Wednesday, October 31, 2018

A Sydney park will be renamed to honor same-sex marriage vote

A park in Sydney is set to be renamed Equality Green to commemorate the moment Australia’s citizens voted for same-sex marriage.

More than 30,000 people gathered in Prince Alfred Park to hear the result of Australia’s Marriage Law Postal Survey on November 15 last year.

Mayor of Sydney Clover Moore passed a motion during a council meeting to rename the south-western lawn of Prince Alfred Park as “Equality Green.”

Posting a video about the proposal to rename the park, Moore said: “It’s just over a year ago that thousands of us were here. And we were very excited, and we were very anxious.” And she added: “It was wonderful when we heard the results.”

Moore said the renaming of the park as Equality Green would “record forever that very historic moment when, across Australia, over 60 percent of Australians voted for marriage equality.”

Equal marriage was passed by the Australian parliament on December 7 last year, following the voluntary postal survey on the issue. Nearly 84 percent of people living in Sydney voted for equal marriage, making it the highest “Yes” vote of any electorate in the country.

Australia’s equal marriage law was implemented on December 9. The law immediately recognised same-sex marriages previously performed overseas between Australian citizens as legal. The first gay wedding in Australia took place on December 15.

Watch Mayor Moore video about rename proposal

Monday, October 29, 2018

137,000 march for same-sex marriage in Taiwan

A record-breaking 137,000 people marched through Taiwan’s capital, Taipei,to push the island nation to rec ognize same-sex marriage.

Taiwan LGBT Pride is the largest parade in Asia. Thousands of colorful marchers paraded through the city with rainbow flags.

So many people attend the parade that marchers take three different routes around the city. The event ends with performances and speeches at the President’s Office.

This year, organizers chose the theme ‘vote for equality’, drawing attention to upcoming referenda on marriage equality.

On 24 November, Taiwan’s citizens will head to the polls. They will vote on whether the country should change its Civil Code to redefine marriage as between two people (rather than a man and a woman) or enact separate legislation to allow same-sex unions.

It's time Taiwan!

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Parents of trans children send a letter to Trump

Earlier this week, a leaked memo from the Trump Administration revealed intentions to erase transgender people, considering narrowly defining gender as a biological, immutable condition determined by genitalia at birth,

More than 1,500 parents of transgender children in the US signed and sent a letter to the Trump administration. Addressed to Donald Trump and his Vice President, Mike Pence, the parents say: 

We are the parents of transgender children from across the United States, representing various races and ethnicities, socioeconomic backgrounds, and faith communities.

We write to expressour outrage and deep concern over the Trump-Pence Administration’s proposal to legally define sex as either male or female, unchangeable and based on unscientifically narrow criteria.

This is the latest cruel attempt in a long line of attacks to diminish the existence and humanity of our children and to dismantle their basic human and civil rights. We want to make this very clear — when our children are under attack, we will fight like hell to protect them.

We fear every day that our children will encounter bullies — but we never imagined that the most threatening bullies would be in the White House. It is your role to protect our children, not to erase them from civil rights laws.

We will vote to restore decency and compassion to our Congress and to our national leadership. We will vote to secure a nation in which our children can live fully, freely, to their greatest potential.

We will vote to save lives — the lives of our children, all transgender and nonbinary people, and all vulnerable communities in our nation who your Administration views as secondary and disposable.

You can read the letter here

Thursday, October 25, 2018

A kid like Jake

A Kid Like Jake is a 2018 American drama film directed by Silas Howard, about a loving parents of a four-year-old must come to terms with their child being transgender.

Alex (Claire Danes) and Greg Wheeler (Jim Parsons) are the parents of “gender-expansive” Jake (Leo James Davis), a child encouraged to explore non-binary inclinations by both supportive parents and preschool teacher Judy (Octavia Spencer). 

Alex and Greg struggle with their son's gender identity when they realize he might be transgender. They struggle to figure out what's best for their son as they apply for him to go to a private kindergarten in New York City.

When it comes time for their child to cement an identity, the couple begin to doubt their own influence over their child and what letting Jake explore gender might mean for the future. 

Originally written for the stage and later adapted for the screen by Daniel Pearle, the film contemplates questions more and more families will begin to ask as time goes on and social norms change.

Watch the trailer below:

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Support the LGBT Family Conference in Moscow

A group of activists in Russia is looking to raise €12,000 to finance an annual conference in Moscow, aimed at supporting the LGBT community and same-sex families in particular.

NKO Resurs LGBTKIA Moscow organizes the Fifth LGBTKIAPP+ Family Conference. The conference unites LGBT community, families and specialists like psychologists, sexologists, educators etc. who work with vulnerable groups. 

This year, the conference’s main theme is “The value of family and partnership. Ethics and politics,” focusing on those “traditional family values” that the Russian government and the influential Orthodox Church normally claim to be the realm of heterosexual couples.

The conference is a unique platform for an exchange of unbiased information between specialists of helping professions like psychologists or educators. It provides guidelines on working with vulnerable groups, and also helps LGBT people to connect and experience the support from others. 

Russia is a very homophobic country. In April 2017 the persecution and killings of more that 200 LGBT people in Chechnya were revealed. But that was only the tip of the iceberg, because LGBT people face discrimination on a daily basis. 

Same-sex parenting is not banned in Russia, but LGBT parents face discrimination and the threat of a 2013 law banning the spread of “propaganda for non-traditional sexual relations” to minors.

Please, help them here.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Trump Administration considers gender is determined by genitalia at birth

The Trump Administration is considering narrowly defining gender as a biological, immutable condition determined by genitalia at birth, the most drastic move yet in a governmentwide effort to roll back recognition and protections of transgender people under federal civil rights law.

A series of decisions by the Obama Administration loosened the legal concept of sex in federal programs, including in education and health care, recognizing sex largely as an individual’s choice, prompting fights over bathrooms, dormitories, single-sex programs and other arenas where gender was once seen as a simple concept. Conservatives, especially evangelical Christians, were incensed.

Now the Department of Health and Human Services is spearheading an effort to establish a legal definition of sex under Title IX, the federal civil rights law that bans gender discrimination in education programs that receive government financial assistance.

The Department argued in its memo that key government agencies needed to adopt an explicit and uniform definition of gender as determined “on a biological basis that is clear, grounded in science, objective and administrable.” The agency’s proposed definition would define sex as either male or female, unchangeable, and determined by the genitals that a person is born with. Any dispute about one’s sex would have to be clarified using genetic testing.

A big step back for transgender rights!

What do you think about this, Mrs. Jenner?

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Democrats will ban LGBT discrimination across all US if they win in November

The Democrats will prioritise an LGBT anti-discrimination law if the party regains control of Congress.

Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi confirmed the long-neglected LGBT Equality Act was legislation that she really wants to do in the next term of Congress.

There are currently no federal-level protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in the US. This means that it is legal to fire people for being gay in dozens of states due to patchy state-level protections.

Pelosi confirmed that the Democrats would head a major push on the Equality Act in the House of Representatives if the party wins a majority in November’s midterm elections. They has decided the Equality Act will get one of these priority bill numbers, indicating its importance to House Democrats.

Republicans in Congress have blocked both the Equality Act and its predecessor, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), since the bill was first put forward in 1994. The bill would amend the 1964 Civil Rights Act provisions which outlaw discrimination in employment and public accommodations based on race, to add sexual orientation and gender identity.

Pelosi attending New York's Pride Parade

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Florida State Rep. got engaged at Orlando Pride

Carlos Guillermo Smith, a Democrat State Rep. from Florida and one of the most prominent LGBT leader, was surprised by longtime partner Jerick Mediavilla who asked him to marry, at Orlando Pride. Obviously, he accepted.

The romantic moment took place onstage at the Walt Disney Amphitheater, a structure painted in rainbow in honor of the victims of the Pulse shooting in 2016.

Jerick had been planning to pop the question for about six months. He said sharing the moment at Orlando Pride made it even more special because the community is the first where he’s felt fully accepted. "From the beginning, people here celebrate diversity even undergoing adversity, and for the first time in my now 37 years, I feel free to love openly and have an entire city celebrate that love I grew up hiding to avoid offending people." 

Carlos Guillermo declared: "I spent my whole life being told I wasn’t allowed to marry. That my love would not be recognized and was something to be ashamed of. Finally having the freedom to marry the man of my dreams and have our love celebrated by so many sends a powerful message to LGBT youth, you can grow up to be exactly who you want to be, be happy, and maybe even run for public office someday.”

He first won election to the House in 2016. As Florida’s first gay Latino lawmaker, and one representing the Orlando area, he regularly has invoked the memory of the 49 innocent victims slain at the gay nightclub, whether pushing for an assault weapons ban or fighting for antidiscrimination protections for LGBT workers.

Congratulations to the couple!!!

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Matthew Shepard will be buried at the Washington National Cathedral

Matthew Shepard’s remains will be interred at the Washington National Cathedral, 20 years after his murder.

Two men kidnapped Matthew, a gay college student at the University of Wyoming, in a bar in Laramie, and driven to a field where he was beaten and tortured, and tethered to a fence and left to die. Never regaining consciousness, Matthew succumbed to the severe injuries from the attack and died on October 12, 1998. It was a hate crime.

Matthew's murder brought national attention to anti-LGBT discrimination and he has endured as a symbol of the terrible reality of violent hate crimes against LGBT people. It also led to the 2009 Matthew Shepard Act, which broadened federal hate crime legislation to include sexual orientation and gender identity.

On October 26, he will be laid to rest in a cathedral which has only buried around 200 people in the past century, including US President Woodrow Wilson and activist Helen Keller.

The thanksgiving and remembrance service in Washington DC will be presided over by Reverend Gene Robinson, the first openly gay priest to become a bishop in the Episcopal Church. Washington National Cathedral’s dean, Reverend Randolph Marshall Hollerith, said that Americans still have work to do to reject the hatred which led to Matthew’s murder two decades ago.

Matthew’s mother, Judy Shepard, has become an outspoken campaigner for LGBT equality, starting the Matthew Shepard Foundation with her husband Dennis and consistently speaking out in favour of rights for queer people.

Never forget!

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Butterfly, the new powerful trans drama on ITV

Butterfly is a the three-part TV mini-series from Bafta winner Tony Marchant for ITV, focused in the live of a transgender child and his family.

Butterfly follows the story of an 11-year-old boy, Max (Callum Booth-Ford), who decides that he wants to live life as a girl. He’s always dressed as a girl at home, but now he doesn't want to hide who he is outside of the family home.

His mum Vicky (Anna Friel) and dad, Stephen (Emmett John Scanlan), no longer live together, which puts additional pressure on Max as he yearns for an idyllic home life. However, whilst Vicky and Stephen agree that Max’s wellbeing should be their number one focus, they have very different ideas on how he should act.

As Max’s transition to Maxine (Millie Gibson) looks set to be thwarted by Vicky and Stephen’s disagreements, the family are faced with the ultimate test of love and understanding.

Scanlan declared: “It’s basically a drama about ordinary people put into an extraordinary situation,” When he was asked how he would feel if his daughter was trans, he answered: “There’s a great line in the show when Vicky says, and I’m paraphrasing here, ‘It’s better to have a daughter than a dead son’, and that really resonated with me."

“All I want for my daughter is to feel happy, to feel loved, to feel accepted in this world that likes to compartmentalise everything because we’re afraid of challenging our idea of what ‘normal’ is. I just want her to be happy,” he added.

Watch the trailer below:

Sunday, October 14, 2018

LGBT persecution still continue in Chechnya

Persecutions of LGBT people still continue in Chechnya, and nothing happens at international level.

A new report by Russian LGBT Network explains what happened there, and what is still happening. 

This report is based on testimonies of people from Chechnya who were persecuted, illegally detained, and tortured. One victim explained: “They said that I'm not a human, that I am nothing. That I should rather be a terrorist, than a faggot.” 

The report reveals the actual timeline of these crimes against humanity and disentangles the details of the LGBT persecution in Chechnya. The report underscores the brutality of the tortures and the Chechen authorities’ involvement in criminal activities against LGBT people

Chechen authorities denied these accusations, going so far as to deny the existence of LGBT people in Chechnya. Nonetheless, there have been numerous verified reports of secret prisons, torture and possibly as many as 20 men have been killed.

Until when??

Read the report here

Friday, October 12, 2018

US volleyball player comes out on National Coming Out Day

Sam Lewis, a volleyball player at the University of Southern California (USC), who has served as captain of the men’s junior national team for the last year, has come out in an emotional video posted by his university.

Sam used the opportunity of National Coming Out Day to come out publicly as gay in a video. He talks about be worried about coming out to people in his life, but since then he’s found a home in the community.

“I found the LGBT community and I was like, oh, this is it,” he said. “This magic that I feel right now, there’s no way that this couldn’t be who I am.”

He said he first came out to people, including teammates, at age 14 when he was playing volleyball at Long Beach Poly. Before he came out to them he thought it would be the “end of the world.” Instead, they told him it was cool.

“I felt like I could run a marathon, do cross-fit and a back flip all at the exact same time,” Sam said. “It was an amazing feeling.”

In the video he also talks about playing internationally and feeling threatened in some places because he’s gay. 

Watch Sam's coming-out video below:

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Some details about San Francisco's Harvey Milk terminal revealed

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. 

Officials at San Francisco International Airport revealed in broad strokes how Terminal 1 will be renovated to reflect its renaming for LGBT rights leader Harvey Milk.

And they want the community to fill in the blanks.

Along with changing signs to reflect the new name, Terminal 1: The Harvey B. Milk Terminal, organizers are asking people to submit the images for the temporary and long-term historical displays about Milk and his contribution to the city and LGBT rights.

“The designs unveiled today will serve as a fitting tribute to the life and legacy of this pioneering civil rights leader,” airport director Ivar C. Satero said in a statement, “and we are excited to engage our entire community in submitting image content to help tell his story to travelers from around the world.”

The Board of Supervisors in April unanimously approved an ordinance to name Terminal 1 after Milk, the city’s first openly gay supervisor and the first openly gay man to be elected to the governing board of a major city in the United States. 

Harvey Milk was murdered in 1978

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

First transgender woman, crowned Miss Spain, will compete in Miss Universe 2018

For the first time in history, a transgender woman will be taking part in the upcoming Miss Universe pageant later this year.

Angela Ponce from Spain won her country’s qualifying rounds against 22 other contestants. She’ll be representing Spain in Miss Universe 2018 that is set to take place in Philippines next December.

Ponce took to Instagram and wrote, “Bringing the name and colours of Spain before the universe is my great dream. My goal is to be a spokesperson for a message of inclusion, respect and diversity, not only for the LGBTQ+ community but also for the entire world.”

The Miss Universe Organisation ended its ban on transgender contestants in 2012. The decision came after transgender model Jenna Talackova legally challenged the authorities. Celebrity lawyer Gloria Allred took over the case as the organisation at the time was owned by Donald Trump. 

Upon hearing this news, pageant president Paula Shugart explained they had decided to change the rules before. She said: “The decision to include transgender women in our beauty competitions is a result of our ongoing discussions and not Jenna’s legal representation, which if anything delayed the process.” And she added that the pageant has always celebrated equality for all women.

Good luck Angela!

Angela was crowned Miss Universe Spain

Monday, October 8, 2018

More U.S. cities stand for LGBT equality in 2018

A record number of 78 municipalities earned perfect scores for advancing inclusive policies in 2018, according to a report released by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation and the Equality Federation Institute, two LGBT advocacy groups.

“Despite persistent efforts by some states and the federal government to roll back hard-won protections, cities are boldly and courageously pioneering the path forward on LGBT equality,” said Xavier Persad, legal counsel for the Human Rights Campaign and author of the Municipal Equality Index, that rated 506 cities on inclusive protections and policies.

Last year, 68 cities attained the highest ranking, compared with just 11 the first year of the index in 2012.

Strides made by municipalities in welcoming LGBT residents and visitors are significant but not unexpected, Persad said. “Local leaders are most closely acquainted with the people their decisions impact. They are their friends, neighbours and family members,” he said. “City officials are less mired in the political dynamics that too often determine outcomes on higher levels of government,” he added.

The report comes in a year that LGBT activists have to struggle to preserve the last fragile victories and fend off new challenges at the state and federal level with Trump's Administration.

Some highlights from report:
  • 56 cities expanded their equal employment opportunity policies to include sexual orientation and/or gender identity.
  • 20 cities extended nondiscrimination requirements to businesses with whom they contract.
  • 147 cities now offer transgender-inclusive health care benefits to city employees.
  • 97 cities offer equal benefits to the same or different sex domestic partners of city employees and their legal dependents.

Good news, but 78 of 506 cities means there is still a lot of work to do.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Romania's referendum to prevent same-sex marriage fails

Less than 30% of citizens in Romania have taken part in a referendum to redefine marriage. This means the referendum is nullified.

Conservatives and religious groups wanted the country’s constitution changed to ensure same-sex marriage never becomes legal. They wanted the constitution to state Romania only recognizes marriage between men and women. It currently recognizes marriage as being between ‘spouses’.

Romanians were called to the polls after three years of intense political debates over LGBT rights, after the conservative Coalition for the Family, an umbrella organization for right-wing and church-backed NGOs, raised 3.2 million signatures and submitted a bill to parliament to ban gay marriage in the constitution. These groups raised a petition in 2016 forcing the country to hold a referendum

The referendum took place in Romania yesterday and today. However, after polls closed this evening, only 20.4 per cent of population finally voted. 

Local LGBT groups had pushed for people to boycott the vote. They knew if people didn’t turn out to vote, the constitution will remain unchanged.

In any case, Romanian Civil Code adopted in 2009 already bans same-sex marriage.

But, recently, Romania's Constitutional Court ruled that same-sex couples had the same rights to a private and family life as heterosexuals and should benefit from "legal and juridical recognition of their rights and obligations."

Romanian PM Viorica Dancila voted today

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Same-sex marriage in Europe

In Europe, same-sex marriage has become increasingly accepted since the Netherlands became the first country in the world to legalise gay weddings in 2001.

Fourteen other countries in Europe so far have followed the Dutch lead, most of them are on the western side of the continent and are part of the European Union, where 23 out of 28 member states recognise some type of same-sex union.

Austria was the latest European country to legalise same-sex marriage following a Constitutional Court decision in 2017, which will come into effect in January 2019.

A further nine European nations include some type of civil union between same-sex couples in their laws.

Two countries, Armenia, which has a ban on gay marriage, and Estonia, have not legalised equal marriage but legally recognise same-sex ceremonies performed in other countries.

Some ten countries, including Romania, do not recognise same-sex unions at all, while an additional fourteen have a constitutional ban on equal marriage.

The countries where gay marriage is legal in Europe:
  • The Netherlands (2001)
  • Belgium (2003)
  • Spain (2005)
  • Norway (2009)
  • Sweden (2009)
  • Portugal (2010)
  • Iceland (2010)
  • Denmark (2012)
  • France (2013)
  • United Kingdom, except for Northern Ireland (2014)
  • Republic of Ireland (2015)
  • Malta (2017)
  • Germany (2017)
  • Finland (2017)
  • Austria (2019)

European countries with some form of civil union:
  • Andorra (2005)
  • Czech Republic (2006)
  • Slovenia (2006)
  • Switzerland (2007)
  • Hungary (2009)
  • Croatia (2014)
  • Greece (2015)
  • Cyprus (2015)
  • Italy (2016)

The nations where equal marriage is still illegal
  • Albania
  • Azerbaijan
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Kazakhstan Kazakhstan
  • Republic of Macedonia
  • Monaco
  • Romania
  • Russia
  • Turkey
  • Estonia

European countries with a constitutional ban on equal marriage:
  • Bulgaria (1991)
  • Lithuania (1992)
  • Belarus (1994)
  • Moldova (1994)
  • Ukraine (1996)
  • Poland (1997)
  • Latvia (2006)
  • Serbia (2006)
  • Montenegro (2007)
  • Hungary (2012)
  • Croatia (2013)
  • Slovakia (2014)
  • Armenia (2015)
  • Georgia (2018)

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Wedding photos of gay couple in Paris go viral

Amazing photos of a recent Parisian gay wedding have gone viral on Twitter, taking away tweeps' breath away in the process. 

Twitter user @CAMSQUIAT shared the pictures on his profile, and accompanied it with the caption: "My uncle got married in Paris and the wedding pictures are absolutely gorgeous and fabulous. I just had to share!" 

In the photos, the happy couple is seen posing against various eye-catching backgrounds, including the famous Eiffel Tower. One of them donned a suit that had a stunning white overflow similar to those of wedding gowns.

The photos have gone viral, garnering a whopping 37,000 retweets and over 136,000 likes so far. Tweeps called occasion, setting, and couple "magical" and "beautiful." 

Congrats to the newlyweds!!!

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Trump Administration denies visas to Diplomat's same-sex partners

The State Department has revoked its preferential visa policy for same-sex partners of foreign staff working at the United Nations and other diplomatic missions in the United States. This means same-sex couples will need to marry in order to remain in the country together, an option that still doesn’t exist in most countries.

Effective Oct. 1, “U.S. Embassies and Consulates will adjudicate visa applications that are based on a same-sex marriage in the same way that we adjudicate applications for opposite gender spouses,” the State Department said on its website.

Then, Diplomats with same-sex partners will have until the end of December to get married, or their partners will be sent home in January. But same-sex marriage is only legal in a handful of countries worldwide.

The G-4 visa, which gets awarded to spouses, had been available to same-sex partners since 2009, when then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton allowed it to ensure that couples could remain together without needing to be legally married.

Foreign Policy estimates there are at least 10 U.N. employees working in the U.S. who would have to get married by the end of the year for their partners to be able to stay in the country.

A new Trump's decision against LGBT rights.

Hillary Clinton implemented this policy in 2009

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Adam Rippon backs Democrats in midterm elections

US Olympian Adam Rippon filmed an ad, in which he urges LGBTQ people to back the Democrat candidates in November’s midterm elections.

Adam said: "Earlier this year I made history when I became the first openly gay US athlete to win a medal at the Winter Olympics, but I’m not going to be the only LGBTQ person to make history this year, and you have a chance to be a part of it."

He also said: "In 20-Gay-Teen, Democrats have nominated more LGBTQ candidates than ever before. I’m talking about queens on the ballot for statewide, federal and state legislative seats across the country. So take five minutes, and go to, and commit to vote this November".

And he finally added: “The Rainbow Wave can only happen if you’re a part of it”.

Watch the ad below:

I don't think Mike Pence liked this!

Monday, October 1, 2018

Switzerland makes homophobia and transphobia as illegal as racism

Switzerland has voted to change its penal code to make homophobia and transphobia as illegal as racism.

The National Council voted 118 to 60 to make it illegal to discriminate against someone based on sexual or gender identity.

Anyone found guilty of transphobia or homophobia could be thrown in jail for up to three years.

‘Victory,’ wrote national councillor Mathias Reynard on Twitter. The socialist national councillor spearheaded the change to the European country’s laws. Reynard had fought for more than five years to change the laws. "Homophobia is not an opinion, It’s a crime", he said.

Reynard said he will now push to make marriage equality legal in Switzerland. The country has allowed registered same-sex civil partnerships since 2007.

Mathias Reynard leaded the penal code's change