Saturday, August 31, 2019

Ukraine’s second largest pride takes place in Odessa

LGBT rights activists organized the 5th march for equality in Odessa (Ukraine). According to organizers, local authorities appealed to the court which banned the pride. The original route and time were banned and the organizers had to change the route.

Hundreds of marchers were protected by police officers. Demonstrators took a walk from Primorskii boulevard to the Dums’ka Square. They chanted: “Human rights are above all!”, “Love is above all”, but the main slogan was “Odesa Pride is for a free city!”

Police did encounters a small group of right-wing protesters who were cordoned off and held back from disturbing the march.

A number or religious organizations in Odessa were taking a stand against the planned Odessa Pride 2019 festival. Representatives of a number of churches and organizations sent a letter to Mayor Gennady Trukhanov, calling on him to shut down the LGBT festival “for the sake of preserving peace among the residents an guests of the city”.

Though homosexual sex is legal in Ukraine, since 1991, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people still face stigma, discrimination and sometimes violent attacks in Ukraine.

Last June, several thousand activists pride supporters have held a march in Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, despite opponents’ attempts to block them.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Out candidate Pete Buttigieg would beat Donald Trump in presidential election

Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend (Indiana) and the first gay candidate to make traction in a presidential campaign, would win a general election against Donald Trump by nine points, the Quinnipiac poll shows.

If the 2020 presidential election were held today and it was between Trump and Buttigieg, 49 per cent of registered voters would opt for Buttigieg while only 40 per cent would vote for Trump.

Trump trails five Democratic candidates in the new poll, and falls double digits behind former vice president Joe Biden and senators Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris.

However, the polling also shows that Buttigieg would come last in a Democratic primary against Biden, Warren, Sanders and Harris. LGBT voters only make up around six per cent of the US electorate, according to 2018 midterm election exit polls.

Pete Buttigieg with his husband Chasten

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

The Shiny Shrimps

The new hilarious French comedy The Shiny Shrimps ("Les Crevettes pailletées") is set to hit cinemas next month. It is a French sports comedy film, directed by Maxime Govare and Cédric Le Gallo.

Inspired on real events, the film follows Mathias Le Goff (Nicolas Gob), a vice-world swimming champion, who makes a homophobic statement on TV and is disciplined by the national swim team with the responsibility of coaching The Pailletées Shrimp, a gay water polo team who are more motivated by the party than by the competition.

They have only one thing in mind: to qualify for the Gay Games in Croatia where the hottest international LGBT athletes compete. It's the start of a bumpy and joyful ride 

The cast also includes Alban Lenoir, David Baïot, Michaël Abiteboul, Romain Lancry and Geoffrey Couët.

Enjoy the trailer below:

Monday, August 26, 2019

Turkish authorities ban another pro-LGBT event

Authorities in Istanbul have banned the Queer Olympix, organisers said, becoming the latest pro-LGBT event to be cancelled in Turkey.

Some 130 participants were to compete in the third annual Queer Olympix this weekend in sports including football, beach volleyball and long jump, volunteer organiser Elif Kaya said.

However when they went to start setting up the event in the Kadikoy district on the Asian side of Istanbul on Saturday, “we saw police and two water cannons”, Kaya said. “We were told that we did not have permission to hold our event,” she told.

It is the first time the event, which began in 2017, has been cancelled by authorities. Kaya said that the authorities “waited until the minute to tell us about the ban to avoid us appealing”.

While Turkey is seen as one of the countries more tolerant to LGBT rights in the Islamic world, critics have decried a creeping conservatism under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Numerous LGBT events have been banned in recent years, including the gay pride march in Istanbul, which had been running smoothly since 2003 and attracting tens of thousands of people until it was indefinitely cancelled in 2014.

The last attempts to celebrate Pride in Ankara
have been brutally disbanded by the police

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Witnessing a live rocket launch

A Delta IV rocket launched a satellite last August 22 for the United States Air Force. This satellite joined other operational global positioning systems (GPS) satellites already in orbit. GPS delivers positioning, navigation and timing services supporting the United States and other operations.

The satellite has been named “Magallanes” after Ferdinand Magallanes, the explorer who led the first expedition to circumnavigate Earth. This was the last opportunity to see the launch of Delta IV rocket as this was its final flight.

Fortunately, I was at Kennedy Space Visitor Center complex that day and I could see the launch with my loved Ryce at the LC-39 Observation Gantry. An amazing experience!!

Located at the historic Launch Complex 39, where Apollo astronauts launched to the moon, the LC-39 Observation Gantry is the absolute closest viewing area to the launch pads of Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Shaded viewing from the gantry and outdoor bleacher seating make this the premium launch viewing area, situated just 5 miles from launch pads.

Watch the launch below:

Saturday, August 24, 2019

US psychoanalysts apologises for having treated homosexuality as an illness

The American Psychoanalytic Association (APsaA) has apologised for previously treating homosexuality as a mental illness.

”It is long past time to recognise and apologise for our role in the discrimination and trauma caused by our profession and say, ‘We are sorry,’” said Dr Lee Jaffe, president of the APsaA. “It’s hard to admit that one has been so wrong,” he added.

Psychiatrists declassified homosexuality as a disorder in 1973; psychoanalysts, represented by this apologising organisation, made the same decision nearly two decades later. But the explicit apology was still missing, until now.

The apology was announced at the opening session of the APsaA’s 109th annual meeting in San Diego, California. It received a standing ovation from all the assistents. 

The announcement is the second major apology to past harm done to the LGBT community during this year, following the NYPD’s apology for their actions during the Stonewall uprising, which heavily influenced the LGBT movement 50 years ago.

Dr Jaffe apologized publicly at the
opening of APsaA anual meeting

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Palestinian Authority bans activities by LGBT rights group

Al Qaws, a Palestinian LGBT rights group vowed to continue its activities after the Palestinian Authority police barred the group from holding events in the West Bank and threatened to arrest participants.

The Palestinian Authority police, who exercise control in parts of the Israeli-occupied West Bank, announced the ban over the weekend. A police spokesman described activities organized by the rights group as a blow to, and violation of, the ideals and values of Palestinian society.

Founded in 2001, Al Qaws is a grass-roots organization that advocates sexual and gender diversity in Palestinian society, which is largely conservative and often repressive for LGBT people.

“Al Qaws condemns the use of prosecution, intimidation and threats of arrest, be it by the police or members of society,” the group said in a statement. “We believe that the police and Palestinian society at large should focus on combating the occupation and other forms of violence that tear apart the sensitive fabric of our society and values, instead of prosecuting activists who work tirelessly to end all forms of violence.”

The group said the ban came a week after it held what it called a “discussion-based event” in the Palestinian city of Nablus in the northern West Bank. It also came three weeks after a Palestinian teenager was stabbed and severely wounded outside a shelter for gay and transgender youths in Tel Aviv.

The ban also drew notice in Israel, which has long promoted its tolerance on sexual and gender issues, despite vehement rejection in some strictly Orthodox Jewish circles, and it has cited a lack of gay rights in other parts of the Middle East to make unfavorable comparisons. The current Israeli justice minister is gay, and Tel Aviv is proud of its reputation as a favorite destination for gay and lesbian travelers.

Tel Aviv hosts the biggest pride parade in the Middle East

China will not allow the same-sex marriage

Limiting marriage to a relationship between a man and a woman will remain China’s legal position, a parliament spokesman said, ruling out following neighboring Taiwan in allowing same-sex marriage, despite pressure from activists.

Taiwan’s parliament passed a bill in May that endorsed same-sex marriage, after years of heated debate over marriage equality that has divided the self-ruled and democratic island.

China, which claims Taiwan as its territory, has a thriving gay scene in major cities, but there has been little sign the ruling Communist Party will legalize same-sex marriage.

Asked at a news briefing whether China would legalize same-sex marriage, Zang Tiewei, spokesman for parliament’s legal affairs commission, said Chinese law only allowed for marriage between one man and one woman.

Individual Chinese legislators have occasionally in the past few years proposed measures during the annual meeting of the largely rubber-stamp parliament every March to legalize same-sex marriage, without success.

There are no laws against same-sex relations in China and despite growing awareness of LGBT issues, the community has been the target of censors in recent months, fuelling fears of a growing intolerance.

Activists have asked people in China to propose amendments to a draft civil code en masse, though they have admitted they see little chance of success. The parts of the code relating to marriage are expected to pass into law next year.

The code makes changes on issues such as sexual harassment, divorce and family planning, but does not further the rights of the LGBT community, drafts published by parliament show.


LGBT couples protest on Valentine's Day 
to push for marriage equality in China

Monday, August 19, 2019

Ottawa Mayor comes out as gay in op-ed

Just a day before Pride celebrations in Ottawa officially kick off, Ottawa's Mayor Jim Watson has come out as an openly gay man.

Watson said it was time to share his secret with the city after 40 years of worrying about how his constituents, friends and family would react.

"I've been thinking about it for 40 years … I've known I was gay since I was a teenager," he said. "I feel comfortable with the decision and I'm glad I did it. But it took me a long time to get there."

In an op-ed published in the Ottawa Citizen, Watson writes that it was a "mistake" not coming out sooner. He said chose to come out because it was "the right thing to do," but wishes he'd told everyone sooner.

Watson says he was inspired to write the column after he raised the pride flag at city hall during the 2014 Olympic Games in Russia to show solidarity with LGBT athletes who feared the Russian government's views on homosexuality.

Watson says he was also convinced to come out of the closet after he was approached by a man in a park two years ago who told him he shouldn't go to the Ottawa Pride Parade, calling it the "fag parade."

Many political leaders have written Watson messages of support on social media, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau who tweeted that the mayor was brave for sharing his story.

Watson with Trudeau in Ottawa's Pride Parade

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Trump is reversing Obama’s nondiscrimination legacy

Trump made another major move in its effort to walk back President Obama’s contested legacy on nondiscrimination policies. The proposed federal regulation announced by the Trump Administration would gut nondiscrimination protections, including for LGBT people, by adding religious exemptions to President Obama’s executive order.

In July 2014, President Obama signed an executive order amending EO 11246 to provide non-discrimination protections to LGBT employees of federal contractors by prohibiting companies that contract with the federal government from discriminating in employment based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Advocacy groups have decried the new rule as just the latest attack on the LGBT community, slamming it as taxpayer-funded discrimination in the name of religion. “With this proposed regulation, the Trump Administration is seeking to gut existing protections for LGBT people, women, and religious minorities, and we cannot stand idly by,” said HRC President Alphonso David. 

“This regulation, which directly contradicts Trump’s earlier promise, is a broad and sweeping effort to implement a license to discriminate against people on the basis of their gender identity and sexual orientation. Everyone deserves a workplace free from discrimination. The Trump Administration needs to withdraw this proposed regulation and stop these attacks on LGBTQ people,” David added.

The move also has been panned by top Democrats, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. "The Administration's license to discriminate is cruel, blatantly bigoted and downright dangerous. This hateful rule would greenlight open discrimination against tens of millions of Americans in the workplace, using taxpayer dollars to throw into jeopardy their safety, financial security and well-being," Pelosi said in a statement.

Most recently, the Trump Administration changed regulations under the Affordable Care Act to allow health care providers to refuse treatment to LGBT people on the basis of their religious beliefs. It's also consistent with the administration's controversial push over the past two years to include more federal protections in the name of religious freedom.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

First-ever permanent rainbow crossing unveiled in London

For the first time, a permanent rainbow crossing in solidarity with the LGBT community has been installed on a street in London.

The crossing, which is actually four separate rainbow crossings, has been installed in Herne Hill, on two crossings outside the entrance to Brockwell Park; on the junctions of Dulwich Road with Railton Road, and Norwood Road with Dulwich Road, in Lambeth, a south London borough. 

Councillor Sonia Winifred, Lambeth cabinet member for Equalities and Culture, said: “This is a colourful and fun symbol of Lambeth’s inclusivity. We’re proud of our LGBT community and have a tradition of championing equality and LGBT rights. This crossing celebrates that and is a physical example of our bold and progressive thinking. 

The Mayor of Lambeth, councillor Ibrahim Dogus, said: “Lambeth’s diversity has always been our strength, and we have never been afraid to show it! This crossing is a symbol of the pride we have in our flourishing LGBT community and will light up Herne Hill with its message of inclusivity." 

“Walk the Rainbow” messaging is planned to appear across Lambeth, guiding people to the Herne Hill gate at Brockwell Park to check out the crossing, with people being invited to share images on social media with the hashtags #WeAreLambeth and #HerneHillRainbow.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

A gay love story that echoes across time

Out gay Argentine writer/director Lucio Castro’s wistful, seductive bromance End of the Century is one of the year’s best queer films. Opens Aug 16 at IFC Center in NYC and Sept 20 at the Nuart Theatre in Los Angeles.

This elegant drama opens with Ocho (Juan Barberini) arriving in Barcelona. He is lonely and horny. Castro allows viewers to fall into Ocho’s rhythms as he settles into his Airbnb and wanders around town, acclimating to his new environment.

Castro explained his deliberate approach to the storytelling: “The structure came about organically. I started with an archetypal beginning of a novel: a man arrives in town. Then I wrote it unplanned. I have this character in the city alone for 12 minutes with no dialogue. I wanted him and viewers to become aware of the city, the architecture, other people chatting, the sound and smells of the city. Once the characters start speaking, the movie has a lot of dialogue and the city becomes a background.”

Castro continued: “When Ocho goes to the beach one afternoon, he eyes Javi (Ramon Pujol) but they fail to connect. Later, on his balcony, Ocho sees Javi and invites him up for a drink and sex. Their intimacy is erotic, but it also involves a discussion of PrEP and condoms. Castro, who is part of the generation devastated by AIDS and had friends die of it, wanted to emphasize the importance of safe sex and establishing trust with a partner".

In explaining how he chose to present sex, Castro quipped, “Straight couples have cheese and wine and then have sex. Gay couples first they have sex and then they have cheese and wine.”

The movie then flashes back 20 years earlier to show how the men first met. In this episode, Ocho arrives at his friend Sonia’s (Mía Maestro) apartment. She is dating Javi, but the guys connect when Sonia is out of town. These scenes depict the guys’ previous romantic encounter, in a time before cell phones and social media. They spend the day together, wandering through a museum, posing in front of a painting, walking around statues as they reflect on the past and how memory records it. These moments echo the present-day interactions we’ve already seen.

Both vignettes show the men falling in love. An episode of the guys dancing to “Space Age Love Song,” which segues into their first kiss, is perhaps the film’s most extraordinary scene, and not just because it is one of the only two sequences shot with a hand-held camera. It conveys the urgency and intensity of their passions and creates a connection that ripples through the years.

Castro also includes a third encounter between the guys, late in the film, that is deliberately ambiguous but also brilliant. It lets the audience decide what is real and what is imagined. This is what makes “End of the Century” so beguiling.

Watch the trailer below:

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Tunisia has its first openly gay presidential candidate

Just months after a Tunisian presidential commission recommended the decriminalization of homosexuality, the North African nation has its first openly gay candidate for president: Mounir Baatour.

Baatour, 48, is a lawyer and president of both the Tunisian Liberal Party and Association Shams, Tunisia’s main LGBT rights organization. Baatour’s candidacy is noteworthy because in Tunisia homosexuality is still a crime that is punishable by up to three years in prison. 

Baatour himself was jailed in 2013 for an accusation of “homosexuality,” and he said prison was “very hard, and the psychological impact is very sad, and after that I was in depression for one year.”

Baatour said he expected to make the ballot for the September 15 election, which was moved up because President Beji Caid El Sebsi died unexpectedly in July. Baatour vowed to go to court to challenge any effort to bar his candidacy, though he said he collected double the 
number of signatures required to run.

I really hope he get it!

Monday, August 12, 2019

A new Pride Parade in Poland protected by a strong police presence

Over 2,500 people took part in a pride parade in the central Polish city of Plock protected by a cordon of armed police, as LGBT rights became a big issue in Catholic Poland ahead of a parliamentary election in October.

Marchers walked through the streets of Plock waving rainbow flags while surrounded by police in riot gear. Politicians, including Robert Biedron, one of Poland’s first openly gay politicians who launched the leftist Wiosna party earlier this year, attended the march.

Hundreds of counter-protesters gathered at the Plock parade and chanted homophobic insults but were blocked from interacting with parade participants by the heavy police presence.

Poland’s ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party has made hostility to gays a central focus of its campaign, depicting LGBT rights as a dangerous foreign idea that undermines traditional values. Critics say PiS has fomented anti-gay sentiment and helped lead the violence against the LGBT community in Poland.

Poland's opposition is divided on whether to address the increased marginalization of the country's LGBTQ community, or to cater to socially conservative voters.

The Polish Catholic Church has also described gay people as a threat, with a top church official recently denouncing what he called a "rainbow plague."

Last month, a pride parade in the city of Bialystok was marred by violence after anti-gay protesters chased people through the streets and beat them.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Japan elects its first gay lawmaker who ensures same-sex marriage will be legal

Taiga Ishikawa has become Japan’s first openly gay male lawmaker in the National Diet, and he has said that he is “sure” same-sex marriage will be legalised in the country.

The National Diet is Japan’s legislature and is comprised of the lower house, or house of representatives, and the upper house, or house of councillors.

Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party of Japan (LDP), the party that has almost always been in power since its creation in 1955, is opposed to same-sex marriage. But Ishikawa is a member of the left of centre Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (CDPJ), which Japan’s first trans assemblywoman is also a member of.

The politician told: “Since the early 2000s, the issue of same-sex marriage has progressed leaps and bounds. It will happen within the six years of my term, I am sure.”

And he added: “It has been incredibly empowering to the Japanese LGBT community to see the growing acceptance overseas of same-sex marriage. I think we’ve got a breakthrough now and I plan to move the conversation [on same-sex marriage] forward.”

It's time Japan!

Four districts recognize same-sex couples in Japan

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Pro soccer lesbian couple donate 1% of salaries to help LGBT youth

The photo of Magdalena Eriksson kissing Pernille Harder, after helping Sweden defeat Canada in the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, went viral and their newfound fame made them realize they could serve as role models to help make their sport more inclusive to LGBT players.

Now, both Magdalena and Pernille are also two of roughly 100 professional sports athletes donating 1% of their annual salaries to Play Proud, an initiative of Common Goal, that aims to equip coaches and mentors with the skills and knowledge to establish safe spaces for LGBT adolescents to participate in sports at the youth-level with confidence.

While soccer is arguably the most popular and internationally played sport, queerphobia still undoubtedly leaves some players feeling left out of the game. The couple are encouraging other pro sports athletes to donate 1% of their salaries as well. Their contribution could help reduce anti-LGBT stigma, at least in one field.


Watch an interview to the couple below:

Magdalena and Pernille met in a match between 
Sweden and Denmark, their own national teams

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Romeo and Juliet: a gay reinvention

Curious Pheasant Theatre present Romeo and Juliet, an LGBT male led production, directed by Becky Mills. 

This bold re-imagining of William Shakespeare's classic love story uses physical theatre to portray two opposing rugby teams, grounding the piece in the 21st century. 

When the two men meet, the integrity of both teams is compromised and the unyielding pride of man threatens to destroy all that they know.

The heart of this piece is the two leads, who mutually give an incredibly beautiful and moving performance. The chemistry between Troy Chessman’s Romeo and  Bevan Thomson’s Juliet is palpable and feels so authentic that it instantly has you fully believing in their love.


Check more information here and watch the trailer here.

Love is love!!!

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Hundreds of thousands line the streets for Brighton Pride Parade

Over 300,000 people celebrated LGBT rights in Brighton during the city’s annual Pride parade, the UK's largest parade. The annual parade first started in 1972 with a gay demonstration and then in 1973 with the first official gay Pride march.

This year's event commemorated the 50-year anniversary of the Stonewall Inn uprising in New York, which ignited the Pride movement, while also recognising the ongoing campaigning work for equal rights. 

This year's theme celebrated "Generations of Love", to put campaigning for global LGBT rights at the front of parade highlighting diversity and inclusion with representatives of BAME and trans communities and the fabulous Prancing Elites, a black male dance troupe from Alabama. O

Kylie Minogue was headlining the festival with her end-of-tour finale, at Preston Park. The Brighton & Hove Pride Festival in Preston Park is described as “the country’s most popular LGBT event.” 

Tens of thousands of partygoers came out to see a host of performances from international superstars Britney Spears, Nile Rodgers & Chic, Jess Glynne, Ella Eyre, Raye, Gabrielle, Sister Sledge, Carly Rae Jepsen, Pet Shop Boys, Years & Years, Fatboy Slim, Paloma Faith, Katy B, Ruby Rose, The Human League, Fleur East, Alesha Dixon, Ella Henderson, Boy George amongst others.

Don't forget, Pride is always a protest!

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Love is Love, also in Hungary

A new advertising campaign from Coca-Cola Hungary is causing controversy for showing same-sex love, and a Hungarian MP is encouraging people to boycott the drinks.

The ads show several couples lovingly sharing bottles of Coke. One of the ads shows a mixed-sex couple, another shows two women, and the other shows two men.

Boldog István, an MP from Hungary’s conservative, right-wing party Fidesz which has held majority power in the country since 2010, has said he is boycotting the brand and is encouraging others to do the same. He wrote on Facebook: “Until they remove their provocative posters from Hungary, I will not consume their products! I’m asking everyone!”

But Coke is standing by the ads. The soft drink company said in a press release:“The three different posters feature both hetero- and homosexual couples drinking Coca-Cola. We believe that both heterosexuals and homosexuals have the right to love a person the best they can. In our advertisements, posts, and messages, we express the principles we represent, and thus our belief in equality between people. We believe that in a world based on these values, everyone can live freely, happily. The right to love and be loved belongs to everyone.”



Monday, August 5, 2019

Russian Police prevents St Petersburg Pride again

В Петербурге задержаны 11 ЛГБТ-активистов. Петербургский Прайд проходит уже десятый раз, и власти опять не согласовали активистам шествие. Поэтому на Дворцовой площади собрались люди с ЛГБТиК-символикой для проведения последовательных одиночных пикетов, не требующих согласования. Полицейские задерживали активистов просто за наличие плакатов и флагов, без объяснения причин. Многие были избиты в автозаке, а Даниила Максименко оставили в камере отдела полиции до утра.

On the eve of August 3, about 50 LGBT activists gathered at Palace Square in St Petersburg. The annual Petersburg Pride was usually held in the format of a series of single pickets and, unfortunately, was traditionally accompanied by detentions. As a result, the LGBT flags fluttered on the square for only half an hour.

It was not the police who prevented the start of the action on time, a shower did not allow LGBT activists to unfold their posters at a pre-arranged time at 17:00. As a result, with a slight delay, the activists began to take turns opening their posters, replacing each other, so as not to violate the rules for conducting a single picket.

The police warned people with posters and rainbow flags that “their actions violate the conduct of a single picket” (in fact, the rainbow flag itself is not prohibited in the Russian Federation, it is not a banner with a slogan and its deployment shouldnot be equated with a picket). In any case, after about half an hour the arrests began.

Within minutes, there were a dozen people in the police wagon. Not only those holding posters or rainbow flags were detained, but also, for example, an activist of the Heterosexuals Alliance and LGBT for Equality, Aleksey Nazarov, who has deployed the Russian tricolor. He tried to explain to the police that it was not an offense to unfold the Russian flag, but still found himself in the paddy wagon.

As a result, the police detained 12 people. Many were beaten in the paddy wagon. This time is much tougher than in previous LGBT protests. Thus, one of the detainees, Daniil Maksimenko, was handcuffed and injured his wrists, which began to bleed. In addition, someone sprayed gas from a pepper spray on the police wagon. 

One of the activist said it is important to pay attention to police inaction when it comes to crimes against LGBT people. He explained he and his partner faced threats in the network, physical violence, many times they turned to the police, but in the end there were no results.

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Irish PM marches at Belfast Pride

Leo Varadkar, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Ireland made an unannounced visit to Northern Ireland for Belfast’s annual Pride celebrations. The leader was loudly cheered by the crowd in the city.

It is the second time that Varadkar has paid a visit to Belfast Pride, which has never been attended by a UK head of government.

The visit comes at a key time for the country’s LGBT community, with equal marriage set to be extended to Northern Ireland in October, unless a new power-sharing executive is formed beforehand. Northern Ireland-born Labour MP Conor McGinn successfully pushed an amendment through the UK’s Parliament to extend same-sex marriage. 

Varadkar sent a non-sectarian message of solidarity to the LGBT community in the city. Addressing the crowd at the event, he said: “I’m glad to be in Belfast. I had a real honour today to walk with Lord Hayward, who along with Conor McGinn put legislation through the Commons and Lords to bring marriage equality here in a few months’ time. What we see today in Belfast is Northern Ireland at its very best. Open, inclusive, diverse, and for everyone. Thank you so much, and happy Pride.”

Saturday, August 3, 2019

A stunning traditional Indian gay wedding went viral

Amit Shah and Aditya Madiraju were already officially married at New York city hall earlier this year, but wanted to hold a special ceremony with their family and friends. Two grooms celebrated their marriage in a traditional Hindu wedding in New Jersey, and the amazing photos have gone viral on social media.

Amit is the owner and creative director of AATMA Performing Arts, a dance company based in New York and Los Angeles. Aditya works for a wealth management bank in New York. They met a mutual friends birthday party in 2016.

They wanted to hold a wonderful Desi, or South Asian-style, ceremony for their friends and families. And the stunning photos of the pair in complementing kurtas surrounded by family and friends have stunned people in India and around the world.

Aditya said about their wedding photos going viral: “The fact that the ceremony took place at a temple under religious observation is a huge thing for our community."

“I guess it is unheard of, and we didn’t realise the impact it would have. The response had been so overwhelming and we are honoured to share our story with the world. It seems like people need to hear our story to feel empowered and we are excited to provide people with some inspiration", he added.

And Amit said: "We do follow the developments overseas, but by the stories we have heard over the last week from people messaging us, the issue is much bigger than we thought. There are still too many gay men and women afraid of coming out not only because of their families or society, but because they fear the law. Aditya and I look forward to inspiring change and hope we can make a difference over time".

Congrats to the newlyweds!!!

Thursday, August 1, 2019

St Petersburg Pride will take place in August 3

The public march of the annual St Petersburg Pride will be held on August 3. LGBT activists informed the city administration to hold a procession in that date and suggested a route in the center of St Petersburg, around the Ostrovsky Square and the Alexandrinsky Theater.

The motto of the event will be “Live your future today!”, which embodies the desire of LGBT people to live with dignity and happiness nowadays, despite obstacles from the state, officials and public attitudes.

The main goals of St Petersburg Pride 2019 include the requirement to respect the right of assembly and the inadmissibility of the broad interpretation of the Administrative Code for the prohibition of public events in accordance with the last decision of the Russian Constitutional Court.

Despite the prohibitions of marches, since 2010, a public action took place in one way or another for St Petersburg Pride. In 2013, 2014 and 2017, the LGBT-Pride was held in a rally format on the Mars Field in St Petersburg without noticeable consequences for the “degeneration of humanity”, as one of the former governors of the city, Valentina Matvienko, said before.

Pride coordinators Yuri Gavrikov and Alexei Nazarov said the experience of holding the St Petersburg Pride since 2010, contrary to the criterion of the local administration, shows a systemic discrimination and the factual ban on the right of assembly.

“They want to deprive us of any act in the public space, many murders of LGBT people are being hushed up or not being investigated, and illegal dismissals occur. But many of us want to live our future today, building our lives without waiting. The fact is the country is being changed by people, not by officials”, activists said.

Last year, Russian police detained as many as 30 
gay rights activists who took part in Pride march