Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Tbilisi Pride organisers say event will go ahead

Tbilisi Pride will be held in the capital of Georgia despite threats of disruption, event organisers said in a statement released earlier today amid public tension.

Turmoil around the first Tbilisi Pride, a week-long event dedicated to the rights of LGBT individuals, continues as organisers decided to hold the events despite threats coming from nationalist groups.

One of the organisers of the event Nino Bolkvadze refrained from naming the date of the march which will be the final stage of the event  at the end of the week and warned possible participants regarding existing threats.

"What I can say now is that all the security measures which might have been provided by the pride organisers are in place. Many people, including the police and high ranking officials are involved to ensure the peaceful conduct of the events. Of course, there are risks and the government is responsible for avoiding them,” Bolkvadze stated.

Georgian Public Defender Nino Lomjaria reported that, taking security threats into account, the Georgian Interior Ministry said no to pride organisers to hold the events. "It’s not the right of expression when one aims to insult others", she declared.

However, the organisers did not accept the refusal and decided to go ahead anyway.

Amnesty International has urged the Georgian authorities to take all necessary measures to ensure the safety of Tbilisi Pride participants “amidst unprecedented threats” of violence including from homophobic groups.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Shade never made anyone less gay!

Taylor Swift is pushing for support of the Equality Act in a star-studded music video for her new single.

A who's who of Hollywood, including Ellen DeGeneres, RuPaul, Billy Porter, Ryan Reynolds, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Adam Rippon, and many other stars and LGBT activists, appear in the video for "You Need to Calm Down" song.

Lyrics for the track include lines such as "Why are you mad when you could be GLAAD?", a reference to the country's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer media advocacy organization, and "Sunshine on the street at the parade, but you would rather be in the dark age."

Swift also sings, "You just need to take several seats and then try to restore the peace / And control your urges to scream about all the people you hate / 'Cause shade never made anybody less gay."

Katy Perry, who had engaged in a long-running feud with Swift, also makes a cameo in the music video. The pair, dressed as a hamburger and French fries, are seen hugging one another. Perry had praised Swift's political activism last year, saying, "She's setting such a great example."

At the end of the video, a graphic urges viewers to sign a petition supporting the Equality Act. The bill, which would enshrine protections for LGBT Americans in federal law, passed the House in May.

Watch the video below:

Monday, June 17, 2019

Kyiv to host Equality March on June 23

The March of Equality organized by KyivPride will take place in Kyiv, Ukraine capital, on June 23 / 23 червня, у неділю, в Києві відбудеться Марш Рівності КиївПрайд 2019.

This year KyivPride will start with the pride-week, which will be from June 14 to 22. The pride week program, already traditionally, is filled with a variety of cultural, entertainment and educational activities, and on June 23, organizers expect 10,000 participants at the Equality March.

KyivPride has been known as a peaceful human rights public action that is the manifestation of the LGBT+ community’s right to peaceful assembly, freedom of speech and self-expression. Thus, this year, the main topic of KyivPride is “Freedom. Unity. Fighting” and the main slogan: “Freedom is our tradition!”. Freedom, indeed, is the ability to speak, act and think without repressive restrictions, prohibitions and violence. 

Our freedom is an indisputable value to be ourselves, to choose what we want and not to fear to live a full life. Freedom does not happen without daily struggle, because freedom is an action. Freedom is not given for granted, it is a process in which we must stand for human rights together, so freedom is impossible without unity.

You can read the instructions to participate in the march here.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Gus Kenworthy rides with AIDS/LifeCycle

Olympian Gus Kenworthy, 27, has temporarily traded in his ski pants for padded bib shorts as he  prepares to ride 550 miles from San Francisco to Los Angeles over seven days with AIDS/LifeCycle in early June.

The out silver medalist in men's slopestyle at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, joins 2,500 cyclists and 500 roadies who will set out en masse from the Cow Palace in San Francisco June 2 with the common purpose of stamping out HIV and AIDS and the stigma around the disease. 

While strides have been made in research, education, prevention, and treatment over the past few years, Kenworthy, who pledged to raise $1 million to help fund programs at the Los Angeles LGBT Center and the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, has joined the fight in part to help send the message that the epidemic is far from over. 

“I think that thinking HIV and AIDS is something of the past comes from a place of privilege. We feel very lucky now with Truvada [the drug used in prevention] and things like that to feel safe and feel like we're no longer really at risk, but infection rates are still climbing, especially in poor communities,” Kenworthy told.

“[With] a lack of education [around HIV and AIDS] we're seeing higher infection rates in young people. It’s important that we keep it in the forefront of people's minds. It's not something that we found a cure for yet, and I really hope that it comes, but as of now it's something that we still need to fight for, ” he added.

Inspired by watching exhausted but exuberant riders at the AIDS/LifeCycle finish line in downtown Los Angeles last June, Kenworthy pledged to raise as much money as possible for the cause and also to heighten awareness around HIV and AIDS.

Help him here as I did.


Friday, June 14, 2019

Hundreds of thousands march in Tel Aviv Pride Parade

Tel Aviv Pride Parade did kick off with 250,000 attendants celebrating LGBT. Tourists from far and wide come to celebrate and continue the fight for LGBT rights in Israel. Tel Aviv’s pride parade is the largest pride event in Asia and the Middle East, and one of the largest parades in the world

The parade showcased 14 floats with people celebrating their sexuality. Two of the floats are for the lesbian community, one is sponsored by the British Embassy, two others represent the LGBT community center and one is sponsored by Thailand.

The parade began at noon. People marched from Gan Meir north to Gordon Beach and then south to Charles Clore Park and beach, where a huge party is happening from 3 p.m. until nightfall. The parade is a chance for people to celebrate being who they are, but not everyone was here just to celebrate. 

This year, the LGBT community center sent out a poll and changed the way the parade would look this year. Tel Aviv is asking for participants to protest visibly and are calling for the safety and equality of those in the LGBT community. 

Tel Aviv is a very accepting city, one of the Gay hubs of the world, but there are still many rights that LGBT people do not have in the State of Israel.

In addition to typical tourists and Israelis, American television actor Neil Patrick Harris came to Tel Aviv with his husband, David Burtka, to celebrate Pride. Patrick Harris is known for his portrayal of Barney Stinson on How I Met Your Mother and kid-doctor Doogie Houser. He is serving as the international ambassador this year. 

Every night this week there were different parties in different night clubs, bars and on Hilton Beach, drag shows, movies and activities to entertain the tourists and Tel Avivians alike. Saturday is another big event. Offer Nissim, a big-name Israeli DJ, will be performing in Park Hayarkon. 

Enjoy Pride!!!

Neil Patrick Harris, with his husband David, 
appointed int'l ambassador of Tel Aviv Pride Parade

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Ecuador legalises same-sex marriage

Ecuador’s highest court legalised same-sex marriage, ruling in favour of two gay couples who petitioned for the right to wed.

The constitutional court in Quito voted five-to-four to approve same-sex marriage in the cases of the two men, thus extending gay marriage across the country.

The four judges who ruled against same-sex marriage said that changes to the Ecuadorean constitution would have to be decided and approved by the government.

However, the co andnstitutional court’s decisions are binding and mandatory. That means public authorities officiating weddings must perform same-sex weddings.

Ecuador recognised sexual orientation as a protected characteristic since 1998, making it illegal to discriminate against people for being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.

The country allowed same-sex couples to enter civil unions since 2008 also banned conversion therapy in 2014. However, same-sex couples cannot adopt children. 

The decision to legalise same-sex marriage follows other countries in South America, including Argentina, Brazil and Colombia.

Congrats Ecuador!!!

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Remember Pulse

During Pride Month three years ago, 12 June 2016, 49 LGBT+ people were killed in a terrible attack at Pulse Nightclub, in Orlando. 

The Florida gay nightclub, that was the site of the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history, will become a memorial and museum to comfort the bereaved now and educate future generations about the importance of tolerance.

Today, we remember those who were lost.

Rest In Peace

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Former US Defense Secretary says Trump's troop trans ban will fail

Former Defense Secretary Ash Carter explained why he believes President Donald Trump’s ban on transgender people serving in the military may not last long.

Carter, who served in the Cabinet role under President Barack Obama when the ban was lifted in 2016, told “The Late Show” host Stephen Colbert that it boiled down to being able to recruit the most capable people for the all-volunteer military, regardless of their identities.

“The reason we’re the finest fighting force in the world is because we have the best people,” said Carter, who is promoting his new book “Inside the Five-Sided Box” about his three decades at the Pentagon.

Carter continued: "What matters in choosing them is military qualifications and I continue to maintain that and that is what led me to the view that we ought to admit to the military and retain in the military the people who are most qualified to do a given job."

Colbert asked Carter if he was “surprised” the lifting of the ban didn’t last long. Trump’s ban, on that basis that trans people cost the military too much, came into effect in April amid a slew of legal challenges.

“I think it’ll come back because I think it’s based upon that fundamental military necessity of qualifications are what really matter,” Carter replied.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Trump Administration refuses to let US embassies fly the Pride flag

US embassies around the world have been denied the right to fly rainbow flags throughout June in honour of LGBT Pride Month.

Before an embassy can fly any banner other than the American flag, it must be granted permission by the State Department.  US embassies in Germany, Israel, Brazil and Latvia requested permission from the State Department to fly the rainbow flag on their flagpoles and were denied

This is a shift from the Obama era policy which gave diplomats blanket permission to fly the Pride flag during the month of June.

However, several American embassies and diplomats are defying the policy and the spirit of the Trump administration’s reported prohibition against flying rainbow colors from embassie. They are simply ignoring the State Department position, while others are using more creative techniques to boldly display their support for the LGBT community.

US missions in Seoul as well as in Chennai, India, Santiago, Chile, and Vienna all appear to be flying the flag. U.S, officials in Chennai also posted next video of the flag raising and a supportive Pride message.

Saturday, June 8, 2019

YouTube sets LGBT documentaries for Pride Month

YouTube is unfurling the rainbow flag for Pride Month, set to release a trio of original LGBT documentary films available for free worldwide on the platform.

The lineup includes “State of Pride,” from Oscar-winning filmmakers Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, premiering May 29; “Stonewall Outloud,” from StoryCorps and World of Wonder, premiering June 26; and “This is Everything: Gigi Gorgeous,” the 2017 doc about the transgender female YouTube fashion and beauty vlogger.

State of Pride, which debuted at South by Southwest in March, follows Braun as he travels to Salt Lake City, Utah, San Francisco, Calif., and Tuscaloosa, Ala. In each of those cities, he meets with young LGBT people who share their wildly different perceptions of what June, Pride Month, means to their generation. Among those interviewed is pop singer-songwriter Troye Sivan, whose albums “Blue Neighbourhood” and “Bloom” have made him a queer icon for the millennial set. 

Stonewall Outloud brings the original audio recording of Stonewall to life, in a documentary that features contemporary voices in the LGBT community, from YouTube creator Conor Franta to Olympian Adam Rippon. The World of Wonder-produced film builds upon StoryCorps’ long-standing commitment to recording the powerful and varied experiences of LGBT people. Storycorps’ original audio documentary Remembering Stonewall features first-person accounts of those who fought during the uprising and forms, the basis for this new documentary. The movie premieres Wednesday, June 26, 2019 on the World of Wonder YouTube channel.

This is Everything: Gigi Gorgeous, director Barbara Kopple and subject Gigi Lazzarato stopped by the Variety Studio presented by Orville Redenbacher’s at the Sundance Film Festival to talk about their new documentary. Lazzarato, a transgender woman who has shared her journey on YouTube, said that the documentary was an exercise in control. “I’m a control freak,” she said. “I just wanted to take control because that’s what I’m used to.” But Kopple said that the product is one that makes a statement. “It’s about hope, it’s about friendship, it’s about love. It’s about all the wonderful ingredients that our president is not doing,” she said. YouTube will make available free to watch from June 5-30.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Same-sex mass wedding staged in Israel to advocate for marriage equality

Hundreds of Israelis participated in a mass wedding in Tel Aviv to demand the right to same-sex marriage ahead of the country’s Gay Pride week.

23 same-sex couples walked down the aisle at the Tel Aviv LGBT Centre in unison and exchanged vows at the unofficial marriage ceremony, cheered by family, friends and supporters. 

The annual Tel Aviv Pride Parade, set for June 14, draws thousands of foreign visitors to the city, which flaunts itself as one of the world’s most gay-friendly tourist destinations. Jerusalem Pride Parade is set for June 7.

Yet political rights for Israel’s gay community lag behind the increasingly widespread cultural acceptance. Jewish ultra-Orthodox parties, powerful in the Israeli parliament, have rejected legislation that affords rights like same-sex marriage and the inclusion of gay men in surrogacy laws.

In any case, Israel stands in sharp contrast to the rest of the Mideast and becomes an exception in the region on acceptance of LGBT rights

Tel Aviv Pride Parade is one of the largest in the world

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Pride Month comes back to Chicago

The Chicago Transit Authority has again decorated several train cars on the north-south Red Line in rainbow colors for Pride Month, as it has done the past several years. 

This year, for the first time, Howard Brown Health Center, which serves a largely LGBT clientele, has become a sponsor of the Pride cars, decorating the interior with visuals representing the center’s diverse patient population and highlighting that it will never deny care, judge sexuality, or define anyone by their HIV status.

Also, in the heavily gay Boystown neighborhood, the city is installing 14 Pride-themed crosswalks along North Halsted Street — 13 in rainbow colors and one in the pink, blue, and white colors of the transgender flag. Seven of them, including the trans one, have been unveiled; the rest are scheduled to be completed by June 22, in time for the Pride festival.

Last April, Chicago elected its first openly gay mayor, Lori Lightfoot, who become the leader of the third largest city in the USA. 

Lori Lightfoot, the mayor of Chicago

Monday, June 3, 2019

House of Lords approves LGBT guidance in English schools

The House of Lords has given its backing to new LGBT-inclusive guidance on compulsory relationships and sex education in English schools.

The upper chamber gave approval to new government guidance on relationships and sex education, a month after the plan passed through the House of Commons by a vote of 538 to 21.

The regulations passed through the Lords without a formal division due to overwhelming support, paving the way for the guidance to come into effect in schools for September 2020.

Education minister Lord Agnew of Oulton said: “There is no reason why teaching children about the diverse society that we live in, and the different types of loving and healthy relationships, cannot be done in a way that respects everybody’s views.

“Schools should ensure that the needs of all pupils are appropriately met and that all pupils understand the importance of equality and respect, in particular respect for difference.

“The new guidance is clear on the teaching about LGBT relationships expected in secondary schools and encouraged in primary while retaining the flexibility for head teachers to respond to the needs of their own schools.”

These new regulations mark a significant and welcome change to how pupils are taught about LGBT relationships and identities. It’s life-changing legislation that will give LGBT pupils the tools to make informed decisions about their relationships and their futures.

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Prince Harry and Meghan celebrate Pride month on Instagram

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, duke and duchess of Sussex, are celebrating the LGBTQ+ community.

The royal couple gave their Instagram page a rainbow tribute in honor of Pride Month, which kicks off June 1 in the U.K. and the U.S.

Harry and Meghan shared a collage made of photos, which included one of Harry’s late mother Princess Diana, from accounts they are following this month which included The Trevor Project, Stonewall UK, SAGE and artist Ruben Guadalupe Marquez.

“This month we pay tribute to the accounts supporting the LGBTQ+ community – those young and old, their families and friends, accounts that reflect on the past and are hopeful for a deservedly more inclusive future,” the couple captioned the post. “We stand with you and support you 🌈 Because it’s very simple: love is love.”

The royal couple's post explained that they have a tradition of rotating Instagram accounts they follow based "on causes and social issues that matter to us".

Awesome couple!!

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Starman from heaven by Elliot Kershaw

I am glad to post about a gay award winning film made by Elliot Kershaw, a brilliant young filmmaker from Brighton (UK).

Starman from Heaven is a romantic drama about Eddie, a talented singer and songwriter, who is struggling to come to terms with his future career as well as his sexuality. 

Eddie (James Lye) lives in Brighton and with the help of a local singer called Harvey (Milo Wilson), gains the confidence to pursue his career in music. 

This is Elliot's first live action short film, which was made with next to no budget. In fact, Elliot was the director, producer, costume designer, hair, make-up, camera and editor. The short film won the Award for Outstanding Performance in BTEC Film production.

This is the first film but will not be the last, because Elliot has a lot of talent and manages all movie techniques with accomplishment. Looking forward to the next film.

Watch the awesome short movie below: