Sunday, October 22, 2017

Hunk of the month October: Quinton Wynn

Quinton Wynn (1995, Indianapolis, USA) is a fashion and fitness model slash actor. 

Featured in hundreds, if not thousands, of blogs and social media posts, Quinton Wynn is a charismatic model with an amazing face and a flawless body. He appeared on the cover of Australia’s DNA Magazine but also featured in many outstanding works by renowned photographers.

Currently in school at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI). He is pursuing a degree in public safety management and minoring in criminal justice. Once he graduates he plans to work with FEMA as an emergency planner. 

His dream job as a model would be to open his own gym and travel the world and work with the most recognized photographers and film makers.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Record 68 U.S. cities earn perfect scores in LGBT equality test

A record 68 cities in the United States earned a perfect score of 100 in an annual LGBT equality evaluation.

The Human Rights Campaign Foundation and the Equality Federation Institute released their annual Municipal Equality Index (MEI). This is the sixth year of the MEI, which first began in 2012.

The evaluation scored 506 municipalities on things like non-discrimination laws, fair law enforcement, overall relationship with the city’s LGBT community, and more. For each factor, there is a limited amount of available points. 

The official document states its goal is to demonstrate ‘in the most comprehensive form just how much can be accomplished be tenacious city leaders who stand up for full LGBT equality’.

Furthermore, the municipalities earning perfect 100-point ratings increased from last year’s 60 cities. Some the 100-earning locations include Phoenix, Los Angeles, Orlando, Atlanta, Louisville, Denver, Kansas City, and more.

A total number of 11 cities earned scores of 0. They include: Sitka and Wasilla, Alaska; Monroe, Louisiana; Southaven, Mississippi; Jefferson City, Missouri; Moore and Stillwater, Oklahoma; Clemson, South Carolina; Mitchell and Pierre, South Dakota; and Sheridan, Wyoming.

You can read the full report here.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Prince Harry accepts Attitude's Legacy Award on behalf of Princess Diana

Prince Harry has accepted the Legacy Award at The Virgin Holidays Attitude Awards, powered by Jaguar, on behalf of Princess Diana, for her ground-breaking HIV/Aids activism.

Harry, 33, paid tribute to his late mother as he collected the award at the star-studded ceremony at London’s Roundhouse.

The Prince was introduced by Ian Walker, a former Senior Occupational Therapist at the London Lighthouse Aids centre, and Julian La Bastide, a former nurse at the Mildmay Mission Hospital, who discussed their experiences of meeting Diana and the on-going legacy of her HIV/Aids work.

The award, presented in the 20th anniversary year of Diana’s death in a car crash in Paris, recognises the significance of her work in challenging the stigma and fear that surrounded HIV/Aids in the 1980s and ’90s.

Today is #SpiritDay

Today is #SpiritDay

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

95% of gay couples are afraid to show public affection on holiday

An overwhelming 95% of same-sex couples say they are afraid to show any sort of affection in public while traveling, according to a survey conducted by Virgin Holidays.

The airline polled 1,000 LGBT couples and 1,000 straight couples in order to get the startling results, in which only one in 20 same-sex couples reported being comfortable showing affection abroad.

The research also revealed that 58% of the gay couples polled had been stared at while on holiday, 29% had been verbally abused, and one in ten were threatened with physical violence.

Virgin Holidays recently created a video that highlights the problem as part of the airline’s three-year plan to become one of the most LGBT-friendly travel companies in existence.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Two-thirds of Australians have voted in equal marriage ballot

Two-thirds of Australians have voted in the country’s ballot on same-sex marriage.

The country is currently holding a public vote on whether same-sex couples should be allowed to marry. The informal postal vote is entirely advisory and non-binding, but will inform MPs in the country when the issue goes to Parliament.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics, which is responsible for running the vote, confirmed the amount of votes cast so far. With just weeks until the November 7 deadline for ballots, it has been confirmed it had received 10.8 million forms (67.5 per cent) back.

The Equality Campaign released an image of former Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke, 87, backing the YES campaign for marriage equality.

It's time Australia!

Monday, October 16, 2017

Explaining gender, love & family

There’s finally a book that explain the complexities of gender and love to children: You Be You! Explaining Gender, Love & Family, by Jon Branfman and illustrated by Julie Benbassat.

Branfman was inspired to write this book not only because of his own life experiences, but also because of his professional experiences teaching as a grad student at The Ohio State University.

"I believe teaching children accurately about gender, sexual orientation, and family at an early age is important for two reasons", Branfman explains. 

"First, because kids are already absorbing many harmful, inaccurate beliefs on these subjects from peers, TV, and implicit (or explicit) messages from adults around them. So it’s not a choice between letting kids receive an education about these topics or not. Rather, it’s a choice between proactively educating kids in a way that’s accurate, or passively allowing them to learn all kinds of untrue ideas".

"Second, because social beliefs about gender, sexuality, and family have profound real-world consequences. These ideas shape how children see themselves and others for the rest of their lives: Whether they can accept themselves, whether they treat others well, whether they participate in persecuting others or help to end persecution".

The illustrations are significant too. They break from the conventions of children’s books, that often show only white and able-bodied faces. Julie’s beautiful illustrations feature people of all genders, orientations, colors, ability statuses, and ages, as well as many different religions.

The book is just as informative to adults as it is to children. It really helps them get a handle on these topics.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Hundreds march in New York to protest anti-gay purge in Chechnya

Hundreds of New Yorkers marched from the Stonewall National Monument, the birthplace of the modern gay liberation movement, to Trump Tower, demanding humanitarian visas for those who’ve escaped from Chechnya, and are now hiding in safe houses in mainland Russia,

An urgent action is needed: Trump's Administration and the Department of State must help LGBT Chechen survivors and must commit to grant public benefit paroles (aka humanitarian visas) to victims in the immediate danger, and to accept refugees and expedite refugee resettlement process.

Human Rights Watch reported that police in Chechnya are rounding up men believed to be gay, holding them in secret detention, and beating and humiliating them. Sometimes police forcibly “out” these men to their families, hinting that they should be taken care of in an “honor killing”.

Sign a petition to stop atrocities against gay men in Chechnya here.

The march started at Stonewall Inn...

... and finished in front of Trump Tower

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Aussie celebrities speak out for marriage equality

Some of the most well-known Australian celebrities encouraging Aussies to vote 'Yes' in the country's marriage equality survey. 

Australia is in the final weeks of its national postal survey and some leading stars of film and television are joining together to encourage all Australians to "Vote Yes!" in this pivotal moment for LGBTQ equality. 

While non-binding and voluntary, should the majority vote 'Yes', Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has said that he would introduce pro-marriage equality legislation to a free vote in Parliament. 

Polls have shown that 63% of Australians support marriage equality.

It's time Australia!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Gay spouses become first same-sex couple in Germany to adopt

Two gay men have become the first same-sex married couple to adopt a child in Germany.

Michael and Kai Korok married on October 2, just one day after same-sex marriage was made legal in the country.

Now, the pair have become the first same-sex couple to adopt, becoming the proud parents of two-year-old Maximilian. The Berlin Kreuzberg district court approved the couple’s application eight days after the pair officially married.

The Koroks have known the child since he was born as they took him in as foster parents. Then, when Germany finally legalised gay marriage and gave gay couples equal rights in adoption, they took legal responsibility over Maximilian.

When asked about being the child’s legal parent, Michael Korok said: “It is a wonderful feeling to be jointly registered as parents”.


Wednesday, October 11, 2017

"Yes" is winning in Australian poll on gay marriage

Australians appear to be unmoved by anti-same-sex marriage warnings of creeping gender ideology, social destruction, or sexual confusion, with the case for change surging ahead.

With more than a month to go in the government’s controversial postal survey, an aggregation of public polling and some recent unpublished research shows the “yes” case for legalising same-sex marriage has maintained its strong lead among ordinary voters.

Nearly 60% of eligible voters have already returned their surveys with a month to go before the deadline. Stirton’s summary of recent polls shows that 65% say they voted “yes”. 

The result will be announced on November 15th.

It's time Australia!

Monday, October 9, 2017

Now more than ever, Philly Trans March stands for trans rights

Last Saturday was held the 7th Annual March for trans rights in Philadelphia, the Philly Trans March.

The March is not only a rally and demonstration, but also a revolutionary movement. Open to people of all gender identities, expressions, and experiences, Philly Trans March welcomes everyone towards equity and liberation.  

It is an affirmation of beauty, strength, and diversity. Organized by members of Philly's Trans and Gender non-conforming communities and accomplices, this endeavor is committed to creating a safer, more inclusive environment for everyone.

Issues such as hate violence, specifically against trans women of color, and the lack of official concern, oppressive healthcare policies, media misgendering, financial and housing insecurity, police brutality, workplace policies and employment discrimination, and the lack of resources for youth and elders trans people, are just a few of the concerns being voiced upon in this year's March. 

The March raises awareness, specially of violence against trans women of color. Marchers chanted: "I deserve equality now. I am somebody". Of course, they remembered that Donald Trump revoked protection for trans people at work or school and banned them from military.

Hey hey! Ho ho! Transphobia's got to go!

The trans flag raised at Philadelphia City Hall

Saturday, October 7, 2017

First gay kiss in Marvel comics

Comics has had another landmark moment as adult Iceman – Bobby Drake – has had his first gay kiss.

But wait, you’re saying, hasn’t Iceman been out and gay with a boyfriend for a while now? To be clear, there are two Icemans currently running around the comics X-Men universe. 

There is the adult Iceman, the same one that comic fans have grown up with since the 1960s. There is also a time-displaced Iceman, after teenage Bobby was brought from the past to the present. 

Teen Bobby was outed by psychic Jean Grey, and has since come out, kissed a guy and got a boyfriend. It was revealed it wasn’t just teen Bobby that was coming to terms with being gay, it was adult Bobby too.

In a new mini-series penned by gay writer Sina Grace, the first Marvel solo series to star a gay lead, adult Bobby is seen exploring his sexuality.

Meeting a guy in Los Angeles named Judah, he hilariously nervously flirts his way into his first gay kiss.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Increasing gay purge in Egypt

Fears of a homophobic purge have been confirmed in Egypt after dozens of arrests targeting the LGBT community.

A number of arrests were made in Egypt last month after a rainbow flag was waved at a concert by the Lebanese band Mashrou Leila, whose lead singer is openly gay.

However the incident has sparked a wider crackdown, and there have been reports that Egyptian authorities have begun actively targeting the gay community, implementing a harsh crackdown.

Amnesty International said today that Egyptian authorities have arrested 33 people over the past weeks, stepping up a campaign of persecution.

Though the crackdown has largely targeted gay men, one woman was detained by authorities on suspicion of “promoting sexual deviancy” and “habitual debauchery” for waving the rainbow flag.

The Egyptian government, by rounding people up based on their presumed sexual orientation, is showing flagrant disregard for their rights.

The gay purge in Egypt follows the same ones denounced in Chechnya and Azerbaijan.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Trump opposes UN resolution against death penalty for homosexuality

Trump's Administration voted against a U.N. Human Rights Council resolution that condemns the death penalty for those found guilty of committing consensual same-sex sexual acts.

The resolution passed by a 27-13 vote margin.

Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Rwanda, South Africa, Togo, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Albania, Croatia, Georgia, Hungary, Latvia, Slovenia, Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, El Salvador, Panama, Paraguay, Venezuela, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal, Switzerland and the U.K. supported the resolution. 

Botswana, Burundi, Egypt, Ethiopia, Bangladesh, China, India, Iraq, Japan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates joined the U.S. in opposing it.

Kenya, Nigeria, Tunisia, Indonesia, the Philippines, South Korea and Cuba abstained.

The resolution specifically condemns “the imposition of the death penalty as a sanction for specific forms of conduct, such as apostasy, blasphemy, adultery and consensual same-sex relations” and expresses “serious concern that the application of the death penalty for adultery is disproportionately imposed on women”. 

It also notes “poor and economically vulnerable persons and foreign nationals are disproportionately subjected to the death penalty, that laws carrying the death penalty are used against persons exercising their rights to freedom of expression, thought, conscience, religion, and peaceful assembly and association, and that persons belonging to religious or ethnic minorities are disproportionately represented among those sentenced to the death penalty”.

A new shame from Trump.

Pray for Las Vegas

Pray for Las Vegas

Monday, October 2, 2017

Macklemore performs pro-gay anthem at Australian rugby final and calls for marriage equality

The US rapper, Macklemore, issued a call for equality after an emotional performance of his hit single, Same Love, in a much-hyped pre-game show at the NRL grand final.

The performance at ANZ Stadium in Sydney follows a bizarre week in which the hip-hop artist became the focus of national attention due to his decision to play the song as part of his setlist in the midst of the campaign surrounding Australia’s non-binding, voluntary postal survey on marriage equality.

Macklemore has previously described Same Love as a song that “deals with equal rights, human rights” for LGBTI people. “This is an issue that I feel strongly about, that I feel passionate about. These people are human beings that should have the exact same rights as everybody else,” he said.

Same Love, first released in 2012, rocketed back to #1 on the Australian charts this week after the plan to perform it at the rugby final was denounced by former prime minister Tony Abbott. Macklemore has said the latest proceeds from sales of the single will go to Australia’s marriage equality movement.

It's time Australia!

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Australia's straight family is the face of new marriage equality campaign

Australia's gay marriage campaigners have just unleashed their ultimate weapon: Australia's straightest family.

Meet the Bowmans, the quintessentially stereotypical suburban family. Mum runs a small business, Dad's a primary school teacher and they have three lovely kids aged between five and nine.

They're nice-looking, nice-mannered and they're whiter than a picket fence. The sort of people who are usually assembled to sell margarine or tissues with three-ply softness.

Except the Bowmans aren't actors, they're a real family. And they really are banal and beige. And that's what makes them so brilliant.

The Bowmans are the face of the latest Marriage Equality ad campaign, a TV commercial that dropped late this week to counter some of the crazier claims of the No camp and rein in the excesses of the Yes.

At a time when the Yes campaign is at serious risk of being derailed by random text messages and random headbutts, both of which coincided with a plunge in popular support, the pro-equality side is trying to take the debate back to ground they can win it on. And that would be, well, equality.

It's time Australia!

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Indonesian parliament wants to ban LGBT characters from TV

Indonesia lawmakers will ban all LGBT characters on TV, according to recent reports. 

A draft copy of a bill before the country’s parliament will seek to outlaw LGBT ‘behaviors’ on screen.

The House of Representatives approved the bill, which will prevent reporting on any gay issues.

This will affect television shows and advertisements, but also gag news and documentary programs from talking about anything LGBT-related.

Supiadin Aries Saputra, from the Nasdem Party, said: "We can’t allow LGBT behaviour on TV. It is against our culture. We have to ban it early before it becomes a lifestyle. It’s dangerous and can ruin the morality of the younger generation".

Homosexuality is legal in Indonesia, but there is a huge anti-gay sentiment in the majority-Muslim country.

Will & Grace could be outlawed in Indonesia

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Top U.S. general recommends not kicking out transgender troops

U.S. General Joseph Dunford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said he has urged the Trump administration not to kick transgender service members out of the military despite President Donald Trump’s ban on transgender people serving in the armed forces.

The top general was asked by Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing whether he agreed that the thousands of transgender men and women now in the military have served with honor and valor.

“I do, Senator”, Dunford responded. “I would just probably say that I believe any individual who meets the physical and mental standards, and is worldwide-deployable and is currently serving, should be afforded the opportunity to continue to serve”.

Gillibrand asked Dunford, whose reappointment to his post is expected to be confirmed by the Senate, whether he could promise that transgender service members “will not be separated from the armed services based solely on their gender identity?”. “I can promise that that will be my advice”, he said.

Trump in July said he would ban transgender people from the military in a move that would reverse Democratic former President Barack Obama’s policy and halt years of efforts to eliminate barriers to military service based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis last month said the current policy allowing transgender personnel, including the ability to re-enlist, would remain in place until he advises Trump on how to implement the Republican president’s transgender ban.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Saudi women finally allowed to drive

Women in Saudi Arabia will be allowed to drive, ending their reign as the only nation in the world where women were forbidden from getting behind the wheel of a car.

The news was announced on state television and in a simultaneous media event in Washington, highlighting the damage that the policy has done to the kingdom’s international reputation and its hopes for a public relations benefit from the reform.

While there is no formal law banning women from driving, the government refuses to issue them permits. That will now change under the royal decree, which ordered the formation of a ministerial body to give advice within 30 days and then implement the order by June 2018.

For many years, campaigners have argued that women should be allowed to drive, saying that it makes virtual prisoners out of women who do not have a male family member or chauffeur to drive them around. In June 2011, about 40 women got behind the wheel and drove in several cities in a protest sparked when Manal Sharif, one of the founders of the movement, was arrested and detained for 24 hours after posting a video of herself driving.

Although this change, Human Rights Watch produced a report highlighting the range of restrictions that Saudi women face. Adult women must obtain permission from a male guardian to travel or marry. They may be required to provide guardian consent in order to work or access healthcare. Women regularly face difficulty conducting a range of transactions without a male relative, from renting an apartment to filing legal claims.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Trump administration calls to discriminate LGBT workers

The Trump administration has called on a U.S. appeals court to rule that a federal law does not ban discrimination against LGBT employees.

The Manhattan court is currently in the midst of ruling on the case of Donald Zarda, a former skydiving instructor that says his old company, Altitude Express Inc, fired him because of his sexuality.

The company is being supported by the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ), however, the Court of Appeals will have the final ruling on whether discrimination against workers based on their sexuality is a form of unlawful bias under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The DoJ argued that if the Civil Rights Act were to explicitly cover sexual orientation, it should be passed through Congress.

Currently, the law bans discrimination of workers based on their sex, race and religion. Trump’s government are calling for the appeals court to rule so that sexuality-based discrimination is not included in the definition.

Under Obama's administration, in a number of other cases similar to Zarda V Altitude Express, the DoJ has not intervened. But activists in the US are worried that Trump’s administration backing the ruling will make more for other anti-LGBT policies to be passed.

Remember that recently Trump called to discriminate against transgender military personnel by ordering the military to not accept them.

Donald Zarda alleged he was fired because he is gay