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April 2, 2015

The Arctic destinations of Narvik and Tromsø offer unique opportunities to experience the indigenous Sami culture of the region.

The Sami are the indigenous people of the Arctic region that covers the northern parts of Norway, Sweden, Finland, and the Kola Peninsula of Russia.

Traditionally, the Sami have been masters of coastal fishing, fur trapping, and sheep herding, but they are best known as the reindeer herders of these lands.

The Sami trace their history in this region for at least 5,000 years.

March 18, 2015

Chasing the Northern Lights in Norway.

Norway is a surprisingly big country. I'd been to Oslo before, on a city break a few years ago, but that seems a world away from the nothern city of Tromsø.

Tromsø is known as the capital of the Arctic – surrounded by spectacular fjords and mountains. Throughout the decades this has been the gateway for expeditions into the Arctic regions.

March 8, 2015

A cold-water swim kicks off birthday celebrations in London

A mild Spring day in London and I was up (relatively) early to get to the Parliament Hill ponds in Hampstead Heath.

It was my friend Dan's 30th birthday. He is a mad keen swimmer so had decided to kick-start celebrations with a swim in the men's pond at Parliament Hill. 

March 6, 2015

A Vice President at Bank of America Merill Lynch, Docherty reflects on the success of the organization’s Ally program in fostering an environment of diversity and inclusion

Bringing my whole self to work

I think it’s fair to say that when people think of financial services they don’t automatically think of it as a progressive sector for diversity and inclusion.

However, in my experience valuing people and equality is at its heart. The sector is one of the most diverse and its inherent global nature means that I am constantly meeting new and different people.

At Bank of America Merrill Lynch we have a saying that the business wholeheartedly embraces – ‘bring my whole self to work’.

February 25, 2015

Now retired, the former Vice President with JPMorgan Chase recalls coming out to his staff

I started working at The First National Bank of Chicago in December 1979. I'd been out since 1974, living in the suburbs and working as a counselor. I saw moving to and working in Chicago as steps toward living more openly around people like me.

In the early 70s, I'd worked at a bank and understood the business and culture. Banks thought of themselves as ‘families’—trusted institutions that treated employees with respect and ensured they had a long and secure future. Getting back into banking was like reconnecting with an old friend.

February 25, 2015

Hodgson, a reporting analyst for Bank of America Merrill Lynch, reflects on how well her colleagues responded when she began the transition to her true gender role

I’ve been at Bank of America Merrill Lynch for nine years, but my ‘whole self’ has been at work for less than a third of this time.

I work as a reporting analyst in the bank’s Data Warehouse team in Chester, generating data for the Collections Department and working with customers who have fallen behind with their credit card payments. My job is to essentially ‘make sense’ of various numerical data and I enjoy it immensely.

February 24, 2015

Queer group protests the commercialization of LGBTI rights

Pink paint was thrown over two police stations and three banks in Auckland Monday (23 February) night in a second 'pinkwashing' attack.

Queers Against Injustice claimed responsibility for a similar vandal attack on a GAYTM last week.

The group accused ANZ of commercializing LGBTI rights after the bank covered four ATMs with rhinestones and renamed them GAYTMs.

February 22, 2015

The group says they targeted ANZ Bank's GAYTM to protest the company’s 'pinkwashing', 'commercialization' of the Auckland Pride Festival and treatment of their workers

What is thought to be a homophobic attack on an 'GAYTM' which was installed on Ponsonby Road by ANZ Bank to celebrate Auckland Pride Festival this month may not be homophobic after all.

The GAYTM was reportedly vandalized on Thursday night.

ANZ New Zealand twitted a photo early on Friday morning saying, 'We were sad to see our NZ-designed #gaytmnz has been vandalised overnight. Clean up is in progress.'

Many expressed their objection and disgust at the vandalism online calling it 'shocking, intolerant, disappointing.'

February 19, 2015

The victim was in his 40s and the two attackers are believed to be 20 and 22

Two thugs in their early 20s beat up a man in his 40s with a metal pole and forced him into performing a sex act on them in London.

Police have said the brutal late night attack began outside East Ham tube station when the victim told his attackers he didn't have any cigarettes.

The pair punched him multiple times, robbing his backpack, ID and bank cards before dragging him past shocked members of the public to a cash machine.

When the victim couldn't withdraw any money, the assailants dragged him to a nearby park.

February 6, 2015

Rhinestone-covered cash machines print 'out and proud' on receipts

A New Zealand bank has transformed four of its most prominent ATMs into rhinestone-covered GAYTMs in support of diversity and inclusion.

The GAYTMs, which were by introduced by ANZ Australia last year to celebrate the famous Sydney Mardi Gras and quickly became a sensation on social media, were commissioned in New Zealand as part of the bank’s diversity program.

Antonia Watson, chief financial officer and ANZ Pride Network executive
sponsor, said celebrating diversity was not only the right thing but also made good business sense.

January 28, 2015

Got an apology and £500 payment in return

A UK bank has accused a woman of fraud just because she is trans.

The Financial Ombudsman Service has warned the biggest banks in the UK to ensure they properly handle sensitive situations.

For example, the dispute resolution body confused a female customer's gender reassignment with fraud blocking her credit card.

A few days before the account was suspended, the woman Ms B gave the bank a ring. Confirming her identity, she was told her address couldn't be changed.

January 28, 2015

Got an apology and £500 payment in return

A UK bank has accused a woman of fraud just because she is trans.

The Financial Ombudsman Service has warned the biggest banks in the UK to ensure they properly handle sensitive situations.

For example, the dispute resolution body confused a female customer's gender reassignment with fraud blocking her credit card.

A few days before the account was suspended, the woman Ms B gave the bank a ring. Confirming her identity, she was told her address couldn't be changed.

January 26, 2015

Ringleader owns the Vietnamese edition of UK publication Attitude

Vietnamese police Friday (23 January) arrested a gay magazine owner in Ho Chi Minh City for running an online gambling ring worth 1 trillion Vietnamese dong ($46.88m).

Nine others were arrested in connection to the Philippines-based website 12bet.com.

To Cong Hung, 33, allegedly managed operations in the south east Asian country for several months and is also the owner of the Vietnamese edition of Attitude, the leading gay magazine in the UK.

January 20, 2015

'Expect dead bodies if you continue to provocate', the politician warns

A Lithuanian politician has warned a gay group that it is 'playing with fire' and its activities could lead to a massacre similar to what happened in Paris.

Algirdas Vaclovas Patackas, previously of the Way of Courage political party, told the leader of gay rights group LGL to expect 'dead bodies' if they continue to 'provocate'.

He was referring to the tragic killings in France earlier this month, where 12 people in the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo were killed by extremists.

January 19, 2015

Head of UK banking says professionals have a 'personal duty to come out' 

The chief executive of HSBC UK has said that being gay helped him climb the career ladder at the world's second largest bank.

António Simões took the helm of the bank's UK division in 2012 and last week he topped the Out at Work list of the most influential LGBTI people in business.

Praising the City's tolerance, he joked that being gay was less likely to have held him back than being a '39-year-old, short, bald, Portuguese.'

December 15, 2014

The UK government have been accused of being 'blind' to the needs of the trans community

Trans people are furious at the UK government's new electoral registration system, forcing them to provide a previous name in order to be eligible to vote.

The new online voter registration system means that trans individuals cannot register to vote unless they provide false information or they out themselves publicly with no guarantee their data will be protected under the Gender Recognition Act 2004.

Rolled out in October of this year, the new system was implemented over concerns individuals not entitled to vote might register with the intention of doing so.

December 4, 2014

Faithful Word Baptist Church pastor Steven Anderson says HIV is God’s judgement on LGBTI people and that ‘if you executed the homos like God recommends you wouldn’t have all this AIDS running rampant’

A Baptist pastor at an Arizona church has gone on a bizarre rant after being incensed that his local bank had decided to put up decorations to mark World AIDS Day this year - saying the solution to the HIV epidemic is to kill all gay people.

In a video of one of his sermons posted to YouTube, Faithful Word Baptist Church pastor Steven Anderson says he believes that governments are wasting billions of dollars trying to cure HIV when he ‘actually discovered the cure for AIDS.’

November 24, 2014

India recriminalized homosexuality last year

Up to 2,000 people yesterday (23 November) protested India's anti-gay laws at Bangalore pride, the first since the country recriminalized homosexuality in December last year.

After an hour delay, hundreds of people set off from the city railway station for the sixth Bengaluru Pride March and Karnataka Queer Habba in India's third largest city, in Karnataka state.

Unlike previous years, the parade was redirected through the conservative Malleswaram district and most marchers decided not to wear eye masks or cover their faces, despite the law.

November 22, 2014

Friends of Jennifer Gable were angry to see her in a suit and with short hair at her funeral

Friends of a transgender woman who died suddenly were shocked when she was presented at her funeral in an open casket as a man.

Jennifer Gable, a 32-year-old trans woman from Idaho, US died suddenly of an aneurism on October 9 while working as a customer service co-ordinator for Wells Fargo bank.

At the funeral in Twin Falls, Idaho her friends were shocked to see her in an open casket with short hair and dressed in a suit.

Friend Stacy Dee Hudson took to Facebook to voice her opinion.

‘I am disgusted,’ she wrote.

November 14, 2014

Muslim group calls for a boycott of AmBank over its ties with a gay-friendly US bank

AmBank has denied promoting LGBTI rights in Malaysia after a Muslim group called for a boycott of the bank over its ties with a gay-friendly US Bank.

The bank today refuted allegations that it had deceived Muslims by signing a stock purchases agreement with MetLife in December last year.

'AmBank Group is not involved in promoting or encouraging LGBT practices as reported in the media,' it said in a statement translated by the Star.

November 10, 2014

LGBTI business summit in London hears legal and medical professions are struggling with diversity

Banks who look after their gay, bi and trans staff are more likely to be honest with customers, says the chairman of the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

John Griffith-Jones, chairman of the FCA, was speaking today (10 November) at the Out on the Street Summit in London, targeted at banks and financial services firms wanting to develop LGBTI diversity.

He said diversity and inclusion must be on the agenda for banks wanting to repair their reputation after the global financial crisis.

October 29, 2014

Ex-wife Lara Embry gets lump sum of $1.2 million, half of Glee and other TV royalties and more

Jane Lynch is now officially divorced from Dr. Lara Embry and it was a costly split for the two-time Emmy winner.

Embry will receive a lump sum of $1.2 million, spaced over over a 2-year period, half of several bank and trust accounts, totaling $847,485, half of a 401K totaling $315,079 and half of all royalties from Lynch's TV appearances, including Glee, according to legal documements obtained by TMZ.

October 2, 2014

It’s thought that someone at the Ohio sperm bank misread the label on the vial, resulting in the white woman receiving sperm from an African-American donor despite having requested a Caucasian sample

A white woman in Ohio is suing a sperm bank because she says staff mistakenly gave her vials of semen from an African-American donor after she had requested samples from a white man.

Jennifer Cramblett used the services of the Downers Grove-based Midwest Sperm Bank in 2011 and successfully became pregnant.

She is now raising her two-year-old mixed-race daughter with her same-sex partner, Amanda Zinkon, in Uniontown, Ohio.

September 5, 2014

One victim handed over £15,000 ($25,000, €19,000) to the blackmailers

Two British men who used the app Grindr to lure and blackmail gay men will be jailed for four years each.

Nathanael Foster and Adam Webb, both 26 from Gloucester in South West England, were charged with two counts of blackmail.

Gloucester Crown Court heard how the pair trapped two men, with one victim even handing over £15,000 ($25,000, €19,000) to the pair.

The victim had saved the money and drew it out from the bank to give to the men after they stayed all night in his home to ensure he paid up.