Uganda and Nigeria's presidents agrees 
against homosexuality in their countries 

Saturday, March 15, 2014

U.S. Stops Aid to Uganda over recent Anti-Gay Law

After Secretary of State John Kerry announced that the U.S. was beginning an "internal review of our relationship with the Government of Uganda" in response to the African nation's passage of its "Jail the Gays" law, the Obama administration confirmed the first aid cuts have been made

An government official said: "As a result of this review process, a portion of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control's cooperative agreement with the Ministry of Health has been put on hold pending this review". 

The decision does follow a similar call made by the World Bank, which last month announced an indefinite delay of a $90 million health care loan to Uganda, citing the possible negative impact by the enactment of this new law.

Recently, the Dutch and Swedish governments, who along with governments in Norway and Denmark, announced a cumulative $27 million in cuts that would be diverted from Uganda's Justice sector since the law was passed last month, instead redirecting most of those funds to nonprofits and nongovernmental organizations fighting for health and human rights in Uganda. 

In my opinion, they should take care with general aid cuts because that could negatively affect the already marginalized LGBT community and the fight against HIV and AIDS in that country. 

Uganda's president signed the anti-gay law two weeks ago

Thursday, March 13, 2014

First Kiss

In this video, 20 strangers kiss each other for first time, there are no gender differences. Who cares?

Monday, March 10, 2014

I have a Dream: Can Marry EveryWhere!

Elvis Di Fazio directed this heartwarming video created for the closing act of 2014 Sydney's Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras which gives gay and lesbian Australian's a glimpse at a hopeful equal future.

Enjoy it! Its worth it!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

The new Mayor of Santa Fe is Gay

New Mexico's capital city has elected its first openly gay mayor. Javier Gonzales,  a 47-year-old vice president of a commercial real estate firm, has been elected mayor of Santa Fe by a wide margin, taking in more than 43% of the vote.

Gonzales has made history as the city’s first openly gay mayor and will preside over a City Council on which two of the eight members are openly gay women, the mayoral opponent Patti Bushee and newly elected Signe Lindell.

He led in all four of the city’s council districts, including the north-side district that Bushee has represented for the past 20 years as a city councilor. 

The new mayor was helped by business and political contacts built up over a career that started two decades ago as a county commissioner and most recently as chairman of the state Democratic Party. 

The mayor-elect addresses the crowd after vote results

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Friday, March 7, 2014

International Women's Day

International Women’s Day (IWD) is a time to reflect on progress made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities.

This year’s theme: “Equality for women is progress for all”  emphasizes how gender equality, empowerment of women, women’s full enjoyment of human rights and the eradication of poverty are essential to economic and social development. It also stresses the vital role of women as agents of development.

The official United Nations theme for International Women's Day 2014 is "Equality for women is progress for all".

Celebrated by women's rights activists across the world annually on 8 March, IWD has been marked by the UN since 1975.

IWD is traditionally marked with a message from the UN Secretary-General as well as with statements and events from across the UN system. This page highlights UN system and inter-governmental observances, events and related links for the Day as they are released.

One of the first strike for women's rights in 1912

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Dalai Lama Supports Marriage Equality

The Dalai Lama for the first time addressed same-sex marriage directly, calling it "OK" and an "individual's business". And he added that same-sex couples should be free to marry .

The Buddhist spiritual leader said nonbelievers should be free to engage in any kind of sexual activity they desired "so long as it's safe" and "fully agreed" upon.

He also condemned bullying and abuse. "That is wrong, and a violation of human rights", he said.

Watch the following video.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Boy Scouts of America loses Disney funding over exclusion of gay adults

Walt Disney World has stopped contributing to local Boy Scouts of America (BSA) because of the organization's continued ban on gay leaders and employees.

The BSA began to allow openly gay members at the start of the year but the inclusion ends when a scout turns 18.

Despite lifting its ban on gay youth members, the BSA may need to rethink its policy on gay adult members because large donors, as Disney, have cut its level of funding because of the ban.

Scouts' Central Florida Council Board President Robert Utsey said: "We recognize that many Scout Units have received financial  support over the last several years from this grant opportunity and we are sad to see it go".

He affirmed that the National BSA Council has become involved and reached out to the theme park to try and resolve the situation.

I'm sorry Mr. Utsey, I think the solution is inside BSA.

Every year Walt Disney Orlando celebrates Gay Days weekend

Walt Disney also hosts gay and lesbian weddings in its resorts

Sunday, March 2, 2014

The United States will continue to stand with LGBT people

The State Department’s 2013 report on Human Rights Practices around the world focuses on the situation of LGBT people to a greater degree than previous ones and makes a strong statement against anti-LGBT discrimination.

"From Nigeria to Russia to Iran, indeed in some 80 countries the world over, LGBT communities face discriminatory laws and practices that attack their basic human dignity and undermine their safety", Secretary of State John Kerry said in introducing the annual report. 

Kerry also said: "We are seeing new laws like the Anti-Homosexuality Bill enacted by Uganda and signed into law by President Museveni earlier this week, which not only makes criminals of people for who they are, but punishes those who defend the human rights that are our universal birthright".

And he added: "These laws contribute to a global trend of rising violence and discrimination against LGBT persons and their supporters, and they are an affront to every reasonable conscience, and the United States will continue to stand with our LGBT brothers and sisters as we stand up for freedom, for justice, for equal rights for all people around the world".

You can read the report on Human Rights Practices.

Last map of lesbian and gay rights in the world