Sunday, April 30, 2023

Italy, Poland and Hungary condemned by EU parliament for anti-LGBTQ rhetoric


In a recently adopted resolution, the European Parliament condemned Italy, Poland and Hungary over their use of anti-rights, anti-gender and anti-LGBTQ rhetoric.

The resolution text also revealed the Parliament’s concern about the global spread of anti-rights, anti-gender, and anti-LGBTQ movements, fueled by political and religious leaders worldwide, including those in the EU.

Out of the 527 Members of the European Parliament who voted, 282 approved the resolution, 235 opposed it, and 10 abstained. This resolution is part of a larger initiative that calls for the universal decriminalisation of homosexuality and transgender identity.

The amendment had been added to a resolution calling for the universal decriminalization of homosexuality and transgender identity, in response to newly adopted anti-homosexuality legislation in Uganda.

Poland ranked as worst country in EU for LGBTQ people

Friday, April 28, 2023

President Biden criticizes Republican politicians efforts to ban LGBTQ books


U.S. President Joe Biden criticized elected Republican officials for the increasingly widespread practice of banning LGBTQ books from America’s schools and libraries.

Addressing an audience for the Council of Chief State School Officers’ Teachers of the Year event, the president said, “Empty shelves don’t help kids learn very much,” adding, “I’ve never met a parent who wants a politician dictating what their kid can learn, and what they can think, or who they can be.”

Each attempt to ban a book by them represents a direct attack on every person’s right to freely choose what books to read and what ideas to explore, and to suppress the voices of LGBTQ community.

Explicitly targeting these materials for censorship are elected officials like Florida’s Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis and his conservative allies in the state legislature, who last week expanded the controversial “Don’t Say Gay” law, which President Biden has called “hateful.”

Thursday, April 27, 2023

New Trump's attack on LGBTQ rights


Donald Trump has said he would ban gender-affirming care for minors if he’s re-elected president in 2024. 

Trump hit out at “left-wing gender insanity” and the importance of “mothers and fathers”.

In what might be his most significant attack yet on trans rights, Donald Trump described gender-affirming care for minors as “an act of child abuse” before outlining his plan to stop “the chemical, physical and emotional mutilation of our youth”.

“I will sign a new executive order instructing every federal agency to cease all programmes that promote the concept of sex and gender transition at any age,” Trump said.

“I will then ask congress to permanently stop federal tax-payer dollars from being used to promote or pay for these procedures and pass a law prohibiting child-sexual mutilation in all 50 states," he said.

Trump also said teachers or school officials who tell a child they’re “trapped in the wrong body” would face “severe consequences”, including the loss of federal funding.

In the other hand, the White House condemned “hateful and dangerous” attacks on LGBTQ rights. I have no doubts who I will vote for in the next election.

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Disney sues Florida Governor Ron DeSantis

Disney has accused Florida Governor Ron DeSantis of organising a campaign of "government retaliation" in a lawsuit.

The new legal action sharply escalates the battle between the entertainment giant and the Republican politician.

The two sides have been fighting since Disney criticised a state law banning discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity in primary schools.

The lawsuit came after state officials voided a development deal involving the firm's Florida theme park.

Disney said DeSantis' steps to assert control over its operations threatened its business and violated its constitutional rights.

Recently, the Florida House Republicans passed a litany of anti-LGBTQ legislation. These bills could prohibit gender-affirming care for children, punish businesses letting minors watch drag shows, and treat transgender people peeing in the wrong bathroom as criminals.

President Biden denounced Florida legislation restricting LGBTQ rights.

It is time to change Florida!!!

Monday, April 24, 2023

Heartstopper Season 2 already has a release date


Netflix has announced the premiere date for the smash hit queer series Heartstopper.

The series stars out actors Joe Locke and Kit Connor who play friends who eventually realize they like each other. Based on the graphic novel of the same name by Alise Oseman, Heartstoppers debuted to critical acclaim in 2022.

Now, the two boys are official and this is where the show picks up when the new eight-episode season comes out on August 3.

The first season of the show has a 100 percent critic rating on Rotten Tomatoes and reached the Netflix Top Ten list in more than 50 countries, according to the streaming platform.

Season two's cast includes Kit Connor, Joe Locke, Yasmin Finney, William Gao, Corinna Brown, Kizzy Edgell, Sebastian Croft, Tobie Donovan, Rhea Norwood, Jenny Walser, Cormac Hyde-Corrin, and Oscar-winner Olivia Colman.

Catch the official announcement clip below:

Sunday, April 23, 2023

Uganda’s President refuses to sign anti-LGBTQ bill, for now

President Museveni of Uganda has refused to sign into law a controversial new bill against homosexuality that prescribes the death penalty in some cases, requesting that it should be amended.

Museveni’s decision was announced after a meeting of parliamentarians in his ruling party, almost all of whom support the bill approved by lawmakers last month.

A spokesman for the presidency said Museveni was not opposed to the punishments proposed in the bill, but wanted parliamentarians to look into “the issue of rehabilitation”.

“Museveni told the members that he had no objections to the punishments but on the issue of rehabilitation of the persons who have in the past been engaged in homosexuality but would like to live normal lives again,” spokesman said.

“It was agreed that the bill goes back to parliament for the issues of rehabilitation to be looked at before he can sign it into law,” he added.

Homosexuality is already illegal in Uganda under a colonial-era law criminalising sex acts “against the order of nature”. The punishment for that offence is life imprisonment.

A group of United Nations experts has described the bill, if enacted, as “an egregious violation of human rights”. Amnesty International in a statement had urged Museveni to veto what the group described as a “draconian and overly broad” bill. The European Parliament also voted in support of targeted sanctions against Uganda over their treatment of LGBT people. And the United States has warned of economic consequences if the legislation is enacted.

Friday, April 21, 2023

Russia's Bolshoi ballet drops 'Nureyev' for being too gay

Moscow's Bolshoi theatre has dropped a contemporary ballet about the legendary Russian dancer Rudolf Nureyev from its repertoire following the expansion of a ban on "LGBT propaganda" law.

"'Nureyev' was removed from the repertoire in connection with the law ... where issues related to the promotion of 'non-traditional values' are stipulated absolutely unequivocally," Vladimir Urin, general director of the Bolshoi, told a news conference.

A law passed in November not only widened an existing prohibition on material considered to promote an LGBTQ lifestyle but also restricts the “demonstration” of LGBTQ behaviour.

This makes any portrayal of homosexuality, such as Nureyev’s relationships with men after his defection from the Soviet Union in 1961 which the ballet touches on, almost impossible.

The ballet, choreographed by Kirill Serebrennikov, has had a troubled history in Russia, where President Putin has long promoted conservative values as part of a nationalist agenda backed by the Russian Orthodox Church.

Thursday, April 20, 2023

Chasten Buttigieg slams anti-LGBTQ Florida legislation

Chasten Buttigieg, the husband of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, was among many slamming Florida governor Ron DeSantis for the state’s expansion of its ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law.

The controversial law, officially known as the ‘Parental Rights In Education’ bill, came into effect last year. It was aimed at kindergarten through to third grade. Yesterday, the Florida Board of Education approved its expansion to years 4 to 12. The board is full of DeSantis appointees. The bill prohibits the discussion of any LGBTQ topics in the classroom.

Chasten slammed suggestions DeSantis was doing what’s best for kids: “DeSantis and the FL Board of Ed know exactly what they’re doing. Legislation like this will worsen already bleak mental health numbers amongst vulnerable youth. Of all the issues facing Floridians, why deny the existence of LGBTQ people? Because it’s good for his brand.”

Recently, the Florida House Republicans passed a litany of anti-LGBTQ legislation. These bills could prohibit gender-affirming care for children, punish businesses letting minors watch drag shows, and treat transgender people peeing in the wrong bathroom as criminals.

President Biden denounced Florida legislation restricting LGBTQ rights.

It's time to change, Florida!

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

Russia’s invasion is advancing LGBTQ rights in Ukraine

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has galvanized Ukrainian society in many unexpected ways, but perhaps one of the most remarkable is how it has advanced the rights of LGBTQ people.

In a move that would have been nearly unthinkable a year ago, a Ukrainian lawmaker introduced legislation in the country’s parliament that would give partnership rights to same-sex couples. 

This legislation, along with a prohibition against anti-LGBTQ hate speech adopted in December, reflects a sharp rejection of Russia’s effort to weaponize homophobia in support of its invasion.

Russian President Putin has said repeatedly that he attacked Ukraine last year partly to protect “traditional values” against the West’s “false values” that are “contrary to human nature”, like LGBTQ rights in his opinion.

When the war started, Ukrainians generally and people on the front lines started to understand that homophobic rhetoric is a Russian discourse. Ukrainians don't want to be aligned with Russia and they see that homophobia is a Russian world view.

There are a lot of LGBTQ people who are fighting in the Ukrainian trenches. Whereas there have been dozens of reports of trans and homophobic attacks carried out by Russian troops in occupied territories. 

Stop Putin!!! Stop war!!!

Sunday, April 16, 2023

Pro athletes sign an open letter against anti-trans bill in the US Congress

Over 40 professional athletes have signed a letter opposing a piece of federal legislation seeking to ban trans women and girls from participating in women’s sports.

The letter’s signatories include LGBTQ greats like Megan Rapinoe, Sue Bird, Chris Mosier, and CeCe Telfer. It declares that every child deserves to have their life changed for the better by being able to participate in the sport that they love. 

The bill was introduced by Republican Gregory Steube (Florida) as the Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act of 2023. It would amend Title IX regulations so that individuals whose biological sex at birth was male cannot participate in programs that are for women and girls.

The athletes said: “Denying children access to a place where they can gain significant mental and physical health benefits and learn lifelong lessons that come from being part of a team and working hard towards your goals does not protect women in sports.”

The athletes also pointed out that the bill could have negative repercussions on both trans and cisgender women: “If this bill passes, transgender and intersex girls and women throughout the country will be forced to sit on the sidelines, away from their peers and their communities. Furthermore, the policing of who can and cannot play school sports will very likely lead to the policing of the bodies of all girls, including cisgender girls. This will deter girls from participating in sports and create additional barriers.”

The letter concluded by encouraging lawmakers to focus on policies that would actually advance equality, such as equal pay, an end to abuse and mistreatment, uneven implementation of Title IX, and a lack of access and equity for girls of color and girls with disabilities.

Read the letter here.

Last week, the US Supreme Court refused to enforce West Virginia trans athlete ban

Friday, April 14, 2023

Almodovar western short film, starring Pedro Pascal and Ethan Hawke, to premiere at Cannes

Strange Way of Life, a western short film directed by Spanish director Pedro Almodovar, will premiere at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. Starring Pedro Pascal and Ethan Hawke, alongside Spanish actors including Manu Rios and Sara Salamo.

After twenty-five years Silva (Pascal) rides a horse across the desert to visit his friend Sheriff Jake (Hawke). They celebrate the meeting, but the next morning Jake tells him that reason for his trip is not to go down the memory lane of their friendship.

The Last of Us star, Pascal, spoke about working with Almodovar: “He absolutely opened up an entire world of storytelling, colour, culture, rebellion, and sexuality that was just absolutely intoxicating, dangerous, hilarious, heartbreaking, and encompassing the whole spectrum, but with such a signature style.”

Almodovar has described Strange Way of Life as his answer to Brokeback Mountain. “The relation between these two guys was animalistic. It was a physical relationship. The punch of the movie comes when they have to separate, and Heath Ledger discovers that he can’t think about leaving," he said. 

About his movie, Almodovar declared: "It’s about masculinity in a deep sense because the Western is a male genre. One of them travels through the desert to find the other. There will be a showdown between them, but really the story is very intimate.”

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

LGB youth have more sleep problems than straight ones, study finds

Lesbian, gay, and bisexual young people have a far greater incidence of sleep disturbances than straight ones, likely due to the effects of discrimination, according to the recent Sexual Orientation Disparities in Early Adolescent Sleep: Findings from the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development Study

In a sample of 8,563 adolescents 10- to 14-years-old, the study noted that 35.1 percent of LGB youth said they had difficulty falling or staying asleep in the previous two weeks. The figure for straight people in that age group was 13.5 percent, and the figure for questioning youth was 30.8 percent.

Lead author Jason M. Nagata, a professor of pediatrics at the University of California (San Francisco), said "Sleep problems for LGB youth are likely caused by discrimination and bullying at school as well as lack of family support." 

“This is such a volatile period, both physically and mentally, that teens are particularly vulnerable to the opinions of their peers, so it’s a high-risk group for mental health problems and suicide,” he added.

Professor Nagata also called for additional research on sleep problems among sexual minority youth. “LGB kids experience more substance use than their peers, for example, which can alter sleep cycles and impair sleep,” he told.

The conclusions of the study indicate that sexual minority status may be linked to sleep disturbance in early adolescence. Depressive problems, stress, family conflict, and less parental monitoring partially mediate disparities in sleep health for sexual minority youth. A future research could test interventions to promote family and caregiver acceptance and mental health support for sexual minority youth to improve their sleep and other health outcomes.

Tuesday, April 11, 2023

15 EU countries join legal case against Hungary's anti-LGBTQ law

A total of 15 European Union countries have joined a legal case against Hungary's Child Protection Law, widely criticised as being anti-LGBTQ.

Belgium, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Austria, Ireland, Denmark, Malta, Spain, Sweden, Finland, Slovenia, France, Germany and Greece, together with the European Parliament, will act as third parties in the lawsuit filed last year by the European Commission.

"We stand firm in our commitment to an inclusive society and equality for all," said the Belgian Foreign Affairs Ministry, which had led the charge against the controversial bill.

The Hungarian law, approved in June 2021, contains one provision that prohibits or heavily restricts depictions of homosexuality and gender reassignment in media content and educational material addressed to audiences under 18 years of age.

The legislation also came under fire for conflating paedophilia with homosexuality, as the text's stated purpose is to strengthen the protection of children against sex offenders.

Budapest remained defiant and vowed to push ahead with the legislation, citing a 2022 referendum that showed vast support for the government's position but failed to reach the necessary threshold of valid votes.

"This Hungarian bill is a shame," European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in 2021.

We stand with Hungary!

Sunday, April 9, 2023

Brazil re-establishes the National Council of LGBTQ rights

The Brazilian Ministry of Human Rights and Citizenship has re-established the National Council of LGBTQ Rights,  which had been extinguished four years ago by the previous government of Bolsonaro.

The Council will be composed of 19 ministries and 19 civil society organizations and all will act voluntarily, without any type of remuneration, a body of advisors charged with proposing policies and supporting campaigns aimed towards support for the LGBTQ community in Brazil.

The main objectives of this body in Brazil will be to collaborate in the elaboration of public policies for this community, propose ways of evaluating actions aimed at LGBTQ people, monitor legislative proposals on the matter and promote studies, debates and investigations on the subject of rights and inclusion of LGBTQ people, between others.

Thanks president Lula!!!

Friday, April 7, 2023

The U.S. Supreme Court refuses to enforce West Virginia trans athlete ban

The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) has ruled that transgender athletes in West Virginia can compete on female school sports teams in response to a challenge by the state to allow it to enforce a law that prohibits such athletes from doing so.

In a brief, unsigned order, the justices denied the state’s emergency request to lift an appeals court’s injunction, which enabled a transgender girl to compete on her middle school’s female teams until the three-judge panel reaches a final decision.

West Virginia in 2021 became the seventh Republican state in the nation to enact a law prohibiting transgender women and girls from competing on female sports teams. The measure, officially titled the “Save Women’s Sports Act,” bars transgender female athletes from participating in sports consistent with their gender identity in public elementary schools, high schools and universities.

A lawsuit filed the following month by civil rights organizations including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Lambda Legal on behalf of Becky Pepper-Jackson, a now-12-year-old transgender girl, alleges the law is unconstitutional because it discriminates based on sex and transgender status.

A divided three-judge panel on the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in a February ruling blocked the ban’s enforcement.  The appeals panel is now set to hear the student athlete’s appeal in full and we have to wait its ruling, but surelly this issue will come back to the SCOTUS in the near future to the final decision.

 As a minor, Becky is formally represented and supported by her mother

Thursday, April 6, 2023

Meloni's government limits parental rights of same-sex couples in Italy

Italian Right-wing Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni came to power six months ago vowing to combat what she calls the "LGBT lobby". In recent weeks authorities made it harder for same-sex couples to be legal parents and lawmakers proposed an anti-surrogacy law widely seen as targeting gay couples.

Surrogacy, which is regulated and widespread in the United States and Canada but restricted in much of Europe, is illegal in Italy.

In January, the government issued orders that municipalities stop the registration of most children with same-sex parents, complicating access to schooling and medical services. The matter came to light when the centre-left mayor of Milan publicised his oposition.

The measure means that in most cases only the biological parent of children raised by gay or lesbian couples can have parenting rights, leaving the other partner with no legal role. In the absence of joint recognition, non-biological parents cannot collect their children from school or request medical treatment for them without written authorisation from the legal parent.

In Italy, gay marriage is illegal and same-sex couples already have fewer rights than in most of western Europe. A 2016 law allowing same-sex "civil unions" fell short of allowing LGBT partners to adopt each other's children.

È l'amore che crea una famiglia!

Tuesday, April 4, 2023

India prepares for marriage equality ruling

India may become the largest country to legalize same-sex marriage. India’s more than 2.5 million LGBTQ and intersex people are looking at the country’s Supreme Court with great hopes because it will hold another hearing on marriage equality on April 18.

The Supreme Court last December 14 asked the Indian government to respond to two petitions seeking a transfer of marriage equality petitions before the Delhi High Court to itself. The government on March 12 filed a response to the Supreme Court.

The government opposed legal recognition of same-sex marriage and told the highest court that same-sex couples living together as partners and having a sexual relationship with the same sex individual, which is now decriminalized, is not comparable with Indian family unit: a husband, a wife and a child born out of the union. 

According to the response filed by the government in the high court, the institution of marriage is crucial in India. It provides a sense of safety, security and companionship for the members of society. It plays a crucial role in the rearing of children and impacts their upbringing. 

The Indian Constitution gives equal rights to everybody. You cannot differentiate based on the gender of the people. Besides, the Supreme Court in 2018 struck down Section 377, a colonial-era law that criminalized homosexuality in India.

If the court rules in favour of legalizing same-sex marriage, it will be a landmark moment for LGBTQ people in India and the entire world. The majority of the 34 countries and territories that have already enacted marriage equality laws are in the Americas and Europe, so a positive outcome in India could influence laws elsewhere in the region.

It is time India!!!

Countries where marriage equality is legal

Countries where marriage equality is banned

Sunday, April 2, 2023

US federal judge orders books with LGBTQ content to return to library shelves in Texas

A federal judge in Texas has ordered officials to return books containing LGBTQ content to shelves after they were removed from public libraries.

U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman issued the order as part of a 2022 lawsuit filed by seven residents against officials in Llano County in central Texas. The LGBTQ books were removed from the shelves of three libraries in the Llano County library system.

The residents said in the lawsuit that the decision by county officials to remove the books from library shelves violated the First Amendment and 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. 

Judge Pitman ordered the return of the books and required to the library system to reflect these books as available in their catalog and cannot remove any books for any reason while the case is ongoing.

The fight to protect access to books comes amid a book banning boom, with an alarming increase in attempts to censor books in K-12 schools, universities and public libraries. Many of these efforts seek to pull books with LGBTQ characters or themes and are part of a broader, Republican-led movement to chisel away at the rights and status of LGBTQ Americans.

Each attempt to ban a book by them represents a direct attack on every person’s right to freely choose what books to read and what ideas to explore, and to suppress the voices of LGBTQ community.

California became the first U.S. state to approve in 2017
LGBTQ-inclusive history books for primary schools

Saturday, April 1, 2023

Federal judge halts Tennessee 'drag ban' law

A federal judge in Tennessee temporarily halted the state’s new law that criminalizes some drag performances, hours before it was set to take effect.

Judge Thomas Parker cited constitutional protections of freedom of speech in issuing a temporary restraining order.

“If Tennessee wishes to exercise its police power in restricting speech it considers obscene, it must do so within the constraints and framework of the United States Constitution,” Parker wrote.

“The Court finds that, as it stands, the record here suggests that when the legislature passed this Statute, it missed the mark,” he wrote.

Tennessee’s anti-drag bill was signed into law on 2 March by Republican Governor Bill Lee. Performers who violate the new law could face misdemeanour charges, and repeat offenders could be charged with a felony, which could incur time behind bars. 

According to a new poll, most adults said they oppose laws restricting drag shows or performances as Republicans in several states push to block the shows from being seen by children.