Thursday, May 30, 2019

Walt Whitman, America's Great Poet and Gay Pioneer, Was Born 200 Years Ago

Walt Whitman outside the Brooklyn Eagle Newspaper in 1854

This post has been authored by Ryce Skytower

Walt Whitman (1819 - 1892), America's great poet, father of free verse, and gay pioneer was born 200 years ago, on May 31, in the pretty town of Huntington, Long Island, New York. Huntington is also the town where I spent my teenage years, and as you can imagine, the entire town is celebrating in grand style today. I thought I would write this post. 

Whitman's poem, Oh Captain My Captain!, an elegy to President Abraham Lincoln, expressed the sorrow of the American people for the most tragic single event in the history of the nation -- his assassination upon the ending of the Civil War in 1865. We cannot imagine the grief of the nation in losing their father and leader. Every American schoolchild up until recent times knows this poem.

Tom O'Bedlam recites the mournful poem on YouTube:

Walt Whitman, more controversially for some, but quite explicitly in his writings and poems, is America's great gay literary pioneer. Now, before we continue on this line of thought, the term "homosexual" was not first used until 1869, let alone the terms LGBTQ and any of their modern derivatives. In fact, if Walt called himself "gay" and openly admitted as such, he would probably have ended up in prison, in an insane asylum, or worst. How can we claim he was a gay pioneer -- besides the fact that he never married and he lived openly with several men, including most notably Peter Doyle, who we today would call his long-term partner.

The answer is his poetry, both published and unpublished. There are many volumes and web sites listing his many poems and writing about the subject, many of which remained unpublished in his lifetime because of their erotic nature. Let me give you a few excerpts here:

Walt Whitman and his "intimate companion" Peter Doyle

by Walt Whitman, 1848

Whitman visited New Orleans at the age of 29 and had one hell of time apparently. Who wouldn't want to go to the Big Easy after reading this poem?

Once I pass'd through a populous city imprinting my brain for future
use with its shows, architecture, customs, traditions,
Yet now of all that city I remember only a man I casually met
there who detain'd me for love of me,
Day by day and night by night we were together--all else has long
been forgotten by me,
I remember I say only that man who passionately clung to me,
Again we wander, we love, we separate again,
Again he holds me by the hand, I must not go,
I see him close beside me with silent lips sad and tremulous.

From 100 Years Ago -- Commemorating Walt - "Resist Much, Obey Little"

by Walt Whitman, 1859

Whitman dreams of a scene from a like Barcelona or San Francisco today:

I dreamed in a dream of a city where all the men were like brothers,
I saw them tenderly love each other—
I  often saw them, in numbers, walking hand in hand;
I dreamed that was the city of robust  friends—
Nothing was greater there than the quality of manly love— it led the rest,
It was seen every hour in the actions of the men of that city,
and in all their looks and words.—

Calamus, Written to Peter Doyle, America's First Great Gay Poem

by Walt Whitman 1860 - 61

Whitman's most famous homoerotic works written to his lover, Peter Doyle:

And when I thought how my dear friend my lover was on his way coming,
O then I was happy,
O then each breath tasted sweeter, and all that day my food nourish’d me more, 
and the beautiful day pass’d well,
And the next came with equal joy, and with the next at evening came my friend,
And that night while all was still I heard the waters roll slowly continually up the shores,
I heard the hissing rustle of the liquid and sands as directed to me  whispering to congratulate me,
For the one I love most lay sleeping by me under the same cover in the cool night,
In the stillness in the autumn moonbeams his face was inclined toward me,
And his arm lay lightly around my breast – and that night I was happy.

A proposal to paint the Walt Whitman Bridge linking Camden & Philadelphia 

by Walt Whitman, 1867

Whitman gets very descriptive here, this would be condemned as obscene during his lifetime:

I mind how once we lay, such a transparent summer morning;
How you settled your head athwart my hips, and gently turn’d over upon me,
And parted the shirt from my bosom-bone, and plunged your tongue to my bare-stript heart,
And reach’d till you felt my beard, and reach’d till you held my feet.

This is the press of a bashful hand—this is the float and odor of hair;
This is the touch of my lips to yours—this is the murmur of yearning;a
This is the far-off depth and height reflecting my own face;
This is the thoughtful merge of myself, and the outlet again.

Walt with Bill Duckett, his companion in his older years

by Walt Whitman, 1892 (revised)

Whitman, at the end of his life, writes some of his most profound and accepting poetry:

His blue shirt exposes his ample neck and breast and loosens over his hip-band,
His glance is calm and commanding, he tosses the slouch of his hat away from his forehead,
The sun falls on his crispy hair and mustache, falls on the black of his polish’d and perfect limbs.

The young fellow drives the express-wagon, (I love him, though I do not know him;)
I beat and pound for the dead,
I blow through my embouchures my loudest and gayest for them.

Walt Whitman, a kosmos, of Manhattan the son.
Turbulent, fleshy, sensual, eating, drinking and breeding.
I do not press my fingers across my mouth,
I keep as delicate around the bowels as around the head and

Copulation is no more rank to me than death is.
You my rich blood! your milky stream pale strippings of my life!
Winds whose soft-tickling genitals rub against me it shall be you!

Ethan Hawke reciting Walt Whitman in 1989's Dead Poets Society

Walt Whitman's messages of  democracy, individuality, inclusiveness and acceptance are arguably as relevant today as they were in the 1800s. 
The late Robin Williams famously explained the importance of Walt Whitman, in the 1989 Dead Poet's Society, of which he is a central figure.  Many screening of this great film will happen tonight as a tribute to Walt, and I plan to see it, especially since young Ethan Hawke and Robert Sean Leonard were so outstanding in there  breakout role. I am sure Walt would heartily approve!

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

North Macedonia to hold first Pride parade, since 2013 attempt

North Macedonia, the small Balkan state which was previously known as the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, will host its first Pride event in capital Skopje.

The event will be held on June 29 and will stand as a form of protest for affirmation, support, and protection of human rights for the country’s LGBT community. The gathering will be open for all to attend, regardless of nationality, religion, gender identity, or sexual orientation.

A previous attempt to hold a Skopje Pride parade in 2013 was abandoned because Macedonia’s Ministry of Interior could not guarantee marchers’ safety. A spate of violent incidents around the march also saw the Skopje's LGBT Support Center set on fire.

The country, which has a population of around two million, has a poor record on LGBT rights. Homosexuality was only decriminalised in 1996, and the country’s law continues to ban recognition of same-sex unions.

However, there has been some progress in recent years. In March, the country’s parliament approved a new anti-discrimination law that includes sexual orientation and gender identity in order to comply with European standards, as the country seeks to join the EU.

The European Parliament’s LGBT Intergroup also called on the country and other EU accession countries to begin work to tackle homophobia and secure the rights of LGBT people.

The Pride event is very welcome, but forceful legislative changes pro LGBT rights are needed if North Macedonia really wants to be credible.

Skopje’s LGBT Support Center was burned by an anti-gay hate mob in 2013

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Increasing number of Russians support equal rights for LGBT people

Nearly half of Russians support equal rights for members of the LGBT community, marking the highest level of support in 14 years, according to the independent Levada Center pollster. They conducted a survey among 1,625 respondents in 50 Russian regions on April 18-23.

Since Russia banned the display of “gay propaganda” to minors in 2013, authorities have refused to authorize gay pride events across the country and polls have shown worsening attitudes toward sexual minorities.

47 percent of Russian respondents agreed that gays and lesbians should enjoy the same rights as other citizens, the poll showed, while 43 percent disagreed.  

When asked the same question in 2013, the year the “gay propaganda” law passed, 8 percent fewer Russians agreed that LGBT people deserve equal rights (39 percent). The increase in support since 2013 can be attributed to the gradual decline in anti-LGBT sentiment appearing on TV over the past six years.

Russians in the 18-24 age group appear more conflicted toward the idea of LGBT neighbors than in 2006, the survey showed. Young Russians were 5 percent less likely to say that LGBT neighbors would irritate them compared to 2006, but were 15 percent more likely to say they would fear or distrust them.

Monday, May 27, 2019

World Health Organization removes transgender as mental disorder

The World Health Organization (WHO) has made history and removed transgender from its list of ‘mental disorders’.

The WHO approved the major change to its global manual of diagnoses. It comes after WHO introduced it as a change last year in the latest International Classification of Diseases, which is described as the international standard for reporting diseases and health conditions. 

WHO’s World Health Assembly voted to make the revision. That revision no longer recognizes gender non-conformity and transgender as ‘mental disorder’.

Human rights and trans advocacy groups celebrated the move after years of campaigning for change. The WHO’s removal of ‘gender identity disorder’ from its diagnostic manual will have a liberating effect on transgender people worldwide.

Human Rights Watch pointed out that governments around the world had used the previous classification as the basis for discriminatory policies. Those policies require diagnosis and sometimes other medical procedures, such as sterilization, before transgender people are recognized before the law.

Governments often require a gender disorder diagnosis as a precondition for changing transgender people’s names and gender markers on official documents. Advocates have argued that diagnoses imperils basic rights like work, education, and travel.

The process for legal recognition of gender identity should be separate from any medical interventions. Governments should swiftly reform national medical systems and laws that require this now officially outdated diagnosis.

Good news!!!

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Brazil's Top Court votes to protect LGBT community

A majority of Supreme Federal Tribunal judges voted to treat homophobia and transphobia as crimes. The acts of discrimination will be punishable by up to five years in prison.

The court ruled that both forms of discrimination should be treated like racism (which the country criminalized in 1989) until the country’s Congress approves legislation that specifically addresses LGBT discrimination. 

The judges said the ruling was to address an omission that had left the LGBT people legally unprotected. While same-sex marriage is legal in Brazil, it is still a dangerous country for members of the LGBT community

Brazil's Senate is dealing with a bill to criminalise discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender with sentences of up to five years. 

But, at the same time, Brazil's President Bolsonaro, who assumed office on January 1, has a history of offensive comments about gays, blacks and other minorities, openly acknowledging he is a homophobe. 

At least, Justice has been fair this time.

We are LGBT+ and we will resist

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Kenya's High Court upholds anti-gay law

In a blow to the LGBT movement in Africa, Kenya's High Court ruled that a colonial-era law banning same-sex relations should remain in place.

Same-sex relations have been banned since the British colonized Kenya in the late 19th century. Kenya's penal code criminalizes "carnal knowledge against the order of nature." Anyone found engaging in same-sex relationships could face up to 14 years in prison.

The Court upheld laws that criminalize gay sex, declining to join the handful of nations that have recently abolished a prohibition imposed by Britain during the colonial era.

The unanimous ruling by a three-judge panel of the court, announced in a courtroom packed with activists who wanted to see the laws overturned, keeps Kenya aligned with most of Africa. 

Anti-gay laws and conservative cultural mores remain prevalent across most of the continent. In addition to the threat of prosecution, discrimination and violence against LGBT people are common.

“A sad day for the rule of law and human rights,” said Eric Gitari, a co-founder of the National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, a Kenyan civil rights group, who was one of the petitioners in the case. He said he and others would appeal the ruling.

Very sad news from Kenia

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Univision announces first telenovela starred by gay couple

For the first time in history, Univision is going to launch a primetime telenovela with two male stars as the lead power couple. No, it’s not the first time that gay characters have been featured in a telenovela, but it is the first time one will feature gay lead characters.

The new show will be in Spanish and is called “El Corazón Nunca Se Equivoca” (The Heart is Never Wrong), and it’s a spinoff of the Mexican telenovela, “Mi Marido Tiene Más Familia,” (My Husband Has More Family).

Viewers will follow the love story of Cuauhtémoc (Joaquín Bondoni) and Aristóteles (Emilio Osorio), the popular couple from “Mi Marido”, better known as ArisTemo. The young men will take on challenges in today’s less than accepting society and face challenges together.

In 2013, Univision made international headlines with a memorable same-sex wedding between two men in “Amores Verdaderos” (True Lovers). And in 2018, even more LGBT characters made their debut in both English and Spanish-language shows, including “One Day at a Time”, “Élite”, “Vida”, “Casa de Las Flores”, and “Amar a Muerte.”

Shows such as “Mi Marido” and hopefully soon too, “El Corazón Nunca Se Equivoca,” show real-life scenarios that people of the Latino LGBT community face on the reg. And this can lead to more acceptance from family members and friends.


Aris and Temo, a very cute couple!

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Hope Will Never Be Silent

Harvey Milk Day is organized by the Harvey Milk Foundation and celebrated each year on May 22 in memory of Harvey Milk, a gay rights activist assassinated in 1978. 

He was the first openly gay person to be elected to public office in a major city in the US, serving on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors from 1977-1978. His life and political career embody the rise of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights movement.

In California, Harvey Milk Day is recognized by the state's government as a day of special significance for public schools. The day was established by the California legislature and signed into law by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2009 after a series of petitions led by gay rights activist Daren I. Ball.

Many public schools and other educational institutions in California conduct commemorative projects, events and activities in memory of Harvey Milk. Topics such as equal rights are especially promoted on this day. From a global perspective, the Harvey Milk Foundation organizes a series of worldwide events to commemorate Harvey Milk Day.

Although Milk died, his work continues today through the work of the Milk Foundation, founded by his nephew Stuart Milk, in honor of his uncle.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

You can help save lives

Rainbow Railroad is a Canadian charitable organization that helps LGBT individuals escape violence and persecution in their home countries. 

In more than 70 countries worldwide, LGBT citizens live in fear for their freedom, their safety and, in some cases, their lives. Their governments not only sanction brutality against them but often carry it out. There is no obvious or easy escape path, but for those lucky enough to hitch a ride, there is something called the Rainbow Railroad. Like the Underground Railroad, the Rainbow Railroad helps those fleeing danger get across borders to safety. And like its historical namesake, this network shrouds its operations in secrecy.

The organization was formed in 2006, with its name and concept inspired by the Underground Railroad. It received charitable status from the Canada Revenue Agency in 2013, and also maintains an organization based in New York City to issue tax receipts to American donors. In the past, they have helped individuals from the Caribbean, Africa, and the Middle East relocate to safer countries in Europe and North America.

After the revelations about the anti-gay purges and concentration camps in Chechnya, Rainbow Railroad began to mobilize emergency efforts to help LGBT people get out of the region in collaboration with the Russian LGBT Network.

Rainbow Railroad received the 2018 Bonham Centre Award from the Mark S. Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies at the University of Toronto for its work helping LGBT refugees.

You can help save lives

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Thousands march in Northern Ireland for same sex marriage

Thousands have marched in support of same-sex marriage in Belfast. Protesters called for an end to the political impasse whereby the Democratic Unionist Party remains opposed to marriage equality, despite Sinn Fein calls for a law change.

The demonstrators want same-sex couples to be treated the same way in Northern Ireland as they are in the rest of the UK, where same-sex marriage is legal. The issue is a stumbling block to restoring Northern Ireland’s Catholic-Protestant power-sharing administration, which has been suspended for more than two years.

Northern Ireland has been without a functioning administration since the government collapsed in January 2017 over a failed green-energy project. The rift later widened to broader cultural issues separating Northern Ireland’s British unionists and Irish nationalists.

The socially conservative Democratic Unionist Party, an ally of British Prime Minister Theresa May’s government, is opposed to a redefinition of the law.

Instead, Ireland's Prime Minister, Leo Varadkar, called for marriage equality to be introduced to Northern Ireland. He attended Belfast Pride once he was confirmed as Taoiseach.

In addition, a survey found over 68% of people in Northern Ireland support same-sex marriage. Northern Ireland is currently the only part of the UK where same-sex couples cannot marry.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

U.S. House of Representatives passes the Equality Act

Legislation calling for the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include gender identity and sexual orientation as protected from discrimination has been approved by the House.

The landmark bill was passed through the House of Representatives with a 236-173 vote led by Democrats.

The Equality Act bill would provide protection to people living in states where it’s legal to discriminate based on sexual orientation and gender identity. This protection would extend across education, employment, housing and public spaces.

“The question before us is not whether the LGBT community faces outrageous and immoral discrimination, for the record shows that it clearly does,” said New York Representative Jerrold Nadler and chairman of the Judiciary Committee. “The question is whether we, as Congress, are willing to take action to do something about it. The answer goes straight to the heart of who we want to be as a country, and today, that answer must be a resounding ‘yes’.”

While it’s a historic move for LGBT rights in America, the news is somewhat bittersweet as it’s unlikely to pass through the Republican-led Senate and White House.

Friday, May 17, 2019

BREAKING: Taiwan Parliament legalises same-sex marriage, the first in Asia

On May 17, International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, Taiwan has become the first country in Asia to legalise same-sex marriage.

Legislators voted for a government-backed bill that would define a union between a same-sex couple as a marriage. Conservative opponents had proposed rival bills that would define partnerships as “same-sex unions” or “same-sex familial relationships.”

Taiwan president Tsai Ing-wen’s Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) pushed through its law in a vote on Friday. Prior to the vote, Tsai tweeted:”Good morning #Taiwan. Today, we have a chance to make history & show the world that progressive values can take root in an East Asian society. Today, we can show the world that #LoveWins.”

Friday’s vote comes two years after Taiwan’s supreme court ruled that defining marriage as being between only a man and a woman was unconstitutional. The top court said then that the island had two years to make necessary changes to the law. But this was met with a public backlash, which pressured the government into holding a series of referendums. 

The referendum results showed that a majority of voters in Taiwan rejected legalising same-sex marriage, saying that the definition of marriage was the union of a man and woman. As a result, Taiwan said it would not alter its existing definition of marriage in civil law, and instead would enact a special law for same-sex marriage.

Lawmakers finally debated three different bills, but ultimately pushed ahead with the DPP’s law considered the most progressive of the three because it will recognise unions as marriages, the same as heterosexual couples, and define partners as spouses. The bill was passed by 66 to 27 votes.

Congrats Taiwan!!!

Taiwan President, Tsai Ing-wen, pushed the change, bravo!

Thursday, May 16, 2019

The first Australian footballer comes out as gay

Andy Brennan has become Australia’s first professional male footballer to come out as gay while still playing the game.

The 26-year-old, who had played for the Newcastle Jets in the A-League, and now plays for Green Gully in a lower division, made the announcement in a social media post.

He said he had spent many years of uncertainty about his sexuality and the reaction such an announcement would get, but came to the conclusion that being open was the best way for him to feel comfortable.

“I’m gay,” he wrote. “It’s incredible saying that now; it feels amazing. And weirdly, it doesn’t feel like a big deal. Really in 2019, it shouldn’t be. But I couldn’t be happier that despite taking so long, ruminating over this decision for so many years and being entirely unsure about myself, I can finally come out and say it.”

There are no openly gay footballers in any of the major leagues in Europe, an anomaly considering the increasing number of professional athletes that come out of the closet in recent years, but based on the overwhelming support that Brennan received on Instagram, they may be wondering why they take so long.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Warning on step back in LGBT rights in Europe

LGBT rights in Europe are stagnating and, in some countries, regressing for the first time in a decade.

The European chapter of the advocacy group International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA-Europe) denounced the troubling state of the LGBT rights in the continent after releasing the 10th Rainbow Europe Map and Index.

The 2019 Rainbow Europe Map and Index, a monitoring tool designed to rank 49 countries in Europe on criteria such as their LGBT equality and non-discrimination laws, legal gender recognition and bodily integrity, protection from hatred and violence, family rights, and spaces in civil society, revealed that some countries are regressing as existing laws and policies disappeared.

Overall, the island of Malta scored the highest, topping the Rainbow Europe country ranking for the fourth year in a row, followed by Belgium, for the second year in the second spot. Third came Luxembourg, increasing its ranking by 17 spots year-on-year thanks to a “well-modified legal gender recognition law based on self-determination and a comprehensive national action plan.”

Ranking at the bottom of the 49 countries are Armenia, Turkey and Azerbaijan.

Monday, May 13, 2019

LGBT activists hold an unauthorized pride parade in Cuba

Cuban gay rights activists held an unauthorized independent pride parade in Havana despite the Communist government warning against it and calling it subversive, an unprecedented show of civil society in the one-party state.

More than a hundred Cubans chanting “long live a diverse Cuba” and carrying rainbow flags joyfully marched nearly one kilometer from Havana’s Central Park down to the seafront boulevard before being stopped by dozens of security officials.

At least three activists were arrested by plainclothes policemen while others were ordered to disperse given the activity did not have an official permit.

“This moment marks a before and an after for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community but also for Cuban civil society more generally,” said LGBT activist Maykel Gonzalez Vivero.

“Social media is playing its role and civil society demonstrated it has strength, and can go out onto the streets if necessary, and from now on the government will have to take that into account,” he added.

This was the second march organized independently of state institutions, a rare occurrence in Cuba, in just over a month, although the previous one, in defense of animal rights, had received a permit from local authorities.

Some activists were arrested by plaintclothes policemen

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Turkish police violently break up student Pride march

Reacting to the news that a Pride march organised by students at the Middle East Technical University (METU) in the Turkish capital of Ankara has been violently broken up by police and 25 students have been arrested, Fotis Filippou, Campaigns Director for Europe at Amnesty International, said:

“It is heart-breaking to hear that today’s Pride march, which should have been a celebration of love and solidarity, was so violently broken up by police using pepper spray, plastic bullets and tear gas, and that at least 25 people have reportedly been unlawfully detained.

“Amnesty International condemns the police intervention to break up this celebration of pride on the METU campus today. Reports of excessive use of force by the police must be urgently investigated.

“It is a dark day when university authorities call the police to silence students who are simply demanding their rights to dignity and equality. All those detained by police must be released immediately and unconditionally.”

Students demonstrated peacefully but were told by police that they were not allowed to stand under tents, to fly a rainbow flag, to sit on the lawn, and eventually they were prevented from reading out a statement. Those detained include LGBTI student activists from ODTU LGBTI Solidarity group Melike Balkan and Özgür Gür and an academic from the university.

Recently, a court lifted ban on LGBT's Pride in Ankara, but things continue in the same bad way.

A shame!

Ankara is more beautiful with colors

Friday, May 10, 2019

85% of LGBT students in China report depression

Around 85% of LGBT students in China report struggling with depression, according to a survey. More than 700 LGBT students from 29 provinces were polled.

The poll, carried out by Beijing Normal University and analysed by Chinese news site Caixin Global, found a further 40% had considered suicide.

The survey found more than 80% of respondents had come out to someone, but three quarters had not told their parents, other relatives or teachers. Only 2.9% said they had supportive teachers.

The report found having a more inclusive school climate and more school resources, in particular positive LGBT role models, improved LGBT students’ mental health.

China decriminalised homosexual acts in 1997, but LGBT communities in the country have been subjected to censorship and discrimination under the Communist government.

Recently, China’s largest e-commerce site, Taobao, removed LGBT-themed items from online stores.The company prohibited items described as ‘LGBT’, ‘Les’ and ‘Gay’. They claimed her products contained ‘obscenity, pornography, violence or political sensitivity’.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

NFL and New York City teams will suport next Gay Bowl football tournament

The National Football League (NFL) and its two New York City teams will be official supporters of Gay Bowl XIX football tournament when it’s held in the Big Apple this October 10-13.

The NFL, the New York Giants and the New York Jets Foundation have come together to commit support for the annual LGBTQ flag football tournament, including an undisclosed financial contribution.

New York Gay Football League commissioner Monty Clinton, whose organization is hosting the event, said the support of these pro football entities will help build a top-notch event for LGBT athletes from across North America, as well as continue to effect positive change in sports.

“This year is especially meaningful, as it comes on the heels of the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots and World Pride NYC,” Clinton said. The 1969 Stonewall Riots in New York City are credited with igniting the modern-day LGBT-rights movement. “What better way to celebrate the amazing strides that the LGBT+ community has made than to add our unified football community to the collective voices that will mark this important occasion.”

The first Gay Bowl took place in 2002 in Los Angeles. New York previously hosted the Gay Bowl in 2007. The New York Gay Football League was founded 15 years ago, with the women’s division being created five years later. This year organizers expect about 60 teams from about 25 cities.


Sunday, May 5, 2019

The First Family

Take a look at the cover of the latest issue of TIME Magazine. South Bend mayor and 2020 presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg is on the cover, along with his husband Chasten.

Pete, 37, who would be the youngest and the first openly gay US president, has transformed himself from long-shot to legitimate contender for the White House.

He 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. 

A recent poll has found that 70% of voters in the US would vote for a gay man as president. The poll, which was conducted by Quinnipiac, found that 85% of Democrats and 46% of Republicans were willing to see a gay man become president.

Why not?

Pete with his husband and president Obama

Friday, May 3, 2019

Stop Bullying!!!

World Bullying Day is an international day marked on May 2nd to raise awareness of bullying and cyberbullying. It’s a widespread issue that affects millions of students around the world in schools and universities with consequences that range from psychological traumas to even suicide.

World Bullying Day was conceived in April 2013 by various members of the NGO Bullying Without Borders and then presented in 2013 to more than 3.000 NGOs around the world. The iniciative was approved and they all agreed upon the fact that the date should be May 2nd. 

The reason of why they chose that day in particular was because it was the day Bullying Without Borders was founded and also because students from the northern and southern hemisphere attend classes that day, allowing the possibility to create discussion in schools about this topic and thus further raising awareness. 

The NGO considers bullying as “a silent enemy that feeds upon three poisons: loneliness, sadness and fear.” The actions that are directly related to bullying are: cyberbullying, social block, harassment, coaction, intimidation, aggression, threat and gay bashing. In 2014, UNICEF determined that 1 out of 3 children in the world suffer from bullying. 

According to the organization’s statistics, bullying causes around 200 deaths every year due to homicide or induction to suicide. At the same time it’s proven that it affects millions of students that “sometimes abandon their studies or cope them with grief and fatigue as if it were a daily torture.” 


Thursday, May 2, 2019

LGBT Equality Act approved by the House Committee

The Equality Act, a wide-ranging bill banning discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, has been approved by the House Judiciary Committee in the US.

LGBT rights advocates have praised the ‘historic’ vote. It will now go to the full House for a vote at a later date. The bill seeks to amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It would add sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of protected traits.

If passed, it would prohibit discrimination in various areas, including employment, housing, public accommodation, and more on a national level.

This is the third time Democrats have attempted to pass the Equality Act. On the two previous occasions the bill failed to advance past the committee.

In his opening statement, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York, said: ‘It is time that the federal government recognizes that discrimination in any form is wrong and that we should move forward with these common-sense protections that simply build on existing statutes.’ And he added that the Equality Act would ‘provide uniform protection for certain basic, fundamental rights of all Americans’.

Polling has found that there is wide-ranging support for the Equality Act throughout the US. A survey by the nonpartisan Public Religion Research Institute that around 70% of Americans would support a bill like the Equality Act. Surveys have also found strong support for LGBTI employment protections among US businesses.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

70% of US voters would vote for a gay president

70% of voters in the US would vote for a gay man as president, a new poll has found. The poll, which was conducted by Quinnipiac, found that 85% of Democrats and 46% of Republicans were willing to see a gay man become president.

The survey comes as openly gay presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg and mayor of South Bend, Indiana, is polling highly among Democratic voters. He is among a field of Democratic contenders who will be running in the 2020 presidential elections.

The poll found that people between the ages of 18 and 34 were the most likely to support an openly gay presidential candidate. 82% confirmed they would, with 14% saying they would not, and 4% saying they did not know.

However, the poll came with a caveat. It also found that 53% of voters do not believe that the US currently is ready for a gay president. Only 11% of Democrats said they would not vote for a gay presidential candidate, compared to 46% of Republicans.

This is both good news and bad news for Buttigieg’s chances at claiming the White House. The good news for Mayor Pete Buttigieg is that voters seem ready to accept a gay man as president, but the bad news for Buttigieg is that voters believe it just isn't going to happen.