Saturday, February 29, 2020

Gay groups still cannot participate in Staten Island St. Patrick's Parade

Organizers of the Staten Island St. Patrick’s Day parade continue to exclude gay groups from marching, the only Irish parade in city that continues to do so. The decision grows more baffling, and damaging, with each passing year.

One parade organizer recently told that the parade is a “non-sexual identification parade, and that’s that.”

In years past, others have pointed to Catholic Church teachings against homosexuality as a justification for prohibiting gays from marching openly.

A separate committee organizes the parade, but the event is identified with a local chapter of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, a Roman Catholic fraternal order.

LGBT groups now participate in St. Patrick’s Day parades both large and small across the New York region and the United States. But in Staten Island, the city’s least populous and most conservative borough, the parade has not changed.

Thursday, February 27, 2020

China is ready for same-sex marriage

China may get marriage equality faster than anyone thought, after the public called for it in huge numbers.

In late 2019, the country’s top legislative body allowed the public to make suggestions for an updated draft of China’s Civil Code. And Chinese people replied with an avalance of submissions. Nearly 250,000 sent feedback in just one month.

But they surprised LGBT+ activists and the government alike with the most popular suggestion. Over 190,000 of them made the same proposal: legalize same-sex marriage.

Just as significantly, polling indicates that the public response to the government’s Civil Code consultation was not an isolated incident. In December, Chinese news site polled 10million people and 66% of the respondents favored legalizing same-sex marriage.

In the past, Chinese officials have been reluctant to address LGBT issues in public. But these results are so overwhelming, they have now publicly acknowledged that legalizing gay marriage has huge popular support.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

A third of Poland declared ‘LGBT-free zone'

Polish municipalities across an area greater than the size of Hungary have adopted resolutions that critics say discriminate against LGBT people and make intolerance official. A third of Poland has declared itself to be an official “LGBT-free” zone as local municipalities sign a pledge adopting resolutions against “LGBT propaganda”.

Nearly 100 Polish municipal or local governments have now proclaimed themselves to be “free from LGBTI ideology”. Local authorities in these areas pledge to refrain from acts that encourage tolerance and must avoid providing financial assistance to NGOs working to promote equal rights.

European Parliament passed a resolution that strongly condemned the concept of LGBT-free zones last December. It called on Poland to “firmly condemn” LGBT discrimination and to revoke resolutions attacking LGBT rights, and instructed the European Commission to ensure that EU funds are not “being used for discriminatory purposes”.

This warning was ignored by the ruling party Law and Justice (PiS), who are largely responsible for driving the upswing anti-LGBT sentiment in Poland.

Equality parades in Poland are routinely attacked by far-right activists who violently oppose Pride-goers with homophobic chants and explosive projectiles. In fact, Polish hate crime laws provide little deterrent as they do not cover sexuality or gender identity. 

In red, the municipalities which signed the 'LGBT-free' pledge

Monday, February 24, 2020

9 year old boy asks Pete Buttigieg to help him tell the world he is gay

Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg had a rally at the Crowne Plaza Denver Airport Convention Center. At the end of the night, the candidate took questions from audience members drawn from a bowl.

Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold was called on to read the questions. “The next question comes from Zachary, aged 9,” she declared before reading on.

“He says, ‘Thank you for being so brave, would you help me tell the world I’m gay too? I want to be brave like you.'” Buttigieg then invites the young man to join him on the stage.

“I don’t think you need a lot of advice from me on bravery,” Buttigieg said to cheers from the crowd. “You seem pretty strong.”

Buttigieg then took a moment to share advise with young Zachary: “I was afraid that who I was might mean that I could never make a difference and what wound up happening instead is that it’s a huge part of the difference I get to make. I never could have seen that coming and you’ll never know whose life you might be affecting right now, just by standing here. Right now. There’s a lot of power in that,” he said.

He finished with a message of hope and solidarity: “Even if I can’t promise it will always be easy, I can promise you that I’m going to be rooting for you and I think there’s a whole bunch of people here who are going to be rooting you every step of the way,” Pete said.

Watch the video below:

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Pete Buttigieg on Ellen DeGeneres Show

Democratic presidential candidate and former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg told on Ellen DeGeneres show that one of the strongest people he knows "is my husband... Brad Pitt." 

The joke was a callback to Buttigieg's appearance on The Ellen Show in April, when DeGeneres asked the candidate about his husband, Chasten Buttigieg, and pointed to him in the audience, only to reveal Brad Pitt. Chasten was in the audience this time, sitting next to DeGeneres' wife, Portia de Rossi.

It followed Buttigieg's response to conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh's controversial Feb. 12 comments over whether America is "ready" to elect a gay man as president.

"OK, how's this going to look," Limbaugh said. "37-year-old gay guy kissing his husband on stage next to Mr. Man Donald Trump? What's going to happen there?" He went on to say America is "still not ready to elect a gay guy kissing his husband on the debate stage."

Asked by DeGeneres about Limbaugh's comments, Buttigieg raised his eyes to the audience and laughed. "Look, I guess he just has a different idea of what makes a man than I do," he said.

"And since when is strength about the chest pounding and the loud-mouth guy at the end of the bar? The strongest people that I know are not the loudest people. They're the ones who have the deepest sense of who they are and what they value and what they care about," he added.

It wasn't all laughs with the candidate. DeGeneres asked Buttigieg about his low polling numbers with minorities, particularly African Americans. While he's had success in the primaries so far, both states Iowa and New Hampshire are overwhelmingly white. "I think it's gotta begin with humility," Pete told Ellen.

"I think the next best thing I can do is to show up, to listen, to learn and to elevate those voices. And so what we're trying to do is make sure that those voices are elevated in my campaign as a way to demonstrate what it will be like in my presidency, too."

Ellen also asked Pete about his commitment to party unity in light of a contentious debate earlier in the week in Nevada. He criticized candidate Sen. Amy Klobuchar for not knowing the name of Mexico's president, and he went after Sen. Bernie Sanders as a socialist who "wants to burn this party down." He also implied that Sanders and former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg aren't actually Democrats.

"I think the heat of competition obviously draws out our differences," Pete said. "But it's also important to remember that at the end of the day, I think Democrats share the same broad values. And there's going to be one nominee. And whoever it is, we have got to rally around that nominee if we want to defeat this president, and I'm committed to doing that."

To me, he is the candidate. Watch the enterview below:

Friday, February 21, 2020

Student protest for dismissal of two teachers for being gay in Washington

Students at Kennedy Catholic High School in Burien, Washington, staged both a sit-in and a walkout after two beloved teachers, Paul Danforth and Michelle Beattie, were forced to resign for being gay.

People gathered at both protests said in interviews that they demand both the reinstatement of the teachers and a change in the church’s stance on same-sex relationships. Many, including Catholic-school graduate Grace Armstrong, pointed to what she called a contradiction between Jesus’s message of acceptance and love and the church’s policies. 

They spilled out onto the lawn and spoke into a microphone in front of a banner that read, “Who would Jesus fire? #LoveisLove.” 

A GoFundMe campaign had raised nearly $35,000 to help Paul and Michelle cover expenses until they can find other jobs.

Supporters of the teachers also protested outside the local Seattle Archdiocese offices, watch it below:

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Daddyhunt: the serial

A young man mistakes his salt&pepper older neighbor for a handyman, which begins a gay romance story for the modern age. This Award Winning 'Short Movie Version' combines Seasons 1, 2 and 3 of the web series, which was originally conceived to promote the gay dating app 'Daddyhunt'.

In December 2014, Carl Sandler launched Daddyhunt, a mobile, gay dating-app for older men and their admirers. He wrote and produced a web series to promote his app called Daddyhunt: The Serial (2016). It consisted of five episodes that were between 1 to 2 minutes in length. The whole thing was 7 minutes total. It was a very simple and adorable story about an older man who meets a younger guy in a new apartment building but a misunderstanding threatens their coupling. 

In April 2017, a second season was released that picks up right where the first season left off. It was a little bit longer. This time, it was divided into seven episodes or seven parts, each part being about 2 minutes or less with the exception of the last part. The second season in total was 13 minutes and involved the two men discovering their different sexual habits and worrying if those differences mean they won’t be a good match. The last part seemed to suggest a fairy tale ending with the two walking off happily in love.

In October 2018, season 3 continues the saga of two men who connect on the social network Daddyhunt. The daddy and boy’s happy romance is tested when a past love brings to the surface some insecurities and doubts that have profound consequences on the couple. Meanwhile, the BFF meets his romantic match in a self-depreciating dork, but things take a turn for the worse once his HIV status is discovered. And the ex’s hopes of a reconciliation with the daddy may be within reach, with a little help… Two months later, all their lives converge and each needs to decide whether to let history hold them back or to take a second chance on love.

To date, it has received over 10 million views across Facebook and YouTube.

Watch it below:

Season 1: All episodes

Season 2: Part 1

Season 2: Part 2

Season 3: Part 1

Season 3: Part 2

Monday, February 17, 2020

Putin vows to never permit same-sex marriage in Russia

President Vladimir Putin has vowed to never permit same-sex marriage or parenting in Russia.

“As far as ‘parent number 1’ and ‘parent number 2’ goes, I’ve already spoken publicly about this and I’ll repeat it again: As long as I’m president this will not happen. There will be dad and mum,” Putin said.

He also endorsed amending the constitution to prevent same-sex marriages. “We need only to think in what phrases and where to do this,” he said. The possible changes to Russia’s constitution appear to be designed to help Putin keep influencing the nation’s affairs even after he leaves office in 2024,

Putin’s Russia is a very homophobic and transphobic place, especially given the 2013 law that bans so-called gay propaganda, really, any positive mention of LGBT identity that would be accessible to minors. And Putin has largely ignored the persecution of LGBT people in Chechnya, a semiautonomous republic within Russia.

LGBT rights are constantly trampled in Russia

Saturday, February 15, 2020

The Arab world's only gay radio station is in Tunisia

In Tunis, the Tunisian capital, there is Shams Rad, the Arab world's first LGBT radio station. It is low budget but professional, with enough space for seven contributors. The corridors are painted in the colours of the LGBT rainbow flag.

"I was the first person to annoy people in the media and speak openly about LGBT issues in Tunisia on air," says Bouhdid Belhedi, director of Shams Rad.

Bouhdid says that six months after the station was set up, it has 10,000 listeners each week across 15 countries, and is streamed online and live via YouTube six days a week.

The station plays music and issues are discussed in depth but LGBT contributors don't identify themselves as sexually active on air.

The Dutch embassy in Tunis is partly funding the station and after international pressure and a legal challenge, the station's parent organisation, Shams, was officially recognised. This is believed to be the first time any LGBT group has gained this status in North Africa.

Homosexuality is both illegal and widely considered to be unacceptable in Tunisia, and same-sex relations are punishable by up to three years in prison.

“I hope this will make a difference and create more tolerance. That is why we are here,” Bouhdid added.

Contributors cannot be displayed

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Pete Buttigieg is the frontrunner in delegates right now

Bernie Sanders won the popular vote in both the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary, but Pete Buttigieg is leading the field in delegates won thanks to how delegates are allocated. Right now, Buttigieg has early victories under his belt and slightly more delegates than any other candidate.

Democratic presidential contenders are heading to a critical stage of the primary race after Iowa and New Hampshire showed a sharply divided party that is undecided on who is best placed to face Donald Trump in November.

Sanders and Buttigieg have emerged as the two leaders after strong showings in the Hawkeye and Granite states, but they face a much different electorate in the next contests in Nevada and South Carolina.

While polls over the past few months have consistently shown former Vice President Joe Biden leading in South Carolina, and near the top in Nevada, much of the landscape has changed.

The biggest prize, however, will come on Super Tuesday on March 3, when about a third of all pledged delegates will be allocated, with the potential to shake up the race. 

This just started!

Buttigieg has more delegates than any other candidate

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Joaquin Phoenix supports queer rights in Oscar speech

Joaquin Phoenix is continuing to use his platform for good and shining light on progressive causes. 

In an emotional acceptance speech for the Best Actor in a Leading Role award, which he won for his role as the controversial DC Comic villain Joker, the veteran actor talked about how one of the greatest gifts being a notable celebrity has given him is "the opportunity to use our voice for the voiceless." 

He then talked about his support for many different causes for equality, including women's rights, animal rights, and queer rights.

"I do not feel elevated above any of my fellow nominees or anyone in this room, because we share the same love, the love of film and this form of expression has given me the most extraordinary I don’t know what I’d be without it. But I think the greatest gift that it has given me, and many of us in this room, is the opportunity to use our voice for the voiceless," Phoenix said. 

"Whether we’re talking about gender inequality or racism or queer rights or indigenous rights or animal rights, we’re talking about the fight against the belief, one nation, one race, one gender or one species has the right to dominate, control and use and exploit another with impunity," he added.

Watch the moment below:

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Switzerland backs law against LGBT discrimination

Swiss voters approved a proposed law to make homophobia a criminal offence in the country. Results show opponents clearly lagging behind.

The support of the extended anti-racism law, aimed at improving protection against discrimination based on sexual orientation, are likely to win about 60% of the vote.

The reform was approved by parliament in 2018, but a small ultra-conservative religious group, supported by the right-wing Swiss People’s Party, then collected enough signatures to force a nationwide ballot.

Opponents, who forced the referendum ballot, admitted defeat but vowed to fight against further amendments for other social minorities.

Campaigners from the LGBT community described the result as a "clear signal against hatred". They said they will continue to their political fight for same-sex marriage due to be discussed in parliament next month. 

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Utah bans LGBT conversion therapy for children

Utah has became the 19th U.S. state to ban conversion therapy aimed at changing sexual orientation or gender identity in lesbian, gay, transsexual, bisexual and queer children.

The ban in the Republican-dominated state, which took effect on Wednesday, exempts members of the clergy, lay pastors, and spiritual counselors not licensed by the state from the ban. Despite those limits, this is still a big victory in a very conservative state.

Conversion therapy involves a variety of psychological and spiritual practices aimed at changing sexual orientation and gender identity in the belief that homosexuality and transgender identity are mental illnesses.

The American Psychological Association has called the treatment harmful to young people. The American Medical Association has said that conversion therapy does not work and can trigger depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and suicide attempts.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Pete Buttigieg leads in Iowa caucuses!

Yes! Iowa made it possible! Pete Buttigieg leads in Iowa caucuses!

Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg claimed a measure of victory in Iowa, telling supporters at his caucus watch party that the state had "shocked the nation."

A Buttigieg win or top finish in Iowa would be historic, marking the furthest an openly gay candidate has come to securing a party's presidential nomination. 

Buttigieg's potential strength in rural areas. During his campaigning in Iowa, he had tried to argue that he can bring in not only Democrats but independents and what he calls “future former Republicans.” He said that’s important in rural areas and industrial small towns where Trump had strength in 2016.

He declared: "Tonight’s results not only represent an astonishing victory for our movement, they validate the message of belonging that brought us here. If you believe that a new and better vision can bring about a better day, join us."

"With hope in our hearts and fire in our bellies, we’re going on to New Hampshire, on to the nomination, and on to chart a new course for our country," he added.

Jim Donchess, Mayor of Nashua, the second city in New Hampshire, endorsed Pete Buttigieg on Tuesday ahead of the state's presidential primary next week, citing the "unifying vision" of the former South Bend mayor's campaign.

"As a fellow mayor, I know firsthand that we don’t have the luxury of letting politics get in the way of what matters most, delivering for the people who depend on you. It’s time we had someone in the White House who understood that," Donchess said in a statement. 

"As president, Pete will serve communities like Nashua because he comes from a community like ours, and he will bring the voices of working people from cities and towns across America to Washington," he continued. 

New Hampshire, it is your turn to make History!!!

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Help Yulia to avoid jail under Russian gay propaganda law

When Yulja heard about a same-sex couple who had to flee Russia with their two adopted children after being targeted by the authorities, she drew a picture to show her solidarity.

After she shared this and other drawings promoting inclusivity on social media, the authorities brought trumped-up charges against her for violating the Russian "gay propaganda" law and distributing pornography, fined her 50,000 rubles (around 800 USD), and put her under house arrest. She could face up to six years in prison.

She is not the first person to be targeted under the "gay propaganda" law. But with your help, she might be the last. If enough people speak up, the charges might be dropped, and the "gay propaganda" law abolished once and for all.

Sign Yulja’s petition here.

To face prison for drawing this picture is unacceptable

Monday, February 3, 2020

Gay Chechnya survivor gets standing ovation at Sundance Film Festival

A gay man who survived persecution in Chechnya received a standing ovation at the Sundance Film Festival.

Maxim Lapunov was one of the panelists following the screening of Welcome to Chechnya, a documentary by David France about the violent persecution of LGBT community within the Russian republic.

Over 150 people have reportedly been detained, and some killed, in Chechnya since 2017 when the Chechen government first began a "cleansing" campaign against queer people. Lapunov, a Russian who was among those captured and tortured, is one of the few survivors to have come forward publicly about his ordeal. 

Sundance marked the world premiere of Welcome to Chechnya, which "shadows a group of activists risking unimaginable peril to confront the ongoing anti-LGBT pogrom raging in the repressive and closed Russian republic," according to its festival description. 

The documentary, for which filmmakers obtained unprecedented access to survivors, used digital blurring to mask faces and protect their identities. Early reviews have praised the film as "devastatingly brave" and praised France as "America’s foremost documentarian on LGBT issues."