Friday, March 30, 2018

Get some Taipeilove* in your life

In May last year, Taiwan made history as the first country in Asia to give the green light to same-sex marriage.

Essentially, the Council of Grand Justices ruled that it was unconstitutional not to allow same-sex couples to marry. In its ruling it gave legislators a two year deadline to make a law allowing same-sex marriage to happen.

It’s been almost a year, but the country isn’t any closer to same-sex couples heading down the aisle.

Since May last year, religious groups have tried to start a petition to overturn the court’s ruling, Taipei hosted Asia’s biggest Pride parade ever, lawmakers continually found excuses not to make marriage equality law and a Taiwan court refused to recognize the marriage of a gay couple wedded overseas.

Taiwan’s longest-running marriage equality activist Chi Chia Wei sums it up pretty well: ‘You’re almost home yet you need to wait outside the door for the next year and a half’.

Thankfully one filmmaker has been there to capture Taiwan’s unbelievable path to marriage equality in a unique ‘passion project’.

Germany’s Lucie Liu, decided to document Taiwan’s struggles to achieve marriage equality in her documentary, taipeilove*.

Liu saw an opportunity to tell the world about the ‘huge step’ for an Asian country to approve same-sex marriage. She hopes Taipeilove* will have a positive impact on other Asian countries.

Go Taiwan!

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Same-sex marriage bill for Northern Ireland to be introduced at UK Parliament

A bill to legalise same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland is set to increase pressure on Theresa May to act, amid the failure to restore power-sharing in Belfast.

A Conservative peer introduced the legislation in the House of Lords on Tuesday, ahead of an identical move by a Labour MP in the Commons a day later.

The move comes after the Government said it was willing to allow a free vote “on matters of conscience such as equal marriage” in Northern Ireland, despite the matter being devolved to Belfast.

It is almost 15 months since the collapse of the devolved admini,stration at Stormont, with little prospect of restoring it in the near future making it impossible for Northern Ireland to legislate.   

The Love Equality campaign for equal marriage said its preference was for the Northern Ireland Assembly to act, pointing to “overwhelming support” from the public in the province.

Love Equality pointed out that, in November 2015, a majority of members of the Stormont Assembly voted to support equal marriage.

However, the measure was blocked by the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) using a “Petition of Concern”, a mechanism to veto measures without sufficient cross-community support.

It's time Northern Ireland!

Monday, March 26, 2018

San Francisco airport will name new terminal after Harvey Milk

A terminal at San Francisco International Airport is set to be renamed in honour of Harvey Milk. He was the first openly gay politician to be elected in America. 

Milk moved to San Francisco in 1972, where he lived in the Castro district, owned a camera shop, and advocated for the rights of LGBT people in the growing gay neighborhood. In 1977, he won his election to the San Francisco board of supervisors, becoming the first openly gay elected official in America. One year later, Milk was killed in San Francisco city hall by a former supervisor who also killed the mayor, George Moscone.

Milk’s rise to power and subsequent assassination was a watershed moment for the LGBT rights movement, sparking anger at the homophobic persecution still present in society.

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors Budget and Finance Subcommittee is set to advance an ordinance “amending the Administrative Code to name Terminal 1 of the San Francisco International Airport after former Supervisor Harvey Milk”.

It says: “Harvey Milk believed strongly that we have to give hope to young people who still suffer bullying in schoolyards, anti-gay violence from family and others, and psychological damage from growing up in a homophobic and transphobic society. In order to honor one of the nation’s great gay leaders, raise awareness of the history of the LGBT movement, and give hope to young LGBT people in cities everywhere, the Board of Supervisors finds it fitting that a terminal at the San Francisco International Airport be named in honor of Harvey Milk.”

Thanks Harvey Milk!

Saturday, March 24, 2018

March for our lives takes the streets

Survivors of the deadly shooting rampage at a Parkland, Florida, high school are leading thousands in a March for Our Lives on Washington DC, delivering their impassioned pleas for stricter gun control law to the nation.

The movement started in the aftermath of the massacre with media appearances by student survivors such as Cameron Kasky and Emma Gonzalez, has drawn celebrity support.

Building on the momentum of last week's National School Walkout, these members of a generation raised on gun violence have rallied Americans around their cause while honoring the 17 students and faculty members killed on February 14 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

The main event began at noon, with participants gathering hours earlier on Pennsylvania Avenue near the US Capitol. As the crowds showed up Saturday morning, the turnout seemed to portend a massive standing-room-only rally.

Hundreds of sister marches were planned across the country and around the world as students, teachers, parents and survivors of school shootings take their defiant message against gun violence to the seats of power.

Protect kids not guns!

Cameron Kasky speaks at the March For Our Lives 
event in Washington DC

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Children's Book About Mike Pence's Gay Bunny Jumps to No. 1

John Oliver's new kids' book about Vice President Mike Pence's family pet rabbit, Marlon Bundo, finding same-sex love is now sold out.

Oliver's book “A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo,” written and published on the quiet, is about Pence’s bunny falling in love with another male bunny and getting married. “Because that’s absolutely fine, and It’s a sweet children’s book”, Oliver said.

The book, made in collaboration with Chronicle Books to benefit AIDS United and The Trevor Project, a charity seeking to end suicides among LGBT youth, is currently being reprinted.

The book was published one day before the release of its inspiration: a picture book called "Marlon Bundo's A Day in the Life of the Vice President", written by the VP's daughter Charlotte and his wife Karen.

The parody version of the book was the No.1 bestseller on and the Pence version ranked 15th.

Marlon Bundo's cute same-sex wedding

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Today is World Down Syndrome Day

Every year World Down Syndrome Day is celebrated on March 21st. 

On this day, people with Down syndrome and those who live and work with them throughout the world organize and participate in activities and events to raise public awareness and create a single global voice for advocating for the rights, inclusion and well being of people with Down syndrome.

World Down Syndrome Day has been oficially recognised by the United Nacions since 2012. The Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, said on 21 March 2012: "On this day, let us reaffirm that persons with Down syndrome are entitled to the full and effective enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms. Let us each do our part to enable children and persons with Down syndrome to participate fully in the development and life of their societies on an equal basis with others. Let us build an inclusive society for all".

Down syndrome is a naturally occurring chromosomal arrangement that has always been a part of the human condition, exists in all regions across the globe and commonly results in variable effects on learning styles, physical characteristics or health. Adequate access to health care, to early intervention programmes and to inclusive education, as well as appropriate research, are vital to the growth and development of the individual.

This year, 50 mums across the UK made a special video to mark World Down syndrome Day. They can be seen signing along to Christina Perri’s song A Thousand Years. Watch the awesome video below:

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Rally for the SOGIE Equality Bill in Philippines

Hundreds of people turned up to a rally in the Philippines to call for a LGBT rights bill to become law.

Protestors congregated at the People Power Monument in Quezon City to encourage national senators to vote in favor of the SOGIE Equality Bill.

The SOGIE Equality Bill would make it illegal to discriminate against people because of their sexual orientation and gender identity expression.

Some of the discriminatory acts which would become illegal include; denial of access to public services, hiring and dismissal in the workplace, access to education or expulsion of students, harassment by law enforcement and outing someone without consent.

The People Power Monument pays tribute to the country’s 1986 People Power revolution. It was a series of massive demonstrations to protest regime violence and electoral fraud. Now, People Power also includes the fight for LGBT equality. 

No more delays. The time for love and equality is now!

Monday, March 19, 2018

Same-sex adoption is now legal everywhere in Australia

Same-sex couples can now adopt children anywhere in Australia.

The Northern Territory (NT) was the last region of the country holding out against the tide of progress, until this week. 

In a historic move, lawmakers added amendments to the NT Adoption of Children Act which mean that same-sex couples, as well as de facto couples, can now legally adopt.

Before now, only straight couples were allowed this right.

The decision comes after the federal Parliament’s followed the country’s wishes, expressed in the overwhelming 62 to 38 percent result of the postal vote, by legalising equal marriage.

The Northern Territory’s Minister for Families, Dale Wakefield, said that the change in legislation would be good for both same-sex couples and kids.

Australians voted Yes to same-sex marriage in historic result

Saturday, March 17, 2018

The clip for Ireland's Eurovision entry features a gay couple

Ireland has unveiled its entrant for the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest in Lisbon, and the music video features a moving same-sex romance.

The country has unveiled the track for the contest, with former Britain’s Got Talent finalist Ryan O’Shaughnessy set to represent Ireland with the song ‘Together’. 

The song is a moving ballad following a painful break-up, with the forlorn singer reminiscing about their past romance. The lyrics do not explicitly reference the gender of the lover, but the track’s official music video makes clear it is about a gay couple.

The clip features dancers Alan McGrath and Kevin O’Dwyer as a couple on a date walking through the streets of Dublin’s Temple Bar, before busting out in an emotional same-sex dance routine.

Russia has threatened not to broadcast Ireland’s Eurovision Song Contest entry because it features a same sex couple, breaching the country’s law banning ‘gay propaganda’. Ryan O'Shaughnessy tweeted: "The Russians are now threatening a broadcasting ban because of my video for ‘Together’. Anti-gay propaganda regime at its finest! Hilarious if you ask me.."

Watch the clip below and enjoy:

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Posters featuring black same-sex couples are going up on high streets across London

The campaign from gay men’s health charity GMFA is aimed to reach out at the city’s queer black and minority ethnic community, who are often not represented in public health campaigns. 

Posters of black same-sex couples holding hands have been displayed on high streets across South London, including Brixton, Streatham, Kennington and Waterloo.

The ads, as part of the ‘Me. Him. Us.’ initiative, were developed by black gay and bisexual men, aims to increase levels of HIV testing in the community, bearing the message: “I test for HIV because it looks after both of us. Testing is easy and confidential.”

The campaign wants to inspire more young black gay men get tested, take care of themselves and their partners to improve the health of all LGBT community.

Good initiative!

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Brazil's Supreme Court authorizes gender modifications on civil registry without surgery

Brazil's Supreme Court unanimously decided that Brazilians can change their genders on the civil registry without having to undergo a sex-change operation or having to wait for legal authorization. 

The court also ruled people would not need a medical or psychological evaluation to update their names and gender. Besides, there would be no minimum age to make the changes on the registry.

The change can be made at a notary's office.

"The ruling is a line in the sand that should be celebrated. Up until now, bureaucratic procedures had been on the rise for those who wanted the civil registry to reflect their gender identity and their names," said the Federal Prosecutor Carlos Eduardo Paz.

"From now on and without further constraints, transgender individuals can demand that the state fully recognize their right to happiness without having to face any kind of prejudice or institutional violence," he added.

While the recent legal victory is remarkable, there’s still a long way to go to protect trans people. Brazil has one of the highest rates of violence and murder against trans people in the world. 

A good step in the right direction in any case.

Sâo Paulo trans march is one of the largest in the world

Monday, March 12, 2018

Disneyland holds a new edition of 'Mini Gay Day'

Gay Days is one of the most popular “unofficial” events at Disneyland, drawing crowds annually the first weekend in October. 

Six months before, Disneyland holds the Mini Gay Day, a casual meet up for gays, straight allies and everyone in between, wear red to show their support and mingle with the gayest people in the happiest place on Earth. It is like a scaled-down spring version of  Gay Days.

Gay Days Anaheim's official site explains what Mini Gay Day is: “For many of you, one gay day a year just wasn't enough. And we hate to disappoint. So, since 2003, we came up with 'Mini Gay Day' which happens exactly six months before the big bash".

None of these event are presented by Disney, and Disney does not offer information about the festivities, but Disneyland Resort is supportive of the events and the many guests it brings to their parks, hotels and restaurants. 

Because these are an unofficial events, the parks are still open to the public, so you don’t need a special ticket to visit them.

Whether it's March or October, put on your red shirt and get ready to ride!

A group photo of this Mini Gay Day edition

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Federal court rules transgender people covered by law banning workplace sex bias

A federal judge has ruled that a federal law banning sex bias in the workplace does apply to transgender workers.

The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Wednesday that RG & GR Harris Funeral Homes in Detroit violated Title VII when it fired a funeral director after she said she planned to transition from male to female.

Aimee Stephens, formerly known as Anthony Stephens, worked for the funeral home for several years before she told the owner, Thomas Rost, that she planned to transition. She was subsequently fired by Rost.

Rost argued that employing Stephens would be an imposition upon his religious beliefs and would also be a distraction to his customers.

The court of appeals reversed a lower court ruling in favor of Rost.

This is an important victory for transgender people and allied communities across the U.S.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Uganda could hold Pride events again

Isaac Mugisha, co-ordinator of Pride Uganda, is determined and optimistic that Ugandan LGBTs will hold a Pride event in Kampala later this year, without it being shut down by the authorities.

If the event does go ahead, it will be the first Pride held successfully in the East African country since 2015. 

In 2016, Uganda Pride events were the subject of a brutal crackdown by police and some activists were arrested. The 2017 events were crushed by police again. 

Simon Lokodo, the minister of state for Ethics and Integrity, has been threatening Pride-goers with arrest, even violence. Lokodo has made the repression and persecution of the country’s LGBT population a personal crusade.

Mugisha said that in recent months in Uganda “cases of people being arrested, put in police cells, and tortured have been greatly reduced.”

I really hope things are changing in Uganda.

Mugisha plans a Pride Festival in Uganda this year

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

LGBT crackdown continues in Chechnya

Last year, the Russian LGBT Network received unconfirmed evidences suggesting a massive campaign against the LGBT community in Chechnya.  

On April 1, due to the first publication of "Novaya Gazeta", the entire world learned about an unprecedented wave of the illegal detentions, tortures and murders based on hatred towards homosexual people

During 2017, over 170 people contacted with Russian LGBT Network asking help. Many of them needed urgent evacuation, and some of them already left the region and wanted to share their stories. Due to the enormous support of the organizations and individuals all around the world, they were able to save 106 people from Chechnya and to help 88 of them to leave the country.

Russian LGBT Network fundraised 479,064 euros (including the private donations and money sent by partners) for saving Chechen people. Out of that, 57.350 euros were donated through their website by people all around the world.  

All the evacuated people received all necessary support, including medical and psychological assistance, accommodation and food, basic necessities and much more. 

In 2018, detentions and torture of homosexual people in Chechnya continue. People in trouble still contacting them, and they are doing the best to help them. Now, they ran out of the funds needed to keep on evacuating.  

You can help them here, as I did.

Monday, March 5, 2018

'A Fantastic Woman' wins Oscar for best foreign film

Chilean movie 'A Fantastic Woman' has won the Oscar for best foreign language film at the 90th Academy Awards.

Directed by Sebastián Lelio and written by Lelio and Gonzalo Maza, the film marks the first Chilean entry for the foreign language Oscar since Pablo Larraín’s No, and the first ever Academy award for Lelio.

A Fantastic Woman follows Marina, a transgender woman played by Daniela Vega, who is in a relationship with Orlando, a man 30 years her senior. When Orlando dies of an aneurysm, Marina becomes an object of suspicion for his family, who see and treat her as a rogue, and she must figure out how to work through her grief while external forces make things even more difficult. 

In addition, Daniela Vega became the first openly transgender person to present an award at the Oscars.

The film's journey began last year at the Berlin International Film Festival, where the movie had its world premiere. The movie won a Silver Bear for best screenplay as well earning the Teddy Award for best LGBT film at the festival. 


Sunday, March 4, 2018

Adam Rippon is the new face of GLAAD

After the Winter Olympics, Adam Rippon has been announced as the new face of GLAAD’s youth engagement campaign.

The openly gay figure skater not only won a bronze medal, he also won the world’s hearts with his charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent at the Olympic Games in South Korea. After arriving back in the US, Adam has already been fielding a string of media offers.

Appearing on the Ellen DeGeneres Show, he announced his first partnership with LGBT non-profit GLAAD.

Speaking about his relationship with GLAAD, Adam said, “I’m working with GLAAD’s youth engagement program and you know this is so important because we’re reaching these kids and they’re becoming activists in their community". 

Adam afirmed: "When I was young, to have somebody out there that I could’ve looked up to, it would’ve made a world of difference, and it would’ve changed my life."

“It is really important for the youth out there to have somebody, and have a face on television and sports and every area, and say that there are gay people everywhere, and know you’re not alone", he added.

This guy is awesome!

Friday, March 2, 2018

The European Parliament condemns 'gay cure' therapy

The European Parliament has overwhelmingly voted to condemn gay ‘cure’ therapy and urged member countries to ban the harmful practice. By 435 votes to 109, it adopted a text calling on member states to outlaw the discredited practice. 

It is the first time the Parliament has made the specific disavowal of conversion therapies.

Experts overwhelmingly agree that attempts to cure sexuality are futile, misguided, and often extremely harmful. Attempts to force people to repress their sexuality have been linked to depression, self-harm and even suicide.

Text says: “The European Parliament welcomes initiatives prohibiting LGBTI conversion therapies and banning the pathologisation of trans identities and urges all Member States to adopt similar measures that respect and uphold the right to gender identity and gender expression”.

Performing gay cure therapy on minors is already is illegal in nine US states and counting, as well as Switzerland, Malta, Taiwan, two Canadian provinces, and the Australian state of Victoria.

There is a group of MP working for 
LGBT rights in the European Parliament

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Queer Britain, the first LGBTQ+ museum in the UK

A campaign to create a new national museum, called Queer Britain, which would celebrate the richness and diversity of the nation’s LGBTQ+ inheritance, is being launched in London.

The National LGBTQ+ Museum will play host to a series of permanent and temporary exhibits, positioning itself as an essential resource for the community to preserve and celebrate the memory of figures, stories and issues of LGBTQ+ community.

“It is a necessary and long overdue resource,” said Joe Galliano, a former editor of Gay Times, and leader of the campaign. “We don’t underestimate the challenge, but artefacts and people’s stories are being lost every day and we need to save them. Already many of the people, inevitably mainly men, who directly experienced the situation before the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality in 1967, are no longer with us.”

Galliano added: “In literature, in sport, in art, in engineering, in science, there is no aspect of life in Britain in which LGBTQ people have not had an influence. It is time their stories were told and celebrated. It’s time we took up the challenge and told this story ourselves.”

The group has identified a potential site in Southwark, south London, for the museum and hope to see a building open there in 2021 serving also as a visitor attraction and social centre. Galliano, who has experience in corporate fundraising, acknowledged that the cost would be many millions, both to establish and run the centre.

Plans for Queer Britain: The National LGBTQ+ Museum were announced at an intimate reception in Hotel Café Royal, London, which has its own place in gay history, having been a favourite hangout of Oscar Wilde.