Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Latvia elects first openly gay president of a Baltic nation

Latvian lawmakers elected Edgars Rinkevics, the country’s top diplomat since 2011, as president to serve for a four-year term. He received 52 votes, one vote more than required to win. 

Rinkevics, who announced in 2014 that he is “proudly” homosexual, will be the first openly gay president in the Baltic nations.

After the vote, Rinkevics tweeted that he was “honored and humbled” by the Parliament’s decision and pledged “to serve the people of Latvia well.”

Rinkevics served as foreign minister, and he has enjoyed high popularity among Latvians because of his hard stance toward neighboring Russia and his unwavering support for Ukraine.

A Baltic nation of 1.9 million, Latvia borders Russia to the east, Estonia to the north and Lithuania to the south. Latvia has been a member of NATO and the European Union since 2004.

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

LGBTQ groups react to Erdoğan's victory speech

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been re-elected president of Türkiye. With almost 100% of the votes counted, preliminary official results showed Erdoğan winning with 52.14% of the votes, and the other candidate Kilicdaroglu received 47.86%.

Following his re-election, Erdoğan once again accused the opposition parties of being “pro-LGBT” and labeled the LGBTQ community “perverted movements.”

LGBTQ organizations have expressed their concerns over Erdoğan's homophobic slurs following his election victory, and over next years under his presidency.

"The 13th President, in his speech in İstanbul, once again targeted us. We are not accustomed to it, we don't accept it, but we haven't forgotten that our struggle is bigger than these words," read their statement.

"As lesbians, gays, bisexuals, trans, and intersex individuals, we will overcome these dark days with the struggle that began the moment we were born," the statement affirms.

You can read the statement here.

LGBTQ people in Türkiye are not protected from discrimination in employment, education, housing, health care, public accommodations, or credit. Erdoğan and his cabinet have become increasingly more hostile towards the rights of LGBTQ community and women.

All we stand with LGBTQ community in Türkiye!!

Monday, May 29, 2023

President’s approval of anti-LGBTQ bill is a grave assault on human rights in Uganda


Last March, Uganda's Parliament passed the bill known as 2023 Anti-Homosexuality Bill. The bill has come into effect in Uganda, after the country’s president Yoweri Museveni signed into law.

The signing of this deeply repressive law is a grave assault on human rights and the Constitution of Uganda and the regional and international human rights instruments to which Uganda is a party .

The new law criminalised those who promote homosexuality or attempt to commit the offence of homosexuality, so this deeply repressive legislation will institutionalise discrimination, hatred, and prejudice against LGBTQ people.

The anti-homosexuality law will do nothing other than enshrine discrimination, hatred and prejudice against LGBTQ Ugandans and their allies into law. It’s unconscionable that they risk losing their lives, their freedom, their privacy, their freedom of expression and their ability to live free from discrimination.

The law imposes a punishment of life imprisonment for same-sex sexual acts, and up to 10 years behind bars for attempted same-sex sexual acts. It also imposed the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality” and criminalizes the “promotion” of homosexuality, a provision that encourages homophobia.

This law violates basic human rights and sets a dangerous precedent for discrimination and persecution against the LGBTQ community. Same-sex relationships were already against the law in Uganda before the signing of the bill, as they are in more than half of countries in Africa.

This is a sad and dark day for LGBTQ rights and for Uganda.

Sunday, May 28, 2023

John Cleese will not be cutting 'Loretta scene' from Life Of Brian show

John Cleese has denied reports that ‘Loretta scene' is going to be cut from the stage version of Monty Python’s Life Of Brian for fear it’s transphobic.

Last week it was reported that the scene in which a male member of the People's Front of Judea said he wanted to become a woman would be dropped. 

It was based on Cleese receiving feedback from actors at a run-through that the scene would be problematic. However, the 83-year-old has now clarified that he was merely repeating the concerns… but would not be acting on them.

Writing on Twitter, he said: "A few days ago I spoke to an audience outside London. I told them I was adapting the Life of Brian so that we could do it as a stage show (NOT a musical).

"I said that we'd had a table-reading of the latest draft in NYC a year ago and that all the actors - several of them Tony winners - had advised me strongly to cut the Loretta scene.  I have, of course, no intention of doing so

"So someone in the audience had called a journalist and misreported me. Amazingly none of the British media called to check."

Watch 'Loretta scene' below and judge yourself:

Saturday, May 27, 2023

Pride in London unveils 2023 campaign ‘Never March Alone’ in support of trans community

This year’s Pride in London will be focused on championing trans allyship. With the slogan ‘Never March Alone,’ it will look to highlight the trans community and it’s multi-faceted individuals.

'Never March Alone' is a powerful message that centres trans people, while also celebrating the rest of the community and their vital support and allyship.

“London is renowned across the globe as a beacon of inclusion and diversity, and Pride is part of the reason. The march of solidarity and celebration has helped to change our society and I’m pleased that this year’s campaign will be in support of the capital’s trans and non-binary community,” said Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London.

Last year, Pride in London marked the 50th anniversary of Pride in the UK, with over 1 milion people taking the streets of the capital, after 2020 and 2021's events were cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Remember, 1 july 2023, Pride in London, the UK's biggest, most diverse Pride!

Heartstopper' Cast attended Pride in London last year

Thursday, May 25, 2023

Strong condemn to anti-LGBTQ books protests outside libraries in Dublin

In Dublin, some people are campaigning to make public libraries remove books they claim make sexually explicit material available to minors, or even contain child pornography. The books in question are often ones aimed at children and teens and that have content related to sexual education and/or LGBTQ and gender identity issues.

Protests were first reported at the start of April and saw groups of people targeting Dublin City Libraries. This included a physical demonstration outside the Swords library where protesters sent in a delegation demanding the removal of a number of LGBTQ publications.

Although protesters sought the removal LGBTQ books from Dublin libraries, this has not happened. City Libraries management have confirmed that no publications were removed from their shelves.

Dublin City Councillors condemned that action. A motion passed at Dublin City Council's Arts, Culture, Leisure and Recreation SPC reading: "This SPC deplores the actions of groups who have targeted Dublin City Libraries and have sought to put pressure on staff and the library service generally not to stock books which do not meet these groups’ approval. We reject such attempts at censorship and we extend our full support to library staff and Dublin City Libraries in its policy of inclusiveness and diversity in its range of books and other media."

The banning of books, particularly those with a LGBTQ character or theme, has also become a huge issue in the United States. A record-breaking amount of requests to remove books from shelves in the United States were made. President Biden recently criticized Republican politicians efforts to ban LGBTQ books.

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

150K people celebrate Brussels Pride with slogan ‘Protect the Protest’

Thousands of people celebrated Pride on the streets of Brussels, marching in a parade with the slogan “Protect the Protest.”

Belgian media reported a playful and colourful crowd of 150,000 people taking part in the celebrations to mark the 20th anniversary of same-sex marriage in Belgium.

Hundreds of associations, artists and partners took part. Pride was organized by gay rights advocacy groups çavaria, Prisme, Rainbowhouse Brussels and Brussels Rainbow Village.

“Pride is a great party where everyone can be themselves,” Radjiny Schiltz, spokeswoman for Brussels Pride said. “But there is still a lot to be done to to ensure equality for the LGBTQ community”, Schiltz added.

Schiltz said the parade’s slogan “Protect the Protest” was taken from Amnesty International’s campaign to protect the right to protest. She stressed too many people take the right for granted.

“Everyone thinks that this right is guaranteed everywhere, but this is definitely not the case. There is still a lot to do for freedom and diversity,” Schiltz said.

Monday, May 22, 2023

Florida's anti-LGBTQ laws are forcing Pride events to cancel


Florida's Governor Ron DeSantis has signed several wide-ranging anti-LGBTQ bills causing Pride events to cancel, fearing they may break the law.

The “Don’t Say Gay” law, which previously barred public school classroom instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity through third grade, was expanded to cover eighth grade under the new law.

The bills include new laws that:
  • Ban children from undergoing transgender medical treatments.
  • Ban children from going to drag shows.
  • Restrict pronoun use in classrooms.
  • Ban trans people from single-sex spaces that don't match their 'biological sex'

Pride has always had drag and gender-diverse people at the core of its movement. These new laws have made Tampa Bay Pride feel they have no choice but to cancel their event in fear of breaking the law, which bans young people from attending drag shows.

“The political climate is changing so fast with DeSantis thinking he wants to be King and ruler of the U.S.,” said Tampa Pride President Carrie West. “People, this guy is a scary joke.”

It's the second event in the state to cancel. Port St. Lucie, north of West Palm Beach, cancelled its Pride parade ahead of the laws being enacted this week.

Enough is enough, DeSantis!!!

Saturday, May 20, 2023

Trudeau calls out Italy on LGBT rights during meeting with Meloni at G7 summit

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called out the Italian government's stance on LGBT rights during a bilateral meeting with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni at the G7 Leaders' Summit in Hiroshima, Japan.

“Obviously, Canada is concerned about some of the positions that Italy is taking in terms of LGBT rights,” Trudeau told Meloni at the start of the meeting. But I look forward to talking with you about that.”

The comments were made at the start of the meeting, prior to media being ushered out of the room.

In March, gay rights activists denounced as homophobic moves by Meloni's far-right-led government to limit recognition of parental rights to the biological parent only in families with same-sex parents. In a move that would impact hundreds of families, the government told the city of Milan to stop automatically recording both parents in same-sex couples on city registers.

Italy legalised same-sex civil unions in 2016 under a centre-left government. However, stiff resistance from Catholic and conservative groups meant that the law stopped short of granting adoption rights to same-sex couples as well.

Thursday, May 18, 2023

24% high school students in the U.S. identifies as gay, bi or questioning

1 in 4 high school students in the U.S. identifies as gay, bi, or questioning according to the latest Centers for Disease Control annual report.

The latest figures come from a 2021 survey of 17,232 students between the ages of 14 and 18. About 3/4 claimed a sole attraction to the opposite sex.

Of the rest, nearly 12% considered themselves bi, just over 3% either gay or lesbian and 9% ‘other’, which could include those who identify as pansexual, asexual or questioning.

The number of people identifying as LGBTQIA+ increases every year. So, 24% high school students identifying as gay, bi, or questioning sets a new but not unexpected record.

Experts attribute the increase to more people feeling comfortable being open about their sexual orientation and identities.

The Centers for Disease Control urged schools to create a more inclusive environment for queer teens. It recommended initiatives such as gender and sexuality alliances, curating safe spaces and enforcing anti-harassment policies.

Check the report here.

U.S. adults identifying as LGBTQ reached 7.1% according to Gallup

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Taiwan allows adoption for same-sex couples

Taiwan's Legislature passed legal amendments to allow same-sex married couples to jointly adopt children that neither spouse is related to. Remember the Legislature officially legalized same-sex marriage in Taiwan on May, 2019

Since its enactment, however, many LGBTQ advocates have sought to amend Article 20 of the law, which states that in cases where one party to the same sex union adopts the genetic child of the other party," the provisions concerning adoption in the Civil Code shall apply. In practice, this wording has excluded those in same-sex marriages from adopting children who are not biological relations of theirs.

Lawmakers from all four parties in the Legislature put forward proposals to amend the article, and after holding inter-party negotiations, passed a final version of the revisions.

Now, the updated version of Article 20 states that the Civil Code's adoption provisions will apply in cases where one party to the same sex union adopts the child of the other party, or where the couple jointly adopts a child.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health and Welfare said that with the amendments' passage, it would begin allowing same-sex couples to adopt based on the current standard procedures.

Good news from Taiwan!!!

Last year, a Taiwanese court allowed a married gay man 
to legally adopt his husband’s non-biological child

Sunday, May 14, 2023

U.S. relaxes blood donation rules for gay and bisexual men


The United States has implemented changes to blood donation guidelines, allowing for more gay and bisexual men to give with fewer restrictions.

In the new guidelines by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), gay and bisexual men in monogamous relationships can now donate blood in the US without having to refrain from sex.

“This policy eliminates time-based deferrals and screening questions specific to men who have sex with men (MSM),” writes the FDA.

These changes relax decades-old restrictions that were initially designed to protect blood supplies from HIV, removing the requirement for a generalised population of “MSM” to abstain from sex for a three-month period before donating.

Instead, the updated guidelines now ask all prospective donors,  regardless of gender, orientation, or background,  screening questions aimed at evaluating individual risk factors for HIV based on medical history, sexual activity, and other factors.

The best available scientific evidence shows there is no meaningful risk for gay and bisexual men to give blood.

Saturday, May 13, 2023

The 2023 Rainbow Europe Map and Index is out now

ILGA-Europe have produced the Rainbow Map and Index since 2009, using it to illustrate the legal and policy situation of LGBTI people in Europe. The Rainbow Map and Index ranks 49 European countries on their respective legal and policy practices for LGBTI people, from 0-100%.

The Rainbow Map and Index presents a picture of what the policy landscape is like currently. The 2023 Rainbow Map and Index finds that trans and intersex rights at the forefront of positive change for LGBTI people in Europe.

For the eighth year in a row, Malta continues to occupy the number one spot on the Rainbow Europe Map, with a score of 89%. Belgium now occupies the second place and Denmark comes third palace with a score of 76%.

Spain, Iceland, Finland, Moldova, Switzerland, and Croatia are the countries with the biggest jump in scores. Spain introduced a comprehensive law that regulates legal gender recognition based on self-determination, banned genital mutilations on intersex minors, prohibited so-called “conversion” practices and outlawed discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and sex characteristics.

The four countries at the other end of the Rainbow Europe scale are Azerbaijan (2%), Türkiye (4%), Armenia (8%) and Russia (8%), exactly the same as the last years. 

Check the 2023 Rainbow Map and Index.

Thursday, May 11, 2023

20,000 Species of Bees: a film about gender and the generational divide

20,000 Species of Bees is a 2023 Spanish drama film which follows an 8-year-old who begins to transition and the effect it has on the child's family. Written and directed by Estibaliz Urresola Solaguren in her debut feature and starring Sofía Otero, Patricia López Arnaiz, Ane Gabarain and Itziar Lazkano. 

The film turns on Lucía who battles with the fact that people keep addressing her in confusing ways. During a summer in the Basque Country among the beehives, she explores her identity alongside the women of her family, who at the same time reflect on their own lives and desires.

The film’s specific style and setting are evident from the get-go, immersing us in a world that we discover over the course of an unhurried two hours. Using a handheld camera and a documentary-like approach, Urresola Solaguren captures pivotal events as if they were quietly unfolding in real time, never overemphasizing the drama that constantly bubbles beneath the surface.

The film was selected to compete for the Golden Bear at the 73rd Berlin International Film Festival, where it had its world premiere. Nine-year old Sofía Otero won the Silver Bear for Best Leading Performance for the role of Lucía. In March 2023, the film won Golden Biznaga for Best Spanish Film at the 26th Málaga Film Festival.

Watch the trailer below:

Wednesday, May 10, 2023

India Supreme Court is getting closer to declare constitutional same-sex union

A Constitution Bench of the Indian Supreme Court is hearing a batch of pleas seeking legal recognition of same-sex marriages in India.

During the last hearing, the Court observed that it can go by what young people think a constitutional court should do while considering recognition of same-sex marriage in India.

The batch of petitions have sought the recognition of same-sex marriages under law, arguing that the right to marry a person of one’s choice should extend to LGBTQ citizens as well.

In the other side, the Central government has opposed the petitions and said that living together as partners and having sexual relationship by same sex individuals is not comparable to the Indian family unit concept which involves biological man and biological woman with children born out of such wedlock.

Similar views have been expressed by Islamic religious body Jamiat-Ulama-I-Hind, which has said that notions like same sex marriage originate from western culture that have radical atheistic worldviews and the same should not be imposed on India.

Almost five years ago, the Indian top court decriminalized gay sex. If now legalized, India may become the largest country to legalize same-sex marriage. 

It's time India!!!

Monday, May 8, 2023

LGBT activists win case against ‘LGBT-Free Zones’ in Poland

An appeals court in the Polish city of Białystok threw out a case brought by Przasnysz county authorities against four LGBT rights activists who founded the “Atlas of Hate” project. 

This is the first final verdict in favor of the activists who are facing multiple lawsuits for drawing international attention to Poland’s discriminatory “LGBT-Free Zones”.

The Atlas of Hate is an interactive map of Poland showing provinces, towns, and municipalities across the country where local authorities have adopted discriminatory “family charters” pledging to “protect children from moral corruption” or declared themselves free from “LGBT ideology”.

Seven of the nearly 100 localities with these anti-LGBT policies sued the Atlas of Hate founders for defamation, demanding public apologies and 280,000 zloty (US$64,000) for calling their regions “LGBT-Free Zones”. 

As Poland’s courts side with the Atlas of Hate activists, it’s clear local authorities only aim to have a chilling effect on human rights defenders and suppress criticism of anti-LGBT resolutions. The Polish authorities should drop remaining lawsuits against LGBT activists and finally repeal all discriminatory resolutions.


Approximately 1/3 of Poland is officially declared "LGBT free zone" 

Sunday, May 7, 2023

F1 champion Lewis Hamilton critical of Florida anti-LGBTQ education law


Lewis Hamilton has criticised plans to expand a controversial law on sexual education in Florida.

Florida governor Ron DeSantis is set to widen a law barring public schools from teaching about sexual education and gender identity to all grades. Teachers who violate the law face being suspended or losing their teaching licences.

The law, officially titled the Parental Rights in Education Act and known as "Don't Say Gay", was passed last year and is currently in effect for public schools from kindergarten through third grade. Republican DeSantis is poised to extend it to all grades, through to the final year of high school.

"It's not good. At all," Hamilton said. "I stand by the LGBTQ community here and hope they continue to push back. It is no different to when we were in Saudi," the Mercedes driver added. "It is not the right direction and not the right message.

"I am here and hoping that just by showing up with my helmet I will be continuing to support the LGBT community and showing I stand with them in solidarity. I hope they continue to fight against it. My sympathy and thoughts are with the people here in Miami. It's not them making the decisions, it's the people in government and that's the issue.

Recently, Lewis Hamilton declared to be stand for LGBTQ rights even if that meant jail or dead.

Hamilton always race with a rainbow flag on his helmet

Saturday, May 6, 2023

Enough is enough, DeSantis!

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ war on the LGBTQ community continued when the State Senate passed a broad bathroom bill, an expanded version of the existing “Don’t Say Gay” law in schools, and legislation allowing doctors and insurance companies to deny treatment to LGBTQ patients. 

The bathroom bill that passed the upper chamber stipulates that individuals must use the bathroom that corresponds with their gender assigned at birth and calls for separate men’s and women’s bathrooms in state and local government buildings. 

The “Don’t Say Gay” law, which previously barred public school classroom instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity through third grade, was expanded to cover eighth grade under the new law.

As if those bills weren’t enough, Florida House Republicans also passed a bill barring colleges from using state or federal dollars for diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. The State Senate already approved the measure, which will also be delivered to the governor’s desk.

All bills have cleared both houses of the State Legislature, paving the way for the governor DeSantis to sign them into law.

President Biden, Floridian students and also Disney denounced and opposed to the DeSantis' policies against LGBTQ community. It is enough!!!

LGBTQ activists protest outside DeSantis' office 

Thursday, May 4, 2023

Türkiye’s president Erdoğan continues to attack LGBTQ community at re-election rally

Türkiye’s President Erdoğan continues his re-election campaign and has given a long speech during a stop in the city of Izmir, with harsh words for members of the LGBTQ community.

“In this nation the foundations of the family are stable. LGBT will not emerge in this country. Stand up straight, like a man: that is how our families are,” he said, amidst a speech that also saw condemnation for supporters of the opposition.

LGBTQ people in Türkiye are not protected from discrimination in employment, education, housing, health care, public accommodations, or credit. The country does not have marriage equality, does not allow single people or gay couples to adopt, does not allow for surrogacy or IVF for gay men and lesbians, and does not allow gay people and lesbians to openly serve in the military.

Erdogan and his cabinet have become increasingly more hostile towards the LGBTQ community and their rights. For example, Istanbul Pride events have been banned since 2015, when police used tear gas and water cannons to physically stop Istanbul Pride. And Ankara imposed a ban on all public LGBTQ-related events for over a year starting in 2017, with the government citing safety concerns as the reason why.

It is not only against LGBTQ people, Turkish women repeatedly protest against unacceptable conservative dress code. They say there has been an increasing number of verbal and physical attacks against women for their choice of clothing.

Enough is enough!!!

If there is no freedom for LGBTQ people, then there is no freedom for anyone

Tuesday, May 2, 2023

Lewis Hamilton stands for LGBTQ rights even if that means jail or dead

Lewis Hamilton has celebrated with Mercedes fans the 10 years since his move to Mercedes, with whom he has won as many as six Formula 1 titles.

The 38-year-old discussed about several moments from his long career with the F1 team, including the honour of having another great champion such as Sebastian Vettel next to him when he began competing for the title.

Lewis took the opportunity to stress that despite the F1 restrictions, he will continue to use it as platform in his battle for human rights.

"For me, it is mind blowing that we live in a time still where there are so many countries around the world but particularly there are a lot of human rights issues in the Middle East," Hamilton noted.

"Women's rights, LGBT rights, there are laws that restrict people from being their true selves. I have always been a risk taker. I am going to do this whether or not they throw me in jail, I don't care what they are going to do, I am going to stand for something I believe in even if it kills me."

Thanks Lewis! Proud of you!

F1' champions Vettel and Hamilton