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March 2, 2015

#HisNameWasAsh

A 16-year-old transgender boy from North Carolina has taken his life after enduring years of bullying.

Ash Haffner stepped into oncoming traffic near his home in Indian Trail on Thursday (26 February) night.

His mother, April Quick, found the body. She said the suicide was a result of years of bullying, which became worse when he decided to transition and asked to be referred to as 'he.'

February 26, 2015

Two men pushed the students to the ground then kneed and kicked them

A young lesbian couple were left bleeding and unconscious after a homophobic attack in Ireland.

Roisin Prendergast, 20, and Ciara Murphy, 17, were walking to a food outlet in Limerick at 2am on 9 February when two men started 'firing homophobic slurs' at the couple.

February 26, 2015

Research found that LGBTI homeless youths are significantly more likely to experience sexual exploitation than their non-LGBTI peers

A groundbreaking new study has found that almost one quarter of homeless youths in the UK are LGBTI. 

The research, carried out by The Albert Kennedy Trust (AKT), aimed to explore the experiences of homeless youths – aged 16-25 – who identify as LGBTI living in the UK. 

A survey, consisting of 36 questions, was distributed to 473 housing providers across England, Scotland and Wales. 

February 24, 2015

Randy Berry will advocate for LGBTI rights globally

The US State Department Monday (23 February) named Randy Berry as its first LGBTI rights envoy.

The openly gay diplomat is currently the US consul general in Amsterdam and has served in Bangladesh, Egypt, Uganda, and South Africa.

Secretary of State John Kerry said he 'could not be more proud' to announce Berry as the first-ever special envoy for the human rights of LGBTI persons.

February 21, 2015

Physical and verbal homophobic attacks against gay men on the rise as Ireland prepares to vote on marriage equality in referendum in May

As public debates heat up ahead of Ireland’s same-sex marriage referendum to be held on May 22, LGBT people are being warned to take safety precautions when meeting strangers they have only ‘met’ online.

The Irish Examiner reported this week that a series of reports of orchestrated attacks by assailants using websites and dating apps to attract their victim have surfaced.

February 20, 2015

'I hope she can feel safe at school without fear of being bullied'

California Rep Mike Honda has said he is the 'proud grandpa' of an eight-year-old transgender granddaughter.

The Democrat Wednesday (18 February) tweeted his support along with a photo of himself with his arm around a smiling child with shoulder-length hair.

'As the proud grandpa of a transgender grandchild, I hope she can feel safe at school without fear of being bullied,' he wrote.

February 13, 2015

State media attacks the openly gay chair of a human rights report on the hermit kingdom

North Korea has gone on another homophobic rant against the openly gay chair of a 2013 report condemning Pyongyang’s human rights record.

The Korean Central News Agency last month published an editorial demanding the US retract and apologize for the UN Commission Of Inquiry.

It claimed that a North Korean defector gave false testimony and the report 'is now being ridiculed and censured by the international community.'

February 13, 2015

The head rabbi of Melbourne's Yeshivah Center has told an inquiry into the handling of child abuse complaints by institutions that be believes it’s possible that pedophiles could be cured through counseling and spiritual guidance and that ‘the same thing could happen to someone who was gay’

A leading Orthodox Jewish religious leader in Australia has told a public inquiry into child abuse in institutions that he believes that gay people can change their orientation if they undergo therapy and are given spiritual guidance.

Rabbi Zvi Telsner made the comment in response to questions at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Australia, which is currently examining how Jewish schools in Melbourne and Sydney responded to reports of child abuse since the 1980s.

February 11, 2015

'Kids need supportive environments so they can figure out and be as true to themselves as they can be'

LGBTI people have better self esteem and less depression as young adults if they are open about their sexual orientation or gender identity, a study has revealed.

Researchers have claimed if you are going to hide your identity to the world, it is far more likely to lead to abuse and depression.

Stephen Russell, the study's lead author, says kids need 'supportive environments so they can figure out and be as true to themselves as they can be'.

February 9, 2015

Bulgarian law does not consider homophobic motives as hate crime - they are acts of hooliganism 

Bulgaria’s efforts to investigate and prosecute hate crime are deemed a failure in a report Amnesty International published today (9 February).

According to the report, the lack of adequate investigation and prosecution created a climate of discrimination, fear and ultimately violence. Some victims of hate crime do not dare to report their experiences to the police because they fear further discrimination.

February 9, 2015

New survey reveals how many teachers feel unable to come out and stay safe

A shocking number of LGBTI teachers have suffered homophobia, biphobia or transphobia at school.

Union NASUWT has found more than half of its members in attendance were discriminated against based on their sexual orientation or gender identity during their teaching career.

Nearly a quarter said they felt they needed to stay closeted, with only a third saying they felt they could be out and safe at school.

February 4, 2015

Also calls it a 'crime against God'

An Italian archbishop has attacked a law banning anti-gay speech, describing it as a 'crime against humanity'.

Luigi Negri, the archbishop of Ferrara-Comacchio, has taken issue with a law the country has enacted to protect LGBTI people from hate crime.

He has also blamed the country's economic crisis on abortions, claiming that it has 'stopped more than six milllion Italians coming into the world'. Italy actually has the fourth lowest abortion rate in Europe, with just over 100,000 in 2012.

February 4, 2015

School pupils will be challenged to create cakes that celebrate the theme of ‘LGBT History’ at the live final of a flavorsome competition to help combat homophobia, biphobia and transphobia

Pupils from London and beyond are busy preparing for the grand final of the Great Rainbow Bake Off.

The nationwide competition was launched for school children last year during the UK’s annual anti-bullying week.

Students were invited to bake a rainbow-themed cake or cupcakes and to send photos of the resulting treats to competition organizers, Educate & Celebrate.

February 3, 2015

Compulsory lessons will include profiles on Oscar Wilde and inclusive sex and relationships education

Labour will make teaching LGBTI issues in UK schools compulsory if they win May's General Election.

Tristram Hunt MP, Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary, has announced plans to ensure homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying is tackled if the party forms the next government.

Under the plan, unveiled today (4 Feburary) at Little Ilford School in London, it will ensure all teachers are trained to tackle bullying of LGBTI kids and make age-appropriate sex and relationships compulsory in all schools that receive state funding.

January 30, 2015

Legislation creates a special LGBTI envoy in the State Department

US lawmakers in both of houses of congress yesterday (29 January) introduced a bill to promote and protect LGBTI rights globally.

The International Human Rights Defense Act would create a special envoy in the State Department to coordinate efforts to prevent and respond to discrimination and violence against LGBTI people worldwide.

January 19, 2015

It was announced last week that England’s first ‘gay school', aimed primarily at LGBT pupils, is due to be launched in Manchester. Elly Barnes, CEO and Founder of Educate & Celebrate, explains why she would instead prefer to see all schools adopt LGBT-friendly practices

How do children learn about difference? They learn from their experiences and by who surrounds them.

Through our teacher training and resource program we recognize that those students in multi-cultural areas have a much greater understanding of difference as they are surrounded by people of different cultures, faiths, disabilities, genders, sexual orientations and gender identities.

Creating visibility around these differences increases understanding, acceptance and ‘usualizes’ diversity as a whole in our communities.

January 10, 2015

'Sometimes we just go with what is tradition. We don't second-guess it, we don't doubt it'

A former Florida A&M University band member was sentenced to over six years in prison for being the 'ringleader' in the 2011 hazing death of the band's drum major, Robert Champion.

On 9 January, Orange Circuit Judge Renee Roche announced the decision against Dante Martin.

In 2014 October, a jury took about an hour to find Martin guilty of Champion's (pictured) death.

December 23, 2014

Mayor Vincent Gray signs bill into law - New Jersey and California have similar bans in place

Washington DC on Monday (22 December) followed California and New Jersey in banning conversion therapy for LGBTI youth.

Mayor Vincent Gray (pictured) signed the the Conversion Therapy for Minors Prohibition Amendment Act into law that was passed earlier this month by the city council.

These therapies are aimed at changing the sexual orientation, gender identity, or expression of an LGBTI person.

December 17, 2014

‘It has for sure provided us extra energy to continue our campaign for rights'

An investigation by a Nepalese govenment agency has refuted allegations of corruption at the country's largest LGBTI group.

The Social Welfare Council (SWC) has released a report that rebutted charges of corruption and irregularities leveled against the Blue Diamond Society (BDS) and founder Sunil Pant.

The allegations were made two years ago and resulted in the group losing its license as well as funding gaps and the demoralization of  its 750 full-time staff who were not paid for more than seven months.

December 13, 2014

36 elementary schools in the UK will teach their students about gay and lesbian rights and stamp out anti-gay language

36 UK schools have vowed to stamp out homophobia in schools, by signing up to a scheme to teach their pupils about LGBTI values.

The group of elementary schools in and around Birmingham, UK have pledged to stamp out homophobic bullying with a new range of teaching materials called CHIPS - Challenging Homophobia in Primary Schools.

The CHIPS programme is used in 36 elementary schools and was created by Andrew Moffat, who authored a series of books used as resources to teach children about the LGBTI community.

December 10, 2014

Activists are 'concerned' after a report finds only 33 anti-trans attacks in 2013

One in five hate crimes committed in the US last year were motivated by anti-gay bias, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

The agency's annual hate crime report released on Monday (8 December) found that 20.8% of the 5,928 reported single bias hate crimes were based on sexual orientation, second only to race at 48.5%.

Of these, 60.6 percent were classified as anti-gay male bias.

Gender identity was also added to the list of bias categories for the first time this year.

December 10, 2014

Activists call on the international community to pressure Mayor Park into passing his scrapped human rights charter

The occupation of Seoul city hall by LGBTI activists enters day five as the mayor remains silent on a human rights charter he indefinitely postponed last week.

Today is World Aids Day and was the scheduled date for the enactment of the charter, which includes provisions banning discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

A coalition of 20 LGBTI groups started the sit-in on Saturday 'out of rage' that Mayor Park Won-soon nullified the charter after anti-gay protests, despite a citizens committee passing the measure.

December 8, 2014

Mayor indefintely postpones the anti-gay hate law after a Christian backlash

About 70 LGBTI activists staged a sit-in at Seoul city hall to protest the mayor's indefinite delay of a human rights charter banning anti-gay discrimination.

A coalition of 20 LGBTI groups Saturday (6 December) occupied the lobby of the Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) holding a banner reading, 'To sexual minorities, human rights mean life.'

They said Mayor Park Won-soon had not responded to repeated requests for a meeting and demanded he proclaim the charter, which was supposed to be enacted on Human Rights Day on 10 December.

December 7, 2014

Throughout much of his childhood, Matthew McVarish was repeatedly sexually abused by an uncle. He's now on a mission to walk through 32 European capital cities to help end the silence that persists around child sexual abuse

When Matthew McVarish was first taken to see the film Forrest Gump, at the age of 11, little did he know that – years later – it would prove to be the inspiration for his current endeavor.

The Scotsman is nearing the end of his ‘Road to Change’: an 20-month mission to walk 10,000 miles across Europe, visiting the capital cities of 29 countries in an effort to raise awareness around child sex abuse and to break down the stigma victims feel in talking about their experiences.