Thursday, November 30, 2023

Russia outlaws LGBTQ activism


Russia's Supreme Court effectively outlawed LGBTQ activism, the most drastic step against advocates of gay, lesbian and transgender rights in the increasingly conservative country.

Ruling in response to a lawsuit filed by the Justice Ministry, the court labelled what the suit called the LGBTQ "movement" operating in Russia as an extremist organisation and banned it.

The ruling is the latest step in a decade-long crackdown on LGBTQ rights in Russia under President Vladimir Putin, who has emphazised "traditional family values" during his 24 years in power.

Multiple rights activists have noted the lawsuit was lodged against a movement that is not an official entity, and that under its broad and vague definition, Russian authorities could crack down on any individuals or groups deemed to be part of it.

With Putin, Russia is a very homophobic and transphobic place, especially given the 2013 law that bans so-called gay propaganda, really, any positive mention of LGBTQ identity. 

Putin also submitted a draft amendment to Russia’s constitution to enshrine marriage as between a man and a woman in a conservative update to the country’s founding document.

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Views of same-sex marriage vary widely across Asia


Same-sex marriage is an active legal and social issue across South, Southeast and East Asia. A recent Pew Research Center survey shows how people in 12 countries in Asia feel about legalizing same-sex marriage.

A median of 49% of adults in those countries in Asia say they at least somewhat favor allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally, while another 43% say they oppose legal same-sex marriage.

Although Japan does not legally recognize same-sex couples, views toward same-sex marriage are most favorable, where 68% say they at least somewhat favor allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally.

In Vietnam, views on legalizing same-sex marriage are similarly positive, 65% of adults support it. 58% in Hong Kong and 57% in Cambodia also favor legal same-sex marriage. 

Same-sex marriage was an issue on Thailand’s campaign trail this year. 60% adults there favor allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally, while 32% oppose it.

In India, where the Supreme Court recently rejected a petition to legalize same-sex marriage, about 53% of adults say they favor allowing gays and lesbians to marry, while 43% oppose it. 

In Singapore, no clear majority favors (45%) or opposes (51%) same-sex marriage. Same-sex marriage is not legal in Singapore, and its parliament amended the constitution last year to prevent legal challenges to the definition of marriage.

And in Taiwan, roughly equal shares say they support (45%) and oppose (43%) same-sex marriage. Taiwan is the only place in Asia where same-sex marriage is legal.

In South Korea, a slight majority 56% say they oppose legal same-sex marriage, while 41% favor it. 

In the rest of analyzed places in Asia, majorities oppose legal same-sex marriage. In Indonesia, 92% say they oppose it, including 88% who strongly oppose it. Large majorities in Malaysia (82%) and Sri Lanka (69%) also oppose it.

Check the graphic below:

Sunday, November 26, 2023

New research shows fans majority support LGBTQ athletes in UK


According to new research from Stonewall, a majority of sports fans now support LGBTQ athletes in the UK.

The research shines a light on the transformative impact of the iconic Rainbow Laces campaign. Over the last five years, the proportion of sport fans who think homophobic remarks in sport are acceptable has almost halved - from 25% in 2017 to 14% in 2022. 

The research found that 51% of people polled would be proud if their favorite player came out as gay. 56% agreed that gay sportspeople are good role models, and 60% would be happy to play alongside a trans teammate. Also, 74% of people would be happy to play with a bisexual teammate.

Despite this progress, the research also shows that sport fans are not confident that competitive sport is a welcoming environment for LGBTQ sport personalities. Just 4 in 10 sport fans think competitive sport is welcoming for LGB people, and just 3 in 10 fans think competitive sport is welcoming for trans sport personalities.

The campaign is encouraging people to continue to lace up, speak up and keep it up. We need everyone to push for change year-round. because inclusion has no off season.

Lace up and and #KeepItUp!

Friday, November 24, 2023

Our son, Luke Evans and Billy Porter star a gay divorce and custody battle

Our son, about a divorcing gay couple fight over the custody of their 8-year-old son, was initially premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival earlier this year.

Directed by Bill Oliver, the film follows Nicky (Luke Evans), a book publisher devoted to his work, lives with his husband Gabriel (Billy Porter), a former actor and stay-at-home dad, and their eight year-old son, Owen (Christopher Woodley).

Gabriel loves Owen more than anything; Nicky loves Gabriel more than anything. Despite appearances, Gabriel has been dissatisfied with their marriage for some time and files for divorce, leading to a custody battle that forces both of them to confront the changing reality of their love for each other and for their son.

The movie builds some poignancy once it tightens its focus on Nicky, first in a lovely interlude with Owen at Coney Island and then alone, as he reaches a heartbreaking decision and eventually makes peace with it.

Watch the full trailer below:

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Thailand’s Government approves a marriage equality bill

The Prime Minister of Thailand announced that his cabinet approved a bill to provide legal recognition to same-sex marriages.

The bill would adjust language in Thailand’s Civil and Commercial Code to be LGBTQ-inclusive. Words like “wives” and “husbands” would be changed to neutral terms like “persons” and “engaged couples.”

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin has consistently expressed support for Thailand’s vibrant LGBTQ community. In his civilian life, Thavisin implemented several LGBTQ-friendly employee policies at his property company. 

Since coming into office, Thavisin has promised to consider bills for gender recognition and has supported a Thai campaign to host World Pride 2028. 

The bill already has widespread legislative support. The next step for the current proposal will be to gain approval from the legislature and the King of Thailand. If successful, Thailand will be the first country in Southeast Asia to recognize same-sex couples in this way.

It is time Thailand!!!

Monday, November 20, 2023

President Joe Biden recognizes Transgender Day of Remembrance


President Joe Biden recognized Transgender Day of Remembrance with a statement, writing “there is no place for hate in America and no one should be discriminated against simply for being themselves.”

“Today, on Transgender Day of Remembrance we are reminded that there is more to do meet that promise, as we grieve the 26 transgender Americans whose lives were taken this year,” the president said. “While each one of these deaths is a tragedy, the true toll of those victimized is likely even higher, with the majority of those targeted being women of color,” he added.

President Biden’s statement continues: “It’s unacceptable and it’s why my administration has taken action to strengthen the rights, and protect the safety of transgender and all LGBTQI+ Americans. My administration ended the ban on transgender Americans serving our country and I signed historic executive action to strengthen civil rights protections for all LGBTQI+ Americans".

It's unacceptable that trans people continue to be murdered at extreme rates as Republicans continue pushing transphobic laws. Enough is enough!

Saturday, November 18, 2023

US Supreme Court denies DeSantis' request to reinstate Florida's drag ban

The U.S. Supreme Court refused to reinstate a Republican Florida law that punishes businesses for allowing children into drag shows.

Restaurant chain Hamburger Mary’s, which features family-friendly drag performances, sued the state in May after arguing the law, and others like it, went against its First Amendment rights.

In a statement announcing the lawsuit, the chain argued that DeSantis was attempting to create a “false narrative” that drag queens are “grooming and recruiting your children” in an attempt to vilify LGBTQ people.

A federal judge blocked the law in June, stating that it was “dangerously susceptible to standardless, overbroad enforcement” which could have also banned pantomime performances or Shakespearean plays.

In response, DeSantis appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court to temporarily remove the blockade while awaiting a verdict at the appeals court.

Conservative justices Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barret joined the Supreme Court’s more left-leaning judges in denying the state’s request. Then, until the Eleventh Circuit hears the case fully, the law will not be enforced in the state.

The decision comes as a huge win for a state that is considered one of the worst to live as an LGBTQ person in the U.S. because DeSantis and his hostile legislation to queer community.

Thursday, November 16, 2023

A majority of U.S. voters oppose national “Don’t Say Gay or Trans” bill authored by Mike Johnson.


A majority of U.S. voters oppose national “Don’t Say Gay or Trans” bill authored by Mike Johnson.

The new speaker of the House of Representatives, Mike Johnson, introduced legislation a year before, modeled after the controversial Florida law signed by Governor Ron DeSantis, that would essentially function as a national “Don’t Say Gay or Transgender” law. 

From November 3 to 5, 2023, Data for Progress conducted a survey of 1,262 U.S. likely voters nationally using web panel respondents. The margin of error is ±3 percentage points. The polling finds that a majority of voters oppose different policy implications of this legislation.

These new findings underscore that a majority of voters do not support Congress passing sweeping federal legislation to restrict programming and discussion that is inclusive of the LGBTQ community. 

Over 52% opposes to federal legislation banning public schools, libraries, and hospitals from having programs, events, or literature thatmention gay or transgender people

More than 53% opposes to federal legislation banning all federal agencies and facilities, including the military, from having programs, events, orliterature that mention gay or transgender people.

And more than 50% opposes to Federal legislation banning discussion of topics related to gay or transgender people in public schools.

Check the survey here.

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Pink will give away 2,000 banned books in Florida


Pink announced her plan to give away 2,000 banned books at her upcoming Florida concerts.

The musician teamed up with PEN America and Florida bookstore Books & Books to combat book bans, especially those targeting authors who write about race and sexual identity.

Book bans documented by the organization show that books about race, racism and LGBTQ identities are disproportionately affected in Florida, as are books by Black and LGBTQ authors.

In a statement, Pink said she is "unwilling to stand by and watch while books are banned by schools."

“It’s especially hateful to see authorities take aim at books about race and racism and against LGBTQ authors and those of color. We have made so many strides toward equality in this country and no one should want to see this progress reversed. This is why I am supporting PEN America in its work and why I agree with them: no more banned books," she said.

The singer plans to give away books in Miami and Sunrise as part of her 2023 Trustfall tour. The books are “The Family Book,” by Todd Parr, “The Hill We Climb,” by Gorman, “Beloved,” by Toni Morrison, and a book from the movement “Girls Who Code,” founded by Reshma Saujani. 

No more banned books!!!

Monday, November 13, 2023

Europe leads world in number of openly gay leaders in office

Europe leads the world in the number of openly gay political leaders in office.

In Iceland, Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir became the world's first openly gay head of government when she took office in 2009.

In Belgium, Elio Di Rupo became an EU nation's first openly gay premier in 2011. In 2020, Belgium appointed Petra de Sutter as Europe's first transgender deputy prime minister.

In Luxembourg, Xavier Bettel became the second openly gay head of government in an EU country when he was elected in 2013, following Belgium's Di Rupo.

In Serbia, Ana Brnabić became the first woman and first openly gay politician to hold the office in 2017.

In Ireland, Leo Varadkar served as Taoiseach from 2017-2020, making him Ireland's first gay leader. He re-entered office in 2022.

In Latvia, Edgars Rinkevics became the region's first openly gay head of state this year 2023.

In Andorra, the prime minister Xavier Espot Zamora came out as gay last september.

Next gay leader in office could be in Greece. Leftist opposition Syriza party elected Stefanos Kasselakis, the first time an openly LGBTQ figure has headed one of the Greek main political parties.

Europe rainbow map 2023 by ILGA-Europe

Saturday, November 11, 2023

Latvia votes to allow same-sex civil unions


The Latvian parliament has voted to allow same-sex couples to establish civil unions in a historic first for the Baltic nation.

MPs voted to permit same-sex couples the right to have their partnership legally recognised as part of legislation set to come into effect in mid-2024.

Couples in civil unions will be afforded certain tax and social security benefits, as well as union hospital visiting rights, although unions will still have less rights than married couples which, legally speaking, are still defined as only between a man and a woman.

Although couples in same-sex unions would still be unable to adopt children and still face inheritance issues, Latvia is no more one of the countries in the European Union that have no recognition for same-sex couples.

Countries that now have no recognition for same-sex couples in the European Union include Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia and Hungary.

This year, Latvian lawmakers also elected Edgars Rinkevics, the country’s top diplomat since 2011, as president to serve for a four-year term. 

Friday, November 10, 2023

Vatican states that trans people can be baptised

The Vatican has released guidance that indicates that transgender people can be baptised, serve as godparent and witness weddings in the Roman Catholic church.

The document signed by Pope Francis and Cardinal Víctor Manuel Fernández was published on the Vatican's website.

The new guidance states that “a transgender person, even if they have undergone hormone therapy and sex-reassignment surgery, can receive baptism under the same conditions as other faithful, if there are no situations in which there is a risk of generating a public scandal or disorientation among the faithful.”

Furthermore, a trans person “can be admitted to the role of godfather or godmother” and that “there is nothing” in canon law denying transgender people the right to act as a witness for a marriage ceremony. This includes people who are in a same-sex relationship.

During his papacy, Pope Francis has frequently expressed an interest in making the Catholic Church more welcoming to LGBTQ people, even though doctrines rejecting same-sex marriage and sexual activity remain firmly in place.

Check the guidance here.

Wednesday, November 8, 2023

Over 1 million attend Buenos Aires Pride march, with an eye on the second round of presidential elections

More than a million people took the streets of Buenos Aires, the Argentine capital, for Pride march.

The march, which various LGBTQ rights organizations and activists from all over Argentina attended, became a unified cry for equal rights and the rejection of any form of discrimination. Attendees carried banners and flags showing their support for the demands of trans and gender diverse communities.

Argentina’s political context adds a special dimension to this demonstration, as the country is on the verge of a presidential runoff that pits Libertarian economist Javier Milei, a far-right candidate who is known for his anti-LGBTQ stances, against Economy Minister Sergio Massa, who has publicly spoken out in favor of further advancing the queer agenda.

LGBTQ activists fear a Milei victory could have a negative impact on laws and policies that protect the community. 

During the march, activists and representatives of LGBTQ organizations stressed the urgency of passing the Anti-Discrimination Law and the Comprehensive Trans Law to guarantee equal rights and nondiscrimination in Argentina. They also called on the population to vote for candidates who support LGBTQ rights in the upcoming election.

Siempre con orgullo!!!

Tuesday, November 7, 2023

Museum's director refuses to ban minors to visit a photo exhibition in Budapest under Orban's anti-gay propaganda law

Hungary's cultural minister fired the director of the Hungarian National Museum in Budapest, accusing him of failing to comply with a contentious law that bans the display of LGBTQ content to minors.

In 2021, Prime Minister Viktor Orban passed a law against promoting homosexuality to minors, drawing criticism at home and abroad, including from the European Union.

In opinion of Hungarian's government, five photos on display at the prestigious World Press Photo exhibition at National Museum violated the law restricting children's access to content that depicts homosexuality or gender change.

The photographs in question document a community of elderly LGBTQ people in the Philippines who have shared a home for decades and cared for each other as they age. The photos show some community members dressed in drag and wearing makeup.

Hungary’s government has restricted the availability of materials that “promote” or depict homosexuality to minors in media, including television, films, advertisements and literature.

The culture ministry instructed the museum to enforce the law against promoting homosexuality and bar those below the age of 18 from the exhibition. But the museum told it cannot legally enforce the government order to ban minors from attending as it cannot ask for identity cards.

The fired director Laszlo L. Simon said he “takes note of the decision” but “cannot accept it”, stating that the museum “has not deliberately violated any law” by showing the pictures in the exhibition. “I firmly reject the idea that our children should be protected from me or from the institution I run,” he added.

Sunday, November 5, 2023

U.S. Secretary Pete Buttigieg invites new anti-gay House Speaker to his home


U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg recently visit The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and opened up about his family life.

Buttigieg had a pretty good response when asked how he felt about his own same-sex marriage and working with incoming House Speaker Mike Johnson. The new Republican speaker of the House of Representatives is known for his staunch opposition to anything gay.

“I will work with anybody who can help us make good transportation available to the American people,” Buttigieg told Stephen Colbert, and he suggested that maybe he and his husband, Chasten Buttigieg, should invite Johnson to their home to see them making dinner for their adopted twins. The children are now 3 years old.

The former Democratic presidential candidate said they have the same kind of hectic lifestyles as any parents while caring for young kids. “Everything about that is chaos, but nothing about that is dark,” he said, adding that “the love of God” is in their home and family.

Buttigieg admited, "It’s a little bit difficult driving the family minivan to drop our kids off at daycare, passing the dome of the Capitol, knowing that the Speaker of the House sitting under that dome doesn’t even think our family ought to exist.”

And he added, “Look, I’ve often said if being gay was a choice, that was a choice that was made way above my pay grade. But my lifestyle is that I’m a dad. I’m a married father of two, a beautiful boy and girl, twins two years old. And our family deserves to be protected. It deserves to be supported just like every American family."

Watch the interview below:

Saturday, November 4, 2023

Gay Games 2023 start in Hong Kong and Guadalajara

Hong Kong and the Mexican city of Guadalajara host the Gay Games 2023, a sporting and cultural event that takes place every four years. The event will take place until November 11.

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.

This year’s Gay Games, co-hosted by Mexico’s Guadalajara and Hong Kong, start today, with thousands of participants expected to attend the event from over 40 countries. Over 4,000 participants are expected to attend Guadalajara’s event, and around 2,300 participants in Asia. 

The opening ceremony for Asia's first Gay Games in Hong Kong has been held at Queen Elizabeth Stadium. The ceremony included a march-in by participants, flag raising, and the lighting of the flame.  More than 2,300 athletes from 45 countries, including Britain, China, South Korea and the United States, are expected to participate.

"Not only have we been able to introduce the games to the region, we have the highest number of participants ever from Asia join the Gay Games in its 41-year history," Alan Lang, the body's co-chair, told 

Mexico’s Guadalajara event has full government support celebrated with a massive Pride parade. It is a great opportunity for social change towards the LGBTQ community in addition to generating jobs and growth opportunities for everyone.

Happy Games fellows!!!

Watch the opening ceremony below:


Friday, November 3, 2023

Iran chairs UN Human Rights Forum despite its flagrant human rights abuses


Perplexing, Iran's ambassador has become chair of a UN human rights forum, sparking an international protest campaign from human rights activists who say Iran’s record of oppression, torture and executions make it ill-suited for the post.

The murderous regime in Iran is responsible for a surge in executions, disproportionately applied to minorities, and for oppressing women and LGBTQ community. 

Iran’s regime frequently uses the charge of sodomy to impose the death penalty on gays and lesbians. According to a British Wikipedia dispatch, Iran’s theocratic state executed around 6,000 gays and lesbians since the country’s 1979 Islamic revolution.

Iran faced nationwide protests over the past year following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who died after the country’s morality police allegedly beat her for not wearing her hijab (headscarf) correctly. 

Another girl, 17-year-old Armita Geravand, died this week after a month-long coma following an alleged run-in with the morality police and infraction of the same hijab law. This is a reminder that Iran is a cruel regime that does not belong on any UN human rights body.

Wednesday, November 1, 2023

Shame on you, FIFA!!!

FIFA announced Saudi Arabia is set to host the men’s World Cup in 2034 after Australia declined to bid, leaving LGBTQ footy fans and human rights groups horrified.

Homosexuality is illegal in Saudi Arabia and is known the country is openly hostile to queer people. The death penalty remains on the penal code for same-sex activity. And dress code laws banning crossdressing make it illegal to be transgender.

Saudi Arabia also has an “appalling” human rights record, Amnesty International reports, including executions, abuse of activists, no freedom of speech and widespread discrimiantion against women and migrants.

The same happened last year when Qatar hosted the World Cup after FIFA designation. In that country, where run Sharia courts, homosexuality is an imprisonable offence, and it is technically possible that queer Muslim people could be handed a death sentence.

Once again, business and money are more important than human rights. Shame on you, FIFA!!!