Sunday, April 22, 2018

Digital Pride is back!

Digital Pride is back from 23 to 28 April. Digital Pride is the world’s first online LGBT event consisting of a week of events, videos and debates, and its message that all LGBT people around the world deserve freedom, equality and protection, will be louder than ever.

Digital Pride is a Pride anyone can take part in, provided you can get online. You can be part of Digital Pride if you live in a country where your sexuality is criminalized. You can enjoy it if your nearest Pride is hundreds of miles away or is difficult for you to access for other reasons. 

One of the first things you can do, if you have a Twitter account, is to send next message on Thursday 26 April: "All LGBTI+ people deserve freedom, equality and protection. I am one of Millions of Us fighting for this world." This message will be displayed on huge screens in Times Square, New York and Canary Wharf, London.

In many countries, it’s not possible to do gay Pride in the street. So this is an opportunity to speak freely. All you need is a computer or a mobile phone. Beyond pure visibility, the other great thing about Digital Pride is that it provides a platform for politics, campaigning, art, culture, music, fashion and so much more.

After all, there are hundreds of millions of LGBTI people around the world, not to mention our friends, families and allies. And if we all pull together, we can build a better world for everyone.

Be pride, be proud!

#MillionsOfUs will broadcast the message, sign up here.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Prince Harry and Meghan take a stand for LGBT rights in the Commonwealth

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have reaffirmed their commitment to championing LGBT equality around the world.

The royal couple met with representatives from the Commonwealth Equality Network (TCEN), a leading Commonwealth LGBT rights group, during a youth forum to mark the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London.

The organisation, which was established in 2013, works to champion LGBT equality around the Commonwealth, where 36 of 53 member states still criminalise homosexuality

Activist Jacob Thomas, who won a Queen’s Young Leaders award for helping to reduce LGBT suicide rates in Australia, said that Harry and Meghan expressed clear support for LGBT equality during the encounter.

Their comments come at the younger generation of British royals continue to use their position to reach out to the LGBT community. The newfound willingness of the Royal Family to embrace LGBT causes demonstrates that LGBT acceptance is not a political issue, but one of basic human rights. 

A few days ago, UK Prime Minister, Theresa May, urged Commonwealth nations to overhaul anti-gay, and the olympic diver Tom Daley called on Commonwealth countries to decriminalise homosexuality.


The royal couple will wed at Windsor Castle on May 19

Thursday, April 19, 2018

No Longer Alone, LGBT voices from the Middle East & North Africa

Many areas of the world remain mired in an era of state-sponsored repression, criminalization, and severe social stigma for their LGBT communities.

In a new video series “No Longer Alone”, Human Rights Watch (HRW) and the Arab Foundation for Freedoms and Equality (AFE) are highlighting queer voices from the Middle East and North Africa. 

Though they live in parts of the world notorious for their mistreatment of LGBT people, the subjects of the series each illustrate the strength and unity the global community finds in one another.

HRW writes: “They are telling their stories, building alliances, networking across borders, developing national and regional movements, and finding creative ways to combat discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Through the campaign 'No Longer Alone,' they offer messages of support and encouragement to LGBT people living in Arabic-speaking countries in the Middle East and North Africa.”

Watch the video below:

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Theresa May urges Commonwealth nations to overhaul anti-gay laws

UK Prime Minister, Theresa May, has urged Commonwealth nations to overhaul anti-gay laws and said the UK deeply regrets its role in the legacy of violence and discrimination.

Campaigners have urged to intervene over the colonial-era legislation affecting millions of LGBT people, as same-sex relations are still illegal in 36 Commonwealth countries.

Speaking at the event in London, May said: “I am all too aware that these laws were often put in place by my own country. They were wrong then and they are wrong now. As the United Kingdom’s prime minister I deeply regret both the fact that such laws were introduced and the legacy of discrimination, violence and death that persists today."

May drew cheers and applause when she told delegates at the Commonwealth heads of government meeting that ”nobody should face discrimination or persecution because of who they are or who they love and the UK stands ready to help any Commonwealth member wanting to reform outdated legislation that makes such discrimination possible.”

May's words was welcomed by campaigners, but pressure remains on Commonwealth leaders to take action. What are they waiting for?

Monday, April 16, 2018

Russia threatens to ban a gay website for promoting non-traditional relationships

Russian government claimed the LGBT site damages the health of minors, and it must remove information on the site within 24 hours. If it fails to comply, the government will block access to the site.

Established in 1997, is one of Russia’s oldest LGBT websites and quickly became major LGBT resource thanks to daily updates. It features more than 30,000 articles and documents in Russian and 500 in English. It is visited by more than three million visitors yearly or over 50,000 hits a day, including weekends.

Russia’s federal censor added the website to its Internet blacklist for spreading so-called “gay propaganda”, banning the site in accordance with a court order. The court reached its ruling despite the website's warning to readers that its content is intended exclusively for adults.

In a letter to the site, the government said: “the information posted on the site is classified as prohibited information directed to distribution among minors capable cause them to interest in non-traditional sexual relations, distortion of the notion of social equivalence of traditional and non-traditional sexual relations and the emergence of the desire to do non-traditional sexual relations, that is a real threat to their health.”

A new step against LGBT rights by Russian government.

In 2015, Russia sued Apple for including same-sex couples Emoji

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Portugal allows trans people to self-identify their legal gender

A new law in Portugal has removed the need for a medical diagnosis before someone can have their gender legally recognised. It now allows trans people in the country to change their legal gender through self-determination. 

The new law also allows people who are 16 and 17 to be able to self-determine, provided that they have approval from a parent of legal guardian.

Portugal is the sixth European country to adopt these laws, following Malta, Norway, Denmark, Ireland and Belgium. This is a big step forward for a country that didn’t have any laws regarding transgender identity until 2011. Previously, trans people in Portugal had to sterilised and sue the state for wrongful attribution of identity before they could transition.

Since the introduction of the Gender Law, 485 people from the country have legally changed their names and gender, according to the country’s Ministry of Justice.

Check an interesting post about transgender community in Portugal here.

The new law narrowly passed Portugal’s Parliament, 
reportedly by 109-106 votes

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Trinidad and Tobago's High Court decriminalises gay sex

Trinidad and Tobago has struck down a colonial-era law that criminalised gay sex in the islands. Under this law, people convicted of gay sex could be imprisoned for 25 years.

The law against homosexuality was originally introduced by British colonialists but has been maintained and encouraged since.

A high court judge ruled that the historic laws banning “buggery” are unconstitutional and will be struck down. The ruling comes after Jason Jones, an LGBT rights activist, sued the government of Trinidad and Tobago in an effort to repeal the colonial-era law.

Judge Devindra Rampersad said in the momentous ruling that the laws banning “serious indecency” infringed on the constitutional rights of the around 100,000 LGBT people on the islands.

“The court declares that sections 13 and 16 of the Sexual Offences Act are unconstitutional, illegal, null, void, invalid and of no effect to the extent that these laws criminalise any acts constituting consensual sexual conduct between adults,” Judge Rampersad said.


LGBT activist celebrating the ruling outside Hall of Justice,
in Port of Spain, the capital of Trinidad and Tobago

Friday, April 13, 2018

Tom Daley calls on Commonwealth countries to decriminalise homosexuality as he wins gold medal

Tom Daley picked up his fourth Commonwealth Games gold last night, as he won the men’s synchronised 10-metre platform dive alongside fellow Brit Dan Goodfellow. 

But Tom took the moment to address the problematic legacy of the Commonwealth on equality.

He said: “Coming to the Gold Coast and being able to live as an openly gay man is really important. You want to feel comfortable in who you are when you are standing on that diving board, and for 37 Commonwealth countries that are here participating that is not the case. And he added: “I feel with the Commonwealth, we can really help push some of the other nations to relax their laws on anti-gay stuff.”

Later on Twitter, he wrote: "37 of the competing nations criminalise being LGBT+. I feel so lucky to be able to be openly who I am without worry. I hope one day every athlete from every nation in the commonwealth will be free to compete openly as who they are too!”

Recently, a petition called on Commonwealth countries to end their anti-gay laws.

Dan and Tom, a pair of champions in and out the pool

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

National Congress president vows to decriminalize gay sex in India

In India, over 1 billion people live in a country where gay sex is illegal.

The National Congress president, Rahul Gandhi, has now vowed to remove the colonial-era law Section 377 that criminalizes homosexuality. He said that during an informal chat, that Congress was in favor of removing the law, but as Gandhi’s party are not in power, it is unlikely he will be able to impact change in government.

In 2012, the Delhi High Court ruled to abolish Section 377 based on an argument of a privacy. That decision was overturned in the 2013 Supreme Court ruling.

And ever since, Indians have been forced to live under a rule that states the only form of sex allowed is in the missionary position between a married heterosexual couple.

Nevertheless, in August 2017, the Supreme Court ruled against ID cards, protectint LGBT rights. The ruling also stated: ‘The rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender population cannot be construed to be “so-called rights”… ‘Their rights are not “so-called” but are real rights founded on sound constitutional doctrine.’

The question of Section 377, and whether it will be repealed, will likely remain with the Supreme Court. It is tabled to be heard by the three judges, but a hearing date has not yet been scheduled.

This decision can be postponed no longer!

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Ukraine gay propaganda law stopped temporarily

The likelihood of a “gay propaganda” law coming to fruition in Ukraine has been temporarily quashed by the country’s anti-discrimination Ombudsman.

Aksana Filipishyna, who is the non-discrimination and gender equality Ombusdman in the country, has demanded the removal of a petition vying for the creation of a “gay propaganda” law, which had accrued 23,000 signatures. 

The petition claimed that “non-traditional sexual orientation of parents have a terrible influence on children’s future life.” It also claimed that adoption by homosexuals was “an act of violence against these children”.

Citing Article 68 of Ukraine’s Constitution, Filipishyna ruled that the petition “encroached upon the rights and freedoms, honour and dignity of other persons”.

“This petition calls to restrict human rights and elements of incitement to restrictions on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, belonging to the LGBT community,” wrote Aksana Filipishyna.

When the revolution succeeded in ousting Yanukovych, many gays were hopeful that Ukraine would further distance itself from Moscow, where homophobia has become official state policy. But now Ukraine’s activists are facing similar problems that LGBT people in Putin's Russia.

Anti-LGBT protestors stamped and burned rainbow flags 
during the last Kiev Pride 2017 opening ceremony

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Protests all over the world against gay purges in Chechnya

Hundreds of people gathered in several international rallies to protest anti-gay purges in Chechnya.

A year ago, news first broke of the arrests of gay men in the semi-autonomous Russian region of Chechnya.

Reports emerged of men being held in secret camps in the predominantly Islamic region. They were being tortured and detained without trial.

A year on and after severe global backlash, activist groups claim the practice is still happening.

So All Out and Amnesty International called on people all over the world to protest outside Russian embassies. International protests were also held in Brasilia, Mexico City, Munich, Berlin, Rome, Stockholm and York.

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

The protest still stands.

Friday, April 6, 2018

A new movie about gay love at professional soccer

A new movie about gay athletes was released this week. Mario, a dynamic and realistic movie of how gay professional soccer players are still seen as out of step in the 21st Century.

Veteran Swiss filmmaker Marcel Gisler directed the film which follows an unexpected love affair between soccer player Mario (Max Hubacher) and Leon (Aaron Altaras) the new striker from Germany, but the path of gay love in this straight world is not an easy one. 

Before long, their relationship is discovered by their team members and rumors begin to spread. Mario realizes this jeopardizes his career as a professional soccer player, but he does not want to lose Leon at any price. He has to make a decision. 

The movie had its premiere at BFI Flare London LGBTQ Film Festival this week and will premiere in North America at Miami’s Outshine Film Festival on April 21.

About same issue, should to see Wonderkid (2016), the story of a young closeted gay professional soccer player.

Watch the Mario's movie trailer below:

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

10 years of Pride in Miami Beach

Miami has some of the best beaches in the world, so it makes perfect sense that the city’s celebration of LGBT life would be held right there, in front of the sea. 

Miami Beach Gay Pride takes place April 2nd - 8th, 2018, and this year is very special because the event is entering its first decade of existence: indeed, the theme this year is ‘10 years of Pride’.

Since its inception in 2009, Miami Beach Gay Pride has grown from a neighborhood event to an event on the global stage  Attendance has grown as well. An estimated 15,000 spectators turned out for the first Pride parade in 2009; an estimated 135,000 attended the event in 2017. 

In the current edition, Olympic silver medalist Gus Kenworthy, whose good-luck kiss with his boyfriend during the February games in PyeongChang was broadcast worldwide, will be celebrity grand marshal of the 10th annual Miami Beach Gay Pride parade on April 8.

And Pulse survivor Laura Vargas 'flips the switch' to illuminate buildings throughout Miami-Dade County in rainbow flag colors, paying tribute to the victims of Pulse nightclub and their families. 

Congrats and enjoy Pride!

Monday, April 2, 2018

Pro-gay marriage candidate wins Costa Rica election

The centre-left's Carlos Alvarado decisively defeated a conservative Protestant singer in Costa Rica's presidential runoff election by promising to allow gay marriage, protecting the country's reputation for tolerance.

Carlos Alvarado, a former minister and fiction writer, had 61 percent of the vote with results in from 95 percent of polling stations, a far bigger lead than predicted by opinion polls that foresaw a tight race.

Voters finally rejected the evangelical pastor, Fabricio Alvarado, who had jumped into political prominence after he came out strongly against a call by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights for Costa Rica to allow same-sex marriage.

The victor wrote in his Twitter account, "Let's celebrate our 200 years of Indpendence with a government worthy and up to date with the times. Today, the world is watching us and we sent a beautiful democratic message."

Congratulations to the new president!

Sunday, April 1, 2018

A petition calls on Commonwealth countries to end their anti-gay laws

A group of LGBT rights campaigners organised by the Peter Tatchell Foundation protested against the criminalisation of homosexuality on Commonwealth Day. 100,000 people have signed a petition calling on Commonwealth countries to roll back their anti-gay laws.

British colonisers made laws outlawing homosexuality that reflected Britain’s own Victoria penal code in every country they went into. But while British politicians have shunned the archaic laws, many of the Commonwealth countries still stick to them.

They include 10 years imprisonment and hard labour in Jamaica, 14 years in Kenya, 20 years plus flogging in Malaysia, and 25 years in Trinidad and Tobago. Homosexuality is punishable by death in member states Brunei and the northern part of Nigeria.

India, the most populous nation in the Commonwealth, restored Colonial-era penal code outlawing homosexuality in 2013.

Other member states outlawing homosexuality include Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Pakistan, Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, Guyana, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Malawi, Namibia, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Barbados, Dominica, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Kiribati and Tonga.

A big shame!

One LGBT protest at Commonwealth Day