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April 20, 2015

Health official supports change in the law

Vietnam's ministry of health is finalizing draft amendments to the civil code that will likely acknowledge transgender people for the first time.

Nguyen Huy Quang, head of the ministry's legal department, said they were still collecting opinions on the issue but he personally preferred to 'address the fact and solve it.'

'This is the right to live with their true gender,' he told a news conference on 14 April.

Legislators will discuss the proposed changes next month.

April 17, 2015

Authorities in Vietnam are concerned about the surging popularity of extremely graphic Chinese erotic novels among younger people, with many of the most popular novels having gay themes

Vietnam’s Ministry of Information and Communication is concerned about the popularity of ‘oversentimental sex fiction of Chinese origin’ among young Vietnamese people and is trying to stop the pulp novels’ sale and publication in the country.

Vietnamese publishers typically acquire the publishing rights to the novels and then run them through translation software before manually editing them so that they read properly in Vietnamese.

April 16, 2015

Winners include Jolin Tsai and IBM 

Transgender activist Nisha Ayub was named Hero of the Year at the second Asia LGBT Milestone Awards & Diversity Leadership Forum (ALMA) on Wednesday (15 April) night in Bangkok.

The Malaysian, who was thrown into prison for being trans, won a landmark case to overturn an Islamic anti-cross-dressing law in the Muslim-majority country.

Entrepreneur of The Year went to Geng Le, a former policeman who made headlines the world over when his gay dating app Blued received US$30 million in mainstream capital investment.

April 13, 2015

Homophobic attacks have increased since parliament registered an anti-gay law

An LGBTI organization was targeted in an attempted arson attack earlier this month in Kyrgyzstan.

CCTV cameras caught two unknown persons throwing three bottles of explosives into the yard of Labrys' headquarters in Bishek around 10.30pm on 3 April.

Two bottles caused an open fire but the office building remained untouched.

'The nature of the attack shows that the attackers were planning arson,' the group said.

April 10, 2015

Find out what it takes to be shortlisted for an Asia LGBT Milestone Award

Business is at the heart of securing positive change for LGBTI people in Asia.

They sponsor pride parades and festivals, try to support their gay and trans staff, and even change hearts and minds.

Here are the 11 organizations shortlisted for the second Asia LGBT Milestone Awards (ALMAs).

100 judges are now choosing the final winners who will be announced at a ceremony in Bangkok on 14 April with tickets available here.

April 10, 2015

China is changing for the better for the gay community, but trans people are still marginalized. Tingting Shen of Asia Catalyst reveals more

In a rapidly changing China, the gay community is becoming more visible, recognized, and accepted by the general public. The transgender community, however, remains extremely marginalized and face extreme stigma and discrimination.

Transgender people are neglected by policy makers, abused by State and non-State actors, and are unable to fulfill a range of rights, including on privacy, legal identity and personal autonomy.

April 10, 2015

A man in Western Syria suspected of being a homosexual was blindfolded and made to run through a field by Islamic State fighters as they stoned him to death

Another man suspected of being a homosexual by Islamic State fighters in Syria has been stoned to death, according to a report by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights on Wednesday.

The execution occurred on the province of Homs, in Western Syria though the name of the victim or the exact date or location of the killing remain unknown.

Images of the killing that were published online show around a dozen men in military fatigues hurling rocks at a man they have blindfolded and made to run through a field as a group of civilians watch on.

April 10, 2015

Pop stars, entrepreneurs, film makers, TV celebrities and a current prisoner

From India to Japan and everywhere in between, the LGBTI movement in Asia is gathering pace.

So meet 21 of its greatest heroes.

They’ve written books, made films, founded organizations, fought in the courts and taken on the most challenging work.

Most of all they’ve stood up for their fellow LGBTIs – and often been rewarded only with harassment, persecution and even imprisonment.

But now they are being recognized. They are all nominated for the second Asia LGBT Milestone Awards (ALMAs).

April 3, 2015

Who's up for a railway romance?

There are few forms of travel that evoke the romance and adventure of the railway.

Conjuring nostalgia for travel’s golden era, an epic train trip not only gives you the chance to just relax and enjoy the view, the view itself can give you special insight into a country you’d never get by sticking to the roads. In some more perilous areas, rail travel is the only option.

Here, Asia specialists Backyard Travel lead us on a tour through three of Asia’s most thrilling train trips.

April 3, 2015

Proceeds go to a gay marriage advocacy group

Taiwanese pop diva and gay icon A-mei has launched two 'rainbow products' to raise money for gay rights ahead of her April concert marathon in Taipei.

One of the products is a rainbow towel printed with the word 'Utopia,' and the other is a hand fan.

Some 12,000 fans, each priced at NT$100 (US$3.20), will be sold and all proceeds will be donated to the Taiwan Alliance to Promote Civil Partnership Rights, according to her label EMI.

The towels are priced at NT$500 (US$16) and NT$10 (US$0.32) will be donated for every one sold.

April 1, 2015

Vietnamese street food reimagined as a chic banquet of taste and aroma in the heart of London’s famous Soho district – fused together by quirky top chef Bobby Chinn

Strolling in from the neon-lit streets of Soho, the House of Ho welcomes you to a contemporary den hidden away from the glow of this cosmopolitan thoroughfare renowned for its distinct nightlife, café culture and historical LGBTI watering holes.

A homely welcome and a swift coat-check later we were sitting at our table, swathed in low mood lighting and subtle elements of décor that indicated the traditional yet refined undertones of the culinary experience to come – and an experience it was.

March 31, 2015

Arkansas is expected to move ahead with its anti-gay bill

'Religious freedom' bills in both Georgie and North Carolina have stalled amid a national backlash over a similar law that was passed in Indiana last week.

The Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act allows businesses to turn away LGBTI customers on religious grounds.

Georgia's Senate passed the bill earlier this month within minutes of being introduced with no advance notice.

But the draft law stalled at the committee stage after a lawmaker added anti-discrimination language to stop it from being using against LGBTI people.

March 31, 2015

Shibuya will issue certificates recognizing gay unions as 'equal to marriage'

Shibuya ward in Tokyo has become the first locale in Japan to recognize gay couples, a major step forward for LGBTI rights in the conservative country.

The district assembly Tuesday (31 March) voted overwhelmingly in favor of issuing certificates recognizing same-sex unions as 'equivalent to marriage' and granting them housing and hospital visitation rights.

March 31, 2015

South Asian country says vote against partner benefits for gay staff was based on 'sovereignty issues'

The US ambassador to India has expressed disappointment in the south Asian country for voting against LGBTI rights at the UN.

Richard Verma made the comment last week in New Delhi.

'We were disappointed... by India's support this week for the attempt to strip benefits from UN staff in same-sex relationships,' he said.

'We will continue to support the rights of LGBT individuals in India, in international institutions, and around the world.'

March 25, 2015

The event will take place as part of the Asia LGBT Milestone Awards and will feature speakers from BP and IBM – as well as a former Chinese policeman, Geng Le, who has created a multi-million dollar gay dating app empire

The Asia LGBT Milestone Awards (ALMA Awards 2015) will return for its second annual outing in mid-April.

Organizers have today announced that the event will include an international business forum to discuss issues around social diversity and inclusion concerning LGBTI minorities.

The headline topic for discussion will be: What you can do – today’s key challenges to achieving greater diversity in the workplace.

March 23, 2015

From hot air balooning to ziplining, enjoy these breathtaking vistas from above

Once you’ve scoured the markets in Asia, floated in its warm, salty seas and traipsed through its ancient ruins, you’ll no doubt be looking for a more…elevated experience. 

March 23, 2015

From hot air balooning to ziplining, enjoy these breathtaking vistas from above

Once you’ve scoured the markets in Asia, floated in its warm, salty seas and traipsed through its ancient ruins, you’ll no doubt be looking for a more…elevated experience. 

March 23, 2015

Visakesa Chandrasekaram explores gay relationships with ground-breaking movie Frangipani

The criminal law of Sri Lanka prohibits anyone from engaging in 'gross indecency', however exactly what constitutes gross indecency is not defined.

In 2013, Equal Ground (an LGBTI advocacy group in Sri Lanka), produced a report for submission to the Human Rights Committee in Geneva.

March 20, 2015

Historic city's first LGBTI group talks to Gay Star News about Asia's young LGBTI movement

Macau tops the world in terms of GDP but on many social issues the city is still very backward, says Anthony Lam, the co-founder of the city's first LGBTI group.

The director-general of Rainbow of Macau said that he views the progress of LGBTI rights as an index of how internationalized the former Portuguese colony actually is.

Right now, the fight for LGBTI rights centers around the Domestic Violence Bill, and is one of the reasons why Rainbow was founded two years ago.

March 19, 2015

From China and Malaysia to Thailand and Indonesia – travel an entire continent in 2 minutes

Earlier this year we delved into the back catalogue of trailblazing travel photographer Weerapong Chaipuck, whose gorgeous shots of Asia in a near-perpetual state of sunrise/sunset immediately had us plotting our 2015 movements across the globe.

March 19, 2015

From China and Malaysia to Thailand and Indonesia – travel an entire continent in 2 minutes

Earlier this year we delved into the back catalogue of trailblazing travel photographer Weerapong Chaipuck, whose gorgeous shots of Asia in a near-perpetual state of sunrise/sunset immediately had us plotting our 2015 movements across the globe.

March 19, 2015

Lebanese LGBTIs and refugees from Syria, Iraq and Jordan plan IDAHOT celebration

They work in a country where homosexuality is illegal, the economy is on its knees and a war on the borders has sparked an enormous refugee crisis.

But the LGBTI community of Lebanon is embracing gay refugees and determined to celebrate International Day Against Homophobia and Transpobia (IDAHOT).

March 14, 2015

Here is the full list of places that we have been recently.

So many places, so little time. We love to travel and we love to write about travel – sharing our experiences and stories, hopefully inspiring our readers to travel more and also share their travel stories with us.

March 11, 2015

Gifts include cash, gold, a diamond ring, diamond earrings and a Toyota

A former national softball player has made headlines in Thailand after she proposed to her girlfriend with a two million baht ($61,000) dowry.

On the morning of 8 March, Chanut went to her girlfriend's house in their home province of Chonburi bearing gifts for her future in-laws.

They included 400,000 baht in cash, 333.5 grams of gold, a diamond ring, a pair of diamond earrings and a Toyota car.