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February 26, 2015

Pontiff is not what he seems

Pope Francis is a complicated, confusing pontiff to the LGBTI community –especially its transgender members.

On the surface Francis displays a pastoral countenance to his papacy that extends to us all.

He set off global shock waves, when flying home after a weeklong visit to Brazil in 2013, when he was queried about the ‘gay lobby’ in the Vatican.

February 25, 2015

London mayor hopeful claims gay men are ‘obliged to stand on the left and throw rocks at the right’

In an interview in this month’s edition of UK gay magazine Attitude, Ivan Massow, out gay businessman and hopeful Conservative candidate for Mayor of London said:

‘Gay males don’t realize it, but when you start to dissemble, and ask them the questions that are multiple choice, they’re Tory [Conservative]. But you were obliged to stand on the left and throw rocks at the right.’

I have a few issues with that statement.

February 25, 2015

Don’t ask the Oscars to care about us. Just stop caring about the Oscars

With the pomp and circumstance of the weekend’s Oscar extravaganza quickly fading it’s time for the annual deluge of op-eds and finger wagging about the lack of diversity at the Academy Awards.

The din of outrage over what attributes the winners have (or should have) becomes more intense every year. 2015 marked the year that conversations about minority representation finally drowned out the red carpet scrutiny over who-wore-who. Some colours are simply never as in as others during awards season.

February 18, 2015

Tatchell was among 130 who opposed the 'no platforming' of feminist speakers, some of whom have offensive views on trans people. Trans activists were not happy with Tatchell for appearing to support these people

Transgender issues have become the latest free speech battleground.

A letter to last Sunday’s Observer expressed alarm at attempts by some trans activists to ban their feminist critics from speaking at universities and other institutions.

It was signed by over 100 left-wing, feminist and human rights activists, including myself.

February 12, 2015

As Supreme Court gets ready to rule on same-sex marriage nationwide, Reverend Irene Monroe pays tribute to Mildred Loving - the woman that proved love knows no race or gender

On this upcoming Valentine’s Day, many LGBTI activists continue to struggle for same-sex marriage in their states.

But as Alabama has become the 37th state to recognize marriage equality, I must pay tribute to the African American woman Mildred Loving who fought to marry her white male partner.

She is one of my heroes for Black History Month.

Back in 1958, the couple violated the nations rule that banned a couple of two different races from marrying.

February 6, 2015

Sluts or social pariahs searching for something more?

Why does every gay chat conversation on social media start with the topic of sex?

That’s the question someone put to me a few days ago.

After all, my friend reasoned, it doesn’t happen that way when a straight guy and girl start to chat.

They do not ask each other in their first conversation, let alone the first line of their conversation, ‘What do you like in bed? What is the size of your cock? How long can you go for? Top? Bottom? Versatile?’ or any one of the many other, sometimes much stranger, questions gay guys fire out or get quizzed on.

February 4, 2015

It is not the post-racial era we dreamed of

Black History Month (which kicked off on 1 February) became a national annual observance in 1926. The goal of the month is to honor and celebrate the achievements of African-Americans.

If Dr Carter Woodson, the Father of Black History, were alive today, he would be proud of the tenacity of the African American community. It speaks volumes about our survival here on this American soil, after centuries of slavery, decades of lynching and years of racial profiling.

February 3, 2015

Mural was approved, then banned

The kiss. For some reason, it, and the experience of giving and getting one, is an essential aspect of the high school experience. It is the high school kisses that create the milestones to adulthood, the firsts we will remember our entire lives and in truth, the magic of our adolescence.

January 29, 2015

Ethan Regal, a gay man living in Nigeria, writes about his experiences growing up and living in one of the worst places in the world to be gay

When I was a young boy in Lagos, Nigeria, I had a mysterious, unexplainable tingling sensation whenever I saw an attractive guy. The stories I heard regarding romance involved a boy and girl. So I thought to myself: maybe I’m a girl deep down. That seemed like the only explanation for my attraction.

I kept thinking that perhaps God made a mistake. Perhaps I was meant to be a girl. I never had issues with my body. I wasn’t interested in getting rid of my penis or growing breasts. I just thought that in order to be with a boy I have to be a girl.

January 28, 2015

Buzz around TV's Cucumber, Banana, Tofu has raised the sensitive issue of male erection problems

When you stop and think about it, erections are fairly fascinating things. When a guy is sexually aroused, blood flows into the chambers within his penis, engorging it, making it hard.

When you’re in the mood, ready for action, the clothes have come off and it’s go-time, getting an erection shouldn’t really be something you’re consciously thinking about – your body knows what to do.

However, for a lot of guys it’s not that simple.

January 26, 2015

The truth about drugs, addiction and decriminalization will surprise you, writes Hari

A few weeks ago, somebody asked me a strange question, about how my sexuality informs my attitude to drugs, and at first I was a little bit offended.

It is now a century since drugs were first banned in the US and Britain, and as this anniversary approached, I set off on a three-year, 30,000-mile journey to try to understand what the War on Drugs is really all about.

January 21, 2015

Generations and races come together to share the lessons of the civil rights film

If Bayard Rustin were alive today he certainly would have been proud on Monday as the LGBTI communities held discussions on the Oscar-nominated civil right movie Selma.

Flashback Sunday, a social group for LGBTQ Elders of Color and their friends, and the Hispanic Black Gay Coalition (HBGC) convened the event between generations of LGBTI activists. Folks who were active during 1960’s civil rights era and today’s Black Lives Matter activists met at Emmanuel Church in Boston on Monday, as a way of honoring the 29th anniversary of Martin Luther King Day.

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 2, 2015

'Your absence has broken our hearts. The love for you was in the world all along. It sat quiet, waiting'

I will never forget the stunning image of Matthew Shepard’s hate crime. A young beautiful human was beaten, tortured and left for dead in an unthinkable violation. It shocked me when I saw the images, and I was not alone. Matthew’s fate left and indelible impression that has become part of our collective culture to this day.

December 31, 2014

For too long LGBTIs have had their identities hidden and their loved ones excluded from their funerals

It is heartbreaking enough that Leelah Alcorn appears to have taken her life on Sunday (28 December) because she felt rejected by the family and community in which she grew up.

And it is sad, yet not entirely surprising, that in announcing her death, her family compounded that rejection. They identified her by a name and a gender that she clearly discarded.

December 29, 2014

Money will win over morality

The moral case for supporting LGBTI rights isn’t persuading global policymakers.

We have proved discrimination and abuse against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people is a violation of human rights. But around 80 countries still criminalize homosexuality and most others don’t give LGBTI people equality or protection.

The moral argument alone won’t win. It’s time we spoke to world leaders in a language they understand.

December 24, 2014

And why they have to hide

Years ago when my partner and I were deciding whether or not to have kids, we made two lists. The first was a ‘cons’ list. On that list were all the pragmatic reasons why it would be difficult. I was in my forties – too old? There were college savings, education concerns. We would have four mouths to feed.

Then we decided to make the ‘pros’ list. My partner started out: ‘The looks on our children’s faces on Christmas morning.’ I ripped up the ‘cons’ list.

December 24, 2014

‘Being queer makes me no less black or Christian’

The Christmas season is a difficult time of year for me.

I am always bothered by our culture’s egregious forms of commercialism – and its either lack of or its anemic recognition of other forms for religious holidays like Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Ramadan, and the celebration of the winter solstice during this season.

December 22, 2014

Governing party vehemently opposes marriage equality and controls both the presidency and the legislature

The judiciary committee of Taiwan’s legislature today (22 December) held a hearing on two same-sex marriage legislations proposed by members of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

This marked the first time a legislative debate on same-sex marriage was conducted in Taiwan, as the governing party, the Chinese Nationalist Party or Kuomintang (KMT) vehemently opposes marriage equality and blocked all efforts in the past.

December 19, 2014

She used to be a homophobe. Now she’s a hero

My first interaction with Kathy Baldock, the founder and director of Canyon Walker Connections, was in 2012.

December 17, 2014

If so, it’s never been who you think

One would think that an all-inclusive seasonal greeting emblematic of our nation’s religious diversity would be embraced by us all with two simple words — Happy Holidays!

For the past decade now, when this season rolls around we can always count on a yearly kerfuffle concerning this holiday.

Last year ‘The Kelly File’, Fox News Channel host Megyn Kelly ignited a conflagration when she stated that both Jesus and Santa Claus are white.

December 15, 2014

Transgender people in Taiwan still must undergo psychiatric evaluations and surgery before legally changing gender

In December of last year, the Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW) in Taiwan recommended that transgender individuals wishing to change their genders should not have to go through psychiatric evaluations nor be subjected to surgery removing their sex organs.

December 12, 2014

Nigerian pastor explains why Jesus loves gays but African Christians do not

To win the struggle to change men and women’s hearts and minds, one must consider what the Bible calls strongholds – ideologies, views or thinking that have been held on to for a long time.

When that thinking is wrong, the challenge is great.

Many African strongholds include the view that homosexuality is paganistic and paganism is bad. The second is that gay white men want to pollute black children (see the justifications for Uganda's anti-gay laws).

December 11, 2014

Edwin Sesange, gay rights activist, is pleading with the world to help send messages of hope to persecuted LGBTIs

Gay Ugandans are being promised a gift this Christmas, and it is definitely worse than coal.

Rebecca Kadaga, the Speaker of Ugandan parliament, has promised once again to wrap up a legislation so horrific that it'll give the population of what is essentially a license to persecute, discriminate, torture, engage in mob violence and worse of all kill LGBTIs with impunity.

With the Anti-Homosexuality Act dead, lawmakers are hoping to pass the Prohibition of Promotion of Unnatural Sexual Practices Bill before the end of this year.