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: