Friday, December 29, 2017

Over 40 million Twitter users worldwide supported gay footballers in a campaign

The #ComeOut2Play project urged Twitter users to sign up to a Thunderclap so they could tweet their support for a professional footballer to come out publicly in a move to make the sport a more inclusive game.

The campaign is completed and the tweet reached a monumental 40,498,594 people worldwide, saying: “When a gay footballer comes out, I will support them. It doesn’t matter who they score with off the pitch”.

Whenever the media talks about homophobia in football, they focus on players coming out. Coming out is always an individual choice. But without doubt, it’s made easier when people know there’s support.

True football fans should care only that their heroes play well, win matches and wear their team’s colours with pride. 

True football fans should care that their heroes can be themselves. 

True football fans should do not care who their heroes score with off the pitch, only that they score on it. 

Awesome initiative, in order to promote the values of the game and ensure football provides everyone a safe and welcoming environment.

Football unites for rainbow colors

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Ten federal judges have rejected Trump's transgender military ban for now

Donald Trump’s July 26 tweet announcing that “the United States Government will not accept or allow Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military”. 

An approach amplified by an official August 25 Memorandum has encountered unanimous resistance from 10 federal judges who have had a say on it. Nine of the 10 were appointed by Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, and one was appointed by President George H. W. Bush.

Trump’s Memorandum set out three policies: a requirement that all transgender personnel be discharged, a ban on allowing trans individuals to enter the military, and a ban on use of Defense Department or Homeland Security Department funds to pay for sex reassignment procedures for military members. The Memorandum assigned the Defense Department the task of figuring out how to implement these policies and reporting back to the president. Prior to that, nobody would be discharged or denied medical treatment.

Four lawsuits were filed in different federal district courts shortly after the policy was announced, with complaints alleging an equal protection violation and a variety of other claims. All sought preliminary injunctions to stop the Trump policies from going into effect while the cases are litigated and specifically asked that the Pentagon adhere to the previously announced January 1 lifting of the ban on transgender enlistment.

The district court judges all accepted the plaintiffs’ arguments that simply announcing the policies and instructing the Defense Department to devise a method of implementing them threw the lives of transgender service members and those planning to enlist into turmoil and uncertainty. The announcement also disrupted plans for sex reassignment surgery for several of the plaintiffs, three of the four judges found.

Each judge agreed that the high standards for issuing a preliminary injunction against the government were easily met, embracing the view that policies treating people adversely because of their gender identity should be reviewed by the same standard as those discriminating on the basis of sex.

On December 22, a three-judge panel of the DC Circuit issued an opinion explaining its refusal to grant a stay, writing that the government has “not shown a strong likelihood that they will succeed on the merits of their challenge to the district court’s order. As the district court explained, the sheer breadth of the exclusion ordered by the Memorandum, the unusual and abrupt circumstances surrounding the President’s announcement of the exclusion, the fact that the reasons given for it do not appear to be supported by any facts, and the recent rejection of those reasons by the military itself, taken together, strongly suggest that Plaintiffs Fifth Amendment claim is meritorious”.

Federal judges may too polite to say so, but the clear implication of their opinions is that Trump lied in his original tweet when he said his decision was made “after consultation with my Generals and military experts”. To date, neither the president nor anybody speaking for him has identified any specific military leaders or experts who were consulted prior to his July tweet. 

Trump's July 26 tweet banning trans soldiers in the U.S. Army

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

One in four young people were made homeless in the UK this year is LGBT

Vince Cable, the new Liberal Democrat leader, who carried out the research, says the revelation exposes a "national scandal": Over ten thousand LGBT young people were made homeless in the UK this year.

Freedom of information requests from 234 councils across the country shows 45,000 18-24 year-olds came forward to local authorities in past year. Figures show that of young homeless people in the UK, one in four is LGBT.

Therefore, of the astonishingly high number of young people who have come forward to say they are either homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, an estimated 11,250 are LGBT.

Moreover, once homeless, LGBT youth are more likely to experience targeted violence and discrimination. They are also more likely to abuse drugs, face sexual exploitation, and take more risks in their sex lives.

However, with more than 100 local authorities not providing information, the real statistic could be much higher.

Cable added: "These figures reveal the hidden homelessness crisis affecting young people. The situation is being made worse by recent government decisions, stripping young people of housing benefit".

Vince Cable: "I'm shocked by the number of homeless"

Friday, December 22, 2017

The journalist who broke the news about Chechnya's murderous homophobic campaign is awarded by Harvard University

A Russian journalist who broke the news of Chechnya’s homophobic purge is to be honoured by Harvard University.

Elena Milashina, a journalist for the independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta, uncovered evidence of campaign of abuse against gay men in Chechnya that shocked the world. 

She did so against a backdrop of violence and oppression that risked her life in publishing the reports.

The disturbing reports, since corroborated by human rights groups, also alleged that the gay men are being held in secret concentration camp-style prisons where they face torture and abuse.

Harvard is to now honour her with an award recognising integrity in journalism.

The Harvard group selected Milashina for what they called her “groundbreaking and persistent investigative reporting on human rights abuses in Russia while enduring threats from powerful figures”.

It said Milashina had had to “work in the face of hostility and persecution from the nation’s leaders”, receiving death threats from Chechen officials and religious leaders for her reports of gay men being rounded up, detained, and tortured in the southern Russian region.

We cannot keep quiet, sign a petition to stop atrocities against gay men in Chechnya here.

Milashina received the International Women of Courage
award at the US State Department in 2013

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

European deputies ask Turkey to revoke ban on LGBT events

Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have called for Turkey to revoke a blanket ban on LGBT events.

The Turkish capital city Ankara last weekend banned all LGBT events, citing “public sensitivity”. 

The move came a few days after a German gay film festival was banned from taking place in the city.

Any exhibitions, public performances, cultural events and cinema relating to LGBT people, have been banned by the Governor’s office. 

And now a letter has been issued, signed by 20 MEPs, calling on Turkey to roll-back the ban.

It reads: 

We are deeply disturbed by the statement by the Ankara Governor’s Office of 19 November regarding the decision to ban indefinitely any event organised by LGBTI organisations, such as the projection of films, staging of theatre plays, panels, discussions and exhibitions, citing “social sensitivities and sensibilities”, “public security”, “protection of public health and morality” and “protection of others’ rights and liberties” as grounds for the ban.

As Members of the European Parliament, we call on Turkish authorities to immediately revoke this ban and restore the right to freedom of assembly as guaranteed in the Turkish constitution.

This suppression of the freedom of assembly for LGBTI people and their allies, is completely unacceptable and is a blatant violation of international law, to which Turkey is bound. This right was upheld several times by the European Court of Human Rights (notably in Bączkowski and others v. Poland (2007) and Alexeyev v. Russia (2010)). Further the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights protects sexual orientation from discriminatory laws and practices under its Articles 2 and 26, including when it comes to freedom of expression and assembly (Art. 19 and 21).

The ban is the latest in a series of crackdowns on the LGBTI community and those who speak out in favour of their rights, and the consequences are felt beyond Ankara, as LGBTI events in other cities have been banned too. In Bursa the screening of the film “Gaci Gibi” was banned; in Istanbul the screening of “Queer Shorts” was banned by the District Governorship of Beyoğlu; also the German LGBTI Film Days Festival in Ankara was banned prior to the statement.

Furthermore, we are worried that the ban increased hate speech against the LGBTI community. Following an attack in the media, a workshop on “Gender Based Journalism” in Mardin, which was planned for November 18, had to be cancelled.

In light of the above we urge Turkish authorities first and foremost to revoke this ban and work to ensure full respect for the right to peaceful assembly of all, including LGBTI people, in line with international law and the Turkish constitution.

Turkish police broke up Gay Pride Parade in Stanbul last years

Monday, December 18, 2017

Top Indonesia court rejects petition to criminalise gay sex

A slim majority of judges on Indonesia's Constitutional Court have ruled against a push to make gay sex and sex outside of marriage a crime in the country's criminal code.

In the suit, brought in 2016, a group of academics and activists known as the Family Love Alliance petitioned the court to alter the criminal code in order to criminalise acts of casual sex or sex between people of the same sex.

But the decision, handed down by five of the court's nine judges, rejected the push saying the authority to introduce such a law does not lie with the court but with the Indonesian parliament.

The judges suggested the activists who brought the suit instead take their views to the parliament, which is currently working to revise the criminal code.

The decision is a considerable victory, and source of relief for LGBT Indonesians, who have faced increased scrutiny over recent years.

There has been increased attention on Indonesia's attitude to LGBT rights in the past two years, following a wave of anti-LGBT sentiment at the beginning of 2016.

Indonesian police made several mass 
arrests over LGBT people in 2017

Sunday, December 17, 2017

First same-sex weddings take place in Australia since the new law

The first same-sex weddings have taken place in Australia today after the country’s same-sex marriage law came into effect.

Royal assent was given to the same-sex marriage law on 8 December following on from a historic postal vote earlier this year which saw more than 61 percent of Australians vote Yes for same-sex marriage. 

Australia’s parliament earlier this month legalised same-sex marriage, passing a bill to allow two people, regardless of sex, to marry. The motion was approved almost unanimously by the House of Representatives, after passing the upper chamber the previous week.

It is expected that the next same-sex weddings will take place on 9 January following the waiting period, but some couples had sought an exemption from the waiting period given their circumstances.

Despite a 30-day waiting period after couples registered to marry, two weddings took place today. Lauren Price and Amy Laker were the first to marry in Sydney this morning. And Amy And Elise McDonald have married a couple of hours later in Melbourne.

Congrats to the newlyweds!!

Congrats Lauren and Amy!

Congrats Amy and Elise!

Friday, December 15, 2017

The gayest cake is... in Canada!

Chris Farias, a man from Hamilton, Ontario, wanted to celebrate his engagement to partner Jared Lenover, and he called up a local bakery, Cake and Loaf Bakery, and requested the gayest cake they could make. 

After he requested the cake, this is what the bakery said: ‘Without hesitation, and with much excitement, they said “We’ll do it!!!”

Complete with a rainbow cake, flowers, affirming messages, and a unicorn horn, it really might be the gayest cake ever.

"Being part of the LGBT community isn’t easy for many", Farias said. "And that’s an huge understatement. But I am proud of who I am, and how far WE have come. I am proud to be a gay Canadian who can order a cake and not get turned down because of who I love. I love this country, and I love my community", he added.

While the United States is debating whether or not a bakery has to provide cakes for gay couples, a bakery in Canada is doing one better. Awesome!

Chris (right) with his partner Jared, a proud Canadian couple

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Australia’s ambassador to France proposes to boyfriend

Australia has seen an outpouring of love since the legalisation of equal marriage last week, but grand romantic displays haven’t just been limited to Aussie shores.

The Australian ambassador to France put a smile on faces across the world after celebrating the occasion by proposing to his shocked partner of 11-years just hours after Thursday’s vote.

Sharing a video of the proposal on Twitter, Bendan Berne wrote: “Today was a great day for Australia and for me. HE SAID YES!”

In the video, the 47-year-old can be seen outside the Eiffel Tower in Paris where he explains his intention to propose to his unsuspecting partner Thomas.

“As Australia’s Ambassador to France I am responsible for laying the foundations for the relationship between my country, Australia, and France,” he says.

“Now, as Australia has just approved marriage equality, it is my turn now. My turn to ratify my own relationship with my partner of 11 years, Thomas.

“He is not aware of what I would like to do now. Now, it is only a question for me to pop the question. I am ready to ask the question. We’ll see!”

Approaching his partner, Berne says: “Thomas, we’ve been together for 11 years. As the parliament has just approved the bill on same-sex marriage. I would like to ask the question. Would you give me the pleasure of marrying me? I hope this is the right question!”

Of course, Thomas accepts, before the newly-engaged pair embrace in front of the camera.


Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Justin Trudeau appears on the cover of Attitude Magazine

The Attitude Magazine reports:


In the summer of 2016, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made history as the country’s first leader to march at a Gay Pride event.

Now, the Liberal Party politician is marking another milestone as Canada’s first Prime Minister to appear on the cover of an international LGBT magazine.

In a world exclusive interview and shoot in the January issue of Attitude – available to download and in shops from Friday 8 December – Mr Trudeau, 45, opens up about the growing fear and division in world politics, equality, his first two years in office, and how his work at a student sexual assault centre shaped his political career.

“If you allay people’s anxieties and fears about their own economic future, about their jobs and about their kids’ futures, it’s easier to build a cohesive, inclusive and positive society,” he says.

“The politics of fear and division don’t work that well.” he adds.

Read Justin Trudeau’s full world exclusive interview in the January issue of Attitude here.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Gay clubs raided in Belarus

Human Rights First’s Shawn Gaylord cited growing persecution of LGBT communities in Belarus, following reports of anti-gay purges in Chechnya, Azerbaijan, and the launch of a "gay registry” in Tajikistan. 

“The reports out of Belarus are alarming. It is alarming that police targeted legal businesses, violated the privacy of their patrons, demanded personal information, and dragged some away to detention,” Gaylord said.

Two nightclubs popular with LGBT patrons were raided in Belarus, where police harassed and detained numerous patrons. Patrons at Club 6A in Minsk were lined up against a wall and videotaped as they stated their name, address, and occupation. A similar raid was conducted one day later in Vitebsk, the country’s fourth largest city. Two weeks later plainclothes officers raided Club 6A again, detaining some 40 people.

These operations were more like a special operation against criminals, trying to frighten and intimidate those who dared to proclaim their homosexuality publicly in Belarus.

This isn’t the first time gay clubs have been raided in the region.

OMON officers in a gay club

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Hunk of the month December: KJ Apa

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

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

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

A talented guy with a promising career.