Thursday, March 31, 2022

Lawsuit filed against Florida's 'Don't Say Gay' bill

Three days after Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the measure, LGBTQ-advocacy groups, parents, students and a teacher filed a federal lawsuit challenging a new law that includes barring instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in early school grades.

The lawsuit, filed in the federal Northern District of Florida, seeks to block Florida from moving forward with the law, which is set to take effect in July. While DeSantis and Republican lawmakers describe the law as boosting parental rights, it has drawn national attention as critics dubbed it the “Don’t Say Gay” bill.

The challenge focuses on a part of the law that would prohibit instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten through third grade and require that such instruction in older grades is age-appropriate in accordance with state academic standards.

The suit asks the court to strike down the law and prohibit Florida’s education officials from enforcing it and to award damages where appropriate and attorney fees if the lawsuit prevails.

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

Students at high schools across Florida also walked out of their classes to send a message to their communities and, they hoped, to lawmakers in Tallahassee, in opposition to “Don’t Say Gay” bill and that it’s okay to be gay.

Gov. DeSantis proudly signing the "Don't Say Gay" bill

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

World religious leaders vow to protect LGBT+ lives


More than 150 senior religious leaders from across the globe have committed to protecting LGBT+ people in faith communities, in the 2022 Conference of the Global Interfaith Commission on LGBT+ Lives.

Faith leaders from 30 countries attended the conference, including the Anglican Archbishop of Canada, the Chief Rabbi of Poland and the former President of Ireland, Dr Mary McAleese. 

The group discussed recently commissioned research into conversion therapy practices in Caribbean and Hungary and its findings, including the “significantly higher levels of suicide attempts, suicidal thoughts and self-harm experienced” by survivors.

The group agreed to six principles designed to protect LGBT+ folk in religious communities:

Empowerment – We believe all individuals are made in the image of God, whom many call the Divine, and should be free to live a life of dignity, consistent with their sexuality and gender identity within their faith communities without fear or judgement.

Prevention – We believe that we have a duty of care towards all LGBT+ people and so we commit ourselves to listen to the experiences of our LGBT+ members in order to indentify and eradicate any harmful practice that inhibits the flourishing of us all.

Proportionality – We recognise that for too long the needs of our LGBT+ members have often been ignored and side-lined, and so we commit to ensuring that LGBT+ people are always given fair voice.

Protection – We recognise that many LGBT+ people face significant discrimination, rejection, and hatred, and so we commit to work to protect all LGBT+ people from harm, wherever it occurs in both religious and secular contexts.

Partnership – We recognise that for far too long those of us who are LGBT+ have been excluded from decision that impact our lives and so we commit to always work in partnership so that together we can prevent, detect and report spiritual abuse.

Accountability – We believe that no one is above the law and that there must always be transparency in all areas of safeguarding and so commit to work with our LGBT+ members to regularly monitor progress.

Monday, March 28, 2022

Human rights groups urge invalid votes to defeat Orban's anti-LGBTQ referendum in Hungary


Hungarian human rights groups are urging voters to spoil their ballots to defeat a government referendum on LGBTQ issues taking place alongside a national election on Sunday, saying its approval would strengthen prejudice against the LGBTQ community in Hungary.

Prime Minister Viktor Orban, a nationalist facing a tough battle to be re-elected for a fourth consecutive term, has proposed a referendum on ruling party legislation that limits schools' teaching about homosexuality and transgender issues.

Hungarian government has said it wanted to stop what it called LGBTQ propaganda in schools carried out with the help of NGOs, in order to protect children.

In the referendum, Hungarians will be asked whether they support the holding of sexual orientation workshops in schools without parents' consent and whether they believe gender reassignment procedures should be promoted among children. They will also be asked whether media content that could affect sexual orientation should be shown to children without any restrictions.

The referendum is seen as a riposte to the European Commission, which launched legal action against Budapest over the law that bans the use of materials seen as promoting homosexuality and gender change at schools, ostensibly as a measure to prevent child abuse. Brussels said it was discriminatory and contravened European values of tolerance and individual freedom.

Enough of Orban!!

Sunday, March 27, 2022

Oscars could make queer history this year

Jane Campion's The Power of the Dog, tells Phil's history, played by Benedict Cumberbatch, a man covered head-to-toe in dirt for most of the film, he embodies a character in a masculine crisis. He has a constant need to prove he's the roughest, toughest leader in a wolf pack of cowboys, possibly to hide his adoration and affection for the long-gone man who taught him more than just how to ride a horse.

The Power of the Dog isn’t an average western, it’s a film about repressed homosexuality and the ways oppressive ideas about masculinity are harming men. It’s a fascinating, beautifully-made film laced with erotic tension, and the whole thing is anchored by a quietly menacing performance from Cumberbatch.

The movie earned 12 Academy Award nominations. If it ends up winning big at the Oscars, it’ll be a seismic moment for queer cinema. LGBTQ themed films have won big before, but if Campion’s film sweeps the board in the way Oscars-watchers are anticipating, it would send a strong message to Hollywood that audiences are interested in queer stories.

Of course, the film’s success does raise some questions about some of the tropes Hollywood keeps falling back on. Once again, Cumberbatch and his co-star Kodi Smit-McPhee are nominated for playing gay characters when neither is knowingly or openly queer themselves.

Watch the trailer below:

Saturday, March 26, 2022

England football team's captain hopes World Cup to “shine a light” on human rights issues in Qatar


Harry Kane, captain of the England national football team, said players will use the World Cup in Qatar to highlight “important issues”.

The decision of FIFA to hold the World Cup in Qatar sparked anger and concern among queer activists, players and fans since the first moment.

In Qatar, which will host the tournament in November and December this year, homosexuality is an imprisonable offence. Qatar also runs Sharia courts, where it is technically possible that queer Muslim men could be handed a death sentence.

Kane told reporters that he has discussed these matters with the England team. “There are some issues that you can’t hide away from. There are, of course, some conflicting emotions around it.”

Kane added: “As players, we didn’t choose where this World Cup was going to be. But what it has done is it has shone a light on important issues which might not have come to light if the World Cup wasn’t there.

“We have to try to help as much as possible to understand the issues and the situations. We’re no experts in that field at the moment in terms of what we know but as always we try to… use our platform to help in any way we can.”

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. In the same way, F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton also did stand for LGBTQ rights in Qatar.

Surprisely, the "gay icon" David Beckham signed a deal worth £150 million to become the “face of Qatar” ahead of next year’s World Cup. This decision contrasts with the announcement made by Tom Daley, who decided to try and ensure that countries which criminalise homosexuality and the LGBT community can’t compete in and host big sporting events in the future.

Thursday, March 24, 2022

Disney employees protest over company donations to ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill backers in Florida

LGBTQ Disney employees and their allies staged a walkout from various departments and products to protest the company’s donations to the Republican legislators behind Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill

If signed into law, the bill will allow homophobic or transphobic parents to sue school districts if gender identity or sexual orientation is brought up in any way in K–3 classrooms. This can include something as innocuous as referring to a student’s queer parents … or, presumably, to a gay Disney character like that iconic Onward cop.

Disney CEO Bob Chapek apologized after initially dismissing employee concerns over the company’s GOP donations, but walkout organizers insist the company must publicly commit to an actionable plan that protects employees from hateful legislation, including stopping Disney’s efforts to relocate its California-based staff to Florida.

One such employee is Oscar Isaac, star of Disney’s upcoming Moon Knight television series. Isaac was very blunt when speaking to Variety about the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. “I guess my comment would be: gay gay gay gay gay gay gay gay gay gay gay gayyyyyy!” Isaac said.

“It’s an absolutely ridiculous law,” he continued. “It’s insane. It’s insanity. And I hope that Disney as a company comes out as forcefully as possible against this idea. It’s astounding that it even exists in this country.” Isaac’s Moon Knight co-star Ethan Hawke agreed.

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

Students at high schools across Florida also walked out of their classes to send a message to their communities and, they hoped, to lawmakers in Tallahassee, in opposition to “Don’t Say Gay” bill and that it’s okay to be gay.

Stop DeSantis proposal!!!

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Florida's “Don’t Say Gay” bill will negatively impact LGBTQ kids and families, White House Press Secretary affirms

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, in the aftermath of the Florida Legislature passing the “Don’t Say Gay” bill critics say would negatively impact LGBTQ kids and families, denounced the legislation on Wednesday, saying it would lead to “hateful, misguided policy.”

“I think what’s important to note here is how outspoken the president has been on discrimination against kids, against members of the LGBTQI+ community and what we’re looking at here is a bill that would propagate misinformed, hateful policy and impact children,” Psaki said.

Psaki addressed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill in response to questioning from the New York Post, which challenged the White House spokesperson on Biden’s position against the bill when he voted for an amendment as a U.S. senator in 1994 that would prohibit the use of federal funding in the teaching of homosexuality.

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

Students at high schools across Florida also walked out of their classes to send a message to their communities and, they hoped, to lawmakers in Tallahassee, in opposition to “Don’t Say Gay” bill and that it’s okay to be gay.

Republican Gov. DeSantis supports the proposal

Sunday, March 20, 2022

Jamie Lee Curtis supports her trans daughter

Last year, legendary actor Jamie Lee Curtis announced that her second child is transgender and that she would be officiating her wedding.

Now, it seems Curtis is still proud as ever. In a touching tweet, she wished her daughter, Ruby, a happy birthday and declared her support for trans people everywhere.

“Happy birthday Ruby. I am proud 2 be your mother & am sending support 2 all trans families across the US targeted by conservative legislatures & I VOW 2 use my freedom of speech 2 SUPPORT my child & ALL trans children trying 2 live FREELY as who they are.”

Along with the message, Curtis posted a photo of herself pumping her first and leg into the air while wearing a trans Pride t-shirt.

On Instagram, Curtis posted the same photo along with a longer message: “This country was founded on freedom,” she wrote. “A profoundly simple idea that everyone living here should be free to dream and achieve what they want freely. OUR declaration of independence promises that we are endowed with certain unalienable rights including Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness…..AND that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to defy it to ensure Safety and Happiness. A profound idea. Safety and Happiness!”

Congratulations Ruby!!!

Friday, March 18, 2022

4 out of 5 Australian parents support LGBTQ education in schools


A national study has found over 80 per cent of Australian parents support the teaching of gender and sexuality diversity in schools, as part of relationships and sexual health education.

The study, the first of its kind in Australia, surveyed 2000 parents of public-school children from Kindergarten to Year 12.

The research found 94 per cent of parents want Relationships and Sexuality Education delivered in government schools. And 82 per cent of parents support the curriculum inclusion of gender and sexuality diversity topics for all school students, from kindergarten to Year 12.

A majority of the parents want to see gender and sexuality diversity introduced in the curriculum in primary school and the early years of high school. And a majority of participants supported involvement of parents, schools and teachers in Relationships and Sexuality Education.

Australian parents want their children to be taught more, not less, about relationships and sexuality education reflecting the full spectrum of human sexuality and gender.


Monday, March 14, 2022

Lewis Hamilton changes his name to include mother's surname


The Formula 1 star, Lewis Hamilton, said he intends to change his name to incorporate his mother’s surname, Larbalestier, to honour his mother.

Lewis confirmed he is working on changing his surname to acknowledge his biological mother, Carmen Larbalestier. She separated from his father Anthony Hamilton when the future world champion was two years old.

He revealed the planned change when discussing his eagerness to win an eighth world championship which narrowly eluded him at the end of last year. “It would mean the world to my family,” said Lewis. “It would mean a lot to me knowing that, for example, I am really proud of my family’s name, Hamilton."

“I’m actually, none of you might know that my mum’s name is Larbalestier and I am just about to put that in my name. Because I don’t fully understand the idea that when people get married the woman loses their name. And my mum, I really want her name to continue on along with the Hamilton name,” he added.

Asked when he intends to make the change Hamilton said: “Hopefully soon, I don’t know if it will be this weekend but we are working on it.”

Lewis is well known to stand for LGBTQ rights too, like his 'racemate' Sebastian Vettel

Lewis weared a rainbow helmet at Qatar's race

Sunday, March 13, 2022

Large companies call on Texas Governor to abandon anti-LGBTQ efforts

More than 60 major corporations are calling on Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and other leaders targeting things like access to gender-affirming care to “abandon efforts to write discrimination into law and policy.”

In an open letter organized by the Human Rights Campaign, companies including Apple and Google said efforts like Abbott’s directive to investigate reports of minors receiving gender-affirming care as “child abuse” do not align with their values.

“The recent attempt to criminalize a parent for helping their transgender child access medically necessary, age appropriate healthcare in the state of Texas goes against the values of our companies,” the letter reads. “This policy creates fear for employees and their families, especially those with transgender children, who might now be faced with choosing to provide the best possible medical care for their children but risk having those children removed by child protective services for doing so.”

In another open letter organized by the HRC earlier this month, thousands of parents denounced legislation targeting LGBTQ youth nationwide. You can add your name to defend their rights.

“Today, as parents who care about the well-being of all children — transgender, non-binary and cisgender — we are raising our voices in unity against extremist, discriminatory actions by lawmakers putting transgender children in harm’s way,” reads a portion of the letter, signed by more than 7,000 parents of trans children, as well as allies.

You can read news here

Thursday, March 10, 2022

First gay couple gets married in Chile as same-sex marriage law takes effect

Chile welcomed its first-ever same-sex newlyweds as the country’s equal marriage law finally came into effect.

Javier Silva and Jaime Nazar, a couple for seven years, exchanged vows before sharing a kiss in the Civil Registry of Providencia of Santiago, Chile’s capital city, in a historic moment for the overwhelmingly Catholic country.

The pair have long dreamed of getting hitched not only to celebrate their love but to give them full legal status as parents, they have two children, given that the South American nation’s conservative laws have long stymied them.

"Being the first couple to get married in Chile for us is an honor, something to be proud of," Silva told reporters after the civil ceremony. "We did it! It's something we didn't think could happen."

"Now our children have the same rights (as other families) and they will be able to have, we hope, a better future, that they will not be discriminated against for having two parents who love each other," Silva added.

Chile's Congress approved in December 2021 a long-awaited bill to legalize same-sex marriage. The measure had the support of President Sebastian Pinera, and it also enable married same-sex couples to adopt children.

Congrats to the newlyweds!!!

Then-president Michelle Bachelet sent the
marriage equality bill to Congress in 2017

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Guatemala approves law prohibiting gay marriage and teaching sexual diversity

The congress of Guatemala has passed legislation to explicitly ban same-sex marriage and ban the mention of LGBTQ equality in school.

The “Life and Family Protection Law” was passed by congress with 101 votes in favour, 51 abstentions and just 8 votes against. It will officially come into law once it has been signed by Guatemala’s president, Alejandro Giammattei.

While there is already no provision for same-sex marriage in Guatemala, the bill introduces a reform to the Civil Code, which will now "expressly prohibit same-sex marriages" in Guatemala.  

The law will also ban schools, both public and private, from any teaching or policies that promote LGBTQ equality. The law describes such teaching as “promoting in children and teenagers policies or programs that tend to lead to diversion from their sexual identities at birth”.

Those who promoted the law have said that there are "minority groups of the Guatemalan society" that propose "models of conduct... different from the natural order of marriage and family, which represent a threat to the moral balance of our society."

After the bill passed, Human Rights Ombudsman Jordan Rodas said that the law "violates" international conventions signed by Guatemala, and announced a battle to have it declared illegal by the Constitutional Court, the highest in the country. "We are going to file an action of unconstitutionality so that this law has no effect", said Rodas.

Bad news from Guatemala!

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Great Freedom shows the harsh treatment of gay men in Germany after WW2


Great Freedom (‘Gro├če Freiheit’, 2021), directed by Sebastian Meise, is a potent drama and love story which tells a story of resilience amid harsh treatment of gay men in post-war Germany.

In Germany after WW2, the liberation by the Allies did not mean freedom for everyone. Hans (Franz Rogowski) has been found guilty of something the government deems a crime: he is gay. 

Under the 19th-century German penal code known as Paragraph 175, which formed part of Germany's criminal code until 1994, homosexuality is grounds for imprisonment, and Hans, over the course of multiple decades, is spied on and imprisoned again and again for being homosexual. 

As he returns to prison, again and again, Hans develops an ever-closer relationship with his cellmate Viktor (Georg Friedrich), a convicted murderer serving a life sentence. 

As their charged rapport blossoms over time into something far more tender, the movie explores love, lost time, and the tenacity of the human spirit.

Watch the trailer below:

Sunday, March 6, 2022

Court of Appeal dismisses challenges to colonial-era anti-gay law in Singapore

The Court of Appeal in Singapore upheld the High Court's decision to dismiss three challenges to Section 377A of the Penal Code, which criminalises sex between men.

Section 377A, which criminalises acts of "gross indecency" between men with a penalty of up to two years imprisonment, was imposed in 1938 during British colonial rule.

The challenges were mounted by: Disc jockey Johnson Ong Ming, retired general practitioner Roy Tan Seng Kee and Bryan Choong Chee Hoong, the former executive director of LGBT non-profit organisation Oogachaga.

In a 152-page written judgment delivered by Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon on behalf of a five-judge panel, the Court of Appeal stressed that the appeals are "not about whether Section 377A should be retained or repealed", as this was "a matter beyond our remit". "Nor are they about the moral worth of homosexual individuals," said the Chief Justice.  

The Court of Appeal held that the entirety of Section 377A is "unenforceable" unless and until the Attorney-General of the day provides clear notice that he or she, in his capacity as the public prosecutor, intends to reassert his right to enforce the law by way of prosecution that applies to certain conducts.

The acknowledgement that Section 377A is unenforceable only in the prosecutorial sense is cold comfort. Its real impact lies in how it perpetuates discrimination to LGBTQ people across every aspect of life in Singapore, at home, in schools, in the workplace, in media, and even access to vital services like healthcare.

Very disappointed!!!

The three men who mounted the challenges

Friday, March 4, 2022

Florida students protest against "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. The proposal have dubbed the “don’t say gay" bill by critics.

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

Students at high schools across Florida walked out of their classes to send a message to their communities and, they hoped, to lawmakers in Tallahassee, that it’s okay to be gay.

They organized the event in opposition to the so-called “don’t say gay” bill that’s been moving through the state Legislature. It’s scheduled to go to the Senate floor.

The teens contended the impact of the proposal would be to marginalize and isolate LGTBQ youth in the schools.

Jack Petocz, a Florida student, has been suspended from his high school after organizing a mass protest against the "don't say gay" bill

In a statement posted on social media, Petocz said he had wanted to protest the "homophobic and discriminatory legislation" at the rally, which had been approved by the school.

"Over 500 students from my school joined thousands of other concerned youth statewide to demonstrate their constitutionally guaranteed right to freedom of speech, freedom of expression, and freedom to protest," Petocz wrote.

Republican Gov. DeSantis supports the proposal

Wednesday, March 2, 2022

President Biden to younger transgender Americans: "I’ll always have your back, so you can be yourself"

President Joe Biden, in his State of the Union address, assured the nation’s transgender youth that he will work to pass legislation to better protect LGBTQ Americans and fight against anti-trans bills spreading across Republican states.

The president made the comments in a sweeping address focused on the Russian invasion in Ukraine, the lingering COVID-19 pandemic and serious concerns about the nation’s economy. But he specifically pointed to what he called an “onslaught” of GOP-led legislation targeting trans youth, bills that seek to limit transgender minors’ access to medically necessary health care or keep them from playing on school sports teams.

The best way to protect them, he said, would be for Congress to pass the Equality Act, bipartisan legislation that would prohibit discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation or gender identity. The bill has been hailed by civil rights groups.

“For our LGBTQ Americans, let’s finally get the bipartisan Equality Act to my desk,” Biden told Congress. “The onslaught of state laws targeting transgender Americans and their families, it’s simply wrong.”

The Democrat-dominated House voted to pass the Equality Act, but it has been held up in the Senate, where it needs 60 votes to pass and overcome a Republican filibuster. Many republicans lawmakers refused to vote for the bill, saying it would infringe on religious rights, even though a majority of Americans support its passage.

Until when?

President Biden signed LGBT Equality Bill on the first day

Tuesday, March 1, 2022

Regardless, LGBTQ Ukrainians are staying to fight Putin's invasion

As Russia fights to take Kyiv, LGBTQ Ukrainians fear Putin has included them as targets on his «kill list» but, instead of running, they’re working to keep his military forces out.

Desperate to avoid the shadow of Putin’s bigoted regime falling over Ukraine, many members of the gay community had been rushing to prepare as combat volunteers. 

The gay community in Ukraine will resist Russian occupation despite continued discrimination at home, the alternative is unbearable.

For years, LGBTQ people in Ukraine have fought to be recognised as equal members of society, but now, as Russian invasion imperils Ukraine’s very existence, international organisations are working to protect LGBTQ Ukrainians who are working to save a country that has not yet accepted them as full citizens.

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.

Stop war!!! Stop Putin!!!

You can make donations here