Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Persecutions and tortures of gay men still continue in Chechnya


Persecutions and tortures of gay men still continue in Chechnya, and nothing happens at international level. The gay purge continues in Chechnya under Russian protection, and Chechen head Ramzan Kadyrov denies with sarcasm the existence of gay people in Chechnya.

The Russian LGBT Network has recently reported that Chechen men abducted Ibragim Selimkhanov in Moscow and forcibly returned him to Chechnya’s capital Grozny, where authorities interrogated him about gay people in the region. 

Just before that, Russian police also apprehended Salekh Magamadov and Ismail Isaev, who had escaped Chechnya, and returned them to Grozny, where they remain in detention and are standing trial for posting anti-government messages on social media.

Since 2017, Chechen authorities orchestrated lethal purges of men perceived to be gay. As reports of the purge surfaced, gay men began escaping Chechnya, knowing the dangers they faced.  

It was also denounced a plan for “the final solution of gay issue” and the opening of the first concentration camp in the world for sexual minorities since Nazi regime did. 

The 2020 award-winning documentary “Welcome to Chechnya” details the purge and also documents the experience of lesbians, whose horrific ordeals are usually perpetuated by family members. Watch the trailer below:

Monday, August 30, 2021

Liverpool and Chelsea condemn further homophobic chants


The Premier League clubs Liverpool and Chelsea have condemned supports who sung homophobic chants during Saturday's 1-1 draw with Chelsea at Anfield. Chelsea loanee Billy Gilmour was subjected to homophobic chants during this game, resulting in the Reds issuing a response.

The Liverpool's statement reads: “The club strongly condemns these actions and will be investigating all reported allegations of abusive and/or discriminatory behaviour with the relevant authorities to identify perpetrators.

LFC is committed to tackling abusive and discriminatory behaviour, which has no place in football or society. As part of its Red Together campaign, which encompasses all the club’s work on equality, diversity and inclusion, LFC strives to be the forefront of the fight against all forms of discrimination both online and in-stadium to create an inclusive environment for all.

The club would like to remind its fans of its code of conduct, which clearly outlines what it expects from all supporters visiting Anfield."

Enough is enough!!!

Saturday, August 28, 2021

New Zealand to ban conversion therapy

New Zealand has introduced legislation seeking to ban conversion therapy, which refers to the practice of trying to “cure” people of their sexuality, gender expression, or LGBT identity.

Abiding by a promise made by the Labour Party in the last elections, the bill was introduced by justice minister Kris Faafoi, who said: “Conversion practices have no place in modern New Zealand. They are based on the false belief that any person’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression is broken and in need of fixing.”

The legislation has been initiated to protect against practices intended to change or suppress someone’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression, stated a New Zealand government press release.

The Conversion Practices Prohibition Legislation Bill aims at preventing any harm caused by conversion therapy and promote healthy discussions on gender and sexuality. The bill also provides for civil redress.

The bill also proposes to make an offence to perform conversion therapy on children, youngsters under the age of 18 or anyone with impaired decision-making capacity. 

Just this year, UK Gov announced plan to ban conversion therapy in Britain and Canada House passed historic bill banning conversion therapy. Also UN urged to ban 'chilling' conversion therapy.

NZ Labour Party promised in the last elections

Friday, August 27, 2021

Students protest of school forcing gay coach to quit

Students walked out of class in protest of their school allegedly forcing a volleyball coach to quit for being gay. Inoke Tonga, who worked at Valor Christian High School in Highlands Ranch, Colorado, shared his ordeal on social media.

He stated that he was called into a meeting with the campus pastor and athletic director, where he was told to “become a child of God” or be forced to leave his job as head coach of girl’s volleyball at the school.

After persistently being asked about any “changes in lifestyle that were life-changing”, the pastor and athletic director accused Tonga of being gay based on social media posts they had seen, something which they felt went against the school’s values and beliefs.

Mr. Tonga went on to explain in his social media post that he was told to “cut off that part of you who you think you are” and that he was to delete all social media posts with any reference to “being gay”.

After that, students at the school have shown their support to the volleyball coach by walking out of class and demanding significant change to the school’s policies and culture. During their protest, they stood outside the school holding signs saying “love is love,” “respect our existence or expect resistance,” and “schools of quality don’t fear equality”.

Watch news below:

Monday, August 23, 2021

Chris Colfer, a multitalented artist!


Chris Colfer is an American author, actor, and singer. Born in 1990, in California, he is best known for his character in the popular musical TV series, Glee, where he appeared as Kurt Hummel from 2009 to 2015.

His talent was acknowledged by the critics, winning him a Golden Globe award for Best Supporting Actor in a Series in 2011. In fact, the role of Kurt was specifically created for him; he auditioned for another role that had already been cast, but the producer was so impressed with him he decided to create a character to be able to have him on the show.

His interest in writing started at a very early age, and was spurred on by his Grandmother. As a child, he wrote fairy-tale inspired stories which would serve as an outline for his New York Times Bestseller series Land of Stories. 

In 2011, while he was still on Glee, Chris signed a book deal to write two novels for children. His first book The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell was published in 2012 and became number one on the New York Times bestseller list for two weeks.

Ever since then, Chris has written four more books in The Land of Stories series with great success. In 2017, it was announced that he would be making his directorial debut and would also executive produce the film adaption of his novel The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell.

After Glee ended in 2015, Chris went on to star in the 2016 movie Absolutely Fabulous as well as guest-starring on TV shows like Julie's Greenroom and Ru Paul's Drag Race: All Stars.

The talented guy is currently working on a TV pilot, adapting the book The Leftover Witch for Disney, which he will also produce.

Watch and enjoy some Chris performances in Glee:

Sunday, August 22, 2021

LGBT people in Afghanistan forced into hiding under threat of death


Desperate gay men in Afghanistan are living in terror and pleading for deliverance from the “nightmare” of Taliban rule. In less than a week, the mood in Afghanistan’s underground gay community went from clandestine freedom to outright panic.

LGBT people cannot go out because they are just scared for their lives and all of them are closeted at home amid the Taliban takeover. Homosexuality has been technically illegal in Afghanistan for years, but has not been prosecuted since the U.S. and its NATO allies drove the Taliban from power in 2001.

But under the terror group’s brutal interpretation of Sharia law, gay sex carries a death sentence. Its previous regime, 1996-2001, they killed at least a dozen homosexual men by crushing them to death under stone walls toppled by tanks or bulldozers. However, back in July 2021, a judge from the radical Islamist group vowed to sentence gay men to death by stoning or by being crushed by a nine-foot wall.

"It’s not hyperbolic to say that gay people will get weeded out and exterminated by the Taliban". Read more in Insider.

To be gay in Afghanistan is a death sentence now

Friday, August 20, 2021

A region in Poland votes to retain its “LGBT free zone” designation despite the threat of losing EU funding

Malopolska regional assembly in Poland voted to keep its degrading designation as an area free of “LGBT ideology”, despite the threat of losing European Union funding.

Officials said they had received a letter from the European Commission stating that they could lose out on more than €2.5 billion in funding if they refuse to respect LGBT rights.

The letter urged local authorities to scrap their LGBT free zone resolutions, which were controversially adopted in numerous parts of the country in 2019, adding that they should do so by mid-September at the latest or they would risk losing out on funding.

An opposition motion was brought forward to revoke the resolution, however it was rejected in a vote with the help of Poland’s staunchly conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party.

There was widespread backlash in 2019 when it emerged that numerous regions across Poland had declared themselves “LGBT free zones”. The declarations came following years of pushback against LGBT rights in Poland, with some of the country’s leading conservative figures claiming "LGBT ideology” represented a threat to Christian values.

Hungary has also faced the ire of Europe after it introduced a law prohibiting the “promotion” of LGBT identities. Human rights bodies have warned that both countries’ laws are part of a general backsliding on LGBT rights being seen across parts of Europe and the wider world.

Map of LGBT free zones in Poland

Thursday, August 19, 2021

Israel removes restrictions on gay men donating blood


Israel has lifted restrictions on blood donations by gay men, saying the longstanding limitation was discriminatory and denigrating, Israel´s health minister said.

Until now, men seeking to donate blood in Israel were asked whether they had same-sex relations in the past 12 months, a category that would disqualify them from giving. Now the questionnaire inquires whether a prospective donor has had "high risk sexual relations with a new partner or partners" in the past three months, using gender neutral wording.

Nitzan Horowitz, Israel's health minister, who himself is openly gay, told that the Health Ministry had "removed the denigrating and irrelevant questions" in questionnaires for blood donors, and that everyone would be treated equally regardless of sexual orientation.

"There´s no difference between one blood and the other. Discrimination against gays in donating blood is over", he said.

Earlier this year the U.K. eased restrictions on blood donations from gay and bisexual men, following a similar decision by the U.S. last year because of a drop in the nation´s blood supply.

Israel's health minister announced the lift

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

The gay wage gap shows discrimination at work


The wage gaps that exist between men and women and between white and black people have received a lot of attention in recent years. But there’s another wage gap that tends to be overlooked between heterosexuals and LGBT people.

Not all employees are paid the same for the same type of work. Decades of research document the significant gaps in earnings based on gender and race. But it is important to remember that women and people of color are not the only ones who see significant disparities in earnings.

Unfortunately, many gay and transgender workers receive unequal pay for equal work. What’s worse, these same workers lack the necessary legal protections currently afforded to other categories of individuals that would help combat and correct pay inequities that exist on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

One analysis of 32 studies from several countries found that on average, gay men earned 11% less than heterosexual men, while lesbian women earned 9% more than heterosexual women. Studies and surveys have also shown a negative wage gap for bisexual and also for transgender people, though the evidence is much more limited, particularly for transgender people.

But if the numbers reflect a broad average, why do such differences arise? One possible explanation is the work choices that gay people make. Research suggests gay men are more likely to avoid occupations that are more male-dominated than other men (which includes the best paid jobs), while lesbian women are more likely to avoid female-dominated occupations than other women (which are typically worse paid). Lesbians may also earn more because they tend to work longer hours.

A key question is whether these differences in wages and choice of employment are driven by prejudice, or whether they are the result of some innate, work-relevant traits of gay people related to their preferences or skills. Probably both, discrimination against gay people is a global issue, but it may be because they make different educational choices. For instance, LGBT students are less likely to finish school and attend university than other students. 

It is a fact that many workers receive less pay due to sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination. The gay wage gap, a new discrimination at work which adds to the rest of discriminations suffered by LGBT people. Enough is enough!

Monday, August 16, 2021

Afghan women and LGBT people return to ‘dark days’ with Taliban

With their victory on Kabul, Taliban conquered all Afghanistan again. After 20 years of a fragile democracy in the country, with minimal freedoms for women, who could study, work and participate in public life, with the return of Taliban all this is over. The fundamentalist group is determined to re-impose its version of Sharia law.

When Taliban last ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001, women were discriminated against in many ways, for the 'crime' of being born a girl. And LGBT people faced tortures and death penalty for the 'crime' of being homosexuals.

The Taliban enforced their version of Islamic Sharia law, and women and girls were:

  • Banned from going to school or studying
  • Banned from working
  • Banned from leaving the house without a male chaperone
  • Banned from showing their skin in public
  • Banned from accessing healthcare delivered by men (with women forbidden from working, healthcare was virtually inaccessible)
  • Banned from being involved in politics or speaking publicly.
  • Forced to marry without their consent.

If she disobeyed these discriminatory laws, punishments were harsh. A woman could be flogged for showing an inch or two of skin under her full-body burqa, beaten for attempting to study, stoned to death if she was found guilty of adultery.

About LGBT people, a Taliban judge declared once: “There are only two penalties for gays: Either stoning or he has to stand behind a wall that falls on him. The wall must be 2.5 to 3 meters high,” he said. The death penalty for homosexuals is derived from interpretations of the Quran, Islam’s holy book, and the Hadith, the accounts of the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad.

Now, after Taliban's victory, 'dark days' against Afghan women and LGBT people come back. Afghan women are going to routinely discriminated. And the future of LGBT people is going to be indiscriminate torture and death penalty again.

Shame on Taliban and shame on us!!

Gay executions come back in Taliban's Afghanistan

Sunday, August 15, 2021

Thousands take part in the Equality March in Krakow

Since 2004, the Equality March passes through the streets of Krakow (Poland). It is an annual demonstration in the form of a street march of people opposed to homophobia and discrimination against sexual minorities in Poland.

This year’s parade is held under the slogan “Take a breath”. For the first time in history, the march was held under the patronage of the president of the capital of Małopolska, Jacek Majchrowski. The parade is also supported by foreign diplomats, including US Consul General Patrick Slowinski.

The city of Kraków introduced in May a programme of support for LGBT youth as part of events aiming to promote tolerance towards minorities. The aim of programme, with the slogan “You have an ally in me”, is to “express opposition to violence and promote allied attitudes among children and adolescents”.

“There can be no freedom without equality, mutual respect and understanding,” say the city authorities, explaining that they want to foster “common areas of dialogue and emphasise the city’s commitment to combating discrimination on many levels”.

Althought a third of Poland declared itself "LGBT-Free zone", there are Polish cities and regions where the commitment of authorities with LGBT rights is totally different. They need our support and recognizion.

Thousands gathered in the Equality March in Krakow

Saturday, August 14, 2021

Copenhagen EuroGames 2021 are coming!


EuroGames 2021 is an LGBT inclusive sporting event including 22 sports and will take place from Wednesday 18 to Friday 20 August in Copenhagen and Malmö (Denmark). Over 6,000 athletes are expected to participate.

Eurogames is an European multi sport event governed by the European Gay & Lesbian Sport Federation (EGLSF). Last edition was in Rome (Italy) in 2019, because the 2020 edition in Dusseldorf (Germany) was cancelled due the Covid-19.

The 2021 sports programme is created to be as inclusive as possible, where all athletes will be able to compete in safe and secure surroundings and where they can make new friends and memories as they break a sweat on the court and give their all during the match.

The sports included are:

  • Artistic Swimming
  • Badminton
  • Ballroom Dancing
  • Beach Volley
  • Bowling
  • Chess
  • Dodgeball
  • Field Hockey
  • Figure Skating
  • Floorball
  • Football
  • Golf
  • Half Marathon
  • Handball
  • Running, 5K + 10K
  • Squash
  • Swimming
  • Tennis
  • Track & Field
  • Triathlon
  • Volleyball
  • Water Polo

For the first time during EuroGames, they will host a conference for 200 sports leaders. The Sports Leader Conference will take place Monday 16 and Tuesday 17 August 2021 and has two key purposes: to empower LGBT sports clubs in Europe and to foster more inclusivity in the athletic community. 

There will also be a public programme, Sports to the People, which includes a number of drop-in sports for all the people living and visiting EuroGames 2021. These could for example include Drag Olympics, Rainbow family sports, Roller-skating through the city, Bicycle workshops, Skiing on the Copenhagen ski slope and many more fun sports events. These popular sporting events will take place in several squares, parks and venues across Copenhagen and they will be held throughout the week of EuroGames 2021.

Welcome to Copenhagen EuroGames 2021 and enjoy!!!

Thursday, August 12, 2021

Robin comes out as bisexual in latest Batman comic

More than 80 years since he was first introduced to readers, and after decades of homoerotic subtext with his companion Batman, comics’ most trusty sidekick Robin has canonically come out as LGBT.

Tim Drake, the third Robin to accompany and ally with Batman's defense of Gotham City, has come out as bisexual in the latest issue of Batman: Urban Legends #6.

Sum of Our Parts is the product of writer Meghan Fitzmartin, artist Belén Ortega, colorist Alejandro Sánchez, and letterer Pat Brosseau, and sees Tim try to process the insecurities that weigh down his relationships. 

A story-specific spoilers will follow in this post, so head out now if you'd like to read the comic with no prior knowledge.

When he meets up with Bernard, a friend from school, Bernard is captured and intended to be a sacrifice by the Chaos Monsters. When the two reunite and defeat their enemies, Bernard explains that Tim is the reason why he realised that he was not heterosexual and that he understands who he is and what he wants.

Tim then begins to see that, though he loved his girlfriend Stephanie deeply, he may also have an attraction to different genders. He visits Bernard at his home to state his feelings out loud, and when Bernard asks him on a date, he accepts.

Drake is just the latest in a run of superheroes to be written as LGBT, including Batwoman, Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy, married couple Midnighter and Apollo, and, most recently at Marvel, Captain America.

You can buy Urban Legends #6 here.

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Who protects LGBT people in Georgia?


In July, hundreds of anti-LGBT thugs took to the streets of Georgia’s capital, Tbilisi, to protest a Pride march due to take place on the same day. Members of the far-right with links to the Eastern Orthodox Church took violently attacked journalists and eventually stormed the offices of Tbilisi Pride. Protesters ransacked the offices, pulling down and destroying the rainbow Pride flag that hung from the balcony. 

At the time, Tbilisi Pride organisers condemned the attack and criticised the government for failing to protect their right to march. Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili had seemed to suggest that it was the Pride celebrations that were to blame, as according to him the “majority” of people were opposed to the event. 

Tamaz Sozashvili, co-founder of Tbilisi Pride, declared: "The government did not detain the organisers of these violent attacks. They did not detain all the perpetrators. They even encouraged this violence in its public statement. As a result, there is a high rate of hate crimes reported in Tbilisi these days. Most of the people in the street know that they are not going to be punished if they attempt to attack minorities. They know that it's okay to attack LGBT people."

About the future of LGBT rights in Georgia, he affirms that "The only thing is that the government of Georgia needs to change. The Georgian ruling Dream Party is not capable of governing the country. That’s the only way LGBT rights will improve, otherwise, most of the LGBT people will immigrate. I'm moving to Sweden in three weeks to study. I'll be living there for the next two years. And then I have a choice to either come back or not. If there is the same government then I'm not sure, because it affects not just my physical health but my mental health as well, and I really need to take care of myself."

Georgia follows anti-LGBT movement existing in Russia, Poland, Hungary... where are the European Union institutions deffending Europe's values and citizens?

Government does nothing to avoid mass violence in Georgia
against LGBT people and journalists who report on it

Sunday, August 8, 2021

Pray Away

Pray Away (2021) is a new film that reveals personal and political impact of anti-gay ‘conversion therapy’. The film had its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival on June 16, 2021.

In it, repentant former leaders of the disbanded US group Exodus International, founded in 1976, which promoted so-called ‘conversion therapy’ in order to change people’s sexual orientation or gender identity, share their painful experiences.

The documentary, directed by Kristine Stolakis and released globally by Netflix, combines archival footage with present-day narration. It includes interviews with four former Exodus leaders, who reflect on the deep wounds that ‘conversion therapy’ left in them and in others. All have renounced their past and are now living openly as bisexual or gay people.

It also reveals the political influence of Exodus and similar organisations. Working with conservative allies in government, they took their agenda to Washington to try and block initiatives such as same-sex marriage. Exodus disbanded in 2013, when Alan Chambers, the group's president, publicly admitted that homosexuality could not be "cured.”

However, its promotion of ‘conversion therapy’ continued outside the US through Exodus Global Alliance, which was headquartered in Canada until two months ago, when the group closed down in anticipation of a new Canadian bill that makes its activities a criminal offence. Exodus still has a foothold in Latin America, with offices in Brazil and Mexico.

Watch the trailer below: 

Thursday, August 5, 2021

Biden nominates first LGBT candidate on federal circuit court

Continuing to make history with the diversity of his judicial nominations, President Joe Biden tapped a lesbian who could make history for the LGBT community as the first out judge on any federal circuit court. 

Beth Robinson, the first out justice on the Vermont Supreme Court, is a nominee for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. If confirmed by the Senate, she would be the first out lesbian to serve on any federal circuit court. 

Robinson made significant headway for gay rights in her state more than 20 years ago serving as co-counsel in Baker v. State of Vermont, a major case wherein the Vermont Supreme Court found that the state's ban on same-sex marriage conflicted with an equal rights provision in the Vermont Constitution. 

The civil unions law, passed as a result of this case in 2000, was the first of its kind in the United States.

Marriage equality started in Vermont because of Beth Robinson

More restricted anti-LGBT bill is proposing in Ghana

In Ghana, same-sex relationships have been illegal for decades. Now a proposed bill threatens to tighten restrictions even further. 

Eight lawmakers are sponsoring the bill, which would impose a maximum 10-year prison sentence on people who support and advocate for same-sex and gay rights. Individuals or groups would also not be allowed to provide social or medical support to LGBT people.   

Although there are some provisions in the Criminal Code under which a homosexual can be prosecuted, especially for having intercourse with a partner, the belief is that a specific law must be enacted to declare homosexual relationships illegal.

Word of the bill had spread in recent weeks even before it was officially presented, prompting outrage among many Ghanaians. The bill would be the first major step in criminalising the sexual minorities and their supporters since independence from colonial rule.

In coming weeks, the Constitutional and Legal Committee of Ghana's parliament plans to consult the general public for possible amendments.  

Amnesty International reports that LGBT people continued to face discrimination in Ghana. Consensual same-sex sexual relations between men remained criminalized. Religious and political leaders, and the media used hate speech against LGBT people. This contributed to a climate of fear, hostility and intolerance towards the LGBT community in Ghana.

Recently, United Nations rights experts condemned arbitrary arrest of LGBT human rights defenders in Ghana and urged their release.

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

A rave pride in support of LGBT rights in Kyiv, Ukraine


This year, Ukrainian LGBT activists have decided to do Pride a little differently. They did drag their speakers and turntables across Kyiv to stage a huge rave outside the office of Volodymyr Zelensky, the president of Ukraine.

A rave for LGBT rights directly outside the President’s office. However, there was a confrontation between police and demonstrators rallying against the LGBT pride event took place outside the Office

This event comes just days after a successful Pride march supported by Amnesty Ukraine, which took place in the president’s hometown, Kryvyi Rih, with thousands of participants.

Despite alluding to progressive policies in his presidential campaign, advancements in LGBT rights haven’t moved forward as quickly as expected. As it stands, activists don’t exactly have hope that president Zelensky is working towards these goals.

The first gay Pride event in Kyiv took place in 2016 and only a couple of thousand people attended. The number of attendees doubled a couple of years later. Although Kyiv held its largest-ever Pride parade in 2019, an event in Odessa, a port city in southern Ukraine, was last year targeted by far-right thugs, who pelted attendees with eggs and attacked them with pepper spray.

Ukrainian police has to protect marchers to ensure order

Sunday, August 1, 2021

F1 champs Hamilton and Vettel against Hungary's anti-LGBT law


Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton has strongly criticised the Hungarian government and voiced his support for the LGBT community in the country.

Ahead of this weekend's Grand Prix in Budapest, Hamilton posted a message in which he described as "cowardly" recently imposed legislation in Hungary, which bans the depiction of homosexuality to young people.

"To all in this beautiful country Hungary. Ahead of the Grand Prix this weekend, I want to share my support for those affected by the government's anti-LGBT law," wrote Hamilton.

"It is unacceptable, cowardly and misguiding for those in power suggest such a law. Everyone deserves to have the freedom to be themselves, no matter who they love or how they identify."

"I urge the people of Hungary to vote in the upcoming referendum to protect the rights of the LGBT community, they need our support more than ever," he added.

Before race, F1 champion Sebastian Vettel and F1 drivers Valtteri Bottas, Carlos Sainz and Lance Stroll were summoned by the stewards over a breach of the pre-race procedure. It centred on the fact that they failed to remove their T-shirts as instructed ahead of the national anthem.

Vettel opted to wear a rainbow-coloured t-shirt with the words "Same Love" on the grid, having previously worn shoes sporting a rainbow flag on Thursday in a message against Hungary's anti-LGBTQ law.

Vettel failed to remove this t-shirt for the national anthem, while Bottas, Sainz and Stroll also kept on their We Race As One T-shirts on which they wore during the message of solidarity by F1 a few minutes earlier.

F1 champ Sebastian Vettel refused to remove
 his T-shirt pro LGBT rights