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 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

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!!!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

One million people attended Rio de Janeiro Gay Pride

One million of revelers gathered on Rio de Janeiro’s iconic Copacabana beach on Sunday to celebrate the city’s annual Gay Pride Parade. The theme of this year’s parade: resistance.

Now in its 22nd year, the event draws tourists from around the world and has become Brazil’s second largest street party after the world-famous Carnival.

Mayor Marcelo Crivella offered no city funding this year, but organizers said they were able to finance festivities with the support of private businesses and organizations.

Despite the country’s liberal reputation, Brazil has one of the highest rates of violence against homosexuals in Latin America.

One reveller said that discrimation is still rife in Brazil saying that homosexuals face “a daily battle”. “This is not just a party. You have to show society that you exist, that you pay your taxes, and that things have to be more equal for everybody”, he said.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Canada will apologise for LGBT discrimination in the past

The Canadian government will formally apologise for historic discrimination committed against LGBT Canadians.

Trudeau wrote: “On November 28, the Government will offer a formal apology to LGBTQ2 Canadians in the House – for the persecution & injustices they have suffered, and to advance together on the path to equality & inclusion”.

The apology will be given to the hundreds of LGBT Canadians who were discharged from the military or fired from the civil service. A programme to root out gay and lesbian people was carried out until the late 80s, because it was a thought they posed a threat to national security. Authorities used a creation called the Fruit Machine to supposedly identify homosexual people.

Earlier this year Justin Trudeau vowed to tackle historic LGBT injustices, saying: “Our government believes in equality and equal treatment for all Canadians. That is why we are moving forward on legislation that makes it possible to erase the convictions of Canadians who were unjustly convicted of a crime, simply for who they were, or who they loved”.

Thanks Mr. Trudeau! Thanks Canada!

Sunday, November 19, 2017

All public LGBT events banned in Turkish capital

On Wednesday, the Ankara Governor’s office banned the screening of four queer German-language films, citing terrorism and public safety.

From now, he has just banned all LGBT events. The prohibition encompasses films, lectures, exhibitions, performances and Pride parades. 

“Starting from November 18, 2017, concerning our community’s public sensitivity, any events such as [LGBT] cinema, theater, panels, interviews, exhibitions are banned until further notice in our province to provide peace and security”, a decree issued on Sunday read.

Turkey has long been seen as one of the more welcoming of majority-Muslim countries, but activists complain President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has cracked down on LGBT freedom. 

In recent years there has also been an alarming rise in prejudice and violence: Last year, a gay refugee from Syria was beheaded in Istanbul, the same year a young trans woman was murdered and set on fire in a middle-class neighborhood.

Just this summer, Turkish authorities announced they would not allow the Istanbul Pride march on Sunday, the third year in a row the celebration has been banned. The Istanbul Governor's office said the Pride march would be banned to keep public order and for the safety of participants and tourists.

A new step back on LGBT rights in Turkey.

Demonstrators who defied the ban on Istanbul Pride 
were met with rubber bullets and tear gas in Taksim Sq.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Exciting proposal after Australia said Yes to marriage equality

Mark Keevers proposed to his long-time partner Andrew, after the latter finished a match playing for gay water polo team, the Melbourne Surge.

Keevers planned the proposal for the day after the postal survey results on same-sex marriage were revealed. Thankfully for him, Australians voted 61.6% in favour to legalize same-sex marriage.

As soon at the water polo match ended, Keevers walked up to Andrew and put a rainbow flag towel around his shoulders. Then the song Hold My Hand by Jess Glynne was cued from nearby speakers.

Some surge players quickly stripped down to their swimsuits and turned around to reveal each player had a a letter on their backsides spelling out ‘marry me’.

Keevers then gave an emotional speech before asking Andrew to marry him. Andrew said yes, of course.


Thursday, November 16, 2017

Gay Games will be held in Asia for the first time ever

Organisers of the Gay Games have confirmed that Hong Kong will be the host city in 2022. It means that the LGBT event will take place in Asia for the first time since it first began back in 1982.

A record 17 cities put forward a bid to host the Gay Games in 2022, with Los Angeles in the U.S., Tel Aviv in Israel, and Guadalajara in Mexico all ultimately missing out on this occasion.

The games are expected to bring more than 15,000 participants to the host city, and generate over $128 million to the local economy.

“This is a big step forward for Hong Kong itself to be able to win this world game… and it is also a big step for diversity inclusion”, said Alfred Chan, chairman of Hong Kong’s Equal Opportunities Commission.

There are hopes that hosting the Gay Games will push Hong Kong to update its rights for LGBT citizens. Same-sex marriage is currently not recognised, while sexual orientation and gender identity are not included in anti-discrimination laws.

Before Hong Kong, however, the Gay Games will travel to Paris in 2018. With participants from more than 70 countries across 36 different sports, the Gay Games 2018 will take place between 4-12 August at the French capital.

The torch will visit Hong Kong

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Australians have said a massive Yes to marriage equality

Australians vote Yes to same-sex marriage in historic result.

After years of debate, the government decided to ask Australians for their thoughts through a nationwide postal survey. Almost 13 million Australians voted in the country’s non-binding postal ballot.

The results have just been announced and there's no question: most Australians believe equal marriage is the way to go, 61.6 percent said Yes to 38.4 percent voted No.

Australia now looks likely to become the 25th country in the world to introduce marriage for same-sex couples, but the postal vote doesn't guarantee anything. Now, the Australian government has to listen to their citizens and approve marriage equality once and for all.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who is a personal supporter of the equality law, pledged that his government would support the move in the case of a Yes vote. However the decision ultimately has to be approved by parliament.

Bravo Australia!!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

California approves LGBT-inclusive textbooks for primary schools

California has become the first state to approve LGBT-inclusive history books for primary schools. The California state board of education approved the 10 new textbooks for K-8 schools. 

In doing so the state became the first in the US to approve LGBT-inclusive textbooks.
Two other textbooks were rejected as they did not include LGBT history and were in violation of the state’s 2011 Fair Education Act.

The decision means that LGBT students, and those with LGBT families, will finally be able to see themselves and our history accurately reflected in textbooks in California.

The legislation, written by Senator Mark Leno, requires social sciences and history curriculums to teach about LGBT history and people with disabilities.

Equality California's director, Rick Zbur, said: “This long fought victory is the next step for California students to learn about the contributions and history of LGBT people. Approval of these textbooks means that California schools will now have access to approved materials that accurately represent LGBT people”.

The LGBT-inclusive books are growing day by day

Monday, November 13, 2017

New Delhi hosts 10th annual Queer Pride march

Hundreds of LGBT people, activists and allies marched in the streets of New Delhi on Sunday. Despite gay sex still being illegal in India, this marks New Delhi’s 10th annual Queer Pride march.

The crowd sang, danced and celebrated as people from all walks of life, identifying with different sexual orientations and genders got together at Delhi’s Barakhamba metro station to march till Jantar Mantar.

This historic protest-cum-celebration represents a milestone ten years of collective struggle to battle all forms of shame, stigma, transphobia, homophobia, and socio-economic hierarchy, at a time when such an assertion of dignity and self-respect grows in need and vitality, said the community’s manifesto.

One of the organizers of the event, Manak Matiyani, recognizes his wealth and education privileges that allow him to live openly as a gay man in India. He notes, however, that not everyone is so lucky. "We’re fighting for the right of everybody in this country to live as an equal citizen, which means that everybody should be able to live their life the way they want to", he said.

According to Indian law, gay sex is punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Besides, this law is often abused by police and community leaders to threaten people or extort money from them.

In 2009, the New Delhi court declared the law unconstitutional. Yet, this ruling was overturned four years later. Last year, the court said they’d reconsider this decision.

Love is love!

LGBT community demands equality and the end of discrimination

Friday, November 10, 2017

Kids with same-sex parents are doing just fine, according to a new study

The study analyzed data from the American National Health Interview Survey from 2013 to 2015 and proved kids with same-sex parents do just as well as kids with straight parents.

The researchers looked at data for around 21,000 children between the ages of 4 and 17. The survey analyzed the emotional, mental and psychological health of both children and parents.

It’s the latest research in a flood of previous studies proving same-sex parents are just as qualified in raising kids. In fact, some studies suggest they’re even better.

This study found there is no increased difficulties for kids with homosexual partners. It did, however, find kids with bisexual parents had slightly poorer scores.

Researchers then took into account the psychological stress suffered by the parents and the difference vanished. They theorize this is probably a result of the hardships parents face in a society that stigmatize their sexual orientation.

The authors also suggest a more inclusive society might help reduce that stress, and improve the mental wellbeing of kids with bisexual parents.

Why am I not surprised?

Children just need people who love them, regardless 
of the gender or sexual orientation of their parents

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Celebrities sing against anti-LGBT hate crime in Brazil

Despite hosting one of the world’s largest Pride festivals in Sao Paulo, and offering a number of legal rights like same-sex marriage, Brazil is often named the most dangerous places to be LGBT.

Last year, it was reported that 1,600 people had been killed in anti-LGBT attacks in just four and a half years, meaning that, on average, one LGBT person is killed in a hate-motivated crime each day in Brazil.

To help raise awareness of the growing issue, Brazilian singer Yann has enlisted the help of a number of A-list celebrities including Celine Dion, Britney Spears, Demi Lovato, Boy George and more for his new music video.

The track itself, called Igual, is a charity single and will act as the theme song for Rio Pride this year. All proceeds from sales and streams of the single will go towards Grupo Arco-Íris, a charity helping Brazil’s LGBT community.

“Unfortunately, most of the world isn’t aware that Brazil is an incredibly dangerous place for the LGBTI community”, Yann told. “It was important for me to help shine a stronger light on what’s happening here, because Brazil’s actually the country with the highest LGBTI murder rate in the world. Yet all of this is disguised under our dichotomous liberal lifestyle”, he added.

Watch the video below:

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Virginia elects the first openly trans person to the statehouse

A Virginia politician made history becoming the first openly transgender person to be elected to any state legislature in the United States. 

Danica Roem, 32, just won a seat in the Virginia House of Delegates, defeating Republican incumbent Robert Marshall in the 13th District. Roem, a former journalist, won a surprise victory in the Democratic primary in June. 

She took on the ultra-conservative Marshall, who has been in office for more than 20 years and who has taken anti-LGBT stances. For instance, he proposed the state’s (ultimately failed) “bathroom bill” that would have required transgender people to use the public restroom that corresponds with the sex on their birth certificate.

“Discrimination is a disqualifier”, a jubilant Roem said as her margin of victory became clear. “This is about the people of the 13th District disregarding fear tactics, disregarding phobias . . . where we celebrate you because of who you are, not despite it”.

Congrats Danica!

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Sydney Opera House lights up in rainbow colours to celebrate the launch of 2018 Mardi Gras

Thousands of people descended on the Sydney Opera House to watch its iconic sails light up in rainbow colours. The rainbow sails were a celebration of the official launch of the program for the 2018 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.

This year’s launch also has special significance as it comes in the final days of Australia’s national postal ballot on same-sex marriage.

Mardi Gras is one of the world’s biggest LGBT events and will celebrate its 40th year in 2018. Next year’s theme is 40 Years of Evolution and the festival will 17 days of jam-packed parties, performance, exhibitions, family and community events. 

Sydney’s Mardi Gras started in July 1978 when a group of gay and lesbian took to the streets to protest the criminalization of homosexuality. They were cornered by police and assaulted. Many who were arrested were outed and lost their jobs when the Sydney Morning Herald published their names in the newspaper.

Sydney Mardi Gras Parade is the biggest LGBT event in Australia

Monday, November 6, 2017

Singer who won The Voice Australia writes anthem supporting same-sex marriage

Alfie Arcuri, who became the first openly gay contestant to win The Voice Australia, has written an emotional anthem to help support the marriage equality vote.

“The time has come for our voices to be heard”, Alfie said. “This is much greater than just marriage, this is about acceptance and human rights”, he added.

The message of the song Love is Love urges Australians to see the world through a child’s eyes where equality and love reigns.

The former architect also recalled the moment his grandmother voted yes in the recent vote for Marriage Equality in Australia. “It was a very emotional moment for me when my nonna voted yes ­ particularly knowing how much she struggled in the beginning with my sexuality”, Alfie said.

Polls suggested that most of Australians intend to vote in favour of same-sex marriage.

It's time Australia!

Saturday, November 4, 2017

The ultimate guide for gay dads

A new book explores the questions, answers and other issues involved with being a gay parent. As all gay dads know, parenthood comes with ups and downs. It will bring you indescribable joy but will also draw upon all your emotional strength.

LGBT parents face their own challenges. Some of those faced by gay dads are explored in the excellent new book, The Ultimate Guide for Gay Dads, by Eric Rosswood.

Rosswood wrote the book partly from his own experiences of being a parent. He also believes a book aimed directly at gay dads was needed. "For example, you won’t find information on how to hold a baby and get the perfect nipple latch during breast-feeding", he says. "Instead, the book compares donor breast milk and formula to help gay dads decide which is right for their baby", he added.

Besides covering childcare, there’s also a section on the awkward questions gay dads sometimes get asked. And advice on how they deal with them. 

Eric Rosswood is an in-demand authority
and commentator on LGBT issues including 
civil rights, parenting, marriage and politics

Friday, November 3, 2017

Democratic Leader Pelosi calls on Egyptian Speaker of the House to condemn anti-LGBT persecution in Egypt

At a bipartisan meeting today in the U.S. Capitol, Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi directly called on Dr. Ali Abdel Aal Sayyed Ahmed, Speaker of the Egyptian House of Representatives to denounce the assault on civil liberties involving anti-LGBT persecution, NGO activity and attacks on religious minorities in Egypt.  

Leader Pelosi also hand-delivered a letter addressed to the Egyptian Speaker detailing her strong concerns.

As Leader Pelosi writes: "Last month, America watched in horror as Egyptian security forces forcibly arrested at least 71 citizens after they peacefully raised the rainbow pride flag at a concert. As you know, at least twenty of these innocent people were sentenced to up to six years in prison, solely because of who they are and whom they love. Several more were subjected to humiliating physical examinations internationally considered to constitute torture". 

"America has long been one of Egypt’s largest donors and steadfast allies in building a safer, more secure region. As such, our nation has an obligation to speak out against these despicable violations of human rights and dignity". 

“We respectfully request that you denounce the ongoing assault on civil liberties in Egypt, and in particular condemn this law and these attacks on the LGBT community. We call on you to facilitate the release of the innocent LGBT men, women and allies who still languish in jail. We also urge you to stop the criminalization of NGOs, many of which are doing life-saving human rights work. It is long past time for Egypt to end its attacks on its own people”.

Full text of the letter can be found here.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

US Senate condemns persecution of LGBT people in Chechnya

The U.S. Senate last night adopted a resolution condemning what is happening to LGBT people in Chechnya

Since December, hundreds of men have been persecuted on suspicion of homosexuality. Many were tortured and at least 10 have been executed. Zelimkhan Bakaev, a well-known Russian pop singer, is feared to be dead after visiting Chechnya in August.

Senators Pat Toomey and Ed Markey introducing the bipartisan Senate Resolution 211. The resolution calls on Chechen officials to immediately cease the abduction, detention, and torture of individuals on the basis of their actual or suspected sexual orientation. And hold accountable all those involved in perpetrating such abuses. It also calls on the US government to continue to condemn the violence and persecution in Chechnya.

This means the entire U.S. Congress has now unanimously spoke out against the atrocities because the U.S. House of Representatives passed a similar bipartisan resolution in June.

Neither Donald Trump or Secretary of State Rex Tillerson have publicly spoken out against the situation. Despite the deafening silence from the White House, the people of the United States strongly condemn the anti-LGBT attacks in Chechnya.

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

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Terrorist truck attack shocks New York City

A man driving a rented pickup truck mowed down pedestrians and cyclists on a bike path alongside the Hudson River in New York City, killing eight people and injuring about a dozen others in what authorities said was an act of terrorism.

The 29-year-old driver was shot by police after jumping out of the truck with what turned out to be a fake gun in each hand, officials said. He was taken into custody. His condition was not immediately disclosed.

Witnesses described a scene of panic and blood, with people screaming in fear and the path strewn with mangled bicycles and bodies that was soon covered with sheets. The attacker also ran his truck into a busload of disabled children but fortunately with no one inside.

A new coward and no sense terrorist attack.