Tuesday, September 17, 2019

THE DARE PROJECT is coming


The gay short film DARE made a huge impression on audiences in 2004 with its story of Ben (Adam Fleming) and Johnny (Michael Cassidy), lustful teen crushes, and forbidden gay love in high school. 

DARE had 13.5M views on Youtube; played over 50 film fests; was released as the lead film on gay short DVD compilations around the world, and then eventually became a Sundance feature.

Now, writer and producer David Brind and director Adam Salky have done something unprecedented. They’ve brought back the very same cast and creative team from the original short film 15 years later for THE DARE PROJECT, a continuation of Ben and Johnny’s story. 

Brind spoke about the origins of the 2004 film, and the decision to try and put together a sequel. In THE DARE PROJECT, Ben and Johnny, now in their early 30s fortuitously run into each other at a party in Los Angeles after not seeing each other since high school. Is their connection still alive, and what do they do about it?

Here’s the original short film, for those who haven’t seen it or want a refresher:



THE DARE PROJECT is available starting midnight to rent and buy on Tuesday, 9/24 at dareshortfilm.com but, before that, take a first look at the exclusive premiere of the sequel's trailer in Vimeo:



Monday, September 16, 2019

Jamie Barton waved a rainbow flag at the Last Night of the Proms


The mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton waved a rainbow flag during her rendition of Rule Britannia at the Last Night of the Proms to show her support for LGBT rights.

Barton was making her first appearance at the Proms and had said that it was “important for me to stand up proudly as a bisexual woman”.

As well as Rule Britannia, one of the highlights of the Last Night at the Royal Albert Hall, she sang Somewhere over the Rainbow, from The Wizard of Oz, and George Gershwin’s I Got Rhythm.

The American singer, who took to the stage waving a Pride flag, said her mission was to "unify the audience". And, with a sensuous reading of Bizet's Habañera and a wistful Somewhere Over The Rainbow, she achieved her goal.

Barton, who revealed her bisexuality on Twitter on National Coming Out Day 2014, said she wanted to use the Proms to make a very clear statement of Pride.

Awesome!




Sunday, September 15, 2019

Gus Kenworthy and Laith Ashley call to do more to challenge the rejection faced by trans people


Gus Kenworthy and Laith Ashley talk in Attitude October's issue at length about the most pressing issues facing the community today, and learn from one another as gay and trans men.

The Olympic freeskier and the transgender activist and model are coming together to use their voices to uplift those in the LGBT community who are often overlooked or left behind, and to call on gay men to do more to challenge the violence and prejudice faced by trans people as they become more visible in society.

Check the interview here.




Saturday, September 14, 2019

Pete Buttigieg made history with his coming out story at Democratic debate


Pete Buttigieg’s closing statement at the Democratic presidential debate was historic as he candidly told the story of his coming out in response to a question about resilience.

It came at the tail end, after moderator asked each candidate on stage to discuss how they have demonstrated resilience. Buttigieg discussed the fears he faced about coming out as gay while serving as mayor of South Bend, Indiana, in 2015.

“As a military officer serving under ‘don't ask, don't tell,’ and as an elected official in the state of Indiana when Mike Pence was governor, at a certain point, when it came to professional setbacks, I had to wonder whether just acknowledging who I was was going to be the ultimate career-ending professional setback,” Buttigieg acknowledged.

“I came back from the deployment and realized that you only get to live one life. And I was not interested in not knowing what it was like to be in love any longer, so I just came out.”

But Buttigieg acknowledged that at the time, he feared negative attention on the moment. “I had no idea what kind of professional setback it would be, especially because inconveniently it was an election year in my socially conservative community,” he said.

“What happened was that, when I trusted voters to judge me based on the job that I did for them, they decided to trust me and reelected me with 80 percent of the vote. And what I learned was that trust can be reciprocated and that part of how you can win and deserve to win is to know what's worth more to you than winning.”

“That's what we need in the presidency right now. We have to know what we are about,” he said. “…It's about the people who trust us with their lives, a kid wondering if we're actually going to make their schools safe when they've learned active shooter drills before they've learned to read, a generation wondering we will actually get the job done on climate change."

"And if we hold to that, then it doesn't matter what happens to each of us professionally," he continued. "Together, we will win a better era for our country.”

Pete Buttigieg would win a general election against President Trump by nine points, the Quinnipiac poll showed.




Friday, September 13, 2019

Griezmann pro stopping soccer matches for anti-gay chants


France forward Antoine Griezmann has said stopping matches for anti-gay chanting is a "good thing", just one day after French Football Federation (FFF) president Noel Le Graet had made clear his opposition to the idea.

The FFF introduced new rules this season enabling referees to interrupt play in the event of any such incident, but Le Graet said he was not in favour of this.

However, Griezmann views it positively. "For me, stopping the matches is a very good thing, whether it is for homophobic or racist chanting," the player told postmatch at Stade de France. "If we stop games, people will not be happy and those doing the chanting will stop it."

Griezmann's position is directly contrary to Le Graet's, who has said he is totally against the stoppage of matches for homophobic, but not racist, chanting.

Several French Ligue 1 matches have been briefly interrupted by referees this season because of anti-gay chants in the stands, in accordance with new rules the FFF enforced this season.


France won the World Cup in 2018 


Thursday, September 12, 2019

Meeting of two openly gay heads of state and their partners


Xavier Bettel, Prime Minister of Luxembourg, and Ana Brnabić, Prime Minister of Serbia, posed with their partners ahead of a state visit. The two openly gay world leaders were pictured together for first time. 

The Prime Minister of Luxembourg is hosting his Serbian counterpart this week to discuss the possibility of the latter joining the European Union among other issues. 

Bettel and his husband, Gauthier Destenay, were seen posing with Brnabić and her partner, Milica Djurdjic. The pictures were tweeted by Bettel himself to mark Brnabić’s arrival in the country.

Bettel became Luxembourg’s first openly gay prime minister in 2013. He married architect Gauthier Destenay in May 2015, shortly after his government introduced marriage equality.

Upon taking office in June 2017, Brnabić declared that she did not want to be branded “Serbia’s gay PM”. Rather, she said, she would like to be known for her “competence, professionalism and trustworthiness”.

While many acknowledged that the fairness of this request, there is a widely-held frustration that LGBT rights have not advanced under Brnabić’s leadership.


Bettel's tweet


Tuesday, September 10, 2019

LGBT YouTubers are suing YouTube over alleged discrimination


Five prominent LGBT YouTube channels are suing the video site and its parent company Google for allegedly discriminating against queer content creators. The group of YouTubers have accused the website of making it difficult for them to reach a wider audience, and of restricting their ability to make a living from their work.

The complainant, including Amp Somers, Lindsay Amer, Chris Knight, Celso Dulay, Cameron Stiehl, Chrissy Chambers, and Chase Ross, have spoken out about YouTube’s alleged treatment of the LGBT creator community.

According to the lawsuit, YouTube algorithms flag videos about LGBT issues as “shocking,” “inappropriate,” “offensive,” and “sexually explicit,” meaning that they are then demonetised, or made ineligible for paid advertising.

YouTube has also been accused of blocking LGBT creators from purchasing advertising on other videos, while allowing hate-filled videos to remain online and even advertise on LGBT channels.

YouTube spokesperson Alex Joseph told PinkNews that its policies have no notion of sexual orientation or gender identity. “All content on our site is subject to the same policies,” Joseph said.

“Our systems do not restrict or demonetise videos based on these factors or the inclusion of terms like ‘gay’ or ‘transgender.’ In addition, we have strong policies prohibiting hate speech, and we quickly remove content that violates our policies and terminate accounts that do so repeatedly,” he added.

None of these accusations are new, but this is the first time that they have been rounded up as part of a lawsuit.

Watch the YouTubers' video below:




Monday, September 9, 2019

Over 2,000 attend Sarajevo's first Gay Pride march


Sarajevo has become the latest and last of the Balkan capitals to hold its first Pride parade as LGBT activists in Bosnia and Herzegovina marched amid a backdrop of protests and aggression from conservative voices in the country.

More than 2,000 people turned out in Sarajevo for the city's first Gay Pride march to protest hate crimes suffered by the LGBT community.

Led by a vast pink banner with the words “Ima Izac”, which translates as ‘Coming Out’, attendees marched under rainbow flags to the sounds of whistles and drums as they used the event to highlight the ongoing violence and discrimination faced by LGBT people in the country.

Protesters were flanked by more than 1,000 police officers to limit potential violence and aggression from groups opposing the march – with planned counter protests and a history of disruption at LGBT events in the traditionally conservative country casting a shadow over proceedings.

Among those taking part were ambassadors from several western countries, including Britain, France, Italy and the United States, Eric Gordon Nelson, who is gay. Ahead of the event he said: “The US Embassy expresses support to the first Pride March in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The goal of the pride parade is equal human rights for all".

Members of the community have complained that they face widespread harassment and attacks which are rarely prosecuted.

Organiser Lejla Huremovic told the gathering: "If there was no violence I wouldn't be here today. This gives us strength and faith that prejudice against us will start to wane and that it will become better for all of us."






Sunday, September 8, 2019

Brazilian judge allows one comic showing a gay kiss despite protest of Mayor of Rio de Janeiro


A Brazilian judge decreed that the order of sweeping and censoring books containing LGBT content at the Bienal do Livro enacted by Rio de Janeiro’s Mayor, Marcello Crivella, was illegal under Brazilian law and contradicted articles of Brazil’s constitution, which protects freedom of expression.

A Marvel comic shows two male characters, Wiccan and Hulkling, kissing while fully clothed. In the storyline, they are portrayed as being in a committed relationship.

Mayor Marcelo Crivella, a former bishop, had demanded the comic be withdrawn from a book fair, saying it included content unsuitable for minors. Crivella has in the past decried homosexuality as "evil behaviour," despite same-sex marriage being legal in the country since 2013.

But the judge granted an interim injunction against this, citing the right to freedom of expression.

Copies of the comic book, Avengers: The Children's Crusade, quickly sold out after the mayor's intervention. The illustration has been also printed on the front page of Brazilian newspaper Folha de São Paulo.

Brazil's largest literary event "gives voice to all audiences, without distinction, as it should be in a democracy", the book fair's organisers told.


The illustration in the comic


The illustration in the newspaper's front page


Saturday, September 7, 2019

Watch Pete Buttigieg's first campaign ad


Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg unveiled his first campaign ad, which debuted in Iowa.

Titled The Only Way, the 30-second clip begins with an image of the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, in military camouflage (he served in Afghanistan with the Navy Reserve). "As a veteran, and as a mayor, I've seen what we can achieve when we have each other's back," Buttigieg says. "But in today's divided America, we're at each other's throats."

The mayor then describes the issues facing the country, like climate change, rising health care costs, and the fact that "our kids are learning active shooter drills before they learn to read." Buttigieg says we need "real solutions, not more polarization."

The campaign is spending over $200,000 in the next week and a half on the spot, which will air on TV and online. The mayor's presidential campaign has also opened 20 new field offices in the state and hired an additional 30 staffers there. Iowa's Democratic caucus will take place February 3, 2020.

Buttigieg is the first gay candidate to make traction in a presidential campaign, would win a general election against President Trump by nine points, the Quinnipiac poll shows.

Watch the video below:




Friday, September 6, 2019

We Don't Always March Straight


The Försvarsmakten (Swedish Armed Forces) shared a message of solidarity on social media as the country hosted the EuroPride 2018 celebration in Stockholm and Gothenburg.

The ad from Swedish Armed Forces from EuroPride had a proud anti-fascist message: We don’t always march straight. But no matter when or where we march, we always stand up for your right to live the way you want with whoever you want. 

This ad certainly struck fear into all of the anti-LGBT fascists in Sweden. Volt, the ad agency that designed the campaign, described it this way:

"Usually when The Swedish Armed Forces put paint on their faces it is to camouflage themselves. During EuroPride 2018 they wanted to do the opposite, they wanted to be seen. They wanted to make a statement with the potential to echo across Europe to show that they stand up for the values they’re tasked with defending, and the equal worth of all people regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression."

The Armed Forces clapped back: “The Armed Forces have chosen to participate in Pride to demonstrate that we stand up for our values and protect all people’s equal values and rights. To clearly show that we are an inclusive organisation, where everyone is treated with mutual respect.”






Thursday, September 5, 2019

HRC to host Democratic presidential town hall focused on LGBT issues


The Human Rights Campaign Foundation (HRC) announced it will host a CNN Democratic presidential town hall in California this fall focused on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues.

The event will take place the night before October 11, the 31st anniversary of National Coming Out Day. HRC said the October 10 primetime event will feature the largest ever audience for a Democratic presidential town hall devoted to LGBT issues. 

The candidates will take questions from the audience and CNN journalists on specific LGBT concerns as well as their plans to promote equality and civility.

"This town hall comes at a critical time in our fight to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people in this nation," said Alphonso David, who was recently named HRC president. 

He added: "Today, in 30 states, LGBT people remain at risk of being fired, evicted or denied services because of who we are. Thirty-five states have yet to ban the dangerous and debunked practice of 'conversion therapy,' which is harming our young people. Hate crimes are rising, and more than 100 transgender people, most of whom are transgender women of color, have been killed in the United States in the last five years."

And he also said: "Although the federal government should be protecting all residents, the Trump-Pence Administration is directly attacking our community by banning transgender troops from serving our country openly, undermining health care services for people living with HIV, and seeking to erase LGBT people from protections under law."

Invitations to participate in the town hall will be extended to Democratic presidential hopefuls who meet the DNC's qualifications for the October 2019 primary debates. Candidates must reach 2% in at least four national polls identified by the DNC to determine eligibility. 

So far, former Vice President Joe Biden, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro, California Sen. Kamala Harris, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren have accepted HRC's invitation to participate in the event.

Recently, a poll found 70% of voters in the US would vote for a gay man as president.


Pete Buttigieg, the first gay candidate to 
make traction in a presidential campaign


Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Iran continually violates LGBT rights in spite of West' silence


Iran is one of the principal countries where LGBT rights are seriously violated and the Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Sarif showed why when he endorsed the execution of gay people.

Sarif defended his country's draconian policies at a joint press conference with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas in Tehran. Maas largely ignored the issue at the time. A reporter from German tabloid Bild asked: "Why are homosexuals executed in Iran because of their sexual orientation?"

He responded: "Our society has moral principles. And we live according to these principles. These are moral principles concerning the behavior of people in general. And that means that the law is respected and the law is obeyed".

Homosexuality violates Islamic Law in Iran and can be punishable by death. Several thousand people have been executed for homosexuality since the 1979 Islamic revolution.

LGBT people in Iran face abuse, torture and threats by govern and families. Violating LGBT rights under the guise of moral principles shows that Iran doesn't respect human rights, and LGBT rights are human rights. 

As long as the country's laws do not change, the situation of homosexuals in Iran will not improve, and Western countries remain silent.





Monday, September 2, 2019

Schools in Britain will have support to teach same-sex relationships


Education Secretary Gavin Williamson says every school in Britain will be given support to teach children about same-sex relationships.

This year, primary schools in Birmingham faced protests over LGBT-inclusive lessons and following the protests, other teachers and allies called for the UK Government to support the school’s decisions.

Back in February, former Education Secretary Damian Hinds revealed that primary school pupils will be taught about respectful relationship but said the school's will decide when they think it's age appropriate to teach sex education.

The new curriculum, which will include subjects on relationships education from primary school, relationships and sex education at secondary school and health education for all ages, will be introduced in England from 2020.

Now, the new Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has said headteachers should be able to teach about Britain as it is today and they will receive support ahead of the introduction of the inclusive lessons.

Williamson said: “Firstly, we shouldn’t be seeing protests outside any schools. We want to make sure all pupils, parents and teachers are able to go to those schools freely without any form of intimidation. We will be there supporting and backing every single school – that’s what we have been doing.”

And he added: “The purpose of it is we wanted to make sure every single school is able to teach about Britain as it is today – but also have the flexibility to ensure that it has an understanding of the communities which it operates in.”


Gavin Williamson, the Britain Education Secretary


Every tenth LGBT person in Russia comes across physical abuse


Read the whole report in the Russian LGBT Network:

The research conducted by the Russian LGBT Network at the end of 2018, fully describes the situation with LGBT rights in Russia. More than 80% of the respondents stated that they could reveal information about their sexual orientation and gender identity only to their friends. Every tenth respondent experienced physical abuse. More than a half reported about at least one violation of their rights in 2018.

7,476 people from all parts of Russia took part in the survey conducted at the end of 2018. The report “Monitoring of discrimination motivated by sexual orientation and gender identity in 2018” is based on the results of this survey and the materials of the monitoring programme, and contains information about physical abuse, tortures, discrimination at work place, violation of parental rights and so-called “propaganda law”.

The report confirms that every tenth member of LGBT community experienced physical abuse. The results show that abusers are often well-known people, which affects the number of reports to the police. The research also confirms a very low level of trust towards the state institutions: 74% of participants would rather avoid involvement of the police due to the lack of trust in law-enforcement bodies, 66% - partly or wholly mistrust Russian courts.





Saturday, August 31, 2019

Ukraine’s second largest pride takes place in Odessa


LGBT rights activists organized the 5th march for equality in Odessa (Ukraine). According to organizers, local authorities appealed to the court which banned the pride. The original route and time were banned and the organizers had to change the route.

Hundreds of marchers were protected by police officers. Demonstrators took a walk from Primorskii boulevard to the Dums’ka Square. They chanted: “Human rights are above all!”, “Love is above all”, but the main slogan was “Odesa Pride is for a free city!”

Police did encounters a small group of right-wing protesters who were cordoned off and held back from disturbing the march.

A number or religious organizations in Odessa were taking a stand against the planned Odessa Pride 2019 festival. Representatives of a number of churches and organizations sent a letter to Mayor Gennady Trukhanov, calling on him to shut down the LGBT festival “for the sake of preserving peace among the residents an guests of the city”.

Though homosexual sex is legal in Ukraine, since 1991, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people still face stigma, discrimination and sometimes violent attacks in Ukraine.

Last June, several thousand activists pride supporters have held a march in Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, despite opponents’ attempts to block them.





Thursday, August 29, 2019

Out candidate Pete Buttigieg would beat Donald Trump in presidential election


Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend (Indiana) and the first gay candidate to make traction in a presidential campaign, would win a general election against President Trump by nine points, the Quinnipiac poll shows.

If the 2020 presidential election were held today and it was between Trump and Buttigieg, 49 per cent of registered voters would opt for Buttigieg while only 40 per cent would vote for Trump.

Trump trails five Democratic candidates in the new poll, and falls double digits behind former vice president Joe Biden and senators Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris.

However, the polling also shows that Buttigieg would come last in a Democratic primary against Biden, Warren, Sanders and Harris. LGBT voters only make up around six per cent of the US electorate, according to 2018 midterm election exit polls.


Pete Buttigieg with his husband Chasten


Wednesday, August 28, 2019

The Shiny Shrimps


The new hilarious French comedy The Shiny Shrimps ("Les Crevettes pailletées") is set to hit cinemas next month. It is a French sports comedy film, directed by Maxime Govare and Cédric Le Gallo.

Inspired on real events, the film follows Mathias Le Goff (Nicolas Gob), a vice-world swimming champion, who makes a homophobic statement on TV and is disciplined by the national swim team with the responsibility of coaching The Pailletées Shrimp, a gay water polo team who are more motivated by the party than by the competition.

They have only one thing in mind: to qualify for the Gay Games in Croatia where the hottest international LGBT athletes compete. It's the start of a bumpy and joyful ride 

The cast also includes Alban Lenoir, David Baïot, Michaël Abiteboul, Romain Lancry and Geoffrey Couët.

Enjoy the trailer below:




Monday, August 26, 2019

Turkish authorities ban another pro-LGBT event


Authorities in Istanbul have banned the Queer Olympix, organisers said, becoming the latest pro-LGBT event to be cancelled in Turkey.

Some 130 participants were to compete in the third annual Queer Olympix this weekend in sports including football, beach volleyball and long jump, volunteer organiser Elif Kaya said.

However when they went to start setting up the event in the Kadikoy district on the Asian side of Istanbul on Saturday, “we saw police and two water cannons”, Kaya said. “We were told that we did not have permission to hold our event,” she told.

It is the first time the event, which began in 2017, has been cancelled by authorities. Kaya said that the authorities “waited until the minute to tell us about the ban to avoid us appealing”.

While Turkey is seen as one of the countries more tolerant to LGBT rights in the Islamic world, critics have decried a creeping conservatism under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Numerous LGBT events have been banned in recent years, including the gay pride march in Istanbul, which had been running smoothly since 2003 and attracting tens of thousands of people until it was indefinitely cancelled in 2014.


The last attempts to celebrate Pride in Ankara
have been brutally disbanded by the police


Sunday, August 25, 2019

Witnessing a live rocket launch


A Delta IV rocket launched a satellite last August 22 for the United States Air Force. This satellite joined other operational global positioning systems (GPS) satellites already in orbit. GPS delivers positioning, navigation and timing services supporting the United States and other operations.

The satellite has been named “Magallanes” after Ferdinand Magallanes, the explorer who led the first expedition to circumnavigate Earth. This was the last opportunity to see the launch of Delta IV rocket as this was its final flight.

Fortunately, I was at Kennedy Space Visitor Center complex that day and I could see the launch with my loved Ryce at the LC-39 Observation Gantry. An amazing experience!!

Located at the historic Launch Complex 39, where Apollo astronauts launched to the moon, the LC-39 Observation Gantry is the absolute closest viewing area to the launch pads of Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Shaded viewing from the gantry and outdoor bleacher seating make this the premium launch viewing area, situated just 5 miles from launch pads.

Watch the launch below:






Saturday, August 24, 2019

US psychoanalysts apologises for having treated homosexuality as an illness


The American Psychoanalytic Association (APsaA) has apologised for previously treating homosexuality as a mental illness.

”It is long past time to recognise and apologise for our role in the discrimination and trauma caused by our profession and say, ‘We are sorry,’” said Dr Lee Jaffe, president of the APsaA. “It’s hard to admit that one has been so wrong,” he added.

Psychiatrists declassified homosexuality as a disorder in 1973; psychoanalysts, represented by this apologising organisation, made the same decision nearly two decades later. But the explicit apology was still missing, until now.

The apology was announced at the opening session of the APsaA’s 109th annual meeting in San Diego, California. It received a standing ovation from all the assistents. 

The announcement is the second major apology to past harm done to the LGBT community during this year, following the NYPD’s apology for their actions during the Stonewall uprising, which heavily influenced the LGBT movement 50 years ago.


Dr Jaffe apologized publicly at the
opening of APsaA anual meeting


Thursday, August 22, 2019

Palestinian Authority bans activities by LGBT rights group


Al Qaws, a Palestinian LGBT rights group vowed to continue its activities after the Palestinian Authority police barred the group from holding events in the West Bank and threatened to arrest participants.

The Palestinian Authority police, who exercise control in parts of the Israeli-occupied West Bank, announced the ban over the weekend. A police spokesman described activities organized by the rights group as a blow to, and violation of, the ideals and values of Palestinian society.

Founded in 2001, Al Qaws is a grass-roots organization that advocates sexual and gender diversity in Palestinian society, which is largely conservative and often repressive for LGBT people.

“Al Qaws condemns the use of prosecution, intimidation and threats of arrest, be it by the police or members of society,” the group said in a statement. “We believe that the police and Palestinian society at large should focus on combating the occupation and other forms of violence that tear apart the sensitive fabric of our society and values, instead of prosecuting activists who work tirelessly to end all forms of violence.”

The group said the ban came a week after it held what it called a “discussion-based event” in the Palestinian city of Nablus in the northern West Bank. It also came three weeks after a Palestinian teenager was stabbed and severely wounded outside a shelter for gay and transgender youths in Tel Aviv.

The ban also drew notice in Israel, which has long promoted its tolerance on sexual and gender issues, despite vehement rejection in some strictly Orthodox Jewish circles, and it has cited a lack of gay rights in other parts of the Middle East to make unfavorable comparisons. The current Israeli justice minister is gay, and Tel Aviv is proud of its reputation as a favorite destination for gay and lesbian travelers.


Tel Aviv hosts the biggest pride parade in the Middle East


China will not allow the same-sex marriage


Limiting marriage to a relationship between a man and a woman will remain China’s legal position, a parliament spokesman said, ruling out following neighboring Taiwan in allowing same-sex marriage, despite pressure from activists.

Taiwan’s parliament passed a bill in May that endorsed same-sex marriage, after years of heated debate over marriage equality that has divided the self-ruled and democratic island.

China, which claims Taiwan as its territory, has a thriving gay scene in major cities, but there has been little sign the ruling Communist Party will legalize same-sex marriage.

Asked at a news briefing whether China would legalize same-sex marriage, Zang Tiewei, spokesman for parliament’s legal affairs commission, said Chinese law only allowed for marriage between one man and one woman.

Individual Chinese legislators have occasionally in the past few years proposed measures during the annual meeting of the largely rubber-stamp parliament every March to legalize same-sex marriage, without success.

There are no laws against same-sex relations in China and despite growing awareness of LGBT issues, the community has been the target of censors in recent months, fuelling fears of a growing intolerance.

Activists have asked people in China to propose amendments to a draft civil code en masse, though they have admitted they see little chance of success. The parts of the code relating to marriage are expected to pass into law next year.

The code makes changes on issues such as sexual harassment, divorce and family planning, but does not further the rights of the LGBT community, drafts published by parliament show.

Disappointing...


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


Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Sell By, a romantic comedy about pros and cons of relationships


Two gay men navigate the challenges of a smartphone era relationship in Sell By, writer-director Mike Doyle’s debut feature film that aims to push the boundaries of the romantic comedy genre by avoiding its tropes. 

The movie, which premiered at Toronto’s Inside Out Festival and screened at Outfest Los Angeles, is a star-studded ensemble piece about the lives and loves of seven career-driven pals in New York. At the core of this Manhattan friendship circle are Adam (played by Scott Evans) and Marklin (Augustus Prew), who have been together for five years. 

Though Adam dreams of making a name for himself in the visual art world, he’s settled for a “ghost painting” gig with established artist Ravella Brewer (Patricia Clarkson), who passes his work off as hers. Meanwhile, Marklin has shot to internet fame as an Instagram influencer and, much to Adam’s chagrin, has outpaced his boyfriend’s modest salary through sponsors and partnership deals.

The movie is a thoroughly optimistic piece and emphasizes the similarities between its straight and gay characters as opposed to their differences.The heartfelt film proves that love is a dangerous game for a group of self-absorbed friends who are trying to navigate their own romances. Nobody said love was easy.

“There have been so many great films about coming out and battling adversity,” said Doyle. “I wanted to make a film that presupposed all of that and simply showed a gay couple in a relationship with one another. In doing so, I hope to portray the universality of the challenges of being in a relationship with another human being, regardless of sexuality or gender identity,” he explained.  

Director Doyle talks about his movie below:




Monday, August 19, 2019

Ottawa Mayor comes out as gay in op-ed


Just a day before Pride celebrations in Ottawa officially kick off, Ottawa's Mayor Jim Watson has come out as an openly gay man.

Watson said it was time to share his secret with the city after 40 years of worrying about how his constituents, friends and family would react.

"I've been thinking about it for 40 years … I've known I was gay since I was a teenager," he said. "I feel comfortable with the decision and I'm glad I did it. But it took me a long time to get there."

In an op-ed published in the Ottawa Citizen, Watson writes that it was a "mistake" not coming out sooner. He said chose to come out because it was "the right thing to do," but wishes he'd told everyone sooner.

Watson says he was inspired to write the column after he raised the pride flag at city hall during the 2014 Olympic Games in Russia to show solidarity with LGBT athletes who feared the Russian government's views on homosexuality.

Watson says he was also convinced to come out of the closet after he was approached by a man in a park two years ago who told him he shouldn't go to the Ottawa Pride Parade, calling it the "fag parade."

Many political leaders have written Watson messages of support on social media, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau who tweeted that the mayor was brave for sharing his story.


Watson with Trudeau in Ottawa's Pride Parade


Sunday, August 18, 2019

Trump is reversing Obama’s nondiscrimination legacy


Trump made another major move in its effort to walk back President Obama’s contested legacy on nondiscrimination policies. The proposed federal regulation announced by the Trump Administration would gut nondiscrimination protections, including for LGBT people, by adding religious exemptions to President Obama’s executive order.

In July 2014, President Obama signed an executive order amending EO 11246 to provide non-discrimination protections to LGBT employees of federal contractors by prohibiting companies that contract with the federal government from discriminating in employment based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Advocacy groups have decried the new rule as just the latest attack on the LGBT community, slamming it as taxpayer-funded discrimination in the name of religion. “With this proposed regulation, the Trump Administration is seeking to gut existing protections for LGBT people, women, and religious minorities, and we cannot stand idly by,” said HRC President Alphonso David. 

“This regulation, which directly contradicts Trump’s earlier promise, is a broad and sweeping effort to implement a license to discriminate against people on the basis of their gender identity and sexual orientation. Everyone deserves a workplace free from discrimination. The Trump Administration needs to withdraw this proposed regulation and stop these attacks on LGBTQ people,” David added.

The move also has been panned by top Democrats, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. "The Administration's license to discriminate is cruel, blatantly bigoted and downright dangerous. This hateful rule would greenlight open discrimination against tens of millions of Americans in the workplace, using taxpayer dollars to throw into jeopardy their safety, financial security and well-being," Pelosi said in a statement.

Most recently, the Trump Administration changed regulations under the Affordable Care Act to allow health care providers to refuse treatment to LGBT people on the basis of their religious beliefs. It's also consistent with the administration's controversial push over the past two years to include more federal protections in the name of religious freedom.