Wednesday, September 30, 2020

California governor signs four LGBT rights laws


California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) signed four pro-LGBT bills into law. The bills address housing and health care needs for trans people, insurance discrimination based on HIV status, and the COVID-19 pandemic's effect on LGBT people.

“California has some of the strongest pro LGBT laws in the nation and with the bills signed today, our march toward equality takes an additional step forward,” Newsom said in a statement about the bevy of bills.

First bill was SB 132, which requires the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation will now be required to ask inmates about their gender identities and pronouns and house them accordingly. This comes just months after a federal judge ruled that calling a transgender person by their correct pronouns would show bias.

The governor also signed SB 932, a bill that will require the state to collect information about LGBT people and the COVID-19 pandemic. This bill was introduced to ensure that LGBT community will no longer be invisible, and they will be counted by public health system.

AB 2218, which Newsom also signed, creates a Transgender Wellness and Equity Fund in the state, which will go towards helping transgender, non-binary, and intersex individuals access housing and health care.

And the fourth bill was SB 1255, which is intended to fight discrimination in health care faced by people living with HIV. The bill, entitled the Equal Insurance HIV Act, says that the life expectancy for HIV-positive people has nearly doubled since 1996 and requires that life and disability insurance for HIV-positive people be treated similarly to insurance for HIV-negative people.

Well done!!

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

New emojis for 2021 will include interracial gay couples


A brand new set of gender-inclusive emojis for 2021 will include a 'Woman with Beard' and a gender-neutral 'Person with Beard', it has been revealed.

The 217 digital images will also include an array of mixed-race, same-sex couples in a variety of skin tones and, summing up the modern mood, a 'Face with Spiral Eyes'.

On the organisation's main site, a post further clarified: "Additions are expected to include mixed skin tone support for all variations of [couple kissing] and [couple with heart], which until now have only been available in default yellow on most major platforms."

The emojis, designed by the Unicode Consortium, were recently teased on the Unicode blog.

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Obama endorses Democrat who would be first transgender State Senator if elected

Former President Barack Obama endorsed a second slate of Democratic nominees, including Delaware Senate candidate Sarah McBride. If McBride wins the election in November, she would become the first openly transgender person in the U.S. to be elected state senator.

Obama's involvement in the 2020 presidential election increased after it became evident that his former vice president, Joe Biden, would be the Democratic Party's presidential nominee. Obama officially endorsed Biden for the presidency in April. 

Obama said the second selection of Democratic candidates he chose to endorse "will work to get the virus under control, rebuild the economy and the middle class, and protect Americans' health care and preexisting conditions protections."

McBride said she was "overwhelmed with pride" to receive Obama's endorsement. "In 2008, I cast my first vote. It was for President Barack Obama. In 2012, I walked into the White House as the first trans woman to work there in any capacity. In 2020, I've been endorsed by the man I was proud to vote for and work for. I'm overwhelmed with pride," she added.

Good luck Sarah!!!

Friday, September 25, 2020

New York LGBT Film Festival is coming

NewFest, New York's LGBT film and media organization, has announced its program for the 32nd New York LGBT Film Festival. This year's event will feature virtual events, as well as drive-in screenings at the Queens Drive-In at Flushing Meadows Corona Park.

The festival will open on Oct. 16 with the New York City premiere of Francis Lee's "Ammonite," a romantic drama starring Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan. Winslet will present Lee with the festival's inaugural world queer visionary award ahead of the screening. On Oct. 27, the event will close with a virtual screening of Faraz Shariat's German drama, "No Hard Feelings."

This year's festival will feature film introductions shot in front of historic LGBT sites, community organizations and queer-owned businesses throughout the city, as well as panels and conversations on different LGBT topics.

Executive director David Hatkoff said: "We have created an 11-day event that will meet and speak to this moment, delivering a thought-provoking, inspiring and joyful look at the LGBT community and the unique challenges it faces, while also paying homage to the incredible queer legacy that exists in NYC."

Check NewFest website here and watch its trailer below:

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Pope Francis expresses acceptance of LGBT children

Pope Francis told a group of parents of LGBT children that “God loves your children as they are” and “the church loves your children as they are because they are children of God.” 

He did so in a brief encounter with some 40 Italian parents of LGBT children after the public audience in the Renaissance courtyard of San Damaso in the Vatican.

The parents are members of an Italian association founded in 2018, Tenda di Gionata, which welcomes and provides information and formation to LGBT Christians, their families and pastoral workers. 

Mara Grassi, the vice president of the association, told Pope Francis: “We wish to create a bridge to the church so that the church too can change its way of looking at our children, no longer excluding them but fully welcoming them.”

Having listened carefully to what she said, Pope Francis reassured her: “The church does not exclude them because she loves them deeply.”

In 2013, Pope Francis said who am I to judge if someone is gay? during a flight with journalists. And in 2016, Pope Francis called for the Catholic Church to be more welcoming to LGBT people.

Monday, September 21, 2020

No place for 'LGBT-free zones' anywhere in the world, Biden says

The head of the EU Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, gave an address to the European Parliament, in which she said there was no place in the bloc for so-called "LGBT-free zones", a pointed criticism of Poland's nationalist government pushing to curb the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

"LGBT-free zones are humanity free zones. And they have no place in our Union. Breaches of the rule of law cannot be tolerated," she said last Wednesday. "Because being yourself is not your ideology. It’s your identity. And no one can ever take it away", she added.

The Democratic Party presidential candidate Joe Biden referred to von der Leyen's address. "Let me be clear: LGBTQ+ rights are human rights - and 'LGBT-free zones' have no place in the European Union or anywhere in the world", Biden wrote.

They did not mention Poland by name, but did not need to. As part of the politically-driven attack on LGBT people, nearly 100 Polish municipal or local governments have proclaimed themselves zones “free from LGBT ideology” and opposing gay “propaganda”, covering nearly a third of the country.

Last December, the European Parliament adopted a resolution condemning anti-LGBT hate speech and public discrimination across Europe, specially in Poland. More recently, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet also highlighted LGBT rights abuses in Poland during her speech at the opening of the U.N. Human Rights Council’s latest session.

Friday, September 18, 2020

Nearly one million homes are composed of same-sex couples, in U.S.


Five years after the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriages around the U.S., more than a half million households are made up of married same-sex couples, according to figures the U.S. Census Bureau.

Since 2014, the number of married same-sex households has increased by almost 70%, rising to 568,110 couples in 2019. Of the 980,000 same-sex couple households reported in 2019, 58% were married couples and 42% were unmarried partners.

There were slightly more female couple households than male couple households. However, there was a difference between gay and lesbian couples. 

Married women in same-sex households were much more likely to be working than married women in opposite-sex households, but the reverse was true for married men in same-sex households. They were less likely to be working than married men in opposite-sex households.

Results also show almost 15% of same-sex couples had at least one child under age 18, compared to 37.8% of opposite-sex couples. Of the nearly 300,000 children living in a homes with same-sex couples, 66% were children of both partners or spouses, compared to 95% for opposite-sex couples.

Of those who responded to the survey as being in a same-sex married household, 82% identified as white, almost 7% identified themselves as Black and almost 4% were Asian. More than 13% were Hispanic. More than 16% of same-sex married households were interracial couples, double the rate for opposite-sex married couples.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Michelle Bachelet highlights LGBT rights abuses in UN Human Rights Council speech


U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet highlighted LGBT rights abuses in Poland and Honduras during her speech at the opening of the U.N. Human Rights Council’s latest session in Geneva.

Bachelet expressed concern “about the continuing repression of LGBT people and activists (in Poland), including restrictions on their freedom of assembly, and the government’s support for towns that have termed themselves ‘LGBTI-free zones.'”

“The scapegoating and targeting of a minority group, for political purposes, feeds intolerance and discrimination, damaging all of society,” said Bachelet.

Bachelet also noted “attacks on and violent deaths of LGBT persons continue to increase” in Honduras. She said the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights in Honduras has “documented” the murders of seven transgender women in the Central American country.

Last May, UN urged nations to protect LGBT people amid coronavirus

Monday, September 14, 2020

Iris Prize LGBT+ Film Festival 2020 announces Best of British shortlist

The Iris Prize LGBT Film Festival has revealed the LGBT short films which have been shortlisted for this year's £30,000 grand prize.

The Iris Prize, established in 2007 by The Festivals Company, is an international LGBT film prize which is open to any film which is by, for, about or of interest to gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or intersex audiences and which must have been completed within two years of the prize deadline.

The prize is open to filmmakers from around the world and judged by a panel of international filmmakers and artists. The winner receives the largest prize for a gay and lesbian film in the world, allowing the winner to make their next film. 

This year's Iris Prize LGBT Film Festival runs from 6 – 11 October 2020, and it will be online & free across the UK, bringing the best international queer films.

Catch the trailer of the 35 films competing for the 2020 Iris Prize below:

Thursday, September 10, 2020

The proposed ‘Traditional Values’ law in Russia shall prejudice LGBT rights

The bill before Russia’s parliament, called 'Traditional Values' law, would significantly affect the rights of  LGBT people. Among the proposed amendments to the family code are changes to the legal gender recognition rights for transgender people that will negatively affect their ability to marry and raise children. 

This discrimination is compounded by the proposed law’s explicit ban on same-sex marriage. The bill is discriminatory in and of itself and would flagrantly violate the European Convention on Human Rights, to which Russia is a party.

The new law falls into a pattern of the Russian government increasingly using so-called “traditional values” to trample human rights, particularly for LGBT people.

Russia’s notorious anti-gay “propaganda” law has been used increasingly in recent years as a tool for outright discrimination. Under the law, adopted in 2013, portraying same-sex relations as socially acceptable in the public domain and in the presence of children is illegal.

We may stand in solidarity with Russia’s strong LGBT activists, who will #NeverGiveUp their fight for freedom and equality. Please join to this campaign and post your selfie with the sign ‘Never Give Up’ in support of the tireless work of LGBT activists in Russia.

Monday, September 7, 2020

LGBT rights protest at the Poland - Germany border

An LGBT rights protest at the Poland-Germany border has shone a light on the growing disparity between the two nations on queer issues.

Over 2,000 demonstrators stood up to homophobia with a protest held jointly by activists in the closely-connected border towns of Slubice, in Poland, and Frankfurt an der Oder, in Germany, which are separated by a symbolic bridge across the River Oder.

German protesters carried signs and banners expressing their love for their LGBT Polish neighbours, as the groups marched across the border.

LGBT people are a popular punching bag for Poland’s conservative government, with right-wing president Andrzej Duda narrowly winning re-election in July after making homophobia one of the core planks of his campaign.

As part of the politically-driven attack on LGBT people, nearly 100 Polish municipal or local governments have proclaimed themselves zones “free from LGBT ideology” and opposing gay “propaganda”, covering nearly a third of the country.

The European Parliament passed a resolution that strongly condemned the concept of LGBT-free zones, noting that they are “part of a broader context of attacks against the LGBT community in Poland, which include growing hate speech by public and elected officials and public media, as well as attacks and bans on Pride marches”.

Saturday, September 5, 2020

UK students will receive LGBT inclusive sex education

A landmark ruling last year means that UK schools will finally be teaching LGBT inclusive sex education. The ruling made inclusive relationship and sex education compulsory in all schools in England, with all schools being given until the summer of 2021 to make good on their word.

New regulation means that all secondary schools will teach about sexual orientation and gender identity, and all primary schools will teach about different families, with schools being “enabled and encouraged” by the Government to include LGBT families in this teaching. This is about showing kids that families can have two mums, two dads or a trans parent. Or to put it another way: different families, same love. This is in stark contrast to what was taught in UK schools only a few decades ago, which was total silence on LGBT topics and sex education.

From now, hopefully it be different. Independent and faith schools are not supposed to be excluded from the ruling either, however, they may find ways around it. But in the UK, religion is protected under the 2010 Equality Act (as are sexual orientation and gender identity). As such, some schools may argue to teach within their beliefs.

For now, millions of British students will return to schools for the first time since the start of the pandemic and hopefully they be met with a more inclusive environment.


Thursday, September 3, 2020

Same-sex couples can finally marry in a church in Northern Ireland


The first same-sex religious marriages can be arranged in Northern Ireland from 1 September. It follows legislation introduced by the Northern Ireland Office in July.

Same-sex marriage has been legally recognised in Northern Ireland since January but did not extend to ceremonies in churches or to religious bodies. There are exemptions and protections for religious bodies that do not wish to conduct same-sex marriages.

Couples can give their 28 days' notice of intent to have a religious service from 1 September, which means the first ceremonies could take place on 29 September.

Same-sex marriage campaigners have welcomed the move, but are now urging the government to make marriage fully equal by allowing same-sex couples with an existing civil partnership to be able to convert their partnership into a marriage.

The House of Commons backed same-sex marriage for Northern Ireland

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Pride celebration in Odessa is attacked by neo-Nazis and needs police protection

Odessa Pride organisers said that peaceful Pride event on Sunday afternoon had only been underway for ten minutes were set upon by the neo-Nazi thugs, who were bearing the banners of a ‘Traditions and Order’ far-right nationalist group, in Ukraine.

Pride organisers say that despite assurances from police that they would ensure the event was protected, officers did not react fast enough to the attack, with LGBT activists abused and attacked with pepper spray before police eventually sought to break up the conflict, forming a barrier surrounding the small pro-LGBT group.

The Pride organisers note that the event has gone off without violence for six years in a row, adding: “Those who attacked demonstrators should be punished for physical and psychological violence against citizens of Ukraine. Odessa police should be punished for standing idle during a crime.”

Police said that 12 people were arrested for petty hooliganism and disobeying the instructions of a police officer, while three minors “were handed over to their parents”. Two officers were hospitalised with injuries after the clash, the police department adds. 

LGBT people have few legal rights in Ukraine. The country has passed some basic gender recognition laws and discrimination protections as it seeks to align with EU law, but there is no recognition for same-sex relationships, and gay couples are banned from getting married or adopting children.

Watch the video below: