Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Justin Trudeau becomes first Canadian Prime Minister to visit a gay bar

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made history by stopping at a gay bar in Vancouver to mark the beginning of the city’s Pride week.

Justin Trudeau, who has voiced his support for LGBT rights numerous times throughout his career, marked the start of Pride week in Canada by stopping by the Fountainhead Pub in Vancouver’s West End earlier this week.

The Prime Minister stopped by for 15 minutes and mingled with all the customers and staff, shaking their hands and taking photographs. It’s believed to be the first time a sitting prime minister in the country has ever visited a gay bar.

Trudeau wrote on Twitter: “Vancouver is gearing up for #Pride weekend right now, but the spirit of pride and inclusivity is strong here all year long! Thanks to the folks at @fountainheadVAN for the warm welcome today.”

In 2016, he was the first PM to march in Toronto’s Pride Parade

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Speak Out online survey is open

A new online survey is open to all LGBT people. The research is being conducted across nine European countries by the Speak Out partnership. This includes people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, non-binary, queer, pansexual, intersex, asexual and any other minority sexual orientation and/or gender identity. 

The survey want to know about any incidents of online hate crime and hate speech that people may have experienced, targeting any LGBT individual or group, or the LGBT community more widely.

Online hate crime is any crime that is targeted at a person because of hostility or prejudice based on a person’s perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression or sex characteristics that takes place online.

The contributions will be very valuable in helping to better understand and tackle online hate crime and hate speech.

Check the survey here.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Bulgaria court recognizes same-sex marriage in landmark case

A Bulgaria court ruled in favour of a lesbian couple who married in France, making it the first time a same-sex union has been acknowledged in the conservative country.

Australian citizen Cristina Palma married France-born Mariama Dialo in 2016, after 15 years together, and was originally permitted to live, work and travel in Bulgaria on the grounds that she married a European citizen.

But when Palma applied to continue her residency in Bulgaria back in 2017, she was rejected after the country’s officials deemed their union invalid, due to Bulgaria’s archaic laws and views on same-sex marriage.

After a two-year battle, a court reinstated Palma’s rights as the spouse of an EU citizen. Their lawyer, Denitsa Lyubenova, said the ruling “could be an important first step toward legalizing same-sex marriage in the country”.

The ruling was in accordance with a June 2018 European Court of Justice Ruling (ECJ) which means that EU nations must recognise same-sex marriages from other member states, even if they do not grant marriage equality to their own citizens.

Bulgaria is conservative in regards to LGBT rights in comparison to other countries in the European Union. Same-sex activity is legal and anti-discrimination laws in employment are in effect, but the country doesn’t recognise LGBT couples and there’s no hate crime laws in regards to sexual orientation and gender identity. Same-sex couples are also unable to adopt and conversion therapy on minors is yet to be banned.

Thousands turn out for Sofia Pride 2019

Sunday, July 28, 2019

March for LGBT rights in Warsaw after Pride attack in Bialystok

Over 1,000 people took to the streets in Warsaw in a show of support for LGBT rights. Those who gathered in the Polish capital in solidarity with Bialystok carried rainbow-colored flags and banners with pro-LGBT messages.

The march comes after a Pride event in the north-eastern city of Białystok was marred by violence. The first Pride event to take place in the ultra-conservative Polish city of Białystok was met with counter-protests by Christian and far-right groups a week ago.

Videos showed counter-protestors attacking and throwing rocks and bottles at the Pride march participants.

A number of Polish politicians, including Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, have condemned the attacks in Białystok. Police have detained more than 30 people in connection with the violence.

LGBT rights are a deeply polarising issue in the majority Catholic country. Divisions over LGBT issues have been exacerbated in the lead up to Poland’s general election.

The Polish LGBT community continues to face numerous hurdles in their fight for equality. Many aspects of society and politics remain staunchly conservative and the Catholic Church remains highly influential. 

Due to cultural, religious and political pushback, marriage equality, legal protections in the area of gender identity, and same-sex couples being allowed to adopt remain distant prospects.

Police had to protect Pride march in Bialystok a week ago

Friday, July 26, 2019

Scrum, about an unstoppable team who happen to be gay

Scrum is an award winning Australian documentary that tells a story of determination, acceptance, and brotherhood. Aside from broadcasting in three continents, the movie has toured the festival circuit to great acclaim. 

Directed by Australian film maker Poppy Stockell, the documentary focuses on the 2014 Bingham Cup, the gay rugby world cup held in Sydney, Australia.

The Mark Kendall Bingham Memorial Tournament or the Bingham Cup is a biennial international, non-professional, gay rugby union tournament, first held in 2002. It is named after Mark Bingham, who died on board United Airlines Flight 93 when it crashed during the September 11, 2001 attacks. The most recent tournament was held in Amsterdam, Netherlands, in June 2018. The next one will be in Ottawa, Canada, in August 2020.

The film presents an intimate look at the journey of three players on the Sydney Convicts Team as they prepare physically and mentally for the 2014 Bingham Cup. For these players, being part of the Convicts means you’re more than a team; you’re brothers. 

As the players vie for a place in the gay rugby World Cup, this muddy, sweaty and visually arresting documentary reveals what it means for these incredible tough men to be able to compete and be accepted for who they are.

Watch the documentary here, and take a look at the trailer below.

The Convicts won the Bingham Cup in 2004

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

A well-known LGBT rights activist murdered in St Petersburg

St Petersburg authorities said they had found the body of a 41-year-old woman with multiple knife wounds, but did not identify her.

Activists and media reports in the city named the victim as local campaigner Yelena Grigoryeva, who was a regular participant in rallies supporting a range of unpopular causes in modern Russia, including LGBT rights and freedom for Ukrainian political prisoners.

Acquaintances said Grigoryeva’s name was on a list of LGBT activists published by a recently blocked Russian website that called on people to take vigilante action against them. She had received several threats over her protests for LGBT rights and opposition causes.

The Saint Petersburg online newspaper Fontanka said Grigoryeva was found with knife injuries to her back and face and had apparently been strangled. A suspect was arrested, it reported.

Yelena in one of many acts of protest she starred

Monday, July 22, 2019

Russia fined by the European Court of Human Rights for refusing to registrate LGBT rights groups

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled that the Russian government must pay 42,500 euros in damages to three LGBT rights groups for having refused their registration in recent years.

From 2006 to 2011, Rainbow House, the Movement for Marriage Equality, and the Sochi Pride House attempted to register their respective organizations with Russian authorities. The government denied their applications, claiming the organizations would destroy the moral values of society or undermine sovereignty and territorial integrity…by decreasing its population.

Most perniciously, in denying Movement for Marriage Equality’s registration, the government construed LGBT rights activities as gay propaganda, and said the organization’s work amounted to extremist activities.

Formally called the law “aimed at protecting children from information promoting the denial of traditional family values,” the gay propaganda law bans the promotion of nontraditional sexual relations to minors, a reference universally understood to mean a ban on providing children with access to information about LGBT people’s lives. The ban includes, but is not limited to, information provided via the press, television, radio, and the Internet.

As it was debated and passed in 2013, the law contributed to an intensification of stigma, harassment, and violence against LGBT people in Russia. The law has been used to shut down online information and mental health referral services for children, and to discourage support groups and mental health professionals from addressing LGBT issues with children.

The law has rightly been condemned by the European Court of Human Rights, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, and the Council of Europe.

The European court’s new judgement, which found Russia responsible for discrimination and violation of freedom of association, is a cautionary reminder to the Russian government that the baseless and vitriolic gay propaganda law should be repealed.

In 2017, the ECHR also fined Russia for
banning a Pride march in St Petersburg

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Ecuador has first same-sex marriage, following court ruling

Ecuador has become the latest country in which same-sex couples can legally marry since a landmark ruling by the country's highest court.

On June 12, Ecuador’s Constitutional Court ruled in favor of marriage rights for same-sex couples after it heard the cases of two men who sought the right to marry in the country. 

Alexandra Chávez and Mishelle Avilés on July 19 became the first same-sex couple to legally marry in the country when they exchanged vows in the city of Guayaquil. 

Civil registry official Andrea Albán oversaw the wedding and said several other same-sex couples are preparing to get married.

Gay marriage is now legal in Ecuador, as it is in fellow South American countries Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and Uruguay.

Congrats to the newlyweds!

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Only a few towns protect LGBT rights in Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi

Georgia is one of three states in the U.S., along with Alabama and Mississippi, with no civil rights bill, which typically offers protection from discrimination for those not already covered by federal law.

While federal law prohibits discrimination in places of public accommodation, places that offer goods and services to the general public, on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin and disability, there are no federal laws explicitly protecting LGBT people from discrimination. 

For almost two decades, Atlanta was the only city in Georgia to have a nondiscrimination ordinance protecting LGBT people from discrimination. Then Doraville, a city of just over 10,000, passed its own in November 2018, which addresses discrimination on the basis of identifiers such as race, gender identity and disability. More cities in Georgia are also considering a law of their own. 

In Alabama, Birmingham and Montevallo have LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinances for housing, public accommodations and employment. Three cities in Mississippi, including Jackson, have passed similar laws.

Waiting for state laws protecting LGBT people in these three southern states, cities and towns and counties have been passing inclusive nondiscrimination protections. 

There is still a lot of work to do!

Former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams 
served as a Grand Marshal in Atlanta Pride Parade 2019

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Spanish Constitutional Court rules that trans minors can also register their gender change and adapt their ID

The Spanish Constitutional Court has decided that transgender minors have the right to record their gender change in public registers, in contrast to current legislation that prevents them.

In Spain, minors were allowed to change their name on their ID, but no alterations were allowed in the box relating to gender. The Article 1 of the law that regulated gender changes in the public registers declared "every person of Spanish nationality, of legal age and with sufficient capacity to do, may request the rectification of the registration reference relating to gender". 

That is, until now, the law obliged to be of legal age to undertake a variation of this characteristic. The high court has just ruled that this article violates the principles of the Spanish Constitution.

The Court considers disproportionate that, automatically and in all cases, it was required to wait until the age of majority to proceed with the registration rectification, without foreseeing mechanisms that allow respecting the fundamental rights of minors who are of sufficient maturity and live on stable form over the years their transsexuality.

The decision also means for Spanish transgender minors the possibility of changing the data of their ID, adapting them to their true identity. 


Until now, the law excluded transsexual minors

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Giant Little Ones

Giant Little Ones is a Canadian drama film, directed by Keith Behrman. The film is a heartfelt and intimate coming-of-age story about friendship, self-discovery and the power of love without labels.

It was premiered at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival and the film was named to its annual Canada's Top Ten list. Behrman won the Vancouver Film Critics Circle award for Best Screenplay for a Canadian Film.

The film stars are Franky Winter (Josh Wiggins) and Ballas Kohl (Darren Mann). The two guys have been best friends since childhood. They are handsome, stars of the swim team and popular with girls. They live a perfect teenage life.

After Franky's 17 birthday party, a drunk Ballas attempts a homosexual act with an equally intoxicated Franky. Ballas is terrified that his actions have outed him, and he and his girlfriend begin to spread rumors that it is Franky who initiated the sex. 

When several members of the high school swim team bully Michael (Carson MacCormac), Franky stands up to his teammates and defends the shy, skinny boy, reinforcing the belief by most kids at the school that Franky is gay.

Giant Little Ones puts a complex and refreshingly nuanced spin on the traditional coming-of-age drama, further elevated by the admirable efforts of a talented cast.

Watch the trailer below:

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Figure skaters Eric Radford and Luis Fenero got married in Spain

Eric Radford and Luis Fenero got married last week in Spain, in a small town near Jaca, where Fenero was born. The two figure skaters got engaged just over two years ago when Radford proposed on one knee not far from where the two men would eventually marry.

The wedding, not surprisingly, included big names in figure skating. Radford’s best men featured Olympians Dylan Moscovitch and Patrick Chan.

Last year Radford lit up the ice in South Korea, winning two medals — one gold, one bronze — at the 2018 Winter Olympics with skating partner Meagan Duhamel, who was also at the wedding. Fenero is a former national champion in Spain with ice dancing partner Celia Robledo.

Not only is Spain Fenero’s birthplace and the country he represented competitively on the ice, but it was also one of the first countries to legalize same-sex marriage, in 2005.


The newlyweds are now in Greece celebrating 

Monday, July 15, 2019

Alan Turing will be the face of new £50 note

The Bank of England has announced that Second World War codebreaker Alan Turing will be the face of the new £50 note. Turing beat others on the Bank of England’s shortlist including Margaret Thatcher, Stephen Hawking and Ada Lovelace.

Turing worked to crack the German Enigma codes from Nazis, and is credited by many for playing a large part in ending the Second World War. Turing is also considered the father of modern mathematics and computers.

After the war, Turing was convicted of ‘gross indecency’ in 1952 for being homosexual, he was chemically castrated and barred from working for the Government Communications Headquarters. He was eventually driven to suicide in 1954 at the age of 41.

Bank of England governor Mark Carney chose Alan Turing from a shortlist of 12 after more than 227,000 suggestions of famous British scientists were made by the public. “Alan Turing was an outstanding mathematician whose work has had an enormous impact on how we live today,” Carney said.

“As the father of computer science and artificial intelligence, as well as war hero, Alan Turing’s contributions were far-ranging and path-breaking. Turing is a giant on whose shoulders so many now stand,” he added.

By selecting Alan Turing, the Bank of England, one of the most prominent organisations in the world, is making a stance for equality and inclusion.

Turing's family delivered a petition, signed by half a million, 
asking the pardon of gay men convicted of "gross indecency".
The Queen's pardon was in 2013.

The Imitation Game, a movie about Turing's heroism

Saturday, July 13, 2019

U.S. House passes Speier amendment to end Trump's trans military ban

Democrats in the US House of Representatives passed an amendment reversing Donald Trump’s transgender military ban. The amendment, sponsored by Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA), is part of the annual National Defense Authorization Act.

If the amendment ultimately passes with the bill, it will make it legal for transgender people to serve in the military again. Specifically, the amendment makes it legal for anyone who meets gender-neutral occupational standards to serve, regardless of various traits, such as race, sexual orientation, gender identity, and more.

The 242-187 vote happened primarily along party lines. Ten Republicans voted alongside Democrats in favor of the bill. Democrats are calling the amendment the Truman Amendment. This is in honor of President Truman’s executive order racially integrating the military in 1948.

‘Over the last three years, 14,000 transgender service members have served openly and successfully,’ said Speier in a statement. ‘All five service chiefs affirmed they do not hamper lethality or cohesion. Malice and ignorance cannot stop us giving medical care to those brave enough to serve. We know what transgender service members bring to the fight; let them bring it’, Speier added.

Trump’s ban finally went into effect in April, nearly two years after he first announced it in July 2017. For the past two years, ardent critics have come out against the ban in droves. Medical experts, military personnel, politicians, advocates and more have all spoken out against the ban and its various consequences.

Over two-thirds of Americans think that trans people should be allowed to serve openly in the US military, a new poll has found. 71% of respondents said they were in favor of trans military personnel. The survey found the highest levels of support among Democrats, women, and young people. The only group with a majority opposed to trans military personnel were Republicans.

Protect trans troops!!!

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Rome holds the EuroGames 2019

Eurogames is an European multi sport event governed by the European Gay & Lesbian Sport Federation (EGLSF). It is the largest multi sport event for athletes, regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation in Europe.

The idea of officially organizing the LGBTI EuroGames was born after the second edition of the Gay Games held in San Fransisco in 1986. The EuroGames started on a small scale with the idea of supporting LGBTI athletes in their “coming out” as well as the need to network with LGBTI sports associations and clubs in Europe. 

The first edition of the Games was held in The Hague in 1992. Since then, it has spread on a large scale involving not only the LGBTI sphere, but also the social and civil fabric of the host countries and cities, characterizing the initiatives not only from a sporting point of view, but also from a cultural, tourist and economic point of view.

The difference is that you don’t have to be a professional athlete to compete and in most sports you don’t have to qualify. Anyone can register for the Games to win, have fun, beat their own personal record or spend a holiday in one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

In 2019 the rainbow flag will fly over Rome, the Italian capital, which will be hosting the EuroGames. It has hosted the largest multi-sport LGBTI event called Italian Gaymes since 2004. The 17th edition of the games will take place from 11 to 13 July 2019. The event will include 16 sports: Soccer A11-A5, Tennis, Volleyball, Basketball, Beach Volleyball, Swimming, Water Polo, Bowls, Badminton, Athletics, Bowling, Golf, Cycling, Marathon 5km-10km, Rugby, and Dance Sports.

The next EuroGames will be in Dusseldorf in 2020.

Rome, the eternal city

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

The House of Commons backs same-sex marriage for Northern Ireland

The House of Commons has voted by a massive majority to introduce same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland if the Stormont Executive isn't restored by 21st October. MPs have voted to permit same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland by a margin of 383 votes to 73.

Under an amendment approved by the House of Commons, Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley must make regulations to change the law by 21 October this year, unless a new power-sharing executive has been created by that point.

Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK where gay and lesbian couples cannot marry, after same-sex weddings were legalised in England and Wales in 2013 and in Scotland the following year. The first same-sex marriages in the Republic of Ireland took place in 2015, after the country voted for reform in a referendum.

Despite growing pressure for reform in Northern Ireland, changes in a devolved issue have been rendered impossible by the collapse of the power-sharing executive in January 2017.

It's time Northern Ireland!!!

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

First ever impromptu Pride Parade held in Tbilisi

Organizers say around 40 activists and supporters of non-governmental organization Tbilisi Pride gathered outside the Interior Ministry on July 8, demanding Interior Minister Giorgi Gakharia’s resignation and holding a small scale march in front of the Ministry.

LGBT people and human rights activists, as well as politicians and representatives of civil society organizations also participated in the rally in the Georgia's capital, which lasted for about half an hour.

“The government should now demonstrate whether it supports the West or the North, whether it is pro-Russian or pro-Western, whether it prefers democracy and human rights to Nazi movements in the streets of Georgia,” Mariam Kvaratskhelia, one of the organizers of Tbilisi Pride, said.

“Gakharia told us that he would not ensure our transportation to the venue and would not bring police officers to protect us. He left us face to face with these violent groups, who are ravaging in the streets of Tbilisi,” Tamaz Sozashvili, another organizer of the rally said.

He also noted that the today’s event aimed at demonstrating that they are “full-fledged citizens” of this country and “have the right to a dignified life.”

Giorgi Tabagari of Tbilisi Pride also criticized the government, saying the country needs normal authorities, who “will care for the country’s development.” “We will not give up public areas, because they belong to us too,” he added.

Georgia’s highly influential Orthodox Church had criticized plans by LGBT activists to carry out the march, saying in a June 14 statement that the LGBT lifestyle was a "sin" that goes "against the Christian faith, traditional religious teachings, and moral values."

The Pride March had been originally planned for June 22 but organizers postponed it after a violent police crackdown against anti-Russian political protesters in the capital.

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Over 1,6 million attend the Orgullo Pride in Madrid

Madrid Pride, also know as Orgullo Gay Madrid, is the biggest gay pride in Spain and one of the biggest in Europe, attracting more than 2 million people over the five days of pride.

It all starts with a huge party in Chueca district, complete with a large stage with international acts and DJs. This area of town will play host to many of the parties throughout the event.

The celebrations kicked off with an opening address in Plaza de Chueca. From that moment, squares across the neighbourhood will be packed with cultural events, concerts, performances and music to suit all tastes.

Calle Pelayo is where the legendary high-heels race is held, with men of all ages trying to outrun each other wearing a pair of elegant shoes. Plaza de Callao will be the scene of today’s best music, with international DJs and guest appearances by pop artists.

The main Gay Pride parade  the highlight of Madrid gay pride. The centre of Madrid literally comes to a standstill over a million and half people line the streets to watch the parade.

Enjoy the Orgullo in Madrid!!!


 Viva el Orgullo!!!

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Companies can't just have a rainbow logo next year: they must do more

By Lewis Oakley in Gay Star News:

Rainbow capitalism seems stronger than ever this year. We’ve seen Pride mouthwash, LGBT sandwiches and washing up liquid.

We, as a community, seem to be split. Some think the world being covered in a giant rainbow filter is a sign of acceptance. Others wonder who is making money off the rainbow filter and how much they are just jumping on the bandwagon.

Last year I wrote an article titled ‘Enjoy the Pridemonium – we earned it!’ In it I argued that we all needed to calm down when it comes to criticizing brands for how they celebrate Pride. I felt that young LGBTI people getting to see their favorite brands make their support for people like them abundantly clear was more important than worrying about where the money was going.

The problem is, Pride campaigns are usually assessed by people like me – someone who is aware more than most of the issues impacting bisexuals.

People like me can recite the most horrific stats by heart and are always pushing for things to move forward. So, yes, when I see money spent on painting things with a rainbow I do despair that the money could have gone to underfunded groups, much needed research or supplying PrEP. But it’s important that people like me also don’t underestimate the impact ‘Pride flavored vape’ has on young LGBT people.

All they see is companies that have their back, that are cheering them on and the truth is – that’s priceless. I do feel it would be a sorry state of affairs if LGBT people who do have a voice end up scaring brands away from touching Pride in the future – and believe me, that is happening.

Let’s face it, no brand wants to put hours of work and hard earned cash in to a Pride campaign that ends up backfiring and angering the very people they were trying to reach. It would be better if we as LGBTI people made suggestions on what we would like to see.

With that in mind, I wanted put forward my proposal for how we could optimize the celebration of Pride.

Please, read on here.

Lewis Oakley is a bisexual activist

Friday, July 5, 2019

Japan grants asylum to LGBT refugee for first time ever

Japan has granted asylum to an LGBT refugee on the grounds of homophobic persecution in their home country for the first time. Details including the refugee’s home country and gender have been withheld for protection.

Japanese site Asahi reported: “According to the Immigration Control Agency, the applicant was arrested by police in his home country for homosexuality, held in jail for two years, and then came to Japan during bail.”

The person in question was granted refugee status because they would be arrested if they returned to their country of origin.

According to Asahi, the Immigration Bureau said homosexuality was “a characteristic that is closely linked to personality or identity and difficult to change.” And it judged that “there is a risk of being persecuted because he is a member of a specific social group.”

Japan accepted only 28 refugees last year.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

About 5 million people attended WorldPride in NYC

Millions lined the streets of New York to wave rainbow flags, celebrate the movement toward LGBT equality and renew calls for action in what organizers billed as the largest gay pride celebration in history.

Some 150,000 participants from 600 contingents hosting more than 100 floats marched down the four-kilometer route. An estimated five million people, meanwhile, took to the streets to watch and celebrate New York City Pride Parade.

This year, the mass march marked 50 years since Stonewall Riots. On 28 June, 1969, LGBT community members launched spontaneous protests against discrimination following raids of the Stonewall Inn. People regard it as the birth of the modern LGBT rights movement in the US.

Among the Grand Marshals at this year’s Pride is the cast of hit FX show Pose, The Trevor Project, and the Gay Liberation Front (the original group who organized following the Stonewall riots). New York Mayor and Democrat presidential hopeful Bill De Blasio walked in the parade with his wife.

Representatives from around the world marched in New York. These included a team from London Pride and Taiwan, which became the first country in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage this year.