Saturday, December 31, 2022

HAPPY 2023!!!

Gay couples ask Indian Supreme Court to legalise same-sex marriage

India’s Supreme Court has accepted legal petitions from four gay couples who’ve gone to the court demanding the country legalise same-sex marriage. The four gay couples are arguing that denying them same-sex marriages is unconstitutional.

In 2018, India's Supreme Court ruled gay sex was no longer a crime, and they struck down a colonial-era law criminalizing consensual gay sex, overturning more than 150 years of anti-LGBT legislation.

The petitioners said that while the 2018 ruling was an historic moment for the country, discrimination and legal hurdles remain for same-sex couples. They’ve told the court that without legal recognition of marriage, they are denied rights such as those linked to medical consent, insurance, pensions or adoption.

In India, same-sex marriages have no legal sanction, though petitions for legalisation are under consideration in various courts across the country. The legal recognition of a status, or fact, is a  formal acknowledgement of that status or fact as being true, valid, legal, or worthy of consideration.

In Asia, Taiwan is the only country to have legalised same-sex marriages.

In 2018, gay sex was decriminalized in India

Thursday, December 29, 2022

An openly gay man is elected speaker of Israeli parliament for first time


The Israeli Parliament or Knesset has elected Likud MK Amir Ohana as its speaker, shortly before the confidence vote to inaugurate Israel’s 37th government. A former minister in past governments, Ohana is the Knesset’s first openly gay person to hold the role.

Occupying one of the Knesset’s most strategic positions, the speaker wields considerable influence over legislative agenda and pace, as well as running legislative sessions and maintaining decorum in the plenum.

Ohana has previously served as justice minister and public security minister, with his elevation to the former post in 2019 making him Israel’s first openly gay minister.

After being elected speaker, Ohana thanked Netanyahu for his courage and trust in advancing his candidacy, and said he and the Likud leader have “traveled a long way together” and “will, with God’s help, carry on further.”

He also thanked his parents for accepting him “for who I am.” And he thanked his partner, Alon Haddad, “the second half of my life for almost 18 years,” who was there with the couple’s children, Ella and David.

Outside the Parliament, hundreds in Tel Aviv rallied in support of LGBTQ rights after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was sworn in as the head of what is being called Israel's most right-wing government. Many protesters were speaking out against Netanyahu's allies' proposal to scrap anti-discrimination legislation, effectively allowing businesses and medical providers to deny services to LGBTQ people on the basis of religious beliefs.

The Ohana's family

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Polish president vetoes anti-LGBTQ education bill

A controversial bill that would further limit access to comprehensive sexual education and anti-LGBTQ discrimination preventative classes in schools in Poland was vetoed by President Andrzej Duda.

The measure would have implemented restrictions on curriculum and school activities, giving the country’s central government more control over the regional school systems and administrative staff.

The legislation was put forward by the majority ruling conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party in Poland’s Parliament, known as the Sejm and Senate. Przemysław Czarnek, the ultra-conservative education minister who backed both bills, has publicly claimed that reforms are needed to “protect children from moral corruption.”

Both measures would give school administrators and superintendents the power to remove books, lessons, and ban student participation in events or clubs that are LGBTQ affirming.

“I refuse to sign this bill. I understand that some people will be disappointed, but a large part of our society will be calmed by this decision,” the Polish president said. 

“Entities from all sides of the political scene find points in this act that they have very serious doubts about and against which they protest. Unfortunately, it has not been possible to achieve what I would call a social compromise… The bill has not received wide social acceptance,” he added.

Monday, December 26, 2022

A whiskey commercial about trans acceptance becomes viral

Spanish company J&B Scotch Whiskey released their holiday commercial and it's a surprisingly moving storyline about the acceptance of a transgender family member. 

The three-minute commercial opens with a grandfather stealing his wife's lipstick to secretly apply it on himself in the bathroom. He slowly begins experimenting with makeup, buying eye shadow at the grocery store and taking brow tips from bus billboards until he's happy with his own look. He continues to hide it from his family. 

When his extended family arrives on a holiday, we meet Álvaro, the man's visibly uncomfortable 26-year-old grandchild. The grandfather pulls them into the bathroom and applies all of the makeup tricks he's learned on Álvaro and they look absolutely beautiful as the two gaze into the mirror together. The grandfather then reintroduces their grandchild to the family as Ana. In the end, the family toasts over some whiskey. "Magic is not only at Christmas," the screen reads in Spanish. "It is also in us."

The commercial has over 2,5 million views on YouTube. The official description shares the hope from J&B Spain that the commercial can help "us reflect, so that on these dates there can always be room at the table for acceptance, respect and, above all, celebration."

Watch the commercial below:

Friday, December 23, 2022

Scotland and Spain pass laws promoting trans rights and a lower age for gender change

Scotland and Spain have both advanced legislation making it easier for transgender people to legally change their gender despite strong opposition movements in both countries.

Both bills require further steps before they become law. Scotland, as part of the United Kingdom, needs royal assent for its bill, while Spain’s legislation has been passed by one house of its Parliament but needs the approval of the other, something that is expected.

Scotland’s Parliament voted 86-39 to ease the process of obtaining what’s called a gender recognition certificate. It will lower the age for application from 18 to 16 and will require applicants “to have lived in their acquired gender for three months rather than two years”. Also, applicants will no longer need to have a diagnosis of gender dysphoria.

Under Spain’s bill, anyone 16 or older will be able to change the gender on their legal identification documents by simply declaring their gender. Previously, they had to have been diagnosed with gender dysphoria by several doctors, and in some cases, they also needed proof they had been living for two years as the gender they identified with or even records showing they had taken hormones.

A new step for trans rights!

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Smiley, the first Spanish LGBTQ rom-com in Netflix

Smiley is a Spanish rom-com series directed by David Martín Porras and Marta Pahissa. Starring Carlos Cuevas and Miki Esparbé, the Netflix' series spins around the life of two hopeless romantics, Alex and Bruno, who always get failed by their partners. 

Tired of getting dumped and disappointed by Grindr dates, Álex and Bruno are two very different men both looking for someone they can’t seem to find, until a misdialed phone call sends them head over heels into a love story neither one saw coming

Álex (Carlos Cuevas) is heartbroken. He was building fantasies with a boy that, a couple of weeks later, disappeared giving him a perfect ghosting. And he is really upset because of it.

He picks up the phone and asks out for an explanation in a voicemail that will have unexpected consequences… because he ends up sending it by mistake to Bruno (Miki Esparbé), who he doesn’t know at all. This innocent first misleading is the first one in a chain of events that will change Alex and Bruno’s life forever.

We all know the Japanese story about a red thread that connects two people, right? If not, look it up on the internet or watch the show. Bruno explains the “red thread” story to Alex, and Alex completely regards it as a myth. The concept of “the red thread” plays a huge significance throughout the series, and I got goosebumps when the end portrayed it so beautifully.

The series bags in significant supporting actors who are: Pepón Nieto, Meritxell Calvo, Giannina Fruttero, Eduardo Lloveras, Ruth Llopis, Ramon Pujol, Brian McGovern, Carlos Noriega and Yasmina Drissi.

Don't miss it!!!

Watch the trailer below:

Monday, December 19, 2022

Federal Court upholds Connecticut’s transgender athlete policy


A federal appeals court threw out a case brought by four cisgender high school girls in Connecticut who claimed the state’s trans-inclusive sports policy violated their civil rights and deprived them of a chance to be champions.

In a victory for transgender youth, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a student athletic policy in Connecticut allowing transgender students to play on the teams most consistent with their gender identity.

“Today’s ruling is a critical victory for fairness, equality, and inclusion,” said Joshua Block, senior staff attorney for the ACLU’s LGBTQ & HIV Project. “The court rejected the baseless zero-sum arguments presented by the opposition to this policy and ultimately found transgender girls have as much a right to play as cisgender girls under Title IX. This critical victory strikes at the heart of political attacks against transgender youth while helping ensure every young person has the right to play.”

“Trans student athletes belong on our sports teams and in our schools, and all trans youth should be celebrated and protected for who they are. Today, the courts have once again dismissed this lawsuit seeking to attack trans student athletes. The record shows that our clients played by the rules, and the court agreed,” he added.

Saturday, December 17, 2022

Ireland has an openly gay PM again

Leo Varadkar takes over for the second time as Ireland's Prime Minister (PM) this weekend, in a handover of power between the two main political partners in the three-party governing coalition.

Varadkar, who is openly gay and is still one of Ireland's youngest ever leaders even in his second stint in the role, steps up from deputy premier.

The rotation between 43-year-old Varadkar's Fine Gael and current premier Micheal Martin's Fianna Fail parties is unprecedented in Irish history. They agreed to the rotating premiership as part of a coalition with Ireland's Greens following 2020 elections.

Varadkar was elected leader of the ruling Fine Gael party and confirmed as Taoiseach, or Prime Minister, for first time in 2017.

Leo Varadkar and his partner Matt Barrett

Thursday, December 15, 2022

Netanyahu promises to respect the rights to Israeli LGBTQ citizens

Incoming Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has spoken out amid domestic and international fears about whether the new government would protect the rights of minority Israelis.

Netanyahu promised that his new government would not deny rights to Israeli LGBTQ or Arab citizens in an interview he gave to the US-based National Public Radio, as he explains that as the country's leader he would be the one in charge.

"I will not let anyone do anything to LGBTQ or to deny our Arab citizens their rights or anything like that. It just won't happen, and the test of time will prove that," he said.

Israel is considered the most progressive country in the Mideast regarding LGBTQ rights, they recognize same-sex unions though they still don’t legally allow same-sex marriage. In any case, Israel stands in sharp contrast to the rest of the region and becomes an exception on acceptance of LGBTQ rights. 

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Shocked and sickened by Iranian footballer's execution for campaigning for women's rights in Iran


Iranian footballer Amir Nasr-Azadani is facing execution in his home country after campaigning for women's rights amid anti-government protests following death of Mahsa Amini

The 26-year-old had been accused of "rebellion, membership in illegal gangs, collusion to undermine security and therefore assisting in moharabeh" or "emnity against God", a capital crime in the Islamic Republic punished by the death penalty.

Speaking on the situation, players' union FIFPRO said: "We are shocked and sickened by reports that professional footballer Amir Nasr-Azadani faces execution in Iran after campaigning for women's rights and basic freedom in his country. We stand in solidarity with Amir and call for the immediate removal of his punishment."

Amnesty International has also spoken out against this verdict: “The organization has asked the international community to go to any lengths necessary to force the Iranian government to stop executions and the death penalty.”

#FreeIran #FreeAmir #StopExecutionsInIran

Saturday, December 10, 2022

Same-sex marriage is the law of the land in the U.S.

President Joe Biden will shortly sign the Respect for Marriage Act, closing a chapter that began when Jack Baker and Michael McConnell applied, unsuccessfully, for a marriage licence in Minnesota in 1970. 

For many gay Americans, together with their friends and families, the new law comes as a relief. No longer is the right to marry contingent on the makeup of the Supreme Court at any given time. Even if the court strikes down Obergefell v Hodges, the 2015 case that legalised gay marriage in America, the effects of doing so would be much reduced.

When Jack Baker and Michael McConnell tried to marry half a century ago, they sought recognition that their relationship was as ordinary and as special as the 2m other marriages that happened in America that year. Now millions of gay Americans have that recognition, too. 

In states where gay marriage is legal, the federal government will recognise these unions. States that do not permit gay marriage will not be forced to adopt it. But they will be obliged to recognise marriages performed in other states. Thus the law strikes a balance between majority opinion, which favours gay marriage by a wide margin, and a minority who object on religious grounds.

President Biden signed the LGBTQ Equality Bill on the first day

Sunday, December 4, 2022

Singapore lawmakers vote to repeal colonial-era sodomy law

Lawmakers in Singapore repealed a colonial-era law that criminalized consensual same-sex sexual relations. But, a constitutional amendment to define marriage as between a man and a woman was also approved.

93 MPs voted to repeal Section 377A of the country’s penal code after 10 hours of debate that spanned two days. A constitutional amendment that ensures marriage remains defined between a man and a woman also passed with 85 MPs voting in favor of it. 

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in August announced his country would decriminalize consensual same-sex sexual relations, adding that society was becoming more accepting of gay people.

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.

Better late than never!

Congrats Singapore!!!

Friday, December 2, 2022

Record 120 cities in the U.S. get highest score on Municipal Equality Index

A record 120 cities in the U.S. have earned a perfect 100 score on this year’s Human Rights Campaign Municipal Equality Index, which rates cities on antidiscrimination laws, benefits for public employees, and other factors that contribute to a positive climate for LGBTQ people.

That number is up from 110 in the 2021 index and just 11 in its inaugural year, 2012, illustrating the striking advancements municipalities have made despite some being in states that have seen increased extremist-led anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and legislation. 

The index includes cities as small as Rehoboth Beach, Del., population 1,327, and as large as New York City, population 8 million. This year’s index rated 506 cities total, including the nation’s 200 largest cities, all state capitals, the five largest cities in each state, and the cities home to each state’s two largest public universities.

Among the success stories highlighted in the report is Dublin, Ohio, which scored a perfect 100, where its City Council enacted an inclusive municipal nondiscrimination law last year, and the city has added two LGBTQ liaison positions. 

The HRC Foundation released the index in partnership with the Equality Federation Institute. Find a list of cities rated here.

Read the full report here