Sunday, November 29, 2020

President-elect Biden plans swift moves to protect and advance LGBT rights

As vice president in 2012, Joe Biden endeared himself to many LGBT Americans by endorsing same-sex marriage even before his boss, President Barack Obama.

Now, as president-elect, Biden is making sweeping promises to LGBT activists, proposing to carry out virtually every major proposal on their wish lists. Among them: Lifting the Trump administration's near-total ban on military service for transgender people, barring federal contractors from anti-LGBT job discrimination, and creating high-level LGBT-rights positions at the State Department, the National Security Council and other federal agencies.

In many cases the measures would reverse executive actions by Trump, whose administration took numerous steps to weaken protections for transgender people and create more leeway for discrimination against LGBT people, ostensibly based on religious grounds.

In a policy document, the Biden campaign said Trump and Vice President Pence "have given hate against LGBT individuals safe harbor and rolled back critical protections."

Beyond executive actions he can take unilaterally, Biden says his top legislative priority for LGBT issues is the Equality Act, passed by the House of Representatives last year but stalled in the Senate. It would extend to all 50 states the comprehensive anti-bias protections already afforded to LGBT people in 21 mostly Democratic-governed states, covering such sectors as housing, public accommodations and public services.

Biden says he wants the act to become law within 100 days of taking office, but its future remains uncertain. Assuming the bill passes again in the House, it would need support from several Republicans in the Senate, even if the Democrats gain control by winning two runoff races in Georgia. 

Friday, November 27, 2020

Norway bans hate speech against bisexual and transgender people


Norway’s parliament outlawed hate speech against bisexual and transgender people expanding its penal code which has protected gay and lesbian people since 1981.

People found guilty of hate speech face a fine or up to a year in jail for private remarks, and a maximum of three years in jail for public comments, according to the penal code.

The bill was approved on its second reading without a vote, a parliamentary spokeswoman said, after it was backed by lawmakers on its first reading last week.

The amendments outlawed discrimination based on gender identity or gender expression and changed “homosexual orientation” to “sexual orientation”, meaning bisexual and transexual as well as lesbian and gay people will be explicitly protected from discrimination.

Norway is one of the most LGBT-friendly countries in the world and a good example for the rest.

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Identical Georgia twins change gender together


Jace and Jack Grafe, 25, are inseparable twins from Georgia who do everything together. They have the same friends, the same interests, and they are both working as corrections officers. They even started hormone therapy at the same time.

But it wasn’t until Jace and Jack were 14 that they had even heard the word “transgender.” Both were assigned female at birth but knew that they were boys.

Still, they were from a small-town in Georgia and they attended a Christian school. It took time for them to even share their feelings with one another. They kept on presenting as female until they finished high school, but when they were done they started exploring their options to live authentically.

When they were 21, they started hormone therapy within one week of each other. Jace said that if it weren’t for his brother, he would have had a harder time accepting himself.

Today, they’re each in a relationship and their driver’s licenses have male gender markers.

So heartwarming!!

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Pussy Riot activists fined for 'celebrating' Putin’s birthday with rainbow flags

Maria Alyokhina and Veronika Nikulshina were arrested on 7 October, after hanging rainbow flags from government buildings in Moscow, to 'celebrate' the 68th birthday of the anti-LGBT Russian leader Vladimir Putin

The pair are part of the Pussy Riot, the collective that has staged countless protests in favour of women’s rights and LGBT rights, and they hung rainbow flags from the buildings of the federal security service, the presidential administration, the supreme court, the culture ministry and a police headquarters, in the Russian's capital.

Several members of the group faced weeks in police detention after the action. And two journalists were also briefly detained by police while covering the demonstration.

On 23 November, the pair were both slapped with fines by Moscow courts for the protest, which was deemed an oultlaw public gathering, though a very small number of activist were present.

Recently, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled that Russia unlawfully violated LGBT activists’ right to protest.

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Trump appointed judges in Florida overturn ban on conversion therapy for minors

It’s been revealed that a federal appeals court in Florida has overturned the banning of conversion therapy in Boca Raton and Palm Beach County, in a 2-1 decision. The ordinance in question was created to stop “treating minors with any counseling, practice, or treatment performed with the goal of changing an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity.”

Two of the judges on the case, Britt C Grant and Barbra Logoa, appointed by Donald Trump, have ruled to overturn Florida laws banning conversion therapy for LGBT minors.  The judges, who are both members of the conservative Federalist Society, determined that the laws violated the First Amendment.  

Judge Grant recognised that overturning the laws "allows speech that many find concerning, even dangerous" but said it was warranted because the First Amendment "does not allow communities to determine how their neighbors may be counseled about matters of sexual orientation or gender."  

The ruling effectively dissolves 21 other bans on the practice passed by cities and counties throughout Florida.  

Judge Beverly C. Martin, who also serves on the U.S. 11th District Court of Appeals, showcased her disappointment with Grant and Lagoa arguments. She also pushed back against the research tactics it took to get the requested evidence against conversion therapy, saying it “ignores the harm such studies would have on children,” and that it wasn’t “ethically permissible” for the research to take place.

She also noted that these claims aren’t baseless and conversion therapy is “backed up by a mountain of rigorous evidence,” while referring to the eight organizations that have found the practice a “risk” to children.

The case will likely go to the U.S. Supreme Court, which currently has a conservative majority with a 6 to 3 ratio, after Trump's appointments. 

Conversion therapy is a fraud. No matter how hard you try, you cannot change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. This so-called therapy has only ever proven to produce negative mental health outcomes and increase the risk of suicide.

This fight isn’t over!

Friday, November 20, 2020

First Polar Pride raises rainbows over North and South Poles


Several LGBT people took to the Poles for the first official Polar Pride

The event showing LGBT Pride was formally inaugurated by the governments of the British Antarctic Territory and South Georgia & the South Sandwich Islands.

Polar Pride coincided with the International Day of LGTB People in STEM, which aims to bring diversity to the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics education programs. This outreach is needed, as a new study showed that gay men are less likely to have degrees in these fields. 

To mark the occasion, a special rainbow pin featuring a penguin, representing the Antarctic and the South Pole, and a polar bear, representing the Arctic and the North Pole, were commissioned.

Happy Polar Pride Day!!!

The new Warwick Rowers calendar is here!

The Worldwide Roar (formerly Warwick Rowers) released their twelfth calendar, known as the best naked male calendar.

After ten years as the Warwick Rowers, they become the Worldwide Roar (WR). More men, more sports, more fun, but they are still athletes who fundraise for registered charity Sport Allies, to challenge homophobia and gender inequality through sport. 

As a mental health and human rights campaign, WR has been successful yearly through the simple but meaningful act of getting naked, and giving sportsmen everywhere the ability to demonstrate their commitment to LGBT rights, gender equality, better male mental health and combating structural racism.

Heading into their second decade, WR needs your help in making it even better than the first. You can help the cause by visiting and shopping their famous calendar.

Enjoy your WR calendar and the trailer below:

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Harry Styles is the first male to star alone on the Vogue's cover

Harry Styles has become the first solo male cover star of Vogue, in the magazine's 128-year history. For the December 2020 issue, the former "One Direction" band member explores gender fluidity on the cover in a lace ballgown by Gucci, crediting his "flamboyant" idols Prince, David Bowie, Elvis Presley, Freddie Mercury and Elton John, with giving him the confidence to buck the status quo and push boundaries.

"Clothes are there to have fun with and experiment with and play with. What’s really exciting is that all of these lines are just kind of crumbling away," Styles said.

Styles is the 10th man to ever be featured on the cover of Vogue, joining his former bandmate Zayn who appeared on the August 2017 cover alongside his girlfriend Gigi Hadid. Eight other men have appeared on the cover over the years in tandem with women, but none, until now, have appeared alone.

Watch the magazine cover and his performing an acoustic rendition of the Fine Line highlight "Cherry" while on set of his historic cover shoot below:

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Japan’s LGBT community mostly stays in hiding at work, study finds


Less than a fifth of the members of Japan’s LGBT community have opted to come out at their workplaces, according to a new study, although sexual minorities here say there is evidence of positive change within companies and society in general.

The study examined attitudes towards sexual minorities at companies in Japan and the ways in which they are treated differently than their heterosexual colleagues. Of the LGBT people who took part in the survey, just 17.6 per cent said they were open about their sexuality among their colleagues.

Just over 36 per cent of the 1,000 people taking part in the study, of whom precisely half were heterosexual and half identified as LGBT, said their companies conducted LGBT awareness training, while 34.4 per cent of firms took part in or sponsored events for sexual minorities.

Of the latter, 36.6 per cent provided congratulatory money gifts for special occasions, such as a wedding to a same-sex partner or a bereavement payment in case of death, but only 33 per cent included clear statements concerning discrimination in the workplace.

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

It's time Japan!!

A few municipalities and districts recognize same-sex couples

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Manchester United partners with Stonewall to promote LGBT inclusion in soccer

Manchester United has signed up to Stonewall’s Diversity Champions programme, which ensures all LGBT staff are accepted without exception in the workplace.

The LGBT charity will help the club with resources and training. Manchester United will also participate in Stonewall’s Workplace Allies programme which encourages non-LGBT employees become better allies to the community.

Richard Arnold, Manchester United group managing director, said: "We’re immensely proud of our relationship with Stonewall and delighted to be taking it to the next level with this strategic partnership. Diversity is a source of strength for Manchester United and ensuring a welcoming environment for LGBT employees and fans is a crucial part of that."

And he added: "We’re committed to making equality, diversity and inclusion integral to the way we work and this partnership with Stonewall will help us achieve that important goal, building on the range of other initiatives we have under way as part of our All Red All Equal campaign."

Eric Najib, leader of Manchester United’s official LGBT supporters club Rainbow Devils, said that they are proud to support and work with a club that is creating an inclusive environment for LGBT people.


Friday, November 13, 2020

A new equality strategy will push Europe to defend and protect LGBT rights

The European Union (EU) has published a five year strategy, pledging to take a bigger role in making Europe more LGBT inclusive. And it promises to tackle discrimination, ensure LGBT safety, build inclusive societies and lead the call for equality around the world.

The strategy sets out a clear work programme for a wide range of services in the EU in relation to LGBTI rights.

The European Commission promises to review freedom of movement rules to help rainbow families maintain the same rights as they travel and work across Europe. And it will extend the list of ‘EU crimes’ to cover hate crime and hate speech targeted at LGBT people.

The EU will help member states end ‘conversion therapies’ as well as genital mutilation of intersex children and stop countries from forcing trans people to have surgery before recognizing their identity.

It will also help LGBT asylum seekers, ensuring those who assess them are better trained. And it will work with partners around the world to advance LGBT rights.

Moreover, the Commission has clearly noted Poland’s ‘LGBT Free Zones’ and Hungary’s plan to block trans people from changing legal gender. The strategy sets out to toughen up action against EU members that attack the community.

Check the LGBT equality strategy here.

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

An out gay judge makes history with his appointment to California’s Supreme Court


Martin Jenkins, who was nominated for the vacant seat on the state court by Governor Gavin Newsom, will be the first out LGBT person ever to serve on the state’s highest court.

His nomination was unanimously confirmed with the independent Commission on Judicial Appointments issuing glowing praise of the eminently-qualified justice.

Its report says: "Justice Jenkins’ impressive 30-year record of professional accomplishment is equally matched by his strength of character, compassion, and integrity. He is praised for his brilliant intellect, first-class temperament, and boundless humanity."

"Accordingly, the Commission found Justice Jenkins to be exceptionally well qualified for the office to which he was nominated, Associate Justice of the California Supreme Court."

The justice kept his sexuality private for most of his life and only began coming out in the last five years, before meeting and falling in love with his partner, real estate broker Sydney Shand.


Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Students from all over Spain wear skirts to protest against gender stereotypes

High school boys and girls have created a student movement against homophobia and to claim that clothes have no gender after the story of Mikel, a young Basque who was taken to a psychologist by a teacher for wearing a skirt.

The action arised as a result of a video that had gone viral where a boy told that he had been recriminated for having been dressed in a skirt to class and as a claim to fight against gender stereotypes. It was Mikel, a young Basque who reported that he had suffered bad looks and homophobic slurs for wearing a skirt to go to class. He narrates that even one of his teachers caught his attention and sent him to the psychologist for his way of dressing. 

His story soon went viral and spread throughout Spain. Thousands of youth students from all over the country wanted to advocate for equality and, attending the call, have put on skirts to attend class. The networks were filled with videos of boys and girls wearing this garment to protest what they understand to be discrimination against gender equality and homophobia.

A group of students in Canada recently did the same.


Mikel's post in TikTok

Estudents in IES Son Ferrer (Balearic Islands): 
from Instragram

Sunday, November 8, 2020

Joe Biden is the first US president-elect to include trans people in his victory speech

Addressing a jubilant crowd in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware, the new president-elect declared it was now America’s “time to heal” and vowed to unify the nation once again.

He began by thanking the broadest and most diverse coalition in history for backing his campaign, including a shoutout to the LGBT community.

“I am proud of the campaign we built and ran. I am proud of the coalition we put together, the broadest and most diverse coalition in history,” he said. “Democrats, Republicans, independents. progressives, moderates, conservatives. Young, old. Urban, suburban, rural. Gay, straight, transgender. White, latino. asian, native American.”

“They always have my back, and I’ll have yours. I said from the outset I wanted a campaign that represented America, and I think we did that. Now that’s what I want the administration to look like,” he added.

Biden’s victory speech was a reassuring return to the professional, presidential rhetoric eschewed by Donald Trump, and a sign of his intention to be president to “all people”, including marginalised groups.

His words carried echoes of Barack Obama’s 2008 speech, which was the first time a president-elect had ever mentioned the gay community in an inaugural address.

Congratulations Mr. President!!!

Watch the Joe Biden & Kamala Harris full victory speeches below:

Friday, November 6, 2020

Todd Gloria will be the most powerful gay male mayor in U.S.

California Assemblymember Todd Gloria won his race for mayor of San Diego, becoming the first openly LGBT person elected mayor of California's second-largest city with 1.4 million.

Todd was part of a blue wave in San Diego, a city growing into another major Democratic stronghold in California, even with a sizable military presence and influence. San Diego voters also ousted Republicans on their City Council, where Democrats will soon control eight of the nine council seats.

Todd is now the second-highest ranking LGBT mayor in the country. As mayor of San Diego, he will be the most powerful gay male mayor in the nation. Chicago, the nation's third-largest city, has a lesbian, Lori Lightfoot, running it.

Todd endured antigay smear tactics during his mayoral campaign, which resulted in threats on his life. He was endorsed in his race by California Gov. Gavin Newsom and vice-presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris

Immigration, infrastructure, transportation, and homelessness are Todd's mayoral priorities. As mayor of San Diego, a city straddling the U.S.-Mexico border, he has also critiqued Donald Trump's border wall.


Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Historic LGBT and progressive win in U.S. elections


We still don't know who won the U.S. presidential election, but we do have some victories for LGBT  candidates in different states. A first reason to celebrate, before we can celebrate the victory of Joe Biden.

Check NowThis News for more information.

Monday, November 2, 2020

U.S. soccer star Megan Rapinoe and WNBA winner Sue Bird are engaged

U.S. Soccer star Megan Rapinoe announced her engagement to WNBA winner Sue Bird in an Instagram post showing a photo of the proposal.

Two of America’s best athletes met at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and began dating shortly afterwards. The pair became the first openly LGBT couple to appear in the ESPN "Body Issue" in 2018, and have together been vocal advocates for a variety of political and social causes.

The couple boast an impressive list of achievements. Megan has won two World Cups and an Olympic gold medal with the U.S. national team, and picked up the Ballon d’Or FĂ©minin for the world’s best women’s player in 2019. Sue, meanwhile, is one of the greatest basketball players of all time. In July, she won her fourth WNBA title to go alongside her four Olympic gold medals with U.S. Team. 

The announcement prompted well-wishes from numerous high-profile figures in sport and politics. As well as their sporting success, the couple are prominent social activists.


The moment they engaged

Sunday, November 1, 2020

DNA magazine is celebrating 20 years in 2020

This month, the Australian DNA magazine celebrates not just a milestone with 250th issue but its 20th anniversary. That’s 20 years of finding the best stories and hottest guys in the world to share with us. 

With last issue they also present '2020 Vision', a look back at two decades of LGBT challenges and triumphs. We also can read from the editor: DNA #250 And Our 20th Anniversary!:

Revisiting 250 issues of DNA is fun and a bit strange. Some stories and photo shoots feel like they happened a million years ago. Others still feel recent and raw. I have to admit that reviewing our images of the marriage equality announcement in Sydney in November 2017 brought back some strong emotions.  

250 issues, 20 years, two decades… we’ve experienced a lifetime of change. When DNA launched, marriage equality hadn’t even been seriously discussed within our own community, let alone the wider world. Today, gay marriage has been achieved in 29 countries. 

Read the full editorial here.

Happy 250th and we will keep reading for more years!!!