Sunday, December 10, 2017

Hunk of the month December: KJ Apa

Keneti James Fitzgerald "KJ" Apa (Auckland, 1997) is a New Zealand actor and singer. 

He is known for starring as Archie Andrews in the CW drama series Riverdale. 

Apa also starred as Kane Jenkins in the primetime soap opera Shortland Street and as teenage Ethan Montgomery in the comedy-drama film A Dog's Purpose.

A talented guy with a promising career.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

I will not be silent

Nicole Kidman, Jennifer Lawrence, and Emma Stone united as they led a star-studded pledge to speak up against sexual assault, as accusations of misconduct continue to be leveled against men in positions of power.  

The video began with a defiant Nicole speaking powerfully towards her audience, 'I will not be silent.' 

'I will not be silent,' was the promise made by Nicole, Jennifer, and Emma, and a slew of other celebrities in a video made by W Magazine. Gal Gadot, Margot Robbie, Jessica Chastain, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Mary J. Blige were among the stars to band together in lending their support in the video.

Hollywood has copped a lot of criticism over its lack of action regarding sexual misconduct allegations against Harvey Weinstein and others, which many knew about but did not speak out against publicly.

This campaign comes just days after Time named their 'Person of the Year' the Silence Breakers, those men and women that bravely came forward and whose voices "launched a movement".

2017 will certainly be remembered as a pivotal period in Hollywood's history and hopefully, the moment that everything changed.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Same-sex marriage is finally legal in Australia

The Australian Parliament has finally passed same-sex marriage into law. The motion was approved almost unanimously by the House of Representatives, after passing the upper chamber last week. 

Politicians and members of the public, watching in the gallery, broke into cheers, tears and song following the vote, I Am Australian, a popular song some argue should be the country’s national anthem.

The move comes after almost 13 million Australians (79.5%) voted in the country’s non-binding postal ballot to endorse the law.

The final legislative victory follows years of activism and a three-month community campaign by the Equality Campaign.

Australia is now the 25th country in the world to have marriage equality for same-sex couples.

Congrats Australia!!!

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Top Austrian Court legalizes same-sex marriage

Austria’s Constitutional Court ruled today that same-sex couples can marry beginning in 2019, saying existing laws violate constitutional provisions against discrimination.

Same-sex couples in Austria have been able to enter into registered partnerships 
since 2010, a status that provides most of the same rights as marriage, but were unable to legally marry.

“The distinction between marriage and registered partnership cannot today be maintained without discriminating against same-sex couples”, the court wrote in its published opinion.

Existing restrictions on marriage are inherently discriminatory against same-sex couples, the court argued, because disclosing one’s marital status automatically indicated whether the partnership was a same-sex or heterosexual one.

“People living in same-sex partnerships have to disclose their sexual orientation even in situations in which it is not, and must not be, relevant and … are highly likely to be discriminated against”, the court wrote.

Under the court’s ruling, registered partnerships will still exist but will be available to both same-sex and heterosexual couples. Current restrictions on same-sex marriage will expire on December 31, 2018, unless the Austrian parliament chooses to lift them sooner.

Green light to marriage equality in Austria

Monday, December 4, 2017

Australian MP proposes to partner during marriage equality debate

An Australian politician has made history as the first ever Member of Parliament to propose in the House of Representatives.

Tim Wilson, the Liberal MP for Goldstein, fought back tears as he popped the question to his boyfriend Ryan Bolger on the floor of the House as a bill paving the way for equal marriage was introduced.

Turning to address his long-term partner the during the parliamentary debate on Monday (December 4), Mr Wilson said: “In my first speech I defined our bond by the ring that sits on both of our left hands – that they are the answer to the questions we cannot ask.

“So there is only one thing left to do: Ryan Patrick Bolger, will you marry me?”

Mr Bolger immediately responded ‘yes’, to rapturous applause from the MPs assembled in the chamber.


Watch the video below.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Woman arrested in Tanzania for gay kiss

A woman could face jail in Tanzania after a video of her kissing another woman and presenting her with a ring went viral.

Homosexuality is illegal in Tanzania as it is considered "against the order of nature", and the woman was arrested in the northwestern town of Geita after the clip of her at a party was widely shared on social media.

The town's police chief, Mponjoli Mwabulambo, said the woman was in custody and that officers were searching for the other woman in the video, which some Tanzanians condemned online as immoral.

The arrest comes during an even stronger crackdown on homosexuality in the country. Were the women to be convicted, they could be put behind bars. In Tanzania, male homosexual sex carries a sentence anywhere between 30 years and life in prison.

President John Magufuli has threatened to arrest and expel activists and de-register organisations that campaign for gay rights since he came to power two years ago.

In October, officers arrested 12 men after raiding a meeting at a hotel in the former capital city of Dar es Salaam, believing the gathering was promoting same-sex relationships.

Being gay is not a choice, either in Africa

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Transgender actress could be nominated for an Oscar

One of the most talked-about performances of this year is that of Daniela Vega, a 28-year-old Chilean actress who stars in Sebastián Lelio’s movie A Fantastic Woman. The film is Chile’s submission for the Best Foreign Language Oscar, and it could also get Vega her own Academy Award nomination.

A Fantastic Woman tells the story of Marina Vidal (Vega's character), a waitress by day and a lounge singer by night, whose life is thrown into turmoil upon the death of Orlando, her much older lover. Orlando’s family, however, suspects it was a murder, with Marina as culprit, after Orlando's wealth and material assets. 

She endures interrogation at their hands rife with hate speech and discrimination, and the film uses the conflict to tackle the polarizing isolation of transgender living, particularly in Chile, where there is little government or cultural support for the trans community.

For this movie, Sebastián Lelio and Gonzalo Maza won the golden bear for the best screenplay, in the 2017 Berlin Film Festival.

Unlike other films about transgender characters that have made it to the Oscars winner’s circle, like Boys Don’t Cry, Dallas Buyer’s Club and The Danish Woman, A Fantastic Woman’s transgender lead is actually played by a transgender person.

Good luck Daniela!

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Spain's Congress passes legislation forbidding classification of transexuality as a disease

The Spanish Congress has given the green light to the bill that will eliminate the medical requirements for trans people to legally change their sex and name.

With 200 votes in favor and 128 against (from the deputies of the government party), the Spanish Lower House has approved the initiative to end the conception of transexuality as a disease.

Currently, trans people must have a medical or psychological diagnosis proving that they suffer from gender dysphoria and have been treated for a minimum of two years to accommodate their physical characteristics to those corresponding to the sex claimed.

The new law will establish that the recognition of sexual identity can not be conditioned, in any case, to the accreditation of having had any type of surgery, hormonal therapy or psychological, psychiatric or medical treatment. A simple declaration by the interested person will be enough.

The goal is to overcome the current legislation that conceptualizes transexuality as a mental illness or disorder.

A new step for trans rights.

Lola Galovart, the socialist deputy who defended the bill

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Australian Senate passes same-sex marriage bill

The Australian Senate has officially voted for same-sex marriage. The bill was the 21st same-sex marriage bill to be brought before the Senate, and the first to succeed. 

The Marriage Amendment Bill 2017 was introduced by Dean Smith, the first openly LGBT member of parliament from the Liberal Party and a passionate supporter of marriage equality.

Senators voted by 43 votes to 12 in favour of progressing the legislation. Almost all Labor senators, the Greens, the Nick Xenophon Team, Derryn Hinch and members of the ruling Liberal-National Coalition voted in favour.

The bill will now go to the House of Representatives next week, where it is expected to pass easily.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is on course to meet his pledge of legislating for the historic social reform before Christmas.

Earlier this month Australians gave their overwhelming backing to equal marriage in a public vote, by a margin of 61.6% to 38.4%. The national postal ballot was non-binding, however, leaving the final decision on legislation up to Parliament.

It's time Australia!

Australian PM promised to legalize marriage equality

Monday, November 27, 2017

17 men on jail for 'practicing' homosexuality in Egypt

A Cairo court released 17 people arrested last month during a crackdown by the authorities on homosexuality, judicial sources said.

They had been charged with practicing homosexuality and inciting debauchery and were sentenced to three years in prison should they fail to pay a fine of 5,000 Egyptian pounds ($285).

The defendants have been given leave to appeal against the sentence in a higher court.

Although homosexuality is not specifically outlawed in Egypt it is a conservative society and discrimination is rife. Gay men are frequently arrested and typically charged with debauchery, immorality or blasphemy.

In October Egyptian security forces arrested 57 people in a wave of arrests triggered by the raising of a rainbow flag at a music concert, confirming a homophobic purge in Egypt.

The overwhelming majority of those arrested were not involved in the flag incident, however, and were arrested over their perceived sexual orientation in the following days.

To rise a rainbow flag is forbidden in Egypt

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Chile will finally debate marriage equality

Chile will finally begin the important steps of debating marriage equality on Monday, November 27th. Chile’s civil union law came into effect in 2015.

President Michelle Bachelet introduced the bill on 28 August, intending to modify the language to open up marriage to same-sex couples.

The Senate Constitution Committee has requested several organizations, from LGBT groups to religious leaders, to come forward and make their case for against the change in the law.

The law is hoping to define marriage as ‘a solemn contract by which two people, of the same or different sex, unite themselves, and for life, in order to live together, to procreate and to help each other’. It still remains unclear whether the bill will also extend adoption rights.

President Bachelet also supports a bill that would allow trans Chileans to legally change their name and sex without surgery, hormonal treatments and psychiatric or psychological evaluations.

Bachelet also backs efforts to strengthen hate crime and anti-discrimination law against the LGBT community.

In South America, same-sex marriage is legal in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and Uruguay.

It's time Chile!

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Rainbow Laces

This weekend the Stonewall UK Rainbow Laces campaign launches in the Football League and Premier League to promote the important message of inclusivity and respect for LGBT people within football and society also.

Footballers and other high-profile athletes will wear rainbow-coloured laces and other accessories to support participation of LGBT people in sport.

England’s Premier League is among the bodies backing Stonewall’s Rainbow Laces campaign as matches kick off across the country on Saturday and Sunday.

As well as rainbow-coloured laces and armbands for team captains, the Premier League has introduced bespoke rainbow branding to its ball plinths, pitch flags and handshake boards.


Also the Wembley Stadium arch will be lit this weekend 
to show support for the #RainbowLaces campaign.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Pentagon to pay for gender reassignment surgery for active-duty soldier

The Pentagon has paid for the gender-affirmation surgery of an active duty servicemember, despite President Trump attempting to ban transgender people from serving openly in the military.

The trans woman is an infantry soldier who got her Combat Infantry Badge in Operation Anaconda in Afghanistan in 2003.

Vice Admiral Raquel Bono, head of the Defense Health Agency, approved a waiver for the surgery to go ahead. The surgery will take place at a civillian hospital.

The Pentagon in September issued new guidance which temporarily allowed trans troops to re-enlist in the military until it is determined how the controversial ban will be enforced.

Defence Secretary Jim Mattis said in a memo to top Pentagon officials that current policies on serving trans troops remain in fact.

This means that current trans troops are permitted to continue their service with full access to healthcare.


Protect trans troops!

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving Day with Steve Grand

Steve Grand, one of my favourites singers, debuted a video compiled of footage shot earlier this year for his track “Walking” that includes scenes of him tooling around New Orleans, flirting with a sexy party guest, and an all-too-brief glimpse of him rising from bed in a jock strap.

Writes Steve: “Happy almost-Thanksgiving, guys! Here is the lost-but-not-forgotten “Walking” Music Video we shot in New Orleans all the way back in May! My original idea didn’t quite pan out, but John Lavin (Director and Editor) did an amazing job with a lot of the silliness we captured! And after thinking on it for the last few months, I’ve decided a lot of you would probably still get a kick out of all the fun and behind the scenes silliness we had on the single day we shot all of this 😉 So here is our cornucopia of crazy just in times for Thanksgiving! :D”

If you want attend one of his performances, check the upcoming tour dates and buy tickets and more.

In addition, Steve Grand's Limited Edition 2018 Provincetown Photo Calendar is available here.


Australia’s oldest gay couple plan to finally marry after 50 years together

John Challis, 89, and Arthur Cheeseman, 85, have been together for 50 years.

They’re believed to be the oldest living same-sex couple in Australia, and now that the country have voted overwhelmingly in favour of marriage equality, they’re planning to finally tie the knot in January.

“We are [going to get married], but without any fuss, just very quietly. We’ll probably go down to the registry office with a couple of friends next year”, John said.

“Or, I’ve got a friend who’s registered to celebrate marriages, he might come here for a cup of coffee one morning and we’ll get some witnesses, very simple, that’s it. I’ve got a 90th birthday coming up next year, we might combine it with that", he added.

“As I’ve said before, one of the important things for us is to have this marriage certificate, because it gives us a new dignity, a new status, and a new place in society. We are the same as everybody else”, he affirmed.

The non-binding postal survey, which ended earlier this month, saw 61.6% of Australians vote in favour of same-sex marriage, although that still means almost 40% voted against, which is quite concerning.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has said his government will attempt to pass marriage equality legislation by Christmas. Then, John and Arthur remain positive.

“That’s really quite a significant number”, they said. “But we’ll just have to live with that and hope that they get used to it. They’ll gradually find out that it’s not the end of civilisation, it’s not going to change society in these terrible ways”.

Congrats John & Arthur!!!