Sunday, July 31, 2016

France ends lifetime ban on gay blood donations

France has finally lifted its permanent ban on men who have sex with men donating blood.

Enacted during the 1980s as a reaction the AIDS crisis, under current rules any man who has had sex with a man ever was banned from giving blood due to safety fears. After studies, no justifiable evidence was found for the lifetime ban,

The move was announced by the health minister Marisol Touraine promising to tackle a taboo and discrimination. She affirmed that “no blood donors can be refused based on their sexual orientation”.

Giving blood is an act of generosity, and civic responsibility. It's time to end this stigmatization of gay and bisexual men.

Friday, July 29, 2016

The Navy is set to name a ship for the gay rights icon Harvey Milk

The United States Navy will name a ship for the gay rights icon Harvey Milk, the first openly gay elected official in California, according to a report by US Naval Institute (USNI) News.

LGBT activists in San Diego and San Francisco had campaigned for the Navy to honor Milk and other LGBT individuals who have served in the armed forces despite being officially banned until 2011.

Milk served as a diving officer from 1951 to 1955. He was honorably discharged with the rank of lieutenant junior grade.

“When Harvey Milk served in the military, he couldn’t tell anyone who he truly was”, said San Francisco supervisor Scott Wiener, who authored a resolution asking the Navy to name a ship after Milk in 2012. “Now our country is telling the men and women who serve, and the entire world, that we honor and support people for who they are”, he added.

Milk moved to San Francisco in 1972, where he lived in the Castro district, owned a camera shop, and advocated for the rights of LGBT people in the growing gay neighborhood. In 1977, he won his election to the San Francisco board of supervisors, becoming the first openly gay elected official in California. One year later, Milk was killed in San Francisco city hall by a former supervisor who also killed the mayor, George Moscone.

Milk in 1954, when he served as a diving officer in the Navy

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

A trans campaigner will address the Democratic National Convention for the first time

The Human Rights Campaign’s National Press Secretary Sarah McBride will address the Democratic National Convention on Thursday, as the party meets to approve Hillary Clinton’s Presidential nomination.

According to HRC, it is the first time in history an openly transgender person will speak at a major party convention. 

Sarah said: “I’m honored for this opportunity to share my story and to be the first transgender person to speak at a major party convention. People must understand that even as we face daily harassment, tragic violence, and an onslaught of anti-LGBTQ political attacks across the country, we are real people merely seeking to be treated with the dignity and respect every person deserves".

Sarah McBride, who sits on the steering committee of the Trans United for Hillary campaign, was invited to speak on the main stage of the convention by the Congressional LGBT Caucus.

This speech is a significant milestone for LGBT community, and it sends a strong message that transgender people and their voices matter.

Meet 12 trans who are proud to support Hillary Clinton here

Monday, July 25, 2016

Dads for transgender equality

Countless parents of transgender youth are pledging to make the world safer for their children. 

HRC Foundation, the educational arm of LGBT advocacy group Human Rights Campaign, is proud to release a video highlighting some of the spectacular dads who are standing up and speaking out in support of their trans kids.

Fathers featured come from across the US, including North Carolina the state that passed a much-criticized bill (known as HB2) that prohibits any local ordinances granting anti-discrimination protections based on sexual orientation or gender identity. In addition, it requires people to use public restrooms and locker rooms that correspond with their sex assigned at birth. 

Watch the awesome video below.

Friday, July 22, 2016

NBA pulls All-Star Game from North Carolina over anti-LGBT law

In an unprecedented decision, the National Basketball Association (NBA) announced that it will move the 2017 All-Star weekend from Charlotte, North Carolina, due to the discriminatory House Bill 2, signed into law by Governor Pat McCrory earlier this year.

The league released a statement stating that the "discriminatory law runs counter to our guiding principles of equality and mutual respect". 

The North Carolina law House Bill 2 (HB2) prohibits any local ordinances granting anti-discrimination protections based on sexual orientation or gender identity. In addition, it requires people to use public restrooms and locker rooms that correspond with their sex assigned at birth.

As a result of this law, LGBT people can now be refused employment, housing, public accommodations and other services based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.  

Remember, among other celebrities and artist, the NBA’s current most valuable player, Stephen Curry, spoken out against North Carolina’s anti-LGBT law. The player, who is from Charlotte, said he thinks the law is not tolerable.

Since its passage, several performers, businesses and conferences have pulled out of the state. Economists have estimated millions of dollars in lost revenue.


NBA commissioner Adam Silver affirmed he was disappointed 
because discriminatory legislation HB2 remains in force in NC

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

VP Biden supports LGBT rights on Australia visit

Joe Biden, U.S. Vice President, has been on a tour of Australia this week with the right-wing PM Malcolm Turnbull, who recently narrowly won reelection.

Remember that earlier this year Turnbull bowed to pressure from anti-LGBT conservatives in his party to censor a government-backed inclusive sex education programme. He has also blocked a Parliamentary vote on equal marriage to appease the rebels, opting to hold a repeatedly-delayed public vote instead.

In that context, in his speech in Sydney’s Town Hall, Vice President Biden directly intervened on LGBT rights, praising local laws passed in the Australian states of Victoria and New South Wales aimed at expunging historic gay sex convictions.

Speaking about developments in the US, Mr Biden said: “Equality really is the watchword…. and though we sometimes stumble, we keep taking steps to extend true equality to more and more people. I’m extremely proud of the work our administration has done to advance the rights of the LGBT community in the United States, to celebrate the lives and loves of all Americans. And recently in Australia, both Victoria and New South Wales issued historic apologies for the past mistreatment of LGBT individuals under the law".

Certainly, Mr Biden is a fierce supporter of LGBT rights and equality.

It's time Australia to end marriage discrimination

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Mora than one in three LGBT entrepreneurs are not out to potential investors

Startups founded by LGBT entrepreneurs are at risk for discrimination, affecting where they locate their businesses, their ability to raise capital and how they build trust with investors.

A new study published by the Chicago Business School, and produced in collaboration with StartOut, has found that more than one in three LGBT entrepreneurs (37%) who secured or are seeking funding are not out to potential investors.

The study also reveals that lesbian entrepreneurs have a significantly tougher time in attracting investment than gay men.

Other key findings included:

  • From 2005 to 2014 more than one million jobs created by LGBT entrepreneurs left discriminatory states in favor of inclusive states. Of those, 78% moved to California, New York and Illinois.
  • 84% of the LGBT entrepreneurs questioned chose to operate their businesses in states that had scored a 100% positive ranking on Human Rights Campaign’s Municipal Equality Index.
  • Lesbian entrepreneurs face bigger funding challenges: 12% of companies owned by GBT men have revenues of more than $5 million compared to 3% of LBT women. Meanwhile, 70% of female LBT founders raised less than $750,000 in funding compared to 47% of male GBT founders who raised more than $2 million.

Economic equality is a critical step along the continuum of progress for LGBT people.

Read the study here

Saturday, July 16, 2016

First LGBT week in Equatorial Guinea

The Spanish Cultural Centre of Malabo, the capital of Equatorial Guinea, has organized the “First LGBT Week” in order to address for the very first time the problems and issues suffered by LGBT people. It has been an open initiative where public administrations, NGO’s and members of local, and international, civil society have been working together. 

The Spanish NGO “Fundación Triángulo” participated in this project through its International Cooperation Area. Its work consisted on the organization of several worshops: Training for Trainers, LGBT culture & cinema, and Health/HIV. They had the support of Embassies of Spain, France, Germany and the U.S.

Remember homosexuality is persecuted in Africa by imprisonment or death in 33 of its 54 countries. As regards in Equatorial Guinea, a small West African country of Spanish heritage, relations between people of the same sex are not penalized: their legislation does not cover crimes related to sexual orientation and does defend the right to non-discrimination on grounds of race, sex, religion and other circumstances.

One ray of hope for LGBT people in Africa. 

Luis Melgar, a gay Spanish diplomat, has been one of the promoters of this week

Friday, July 15, 2016

California is the first state where LGBT rights and history will be taught in public schools

The State of California made history this week by becoming the first state in the U.S. to require LGBT rights be taught in schools.

The State’s Board of Education unanimously approved changing instructions given to teachers to comply with a new state law that requires public schools to include historic gay Americans and mark LGBT milestones. 

The State Board of Education is the K-12 policy-making body for academic standards, curriculum, instructional materials, assessments and accountability. The change is part of a larger overhaul of the State’s social science curriculum.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today announced that the State Board of Education voted to approve the History–Social Science Framework for California Public Schools, which will update and upgrade history and social science instruction in California.

The initial framework will see second graders learn about families with same-sex parents and two years later, in history, pupils will learn about Harvey Milk and how he championed gay rights in San Francisco.

In more senior years, pupils will be taught about gender roles, the Supreme Court ruling, which legalised same-sex marriage and the recent controversy over transgender bathrooms.

The legislation that has seen the changes take effect also prohibits schools from teaching anything that can be seen as discriminatory or will adversely impact the LGBT community.

Mr. Torlakson announced the historical change in California's public education

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Stunning artistic video honors Orlando's mass shooting victims

A stunning artistic video shows two gay acrobats spin through the air, often times pressing shirtless torso against shirtless torso, performing what is in essence an acrobatic tango.

Damian Siqueiros directed the video from a concept by Matthew Richardson. The song in the video is “Arrow” by The Irrepressibles.

Halfway through the performance, the two become engulfed in colorful powder. And things get even more sensual.

A title card at the end of the video declares that the performance is dedicated to the “memory of our brothers and sisters lost in Orlando”. 

It also ends with a hopeful note postscript: “For anyone who has ever been afraid to be true to who you are…be proud to be you”.


Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Canada's Anglican Church finally approves gay marriage

A day after the Anglican Church of Canada narrowly voted not to authorize gay unions, questions about the integrity of the voting process emerged Tuesday, leading to a reversal of the result with the church approving the measure.

More than 200 delegates attending the six-day General Synod 2016 narrowly rejected the resolution Monday night after hearing from more than 60 speakers, most of them in favor of gay marriage.

However, on Tuesday, the last day of the triennial conference, some members stood up to say their ballot had not been recorded during voting late Monday, when the resolution failed to pass by a single vote.

Delegates requested a detailed hard copy of the electronic voting records, which lead to a recount. Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the church then declared the resolution in favor of same-sex marriage passed.

Dr. Michael Thompson, the general secretary of the church, said that the electronic voting system the church used had miscoded his electronic vote. “I was listed, and my vote was counted as a lay person instead of a priest. This one vote changed the outcome of the resolution…to amend the marriage canon”, said Thompson.

Finally, Canadian Anglicans allowed same-sex marriage after vote recount.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Wonderkid, the struggle of a soccer player to be himself

A new film, Wonderkid, tells the story of a closeted gay professional soccer player who is struggling to come out and come to terms with his sexuality as his career begins to take off.

Directed by Rhys Chapman and starring Chris Mason, the movie follows the inner turmoil of a talented player battling with the stress and scrutiny of the modern game, and the concealment of his sexuality.

Contributing to the ongoing Football v Homophobia nationwide campaign, the film has been commissioned to help raise awareness about a lack of openly gay professionals in the sport.

Wonderkid will premiere at the Odeon in Leciester Square in London before the start of the British Premier League’s next season.

Watch a trailer below.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Boyz magazine, 25 years covering gay scene

London’s Boyz magazine celebrates its 25th anniversary this week. The ground-breaking title first appeared to coincide with Pride London in 1991.

It was launched by publishers and partners David Bridle and Kelvin Sollis, who also owned the LGBTI newspaper, the Pink Paper. 

In an editorial in this week’s anniversary edition, Bridle, who still owns the title, says that he was prompted to launch the mag when he spotted a gap in the market. 

The Pink Paper and rival title Capital Gay covered politics, news and LGBTI protests, but did little coverage of the commercial gay scene. They decided Boyz would be the magazine to cover the scene and reflect their readers’ lives.

"We have never been shy of admitting that Boyz is for everyone, from the Sainsbury’s checkout boy planning his clubbing weekend to the teacher or City banker who just want to relax or get horny on the gay scene", says Bridle in an editorial in this week’s issue.

Boyz took an increasingly cheeky, brazen and humorous tone throughout the 90s, but never forgot to also encourage its readers to take care of themselves, running constant information and discussions around safer sex and HIV, for example.

Boyz celebrated its anniversary with a party last night at London superclub G-A-Y. That club’s promoter, Jeremy Joseph, agrees that when Boyz first appeared, "it was truly innovative… there was nothing else like it". 

Congratulations Boyz!

Saturday, July 9, 2016

A new inclusive ad in Philippines

A new ad from Philippines telecom company Smart Communications uses the anxiety some gay people face when they’re ‘out’ on Facebook, yet not to their parents.

In the ad, a man struggles with the question of accepting his father’s Facebook friend request when he knows that if he does, his dad will see him in photos with his boyfriend and gay friends. 

Finally, after some internal debate, and some questioning from the father as to why he hasn’t yet accepted the request, he takes the plunge.

“Dad, I’ve accepted you”, he texts to his father.

And a few moments later receives the best reply ever.

“Me too, my son”.

Watch the touching video below.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Over one billion people live in places where same-sex marriage is legal

According to figures compiled by Tony Pitman, an Australian activist, over one billion people worldwide now live in jurisdictions with legal same-sex marriage. 

“The turning point came a few weeks ago when Colombia and then several Mexican states all achieved marriage equality within a few days.That pushed us up over a billion for the first time in history”, said Pitman. 

“When you think that the first ever same-sex marriages took place in the Netherlands in 2001, that means we’ve gone from zero to a billion in just 15 years. That’s an extraordinary rate of social progress. We’re witnessing an historic shift on a truly global scale”, he added.

The U.S. is the most populous country to boast marriage equality, with 328 million citizens. It’s then followed by Brazil, with 206 million, and France, with 67 million. Although, see that one billion is only about 14% of the current global population.

See his figures below. 

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

PM Trudeau marches in Toronto Pride Parade

Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, just became the first sitting leader to march at the head of the Toronto Pride Parade. 

Trudeau has attended Pride parades in Toronto and Vancouver for years, but never as leader of the country. He announced earlier this year that he looked forward to being there again, “this time as PM”, he said.

Trudeau has shown himself as a keen supporter of equal rights since being sworn into office.

The Canadian city hosts the most vibrant and inclusive Pride festival in North-America, this year with theme: “You can sit with us”.

This year’s jubilee is tinged with sadness, in light of the devastating shooting that took place at Pulse nightclub, a gay bar, in Orlando. The parade will be dedicated to the 49 victims of the mass shooting.

Trudeau  was accompanied by Ontario Premier, Kathleen Wynne, 
the first openly gay elected premier, and Toronto Mayor, John Tory

Puerto Rico unveils first monument to honour Orlando victims

Puerto Rico’s first LGBT monument is also a memorial to the victims of the massacre in Orlando.

Puerto Rico unveiled its first LGBT monument, which proclaims “Love is love, is love, is love…” and also serves as a memorial to the lives lost in the shooting at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub.

The monument is located in San Juan’s Third Millennium Park, and is made up of seven rectangular columns in the colours of the rainbow.

This vibrant memorial is particularly resonating for the US territory because out of the 49 victims killed in Orlando, 23 were Puerto Rican. A plaque at the base of the monument highlights the names of Puerto Rican victims, with the other 26 victims also listed below.

The monument was unveiled during San Juan’s Pride celebration, where Mayor Carmen Yulín said: “Today, we celebrate life. We must work together to eradicate discrimination and homophobia". And she added: “We must raise our voice for justice, and the equality of each of us who are human. We must aspire to have a country where everyone is equal, and no one is judged for who they love”.

The monument’s dedication took place almost exactly one year after Puerto Rico adopted marriage equality.

Orlando massacre remembered at San Jose Parade

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Happy Orgullo in Madrid

Madrid Gay Pride Parade, by far the largest gay parade in Europe with around two million people taking to the streets, is one of the biggest pride events in the world. 

The Madrid Pride, however, is perhaps also the least gay of major pride events, as it has gradually turned into the main event for citizens of any orientation, not only homosexuals. 

Most of the activities are centred around Chueca, the LGBT-friendly neighbourhood in Madrid, and at night the streets will be jam packed with concert-goers out to enjoy the free live acts in the squares.

The gay part of the business revolves around the last weekend with most of the parties taking place from Thursday through Sunday and the big parade on Saturday. Other highlights include La Carrera de Tacones, the classic stiletto race. 

Of course, Orlando massacre remembered at Madrid Parade. LGBT people will not be silenced!

Happy Orgullo!

Friday, July 1, 2016

"Looking: The Movie" is coming

HBO has set the premiere date for “Looking: The Movie”, with the feature-length presentation scheduled to debut Saturday, July 23 at 10 p.m., on the premium cable network.

Serving as a wrap-up to the shortlived but critically-acclaimed series starring Jonathan Groff, Frankie J. Alvarez and Murray Bartlett, “Looking: The Movie” sees Patrick (Groff) return to San Francisco for the first time in almost a year to celebrate a momentous event with his old friends. 

The series, created by Lannan, was based on the writer’s 2011 short film “Lorimer”. It premiered in January 2014 and ran for two seasons, totaling 18 episodes.

HBO will present the final chapter of this series as a special movie, as they promised when the show was cancelled last year.