Sunday, June 17, 2018

Thousands hold gay pride march in Ukrainian capital of Kyiv

Several thousand activists pride supporters have held a march in Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, despite opponents’ attempts to block them. This year’s theme, Visibility, was selected via a poll of LGBT people and organizations.

About 3,500 were on hand for the Equality March and  took to the streets of Kyiv, whose size was estimated at 2,000 by Ukraine’s Interior Ministry and up to 5,000 by organizers.

Participants marched behind rainbow flags while others carried placards declaring messages like "Love has no gender". Although opponents tried to block the march some times, they were moved aside by police.

Kyiv held its first major pride march in 2016 after a pro-Western government that came to power sanctioned such events.

Some previous gay pride rallies in Ukraine were cancelled because authorities said they would not guarantee protection to those taking part from homophobic violence.

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

Kyiv Pride is all about public visibility. Visibility belongs equally to everyone. That’s why Kyiv Pride is such an important event; it provides a platform for the public to see and hear all of their fellow citizens. Whether gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans, intersex or anything else, it’s important for everyone to be visible.We can make Ukraine better —together!

Saturday, June 16, 2018

One rainbow flag waves at Russia World Cup stadium

A Russian football fan gave the Russia World Cup that extra touch of colour last night as he waved a large rainbow flag every time his beloved team scored a goal.

In support of the struggling LGBT community in the country, Alexander Agapov waved a rainbow flag symbolising gay rights at the opening match of the World Cup. He is president of the Russian LGBT Sport Federation and also a big fan of his country’s soccer team.

Every time his home team of Russia scored, Agapov waved the flag, despite the potential risk to his safety if spotted by anti-gay supporters inside or outside of the stadium. 

Agapov said no-one bothered him at the game for waving the flag, but said that a fan outside the stadium told him, "I don’t want that kind of world." While Agapov’s rainbow coloured support of his team passed without incident, LGBT fans could face the risk of random attacks by thugs during the tournament.

By the other hand, LGBT activist Peter Tatchell was arrested by the Russian Police on the first day of the World Cup for protesting Chechnya’s concentration camps where gay men were allegedly killed and abused for their sexual orientation.

Hours later, the team at the Peter Tatchell Foundation tweeted: “Peter Tatchell has been released. I’ve spoken to the Consulate Gen. who says he has been bailed & treated well. Thank you for the all the good wishes. Let’s remember the awful plight of LGBTs in Russian & Chechnya.”

Tatchell arrested for protesting Chechnya's LGBT crackdown

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Over 250K people celebrate Tel Aviv's 20th Pride Parade

More than a quarter of a million people from around the world gathered in Tel Aviv on Friday to take part in the largest ever pride parade in the Middle East. The turnout this year was the biggest ever in the parade’s 20-year history.

The theme of this year’s event was “The Community Makes History,” in recognition of 10 years since the founding of the Gay Center in Tel Aviv, and 20 years since Tel Aviv’s first Pride Parade.

It's the biggest event of its kind in the region and draws people from around the world to party. Israel has emerged as one of the world's most gay-friendly travel destinations in recent years, in sharp contrast to the rest of the Middle East, where gay culture is often not tolerated and homosexuals are persecuted in some places.

Musical offerings included favorites from the Eurovision Song Contest over the years, a performance by longtime members of the LGBT community of "Golden Boy," as well as a drag show and an appearance by the Israeli Arab diva Nasreen Qadri. Eurovision winner Netta Barzilai also performed her song 'Toy' on main stage. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

All major sports leagues will take part in the New York City Pride March

The New York City Pride March on June 24 will feature the largest collection of professional sports leagues ever for an LGBT Pride March or Parade.

Virtually all of the major professional sports leagues based in the United States will all be taking part in the Pride March. The NFL, NHL, MLB, NBA and WNBA are all registered as leagues to march in the parade and will have floats. Major League Soccer and the National Women’s Hockey League will have employees and players marching as well.

This will be the first time the NFL or MLB have participated in the Pride March. The National Football League will have a float in the parade that features former NFL player Ryan O’Callaghan, who came out publicly last year. Major League Baseball will feature a huge contingent of about 200 employees, including out former MLB umpire Dale Scott and gay MLB executive and former player Billy Bean. 

Returning to the NYC Pride March is the National Hockey League, which is marching for the second consecutive year. Also marching will be the NBA and WNBA, which started the trend with their joint participation in the 2016. Members of the National Women’s Hockey League, as well as Major League Soccer staffers, will also be marching in New York City. 

And tennis legend Billie Jean King has been named one of the Grand Marshals of NYC Pride.

This will be the sportiest Pride March ever!

Billie Jean King named Grand Marshal of NYC Pride

Monday, June 11, 2018

Take that, Trump!

A Democratic candidate has made history by appearing in an election campaign advert believed to be the first in the US to feature a same-sex kiss. Richard Madaleno, who is running in the party primary for state governor in Maryland, kisses his husband, Mark Hodge, and then says: “Take that, Trump!”

The advert aired in the Washington area during a segment on the Fox News show Fox & Friends, which the US president, Donald Trump, is known to watch.

In the advert, Madaleno says: “I’m running for governor to deliver progressive results and to stand up to Donald Trump. Here are a few of the things that I’ve done that already infuriate him.” He goes on to list defending Planned Parenthood and supporting a ban on assault weapons, before finishing the advert with the kiss.

The video has also been posted to social media channels, with Madaleno urging supporters to share it with the hashtag #TakeThatTrump. The primary on 26 June will select the Democrat to run against incumbent Republican Larry Hogan.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Indian Psychiatric Society stops considering homosexuality as an illness

Indian Psychiatric Society (IPS), the country’s largest body of mental health professionals, has announced its official stance on homosexuality, saying that members should ‘stop considering homosexuality as an illness’. The IPS has around 3,000 members, and started issuing the new guidance earlier this week.

In a video, which was posted on social media, the body’s president, Dr. Ajit Bhide said: “Certain people are not cut out to be heterosexual and we don’t need to castigate them, we don’t need to punish them, to ostracize them.

“It is a step in the right direction… whatever your sexual orientation, whatever your sexual preference, as long as there is no other party being hurt, an individual should be allowed to practice.”

One of the reasons given for the new policy was the advancement of LGBTQ rights worldwide. In the video, Dr. Bhide made reference to how “most respectable psychiatric societies” don’t list homosexuality as a mental illness.

This change is very important because it will be an effective argument in courts to challenge bodies that support criminalisation of homosexuality.

Watch the video statement below:

Saturday, June 9, 2018

23 foreign ambassadors in Bulgaria support Sofia Pride 2018

Twenty-three ambassadors of foreign countries accredited in Bulgaria have issued a joint statement of support for Sofia Pride 2018, being held on June 9.

The statement noted that this was the 11th Sofia Pride, and was being held during the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU.

Respect for human rights, including fairness, equality, non-discrimination, and freedom of expression and the rule of law, are the foundations of democratic states. These rights and protection should be equally applicable to LGBTI people, the statement said.

The statement called on Bulgarian authorities not to allow extreme views to undermine what should and will be an occasion for joy.

“By signing this statement, we encourage Bulgarian society and public authorities to seize the opportunity to support and defend these values ​​to join in the procession of Sofia Pride, accepting LGBT people as equal citizens without prejudice and discrimination and to contribute to LGBTI equality.”

“This provides an important opportunity to express support for human rights and tolerance, celebrating diversity and condemning homophobia and transphobia.”

The statement was signed by the ambassadors of Austria, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States, as well as the representatives of Unicef and the UNHCR, and the head of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation in Sofia.

This year is the 11th celebration of Sofia Pride

Friday, June 8, 2018

Spanish new government, mostly women, has two openly gay ministers for first time

Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has formed the new cabinet with women holding the majority of ministerial posts. 

He named eleven women to top posts, including Defence and Economy, in a cabinet with six male ministers. That is the highest female proportion in the country's history.

That also makes it the European government with the most women after Sweden's, which has twelve female cabinet ministers and eleven men.

The new Spanish cabinet has for first time two openly gay ministers too. They became the new Interior Minister and the new Culture Minister.

The Interior Minister is Fernando Grande-Marlaska, an openly gay judge at Spain's top-level National Court, and LGBT activist.

And another openly gay, Maxim Huerta, is the new Culture Minister. He is an award-winning novelist and TV journalist.

This should not be weird because Spain is the 9th LGBT-friendly country according to the ILGA index, and it has two cities, Madrid and Barcelona, in top ten of the best LGBT cities in the world. 


The new cabinet with the king Felipe VI

Fernando Grande-Marlaska, the new Interior Minister

Maxim Huerta, the new Culture Minister

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Pride in London receives The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service

Pride in London has been awarded The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service (QAVS) 2018. The award, created by The Queen in 2002 to celebrate the anniversary of her coronation, recognises excellence in voluntary activities carried out by groups in the community.

The recipients of the Queen’s Award are at the very top of a formidable volunteering movement in the UK involving millions of our citizens, and going from strength to strength.

As the UK’s largest LGBT pride group, Pride in London has recruited nearly 5,000 volunteers in recent years from a range of different and diverse backgrounds. Around 1,000 volunteers are needed each year on the Parade day alone, which this year takes place on Saturday 7th July. 900 new volunteers have signed up for Pride in London since the beginning of 2018.

The not-for-profit community interest group is now almost entirely run by volunteers, both the thousands who help out on the Parade day and the 150-strong team who volunteer all year round. Any surplus funds raised are used to support the LGBTQ community and improve the event.

Congrats and happy Pride!

Pride in London 2018, save the date!

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Top EU Court rules same-sex couples have equal residency rights regardless of country marriage law

EU countries that have not legalised gay marriage must still offer same sex spouses the same residency rights as heterosexual couples under Brussels’ freedom of movement laws, the European Court of Justice has ruled.

In a landmark decision, EU judges decided that a country could not use the illegality of homosexual marriage as a reason to stop an EU citizen bringing their non-EU spouse to live with them, which is a right guaranteed by Brussels.

They stressed that the decision, which will set a precedent across the bloc, did not force EU members to recognise gay marriage in a bid to prevent accusation that the Luxembourg court was meddling in national affairs.

The judgement comes after an American man, Clai Hamilton, was denied residency in Romania with Adrian Coman, his Romanian husband, because gay marriage is illegal in that country. Instead he would only be allowed to stay in Romania for three months.

“Although the member states have the freedom whether or not to authorise marriage between persons of the same sex, they may not obstruct the freedom of residence of an EU citizen by refusing to grant his same-sex spouse, a national of a country that is not an EU Member State, a derived right of residence in their territory,” the European highest court said.

A very Important ruling!

Clai & Adrian, the couple who denounced and won the case

Monday, June 4, 2018

Suprem Court rules for baker in same-sex cake case, but...

The Supreme Court today reaffirmed the core principle that businesses open to the public must be open to all in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. 

The court did not accept arguments that would have turned back the clock on equality by making our basic civil rights protections unenforceable, but reversed this case based on concerns specific to the facts here. 

The American Civil Liberties Union argued the case on behalf of Charlie Craig and David Mullins, who were refused service at a Colorado bakery because they are a same-sex couple.

In 2012, Mullins and Craig visited the Masterpiece Cakeshop to order a cake for their wedding. After the bakery turned the would-be customers away because they were a same-sex couple, Mullins and Craig filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission. 

The commission found that the bakery had discriminated against the couple in violation of Colorado law, a decision the Colorado courts upheld. 

The Supreme Court today found that members of the Commission had made statements evidencing anti-religious bias, and thus had not given a fair consideration to the bakery’s claims.

The court reversed the Masterpiece Cakeshop decision based on concerns unique to the case but reaffirmed its longstanding rule that states can prevent the harms of discrimination in the marketplace, including against LGBT people.

Then, the Court ruled in favor of baker, but didn’t address principle of whether a business can refuse to serve gay people.

German president apologizes to gays for decades of persecution

Germany’s president asked gays for forgiveness for decades of suffering and injustice they endured as a result of repressive laws in Germany in the Nazi era and after World War II.

Frank-Walter Steinmeier spoke in a ceremony marking the persecution of gays by the Hitler regime. He remembered the harsh treatment continued in the post-war era, in both parts of a then-divided Germany, where homosexuality remained a criminal offense. 

Homosexuality was illegal in Germany since the country’s founding in 1871, under the terms of Paragraph 175, which formed part of Germany's criminal code until 1994.

During the Nazi period up to 100,000 gay men and women also were persecuted and imprisoned for their sexuality. Most of them were sent to concentration camps where as many as 60% were killed.

Steinmeier said: “This is why I’m asking for forgiveness today, for all the suffering and injustice, and the silence that followed.” And he added he wants to reassure all LGBT people are protected in today’s Germany.

Gay prisoners wearing a pink triangle at Nazi's concentration camps

Sunday, June 3, 2018

White House will not be rainbow for second year

One president proclaimed June as LGBT Pride Month and celebrated it with receptions at the White House. His successor ignores it, for the second year in a row.

The first president was, of course, Barack Obama, who recognized Pride Month in each of his eight years in office. His successor, Donald Trump, has once again issued several proclamations for June, but not one for Pride.

As he did last year, Trump has proclaimed June National Homeownership Month, National Ocean Month, African-American Music Appreciation Month, and Great Outdoors Month, several of which square oddly with his record, particularly on racial issues and the environment. But missing once again is LGBT Pride.

Under President Obama, the U.S. continued its long march toward LGBT equality. Don’t Ask Don’t Tell ended and fought for transgender equality in schools, military service, health care, and public accommodations. Across the country, violence against LGBT individuals can now be prosecuted as federal hate crimes. And of course, marriage equality is now the law of the nation.

Happy Pride Month!

Friday, June 1, 2018

Pride Month starts in the world southest site

Pride is being celebrated on Antarctica. The event, to be celebrated in June will mark the first time Pride has been celebrated on the remote southern continent. 

It will be at McMurdo Station, the United States’ primary station on Antarctica, which is some 850 miles from the South Pole. The site houses as many as 900 employees, although just 133 are there for the Antarctic winter, which runs from March to September. Ten identify as LGBT.

The community at McMurdo Station opted to begin celebrating Pride early, taking a historic photo standing in the rugged wilderness, holding a pride flag. It was roughly -14° as they took the photo.

At the remote site, it is difficult for members of the LGBT community to remain connected to queer culture at large. This means there’s little chance of checking out the scene on Grindr or catching up with your favorite queer centric programming.

During winter months, the entire staff lives together in one of three structures. Also, the ten hours a day, six days a week work schedules of those at the station leave little time for social activities as it is.

In any case, even in as remote a place as Antarctica, you can find a LGBT community.