Thursday, June 4, 2020

Trump admin asks Supreme Court to let adoption agencies reject LGBT families

The Trump administration has asked the Supreme Court to allow adoption agencies to discriminate against same-sex couples in the name of religion.

Department of Justice attorneys submitted a 35-page brief to the Supreme Court asking it to rule in favour of Catholic Social Services, a Philadelphia-based adoption agency, that insists it should be allowed to turn away same-sex couples under the First Amendment.

“This case concerns the application of the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment to the City of Philadelphia’s termination of a contract allowing Catholic Social Services to help place children in the City with foster parents, on the basis of Catholic Social Services’ unwillingness to endorse same-sex couples as foster parents,” the brief says. “The United States has a substantial interest in the preservation of the free exercise of religion. It also has a substantial interest in the enforcement of rules prohibiting discrimination by government contractors.”

The latest example of the Trump administration seeking to enable legal discrimination against LGBT people.

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Social Security has to pay benefits to the surviving partner of same-sex couple

A federal judge ordered the Social Security Administration to pay benefits to the surviving partners of same-sex couples who had been denied the opportunity to marry sooner due to state marriage bans. 

The case centered around Michael Ely and James A. Taylor, a committed Arizona couple of 43 years who wed shortly after the Supreme Court struck down same-sex marriage bans nationwide in June 2014. Six months later, Taylor died of cancer. But when Ely applied for federal survivor benefits, he was denied because federal law requires couples be married for at least nine months in order to qualify. The fact that the couple had been illegally banned from marrying sooner was deemed immaterial.

The case was brought in 2019 by the LGBT advocacy group Lambda Legal as a class action suit, arguing that the Social Security Administration "cannot rely upon unconstitutional state laws that have since been overturned to justify discriminating against same-sex surviving spouses today."

U.S. Magistrate Judge Bruce Macdonald agreed with that reasoning, writing that "reliance on an unconstitutional law" perpetuated an "unconstitutional infringement on Mr. Ely and Mr. Taylor’s fundamental right to marriage.”

Lambda Legal counsel Peter Renn called the ruling a "tremendous victory" for surviving same-sex spouses nationwide.  "No one should be penalized for being the victim of discrimination. The denial of access to these critical benefits can have dire consequences, with some of our class members experiencing homelessness," Renn said.

Monday, June 1, 2020

Bollywood filmmaker wants to normalise LGBT families in India

Acclaimed Bollywood filmmaker Apurva Asrani is an award-winning filmmaker best known for Satya (1998), Shahid (2013), and the human rights biopic Aligarh (2016).

His drama-comedy series Made in Heaven featured a gay man as a leading character and was widely praised for normalising homosexuality on Indian television.

Despite this, Asrani was forced to conceal his sexuality for most of his career, with his long-term partner Siddhant pretending to be his cousin so that they could share an apartment. “For 13 years we pretended to be cousins so we could rent a home together,” he told.

But they recently bought their own home. Now they voluntarily tell neighbours they are partners because it’s time LGBT families are normalised in India.

While Asrani’s announcement received a lot of warmth from his fellow filmmakers, the majority of the comments beneath the tweet unfortunately reveal that India still has a long way to go when it comes to LGBT acceptance.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Congratulations to Marie Cau, first trans woman elected mayor in France

A trans woman in France has won election in her local commune to become the country's first openly transgender mayor. The council in Tilloy-lez-Marchiennes in northeastern France chose Marie Cau as its new mayor.

The 55-year-old ran on a platform of ecological sustainability and building the local economy. Ms Cau said she was "not an activist" and wanted to focus on municipal politics. "People did not elect me because I was or was not transgender, they elected a programme. That's what's interesting: when things become normal, you don't get singled out."

France's gender equality minister Marlène Schiappa tweeted her support: "Trans visibility, and the fight against transphobia, also depends on exercising political and public responsibilities. Congratulations Marie Cau!"


Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Gay Russian Youtuber try to improve LGBT percepcion by Russian people

Karen Shainyan, 39, a Moscow-based editor and writer, hosts the show Straight Talk with Gay People. His Youtube channel has over 1,64m subscriptors. Unusually for a gay Russian, Shainyan has never kept his sexuality a secret.

To encourage Russian celebrities to come out as LGBT, he’s been interviewing high-profile LGBT celebrities from different countries. Despite the horrific attacks on LGBT people in Russia, Shainyan hopes that through education people can be liberated.

Shainyan told: “Ignorance and indifference are the key reasons behind the worst homophobia.” And he added: “To Russian celebrities, coming out means a political message, a demand for having certain rights. But a public coming-out would mean an immediate huge loss of access to the concert halls.”

In the three months since he published them, more than three million people have watched his conversations with them on YouTube.

“The idea of the project is to attract the attention of a broader audience and expose all the existing myths around LGBT people,” he said.

“Since as soon as people hear the word ‘gay’ in the Russian media agenda, it always comes from two poles, either from homophobes and state propaganda calling to bring the Soviet criminal law back to the legislation or from LGBT activists, who use the word in the context of their fight, violated rights or clashes with police."

“These are two radical contexts, while in reality, several million Russian LGBT people are muted, they are not represented in the public space.”


Watch Cynthia Nixon's interview below:

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Costa Rica becomes first Central American country to legalize same-sex marriage

Costa Rica has become the first Central American country to legalize same-sex marriage.

Thousands of people watched a nationally televised celebration as Costa Rica took a historic step forward. At 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday, May 26, Costa Rica’s Family Code was automatically modified to remove the sixth item of article 14, which said marriage between people of the same sex was “legally impossible.”

While this moment is years in the making, the most significant progress occurred in 2018, when the Inter-American Court of Human Rights ruled that all of its signatory countries must allow same-sex marriage. The court’s verdict is binding for many Latin American states, including Costa Rica.

In August 2018, Costa Rica’s Supreme Court of Justice ruled that the prohibition of same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. It gave the Legislative Assembly 18 months to overturn it, or the ban would be overturned by default.

Tuesday morning, the ban was officially overturned. Marriage equality is now law in Costa Rica.

Congratulations Costa Rica!!!

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Pixar's first short film starred by a gay character

Out, a short film from Pixar Animation Studios streaming on Disney+, features Pixar’s first gay main character. The short film is written and directed by Steven Clay Hunter, who is known for his work on Hercules (1997), The Incredibles (2004), Wall·E (2008) and Finding Dory (2016). 

The 9-minute film debuted as one of seven films in the studio’s SparkShorts program. SparkShorts aims to “discover new storytellers, explore new storytelling techniques, and experiment with new production workflows,” in the words of Pixar president Jim Morris. “These films are unlike anything we’ve ever done at Pixar, providing an opportunity to unlock the potential of individual artists and their inventive filmmaking approaches on a smaller scale than our normal fare.”

In the film, main character Greg is preparing to move into the city with his boyfriend, Manuel. Greg is gripped by the difficulty of coming out as gay to his parents, who have paid a surprise visit to help him pack for his move. A dramatic series of events initiated by the couple’s dog ensues. As the official logline puts it, “With some help from his precocious pup, and a little bit of magic, Greg might learn that he has nothing to hide.”

Watch the trailer below.


Thursday, May 21, 2020

Majority of LGBT Europeans are still fearful of holding their partner’s hand in public

A shocking new report from the FRA, titled A long way to go for LGBT equality, has revealed the levels of anti-LGBT discrimination across Europe. The report asked 140,000 LGBT people from all EU member states as well as the United Kingdom, North Macedonia and Serbia about their experiences.

Some of the most shocking results found that six in ten LGBT Europeans are fearful of holding their partner’s hand in public; two in five had been harassed the year before the survey, and one in five trans or intersex people had been physically or sexually assaulted the year before, this was double the amount for other groups.

The survey also threw up results which showed the differing pictures between different countries. In countries like Ireland and Finland, over 70% of respondents felt that LGBT rights had improved, whereas in countries like Poland and France the majority felt that intolerance was on the increase.

While progress has been made for some parts of the community, these findings clearly show that LGBT people still have a long way to go. It must also remember that the great strides in equality that some enjoy today are not shared by everyone in LGBT community.

Check the report here

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Albanian psychologists ban so-called conversion therapy

Albania’s leading psychologists’ organisation has barred members from carrying out so-called “conversion therapy” which aims to make gay people straight, as countries around the world consider laws to ban the controversial practice.

The statement further pointed out that all registered therapists in Albania must be members of the order of psychologists and that its decisions are final and "legally valid." Medical professional bodies have dismissed such psychological or spiritual interventions as pseudo-scientific, ineffective and often harmful.

The therapy uses a range of methods to "change" sexual orientation, gender identity or expression. The most controversial being the administration of electric shocks as subjects view images of homosexual acts or injections of the male hormone testosterone.

The European Parliament passed a resolution in March 2018 that condemned the practice and urged member states to ban it.  Only three countries, Brazil, Ecuador and Malta, have nationwide bans on “conversion therapy”, but earlier this month Germany outlawed the treatment for minors. The United States, Canada, Chile and Mexico are among nations seeking bans.

Tirana Pride 2019

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Hungary bans legal gender recognition

The Hungarian Parliament voted 133 in favour, 57 opposed, to approve an omnibus bill, one article of which replaces the category of “sex” on the civil registry with one of “sex assigned at birth”.

The Article 33 amends the civil registry document, which is used as the basis for all legal identity documents for Hungarian citizens. Replacing the changeable characteristic of “sex” with an immutable one, “sex assigned at birth”, in practice Hungary has made legal gender recognition, the process by which trans and intersex people can bring their documents into alignment with their gender identity, impossible.

Before the proposal of this omnibus bill, the situation was bleak for trans and intersex Hungarians. According to the Second LGBTI Survey of the Fundamental Rights Agency, published last week, 76% of trans Hungarians believe that the Hungarian government “definitely does not effectively combat prejudice and intolerance against LGBTI people”.

Additionally, 84% of trans respondents in Hungary reported that the main reason for increasing prejudice, intolerance, or violence in the country was “Negative stance and discourse by politicians and/or political parties”.

What a shame! Europe has nothing to say?

Hungary President Orban is well known as anti LGBT rights

Monday, May 18, 2020

Hunk of the Month: Tristan Simpson

Tristan Simpson is a young guy (19) from California who had a dream: become a dancer. He is gay and he recently explained his coming out story:

He began performing ballet at the John Cranko Schule (Germany). And now he's extremely popular on YouTube where he shares dance routines and his travel experiences with over 86,000 subscribers.

But before fame, he had to move away from home to pursue his dance career when he was just 15 years old. He explains about that time: "Moving away from home at 15 was not easy but it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. For me personally, I am super independent and I always have been so my experience was much easier than other peoples. My strongest memory from that time was just the amount of new things I was learning. I was learning so much about myself, ballet, and just life in general."

He also tells the truth about being a male ballet dancer. He feels like there are so many misconceptions surrounding being a male ballet dancer. He talks about bullying, being gay, thongs, tights, athleticism, and more in the next video:

His most viewed video is 'Day in the life of a ballet dancer' with over 641K views, watch it below and enjoy:

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Released the ILGA-Europe Annual Review of LGBT rights situation

Released the ILGA-Europe's Annual Review of the Human Rights Situation of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Intersex People in Europe and Central Asia, covering the period of January to December 2019. They examine the advances made and provided concrete examples of on-the-ground situations at national level country-by-country in the 12 months from January to December 2019.

There continues to be big wins for LGBT people in Europe, and developments that point towards further legislative and social progress, but while this paints an image of the region as a leading light in terms of the recognition of LGBT rights and equality, it’s a surface impression that does not tell a complete or accurate story. 

Yes, there are good news stories, which we must acknowledge and celebrate, but while we pay attention to positive developments, we must not be blind to the larger picture, which is less reassuring. In last year’s Review, there were identified signs that recent wins for the LGBT movement were fragile, and a very real rollback in rights and attitudes. In 2019, this rollback took root in a sharp rise of hate speech across the region, often carried out by public figures. 

There has also been the growing presence of anti-LGBT, anti-gender and neo-Nazi protesters in public spaces during events such as Pride parades and film screenings. In several cities LGBT centres were targeted with graffiti and other such attacks. Reports of the murder and torture of gay and lesbian people in Chechnya have resurfaced, while police violence is systemic in a number of countries in Central Asia and Caucasus, with gay men and trans people being particularly vulnerable.

Read here the Annual Review for more details, and see the Rainbow Map&Index below:

Thursday, May 14, 2020

The Supreme Court of Brazil lifts restrictions on gay men to donate blood

Brazil's supreme court has overturned restrictions on gay and bisexual men donating blood, in what's being heralded a victory for LGBT campaigners in the country.

Seven of 11 justices at the Supreme Federal Court in Brasília voted to end rules banning men who've had sex with men within the previous 12 months from donating blood.

The court said the rules were unconstitutional because it imposed restrictions on the basis of sexual orientation. “Instead of the state enabling these people to promote good by donating blood, it unduly restricts solidarity based on prejudice and discrimination,” supreme court minister Edson Fachin wrote in his vote.

In recent weeks, the United States, Denmark, Hungary and Northern Ireland have all reduced blood donation restrictions for gay and bisexual men from 12 months to three months, as the coronavirus pandemic increases pressure on blood supplies.

Despite President Bolsonaro is well known as detractor of LGBT rights, Brazilian Supreme Court stands for equality. Last year a majority of judges also voted to treat homophobia and transphobia as crimes, so the acts of discrimination are punishable by prison.

Brazil with proud

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

According to Erdogan, to draw rainbows can turn children gay

Children worldwide have been drawing rainbows and hanging them in windows to comfort others during the coronavirus pandemic. But, the Turkish government has ordered schools to stop letting kids draw rainbows because it’s an international plot "to turn children gay”.

Egitim-Sen, a teachers’ trade union, confirmed administrators were being instructed to end any participation in the project. Local activists say the Turkish government has been amping up attacks on the LGBT community.

Some of the commentators on mainstream and social media have stepped up their attacks on the LGBT community during the coronavirus pandemic. It is particularly perturbing that this hate speech is repeated by officials who portray the LGBT as the culprits, rather than victims, of the pandemic. If this hate speech continues after the pandemic, it could become a permanent fixture of the political rhetoric.

Authoritarian Turkish President Recep Erdoğan has repeatedly used LGBT people as a scapegoat for the country’s problems. Recently, he defended a cleric who said homosexuality "brings illnesses and corrupts generations.” 

No way Erdoğan and cleric Erbas, 
there is no place for hatred in a rainbow!

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Keep calm, Tunisia will not become the first Arab country to legalise gay marriage

A Tunisian LGBT right organisation based in the country has revealed that Tunisia may become the first Arab state to recognise a same-sex marriage.

According to the gay rights association Shams, a marriage between a French man and a Tunisian man was legally recognised in Tunisia, thought to be the first of its kind. It is thought the couple had gotten the marriage recognised by Tunisian authorities via a loophole, as the union had been formalised in France.

But homosexuality is illegal in the Muslim-majority country and homosexual acts are punishable with jail. Obiviously, same-sex marriages are also not permitted. The Tunisian police also continue to subject men accused of same-sex relations to forced anal examinations, in violation of the prohibition against torture under international law. And trans people continue to face harassment from the police and live in constant fear of being arrested under vague laws.

A Tunisian news website contacted the Tunisian government, and did not confirm or deny whether the marriage had been recognised. But, one minister said on his own: "We are therefore in the process of verifying the information. If it is true, know that it is against the law. Our laws do not allow recognition of same-sex marriage by other countries. There was a precedent, an error committed by the municipality of Tunis, and it was rectified."

It is also known that Tunisia’s president Kais Saied supports the criminalization of homosexuality. He has often termed gay people “deviants” and he defends Sharia law and the capital punishment for LGBT people.

No way, Tunisia will not become the first Arab country to legalise gay marriage.

An LGBT march in Tunis last year

Friday, May 8, 2020

Germany bans gay conversion therapy for minors

Germany has banned gay conversion therapy for minors, in another huge step in ending the abusive practice. The German Parliament passed a bill outlawing services which claim to change seuxal orientation for under-18s. 

Under the law, minors will not be allowed to take part in medical interventions aimed at changing or suppressing their sexual orientation or gender identity. Parents and legal guardians can also be punished for making their children take part through deception, coercion or threats. Those breaking the new law can face up to a year in prison, or a €30,000 fine.

German Health Minister Jens Spahn said a robust law was needed to protect it from court challenges, adding that most people who attended treatment were young people forced to do so by others. "They should feel strengthened when the state, when society, when Parliament makes it clear: we do not want that in this country," said Spahn, who is gay himself.

The move makes Germany the world's fifth country to outlaw gay conversion therapy for minors at a nationwide level after similar bans were introduced in Malta, Ecuador, Brazil and Taiwan. The practice is also outlawed in certain Australian, Canadian and the US state.

Health Minister Spahn and the Chancellor Angela Merkel

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

UN urges nations to protect LGBT people amid coronavirus

The United Nations has told countries they should not use the coronavirus pandemic to undermine LGBT rights. Moreover, it has said states should be aware that LGB people may be particularly vulnerable during the COVID-19 crisis. And that officials should not discriminate against them.

The instructions come from Michelle Bachelet, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. In particular, she singled out Hungary for criticism. Bachelet said: "In at least one country, the State of Emergency has been used to propose a decree that would prevent transgender people from legally changing their gender in identity documents."

Bachelet also warned against an increase in homophobic and transphobic rhetoric in Poland. She said: "LGBTI people have previously been blamed for disasters, both manmade and natural, and there are scattered reports of this happening in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic."

Moreover Bachelet spoke out against reports of police using COVID-19 directives to attack and target LGBTI organizations. This has happened in Uganda where local authorities abused their powers to raid an LGBT shelter, arresting 23 people.

Bachelet went on to talk about the danger LGBT people face from domestic violence. She said: "Due to stay-at-home restrictions, many LGBT youth are confined in hostile environments with unsupportive family members or co-habitants. This can increase their exposure to violence, as well as their anxiety and depression."

She added: "Homeless persons, a population that includes many LGTB people, are less able to protect themselves through physical distancing and safe hygiene practices, increasing their exposure to contagion." 

She also pointed out that LGBT people regularly experience stigma and discrimination while seeking health services already. In countries where laws criminalize gay, bi and trans people they may not access healthcare services for fear of arrest or violence.

Finally, the UN document warned about the economic hardship the community faces. It says LGBT people are more likely not to have jobs or to live in poverty. Many in the LGBT community work in the informal sector and lack access to paid sick leave, unemployment compensation, and coverage.

To tackle these problems, Bachelet said countries should ensure LGBT people are taken into consideration and their voices heard when addressing the pandemic. And the UN has provided a six-point plan of action:

1 - It instructs states to ensure they do not discriminate against LGBT people when the access healthcare. And it adds people should not ‘fear retribution for seeking healthcare’. The UN accepts countries have to change health services to focus on the virus. But they must not discriminate against LGBT people when making those decisions.

2 - When addressing the ‘socio-economic impacts of the pandemic’ states ‘should consider the particular vulnerabilities of LGBTI people’. In particular the UN mentions protecting older and homeless LGBT people.

3 - It calls on ‘political leaders and other influential figures’ to speak out against ‘hate speech directed at the LGBT people in the context of the pandemic’.

4 - ‘Shelters, support services and other measures to address gender-based violence during the COVID-19 pandemic should take steps to include the LGBT population.’

5 - States should not use states of emergency to attack existing rights for LGBT people.

6 - Where countries restrict movement, they should protect ‘trans and gender non-conforming persons’. The UN adds that countries should instruct and train police not to discriminate against them.

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

The Barcelona Gay Men's Chorus has a dream

The Barcelona Gay Men Chorus (BGMC) is a chorus mainly formed by gay men which presents a quality musical proposal with a varied repertoire and an attractive staging, not being necessary to have previous experience but to show commitment and attitude.

BGMC aims to give visibility and normalize homosexuality through its performances, openly showing men who express themselves freely as homoaffective people and focused on a general audience, not exclusively LGBT.

As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the men of BGMC have recorded a song from their homes about a dream. They shared the song and wrote:

"If anything has brought us closer together during these days in lockdown, it’s a shared dream, a new world without borders. We’re all eager to get our freedom back and to once again feel the love of all those who used to surround us.

Now is the time to change, and just about anything is possible with the right amount of determination. We want to share our dream with you through our rendition of “Sueña”. It’s a celebration of our will to live and, above all, our desire to continue dreaming.

Everything will be just fine!"

Watch the song below and enjoy:

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Anderson Cooper anounces the birth of his first child

Anderson Cooper has provided some much-needed good news in these dark times after announcing the birth of his first child. The CNN news anchor, 52, took to Instagram to share a picture of himself with three-day-old son Wyatt, who was born via surrogate.

"I want to share with you some joyful news. On Monday, I became a father. This is Wyatt Cooper. He is three days old", Cooper wrote.

"He is named after my father, who died when I was ten. I hope I can be as good a dad as he was. My son's middle name is Morgan. It's a family name on my mom's side".  And he added: "Wyatt Morgan Cooper. My son. He was 7.2 lbs at birth, and he is sweet, and soft, and healthy and I am beyond happy."

"As a gay kid, I never thought it would be possible to have a child, and I’m grateful for all those who have paved the way, and for the doctors and nurses and everyone involved in my son's birth", he wrote.


Friday, May 1, 2020

Deviant, a short film about something that should never have happened

Directed by Benjamin Howard from a script co-written with James Hall, Deviant is both a period piece that captures a part of history that many would like to forget and a thoughtful drama about faith and redemption.

In the early 1960s, Marcel is a homosexual teenager whose desires are discovered by his mother. Keen to “cure” him of his ailment, she puts him in electrotherapeutic conversion therapy. But the therapy is tortuous and brutal, leaving Marcel shell-shocked and stunned.

The storytelling delves into the barbaric nature of its old-fashioned “conversion therapy” that Marcel undergoes, but he doesn’t change his inclinations. Instead, he emerges from the treatments conflicted, bewildered and ashamed of himself, a change detailed with great subtlety by actor Rudy Pankow (Outer Banks). The shocks he received haven’t changed him, but only broken him inside and shattered any inner sense of wholeness or worth. 

Between the 1940's-1960's, homosexuals were often involuntarily committed to psychiatric facilities by their own families, where they were promised to be cured of their "sexual illness". Methods used "to cure" homosexuality included electroshock therapy, castration, medical torture and transorbital lobotomies.

The American Psychiatric Association declassified homosexuality as a mental disorder in 1973. Only nine U.S. states have laws in place banning the use of conversion therapy on minors.

Watch the short film below:

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Wherever you are, stay at home!

LGBT people from all over the world say
'Stay at home' in their languages, 

by PinkNews and Paint:

Happy 2nd Birthday Prince Louis!

Kate Middleton and Prince William shared on social media an adorable pic of Prince Louis' face covered in rainbow colors as they joked 'Insta v Reality'. The young prince also proudly shows off his colourful messy hands.

The toddler was snapped playing with paint by mum Kate to celebrate his second birthday. And the royals thanked fans for their "lovely messages" on the little boy's second birthday.

The fifth-in-line to the throne had started painting a rainbow poster to thank the National Health Service for fighting on the frontlines against coronavirus. 

Congrats Prince Louis!!!

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

The reason why Netflix Outer Banks was finally shot in South Carolina

Outer Banks is a recent Netflix series about a group of teenagers from the wrong side of the tracks stumble upon a treasure map that unearths a long buried secret. Male stars are Chase Stokes, Rudy Pankow, Jonathan Daviss and Austin North.

The series was originally set in North Carolina, but it was finally shot in South Carolina in protest of HB-142, a N.C. state law preventing cities from passing laws that protect trans folks' access to public accommodations. The controversial "bathroom bill" held that people could only use bathrooms in government buildings corresponding with the sex listed on their birth certificates.

Jonas Pate, the creator of series, told he wrote his coming-of-age tale with Wilmington in mind, but Netflix decided not to film in the state due to HB-142. Pate finally chose Charleston to scout locations.

As far as protections in South Carolina go, Charleston became the first municipality in the state to adopt an ordinance that would stiffen penalties for offenses deemed hate crimes. Charleston also has a law protecting access to public accommodations on the basis of gender identity.

In any case, Outer Banks' over-the-top melodrama is balanced out by a strong sense of adventure that's bound to hook those looking to capture that summer feeling.

Enjoy the official trailer and cast below:

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Sell By, a romantic comedy regardless of sexuality

Two gay men navigate the challenges of a smartphone era relationship in Sell By, writer-director Mike Doyle’s debut feature film that aims to push the boundaries of the romantic comedy genre by avoiding its tropes. 

The movie, which premiered at Toronto’s Inside Out Festival and screened at Outfest Los Angeles, is a star-studded ensemble piece about the lives and loves of seven career-driven pals in New York. At the core of this Manhattan friendship circle are Adam (played by Scott Evans) and Marklin (Augustus Prew), who have been together for five years. 

Though Adam dreams of making a name for himself in the visual art world, he’s settled for a “ghost painting” gig with established artist Ravella Brewer (Patricia Clarkson), who passes his work off as hers. Meanwhile, Marklin has shot to internet fame as an Instagram influencer and, much to Adam’s chagrin, has outpaced his boyfriend’s modest salary through sponsors and partnership deals.

The movie is a thoroughly optimistic piece and emphasizes the similarities between its straight and gay characters as opposed to their differences.The heartfelt film proves that love is a dangerous game for a group of self-absorbed friends who are trying to navigate their own romances. Nobody said love was easy.

“There have been so many great films about coming out and battling adversity,” said Doyle. “I wanted to make a film that presupposed all of that and simply showed a gay couple in a relationship with one another. In doing so, I hope to portray the universality of the challenges of being in a relationship with another human being, regardless of sexuality or gender identity,” he explained.  

Director Mike Doyle talks about his movie below:

Friday, April 24, 2020

Gay couple distributes rainbow facemasks in Poland

In a move that was not only charitable but courageous, a gay couple in Poland recently produced and distributed hundreds of free rainbow-hued facemasks.

Jakub Kwiecinski and Dawid Mycek documented their philanthropy in a YouTube video, highlighting the love and appreciation they received for the Pride-themed personal protective equipment. The positive response was heartwarming and, frankly, surprising, considering how hostile Poland has been towards LGBT people.

One-third of the nation's municipalities passed resolutions in the past years outlawing "LGBT propaganda". Activists have called these areas, which add up to a land mass larger than the nation of Hungary, as LGBT-free zones.  

Same-sex relationships are not recognized there and LGBT people are frequently used as scapegoats by politicians in the deeply-conservative nation, which takes many cues from nearby Russia. Two new bills currently under consideration categorize homosexuality as pedophilia.

Watch the video below:

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Welcome to Lesbian Visibility Week 2020

It’s Lesbian Visibility Week, April 20-26, a digital initiative being launched by London-based Diva Media Group to celebrate lesbians and show solidarity with all women in LGBT community. It builds on Lesbian Visibility Day, which has been observed around the world April 26 since 2008.

The media group, publisher of Diva magazine, kicked off the week with publication of the results of the largest piece of research ever conducted into the lives of LGBT women and the unveiling of the Visible Lesbian 100 list. Those named to the list were nominated by the public and include U.K. and U.S. lesbians who are prominent in business, arts and entertainment, sports, activism, and other sectors.

“Growing up, it was so rare for me to see lesbian women who were successful, accepted, and living out and proud,” GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said. “Today, visibility of lesbian women, both transgender and cisgender, still remains strikingly low. During this time of global strife and uncertainty, it’s so important to celebrate the beautiful diversity of the LGBT community, and to applaud all lesbian women who inspire young women to be proud of themselves and rise up together as women.”

The week also includes online panels and seminars on work, wellness, and other topics. These will feature well-known speakers from throughout the community, including BBC journalist Jane Hill. These will be hosted on Zoom, YouTube, and other platforms, and daily updates will be available on Diva’s social media channels.

In addition, the media group is initiating a new marketing campaign, #ThisIsMe, which has been developed entirely by women in the LGBT media and creative community, and spotlighting those in the Visible Lesbian 100 as well as other key LGBT figures.

26 April, Lesbian Visibility Day

Monday, April 20, 2020

1 in 2 Russians want LGBT people eliminated or isolated

According to a new independent poll from Levada Center almost one in five (18 percent) of Russians believe that LGBT people should be “eliminated.” 

While the 18 percent tally is horrifying as is stands, the figure does show that it’s a slight improvement from 2015, when that number was 21 percent.

Furthermore, the 2020 poll shows that 32 percent of Russians believe that gays and lesbians should be “isolated from society.” That number also improved slightly given that in 2015, it was 37 percent.

In general, support for the LGBT community has been a slow burn since 2015. Russians who favored helping the community rose from 6 percent in 2015 to 9 percent in 2020.

“The stigmatization of socially vulnerable people has decreased over the past 30 years, and norms that require helping and not isolating from them have expanded,” Levada sociologist Karina Pipiya told.

“Besides state support measures,” Pipiya continued, “the development of the non-profit sector and the emergence of organizations working to improve the image of vulnerable groups in the eyes of society play an important role.”

Stop homophobia in Russia

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Poland may stop sex education for turning kids gay

Under the country’s constitution, Polish citizens can submit legislative proposals if they can gather at least 100,000 signatures. A group of citizens proposed a new law which could end sex education at schools. 

Yesterday, Polish lawmakers voted not to kill the proposal called 'Stop Pedophilia' bill and send it to a parliamentary commission for further review.

The bill backers said: "The organisations and activists most involved in the promotion of sexual education in our country are the LGBT lobby. In Western Europe, members of these movements involved in implementing sex education in schools were convicted of paedophilia." They add the claim that children are sexually awakened and familiarised with homosexuality during sex education lessons. 

Unsurprisingly, sex educators and LGBT campaigners fear the law would be used unfairly. They warn it could end up stopping all sex education in schools. Besides, If the law goes ahead, sex educators would face three years jail. 

Moreover, they say the law would make schools even less welcoming to LGBT kids who already face bullying and exclusion.

The bill represents a further ramping up of hatred against LGBT+ people in Poland.

Several Polish cities and districts declared their neighborhoods
to be LGBT Free Zones. These zones are not legally enforceable 
but have made LGBT Poles feel threatened and excluded

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

LGBT group sues Ukraine Orthodox Patriarch for linking coronavirus to gay marriage

A Ukrainian LGBT group has sued one of the country's most prominent religious figures over comments blaming the spread of the coronavirus on same-sex marriage.

Kiev-based group Insight said it took legal action against Patriarch Filaret, who heads one of Ukraine's largest Orthodox congregations, over remarks made during a TV interview that rights activists said risked fuelling hatred and discrimination.

Since the first cases of COVID-19 were identified in China in December 2019, several religious figures across the world have suggested the emergence of the virus was divine retribution for same-sex activity, which they see as sinful.

Filaret added his voice in March, telling Ukrainian national TV network Channel 4 that the epidemic was "God's punishment for the sins of men, the sinfulness of humanity. First of all, I mean same-sex marriage," said Filaret.

"Such statements... are very harmful because they could lead to increased attacks, aggression, discrimination and acceptance of violence against certain groups," said Maria Guryeva, a spokeswoman for Amnesty International Ukraine.

The administrative proceeding filed in a Kiev court sought to obtain an apology for disseminating false information and a rectification from the Patriarch and the TV channel that aired the interview, said Shevchenko of Insight. "We just want them to be more responsible the next time," she said.

While the government has increased support for LGBT rights in recent years, same-sex unions are not legally recognised in Ukraine and activists say homophobia remains widespread.