Wednesday, January 30, 2019

A Japanese city officially recognizes same-sex couples

The Japanese city of Chiba issued its first certificates to same-sex couples recognizing their relationships.

Mayor Toshihito Kumagai presided over the ceremonies of six same-sex couples. "I wish you happiness in becoming better partners," Kumagai said at the ceremony.

To be eligible for the certificate, couples must be over the age of 20, not currently married and live in the city.

The certificates are not the equivalent of marriage for opposite-sex couples, but will give same-sex couples increased rights. Those rights include applying for public housing and the ability to visit their partner in hospital if they’re seriously ill.

The certificate system also opened today to opposite-couples who wanted to enter into a civil partnership.

While Chiba is one in a growing number of Japan’s municipalities to recognize LGBT couples with partnership certificates, it is the first not to limit the recognition of LGBT couples.

Tokyo’s Shibuya and Setagaya wards were the first local governments to issue the certificates in 2015.

A number of cities across the country soon began following their example, including Sapporo, Fukuoka, Osaka, Iga, Takarazuka, and Naha.

Same-sex marriages are illegal in Japan and couples say they face discrimination, such as the inability to inherit property from their partner without a will or to benefit from income tax deductions for spouses.

It's time Japan!

Toshihito Kumagai, mayor of Chiba, promoted same-sex couples recognition

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Barcelona rejects a homophobic attack against the new LGBT Centre

Citizens of Barcelona have shown their support for the queer community after the city’s LGBT Centre was vandalised just over one week after opening.

The LGBT Centre opened in Barcelona on January 19, described  it as a historic day. However, it was vandalised on Sunday, January 27, earlier in the morning. The glass door was broken and walls were graffitied with “f*ck LGBT” and fascist symbols.

After the cowardly attack, thousands residents gathered in front of the building in solidarity with the queer community. The mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau, condemned the attack and she showed in her speech the total support of the city to the LGBT community.

“Today this city has sent a clear and blunt message: hate is not welcome. There will be no impunity,” Colau said.

I join with them and strongly condemn this intolerable attack.

Hate will never win!

Dans mon collège, tous égaux, tous alliés!

France introduced a national campaign in the fight to eradicate anti-LGBT incidents in middle and high schools across the country.

France’s Ministry of National Education and Youth launched Tous Égaux, Tous Alliés (All Equal, All Allies). It’s a campaign that ensures all state schools put up anti-bullying posters, as well as provide accompanying guides about LGBT students for teachers.

The Ministry is engaged in the fight against all forms of discrimination and violence, including those of a homophobic or transphobic nature. Whether you are students or staff of National Education schools, find adapted services and resources to prevent, understand, listen and accompany. 

In a post on their website, France’s Ministry said he is determined to fight “all forms of discrimination and violence, including those of a homophobic or transphobic nature.”

SOS Homophobia spearheaded the campaign, which aims to make LGBTI youth in France feel more included at school. They found an increase of reports of anti-LGBT incidents by 38% in the last year. 

Their recent report also said this causes decreased self-esteem, isolation and dropping out of school. The risk of suicide attempts remains four times higher for LGBT youth than for the rest of the population.

No step back!

Monday, January 28, 2019

A dad 'Let It Go' when his son wanted to dress up and dance to 'Frozen'

A dad from Norway made his son’s day when he dressed up like Elsa from Frozen and danced together to Let It Go around their living room. 

Ørjan Burøe said his 4-year-old son named Dexter loves Frozen, and when he told he wanted to dress up and dance like Elsa, the dad bought two costumes so he and his son could play dress-up together.

Ørjan filmed their dance to Let It Go, and he hopes the video teaches a valuable lesson: “It’s important to embarrass yourself and let it go,” he said.

The dad said he likes to post family videos on social media because “a lot of people use social media in a negative way … I think it’s more important to give them something to make it happy.”

Ørjan said his son is drawn to Frozen because Elsa is a strong character and kids don’t judge by gender. “Just like kids don’t see color of skin. He just sees something that’s great. For him, Elsa is a superhero.”

He wanted Dexter to feel free. “It’s important to teach children that you can do whatever you want to do, and not put prejudice all over them. Soon enough he will find out who he's going to be in life,” he added.

Now, video of the epic dance has gone viral, putting a smile on millions of people’s faces around the world, and teaching how parents can do an inclusive approach to parenting.

Watch the video below, it is amazing!!!

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Openly gay mayor announces his candidacy for US president

Openly gay mayor Pete Buttigieg has announced his candidacy for U.S. president.

Buttigieg, 37, is the son of an immigrant father from Malta. He is graduated from Harvard, earned a Rhodes Scholarship, and worked as a consultant at McKinsey. He moved back home to Indiana at age 29 to become the mayor of South Bend, making him the youngest mayor of a city with more than 100,000 people. 

While still serving his first term, Buttigieg took a seven-month leave of office to serve with the Naval Reserve in Afghanistan in 2015. Less than a year later, Buttigieg came out as gay, but his sexuality didn’t stop South Bend voters from re-electing him to a second term with more than 80 percent of the vote. He married last year with teacher Chasten Glezman.

Buttigieg joined an expanding Democratic field with a long-shot bid that could see him become the first openly gay presidential nominee for a major party. He emphasised his youth and progressive nature in the video launching his 2020 presidential campaign.

Read how he could win the 2020 Democratic nomination according to 538.

Good luck Mr. Buttigieg!!!

Watch the video below:

Friday, January 25, 2019

Angola decriminalizes homosexuality

Angola has decriminalised homosexuality, meaning its 29 million inhabitants are free to love whoever they want.

The south-central African nation removed the “vices against nature” provision in its law, which was interpreted to be a ban on same-sex sexual activity.

As well as legalising homosexuality, Angola’s government have now made it illegal to discriminate against people on the basis of sexual orientation. It means that any person or company refusing to employ or provide services to an individual because of their sexual orientation could face up to two years in prison.

The changes were approved by Angola’s parliament updating its colonial-era penal code. It’s the first update to the country’s penal code since it gained independence from Portugal in 1975.

According last poll, 61% of Angolans believed that LGBT people should enjoy the same rights as straight people, while 65% agreed they should be protected from workplace discrimination. Meanwhile, 63% of Angolans said that transgender people should have the same rights as cisgender people.

Congrats Angola!!!

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Breaking News: Supreme Court allows Trump's transgender military ban to go into effect while the case plays out

The Supreme Court allows Trump's transgender military ban to go into effect. The Justices did not rule on the merits of the case, but will allow the ban to go forward while the lower courts work through it.

The four liberal justices on the Court objected to allowing the Administration's policy banning most transgender people from serving in the military to go into effect, but they were a minority.

The policy, first announced by Trump in July 2017 via Twitter, and later officially released by then-Secretary of Defense James Mattis, blocks individuals who have been diagnosed with a condition known as gender dysphoria from serving with limited exceptions. It also specifies that individuals without the condition can serve, but only if they do so according to the sex they were assigned at birth.

The court's move is a victory for the Trump Administration. While government lawyers wanted the Court to take up the case, they also fought to allow the ban to go into effect while the case plays out in the lower courts.

We have to wait for the lower courts ruling now.

Democrats demand Pompeo reverse visa denials for LGBT diplomats' partners

In July, the U.S. mission to the United Nations informed foreign delegations that beginning Oct. 1, the State Department would no longer issue G-4 visas to same-sex partners of foreign diplomats and U.N. officials who are not legally married, reversing a policy that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had instituted.

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

Twenty Democratic senators urged Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to reverse course on the "unnecessarily cruel" decision to end an Obama-era policy that granted visas to the same-sex partners of LGBT diplomats whose unions are not recognized by their home countries. Last week, 119 House Democrats sent a letter to Pompeo slamming the policy change.

According to the letter, 69 countries around the world criminalize same-sex relations. Additionally, in 10 countries, all U.N. member states, LGBT people face the death penalty for their orientation. Under the new policy, diplomats' and U.N. officials' partners must produce evidence of legal marriage by Dec. 1 or leave the country within 30 days.

A spokesperson for the State Department confirmed the agency received the letter and said it would respond through appropriate channels.

Hillary Clinton implemented this policy in 2009

Monday, January 21, 2019

Egyptian TV host jailed for interviewing a gay man

An Egyptian court sentenced a television host to one year in prison for interviewing a gay man in his show, despite being anti-gay himself.

TV host Mohamed al-Gheiti, a presenter on the LTC TV station, was accused of promoting homosexuality and contempt of religion following the interview last year.

In August 2018, al-Gheiti interviewed a gay man on his private TV station to discuss homosexuality. The gay man had his face blurred throughout the interview and said he was a sex worker. He also talked about his relationship with another man.

The presenter, who has spoken out against gay people in the past, was sentenced to 12 months in jail. He was also fined 3,000 Egyptian pounds and will be put under surveillance for a year after his release.

Egypt has not specific law banning homosexuality. However, the government has a number of provisions to criminalise any behaviour that is deemed immoral.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Parents magazine puts same-sex couple on front cover for first time

US publication Parents posted a photo of its February front cover, featuring a same-sex couple for the first time since it was established in 1926. It shows fitness motivational speaker Shaun T and his husband Scott Blokker with their twins. The magazine is also running a feature piece about their many attempts to have kids through surrogates.

The issue stars Shaun T, the creator of the home fitness series Insanity, T25, and Hip-Hop Abs, along with Scott Blokker, his husband of six years, and their cute 1-year-old twin sons, Silas Rhys and Sander Vaughn, who were born through surrogacy.

The couple told Parents about the difficulties of caring for premature babies (born at 32 weeks) and how their marriage changed as a result. “It was terrible,” Shaun T told Parents. “We got into more fights than we’d ever had in our entire relationship.”

“I even questioned whether we’d ruined our marriage by having kids, but it wasn’t the kids. It was the not sleeping!”, said Scott. After the newborn period, the couple developed their respective roles. Scott added: “I do all the planning, babysitters, shopping, doctors, and Shaun brings the fun."

The  couple grew stronger. “The connectedness you feel at the end of the day is the driving force for how you wake up the next day, so every night we fall asleep holding hands,” said Shaun T.

Congrats to the magazine and to the awesome couple!

Shaun T and Scott with their premature twin sons,
one year ago

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

New York becomes 15th state to ban ‘gay conversion therapy’

The New York State Legislature voted to ban so-called gay conversion therapy on minors, with Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo expected to sign the bill as soon as this week.

The measure, which passed 57-4 in the Senate and 134 to 3 in the Assembly, will make New York the 15th state to ban the controversial practice, which is widely discredited by medical and mental health organizations.

“New York has a compelling interest in protecting the physical and psychological well-being of minors, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth,” the bill reads in part, “and in protecting its minors against exposure to serious harms caused by sexual orientation change efforts.”

The ban is part of a larger LGBT rights push announced by Cuomo last year, an agenda that includes prohibiting the so-called gay panic defense in court and adding gender identity to state human rights and hate crime laws.

The Assembly had passed the bill 11 times, but the Senate’s Republican Majority refused to let the bill have a floor vote. But the GOP finally ceded its majority in the midterm election, paving the way for the victory, protecting the rights of New Yorkers regardless of gender identity or expression.

Democrat Brad Hoylman, who authored the Senate bill, called conversion therapy among the worst frauds in history.

Hoylman said: “We have to consider the message we are sending to LGBT youth today.That we have your back and you are perfect just the way you are." And he added: "The State of New York has a responsibility to stop licensed mental health professionals from causing irreparable damage to LGBT youth and their families.”

Great news!

Democrat Brad Hoylman authored the Senate bill 

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

The Best Men Can Be

Gillette is embracing the #MeToo movement in a new digital ad campaign aimed at men, the latest message from an advertiser attempting to change societal norms.

The ad, dubbed We Believe, opens with audio of news about the current #MeToo movement, bullying and toxic masculinity. The 90-second spot touches on a series of issues bedeviling men of all ages today like real and virtual bullying, sexual harassment and misogyny, and the persistence of gender imbalance in corporate America.

A narrator then goes on to dispute the notion that “boys will be boys,” asking, “Is this the best a man can get? Is it? We can’t hide from it. It has been going on far too long. We can’t laugh it off, making the same old excuses.”

The ad puts a new spin on the brand’s 30-year tagline, The Best A Man Can Get, challenging men to take positive actions, such as stopping other men, and the next generation, from harassing women.

The new campaign The Best Men Can Be challenges conventional ideals of masculinity, and celebrates modern male virtues: self-expression, internal and external well-being, comradery, and dependability. The strategy is designed to reflect the relevance to the modern man, demonstrating Gillette’s understanding of what being the ‘best’ means for men in 2019.

It's time to stop excusing bad behaviors. The next generation of men is watching.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Activists warn of a new wave of anti-gay attacks in Chechnya

Activists are warning of a new wave of anti-gay attacks in the Russian republic of Chechnya.

Testimonies from eyewitness escapees of the camps reveal shocking details of anti-gay abuse, torture and even murder.

According to a social media post, activists are urging LGBT Chechens to flee immediately, amid a new crackdown against LGBT people.

"We ask anyone still free to take this message seriously and leave the republic as soon as is possible," the statement read.

The Russian LGBT Network confirmed the reports. They said: "The persecution of gay people, both men and women, in Chechnya never stopped. We’ve been saying this the whole time. The scale and style of persecution has changed form at times, but the persecution never stopped. Since late December, the security forces have increased their activity."

The Russian LGBT Network is trying to find safe spaces for those in danger. They’re also trying to get LGBTI people out of Chechnya and provide clothing, food accommodation and psychological support. They’re calling for any donations to help their cause.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Lithuania's top court grants residence permits for same-sex foreign spouses

Lithuania’s top court has ruled that foreign spouses of gay citizens must be granted residence permits.

The Constitutional Court ruled that denying residency permits to the spouses of gay Lithuanian citizens who had married abroad was discriminatory and a breach of human dignity. ‘The refusal to issue permits cannot be based only on gender identity or sexual orientation,’ the court stated.

The landmark ruling comes despite same-sex unions not being legally recognized in the Baltic state.

However, it comes after the European Union (EU) ruled that all EU member states must recognize freedom of movement for same-sex married couples in June last year.

Lithuania’s immigration department has said it will abide by the Constitutional Court’s ruling and begin issuing permits for same-sex spouses.

While there has been some progress with regards to LGBT rights in Lithuania over recent years, the LGBT community still face widespread discrimination and prejudice in the heavily Catholic country.

Lithuania remains one of the six European Union member states (alongside Romania, Poland, Bulgaria, Slovakia, and Latvia) where the constitution defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

Besides, in June 2017, the Lithuania’s parliament voted against amending the country’s Civil Code to give legal status to all couples regardless of gender, effectively deciding against officially recognizing same-sex partnerships.

Baltic Pride, in Vilnius, needs police protection

Thursday, January 10, 2019

College footballer shares his story with Ellen about coming out in school

Jake Bain made headlines in 2017 when he came out as gay to his high school classmates at John Burroughs School in Missouri. Now he’s playing Division I football at Indiana State University.

He appeared on Ellen's Show to share how his life has changed since.

On coming out to his football team, Jake said: "I had a lot of nerves coming out because, at that time, there weren’t very many out, openly gay football players." And Ellen interjected: ‘Or any!’

Jake explained his nerves were misplaced because his coach and team immediately accepted him for his authentic self. "Even before I committed there, I talked to the coach about my sexuality and that I wanted to be openly gay", he said.

And he added: "He assured me from the very beginning that I was gonna be accepted by the community at Indiana State and that my teammates were gonna treat me just like anybody else on the team."

Then, Ellen introduced Jake’s boyfriend Hunter Sigmund, who was in the audience. The pair have been together for two years.

She ended up gifting them both a six-night stay at a hotel in Fiji.

Watch the wonderful moment below:

Jake and Hunter

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis sworn in as first U.S. openly gay governor

Colorado entered a new era of Democratic political dominance Tuesday as Jared Polis was sworn in as the state’s 43rd governor, promising to make the state’s booming economy fairer and health care more affordable. Democrat pledged to create universal health coverage, push state to renewable energy and create more jobs.

“Our mission now is to make Colorado a place for all families to have a chance to thrive today, tomorrow and for generations to come,” he said after taking the oath of office. “I believe there is nothing that Colorado needs to do that Colorodans can’t get done. There is nothing wrong with Colorado that what is right with Colorado can’t fix.”

Polis’ longtime partner, Marlon Reis, and their two children stood with him for the ceremony on the west steps of the Colorado Capitol. He took the oath at precisely noon, his left hand on a siddur, a Jewish prayer book.

In his first speech as governor, Polis celebrated the diversity of the state and recognized the historic moment: Polis is the first openly gay governor ever elected to lead a state. He is also Colorado’s first Jewish governor.

“I am very conscious of the fact that there were many brave people over the years who made it possible for someone like me to be standing here giving a speech like this,” he said. “I am grateful and forever indebted to those who came before me — who struggled for equal rights, who stepped up for public service in all its forms, who made difficult sacrifices and worked faithfully toward a brighter future for our state, our nation and our world.”

Watch the moment below:

Ben Whishaw says there need to be more gay actors playing straight role

Ben Whishaw was talking backstage after winning the Golden Globe for best supporting actor in a TV miniseries for BBC’s A Very English Scandal. He says he has no problem with straight actors playing gay characters, so long as a similar range of opportunity is provided for openly LGBT performers, too. 

The actor has never been one to play it safe, tackling a variety of roles since confirming he identifies as gay in 2013. At the Golden Globes, Whishaw was asked about The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story star Darren Criss, who recently pledged to steer clear of queer roles in hopes of creating more opportunities for LGBT actors in Hollywood. 

Whishaw, however, told reporters he believes skilled actors should be able to inhabit characters from all walks of life, regardless of their sexuality. 

“I really believe that actors can embody and portray anything and we shouldn’t be defined only by what we are,” he said, as seen in the video above. “I think there was a time when we didn’t know anything about actors, they were very mysterious. But now we know everything.”

Still, Whishaw said he thinks there’s room for improvement in film and television when it comes to making room for LGBT artists. “I think there needs to be greater equality,” he said. “I would like to see more gay actors playing straight roles. It needs to be an even playing field for everybody, that would be my ideal.”

Whishaw, who has been married to Australian composer Mark Bradshaw since 2012, nabbed a 2019 Golden Globe for his portrayal of Norman Scott, the ex-lover of British politician Jeremy Thorpe, in A Very English Scandal, based on a real-life 1979 case.  

Watch his speech below:

State governors in Michigan and Wisconsin move to protect LGBT state employees

Newly seated governors in Michigan and Wisconsin signed on Monday executive orders against anti-LGBT discrimination as among the first acts in their new roles. Both signed executive order prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Michigan and Wisconsin are two of nearly 30 states in the US that offer no LGBT discrimination protections. Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed an order protecting employees of the executive branch and state contractors. Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers also signed a similar order.

"If we’re going to attract the talented workforce our businesses need to create jobs and grow our economy, then we’ve got to get on the right side of history," Whitmer said in a statement. "That’s what this executive directive is all about."

Last week, newly-sworn in Democrat members of the House of Representatives promised to pass the US’s Equality Act. The Equality Act would add sexual orientation and gender identity to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. If passed, it would outlaw discrimination against LGBT citizens in work and services across the country.

Visit Transgender Law Center for U.S. equality maps 

Sunday, January 6, 2019

House speaker Nancy Pelosi promises to pass pro-LGBT Equality Act

The new speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, has vowed to pass the Equality Act law, banning anti-LGBT discrimination across the US, in her first speech.

As a record number of openly lesbian, gay and bisexual lawmakers were sworn in, the Democratic leader told Congress, “We will make America fairer by passing the Equality Act to end discrimination against the LGBTQ community.”

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

The Democrats won back the House in November’s midterm election, taking 40 seats which will be largely occupied by queer lawmakers and allies.

Newly elected LGBT+ Democrats Angie Craig (MN), Sharice Davids (KS), Katie Hill (CA) and Chris Pappas (NH) were sworn in, alongside re-elected incumbents Mark Takano (CA), Sean Patrick Maloney (NY) and David Cicilline (RI).

And in the Senate, Arizona lawmaker Kyrsten Sinema became the first openly bisexual senator and second ever out LGBT+ senator, joining re-elected Wisconsin representative Tammy Baldwin.

The Equality Act bill faces a smooth path in the House, where the Democrats have a majority, but may struggle to get through the Republican-controlled Senate.

Bisexual Senator Kyrsten Sinema, from Arizona, 
sworn in on a law book instead of The Bible

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Lesbian couple to wed 26 times abroad to seek change in Japan

A Japanese lesbian couple plans to wed 26 times overseas to raise awareness of the fact that they cannot do the same thing in their home country.

University students Misato Kawasaki, 21, and Mayu Otaki, 22, will post pictures of the ceremonies on their blog during their six-month journey in an effort to convince readers that same-sex couples should be allowed to marry in Japan.

Kawasaki, who studies alongside Otaki at Utsunomiya University’s Faculty of International Studies, said she wanted “to show through our wedding photos that being lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) is normal so that those who are troubled by their sexual status can harbour hope."

She said that she had wanted to pose the classic question, asking her partner: “Will you marry me?”. But despite queer unions being recognised in some areas of the country, there is no recognition of same-sex marriage on a national level in Japan, meaning that she felt unable to ask Otaki to marry her.

Kawasaki and Otaki, who want to establish a wedding company in Japan for same-sex partners when they get back, are crowdfunding to afford their tour. 

It is time Japan!

You can help them here

Friday, January 4, 2019

Brazilian President Bolsonaro assaults LGBT rights just first day in Office

It’s not shocking to learn that newly sworn-in Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro is attacking his country’s most vulnerable communities now that he’s in office. The right-wing politician and former army captain ran on an explicitly anti-Black, anti-Indigenous, anti-woman, and anti-LGBT platform that got him elected with over 55 percent of the vote in October.

What’s shocking is the speed at which he has begun his assault. On Tuesday, Bolsonaro’s first day in office, he issued a series of executive orders targeting Brazil’s Black, Indigenous, and LGBT communities.

One order closes the Secretary of Diversity and Inclusion of the Ministry of Education, and another order removes LGBT concerns from the Human Rights Ministry’s agenda, now led by Damares Alves, an evangelical pastor who claims that the Brazilian family is being threatened by diversity initiatives. Alves said: “Girls will be princesses and boys will be princes. Under Bolsonaro’s administration, there will be no more ideological indoctrination of children and teenagers in Brazil."

The orders have been sharply criticized by local activists and human rights groups in Brazil, where, despite having legalized same-sex marriage in 2013 and playing host to the world’s largest Pride parade, anti-LGBT violence took at least 387 people’s lives in 2017 and the country is already the most dangerous in the world for trans people because every two days a transvestite or transgender person is murdered.

As a warning sign, some same-sex couples rushed to marry last December, before Bolsonaro takes power in Brazil.

Bad news from Brazil.

Activists against Bolsonaro anti-LGBT policies

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Austrian women celebrate country's first same-sex marriage

Two Austrian women are the first same-sex couple to officially tie the knot in the predominantly Catholic country, following years of legal challenges from gay rights groups.

Nicole Kopaunik and Daniela Paier wed in a ceremony in Velden, southern Austria, shortly after midnight Tuesday. 
The couple, both 37, had reportedly been engaged for four years.

Austria’s constitutional court ruled in 2017 that same-sex couples should have the right to marry from Jan. 1, 2019. Previously, same-sex couples could only enter into a registered partnership that granted fewer rights than marriage.

Austria’s current governing parties, the People’s Party and the Freedom Party, had strongly opposed granting same-sex couples the right to marry, but said they would respect the court’s ruling.

Green light to marriage equality in Austria

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Madonna performs at New York's iconic Stonewall Inn on New Year's Eve

The Queen of Pop, Madonna, surprised crowds at New York’s iconic Stonewall Inn on New Year’s Eve. Stonewall was the site of the historic riots in 1969, which triggered the LGBT rights movement around the world.

Last week, Stonewall named Madonna as ambassador for its 50th anniversary commemorations. Madonna kicked off here ambassador duties almost immediately with her surprise performance a few minutes after midnight.

She delivered an impassioned speech about LGBT and promoting tolerance:

I stand here proudly at the place where pride began, the legendary Stonewall Inn, on the birth of a new year. We come together tonight to celebrate 50 years of revolution,’ she told the excited crowd.

Let’s never forget the Stonewall Riots and those who stood up and said, 'Enough'. Half a century later, Stonewall has become a defining moment and a critical point in history.

If we truly took the time to get to know one another we would find that we all bleed the same color and we all need to love and be loved.

Let’s remember who and what we are fighting for ourselves, for each other, but truly and most importantly, what are we fighting for?

Let’s take a minute to reflect on how we can bring more love and peace into 2019, let’s look at how we can bring random acts of kindness. Maybe we can find an opening to bring the light in. Are you ready to do that?

Following her speech she launched into an acoustic set of Like a Prayer, accompanied on guitar by her son David. Clearly enjoying her time onstage, Madonna chatted to the crowd after the song. She eventually decided to perform another unplanned song, an acapella version of Elvis Presley’s song, Can’t Help Falling in Love.

Watch the exciting moment below:

The 10 Best LGBT Films of 2018

The year 2018 came through offering some awesome LGBT films to sit alongside the greats of the genre. So without further ado, here are my top 10 LGBT films of the last year...

Plaire, aimer et courir vite (Sorry angel)

Mi mejor amigo (My best friend)

Bohemian Rhapsody

The favourite