Sunday, October 30, 2016

Spanish soccer team shows support to LGBT people

Rayo Vallecano, a soccer team which plays in the second division of Spain, performed an act on the field to challenge homophobia. 

Before the match against Girona FC, the players of Rayo Vallecano took the field and showed a banner with the slogan: "Rayo Vallecano against homophobia". Besides, its supporters were on the stands with colored globes and other banner reading: "All colours are beautiful".

Remember the players of Rayo Vallecano usually dress a pride-themed kit which a prominent rainbow on their t-shirts, and they also played with rainbow laces in their boots on the occasion of the International Day Against Homophobia in Sport.

But that is not all in Spanish soccer, in the same vein Barcelona FC, one of the biggest teams in Spanish top division, released a video promoting inclusion and against homophobia. 

I hope other European soccer teams follow the example.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Mexico city played host to the annual LGBT Confex

LGBT Confex is born from the search for solutions to existing sociocultural and business issues regarding the LGBTI community. Businesses and travel industry representatives heard more about the importance of embracing diversity and inclusion in their policies and marketing.

The event has been running for the past five years. It has previously taken place in tourist resort towns and cities such as Puerto Vallarta or Guadalajara. This sixth outing is the first time it has taken place in the country’s capital, Mexico City.

The theme for this year was Inclusive innovation: we create, we innovate and we revolutionize.

The conference aim was to promote the business case for diversity and inclusion, forge alliances between both businesses and LGBT individuals, and highlight the economic power of the LGBT market.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Taiwan may legalize same-sex marriage soon

A group of politicians are hoping to make Taiwan the first Asian country to introduce same-sex marriage.

The country is one of the most progressive in Asia on LGBT rights, providing some LGBT rights protections and allowing some limited recognition of same-sex relationships.

Taiwanese lawmakers are hoping to push further on equality issues this week, with politicians from the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) filing a bill that would legalise same-sex weddings.

The bill would change the definition of marriage to specify it is between two people, rather than between a “man and woman.

The country’s President,  Tsai Ing-wen of the Democratic Progressive Party, previously expressed support for equal marriage.

It's time Taiwan!

Taiwan's president supports same-sex marriage

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Warwick Rowers calendar is back

My favorite rowers are stripping down for another steamy calendar to 2017. Remember the editions for 2014, 2015 and 2016?

The Warwick Rowers have released a teaser for their 2017 calendar which will once again benefit Sport Allies, challenging homophobia in sports.

The crowdfunder video features the boys in all their glory. In addition to a sneak peek of the calendar shoot, the video also shows a glimpse of the guys at London Pride.

You can buy the calendar here.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Ellen's surprise for new dads

In a heartwarming segment on her show, Ellen Degeneres chatted with new fathers Justin and Adam about their new triplets. 

The couple, who for years had wanted a family of their own, took the route of surrogacy and were blessed with not one, not two, but three children who were all born this past June.

Ellen showered them with gifts to help take off some of the burden of their new financial situation. The baby boys received a special triplet stroller that says “Our Daddies Were On Ellen”, and a $10,000 gift from Shutterfly during their appearance.

Not only that, but Ellen declared she will cover the dads’ diaper expenses until the babies no longer need to wear them.


Monday, October 24, 2016

Moonlight, a gay movie in the Oscars?

Moonlight, directed by Barry Jenkins, 36, is a film that tells the life story of a gay black man named Chiron in 80s America. 

The movie is based on In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue, a play by Tarell Alvin McCraney, a former international resident at London's Royal Shakespeare Company, 

Set in impoverished neighborhoods of Miami, the story is told in three distinct chapters with three different actors as the central character: We begin with little Chiron (Alex Hibbert), bullied at school but given unexpected fatherly shelter by a drug dealer (Mahershala Ali). Then we meet him as an adolescent (Ashton Sanders) who experiences a brief, idyllic moment of gay intimacy on a beach with another student. We conclude with the adult Chiron (Trevante Rhodes), bruised and baffled by his life, struggling to find his way back to that one, defining moment.

Moonlight was a breakout hit at the Toronto International Film Festival in September, and critics have fervently embraced the movie which expected to show up in force in the current Oscars race.

Watch the trailer below:

Moonlight cast & crew

Friday, October 21, 2016

Kiss Me, Kill Me...Premier in Barcelona

Two years ago I made a donation to help the production of Casper Andreas' movie: Kiss Me, Kill Me, through a crowd-funding campaign on Kickstarter, and now the movie is a reality.

Directed by Casper Andreas and written by David Michael Barrett, the film is starred by Van Hansis (EastSiders), Gale Harold (Queer as folk) and Matthew Ludwinski (Going Down in La-La Land).

The movie is a murder mystery about Dusty (Van Hansis) who, while confronting his unfaithful boyfriend, blacks-out. When he comes to, his boyfriend Stephen (Gale Harold) has been murdered, and he's the prime suspect.

After its world premier at 2015 Chicago LGBT International Film Festival, the movie has been screened in several American theatres and it won prizes at Fort Worth, San Diego and New Jersey Film Festivals.

Yesterday, in its European Tour, the movie was screened in Barcelona, at 2016 Gay & Lesbian International Film, and I attended the premier. Of course the movie is so good and highly recommendable.

Watch the trailer below but watch the movie if you get the chance.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Say NO to LGBT bullying on #SpiritDay

Every year, millions of people go purple on Spirit Day to take a stand against bullying and to show support for LGBT youth. Next October 20th is Spirit Day.

According to the US Department of Health, bullying is unwanted and aggressive behavior among school-aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. Bullying can include verbal harassment, physical harm, social exclusion and cyber threats. 

A recent survey showed that more than half of LGBT students report being victimized based on sexual orientation, with a further three quarters of students who report hearing homophobic remarks in school. Overall the report stated that the rates of LGBT bullying in the US remains troublesome. 

The visibility of celebrities, athletes, politicians and faith leaders going purple and taking a stand against bullying can change the world for LGBT youth, as all of them send a strong message to let youngsters know that they are not alone.

Next October 20th go purple and say NO to LGBT bullying.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Germany will rehabilitate and compensate convicted gay men

The German government will formally introduce a law that will rehabilitate gay men who were tried and convicted for their sexuality after World War II, and it will compensate them with $30 million.

Justice Minister Heiko Maas announced in May that the convictions of some 50,000 gay men would be overturned. Now, a formal bill is headed to the German parliament to establish the fund and how the men can apply for compensation.

"We will never be able to remove these outrages committed by this country, but we want to rehabilitate the victims", declared Maas.

Homosexuality was illegal in Germany since the country’s founding in 1871, under the terms of Paragraph 175, which formed part of Germany's criminal code until 1994.

The Nazi regime strengthened the penalties for homosexual behavior and sent gay men and women to concentration camps, of course most of them were killed there. While the WWII convictions have been overturned, this bill would be the first in Germany to rehabilitate and compensate gay men convicted after the war.

The news comes three weeks after British Prime Minister Theresa May announced she was committed to implementing a law to pardon gay men convicted under indecency crimes.

German Justice Minister Heiko Maas announced the bill

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Hillary Clinton's "nephew" talks about his supportive "aunt"

Colin Ebeling, an openly gay filmmaker, is the son of Clinton’s childhood best friend, Betsy, and he simply knows her as "Aunt Hillary."

In a Facebook post, Colin says that his mother and Ms. Clinton remained close over the years, describing her as "a warm, funny lady who taught me how copious amounts of hot sauce on your scrambled eggs will keep you healthy." 

He declares that Clinton, who spoke at his high school graduation and lingered after her speech to pose for pictures with the students, was extremely supportive of his sexuality. 

He writes that she "congratulated me when I came out of the closet, when I got my pilot’s license, when I married my husband and when we adopted our baby girl."

And he adds: "Hillary has included me and my husband in countless events over the years and always greets us with warmth and sincere affection. Several times, we’ve had the privilege to sit down with her and swap stories."

Finally, Colin admits: "When you cast your vote for Hillary, I just want you to know you’re backing not only the most qualified presidential candidate in history, but a real person, a woman who values family, friendship and service to her fellow Americans above all else."

Nice, huh?

Chelsea Clinton with Colin's family

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Russian authorities shut down a support group's site for young LGBT people

Russia will shut down a support group for LGBTI teens, the site’s founder announced.

The media watchdog has blacklisted Children 404, one of the only support groups for young LGBTI people in the country. It was found the group had been guilty of ‘gay propaganda’, the national law that bans the promotion of homosexuality to children.

‘Most likely, the site will be suspended in Russia in the near future,’ the site’s founder, Yelena Klimova wrote on social media.

She said the decision was made by Siberia’s Barnaul District Central Court back in March but this week was the first time she was informed.

The Russian government previously attempted to shut Children 404 before in September 2015, but within a day, a new group had been set up with more active members than ever.

Surely, the Children 404 founder has yet to start up again.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

The vote on gay marriage in Australia blocked by Labor party

Australia’s opposition Labor party has blocked government’s plans for a plebiscite on same-sex marriage.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnball’s conservative coalition government needed the support of the Labor party to get legislation through the senate to hold a national vote on marriage equality on 11 February. 

But Labor party has said a vote would only trigger a divisive public debate and delay the issue even further. ‘The experts have unequivocally explained to Labor that the plebiscite would cause harm to gay and lesbian people particularly but not exclusively young people,’ opposition leader Bill Shorten said. 

An August poll found 57% of Australians would vote on favor of same-sex marriage. Only 28% said they would vote ‘no’ and 15% were unsure.

It's time Australia!

Last June, thousands rallied in Australia to push for gay marriage

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

First ever Chinese team could attend 2018 Paris Gay Games

The Gay Games organizers posted on their Facebook page that they are hoping to see the first group of Chinese athletes attending the Paris Gay Games in 2018.

The Games are the largest LGBT sporting event in the world. It prizes inclusivity above sporting ability, and anyone can attend regardless of skill.

Using Chinese social media, Qiu Hua is trying to convince more people from China to get involved in the Gay Games. ‘People in China don’t know about the games, and this is the first time there has been a direct link between the games and China’, he said. 

Qiu found out about the Gay Games in 2014 at the badminton club he attends, just after Paris was awarded the games. He then volunteered to promote the Paris 2018 Gay Games in China. He is aiming to get 100 people to attend by the time the games. 

Hong Kong has launched a bid for the Gay Games for 2022, which would bring the event to Asia for the first time. 

Homosexuality is legal in China since 1997

Sunday, October 9, 2016

US pro hockey player publicly announces his trans identity

Harrison Browne has become the first openly transgender athlete on a US pro sports team.

Browne who is currently playing for the National Women’s Hockey League team, Buffalo Beauts, announced his trans identity publicly this week.

The player spoke about his identity: “My family is starting to come to grips with it, now it’s my time to be known as who I am, to be authentic and to hear my name said right when I get a point, or see my name on a website”, he said.

“I’m still the same player, I’m still playing in the body that I did last year, I’m still the same exact person. I’m just a different name and different pronouns, that’s it. I’m still Brownie”, he added.

Browne has postponed his full transition until he’s finished playing in the NWHL and is yet to change his name legally because of issues surrounding visa’s.

The future of his career is uncertain, but the star says he is “not closing the door” on playing in male leagues, depending on how his body changes.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Astounding gay kiss goes viral in Spain

Catalan people, in Spain, have an awesome tradition, to make human towers called castells (castles in English). Several Catalan cities have teams which make the human towers and they wear different color t-shirts to be identified.

The past September 25th was the day of La Mercè, Barcelona's patron, and they celebrated the event making towers at Town Hall square.

That day the team from Terrassa got first in Barcelona to make a tower of ten stories high, ie, ten people one above the other.

But the most relevant was when they were unmaking the tower, two guys in the tower kissed on the lips. Mireia Comas, a photographer from Terrassa, took a black and white photo of that moment, and the snapshot went viral on Spanish social networks quickly.

The couple of guys who kissed declared they are very proud of their act, just as are their teammates.


The tower with ten stories high 

The couple of guys kissing on the lips

A color photo of the same moment

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Thousands attended the annual Gay Days at Disneyland

Gay Days at Disney resorts have become an institution. One of the most popular is the annual gathering at Disneyland Anaheim, California, this year with the 19th edition. 

The event attracts up to 30,000 attendees, including LGBT singletons, couples, parents and kids. This year's event included specific events for women, bears and families.

Highlights included a Q&A session with actor Alan Cumming, a panel discussion on The Golden Girls, and a pool ‘Plunge’ party at the Anaheim Majestic Hotel, attended by singer Steve Grand. 

Of course, there was plenty of fun in the park and lots of Disney-inspired cakes!

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

The most successful professional skateboarder comes out

Brian Anderson, 40, one of professional skateboarding’s biggest names, has come out as gay.

Anderson spoke about his sexuality publicly for the first time in an interview with Vice Sports. He said that some close friends and family knew about his sexuality, but he never talked about it publicly.

Anderson turned pro in August 1998, and a year later was named Thrasher magazine’s skater of the year. At 40, he’s still riding, and has sponsorships with Spitfire wheels and Nike.

“I think of how I felt when I was younger, totally scared”, Anderson said. “A lot of these kids who don’t have hope are really scared to death. To hear what I went through, and that everything got better for me, and I got a lot happier and felt more free and didn’t have all this shame buried in my body, you become a happier person. So to convey that message is really important to me”, he added.

Monday, October 3, 2016

California approves gender-neutral bathroom law

The Governor of California Jerry Brown has signed a law which designates any single-stall toilet facility in the state as gender-neutral. 

It makes it compulsory for businesses and governments to designate any bathroom with a single stall as gender-neutral, as well as posting a sign on each to display that it is gender-neutral. The changes are required by 1 March 2017.

Democratic Assemblyman Phil Ting, of San Francisco, brought forward the bill. He described it as one of the most comprehensive bathroom access laws in the US, and said it will “chart a new course of equality for the nation”. And he added: “This simple concept is oddly cutting-edge when compared with the discrimination being enacted in other states”.

The new California law comes amid a national debate around transgender protection laws and the rights of trans people to use gender-appropriate bathrooms.

Most Americans oppose bills like HB2 in North Carolina, the legislation that demands transgender people use restrooms in fitting with their gender at birth. The Obama Administration decided to sue North Carolina over its anti-LGBT law.

CA Assemblyman Phil Ting (D) promoted the bill

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Montevideo held a new edition of the March of Diversity

Montevideo held a new edition of the multitudinous March of Diversity (Marcha de la Diversidad in Spanish), which is repeated every last Friday of September since 2004.

Tens of thousands took the streets of the Uruguayan capital holding banners and rainbow flags.

The theme of this year was "Discrimination is violence, don't let the indifference win", and most of claims were on trasgender people's issues.

The march started from Independence Square and ends on the steps of the Municipality of Montevideo where the organizers read a proclamation.

Uruguay became the first country in Latin America to pass marriage equality laws in 2013, and probably is the most gayfriendly country in the region.