Thursday, May 24, 2018

Theresa May announces a new LGBT Action Plan this summer


British Prime Minister Theresa May has announced the rollout of a new LGBT Action Plan this summer. In a letter penned to the LGBT community, the Conservative leader pledged her government’s support to “help make us a country where no one feels the need to hide who they are or who they love.”

What this LGBT Action Plan will include has yet to be formally revealed, but it is expected to touch upon LGBT issues and improvements within healthcare, education and personal safety, amongst more.

May considers with this plan, “It will set out concrete steps the Government will take to improve lives for LGBT people in this country and address some of the injustices the community has faced.”

“We’ve also engaged with experts to understand better the limitations of the current system of gender recognition and will soon publish a public consultation on how we best reform the process." And she added: “Trans people still face indignities and prejudice when they deserve understanding and respect. There’s lots to do, but the UK can be proud that we are a world leader in advancing LGBT rights.”

About 37 countries in the Commonwealth, where being LGBT is still punishable by jail time, the Prime Minister affirmed: “Those laws were wrong then, and they are wrong now. And I expressed my deep regret for both the fact that such laws were ever introduced, and the legacy of discrimination, violence and even death that persists today.

“It’s important to put this right. Nobody should face persecution or discrimination because of who they are or who they love. So I have committed the UK to support any Commonwealth member wanting to reform outdated legislation that makes such discrimination possible.”

I would like to see how these words become facts.


May at the last Pride reception in 10 Downing Street


Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Two-thirds of Northern Ireland support equal marriage


A new report has found that two-thirds of people in Northern Ireland support same-sex marriage.

The research, which was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and published by Queen’s University Belfast, was designed to discover what people think about the impact of Brexit on Northern Ireland.

As well as asking respondents what their attitudes to Brexit were, the researchers also asked about other issues, including same-sex marriage.

The study found that overall, 63% of respondents were in favour of introducing marriage for same-sex couples. This fell to 50.5% for Protestants, but rose to 75% among Catholics.

“There is a majority support in the population as a whole and a bare concurrent majority among Catholic and Protestant communities for the introduction of same-sex marriage,” the report reads.

Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that continues to block same-sex marriage.

It's time Northern Ireland!




Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Harvey Milk Day


As we celebrate #HarveyMilkDay, we remember his fight for progress and full equality and his legacy that continues to inspire us all 🌈 


Monday, May 21, 2018

'The Boys in the Band' returns


Producer Ryan Murphy has assembled an all-star cast for the 50th anniversary production of Mart Crowley’s groundbreaking play The Boys in the Band. The opening night is on May 31.

Jim Parsons, Zachary Quinto, Andrew Rannells, Matt Bomer, Charlie Carver, Robin DeJesus, Tuc Watkins, Michael B. Washington and Brian Hutchison make up the ensemble of the upcoming Broadway show, set for a 15-week limited engagement run at New York City’s Booth Theatre.

Directed by two-time Tony winner Joe Mantello, the play helped sparked a revolution when it premiered in 1968 thanks to its unapologetic portrait of the complicated lives of gay men, originally drawing the likes of Jackie Kennedy, Marlene Dietrich, and Groucho Marx (among others).

But for the cast, who are all out gay actors themselves, it’s how the material still resonates in 2018 that makes this production a must-see.

The action of the show takes place at a NYC apartment, where a group of friends gather to celebrate their pal’s birthday. But as the evening goes on, the fault-lines between their friendships and the self-inflicted heartache many are experiencing slowly exposes itself.

“It’s true how much has changed, and how much hasn’t changed,” Jim Parsons said. “At the risk of generalizing, it seems to me that there is not a moment, a reaction, a statement, a feeling, a take on anything that any of these men have in this play from 50 years ago that can’t be and isn’t daily replicated in the lives of gay people now, just perhaps not to the same degree. Some things still do elicit the same kind of reaction. It’s not by a black-and-white flip of the way things were to the way things are,” he added.


The Boys in the Band cast




Sunday, May 20, 2018

First Chinese pro athlete comes out


Xu Jingsen, a Chinese pro surfer, has come out on the Chinese social media network Weibo and is the nation’s first openly gay athlete. 

He wrote: “Hello everyone! I am A Sam. I will attend the global Gay Games in Paris, France, in August this year and serve as an ambassador. Coming out is the ultimate measure of our inner courage. Yes, I am gay. We have the right to choose who to love and how to be loved. Gender, age, and skin color are not an embarrassment. We all live under the same sun. Today, I bravely live my truth, and I regard it as the best gift bestowed upon me. If my courage can bring comfort to those who feel lonely and helpless, and encourage everyone to support equality, then everything I do will make more sense. Thank you friends!”

The Gay Games are the largest LGBT sporting event in the world. It prizes inclusivity above sporting ability, and anyone can attend regardless of skill. The Gay Games Ambassadors are an international group of prominent individuals supporting the goals and principles of the Gay Games. 

Having a professional Chinese athlete as a Gay Games Ambassador has the potential to positively impact the lives of hundreds of thousands of LGBT people in China.

Be yourself!




Saturday, May 19, 2018

Harry and Meghan: a royal couple that stands for LGBT rights


Prince Harry will marry Meghan Markle today, in a royal wedding which hundreds of millions expected to watch. And though this is a prime example of a privileged straight wedding, the influence which the British royal and American actress and humanitarian activist have is prodigious. 

It is therefore worth considering what positions the soon-to-be-newlyweds have on LGBT issues, and whether they might even help create positive changes.

Recently, they attended the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, telling young LGBT activists that change was in the air. The Prince told them that it was “time for us all to acknowledge that your inclusion and protecting everyone’s rights, including LGBTI rights, benefits everyone.”

If he continues to fight for progress, he could be a priceless asset in the continuous push for equality in the 36 Commonwealth countries which continue to criminalise same-sex acts, primarily under laws imposed during the British Colonial era.

And particularly over the past year, the 33-year-old royal has taken steps to cement the impression that he will value LGBT issues.

His first official engagement alongside Markle was a visit to HIV charity Terrence Higgins Trust, where he met with people living with HIV.

And in February, the prince met with players from one of the UK’s biggest gay rugby clubs. As part of his role as Patron of England Rugby, the royal met Manchester Village Spartans players at Twickenham Stadium, as part of the Try For Change campaign.

In October, he appeared at the Attitude Awards to collect a posthumous honour on behalf of his mother, Princess Diana.

The prince has followed in his mother’s footsteps by campaigning on HIV/AIDS issues, and has also praised the “amazing” work of a transgender children’s charity. The charity selected was CHIVA, the Children’s HIV Association, which “supports children growing up with HIV and their families across the UK and Ireland.”

In 2016, the Prince made headlines by taking an HIV test on Facebook Live, as part of an appeal for more people to get tested. And his passion on the subject was evident when he and Markle’s encouragement for wedding well-wishers to donate to an HIV charity in their name rather than send presents.

From the looks of it, the royal couple will continue to proudly promote LGBT issues and speak out whenever possible.


My best wishes to the newlyweds!!!


Friday, May 18, 2018

Malta maintains first place on the ILGA-Europe Rainbow Index


Rights group ILGA-Europe released its annual Rainbow Europe Index, assessing countries on their progress in pursuing specific legal reforms to secure equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people.

The 2018 Rainbow Europe Map and Index reveal that fewer countries are moving up the country ranking; many are stagnating, including countries that are traditionally perceived as equality ‘frontrunners’. This lack of sustained progress on LGBTI equality issues should set off alarm bells for policymakers and advocates alike.

The Index ranks 49 countries in Europe on their LGBTI equality laws and policies. While Malta, Belgium and Norway are on 'Top 3', Turkey, Armenia and Azerbaijan are in the bottom of the Index.

The Rainbow Map and Index presents a picture of what the policy landscape is like right now, while the Annual Review also attempts to answer the question “what’s next?”  Recommendations for national policymakers have been included in the Annual Review for the second time. 

These are intended to encourage policymakers to address the most pressing legal and policy priorities within the framework of our Rainbow Map/Index.





Thursday, May 17, 2018

May 17 is International Day Against Homophobia & Transphobia #IDAHOT


Today, May 17, is International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, and European authorities has released the following statement

Discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity has no place in our society, but for many people in Europe, it is a daily reality. The 2015 Eurobarometer on discrimination shows that almost 60% of EU citizens see discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity as widespread.

LGBT people continue to suffer from widespread discrimination, hate speech and hate crimes in the European Union. Although 71% of EU citizens agree that LGBT people should have the same rights as heterosexual people, according to a study by the European Fundamental Rights Agency (2013), 47% of LGBT people report to be discriminated or harassed in the year preceding the survey. Half of all respondents avoid certain places, public buildings, squares or public transportation, for fear of being harassed, threatened or attacked on account of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

The European Commission is standing against discrimination, prejudice and hate, and for diversity. By raising awareness on the rights of LGBT people, we’re showing the world that no matter whom we love or who we are, everyone should enjoy the same rights. But the Commission cannot combat discrimination alone. An important action therefore is that it supports civil society organisations through the Rights, Equality and Citizenship programme to advance LGBT equality. 

On the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia 2018, by disseminating promotional materials, and projecting the Rainbow flag on the headquarter building, the European Commission states its commitment to stand against discrimination and to promote LGBT equality and inclusion. 

Equality and inclusion for everybody everywhere!




Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Beirut Pride canceled after organizer was detained by authorities


The organiser of a gay pride week in Lebanon's capital said authorities had forced him to cancel the events. Until now, Lebanon was more tolerant than most Arab countries, and last year became the first Arab country to hold a gay pride week. 

But Hadi Damien, the organiser of this year's Beirut Pride, was asked by police officers to accompany him to police station, where he was informed that he would be detained overnight. He was forced to sign a pledge that he would cancel the upcoming events in order to be released.

Damien said he was warned that if he did not, he would be referred to an investigative judge who would interrogate him on the basis of articles pertaining to the incitement to immorality and to the breach of public morality for co-ordinating the pride week's activities.

Article 534 of Lebanon's penal code punishes "any sexual intercourse contrary to the order of nature" with up to one year in prison, and has been used to prosecute people suspected of homosexuality.

Last year, one hopeful ruled declared that "homosexuals have the right to have human or intimate relationships with any people they chose, without discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation".

Despite that, authorities have continued conducting raids to arrest persons allegedly involved in same-sex behaviors, some of whom were subjected to torture including forced anal examinations, according to Human Rights Watch.

Bad news from Lebanon.


Organize Hadi Damien had to cancel
Beirut Pride events forced by authorities


Monday, May 14, 2018

'Neighbours' set to feature its first same-sex wedding


The soap Neighbours is about to become the first programme on Australian TV to show a same-sex couple tying the knot this week.

On May 18, the country’s longest-running drama, which has been on screens for 33 years, will feature a gay proposal. And the scene will be exciting, as long-term partners Aaron Brennan and David Tanaka both go to the beach with the intention of popping the question to each other.

It is a big step towards that landmark since Australia’s Parliament legalised same-sex marriage in December, following an overwhelming win for the ‘Yes’ side in the country’s postal vote.

Matt Wilson, who plays Aaron, said the relationship had a huge significance in Australia, explaining: “We get messages through Twitter and Instagram and the rest from people who are so happy that Aaron and David are a couple on television because it gives them more confidence in their lives."

And he added: “No matter what, it’s going to be special but being the first ones to do it, that just makes it even bigger.”


Congrats hunks!!! 


Sunday, May 13, 2018

Spanish LGBT magazine celebrates 25 years


One of the oldest Spanish LGBT magazine Shangay celebrates its 25 anniversary this year, which coincides with the publication of the issue 500. 25 years offering full information and claiming for collective rights of LGBT community in Spain. 

The magazine was born in Chueca (Madrid) in 1994 as a simple fanzine, but it has grown and diversified its offer to become one of the most important Spanish-language LGBT publications.

In the special issue 500, they make a brief tour of its history reediting 5 old issues (numbers 101, 68, 242, 312 and 448, with Cher, Alaska, Alejandro Amenabar, David Delfin, and Miguel Bose on their respective covers). In a certain way, it supposes a synthesis of its successful trajectory. 

Felipe VI, King of Spain, sent a card with his official photography and a charming handwritten note: "To the readers, workers and everybody who made possible that Shangay Group celebrates 25 years, my sincere congratulations".

Spain is one of the countries most accepting of homosexuality. Gay couples can get married and adopt since 2005, and over 95% Spaniards say homosexuality is acceptable or is not an issue to worry about. 

My congratulations to Shangay family too, bravo!!!



  

Saturday, May 12, 2018

China is banned from airing Eurovision after censoring Ireland's gay-themed performance


The grand final of the Eurovision Song Contest will not be shown in China after two performances were censored in a local broadcast.

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU), which organizes Eurovision and licenses broadcasts around the world, terminated its contract with the Chinese channel Mango TV after Ireland’s performance was cut, and other sections were blurred to obscure details, when the first semifinal aired on Wednesday.

In a statement, the EBU said that Mango TV’s actions were not in line with the EBU’s values of universality and inclusivity and our proud tradition of celebrating diversity through music.

The singer Ryan O’Shaughnessy, representing Ireland, sang a sentimental breakup ballad Together, which featured two male performers dancing and holding hands. This section of the competition did not feature in the broadcast in China.

O’Shaughnessy declared: “I would like to welcome the decision by the EBU to do that because from the very start we have just said love is love. It doesn’t matter whether it’s between two guys and two girls or a guy and a girl."

“I think it’s a really important decision by the EBU, they haven’t taken it lightly, and I think it’s a move in the right direction. I’m happy about it,” he added.

This marks the first time Ireland have made it to the finals since 2013. Good luck!

Watch the performance below:



Wednesday, May 9, 2018

I bet Czech Republic will win 2018 Eurovision Song Contest


Mikolas Josef (22) represents the Czech Republic in the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest, with the song Lie To Me

Mikolas Josef is a composer, producer, singer, multi-instrumentalist and director of music videos. He grew up in Prague and Znojmo, but now lives mainly in Vienna. Mikolas comes from a family of musicians and has been playing the guitar since he was five.

After a year working as an international model for major global fashion brands, Mikolas quit to become a street musician. He used money from this to fund the production of his first single, Hands Bloody. His subsequent single Believe hit the top of the Czech charts and he picked up a contract with Sony Music.

In the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest, Mikolas performs the upbeat single Lie to Me, which features a catchy saxophone riff and a cameo from a two-humped camel. Despite of his accident during the first rehearsal, he is ok and made it through to the grand final in Lisbon, Portugal, on May 12th 2018.

I bet he will win the current edition of the contest, but we will know it next Saturday night.






Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Together with the Boston Gay Men's Chorus


The Boston Gay Men’s Chorus (BGMC) proudly presents Together, a concert to celebrate Boston Pride and BGMC’s upcoming South Africa Tour with a moving blend of Broadway classics, Hollywood hits, spirituals and pop culture crowd pleasers. 

“Together reflects the reality that we’re all citizens of the world who must get to know each other better, listen to one another, learn about our differences, and share our cultural gifts with the world. We do these things through music,” said Reuben M. Reynolds, the Chorus’s music director. 

“This show will blend American and South African music that reflects our countries’ respective struggles against racial oppression and injustice, pay tribute to our resilience in the face of those struggles, and celebrate love in all its forms which always trumps injustice,” he afirmed.

“As we celebrate both LGBT Pride and our South Africa Tour this June, Together showcases music’s power to inspire change, to soothe and heal the wounds of injustice and empower people to overcome oppression and adversity,” he added.

Boston Gay Men’s Chorus creates musical experiences to inspire change, build community and celebrate difference. The BGMC is one of New England’s largest and most successful community-based choruses. Founded in 1982, the 200-voice ensemble is celebrated for its outstanding musicianship, creative programming, and groundbreaking community outreach.




Monday, May 7, 2018

A new survey finds a growing support for LGBT rights in U.S.


The Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) survey, which surveyed more than 40,000 Americans, found a strong majority of Americans in every state oppose licenses to discriminate against LGBT people. 

PRRI's survey found that there is broad support for laws that protecting LGBT people from discrimination in jobs, public accommodations and housing,  and overwhelming support for LGBT equality among Americans age 18-29, no matter their religious or party affiliation, race, ethnicity or gender.

Seven in 10 (70 percent) Americans favor non-discrimination protections for LGBT people, including more than one-third (35 percent) who strongly favor them. The survey also found that six in 10 (60 percent) Americans oppose allowing small businesses to refuse service to LGBT people due to religious objections.

The survey also found broad, growing support for marriage equality, including among most religious groups across the U.S. Since the Supreme Court ruled in favor of marriage equality in 2015, support continues to grow. The survey found that 61 percent of Americans now support marriage equality, up from 52 percent in 2013.

These encouraging results continue to shine a spotlight on the broader acceptance of the LGBT community. Americans across the country recognize that all people, regardless of who they love, deserve to be treated equally and fairly under the law.


SCOTUS ruled in favor of same-sex marriage in June 26, 2015


Sunday, May 6, 2018

Tokyo Rainbow Pride is the biggest LGBT event in Japan


Over 7,000 marched today in Tokyo Rainbow Pride, one of the city’s two annual gay Pride parades. 

Tokyo’s first Pride parade was in 1994, but only drew small crowds. Due to this, it went through a hiatus from 2008 to 2010. And then again in 2011. As a result, organizers set up Tokyo Rainbow Pride in 2012 to ensure that a Pride parade would be held in the city if Tokyo Pride could not follow through.

This year’s theme was ‘Love and Equality', and 37 groups entered the parade, including the European ambassador to Japan.

Finalists from Japan’s first ever Mr Gay Japan competition also participated in the parade. Winner of the competition Shogo said on Instagram it was his first ever Tokyo Rainbow Pride parade. He wrote in a caption: ‘Lots of people came to say hello and took pictures with me. I have never felt so comfortable about my sexuality in Japan and would love more people to feel the same!’

LGBT rights in Japan remain vastly unachieved and can very by each prefecture. Same-sex marriage is not legal and same-sex parents cannot adopt children. Anti-discrimination laws exist in Tokyo, but not for the rest of the country.


Finalists from Mr Gay Japan, with Shogo the winner in the middle


Friday, May 4, 2018

Pence swears in openly gay Trump appointee


The swearing in of U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell, the highest-ranking openly gay official in the Trump administration, by Vice President Mike Pence, who has a long anti-LGBT record, was a sight to behold.

As is customary for the vice president, Pence officiated the ceremony and administered the Oath of Office in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. Grenell took the Oath of Office on his family Bible, which was held by his partner of more than 15 years, Matt Lashey.

In his remarks, Pence referenced Lashey and echoed President Trump’s comment last week that Grenell is an “outstanding man” who will do well as U.S. envoy to the world’s fourth largest national economy.

Looking to the tasks ahead, Pence said Grenell would help strengthen U.S.-German relations by balancing the trade relationship, strengthening military cooperation and encouraging NATO allies to pay their fair share on defense.

Pence as a U.S. House member supported a U.S. constitutional amendment against same-sex marriage, predicting marriage equality would lead to “societal collapse” and opposed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal. As Indiana governor, Pence signed into law a “religious freedom” bill enabling individuals and businesses to refuse services to LGBT people.


Under the Obama Administration there were
six publicly gay U.S. ambassadors


Thursday, May 3, 2018

Illinois Senate votes to teach LGBT history in school


The Illinois Senate has approved requiring public schools to teach LGBT history.

The Senate voted 34-18 on the plan by Chicago Democratic Sen. Heather Steans. Steans declared it is consistent with state law that already requires students learn the history of races or ethnicities like blacks, Asians, Hungarians, and French people.

It mandates elementary and high schools teach a unit studying the role and contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in the history of the U.S. and Illinois.

LGBT history has not only been extremely important in its role in shaping US culture, but teaching the subject could help a lot of kids figure out their identities earlier.

If the legislation passes in the House and it is signed into law, Illinois would become the second state to require an inclusive LGBT curriculum. California is the only state with an LGBT education law. It was enacted in 2017.

Good news!


California became the first state to approve 
LGBT-inclusive history books for primary schools


Wednesday, May 2, 2018

The 'Perfect' Shirtless Violinist


Matthew Olshefski, the shirtless violinist, began playing the violin when he was 3, and it become as an integral part of himself. He currently is a great and very atractive musician.

His boyfriend, Paul, suggested him to play without shirt and now he shares his talent with the violin in a beautiful and creative way. And, bless it, we enjoy it!

He is also a digital media star, with more than 24,000 followers in Facebook, 20,000 followers in Instagram, 14,000 subscribers in Youtube, and 4,000 followers in Twitter.

Know you can be a patron of his musical creations here.

Matthew reimagined Ed Sheeran's song "Perfect" as a gay love story, and wonderfully covered the song with his violin. Enjoy the video below: