Tuesday, May 30, 2017

A mass LGBT march planned at Washington DC on June 11

The Equality March for Unity and Pride will be a mass LGBT protest at Washington DC next June 11.

The Equality March is a grassroots movement which will mobilize the diverse LGBT communities to clearly address concerns about the current political landscapes and how it is contributing to the persecution and discrimination of LGBT individuals.

The march will coincide with Capital Pride, DC’s annual pride celebration, and organizers hope to draw big numbers to send a clear message to Washington’s powered elite that LGBT rights are not to be threatened.

The March will pass by the White House, the D.C. Capital Pride event, and finish at the National Mall.

All supporters, friends and family are called to participate to make sure the LGBT voice is heard.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

US soccer supports LGBT pride month

The U.S. men’s and women’s national soccer teams plan to sport rainbow-themed numbers on their uniforms during June contests to support LGBT Pride Month as part of a collaborative initiative between U.S. Soccer and You Can Play, an organization dedicated to eradicating homophobia and transphobia through the sports world.

The men’s team members will wear the rainbow shirts in their game against Venezuela (June 3). The women’s team will wear theirs in games against Sweden (June 8) and Norway (June 11). After the games, the shirts will be auctioned off for charity. 

There are some precedents on soccer. For example, in the last Internatinal Day Against Homophobia in Sport, players of some Spanish soccer teams played with rainbow laces in his boots to demonstrate their support publicly. Or more recently, Manchester United joined forces with LGBT charity Stonewall to fight against homophobia in the sport, and the team's captain showed a rainbow armband.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Ben & Jerry's supports marriage equality in Australia in a very original way

Ben & Jerry's is banning two scoops of the same flavour in its 26 Australian stores as part of a push for marriage equality.

"It is time to stand up for fair and equal rights for all by letting our leaders know that we demand Marriage Equality!", the popular ice cream chain wrote in statement.

And the company added: "Imagine heading down to your local Scoop Shop to order your favourite two scoops of Cookie Dough in a waffle cone. But you find out you are not allowed. Ben & Jerry’s has banned two scoops of the same flavour".

The Ben & Jerry's ban will last until marriage equality is legalized in Australia. They have also placed postcard boxes for customers to issue postal protests to their representatives. Don’t live near a scoop shop is no a problem, it's possible to sign up through the Equality Campaign’s website.

According to polls, around two thirds of Australians support same-sex marriage as does the majority of MPs. Despite the flurry of legislative activity, including a sunken plebiscite, the federal government has not laid out a plan on how to legalise the gay unions.

Ben & Jerry's joined more than 1,200 companies and organisations, including AirBnB, Quantas and the major football codes, calling for marriage equality in Australia.

It's time Australia!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Cannes jury protest for gay men situation in Chechnya

At the Cannes Film Festival, jurors for the Queer Palm made a statement calling attention to the dire situation for gay and bisexual men in Chechnya.

The six jurors, including Lidia Terki, Travis Mathews, and Yair Hochner, held up signs reading,  “Silence = Death,” “Unified,” “Still?!,” “Enough,” “No More,” and “Chechnya.”

The protest took place on the red carpet of the premiere for 120 Beats Per Minute, a film about the early days of ACT UP and HIV/AIDS activism in ’90s Paris, which became a top contender for the festival’s top prize, the Palme d’Or, upon its premiere at the festival.

A Russian newspaper claimed that twenty-six men have been systematically murdered and over 100 gay and bisexual men have been detained so far, as part of Chechnya’s antigay purge. Recent news say concentration camp has been destroyed and moved to a new location.

Director and cast of 120 Beats Per Minute

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Taiwan can be the first country in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage

The Council of Grand Justices in Taipei has ruled today that the current law, banning same-sex marriage, is unconstitutional.

The top court decreed that if a law amendment to change the constitution is not introduced with two years, the interpretation of the current law should include same-sex couples.

"If relevant laws are not amended or enacted within the said two years, two persons of the same sex who intend to create the said permanent union shall be allowed to have their marriage registration effectuated at the authorities in charge of household registration, by submitting a written document signed by two or more witnesses in accordance with the said Marriage Chapter", said the court in a press release.

Then, marriage equality can become law in two years.

The ruling came about after a local activist, Chi Chia-wei, challenged Taipei city government’s rejection of his and his long-time partner’s application to marry in 2013. The two were refused a marriage certificate at a local Taipei registration office.

Lisa Tassi, East Asia Campaigns Director at Amnesty International, said in a statement: "The judges have today said yes to marriage equality. This is a huge step forward for LGBTI rights in Taiwan and will resonate across Asia. Lawmakers must act swiftly to ensure Taiwan becomes the first in Asia to make genuine marriage equality a reality.

As today’s ruling makes clear, whoever you love, everyone is entitled to the same human rights and equal protection under the law".

Thousands took the streets in Taipei to celebrate the court decision 

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Gay prisoners have been moved to a new unknown location in Chechnya

Prisoners at the largest concentration camp for gay men in Chechnya have been moved to a new unknown location.

According to Novoya Gazeta, the newspaper that exposed the abuse of gay people in the autonomous Russian region, police have refused to participate in any official investigation.

When it was first revealed gay men were being kept in a concentration camp in Chechnya, former prisoners said they were kept in a former military barracks in Argun.

But when the Investigative Committee of Russia arrived there, with the location and description accurate to former prisoner testimony, the camp had been buried to its roof in construction debris.

Investigators and activists fear have been moved to a new unknown location. Novoya Gazeta has also claimed of how Chechen security forces are exerting pressure on relatives of victims and fugitives.

A short film shows the attempted genocide of gay men in Chechnya.

Protesters turn up in pink triangles outside Chile
Foreign Affairs Ministry, in the capital Santiago, 
to protest Chechnya’s gay concentration camps

Pray for Manchester

Monday, May 22, 2017

13th Romanian Gay Pride was held against government moves to curtail LGBT rights

Some 2,000 people joined a gay pride march in the Romanian capital of Bucharest on Saturday, demanding greater rights.

The gay pride march, now in its 13th year in Romania, comes after lawmakers approved an initiative that could amend Romania’s constitution to explicitly state that marriage is a union between a man and woman. The wording now is a union between “spouses”.

Participants also held a minute of silence as they passed the Russian Embassy in solidarity with gays in Chechnya, where dozens have been detained and tortured.

Some 30 ambassadors expressed support for the march and for protecting the rights of the LGBT community, included the US Ambassador Hans G. Klemm who was among those taking part.

After fully decriminalizing homosexuality in 2001, Romania has made major progress on LGBT rights, passing extensive anti-discrimination and hate-crime laws, and equalizing the age of consent. Although in the last ILGA's list about LGBT-friendly countries in Europe, Romania is the 35 country of 49, with only 21% of acceptance.

Despite the pouring rain, people marched without failing

Sunday, May 21, 2017

All countries in Europe have been ranked for LGBTI rights

Europe is generally considered to be very LGBTI-friendly.

Time ago, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled that all member countries should grant equal rights to same-sex couples. But how well are countries really doing?

That’s the question the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA) is looking to answer with their annual Rainbow Index and the Rainbow Europe Map.

This year’s edition was released on May 17, just in time to mark the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT).

Out of the 49 countries, 18 have full marriage equality and one – Estonia – recognizes same-sex marriages entered abroad. Out of the rest, a majority of countries offer at least civil partnerships, and LGBTI protections are widespread.

Topping this year’s list is Malta, with 88% equality. At the bottom of the list sits Azerbaijan, where the LGBTI community is deemed 5% equal to their straight .

Out of the Scandinavian countries, once hailed some of the most LGBTI-friendly countries in Europe, only Norway still has a score of 78%. 

Here is the full list:

1 Malta 88%
2 Norway 78%
3 United Kingdom 76%
4 Belgium 72%
5 France 71%
6 Portugal 69%
7 Finland 68%
8 Denmark 68%
9 Spain 67%
10 The Netherlands 64%
11 Croatia 62%
12 Sweden 60%
13 Austria 56%
14 Germany 54%
15 Ireland 52%
16 Greece 47%
17 Iceland 47%
18 Luxembourg 46%
19 Hungary 45%
20 Slovenia 44%
21 Montenegro 39%
22 Andorra 35%
23 Estonia 33%
24 Albania 33%
25 Bosnia&Herzegovina 31%
26 Switzerland 31%
27 Kosovo* 30%
28 Serbia 30%
29 Czech Republic 29%
30 Cyprus 29%
31 Slovakia 28%
32 Italy 27%
33 Georgia 26%
34 Bulgaria 23%
35 Romania 21%
36 Ukraine 19%
37 Poland 18%
38 Liechtenstein 18%
39 Lithuania 17%
40 Latvia 17%
41 FYR Macedonia16%
42 Belarus 13%
43 Moldova 13%
44 San Marino 12%
45 Monaco 10%
46 Turkey 9%
47 Armenia 7%
48 Russia 6%
49 Azerbaijan 5%

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Lithuania first country to grant asylum to gay men fleeing Chechnya

Lithuania has become one of the first countries to give refuge to men fleeing Chechnya because of their sexuality.

It was revealed in April that the Chechen government was detaining, torturing and even killing gay and bisexual men.

Lithuania’s foreign minister, Linas Linkevičius, confirmed his government granted asylum to two men. "I can confirm that we have issued visas to two who came from Chechnya, who were persecuted because of their sexual orientation", he said.

Linkevičius said Lithuania was one of the first countries in the European Union to provide asylum to men from Chechnya and called on other European countries to do the same.

"We have consistently raised these issues with the EU, and in the parliamentary structures of the Council of Europe", he added.

A short film shows the attempted genocide of gay men in Chechnya.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

May 17: International Day Against Homophobia & Transphobia

Today is the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT). 

It is marked as International Day because it was on May 17, in 1993, when the World Health Organization removed homosexuality from its list of mental illnesses. 

The International Day was created in 2004 to draw the attention of authorities, opinion leaders, media and public to the alarming situation faced by LGBT people around the world.

Unfortunately, there are over 70 countries where it is a criminal offence to be homosexual, and in seven of these countries the punishment could be death. This International Day aims to raise awareness of homophobia and campaign against it. 

IDAHOT 2017 will focus on “Families”. This focus includes both the respect of the rights of LGBT families and the role of  families in the well-being of their LGBT members.

Visit the official website for further information.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Support for same-sex marriage edges to new high in the US

Sixty-four percent of U.S. adults say same-sex marriage should be recognized by the law as valid. Although not meaningfully different from the 61% last year, this is the highest percentage to date and continues the generally steady rise since Gallup's trend began in 1996.

The latest update, from Gallup's annual Values and Beliefs poll conducted May 3-7, comes nearly two years after the Supreme Court ruled that states could not prohibit same-sex marriage.

Since then, debates about same-sex marriage have faded somewhat from public discourse as LGBT rights advocates have focused on other issues, such as transgender bathroom access.

Americans' support for same-sex marriage has more than doubled since Gallup first polled on the issue in 1996, when 27% said it should be recognized as valid by the law.

Over the past two decades, Democrats have almost always been the political group most likely to say gay marriages should be legally recognized.

U.S. Protestants, including all non-Catholic Christians, are now about twice as likely to support gay marriage as they were in 1996 (55% vs. 27%). Meanwhile, a majority of U.S. Catholics have consistently supported same-sex marriage since 2011, which is at odds with the Roman Catholic Church's official position opposing same-sex marriage.

Americans have consistently been more likely to say that same-sex relations should be legal than to say that gay marriage should be legally valid, suggesting that the marriage question pushes a moral, religious or cultural boundary for some people that gay relationships do not.

Monday, May 15, 2017

The Big Bang Theory star Jim Parsons has married his long-term partner

The Big Bang Theory star Jim Parsons tied the knot to his partner of 14 years, Todd Spiewak, in the Rainbow Room, a glamorous New York landmark in the Rockefeller Plaza.

The actor, who plays Sheldon Cooper on the show, which was renewed for seasons 11 and 12 earlier this year, generally keeps his private life to himself.

Jim did casually confirm his sexuality publicly in a 2012 interview, and two years later when he and Spiewak were honored by the Gay and Lesbian Student Education Network (GLSEN) with its Inspiration Award he said: "I’m not an activist. We simply live our life".

Congrats to the newlyweds!

First dance, just married!

The Big Bang Theory cast

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Prince William wins British LGBT Awards

The second-in-line to the British throne, HRH Prince William, has been given the Celebrity Straight Ally of the Year at this year’s British LGBT Awards.

The awards took place this evening at the Grand Connaught Rooms in Covent Garden, London. 

Prince William was unable to attend the event in person, but sent a video message for screening at the event.

"I have encountered a number of tragic stories about LGBT young people who have sadly felt unable to cope with the abuse they face in their lives", he said.

Watch his video below.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Filipino contestant wins Mr. Gay World 2017

Filipino contestant has been crowned Mr. Gay World 2017, snagging the Philippines’ first win in the pageant. 

John Fernandez Raspado bested over 40 contestants to win the competition, which took place in Madrid and Maspalomas, Spain.

The 36-year-old entrepreneur will now serve as an ambassador for the global LGBT community, focusing on HIV advocacy.

John also celebrated his victory with a message on the Mr. Gay World Philippines Facebook page: “Thank you to the people behind MGWPO (Mr. Gay World Philippines), especially to Wilbert Tolentino, for always guiding me on my journey to success and to those who helped me backstage and my fellow candidates”, he wrote.

“This is is not only for my family but also for the gay men like me who have principles and a purpose to fight for”, he added.

Congrats hunk!

Mr. Gay World 2017 with 1st and 2nd runners

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Short film shows the attempted genocide of gay men in Chechnya

Out of the 1,268,989 people in Chechnya, there were 107 homosexuals. As of this morning, there are 104 homosexuals. By the start of Ramadan, there will again be none.

A harrowing new short film on Vimeo is showing what gay men in Chechnya go through, both in the country’s concentration camps and at the hands of their families.

Unchechen was created by digitalSTAGE and Inkbrew Productions, an award-winning theater company from Manchester, England.

The film focuses on two men, one of them a gay man, lured into a trap which lead to his detention in a concentration camp, and the other one of his capturers.

"There are only three things that can happen to such a person in Chechnya", he says. "They can leave, the can kill themselves, or they can be killed. They are Unchechen. Unpeople".

His victim tells the story of how he was detained, and how detainees are tortured in the camps.

"Electrocution is the best. It means they don’t want to leave any mark", he says. "That they’re in fear of some recrimination. The real terror starts with the beatings. That’s when you know they have impunity. Nothing can stop them. No one cares", he added.

Watch Unchechen below, and donate to Rainbow Railroad to help more Chechen prisoners escape. 

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

A gay Indian movie released on Netflix

More than a year after it was made, Sudhanshu Saria's debut feature film Loev (2015) was released on Netflix last week. This means viewers in India can finally watch it without the censor board, and other assorted moral custodians, coming in their way.

Loev, which had its world premiere at Estonia's Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival in November 2015, was selected at Austin's prestigious South By Southwest Film (SXSW) Festival in 2016. The film's Indian premiere took place in October last year at the 18th Mumbai Film Festival, but it didn't have a commercial release.

In spite of its critical acclaim abroad, Loev is unlikely to be commercially shown in Indian theatres, at least not without significant cuts. For, like its oddly spelled title, Loev is an unconventional love story involving three men, one that is illegitimate in the eyes of the Indian State.

The film opens with Sahil (beautifully played by the late Dhruv Ganesh) struggling to pack in the darkness of the flat he shares with his flamboyant partner, Alex (Siddharth Menon). Brazenly irresponsible, and just as charming, Alex has forgotten to pay the electricity bill. A familiar squabble follows, and even without a hint of physical intimacy, Saria establishes a chemistry between the two men.

The real drama, however, unfolds when Sahil meets his old friend Jai (Shiv Pandit), a wealthy Wall Street broker who is on a business trip to Mumbai. The two take off on a brief holiday to Mahabaleshwar, where, in the course of 48 hours, they confront a repressed intensity in their relationship. By the time they've got back to Mumbai, their dynamics have acquired a fevered pitch.

Apart from the riveting performance of its cast, Loev stands out for its sharp focus on the inner turmoil of its characters, instead of putting a premium on their sexual orientation or Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code that criminalises their desire. By the time the sexuality of the protagonists is manifested physically, the viewer is too absorbed in their humanity and the pathos of their stories to register it as anything other than organic and seamless.

Watch the trailer below:

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Merkel asked Putin to help gay people in Chechnya

The German Chancellor publicly called upon the Russian leader to help protect LGBT people in Chechnya.

During a visit to Vladimir Putin’s summer residence in Sochi, Angela Merkel challenged the leader over the ongoing detention and abuse of gay men in the Russian republic.

She also touched upon reports that Russian LGBT activists had been arrested after protesting the reported ‘gay concentration camps’ that are in use in the region.

“We believe in an exchange even if there are differences of opinion. We spoke about the rights and opinions of civil society here in Russia,” Merkel said, while stood next to Putin. “The right to demonstrate is important in a civil society, and I also highlighted the roles of NGOs", she added.

“We have received negative reports on the way that homosexuals are dealt with in Chechnya particularly, and I asked President Putin to use his influence to [help] gay people in the region”.

Putin did not respond to Merkel’s comments. The Kremlin and Chechen government have both denied allegations that gay men are being detained and tortured in the region.

Novaya Gazeta first reported in March that around 100 gay men had been rounded up by police and detained in what is widely being referred to as a modern-day ‘concentration camp’.

Moreover, Human Rights Watch later confirmed the horrific reports, adding that the information coming through was “consistent” with “numerous trusted sources” they had spoken to on the ground in Russia.

One survivor who escaped from the camp revealed that Chechen police are telling parents to kill their gay sons, or they will do it themselves.

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

It does not look that Putin is going to 
help gays in Chechnya or the rest of Russia

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Love can never be wrong!

Model-turned-songstress Keeana Kee got a head start on summer with the steamy video for her debut single "Coconut Rum and Coke".

Los Angeles-based singer, who is openly gay, told that her video was inspired in part by homophobia she experienced during her years in the fashion industry. "I went through some discrimination in my life working as a fashion model, so I really hope to make a difference by encouraging people to be themselves no matter what, and to stand up for themselves, even if it seems impossible", she said.

Keeana said she had no qualms about featuring a same-sex love interest in her debut video. "I’m very confident with my sexuality, so I was comfortable to be myself in the video". And she added: "I want to show the world that there is nothing wrong with being gay".

She hopes audiences will see her song as "romantic, sexy and slightly cheeky" rather than anything overtly political. "I hope that this video reminds people that they can go wild in their fantasies and it can never be wrong!".


Thursday, May 4, 2017

Trump finally signs religious liberty executive order

As advertised, Donald Trump has signed the religious liberty executive order today, for the National Day of Prayer, after pressure from Republicans including Ted Cruz and Mike Pence.

Trump ditched explicit anti-LGBT language from the executive order but campaigners say it’s still setting up an attack on equality. In fact, the act is expected to be only the beginning of weakening LGBT rights in the United States.

Like the earlier draft of the order, this bill would prevent the federal government from taking action against a person “on the basis that such person believes or acts in accordance with a religious belief or moral conviction that marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman”.

This order is incredibly alarming, particularly for millions of LGBT people and women across the nation who are among those most frequently subjected to discrimination under the guise of religion.

This is not religious liberty, this is license to discriminate!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Trump wants to sign religious liberty executive order

Donald Trump has invited conservative leaders to the White House for what they expect will be the ceremonial signing of a long-awaited and highly controversial executive order on religious liberty.

The signing would represent a major triumph for Mike Pence, whose push for religious-freedom legislation backfired mightily when he served as governor of Indiana, and his allies in the conservative movement.

The original draft order, which was leaked on February, would have established broad exemptions for people and groups to claim religious objections under virtually any circumstance. 

Liberals blasted the draft order as government-licensed discrimination, and the White House distanced itself from the leaked document in a public statement.

Pence and a small team of conservative allies quickly began working behind the scenes to revise the language, and in recent weeks have ratcheted up the pressure on Trump to sign it. 

The new draft is being tightly held, but one influential conservative who saw the text said it hasn’t been dialed back much since the February leak. 

Trump is poised to sign an executive order that would be a “License to Discriminate” against LGBT Americans and individuals of any religion in their homes, at work, in cities and towns across the United States.

You can add your name now to tell Trump and Pence that you stand against this religious imposition here.

Mr Gay World 2017 will be held in Spain

The same year that Madrid will organize the WorldPride 2017, the 9th edition of the international Mr. Gay World will be held in Spain. 

From 5 to 10 May, representatives from the five continents will visit the cities of Madrid and Maspalomas, in Gran Canaria island, where the great Final Gala will be held within the celebrations of the Maspalomas Gay Pride.

During those days, the participants will perform different cultural, sports and social activities, all related to the requirements and tests to qualify for Mr. Gay World title. 

Since 2009, Mr. Gay World has become the most important international event in the world, in its category, which main goal is to search ambassadors of LGBTI rights, who will assume the responsibility of being spokespersons in the visibility of equality and diversity.

The past editions of the contest have been held in Malta, Italy, the Philippines, Norway, Canada, South Africa and Belgium. In the 2016 edition, celebrated in Malta, a Spaniard obtained for the first time the tittle, Roger Gosálbez.

Recently Spain was choosen the best country for LGBT tolerance.

Roger Gosálbez, Mr Gay World 2016

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Hunk of the month May: Andrea Denver

Andrea Salerno, known as Andrea Denver, was born in Italy in 1991, and he holds a degree in Communication Sciences at the University of Verona. He is a famous Italian model and started his career when he was 19.

Andrea has travelled all around the world being represented by Wilhelmina Miami, Wilhelmina Los Angeles, Soul Artist Management New York and UNO - Barcelona Madrid.

He worked for Ralph Lauren, Hugo Boss, MacCosmetics, Brooks Brothers, Colcci Brazil, Lui magazine, Abercrombie & Fitch, Diadora, Daks London and Daks Sport... 

Also he appeared in some music videos next to Jennifer Lopez in “I Luh Ya Papi”, to GRL group in "Ugly Hearth", and to Taylor Swift's Blank Space.

His popularity is growing continuously in the USA and worldwide, also through social media as Instagram (@andreadenver3), Twitter (@andreadenver3) and verified Facebook page (AndreaDenverOfficialPage).