Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Spanish football clubs stand against homophobia in football

February 19th is celebrated the International Day against Homophobia in Football. The date pays homage to Justin Fashanu, born an 19 from February of 1961, who was the first elite footballer who publicly out his homosexuality in 1990. 

Justin was expelled from his team, no club offered him a full-time contract. His former coach and some of his colleagues spoke out against him, and his brother publicly disowned him. After being falsely accused of rape, he fell into a depression which he would not get out of and he ended up committing suicide in 1998.

In the Spanish Football League, like in other European leagues, several teams showed their support against homophobia in football and they played last matches with rainbow laces in the players' boots and the captains' armbands.

Surprisingly, there are still no openly football gay players, so on the one hand not much has changed, but public attitudes clearly have changed to more support for LGBT athletes.

Alex Granell, Girona's captain, with a rainbow armband

Monday, February 25, 2019

All English schools will teach students about LGBT issues

A new school guidance will update a curriculum that's nearly two decades old. It will be compulsory for all English schools to teach their students about LGBT people in relationship and sex education.

The new guidelines outlined by the UK government will create three new lessons in order to teach children and teenagers about everything from the dangers of sexting to spotting anxiety in friends. This updates the legislation originally passed in 2000 and will be implemented in September 2020.

Primary school children (age 5 to 11) will be taught relationships education, with secondary school students (11 – 16) given lessons in relationships and sex education. All ages will receive lessons in health.

Part of the relationship education lessons will include diverse families. This means children from the ages of 5 will be taught about the existence of same-sex parents and trans people.

According to recent data released by the government, the majority of British people have no problem at all with same-sex relations.

LGBT education is capital

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Kenya court postpones ruling on decriminalizing homosexuality

Kenya's High Court postponed a much-anticipated ruling on whether to scrap colonial-era laws which criminalise homosexuality, citing a heavy case load. The trial began in February, 2018.

The Court should have been due to hand down its decision but they will not ruling until 24 May. One of the judges announced the court would not hand down its ruling, blaming administrative challenges’ and full dockets.

Activists in the courtroom expressed their disappointment.

The Human Dignity Trust’s Director, Téa Braun, said despite the disappointment the community should still have faith in the justice system: "This is tremendously disappointing, particularly for the committed and tenacious activists and lawyers in Kenya who have been working towards this moment for several years."

"Nonetheless, we must put our trust in the Kenyan justice system. This is a pivotal case, and ultimately the most important thing is a sound and reasoned judgment that will free LGBT Kenyans from discrimination and persecution," Braun added.

Gay sex is currently punishable by jail in Kenya. The court is reviewing whether to repeal sections 162 and 165 penal code:
  • Section 162 of the Penal Code criminalizes sexual acts against the order of nature. Those found guilty face up to 14 years in prison.
  • Section 165 refers to sexual activity between men as gross indecency and can lead to 5 years imprisonment.

Activists argue that the colonial-era law which criminalizes same consensual sex-relations between adults is in breach of the constitution because it denies basic rights.

We have to wait.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Taiwan Government to unveil draft same-sex marriage law

Taiwan presented Asia’s first draft law on same-sex marriage that would grant similar legal protections to same-sex couples as heterosexual ones.

The rights and obligations applied to opposite-sex couples under the existing regulations in the Civil Code will also be applied to same-sex couples.

The draft has been sent to the Legislative for review. Taiwan’s parliament is expected to take a final vote on the proposals by 24 May, a deadline for legislation set by the Constitutional Court’s ruling.

The draft law includes provisions that encompass inheritance rights, medical rights, mutual support and financial obligations, adoption of biological children of one spouse, and divorce.

Taiwan’s Constitutional Court voted to legalize marriage equality in 2017 on the basis that it was unconstitutional to deny same-sex couples marriage rights. The government was given until May 2019 to implement the ruling, which did not specify how to adopt it.

It's time Taiwan!!!

Tsai Ing-wen, Taiwan's President, supports same-sex marriage

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Swiss gay marriage moves a step closer

Switzerland has made an important move towards legalizing same-sex marriage. 

A parliamentary committee announced that it had been working on creating a draft law which allows marriage equality. The committee also began a consultation process on ways to implement same-sex marriage legalization.

Switzerland currently allows same-sex couples the option of ‘registered partnerships’, which offer some of the same rights as married couples, such as filing joint tax returns.

But the registered partnership options remain a long way from offering full equality. Couples in registered partnerships cannot jointly adopt or have children through artificial insemination.

Same-sex foreign spouses of Swiss citizens are also not offered the ‘facilitated’ naturalization process for Swiss citizenship.

Switzerland is now lagging behind its neighbors Germany, which legalized marriage equality in 2017, and Austria, which followed suit earlier this year.

It's time Switzerland!!!

Protest in favour of same-sex marriage in Bern

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

A gay kiss protest held in Peru for LGBT rights

Dozens of LGBT activists have flocked to Lima, the capital of Peru, to stage a mass gay kiss.

Same-sex couples that attended the protest, described as "kisses against homophobia", engaged in a prolonged period of kissing, that is deemed “inappropriate” by a majority of the staunch catholic and conservative groups in the country.

“The streets of Peru are for all, regardless of sexual orientation. Therefore kisses, whether homosexual or heterosexual, should be seen as a normal behavior and not as inappropriate,” a group who helped organise the protest said.

Same-sex marriage is not legal in Peru, although the Constitutional Court ruled in 2017 that same-sex marriages entered abroad had to be recognized.

After that, Peruvian President issued a decree prohibiting all forms of discrimination and hate crimes on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. But, there have not been more changes since then.

It's time Peru!!!

In 2016, Peru police broke up the gay kiss protest with water cannons

Monday, February 18, 2019

Lesbian couple weds atop Empire State Building on Valentine's Day

A same-sex couple was one of two couples who won the opportunity to get married atop the Empire State Building for Valentine's Day this year.

Though the contest is open to all, Fabiana Faria and Helena Barquet are New Yorkers, and own a home design boutique together on the Lower East Side.

After seven years together, the two got engaged at the Plaza Hotel, and consider themselves big fans of architecture, obviously why the Empire State Building contest appealed to them for their big day.

The annual contest allows couples the chance of a lifetime, a unique wedding ceremony on the famous 86th Floor Observation Deck. The ceremonies themselves only last fifteen minutes, but the experiences (not to mention photos) are unforgettable.

This wasn’t the first time a same-sex couple was married on the famous skyscraper. In 2012, two of four couples who won the contest were in same-sex relationships, two men and two women. Same-sex marriage had just become legal in NYC the year before.


The Empire State Building shows the rainbow colors
every year for Pride celebrations

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Germany plans to ban gay cure therapy

Germany plans to push ahead with a ban on gay cure therapy, the country’s health minister has said.

Jens Spahn, Germany’s health minister and the country’s most senior gay politician, told he would seek a ban on the discredited practice.

He said: “Homosexuality is not a disease and it doesn’t need to be cured. That’s why I’m in favour of a ban on conversion therapy.

Spahn said the challenge was in “practical implementation” of a ban, adding that he will seek to shape the law with the country’s Minister of Justice Katarina Barley.

The politician said: “Germany will go ‘as far as possible’ to outlaw gay cure therapy. The law must be clear enough to make an impact.”

He added that Germany would be looking at the models of existing conversion therapy bans internationally.

Spahn (left) with his partner Daniel Funke

Friday, February 15, 2019

Gay teen fighting for asylum in Sweden as he could be executed in Iran

A gay 19-year-old is fighting for survival as he fears being executed in his home country of Iran.

Mehdi Shokr Khoda, who also identifies as Christian, is hoping he will be granted asylum in Sweden in his final appeal. The final decision will be made in two weeks.

Terrified of being deported to Iran, he declared: "I cannot live open as a gay in Iran. They won’t understand something about you. They will just kill you first."

In his corner is his partner, 23-year-old Carlo Rapisarda, originally from Italy. The two of them have been together close to a year.

Mehdi followed his transgender sister, who fled to Stockholm from Iran a few years ago. Because she was granted asylum, he traveled to Sweden in 2017 in the hopes he would be given the same protection.

Their parents are unaware of their two children’s true sexual or gender identity.

At the end of last year, the Migration Board rejected Mehdi’s application as they thought he was lying. They appealed the decision and went to court at the end of January 2019. Carlo testified for their relationship.

"They want evidence," Carlo said. "We live together, we love each other, we’ve known each other a long time. Isn’t that evidence enough?"

The couple also got a letter from the Swedish Federation for LGBT rights. It said: "There’s no doubt. Medhi is gay and in need of protection."

If the asylum appeal fails, Mehdi will have two weeks to leave the country. If he is deported, his life is in immediate danger.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Majority of Britons have no problem with LGBT people

The majority of British people have no problem at all with same-sex relations, according to new data released by the government.

This comes as part of the government’s British Social Attitudes Survey 2017. The government surveyed 3011 people in England, Wales and Scotland between July and November 2017.

Over two-thirds of the British population, amounting to 68% of people, reported that sex between two people of the same gender was ‘not at all wrong’. In 2012, that number was only 47%, and in 1987 it was 11%.

There is still 17% who say sex between two adults of the same gender is ‘always’ and ‘mostly’ wrong’. But on a positive note, 71% said two adults being in a same-sex relationship is not at all wrong.

Moreover, the younger people reported the highest acceptance of same-sex relationships, with 80% of the group saying the same. This is compared to 29% of the population aged 75 and older.

Attitudes towards trans people in the UK among the public are relatively positive, despite a massively transphobic mainstream media.

81% of respondents said they were not at all prejudiced against trans people. However, this is slightly shadowed by the fact the much smaller proportion of 52% said prejudice against trans people was ‘always’ wrong. Women and younger respondents were more likely to be accepting of trans people.

Minister for Equalities, Baroness Susan Williams, said in a press release: "On Valentine’s Day, everyone should be able to love who they love, and be free to show that love to the world."

"I am encouraged to see that people are changing their attitudes to be more accepting and more tolerant, but as government we still have work to do to make sure our society is truly fair, and truly free," she said.

Susan Williams, with rainbow flag, at Manchester Pride

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

A web series educates kids about LGBT issues

Queer Kid Stuff is an LGBT educational YouTube series for all ages, imagining a kinder and more equal future through inclusive media.

Hosted by Lindsay, a queer person from New York City, the goal of this project is to provide positive representation for young kids, especially ones who are questioning their identities.

The pilot episode of Queer Kid Stuff or QKS+ aired in the spring of 2016 and discussed the question: ‘What does gay mean?’ Since then, the YouTube channel has grown to over 13,500 subscribers. 

The web series has been awarded funding from organizations like GLAAD and the Awesome Campaign. It also raises its own money on Patreon. You can also buy kid and LGBT-friendly merch from Queer Kid Stuff to support their efforts.

The latest episode is a resource for teachers on making their classrooms more queer-inclusive. Watch it below:

Monday, February 11, 2019

Bolsonaro to remove LGBT content from schools in Brazil

Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro has pledged to remove any references to LGBT people from school textbooks and exams.

Bolsonaro and his government has revealed plans to erase all mentions of homosexuality, feminism and violence against women from the texts, and is set to allow the military to take over some public schools.

The right-wing demagogue voiced his desire to wipe out the legacy of liberal Brazilian educator and philosopher Paulo Freire during his campaign, promising to “enter the Education Ministry with a flamethrower to remove Paulo Freire.”

He has described himself as "homophobic and very proud of it," and he mentioned in his inauguration speech he wanted to erase the “aggressive promotion of the gender ideology.”  

Bolsonaro has made even more homophobic statements, such as he would be incapable of loving a gay son and would rather have said child die in a tragic accident, that he would punch gay people if he saw them kissing public, and has linked homosexuality to pedophilia, saying “So let’s respect the pedophile’s right to have sex with a two-year-old?" 

He also reportedly stated in a YouTube video that he would eradicate questions on gender or LGBT movements from Brazil’s national high school exam.

It's truly tragic that some people continue to think this way and it's even sadder when you think that enough people agree with Bolsonaro to elect him president. 

Watch Bolsonaro talking about LGBT movement:

Friday, February 8, 2019

Sydney’s rainbow crossing makes comeback to mark 40 years of Mardi Gras festival

A rainbow crossing previously installed in Sydney in 2013 is set to make a comeback for the 40th anniversary of the Mardi Gras festival.

The former rainbow crossing on Oxford Street made international headlines when it was removed overnight in Sydney six years ago, with authorities citing “safety concerns.”

But now, Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore has anounced the return of the rainbow crossing in a nearby location on the corner of Bourke and Campbell streets near Taylor Square.

She posted a photo of construction workers in the process of installing the colourful road markers, adding the caption: “It’s coming… #sydneyrainbowcrossing.”

The rainbow crossing is set to be unveiled on Saturday, February 9, as part of the festivities for the Mardi Gras festival, which runs from February 15 to March 3 in the Oxford Street area of the city.

The new crossing will be trialled for six months. It will then be decided by the city council whether it will be allowed to remain permanently near Taylor Square.

Congrats for the 40th anniversary!!!

Mayor Moore announced the rainbow crossing on Twitter

Thursday, February 7, 2019

GLAAD will honour Madonna with one award

LGBT+ media charity GLAAD has announced it will honour Madonna with one award at the 30th GLAAD Media Awards, scheduled for May 4 in New York City.

The LGBT+ icon and pop star will receive the Advocate for Change Award to recognise her longtime activism for the LGBT+ community.

“Madonna always has and always will be the LGBTQ community’s greatest ally and it is only fitting to honor and celebrate our biggest advocate at GLAAD’s biggest event ever,” said GLAAD president and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis in a statement.

“She fearlessly pushes for a world where LGBTQ people are accepted. Her music and art have been life-saving outlets for LGBTQ people over the years and her affirming words and actions have changed countless hearts and minds,” Ellis said.

Madonna started the year with a performance at Stonewall Inn to mark the 50th anniversary of the 1969 riots that gave birth to the modern LGBT+ rights movement.

Addressing the crowd on New Year’s Eve, Madonna said: “I stand here proudly at the place where pride began, the legendary Stonewall Inn, on the birth of a new year. I have had the privilege of using my art as a vehicle for change. To provoke, to inspire, to wake people up, and to bring the LGBTQ community with me.”

Madonna performed at Stonewall Inn, 
with his son David, on New Year's Eve

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Alan Turing named greatest icon of the 20th century by BBC’ viewers

Scientist and World War Two codebreaker Alan Turing has been named The Greatest Person of the 20th Century in the live final of BBC Two's Icons series.

Turing won the public vote after being up against fellow finalists Dr Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, Ernest Shackleton, David Bowie, Muhammad Ali and Pablo Picasso.

Advocating for Turing was presenter Chris Packham, who delivered a passionate speech about Turing's life and legacy. Packham explained how Turing worked to crack the Nazis' Enigma code during World War Two, shortening the war and lessening the number of lives lost.

But Packham went on to explain how, during his lifetime, Turing was persecuted because of his sexuality and eventually died by suicide. "All he got for all of his toil and all of our trouble was a poisoned apple," Packham said. 

"A genius, a saviour, but he was also autistic and gay so we betrayed him and drove him to suicide. Shame. Writ large his death, an unforgiving tattoo on humanity's conscious," he added.

Packham's speech certainly impressed viewers at home, who heaped praise on the presenter for his advocacy of Turing. Many viewers were also understandably thrilled to see Turing receive the kind of recognition he was denied in his lifetime.

TV presenter Chris Packham gave a passionate speech
about Alan Turing

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Is Disney+ creating a new LGBT series called 'Four Dads'?

With Disney’s new streaming service, Disney+, focused on family entertainment, a new comedy series, tentatively titled Four Dads, is in development.

The series will follow Ethan and Sebastian who divorce each other and then separately remarry other partners, they must learn to parent their budding teenage daughters while avoiding the pitfalls of their two very different families.

It is also rumored that Disney is interested in having Cheyenne Jackson from FX’s American Horror Story star in the lead role of Sebastian. 

The series, written and produced by Rick Weiner and Kenny Schwartz (Modern Family, American Dad), is expected to begin this Spring, in Los Angeles. With a series debut with the launch of Disney+ sometime this Fall. The series is said to be inspired by Schwartz’s life.

This will mark the first project under the Disney banner to openly use married gay characters in lead roles of any kind. Disney Channel recently added its first openly gay character on the popular show Andi Mack. 

Rumors are also swirling that Elsa could also be Disney’s first openly gay animated character in The upcoming Frozen sequel, that has yet to be confirmed by the studio.

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Disneyland Paris will hold a Pride event for the first time

Disneyland Paris is holding an official Pride celebration for the first time this year.

The France-based fantasy kingdom has partnered with Greatdays Travel Group, which has been offering unofficial Magical Pride packages for the past few years, to bring “the Sparkle of Pride” to Disneyland Paris.

The event, as described on Disneyland Paris’ website, promises to celebrate “the joy of diversity” on June 1 with a “brand-new” parade dubbed “the Magical March of Diversity Parade.”

Organisers also said the event will include “stunning dance party,” and the possibility to ride attractions late into the night.

“Dress like a dream, feel fabulous and experience Walt Disney Studios Park like never before—loud, proud and alive with all the colours of the rainbow,” stated the Disneyland Paris website.

The event to be the first official LGBT event to be held, not only at Disneyland Paris, but at any Disney theme park in the world. The Gay Days, which take place at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, are unofficial celebrations of Pride.

Gay Days in Disney Orlando take place since 1991