Tuesday, August 30, 2022

India's Supreme Court says LGBTQ families deserve same legal protection as any other family

In a massive win for LGBTQ rights, India’s Supreme Court has ruled that LGBTQ families are warranted legal protection. 

Justices Chandrachud and Bopanna ruled that queer and other “non-traditional” families are entitled to the same social benefits as “traditional” families. 

“The law must not be relied upon to disadvantage families which are different from traditional ones. Familial relationships may take the form of domestic, unmarried partnerships or queer relationships, ”  they wrote.

The two justices added that many families within the country don’t fall under the “traditional” gender-based roles and assumptions: “This assumption ignores both, the many circumstances which may lead to a change in one’s familial structure, and the fact that many families do not conform to this expectation to begin with,” they explained.

India’s recent ruling joins the country’s growing list of LGBTQ inclusive reforms since 2018, when the Supreme Court overturned Section 377 of the Indian penal code, which criminalised men who have sex with men.

Congratulations India!!!

Sunday, August 28, 2022

EuroPride defiantly vows to go ahead in Belgrade next September

For Serbia’s LGBTQ community, hosting EuroPride in the capital city of Belgrade in September was intended as a way to celebrate diversity and push for more rights in the deeply conservative country.

But Serbia’s strongman president, Aleksandar Vučić, claimed EuroPride won’t be happening amid growing tension with Kosovo, he said at a press conference in Belgrade.

The leader of the nationalist Serbian Progressive Party told reporters: “The Pride parade that was scheduled for the month of September will be postponed or cancelled, or whatever that miracle is called, it doesn’t matter.

“We can’t at this moment when we have both the open Balkans and the crisis in Kosovo and Metohija that will not end at least until 31 October, we have no progress, we have nowhere to move. We have to deal with energy, and drought, we have many crises.”

But EuroPride won’t be shut down anytime soon, European Pride Organisers Association (EPOA) president Kristine Garina said. EuroPride organizers said Serbian authorities must provide security against “bullies” who threaten the march and seek to discredit it.

“President Vučić cannot cancel someone else’s event. EuroPride is not cancelled, and will not be cancelled,” the Latvian activist said.

“EuroPride in Belgrade will not be cancelled and will bring together thousands of LGBTQ people from across Europe with LGBTQ people from Serbia and the wider western Balkans.”

Serbia pledged to protect LGBTQ rights as it seeks EU membership, but increasingly vocal right-wing supporters harass and sometimes attack people based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Check website of EuroPride2022 in Belgrade here

Read the ILGA-Europe statement here.

It's time!!!

Thursday, August 25, 2022

LGBTQ candidates win in Florida in aftermath of "Don’t Say Gay bill"


Seven openly LGBTQ candidates running for state House or Senate seats in Florida have won their primaries, advancing to November’s general election where voters will decide whether to triple LGBTQ representation in the state legislature.

Florida voters also ousted Rep. James Bush III, the only House Democrat that voted to pass the “Don’t Say Gay bill" in February.

Florida’s legislature made national headlines in January when state Republicans introduced the Parental Rights in Education bill, known to its critics as the “Don’t Say Gay bill", to restrict public school teachers’ ability to engage in classroom instruction related to sexual orientation and gender identity.

After advancing through the House, Florida senators in March passed the controversial legislation, rejecting more than a dozen amendments that would have bolstered protections for LGBTQ students and their families.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), who also won his primary Tuesday evening, signed the bill into law later that month, accusing public school teachers during a press conference of pushing their “woke gender ideology” on Florida students and peddling “clearly inappropriate” learning materials.

Beyond the legislature, Florida officials this year have pursued policies that if enacted would further restrict the rights of LGBTQ people in the state, particularly transgender youth.

The governor’s race in Florida in 2018 was decided by only 32,463 votes out of 8+ million. The results of the poll suggest that LGBTQ and ally voters are positioned to be decisive in Florida this November if the governor’s race is similarly close. 77% of LGBTQ and ally voters have an unfavorable opinion of DeSantis. 

It's time to change, Florida!

Won't be erased in Florida, nor anywhere!

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Vietnam declares being LGBTQ is not an illness and ends conversion therapy


Vietnam’s Health Ministry said being gay or trans is not an illness and urged medical practitioners to stop discriminating against LGBTQ people in health care . 

Vietnam’s Health Ministry published a document in line with the the World Health Organisation (WHO) which confirmed that homosexuality is entirely not an illness, therefore homosexuality cannot be "cured" nor needs to be "cured" and cannot be converted in any way.

The statement also urged medical professionals need to be fair and respectful of queer people’s sexuality and not to discriminate against the LGBTQ community. The document also stated that so called conversion therapy, to change a persons sexual orientation or gender identity is illegal.

As the most trusted source of medical authority in Vietnam, the impact of Vietnam’s Health Ministry on social perceptions or queerness will be enormous. Now, Rights groups inside Vietnam are simultaneously pushing for legislation that would legalize same-sex marriage.

Read the statement here.

Monday, August 22, 2022

Singapore to end colonial-era ban on homosexuality


Singapore will decriminalise sex between men, effectively making it legal to be homosexual in the city-state.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said the government would repeal Section 377A of the penal code, a colonial-era law that criminalises sex between men, adding that society was becoming more accepting of gay people.

Singapore chose to retain the colonial-era ban on gay sex after it won independence from Britain in 1965.

"I believe this is the right thing to do, and something that most Singaporeans will now accept," he said in his annual National Day rally speech.

However, Lee said the government had no intention of changing the city-state's legal definition of marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

"Even as we repeal Section 377A, we will uphold and safeguard the institution of marriage (...). Under the law, only marriages between one man and one woman are recognised in Singapore," Lee added.

Although many places have decriminalized sexual acts between people of the same sex, only a few allow same-sex marriage, partnerships or unions. Singapore tempered its decision by saying it will amend its constitution to prevent such unions from ever taking place.

Singapore is the smallest nation in Southeast Asia by size but has outsize influence as a major shipping and commercial center. Its population of 5.7 million is a mix of Chinese, Indians, and Malay Muslims, who are largely traditional in their values. Southeast Asia as a whole is a conservative region and has been slow to recognize LGBTQ rights; none of its 11 countries allow same-sex marriage.

An important step in the right way.

Friday, August 12, 2022

The best and worst countries for LGBTQ travel in 2022

Every year, Asher & Lyric evaluate the places around the world that are the most dangerous and safest for queer travelers. 

Instead of relying on hearsay and anecdotes from other travelers, the couple behind the travel site compiled over 350+ hours of research, to review 203 countries’ individual laws and gathered data from a variety of trusted international sources to create this definitive “LGBTQ Travel Safety Index” to help travelers find the safest and least safe countries to visit.

Read the full article here and happy vacations!

Monday, August 8, 2022

An openly gay is the new Minister of Justice in Colombia

Colombian President Gustavo Petro appointed former magistrate Néstor Osuna as his Minister of Justice. The arrival of this official to the cabinet has been celebrated for the experience he has and his political positions. In addition, it is highlighted that for years he declared himself openly homosexual, which adds important representation to the country's LGBTQ community.

On his first day in office, Osuna encouraged people of diverse sexual orientation to "come out of the closet." He clarified that he understands that this is a personal decision, closely linked to contexts and life experiences, but assured that once the step is taken, the pressures are eliminated.

This Minister of Justice is very different from the previous ones, since he does not share the conservative overtones of his predecessors. In fact, in addition to being openly gay, he fully supports the decriminalization of abortion in Colombia.

Most Colombians learned of the new Minister's sexual orientation thanks to an interaction he had with his husband, the journalist Mauricio Arroyave from Antioquia, on social networks: "Proud of my husband, the new Colombian Minister of Justice, Mr. Néstor Osuna,” Arroyave wrote on Twitter.

To this message, Osuna responded by thanking Arroyave for his support: “I wouldn't be here without you. Thank you for so much”, affirmed Osuna.

Colombia legalized same-sex marriage in 2016.

Congratulations to the new Minister and to the Colombians!!!

Néstor Osuna (right) with his husband Mauricio Arroyave

Saturday, August 6, 2022

France to create an ambassador role to promote LGBTQ rights worldwide


France’s Prime Minister, Elisabeth Borne, announced the new LGBTQ ambassador position on the 40th anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality in the country.

Borne visited an LGBTQ centre in Orleans, where she unveiled plans for the new government position. The Prime Minister said the role of the ambassador is to “campaign for the decriminalisation everywhere of homosexuality and trans identity.”

There is full support for the creation of the role by President Emmanuel Macron and his government. The ambassador will be appointed by the end of the year.

She continued: “The President of the Republic’s approach, my approach, the government’s approach is not ambiguous: we will continue to fight to make progress on the rights of the LGBTQ.”

Earlier this year the French government banned so-called ‘conversion therapy’. Remember that same-sex marriage is legal in France since 2013. In 2018, 70 French artists joined forces to tackle homophobia, and also France, with other 15 EU countries, denounced Hungary's new anti-LGBT law last 2021.

Thursday, August 4, 2022

It's time to change, Florida!

A new poll commissioned by GLAAD reveals broad concerns of LGBTQ and ally voters in Florida about legislation stripping away their rights, and how it’s motivating them to vote in this fall’s midterm election. LGBTQ and ally voters are poised to make a decisive difference in the future of their state.

77% strongly agree it’s more important than ever to vote this year because basic human rights for women and LGBTQ Floridians are starting to be taken away by elected officials currently in charge of Florida’s government.

Florida’s legislature has passed bills targeting abortion access and banning LGBTQ-related conversation in schools, the known “Don’t Say Gay" bill. When measures failed in the legislature to criminalize evidence-based, lifesaving healthcare for transgender youth, Governor Ron DeSantis directed state agencies to issue misinformation to target transgender people and begin the process of stripping Medicaid coverage for gender-affirming care, despite the fact that it is supported by every major medical association. 

DeSantis and his appointees have also threatened small business owners that host drag shows, and schools that enforce federal protections for LGBTQ students under Title IX, prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

The governor’s race in Florida in 2018 was decided by only 32,463 votes out of 8+ million. The results of the poll suggest that LGBTQ and ally voters are positioned to be decisive in Florida this November if the governor’s race is similarly close. 77% of LGBTQ and ally voters have an unfavorable opinion of DeSantis. 

It's time to change, Florida!

Read the pollster memo here

Monday, August 1, 2022

Kiss-a-thon in Colombia to support a gay couple


Hundreds of people took to a park in Colombia to show their support for a gay couple who were set upon after kissing in public.

Same-sex couples staged a kiss-a-thon ("besatón" in Spanish) in the park in Bogotá where the pair had been confronted by a group of women, one of whom was wielding a broomstick.

The protest was organised on social media after a video had been widely shared of two young gay men being forced from a park by angry locals.

In the video, women can be heard shouting at the couple, telling them that "in this neighbourhood we don't allow sex in the park, especially not in front of children". The young men ask "what sex?" and say that they had only kissed.

Holding signs reading "Kisses are signs of affection, not a crime", people gathered in the park in the Engativá neighbourhood of the capital. Waving rainbow flags, couples kissed and celebrated as music played.

Bogotá's mayor condemned the incident. Colombia legalised same-sex marriage in 2016 but homophobic attacks are not uncommon.

The attacked couple was also in the protest