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July 23, 2014

From the Queen and PM to celebrities, athletes and ordinary LGBTI people, we should use the Commonwealth Games to fight for gay rights

As the Commonwealth Games start today amid much fanfare in Glasgow, Scotland, 42 of the 53 countries competing still criminalize homosexuality.

That’s not just awkward or embarrassing. It’s shameful.

The collection of former British Empire countries, under the titular leadership of Queen Elizabeth II, is supposed to be held together by friendship, democracy, human rights and the rule of law.

July 11, 2014

An article railing against gay white men ‘stealing’ black women’s culture misleads on an important point – gay guys can’t hide either, and shouldn’t have to

On Wednesday, Time Magazine published an article Sierra Mannie originally wrote for her student newspaper, telling white gay guys to stop stealing black culture.

At first, I wasn’t sure how to respond, as a mixture of randomized white guy guilt and distance from the subject at hand made it feel a little awkward. But the more I read the more I felt something needed to be said and a balance redressed.

July 10, 2014

Feminist charity Women’s Aid is demanding transgender staff ‘prove’ their gender before being allowed to work, highlighting problems with UK law

A falling out between the UK trans community and feminist charity Women’s Aid has highlighted what many activists consider to be a job half-done when it comes to legal protections for trans persons.

It illustrates why, with a UK general election now less than a year away, many are calling on politicians to think again about half-baked equality laws and a Gender Recognition Act, which creates more problems than it solves.

Trouble erupted when the Women’s Aid Transgender and Transsexual Equality Policy and Procedure was publicized on a number of trans forums.

July 9, 2014

The 16-year-old Vine star should realize the harm he’s done to HIV prevention and try to fix it

Recently a 16-year-old said something stupid. This in itself isn’t anything new: 16-year-olds have been saying stupid things forever. It is pretty much part of the package that comes with spots, frustration and taking too long in the shower.

But in this case the 16-year old in question is Nash Grier, the most famous person on video sharing platform Vine, and the stupid thing he said was hateful, nasty and downright dangerous.

July 4, 2014

Reverend Irene Monroe explains why two recent Supreme Court decisions could be game changers for straight and LGBTI women in the worst way

This month in the US we celebrate the Fourth of July with rounds of festivities marking America's 238 years of independence.

People will be singing the Star Spangled Banner, or reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, or reenacting the Continental Congress of 1776.

Many will simply be singing reproductions of the ‘rockets red glare and bombs bursting in air’.

All of this and more will be done on a grander and highly commercialized scale. All this happens at home as our American troops continue to soldier on.

July 4, 2014

Mark Delacour, development and engagement manager at Broken Rainbow, is offering GSN readers exclusive discounted tickets to an incredible event

It was at Pride in London, and the sun was just peeking out of the dark clouds, as I marched with the volunteers at Broken Rainbow UK.

Among the many faces in the crowd, one woman, clear as day, mouthed ‘Thank you’.

When people talk about domestic violence, usually the first image that pops into your head is a man being physically aggressive towards a woman – likely his wife.

So it is hardly surprising many of us never really think about domestic abuse in lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans relationships.

July 2, 2014

Joe Morgan faces his fears by returning to the school where he was bullied for being gay

Little more than a decade ago, at the age of 14, I came out as gay to a shocked art class.

From the second I arrived at secondary school, I was teased for being gay. I was given the identity even before I figured it out on my own.

And so, when one idiot was making fun of gay people in Year 9, I stupidly said: ‘Well, I’m gay, so what does that make me?’

The looks on everyone’s faces were like a courtroom drama. He finally said it. He finally admitted it. He’s out. The faggot is out.

June 27, 2014

Nick Antjoule from Galop, the LGBT safety charity asks whether homophobia and transphobia is increasing in the UK

Pride season is here and all over the UK people are getting ready to march against prejudice and hate, celebrate and inebriate.

But while our communities take pride in what we have achieved in the fight against prejudice, we are still faced with the reality of hate crime just for being ourselves.

A man sprayed with ammonia in Vauxhall, damaging his eyesight. A couple attacked by a gang in Whitechapel.

This is the reality.

June 26, 2014

Beaten, starved and whipped – why we must remember Yves and the many LGBTI and other victims of torture today

Yves was enjoying a quiet, early evening drink with his boyfriend in a bar when he was surrounded by police.

He was dragged outside, stripped, kicked, beaten and trampled. Later he was thrown into a dark, cramped cell, starved and repeatedly whipped with a rope.

When he was released from prison, Yves was psychologically and physically scarred by the torture he was forced to endure. The threat of further violence eventually forced him to leave his West African home and seek asylum in the UK.

June 20, 2014

Rob Watson, a recovering alcoholic himself, tells Governor Rick Perry how wrong he is for thinking alcholism is the same as homosexuality

If you are gay, and you are wishing upon a star, it is probably not a good idea for it to be the Lone Star of Texas. 

This past week, that particular entity has been more than a little dim in terms of passing out bright news for gay people.

June 19, 2014

Boston has a rich history of celebrating LGBTI women, including those of color and others who are often overlooked

Pride parades will take place all over the US – and indeed all over the world – this month, and Boston’s was this weekend.

Race, unfortunately, continues to be one of the fault lines in many of our Pride festivals across the country. As is gender identity.

June 10, 2014

Rob Watson has written an open letter to HLN host Nancy Grace about her defending a woman who described gay men as pedophiles

A few months ago, I appreciated Nancy Grace’s perspective.  News media were reporting that a woman named Jessica Dutro had killed her little boy because she thought he might be gay.  As a gay dad, I hurt for the little boy, but found that in much of the reporting, he had been ignored.  The reporting was around the mother and it was her picture that was plastered in public view.

June 10, 2014

As the summit on ending rape in warzones starts, Edwin Sesange argues the lesbian and transgender victims of ‘corrective rape’ must be included

Right now the world’s political leaders, celebrities and other stakeholders are gathering to find ways to stop sexual violence in armed conflicts. It is a huge opportunity to unite the world to end this inhuman act.

Hosted by actress Angelina Jolie and UK Foreign Secretary William Hague, the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict is the largest ever gathering of its kind with more than 140 countries taking part.

June 5, 2014

America’s best-loved poet and civil rights activist has had her funeral threatened because of her support for LGBTI people

When news circulated that the notorious Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas was planning to protest the ‘home-going’ service of our nation’s most beloved citizen, poet, author, civil rights activist, and sister-sage to us all, Dr Maya Angelou, there was a collective gasp of disbelief.

June 3, 2014

Peter Purton, LGBT policy officer for the Trade Union Congress, looks at the evolution and current state of homophobia in schools, work and sport

It’s easy to think how good things are for LGBT people in Britain today, particularly when compared to Russia, with Putin’s law banning ‘homosexual propaganda’, or Uganda, Nigeria, or Brunei, where the government just introduced stoning to death for adulterers and those caught having homosexual relations.

Here in Britain we can now get married!

June 3, 2014

The martyrs were burned to death by King Mwanga for refusing his homosexual advances and for failing to renounce Christianity

Today is an important celebration in Uganda – the day Christians remember the Uganda Martyrs. And people from around the world are flocking to the shrine in Namugongo.

The town in southern Uganda is where thirty-two young men, pages of the court of King Mwanga II of Buganda, were burned to death on 3 June 1886 for their refusal to renounce Christianity.

May 31, 2014

La Voix and the London Gay Big Band talk about their journey on Britain’s Got Talent, from their first audition to the performance they are preparing for tonight

Simon Cowell is famously renowned for saying 'I don't like drag acts', so it was always a risk to audition for Britain's Got Talent as an openly LGBT act with a drag queen front woman.

And it was a risk that paid off.

Against all the odds, our act La Voix and the London Gay Big Band will perform on the BGT 2014 Live Semi Finals on Saturday tonight (31 May), broadcast to the entire nation and streamed on YouTube to the world.

May 30, 2014

Robi Ludwig claimed unresolved sexuality was behind Elliot Rodger’s rampage even though this is not supported by the evidence

As a dad, when I see news stories of young people and children being killed, my heart breaks wide open. If it were to be either of my sons I do not think I have what it would take to recover from such a loss.

This week in Santa Barbara California, six sets of parents faced that situation. A seventh set, the parents of Elliot Rodger, 22, who allegedly killed the other six before killing himself, have a whole other horror in front of them.

May 27, 2014

The Euro elections have seen anti-EU and far-right parties triumph across Europe – so what does that mean for gay, bi, trans and intersex people?

It has been difficult to escape the news of the triumph of far-right and Euroskeptic parties across Europe in this year’s elections to the European Parliament.

But the less obvious implication that may only become clear to us in the weeks, months and years ahead is just what this result might mean for those of us who struggle to progress LGBTI rights across Europe and beyond.

May 23, 2014

Irene Monroe looks back to a proud 10 year anniversary in Massachusetts and the quarrel which could have meant same-sex marriage didn’t happen

Marriage equality in Massachusetts hit its 10 year mark on 17 May.

With this 10th anniversary I’m proud of the indefatigable energy and genius that made it possible.

But, I didn’t always feel that way.

And my opinions, and those of LGBTI communities of color nationwide, were expressed weekly in my column The Religion Thang, for the now defunct Boston-based LGBTQ paper InNewsweekly.

May 16, 2014

Ukrainian LGBTIs are caught up in a geo-political game, with Russian sympathizers saying the EU is a ‘homodictatorship’

Over recent years Ukrainian society has shown an increased intolerance towards lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people and LGBTI issues. Now the level of social tension is so high LGBTI people do not feel safe in their everyday lives.

May 14, 2014

‘However bad the situation, we are ready to defend our human dignity and rights, to speak against violence and stand with activists all over the world’

The situation for LGBTI people in Russia is getting more and more complicated.

Human rights violations, hate crimes and speeches and state-sponsored homophobia have become a part of day-to-day life of LGBTIs and those who speak out for equal rights for everyone.

But despite this, there is defiance. We are planning various actions devoted to International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHO) on 17 May. There will be activity in at least 11 Russian cities.

May 13, 2014

Karine Aghajanyan examines the roots of homophobia in Armenia as the country prepares for IDAHO

The situation for LGBTI people in Armenia is certainly the most difficult in the region. Quite deliberately, the country has isolated itself politically and historically. As a society made up almost exclusively of Armenians, it is extremely conservative.

Practically all sectors of society explicitly reject any acceptance of LGBTI rights. Most of the time, the media’s approach to LGBTI people is biased and based on stereotypes and prejudice. It has no scientific basis, let alone a contemporary view of the world.

May 12, 2014

As we approach IDAHO, Dr Paula Gerber of Kaleidoscope Australia explains why the Pacific is an important frontier for LGBTI rights

The United Nations recently invited people to imagine what it would be like if you were not free to be you. If the only sexual orientation you were allowed to express was a heterosexual one. For people in 80 countries around the world, this requires no imagination, because it is their day-to-day reality. That is why IDAHO – the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia – is so important.