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December 19, 2014

Contribution will help to advance LGBTI equality in Arkansas, Mississippi and his native Alabama

Openly gay Apple CEO Tim Cook has made a 'generous' personal donation to a gay rights initiative in the American South.

His contribution will go to Human Rights Campaign (HRC) to help advance LGBTI equality in Arkansas, Mississippi and Cook's native Alabama.

The advocacy organization did not disclose the amount but said it was 'generous.'

Cook said 'I'm in,' when he first learned about the One America Project.

December 19, 2014

Trailblazing activists reach out to queer community in Southeastern Europe

It has been called the most anti-gay country in Europe – after last year's European Social Survey (ESS) indicated that over 53% of people there opposed homosexuality.

However, a gay rights group in Albania has broken boundaries by opening the first LGBTI shelter in the country.

The project, founded by queer gay rights groups Alenaca LGBT and ProLGBT, will help queer victims of violence, domestic abuse and homelessness.

December 16, 2014

This happened in February, and the effects are still being felt today

The Sochi Winter Olympics 2014 will go down in history as the event that made gay rights not just an issue to discuss, but the center of a civil rights firestorm.

Even though it happened in February, the reverberations of the protests are still being felt as we reach the end of the year.

December 12, 2014

Marchers denounce the EU's withdrawal of aid over the country's anti-gay law

Thousands of Gambians on Tuesday (9 December) marched through the capital Banjul denouncing the EU for withdrawing foreign aid over the country's new anti-gay law.

President Yahya Jammeh joined protesters, who held placards and banners reading, ‘Homosexuality is inhuman,’ ‘Even cows don’t do it!’ and ‘Homosexuality is forbidden in Islam.’

The European Union withdrew millions of euros in aid after the west African country passed a law to punish 'aggravated homosexuality' with life imprisonment in September.

December 12, 2014

Take Me To Church has been streamed more than 87 million times

A protest song against Russia's 'gay propaganda' laws is Spotify's most streamed single in 2014.

Take Me To Church by Irish singer Hozier has had more than 87 million streams to date on the music platform.

Also nominated for Song of the Year at the Grammys, the gay rights anthem has also logged more than 40 million views for the video version on YouTube.

The video shows a young gay couple fleeing an angry mob in Russia.

December 9, 2014

Trans woman and her wife want to change attitudes in Russia

A Russian gay couple who married in the fiercest way possible has reflected on their wedding and the consequences it could have the country.

Alyona Furvosa and Irina Shumilova married, both in stunning white gowns, in front of family and friends at a St Petersburg registry office last month.

The trans woman and her cisgender bride were allowed to marry through a loophole, with the city technically viewing the union as a heterosexual marriage.

December 9, 2014

Bill allows the refusal of goods and services on religious grounds

A Northern Ireland legislator is seeking to add a 'conscience clause' to equality laws after a Christian bakery was sued for refusing to make a gay marriage cake.

Paul Givan yesterday (8 December) introduced his Freedom of Conscience Bill to the legislative assembly that would allow those with strongly held religious beliefs to deny access to goods, facilities and services on the grounds of sexual orientation.

'The dilemma facing people of faith is the choice of violating their sincerely held beliefs or going out of business,' he told the legislature.

December 8, 2014

New rules imply that any host city will have to prove they do not actively discriminate against gay people

The Olympics has taken a huge step forward in protecting gay rights.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) approved Proposal 14 of the Olympic Agenda 2020 to include non-discrimination with regard to sexual orientation in Principle 6 at a vote in Monaco today (8 December).

Principle 6 originally read: 'Any form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race, religion, politics, gender or otherwise is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic Movement.'

December 8, 2014

First time in a decade Nikolay Alexeyev is compensated for his activism

A prominent LGBTI activist has been awarded a paltry $55 in damages after the west Russian city of Kostroma banned a pride parade he organized and two protests against the country's anti-gay law.

A district court Wednesday (3 November) ordered local authorities pay 3,000 rubles ($55) in moral damages to Nikolai Alexeyev, the first time in a decade of activism he has been compensated for moral damages.

December 5, 2014

Law professor says 'you cannot make a human wrong a human right'

Civil rights activists yesterday (4 December) protested a speech by an anti-gay law professor at a Human Rights Day seminar hosted by the EU Delegation to Singapore.

Several activists held a rainbow flag and placards reading 'LGBT rights are human rights' while Thio Li-ann delivered her speech.

Jean Chong, co-founder of LGBTI advocacy group Sayoni, told GSN that the silent protest 'was to address the elephant in the room and civil society’s disagreement to the EU’s insistence on inviting Thio in spite of her views on LGBTQ people.'

December 3, 2014

'Same-sex marriage is simply not possible under this government'

Greek justice minister Haralambos Athanasiou yesterday categorically said gay marriage was impossible under the current government despite criticism from the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

'This is a country that respects traditions, respects the nature of man and [gay] marriage is simply not possible, at least under this government and this ministry,' he told Mega TV.

'I will not discuss it; I will not even consider it.'

December 1, 2014

Christian groups oppose a clause banning LGBTI discrimination

The Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) yesterday announced a citywide human rights charter would be postponed indefinitely after a series of anti-gay protests.

The last six public hearings on the charter were protested by Christian groups that oppose a clause banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or sexual identity.

December 1, 2014

See what the gay blood donation situation is like in countries across the world

November 28, 2014

City in Gujarat, India to hold trailblazing first LGBTI celebration this weekend

Baroda is to host its first ever gay pride celebration this weekend.

It is the first event of its kind in the city (also known as Vadodara), and the third in the Indian State of Gujarat, after similar events in Surat and West Bengal in the last year.

Organisers have said in a statement that they hope to 'provide a platform for LGBT expression, spread awareness about the issue and demand equal rights,' in a country where gay sex is illegal.

November 28, 2014

Vitaly Cherkasov was accosted by a group of men after leaving a courthouse where he had been defending activist Kirill Kalugin

The Moscow Times reports that a human rights lawyer has been attacked whilst leaving a St. Petersburg court.

The lawyer, Vitaly Cherkasov, was employed to defend an LGBT activist and says that one of his assailants is the aide to a local anti-gay lawmaker.

November 26, 2014

'Treating lesbians and gays as second-class citizens is following old tradition'

Jason Mraz on Monday (24 November) spoke up for LGBTI rights while on tour in conservative Korea.

During an interview on the popular JTBC News Room telecast, conversation turned to human rights.

'You openly support for same-sex marriage. What would you say to the opposites?,' asked leading news anchor Sohn Suk-hee.

'We're always evolving, ever-changing, growing, expanding, and to treat lesbians and gays... as second-class citizens, as non-equals, is following old education, is following old tradition,' Mraz said.

November 26, 2014

And he didn't even need to unwrap it

The rainbow could be seen as a representing two main concepts: the gay rights movement and a 'blessing' from God.

So one lesbian politician thought of the perfect gift to give to Pope Francis: a rainbow scarf.

Austrian Green MP Ulrike Lunacek, the gay Vice President of the European Parliament, gave the leader of the Catholic Church his early Christmas present yesterday (25 November).

'Today I handed Pope Francis a rainbow scarf for gays, lesbians, and for peace,' Lunacek proudly said.

November 25, 2014

Faith-based book equates homosexuality to 'pederasty' and 'bestiality'

Atlanta fire chief Kelvin Cochran has been suspended for a month without pay for distributing a self-published anti-gay book to his subordinates.

In the book Who Told You That You Were Naked, he identified himself as a 'devout Christian man' whose first priority as Atlanta Fire Department (AFD) chief was 'to cultivate its culture to the glory of God.'

One passage equates homosexuality to 'pederasty' and 'bestiality' and another describes gay sex as one of several 'vile, vulgar and inappropriate ways which defile their body-temple and dishonor God.'

November 25, 2014

A video ad supporting LGBTI rights in Lithuania can only air after 11pm under the anti-gay law

Lithuania psychologists have claimed gay propaganda laws brought in to 'protect' children are actually harming them.

A social video ad about LGBTI rights on television was banned from airing before 11pm at night by broadcasters, saying it would violate the law 'protecting children'.

The Union of Lithuanian Psychologists have claimed censorship of this kind, seen in many countries including Russia, is what harms young people.

November 24, 2014

He was lured on a 'date' by a man, taken to a police station and held there as the authorities ruined his life

A Cameroon man is facing jail after police forcibly outed him as gay to his friends and family.

The 22-year-old, identified as A.H, was lured on an alleged 'date' by a Facebook friend who he had been talking to for around three months online.

Once he went to meet the other man, A.H was taken to the police station in the Ekounou district of Yaounde where he was arrested on accusations of sexual harassment.

November 21, 2014

City government is mulling an anti-gay hate law

The Seoul Municipal Government (SMG) yesterday (20 November) was forced to postpone a hearing on gay rights after 200 Christian protesters stormed city hall.

The hearing was called to gather opinions for the drafting of a Charter of Human Rights for Citizens in Seoul.

However, experts are divided on whether the law should include a ban on discrimination against LGBTI people.

November 21, 2014

Harvey Milk the Opera in Concert gets Australian premiere at epic gay culture fest

Melbourne's gay culture extravaganza Midsumma Festival has announced a stellar line up for its January 2015 outing – including the hotly-anticipated Australian premiere of Harvey Milk the Opera in Concert.

Taking place between 18 January to 8 February, the festival will include everything from fringe theatre and film screenings to club nights and panel debates.

November 21, 2014

Be gay, but no PDA

Does two men or two women kissing in public make you uncomfortable? If it does, you're not alone.

While gay rights might be sweeping across the western world, public displays of affection between two people of the same gender still gives people the ick.

A report published by the American Sociological Review suggests while Americans are happy for gay people to have rights, they are less happy to have that gayness shoved down their throats - figuratively speaking.

November 14, 2014

'It has been a long and arduous journey towards recognition and we are relieved that the court has protected our rights'

A gay and lesbian group has won the right to exist in a country where it is illegal to be gay today (14 November).

Botswana's High Court ruled in the landmark legal case the government had acted unconstitutionally when they blocked the group, Legabibo (Lesbians, Gays, and Bisexuals of Botswana), from registering.

'Lesbians, gays and bisexuals have long strived to be able to form an organisation which can support them and be their voice on matters that affect them,' the group's Caine Youngman told reporters.