Sunday, February 27, 2022

You can support LGBTQ Ukrainians


Vladimir Putin launched a military attack against Ukraine, leaving most citizens in the country fearful of the future, especially the members of the LGBTQ community.

Besides, the fanatic anti-gay leader of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, an ally of Russian President, said that 12,000 Chechen fighters had been deployed to Ukraine, to take large cities, including the capital Kyiv.

U.S. reports that Russian invaders have a list of journalists, activists and gay rights advocates to be killed or sent to camps after the invasion. “Specifically, we have credible information that indicates Russian forces are creating lists of identified Ukrainians to be killed or sent to camps following a military occupation,” said the U.S. Representative to the European Office of the United Nations.

OutRight Action International has launched a fundraiser to help LGBTQ people in Ukraine impacted by Russia’s invasion. The money will be channelled to LGBTQ groups in Ukraine and nearby countries to provide shelter and support.

Donations to OutRight Action International’s fundraiser for Ukraine can be made here.

Friday, February 25, 2022

Florida House passes "Don't Say Gay" bill

The Republican-dominated Florida House passed an education measure that would prohibit instruction about sexual orientation and gender identity in early grades. House members voted 69-47 to approve the bill (HB 1557), with six Republicans joining Democrats in opposition. The proposal have dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill by critics.

The bill states: “A school district may not encourage classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity in primary grade levels or in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students.”

The bill prohibits schools from any discussion of LGBTQ topics in lower grades, but is written so vaguely that it could be interpreted to ban Gay/Straight Alliances and other discussions in upper grades, and could even force teachers to remove pictures of their same-sex spouse from their classrooms, a burden heterosexual teachers avoid.

“It sends a terrible message to our youth that there is something so wrong, so inappropriate, so dangerous about this topic that we have to censor it from classroom instruction,” Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, a Democrat who is gay, told lawmakers in the House before the measure passed.

Biden’s Administration issued a strong statement against this legislation pending in Florida.

Republican Gov. DeSantis supports the proposal 

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

A Chechen court jailes queer siblings on fabricated charges

A local Chechen court jailed queer siblings Salekh Magamadov (21) and Ismail Isaev (19) to almost a decade behind bars after finding them guilty of “complicity with illegal armed formations”.

The siblings had first come to the notice of authorities in 2019 after an officer found an LGBTQI Pride flag on Ismail’s phone. Chechen authorities had detained Salekh and Ismail last year, after the siblings tried to flee persecution. 

One of the siblings identifies as gay and the other is in the process of gender transitioning. Belonging to the LGBTI community in Chechnya, or anywhere else for that matter, is not a crime. Nobody should be detained for their sexual orientation or gender identity or for criticizing the authorities. 

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.

Release them now!!!

Read more here and here.

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Flee, an animated LGBTQ documentary, gets 3 Oscars nominations


Flee is a 2021 Danish animated docudrama film directed by Jonas Poher Rasmussen. The film had its world premiere at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival.

The film follows Amin Nawabi, who, on the verge of marrying his husband, shares his story for the first time about his hidden past fleeing his home country of Afghanistan to Denmark as a refugee.

Flee received unanimous acclaim from film festivals and critics, with critical praise for animation, story, thematic content, subject matter, and LGBTQ representation.

It garnered numerous awards, mainly for animated and documentary categories. At Sundance, the film won the Grand Jury Prize in the World Cinema Documentary section, and it won the award for Best Feature Film at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival. It also won NBR Freedom of Expession.

Now, it is nominated for Golden Globe Award for Best Animated Feature; it earned 2 categories for British Academy Film Awards; 4 nominations at the Annie Awards, and 3 Academy awards nominations (the Oscars), for Best Animated Feature, best Documentary and Best International Feature. 

Watch the movie at home here, and watch the trailer below:

Sunday, February 20, 2022

LGBT identification in U.S. rises to 7.1%

The percentage of U.S. adults who self-identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or something other than heterosexual has increased to a new high of 7.1%, which is double the percentage from 2012, when Gallup first measured it.

Gallup asks Americans whether they personally identify as straight or heterosexual, lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender as part of the demographic information it collects on all U.S. telephone surveys. Respondents can also volunteer any other sexual orientation or gender identity they prefer.

In addition to the 7.1% of U.S. adults who consider themselves to be an LGBT identity, 86.3% say they are straight or heterosexual, and 6.6% do not offer an opinion. The results are based on aggregated 2021 data, encompassing interviews with more than 12,000 U.S. adults.

More than half of LGBT Americans, 57%, indicate they are bisexual. That percentage translates to 4.0% of all U.S. adults. Meanwhile, 21% of LGBT Americans say they are gay, 14% lesbian, 10% transgender and 4% something else. Each of these accounts for less than 2% of U.S. adults.

Saturday, February 19, 2022

19 February: International Day against Homophobia in football


The International Day Against Homophobia in Football is observed every year on February 19, the birth date of Justin Fashanu, who was Britain’s first out gay footballer. 

Justin was expelled from his team, no club offered him a full-time contract. His former coach and some of his colleagues spoke out against him, and his brother publicly disowned him. After being falsely accused of rape, he fell into a depression which he would not get out of and he ended up committing suicide in 1998.

The aim of this international day opposing homophobia in football is to unite clubs, players and fans across the country by using the game of football to bring communities together in opposing hate and discrimination in the world’s favourite sport.

Sadly, homophobia has been widespread in men's association football, also known as soccer, throughout the world, and being a gay professional player in football is still a taboo.

Recently, Casey Stoney, the head of the England women's football team, affirmed they would boycott the upcoming Qatar World Cup because LGBT people are discriminated there.

Thursday, February 17, 2022

2023 Gay Games will be held in Hong Kong and Mexico


The Federation of Gay Games (FGG) announced Guadalajara, Mexico, as the presumptive co-host of the 2023 Gay Games. The Gay Games 11 Hong Kong were postponed to November 3-11, 2023.

The FGG said: 

"The international governing body for the Games, are in discussions with Guadalajara, Mexico, a finalist for the 2022 and 2026 Gay Games, to be a co-host of the November 2023 Gay Games.

Faced with continued challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and the uncertain trajectory of the virus, in the true spirit of “Unity in Diversity,” we wanted to ensure that Gay Games 11 can be accessible to participants across two locations and meet our aim of being as inclusive as possible.

The dates for the Hong Kong Games will remain the same, November 3-11, 2023. We are working to define the exact construct and program in each location, as well as the multitude of logistics necessary to ensure a seamless and positive experience for all."

The Gay Games are the largest LGBTQ sporting event in the world. It prizes inclusivity above sporting ability, and anyone can attend regardless of skill.

Read more in their press release here.

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

New Zealand officially bans conversion therapy

New Zealand's parliament has passed legislation that bans practices intended to forcibly change a person's sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, known as conversion therapy.

The bill, which was introduced by the government last year, passed near-unanimously with 112 votes in favour and 8 votes opposed.

The legislation also lays out what is not a conversion practice and it protects the right to express opinions, beliefs, religious beliefs or principles which are not intended to change or suppress a person's sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.

Under the legislation, it will be an offence to perform conversion practices on people under 18, or on someone with impaired decision-making capacity. Such offences would be subject to up to 3 years' in prison.

It will also be an offence to perform conversion practices on anyone, irrespective of age, where the practices have caused serious harm, and offenders can be subject to up to 5 years imprisonment.

Last year, an United Nations rapporteur urged to ban 'chilling' conversion therapy, and a lot of countries, regions and cities already banned conversion therapy, but it should be banned around the world.

Banning conversion therapy was one of Jacinda Ardern's election promises

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

China bans LGBTQ content in TV series 'Friends'

Major Chinese streaming platforms have censored an LGBTQ plotline in the popular TV series "Friends," causing fans of the show to express their anger on social media.

In the first episode, conversations regarding the character Ross's ex-wife, Carol Willick, who divorces him after realizing she is a lesbian, were deleted. Other conversations that were sexually suggestive were also edited out.

In the original version, Ross mentions that "there was only one woman" for Carol, who leaves him for her friend Susan Bunch, while his friend Joey asks him if he ever knew she was a lesbian.

Fans have taken to the Chinese social media site Weibo to protest censorship of the show, with #FriendsCensored becoming the most trending topic on the site. The hashtag received more than 54 million views. 

Homosexuality has not been illegal in China since 1997, but restrictions for LGBTQ people still remain. For example, the chinese censors told gaming developers to ‘firmly boycott any ill culture such as money worshipping, effeminate males and boys’ love.’ Besides, China’s first gay web series was removed from streaming sites. And more recently, China put into effect new regulations that ban online videos that promote “abnormal sexual behaviors”, which includes homosexuality.

In that oppresive context, it is not weird that around 85% of LGBTQ students in China report struggling with depression, according to a survey. Enough is enough, China!

Friends performed a same-sex wedding in 1996

Saturday, February 12, 2022

U.S. Secretary Pete Buttigieg slams Republican 'Don't Say Gay' bill in Florida

U. S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg has slammed Florida’s pending “Don’t Say Gay” legislation proposed by Republicans, saying it tells LGBTQ kids or those with LGBTQ parents there’s something wrong with them.

Buttigieg replied this is an absolutely dangerous legislation: “And the reason is that it tells youth who are different or whose families are different that there’s something wrong with them out of the gate, and I do think that contributes to the shocking levels of suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts among LGBTQ youth.”  

The Republican-dominated Senate Education Committee in Florida, has given initial approval to Bill 1834, also known as the "Don't Say Gay" bill. If it comes into force, this bill will ban schools from encouraging "classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity in primary grade levels or in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students." 

Chasten, my husband, pointed out that if our kids someday, some Monday morning, come into class, you know, and kids are sitting around and the teacher’s got the morning circle talking about how everybody’s weekends went, and one of them says, ‘I had the best weekend with my dads,’ is the teacher supposed to say, ‘No, we don’t talk about that here?'” added Buttigieg, who is the father of twins and the first gay dad in the Cabinet.

“Any age where it’s appropriate to talk about a kid’s mom and dad, then it should be appropriate to talk about a kid’s mom and mom or dad and dad or whatever family structure we live with. That’s part of what it means to be pro-family, is to be pro-every family.”

Critics have said this type of erasure of queer and trans folks from classrooms could lead to a rise in youth suicide rates. LGBTQ young people are four times more likely than their peers to seriously consider, make a plan for, or attempt suicide, according to the Trevor Project.

Biden’s Administration has also issued a strong statement against this legislation pending in Florida, placing itself squarely in the opposition camp. Enough Gov. DeSantis!


Friday, February 11, 2022

First out lesbian confirmed by Senate to ambassador-level post

Chantale Wong has made history as the first openly lesbian ambassador to be confirmed by the Senate in US history.

Wong is also the first out LGBTQ person of colour to serve in an ambassador-level position, as the US director of the Asian Development Bank.

She was nominated for the role by president Joe Biden in July 2021, and confirmed by the Senate by a bipartisan and overwhelming 66-31 vote.

Wong is an expert in international development policy, with more than three decades experience working in the field including in finance, technology, and the environment.

She previously worked in the administrations of president Barack Obama, as vice president for administration and finance and chief financial officer at the Millennium Challenge Corporation, and president Bill Clinton, who appointed her to the board of directors at the Asian Development Bank.

Joe Biden is the most pro-equality US president ever

Tuesday, February 8, 2022

Biden Administration condemns Florida's 'don't say gay' legislation

The Republican-dominated Senate Education Committee in Florida, has given initial approval to a controversial proposal that critics have dubbed the “don’t say gay” bill because it could curtail school discussions about sexual orientation and gender identity.

Bill that has been introduced in the Florida House and Senate state: “A school district may not encourage classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity in primary grade levels or in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students.”

That language is a small portion of the bill, which backers say will protect parents’ oversight over their children’s education. Opponents say the legislation will further marginalize LGBTQ students and possibly force teachers to out students to their parents.

Biden’s Administration has issued a strong statement against this legislation pending in Florida, placing itself squarely in the opposition camp:

“Every parent hopes that our leaders will ensure their children’s safety, protection, and freedom. Today, conservative politicians in Florida rejected those basic values by advancing legislation that is designed to target and attack the kids who need support the most, LGBTQI+ students, who are already vulnerable to bullying and violence just for being themselves."

Chasten Buttigieg, a former teacher who is married to Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, has also spoken out against the bills as well, as have several other LGBTQ leaders. Until when, Gov. DeSantis?

Sunday, February 6, 2022

Anti-LGBTQ bill is ‘severe and must be reviewed’ say Ghana’s bishops

Ghana’s Anglican Church leaders have condemned the country’s proposed anti-LGBTQ bill and urged lawmakers to reconsider the new legislation that would toughen an already existing anti-LGBTQ law.

Same-sex relations are already illegal in Ghana, with those found guilty currently facing up to 3 years in prison.

The draft Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill proposes a 5 years maximum prison sentence for those who are LGBTQ. Besides, those advocating for LGBTQ rights could be sentenced to up to 10 years. Sentences given under the new law could be reduced, according to the foundation, if the person charged would request “treatment,” that is, so-called conversion therapy.

The House of Bishops in Ghana issued a statement saying the draft bill is “severe and must be reviewed.”

The statement read, “We agreed that, though human dignity is always dominant, LGBTQ activities are frowned upon by the Ghanaian ethnicity and therefore, traditions, values, cultural and social frameworks must not also only be regarded but, respected and appreciated."

“Nevertheless, Ghanaian citizens must not use the bill as an avenue to assault persons with homosexual orientation but show love to them as the Church of Jesus Christ is called to demonstrate the love of God by protecting all vulnerable people and groups. Acts of harassment, intimidation and hostilities against LGBTQ people should be condemned,” the statement continued.

The true is that people can choose their church but they can’t change their sexual orientation, the same in Ghana, and queer Ghanaian lives matter as everywhere.

The U.K. House of Commons Library published a report 
about LGBTQ rights and issues in sub-Saharan Africa

Wednesday, February 2, 2022

Top European cardinal calls for change in Catholic church teaching on homosexuality

Luxembourg Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich, a Jesuit who leads the pan-European Catholic bishops' conference (COMECE), has called for a change in the church's teaching on homosexuality.

Hollerich considers the church's assessment of homosexuality relationships as sinful to be wrong: "I believe that the sociological-scientific foundation of this teaching is no longer correct." 

The cardinal said it was time for a fundamental revision of church teaching, and suggested the way Pope Francis had spoken about homosexuality in the past could lead to a change in doctrine.

Hollerich made his comments in response to the public campaign by 125 Catholic Church employees in Germany who recently outed themselves as queer, saying they want to "live openly without fear" in the church.

He added that he knew of homosexual priests and laypeople in the archdiocese of Luxembourg, and affirmed: "And they know that they have a home in the church. With us, no one is dismissed because they are homosexual, with us no one has ever been dismissed because of that."


Tuesday, February 1, 2022

Iran executes two gay men on sodomy charges

Two men, Mehrdad Karimpour and Farid Mohammadi, were allegedly arrested about six years ago for “sodomy by force,” according to Iran’s Human Rights Activists News Agency. The organization reports the two were killed in the Maragheh prison in northwestern Iran.

Iran, because of its discriminatory and criminal laws, is considered one of the most dangerous places to be gay. Under the Islamic Shariaa law practiced in Iran, same-sex relations are a criminal offence and the punishment ranges from flogging to the death penalty.

Iran’s regime frequently uses the charge of sodomy to impose the death penalty on gays and lesbians. According to a 2008 British Wikipedia dispatch, Iran’s theocratic state executed between 4,000 and 6,000 gays and lesbians since the country’s 1979 Islamic revolution.

The last crime was announced by journalist Karmel Melamed, who tweeted with images of the two men the following text: “The Ayatollah regime in Iran just executed two gay men for the crime of sodomy in Iran. This is Mehrdad Karimpour and Farid Mohammadi who were executed by hanging,”