Thursday, December 31, 2020
Tuesday, December 29, 2020
The 2020 Human Rights Campaign’s Municipal Equality Index report is out. This is the ninth annual municipal equality list HRC has compiled. Across the U.S. 94 cities earned perfect scores this year, up from 88 last year.
Cities that are included have to meet certain criteria such as being a state capital or one of the 200 largest cities in the U.S. More than 500 cities across the country were ranked this year. Cities receive points based on their LGBT-friendly laws, policies, benefits and services.
Four cities in South Florida received perfect scores in the list, including Wilton Manors, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and Miami Beach. Wilton Manors, known as Broward County’s “gayborhood,” is one of those cities that came out on top, their seventh time in a row doing so.
Fort Lauderdale tops the list for the second year in a row. Two years ago Fort Lauderdale enacted a human rights ordinance that banned discrimination against the LGBT community in the area’s employment, housing, and public accommodation.
West Palm Beach is another self-submitter, where elected officials enacted laws and policies to provide equal rights, protections, and benefits for LGBT residents and visitors
And the city with the biggest increase over 2019 was Miami, which saw its score jump 20 points from 55 to 75. According to the scorecard two areas where they improved included adding LGBT liaisons in the city executive’s office and within the police department.
Congrats South Florida!!!
Monday, December 28, 2020
San Francisco's LGBT center is finding homeless youth a home for the holidays. It's run by a "Host Home" program financed by federal Housing and Urban Development funds.
The nationally-recognized program aims to find volunteers to house homeless LGBT youth ages 18 to 24 for a period of three months to one year.
According to the San Francisco 2019 Youth Homeless Count and Survey, 46 percent of youth experiencing homelessness in the city identify as LGBT. That's slightly higher than national statistics reporting 20 to 40 percent of homeless youth identifying as LGBT, according to civil rights research organization Lambda Legal.
"As you know it's been incredibly difficult to find hosts during this time," said Karessa Irvin, program manager for San Francisco's LGBT center. According to Irvin, the center helps pair youth with families who can provide extra space in their home.
Host homes are currently being used in numerous cities across the United States, including: Minneapolis, Baltimore, Louisville, Venice Beach, Los Angeles, San Jose, Santa Cruz, Cincinnati, Rochester, Seattle, and others. Each community uniquely implemented the host home program to fit the needs of their youth. The SF LGBT Center will do the same.
Learn more about "Host Home":
Saturday, December 26, 2020
The highest grossing Taiwanese LGBT film, Your Name Engraved Herein, with five Golden Horse Award nominations is now streaming on Netflix.
Set in 1980s in post-martial law Taiwan the film follows two teen boys, Jia-han and Birdy as they fall in love during a difficult time of transition.
“I hope viewers can relate to LGBT community’s feeling of genuine affection and heartaches that are just as susceptible as everyone else,” director Patrick Liu, said of the film. “I look forward to sparking more discussion across Asia. It is my hope to erase discriminations and heal the world with more love and acceptance.”
Taiwan has become the most LGBT friendly Asian country legalising same-sex marriage and this year hosting the world’s largest Pride parade.
Watch the trailer below:
Wednesday, December 23, 2020
Singer-songwriter Steve Grand has made it again. He shared his latest music video for Christmas, a follow up to his 2015 music video covering Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas is You", and Trevor LaPaglia features in the video again.
The new theme is "I'll be home for Christmas", and he takes the opportunity to wish everyone a healthy and happy Holiday Season. Although the difficult moment all we live, he is confident that we will get through this.
Steve affirms that he absolutely loves this song. The most realistic, best feeling, best sounding, and best looking keyboard he has ever played.
In the video's description, he also provides a handful of links to organizations that are working to provide relief to those hit hardest during this times of unprecedented crisis. Wonderful.
Thanks so much Steve, and Merry Christmas to you and yours!!!
Tuesday, December 22, 2020
Organised by the Ozanne Foundation charity, the declaration has been signed by faith leaders from 35 countries, including representatives of the world's main religions. The signatories include catholic Archbishop Desmond Tutu and eight other archbishops, more than 60 rabbis, and senior Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus and Buddhists.
Westminster Abbey hosted a private celebration after the event, led by the deans of Westminster and St Paul’s cathedral. The declaration calls for an end to the criminalisation of LGBT people and to “ conversion therapy”, which refers to any form of treatment or psychotherapy which aims to change a person's sexual orientation or to suppress a person's gender identity. It can range from electric shock treatment to religious teachings or talking therapies designed to change someone's sexuality.
The announcement, which marks the launch of the Global Interfaith Commission on LGBT Lives, will be made at a virtual conference of global faith representatives funded by Britain's foreign ministry (FCDO).
The declaration also acknowledges "with profound regret" that religious teachings through the centuries have caused and continue to cause deep pain and offence to those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex.
Watch their declaration below:
Sunday, December 20, 2020
Switzerland’s parliament has passed the final vote on same-sex marriage, after a seven year campaign. This makes Switzerland the 29th country in the world to approve marriage equality.
The vote could still be challenged by a public referendum. But even if it is, marriage equality is likely to win as the vast majority of Swiss citizens support it.
Salome Zimmermann, president of the national Marriage for All Committee, said: ‘Today is a historic day for the LGBT community and their friends. The Swiss Parliament today confirmed that rainbow families and same-sex couples deserve the same rights as heterosexual families".
"Although this is already a matter of course for many in Switzerland, today’s victory is an incredible step forward for our country and everyone who is directly or indirectly affected by it. We would like to thank everyone who has put their heart and soul into this cause in recent years: progressive parliamentarians, LGBT organizations, family organizations, and all other people who have contributed to this day. The opening of marriage was and is teamwork."
Very proud that Switzerland takes this step
Saturday, December 19, 2020
Over 100 high school students rallied in northern France to pay homage to a transgender student who died by suicide this week after facing tensions with school officials for her gender identity.
The teenagers held a sit-in and a moment of silence outside the entrance to the Fenelon High School in Lille as school started on Friday, expressing their anger and distress at the suicide of their classmate Fouad.
Fouad, 17, died Wednesday 16 December in a shelter where she had been staying, the school district said in a statement. She was identified only by her first name according to French policy for protecting minors.
Classmates said Fouad had recently decided to go public about her female identity and was summoned to speak with a school official after wearing a skirt to class.
The case has drawn indignation after a video that Fouad shared with friends surfaced on social media. In the video, Fouad is heard talking with the official, who argues heatedly that her transgender identity is upsetting others in the school while the student is in tears. Fouad was sent home for wearing a skirt that day.
Fellow students were upset that the school’s announcement about her death referred to Fouad as a male pupil, and said some teachers refused to refer to Fouad as “she”.
Fouad, who was of North African origin, had suffered both gender and racial discrimination inside and outside school, said a friend, who was at Friday’s protest. Fouad “was suffering a deep pain that dates to a long time ago,” and was aggravated by the situation around her gender identity at school, friend told.
Friday, December 18, 2020
The UK government has ordered strict sanctions to be placed upon three top Chechen officials charged with torturing LGBT people in the region’s “gay purge”.
Magomed Daudov, spokesperson of the Chechen parliament, Aiub Kataev, head of the ministry of internal affairs, and Apti Alaudinov, deputy minister and major general of the police, will be subject to travel bans and asset freezes under the UK’s global human rights sanctions.
Sanctions will also fall upon the Terek Special Rapid Response Unit, a military branch of the national guard of Russia, for their role in the abusive regime.
They are among a total of eleven politicians and officials penalised by the UK on 10 December, International Human Rights Day, for “gross human rights violations” in Russia, Venezuela, The Gambia and Pakistan.
The tyrannical leader of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, already came under US sanctions in July. He and his allies continue to deny that the “gay purge” is happening, despite countless refugee reports from LGBT people who have been imprisoned, beaten, tortured and killed in gay concentration camps.
Wednesday, December 16, 2020
U,S, President-elect Joe Biden has nominated Pete Buttigieg as his administration’s Transport Secretary. If confirmed, the former mayor of South Bend Indiana and 2020 Democrat presidential candidate will become the first LGBT cabinet member.
"Mayor Pete Buttigieg is a patriot and a problem-solver who speaks to the best of who we are as a nation," Biden said. "I am nominating him for Secretary of Transportation because this position stands at the nexus of so many of the interlocking challenges and opportunities ahead of us." Biden added that he sees the Department of Transportation as the "site of some of our most ambitious plans to build back better" and that he trusts "Mayor Pete to lead this work with focus, decency, and a bold vision."
The nomination is also the first of the former Democrat presidential candidates to be tapped for a top role, which would help give Buttigieg the experience needed to run for president at some future point. The role of Transportation Secretary is expected to play a central role in Biden’s push for a bipartisan infrastructure package.
Buttigieg is seen as a rising star in the Democratic Party but someone who lacked an obvious path to higher elected office given the continued rightward shift of his home state of Indiana.
Buttigieg mounted a stout presidential campaign in 2019 and 2020, despite starting with very little national recognition or political experience. The former mayor narrowly won the Iowa caucuses, becoming the first gay presidential candidate in American history to win primary delegates from a major party.
Hungary's Parliament passed a law that bans same-sex couples from adopting children. Gay marriage is forbidden in Hungary.
Prime Minister Viktor Orban's conservative government proposed the new legislation earlier this year, and his Fidesz party has a two-thirds majority in parliament.
The law says only married couples can adopt children and single people can only adopt with special permission from the state. Adoption by gay and lesbian couples had been possible until now if one partner applied as a single person.
They also proposed a constitutional amendment requiring children to be raised with a Christian interpretation of gender roles. Hungarian lawmakers backed the change to the constitution that defines what a family is: "The mother is a woman, the father is a man."
Hungary has increased its anti-LGBT rhetoric throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and says the new bill would increase “emphasis on children's rights during adoption.”
Tuesday, December 15, 2020
The conservative U.S. Supreme Court won’t hear a case from Indiana that could have undermined marriage equality, as it sought to reverse a lower court’s ruling that both same-sex parents have to be listed on a child’s birth certificate.
The court’s denial effectively leaves in place the Seventh Circuit decision in favor of the mothers and maintains the court decision, Pavan v. Smith as precedent. In 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Pavan v. Smith to overturn an Arkansas Supreme Court decision that allowed the state to bar married same-sex couples from automatically having both parent’s names listed on their children’s birth certificates.
Today's Supreme Court decision once again affirms that marriage equality means that married same-sex couples are entitled to be treated equally under the law. By refusing to hear this case, the Court effectively reaffirms its ruling that unequivocally ruled states must issue birth certificates on equal terms to same-sex parents.
“It’s a major victory that is going to keep the same-sex families together, and the children born to these marriages will have two parents to love and protect them,” Karen Celestino-Horseman said, an attorney representing the couples in the case.
Sunday, December 13, 2020
Hig Roberts, an American World Cup alpine ski racer who skyrocketed to the top as a member of the U.S. National team, has come out as gay.
Roberts, who is the first U.S. Alpine Ski Team member and the first male World Cup alpine skier in the world to come out, opens up in an interview about struggling with his sexual identity, how he felt “muted” by the Olympics organization, his evolution toward accepting himself, and what he believes needs to change in the world of sports to create a more inclusive environment for players.
Roberts expresses that the hyper-masculine environment of the sport prevented him from coming out, stating: “There’s this idea that being a professional skier in Europe, you’re garnering the attention of women and you’re almost a little bit larger than life.”
“I felt muted,” he says of his time in the Olympics. “I felt from the get-go that I should feel lucky to be there, not necessarily deserving to be there. It clamped down on my ability to express myself. There were moments where you hear homophobic slurs, and, you know, I was relying on lots of sponsors to stay alive or equipment for money. And I would hear things that would make me very hesitant to believe that my career could continue while also being an identifiable gay man.”
“Not being able to be who I am and not be able to be openly gay as a professional athlete was truly hindering my performance,” Roberts adds.
Roberts is now part of the growing community of LGBT athletes that includes Gus Kenworthy, Adam Rippon, Tom Daley, Megan Rapinoe and Sue Bird, Magdalena Eriksson and Pernille Harder, and more. Looking towards the future, he is ready to take on the world and live his life freely, stating: “I am gay, it’s part of me and I’m proud of it, and I’m ready to be happy.”
Saturday, December 12, 2020
Two recent studies have tackled the reasons behind a lack of LGBT representation in professional sports. These studies come at a time when there are currently a very few openly gay or bisexual athletes playing professional sport in the world.
The first survey analysed responses from 1,173 LGBT people aged 15-21 that are living in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and Ireland. According to its results, only 20 percent of the LGBT youth were out to everyone on their team. Overall, 52 percent of males and 36 percent of females reported they had been a target of homophobic bullying assault and slurs.
The second study investigated the use of homophobic language among male athletes. Conducted in 2018, with 97 rugby union players aged 16-18 and 148 elite ice hockey players aged 16-31 from Australia, the research found that over a half of them had used homophobic slurs in the previous two weeks and 69 percent had heard their teammates use this language.
These findings are very concerning, because being the target of homophobic behaviour is harmful to LGBT youth and it increases their risk of suicide and self-harm. Besides, if LGBT youth hear homophobic slurs being used by their teammates, it is understandable why they feel the need to hide their sexuality or leave sports.
Friday, December 11, 2020
Été 85 or Summer of 1985 (2020) is the latest movie of François Ozon, a bittersweet saga of love and death, a coming-of-age tale based on Aidan Chambers’s 1982 novel Dance on My Grave.
The movie centres on Alex (Félix Lefebvre), a death-obsessed teen in the throes of doomed first love, whose morbidly romantic story plays out with the sensual artfulness of classic Ozon, combined with the accessible vigour of an 80s American teen pic.
We first meet David (Benjamin Voisin) at sea, a beautiful vision riding the waves to rescue the hapless Alex after his little boat capsizes. David takes Alex home to his widowed mum, played by Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, who undresses and bathes the new arrival.
The chemistry between the two is instantaneous and overwhelming: where similar films would agonize over the first encounters and the timid approaches to intimacy, here the attraction between the two characters is so powerful that it evolves into romance quite literally overnight.
Yet David is clearly much more than a friend, taking Alex’s breath away as he weaves through oncoming traffic on his motorbike. All this thrilling young love unfolds in flashback, intercut with later scenes in which an apparently traumatised Alex faces questions about a terrible event for which he is being held accountable.
Watch the trailer below:
Wednesday, December 9, 2020
France’s minister for European affairs Clément Beaune has publicly come out as gay and vowed to fight against Poland’s “LGBT-free zones”.
The politician is a member of Emmanuel Macron’s political party, and was appointed as Minister of State for European Affairs by the French president in July.
Now, Beaune has come out as gay in an interview with French LGBT magazine Têtu, saying he wants people to see that being gay is not an obstacle to a career in politics.
Beaune committed to fighting anti-LGBT bigotry in Europe in his role as Minister of State for European Affairs, and he has the responsibility to fight Poland’s ‘LGBT-free zones’.
In a memorandum, Council of Europe criticised authorities in Poland for the appalling treatment of queer people in the country. It reports homophobic statements by leading public figures were creating an atmosphere of “hate and intolerance.
Beaune said: “I wouldn’t want people to say I am fighting against ‘LGBT-free zones’ because I am gay. It would be insulting to say I am leading that fight for myself. However, as European affairs minister, I have an additional responsibility. I must fight for tolerance.”
Monday, December 7, 2020
A Texas high school senior given in-school suspension for showing up with painted fingernails in violation of a dress code that only lets girls wear makeup and nail polish.
Trevor Wilkinson, 17, who is openly gay, revealed the discriminatory policy in a tweet that railed against the school district. The school district’s current student handbook states men cannot wear nail polish or facial makeup to school.
"Imagine your school not allowing boys to paint their nails and giving boys iss [in-school suspension] for it," he said in a tweet. "And the whole administration being okay with it, homophobic and sexist? welcome to west texas."
I really hope that school district conducts a thoughtful review of its dress code policy and simply remove it.
Sunday, December 6, 2020
Netflix confirms Elliot Page will continue to star in ‘The Umbrella Academy’ and changes his name on past films
Netflix is in the process of updating Elliot Page’s name in the metadata across all titles he is involved in, with that are available to watch on the streaming service.
The Juno star received widespread praise after coming out as transgender, announcing his pronouns as he/they in a statement shared to social media. The streaming platform is now updating Elliot’s name across the platform in the wake of his announcement.
The actor’s name has already been updated on the cast list for popular Netflix original The Umbrella Academy, as well as films such as Inception, Tales of the City, Flatliners, Tallulah and My Days of Mercy.
He also will continue to play the role of Vanya Hargreeves in The Umbrella Academy, the Netflix series about a family of superheroes that’s become one of the streaming service’s biggest hits.
Elliot is married to dancer and choreographer Emma Portner, who publicly praised her partner for coming out.
Friday, December 4, 2020
Switzerland is moving forward with a bill to legalize marriage equality, which could make it the next European country to do so.
The Council of States, the upper house of Switzerland’s legislature, passed a law that would legalize marriage equality with a 22-15 vote, with seven abstentions. The National Council, the lower house, passed the bill this past June.
The Council of States rejected a motion that would have required a nationwide constitutional referendum on marriage equality, which would have significantly delayed the law.
The bill now goes back to the National Council for final approval and it is expected to pass before the end of the year.
It's time Switzerland!!
Wednesday, December 2, 2020
Supermodel Aweng Ade-Chuol and her wife Alexus took to the cover of Elle’s January 2021 issue to fight back against their homophobic trolls.
Ade-Chuol and her long-time girlfriend nail artist Alexus tied the knot at New York City Hall. The couple met in January of 2019 and married in December of that same year.
The model opened up in an Instagram post about a suicide attempt. Rather than having the space to enjoy married life and revel in her myriad accomplishments, Ade-Chuol said she had been forced to deal with a horrendous amount of homophobia from her native South Sudan.
When Ade-Chuol announced her marriage to the press, she said the backlash from her home country was overwhelmingly hostile. In South Sudan, same-sex marriage remains illegal and is punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Ade-Chuol and her family relocated to Sydney, Australia in 2006, where they received asylum.
When the magazine approached her for the cover of its January 2021 issue, Ade-Chuol said she saw another opportunity to fight back. “I wish I could say, Let me hold the torch for the LGBT Sudanese community,” she told the publication, “but it’s a lot for one person to handle.” Alexus added: “We’ve chosen each other, and now we’ll have our own family.”
Tuesday, December 1, 2020
Ellen Page has come out as transgender, changing his name to Elliot. He posted a letter on social media.
Page described himself as lucky to have been able to come out, and penned a heartfelt statement: "Hi friends, I want to share with you that I am trans, my pronouns are he/they and my name is Elliot. I feel lucky to be writing this. To be here. To have arrived at this place in my life."
"I feel overwhelming gratitude for the incredible people who have supported me along this journey. I love that I am trans. And I love that I am queer. And the more I hold myself close and fully embrace who I am, the more I dream, the more my heart grows and the more I thrive," he wrote.
"The statistics are staggering. The discrimination towards trans people is rife, insidious and cruel, resulting in horrific consequences. In 2020 alone it has been reported that at least 40 transgender people have been murdered, the majority of which were Black and Latinx trans women," he added.
Page also previously came out as gay in 2014 in a powerful speech. He began his career in 1997, rising to fame in 2006 with the release of Juno, which he was Oscar-nominated. He is best known for his roles in films including Juno and Inception, and starring as Vanya Hargreeves in The Umbrella Academy.
So proud of you Elliot!!!