Friday, August 18, 2017

Promised land, loved land

Authors Adam Reynolds and Chaz Harris want to bring LGBT representation to a new generation of kids with their new fairy tale children's book Promised Land. 

Promised Land follows the story of Jack, a farm boy with a penchant for exploring the enchanted forest surrounding his home, and Leo, a young prince forbidden to leave his palace. When an evil force hypnotizes the queen, Jack and Leo meet and discover a blossoming romance between them. But when Jack's home is threatened, the duo must join forces for the fight of their lives.

In an interview, co-author Chaz Harris opened up about his own childhood and the importance of representation. "I knew I was different from a young age, but I wasn’t entirely sure what kind of different as I grew up with no reference points. In my first few years of High School, kids started calling me gay before I knew what that meant", Harris wrote. "I thought: if being gay was an insult, it must be a terrible thing to be and I don’t want to be that!", he added.

What's next for the Promised Land co-authors? They're currently preparing to launch another funding campaign in October to write a series of Promised Land Stories representing all kinds of LGBT characters in children's literature. Hopefully, kids everywhere will see themselves in these stories and know that their potential is limitless.


The authors, Adam Reynolds and Chaz Harris

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Barcelona I love You

More than half of adults in the US say they would support a trans kid

In a sign of growing acceptance for transgender children, a new survey conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of the American Osteopathic Association finds 53% of American adults would support their teenage child's request to transition to another gender.

Dr Laura Arrowsmith, practices at a trans clinic in Oklahoma, said: "Parents have a significant role in raising transgender kids. Once they get on board after stages of denial, rejection, condemnation and grief, they become powerful advocates at school and with extended family. This is crucial to the child’s well-being".

She went on to explain: "Trans children are living in a body that doesn’t match how they view themselves. To address the dysphoria, some may wish to transition socially or to medically transition through gender-confirmation surgery and/or hormone treatment".

Support from parents is especially important seeing as trans people are more likely than their LGB counterparts to suffer with mental health issues. Transgender and gender-expansive children do best when their family helps them cope with social pressure and bullying while affirming their journey. 

Simple actions can ensure a child feels safe and loved. In many cases, patience, support and careful listening are the best medicine.

A positive sign of the future.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Anti-trans Bathroom Bill is dead in Texas

An anti-trans bathroom bill has been killed off once more in Texas, and it’s possible that the discriminatory legislation may now be on the back burner for good.

After 29 of a planned 30 days, the House last night adjourned and ended the session.As well as the bathroom bill that would ban transgender people from using their preferred public bathroom, there were setbacks for plans on changes to property taxes and vouchers for private schools.

Some Texan lawmakers had been pushing for an anti-trans bathroom bill despite protests and warnings from businesses that such a law could prove catastrophic to the state’s economy. When similar legislation was passed in North Carolina, the state faced an economic boycott from those in the entertainment industry, business world and sport.

Despite support from the Republican Governor Greg Abbott, the special legislative session he ordered ended in failure on several counts. Abbott had previously said he will work with lawmakers to “get a bill to my desk that I will sign into law”.

Abbott had said that passing the draconian bill that would force trans people to use the bathroom of their “biological sex” was his top priority.

The bill, which has already cleared the state senate, threatened institutions with large fines if they permit transgender people to use the bathroom of their preferred gender, up to $10,500 for “multiple violations”.

Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of LGBT rights group GLAAD, said: “Today’s victory shows what can happen when transgender Americans and their allies stay vigilant and push back against legislation that helps no one and harms many”.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Campaign wants to save rainbow lifeguard tower in California

A new campaign hopes to save a rainbow Pride lifeguard tower from being erased. The tower, funded by Venice Pride in California, was erected earlier this year.

But it will be “erased” on 8 September, and some people have set out to save it, and make the installation permanent.

Colin Campbell started a petition to save the tower, which has been signed nearly 10,000 times.

The petition reads: 

Located at Brooks Ave. on Bill Rosendahl Memorial Beach in Venice, CA the Venice Pride Flag Lifeguard Tower has become a beloved destination for locals and tourists alike. In nine weeks thousands have flocked to photograph the dramatic tower and broadcast its powerful message of equality and inclusion to millions across the globe.

On September 8th the rainbow-colored tower is set to be erased… forever. At a time when so much of what the LGBT community and its allies fought for is under attack, the L.A. County Board of Supervisors should save the Venice Pride Flag Lifeguard Tower by designating it a permanent public art project.

Funded by Venice Pride, a local non-profit dedicated to saving LGBT lives, and Dunn-Edwards Paints, the tower serves as an important visual reminder that Los Angeles will always welcome people no matter whether they are gay, straight, lesbian, bi, transgender, queer or questioning”.

Sign the petition here.

Michael Brunt and Patrick Marston painted Venice 
Lifeguard Tower in the rainbow colors last pride

Sunday, August 13, 2017

They call it freedom of speech, I say it is hate

They call it freedom speech...

... I say it is hate

No place for hate!!!

Hunk of the month August: Attila Toth

Attila Toth (1988, Budapest, Hungary) is a fitness model, personal trainer, nutrition specialist, and entrepreneur. He is a swimwear and print campaign model for various clothing brands.

He is also owner and founder of Fit A&T, a fitness lifestyle company, you can visit his site

Toth received international prominence through his Instagram where he has over 477,000 followers.

Do you want to follow him?

Saturday, August 12, 2017 is in good hands

Los Angeles LGBT Center has acquired the internet domain, estimated to be worth $6.9 million. The last owner VS Media donated the site. 

When VS Media acquired the domain last year, they contacted five LGBT charities to possibly take it over. They asked for proposals explaining how the organizations would transform the site to help support the LGBT community.

Founded in 1969, Los Angeles LGBT Center provides services for more LGBT people than any other organization in the world, and VS Media announced that the future of will go on within that extraordinary organization.

The URL will direct to the Center’s new blog Vanguard. The change will take place as early as this week, according to the Center’s press release. The site shares stories about health, social services and housing, culture and education, and leadership and advocacy within the community.

"We’re incredibly grateful to VSMedia for turning control of to the Center", said Jim Key, the Center’s chief marketing officer. Key continued: "We’ve only begun to think about future possibilities for the domain. But for now, the traffic from to our new blog will help even more people learn how we’re building a world where LGBT people thrive as healthy, equal, and complete members of society".

Los Angeles LGBT Center has long 
pioneered in advocate for LGBT rights

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Five soldiers sue Trump over transgender military ban

Last week, reversing a decision under Obama Administration, Donald Trump claimed in a string of tweets that the military “cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail”.

The announcement, which was made without detail or consultation with military leaders, is being formalised into a detailed directive this month that is expected to see active-duty transgender people dismissed from their roles.

After that, five transgender soldiers, with nearly 60 years of combined military service, have filed a lawsuit targeting Trump’s ban, before it has even come into force. The lawsuit was filed today in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

The lawsuit says: "Trump’s directive to exclude transgender people from military service discriminates against Plaintiffs based on their sex and transgender status, without lawful justification, in violation of the Equal Protection component of the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment".

The plaintiffs have not been publicly identified, so they cannot be targeted in the purge, but they said due to the decision they face dramatic uncertainty about their futures including the potential loss of their professions, livelihoods, and post-military and retirement benefits.

There are estimated to be thousands of transgender service members who are currently serving openly in the Armed Forces, in the wake of Obama-era reforms that allowed them to do so.

Recently, 56 retired Generals and Officers publicly disagreed with Trump's transgender ban by a statement.

There have been many protests throughout the U.S. 
against Trump's announcement to ban transgender
soldiers from serving in the U.S. military

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Disney Junior features interracial gay moms

Disney Junior, a network aimed at children aged 2-7, reveals same-sex parents in a recent episode of Doc McStuffins, a show about a girl who fixes broken toys.

The episode, “The Emergency Plan”, is about teaching kids the right steps to take during an emergency, featuring a “doll family” trying to come together safely after a toy dragon causes chaos. The parents are voiced by openly gay celebrities Wanda Sykes and Portia de Rossi.

"I always envision Doc McStuffins as a show about what it means to accept everyone as part of our communities,” said show creator Chris Nee. “As part of a two-mom family, I’m proud to have an episode that reflects my son's world, and shows everyone that love is love in McStuffinsville".

Children deserve the chance to see their families reflected on TV, and this episode does just that in a beautiful and positive way. Shows like this reflect the real world and include the many children being raised by gay and lesbian parents.


Sunday, August 6, 2017

Belfast demands change for equal marriage

More than 5,000 people have taken part in Belfast Pride Parade. The parade was led by Belfast Mayor Nuala McAllister and was the main event of the nine-day long Pride festival.

The theme of this year's parade was 'Demand Change' and focused on efforts to overturn Northern Ireland's ban on same-sex marriage. Northern Ireland is the only region of the UK in which same-sex marriage is not allowed.

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, the first openly gay in charge, attended the event and told that it is only a matter of time before the law in Northern Ireland can be changed.

This week a rainbow Pride flag has been raised at the UK Government building at Stormont for the first time. The flag was raised beside Stormont House to mark the city’s Pride festival.

It's time Northern Ireland!

Belfast Mayor led the parade

Irish PM showed his support to Belfast Pride

The change is possible!

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Thousands attend the 16th edition of Jerusalem gay pride parade

Over 25,000 participants attended the Jerusalem March for Pride and Tolerance 2017, highlighting the LGBT community’s ties to religion. Revelers carried rainbow flags, banged drums and sang songs against homophobia.

The parade began with a congregation at Liberty Bell Park, from where the participants were to march along Plumer, Keren Hayesod, King George, Hillel and Menashe Ben Yisrael streets, all in the center of town. The parade was to end with a large event at Independence Park. 

Hundreds of police and security guards safeguarded the marchers, two years after teenager Shira Banki was murdered at the Pride parade. Participants were to be surrounded at all times by several security circles, and everyone joining the parade was to be inspected and tagged. 

Israel has the most open attitude to homosexuality in the Middle East, with a large and influential gay community. But conservative Jerusalem, a heavily religious city sacred to Jews, Muslims and Christians, is far less gay-friendly than liberal Tel Aviv.

Rabbi Avi Novis Deutsch, a traditional Masorti rabbi, decided to march in the parade to show his support. In an op-ed published in Haaretz, he described the event as a celebration of visibility. ″[It’s] an opportunity to say yes, there are transgender, bisexual, queer, asexual, gay and lesbian members of Israeli society, and they should not be ashamed. On the contrary, they should be satisfied with their lot, and we should all give thanks to the Creator who made people different from one another”, he wrote. 

Remembering Shira Banki, murdered two years ago

Friday, August 4, 2017

In a Heartbeat

In a Heartbeat tells the story of a shy, middle school boy who struggles coming to terms with being gay, Sherwin, and the most popular boy in school, Jonathan. When their paths cross one day, Sherwin must chase after his own heart to stop it from revealing his true feelings to Jonathan, and the entire student body.

The film was crowdfunded via Kickstarter, with it reaching 5 times its original goal. The video has now reached near 16 million views, and people have been begging for an actual feature-length movie or a sequel.

Who’s behind it? The two filmmakers are Beth David, 21, from Cincinnati, Ohio and Esteban Bravo, 24, from Mexico City who met at the Ringling College of Design and Art in Florida. Both graduated this year and It was their first film collaboration and they wrote and directed the sweet story together.

The short film, which has no dialogues and a moving musical score, begins with Sherwin trying desperately to calm his beating heart as Jonathan, the boy of his dreams, walks past him. Find out what happens next by watching the heartwarming short film below:

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Don't mess with my outfit!

Turkish women march against unacceptable conservative dress code. Protesters say there has been an increasing number of verbal and physical attacks against women for their choice of clothing.

Hundreds of women have taken to the streets of Istanbul to protest against the violence and animosity they face over demands to dress more conservatively.

Turkish women participating in the march, dubbed "Don't Mess With My Outfit", chanted slogans and carried denim shorts on hangers as examples of the type of clothing that some men in the country find unacceptable.

"We will not obey, be silenced, be afraid. We will win through resistance," they chanted.

Istanbul has long been seen as a relatively liberal city for women and gay people.

But critics say President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Islamist-rooted AK Party have shown little interest in expanding rights for minorities, gays and women, and are intolerant of dissent.

Last June, Turkish authorities announced they would not allow the Istanbul Pride march, the third year in a row the celebration has been banned since it began in 2003.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

56 retired Generals and Officers disagree with Trump's transgender ban

Donald Trump recently made an announcement in a series of tweets saying he would ban transgender soldiers from serving in the U.S. Military. 

Today, fifty-six retired General and Flag Officers provided the following statement:

“The Commander in Chief has tweeted a total ban of honorably serving transgender troops. This proposed ban, if implemented, would cause significant disruptions, deprive the military of mission-critical talent, and compromise the integrity of transgender troops who would be forced to live a lie, as well as non-transgender peers who would be forced to choose between reporting their comrades or disobeying policy.

As a result, the proposed ban would degrade readiness even more than the failed ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy. Patriotic transgender Americans who are serving— and who want to serve—must not be dismissed, deprived of medically necessary health care, or forced to compromise their integrity or hide their identity.

President Trump seeks to ban transgender service members because of the financial cost and disruption associated with transgender military service. We respectfully disagree, and consider these claims to be without merit. The RAND Corporation, as well as research in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that the financial cost of providing health care to transgender troops would be, at most, $8.4 million per year.

This amounts to one one-hundredth of one percent of the military’s annual health care budget. As for ostensible disruptions, transgender troops have been serving honorably and openly for the past year, and have been widely praised by commanders. Eighteen foreign nations, including the UK and Israel, allow transgender troops to serve, and none has reported any detriment to readiness.

Recently, two former Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff have taken courageous stands in support of our transgender service members. General Martin Dempsey said of our transgender troops that, ‘The service of men and women who volunteer and who meet our standards of service is a blessing, not a burden.’

And Admiral Mike Mullen stated that, ‘I led our armed forces under the flawed ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy and saw firsthand the harm to readiness and morale when we fail to treat all service members according to the same standards. Thousands of transgender Americans are currently serving in uniform and there is no reason to single out these brave men and women and deny them the medical care that they require. The military conducted a thorough research process on this issue and concluded that inclusive policy for transgender troops promotes readiness.’ Admiral Mullen urged civilian leaders ‘to respect the military’s judgment and not to breach the faith of service members who defend our freedoms.’ 

We could not agree more.”

General John R. Allen, USMC (Retired)
General Robert W. Sennewald, USA (Retired)
Vice Admiral Donald Arthur, USN (Retired)
Lieutenant General Robert Gard, USA (Retired)
Lieutenant General Walter Gaskin, USMC (Retired)
Vice Admiral Kevin P. Green, USN (Retired)
Lieutenant General Arlen D. Jameson, USAF (Retired)
Lieutenant General Claudia Kennedy, USA (Retired)
Lieutenant General Willie Williams, USMC (Retired)
Major General Juan G. Ayala, USMC (Retired)
Major General Donna Barbisch, USA (Retired)
Rear Admiral Chris Cole, USN (Retired)
Major General Vance Coleman, USA (Retired)
Major General J. Gary Cooper, USMC (Retired)
Major General Paul Eaton, USA (Retired)
Major General Mari K. Eder, USA (Retired)
Rear Admiral F. Stephen Glass, USN (Retired)
Major General Richard S. Haddad, USAF (Retired)
Major General Irv Halter, USAF (Retired)
Rear Admiral Jan Hamby, USN (Retired)
Major General Marcelite J. Harris, USAF (Retired)
Rear Admiral John Hutson, JAGC, USN (Retired)
Major General James R. Klugh, Sr., USA (Retired)
Major General Dennis Laich, USA (Retired)
Major General Randy Manner, USA (Retired)
Major General Dee Ann McWilliams, USA (Retired)
Major General John Phillips, USAF (Retired)
Major General Dana J.H. Pittard, USA (Retired)
Major General Gale Pollock, CRNA, FACHE, USA (Retired)
Rear Admiral Harold Robinson, USN (Retired)
Major General Patricia Rose, USAF (Retired)
Rear Admiral Alan Steinman, USPHS/USCG (Retired)
Major General Antonio Taguba, USA (Retired)
Major General Peggy Wilmoth, MSS, RN, USA (Retired)
Major General Maggie Woodward, USAF (Retired)
Rear Admiral Dick Young, USN (Retired)
Brigadier General Clara Adams-Ender, USA (Retired)
Brigadier General Ricardo Aponte, USAF (Retired)
Rear Admiral Jamie Barnett, USN (Retired)
Brigadier General David Brahms, USMC (Retired)
Brigadier General Stephen A. Cheney, USMC (Retired)
Brigadier General Julia Cleckley, USA (Retired)
Rear Admiral Jay DeLoach, USN (Retired)
Brigadier General John Douglass, USAF (Retired)
Brigadier General Evelyn “Pat” Foote, USA (Retired)
Brigadier General Judy M. Griego, NMANG (Retired)
Brigadier General David R. Irvine, USA (Retired)
Brigadier General John H. Johns, USA (Retired)
Rear Admiral Gene Kendall, USN (Retired)
Brigadier General Thomas Kolditz, PhD, USA (Retired)
Brigadier General Carlos E. Martinez, USAF (Retired)
Brigadier General Ronald Rokosz, USA (Retired)
Brigadier General John M. Schuster, USA (Retired)
Rear Admiral Michael E. Smith, USN (Retired)
Brigadier General Paul Gregory Smith, USA (Retired)
Brigadier General Marianne Watson, USA (Retired)

Gay rugby player proposes to boyfriend at Liverpool Pride

A rugby player proposed to his boyfriend during Liverpool Pride celebrations.

While the members of the Liverpool Tritons Rugby Union Football Club stopped the parade for a group photo, one member of the group takes the opportunity for a romantic gesture.

Stopping the parade in its tracks, Mark throws a rugby ball to his partner, Mike. With the words ‘Will you marry me’ written on the ball, Mark gets an immediate yes from his bewildered boyfriend.

The crowd erupts into cheers of joy, as the two share a passionate kiss and loving hug.

Liverpool Pride was set up in 2010 in response to the murder of young gay man Michael Causer in 2008. Since its beginning, the parade grows from strength to strength, with over 20,000 people in attendance this year.

Watch the video's proposal below:

Monday, July 31, 2017

More than 40 gay men arrested in Nigeria hotel

Over 40 men were arrested in Nigeria over the weekend for performing “homosexual acts”.

Following a police raid in Lagos state at a hotel, it is believed that 42 men were arrested.

The men, who are accused of homosexuality, are due to appear in court today. If found to be guilty, they could face up to 14 years in jail.

Witnesses of the arrest who live in the local area claimed that the hotel was known to “harbour homosexuals”. LGBT people in the country face unprecedented homophobia.

It has been illegal to be gay in Nigeria for a long time, but a 2013 law increased penalties and included same-sex unions as well as gay sex in what is criminalised.

Under the barbaric law, people who enter any form of same-sex union are liable for 14 years’ imprisonment, while people who witness, abet and aids the solemnization of a same sex marriage or civil union can face up to 10 years in jail.

Earlier this year 53 men faced criminal charges as police claimed that they had attended a same-sex wedding. 45 of those jumped bail and warrants were put out for their arrest.

A recent Human Rights Watch report stated: “While existing legislation already criminalizes consensual same-sex conduct in Nigeria, the report found that the Same-Sex Marriage Prohibiton Act, in many ways, officially authorizes abuses against LGBT people, effectively making a bad situation worse.

Sign a petition to repeal Nigeria’s anti-LGBT law here.