Thursday, November 28, 2019

Hungary leaves Eurovision because it is too gay

Hungary will not participate in next year’s Eurovision song contest, amid speculation the decision was taken because the competition is “too gay” for the taste of the country’s far-right government and public media bosses.

While no official reason has been given for the withdrawal, the move comes amid an increase in homophobic rhetoric in Hungary, where the anti-migration prime minister, Viktor Orbán, has launched a “family first” policy aimed at helping traditional families and boosting birth rates.

Earlier this year, the speaker of the Hungarian parliament compared same-sex adoption to paedophilia, while a pro-government television commentator referred to Eurovision as “a homosexual flotilla” and said not participating would benefit the nation’s mental health.

Public media in Hungary is closely linked to the government and has been instrumental in spreading its messages around migration and other issues. Earlier, the Hungarian website quoted unnamed sources inside public media speculating that the reason for the withdrawal was likely to be that Eurovision was deemed “too gay”.

Recently, an MP from Orbán’s Fidesz party called for a boycott of Coca-Cola after the brand launched an advertising campaign using photographs of a gay couple, while László Kövér, the speaker of the Hungarian parliament, compared proponents of equal marriage and adoption to paedophiles. 

A Hungarian MP asked people to boycott the drink for this ad

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Over one million same-sex households are censed in U.S.

According to estimates from the 2019 Current Population Survey, there are 543,000 same-sex married couple households and 469,000 households with same-sex unmarried partners living together in the U.S.. In addition, 191,000 children live with same-sex parent.

This compares to 61.4 million opposite-sex married and 8 million opposite-sex unmarried partner households. Based on those numbers, the estimated amount of same sex couples and family households still register as 1,5% of the country’s total households.

Census promised to collect more information about same-sex couples and LGBT people in general, but they will not ask census takers this year about their sexual orientation. In fact, they have historically mishandled or hidden data related to non-heterosexual people.

Under the Obama Administration, multiple government branches began working together to make it possible to add questions related to sexual orientation and gender identity, but that has stopped under Trump, which would further diminish the accuracy of the census and further harm LGBT people.

That means the actual data that the U.S. Census has a long history of not collecting will continue to go unknown because Trump, preventing people from knowing information that could prove vital to LGBT people’s advancement in society.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Gay Chorus Deep South, the documentary is released

In October 2017, the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus celebrated its 40th season by touring for a week across America’s Bible Belt, promoting love and acceptance via concerts in states with some of the nation’s most discriminatory anti-LGBT laws.

But as depicted in the stirring, warm-hearted documentary Gay Chorus Deep South (2019), which swiftly follows chorus leader-conductor Tim Seelig and his chorale as they perform for large, enthusiastic audiences in Mississippi, Tennessee, Alabama and the Carolinas, the group’s luck held out.

Despite occasional protesters and naysayers, the chorus, which was accompanied by the largely African American Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir, seemed successful in spreading their positive messages while singing lots of beautiful gospel and spiritual music. 

A high point was when the San Francisco chorus and the Oakland choir crossed the famed Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, singing We Shall Overcome. It’s a scene that resonates on so many levels.

The documentary is directed by David Charles Rodrigues, which uncovers a more personal story behind the political statement. The performances are impressive, tender and sometimes funny. Ultimately, though, the documentary is able to record only small, not sweeping, changes of heart. Nevertheless, the film, like the singers, maintains a compassionate optimism.

Watch the official trailer below:

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Three judges blocked Trump’s rule allowing healthcare discrimination against LGBT people

In a rule change announced on November 1, the Trump administration said that health programmes receiving grants from government Department of Health and Human Services (HSS) would no longer have to abide by nondiscrimination guidelines protecting LGBT people.

The Trump administration changed the regulations in the name of “religious freedom”, and it would also apply to abortions, contraception, gender confirmation surgery, or any other services or people healthcare providers might disagree with “on moral or religious grounds”.

Two federal judges have already blocked Trump’s rule allowing discrimination against LGBT people in healthcare. This week, US district judge William Alsup of the Northern District of California joined two other judges in writing off Trump’s new rule.

Alsup wrote in his decision: “Under the new rule, to preview just one example, an ambulance driver would be free, on religious or moral grounds, to eject a patient en route to a hospital upon learning that the patient needed an emergency abortion. Such harsh treatment would be blessed by the new rule.” He added: “When a rule is so saturated with error, as here, there is no point in trying to sever the problematic provisions. The whole rule must go.”

Democratic presidential candidate Mayor Pete Buttigieg has slammed Donald Trump’s decision to allow publicly funded adoption agencies to discriminate against LGBT families. “It’s a huge step backward,” Buttigieg said. 

That is now three judges in two weeks who have recognised the Denial of Care Rule for what it is, an egregious and unconstitutional attack on women, LGBT people and other vulnerable populations.

Friday, November 22, 2019

Scottish rugby supports LGBT community with rainbow laces

Scottish Rugby showed their support for the Stonewall Rainbow Laces campaign.

Stonewall Sport Champions are leading LGBT people in sport who are determined to make sport everyone’s game. They’ll stand up for what they believe in, working together and with Stonewall to bring the experiences of LGBT people in a wide range of sports to life and show how we can all play our part when it comes to LGBT inclusion.

The campaign, which runs from 22 November until 8 December, is the leading charity for lesbian, gay, bi and trans equality, with the campaign challenging fans to play their part in ensuring LGBT people feel included in sport.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

A surprise lesbian proposal took place on Ellen's show

A woman proposed to her fiancee on Ellen’s show after she said that her parents refused to attend their wedding.

Kate Austin tweeted at Ellen earlier this month: “My parents aren’t going to attend my wedding because they don’t like that I’m gay! I need someone to walk me down the aisle and someone else for a ‘father/daughter’ dance.” She also included some pictures of the proposal, which took place in front of the Eiffel Tower.

During a segment on her show about funny tweets, Ellen shared Kate’s tweet. And Kate and Sarah were in her audience, so she pulled them on-stage.

After their initial shock, Sarah explained that their plan was that Sarah would propose and Kate would walk down the aisle at their wedding, but Kate surprised her with the proposal.

Ellen then said that she had a wedding gift for Kate and Sarah, which was their family and friends. Kate looked confused, and Ellen asked Sarah to explain the gift.

“I know you already proposed to me, but of course you know I had to get my piece in there,” she said. “And there’s no better way to do it than in front of our chosen family and of course our biggest role model, Ellen.”

“The way that you feel today is the way you make me feel every day and I can’t wait to spend my life with you,” Sarah added. Then she got down on one knee and she said: “Will you be my wife?”


Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Today is Transgender Day of Remembrance

The International Day of Transgender Remembrance has been observed annually since it was founded in 1999 by Gwendolyn Ann Smith, a transgender woman, to memorialise the murder of her transgender friend Rita Hester in Massachusetts.

Today, we take a moment to honour and remember all those who have lost their lives to inexplicable transphobic violence. 

Over the last year a total of 331 transgender people are known to have been murdered across the world, and there are likely to be many more that were not reported.

We must end this epidemic of violence against our trans siblings!


Nigeria named the most dangerous place for LGBT tourists, while Norway is the safest

A new study has found that Nigeria is the most dangerous country in the world for LGBT tourists, while the UK is the fourth safest.

Researchers at travel website Asher & Lyric compiled their list of the best and worst countries for tourists by examining LGBT rights in each country.

They examined issues such as the legality of same-sex relations in each country, whether same-sex couples can adopt there, and what protections are in place for LGBT workers.

Nigeria was given an ‘F’ grade and a score of 142. Homosexuality is illegal in Nigeria and is punished by up to 14 years in prison or the death penalty under Sharia law. Discussion about LGBT rights is also criminalised in Nigeria.

Qatar, Yemen, Saudi Arabi, Tanzania, Iran, Sudan, Barbados, Malaysia and Malawi rounded out the top 10 most dangerous countries for LGBT tourists to visit.

Meanwhile, Norway came out on top of the index as the safest country for LGBT travellers with a score of 307 and an ‘A’ grade. It was closely followed by Portugal and Belgium, with the UK in fourth place with a ‘B+’.

Check the whole list here.

Where you should avoid travelling if you’re LGBT, mapped

Monday, November 18, 2019

Unveiled the first-ever video game with a playable transgender hero

Tell Me Why by Xbox Game Studios is the first video game by a major publisher to have a playable transgender main character.

Announced at Microsoft’s X019 event in London, the video game is the newest episodic narrative adventure game from Dontnod Entertainment, the studio behind Life Is Strange.

Set in a small-town in Alaska, the three-chapter game lets you play as both 21-year-old twins Tyler and Alyson Ronan, who come together after 10 years of separation. Unlike most regular twins like myself, the pair are able to wield the powers you all somehow think twins genuinely have to share thoughts and memories, in this case, it helps to investigate a mystery from their apparently turbulent childhood.

Making history, Tyler is the first playable protagonist from a major game studio and publisher who is also transgender. Not only is the voice actor for Tyler transgender too, but Dontnod worked closely with both Microsoft and LGBT media advocacy organization GLAAD on the game, making sure to shape Tyler both as an authentic representation of the trans experience, and a nuanced, multi-dimensional character in his own right. 

Watch the trailer below.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Not a step back in Spain!

Last night, the headquarter of the LGBT association in Girona, Espai LGTBI, was attacked and the glass door was broken, which is a new homophobic attack in Spain.

In recent times, the acts of intolerance and homophobic attacks have multiplied under the umbrella of the growth of the far right party VOX and its shaming rise in the elections to Spanish parliament.

Spain approved same-sex marriage in 2005, it is one of the nation tops in the list of countries most accepting of homosexuality, and it is also one of the most LGBT-friendly country according to the ILGA index, but the attacks and hate crimes against the LGBT community are multiplying at an alarming rate in the last months.

Spain has to say enough before it is too late, authorities and everybody have to stand together in front of fascism and to defense the rights of LGBT community, because they are the rights of the whole society.

LGBT rights in Spain, not a step back! Stop homophobia!

We exist and we will not hide into the closet never again!

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Hong Kong Pride banned for the first time

For the first time, the LGBT community in Hong Kong has been banned by police from marching in its annual Pride parade amidst violent protests in the city.

Organisers of the march were told that the event on November 16 would be reduced to a standstill gathering. Director of the parade’s organising committee, Yeo Wai-wai, said the police had informed them just 48 hours before the event, rather than the usual month in advance, so they were left with little time to inform guests.

The police cited disruption in other areas amidst violent protests against the now withdrawn 2019 Hong Kong extradition bill as the cause of the ban. Yeo Wai-wai said: “The police have been clamping down on freedom. Sexual minorities are no exception.”

The government has also imposed a mask ban to deter violent protesters, but this could discourage people joining the Pride event as LGBT people who have not come out to their family and friends often wear masks to protect their identities.

In October, a Hong Kong court turned down a judicial challenge against a government policy which denies civil partnerships to same-sex couples. Amnesty International described the court’s ruling as “a bitter blow” to Hong Kong’s LGBT community, who had hoped the city would follow the lead of Taiwan, which recently became the first country in Asia to legalise same-sex marriage.

Thousands take part in Hong Kong Pride every year

Friday, November 15, 2019

Suicide rates fall almost half after gay marriage legalised in Sweden and Denmark

Denmark was the first country in the world to allow civil unions for same-sex couples in 1989, and Sweden in the same in 1995. Same-sex marriage was legalised in Sweden in 2009, and in Denmark in 2012.

The joint study by the Danish Research Institute for Suicide Prevention and researchers from Stockholm University used data from national population registers in Denmark and Sweden.

Comparing two periods 13-year periods, 1989 to 2002 and 2003 to 2016, they looked at deaths by suicide of people in same-sex couples during the time both countries legalised civil partnerships and the time they both legalised same-sex marriage.

Suicides among those in same-sex partnerships fell by 46 percent between the two periods. This is partly due to improved understanding of mental health, as suicide rates also fell by 28 percent among heterosexual couples, but researchers believe reduced stigma influenced by same-sex marriage contributed to the huge drop.

The study states that with the passage of time, legalisation of same-sex marriage and the expansion of rights and protections to LGBT people, they become much more accepted in both Nordic countries.

View the full text here.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Police arrest 127 people during raid of LGBT bar in Uganda

Authorities in Uganda rounded up and arrested 127 people in the raid of Ram, an LGBT-friendly bar in Kampala, according to activists on the ground. Ram is the only LGBT-friendly bar in the city.

Just last month, Ugandan leaders sought to revive the internationally condemned “kill the gays” legislation around the same time that police in Kampala arrested 16 men suspected of engaging in homosexual acts, forcing them to undergo anal exams.

Meanwhile, OutRight said at least four LGBT individuals in Uganda have died in hate-related attacks. “The resurfacing of the anti-homosexuality bill in a country which already prescribes life imprisonment for same-sex relations could only have had one intention — to increase hate and stigma against LGBT people, putting them at heightened risk of arbitrary detention and attack,” said Jessica Stern, executive director of OutRight.

Same-sex relations have been criminalized in Uganda since British colonial times. Articles on “unnatural offenses” and “indecent practices” have been retained in the Penal Code since independence. “Carnal knowledge against the order of nature” between men carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Most LGBT students feel unsafe at school in Ireland

A shocking new report on LGBT teenagers in Ireland has revealed that almost three quarters (73 percent) feel unsafe at school.

The latest research by the activist group BeLonG To Youth Services is the largest survey ever conducted on LGBT young people in the Irish education system. It involved nearly 800 LGB people between the ages of 13 and 20 from all 26 counties in the Republic of Ireland.

The alarming findings show that 77 percent of LGBT teenagers experience verbal harassment (name calling or being threatened), and 38 percent experience physical harassment (being shoved or pushed).

And 11 percent experience serious physical assault (punched, kicked or injured with a weapon) based on their sexual orientation, gender or gender expression.

The study suggests that bullying is even more extreme in cases of transgender students, as 55 percent reported hearing transphobic remarks compared to 48 percent with homophobic remarks.

They are really bad news! Urgent action needed!

Monday, November 11, 2019

Adam Rippon celebrates birthday with a skate performance

Olympic figure skater Adam Rippon turned 30 years old today, and celebrated by taking to the ice for a skate to Ben Platt’s cover of Joni Mitchell’s “River”, from the Netflix show The Politician.

Adam said: “Today is my 30th birthday. I couldn’t be more grateful for everything and everyone in my life. Thank you for always sending love and positive energy my way. I hope I’m always able to do the same for you. I wanted to do something fun for myself so I asked one of my old skating choreographers, Cindy Stuart, to put this together with me. She is amazing. And Ben Platt is also amazing (duh) and when I heard him do a cover of this song I knew I had to skate to it. A huge thank you to On Ice Perspectives for putting it all together ❤️”

Congrats dear Adam!!!

Watch Adam's video below:

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Police has to protect the screening of a gay movie in Georgia

Anti-LGBT demonstrators rallied in Tbilisi, capital of the nation of Georgia, to protest the opening of a gay-themed movie.

Hundreds of people, some holding crosses or other religious icons, blocked a road leading to the theater showing And Then We Danced, a film about a love affair between two young male Georgian ballet dancers. The film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in May and was well-received there and at other festivals. 

But Georgia’s Orthodox Church and other homophobic forces in the conservative nation have condemned it and said it promotes sin. Some burned a Pride flag, while others threw smoke bombs and firecrackers in the direction of the theater or tried to force their way in. Riot police stopped them from entering the venue.

Police arrested 12 demonstrators. One of them had thrown a stone that hit a young woman who was trying to see the movie; she was taken from the scene by ambulance. The other arrestees had sought to force their way into the theater.

The film’s director, Levan Akin, denounced the violence in a social media post. “It is absurd that people who bought tickets need to be brave and risk getting harassed or even assaulted just for going to see a film,” said Akin, who was born in Sweden but is of Georgian descent.

Georgia’s Interior Ministry urged everyone to follow the law and avoid conflict, and said the protests did not lead to cancellation of the screenings. “All movie shows scheduled for today in Tbilisi have started and are under way,” said a statement issued by the ministry.

Watch the movie's trailer below:

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Leonardo da Vinci, a gay man in the Renaissance?

Everybody knows a great deal about Leonardo da Vinci’s interests in botany and human anatomy; about his explorations of flight and war machines; of his skills as a painter, and even his reputation for leaving projects unfinished. But what do we know of the man, of his passions, of Leonardo in love?

Five hundred years after his death, a new opera celebrates a more private side of the Renaissance master. The work Leonardo of composer Alex Mills and librettist Brian Mullin, focuses on the relationship between the great artist and two of his assistants.

One, Gian Giacomo Caprotti, known by Da Vinci as Salaí aka ‘Little Devil’, was a boy from a poor background who entered the workshop aged 10 in 1490, when the master was in his late 30s. The other, Francesco Melzi, came into Leonardo’s life in around 1505. This young man, by contrast, was from a noble Milanese family, and developed a role in the workshop akin to private secretary.

The opera charts the “shifting triangle that Leonardo had with these two young men,” says Mullin. “Leonardo moves from one relationship to the other. It seems there was a private drama that had been playing out from one figure to another.” To both composer and librettist, the relationships appear to have been more intense and profound than simply artist and assistants.

Speculation as to Leonardo’s sexuality is a centuries-old pastime. Leonardo scholars and academics conclude he very likely was gay, everything points toward that. Aged 23, Leonardo was among four artists publicly accused of sodomy. “It is not known for certain if he went to jail,” says Mullin. “But that public shaming may have encouraged Leonardo to turn in on himself.”

The result of this inward gaze, Mills explains, is that “we don’t know much about Leonardo the man. In some ways it doesn’t matter what his sexuality was, but of course in trying to get into his mind it goes with the territory.”

A recent biography by Walter Isaacson is more blithe in its summation of Leonardo as “illegitimate, gay, vegetarian, left-handed, easily distracted, and at times heretical.” It is this vision of the artist in his younger days that will be brought to life in a TV drama staring Aidan Turner, scheduled for broadcast next year.

Aidan Turner is starring a young Leonardo in a new TV series

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Danica Roem is first trans person reelected to a state legislature

Transgender woman Danica Roem has been reelected to the Virginia state legislature despite a cruel advertising campaign that targeted her for her gender identity.

Roem captured 57 percent of the vote to beat anti-LGBT Republican opponent Kelly McGinn in northern Virginia’s 13th House District. In 2017, Roem had unseated one of the chamber’s most homophobic and transphobic members, Bob Marshall.

Roem’s reelection came after the anti-LGBT Family Foundation Action hate group targeted her online with Facebook ads where she was attacked for her gender identity.

The reelection of Dawn Adams, a lesbian, to the Virginia House was also key to the the Democrats winning a majority there. Like Roem, she had been heavily targeted by Republicans. Mark Levine and Mark Sickles, two gay men in the House, won reelection in relatively safe districts, as did Adam Ebbin, a gay state senator.

With the Democrats controlling both chambers, it's likely that Virginia will finally add sexual orientation and gender identity to its nondiscrimination law. Republican leaders in the House and Senate had refused to allow a vote on legislation that would accomplish this. With this new majority, these critically important protections will finally pass into law.

Congrats Virginia!!!

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Pete Buttigieg slams Trump adoption decision as 'huge step backward' on LGBT rights

The Trump Administration kicked off National Adoption Month by attacking LGBT families.

The Department of Health and Human Services announced a new rule that would allow adoption agencies to reject same-sex couples and rainbow families on the basis of religious freedom.

The proposed regulation would nullify an Obama-era policy that prohibited federally funded agencies from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Democratic presidential candidate Mayor Pete Buttigieg has slammed Donald Trump’s decision to allow publicly funded adoption agencies to discriminate against LGBT families.

“It’s a huge step backward,” Buttigieg said. “It’s bad enough that discrimination is taking place across the country, but when discrimination is being supported with federal funds, it takes away, first of all the movement justice and equality, but also an opportunity for the federal government to show leadership in advancing equality.”

Children should never be denied the opportunity to join a stable and loving family.

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Half a million people attend Buenos Aires Pride Parade 2019

Half a million of revellers have marched through the streets of Buenos Aires for the annual pride parade to celebrate queer diversity and also demand rights for the LGBT community.

The 28th edition of the parade converted almost the entire Argentine capital into a venue to celebrate freedom as participants began to gather in the morning at the Plaza de Mayo.

In Argentina, the march is held in November commemorating the establishment of "Nuestro Mundo" (Our World), the first gay group to begin operating in the South American country in 1967.

The first march in 1992, led by Carlos Jáuregui, attracted 300 people, many wearing masks to conceal their identity. More than twenty five years later, Buenos Aires has become the LGBT destination of choice in Latin America and the annual Orgullo (Pride) Parade attracts more and more people from all over the world.

In 2010, Argentina became the first country in Latin America to legalise gay marriage. Argentina became a world leader in transgender rights in 2012 when it gave people the freedom to change their legal and physical gender identity simply because they want to, without having to undergo judicial, psychiatric and medical procedures beforehand. 


Buenos Aires hosts one of the largest
Pride Parade in South America

Friday, November 1, 2019

My Heroes for Halloween

This 2-minute digital Public Service Announcement (PSA), produced by the team at Landwirth Legacy Productions, as means to challenge gender stereotypes when it comes to children's Halloween costumes.

In it, a happy family prepares for Halloween by carving a few pumpkins together. Mom holds up the two superhero costumes her son and daughter requested for trick-or-treating: Batman and Wonder Woman. The kids grab them and head upstairs to change. Dad has a worried look on his face. "Their costumes are going to look awesome," his wife reassures him. 

Later, the parents watch from a distance as their children trick-or-treat at a neighbors house. "Look at you two! You look great," the neighbor says to the two young superheroes as she hands them candy. "Thank you for keeping our streets safe."

Mom and Dad look relieved, but it's only once they get into bed when we realize why. Their daughter was the one wearing the Batman costume and their son the Wonder Woman one. 

Considering people dress up as everything from a hotdog to a demon, a little girl dressing up a fictional male character and a little boy dressing up as his favorite female superhero shouldn't be a big deal. But one look at the comments on this video, and you'll see it definitely still is. Everyone should be able to be whoever they want to be, and not have to worry about whether their decision fits into stereotypical gender roles.