Thursday, November 29, 2018

The first publicly funded retirement home for LGBT people is to open in Spain

Spain is to open the world’s first LGBT retirement home funded with public money, after getting the green light from Madrid’s regional government.

According to Federico Armenteros, president of the Fundacion 26 de Diciembre, which will run the residence, it will become the first retirement home in the world to be opened using 100 percent public funds. It is set to open on December 26.

The home will consist of a four-storey building in the Villaverde neighbourhood of Madrid and will house 66 LGBT seniors as well as a day centre for 30 more. The project is expected to create 40 jobs.

Federico said: “We had to do something so that these people could live their last moments with the most dignity possible.” And he added: “A residence that will welcome people who don’t have many financial resources, to care for these people whose only other option is to die in the street, or alone at home.”

The residence will be managed by Federico’s foundation, whose name serves as a reminder of the Spanish LGBT community’s particularly difficult history of fighting for equal rights.

The foundation currently runs a day centre that caters to the needs of the elder LGBT community. It provides a regular lunch club, activities such as swimming and hiking trips, as well as therapy and healthcare.

Watch a video below:

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

First Pride Parade in Delhi since end of gay sex ban

Thousands of LGBT supporters marched through the capital of India, at Delhi Queer Pride Parade. 

Parade organizers said it was the largest march since 2007. This edition, the Parade was a sea of rainbow flags, and attendees shouted 'we got our freedom' and 'goodbye 377'.

It was the first demonstration since the country’s Supreme Court struck down Section 377 of the Penal Code. The colonial-era law criminalized homosexual acts with up to ten years in prison.

In India, attendees of LGBT pride parades often hide their identities by covering their faces, but this time there was more pride and fewer masks. "It’s the first time we are not marching as criminals," one of the proud organizers told.  

Happy Pride!!!

Police protect parade after court decision

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

It Gets Better UK

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has appeared in a video for the It Gets Better campaign, which aims to promote a positive message about being LGBT to young people across the world.

The powerful new video opens up with Khan, who said that the LGBT community makes a huge contribution to London, making it a richer, brighter, more vibrant place.

Khan said: “I also know that many have struggled with their identity at some point in their lives.I’d like to share with you some of the experiences and stories from members of our staff network. While they capture the challenges and sense of isolation LGBT people can sometimes feel, they also have a hope and optimism for the future.”

The It Gets Better project is a non-profit organisation that aims to empower and connect LGBT people across the world.

Watch the video below:

Monday, November 26, 2018

Voters in Taiwan backed anti-gay marriage referendum

Voters in Taiwan have rejected legalising same-sex marriages in a series of referendums on Saturday. 

A referendum calling for marriage to only be recognised as between a man and a woman in Taiwan's Civil Code won more than seven million votes, while another calling for same-sex unions to be regulated under a separate law gained over six million.

Taiwan's top court legalised same-sex marriage in May 2017, the first place in Asia to do so, and ruled that it must be brought in within two years, but the government has made little progress in the face of opposition from conservative groups.

The court did not specify how it wanted gay marriage to be implemented, leaving room for conservative groups to call for separate regulations.

Gay rights activists had proposed that the Civil Code should give same-sex couples equal marriage rights, but only garnered three million votes.

Although the government has made clear the referendum results will not impact the court's original decision to legalise gay marriage, pro-gay campaigners worry that their newly won rights will be weakened.

With all conservative referendums passing the threshold of 25 per cent of eligible voters, under referendum law the government must take steps to reflect the result.

Bad news from Taiwan.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Olly Alexander wears rainbow suit on TV to reject anti-gay laws in Poland

Olly Alexander has taken a stand against Poland’s anti-gay laws by donning a rainbow suit during his performance on The Voice of Poland.

The openly gay Years & Years frontman wore the fabulous outfit after activists asked him to use his platform on the show, which is watched by millions in the country, to make a statement about LGBT rights.

Olly explained: “Poland’s government has become increasingly anti-LGBT and same-sex couples are not allowed to be shown on the TV station..

Poland has embraced our band from the very beginning and I know its people to be kind, funny and hugely generous.

Wearing rainbow colours is just a small statement but I’m very thankful to have been asked to do so.

The government’s stance on LGBT equality does not reflect the pride and love we see at our shows there, nor is it reflected in the people we work with. We had a great weekend, I love Poland and I will do my best to do right by you guys.”

The President of Poland declared same-sex marriage will never be legalised in the country, but Polish Supreme Court did stand up for LGBT rights in a recent sentence.

Watch the videos below:

Friday, November 23, 2018

A powerful new short film about trans teen is released

A new short film featuring transgender young people shows what it’s like to be a trans teen today.

Trans activist Jake Graf has written and directed Listen, a moving four-minute film following the lives of trans teenagers as they navigate school, bullying and relationships with their parents.

Featuring young trans actors in trans roles, the film honestly and frankly depicts some of the hard experiences lived by trans children and teenagers.

A powerful insight into the struggles that young trans people are facing today.

Watch the video below:

Thursday, November 22, 2018

French rugby team will wear rainbow laces after the homophobic attack to Gareth Thomas

The French rugby team are to wear rainbow laces to show solidarity with gay player Gareth Thomas, after he was subjected to a homophobic attack in Cardiff.

Gareth uploaded an emotional video to social media, in which he appeared with a bruised and a cut on his face and explained he was the victim of “a hate crime for my sexuality” the previous day.

Serge Simon, the vice-president of the French Rugby Federation, sent a message to Thomas from the entire French national rugby team. He wrote: “All of French Rugby is with you regarding the homophobic [attack] you’ve been victim of. To show our support, the French rugby players will wear rainbow laces during the France – Fiji game on Saturday night. We’re all in with you in this matter.”

In a response, Gareth wrote: “After the physical scars have healed, I feel I have to say an unbelievable THANK YOU from me and all in the LGBT community for the support I have received. Truly humbled. My mental scars will stay with me for some time, but will drive me to fight even more for a world where acceptance of everyone is normal. To the French rugby federation, merci. The players wearing rainbow laces in solidarity is an immense sign of inclusion.”

Watch the video posted by Gareth on social media:

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Thousands rally in support of equal marriage in Taiwan ahead of crucial referendum

Tens of thousands of LGBT rights advocates rallied in the Taiwan capital, Taipei, supporting same-sex marriage. Organizers said 100,000 people attended.

Importantly, national referendum will poll residents on marriage equality this week. Taiwan will decide whether to change its civil code to equalize marriage as between ‘people’ rather than ‘man and woman’. The referendum will also ask whether to dismantle parts of Taiwan’s LGBT education policy.

Besides, stars of Taiwan’s movie industry expressed support for marriage equality in the country at the Golden Horse Awards.

The award ceremony in Taipei, often dubbed the Chinese-language Oscars, came a week before Taiwan heads to the polls to vote on equal marriage.

In an iconic display of support for LGBT rights, the judges delegation walked down the red carpet flying a giant rainbow flag. A number of stars wore rainbow pins and others referenced the upcoming vote in their speeches.

Taiwan’s path to becoming the first country in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage is uncertain. Now, it looks like Thailand could beat Taiwan, because Thai military government is holding public consultations on same-sex unions, and it may pass legislation before the end of the year.

It's time Taiwan!!!

Judges of Taiwan's Golden Horse Awards walk 
down the red carpet flying a rainbow flag

Monday, November 19, 2018

Chinese novelist jailed 10 years for writing a gay erotic book

A popular Chinese novelist has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for writing and distributing homoerotic novels, provoking widespread debate online over the severity of her sentence.

The female writer, surnamed Liu, was found guilty on Oct. 31 by Wuhu county court in eastern Anhui province after she self-published a book was described by police as depicting "obscene sexual behavior between males" set to themes of "violence, abuse and humiliation."

The popularity of homoerotic fiction, dubbed "boys love," has soared in recent years in China, where a booming cottage industry of self-published authors churn out hundreds of new titles each month.

Though most titles only hint at homosexual relations and instead feature "bromances," others are more explicit, risking the ire of the country's censors.

Homosexuality was decriminalized in China in 1997, and was removed from the official list of mental illnesses a few years later. Activists and experts, however, have long argued that prejudices and discrimination, as well as periodic government crackdowns, persist.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Boy erased reaches the US' cinema screens

Boy Erased is an American biographical drama film based on Garrard Conley's 2016 memoir of the same name. 

The film is written and directed by Joel Edgerton, and starring Oscar nominee Lucas Hedges as Garrard. The movie also features Russell Crowe and Nicole Kidman as Garrard’s parents, and openly lesbian Cherry Jones playing Dr. Muldoon.

The only child of a car salesman and Baptist pastor, Garrard, was terrified and conflicted about his sexuality. At nineteen, while in college, he was outed as gay to his parents and given the choice of being disowned or being subjected to gay conversion therapy that promised to cure his homosexuality.

Garrard's father told to him: “I want you to have a great life. I love you. But we cannot see a way that you can live under this roof, if you’re going fundamentally against the grain of our beliefs. Garrard, tell me the truth, that’s all.” And Garrard responded: “I think about men. I don’t know why. And I’m so sorry.”

Garrard was enrolled in a Love in Action ex-gay program, and recounts the harm he was subjected to there in the name of curing his sexuality. 

This film exposes gay conversion therapy programs are more likely to cause harm than cure anything.

Watch the trailer below:

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Record number of same-sex couples adopting children in UK

One in eight adoptions in England are by same-sex couples, a record breaking since the UK government granted rights for same-sex couples to legally adopt in 2002.

450 of the 3,820 adoptions in 2018 were by same-sex couples, according to statistics released by the Department for Education. This is a record high for same-sex couples, despite total number of adoptions falling by 30% since 2015.

Same-sex adoptions are at a record high, and it may be that the legalisation of gay marriage in 2013 has been a catalyst for more same sex couples to adopt.

Legal status of adoption by same-sex couples around the world: 
    Gay adoption allowed   2nd parent adoption allowed   No laws allowing gay doption
CC BY-SA 3.0

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

English football clubs united to support LGBT Equality

The clubs of Premier League and English Football League (EFL) across the UK will unite in their support of LGBT inclusivity by turning their substitution boards and corner flags rainbow coloured to raise awareness of Stonewall’s Rainbow Laces campaign in support of LGBT equality, with a key theme for this year focused on creating more allies to LGBT people in sport.

Between Saturday 24 November and Saturday 1 December, all Premier League and EFL clubs will select a fixture to highlight their continued support for LGBT fans, players and staff across the game with rainbow captain’s armbands, laces and programme adverts also being provided to Clubs.

The EFL will also change its logo to a bespoke rainbow coloured version for the campaign and has also created a series of short films to help share the stories of LGBT fans in the game. 

"Stonewall is an excellent partner for us and we value their ongoing work to support the league and our clubs in promoting diversity across the sport," Premier League executive director Bill Bush said. "Our clubs do fantastic work in this area to reinforce the message that football is for everyone. We are proud to be playing our part and to use our reach to celebrate the Rainbow Laces campaign," he added.

Shaun Harvey, EFL Chief Executive said: “The EFL is once again fully supporting Stonewall’s Rainbow Laces campaign, with all 72 Clubs coming together to raise awareness and visibility of an important issue. The EFL continues to be committed to providing a match day experience that is safe and welcoming to all supporters across all of our competitions."

“We are hoping our specific Rainbow Laces initiatives this year, which includes new rainbow substitution boards as well as converting all corner flags at EFL grounds into rainbow colours, will again grab the attention of football fans up and down the country. This year’s campaign is also about recognising how to be an LGBT ally in football, which complements the work our Clubs are undertaking week in week out, up and down the country as part of the EFL’s Equality Code of Practice," Harvey added. 

English football unites for Rainbow Laces campaign

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Polish students defy ban on LGBT event

Last week the Polish government banned the annual Rainbow Friday event. Rainbow Friday is a day dedicated to raising awareness about LGBT rights in schools in Poland.

It has run for the past three years and schools are invited to participate in it. LGBT organisations provide information materials to schools that they are free to share with students and they also organize events and conversations in the schools.

But this year, the Minister of National Education, Anna Zalewska, declared any schools participating in the day would breaking education laws. She also said schools would be subject to inspection and even visited some schools herself to ensure they cancelled Rainbow Friday.

Polish LGBT organizations labelled the ban as a sign that government was trying to crackdown on the LGBT community. But some schools went ahead with Rainbow Friday despite the ban. Students posted photos of themselves dressed in rainbow colors and of the decorations they put up in their schools under the social media hashtag #teczowypiatek (Rainbow Friday).

Well done, guys!

Sign a petition here to support Rainbow Friday

Sunday, November 11, 2018

US and EU condemn LGBT crackdown in Tanzania

The US Department of State has condemned Tanzania for creating an atmosphere of violence, intimidation, and discrimination against the LGBT community amid a crackdown on alleged homosexuals.

In a strongly worded statement, the US Department of State expressed concern over the arrests and harassment of the LGBTI community in Tanzania and called on the country’s leaders to safeguard its population’s civil liberties. The statement read: "The United States government is deeply concerned over escalating attacks and legislative actions by the Government of Tanzania that violate civil liberties and human rights, creating an atmosphere of violence, intimidation, and discrimination."

"We are troubled by the continued arrests and harassment of marginalized persons, including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, and others who seek to exercise their rights to freedom of speech, association, and assembly. The legislation is being used to restrict civil liberties for all," the statement continued.

Earlier this week, the European Union released a similar statement saying: "The EU regrets the deterioration of the human rights and rule of law situation in Tanzania and will be conducting a broad review of its relations with Tanzania."

Last week, the governor of Dar es Salaam, Paul Makonda, called on authorities to set up a special committee to identify and punish homosexuals. Makonda is a staunch ally of the country’s president, John Magufuli, who is also known for his anti-homosexuality and having initiated crackdowns against homosexuality in Tanzania since coming to power in 2015.

Tanzania has maintained the anti-homosexual laws established while under British colonial rule. Those found guilty of homosexual acts can face up to 30 years imprisonment.

Stop LGBT crackdown in Tanzania!!!

Friday, November 9, 2018

Scottish schools are the world's first to adopt LGBT inclusive education

Scotish Deputy First Minister John Swinney announced that Scotland is to become the first country in the world to have LGBT-inclusive education embedded throughout the curriculum.

Over the last 18 months, Stonewall Scotland has been part of the Scottish Government’s LGBT Inclusive Education Working Group, which was established to improve the school experience for LGBT young people and address bullying and discrimination.

The Scottish Government has accepted all 33 of the Working Group’s recommendations in full and intends to implement these reforms to practice and guidance, professional learning, inspections, and the recording of bullying incidents by 2021.

This is a culmination of the hard work of teachers, young people, parents and organisations such as LGBT Youth Scotland, Time for Inclusive Education (TIE), and Stonewall Scotland, who have campaigned for inclusive education for many years.

Stonewall Scotland will continue to work with the Scottish Government, Education Scotland and organisations such as Time for Inclusive Education and LGBT Youth Scotland on the implementation of these reforms which will transform the experience of LGBT young people in all Scottish schools for the better.

This is a great milestone for the Scotish LGBT community, congrats!!!

Scotish Parliament legalized same-sex marriage
on February 2014

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Zach Wahls, lesbian couple’s son, wins Iowa State Senate seat

Zach Wahls, 27, who as a teenager campaigned for his lesbian mothers’ right to marry, has been elected to the Iowa State Senate.

Wahls, the Democratic Party candidate, won 78 percent of the vote, defeating libertarian Carl Krambeck, in Iowa’s Senate District 37 in the US midterm elections 2018, and he will be one of the youngest people to ever serve in the Iowa Senate.

“I hope tonight marks a fresh start for Iowa. We must all come together to bring real reform to our health care system, restore a tradition of excellence to our public education system and raise incomes for Iowa’s working families,” Wahls said.

The new Iowa State Senator-elect is the son of a lesbian couple, and he stood up for his mothers’ LGBT rights in a speech that went viral.

Wahls rose to prominence in 2011 when, aged 19, he stood before the Iowa House Judiciary Committee and urged Republicans to scrap their plans to push a constitutional amendment banning recognition of same-sex unions, which had been legalised in 2009.

“Our family really isn’t so different from any other Iowa family,” the young student said at the time.

Remember that moment in the next video:

America's first gay governor elected in Colorado

Colorado Democratic US Rep. Jared Polis will be his state's next governor, becoming the nation's first openly gay man elected to a governor's mansion

Polis, a Democrat who has served in Congress since 2009, defeated Republican candidate Walter Stapleton, the state’s treasurer. He will succeed Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper, who was not eligible to run for re-election because of term limits.

Polis was one of several LGBT candidates who ran for governor this cycle, along with Brown in Oregon, Vermont Democrat Christine Hallquist and Texas Democrat Lupe Valdez.

He is the second openly LGBT person to be elected as a governor, following Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, who identifies as bisexual. Brown, a Democrat, became governor in 2015 and was re-elected in a 2016 special election.

During his gubernatorial bid, Polis has pushed for universal health care, free early childhood education and progressing Colorado to a 100% renewable energy state.

Congrats Colorado!!!

Monday, November 5, 2018

More public funds to tackle bullying of LGBT schoolchildren in the UK

Penny Mordaunt, British Minister for Women and Equalities, announced that £1 million will be used to help combat bullying of LGBT pupils in schools.

The money will be used to provide training for teachers on how to spot early signs of bullying and how to intervene appropriately. It will also be used to provide resources to support teachers in delivering lessons on LGBT issues to ensure all pupils feel accepted and included.

“Everyone in this country should feel safe and happy to be who they are, to love who they love, and to live their lives without judgement or fear,” she explained.

“That’s why this government is stepping up its work to tackle bullying in schools, to protect more children and to stop hatred from festering and growing into discrimination in adulthood.

“The aim of our Action Plan is that everyone can live safe, happy and healthy lives where they can be themselves without fear of discrimination.”

PM Theresa May announced last summer a new LGBT Action Plan with £4.5m of funding, which also push for inclusive relationships and sex education in schools to ensure pupils feel supported whatever their developing sexual orientation or gender identity.

The LGBT Action Plan made 75 commitments to tackle discrimination and improve the lives of LGBT people in the UK. It was published alongside the results of the largest national survey of LGBT people ever undertaken. The survey, which had over 108,000 respondents, shows LGBT people are experiencing prejudice on a daily basis.

Facts, not only words.

Mordaunt presenting the LGBT Action Plan last July

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Alan Turing could become the face of £50 note

Gay codebreaker Alan Turing is one of the frontrunners to become the official face of the £50 note.

Bank of England Governor Mark Carney announced a public contest to find a figure from the world of science to replace inventor James Watt on the redesigned bank note.

Computer scientist and codebreaker Alan Turing is among the frontrunners for the honour, alongside mathematician Ada Lovelace and physicist Stephen Hawking.

Alan Turing was a brilliant English mathematician who helped allied armies to break the encrypted messages from Nazis during World War II, the famous Enigma Code. Turing is also considered the father of modern mathematics and computers.

Turing was convicted of ‘gross indecency’ in 1952 after having sex with a man, and was chemically castrated, barred from working for Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), and driven to suicide in jail.

Everybody can make nominations online for the figure to appear on the note here.

Turing's family delivered a petition to Downing Street, 
signed by more than half a million people asking the pardon
of gay men convicted of "gross indecency" after WWII.
The posthumous pardon came at 2017 with Policing and Crime Act

Friday, November 2, 2018

Beijing LGBT film festival returns this weekend, with 'No limits'

The 11th edition of mainland China’s longest-running LGBT film festival, now known as Love Queer Cinema Week, returns for this edition with the theme ‘No limits’.

"It means that there are millions of possibilities in life. You can be anyone you want to be", said Tania Qiao, one of the organizers. "We should respect this diversification", Qiao added.

The festival features a number of feature-length and short movies from China, Asia and the rest of the world. Although LGBTI content is banned on film and TV in China, some films manage to jump censors.

The festival will screen international movies including Hard Paint, which won the Teddy Award film of the Berlin International Film Festival. The festival will also screen Knife Heart, one of the official selection film of the Cannes Film Festival.

The week kicks off on Friday with Chinese director Zhang Wanlin’ Birds in Mire. It depicts the romances of gay and straight working-class Chinese who don’t necessarily conform to society’s conventions.

The Story of the Stone closes the film festival. Starr Wu’s adapts a classic Chinese novel to the gay bars of Taiwan’s capital. It is ‘the most famous love story in Chinese literary history reborn’, according to the film’s trailer.

Watch the trailer below: