June 26, 2017

Singapore Resist While Vietnam is Become One of The Most LGBT Friendly Countries in Asia


 Vietnam Celebrates under the rain





LGBT rights in the global financial capital are murky at best, while Vietnam has been pegged as one of the most LGBT-friendly countries in Asia.

A global metropole, the small, tropical island of Singapore is the hub of crypto-capitalism: a country flanked by towering skyscrapers that boast of "progress" and "advancement," but where fighting for LGBT rights is still a tall order.
While queer marriages are prohibited, changing one’s gender is allowed — underscoring the country’s schizophrenic policies with regards to sexual rights, which palter about progressivism, but leave much to be desired. 

LGBT activists are gearing up for continued challenges after the government tightened rules this year for the upcoming Pride event, limiting the celebration that is already only allowed to take place once a year.
From ambiguity about their legal rights to facing censorship in the media, the terrain of LGBT equality in the global financial capital is nonexistent at worst, and murky at best.
Legal ambiguity and inequality for LGBT Singaporeans
For bisexual lawyer Indulekshmi Rajeswari, the country “does not recognize LGBT rights at all.”
“In fact, sex between mutually consenting men is still criminalized, through the infamous section 377A of the Penal Code,” she told teleSUR.
“There are no anti-discrimination laws in any sphere, including housing, employment, healthcare and so on. LGBT couples and families live in a legal limbo,” she continued.
According to Rajeswari, while queer and trans people pay the same taxes, they are not given the same access to government housing or tax breaks that “married, heterosexual couples take for granted.”
The “vocal but small religious right and the government’s interest in maintaining the status quo”, she explained, explains why LGBT Singaporeans continue to live in a state of legal ambiguity and inequality.
“Same but Different,” the new legal guide
In this arena of muddled rights, comes Rajeswari’s new guide titled, “Same but Different: A Singapore LGBT Legal Guide for Couples & Families.” Set to release July 8, the book will help LGBT Singaporeans navigate their legal rights.
"I knew my friends were asking me because they did not know other LGBT-friendly lawyers," Rajeswari told teleSUR of her inspiration to begin the guide in November 2015.
The crowd-funded project that has a team of 18 volunteers, delves into the "legal ambiguities" surrounding marriage and cohabitation contracts, property, wills and inheritance, medical decisions and children. 
The guidebook, to be published and distributed to LGBT organizations throughout the country, will also be made available for free online, filling a "much-needed resource gap" for social workers and other LGBT advocates alike.
"For example, we could not find any publicly available guidance on what is required to change one's gender legally," pressed Rajeswari.
"This is one of the many examples of the type of legal ambiguities that LGBT people in Singapore face. It is a type of ambiguity that is often hidden or rarely discussed," she said to teleSUR.
Parties versus policies
The guidebook is to come in handy as the community faces ongoing assaults on their rights.
For the past 8 years, LGBT Singaporeans have congregated in Hong Lim Park, “the only venue in Singapore where public protests are allowed," for Pink Dot, the annual Pride rally.
But this year’s event has been mired in controversy — with recent changes to the country’s Public Order Act barring foreigners from attending.
Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam told Parliament last month that the changes were made to prevent foreigners from “advancing political causes in Singapore.”
“As a government, we don’t take a position for or against Pink Dot, but we do take a position against foreign involvement,” he had added. “The point is this is a matter for Singaporeans, Singapore companies, Singapore entities to discuss.” 
For Rajeswari, Pink Dot and other public displays of LGBT pride illuminate only a tiny reality.
“How gay-friendly or trans-friendly Singapore is, depends on who you are and what you want out of life. There are gay parties, there is a relatively vibrant scene and most people are not afraid of being arrested for being gay. If you just want to party and have a good time, Singapore might seem great to you,” she said.
“However, we are not allowed to have Pride parades (except the annual Pink Dot gathering). Freedom of speech and freedom of association is in general very curtailed, so that applies to the LGBT community too. If you want any kind of rights, then Singapore starts looking less attractive,” she added.
Vietnam, one of the most LGBT-friendly places in Asia
In contrast, elsewhere on the continent, Vietnam has emerged as one of the most LGBT-friendly country advancing on a number of fronts in the last decade, leading NBC News to say in January 2015, “On gay rights, Vietnam is now more progressive than America."
That year, its ruling Communist Party of Vietnam removed a ban on same-sex marriage and also allowed those that undergo gender reassignment surgery to register under their preferred gender. At a hearing leading up to the legalization, Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Viet Tien proposed that same-sex marriage be made legal immediately, "As human beings, homosexuals have the same rights as everyone else to live, eat, love, and be loved," according to the Atlantic.
It was a decade prior to these achievements that Nguyen Hai Yen, searching for community and acceptance in a place still mired by homophobia and transphobia, turned to the internet.
“I became the administrator of a lesbian online forum,” Yen told NBC OUT. “The internet community was a safe space for us to meet, so we met each other and discussed things like dating or coming out.”
The year was 2004, and while there was an emerging network of online forums and websites for lesbians, gay men, gay teens and transgender women that had a large following, they remained separate and disconnected.
“The issue of rights for the broader LGBTQ community was never mentioned,” said Yen.
But things changed in 2008, when the Institute for Studies of Society, Economics and Environment, a civil society organization in Hanoi, invited Yen and other online forum administrators to discuss the idea of building a more focused community.
“iSEE decided it should be the community’s voice that brought up their own issues,” Yen explained. 
March for marriage equality in 2015.
Just a few, short years later, Vietnam is set to celebrate its fifth year of pride celebrations in 36 provinces across the country.
“The first generation of leaders is now in their late 20s or 30s,” iSEE Chairman Le Quang Binh said. “They are (now) building the second generation of leaders … (who) are young, passionate, committed and daring.”
Still, despite the progress, the LGBTQ community still has its fair share of challenges that stem from deep-seated prejudices against them. But the movement fighting that has left even those involved with it for years, stunned. 
“The LGBTQ movement in Vietnam has had this really strange and unprecedented opportunity to grow so fast — it is head spinning,” Nga L.H. Nguyen, who joined the movement four years ago and is now on the organizing board of Viet Pride, told NBC OUT.
LGBT Singapore resists
Back in Singapore, Rajeswari is hopeful, recounting victories elsewhere in the region. Despite the battles, she notes the resilience of her communities.
“We have an LGBT-affirming counseling agency, Oogachaga, who do the very important work of helping LGBT people with their mental health and also work related to safe sex. We have organizations such as Sayoni, a queer women’s group, which does a lot of advocacy and welfare work,” she said. “This is not an exhaustive list, but we do indeed have a vibrant scene with lots of group working on their individual concerns.”
“(Our) community continues to be resilient by creating resources to help empower the community,” she told teleSUR.

NY Gov. Cuomo Unveils Monument for The LGBTQ Community




NEW YORK (NEWS10) — Governor Andrew Cuomo unveiled the design for New York’s official monument honoring the LGBT community Sunday morning.
Page from News10.com
Located at the western edge of Greenwich Village in Hudson River Park, the monument honors the LGBT community, those lost in the Orlando Pulse nightclub shooting in June 2016, and “victims of hate, intolerance, and violence.”
Governor Cuomo established the LGBT Memorial Commission in 2016 with the mission to design and build the new memorial. The 10-member commission issued a request for proposals, and weighed the submissions based on a number of criteria including, creativity, originality, quality of artistic composition, and constructability.
The commission named Anthony Goicolea as the artist for the monument.
“This monument will serve as a communal space filled with light, color, and hope where the visitors can sit, mourn, love, and remember for years to come,” said Goicolea.
The governor’s office described the monument:
The site specific design works in harmony with the existing attributes of Hudson River Park and promotes thought and reflection while encouraging people to unite in a communal environment.  It will feature nine modified boulders, some of which are bisected with a clear, laminated, borosilicate-glass with refractory components that act as a prism to create subtle rainbow patterns on the surrounding lawn and nearby objects.
Governor Cuomo says the monument will serve as an enduring symbol of the role New Yorkers play in building a fairer, more just world.
“From Stonewall to marriage equality, New York has always been a beacon for justice and we will never waiver in our commitment to the LGBT community and to creating a more just and inclusive society,” said Governor Cuomo. “This new monument will stand up for those values for generations to come.”

Dignity, Bigotry and Pride







Gay pride marches in New York City, San Francisco and in between this weekend will have plenty of participants — and also protests directed at them from other members of the LGBT community, speaking out against what they see as increasingly corporate celebrations that prioritize the experiences of gay white men and ignore issues facing black and brown LGBT people. 

The protests disrupted other pride events earlier this month. In Washington, D.C., the No Justice No Pride group blocked the parade route. In Columbus, Ohio, four people were arrested after a group set out to protest violence against minority LGBT people and the recent acquittal of a police officer in the shooting death of Philando Castile, a black man, during a traffic stop. 

“Nobody wants to feel dropped in a community that prides itself on diversity,” said Mike Basillas, one of the organizers of the planned New York City protest action by No Justice No Pride.

In Minneapolis, organizers of Sunday’s Twin Cities Pride Parade initially asked the police department to limit participation following the acquittal of police officer Jeronimo Yanez in the death of Castile. But organizers changed their minds after meeting Thursday with Janee Harteau, the city’s openly gay police chief who called the decision divisive and hurtful to LGBT officers.

On Friday, the organizers apologized and said they had neglected to consider other alternatives. They said the officers are welcome to march after all.

In Philadelphia, where racial relations in the LGBT community are beginning to mend after a year of community protests, the introduction of a rainbow flag — the traditional symbol of LGBT unity and diversity — that added black and brown stripes to represent blacks and Latinos has spilled over into a national debate.

The recent flare-up of racial tensions comes as no surprise to Isaiah Wilson, director of external affairs for the National Black Justice Coalition, one of the few national groups focused specially on black LGBT rights.

He said the broader LGBT-rights movement “has been whitewashed” — dominated to a large extent by white gay men.


“Black queer and trans folks have always been there, but our contributions have been devalued,” Wilson said.

He said major LGBT-rights groups need to be frank in discussing the issue of racism, as well as recruiting and supporting nonwhite leaders.

“Until the mainstream LGBT groups address this, we’re not going to move forward and you’ll continue to see this pressure,” Wilson said. “In my opinion, the pressure is good — it has us talking.”

Shannon Minter, a white attorney who is the legal director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, said LGBT people of color were justified in challenging racist aspects of the LGBT-rights movement.

“The real test will be, can the LGBT movement own up to its historic legacy of racism and evolve to be more accountable and inclusive of people of color?” Minter, a transgender man, wondered. “If not, then it will cease to be a major political movement.”

One reason for the tensions, according to some activists, is a racial divide when it comes to the LGBT-rights movement’s agenda. For years, many national groups focused on legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide — a goal achieved in 2015. For many LGBT people of color, there continue to be more pressing issues, such as economic inequality, policing and incarceration.

“In a lot of places, we’re just trying to survive,” said Wilson.

That divide has led to controversy when attempts have been made to address race, as in Philadelphia. The city drew criticism last summer when activists raised concerns that the Gayborhood — the city’s main gay enclave — discriminated against blacks. Gay blacks complained of dress codes banning Timberlands and sweatpants, of not being served in a timely manner at bars and of being stopped and asked for identification at clubs while white customers walked in unbothered.

In January, Philadelphia officials issued a report confirming longstanding racism in the Gayborhood and pledged to penalize businesses that did not make changes. Earlier this month, the city unveiled a new flag meant to be a more inclusive reflection of gay pride, with a black and brown stripe added to the existing rainbow motif. The flag’s introduction stirred heated commentary from supporters as well as those who felt it was interjecting race unnecessarily.

Pride organizers around the country have taken steps to address the criticisms. In San Francisco, Sunday’s pride event will be led by groups including the Bayard Rustin LGBT Club, SF Black Community Matters, African Human Rights, and Bay Area Queer People of Color. In New York City, the march organizers are putting a contingent of groups more focused on protest than celebration at the head of the event.

The LGBT community does need to confront these issues, said Michelle Meow, an Asian-American woman who is board president of San Francisco Pride, and “the pride celebration is a platform for that dialogue to happen.”

New York City spokesman James Fallarino said if there are any disruptions or protests during the event, “We’re going to make sure we do everything in our power to respect the people who are disrupting or protesting and to respect their message.”

___
By DEEPTI HAJELA, Associated Press
Associated Press writers David Crary in New York and Errin Haines Whack in Philadelphia contributed to this report.

Unlike Recent Years Pride Has Been More Resistance Than Celebration



 Turkey



 
Tens of thousands of people waving rainbow flags lined streets for gay pride parades Sunday in coast-to-coast events that took both celebratory and political tones, the latter a reaction to what some see as new threats to gay rights in the Trump era.

In San Francisco, revelers wearing rainbow tutus and boas held signs that read "No Ban, No Wall, Welcome Sisters, and Brothers" while they danced to electronic music at a rally outside City Hall.

Frank Reyes said he and his husband decided to march for the first time in many years because they felt a need to stand up for their rights. The couple joined the "resistance contingent," which led the parade and included representatives from several activist organizations.

"We have to be as visible as possible," said Reyes, wearing a silver body suit and gray and purple headpiece decorated with rhinestones. 

"Things are changing quickly and we have to take a stand and be noticed," Reyes' husband, Paul Brady, added. "We want to let everybody know that we love each other, that we pay taxes and that we're Americans, too."

Activists have been galled by the Trump administration's rollback of federal guidance advising school districts to let transgender students use the bathrooms and locker rooms of their choice. The Republican president also broke from Democratic predecessor Barack Obama's practice of issuing a proclamation in honor of Pride Month.

At the jam-packed New York City parade, a few attendees wore "Make America Gay Again" hats, while one group walking silently in the parade wore "Black Lives Matter" shirts as they held up signs with a fist and with a rainbow background, a symbol of gay pride. Still, others protested potential cuts to heath care benefits, declaring that "Healthcare is an LGBT issue."

"I think this year is even more politically charged, even though it was always a venue where people used it to express their political perspectives," said Joannah Jones, 59, from New York with her wife, Carol Phillips.

She said the parade is televised for the first time gives people a wider audience. "Not only to educate people in general on the diversity of LGBTQ community but also to see how strongly we feel about what's going on in office."

In Chicago, 23-year-old Sarah Hecker was attending her first pride parade, another event that attracted wall-to-wall crowds. "I felt like this would be a way to not necessarily rebel, but just my way to show solidarity for marginalized people in trying times," said Hecker, a marketing consultant who lives in suburban Chicago.

Elected officials also made a stand, among them New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who said his state would continue to lead on equality. Cuomo, a Democrat, on Sunday formally appointed Paul G. Feinman to the New York Court of Appeals, the state's highest court. Feinman is the first openly gay judge to hold the position.

But the pride celebrations also faced some resistance from within the LGBT community itself. Some activists feel the events center on gay white men and are unconcerned with issues including economic inequality and policing.

The divide disrupted some other pride events this month. The No Justice No Pride group blocked the Washington parade's route, and four protesters were arrested at the parade in Columbus, Ohio.

In Minneapolis, organizers of Sunday's Twin Cities Pride Parade initially asked the police department to limit its participation, with the chairwoman saying the sight of uniformed officers could foster "angst and tension and the feeling of unrest" after a suburban officer's acquittal this month in the deadly shooting of Philando Castile, a black man, during a traffic stop.

The city's openly gay police chief called the decision divisive and hurtful to LGBT officers. On Friday, organizers apologized and said the officers were welcome to march.

But anti-police protesters disrupted the parade with chants of: "No justice, no peace, no pride in police" and carried signs reading "Justice for Philando" and "Black Lives Matter."

Meanwhile, pride march organizers have taken steps to address the criticisms about diversity.

Protesters for "Black Lives Matter" also delayed the start of the Seattle parade, parade-goers said.

"The pride celebration is a platform for that dialogue to happen," San Francisco Pride board president Michelle Meow said this week. The large "resistance contingent" leading San Francisco's parade includes groups that represent women, immigrants, African-Americans and others along with LGBT people.

New York parade-goers Zhane Smith-Garris, 20, Olivia Rengifo, 19, and Sierra Dias, 20, all black women from New Jersey, said they did not feel there was inequality in the movement.

"Pride is for gay people in general," Dias said.

There were scattered counter protests and a few disruptions, including a small group in New York urging parade-goers to "repent for their sins." But most attendings were unified in celebration and in standing up against a presidential administration they find unsupportive.

"This year, especially, it's a bit of a different atmosphere," said Grace Cook, a 17-year-old from suburban Chicago who noted the more political tone in this year's parade, including at least one anti-Trump float.

Associated Press writers Rebecca Gibian and Colleen Long in New York and Martha Irvine, an AP national writer in Chicago, contributed to this report.

  Olga R. Rodriguez
Associated Press

Turkey Police Stops Pride March in Istanbul




A plainclothes police officer kicks an LGBT rights activist as Turkish police enforce a ban imposed on the Pride Parade in Istanbul. An estimated 20 people were detained.


 Police in the Turkish city of Istanbul has thwarted attempts by organizers to hold a banned Gay Pride march.
The organizers of the annual event had vowed to press ahead despite the ban by the authorities, who had cited threats from far-right groups.
But police briefly fired rubber bullets to disperse the marchers and detained a number of them.
Homosexuality is not illegal in Turkey - unlike in many Muslim nations - but homophobia remains widespread.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose ruling AK Party is rooted in conservative Islam, has denied wanting to impose traditional religious values, saying he is committed to secularism. But he supports Turks' right to express their religion more openly.
He has been accused of growing authoritarianism in recent years.

'Get used to it'

This is the third year in a row that Turkey's largest city has banned the Gay Pride rally.
The BBC's Mark Lowen, in Istanbul, says the heavy police presence stopped people from entering Istiklal Street, where the rally was scheduled to start.
He says that anybody trying to unfurl a rainbow flag or pass police blockades was prevented from doing so.





A plainclothes police officer kicks a member of a group of LGBT rights activists as Turkish police prevent them from going ahead with a gay pride parade on June 25, 2017, in Istanbul, a day after it was banned by the city governor's office.
 BULENT KILIC/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

 Faced with armed police and water-cannon trucks, the marchers had no chance, our correspondent says. 
The Hurriyet newspaper said that at least 10 people had been detained.
The Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf tweeted that a Dutch cameraman, Bram Janssen, was among those arrested.
Earlier on Sunday, the Gay Pride organizing committee had issued a statement saying: "We are not scared, we are here, we will not change.
"You are scared, you will change and you will get used to it. We are here again to show that we will fight in a determined fashion for our pride." 
For more than a decade the event passed off peacefully - tens of thousands used to throng Istiklal street here.
But now, for the third year running, it's been banned, officially because of threats from ultra-nationalist groups, but critics believe that's a convenient scapegoat for a conservative government that doesn't approve of the parade.
Representatives of some European governments were here to support the cause, stressing that Turkey, still a candidate for EU membership, must respect minority rights.
But the criticism is likely to fall on deaf ears among an increasingly conservative government. For long, Turkey was a haven of gay rights in the Middle East. But the Islamist-leaning President Erdogan is accused by critics of molding Turkey in his image and ostracizing the secular, liberal side of the country.

Lara Ozlen, from the organizing committee, told AFP news agency on Saturday: "It is obvious that a peaceful march is part of our constitutional right.
"It's been known for years. Instead of protecting us, to say 'do not march' just because some will be disturbed is undemocratic."
On Sunday, the Dutch consulate in Istanbul unfurled a large rainbow flag in support of the Pride event.
In addition to citing the threats of far-right groups, city officials said they had not received a formal request to hold the march - a claim denied by the organizers.
This year's event also coincides with the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and the start of the Eid al-Fitr festival.
Last year, Riot police fired tear gas and plastic bullets after transgender rights activists gathered in Istanbul - in defiance of a ban on marching.
BBC Istanbul

June 25, 2017

Manning with a New Life Recovering from Government Jailing






Ever since Chelsea Manning was dumped into a military solitary confinement cell for passing secret information to self-serving Assange of Wikileaks, adamfoxie*blogspot is been posting every time some news squeezed out about her. One did not have to get a degree in space science to know that when a teenager is put in charge of sensitive information to use and without proper safeguards for his state of mind and the information he guarded should not be thrown in solitary confinement without even the benefit of a lawyer. Something was wrong and it was my personal belief that those guarding him and the government in general, had as much if not more responsibility in this embarrassing fiasco for the military and the Bush Administration than the person being blamed totally for it.

 If nothing else will tell you what type of human being we had as President, the act of compassion and sincere truthfulness by him pardoning this woman should tell you. A man with fairness that could look at the case of this young transitioning man and see he was not and never had been a threat to this society. President Obama did the right thing and used his powers to pardon like is never been used before: Not to pardon a crooked President by the next President that took his job or money donors caught with their hands not in the cookie jar but with dump trucks emptying banks of their customer's money, which was then replaced again by the whole country.

He pardoned Manning. I have been curious to see how he looks now and here is a picture and a post from Buzzfeed in regards to all the damage Manning did X0 none.


In the seven years since WikiLeaks published the largest leak of classified documents in history, the federal government has said they caused enormous damage to national security.
But a secret, 107-page report, prepared by a Department of Defense task force and newly obtained by BuzzFeed News, tells a starkly different story: It says the disclosures were largely insignificant and did not cause any real harm to US interests.
Regarding the hundreds of thousands of Iraq-related military documents and State Department cables provided by the Army private Chelsea Manning, the report assessed “with high confidence that disclosure of the Iraq data set will have no direct personal impact on current and former U.S. leadership in Iraq.”
The heavily redacted report also determined that a different set of documents published the same year, relating to the US war in Afghanistan, would not result in “significant impact” to US operations. It did, however, have the potential to cause “serious damage” to “intelligence sources, informants, and the Afghan population,” and US and NATO intelligence collection efforts. The most significant impact of the leaks, the report concluded, would likely be on the lives of “cooperative Afghans, Iraqis, and other foreign interlocutors.”
The June 15, 2011, report, written a year after the leaked documents were published by Wikileaks and an international consortium of news organizations, was obtained by BuzzFeed News in response to an FOIA lawsuit filed in 2015. Classified SECRET/NOFORN, meaning it was not to be shared with foreign nationals, the document was selectively cited by government prosecutors during Manning’s court-martial. Defense lawyers were not allowed to read it. More than half the report was withheld by the government.
To prepare it, more than 20 federal government agencies, including the FBI, NSA, CIA, the Department of State, and the Department of Homeland Security, conducted a line-by-line review of more than 740,000 pages of classified documents “known or believed compromised” by WikiLeaks to assess the damage.
The report goes on to say that the documents the task force reviewed contained details about previously undisclosed civilian casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan, which “could be used by the press or our adversaries to negatively impact support for current operations in the region.”
The task force’s review also found that a so-called, password-protected “insurance file,” which WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said contained additional classified US documents and which he threatened to publicly release if anything happened to him, likely did not contain any information the task force hadn’t already reviewed.
Manning was released from Fort Leavenworth in May after President Obama commuted her 35-year sentence. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has said the arrest and prosecution of Assange, in connection with these and other documents, is now a “priority” for the Department of Justice.

Gay Bar in Vermont Changes Name and Apologizes


        Lucy Bell LeMay attends the opening night of Mister
  
 
A post to Mister Sister's Facebook page said: "Sadly, we've had donations rejected from Pride Center of Vermont and Vermont People With AIDS Coalition due to our name." On May 10, owner Craig McGaughan said he had not donated to the Pride Center since controversy over the bar's name erupted and was referring to advocacy group's March 3 statement that they would reject donations from any place with hate speech as its name. 

The owner of a gay bar in Vermont has abandoned the name Mister Sister and is seeking forgiveness after three months of bitter controversy.
The new name of the Winooski area's only gay bar, which opened in March, will be The Bridge Club.
"I hope everyone finds the humor in going to 'The Bridge Club' to party, sees the nod to the historic Winooski Bridge and recognizes the camaraderie and necessity in building bridges," owner Craig McGaughan wrote on Facebook.
"My wish is that we can all forgive and move forward," McGaughan continued. "Nothing good came from the fighting. No one won here."
The name Mister Sister, which McGaughan initially described as inclusive, sparked controversy because some people viewed the term as a slur against transgender people. 
McGaughan changed his mind, according to a post on The Bridge Club page, after a transgender woman wrote a "kind letter" showing that people who claimed to support Mister Sister were "using public forums to create hate toward the trans community."
"I am a trans ally and when faced with the fact that this issue has created a platform for trans people to be blatantly abused, I had to act," McGaughan wrote.
"I realize now that I mistakenly listened to the fight rather than the pain," McGaughan added.
The Pride Center of Vermont asked McGaughan to change the name before the bar opened in March and pledged to refuse any donations that came from the bar.
McGaughan informed the Pride Center this week about his decision.
"The board is happy that Craig is changing the name of the bar and is open to meeting with Craig to continue the discussion," the Pride Center board of directors said in a statement shared by Executive Director Susan Hartman.
The new name also garnered many positive comments on the bar's Facebook page.
McGaughan declined to speak to the Burlington Free Press about when the name change would take place.
The change comes as the bar is also raising money online to keep its doors open. McGaughan has set a goal of raising $100,000 to pay bills and support operations.
"I've exhausted all of my business and personal resources, borrowed from family and friends and there's no longer any working capital or any sort of reserve to pull from," he wrote on a fundraising page created this month. 
USA TODAY NETWORKApril McCullum, The Burlington (Vt.) Free Press

Should A Bar Be Gay or Queenly?

The website for the Abbey touts its role as a two-time winner of Logo’s “Best Gay Bar in the World” award. But how gay is it? Some of the regulars believe the increasing number of straight people who go there has diluted its reason for being.
“My older gay clientele were saying, ‘Gosh, there are so many straight people in here,’” said David Cooley, the bar’s owner. “My argument was, we’ve been fighting for equality for all these years. We can’t reverse-discriminate and say: ‘You’re straight. You can’t come in here.’”
The Abbey, in West Hollywood, Calif., is not alone among gay bars in facing an identity crisis. In this time of increasing acceptance of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, gay establishments across the country are grappling with an influx of new visitors.
The newly diverse crowd at these formerly exclusive environments has set off a debate within the community about the meaning and purpose of such bars today. Something that seems to come up a lot in the discussion is the groups of straight women who consider gay bars as the perfect setting for bachelorette parties.
Photo
David Cooley, center, the owner of the Abbey, hanging out with 
friends at the Chapel on a Sunday afternoon.CreditEmily Berl for The New York Times 
“They use the space to become ‘wild girls,’” said Chris McKenzie, a 35-year-old computer programmer in West Hollywood. “It’s not at all in concert with what the gay men are there for.” Some men feel the women stereotype them. “They think of us as ‘fun’ and ‘free,’” said Vin Testa, a 27-year-old educator in Washington, D.C. “It seems like they’re coming in to find their next accessory, like a new handbag.”
Straight men enter these environs less frequently, it seems. Those who do come, regular patrons of gay bars said, tend not to draw much attention to themselves.
The debate over the evolution in the clientele touches on not only the role and history of gay bars, but also on the struggle to weigh the concerns of inclusivity with the need to retain L.G.B.T. spaces. It even begs existential questions: What does it mean to be a gay bar in the age of sexual fluidity? With the mainstreaming of L.G.B.T. people, and the wider variety of people identifying with “queer” issues, who rightfully owns a space once simply called “gay”?
On a recent weekend night, when I visited Industry, a gay club in Manhattan, roughly 15 percent of the crowd were straight women. “We come to have fun and relax without anything sexual,” said Cathy Merla, who identified herself as straight.
Photo
Miz Cracker, left, and Monét X Change performing with an audience
 member at Hardware Bar in Manhattan.CreditKrista Schlueter for The New York Times 
The men interviewed for this article stressed that they welcome respectful straight women into the bars, preferably in the company of gay men, lesbians or transgender people. They also acknowledge that straight women have long been their allies and understand that many of them come to avoid the tensions and come-ons they may face at straight bars. And yet, certain longtime patrons remain skeptical.
“The women always say they come to these bars to be left alone,” said Larry Kase, a comedy writer in West Hollywood. “But it seems like they want as much attention from gay men as possible.”
Gina Gatta, a lesbian who publishes the San Francisco-based Damron guide, a trusted resource for L.G.B.T. travel and night life, sees a voyeuristic element at play. “It’s like, ‘Let’s go hang out with “the gays” because they’re “cool,”’” Ms. Gatta said.
The development of what might be called gay bar tourism has been building. “Five years ago, this was unheard-of,” said Maxwell Heller, a drag artist in New York. “It’s been a slow trickle that grew over the last few years to reach this moment where it can’t be denied.”
Economic and sociological issues are likely factors, with gay bars in urban centers going out of business at an accelerated rate because of rising rents and perhaps also a shift in the hookup culture, from bars to apps like Grindr and Scruff. 
In her annual survey, Ms. Gatta cited a “drastic decline” in these establishments since 2008, to the point where now there has been a net loss of 15 bars per year nationwide. The erosion has hit lesbian establishments disproportionately, according to Ms. Gatta, with not a single bar exclusive to gay women in either San Francisco or Los Angeles.
To stay in business, many gay bars, like Nellie’s in Washington, have become more inclusive. Doug Schantz, the owner of Nellie’s, has said that he conceived of his establishment as a place open to all. Similarly, the website for Metropolitan, a lively bar in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, states, “We welcome everyone at the Metropolitan, LGBTQ and all our allies.”
A blueprint for this approach was set by the Abbey, which opened in an area packed with gay bars in 1991. Mr. Cooley, the owner, who is also an executive producer of “What Happens at the Abbey,” a new E! channel reality series set there, noticed that most of the other bars at the time catered to specific tastes — for leather men or “pretty boys,” for instance. He went for something broader while also defying the designs of older bars, which tended to hide behind closed doors, implying embarrassment.
“In the Abbey, I had go-go boys and go-go girls right out in public, where people driving by can see,” Mr. Cooley said.
The change in design, along with Abbey’s expansion into a restaurant and dance club, not to mention setting for a reality TV show, has drawn an increasingly diverse crowd, creating a windfall for the club but also some tension among its longtime patrons. The problem became difficult to ignore, Mr. Cooley said, once the club began to attract bachelorette parties. "They would book all of my tables, and that’s when I really noticed they were taking over the gay bars,” he said. “They’re using my dancers as accessories and toys.”
Mr. Cooley banned such parties in 2012, with the proviso that he would reverse the policy once gay people earned marriage equality in the state. In 2015, when same-sex marriage became legal nationwide, he allowed bachelorette parties once again, to the chagrin of some of his regulars. Last October, to assuage their complaints, Mr. Cooley purchased the space adjacent to his bar, called it the Chapel and dedicated it to gay men.
“It’s hilarious that a gay bar like the Abbey had to open a second bar in order to be gay again,” Mr. Kase said.
While the older crowd at gay bars has complained about the change in clientele, younger men, like William Burke, a 23-year-old tech marketer in West Hollywood, said: “It’s important to have the locations for gay-straight alliances. It brings people from all walks of life into an area where they we can learn from each other and promote acceptance. I know lots of straight people who met transgendered people for the first time at a gay bar, and it changed their perspectives.”
Other patrons believe they have become subject to gawking in spaces where such a thing was never a worry, a feeling exacerbated at the Abbey by the daily appearance of idling TMZ tour buses, which identify the place as a Hollywood hot spot. The vehicles stop in front of the club, and certain tourists point at people in the bar. (TMZ did not reply to emails requesting comment.)
Photo
A group of revelers toasting at the Abbey. CreditEmily Berl for The New York Times 
“It makes me feel like a monkey in a zoo,” said Myles Silton, an entertainment lawyer.
Other men said that the wider acceptance of sexual fluidity has diluted the character of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender spaces. “The gay world used to be freaks and geeks,” Mr. McKenzie said. “Now the edginess is gone.”
In the process, the use of gay bars has taken some unusual turns. Chadwick Moore, a 33-year-old freelance writer in New York, identified a new twist in which such establishments have become a choice setting for first Tinder dates by straight couples. “I believe the women are thinking, ‘I’m going to take the guy somewhere where I’m the only one to look at,’” he said. “Also, ‘I can check out whether he’s “down with the cause.”’”
The tensions may escalate at drag shows. Mr. Heller, who performs in New York as Miz Cracker, described a common occurrence: “A straight girl, with the strength of merlot, will stand in front of you, stick her pelvis out and rub it on you. And you can’t get her to sit down. That can grind the show to a halt.”
The harsh reactions to the newcomers at gay bars have struck Gabe Gonzalez, a news producer for Mic, as misogynistic. “Obviously, queer individuals want to preserve a space where they don’t feel gawked at,” he said. “On the other hand, when gay men revert to sexist insults, like calling women ‘bitches,’ it contradicts the intention of safe queer spaces.”
As vexing as these issues have become, Mr. McKenzie sees a positive side.
“Identity crises like these are a good thing, because it creates a dialogue,” he said. “In the long run, it may make for a new understanding.”
By 

LGBTQ Community Prepares to March Defying Turkey Gov. Ban

 Activists paint walls in rainbow colours during ahead of the annual Gay Pride march in Istanbul, Turkey. Photo: 24 June 2017 Activists have been painting city walls in rainbow colors ahead of the annual March

Organizers of Istanbul's annual Gay Pride march say it will go ahead despite a ban by the authorities of Turkey's largest city.
The event has been called for Sunday evening in the city's Taksim Square.
Authorities banned the march for the third year in a row, citing security concerns after threats from far-right groups.
Homosexuality is not illegal in Turkey - unlike in many Muslim nations - but analysts say homophobia remains widespread in the country.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose ruling AK Party is rooted in conservative Islam, has denied wanting to impose traditional religious values, saying he is committed to secularism. But he supports Turks' right to express their religion more openly.
He has been accused of growing authoritarianism in recent years.

'Undemocratic'

Lara Ozlen from the Gay Pride organizing committee told AFP news agency: "It is obvious that a peaceful march is part of our constitutional right".
"It's been known for years. Instead of protecting us, to say 'do not march' just because some will be disturbed is undemocratic," she added.
Earlier, Istanbul's governor office banned the march, following threats from far-right groups to disrupt the event.
The city officials also said they had not received a formal request to hold the march - a claim denied by the organizers.
Last year, Riot police fired tear gas and plastic bullets after transgender rights activists gathered in Istanbul - in defiance of a ban on marching.
BBC

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