Saturday, April 30, 2016

Protest march for marriage equality held in Northern Ireland

Hundreds of people have marched in Belfast to push for marriage equality in Northern Ireland. 

The Love Equality campaign was created by a number of LGBT organisations, as well as trade unions and student unions, and Amnesty International. Organizers aim to ensure the law is change to allow equal marriage within the Northern Irish Assembly’s five year term.

John O’Doherty of the Rainbow Project said: "Ever since the Yes vote in the Republic of Ireland, marriage equality has become a big political issue for many voters in Northern Ireland".

Last summer 20,000 people marched through Belfast demanding marriage equality, one of the biggest political demonstrations Northern Ireland has seen in years. 

Northern Ireland is currently the only part of the UK where same-sex couples cannot marry. 

It's time Northern Ireland!

Friday, April 29, 2016

Missouri rejects anti-LGBT religious freedom bill

Missouri won’t be enacting a so-called ‘religious freedom’ law.

Senate Joint Resolution 39, which sought to make it legal for clergy and wedding vendors to decline to participate in a same-sex wedding, was voted down by the House Emerging Issues Committee.

If the bill had passed both houses of the Missouri legislature, it would have been put on the ballot for voters to decide on.

"I am deeply disappointed that Missourians will not have the opportunity to vote on protecting religious freedom", Senator Bob Onder, who sponsored the proposal, said in a statement.

But House Minority Leader Jacob Hummel applauded the House committee. "The ultimate issue here is whether our state constitution protects all Missourians or grants special rights to some to detriment of others", he stated.

No step backward!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Al-Qaeda kills LGBT activist in Bangladesh

The Islamist militant group Al-Qaeda claimed responsibility for the killing of Xulhaz Mannan, the founder of Roopbaan, the country's first and only LGBT publication launched in 2014.

Ansar-al Islam, the Bangladeshi branch of Al-Qaeda, acknowledged its role in the fatal violence in a tweet, calling it "blessed attack" on Mannan and his friend. The two men were killed by a gang posing as messengers, who then gained access to Mannan's apartment.

The group said it went after the two men because they were "pioneers of practicing and promoting homosexuality in Bangladesh", and were "working day and night to promote homosexuality ... with the help of their masters, the U.S. crusaders and its Indian allies”.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called the murders "barbaric” in a statement. The U.S. is considering granting refuge to LGBT activists in Bangladesh because there has been a series of killings of them in the country.

Mannan promoted acceptance of LGBT community in Bangladesh

Monday, April 25, 2016

A bishop in North Carolina marries a gay couple in an act of civil disobedience

Bishop Melvin Talbert agreed to marry John Romano and Jim Wilborne, both 52, in Charlotte North Carolina, despite knowing that he could be defrocked by the United Methodist Church. 

The gay wedding was kept secret to stop “people having time to organise a protest”, and even had to hire security to keep demonstrators out.

The Bishop told the church’s policies currently banning clergy from performing same-sex weddings “are immoral, unjust, and oppressive, and they no longer deserve our loyalty and support”. Adding: “I have to make a choice between my church and God, and I am choosing God".

He described the act as “civil disobedience”, saying he knew he could lose his role as bishop over the act. “Discrimination is discrimination no matter where it is. It was race discrimination then, and it is discrimination based on sexual orientation now.”

The United Methodist Church has 7 million members, and is the largest protestant denomination in the US.

Congrats to the newlyweds!

Sunday, April 24, 2016

First Lady Obama targets Mississippi religious freedom bill in commencement speech

First Lady Michelle Obama gave the commencement address at Jackson State University in Mississippi and spoke out against the anti-LGBT “religious freedom” law passed recently which allows individuals, religious organizations and private associations to use religion to discriminate against LGBT people.

Said Obana:

If we fail to exercise our fundamental right to vote, then I guarantee that so much of the progress we’ve fought for will be under threat.  Congress will still be gridlocked.  Statehouses will continue to roll back voting rights and write discrimination into the law.  We see it right here in Mississippi how swiftly progress can hurtle backward, how easy it is to single out a small group and marginalize them because of who they are or who they love.

So we’ve got to stand side by side with all our neighbors, straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender; Muslim, Jew, Christian, Hindu immigrant, Native American, because the march for civil rights isn’t just about African Americans, it’s about all Americans. It’s about making things more just, more equal, more free for all our kids and grandkids. That’s the story you all have the opportunity to write. That’s what this historic university has prepared you to do.

Obama's Administration supports LGBT rights like no one has done before. 

Friday, April 22, 2016

Gay police officer celebrates civil union in Chile

In a historic move for a Chile, police officer Hugo Alcalde entered into a civil union with his partner, Jose Luis Valdes. Alcalde is the first police officer to ever take advantage of the new law, which passed last year in Chile.

While celebrating his new civil union in the capital city of Santiago, Alcalde told: "To let everyone know that you’re gay isn’t easy, but if you have the support of friends, family, and the people that you know, there’s no problem". And he added: "It’s a weight off your shoulders".

Although this union is a huge step forward for LGBT rights in Chile, remember that Chile's Congress discussed the bill for more than a decade before President Michelle Bachelet signed it, and the civil union doesn’t end the demand of same-sex marriage.

Congrats to the couple.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

NBA's current MVP speaks out against North Carolina’s anti-gay law

The NBA’s current reigning MVP (most valuable player), Stephen Curry, has spoken out against North Carolina’s anti-LGBT law, known as HB2.

The player, who is from Charlotte, North Carolina, has said he thinks the law is not “tolerable”.

Curry said: “I’ve already kind of explained kind of how I feel about discrimination period. I think that’s not tolerable. Nowhere”. And he added: “And it just sucks that it’s in my home state, where there are a lot of great people there”

The NBA yesterday suggested it would keep its 2017 All Star game in Charlotte, despite calls to move it as a boycott of the state over the law, and saying that the organisation was “deeply concerned” about its impact on the event.

Hundreds of business leaders have urged the repeal of North Carolina’s HB2, and multiple celebrities have pulled out of appearances, including Bruce Springsteen and the Cirque du Soleil.

The current NBA's MVP is from Charlotte, North Carolina

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Report finds inclusive corporates work best

Credit Suisse has released a report that explores the benefits of LGBT diversity in relation to corporate performance.

This is not the first time that the financial services corporation has explored the tangible benefits of diversity. In 2014 it published a report on the Women in Senior Management and the effects on business. It decided to apply the same analytical framework to LGBT diversity.

For the purposes of its report, it looked at 270 companies that it regards as LGBT-friendly in terms of policies and customer relations.

It concludes, the growing wealth of research, including our own research on gender and sexual diversity, points to diversity being a positive contribution to corporate performance.

It says that companies that embrace LGBT employees are likely to benefit from lower staff turnover rates and better retention, both of which directly reduce operating costs.

In addition, LGBT employees are also more productive if they feel able to be out at work.

Considering the results, corporates need to do more to promote an open and inclusive culture.

Read the report here.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Cirque du Soleil will not perform in North Carolina

Cirque du Soleil has canceled all shows in the state for the rest of the year in protest on the anti-LGBT law known as HB2.

The popular Canadian-based circus said in a statement that it strongly believes in diversity and equality for every individual and is opposed to discrimination in any form.

The company says the new HB2 legislation passed in North Carolina is an important regression to ensuring human rights for all, and its belief in ‘equality for all’ is its guiding principle and that it hopes customers will understand.

The statement finishes saying: "We sincerely hope that the customers that have purchased tickets for our performances in North Carolina will understand our motivation and we look forward to performing in North Carolina when this issue is addressed".

Remember that HB2 was quickly passed by the state legislature and signed into law by Governor Pat McCrory last month. The law bans all local LGBT rights ordinances in the state and was rushed into law to override an ordinance in Charlotte that would have allowed transgender people to use the bathroom of their gender identification.

Read the company' statement here.

Cirque du Soleil believes in equality for all

Monday, April 18, 2016

First gay wedding held in Ukraine

Ukraine has seen its first gay marriage despite the fact that such unions are not yet recognized by the state.

Tymur Levchuk and Zoryan Kis held a marriage ceremony in Kiev, deciding they wouldn’t wait for the government or their families to codify and accept their relationship. The couple decided to marry after being in a relationship for four years.

“It was a romantic evening”, said Kis. “I felt like we are alone in the world, so I proposed to Tymur, and he said yes”.

The official name for their wedding is a commitment ceremony. But someday their union will be recognized by Ukrainian society, Kis and Levchuk believe. 

Both are passionate activists who fight not only for equal rights for lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender people, but also against discrimination in Ukraine.

Read more about the situation of LGBT people in Ukraine here.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

A new campaign to support same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland has launched

The Love Equality campaign has been created by several LGBT organisations, as well as trade unions and student unions, and Amnesty International. Organisers aim to ensure the law is change to allow equal marriage within the Northern Irish Assembly’s five year term.

John O’Doherty of the Rainbow Project said: “Ever since the Yes vote in the Republic of Ireland, marriage equality has become a big political issue for many voters in Northern Ireland”.

The campaign’s organisers have said they will keep on going until same-sex marriage is legalised in Northern Ireland.

Last summer 20,000 people marched through Belfast demanding marriage equality, one of the biggest political demonstrations Northern Ireland has seen in years.

In addition, a survey found over 68% of people in Northern Ireland support same-sex marriage.

Northern Ireland is currently the only part of the UK where same-sex couples cannot marry.

Irish supporters celebrated the same-sex marriage's legalization in Dublin last year

Friday, April 15, 2016

Air France's gay stewards refuse to fly to Iran

Gay stewards for Air France outraged over Iran’s stance on homosexuality are crying foul over the re-opened Paris to Tehran route, and some are refusing to work on it.

One steward started a petition on titled “Gay stewards from Air France don’t want to fly to the death penalty in Iran”, that has over 27,000 supporters of 35,000 requested.

Homosexuality in Iran is illegal. Some people are killed for being gay, and some gay men in Iran are even forced to have gender reassignment surgery even if they don’t identify as transgender.

Support this petition here.

Les stewards gays d'Air France ne veulent 
pas voler vers la peine de mort en Iran

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Church of Norway approves same-sex marriage

The Lutheran Church of Norway approved same-sex marriage. Of the 115 delegates of the General Synod, governing body of the Lutheran church, 88 of them said yes to gay marriage. Norway is estimated that 73% of the population professes the Lutheran religion. 

For now, a new ritual for these marriages will be set up until January 2017, when a definitive ritual will be performed for all type of couples. The measure also includes the abstention of those ecclesiastics who do not agree to preside over the marriages of homosexuals. 

Kai Steffen Ostensen, member of the General Synod, declared: "It is my dream. Soon I can marry in the church. I'm no different, I am a person who loves someone else".

Gay marriage has been a controversial issue in the last twenty years in the Lutheran Church of the Scandinavian country. In 2014 there was an attempt to make it feasible, but no success. 

Today, Norway follows its two neighboring countries, Sweden and Denmark, whose respective Lutheran churches have already approved the celebration of gay marriage, in 2009 and 2012 respectively.

Great news!

77% of delegates supported gay marriage

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Meet the English Spartans

England Rugby has launched We Call it Rugby, a national campaign to grow participation and engagement amongst young players, and challenge stereotypes about the sport.

In a series of short videos, players tell the stories of how rugby plays a significant role in their lives. One of the five short films focuses on Manchester Village Spartans RUFC, a predominantly gay rugby union team formed in 1999.

The short film focusses on existing players, Dean Bee (Captain), Robbie Stone (Prop) and Gareth Longley (Centre) as well as new recruit, Daniel Goldthorpe who had never player rugby before joining the team. “Being gay isn’t a problem. Being late for training is”, said Goldthorpe.

It follows the guys both on and off the pitch, with a large part of the filming taking place at Manchester Pride 2015, where the team marched in the parade in full Spartan outfits.

Balls to stereotypes.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Red card to homophobes in Spain

Jesus Tomillero, the first openly gay referee in Spain, has denounced the threats and homophobic insults he received in a soccer match of the Third Young Division, with teams made up of boys aged 15 and 16, which held in La Línea de la Concepción (in the Spanish region of Andalusia).

During the match, the equipment assistant and one of the players of one of the teams addressed him with the words “fagot” and other homophobic insults because they were not agree with his arbitral decisions. Finally, the referee expelled both the field. Sadly, the homophobic attack continued after the match. 

Tomillero decided to report the attack at the police station after the pressure received by the Andalusian Soccer Federation to cover up the incident. The complaint lodged by the referee, which included an arbitration record what happened during the match, shows his bravery to stop the homophobia that still exists in some soccer fields in Spain.

The insults and threats are serious because some people want to instil fear to referees in their professional performance, and in general to all homosexual people, and seek to force them to continue hiding their guidance sexual.

But, on the other hand, the pressures that has subsequently received the referee by Andalusian soccer authorities to hide what happened, seek silencing and leaving virtually unpunished these behaviors, it´s something even more serious.

Stop homphobia everywhere!

Spanish Premier League´ players show red card to homophobes
after this intolerable attack

Saturday, April 9, 2016

The Boss cancels North Carolina concert over anti-gay law

Bruce Springsteen cancelled an upcoming concert in North Carolina because of a controversial anti-LGBT law that critics say legalizes discrimination.

Springsteen was scheduled to perform on Sunday in Greensboro, but said he was cancelling the show because he and the E Street Band “want to show solidarity for those freedom fighters” protesting against the law.

“To my mind, it’s an attempt by people who cannot stand the progress our country has made in recognizing the human rights of all of our citizens to overturn that progress”, Springsteen said in a statement.

“Some things are more important than a rock show and this fight against prejudice and bigotry, which is happening as I write, is one of them. It is the strongest means I have for raising my voice in opposition to those who continue to push us backwards instead of forwards”, he added.

North Carolina’s Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act allows governments to discriminate against people based on sexual orientation and gender identity, and prevents municipal governments from creating local laws that would offer these groups protections. Under the law, all public institutions must post signs designating that bathrooms and locker rooms are to be used only based on biological sex.

Republican state legislators pushed the law through North Carolina’s general assembly and it was signed by the state’s governor, Pat McCrory, in just one day. 

Thanks Boss for your support and commitment.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Breaking news: Colombia finally legalizes same-sex marriage

In a ruling that was widely anticipated, the Colombian Constitution Court just issued a landmark 6-3 ruling which finally legalizes same-sex marriage nationwide. 

The decision had been postponed several times in the last weeks but, as was expected, the final vote of high court decided to extend the right to marry to gay couples.

This ruling follows a 2011 decision which declared that unions between same-sex couples fall under the government’s definition of families.


Thursday, April 7, 2016

ISIS throw another gay man from roof

ISIS has released a horrifying new propaganda video that apparently depicts the precise moment a gay man is thrown off the roof. The footage is quickly followed by another man’s beheading.

The monstrous footage was reportedly released by the terror group under the title “The Voice of Virtue in Deterring Hell.”

The clip consists of a series of jarring scenes, including a man being thrown from a building and then pelted with stones, all because he is allegedly gay.

The next scene features a blindfolded man kneeling on the floor about to be beheaded, and another prisoner with his arms slung across a table as militants get ready to cut off his hands.

The terrorist group, which operates predominantly across Syria and Iraq, is notorious for filming videos in which captives, usually Westerners or opposing fighters besides homosexuals, are cruelly slaughtered.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Italy court lets lesbian couple adopt each other's children

A Rome family court has approved a lesbian couple's request to simultaneously adopt each other's daughters in a legal first in Italy.

Each of the partners in the case had given birth to a daughter, and the court gave them parental status regarding both children. Now each child has a biological parent and a social parent, both with full and equal parental capacity and responsibility.

The Rome family court since 2014 made at least 15 rulings upholding requests for gay people to be allowed to adopt their partners' children.

But Italy's long-winded legal system makes it difficult to state clearly that the principle that such adoptions should generally be allowed has been established.

Italy is the last major Western country not to give any legal recognition to gay couples and the debate over civil unions has split parliament along religious lines.

It's time Italy!

Monday, April 4, 2016

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Equality

On street walls in London and New York, Superman and Batman share a passionate kiss between their capes. 

The London-based contemporary urban pop artist Rich Simmons conceived this composition because he wanted to spark a conversation about equality “by taking the two most alpha male superheroes and placing them in this embrace”.

Simmons, who has exhibited artwork in London, Geneva, Tampa, New York and Los Angeles, wanted to challenge the notion of heroism with his artworks. “It is sometimes more heroic to simply stand up for your beliefs, stand up for equality”, he declared. 

He exhibited his first “Superman Kissing Batman” work on canvas during his solo show at the Imitate Modern gallery in London in 2014. Over the past few weeks, in the run-up to the “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” film debut, he created the life-size paste-ups in Soho in London and Lower Manhattan in New York City.

His piece has a clear message: “It shouldn’t matter who a person is, who they love, what they believe or where they come from, being a hero transcends all that. We should judge our fellow humans by the way they treat others and not by who they share a bed with”.

The mural painted in Soho, London

The mural painted in lower Manhattan, New York City

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Look Away, by Steve Grand & Eli Lieb

The out singer-songwriters Steve Grand and Eli Lieb have joined forces for the haunting, piano-driven ballad, which hit YouTube this week.

The accompanying video features shots of both singers together in the studio, interspersed with performance footage of the men seated back-to-back and gazing directly into the camera. 

Eli Lieb, who lives in Los Angeles, told he got the idea for “Look Away” when Grand, a Chicago native, announced plans to head west. Although the performers have individual sounds, their studio time couldn’t have been more fruitful. Lieb said. “I honestly think it turned out successful because we both just wanted to create something great.” And he added: “When you’re in that mindset, you really team up and work together. And Steve is fun!” 

Steve Grand did his best to keep the mood light on the set, telling: “I’m an irreverent goofball and Eli is a more serious guy just really focused on his craft. I think it makes for an interesting collaboration.”

Just hours after its March 29 premiere, the “Look Away” video had racked up nearly 200,000 YouTube views. 

The song is available here. Enjoy it!

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Same-sex marriage law goes into effect in Greenland

Greenland, a Danish constituent territory, had not been affected by the 2012 Denmark's marriage equality law.

The Greenland's marriage equality bill, which is an adoption of Denmark’s law, was passed unanimously by both the Greenlandic Parliament and Danish Parliament.

The long journey of the same-sex marriage bill in Greenland began back in 2014 when the bill was presented, but put on hold due to Greenland’s ex-Prime Minister having to step down.

After Greenland’s November 2014 snap elections, the same-sex marriage bill was approved by the Greenlandic Parliament on a vote of 27-0 in May of 2015. It was then sent to Danish MPs who had to officially approve the proposal.

Finally, Greenland’s same-sex marriage law has gone into effect just in April 1st.


Gay Pride Parade in Nuuk (Greenland's capital)

Friday, April 1, 2016

'Embraced By Soccer' against anti-gay chants in Mexico

'Embraced By Soccer' (Abrazados por el fútbol) features videos of popular sports stars Javier Hernandez, Rafael Marquez, and Andres Guardado standing against LGBT discrimination in Mexico' sport.

The campaign was launched after the federation were fined by FIFA when fans sung anti-gay chants earlier this year.

However it looks like they’ve got a tough fight ahead, as fans continued to chant homophobic songs in an international fixture between Mexico and Canada, despite the video being shown before the game and during the halftime break.

Guillermo Cantu, the federation’s secretary-general, said: “For us, as a federation, this is a chant that we do not like. We have recognised that some people have interpreted it as a homophobic exclamation.”

“We do not believe that the fans mean it in that way, they come to have fun and nothing more. Nevertheless, we do think there are better ways of expressing enthusiasm and even messing with the opponent to put pressure on him.”

Cantu added: “We will keep working. You will have more positive news in the future.”

Watch the video below: