Sunday, December 29, 2019

Only less than 200 people have sought compensation from UK military after being fired for their sexuality

Officially, less than 200 people have sought compensation from the UK military, claiming they were fired because of their sexual orientation. While being gay was decriminalised in the UK in 1967, the ban on gay people serving in the armed forces was only lifted in January 2000. 

LGBT rights campaigner Peter Tatchell told that the Ministry of Defence (MoD) is not doing enough to get compensation to those who are entitled to it. He said: “The MoD should be contacting all those people to advise them that they are eligible for compensation. In the 1980s, when I was researching military dismissals, the number sacked for their sexuality was between 100 and 300 annually.”

Tatchell added that the true number of people fired from the UK military because of their sexuality “is likely to run into thousands given that the military witch-hunts continued unabated from the late 1940s until 1999”.

He continued: “Some of those military personnel not only lost their job and income, but also their home, pension and friends. Many found it very difficult to get new work.”

In contrast, a MoD spokesperson declared: “We are aware of fewer than 200 cases in which individuals may have been dismissed on the grounds of their sexuality, although we accept that there may be cases that aren’t known about.”

Less than 200 people in over 60 years? Really MoD?

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Your first shave is always special

Gliding like a dual-blade razor through sensitive areas, and after embracing the #MeToo movement, Gillette introduces its second social media ad to take on social topics, this time with a father sweetly guiding his trans son during a first shave.

Sitting on the couch with his dad beside him, real trans activist Samson Brown of Toronto, Ontario, says, “I always knew I was different, I didn’t know there was a term for the type of person that I was. I went into my transition just wanting to be happy. I’m glad that I’m at the point where I’m able to shave.”

Then the video gets to the moment of truth and Samson puts the blade to face during his rite of passage. He ends with, “I’m at the point in my manhood where I’m actually happy. It’s not just myself transitioning, it’s everybody around me transitioning,”

He shares a hug with dad and the ad concludes with Gillette’s classic tagline, “The best a man can get.”

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

A new LGBT-friendly senior residence opens in Brooklyn

A much-anticipated LGBT-friendly affordable housing residence for seniors officially opened its doors in Fort Greene (NYC) following a ribbon-cutting ceremony featuring Advocacy & Services for LGBT Elders (SAGE), city officials, residents of the building, and others.

The Stonewall House is the first affordable housing complex specifically focused on welcoming New York's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender seniors. It is 17 stories and boasts 145 apartments, making it the largest queer-friendly senior housing development in the nation. It is also the first such building in the state.

The house will be home to residents over the age of 62 whose income is 60 percent or less than the area median income. There are 54 studios and 91 one-bedroom apartments, and 25 percent of the units are for formerly homeless seniors.

“It’s no exaggeration to say that LGBT elders in New York City have been working for 50 years for a place they can truly call home, since they stood up and said No more back at Stonewall in 1969,” SAGE’s CEO, Michael Adams, said in a written statement. “Thankfully, they’ve now found that home at Stonewall House, and we at SAGE could not be more thrilled.”

Others on hand for the ribbon-cutting ceremony included Eric L. Adams, the Brooklyn borough president, Matthew McMorrow, a senior aide to Mayor Bill de Blasio, and John Blasco, an out gay district leader in Manhattan who serves as Speaker Corey Johnson’s LGBT liaison.

The building is at 112 St. Edwards Street (NYC)

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

First female mayor of Bogota marries girlfriend

Claudia López, who will be sworn into office in January, announced her wedding to Angélica Lozano on social media, sharing an enthusiastic message and several photographs.

“On my way to the happiest moment of my life!” the mayor-elect wrote on Twitter. She thanked her bride for “loving me always” and promised “to honor and love” her the rest of their lives, and posted photographs show the white-clad couple holding a bouquet.

Claudia is also the first openly lesbian mayor of Bogota, or of any capital city in Latin America, where traditional cultural biases, coupled with conservative religious values, often slow the cause of advancing LGBT acceptance. In Colombia, same-sex marriage has been legal since 2016.

Congrats to the newlyweds!!!

Monday, December 23, 2019

Could China legalise same-sex marriage soon?

China's top legislative body has been advised to legalise same-sex marriage in the updated civil code.

The Commission for Legislative Affairs of the National People's Congress (NPC) has received more than 250,000 online suggestions and 5,600 letters requesting to clarify the "scope of close relatives, improving the common debt of spouses and legalising same-sex marriage", according to the report, which cited Mr Yue Zhongming, spokesman for the commission.

The report didn't specify if the legislature will include the legalisation of same-sex marriage in the civil code. The NPC will review the draft of the new civil code in March 2020.

Several government-related Weibo accounts, including those of two district news offices in Shanghai and a court in Chengdu, posted online polls on Friday seeking public feedback on same-sex marriage.

Mr Zhijun Hu, executive director of PFLAG China, a group supporting LGBT people, said he was "very happy" about the move towards marriage equality. "I'm confident that this will bring change," he said. Still, Mr Hu said he doesn't expect same-sex marriage in China to happen any time soon.

Although China decriminalised homosexuality in 1997 and removed it from an official list of mental disorders in 2001, gay, lesbian, and transsexual individuals still live in a gray area. There's no law against being LGBT, but no rules protect against discrimination, and China doesn't recognise gay marriage.

Taiwan was the first in Asia to legalise same-sex marriage when it did so in May.

It's time China!!

Chinese gay couples protest on Valentine's Day

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Germany's Cabinet approves a draft bill banning gay and transgender conversion therapy

Germany is banning so-called gay conversion therapy for minors, saying the practice that purports to make patients straight has no scientific basis and often causes psychological harm. The bill will next be presented to Germany’s lower house, Health Minister Jens Spahn told. 

If the bill passes both houses of parliament, advertising or offering conversion therapy will be banned and infringements will carry fines of up to €30,000 ($33,000). After the proposed ban, only adults who freely seek out the controversial “therapy” will be legally permitted to undergo it.

Merkel’s Cabinet also outlawed the use of conversion therapy with adults who have diminished decision-making capabilities and barred advertisements for conversion therapy services.

The government’s goal is to protect people’s right to sexual self-determination. In a later Facebook posting headlined “Homosexuality is not an illness,” the government said anyone violating the ban could face punishments ranging from fines to prison.


Homosexuality is not an illness

Thursday, December 19, 2019

European Parliament resolution tackling the rise in hate against the LGBT community in Europe

Breaking news coming from the European Parliament in Strasbourg as MEPs adopt a resolution condemning anti-LGBT hate speech and public discrimination across Europe.

The European Parliament’s resolution on public discrimination and anti-LGBT hate speech identifies a broad trend across Europe and its consequences in society, amid deeply worrying situations in several countries. 

The resolution reiterates a call on the Commission to adopt an EU LGBT strategy and a comprehensive, permanent and objective EU mechanism on democracy, rule of law and fundamental rights that includes the protection of LGBT rights. It calls for the adoption of legislation and policies in several different areas, including freedom of movement, hate-speech and crime, education, and sports, to ensure the equal human rights of LGBT people.

The resolution also calls on Poland to firmly condemn discrimination against LGBT people and to revoke resolutions attacking LGBTI rights, including local bills against “LGBT ideology”, in accordance with its national law; as well as its obligations under EU and international law.

In a broader context, the resolution expresses deep concern at the growing number of attacks against the LGBT community coming from the State officials and politicians at the national, regional and local levels. It recognises that such attacks have seen a rise in violence against LGBTI people, with hate crimes motivated by homophobia and transphobia on the rise across in the EU, while responses from authorities too often remain inadequate.

According to the German ministry of interior, the number of homophobic hate crimes in the first six months of 2019 were already more than in the whole of 2013. In the latter part of this year, our members reported attacks on community events or their offices in Belgrade, Ljubljana, Budapest, Vienna and Lublinwhere explosive devices were taken to the Equality March, presumably intended to cause grievous bodily harm or death.

Not a step back Europe!!!

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

U.S. are absolutely ready for gay president

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg pushed back on the idea a gay candidate couldn’t win election as president, saying the United States are “absolutely” ready.

Buttigieg, whom many polls show is the front-runner in Iowa and New Hampshire, made the remarks during a forum hosted by national political reporter Robert Costa at the Washington Post headquarters.

The 2020 hopeful was quick to point out he won reelection as South Bend mayor in 2015 with 80 percent of the vote right after he came out as gay.

Costa however responded, the City of South Bend is different from the nation as a whole. It should be noted, the city is heavily Democratic and has a population of just over 100,000. But Buttigieg insisted his win there has broader implications.

According to recent polls, American voters say they’re ready to support a gay candidate for president. Specifically 50 percent of voters say they are ready to back a gay candidate, compared to 37 percent who are not. 


Monday, December 16, 2019

Trans people can not be banned from bathrooms, court says in Japan

A transgender woman employed by the Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry in Japan has successfully sued her employer for denying her the right to use the bathroom that aligns with her gender identity.

A Tokyo district court awarded ¥1.32 million in damages to the woman for being forced to use a bathroom other than the women’s bathroom on her office’s floor, which District Judge Kenji Ebara says is illegal because it “constrains people’s benefits of living their lives in accordance with their self-identified genders.” 

The ruling also requires the ministry, and all employers, allow trans people to use the bathroom of her choice, without notifying anyone else of her transgender identity. 

Justice Ebara also made it illegal in his ruling to require surgery from their employees to recognize their gender. This was in response to the fact that the Ministry official in charge of personnel told the woman that she should “go back” to being a man if they’re not going to have reassignment surgery. The judge made it known that he found it “unacceptable” and “extremely lacking in validity”, and that it was also an “abuse of discretion” to have the employee identify herself when using the bathroom with others inside.

LGBT rights in Japan remain vastly unachieved and can very by each prefecture. Same-sex marriage is not legal and same-sex parents cannot adopt children. Anti-discrimination laws exist in Tokyo and some towns, but not for the rest of the country.

This is justice!

Last summer, Japan elected Taiga Ishikawa, its first gay 
lawmaker who ensured same-sex marriage will be legal

Sunday, December 15, 2019

The son of Argentina’s new president wears a Pride Flag to inauguration

Estanislao Fernández, the 24-year-old son of newly-inaugurated Argentine President Alberto Fernández, set off a media blitz by wearing what looked like a rainbow-colored handkerchief to his father’s inauguration. 

The younger Fernández later revealed that the handkerchief was actually a folded up Pride Flag, much to the amusement of the internet. Estanislao moonlights as a drag queen named Dyhzy, who specializes in cosplay-style drag. 

President Fernández has referred to his son as “his greatest pride,” and commended him for his contribution to the queer community. “My son is a rights activist in that community,” he told. “I would worry if my son was a criminal, but he is a great man. In that world, which I don’t know much about, [he] seems to be respected and very recognized. I have pride in my son, how can I not be proud?”


Estanislao with his father

Estanislao as Dyhzy

Thursday, December 12, 2019

A majority of LGBT students experience bullying in Latin America

A new survey finds a majority of LGBT students in seven Latin American countries have experienced bullying because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

The GLSEN Research Institute and Fundación Todo Mejora, a Chilean LGBT advocacy group, surveyed 5,318 students between the ages of 13-20 in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru and Uruguay.

The survey notes “three-quarters or more of LGBT students regularly heard homophobic remarks and negative remarks about gender expression from other students.” It also notes between 60-80 percent of respondents heard “homophobic remarks from teachers or other school staff.”

Upwards of three-quarters of the students who responded to the survey said they “experienced verbal harassment” that included name-calling and threats. More than 10 percent of respondents said they were physically assaulted because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

The report also notes less than half of respondents “ever reported incidents of harassment and assault to teachers and other school staff.”

Activists across Latin America over the last decade have celebrated LGBT rights advances, but sadly rates of violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity remain among the highest in the world.

Check a report here.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Belgium rowers stand up against homophobia

Ghent rowers, in Belgium, launched a campaign supporting equality in sport. Simon Haerinck, one of them, posted in Instagram a pair of photos and said: "Today we are launching the first part of our campaign 'Same Sport, Different Sexuality', to raise awareness about homophobia in sports, which unfortunately is still a taboo."

"Playing sports should be about having fun and improving your mental and physical health. It’s about escaping the daily stress of school or work. You should not have to worry about your sexual orientation whilst playing the sport you love. This is why we reach out to you!", he added.

He also said thanks to his fellow fellow rowers @claeys_ruben, @nielsraoulboone and @henri__st , straight guys who truly didn’t have a problem with him being gay and accept everyone for who he or she is.

The anti-homophobia campaign encourages heterosexuals who play sport to show acceptance by taking a picture with their LGBT teammates and posting it online using the hashtag #samesportdifferentsexuality.


Monday, December 9, 2019

A huge rainbow mosaic displayed in a Premier's match

In the Brighton vs Wolves match, live on Sky Sports Premier League, we could see at the Amex Stadium a rainbow mosaic in support of Rainbow Laces and the LGBT community.

Fans in the East Stand had colored cards on their seats to hold up as the teams take to the field. There also was a rainbow laces ball plinth, centre circle crest, and a guard of honour as the teams took to the field, while support for the campaign was shown on both of the captains' armbands.

Bravo for this initiative!

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