Politics and Society: April 2015

April 2, 2015 in General

Arkansas/Indiana: Republican Indiana Governor Rob Pence is at panic stations as national US backlash and fury mounts over an antigay service provider discrimination law that was unconvincingly cloaked as a ‘religious freedom’ statute. Now, Arkansas is also getting cold feet and insuring that it doesn’t get caught in the slipstream of public backlash against such ‘bigot bills.’ ¬†Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson said his own son had signed a petition asking him not to sign his state’s “Religious Freedom Restoration Act,” and as it turns out, he isn’t signing it yet.¬†At least not in its current form. As for Pence, he’s also lying- when a federal US Congressperson, he never voted for any LGBT-inclusive legislation. ¬†¬†Horror author Stephen King has delivered a takedown of that Indiana law that allows state businesses and other service providers to refuse to serve gay people. Meanwhile, Massachusetts, Connecticut and New York have banned state-funded travel to Indiana as a consequence of its antigay legislation.

Pence and Hutchinson have now ¬†signed a revised version of the “religious liberty” ¬†bills that they hope addresses these concerns.¬†The amendments mean his state’s law more closely mirrors what Bill Clinton signed into federal law in 1993. The Indiana amendment prohibits businesses from using the law as a legal defence if they refuse to provide services to gays and lesbians, or other groups.¬†The change does not apply to churches, religious schools, or non-profit religious organisations.¬†It also prohibits discrimination based on race, colour, ancestry, religion, age, disability, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and military service. Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has now said he’ll also refuse to sign any “Religious Freedom Restoration Bill” placed before him.

Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news

Lagos: ¬†The reign of Nigeria’s antigay president, Goodluck Jonathan, and his People’s Democratic Party has come to its end. But whether that means any change for LGBT oppression is yet to be seen.¬†Challenger Muhammadu Buhari, a former general who once took the reigns of power in Nigeria and ruled with brutal severity, has beaten the incumbent in an historic election by about 2 million votes. However, Buhari and his party voted for the antigay Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Act and his antigay stance is virtually indistinguishable from that of his predecessor. As a conservative Muslim, he may introduce shariah law, although he has said that one of his priorities is tackling the repressive Boko Haram insurgency.

Source: http://www.advocate.com

Dallas:¬†Lambda Legal won a victory Monday, securing safekeeping housing for Passion Star, a black trans woman who has been fighting alleged abuse and rape she faced in Texas prisons for over a decade, before transitioning. ¬†Incarcerated in seven all-male facilities since she was convicted of aggravated kidnapping as a teenager, the now 31-year-old woman says¬†in her legal filing¬†that she has faced repeated rapes, been forced to perform sexual acts to avoid violence, and been threatened with sexual assault while imprisoned.¬†Star’s conviction, she claims, resulted from her boyfriend refusing to return a used car he was test-driving, instead driving for several hours with the car salesman in the passenger seat and Star in the backseat. She is currently serving a 20-year sentence.

Source: http://www.advocate.com

Indianapolis: ¬†The owners of a pizza shop in Indiana have said¬†they intend to use the state‚Äôs new ‚Äėreligious freedom‚Äô¬†law to refuse to serve same-sex weddings.¬†Crystal O‚ÄôConnor, whose family owns Memories Pizza in Walkerton, Indiana, made the claim after Governor of Indiana Mike Pence signed the misnamed “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” (or ‘bigot bill,’ or ‘Service Providers Discrimination Act’) into law. ¬†Good luck with expanding into more mainstream US states with that policy, young woman.

Source: http://www.pinknews.co.uk

Dublin: ¬†An Irish¬†Senator has claimed it would be better to spend money ‚Äėtesting for HIV‚Äô instead of voting ¬†on marriage equality. ¬†Jim Walsh left the Fianna Fail party after it affirmed its support for marriage equality. ¬†The Republic of Ireland is to vote in a referendum on the subject ¬†at the end of May.

Source: http://www.pinknews.co.uk

London: The right-wing United Kingdom Independence Party¬†¬†is probing allegations that one of its prospective MPs made a series of homophobic and anti-Muslim Facebook posts.¬†Alan Harris ‚Äď who is the party‚Äôs Prospective Parliamentary Candidate in Oxford West and Abingdon, allegedly made the comments on his Facebook. The anti-Muslim comment was a temper tantrum about not getting a bacon sandwich, although Harris has since claimed that his Facebook page has been hacked.

Source: http://www.pinknews.co.uk

Cardiff:¬†Former UK (fundamentalist) ¬†Christian Party mayor of¬†Llandrindod Wells Jeff Green has said he will stand as a candidate in the general election. He took the case of his hotel’s intentional ¬†accomodation discrimination at his hotel against a gay couple to UK courts and then the European Court of Human Rights, and lost at both.

Source: http://www.pinknews.co.uk

Kentucky:¬†The Governor of Kentucky, Steve Beshear has said that a ban on same-sex marriage is not discriminatory to gay people- because straight people can’t marry the same sex either!

Source: http://www.pinknews.co.uk

¬†Canberra: Former Australian federal Prime Minister Julia Gillard ¬†has sought legal advice after an antigay group linked her apology for forced adoptions to the marriage equality debate.¬†The antigay advertisement,¬†which depicts marriage equality as “harmful” to children, ¬†begins with footage of Ms Gillard’s 2013 apology to victims of forced adoptions.¬†It then warns that marriage equality would produce a “motherless generation”. ¬†SBS refused to air the advertisement, while Channels Seven and Nine later refused to broadcast it after escalating objections from LGBT community members and allies for misleading the public. An Australian Christian Right activist group, the “Australian Marriage Forum”, is the ringleader behind the antigay network and responsible for the advertisement.

A spokesman for Ms Gillard said she had been unaware of the video until The Canberra Times drew it to her attention. The spokesman said Ms Gillard thought it wrong for her apology to be taken out of context and misused.

“As well as being hurtful to those the subject of the apology, who have already suffered so much, Ms Gillard believes the video is offensive to gay couples, who are parents.¬†Ms Gillard is seeking legal advice about this matter.” Aboriginal rights activists are also angry at the exploitation of the forced adoption debate, given its destructive effects on previous generations of Aboriginal Australians.

Source: http://www.theage.com.au

¬†London: ¬†UKIP Leader Nigel Farage has defended comments made in the TV leaders’ debate about migrants using the NHS for HIV treatment costing ¬£25,000 per year. Plaid Cymru’s Leanne Wood responded by calling the comment “scaremongering” and saying he should be “ashamed”.¬†HIV charity the Terrence Higgins Trust said “HIV doesn’t discriminate and politicians shouldn’t either”.

Farage said, ‚ÄúThere are 7,000 diagnoses in this country every year, people who are HIV positive. Not a good place for any of them to be, I know. 60% of them are not British nationals. You can come into Britain, from anywhere in the world, and get diagnosed with HIV, and get the retroviral drugs that cost up to ¬£25,000 a year per patient.¬†I know there are some horrible things happening in many¬†parts of the world but what we need to do is put the National Health Service there for British people and families, who in many cases have paid into this system for decades.‚Ä̬†Farage prefaced his comments by saying he was sure the others would be ‚Äėmortified‚Äô that he ‚Äėdared to talk about it‚Äô, and indeed the other leaders reacted strongly.

The Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood slammed Farage in reply: ¬†‚ÄúThis kind of¬†scaremongering rhetoric is dangerous, it divides communities and it creates¬†stigma to people who are ill, and I think you ought to be ashamed of yourself.‚ÄĚ Her retort earned the night‚Äôs first round of applause from the audience, almost 55 minutes into the 2 hour long debate. ¬†Scottish Nationalist Party leader Nicola Sturgeon ‚Äď widely agreed¬†to have won the debate overall ‚Äď then responded: ‚ÄúWhen somebody is diagnosed with a dreadful illness, my instinct is to view them as a human being, not consider what country they come from.‚ÄĚ ¬†Later, Labour and Liberal Democrat leaders Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg added their condemnation.

Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news

Dublin: The upper house of Ireland’s parliament, the Seanad, has passed a bill that will allow greater adoption rights,  including enablement of inclusive adoptive parent responsibilities for same sex couples.  The bill extends guardianship, custody and adoption rights to various family situations, including same sex civil partners and co-habiting couples who will be able to jointly adopt children. It also gives step parents and grandparents greater access to children when relationships break down. The bill has gone through a remarkable 122 amendments, and after eight hours of debate on Tuesday night, 20 Senators voted for the Bill, and 2 voted against. The passing of this bill comes just weeks before the country’s referendum on same sex marriage on 22nd May.

Belfast: A Northern Ireland mother has complained to the Police after her daughters ¬†attended a Girls‚Äô Brigade event in February where homosexuality was described as a “sin” which was equated to murder.¬†The girls¬†were attending a spiritual programme as part of the Girls‚Äô Brigade, when¬†they were asked to place a number of sins in order ‚Äď including murder, adultery, stealing and homosexuality ‚Äď after which they were told that in fact all of these sins were “equal” in the eyes of God.¬†Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, the Newtownards mother explained her children were upset after she picked them up. ‚ÄúSomeone‚Äôs sexuality is certainly not regarded as a sin in our family as they have an uncle who is not only gay, but openly lives with his partner whom they love dearly.”

Source: http://www.attitude.co.uk

Atlanta: Right-wing lesbian ¬†¬†radio host Tammy Bruce has argued that gay liberals have ‚Äúturned into bullies‚ÄĚ.¬†¬†Bruce ¬†appeared on FOX News in early April 2015 to discuss¬†the threats that were made¬†against a restaurant in Indiana that engaged in service provider discrimination after it ¬†refused to cater a gay wedding, claimed that gay liberals need to stop chastising¬†people for having different opinions.

Source: http://www.attitude.co.uk

Sydney: Recent cases of permanent eye damage following amyl use have prompted one New South Wales specialist to raise concerns over a possible link.

Malta:¬†Malta has become the first country in the world to outlaw medical practitioners or other professionals from¬†conducting any involuntary or coerced¬†surgical intervention on minors without the permission of their parents or informed consent. ¬†Worldwide, intersexed rights organisations have applauded the measure. ¬†¬†The¬†Gender Identity Gender Expression and Sex Characteristics Act¬†was passed through Maltese Parliament¬†with¬†cross party support, without a vote, in the early of the¬†morning in Australian time.¬†The new law ¬†recognises the¬†right to bodily integrity and physical autonomy and¬†protects intersex infants and children from unnecessary medical intervention. These sorts of medical procedures¬†still take place in Australia and around the world, with parental distress or¬†improving marriage prospects as common reasons for it. The¬†Gender Identity Gender Expression and Sex Characteristics Act¬†also meets several other¬†key demands of the intersex movement. ¬†The new Maltese law¬†also provides for an administrative mechanism for the recognition of gender identity, and protection from discrimination for intersex and transgender people.¬†While OII Australia president Morgan Carpenter¬†said he ‚Äúwarmly‚ÄĚ congratulated the Maltese government and parliament, he urged Australian parliamentarians to pass similar legislation, as well. [And New Zealand too, for that matter- Craig]

Source: http://www.starobserver.com.au

London: Obnoxious right-wing tabloid Daily Mail and Sun columnist Richard Littlejohn has¬†¬†questioned a gay Liberal ¬†Democrat candidate‚Äôs suitability because of his past and HIV status.¬†Liberal Democrat candidate for Vauxhall¬†Adrian Hyyrylainen-Trett discussed his past struggle with drugs, mental health problems and bullying. He spoke about how this led to him contracting HIV in a bid for ‚Äúannihilation‚ÄĚ.

Atlanta: Right-wing media commentator Anne Coulter has slammed other US Christians for their ‘cowardice’ in not opposing marriage equality and LGBT rights strongly enough.

Sacramento: ¬†A judge has ordered the California prison system to grant gender reassignment surgery to a prisoner.¬†Michelle-Lael Norsworthy has won her case with the help of the Transgender Law Center, and it is the first time such a ruling has been made. Ms Norsworthy has been in prison for second-degree murder since 1987, and began transitioning in 2000.¬†Ms Norsworthy had argued that continuing to be denied surgery was causing her extreme psychological pain, and¬†this needed to be rectified urgently. The¬†California Department of Corrections argued that since she had been waiting for a long period of time already, it could not be considered. The judge disagreed, and ordered them to make the necessary steps as soon as possible.¬†The judge found that while she had been allowed hormone treatment, and had been recommended for surgery by her psychologist, the prison ‚Äúchose to ignore the clear recommendations of her mental health provider‚ÄĚ and ‚Äúinstead of following his recommendations, they removed her from his care.”

Source: http://www.pinknews.co.uk

 Seoul: In South Korea, new sex education guidelines outlaw teaching about sexual minorities.

Source: http://www.pinknews.co.uk

Arkansas: ¬†Tom Cotton, the junior US senator from Arkansas, thinks the critics of Indiana’s ‘religious freedom’ law need some perspective.¬†There has been a national backlash against the state over its Religious Freedom Restoration Act which opens the door for private businesses and others to discriminate against gays and lesbians based on religious beliefs:¬†’I think it‚Äôs important we have a sense of perspective,’ Cotton said on CNN this week. ‘In Iran they hang you for the crime of being gay.’

Source:  http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/us-senator-critics-religious-freedom-laws-need-perspective-least-gays-arent-executed030415

¬†Brisbane:¬†Pressure is mounting for the abolition of a law allowing Queenslanders who kill homosexuals to have a murder charge reduced by arguing that their victim ‘propositioned’ them.

Source: http://www.nzherald.co.nz

Sacramento: Former Californian Republican Governor¬†Arnold Schwarzenegger has spoken out against the ¬†abortive “Religious Freedom Restoration Bill” which was introduced in the U.S. state of Indiana, and largely seen as a way to¬†discriminate against gay people. ¬† The former Governor of California says that as a Republican, he‚Äôs furious with those of his ¬†party members who practise ‚Äúthe politics of division‚ÄĚ.

Source: http://www.attitude.co.uk

¬†New Orleans: Mike Johnson, a¬†¬†Republican member of Louisiana’s legislature has filed a “religious freedom” bill that would allow business owners to discriminate against gays and lesbians if they object to marriage equality on “moral” grounds. ¬†¬†The bill, known as HB 707, will be considered when the Louisiana legislative session begins April 13.¬†Unsurprisingly, LGBT Equality Louisiana has blasted HB 707.

Source: http://www.advocate.com

Moscow:¬†Russia’s main support group for teenagers who identify as LGBT is to be blocked under the country’s ‘gay propaganda’ law.

Indianapolis: ¬†A church minister in New York¬†spent his Easter weekend handing out free cupcakes at gay bars ‚Äď after Indiana¬†passed its anti-gay ‚Äėreligious freedom‚Äô law.¬†Reverend Drew Ludwig of Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church in Buffalo, New York, distributed over 500 cupcakes outside a number of gay bars on Saturday night.

London: UK Christian Right pressure group and antigay¬†charity Christian Concern has complained that the National Union of Teachers is “intolerant” – for calling on the next government to make it compulsory to teach about same-sex relationships.

Washington DC: The US Christian Right pressure group and antigay lobbyists Family Research Council will begin a 21-day fast tomorrow, in order to thwart an expected ruling from the Supreme Court on same-sex marriage. Meanwhile, three-quarters of Republican Members of Congress have neglected to sign a court brief opposing marriage equality, ahead of that Supreme Court battle.

Denver: A bakery in Denver, Colorado that refused to bake an anti-gay cake has been cleared of discrimination allegations.  Last year, C0lorado-based anti-gay Christian activist William Jack asked Azucar Bakery in Denver for cakes bearing the message: “Homosexuality is a detestable sin. Leviticus 18:2″. Bakery owner Marjorie Silva declined to write the hateful message herself but offered to provide him a blank cake and icing to do so himself. However,  the homophobe made a complaint to the Colorado Civil Rights Division, claiming that he was discriminated against because he was a Christian.

Canterbury: ¬†An anti-gay fundamentalist “Anglican” ¬†Nigerian bishop has been appointed¬†as the new head of the Anglican Communion.¬†Dr Josiah Idowu-Fearon, the former Anglican Archbishop of the Province of Kaduna, has been named the new Secretary General of the Anglican Communion.¬†The Communion ‚Äď of which Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby is Primate ‚Äď has struggled in recent years to reconcile the views of Western and hardline African churches.

London:¬†Aderonke Apata faces deportion¬†after a High Court judge rules she ‚Äúfabricated‚ÄĚ her sexuality.¬†She says she faces persecution, imprisonment and even death if she returns to Nigeria, where she had been an outspoken gay rights activist before moving to the UK in 2004. Gay people can face 14 years in prison in¬†Nigeria.Her¬†applications for asylum were repeatedly denied as the Home Office did not believe she was “really” a lesbian.

Dublin: ¬†The Catholic Primate of All Ireland used his Holy Thursday Mass to talk about the ‚Äúpersecution‚ÄĚ of Christians.¬†Archbishop Eamon Martin spoke out about the difficulties faced by Christians who believe in the ‚ÄúChurch‚Äôs¬†understanding of marriage and the family‚ÄĚ. ¬†[The problem is not with their beliefs, it is that they want to preserve discriminatory marriage and parenting laws- Craig].

 Pasadena:  Rabbi Becky Silverstein offers his blessings and support to trans teen at Passover. Inspired the story of a thirteen year old trans boy, Tom Chai Sosnik, whose coming speech out to his school went viral, trans Rabbi Becky Silverstein wrote a open letter of support. In it, he compares the story of the exodus, celebrated by Jews at Passover, to the courage of LGBT teens coming out. He also praises Tom’s family, school and Rabbi for their support. Rabbi Silverstein, of the Pasadena Jewish Temple and Center, California is one of the only openly trans Rabbis in the world.

Source: http://www.pinknews.co.uk

Atlanta: ¬†36-year-old Ashley Diamond has been confined to a men’s prison in Georgia for over two years and denied hormone therapy despite being a transgender woman and says she has been raped over seven times as a result.

Salt Lake City: ¬†The Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints have used the church’s 185th Annual General Convention to speak out against ‘counterfeit lifestyles’ that are outside of straight marriage.

Arkansas:¬†Mike Huckabee, former governor of Arkansas and possible 2016 candidate for the White House, claims US business is controlled by the ‘militant gay community.’¬†When asked to explain why companies like Apple and Walmart were opposed to such laws, the Republican argued they were responding to ‘outside influences.’

Source: http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/mike-huckabee-calls-business-hypocritical-standing-against-indianas-religious-freedom-law040415

Melbourne: ¬†Adoption agencies are at risk of closure unless they are allowed to show preferential treatment to heterosexual families, an Australian religious pressure group warns.¬†In a submission to the government in Victoria, the Australian Christian Lobby are looking to introduce a ‘religious exemption’ clause, that would give faith-based agencies the right to choose which couples can and cannot adopt children, according to the beliefs of the agency.¬†Not only are they hoping for the right to refuse to place a child in the care of same-sex parents, they also intend for birth parents to be able to stipulate whether or not same-sex couples can adopt their child.

Source: http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/christian-group-asks-right-discriminate-against-same-sex-parents300315

¬†Philadelphia: According to conservative Catholic potential Republican presidential nominee Rick Santorum, ¬†¬†tolerance is a¬†‚Äútwo-way street‚ÄĚ.¬†The prospective 2016 ¬†candidate made the remark while he was discussing¬†Indiana‚Äôs controversial “religious liberty” legislation. ¬†In a new interview, Santorum argues that because the government wouldn‚Äôt demand¬†a gay man make a ‚ÄėGod Hates Fags‚Äô sign, they shouldn‚Äôt “force” those with religious views to cater for the LGBT community.

Source: http://www.attitude.co.uk

 New Orleans: A school in Louisiana has decided not to ban a lesbian student from wearing a tuxedo to prom, after her story circulated online.

London: A Louis Theroux documentary looking at the growing number of young transgender people has been broadly positively received.

 Source: http://www.pinknews.co.uk

Paris: The Holy See is to receive its first ever openly gay ambassador in the form of France’s Laurent Stefanini and not everybody’s sure they’re too thrilled about that.

Atlanta: According to elderly antigay US televangelist Pat Robertson, being lesbian or gay is “unnatural” because “no-one has children that way.”

Islamabad:  Two transgender women in Swabi district, Pakistan, are dead and another has been gang raped after they were ambushed in a field after performing at a wedding. A group of four or five men tried to abduct all three women as they were traveling back to town but open fired on them when they refused.

Source: http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/gunmen-attack-group-transgender-women-pakistan-killing-two070415

¬†Brisbane: Queensland will shortly become the next jurisdiction to repeal the so-called “provocation defence.” ¬†The Queensland Government is taking steps to ensure a homosexual advance is no longer considered provocation for murder, while also looking at expunging historical convictions for homosexual sex, righting wrongs in Queensland’s past which have stood for decades.¬†The homosexual advance defence, more commonly referred to as the gay panic defence, is a rare but usable legal defence under Queensland law.¬†It allows defendants to claim they were provoked into killing because of an alleged homosexual advance, by claiming it drove them into temporary insanity, reducing what could be a murder conviction to one of manslaughter.

Source: http://www.theage.com.au

Paris: ¬†The head of France’s far-right Front National, Marine Le Pen, has said she will move to stop her father Jean-Marie from standing in polls later this year.¬†In a statement she said her father’s status as honorary president of the party “does not mean he can take the Front National hostage”.¬†Last week she condemned her father for repeating his anti-Semitic claim that the Nazi gas chambers were “a detail of history”.¬†She is widely expected to run for president in 2017.

Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news

London: ¬†A new study shows that discrimination against gay and lesbian job seekers is surprisingly commonplace¬†in the United Kingdom, despite employment anti-discrimination laws. ¬†The research, carried out by Dr Nick Drydakis of Anglia Ruskin University and published online today by SAGE in the journal Human Relations, involved 144 young people ‚Äď all first-time job seekers ‚Äď making 11,098 applications.¬†The study found that gay applicants of both sexes are 5% less likely to be offered a job interview than heterosexual applicants with comparable skills and experience.

Of the 2,312 students who volunteered for the study, Dr Drydakis was able to match 72 students whose CVs mentioned having a prominent role in their university’s LGBT society with 72 students whose skills and experiences were identical, but whose CV didn’t indicate their sexuality. The firms who offer interviews to gay male candidates pay an average salary of 2.0% less than those who invite heterosexuals for interview (£23,072 compared to £23,544). For lesbian women, the average salary is 1.4% less (£22,569 compared to £22,907). Gay men receive the fewest invitations for interviews in traditionally male-dominated occupations (accounting, banking, finance and management jobs), whereas lesbians receive the fewest invitations for interviews in traditionally female-dominated occupations (social care, social services and charity jobs).

Source: http://www.attitude.co.uk

 Rome: The Vatican has removed a priest from office after allegations that he engaged in gay orgies with various religious officials, including members of the Vatican’s Swiss guard. A man came forward to Italian media with a recording of a conversation with the priest in which he admits to the consensual adult gay sex.

Source: http://www.dailyxtra.com

Atlanta:¬†Ky Peterson, a black transman from Georgia, has been imprisoned three years for the ‘involuntary manslaughter’ of his attacker, which he says was in self-defense.

Hollywood: ¬†Out pop superstars Elton John and Michael Stipe are taking a stand for their incarcerated transgender sisters after hearing about the atrocious treatment of¬†Ashley Diamond¬†and¬†Zahara Green, two¬†transgender women placed in Georgia prisons for men.¬†In a lawsuit filed by theSouthern Poverty Law Center,Diamond claims she’s been denied access to the hormone medication she‚Äôs been taking for 17 years, harassed, and raped multiple times. Green’s story is just as harrowing: She requested protection from sexual harassment and was then placed in a cell with the man she claimed had raped her.

Source: http://www.advocate.com

Salt Lake City: The Mormon Church may have bent a little on its antigay stances by supporting the ultimately successful drive for antidiscrimination legislation in Utah, but speakers at the church’s Annual General Conference over the weekend left no doubt that the church’s traditional views remain intact, especially insofar as marriage and parenting are concerned.

Source: http://www.advocate.com

Washington DC: An Executive Order signed by President Barack Obama that outlaws anti-LGBT discrimination among US federal contractors has come into effect.

Source: http://www.pinknews.co.uk

Seoul: ¬†The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) has written to South Korean officials to express concern over two recent ‘conversion therapy’ seminars hosted in government buildings.¬†The letter dated 3 April said failure of high-level government officials and the National Human Rights Commission of Korea (NHRCK) to denounce ‘gay cures’ therapy and groups promoting these practices contravened the country’s international commitments to human rights.¬†’Two recent convenings by anti-LGBT hate organizations in South Korean government buildings that convey the troubling impression of the government‚Äôs tacit endorsement of so-called ‚Äúconversion therapy‚ÄĚ and tolerance for discrimination against LGBT Koreans,’ the letter reads.¬†In November, South Korean Christian Right pressure groups Holy Life, Chosen People Network and People‚Äôs Solidarity for Healthy Society held an ex-gay “human rights” forum at the National Assembly Members Office Building.¬†Then last month, the same groups held a second forum on NHRCK premises.

Source: http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/south-korea-government-slammed-hosting-conversion-therapy-seminars080415

¬†Washington DC: ¬†US President Barack Obama has condemned ¬†fundamentalist psychiatric pseudo-”therapies” designed to “repair” gay, lesbian and transgender youth.¬†Mr Obama’s statement was in response to an¬†online petition¬†calling for a ban on conversion therapies. It gained over 120,000 signatures in three months.

Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news

 London: More children are being referred to transgender counselling.  The rise in child referrals shows a greater understanding of transgender issues.

Source: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/health-and-fitness/health/more-british-children-being-referred-to-transgender-counselling/article23862306/

Dallas:  Texas lawmakers are planning to cut the state’s HIV prevention budget dramatically. Despite the state having the third-highest rate of HIV infection in the US in 2013 overall, new plans drawn up by Texas Republicans intend to slash $3 million dollars from the disease prevention budget and waste that money teaching school children about abstinence.   In order to become law, the bill must pass through Senate, which is mostly dominated by right-wing social conservatives. Meanwhile, in yet another totally educated and responsible move from the  same state, another amendment that passed last week would ban schools from distributing educational literature from abortion clinics to minors.

Source: http://www.attitude.co.uk

Brisbane:¬†Testing for HIV and other STIs offered by the Queensland AIDS Council has surpassed the ‚Äúsignificant milestone‚ÄĚ of 5000 tests since the introduction of rapid testing in 2012.

Source: http://www.starobserver.com.au

Guam:¬†Two women in Guam who have been a couple for 28 years were denied a marriage license by a bureaucrat who said he may sympathize with cause of equality but had to follow Guamanian law, which forbids marriage equality.¬†Loretta Pangelinan and Kathleen Aguero are now taking their desire to wed at home ‚ÄĒ on the island of Guam ‚ÄĒ to federal court. The couple’s lawyer said the women are aware that the U.S. Supreme Court may decide the questions of marriage equality later this year.

Miami: The Florida Senate today quashed an attempt to reinstate a ban on adoptions by gay and lesbians, just as the state House of Representatives appeared poised to pass a bill that would allow private adoption agencies, even those with state contracts, to discriminate against prospective parents who offend their religious beliefs, such as LGBT individuals or same-sex couples.

Source: http://www.advocate.com

 Melbourne: Older and ageing LGBTI people in Victoria will soon have the option of a new aged care home environment in Melbourne’s inner-city suburb Prahran under a project set to start later this year.

Source: http://www.starobserver.com.au

Belfast:  Dr Mark Gilfillan, a  research associate of Irish Jewish History at Ulster University made some extreme antigay  comments in Facebook posts discussing the case of a bakery that refused to bake a pro-gay marriage cake. The university has distanced itself from Gilfillan’s remarks about genetics and pedophilia.

Source: http://www.pinknews.co.uk

Kyrgyzstan:¬†The headquarters of Kyrgyzstan’s LGBT organisation Labrys has been attacked with explosives.

Brasilia: Congressman Jair Bolsonaro has said his far-right Progressive Party would implement a policy meaning patients would be made aware when they were receiving a blood donation of its origin, and would be able to reject it if it came from a gay donor.

London: ¬†A ‘reparative therapy’ ¬†convention is scheduled to take place in London this month. ¬†The Holy Sexuality Conference will take place over five days from 21 to 25 April, with gay people being specifically invited in order to help them ‘overcome’ their ‘sexual habits’.¬†Three particular ‘ex-gay’ advocates have been invited to speak; Mike Carducci, Wayne Blakely and Danielle Harrison of Coming Out Ministries from the Seventh Day Adventist church. ¬†The advert states that the event is being held with the approval of the South England Conference‚Äôs Family Life Department. Meanwhile, other prospective Parliamentary Candidates from the Greens, Liberal Democrats and Conservative Party (!) ¬†in Brent North have condemned UKIP’s Alan Craig, for planning to speak at the convention. Craig is also a ¬†former member of the fundamentalist “Christian Peoples Alliance” microparty.

Source: http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/gay-cure-summit-comes-central-london100415

Nicaragua: The Central American nation has prospectively banned marriage equality and same-sex parenting.

Melbourne: ¬†When gay adoption was proposed by the Victorian Law Reform Commission a decade ago, the outcry was as offensive as it was predictable. Religious social conservative¬†Coalition MPs described it as “social engineering gone mad”. The Christian Right bemoaned the corrosion of the “traditional” family unit. Countless others also chimed in, espousing bigoted claims about imaginary ¬†”perils” ¬†of growing up with same-sex parents. ¬†For that reason, it was delayed by successive Victorian state administrations, resulting in a situation where New South Wales, Western Australia, the Australian Capital Territory and Tasmania (and New Zealand) have all reformed their laws, but Victoria (South Australia, the Northern Territory and Queensland) have not.

The fundamentalist “Australian Christian Lobby” wants an opt-out clause for conservative religious adoption providers. What chances of success will the ALP Andrews administrations bill have? In Victoria’s bicameral state parliament, there are likely to be problems in the Legislative Council upper house. The ALP only holds 14 out of 40 seats in that chamber, therefore successful reform ¬†will either require the support of the Coalition, with 16 upper house seats, the backing of the five Greens and at least two of the five crossbenchers, which consist of a disparate group comprising the conservative Catholic Democratic Labor Party, which doesn’t support gay adoption; the Sex Party, which does; as well as the Shooters and Fishers Party and Vote 1 Local Jobs, who will await Labor’s bill. As for the Liberal/National Opposition, things are unclear.¬†¬†Liberal leader Matthew Guy says he supports same-sex adoption “in principle”, and a conscience vote has not been ruled out, but the Coalition is a pretty broad church. Under its umbrella are country Nationals such as Peter Walsh, deeply conservative MPs like Bernie Finn or Robert Clark, and progressive Liberals like former minister Mary Wooldridge. Whether the opposition helps or hinders the passage of legislation remains to be seen.

Source: http://www.theage.com.au

Belfast: Predictably, a religious social conservative parliamentary candidate in Northern Ireland is mouthing backward antigay bigotry. For a change, she’s not from the fundamentalist Democratic Unionist Party, however. ¬†Susan Anne White, who is standing as an independent candidate in West Tyrone,¬†has said that she would seek to make homosexuality illegal again if elected. White has¬†laid out her plan to deal with society‚Äôs ‚Äúdangerous‚ÄĚ homosexual agenda. As well as recriminalising male homosexuality, she wants to criminalise adultery and stop public funding of pride events and other ‘depraved’ cultural activities. ¬†White, who is one of nine candidates standing in West Tyrone on May 7, also discussed her opposition to rock music, feminism and support for Euroscepticism.

Source: http://www.attitude.co.uk

Des Moines: ¬†Students at a Catholic school in America walked out in protest after a substitute teacher failed to secure a full-time role due to the face he was gay.¬†The school in Des Moines, Iowa confirmed that the popular teacher had been turned down for the role in a letter to students and their parents, also prompting protests by parents and families opposed to the school board’s decision. ¬†Tyler ¬†McCubbin had been told that he would be given a full-time role at Dowling Catholic High School, where he had been teaching athletics and social studies since autumn last year.¬†However, the offer was withdrawn when it was discovered that he was engaged to a man, while McCubbin has also not been offered any further substitute work. ¬†Unfortunately, as a ¬†¬†religious organisation, the school is exempt from from Iowa‚Äôs employment anti-discrimination laws.¬†A Facebook page set up in protest has been joined by around 1000 current and former students of the school.

Source: http://www.attitude.co.uk

Washington DC: ¬†Just two days after the Obama administration formally announced that it supports efforts to end the discredited practice known as “reparative therapy” ‚ÄĒ which tries to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity ‚ÄĒ the nation’s top doctor weighed in on the practice:¬†”As America‚Äôs Doctor, my job is to help raise awareness about sound medical practices and the steps we can take together to improve America‚Äôs health,” said U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy today during a town hall discussion on Tumblr. ¬†Six prominent White House staffers have also undertaken a video against ‘reparative therapy.’ ¬†The video features Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to the President; Jay Davis, Advisor for Digital Strategy and Engagement, Environmental Protection Agency; Yohannes Abraham, Special Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff for the Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs; Amanda Simpson, Executive Director, Army Office of Energy Initiatives; Megan Smith, Chief Technology Officer of the United States; and Douglas Brooks, Director of the Office of National AIDS Policy.

Source: http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/white-house-staffers-speak-out-support-conversion-therapy-ban-powerful-video110415

Source: http://www.advocate.com

New York:  A New York cab driver must pay a lesbian couple $10,000 for ordering them to stop kissing or get out of his taxi, a city administrative judge has ruled. The city’s Commission on Human Rights filed a complaint against the driver, Mohammed Dhabi, on behalf of Christy Spitzer and Kassie Thornton, charging that he discriminated against them during a cab ride in September 2011

Source: http://www.shewired.com

Arkansas:¬†Republican Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson teased an executive order protecting LGBT state employees from discrimination ‚ÄĒ as his state has zero safeguards for gay and trans residents ‚ÄĒ¬†but he’s now backing off even that modest change. Prospective Republican Presidential candidate Ted Cruz has also spouted homophobia, pandering to a fundamentalist homeschool conference and stating that LGBT rights activists are engaged in ‘jihad’ against Indiana and Arkansas over their antigay ‘religious liberty’/service provider discrimination laws.

Source: http://www.advocate.com

Oahu, Hawaii: ¬†The Army is now leading the charge to change the U.S. military’s long-standing ban on openly transgender troops by seeking guidance about whether it can allow a transgender sergeant to continue serving as the man he is. ¬†Army Sgt. Shane Ortega served three combat tours, according to a Thursday profile in¬†The Washington Post:¬†“Two in Iraq, one in Afghanistan. Two as a Marine and one in the Army. Two as a woman and one as a man.”

Source: http://www.advocate.com

London: Channel 4 has predicted that the United Kingdom will see a royal same-sex couple tie the knot before the year 2120. [However, will New Zealand have elected an LGBT Prime Minister- or President- before then?-Craig]

Source: http://www.pinknews.co.uk

London: Right-wing gay pundit David Starkey has attacked ‘victim status’ for disabled ¬†people and ethnic minorities.

Source: http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2015/04/11/david-starkey-attacks-victim-status-for-disabled-people-and-ethnic-minorities/

London: HIV+¬†Liberal Democrat ¬†Prospective Parliamentary Candidate Paul Childs has said he is considering legal action, after UKIP’s Patricia Culligan claimed he contracted HIV on purpose. Culligan was also forced¬†¬† to apologise after questioning the cost of NHS treatment for Lib Dem candidates living with HIV.

Source: http://www.pinknews.co.uk

¬†Seattle:¬†Washington state Republicans say they are opposed to ‚Äėtreatments‚Äô aimed at changing people from gay to straight if they involve physical interventions like making people take baths in freezing water but they draw a line when it comes to spoken ‚Äėex-gay‚Äô therapies.

Source: http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/washington-state-republicans-oppose-ice-baths-and-electric-shocks-gay-people-not-ex-gay-coun

Washington DC: According to a recent Reuters agency opinion poll,  only 28 percent of the American public believe that businesses should have the right to refuse service because they have a religious objection to a person being LGBTI or belonging to other groups. 54 percent were unequivocal in saying businesses should not have the right to refuse people services for religious reasons and 55 percent said they should not be able to refuse to hire someone because of a religious objection. Only 27 percent said that businesses should be able to refuse employment to someone based on a religious objection towards them.

Source: http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/majority-americans-oppose-businesses-being-allowed-discriminate-religious-reasons100415

¬†Washington DC: On April 12, ¬†Hillary Clinton entered the race for US president,so the Republican field now has a Democrat to contrast with on LGBT equality.¬†Clinton officially announced her bid with a video released online shortly after 3 p.m. Eastern. It featured a diverse group of people making changes in their lives, including a male couple about to be married. ¬†By contrast, on¬†the Republican side, only Sens. Ted Cruz and Rand Paul have officially declared their candidacies, and both oppose marriage equality and more. Paul¬†said¬†in March that same-sex couples shouldn’t get to use the word “marriage” because it “offends myself and a lot of people,” and Cruz used his very¬†first campaign stop¬†to pander to the US Christian Right against “the radical gay marriage agenda,” and then he¬†warned¬†of the gay “jihad” against “religious liberty.”

As for her fellow Democrats, ¬†she¬†could potentially face three other supporters of LGBT equality in the Democratic primary. And despite her popularity among LGBT voters, her potential rivals might have a few advantages. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has long been in favor of marriage equality, even voting against the Defense of Marriage Act that Bill Clinton signed into law and which Hillary Clinton once said she’d have voted for if she were in the Senate at the time ‚ÄĒ though she now opposes it adamantly. ¬†Gov.¬†Martin O’Malley¬†of Maryland also signed a marriage equality bill in his state before Clinton had even came out publicly in favor of same-sex marriage in March 2013. Lincoln Chafee, former governor of Rhode Island, also signed a law in his state.

Source: http://www.advocate.com

¬†New Jersey: ¬†An antigay¬†high school religion teacher who got caught unloading her antigay views on Facebook is returning to her school in New Jersey. ¬†Outrage over comments made by Patricia Jannuzzi, a teacher at Immaculata High School,¬† had sparked an intense online backlash. Jannuzzi ¬†had said the gay “agenda” seeks to “reengineer western civ into a slow extinction” and argued being gay or lesbian is a choice. Because Jannuzzi believes it’s a choice, she also says gays and lesbians don’t deserve equal protection under the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution. That’s the crux of the legal debate over marriage equality, but without the 14th Amendment it’s also fine to discriminate against gays and lesbians in housing, employment and everyday life.¬†Jannuzzi has not taken back that position, but her administrative leave is over anyway and she can begin teaching theology once more at the Catholic high school.

Source: http://www.advocate.com

 Luton: The UK Independence Party might be getting used to unconventional neighbours Рafter opening an office between a Polish supermarket and a gay sauna!

Source: http://www.pinknews.co.uk

Las Vegas: The “Coalition for the Preservation of Marriage”, an anti-gay group wants the US Supreme Court to review a decision that made same-sex marriage legal in Nevada. ¬†Late last year, the Coalition asked the entire Ninth Circuit to review the decision made by a three-judge panel. That was denied. Looking to the Supreme Court is the group’s final option.¬†While Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval believes marriage should be between a man and woman, the Republican is opposed to the group’s legal maneuvers.

Source: http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/group-petitions-us-supreme-court-reverse-nevada-marriage-decision120415

Brasilia: ¬†A Brazilian politician claimed patients receiving blood transfusions should be able to demand ‚Äėheterosexual blood‚Äô.¬†Congressman Jair Bolsonaro said his party, the far-right Progressive Party, wants to introduce a policy which would see people be made aware if they are receiving blood from a gay donor.¬†Patients should also be allowed to ask to not receive the blood if it makes them uncomfortable and, instead, request blood donated by a heterosexual person,

Source:  http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/brazilian-politician-claims-gay-blood-should-be-separated110415

¬†Dublin:¬†‘The rights of gay people have become, very properly, the great justice issue of our time just as the abolition of slavery and the emancipation of women were in the past’: (Anglican) Church of Ireland Bishop Michael Burrows, speaking in support of marriage equality.

Source: http://www.gaystarnews.com

Beijing: ¬†In modernising China, the gay community is becoming more visible, recognized, and accepted by the general public. The transgender community is still extremely marginalized and face extreme stigma and discrimination.¬†Transgender people are neglected by policy makers, abused by State and NGO gatekeepers, and are unable to fulfill a range of rights, including on privacy, legal identity and personal autonomy. In¬†December 2014, China‚Äôs leading sexologist Li Yinhe revealed her partner of 17 years is a transgender man. Her disclosure ignited a heated public debate. The term ‚Äėtransgender‚Äô‚ÄĒor Kua Xingbie‚ÄĒentered the public dialogue for the first time but, before bearing fruit, this promising dialogue on gender pluralism languished. In¬†January 2015, Asia Catalyst published the first comprehensive English language research report on the living situation of transgender female sex workers in China. Together with two Chinese organizations, we interviewed 70 people who were assigned male at birth, but presented as female for sex work. Among the 70 people, 30 identified as female, 24 as male, and 16 as a third gender; two women had completed sexual reassignment surgery, 30 had breast implants. ¬†Transgender female sex workers in China face a wide spectrum of discrimination in society and government policies, preventing this highly marginalized group from accessing a range of services and legal protections.

Transgender female sex workers often experience amplified stigma due to both their gender identity and their profession. When seeking public services and particularly health care, they experience isolation and often humiliation, leading many transgender women to self-medicate and engage in dangerous transition practices, such as self-administered hormone therapy. Fear of exposure causes these diverse women to live increasingly hidden lives, away from family, employers, and community members who may subject them to verbal abuse or punitive action such as tenant eviction, job dismissal, or police abuse. Restrictive legal frameworks needlessly compound this discrimination by effectively denying many transgender women the right to a legal identity and/or personal autonomy. Undertaking the most basic tasks becomes fraught, especially if personal identification is required. Banking, travel, hotels, or renting an apartment, can quickly deteriorate into a nightmare if the gender presentation on the card does not match the gender marker of the person requesting service.

Although Chinese law permits transgender people to change their gender marker on official documents, the individual must have already completed sex reassignment surgery (SRS), as well as meet other requirements. Transgender people who do not wish to undergo SRS or cannot afford it are left with identity documents that do not match their lived gender, resulting in frequent public humiliation, vulnerability to discrimination, and great difficulty finding or maintaining employment. Without the ability to change gender markers on official documents, these obstacles will last a lifetime. Within this environment, evidence indicates that transgender women and transgender female sex workers are among the populations most heavily affected by, and at risk of contracting, HIV. Globally, transgender women are 49 times more likely to acquire HIV than other adults of reproductive age, and the rate of HIV infection among transgender female sex workers is 27.3%, or nine times higher than the rate among female sex workers and three times higher than male sex workers.

Source: http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/inside-world-chinas-trans-sex-workers100415

Whangarei: ¬†A Whangarei doctor has won overwhelming support from ONE News readers for his call for the HPV vaccine to be funded for boys, not just girls as at present.¬†ONE News Facebook followers have described Pharmac’s policy of funding the vaccine only for girls as nonsensical, discriminatory and sexist.HPV or human papillomavirus is one of New Zealand’s most common infections and the virus is linked to cervical cancer. For this reason the Government only funds vaccination against the virus for teenage girls and the funding is not available for boys.Doctor Andrew Miller told TVNZ’s Sunday programme he was recently “gobsmacked” to discover he has developed a cancer associated with HPV.¬†¬†Australia began including boys in its vaccination programme two years ago and Dr Miller says New Zealand should follow its lead.

Source: http://tvnz.co.nz/national-news/wake-up-pharmac-hpv-vaccine-boys-wins-wide-support- 6281615

 Rome:  A day celebrating same-sex marriage is set to take place in Rome during May 2015.  Rome’s Mayor, Ignazio Marino, who is a vocal supporter of gay marriage in the country, will celebrate the event by attending over 20 gay and straight marriages on May 21.    The special event will mark the end of Rome’s Rainbow Week, which is an annual event that aims to fight LGBT discrimination and promote equality throughout the city. Despite Italy not recognising same-sex marriage, as of 2014, over 150 municipalities and cities throughout the country have civil union registries which formally recognise same-sex couples.

Source: http://www.attitude.co.uk

London: The British Labour Party has released an LGBT-inclusive manifesto. Summarised in Attitude magazine, here are the main points:

Education 

‚ÄúChildren develop and learn best when they are secure and happy. We need to help our children develop the creativity, self-awareness and emotional skills they need to get on in life. We will introduce compulsory age-appropriate sex and relationships education. We will encourage all schools to embed character education across the curriculum, working with schools to stop the blight of homophobic bullying.‚ÄĚ

The British Labour Party have previously outlined a detailed policy for tackling homophobic bullying in schools.

Supporting families and relationships

‚ÄúPeople‚Äôs relationships bind society together, and the family, in all its various shapes and sizes, is its bedrock.‚ÄĚ

Tackling the threat from extremism

‚ÄúWe will strengthen the law on disability, homophobic, and transphobic hate crime.‚ÄĚ

Rights and Equality

‚ÄúWe will also build on our history of championing LGBT rights, tackling homophobia with tougher laws at home and greater engagement abroad. Britain has a long tradition of liberty and the rule of law, and Labour has a proud record of extending these to our most vulnerable citizens, by promoting equality and opportunity for all.‚ÄĚ

Global Challenges

‚ÄúWe will appoint an International LGBT Rights Envoy to promote respect for the human rights of LGBT people, and work towards the decriminalisation of homosexuality worldwide.‚Ä̬†Labour have already announced that former Eastenders actor Lord Michael Cashman would assume this role, if they are elected to government.

Source: http://www.attitude.co.uk

¬†New York: ¬†A new HIV treatment has shown remarkable clinical trial results, leading to a 300-fold reduction in the viral ‚Äėload‚Äô of some HIV+ ¬†patients. The treatment involves the transfusion of a synthetic antibody to prevent the disease from attacking human cells.¬†Tested on 17 patients with HIV, the injection of the antibody led to the aforementioned 300-fold¬†decrease in the levels of HIV active in the blood systems of 8 of the patients, none of which have suffered any side effects. Taking place at Rockefeller University in New York, the clinical triakl infused the patients with antibody 3BNC117. Circulating HIV remained dramatically lowered for several weeks after the first injection.

Source: http://www.attitude.co.uk

 Sydney:  In New South Wales,  State Coroner Michael Barnes  has ordered a third inquest on the 1980s death of Scott Johnson, whose family believe he was murdered in a gay-hate crime. Johnson’s naked body was found at the bottom of a cliff at North Head, near Manly on Sydney’s northern beaches in December 1988. At the time, his death was deemed to be a suicide but his family believe he was thrown from the cliff and have since lobbied for the case to be re-investigated.

At the NSW Coroner‚Äôs Court this morning, Coroner Barnes said he would hold an extraordinary third inquest into the death of Johnson, who was a US citizen studying in Australia for his PhD. ¬†When it took place, the¬†first inquest in 1989 found Johnson committed “suicide” ¬†and there was no foul play involved, but this was overturned by a second inquest in 2012, which saw the case given back to NSW Police for re-investigation and with a $100,000 reward for information offered.¬†Although the Coroner‚Äôs Court heard today that NSW Police supported reopening the inquest, detectives do¬†not believe it is possible to¬†determine¬†the exact cause of Johnson‚Äôs death.

The lawyer representing the police, Sarah Pritchard SC, said:‚ÄúThere have been suspicions, rumours, doubts and concerns that there have been gay-hate crimes in the Northern Beaches of Sydney and the response of police in relation to these crimes.‚Ä̬†The¬†court heard that the third inquest would be an opportunity for¬†these rumours and concerns to be addressed.The family‚Äôs lawyer, John Agius SC, told the court today that a private investigation had identified 50 people of interest and five gangs who bashed gay men in the geographical area¬†where¬†Johnson‚Äės body was found.

Source: http://www.starobserver.com.au

¬†Kentucky:¬†Republican presidential hopeful Rand Paul, who has called legalization of same-sex marriage offensive and a sign of ‚Äúmoral crisis,‚ÄĚ is keeping up his opposition to marriage equality while saying same-sex couples should enter into ¬†contracts to formalize their relationships.

New York: Republican presidential nominee Mario Rubio opposes marriage equality and civil unions.

Source: http://www.advocate.com

London: Liberal Democrat activists have been urged to apologise Рafter attempting to block the presence of Emily Brothers, a blind, transgender Labour candidate from their leader during a protest.  Protesters against the government gathered outside St Helier Hospital today, as the Deputy Prime Minister was set to visit the key Liberal Democrat seat of Sutton and Cheam.

Washington DC: ¬†Fundamentalist bisexual and gay men who are married to women have filed a brief with the Supreme Court arguing against same-sex marriage.¬†The men and their wives claim that to recognise same‚Äďsex marriage would “devalue” their own straight marriages.¬†They argue that accepting same-sex marriage would mean gay people would be forced into gay marriages, when they should be free to consider ‚Äúman-woman marriages‚ÄĚ.

New York: ¬†A gay man who experienced conversion therapy as a young child has spoken out about the trauma and shame it induced to this day.¬†In an interview with ABC News¬†Mordechai Levovitz explained how he was forced to undergo conversion therapy by his deeply religious parents at 6 years old.¬†It was at just 4 years old when his parents first took him to see a conversion therapist. They were concerned he was too feminine, as he liked pink and everything girls liked to do. The therapist encouraged Levovitz to attend football and baseball games, but he lacked interest.¬†Levovitz is an orthodox Jew who now works for an organisation in New York called Jewish Queer Youth. Many of the young people he works to help have experienced so-called ‘reparative ¬†therapy‚Äô

Source: http://www.pinknews.co.uk

Atlanta:  Transgender prisoners in Georgia will be eligible to receive and continue their hormone treatment while serving a prison sentence. The US Department of Justice sided with Ashley Diamond, a trans prisoner who filed a lawsuit challenging the state’s authorities.

Source: http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/georgia-changes-policy-trans-prisoners-hormone-treatment130415

Beijing: ¬†A national model citizen who took care of her sick mother for 15 years has made headlines again in China after undergoing gender reassignment surgery.¬†Winnie Liu, 28, said she felt ‘more complete’ after finishing the more than 20 procedures on 8 April.¬†Her announcement sparked debate in the conservative country, attracting more than 190,000, mostly supportive, comments on Weibo, China’s version of Twitter.

Source: http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/national-model-citizen-completes-sex-reassignment-surgery-china130415

Brasilia: Micro Rainbow International secures funding through the European Union for a three-year project to help lift LGBTI people in Brazil out of poverty.

Brussels: World Bank is investigating one of its employees for an alleged leak of information. Fabrice Houdart, who was the president of the bank’s LGBT employee organization, denies any wrongdoing.

Source: http://www.gaystarnews.com

¬†London: ¬†An antigay ‘reparative therapy‚ÄĚ event in London has been cancelled¬†following a wave of negative backlash.¬†The Seventh-day Adventist Church‚Äôs five-day conference was due to feature talks from men and women who claim to have been ‚Äúcured‚ÄĚ of their homosexuality and was condemned by LGBT groups after reports that it had sold out last weekend. ¬†However,¬†¬†the organisers have now officially cancelled the event, explaining¬†in a statement that they‚Äôre saddened that they¬†live in a society that ‚Äúwishes to silence‚Ä̬†people with opposing¬†views.

Source: http://www.attitude.co.uk

London: The Conservative Party has also noted its inclusive policies under the current Cameron administration. These include marriage equality, and an historic offences deletion bill, as well as antibullying policies.

Source: http://www.attitude.co.uk

US: ¬†Pokemon turned children gay during the height of its popularity, according to a ¬†study by the Creflo Dollar Ministry.¬†The Pentecostal ¬†US televangelist ¬†church, which has a global reach, has claimed that the spin-off television show of the hugely popular brand¬†features¬†numerous signs of “attempting to lure minors toward a homosexual lifestyle.” [What??!!- Craig] ¬†

‚ÄúMany¬†Pokemon¬†have¬†a phallic¬†appearance¬†to¬†push¬†teenagers to¬†enjoy¬†this type of¬†shapes.¬†This¬†Pok√©mon¬†named¬†Charmander, never stops¬†to¬†caress¬†his¬†tail¬†in¬†all his¬†appearances.¬†The 151st Pok√©mon Mew is the perfect representation of the alleged third sex.”¬†¬†suggested Pastor Creflo Dollar, according to¬†Christ News.¬†Dollar claims that another major sign of the Nintendo cartoon‚Äôs alleged gay agenda was the close relationship between main character‚Äôs Ash and Brock.

Source: http://www.attitude.co.uk

London: The UK Greens have the following LGBT policies:

  • Legislate to remedy inequality in pension inheritance for same-sex marriage partners and same-sex civil partners.
  • Consider reducing the 12-month blood donation deferral period for men who have sex with men, based on individual risk assessment where the donor is identified to be not at risk of passing infections into the blood supply.
  • Apologise to and pardon all 50,000-100,000 men convicted of consenting adult same-sex relations under anti-gay laws that have now been repealed.
  • Provide mandatory HIV, sex and relationship education ‚Äď age appropriate and LGBTIQ inclusive ‚Äď in all schools from primary level onwards.
  • Require every school to have an anti-bullying programme that explicitly combats homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying.
  • Combat homophobic, biphobic and transphobic violence by ensuring uniform legislation against all forms of hate crime.
  • End the cuts to the NHS which have undermined HIV services and made it harder for trans people to access gender reassignment services.
  • End the detention of LGBTIQ (and other) asylum seekers and the culture of disbelief that often denies them refugee status.
  • Challenge criminalisation, discrimination and violence against LGBTIQ people in other countries and work in solidarity with campaigners there.
  • Press the Commonwealth to grant accredited status to a Commonwealth LGBTIQ Association and to urge all member states to end the criminalisation of homosexuality and to protect LGBTIQ citizens against discrimination and hate crime.”

Source: http://www.attitude.co.uk

Sydney: The ¬†AIDS Council Of New South Wales last week¬†released a short video to highlight new evidence in the fight to end HIV by 2020. As part of the ENDING HIV platform, it advocated early intervention to insure HIV doesn’t take hold.The campaign video promotes the individual health benefits of HIV medications, but also highlights that treatment can reduce a HIV positive guy‚Äôs viral load to an undetectable level, almost eliminating HIV transmission risk.¬†The video is also aimed¬†to speak to the evidence and let the¬†community of gay and other men who have sex with men know about new results showing that HIV transmission risk through treatment can virtually be eliminated.

¬†Hobart: ¬†Tasmania’s Hobart¬†City Council has become the latest local government area in Australia to pass a motion that official declared its support for marriage equality.

Melbourne: The Victorian ALP state government will repeal section 19A of the Crimes Act, a HIV stigmatisation law.

Source: http://www.starobserver.com.au

New Orleans: Tristan Broussard, a 21-year-old transgender man living in Hathaway, La., has¬†filed a federal lawsuit¬†against his former employer, First Tower Loan, LLC, alleging that the company’s management fired him for being transgender and refusing to wear “women’s clothes” to work, reported a Louisiana television station.

Las Vegas: ¬†A controversial transphobic Nevada bill that aims to restrict transgender students’ access to the restrooms and locker rooms that correspond with their gender passed its first legislative hurdle Friday, reported a Nevada area newspaper. ¬†A recent¬†vote on¬†Assembly Bill 375 within the Assembly Judiciary Committee split on party lines, with all Democrats on the Republican-dominated committee opposing the law’s advancement. ¬†If it became law, AB 375 would define a student’s “sex” as “the biological condition of being male or female as determined at birth based on physical differences or, if necessary, at the chromosal level.” The law would then require that this definition determine which sex-segregated facilities a student could use, or else provide trans students a unisex bathroom or separate stall. AB 375¬†also proposes¬†limits to Nevada’s sex education programs, restricting the ages of students who can take the courses, who can teach the curriculum, and forbidding “explicit depictions of sexual activity.”

Nevada’s AB 375 followed on the heels of similar laws targeting trans students proposed in¬†Texas and Minnesota¬†(although happily, a Kentucky bill of the same sort recently failed), as well as laws proposed in¬†Florida,¬†Texas, and¬†Missouri¬†that would bar trans citizens from using bathrooms that accord with their gender identities in public spaces. Florida’s transphobic legislation, House Bill 583¬†has already¬†¬†passed¬†two subcommittee votes in the House.

Source: http://www.advocate.com

London:¬†The Tory manifesto includes a pledge to scrap the Human Rights Act, and replace it with a “British Bill of Rights”

Minneapolis:¬†Former Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachmann is claiming that claims God is punishing Americans with Barack Obama’s Presidency – and that “End Times” are now imminent.

Washington DC: The American Family Association has called for parents to keep their children home from school, rather than allow them to be educated about homophobia.

Dublin: Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams has affirmed his support for equal marriage, and called for cross-party consensus on the issue.

Oslo:¬†Health and human rights groups in Norway this week urged the country to drop ‘appalling’ requirements for gender recognition that include compulsory sterilisation.

Source: http://www.pinknews.co.uk

Delhi:  India’s Government Railway Police (GRP) Commissioner has ordered an internal inquiry after it was alleged that a group of police officers in Maharashtra state were running a corrupt operation where they shook down gay men for cash with threats of outing them. According to the allegation railway police officers recruited Ajinkya Shinde, a Marathi speaking aspiring actor, and got him to pose as a gay man in order to entrap gay men using railway station bathrooms.

Source:  http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/indian-railway-police-investigating-allegations-police-blackmail-ring-extorting-gay-men14041

Los Angeles: According to out gay former Star Trek actor George Takei (Sulu), Australia is backward for not allowing marriage equality. [Well, yes...Craig]

Source: http://www.gaystarnews.com

 Guam:  Guam Governor Eddie Calvo has backed legislation allowing the Pacific island nation to become the first US territory to allow marriage equality.  The decision comes two days after a lesbian couple filed a lawsuit when they were denied a marriage licence application. Calvo has called for a referendum to finally decide the issue, which has sharply divided the public. In 2009 the Guam legislature failed to pass a bill legalising civil unions between gay couples.

Source: http://www.bbc.com/news

London: ¬†Both the Terrence Higgins Trust and National Aids Trust have today released their demands for the future British government, urging them to make ‚Äúkey‚ÄĚ changes to HIV policy.¬†The demands of the two trusts are very similar, with both arguing that compulsory sex and relationships education with all sexual orientations and gender identities be introduced. They too press on the need of the next government to ensure the programme is remodelled to include sexual health and HIV content.¬†Another concern for the two groups is making HIV prevention a national public health priority through increased testing options and more detailed information and accessibility.

Source: http://www.attitude.co.uk

London: Attitude has looked for LGBT-specific content in the far right United Kingdom Independence Party’s manifesto. Predictably, it couldn’t find any. Moreover, UKIP¬†¬†has also outlined its opposition to giving an inclusive relationship education to primary school pupils – claiming it would “encourage experimentation.”

Source: http://www.attitude.co.uk

London: On a brighter note, the Liberal Democrats have revealed their manifesto for the General Election, and as with every party, Attitude condensed the policies which are specific to the LGBT community. Attitude lists these policies as:

  • Give legal rights and obligations to cohabiting couples in the event of relationship breakdown or one partner dying without a will.
  • Permit humanist weddings and opposite sex civil partnerships, and liberalise the rules about the location, timing and content of wedding ceremonies.
  • Support schools to tackle homophobic and transphobic bullying and discrimination, and to establish a tolerant and inclusive environment for all their pupils. We will remove schools‚Äô exemption from the bar on harassment in these areas while protecting the right to teach about religious doctrine.
  • Promote international recognition of same sex marriages and civil partnerships as part of a comprehensive International LGBT Rights Strategy that supports the cause of decriminalising homosexuality in other countries.
  • Seek to pardon all those with historic convictions for consensual homosexual activity between adults.
  • Enhance the experience of all football fans by making homophobic chanting a criminal offence, like racist chanting.
  • Ask the Advisory Committee on Safety of Blood, Tissues and Organs periodically to review rules around men who have sex with men donating blood to consider what restrictions remain necessary.

Source: http://www.attitude.co.uk

Brasilia:¬†Brazil’s 8 million‚Äďmember Universal Church of the Kingdom of God is at the head of a social conservative movement whose coalition of political parties wrested control of the country’s National Congress after an election in October with a stated goal of reversing the 2013 court decision that brought marriage equality to the nation.¬†The ascent of social conservatives in Brazil’s two-chamber legislature appears to have caught the nation’s still-influential (and still in power at the executive level) progressives by surprise.

Source: http://www.advocate.com

Belfast: The Northern Irish Assembly has been warned that a proposed  service provider discrimination  bill  could lead to the same level of boycott which led the US state of Indiana to hire a PR company to perform damage limitation against escalating criticism of Republican homophobia during the course of this month.

Source: http://www.pinknews.co.uk

¬†London:¬†The UK Christian Right’s Core Issues Trust, a¬†¬†fundamentalist ‘reparative therapy’ ¬†group in the United Kingdom, ¬†has lodged complaints about the Royal College of Psychiatrists – who they claim are “discriminating” against people who want to ‘fix’ their sexuality. [No, it's "discriminating" against scientifically illiterate fundamentalist Christians who want to push junk science at the cost of mainstream mental health professionals evidence-based and justifiable rejection of ¬†same-Craig]

Source: http://www.pinknews.co.uk

¬†North Carolina: ¬†A gay employee at a North Carolina community college was shot dead on April 13 by a white supremacist in what may have been a hate crime.¬†Ron Lane, 44, was shot once with a 12-gauge shotgun at the school’s print shop, where he was the director, by¬†a former student whom he dismissed from a work-study program for too many absenses.

Source: http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/white-supremacist-shoots-dead-gay-college-employee-possible-hate-crime150415

Cairo: An Egyptian court has ruled that gay foreigners can be either deported or banned from entry to that country.

Source: http://www.gaystarnews.com

 Washington DC:  Support for marriage equality in the US is rising at a record rate, a new study has found. Research carried out  by Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law and Drexel University has found that support has increased in all 50 states in the US, especially those that have already achieved marriage equality.

Vermont has the highest level of support at over 75%, whilst southern state Alabama has the¬†lowest level of¬†support at just 35%. Meanwhile, a massive 36 states currently have support that stands at over 50%.¬†‚ÄúThere have been some assertions that attitudes in states like Alabama have not changed when it comes to marriage equality,‚ÄĚ said report co-author Andrew Flores. ‚ÄúActually, as time goes on, those states will be the states where we should expect to see even more change.‚Ä̬†Researchers¬†went on to claim that support for same-sex marriage is set to rise above 40% in all 50 states by 2016 if the trend continues.

Source: http://www.attitude.co.uk

Washington DC: ¬†An illness that causes thousands of cases of diarrhea a year, and can be sexually transmitted, is being brought to the United States by international travelers ‚ÄĒ and it‚Äôs resistant to antibiotics.¬†A new, ¬†drug-resistant strain of¬†shigella, which ¬†is a bacteria that can be transmitted orally via fecal matter, caused illness in 243 people in the United States and Puerto Rico between May 2014 and February 2015 according to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).¬†Dr Vanessa Allen, the chief of medical microbiology at Public Health Ontario, says the fact that people get sick from shigella is not uncommon ‚ÄĒ it causes approximately 500,000 cases of diarrhea a year in the United States, according to the CDC.¬†What makes the most recent breakout unusual, is that the antibiotics typically used to treat shigella ‚ÄĒ ciprofloxacin and septra ‚ÄĒ proved ineffective. Of the cases investigated, almost 90 percent were found to be resistant to ciprofloxacin, and according to Allen, even more patients were resistant to septra.

¬†‚ÄúBecause shigella‚Äôs so contagious, if this were to take off it would be extremely problematic because we wouldn‚Äôt have any drugs or we would have . . . fewer drugs to be able to treat it effectively,‚ÄĚ she says, adding that doctors would have to resort to intravenous therapy.¬†Shigella can be transmitted sexually, which is why anyone having anal sex needs to take proper preventative measures ‚ÄĒ namely, proper condom use and handwashing. The risk is also increased because shigella only requires a very small dose to infect another person, compared to similar bacteria like E coli.¬†Allen says it is very unusual to see a death reported from shigella, and that there were none recorded during the outbreak in the United States. Symptoms of shigella include watery or bloody diarrhea, fever and stomach pain. Potential complications that can arise from it include arthritis, septicemia or bacteremia:¬†‚ÄúI think this is one example of really the need to focus on how we deal with antibiotics better,‚ÄĚ she says. ‚ÄúThe resistance probably developed because it was being over used both here and internationally and so it‚Äôs really a call to action for how we more aggressively look at anti-microbial resistance.‚ÄĚ

Source: http://www.dailyxtra.com

Denver: ¬†A Colorado fundamentalist college sponsoring a conservative political gathering has made it clear one type of conservative isn‚Äôt welcome, disinviting the state chapter of the Log Cabin Republicans.¬†The sponsors, Colorado Christian “University” and its think tank, the Centennial Institute, this week told the Colorado Log Cabin Republicans the group can‚Äôt have a booth at the Western Conservative Summit, set for June 26-28 in Denver, and returned the $250 fee Log Cabin paid.

Source: http://www.advocate.com

Detroit: Dieseltec owner  Brian Klawiter, who owns an engine repair shop in Grandville, Mich,. is either drawing a line in the sand or making a plea for publicity and money, by declaring he intends to discriminate against potential LGBT clients. In late April 2015, progay protestors engaged in a heated conversation with supporters of a Michigan repairman who refuses to serve gay people. Around 50 protestors gathered Saturday in front of Dieseltec, an autoshop in Grandville, Mich. that sparked headlines after its owner, Brian Klawiter, made a statement on Facebook declaring that he would not serve gay customers due to his religious beliefs.

Source: http://www.advocate.com

¬†New Orleans:¬†Louisiana Governor ¬†Bobby Jindal, a potential Republican presidential candidate, says he‚Äôs making it a priority to pass his state‚Äôs version of a ‚Äúreligious freedom‚ÄĚ bill that would allow antigay discrimination ‚ÄĒ and it‚Äôs a harsher law than those that recently sparked outcry in Indiana and Arkansas. House Bill 707, the¬†Marriage and Conscience Act, authored by Rep. Mike Johnson, would prevent the state from penalizing a business owner or other individual for expressing a religious belief or moral conviction about marriage. This would mean, for example, that a wedding-related business couldn‚Äôt be fined for refusing to serve a same-sex couple. It‚Äôs broader than the since-altered¬†Indiana¬†and¬†Arkansas¬†laws because it involves not just religious, but also ‚Äúmoral‚ÄĚ beliefs. ¬†Jindal told reporters the¬†Marriage and Conscience Act¬†is designed to protect Christians who are morally opposed to marriage equality in an increasingly permissive society. It seeks to prevent Louisiana‚Äôs state government from from denying any resident or business a license, benefits, or tax deductions because of actions taken ‚Äúin accordance with a religious belief or moral conviction‚ÄĚ about marriage.

Critics of the Marriage and Conscience Act have linked it to controversial ‚Äúreligious freedom‚ÄĚ measures (since amended) in Arkansas and Indiana as promoting discrimination against gays and lesbians, something Jindal said was ‚Äúoffensive.‚Ä̬†Scott Eric Kaufman wrote in¬†Salon¬†that the Louisiana bill ‚Äúwould grant people of faith blanket protection against any government action,‚ÄĚ and ‚Äúwill likely put Indiana‚Äôs Religious Freedom Restoration Act to shame.‚Ä̬†Steve Benen, writing on MSNBC‚Äôs¬†Rachel Maddow blog, suggested Jindal‚Äôs efforts are focused not on his conservative constituents as much as his base of support for his next ambition: the Republican nomination for the US Presidency. However, IBM isn’t very happy with Jindal and is threatening to withdraw from planned corporate premises at Baton Rouge if this goes ahead.

Source: http://www.advocate.com

Washington DC:¬†‚ÄúFreedom is never more than one generation away from extinction,‚ÄĚ whines the Family Research Council, a US Christian Right pressure group.¬†Tony Perkins, the head of FRC, designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, is quoting Ronald Reagan in order to argue that a Supreme Court decision in favor of nationwide marriage equality would engender an era of discrimination against businesses owners whose religious beliefs would incline them to refuse service to LGBT individuals.The ad also features quotes from right-wing politicians Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum, who calls for ‚Äúa wall of separation, so the state could not tell people of faith how to live their lives.‚ÄĚ

Source: http://www.advocate.com

Colorado Springs:¬†A right-wing religious group has organized an event in response to a campaign that is meant to raise awareness of anti-LGBT bullying. Focus on the Family¬†held the Day of Dialogue Thursday in order to give voice to what it perceives as a “bullied” group: Christians. ¬†Candi Cushman, a representative of Focus on the Family,¬†that the day is meant “to encourage open dialogue” and “ensure Christian students have a place at the table and an equal opportunity to share their perspective in a loving and respectful manner.¬†Whether it’s the Day of Silence ‚ÄĒ or another of the many, and increasing, efforts to endorse a form of sexual activism in classrooms ‚ÄĒ too often, these issues are promoted in a one-sided manner that leaves Christian students feeling like their deeply held beliefs are being marginalized,” Cushman said.

Source: http://www.advocate.com

Washington DC: ¬†The U.S. Senate wants to make sure married same-sex couples have access to all the federal benefits of marriage, even if they live in a state that doesn‚Äôt recognize their union.¬†In a voice vote Wednesday night, senators approved a motion calling on colleagues working out a budget deal with the House to include language assuring that ‚Äúall legally married same-sex spouses have equal access to the Social Security and veterans‚Äô benefits they have earned and receive equal treatment under the law pursuant to the Constitution,‚ÄĚ

Source: http://www.advocate.com

San Francisco: A group of Catholic leaders have written to Pope Francis asking him to remove Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone over his views on issues such as same-sex marriage.

Malawi:¬†The ‘Marriage, Divorce and Family Relations Law’ came into effect today, and will impact LGBT Malawians. It prohibits any recognition of relationship, marriage or transgender equality.

Dublin: If civil marriage equality is recognised in Ireland, Catholic priests will withdraw from presiding over it, according to a ‘threat’ from the Irish Catholic hierarchy.

Source: http://www.pinknews.co.uk

Atlanta: On his 700 Club televangelist programme, elderly televangelist Pat Robertson has told his acolytes that LGBTs want to impose ‘totalitarian socialism’ on America.

 Capetown:  A gay couple who won a legal case against the owners of a Christian guesthouse can now proclaim victory. A South African court has said LGBTI people cannot be discriminated against in public services. Neil Coulson and his husband Jonathan Sedgwick had tried to get a room at the Wolseley guesthouse in Cape Town in November 2013.

Source: http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/gay-couple-who-were-denied-room-christian-south-african-guesthouse-owners-wins-case170415

Hanoi:¬†Vietnam‚Äôs Ministry of Information and Communication is concerned about the popularity of ‚Äėoversentimental sex fiction of Chinese origin‚Äô among young Vietnamese people and is trying to stop the pulp novels‚Äô sale and publication in the country.

Source: http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/vietnam-being-flooded-gay-chinese-pulp-erotic-novels170415

Kingston: Homeless LGBT Jamaican children and teenagers continue to face homelessness through accomodation discrimination and homophobic violence. ¬†Jamaica gay teens thrown out by their families have been chased out of a shelter by a mob in Kingston.¬†Members of a fundamentalist congregation gathered together at a shopping venue in Clocktower Plaza in order to ‘cleanse’ the premises of gays at around 1pm on April 15. ¬†Just two days before Christmas last year, police raided a sewer and forcibly arrested any teen that resisted.

Source: http://www.gaystarnews.com

¬†Dublin: Irish Christian Right pressure group ¬†Mothers and Fathers Matter have said that a ‚ÄėYes‚Äô vote in Ireland‚Äôs upcoming marriage equality referendum would “go against a child‚Äôs right to grow up with both a male and female parent.”¬†With the vote set to take place on May 22nd, the organisation outlined it‚Äôs support for a ‚ÄėNo‚Äô victory, warning that if successful, it would consider a legal challenge against provisions on same sex adoptive parental responsibilities ¬†within Ireland’s new ¬†Child and Family Relationships Act. ¬†¬†Dr Tom Finnegan said a ‚ÄėYes‚Äô vote would give gay and lesbian couples the same right to have children, claiming that they could ‚Äúnever give the love of both a mother and father‚ÄĚ.

The group protested in Dublin on April 17 and also stated that “research” allegedly proves that children who grow up without mothers or fathers go on to suffer personality problems.¬†Spokesperson Kate Bopp did not elaborate on which specific “research” provided the supposed evidence of such children suffering from ‚Äúnumerous problems later in life‚ÄĚ.¬†The group also said that the expect public opinion to ‚Äúswing back to the status quo‚ÄĚ as May 22nd approaches.

Cork: ¬†An Irish fundamentalist minister¬†has defended comparing homosexuality to both rape and adultery.¬†Cork-based Pastor Craig Ledbetter of the Bible Baptist Church made the comments to the¬†Irish Examiner, as the country prepares for Ireland’s marriage equality referendum on May 22. ¬†But¬†Ledbetter admitted that he had received a mixed reaction to his views, and feared that providing strong opposing quotes would help the ‚ÄėYes‚Äô vote win.

Source: http://www.attitude.co.uk

¬†Atlanta: ¬†According to US Christian Right legal activist Matt Staver (“Liberty Counsel”),¬†”the damage of homosexuality” including same-sex marriage has “cost” the United States $225 billion.

Los Angeles: ¬†A Christian ‚Äėex-gay‚Äô former porn actor who previously claimed that anal sex causes gay men to give birth to the devil has returned, this time complaining that he is a former sufferer of ‚Äúgay bowel syndrome‚ÄĚ.¬†The former porn actor Joseph Sciambra, reflects on his time in gay porn films in a new interview with the Catholic World Report. ¬†Sciambra ruminated about “porn addiction”, “gay promiscuity” and STIs.

Source: http://www.pinknews.co.uk

¬†London: Gay journalist Chris Foufas attended the “Transformation Potential,” a UK Christian Right ‘exgay’ conference organised by The Core Issues Trust, and Christian Concern, it was basically a day of events and lectures on ‚Äėunwanted‚Äô same-sex attraction, and more controversially, ‚Äėgay cure‚Äô¬†therapy ‚Äď something both organisations endorse, even though such practices have been condemned by NHS England.¬†Lectures over the course of the day included; ‚ÄėUnwanted Same-Sex Attractions: Is Change Possible‚Äô, ‚ÄėWhat is the relationship between faith and professional counselling when supporting those with unwanted same-sex attractions?‚Äô and ‚ÄėRaising awareness; resisting indoctrination; supporting campaigns to secure freedoms and rights for children, counselees, therapists and pastors.‚Äô

The conference was headlined by a series of UK Christian Right frontliners, including Andrea Williams CEO of Christian Concern and the Christian Legal Centre, Professor Robert Gagnon Associate Professor of New Testament at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and Dr Lisa Nolland, Anglican Mainstream Web Advisor, and Co-Director, Because Children Matter. In other words, no-one came from a mainstream mental health background.

Source: http://www.gaystarnews.com

London:¬†Matthew Hodson, the Chief Executive of Gay Men Fighting AIDS , ¬†has written an article on Pinknews about ¬†the continued stigmatisation of HIV-positive people, and argues that avoiding sex or a relationship with someone HIV-positive is actually a bad strategy. Deliberately avoiding HIV+ men¬†¬†doesn‚Äôt work. We‚Äôve known for some years now that someone on treatment is very unlikely to pass on the virus. ¬†Then there’s the idea that you ditch condoms once you assume you’re in a monogamous relationship, unless it’s with an HIV+ guy. ¬†Protease inhibitors have extended lifespans, and destigmatisation of HIV/AIDS has also occurred.

Source: http://www.pinknews.co.uk

Belfast: Antigay ¬†Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party politician Jim Dodds has ‚Äėthanked‚Äô Nick Clegg ‚Äď after the Liberal Democrats claimed a coalition of the Conservative Party, United Kingdom Independence Party and the DUP would abolish marriage equality.

Source: http://www.pinknews.co.uk

Maine: Maine primary school parents were unhappy they weren’t informed before the book ‘I Am Jazz’, about trans teenager Jazz Jennings, was read to their children.

Source: http://www.gaystarnews.com

Singapore: Ikea Singapore is under fire for¬†supporting the evangelistic magic show of an anti-gay pastor who has been actively campaigning against LGBT equality- so what message is Ikea sending to its LGBT customers and others who support equality? ¬†Lawrence Khong¬†has repeatedly urged the government to retain Section 377A, a ¬†colonial-era anti-gay sex law and championed the LoveSingapore network of churches to lobby against gay equality in Singapore. ¬†Touted as an ‘uplifting tale about love, family ties and family values’, the show is produced by Gateway Entertainment Pte Ltd which is owned by Faith Community Baptist Church (FCBC) in Singapore.¬†When contacted by Gay Star News, spokesperson Sandra Keasberry of Ikano Pte Ltd which operates IKEA Singapore clarified that while it is promoting the show on its website, they are not funding it.

In 2014 just days before the annual progay Pink Dot rally, Khong through his LoveSingapore network of churches called on Christians to join an informal Muslim group in wearing¬†white¬†to protest against homosexuality and defend traditional family values.¬†Prior to that, he had unsuccessfully tried to organize an anti-gay ‘Family Values’ rally on the same day Pink Dot was being held after failing to shut Pink Dot down.

Source: http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/ikea-singapore-under-fire-supporting-anti-gay-pastors-evangelistic-magic-show190415

¬†Tokyo: ¬†A Japanese lesbian couple held a symbolic wedding ceremony in Tokyo on Sunday, as calls grow for Japan to legalise same-sex marriage.¬†While their marriage will not be recognised under law, actresses Ayaka Ichinose (34) and Akane Sugimori (28) tied the knot in front of some 80 relatives and friends¬†¬†– both dressed in resplendent bridal white:”We held the wedding ceremony so that it might become easier for others to do the same in the future,” Sugimori told press afterwards.¬†She added that the couple will try to register their marriage with the municipal office, but expect their application to be rejected.

Last month, a Tokyo council voted to issue “partnership” certificates to gay couples, the first such recognition of same-sex unions in Japan. Other municipalities are now considering doing the same.¬†The certificate will carry only symbolic significance, since the Japanese constitution identifies marriage as a union based on mutual consent of the parties from “both sexes”.¬†While Japan is largely tolerant of homosexuality, there is no specific legal protection through antidiscrimination law coverage or relationship equality for gay people, who complain that they may be prevented from visiting sick loved ones in hospitals or may be refused a tenancy because their relationship is not recognised.

Source: http://au.yahoo.com

 Sydney:  Victoria and Queensland will join New South Wales  in a joint clinical trial of medical marijuana, paving the way for treatment options for the terminally ill and people with life-threatening conditions. The premiers of Victoria and Queensland on Sunday confirmed they would trial the drug as a treatment option, with children that have severe epilepsy to be the first to benefit. Both leaders said the decision to join the trials came after NSW Premier Mike Baird raised the issue at a meeting of premiers in Canberra last Thursday, ahead of the Coalition of Australian Governments summit. Mr Baird last December announced three separate trials Рat a cost of $9 million Рto examine the use of cannabis in treating children with epilepsy, the terminally ill and people suffering nausea as a result of chemotherapy. Victorians and Queenslanders will now be able to take part in the trials. The first will be for children with severe, drug resistant epilepsy, and will involve between 60 and 200 participants. It is scheduled to start enrolling eligible patients in mid-2016, with results expected to be available within two to five years.

Source: http://au.yahoo.com

¬†United States: ¬†A fundamentalist US journalist ¬†has¬†suggested that LGBT families are leading the “traditional” American family into ruin.¬†Joel Hiliker, the Managing eEditor¬†of¬†The Trumpet, claims in a column for the news magazine that the term ‚Äútwo fathers‚ÄĚ represents the “left-wing media‚Äôs” ¬†attempt to normalise and ‚Äúpopularise”"deviant sexuality‚ÄĚ. ¬†¬†He went on to slam liberals for attempting to redefine the family,¬†claiming that households headed by a man and a woman are the basis of all strong societies throughout history.

Source: http://www.attitude.co.uk

¬†Dublin: Right-wing¬†Irish columnist¬†Breda O‚ÄôBrien has¬†suggested¬†that gay people should “abstain” ¬†from sex. ¬†In a new interview¬†for¬†The Irish Independent, O‚ÄôBrien ‚Äď who has repeatedly voiced her opposition against ¬†marriage equality ‚Äď suggests that gay people should abstain from having sex with their partners, even though she realises this could be ‚Äúdifficult‚ÄĚ. O’Brien is a patron of the Irish Christian Right’s Iona Institute.

Source: http://www.attitude.co.uk

Miami:  US Senator Mario Rubio, an aspirant Republican presidential candidate,  has argued that despite believing that people are born gay, their right to marry their partner isn’t a constitutional right. He has insisted that although he’s not against marriage equality, he believes it should be state regulated.

Source: http://www.attitude.co.uk

London:¬†Totnes Conservative Party candidate Sarah Wollaston is the latest to be targeted by the UK Christian Right’s¬†Coalition for Marriage’s antigay leaflets.

Washington DC: ¬†A majority of Americans believe nationwide marriage equality is inevitable, according to a newUSA Today/Suffolk University poll. ¬†Fifty-one percent of respondents to the nationwide poll say ‚Äúthat it‚Äôs no longer practical for the Supreme Court to ban same-sex marriages because so many states have legalized them,‚ÄĚUSA Today¬†reports. There were 35 percent on the other side of the issue. The court will hear a consolidated case on marriage equality out of four states April 28.¬†A key reason for support of marriage equality, the paper notes, is that so many respondents have a family member or close friend who is in a same-sex marriage. Forty-six percent reported that they did. ¬†The poll also found a majority of respondents oppose ‚Äúlicense to discriminate‚ÄĚ laws, which would allow businesses to cite religious views as a legal reason for refusing to provide goods and services for same-sex weddings. Fifty-eight percent said businesses should not have this right, with only 31 percent saying they should.

Source: http://www.advocate.com

¬†Washington DC: ¬†In a little more than a week, the highest court in the United States will hear oral arguments about whether or not its citizens should have the freedom to marry who they love.¬†Days before that ‚ÄĒ today, actually, citizens of the United States ¬†will also celebrate another freedom ‚ÄĒ the freedom to smoke marijuana legally. In four states of the United States (and the District of Columbia), this celebration known as 4/20 will be legal. In 46 states, it won‚Äôt be. ¬†US Congressperson Jared Polis notes:

But there are also similarities between these two movements that are hard to ignore. First, they are arguably the two most successful social policy movements occurring in the United States right now. Second, both movements draw much of their power from millennials who are willing to question the norms they or their parents were brought up with in favor of fairness and reason. And finally, at the heart of each of these movements is the concept of personal freedom, and more specifically, the freedom to live your life unencumbered by government interference. While the LGBT rights movement is even more critical for moral justice than simply allowing states to regulate their own drug policy, both movements pay homage to the principle our country was founded upon ‚ÄĒ freedom and justice for all.

Source: http://www.advocate.com

Jakarta:  When Shinta Ratri visits her family in Yogyakarta, the Indonesian city where she still lives, she sits outside her family’s home and waits. She hasn’t been allowed inside since she was 16, when as a young boy she told her family she identified as a girl. Today, Shinta, 53, is one of the leading transgender activists in the country. She runs Pondok Pesantren Waria, an Islamic boarding school for Indonesia’s so-called waria, a portmanteau of the Indonesian words for woman (wanita) and man (pria). The school, in Shinta’s own home in Yogyakarta on the island of Java, provides a tight-knit community for transgender women from across the country who may face discrimination at home. About 10 women live at the school, according to Bugani, though the numbers fluctuate. Many of them make a living as sex workers or street performers, unable to find work in other areas, but the school offers a comfortable environment where, Bugani says, they can be themselves. It also provides a unique place for the waria to pray. In Indonesia, the country with the world’s largest Muslim population, mosques are typically segregated by gender and the transgender women are reluctant to join or barred from participating in either group. But Shinta has ensured that the women can pray together at the school.

Source: http://www.time.com

Edinburgh: ¬†Reverend David Robertson, the head of the fundamentalist “Free Church of Scotland” has slammed the official Church of Scotland – for taking a “stupid” and “suicidal” inclusive ¬†stance on gay clergy

New York: Madonna has caused controversy among her gay fans for praising Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher Рwho passed Section 28 and opposed LGBT rights.
Houston: A court has upheld an equal rights ordinance in Houston, Texas Рafter rejecting a legal challenge from Texas anti-gay activists.
New York: ¬†Snr. Ruben Diaz, a ¬†Democratic state senator from New York is to speak at a rally opposing same-sex marriage held by a listed hate group.¬†Diaz, who represents the 32nd District in the New York State Senate, has been confirmed as a speaker at the National Organisation for Marriage‚Äôs 2015 ‚ÄėMarch for Marriage‚Äô event in Washington DC.¬†The event ‚Äď which in 2014 featured a line-up of prominent Republican politicians ‚Äď has notably downscaled this year, with Senator Diaz the only elected politician set to attend.¬†Despite the event billing itself as opposing only same-sex marriage, a number of speakers are extremist anti-gay activists, including Mat Staver of the Liberty Council and Josh Duggar of the Family Research Council ‚Äď both also listed hate groups. ¬†¬†Diaz has previously spoken at a number of anti-gay events ‚Äď despite being a Democratic state congressman.¬†He won re-election in 2014 ‚Äď facing no opponent in the Democratic primary.¬†Senior Republicans including Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee and Tim Huelskamp spoke at the event last year ‚Äď but are all absent from this year‚Äôs billing.
Source: http://www.pinknews.co.uk
Delhi: ¬†28-year-old Thahir Mohammed Sayyed was set to represent the country at the Mr Gay World 2015 contest in Knysna, South Africa.¬†However, after news of his participation broke, he has disappeared along with his family ‚Äď after allegedly being ostracised by their local community.
Mexico City: ¬†Mexico‚Äôs highest court has called Mexican ¬† same-sex marriage bans ¬†‚Äútotally unjustified‚ÄĚ.¬†The court was responding to a¬†petition for legal recourse submitted by a gay couple against state laws in Sinaloa which prevented them from marrying. ¬†In Mexico,¬†¬†currently only some states allow marriage equality, but if¬†more petitions and legal challenges are¬†made to the court, it is expected to become legal throughout the country.
Source: http://www.pinknews.co.uk
Tonga:¬†Tonga will explicitly ban same-sex marriage, so it can keep churches happy when it ratifies the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination on Women.¬†It allows women the right to choose who they marry, but churches are angry it could open the door for marriage equality or abortion.¬†A press release from the Prime Minister‚Äôs office says it will enact the convention, ‚Äúto the extent that it will not allow for same sex marriages or abortion in the Kingdom‚ÄĚ.
Source: http://www.gaynz.com
Auckland: ¬†An Auckland man accused of infecting another man with HIV has applied for continued name suppression, supported by the police.¬†The defendant appeared in the Auckland District Court this afternoon facing one count of causing grievous bodily harm with reckless disregard and one of committing a criminal nuisance by doing an unlawful act.¬†He was excused from entering the dock because of health issues.¬†Court documents say between December and January he “failed to take reasonable precaution of a dangerous thing, namely HIV, knowing such an act would endanger the life of [the complainant]“.
Source: http://www.nzherald.co.nz
Kansas City: ¬†Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of a Kansas City bishop who failed to report a child abuse priest.¬†Bishop Robert Finn admitted in 2012 that he waited six months before reporting a priest who had lewd photos of young girls on his computer.¬†The offending priest was sentenced to 50 years in prison after pleading guilty to child pornography charges.¬†Since Mr Finn’s guilty plea on failing his duty, the Vatican had been under pressure to remove him.
Source: http://www.bbc.com/news
Washington DC: ¬†A fundamentalist ¬†lawyer has claimed that legalising same-sex marriage in the US would “result” in ‚Äú900,000 abortions‚ÄĚ.¬†Gene Schaerr made the bizarre claims in an¬†amicus brief¬†filed with the US Supreme Court, which will be one of the arguments heard by the court justices on April 28 when they begin to debate same-sex marriage. ¬†¬†Schaerr claims that, despite same-sex marriage and abortion initially appearing to be unrelated,¬†the two issues are “closely linked.” ¬†He suggests that the legalisation of same-sex marriage would result in less straight marriages.¬†He says because of the higher abortion rates among single women, marriage equality would “in essence” cause abortion rates to spike, resulting in loss of human life¬†equivalent to the populations of US cities of Sacramento and Atlanta combined.
Source: http://www.attitude.co.uk
Melbourne:¬†With the Victorian AIDS Council launching a new series of videos featuring prominent HIV-positive calling for PrEP ¬†(Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) to be made readily available, JOY 94.9‚Äôs Dean Beck shares his recent HIV-positive diagnosis, and says it wouldn‚Äôt have happened if Australia had PrEP. ¬†¬†PrEP is no doubt on the rise ‚ÄĒ not only in terms of it being a topic of discussion in the gay community, but also among gay men using it. The Sydney Star Observer investigated ¬†the positive impact it‚Äôs having in Australia already ‚ÄĒ even though it‚Äôs still not yet readily available through PBS (the Pharmaceutical Benefit Scheme- their Pharmac equivalent).
Source: http://www.starobserver.com.au
Portland:  The U.S. Supreme Court has turned back one last  attempt by the antigay National Organization for Marriage to stop marriage equality  in Oregon. On April 20, the Supreme Court declined to hear NOM’s appeal of a federal judge’s ruling that it did not have the legal standing to argue in court for Oregon’s marriage equality  ban, which was struck down last May.   Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum had declined to defend the ban in court, so NOM sought to intervene but was turned away, with the judge noting that it is a national group with few members in Oregon.NOM is reluctant to give up, however. Although its legal options are exhausted right now, if the Supreme Court rules against marriage equality in the cases it will hear April 28, the group will try to find an Oregon plaintiff, such as a county clerk who issues marriage licenses, to challenge McShane’s ruling, NOM chairman John Eastman told The Oregonian. A negative ruling from the Supreme Court, which is hearing cases out of Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee, and Kentucky, would not mean the end of marriage equality in Oregon, but it would leave it open to challenge. Thankfully, NOM could not find anyone willing to attach their name to the Oregon case last year when it sought to intervene.
 Source: http://www.advocate.com
Sacramento: ¬†The latest state battleground for antitransgender politics is California, where so-called privacy advocates have submitted language for a 2016 ballot initiative regulating restroom use by transgender people, titled the¬†Personal Privacy Protection Act¬†The¬†Privacy for All Students¬†group today said it has provided California election officials with the necessary language for this initiative, which would require almost 366,000 petition signatures to appear on the 2016 ballot.¬†According to a statement circulated by the¬†Christian Newswire¬†the Personal Privacy Protection Act would require that individuals “use facilities in accordance with their biological sex in all government buildings.”Privacy for All Students is¬†an antitransgender coalition¬†that last year¬†fell 17,000 signatures short¬†in an effort to put a measure on the ballot that would have let voters repeal the state‚Äôs 2014 transgender rights law, the¬†Student Success and Opportunity Act¬†which provides legal protections for trans students.¬†There is no clear view of how much support such the new ballot initiative would attract in California, where in 2008 voters approved¬†Proposition 8¬†banning same-sex marriage (that vote was ultimately tossed out by a federal judge in 2010 as unconstitutional, a decision¬†upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court¬†in 2013. But it‚Äôs hardly the only antitransgender legislation under consideration in the nation. Arizona, Florida, Kentucky, Texas and other states have considered or are considering enacting these so-called bathroom bills.¬†They‚Äôre accumulating as the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to hear arguments next week on marriage equality, and advocates for LGBT rights push for¬†new nondiscrimination laws¬†in at least 10 states. The measures are aimed at protecting people from being fired, denied housing, or turned away from a business because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. One California bill would prohibit the state from doing business with companies that deny transgender workers benefits like appropriate health care coverage.
Source: http://www.advocate.com
Washington DC: Jailed whistleblower Chelsea Manning has pleaded for help to keep her appeal going Рamid a number of mounting legal bills.
London: LGBT Asylum, a¬†¬†charity that supports gay and lesbian asylum seekers has welcomed the Labour party’s pledge to reform the system for people seeking asylum – despite the party’s “atrocious” record.
London:¬†A trans woman has lost her High Court bid to have the inappropriate gender identifier “father” removed from the birth certificates of¬†her¬†¬†children.
Kampala: ¬†Another ¬†new law has been drafted in Uganda that could be used to¬†ban all pro-gay¬†charities and LGBT rights groups.¬†The country‚Äôs repressive ¬†new¬†Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO) Bill¬†would give the government the ability to¬†approve, inspect, and dissolve all community groups and NGOs based on a number of criteria ‚Äď as well as to impose harsh fines.One clause would require charities to ‚Äúnot engage in any activity which is ‚Ķ contrary to the dignity of the people of Uganda‚ÄĚ ‚Äď which proponents fear could be used to clamp down on gay rights groups.¬†It would also allow groups to be disbanded ‚Äúwhere it is in the public interest to refuse to register the organisation, or ‚Ķ for any other reason that the Board may deem relevant‚ÄĚ.¬†Nicholas Opiyo of civil liberties group Chapter Four Uganda said: ‚ÄúIf this bill is passed in its current form, it will obstruct the ability of all Ugandans to work collectively through local and international organizations on any research or advocacy that may be deemed critical of the government.¬†Vague and overly broad provisions open the door to silencing peaceful government critics and activists of all sorts.¬†Uganda‚Äôs development partners and African regional bodies and indeed any government that supports civil society worldwide should vigorously object to this bill.¬†The run-up to the 2016 elections is a time to encourage divergent views, not clamp down on them.‚ÄĚ
Source: http://www.gaystarnews.com
Copenhagen: ¬†Denmark has passed legislation banning bestiality, toughening a law that animal rights activists feared was encouraging animal sex tourists to visit the country.¬†The bill amends a previous ban on intercourse that harms animals, something Farm Minister Dan Jorgensen argued was difficult to prove.¬†”The current legislation does not protect the animals enough. It’s hard to prove that an animal suffers when a human has sexual intercourse with it, and that is why we must give the animal the benefit of the doubt,” he wrote in an opinion piece.¬†Those voting for the bill said Denmark did not want to remain the last northern European country where bestiality was legal, as this was attracting animal sex tourists. Germany, Norway, Sweden and Britain previously banned it.
Source: http://www.yahoo.com
Washington DC:  Support for the trans community is increasing rapidly, a new study has found. A survey commissioned by the Human Rights Campaign found that there has been a dramatic rise in the number of Americans who claim to personally know or work with someone who is transgender.   The research found that 22% of those surveyed knew or work with a person identifies as trans, which is up 5% from a similar survey carried out in 2014. Furthermore, 66% of these people showed a positive attitude toward trans people, which suggests that visibility is vital in changing attitudes. Speaking of which,  Vogue have profiled a transgender model for the first time in the magazine’s history.Andreja Pejic, 23, was discovered at the age of 17 while working in McDonald’s in her native Australia, and has since gone on to become an internationally-recognised model. During her five-year-long career, she has modelled for international brands including Jean Paul Gaultier, Marc Jacobs and DKNY, and has appeared on the cover of French Vogue and Elle.   She appeared in a four-page spread for the May 2015 issue of US Vogue, making her the first trans model to have ever been profiled within the iconic magazine’s pages.
Source: http://www.attitude.co.uk
London:¬†¬†Labour’s Shadow Leader of the House of Commons Angela Eagle has slammed Home Office guidelines for LGBT asylum seekers, branding them ‘daft’ and ‘ignorant’.
Source: http://www.pinknews.co.uk
Dublin: The Presbyterian Church in Ireland has joined other religious groups in speaking out against marriage equality.
Source: http://www.pinknews.co.uk
Arkansas: ¬†One US¬†Baptist pastor, who considers trans people to be sex offenders, is a violent rapist himself.¬†Acra Lee Turner, 60, is part of a group calling for a repeal of Eureka Springs, Arkansas’ Ordinance 2223, which protects LGBTI people from discrimination.¬†He claims gay, and especially trans people, are dangerous pedophiles, violent rapists and ‘sex offenders’.Turner was convicted of three counts of rape in Oklahoma and sent to prison in 1977. It was found, as a 22-year-old man, he raped an 80-year-old woman who was beaten so badly by him she was unrecognizable.¬†He was released in August 2000. This is even though the son of the his victim called for Turner to stay in prison, blaming him for his mother’s deteriorating health and death after she was raped.Source: http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/pastor-who-accuses-trans-people-being-sex-offenders-serial-rapist220415
Delhi: More progress for hijra/transgender rights in India…¬†In another landmark decision for India’s transgender community, a court has ruled that members are entitled to head of household status, making them eligible them to food security benefits.¬†Allahabad High Court observed that the intended public good of the National Food Security Act 2013 would be furthered if transgender citizens were recognized as head of household.¬†The court said the ‘law needs to travel beyond non-discrimination, by recognising an affirmative obligation of the state to provide access to social security.
Source: http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/india-court-trans-people-entitled-head-household-status210415
Seoul: ¬†South Koreans have become more tolerant of homosexuality and more supportive of gay marriage, according to annual surveys conducted over the last four years.¬†The number of respondents showed no reservations about homosexuality increased from 15.8% in 2010 to 23.7% in 2014. In the same period, those who supported the legalization of gay marriage rose from 16.9% to 28.5%.¬†The Asan Institute for Policy Studies interpreted this change in attitude as the conservative country ‘consolidating its democratic and liberal values.’
Source: http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/support-gay-marriage-among-younger-south-koreans-doubles-four-years210415
London: ¬†A US ‘reparative therapy’ leader has been stopped from speaking at a UK Butlins, it was announced on April 20.¬†Mike Carducci, of ¬†Coming Out Ministries, was invited to speak at a British holiday camp by the Seventh Day Adventist Church in June.¬†He was scheduled to appear at the Strong Families event at Butlins in Skegness where he could possibly use this platform in order to explain how he believes gay people are ‘under demonic control’ and are ‘addicted to evil’. Thanks to a gay activist, his invitation has now been ¬†revoked.¬†Omar Kuddus, of Gay Asylum UK, wrote to the holiday camp chain on Twitter to make them aware of Carducci and his beliefs.¬†Butlins almost immediately called the Seventh Day Adventist Church and informed them they had to revoke Carducci’s invitation.
Source: http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/us-gay-cure-leader-stopped-speaking-uk-holiday-camp200415
Belfast:¬†David Cameron has refused to rule out a coalition with Northern Ireland‚Äôs DUP, despite their homophobic views, though he has said he ‚Äúprofoundly disagrees‚ÄĚ with them on LGBT rights. ¬†¬†Speaking at a Q&A with young voters hosted by BBC Radio 1‚Äôs Newsbeat, the Prime Minister was questioned by Mary Hassan from Derry, who asked him to rule out a coalition with the party¬†because of their LGBT views.¬†When pushed repeatedly on whether or not he would enter a coalition with the party, he insisted, ‚ÄúI don‚Äôt want a coalition with anybody‚ÄĚ, reiterating that he was aiming for a majority, and that no one could predict the outcome of the election¬†on May 7th.The Democratic Unionist Party haven‚Äôt been as involved in public discourse as other regional parties like the¬†SNP and Plaid Cymru, but they do have 8 MPs at Westminster, and could be crucial in holding the balance of power in the very likely event of a hung parliament.¬†Senior party figures have, in recent years, called gay relationships¬†‚Äúobnoxious‚ÄĚ and ‚Äúrepulsive”¬†said¬†being gay was worse than child abuse, and¬†blamed gay pride¬†for causing Hurricane Katrina. The party has blocked the introduction of marriage equality in Northern Ireland three times since it was introduced in England, Wales and Scotland, and¬†their manifesto¬†‚Äď released earlier this week ‚Äď made no mention of LGBT rights.
Source: http://www.attitude.co.uk
London: Although reparative therapy still remains legal in the United Kingdom, the debate on whether it is an ethical approach to homosexuality continues.  In a new promotional  video for the Victoria Derbyshire programme on BBC Two, the dispute over the issue is brought to light, with both conflicting views coming from United Kingdom citizens.
On 14 January, health organisations ‚Äď including NHS England and the Royal College of Psychiatrists ‚Äď signed an agreement that described the treatment as “potentially harmful and unethical”.
Many people do opt to undertake therapy of their own free will but across the Atlantic, and in many other parts of the world, a lot of individuals are forced by family and religious conflict into the process.In 2009, Patrick Strudwick, a gay rights activist and Guardian journalist secretly filmed an example of reparative therapy that he partook in.
In the video, he tells how there was a basic notion that “homosexuality is a pathology, an illness, and that it can be cured.‚ÄĚ He was even coerced into trying to remember non-existent child abuse memories as a way of explaining his problem.However, as seen in the video below, fundamentalist activist Andrew Comiskey thinks differently, believing that his own conversion therapy has been successful in removing much of his “homosexual inclinations,” even if some remain.”Due to their faith commitment, [these people] cannot in good conscience assume a gay identity and act on that with other members of their own gender.¬†I think it’s the role of therapy to help a young person who is seeking help to sort out what his or her options are, and to make clear that there are options for looking at homosexuality in ways other than just saying ‘You’re born this way, make peace with it’.”
Source: http://www.gaytimes.co.uk
Sydney:¬†Surprising results from a first-ever nationwide study has shown that gay, lesbian and bisexual people who live in outer suburbs of major cities face challenges on par with their rural and remote counterparts. Former ¬†gay ADF personnel ‚Äď many closeted while in service ‚Äď will lay wreaths at shrines and cenotaphs on across Australia on Saturday accompanied by current LGBTI service men and women. ¬†Finally,¬†¬†senior Sydney ¬†Detective Inspector Pamela Young has been reportedly removed from the renewed ¬†investigation¬†into the 1988 death of American gay man Scott Johnson in light of an ¬†interview on ABC’s Lateline, on which she maintained that she still assumed that Johnson had committed suicide, rather than the possibility he was subjected to homophobic violence and homicide.
Source: http://www.starobserver.com.au
St.Petersburg: ¬†A court in St. Petersburg, Russia, has refused to reinstate a lesbian music teacher who lost her job after an antigay activist outed her, the¬†Associated Press¬†has reported.¬†The teacher, identified only by her first name, Alevtina, was one of several targeted by the activist, but she took the rare step of challenging her firing in court. The director of her school asked her to resign last fall, but she refused and then was fired for what the school described as ‚Äúimmoral behavior incompatible with pedagogical activities.‚ÄĚShe was out to only a few people and never attended gay pride events, she told the news service, but she was outed by Timur Isayev, an activist with an antigay organization called Parents of Russia.¬†At least six teachers who were either gay or gay-supportive have had their jobs threatened by Isayev in the past year, said Kseniya Kirichenko of the LGBT rights group Vykhod. Three resigned, and Alevtina was the only one to take legal action, he said.¬†Kirichenko announced Thursday that the court this week turned down Alevtina‚Äôs reinstatement request. She said Alevtina plans to appeal.¬†Isayev is currently inactive; he was arrested late last year on charges of stealing money from a company where he worked 10 years ago. He has been convicted and sentenced to two and a half years in prison.
Source: http://www.advocate.com
Las Vegas:¬†¬†Nevada state assembly members have ¬†pulled the handle and flushed away a controversial transphonic ¬†measure that would have forced students to use bathrooms corresponding to their gender assigned at birth, constituting discrimination against those who experience gender dysphoria and have their gender reassigned as a result.The¬†Reno Gazette-Journal¬†reports assembly members voted 22-20 against AB 375 last night, mostly along party lines. But five Republicans crossed the aisle and joined the entire Democratic membership in defeating the measure.¬†The bill would have not only made it illegal for students to use any bathroom or locker room not corresponding to their ‚Äúbiological sex,‚ÄĚ as the proposed legislation described gender, but it would also require schools to provide separate facilities for transgender and intersex students, apart from cisgender students. That prospect reportedly led to criticism that the measure would lead to increased costs for schools, as they would need to build or allocate separate facilities for trans and intersex children.Source: http://www.advocate.com
Washington DC: ¬†Legal discrimination, lack of family recognition, and lack of safe educational environments put US ¬†LGBT people of color at risk of lifelong poverty, says a report released today.¬†Paying an Unfair Price: The Financial Penalty for LGBT People of Color¬†examines the economic insecurity this group experiences, compared to white LGBT people and non-LGBT people of color. It is coauthored by the by the Movement Advancement Project and the Center for American Progress, in partnership with several other organizations.¬†The report details the discrimination that LGBT people of color face in employment, housing, health care, and other aspects of their lives. ‚ÄúDisproportionate numbers of LGBT people of color live in places that lack any explicit state-level protections for LGBT people,‚ÄĚ says Ineke Mushovic, executive director of the Movement Advancement Project. ‚ÄúThis means that LGBT people of color face a high risk of economic harm from anti-LGBT laws. Based on the connection between poverty and an individual‚Äôs race or ethnicity, many LGBT people of color are less able to absorb the financial penalties created by anti-LGBT laws when compared to white LGBT people.‚Ä̬†Also, LGBT people of color are more likely to be raising children than white LGBT people, often in states without marriage equality or legal recognition of parenting ties, the report notes. And young LGBT people of color frequently encounter bullying or harassment in school, making it harder for them to obtain the type of education that can lead to better economic opportunities.
Source: http://www.advocate.com
London: The Union of Jewish Students hosted an event at the UK National Union of Students Conference this week, examining the link between LGBT people and faith.
London:¬†Sex-toy company¬†Bondara.co.uk¬†has created a new range of blow up dolls in the likenesses of political party leaders ahead of next month‚Äôs ‚Äúgeneral erection‚ÄĚ.
London: Obnoxious United Kingdom Independence Party leader¬†Nigel Farage has opened up about his dire warnings about “foreigners with HIV” – claiming he uses a negative tone “to get noticed”.
Boston: The prestigious New England Journal of Medicine, the oldest medical journal in the United States,  has just backed same-sex marriage equality, and urged the US Supreme Court to do the same.
Source: http://www.pinknews.co.uk
Guam:  55% of Guamanians say they would like to see same-sex marriage legalized in Guam, a new poll by the University of Guam has revealed. Students from the university’s Public Administration Department working under Professor Ron McNinch surveyed close to 200 of the island’s 160,000 residents, with half that sample male and half female, and half under 40 and half over 40. Only 29% of those sampled said they opposed same-sex marriage while 16% said they had no opinion on the issue.
Source: http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/new-poll-finds-majority-support-gay-marriage-guam230415
Boston: ¬†Buddhists and Jews are two the major religious groups most supportive of gay marriage, according to a recent survey.¬†Some 84% of Buddhists and 77% of Jews support gay marriage, as well as 77% of the religiously unaffiliated and 75% of Americans who selected ‘other religion’ also support gay marriage.¬†The findings from the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) draws on 40,000 interviews among a random sample of Americans.
Source: http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/buddhist-jewish-americans-are-biggest-supporters-gay-marriage230415
Belfast: A Northern Ireland¬†Democratic Unionist Party ¬†Minister has apologised for suggesting that children with same-sex parents are more likely to be abused.¬†During a debate in Downpatrick this week, Health Minister Jim Wells told an audience:¬†‚ÄúThe facts show that a child is far more likely to be abused or neglected‚ÄĚ if brought up in a homosexual relationship.Following a wave of backlash over his comments, Wells has released a statement claiming that his ‚Äúwrongly made‚ÄĚ remark doesn‚Äôt ‚Äúreflect his view, or that of his party.¬†I regret having wrongly made that remark about abuse and I‚Äôm sorry those words were uttered. The comment did not reflect my view nor that of my party.¬†Within seconds of realising this error, I asked the chairman to let me back in and twice corrected my remarks before the debate moved on.¬†This clarification has been confirmed by the journalists present at the event. Partial clips, spin and selective reporting regrettably miss this.¬†The neglect or abuse of children is awful and happens in unstable relationships whether they are heterosexual or homosexual.¬†I make no distinction between anyone who neglects or abuses a child regardless of their sexual orientation. I trust people will accept my explanation and my apology,‚ÄĚ he added. ¬†Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg has slammed the DUP for this latest outburst. However,¬†Northern Ireland’s First Minister Peter Robinson has dismissed calls to sack Health Minister Jim Wells, after he claimed children of same-sex couples were more likely to be abused.
Source: http://www.attitude.co.uk
Sydney: ¬†The launch¬†of a new autonomous network targeting trans men who have sex with other men (TMSM) will help address HIV prevention in the trans* community, where the topic is often given less attention.The formation of Peer Advocacy Network for the Sexual Health of Trans Masculinities ‚ÄĒ¬†or¬†PASH.‚ĄĘ ‚ÄĒ¬†has been welcomed by the Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations (AFAO), who also host the group‚Äôs website.
‚ÄúCurrently trans men who have sex with other gay, bisexual and queer cisgender men are not part of the ongoing conversation on HIV biomedical prevention, and they are missing out on important information regarding effective risk reduction strategies and health promotion messaging,‚ÄĚ AFAO acting executive director Linda Forbes¬†said.‚ÄúThe launch of PASH.‚ĄĘ¬†is a great development and AFAO will be consulting with (them) to ensure that HIV prevention messages reach this marginalised population.‚ÄĚTed Cook, Jez Pez, Aram Hosie and Eden St James founded the network, and each have a background in sexual health peer advocacy for trans male¬†communities.¬†‚ÄúPASH.‚ĄĘ was born out of our shared passion and dedication to provide equitable health promotion and HIV/STI prevention work to trans masculine people who are engaging in sexual activities with cisgender gay, bisexual and queer men.‚ÄĚ Pez said.¬†Cook said the group formed in response to the insufficient networks in place for TMSM, and the need to apply specific strategies in HIV prevention work:¬†‚ÄúThis is an opportunity to build upon knowledge gained over the last 30 years in responding to HIV, and apply specific and targeted HIV prevention approaches to a population that is currently at risk,‚ÄĚ he said.
Source: http://www.starobserver.com.au
North Carolina: ¬†The Roman Catholic bishop of Charlotte, N.C., has nixed an appearance by a pro-LGBT nun at one of the city‚Äôs Catholic churches ‚ÄĒ but the sponsors of the event have found another venue.¬†Sister Jeannine Gramick, cofounder of New Ways Ministry, which advocates for LGBT equality within the Catholic Church, was to speak at an event called Including LGBTQ People and Their Families in Faith Communities at St. Peter‚Äôs Catholic Church May 16, local LGBT publication¬†QNotes¬†reports. Event sponsors are PFLAG Charlotte and St. Peter‚Äôs Gay/Lesbian Ministry. ¬†Gramick‚Äôs talk will go on, however. Myers Park Baptist Church in Charlotte has agreed to host the May 16 event. It is an LGBT-affirming church (not affiliated with the antigay Southern Baptist Convention). The event is open to the general public.
Source: http://www.advocate.com
Tokyo: British diplomats Tim Johnson and Ryan Parkins married in a public ceremony at the embassy, to encourage Japan to advance on LGBT rights.
Dublin: Ireland’s Minister of Communication Alex White urges Irish voters to support marriage equality in the forthcoming May 22nd referendum.
Portland:  A fundamentalist bakery that refused to make a cake for a lesbian couple’s wedding has been ordered to pay damages. Rachel and Laurel Bowman-Cryer said the owners of Sweet Cakes had refused to make them a cake when they found out it was for their wedding, and then quoted anti-gay Bible verse to justify it. The bakery subsequently closed down. Judge Allan McCullough said: “The forum concludes that $75,000 and $60,000, are appropriate awards to compensate for the emotional suffering they experienced. Predictably, the fundamentalists are whining about their service provider discrimination penalties.
Source: http://www.pinknews.co.uk
New Delhi: ¬†The Rajya Sabha, upper house of India‚Äôs Parliament, voted unanimously on Friday in favor of a bill to protect the rights of transgender people.¬†According to media reports, the private member’s bill by DMK MP Tiruchi Siva who represents Tamil Nadu was the first member-sponsored bill to be passed since 1970.¬†On April 24, MPs ¬†cut across party lines to support the proposed legislation that aims to safeguard the welfare of transgender people who are known in India as the ‘third gender’.¬†The Rights of Transgender Persons Bill 2014 now goes to India’s lower house, the Lok Sabha, for a vote.¬†If it passes, it would require the government to establish a plan to safeguard the welfare of transgender people.
Source: http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/indias-upper-house-parliament-passes-landmark-transgender-rights-bill250415
Paris:  Manif Pour Tous, a group that came to infamy protesting same-sex marriage in France, is becoming a political party. But the group doesn’t actually want to win elections. They won’t even be fielding any candidates. Instead, they admit that their new status will mean they benefit from tax breaks.
Source: http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/frances-top-gay-hate-group-becomes-political-party240415
Atlanta: ¬†Franklin Graham, fundamentalist ¬†son and successor of legendary US evangelist Billy Graham, has claimed there is a conscious agenda by Marvel Comics to brainwash young people into accepting a homosexual ‚Äėlifestyle‚Äô after a character in the popular comic book series X-Men was revealed to be gay.¬†Earlier this week the leading comic book entertainment company revealed that Iceman, AKA Bobby Drake, would be revealed to be gay in issue #40 of All New X-Men.
Source: http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/us-evangelist-franklin-graham-claims-marvel-comics-trying-brainwash-kids-accept-gay-%E2%80%98destruc
Washington DC: ¬†Several thousand people have marched in Washington DC against marriage equality as the US Supreme Court prepares to hear arguments on the deeply divisive issue in the coming days. On April 25, conservative Christians marched¬† from the US Capitol to the Supreme Court, carrying placards reading, “A Child Needs a Father and a Mother” and “March for Truth”.¬†The gathering comes with the top court on Tuesday set to consider whether same-sex couples have a constitutional right to wed in the United States, with a final decision expected in June.¬†Currently, individual states are responsible for determining marriage laws, with 37 out of 50 US states and the capital Washington DC recognising marriage equality.