Sunday, December 29, 2019

Only less than 200 people have sought compensation from UK military after being fired for their sexuality

Officially, less than 200 people have sought compensation from the UK military, claiming they were fired because of their sexual orientation. While being gay was decriminalised in the UK in 1967, the ban on gay people serving in the armed forces was only lifted in January 2000. 

LGBT rights campaigner Peter Tatchell told that the Ministry of Defence (MoD) is not doing enough to get compensation to those who are entitled to it. He said: “The MoD should be contacting all those people to advise them that they are eligible for compensation. In the 1980s, when I was researching military dismissals, the number sacked for their sexuality was between 100 and 300 annually.”

Tatchell added that the true number of people fired from the UK military because of their sexuality “is likely to run into thousands given that the military witch-hunts continued unabated from the late 1940s until 1999”.

He continued: “Some of those military personnel not only lost their job and income, but also their home, pension and friends. Many found it very difficult to get new work.”

In contrast, a MoD spokesperson declared: “We are aware of fewer than 200 cases in which individuals may have been dismissed on the grounds of their sexuality, although we accept that there may be cases that aren’t known about.”

Less than 200 people in over 60 years? Really MoD?

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Your first shave is always special

Gliding like a dual-blade razor through sensitive areas, and after embracing the #MeToo movement, Gillette introduces its second social media ad to take on social topics, this time with a father sweetly guiding his trans son during a first shave.

Sitting on the couch with his dad beside him, real trans activist Samson Brown of Toronto, Ontario, says, “I always knew I was different, I didn’t know there was a term for the type of person that I was. I went into my transition just wanting to be happy. I’m glad that I’m at the point where I’m able to shave.”

Then the video gets to the moment of truth and Samson puts the blade to face during his rite of passage. He ends with, “I’m at the point in my manhood where I’m actually happy. It’s not just myself transitioning, it’s everybody around me transitioning,”

He shares a hug with dad and the ad concludes with Gillette’s classic tagline, “The best a man can get.”

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

A new LGBT-friendly senior residence opens in Brooklyn

A much-anticipated LGBT-friendly affordable housing residence for seniors officially opened its doors in Fort Greene (NYC) following a ribbon-cutting ceremony featuring Advocacy & Services for LGBT Elders (SAGE), city officials, residents of the building, and others.

The Stonewall House is the first affordable housing complex specifically focused on welcoming New York's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender seniors. It is 17 stories and boasts 145 apartments, making it the largest queer-friendly senior housing development in the nation. It is also the first such building in the state.

The house will be home to residents over the age of 62 whose income is 60 percent or less than the area median income. There are 54 studios and 91 one-bedroom apartments, and 25 percent of the units are for formerly homeless seniors.

“It’s no exaggeration to say that LGBT elders in New York City have been working for 50 years for a place they can truly call home, since they stood up and said No more back at Stonewall in 1969,” SAGE’s CEO, Michael Adams, said in a written statement. “Thankfully, they’ve now found that home at Stonewall House, and we at SAGE could not be more thrilled.”

Others on hand for the ribbon-cutting ceremony included Eric L. Adams, the Brooklyn borough president, Matthew McMorrow, a senior aide to Mayor Bill de Blasio, and John Blasco, an out gay district leader in Manhattan who serves as Speaker Corey Johnson’s LGBT liaison.

The building is at 112 St. Edwards Street (NYC)

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

First female mayor of Bogota marries girlfriend

Claudia López, who will be sworn into office in January, announced her wedding to Angélica Lozano on social media, sharing an enthusiastic message and several photographs.

“On my way to the happiest moment of my life!” the mayor-elect wrote on Twitter. She thanked her bride for “loving me always” and promised “to honor and love” her the rest of their lives, and posted photographs show the white-clad couple holding a bouquet.

Claudia is also the first openly lesbian mayor of Bogota, or of any capital city in Latin America, where traditional cultural biases, coupled with conservative religious values, often slow the cause of advancing LGBT acceptance. In Colombia, same-sex marriage has been legal since 2016.

Congrats to the newlyweds!!!

Monday, December 23, 2019

Could China legalise same-sex marriage soon?

China's top legislative body has been advised to legalise same-sex marriage in the updated civil code.

The Commission for Legislative Affairs of the National People's Congress (NPC) has received more than 250,000 online suggestions and 5,600 letters requesting to clarify the "scope of close relatives, improving the common debt of spouses and legalising same-sex marriage", according to the report, which cited Mr Yue Zhongming, spokesman for the commission.

The report didn't specify if the legislature will include the legalisation of same-sex marriage in the civil code. The NPC will review the draft of the new civil code in March 2020.

Several government-related Weibo accounts, including those of two district news offices in Shanghai and a court in Chengdu, posted online polls on Friday seeking public feedback on same-sex marriage.

Mr Zhijun Hu, executive director of PFLAG China, a group supporting LGBT people, said he was "very happy" about the move towards marriage equality. "I'm confident that this will bring change," he said. Still, Mr Hu said he doesn't expect same-sex marriage in China to happen any time soon.

Although China decriminalised homosexuality in 1997 and removed it from an official list of mental disorders in 2001, gay, lesbian, and transsexual individuals still live in a gray area. There's no law against being LGBT, but no rules protect against discrimination, and China doesn't recognise gay marriage.

Taiwan was the first in Asia to legalise same-sex marriage when it did so in May.

It's time China!!

Chinese gay couples protest on Valentine's Day

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Germany's Cabinet approves a draft bill banning gay and transgender conversion therapy

Germany is banning so-called gay conversion therapy for minors, saying the practice that purports to make patients straight has no scientific basis and often causes psychological harm. The bill will next be presented to Germany’s lower house, Health Minister Jens Spahn told. 

If the bill passes both houses of parliament, advertising or offering conversion therapy will be banned and infringements will carry fines of up to €30,000 ($33,000). After the proposed ban, only adults who freely seek out the controversial “therapy” will be legally permitted to undergo it.

Merkel’s Cabinet also outlawed the use of conversion therapy with adults who have diminished decision-making capabilities and barred advertisements for conversion therapy services.

The government’s goal is to protect people’s right to sexual self-determination. In a later Facebook posting headlined “Homosexuality is not an illness,” the government said anyone violating the ban could face punishments ranging from fines to prison.


Homosexuality is not an illness

Thursday, December 19, 2019

European Parliament resolution tackling the rise in hate against the LGBT community in Europe

Breaking news coming from the European Parliament in Strasbourg as MEPs adopt a resolution condemning anti-LGBT hate speech and public discrimination across Europe.

The European Parliament’s resolution on public discrimination and anti-LGBT hate speech identifies a broad trend across Europe and its consequences in society, amid deeply worrying situations in several countries. 

The resolution reiterates a call on the Commission to adopt an EU LGBT strategy and a comprehensive, permanent and objective EU mechanism on democracy, rule of law and fundamental rights that includes the protection of LGBT rights. It calls for the adoption of legislation and policies in several different areas, including freedom of movement, hate-speech and crime, education, and sports, to ensure the equal human rights of LGBT people.

The resolution also calls on Poland to firmly condemn discrimination against LGBT people and to revoke resolutions attacking LGBTI rights, including local bills against “LGBT ideology”, in accordance with its national law; as well as its obligations under EU and international law.

In a broader context, the resolution expresses deep concern at the growing number of attacks against the LGBT community coming from the State officials and politicians at the national, regional and local levels. It recognises that such attacks have seen a rise in violence against LGBTI people, with hate crimes motivated by homophobia and transphobia on the rise across in the EU, while responses from authorities too often remain inadequate.

According to the German ministry of interior, the number of homophobic hate crimes in the first six months of 2019 were already more than in the whole of 2013. In the latter part of this year, our members reported attacks on community events or their offices in Belgrade, Ljubljana, Budapest, Vienna and Lublinwhere explosive devices were taken to the Equality March, presumably intended to cause grievous bodily harm or death.

Not a step back Europe!!!

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

U.S. are absolutely ready for gay president

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg pushed back on the idea a gay candidate couldn’t win election as president, saying the United States are “absolutely” ready.

Buttigieg, whom many polls show is the front-runner in Iowa and New Hampshire, made the remarks during a forum hosted by national political reporter Robert Costa at the Washington Post headquarters.

The 2020 hopeful was quick to point out he won reelection as South Bend mayor in 2015 with 80 percent of the vote right after he came out as gay.

Costa however responded, the City of South Bend is different from the nation as a whole. It should be noted, the city is heavily Democratic and has a population of just over 100,000. But Buttigieg insisted his win there has broader implications.

According to recent polls, American voters say they’re ready to support a gay candidate for president. Specifically 50 percent of voters say they are ready to back a gay candidate, compared to 37 percent who are not. 


Monday, December 16, 2019

Trans people can not be banned from bathrooms, court says in Japan

A transgender woman employed by the Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry in Japan has successfully sued her employer for denying her the right to use the bathroom that aligns with her gender identity.

A Tokyo district court awarded ¥1.32 million in damages to the woman for being forced to use a bathroom other than the women’s bathroom on her office’s floor, which District Judge Kenji Ebara says is illegal because it “constrains people’s benefits of living their lives in accordance with their self-identified genders.” 

The ruling also requires the ministry, and all employers, allow trans people to use the bathroom of her choice, without notifying anyone else of her transgender identity. 

Justice Ebara also made it illegal in his ruling to require surgery from their employees to recognize their gender. This was in response to the fact that the Ministry official in charge of personnel told the woman that she should “go back” to being a man if they’re not going to have reassignment surgery. The judge made it known that he found it “unacceptable” and “extremely lacking in validity”, and that it was also an “abuse of discretion” to have the employee identify herself when using the bathroom with others inside.

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 and some towns, but not for the rest of the country.

This is justice!

Last summer, Japan elected Taiga Ishikawa, its first gay 
lawmaker who ensured same-sex marriage will be legal

Sunday, December 15, 2019

The son of Argentina’s new president wears a Pride Flag to inauguration

Estanislao Fernández, the 24-year-old son of newly-inaugurated Argentine President Alberto Fernández, set off a media blitz by wearing what looked like a rainbow-colored handkerchief to his father’s inauguration. 

The younger Fernández later revealed that the handkerchief was actually a folded up Pride Flag, much to the amusement of the internet. Estanislao moonlights as a drag queen named Dyhzy, who specializes in cosplay-style drag. 

President Fernández has referred to his son as “his greatest pride,” and commended him for his contribution to the queer community. “My son is a rights activist in that community,” he told. “I would worry if my son was a criminal, but he is a great man. In that world, which I don’t know much about, [he] seems to be respected and very recognized. I have pride in my son, how can I not be proud?”


Estanislao with his father

Estanislao as Dyhzy

Thursday, December 12, 2019

A majority of LGBT students experience bullying in Latin America

A new survey finds a majority of LGBT students in seven Latin American countries have experienced bullying because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

The GLSEN Research Institute and Fundación Todo Mejora, a Chilean LGBT advocacy group, surveyed 5,318 students between the ages of 13-20 in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru and Uruguay.

The survey notes “three-quarters or more of LGBT students regularly heard homophobic remarks and negative remarks about gender expression from other students.” It also notes between 60-80 percent of respondents heard “homophobic remarks from teachers or other school staff.”

Upwards of three-quarters of the students who responded to the survey said they “experienced verbal harassment” that included name-calling and threats. More than 10 percent of respondents said they were physically assaulted because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

The report also notes less than half of respondents “ever reported incidents of harassment and assault to teachers and other school staff.”

Activists across Latin America over the last decade have celebrated LGBT rights advances, but sadly rates of violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity remain among the highest in the world.

Check a report here.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Belgium rowers stand up against homophobia

Ghent rowers, in Belgium, launched a campaign supporting equality in sport. Simon Haerinck, one of them, posted in Instagram a pair of photos and said: "Today we are launching the first part of our campaign 'Same Sport, Different Sexuality', to raise awareness about homophobia in sports, which unfortunately is still a taboo."

"Playing sports should be about having fun and improving your mental and physical health. It’s about escaping the daily stress of school or work. You should not have to worry about your sexual orientation whilst playing the sport you love. This is why we reach out to you!", he added.

He also said thanks to his fellow fellow rowers @claeys_ruben, @nielsraoulboone and @henri__st , straight guys who truly didn’t have a problem with him being gay and accept everyone for who he or she is.

The anti-homophobia campaign encourages heterosexuals who play sport to show acceptance by taking a picture with their LGBT teammates and posting it online using the hashtag #samesportdifferentsexuality.


Monday, December 9, 2019

A huge rainbow mosaic displayed in a Premier's match

In the Brighton vs Wolves match, live on Sky Sports Premier League, we could see at the Amex Stadium a rainbow mosaic in support of Rainbow Laces and the LGBT community.

Fans in the East Stand had colored cards on their seats to hold up as the teams take to the field. There also was a rainbow laces ball plinth, centre circle crest, and a guard of honour as the teams took to the field, while support for the campaign was shown on both of the captains' armbands.

Bravo for this initiative!

Friday, December 6, 2019

After two years of Australia said Yes!

More than 6500 same-sex couples wed in Australia in 2018, the first full year after their marriages were legalised.

Out of the 119,188 couples who tied the knot in the 12-month period, same-sex marriages accounted for 5.5 per cent of those getting hitched, according to data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Amendments to the Marriage Act allowing same-sex marriage came into effect after a divisive national plebiscite and then a parliamentary vote in late 2017. The bill received royal assent on December 8, 2017.

ABS health and vital statistics section director James Eynstone-Hinkins, said 2018 was the first full calendar year in which same-sex couples could legally marry in Australia.

“In 2018, same-sex marriages represented 5.5 per cent of the total number of marriages and inclusion of these marriages has influenced some key statistics,” said Mr Eynstone-Hinkins.

The law change was greeted with particular enthusiasm by lesbian couples, who represented 57.8 per cent of the same-sex pairings who walked down the aisle in 2018, compared to the 42.2 per cent who were men.

Unsurprisingly, 98.9 per cent of same-sex marriages were administered by civil celebrants. Of the 79 couples who were married by a religious celebrant, the Uniting Church accounted for 23.

One notable detail was that the median age of those getting hitched jumped.The median age of same-sex couples who united in holy or civil matrimony was 44.9 years for men and 39.3 years for women. Straight couples had a median age of 32.1 years for men and 30.2 years for women.

“The median age at marriage recorded the greatest increase in more than a decade. This was largely because the median age of same-sex couples was considerably higher than that of opposite-sex couples,” he said. “There are couples who have been together for a decade who are marrying in their 60s and 70s and that is going to impact those statistics,” he added. 

Congrats Australia!!!

Remember the emotive video for It's Time campaign

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Over 250,000 people appeals for Marriage Equality in China

Equality activists in China will make a legal push for state recognition of same-sex marriage. It comes in a nation that doesn’t legally ban such unions, but where state regulators have defined marriage as between a man and woman.

China remains in the process of reviewing its civil laws and over 250,000 people have appealed to the Chinese authorities to recognise same-sex marriage, in a month-long push sparked by a review of the country’s civil law provisions.

The country’s LGBT community and its supporters have been writing to legislators and leaving comments in favour of a change to China’s marriage laws during a public comment period which ended with more than 250,000 people responding.

“We know that it’s already the third draft and they will probably not include same-sex marriage, but at least we want to let lawmakers hear there’s a need among the LGBT community,” said the director of Guangzhou-based LGBT Rights Advocacy China.

But the state has maintained its position thus far. A spokesman of the Legislative Affairs Commission of China’s top legislative body, told press that regulators’ interpretation that marriage certificates should only be issued to male-female couples was in line with Chinese customs and tradition, even if no statute expressly said marriage should be limited to heterosexual couples.

It's time China!!

Gay couples protest on Valentine's Day 
to push for marriage equality in China

Monday, December 2, 2019

Gay swimmer becomes better athlete after coming out

For Michael Gunning, 25, an elite-level swimmer who lives in Britain but competes for Jamaica, coming out as gay last year was the best thing for his career. He set a record for Jamaica just months after coming out as gay and may have set himself up for the Olympics

“I became a better athlete after I came out because I was no longer worrying about hiding a part of myself from everyone around me,” Michael said.

He came out as gay last year on the reality show “The Bi Life,” which showed him on his first date with a man. It’s a decision he hasn’t regretted, he wrote in his essay:

Although it was daunting to come out on television, I have no regrets. Being in that villa of like-minded people who understood what it’s like to feel different was exactly what I needed.

I didn’t really grow up with many LGBTQ role models — especially in sport — so there wasn’t much out there to help me learn about who I was and feel OK in my own skin. Particularly as a black gay sportsman, I didn’t see anyone who looked like me being open about who they are and who they love.

Seeing yourself reflected in someone else and their experience can be such a powerful, personal affirmation, but for so long I was lacking that. Still, I also never imagined that my ‘coming out’ story on the show would have sparked so many discussions within the LGBT sporting community.

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Three women sentenced to prison for promoting unveiling in Iran

Three women held in custody in the notorious Qarchak prison for "disrespecting compulsory hijab," or the so-called Islamic dress code, were sentenced to a total of 52 years and six months.

In April 2019, Yasaman Aryani, her mother Monireh Arabshahi, and Mojgan Keshavarz were all arrested after posting a video that went viral on International Women's Day. In it, they are seen walking without headscarves through a Tehran metro train, handing flowers to female passengers.  

The three women were convicted by the Tehran Revolutionary Court in the absence of their lawyers, in a direct violation of their procedural rights. In a trial that can only be described as a farce, Judge Mohammad Moghiseh sentenced each of them to 5 years in prison for «association and collusion against national security», one year in prison for «spreading propaganda against the State» and 10 years in prison for «encouraging and preparing the basis for corruption and prostitution.» In addition, Mojgan Keshavarz received an additional sentence of 7 and a half years in prison for «insulting holiness.»

We must remember women from Iran, Saudi Arabia and other Islamic countries are discriminated and treated as second-class people, and LGBT people worst.

Video of the three unveiled women giving flowers
on metro went viral on International Women’s Day

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Hungary leaves Eurovision because it is too gay

Hungary will not participate in next year’s Eurovision song contest, amid speculation the decision was taken because the competition is “too gay” for the taste of the country’s far-right government and public media bosses.

While no official reason has been given for the withdrawal, the move comes amid an increase in homophobic rhetoric in Hungary, where the anti-migration prime minister, Viktor Orbán, has launched a “family first” policy aimed at helping traditional families and boosting birth rates.

Earlier this year, the speaker of the Hungarian parliament compared same-sex adoption to paedophilia, while a pro-government television commentator referred to Eurovision as “a homosexual flotilla” and said not participating would benefit the nation’s mental health.

Public media in Hungary is closely linked to the government and has been instrumental in spreading its messages around migration and other issues. Earlier, the Hungarian website quoted unnamed sources inside public media speculating that the reason for the withdrawal was likely to be that Eurovision was deemed “too gay”.

Recently, an MP from Orbán’s Fidesz party called for a boycott of Coca-Cola after the brand launched an advertising campaign using photographs of a gay couple, while László Kövér, the speaker of the Hungarian parliament, compared proponents of equal marriage and adoption to paedophiles. 

A Hungarian MP asked people to boycott the drink for this ad

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Over one million same-sex households are censed in U.S.

According to estimates from the 2019 Current Population Survey, there are 543,000 same-sex married couple households and 469,000 households with same-sex unmarried partners living together in the U.S.. In addition, 191,000 children live with same-sex parent.

This compares to 61.4 million opposite-sex married and 8 million opposite-sex unmarried partner households. Based on those numbers, the estimated amount of same sex couples and family households still register as 1,5% of the country’s total households.

Census promised to collect more information about same-sex couples and LGBT people in general, but they will not ask census takers this year about their sexual orientation. In fact, they have historically mishandled or hidden data related to non-heterosexual people.

Under the Obama Administration, multiple government branches began working together to make it possible to add questions related to sexual orientation and gender identity, but that has stopped under Trump, which would further diminish the accuracy of the census and further harm LGBT people.

That means the actual data that the U.S. Census has a long history of not collecting will continue to go unknown because Trump, preventing people from knowing information that could prove vital to LGBT people’s advancement in society.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Gay Chorus Deep South, the documentary is released

In October 2017, the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus celebrated its 40th season by touring for a week across America’s Bible Belt, promoting love and acceptance via concerts in states with some of the nation’s most discriminatory anti-LGBT laws.

But as depicted in the stirring, warm-hearted documentary Gay Chorus Deep South (2019), which swiftly follows chorus leader-conductor Tim Seelig and his chorale as they perform for large, enthusiastic audiences in Mississippi, Tennessee, Alabama and the Carolinas, the group’s luck held out.

Despite occasional protesters and naysayers, the chorus, which was accompanied by the largely African American Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir, seemed successful in spreading their positive messages while singing lots of beautiful gospel and spiritual music. 

A high point was when the San Francisco chorus and the Oakland choir crossed the famed Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, singing We Shall Overcome. It’s a scene that resonates on so many levels.

The documentary is directed by David Charles Rodrigues, which uncovers a more personal story behind the political statement. The performances are impressive, tender and sometimes funny. Ultimately, though, the documentary is able to record only small, not sweeping, changes of heart. Nevertheless, the film, like the singers, maintains a compassionate optimism.

Watch the official trailer below:

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Three judges blocked Trump’s rule allowing healthcare discrimination against LGBT people

In a rule change announced on November 1, the Trump administration said that health programmes receiving grants from government Department of Health and Human Services (HSS) would no longer have to abide by nondiscrimination guidelines protecting LGBT people.

The Trump administration changed the regulations in the name of “religious freedom”, and it would also apply to abortions, contraception, gender confirmation surgery, or any other services or people healthcare providers might disagree with “on moral or religious grounds”.

Two federal judges have already blocked Trump’s rule allowing discrimination against LGBT people in healthcare. This week, US district judge William Alsup of the Northern District of California joined two other judges in writing off Trump’s new rule.

Alsup wrote in his decision: “Under the new rule, to preview just one example, an ambulance driver would be free, on religious or moral grounds, to eject a patient en route to a hospital upon learning that the patient needed an emergency abortion. Such harsh treatment would be blessed by the new rule.” He added: “When a rule is so saturated with error, as here, there is no point in trying to sever the problematic provisions. The whole rule must go.”

Democratic presidential candidate Mayor Pete Buttigieg has slammed Donald Trump’s decision to allow publicly funded adoption agencies to discriminate against LGBT families. “It’s a huge step backward,” Buttigieg said. 

That is now three judges in two weeks who have recognised the Denial of Care Rule for what it is, an egregious and unconstitutional attack on women, LGBT people and other vulnerable populations.

Friday, November 22, 2019

Scottish rugby supports LGBT community with rainbow laces

Scottish Rugby showed their support for the Stonewall Rainbow Laces campaign.

Stonewall Sport Champions are leading LGBT people in sport who are determined to make sport everyone’s game. They’ll stand up for what they believe in, working together and with Stonewall to bring the experiences of LGBT people in a wide range of sports to life and show how we can all play our part when it comes to LGBT inclusion.

The campaign, which runs from 22 November until 8 December, is the leading charity for lesbian, gay, bi and trans equality, with the campaign challenging fans to play their part in ensuring LGBT people feel included in sport.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

A surprise lesbian proposal took place on Ellen's show

A woman proposed to her fiancee on Ellen’s show after she said that her parents refused to attend their wedding.

Kate Austin tweeted at Ellen earlier this month: “My parents aren’t going to attend my wedding because they don’t like that I’m gay! I need someone to walk me down the aisle and someone else for a ‘father/daughter’ dance.” She also included some pictures of the proposal, which took place in front of the Eiffel Tower.

During a segment on her show about funny tweets, Ellen shared Kate’s tweet. And Kate and Sarah were in her audience, so she pulled them on-stage.

After their initial shock, Sarah explained that their plan was that Sarah would propose and Kate would walk down the aisle at their wedding, but Kate surprised her with the proposal.

Ellen then said that she had a wedding gift for Kate and Sarah, which was their family and friends. Kate looked confused, and Ellen asked Sarah to explain the gift.

“I know you already proposed to me, but of course you know I had to get my piece in there,” she said. “And there’s no better way to do it than in front of our chosen family and of course our biggest role model, Ellen.”

“The way that you feel today is the way you make me feel every day and I can’t wait to spend my life with you,” Sarah added. Then she got down on one knee and she said: “Will you be my wife?”


Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Today is Transgender Day of Remembrance

The International Day of Transgender Remembrance has been observed annually since it was founded in 1999 by Gwendolyn Ann Smith, a transgender woman, to memorialise the murder of her transgender friend Rita Hester in Massachusetts.

Today, we take a moment to honour and remember all those who have lost their lives to inexplicable transphobic violence. 

Over the last year a total of 331 transgender people are known to have been murdered across the world, and there are likely to be many more that were not reported.

We must end this epidemic of violence against our trans siblings!


Nigeria named the most dangerous place for LGBT tourists, while Norway is the safest

A new study has found that Nigeria is the most dangerous country in the world for LGBT tourists, while the UK is the fourth safest.

Researchers at travel website Asher & Lyric compiled their list of the best and worst countries for tourists by examining LGBT rights in each country.

They examined issues such as the legality of same-sex relations in each country, whether same-sex couples can adopt there, and what protections are in place for LGBT workers.

Nigeria was given an ‘F’ grade and a score of 142. Homosexuality is illegal in Nigeria and is punished by up to 14 years in prison or the death penalty under Sharia law. Discussion about LGBT rights is also criminalised in Nigeria.

Qatar, Yemen, Saudi Arabi, Tanzania, Iran, Sudan, Barbados, Malaysia and Malawi rounded out the top 10 most dangerous countries for LGBT tourists to visit.

Meanwhile, Norway came out on top of the index as the safest country for LGBT travellers with a score of 307 and an ‘A’ grade. It was closely followed by Portugal and Belgium, with the UK in fourth place with a ‘B+’.

Check the whole list here.

Where you should avoid travelling if you’re LGBT, mapped

Monday, November 18, 2019

Unveiled the first-ever video game with a playable transgender hero

Tell Me Why by Xbox Game Studios is the first video game by a major publisher to have a playable transgender main character.

Announced at Microsoft’s X019 event in London, the video game is the newest episodic narrative adventure game from Dontnod Entertainment, the studio behind Life Is Strange.

Set in a small-town in Alaska, the three-chapter game lets you play as both 21-year-old twins Tyler and Alyson Ronan, who come together after 10 years of separation. Unlike most regular twins like myself, the pair are able to wield the powers you all somehow think twins genuinely have to share thoughts and memories, in this case, it helps to investigate a mystery from their apparently turbulent childhood.

Making history, Tyler is the first playable protagonist from a major game studio and publisher who is also transgender. Not only is the voice actor for Tyler transgender too, but Dontnod worked closely with both Microsoft and LGBT media advocacy organization GLAAD on the game, making sure to shape Tyler both as an authentic representation of the trans experience, and a nuanced, multi-dimensional character in his own right. 

Watch the trailer below.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Not a step back in Spain!

Last night, the headquarter of the LGBT association in Girona, Espai LGTBI, was attacked and the glass door was broken, which is a new homophobic attack in Spain.

In recent times, the acts of intolerance and homophobic attacks have multiplied under the umbrella of the growth of the far right party VOX and its shaming rise in the elections to Spanish parliament.

Spain approved same-sex marriage in 2005, it is one of the nation tops in the list of countries most accepting of homosexuality, and it is also one of the most LGBT-friendly country according to the ILGA index, but the attacks and hate crimes against the LGBT community are multiplying at an alarming rate in the last months.

Spain has to say enough before it is too late, authorities and everybody have to stand together in front of fascism and to defense the rights of LGBT community, because they are the rights of the whole society.

LGBT rights in Spain, not a step back! Stop homophobia!

We exist and we will not hide into the closet never again!

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Hong Kong Pride banned for the first time

For the first time, the LGBT community in Hong Kong has been banned by police from marching in its annual Pride parade amidst violent protests in the city.

Organisers of the march were told that the event on November 16 would be reduced to a standstill gathering. Director of the parade’s organising committee, Yeo Wai-wai, said the police had informed them just 48 hours before the event, rather than the usual month in advance, so they were left with little time to inform guests.

The police cited disruption in other areas amidst violent protests against the now withdrawn 2019 Hong Kong extradition bill as the cause of the ban. Yeo Wai-wai said: “The police have been clamping down on freedom. Sexual minorities are no exception.”

The government has also imposed a mask ban to deter violent protesters, but this could discourage people joining the Pride event as LGBT people who have not come out to their family and friends often wear masks to protect their identities.

In October, a Hong Kong court turned down a judicial challenge against a government policy which denies civil partnerships to same-sex couples. Amnesty International described the court’s ruling as “a bitter blow” to Hong Kong’s LGBT community, who had hoped the city would follow the lead of Taiwan, which recently became the first country in Asia to legalise same-sex marriage.

Thousands take part in Hong Kong Pride every year

Friday, November 15, 2019

Suicide rates fall almost half after gay marriage legalised in Sweden and Denmark

Denmark was the first country in the world to allow civil unions for same-sex couples in 1989, and Sweden in the same in 1995. Same-sex marriage was legalised in Sweden in 2009, and in Denmark in 2012.

The joint study by the Danish Research Institute for Suicide Prevention and researchers from Stockholm University used data from national population registers in Denmark and Sweden.

Comparing two periods 13-year periods, 1989 to 2002 and 2003 to 2016, they looked at deaths by suicide of people in same-sex couples during the time both countries legalised civil partnerships and the time they both legalised same-sex marriage.

Suicides among those in same-sex partnerships fell by 46 percent between the two periods. This is partly due to improved understanding of mental health, as suicide rates also fell by 28 percent among heterosexual couples, but researchers believe reduced stigma influenced by same-sex marriage contributed to the huge drop.

The study states that with the passage of time, legalisation of same-sex marriage and the expansion of rights and protections to LGBT people, they become much more accepted in both Nordic countries.

View the full text here.