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 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

Sunday, September 24, 2017

LGBT people are arrested and tortured in Azerbaijan

Over the last several days, LGBT activists in Azerbaijan, a country in the South Caucasus region, report a sudden crackdown on people who do not correspond with ‘national traditional values’.

Eyewitness reports claim authorities detain LGBT people, beat, verbally abuse and force medical examinations on transgender people. Some reports even suggest authorities are shaving the hair of transgender women.

Samad Ismayilov, president of Minority Azerbaijan, received an anonymous testimony from a detained LGBT person. He told: "I was with my friends in the downtown around 12am and a group of people approached us asking what we are doing there. We were 5 people, they took us to the police car saying that they need to identify us". And he added: "They treat you like you’re a murderer and they even arrested one of my friends who works at a bakery. They took him from his workplace".

President of the Nefes LGBT Azerbaijan Alliance, Javid Nabiyev, confirmed the reports in a Facebook video. He starts in the video: "Suddenly, without any clear reasons to us, police officers from the Ministry of Internal Affairs organized raids against gay and transexual people. For sure we know that more than 50 people are arrested".

Azerbaijan ranked the worst place in Europe to live as an LGBT citizen, after meeting only 5% of a leading rights organisation’s criteria for legal equality.

Although homosexuality is legal in Azerbaijan, the 2016 index draws attention to the country’s failure to protect its LGBT community from hate crime and discrimination. 

Nabiyev afirmed: "Each year, hundreds of LGBT people are exposed to physical, psychological and economic violence by their family members and the people around them. They are killed, forced to live a double life, commit suicide or leave the country".

Azerbaijan is following in the steps of Chechnya.

Check here

Friday, September 22, 2017

Russian human rights activist to face trial for promoting "gay propaganda” reports this:

HRC is alarmed that Evdokia Romanova, a human rights activist in Russia, has been charged with and is awaiting trial for “promoting homosexual propaganda.” Russia is one of three countries in the world that criminalizes so-called “propaganda” supporting LGBT rights.  

Romanova works at the Samara Regional Public LGBT Movement and is a member of the Youth Coalition for Sexual and Reproductive Rights (YCSRR). On July 26, she was called to the local police station to serve as a witness and testify for a different case, but was immediately put under investigation and charged with promoting “homosexual propaganda,” according to Collective Evolution. 

Romanova shared pro-LGBT links on Facebook and through the YCSRR from 2015 to 2016. One post was of an article from BuzzFeed News on a Saint Petersburg photo exhibit of Russian LGBT youth.

According to Collective Evolution, Romanova has now received death threats on social networks including comments on how she should be murdered.

The law that Romanova has presumably broken was passed in 2013 and punishes people that promote “non-traditional sexual traditions.” HRC and many international human rights organizations have expressed their concern for this discriminatory law that violates the freedom of expression and have called for its repeal. 

Also in the Russian Federation, horrific atrocities against the LGBT community have been ongoing in Chechnya and HRC members have been raising their voices through our  #EyesOnChechnya campaign.

Romanova was to appear in court on September 18, but was told her court appearance has been postponed. The case is likely to be heard within two weeks.

HRC is urging our members and supporters to take action and condemn this human rights violation. Take action now and express your concerns through our partner Amnesty International here.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Australia’s national rugby union team endorses ‘Yes’ for gay marriage vote

The Australian national rugby union team has publicly stated its support for marriage equality in a Facebook post that drew both support and criticism.

Almost 10,000 people loved or liked the post, with only about 500 people showing some level of disgust for the team’s position.

The outsiders’ perspective of Australia is often one of freedom and equality, yet the country lags behind North America and Europe in embracing marriage equality. 

In addition, Aussies have anecdotally painted to Outsports a picture of Australia that leaves LGBT rights in a limbo about a decade behind the United States.

Various professional sports organizations have publicly endorsed marriage equality in the last few weeks, including both the Australian Rugby League and Australian Rugby Union. 

While at least one prominent Australian rugby player, Israel Folua, has come out publicly against the same-sex marriage vote, rugby player David Pocock has been an incredible champion for gay equality.

It's time Australia!

David Pocock said he won't legally marry 
with his partner Emma until gays can

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Oktoberfest has been criticized for asking 'discretion' to gay people.

One of the websites of the Oktoberfest, the famous Munich Beer Festival, has been harshly criticized for recommending gay people to be "discreet".

The sentence appears on "Homosexuals would do well to be discreet" is the phrase which appeared among the recommendations on this popular party that started last weekend. "Not all Oktoberfest visitors are tolerant enough with the presence of gay male couples" it says. The website is not an official site.

Volker Beck, deputy of the Green Party and one of the most well-known gay rights activists, sent a letter of protest to the mayor of Munich, Dieter Reiter: "It can not be that gays and lesbians can not visit the biggest German holiday without danger", he said.

The first Sunday of the Beer Festival is dedicated to gay people and has been celebrated for decades with the assistance of visitors from all over Europe, over 7,000 last Sunday. The fact is no attacks or insults against homosexuals have been reported, according to the Police.

Enjoy beers hunks!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Belgrade hosts the 4th Non-Violent Pride

On Sunday, the fourth non-violent Pride March took place in Belgrade, Serbia. 

In three previous years, 5,000 policemen were there to protect a few hundred Pride March participants from possible violence. This year, there were more visitors and less policemen, but still the same security measures, the city’s downtown was in lockdown during the three-hour event.

Around 1,000 in total attended, including a few local politicians and MPs, openly lesbian prime minister Ana Brnabic, a few ambassadors, many foreign and local activists, many straight allies. 

A small truck with fierce local queen Alex Electra led the colorful crowd through Belgrade city center and ended with a short party on the city’s main square. 

The Pride March itself went well, but what is the position of LGBT community and state of human rights in Serbia during the remaining 364 days of the year?

Most of the queer people in Belgrade and Serbia are too scared to attend the Pride March, which is why messages that resonated among guests and speakers included: “We are walking for those who can not join us” and “you are not alone.” 

There are almost no publicly out celebrities and many queer people are still struggling with violence and repression on an everyday basis while state institutions and most of the media fail to address the matter.

For years now, the LGBT community in Serbia has hoped to see the government delivering legislative changes helping same-sex couples or transgender individuals, but things haven’t moved much beyond empty promises. Serbian politicians keep repeating how “we have gone a long way” and assuring the public that “the government will respect the rights of all citizens, both the majority and minorities,” like PM Brnabic said ahead of Belgrade’s 4th Pride March. Unfortunately, the reality is different.

The openly lesbian PM Ana Brnabic (right)
attended the Pride March

Monday, September 18, 2017

NYC march planned to demand action from U.S. government for the LGBT Chechens

Though the gay purge in Chechnya has fallen to the wayside in favor of fresher headlines for the largest media outlets in the country, gay Chechen men still live their daily lives in fear that they could be abducted and tortured by their own government.

On October 14, 2017, Voices 4 Chechnya, a New York-based group plans to march from the Stonewall Inn to Trump World Tower demanding action in the form of humanitarian parole visas from the U.S. government for the persecuted LGBT Chechens.

“Every day queer Chechens are rounded up, abducted, tortured, and killed. Over 20 Chechens have escaped and are living in safe houses in mainland Russia, with no way out,” the group said in a release.

News of the ghastly situation in Chechnya broke earlier this year when tales of survivors began to leak into the global news stream. When confronted, Chechen president Ramzan Kadyrov denied any sort of government-sponsored program rounding up gay men, because according to him there are no gay men in Chechnya. 

Over the summer when a Trump official met with a Russian official, he didn’t even bring up Chechnya during their conversation, citing a lack of time. 

“Humanitarian parole visas are essential because, currently, tourist visas are no longer an option,” the group said. “These individuals are hiding from their relatives, and the Chechen and Russian governments, making applying for tourist visas virtually impossible. It is crucial to recognize these people as victims of genocide, and the humanitarian catastrophe currently taking place in Chechnya,” the group added.

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

Friday, September 15, 2017

Most Americans oppose restricting rights for LGBT people

Most Americans oppose restricting the rights of LGBT people, a new report from Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) has found.

The main findings are:
  • 72 percent of Americans favor laws that would protect LGBT people from discrimination in jobs, public accommodation, and housing.
  • 66 percent of the country is in favor of marriage equality.
  • 64 percent of the public favor allowing transgender people to serve.
  • 50 percent of the public oppose laws that would require transgender people to use bathrooms that match their birth sex rather than their current gender identity. 

More details can be found here.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

A summer camp provides a safe space for trans kids

Rainbow Day Camp, located in the San Francisco Bay Area, seems like any other summer camp. Children play games, eat packed lunches, and make new friends. However, Rainbow Day Camp is also a non-profit specifically for trans, non-binary, and other gender diverse youth.

Considering 75% of trans youth feel unsafe at school, Rainbow Day Camp can be seen as a safe haven for these children to explore their identities and be who they really are.

Rainbow Day Camp welcomes children between the ages of 4 and 12, and they even have a teen program for adolescents between the ages of 13 and 17.

Experts say Rainbow Day Camp is one of the only camps of its kind that’s open to children as young as preschool age. Since the camp opened three summers ago, enrollment has nearly tripled, attracting children from all over the United States and even as far away as Africa.

With the success of the camp in the Bay Area, the organization is looking to expand to other locations starting summer 2018.


A summer camp where all kids belong

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Boy with two moms gives speech in favour of gay marriage in Australia

A 14-year-old boy with two mothers has urged people to help make sure his parents are allowed to get married.

As voting begins in Australia’s equal marriage postal ballot today, Labor Party leader Bill Shorten held a press conference, but he wasn’t the star speaker.

Mr Shorten, a passionate supporter of equal marriage, gave over his platform to a 14-year-old boy, Eddie Blewett, who had come to Parliament to ask Australians to help make sure his parents can get married.

Eddie said: “People who know my family know that there’s nothing wrong with us. We play soccer in the winter and volunteer for the surf club in the summer". And he added: “I have two parents. They love me, and the love eachother. All couples and all families deserve the same respect and value”.

The young campaigner encouraged people to make sure to Vote Yes.

It's time Australia!

Eddie with his two moms Claire and Neroli

Monday, September 11, 2017

First openly gay rugby player gets NRL to back same-sex marriage in Australia

The first openly gay rugby league footballer Ian Roberts successfully urged the league to publicly support same-sex marriage in Australia.

After a long professional career, Roberts came out as gay in 1995, a world first for the sport.

In the midst of an upcoming same-sex marriage public vote, he wrote to the National Rugby League chief executive Todd Greenberg.

In the email, he urged the code to throw their support behind the ‘yes’ campaign for marriage equality. And on Friday, he received a call from Greenberg to confirm the support.

Roberts said: ‘I’ve never felt so proud about our game. This will save lives’. And he added: ‘This is a moment in time that will be remembered forever’.

In 2015, the NRL publicly came out in support of marriage equality, but this latest move is for the ‘yes’ campaign.

It's time Australia!

Ian Roberts with his partner of 11 years, Daniel

Friday, September 8, 2017

Come Out For LGBT

Come out for LGBT.

We all have a part to play in creating a world where everyone, everywhere can be themselves. 

Each small action can lead to bigger actions, and those bigger actions can lead to massive and life-changing movements.

There’s a whole range of ways you can Come Out For LGBT to show your support and have an impact on the lives of LGBT people you know, and many more that you don’t.

The fight for equality is far from over. Whatever you do and however you do it, it’s time to come out in support of LGBT people.

Take action. Sign de pledge!

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Venice Beach lifeguard tower will keep its gay pride rainbow stripes

A Venice Beach lifeguard tower gets to keep its gay pride rainbow stripes after the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to rescue it from getting repainted to the iconic blue.

“We received 11,000 signatures on a petition from that area, saying no no, we love it, we’d really like to keep it”, said Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, who introduced the motion to let the stripes stand.

The board voted unanimously in support of Kuehl’s motion, which included dedicating the tower in memory of the late Bill Rosendahl, the first openly gay man elected to the Los Angeles City Council. The section of Venice Beach where the lifeguard tower stands also was renamed after him.

The tower, at the end of Brooks Avenue, was wrapped in the rainbow colors of the gay pride flag and dedicated in June. It was meant to be part of a temporary, public art installation to help kick off an LGBT street festival. 

The county’s Board of Supervisors voted in March to allow the original tower to be changed. Venice Pride, a local nonprofit organization, and Dunn-Edwards Paints funded the project. But without the board’s approval, the tower would have been repainted to its original iconic blue because the permit for the installation was temporary.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Romania wants to introduce referendum to stop any same-sex marriage reform

Romania’s Social Democratic Party, who are currently in power, are hoping to introduce a referendum this autumn that would stop any same-sex marriage reform from progressing.

The referendum aims to restrict the constitutional definition of marriage, which should be between a man and woman.

The Romanian Orthodox church have a severely anti-LGBT stance, saying that “there is no such thing as tolerance” when it comes to homosexuality.

Homosexuality was decriminalised in Romania in 2001, but the country has made very little progress when it come to introducing protections for LGBT people.

In the last ILGA's list about LGBT-friendly countries in Europe, Romania is the 35 country of 49, with only 21% of acceptance.

It is not surprising that last Romanian Gay Pride was held against the government moves to curtail LGBT rights.

Remus Cernea, Romanian deputy pro-LGBT rights

Monday, September 4, 2017

Same-sex kisses on the cover of Vogue Italy

The September issue of Vogue Italia will feature three cover variations, two of which depicting same-sex kissing.

For the male-on-male cover, models Edoardo Velicskov and his real-life boyfriend Pablo Rousson are captured in a steamy close-up, and for the female-on-female cover, models Lily Aldridge and Vittoria Ceretti display an equally intimate black and white moment, surrounded by tall grass.

While you’d think covers such as these are no big deal in the liberal country, renowned worldwide for its reputation of romance and sex, Italy has been a rather late bloomer in LGBT acceptance.

It was only in 2016, that Italy became the last founding country of the European Union to give legal recognition to same-sex civil unions. Italy is also yet to allow same-sex marriage, and has no laws protecting LGBT individuals in the work place or in public.

Other Vogue editions have tried to be more diverse, and to varying levels of success. Vogue Paris’ iconic March issue featured trans model Valentina Sampaio on the cover, and was very popular, however Vogue US suffered a catastrophic fail when they featured Zayn Malik and Gigi Hadid as a ‘gender fluid’ couple on their cover.

Covers such as these from Vogue Italia are exposed on a global platform and do a fantastic job of pushing cultural boundaries worldwide, doing well to spread the message of unconditional love on a significant scale.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

31 gay men escape from Chechnya

Chechen leader President Ramzan Kadyrov has this year overseen a ‘gay purge’ while calling victims “devils” and “not people”.

But some charities are helping people to escape Chechnya and Russia and flee to countries to avoid persecution.

A charity has helped 31 gay and bisexual men escape from Chechnya amid a purge on LGBT people.

Rainbow Railroad on Friday issued a statement saying it had helped 31 people escape Chechnya. It assisted them by arranging emergency visas for Canada and arranging travel arrangements.

70 people have so far escaped to Russian safe houses from Chechnya and Rainbow Railroad, working with the Russian LGBT Network, has said it has been in contact with 140 people in the country.

Many protests around the world call for a
end to the purge of gay people in Chechnya