Monday, February 29, 2016

Hunk of the month February: Valeriu Gutu

Valeriu Gutu, 23 years old, he was Mr. Moldova and Mr. World 2014 Extrem Sport Challenge Winner.

Currently modelling for a variety of brands, Valeriu studied Civil Law at university, and has also worked as a life and fitness coach. 

Describing himself as “motivated and hard working”, Valeriu loves to travel and play sports, especially football. He also likes to dance, skilled at RnB, Jazz and Modern techniques. 

When it comes to food, Valeriu loves to cook, preferring to make seafood dishes more than anything else. 

He says that his aspirations are to become a successful businessman in the future. You will get it sure!

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Finland legalizes same-sex marriage

This week, the Finnish parliament overwhelmingly approved the final legislative measure required to legalize marriage equality. 

Slightly behind the curve of fellow Nordic nations Norway, Sweden, Iceland, and Denmark, where marriage was established between 2009 and 2012, the final amendment to Finland's 2014 same-sex marriage bill allows for couples to convert civil unions into full-fledged marriages once the law takes effect in March 2017.

While a popular petition led to the Finnish parliament taking up and approving the issue of marriage equality in November 2014, with the initiative receiving President Sauli Niinistö's signature in early 2015, the progress of same-sex marriage has nonetheless been remarkably slow. 

Now, same-sex couples need wait just another year before finally being able to marry.

Finland becomes 12th country in Europe 
to legalize gay marriage

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Italian Senate passes same-sex civil unions bill

Italy has taken its first step toward the legal recognition of civil unions between same-sex couples, overcoming staunch opposition from the Catholic church and last-minute political manoeuvring that nearly derailed the legislation.

By a confidence vote of 173-71, moments ago, the Italian Senate has approved civil unions. The bill now moves to the House of Deputies where easy passage is expected. 

LGBT groups are calling the win a bitter victory as it comes without the formal legalization of adoptions by same-sex parents. 

It's time Italy!

A gay couple stars the cerimonial first welcome home kiss in the Canadian Navy

Master Seaman Francis Legare had been out to sea for eight long months on the HMCS Winnipeg (Royal Canadian Navy) which returned to Victoria (British Columbia) on Tuesday.

Legare had randomly won the ceremonial first welcome home kiss and since he is gay, his kiss was with his partner Corey Vautour.

It is believed to be the first time the ceremonial kiss was between two men. It was also a historic one for the Canadian Navy.

Welcome home buddy!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

China bans first gay web series

China’s first gay web series has been removed from streaming sites.

Addicted, a 15-episode series about a gay high school couple, disappeared from the internet without warning, leaving angry fans unable to watch the last three episodes.

According to local media reports, censors took issue with the show’s depiction of ‘abnormal sexual behavior’ and ‘romance between minors'. 

Addicted became massively popular over the Chinese New Year holiday, especially among female fans. The first episode broke records when it was released on 29 January, racking up 10 million hits in 24 hours.

In an online poll by the Chengdu Committee for the Well-being of Youth and Teenagers, more than 93% of the 20,000 respondents disapproved of the removal.

The producers said the final three episodes would be available on YouTube, but the site is also blocked in China.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Canadian Prime Minister will march in Toronto Gay Pride Parade

Pride Toronto’s 2016 Parade will make history, with Justin Trudeau participating as Canada’s first ever Prime Minister to march, alongside leadership from both Toronto’s municipal and Ontario’s provincial governments.

The city’s most vibrant and inclusive festival and North America’s largest Pride celebration, unveiled today its 2016 Pride Month theme: “YOU CAN SIT WITH US”.

To celebrate the power and beauty of its diverse community, Pride Toronto held an open photo shoot for community members, artists and city leaders to show their Pride. 

The event was met with an overwhelming response, enabling the campaign to showcase over 300 community members of all ages, sexual orientations and ethnicities. Noted personalities in the campaign also include: Ministers of Canadian parliament, Toronto City Councillors, Trans activists, the Toronto Chief of Police, DJs, artists and performers.

Pride Toronto is the largest parade in North America,
with over 100,000 participants  

Monday, February 22, 2016

Gay rights in Ukraine are in the hands of Dutch

By Bogdan Globa at

If you follow the situation of LGBT people in Ukraine, you’d know that it, like many other former Soviet countries, cannot be called friendly to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. To put it mildly.

After the collapse of the USSR, Ukraine was one of the first states to abolish criminal penalties for “sodomy”. But LGBT rights are still a taboo subject in public discourse. Just three years ago, parliament considered a Russia-type law to ban “promotion of homosexuality”.

The former regime of Viktor Yanukovych and Mykola Azarov, in its last year in power, fully espoused the Kremlin’s homophobia. They falsely claimed, for instance, that the EU was going to force Ukraine to legalise gay weddings.

So, what’s changed for LGBT in Ukraine after it signed the EU association agreement? Social mores haven’t changed. But there is a change, both in political rhetoric and in concrete terms. The EU agreement has a number of anti-discrimination provisions. Progress in this difficult area is a litmus test on whether Ukraine really shares European values.

Last November, MPs passed a law which bans discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity at work. It wasn’t easy. The Verkhovna Rada had to vote on it six times before it got through. Passionate debate spilled beyond the walls of the parliament on to the street.

The parliament speaker Volodymyr Groysman also made a brief hate-speech before the final vote. “God forbid this to happen, we’ll never support it,” he said on the issue of gay marriage.

The government, also in November, adopted an action plan as part of its national strategy on human rights. It followed painful debates. But the result is notable. The plan includes a section on LGBT rights. It pledges to put forward a bill on civil partnerships by December 2016. It also pledges to introduce new penalties for homophobic crimes in the penal code.

Early this year, Ukraine also created a new police unit to investigate hate crimes, including anti-LGBT crimes. We’ve come a long way in those three years: from trying to ban “homosexual propaganda” to ambitious plans for protecting the property rights of same-sex couples.

I don’t believe the politicians really care about minorities. But they’ve realised that they can’t throw LGBT rights off the EU integration train. In this context, the Dutch referendum on the EU association pact is a sad development.

The Netherlands is the only EU country that has not fully ratified the agreement. Opinion polls indicate Dutch people will vote against it on 6 April. It’s a non-binding referendum. But a big No could cause a real crisis in EU-Ukraine relations.

Part of the referendum debate is fear that an unreformed Ukraine will be a burden on Europe. But this argument turns reality upside down.

The association pact is a blueprint for reform and it’s already producing tangible results. It obliges Ukraine to implement EU economic, political, and social norms without obliging the EU to do anything on Ukraine’s EU membership.

If the Netherlands stops ratification, the EU will be faced with a stagnant Ukraine which has burned its bridges with Russia and which has nowhere to go.

What will happen to my 42 million fellow Ukrainians? What will happen to me and my friends in Ukraine’s LGBT community? We can only guess.

Bogdan Globa is Director of the All-Ukrainian 
Charitable Organisation Fulcrum, a Kiev-based NGO

Saturday, February 20, 2016

A majority of Americans are in favor of the Equality Act

A new survey released by the Public Religion Research Institute has found that a convincing majority of people in the U.S. support the idea of an Equality Act.

The extensive survey was based on interviews with 42,000 individuals across the 50 states between May and December 2015. It found that 71% supported laws that would protect gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people from discrimination in jobs, housing, and public accommodations. One in four were opposed to such laws.

The survey also looked at attitudes towards same-sex marriage, finding the numbers for and against same-sex marriage legislation remained fairly stable in 2015, the year of the historic ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court. It found that 53% were in favor of same-sex marriage legislation and 37% are opposed. 

In any case, it´s time to end a status quo where LGBT people remain at risk in a majority of states of being denied services or fired because of who they are or who they love.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Colombia High Court postpones its decission on same-sex marriage again

Colombia's Constitutional Court has postponed again its ruling on the legal status of gay marriage until next week.

The high court was expected to decide the issue on Thursday or Friday this week but its justices decided to address the issue next week in the Plenary session.

The Colombian media report that it is almost certain that the Constitutional Court will find in favor of the proposal, as a majority of its bench recently ruled in favor of same-sex couples being allowed to adopt.

The LGBT rights have improved in Colombia in the recent years. In 2011, for example, Colombian Congress passed a bill that penalises discrimination based on Sexual Orientation. The law established imprisonment for 1 to 3 years and economic fines for people who discriminate against different groups including the LGBT community.

Recently, Colombian Ministry of Interior released a presidential decree that will provide a broad policy of procedural obligations for government institutions regarding LGBT rights. The document specifically addresses rights for LGBT Colombians in public education, health care, prisons and as victims of the armed conflict.

In any case, we have to wait one week!

Thousands celebrated LGBT Pride 
in Medellin, Colombia, last year

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Gay soldiers "first married kiss" photo goes viral

Spc. Shane P. Adriano and Pfc. Cody Resz chose the Greene County Courthouse as the venue for their wedding because they wanted a small and intimate place. It was to be just the couple, a few supportive friends and a judge. 

The American Military Partner Association posted their "first married kiss" photo after the wedding, and their small ceremony turned into a worldwide event. That post has been shared over a thousand times, has over 5,000 likes and almost 300 comments.

The couple lives off-base near Springfield, Missouri, and they appreciate the warm wishes coming from around world. 

Shane told he has lost track of how many times the photo has been shared. “It just keeps getting reshared”, he said. “We had a little bit of negative comments on there, but I wasn’t even expecting that many people to like it and share it over and over again”, he added.

Cody said many of the positive comments have come from veterans and people in the military. “The majority of people who were commenting and sharing, they were doing it because they are proud of how far the military has come”, he said. 

Up until 2011 it was illegal to be openly gay in the military. Now, gay soldiers can get married like everyone else, of course!

Congrats Cody and Shane!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Manchester United will play match against gay soccer team

Manchester United will play in a friendly match against the UK’s top gay football team Stonewall FC, to celebrate their 25th anniversary.

Stonewall FC was set up in 1991 in London at a time when they were no openly gay players in the Premiership and homophobia was rife in sport. 25 years later, there are still no openly gay players in the Premiership but some teams are beginning to take action on the issue.

Manchester United is arguably one of the most famous football clubs in the world, taking home 20 league titles, 11 FA Cups and four League Cups. The club's Managing Director Richard Arnold confirmed they will welcome Stonewall FC to its Aon Training Complex ground for a friendly match.

It’s the second time in recent weeks that a major club has embraced an LGBT football team. Championship football team Queens Park Rangers recently launched a historic partnership with LGBT club London Titans FC.


Stonewall FC

Monday, February 15, 2016

Gay imam helps young Muslim homosexuals in Marseille

Homosexuality is a criminal offense in much of the Middle East punishable by imprisonment or, in countries like Saudi Arabia, by death. In Algeria, for example, homosexual acts are punishable by up to two years in prison and a fine.

Remember the Islamic State group (ISIS) has taken this to an extreme. At least forty men and children in Syria and Iraq have been killed by ISIS over accusations of homosexuality.

Ludovic-Mohamed Zahed is an Algerian-born imam who works in Marseille and runs an association of French Muslims and gays. He has known the discrimination faced by the young people who come to Le Refuge for help.

“Personally I have received quite a lot of threats, but I saw more people come to encourage me … saying you are an embodiment of real Islam”, Zahed said.

The local head of Le Refuge in Marseille, Christophe Chausse, says the group tries to counsel young gays about how to cope with the constant conflict between their sexuality and their religion. “For them, there is a real dilemma between ‘I am or I feel homosexual’ and ‘I have my religion which prohibits it', Chausse said.

They think they cannot be Muslims and gays at the same time but, in fact, everybody have the same right to have a religion as everybody else. Even if he or she is homosexual. 

Same love, same rights!

Zahed (right) and his husband Qiyam al-Din 

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Jongens (Boys)

A wonderful Dutch movie for today, for Valentine's Day. A sexually awakening gay teen athlete finds himself in a budding relationship with his mutually attracted relay race teammate.

Jongens (Boys, 2014), directed by Mischa Kamp, with Gijs Blom and Ko Zandvliet as the main actors.

This movie tells the story of Sieger (Blom), a sporty, rather quiet teen boy who discovers love during the summer holidays. Sieger is training in the new athletics team for the national relay championships and meets the unpredictable Marc (Zandvliet). The friendship that develops seems nothing out of the ordinary, but Sieger secretly harbours stronger feelings for Marc. 

Love always wins!

Gijs Blom

Ko Zandvliet

Happy Valentine's Day

Love always wins!

Saturday, February 13, 2016

President Obama is proud of his achievments on LGBT rights

President Obama and Ellen DeGeneres exchanged praise with each other for advancing gay rights in an interview on her TV show.

DeGeneres initiated the exchange by saying she can’t thank the president enough for what’s he done on gay rights changing laws. In response, Obama said gay rights advancements are a proud accomplishment of his administration but he added the importance of DeGeneres changing hearts and minds.

“It’s one of the things I’m proudest of, because my whole political career has been based on the idea that we constantly want to include people and not exclude them,” Obama said. “How do we bring more and more people into opportunity and success and feeling hopeful about their lives?”.

Many thanks to both!

Friday, February 12, 2016

Trans man will appear on Germany Men's Health cover

Trans man Benjamin Melzer (27) will appear as the cover model for Germany Men’s Health magazine in April.

The fitness model will speak about his transition in the upcoming issue. "When I was in that situation, I had nobody to talk to", Melzer said. "I want to give the community a face, stand up and answer those questions for people", he added.

Do you remember similar stories of Aydian Dowling or Laith Ashley?

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Italian Senate postpones vote on same-sex civil unions bill

One of Italy’s far right parties has proposed thousands of amendments in an attempt to destroy the civil unions bill. The vote on the bill has had to be postponed until Tuesday.

Before that decision, the Senate rejected a motion to not vote on the bill article by article. If that motion had passed, it would effectively halt debate of the bill that would extend to same-sex couples many of the rights and protections heterosexual spouses enjoy. The motion was rejected by 195 lawmakers, with 101 voting in favor and one abstaining. 

By the way, the ruling centre-left Democratic Party (PD) and the opposition rightwing Northern League (LN) met to discuss a deal to cut amendments to the bill, but both sides came up empty. The League said last week it would cut 4,500 of its amendments, leaving about 500 of them, in a deal with the PD.

Most of Italians urge the government to legalize Civil Unions, and the European Court of Human Rights ruled against Italy on this issue.

It's time Italy!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

NYC Mayor will march with LGBT group in first St. Patrick's Day Parade appearance

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio will, for the first time ever, march in this year’s New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade. 

Next March 17th, de Blasio will join a group that has yet to be determined at the front of the march, and return later in the day to support the Irish LGBT group Lavender and Green Alliance which will march in the parade for the first time. The mayor refused to take part in the parade in prior years due to the exclusion of gay Irish groups walking behind an identifying banner.

The New York City Council is also expected to have a large contingent marching behind its banner in 2016. For the past two years, the council has also declined to take part in the parade because Irish LGBT groups were barred from marching.

Launched in 1762, New York City’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade draws over two million spectators and 150,000 participants.

Protests during last St. Patrick's Day Parade

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

NFL accused of promoting homosexuality on the Super Bowl's audience

The Super Bowl’s halftime show, starring Coldplay, BeyoncĂ© and Bruno Mars, ended a wonderfully colourful performance promoting one message: "Believe In Love".

Anti-gay viewers have accused the NFL of trying to force the "gay agenda" on the audience.

Despite being praised by most viewers, some Twitter users expressed their annoyance at the set, before accusing the NFL of promoting homosexuality.

The colourful display used by Coldplay was in fact based on their latest album’s A Head Full of dreams artwork.

Watch the video below and decide for yourself.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Gareth's Story: Never alone

Gareth Thomas: Never Alone tells the story of how the former Wales captain’s greatest fear wasn’t the opposition he faced on the pitch, but the fear of rejection from everything he had known, because of his sexuality. 

The film celebrates the courage of Gareth, and most importantly, the empathy shown by his teammates when he came out, showing that even when he felt he was on his own and at his lowest point, he was always part of a team.

Gareth and his boyfriend appeared 
on the cover of Attitude magazine