Friday, December 6, 2019

After two years of Australia said Yes!

More than 6500 same-sex couples wed in Australia in 2018, the first full year after their marriages were legalised.

Out of the 119,188 couples who tied the knot in the 12-month period, same-sex marriages accounted for 5.5 per cent of those getting hitched, according to data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Amendments to the Marriage Act allowing same-sex marriage came into effect after a divisive national plebiscite and then a parliamentary vote in late 2017. The bill received royal assent on December 8, 2017.

ABS health and vital statistics section director James Eynstone-Hinkins, said 2018 was the first full calendar year in which same-sex couples could legally marry in Australia.

“In 2018, same-sex marriages represented 5.5 per cent of the total number of marriages and inclusion of these marriages has influenced some key statistics,” said Mr Eynstone-Hinkins.

The law change was greeted with particular enthusiasm by lesbian couples, who represented 57.8 per cent of the same-sex pairings who walked down the aisle in 2018, compared to the 42.2 per cent who were men.

Unsurprisingly, 98.9 per cent of same-sex marriages were administered by civil celebrants. Of the 79 couples who were married by a religious celebrant, the Uniting Church accounted for 23.

One notable detail was that the median age of those getting hitched jumped.The median age of same-sex couples who united in holy or civil matrimony was 44.9 years for men and 39.3 years for women. Straight couples had a median age of 32.1 years for men and 30.2 years for women.

“The median age at marriage recorded the greatest increase in more than a decade. This was largely because the median age of same-sex couples was considerably higher than that of opposite-sex couples,” he said. “There are couples who have been together for a decade who are marrying in their 60s and 70s and that is going to impact those statistics,” he added. 

Congrats Australia!!!

Remember the emotive video for It's Time campaign

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Over 250,000 people appeals for Marriage Equality in China

Equality activists in China will make a legal push for state recognition of same-sex marriage. It comes in a nation that doesn’t legally ban such unions, but where state regulators have defined marriage as between a man and woman.

China remains in the process of reviewing its civil laws and over 250,000 people have appealed to the Chinese authorities to recognise same-sex marriage, in a month-long push sparked by a review of the country’s civil law provisions.

The country’s LGBT community and its supporters have been writing to legislators and leaving comments in favour of a change to China’s marriage laws during a public comment period which ended with more than 250,000 people responding.

“We know that it’s already the third draft and they will probably not include same-sex marriage, but at least we want to let lawmakers hear there’s a need among the LGBT community,” said the director of Guangzhou-based LGBT Rights Advocacy China.

But the state has maintained its position thus far. A spokesman of the Legislative Affairs Commission of China’s top legislative body, told press that regulators’ interpretation that marriage certificates should only be issued to male-female couples was in line with Chinese customs and tradition, even if no statute expressly said marriage should be limited to heterosexual couples.

It's time China!!

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

Monday, December 2, 2019

Gay swimmer becomes better athlete after coming out

For Michael Gunning, 25, an elite-level swimmer who lives in Britain but competes for Jamaica, coming out as gay last year was the best thing for his career. He set a record for Jamaica just months after coming out as gay and may have set himself up for the Olympics

“I became a better athlete after I came out because I was no longer worrying about hiding a part of myself from everyone around me,” Michael said.

He came out as gay last year on the reality show “The Bi Life,” which showed him on his first date with a man. It’s a decision he hasn’t regretted, he wrote in his essay:

Although it was daunting to come out on television, I have no regrets. Being in that villa of like-minded people who understood what it’s like to feel different was exactly what I needed.

I didn’t really grow up with many LGBTQ role models — especially in sport — so there wasn’t much out there to help me learn about who I was and feel OK in my own skin. Particularly as a black gay sportsman, I didn’t see anyone who looked like me being open about who they are and who they love.

Seeing yourself reflected in someone else and their experience can be such a powerful, personal affirmation, but for so long I was lacking that. Still, I also never imagined that my ‘coming out’ story on the show would have sparked so many discussions within the LGBT sporting community.

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Three women sentenced to prison for promoting unveiling in Iran

Three women held in custody in the notorious Qarchak prison for "disrespecting compulsory hijab," or the so-called Islamic dress code, were sentenced to a total of 52 years and six months.

In April 2019, Yasaman Aryani, her mother Monireh Arabshahi, and Mojgan Keshavarz were all arrested after posting a video that went viral on International Women's Day. In it, they are seen walking without headscarves through a Tehran metro train, handing flowers to female passengers.  

The three women were convicted by the Tehran Revolutionary Court in the absence of their lawyers, in a direct violation of their procedural rights. In a trial that can only be described as a farce, Judge Mohammad Moghiseh sentenced each of them to 5 years in prison for «association and collusion against national security», one year in prison for «spreading propaganda against the State» and 10 years in prison for «encouraging and preparing the basis for corruption and prostitution.» In addition, Mojgan Keshavarz received an additional sentence of 7 and a half years in prison for «insulting holiness.»

We must remember women from Iran, Saudi Arabia and other Islamic countries are discriminated and treated as second-class people, and LGBT people worst.

Video of the three unveiled women giving flowers
on metro went viral on International Women’s Day