Saturday, September 30, 2023

More people in the UK identify as LGBTQ the new census shows

The number of openly LGBTQ Brits has rocketed to record heights over the past few years, a report from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) has found.

Statistics revealed that the number of Britons living openly as members of the LGBTQ community shot up by 50 per cent between 2017 and 2022.

The increase is especially prominent for Brits aged between 16 and 24, with almost one in 10, on average, identifying as gay, lesbian or bisexual.

The percentage of LGBTQ women in that age bracket hit double digits over the past five years, jumping from 4.8 per cent in 2017 to 10 per cent last year.

For older age groups, the shift is slightly less pronounced, although still significant. Brits aged 35 to 49 who identify as gay, lesbian, or bisexual rose from 2 per cent six years ago to 3 per cent in 2022.

The statistics seem consistent with the growing positive attitudes towards LGBTQ people recorded by various polling groups since the 80s.

Check the census dataset here.

Pride in London is one of the biggest in the world

Thursday, September 28, 2023

Greece is ready to have its first gay prime minister

A Greek American businessman was elected to lead the largest opposition party in Greece, becoming the first out gay leader of a political party in the country’s history, and now he’s ready to become Greece’s first gay prime minister.

Stefanos Kasselakis, 35, received 56.69 percent of the over 130,000 votes cast in elections to lead the leftist Syriza party, defeating former labor minister and early favorite Efi Achtsioglou, who had positioned herself as the more experienced candidate. 

Kasselakis replaces Alexis Tsipras, a former prime minister who resigned as head of Syriza following disastrous losses in recent parliamentary elections.

Kasselakis was born in Greece but went to the U.S. to study at the Phillips Academy prep school and eventually graduate from the Wharton Business School. During this period, he spent time working on Joe Biden’s 2008 presidential campaigns. He later worked as a trader with Goldman Sachs before founding his own shipping company Swift Bulk.

Kasselakis is out and married to Tyler McBeth, a nurse he met while living in the U.S. Kasselakis mentioned McBeth during his acceptance speech to Syriza supporters: “Thank you from the bottom of my heart for welcoming him and embracing him,” he told the crowd.

Marriage equality is not recognized in Greece, and while the pair married in the U.S., their relationship will be considered a civil partnership in Greece. Kasselakis promised to reform the country’s anti-LGBTQ laws if elected.

Good luck!!!

Stefanos Kasselakis and his husband Tyler McBeth

Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Down Low, the last comedy with Zachary Quinto and Lukas Gage


Down Low is an outrageous comedy, directed by Rightor Doyle, about one wild night and hysterical outcomes. Starring Zachary Quinto, Lukas Gage, Simon Rex with Audra McDonald, and Judith Light.

Finding yourself can get a little messy. Repressed divorcé Gary (Zachary Quinto) hires Cameron (Lukas Gage), a spirited and boundary-free sex worker to give him an erotic massage. 

When Cameron learns how inexperienced middle-aged Gary is, he becomes determined to deliver a crash course in unapologetic queer life. 

Cameron’s agenda of hookup apps and gay nomenclature quickly causes the day to take several riotously obscure turns as the pair endure a nosy, pill-popping neighbor, a dark web intruder, and more in a hilarious evening of consequences and confrontation. 

Watch the trailer below:

Saturday, September 23, 2023

Guadalajara and Hong Kong will co-host Gay Games in November 2023


Guadalajara, the capital of Jalisco in Mexico, and Hong Kong will host the Gay Games 2023, a sporting and cultural event that takes place every four years. The event will take place in November 3-11, 2023.

Since 1982, the Gay Games have been bringing people from the community together for a week of collaboration, teamwork, and self-expression. 

Previously, the games have been hosted in San Francisco, New York, Paris, Chicago, Amsterdam, and Vancouver, to name a few. This year, the events will be split between Guadalajara and Hong Kong.  

The Gay Games stand as a beacon of inclusivity, setting forth progressive principles for mainstream sports to adopt. Their commitment to inclusivity manifests in various ways, participation is not limited to individuals within the LGBTQ community.

There will be 20 competitive sporting events in Guadalajara: diving, swimming, waterpolo, 5k & 10k race, marathon and half marathon, athletics, badminton, basketball, beach volleyball, bowling, cheerleading, dance sports, golf, soccer 11, soccer 7, softball, tennis, volleyball, wrestling and powerlifting. Hong Kong will have its own unique slate of sports, including mahjong and martial arts.

Registrations in both events are open now here and here.

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Ireland deeply concerned about rise in violence towards LGBTI people around the world

Prime Minister of Ireland Leo Varadkar adressed to United Nations (UN) to say he is concerned about the rise of violence and hatred towards LGBTI people at home and abroad. 

The Taoiseach, along with Tánaiste Micheál Martin and Transport Minister Eamon Ryan, are currently in New York for the UN High Level Week - 15 Years LGBTI Core Group.

Varadkar said Ireland is also deeply concerned about the  alarming pushback against LGBTI rights. He added to those who argue that marriage equality, or recognition of gender diversity, threatens to undermine society, our experience has been quite the opposite.

He said Ireland has come a long way in recent history, particularly when it comes to LGBTI inclusion: “I sincerely hope that our story can be a source of some optimism at a difficult time. I can vividly remember an Ireland shaped by shame, conformity and fear, where my election as Taoiseach, as Prime Minister, as an openly gay man would have seemed an impossibility.”

"Yet eight years ago, in 2015 Ireland became the first country in the world to provide for marriage equality by popular vote in an historic referendum and to enshrine that right in our constitution."

“Also in 2015, the Gender Recognition Act was passed, which allowed for transgender citizens to have their gender recognised through self-determination. It has been in place for eight years now and has worked well,” he said.

Varadkar stated that Ireland’s culture has changed and society is a lot more understanding of family and inclusion. He added there is always work to do and progress to be made, but he added that he is exceptionally proud of the Ireland of today.

YES won on Ireland's same-sex marriage referendum in 2015

Sunday, September 17, 2023

Delhi hospital gets India's first outpatient department for transgender community

The Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital in Delhi inaugurated India's first dedicated Outpatient Department (OPD) for the transgender community on the occasion of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's birthday.

The initiative was started to alleviate the difficulties encountered by members of the transgender community in accessing healthcare services, largely due to discomfort and the fear of discrimination and social stigma.

At India's first dedicated OPD for transgenders, they will be provided with an endocrinology facility with hormone analysis and free hormonal treatment, a psychiatry facility with clinical-psychological assessment, and plastic surgery.

Also, dermatology, urology and paediatrics services and all related blood investigations will be made available at the OPD. And of course it will have gender-neutral/transgender washroom facilities.

Dr Ajay Shukla, the hospital's medical superintendent, inaugurated the special OPD and declared: "Government hospitals need to be accessible for every section of society and this is the motivation behind opening a separate OPD to provide healthcare services for the transgenders."

Well done India!!!

India prepares for marriage equality ruling

Saturday, September 16, 2023

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

Aristotle and Dante, one of the most highly anticipated queer films since its announcement in 2018, already hit theaters this september and its first teaser is out.

Based on the popular young adult novel of the same name by gay author Benjamin Alire Saenz, the boy-meets-boy tale follows two Mexican-American teenagers in El Paso, Texas in 1987.

Aristotle (or Ari) is played by Max Pelayo while Dante Quintana is portrayed by Reese Gonzales. Ari and Dante cross paths at a public swimming pool one summer. The pair form an instant bond that changes troubled Ari’s isolated life.

The free-spirited Dante introduces Ari to music, poetry, and lessons about the sky. Ari lets his guard down and explores a new, unusual friendship and the difficult road to self-discovery.

Trans filmmaker Aitch Alberto read the novel in one sitting almost ten years ago. Crafting the film adaptation spanned a seven-year period that encompassed the trans filmmaker’s own gender transition journey.

Prior to its public release, Aristotle and Dante screened in several film festivals, including the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival, the 2023 Palm Springs International Film Festival, and Outfest Los Angeles 2023.

Watch the trailer below:

Friday, September 15, 2023

Kim Davis must pay damages to one gay couple

A former Kentucky county clerk is being ordered to pay $100,000 to a local couple who sued the clerk after she refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Kim Davis, the former clerk of Rowan county in eastern Kentucky, rose to national prominence for refusing to issue same-sex marriage licenses in 2015, arguing that such actions violated her religious beliefs that marriage is between a man and a woman.

Davis was briefly jailed on contempt of court charges for refusing to issue the licenses. She was later released when her staff issued the marriage certificates, but without her name on the form.

Last year, a federal judge ruled that Davis violated the constitutional rights of the two gay couples who sued her.

US district judge David Bunning said that Davis “cannot use her own constitutional rights as a shield to violate the constitutional rights of others while performing her duties as an elected official”.

This week, in a trial to determine damages Davis must pay, a federal jury ordered Davis to pay $50,000 each to David Ermold and David Moore, one of two gay couples.

The second couple who sued, James Yates and Will Smith, were awarded no damages.

Kentucky’s Republican-leaning legislature passed sweeping anti-LGBTQ laws, banning gender-affirming care for those under 18 and prohibiting trans children from using the bathroom that best suits their gender identity at school.

Sadly, most of the Republican US states are making refugees of their own residents, forcing LGBTQ people and their families, particularly trans kids, to cross state lines for refuge and safety.

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

For the repeal of Article 534 of Penal Code in Lebanon, which criminalizes homosexuality

A new ad in MTV Lebanon advocating for the decriminalization of homosexuality in the country is stirring up controversy in the Arab world

The campaign pushes for the repeal of Article 534 in the Lebanese Penal Code, a law first adopted in 1943 that is used to criminalize consensual same-sex sexual relations with up to one year of imprisonment. 

Even though several courts have tried to affirm consensual same-sex acts don’t qualify as being “against nature,” it hasn’t stopped multiple arrests continuing to persist,

In the clip, two men are seen standing side-by-side in an elevator when a third man joins them and pulls a gun from his jacket. The tension is palpable until he leaves. When he does, the first two men grasp each other’s hands when words flash across the screen: “There’s crime and there’s love.”

Since premiering, the powerful ad has generated an array of attacks from anti-gay figures, including from Culture Minister Mohammad Mouratda, who lambasted the network and accused it of incitement and division.

Lebanon's LGBTQ community has been the target of repeated attacks in recent months, both by political and religious leaders. Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah called in late July for the "death penalty" for liwat [a derogatory term for homosexuality].

Despite the outcry, LGBTQ Arabs and allies insist the campaign is sparking much-needed dialogue about the law, which they say is long overdue.  

It's time to change, Lebanon!!! 

Monday, September 11, 2023

Activists celebrate Pride in Belgrade despite threats from government and conservative groups


Hundreds of LGBTQ activists gathered in the Serbian capital Belgrade for a Pride event amid a heavy police presence and anti-gay messages sent by the country’s conservative leadership and far-right groups.

On the 11th consecutive gay pride march in Belgrade, activists protested against the discrimination they experience in the country as a heavy presence of riot police blocked off central city.

A small number of protesters and Orthodox priests held banners and religious icons in front of a city-centre church as the Pride event participants passed by. The anti-gay contingent say the Pride event should be banned because it goes against traditional Serbian Christian Orthodox values.

The country’s right-wing President Aleksandar Vucic said that as long as he is in power, he wouldn’t approve a law allowing same-sex marriages or partnerships. He also said that he banned rainbow flags from his office during the march.

Prime Minister Ana Brnabic, a close ally of Vucic, is the Balkan country’s first openly gay politician but has rarely spoken in favour of LGBTQ rights.

Before the Pride event, the embassies and representative offices of 25 countries and the European Union delegation in Serbia issued a joint statement of support for the values of Pride and urging protection of the rights of LGBTQ persons.

The joint statement said: “We proudly stand with the LGBTQ community in Serbia and strongly support the values that Pride represents: acceptance, inclusion and diversity.”

Happy Pride Belgrade!!!

Serbian police intervened to protect Pride parade

Friday, September 8, 2023

California declares August Transgender History Month

The California Assembly voted to recognize August as Transgender History Month, making it the first American state to do so. California will first observe the August designation in 2024. 

The recognition of Transgender History Month is meant to “create a culture led by research, education, and scholarly recognition of the contributions of transgender Californians,” according to the text of the resolution, which was sponsored by Democratic state Rep. Matt Haney.

"Let’s tell the truth about transgender people’s lives, and let’s lift up the history of the transgender Californians who left their mark on our great state," the lawmaker added.

The month of August was chosen to commemorate Compton’s Cafeteria Riots of 1966, according to the resolution. The 1966 events culminated in a violent transgender-led riot against the cafeteria workers and the police, based on alleged harassment and mistreatment. The city outlawed cross-dressing until 1974, but the Tenderloin District, where the riot took place, was later legally designated as the world’s first transgender cultural district. 

The Californian declaration of August as Transgender History Month follows a tumultuous year for LGBTQ individuals, with Republican-led states passing a litany of restrictions of gender-related treatments for minors and transgender participation in sports. 

Wednesday, September 6, 2023

Bulgaria urged to recognise same-sex couples


The European Court of Human Rights has ruled in favour of a same-sex couple, acknowledging that Bulgaria had failed to recognise them as legally married abroad.

The case, taken by Darina Koilova and Lily Babulkova, sought to have their marriage recognised by the Bulgarian Civil Registration Act after the Metropolitan Municipality had refused their application in 2017.

The couple, who legally married in the UK in 2016, filed a case in the Metropolitan Administrative Court, which confirmed the refusal of the Metropolitan Municipality of Sofia. in 2019 the decision was also upheld by the Supreme Administrative Court.

In their appeal, Koilova and Babulkova claimed that the decision was in breach of their right to respect for private and family life protected under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

The ruling, which was unanimously decided upon by all seven of the presiding judges, stated: “It is clear to the Court that to date the Bulgarian authorities have taken no steps to have adequate legal regulations adopted with regard to the recognition of unions between persons of the same sex.”

The judgement mandates that state legislators create a legal framework to allow same-sex couples adequate recognition and protections. So, Bulgaria now has a positive obligation to create a legal framework guaranteeing the effective exercise of the rights enshrined in Article 8 of the ECHR.

Darina and Lily

Tuesday, September 5, 2023

Hong Kong top court urges to recognize same-sex civil unions


Hong Kong’s top court ruled that the Chinese territory's legislature should provide a framework for recognizing same-sex partnerships in a landmark decision for the city’s LGBTQ community. 

The high court refused to recognize full marriage equality for homosexual couples but said the government had a responsibility “to provide them with a sense of legitimacy, dispelling any sense that they belong to an inferior class of persons whose relationship is undeserving of recognition.”

The court order gives the government two years to legally recognize same-sex civil unions. The ruling is the first time the court has directly addressed the issue.

Currently, Hong Kong only recognizes same-sex marriage for certain purposes such as taxation, civil service benefits and dependent visas.

Surveys showed 60% of the respondents showed support for same-sex marriage in 2023, up from 38% in 2013, according to a report issued by researchers in May.

It's time Hong Kong!!!

Saturday, September 2, 2023

Never forget Matthew Shepard


A moving new documentary will explore the life and legacy of Matthew Shepard, 25 years after his death in what remains one of the most horrendous homophobic hate crimes in modern history.

Wyoming student Matthew Shepard was just 21 years old when he was brutally beaten and left for dead in the US state on 6 October 1998. He was pronounced dead six days later, on 12 October.

On 9 October this year, marking 25 years since his death, a new two-hour documentary will premiere, honouring Matthew's life and reflecting on how the murder marked a turning point in the fight for LGBTQ rights.

Matthew’s parents, Judy and Dennis Shepard, set up the Matthew Shepard Foundation in his memory. The foundation works to educate on LGBTQ inclusion and advocate for equal rights.

Their fight was instrumental in the formation of the 2009 Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which introduced federal-level protections for crimes based on sexual orientation, gender, gender identity and disability.

In the new documentary Matthew Shepard Story: An American Hate Crime, airing on Investigation Discovery, Matthew’s friends, local journalists and members of the queer community will reflect on how his story created change and forced America to reckon with its deep-rooted homophobia.

Never forget!