Showing posts with label Gays. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gays. Show all posts

May 1, 2020

Blood Donated Rules Are Relax in Northern Ireland, In the U.S. Just Fear of Becoming Gay by Blood

"What is up with the U.S. and it's homophobic stand in not relaxing blood donations? Are they
afraaid homophes will become gay with gay blood? That most be it. Just like at one point they would not take blood from blacks because then the wives would have black kids...The more things change the more they stay the same in the human world. "Adam

Gay and bisexual men in Northern Ireland will soon be able to donate blood three months after their last sexual activity, the department of health has announced.
The previous policy was to wait a year.
The change will take effect from 1 June, bringing NI into line with the rest of the UK, which adopted the three-month limit in 2017.
The health minister said on Wednesday his decision was based on "evidence regarding the safety of donated blood".
Robin Swann said: "Any one of us may require a blood transfusion in the future and we need to be confident that the blood we receive is safe."

BloodImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionThe NI Blood Transfusion Service welcomed the announcement from the health minister

Every blood donation was tested for HIV and a number of other organisms, said the health minister.
"Not even the most advanced tests are 100% reliable, so it is vitally important for every donor to comply with any deferral rules that apply to them," he added.
In order for the NI Blood Transfusion Service to have "adequate preparation time", Mr Swann said the new policy would take effect from June.

'Safety is utmost priority'

A lifetime ban on blood donation for men who have sex with other men was introduced in the 1980s amid concerns about HIV, however, this was changed to the 12-month wait policy in Great Britain in 2011 and later in Northern Ireland in 2016.
In 2017, it was decided the health department would begin preparatory work on a policy change to reduce the deferral time in Northern Ireland to bring it into line with the rest of the UK.
But this would need to be signed off by a health minister, who was not in post due to the collapse of the power-sharing government. 
After the restoration of Stormont in January and the appointment of Robin Swann, the health minister said he took the decision to support recommendations on the policy from the UK group on the Safety of Blood, Tissues and Organs in February.
LGBT support group The Rainbow Project welcomed the move on Wednesday and said: "No longer can LGBT people in Northern Ireland be expected to endure lesser treatment than our counterparts in other regions."
The NI Blood Transfusion Service also supported the change, saying: "The safety of our donors and staff, as always, is our utmost priority."
Donors should also keep in mind the public health advice around coronavirus, including not attending appointments if they or a member of their household are feeling unwell, added a statement from the NI Blood Transfusion Service.

March 6, 2020

A Dating App Helped A Generation of Chinese Gays Come Out


ike many gay Chinese growing up at the turn of the millennium, Duan Shuai began his long, deliberate process of coming out online. After school, he would visit the newly opened internet cafe in his hometown, Xinzhou, a small city in Shanxi Province bounded by a veil of mountains. He would pick a desktop facing away from the wall so that nobody could look over his shoulder. Then he’d go to QQ, the new instant-messaging service and online forum, and type in the Chinese word for “homosexual” — tongzhi, or comrade.

Offline, Duan had known for a long time that he was different — and he knew no one else like him. Even in grade school, while his male classmates talked about girls, he nursed a secret crush on a boy, a gregarious, basketball-playing class monitor. Online, he stumbled into a world where he finally felt he belonged, a place where gay people like himself sought kinship and connection. When he was 17, he watched “Lan Yu,” a 2001 Chinese film about a love affair between a male college student from northern China and a businessman in Beijing, based on a novel published online by an author known only as Beijing Comrade. Duan was moved by one scene in particular, in which the businessman brings his lover home for the Chinese New Year to share a customary hotpot meal with his family. He caught a glimpse into a future he never knew existed — a future that was perhaps within his reach too.

A diligent student, Duan aced his gaokao — China’s national entrance exam — and moved from his secluded hometown to the city of Tianjin, studying literature at a top university. To familiarize himself with China’s burgeoning gay culture, he listened to the talks by the gender-studies scholar Li Yinhe on the popular television channel Hunan TV; read “Crystal Boys,” a novel about gay youth in Taipei by the Taiwanese writer Bai Xinyong; and frequented online chat rooms for gay men like Boy Air, BF99, Don’t Cry My Friends and the local Tianjin Cool, where he met his first boyfriend, a graduate student five years his senior.

As Duan came of age, so did the Chinese internet. In 2000, when he was still in grade school, there were about 23 million Chinese internet users; the nation’s first internet cafes had only recently opened in Shanghai. Today that number has swelled to more than 900 million, and a vast majority of them are using mobile devices. Whereas Duan once sought out gay communities in small groups and quiet bars, today, as a 33-year-old working in publishing in Beijing, he can join gay meet-ups on WeChat; follow blogs and coming-out stories on Weibo, a Twitter-like platform; and, perhaps most crucial, he can connect and find partners on Blued, a gay social networking app. There are other options — Grindr operates in China — but Blued is the most popular by far. When Duan opens up the app anywhere in the country, be it in Beijing’s bustling commercial district Sanlitun or back in Xinzhou, he’ll find an endless scroll of users: cosmopolitan yuppies dressed in drag, rural blue-collar workers with faceless profiles. The company’s slogan, “He’s Right Next Door,” embodies its ethos: to bring together gay men from all segments of Chinese society into one digital ecosystem. 

China is home to an L.G.B.T.Q. population larger than all of France, around 70 million people (based on the assumption that about 5 percent of any given population identifies as queer). But according to a United Nations estimate, less than 5 percent of gay Chinese choose to come out. Blued (pronounced “blue-duh” or “blue-dee”) has a reported in-country user base of some 24 million, suggesting many Chinese have opted for some middle ground. It is easily among the most popular gay dating apps in the world. Like WeChat, Blued aspires to be a Swiss Army knife for its users, absorbing features from other apps, like newsfeeds and livestreaming functions — as well as real-world resources like H.I.V. testing and a surrogacy service called Blue Baby — and integrating them as quickly as possible. It’s like “Grindr crossed with Facebook, and more,” one former employee told me.

Blued is in a peculiar position: It might be the biggest app of its kind, yet it is also the most precarious. It is a tech company in a society that has been transformed by free-market reforms, but also a gay tech company operating under a one-party government with an ambiguous stance toward L.G.B.T.Q. issues that has been tightening its grip in recent years on civil-society and minority groups all across China. Internationally, China has publicly vocalized its support for gay rights at the United Nations, stating that it opposes all forms of “discrimination, violence and intolerance based on sexual orientation.” But domestically, gay marriage and adoption by same-sex couples are not allowed, and there are no known openly gay public figures in the government or explicit forms of legal protection against L.G.B.T.Q. discrimination in the workplace. Shanghai’s annual Pride Festival has run openly and unhindered for the last 11 years, and yet the government routinely censors gay content in the media. In Beijing, the popular gay club Destination hosts regular drag performances while the movie theater down the street screens the Freddie Mercury biopic, “Bohemian Rhapsody,” with its gay content cut out.

“The rule is not that you’re not allowed to be gay,” says Ben Mason, Blued’s former international marketing manager. “It just means that you have to play by the rules.” Gay communities must navigate the same confusing terrain that all civil-society groups in China do, learning to read the unpredictable and shifting tides of relaxation and control, a cyclical process that scholars of Chinese politics call fang/shou (“opening up and tightening”).

On one hand, the rise of the Chinese internet, facilitated by the last three decades of market reforms, has allowed for unprecedented connection and visibility for gay communities in China. It’s no problem at all for a Chinese tech company to run L.G.B.T.Q.-specific marketing campaigns, and indeed, many of them do. But since 2016, as part of a cultural crackdown on “vulgar, immoral and unhealthy content” — which includes everything from hip-hop music to tattoos — China’s state regulators have banned portrayals of “abnormal sexual relations” in television, including same-sex relationships. Popular Chinese shows with gay story lines were removed from screening sites. One gay-dating app, Zank, was shut down by the government, and a lesbian-dating app, Rela, disappeared shortly after. Following one of these bans, Blued scrubbed homosexuality-related words like “gay” and “tongzhi” from its Chinese website, changing the official company description to “The World’s Leading Interest-Based Social & Health Education Network.” (The company declined to comment for this article, which draws on interviews with several investors and former employees and published sources.)

No L.G.B.T.Q. group has performed this dance with the authorities as successfully and carefully as Blued — a for-profit entity. By staying within the commercial and public-health sectors and framing the fight for gay recognition in terms of business, the company, under the leadership of its founder and chief executive, Geng Le, has cultivated a minority community free of political activism. The company has cultivated strategic relationships within the government and raised L.G.B.T.Q. visibility, all while avoiding any kind of explicit agitation for gay rights. Geng has put his faith in the power of the so-called pink yuan to nudge China’s closet doors open — not just because money talks, but also because in today’s China, talking in terms of money is the safest option. 

Blued and its related services operate under the aegis of Blue City, which is also the name of its two-story headquarters in central Beijing. Inside, it looks like “any other tech-start-up,” says Sifan Lu, Geng’s former personal assistant, “but just slightly gayer.” On the first floor, there is a lounge and recreation area; on the second, employees work in an airy open-floor office space with murals, gender-neutral bathrooms and oil paintings of hunky, shirtless men. Employees have enjoyed classic start-up benefits like free lunch and company beach retreats, some with a queer twist, like a drag performance at the Lunar New Year; company swag has included plush toys of a unicorn with a rainbow horn. The conference rooms are named after queer films like “Brokeback Mountain” and, of course, “Lan Yu.” At the entrance, on a wall next to a table of glass bottles of sand imported from Geng’s hometown, the Chinese words: “Qinhuangdao’s sea and sand, that is the home of Danlan.”

Danlan was the bare-bones, browser-based website that Geng created nearly two decades ago. Back then, Geng went by his birth name, Ma Baoli, and he began his career as a police officer in Qinhuangdao, a small seaside city in China’s northern Hebei Province. His rise from closeted cop to out tech mogul has been widely documented in the media: He grew up in the early ’90s, when homosexuality was still prosecuted as “hooliganism,” punishable by detention or even time at a labor camp. In his darker moments, he would sit by the beach and look out into the waves to calm himself down. He, too, came to terms with his sexuality in an internet cafe, after feverishly reading the novel that inspired “Lan Yu,” the film that Duan Shuai would watch several years later. He broke down in tears while reading it because he realized he was not alone. In 2000, under the pseudonym Geng Le and with the help of a coding book he bought called “The Oriental King of Web-Making,” he created a website for gay men to connect, exchange personal stories and share information on everything from safe sex to gay literature, naming it Danlan: “light blue,” after the color of the water off the Qinhuangdao coast. Like the sea — faraway, yet full of possibility — Danlan would be a sanctuary for gay men to express their hopes and fears.

Historically, Chinese society has neither recognized nor shunned its queer communities. Chinese religious traditions like Buddhism and Confucianism do not overtly condemn homosexuality, which means that cultural attitudes are more malleable there than in other Asian countries like Indonesia or the Philippines. Nor was homosexuality considered by authorities to be a decadent Western import; on the contrary, it is widespread and recognized in Chinese history and culture. One of China’s literary masterpieces, “Dream of the Red Chamber,” an 18th-century novel, is filled with same-sex relationships. A term still used today to refer to gay relationships — duan xiu, or “cut sleeve” — comes from a story in “The Book of Han,” an official history of the Han dynasty that was completed in the second century, in which the emperor wakes from a nap to find his male lover still asleep on his robe, and tenderly cuts off his sleeve to avoid waking him.

When China began to turn toward the West in the late 19th century, it also absorbed a pathologizing view of homosexuality as an illness — an attitude that would not soften again until a century later, with the introduction of Deng Xiaoping’s open-door policy in the late ’70s, which opened up markets and encouraged the liberalization of Chinese society. Still, homosexuality was formally considered a mental illness until 2001. But in recent years, the government has neither expressed explicit support for the L.G.B.T.Q. community nor sought to crush it. Whereas Russia has adopted a position “that L.G.B.T. rights is a Western conspiracy designed to weaken the nation,” says Darius Longarino, a fellow at Yale Law School’s Paul Tsai China Center, “in China, it’s not like that at all.” In fact, state media has even attempted to distinguish the L.G.B.T.Q. movement from its Western counterparts and portray its progress as one with “Chinese characteristics.” Recently, The Global Times, a state-run newspaper, published an article titled “China’s L.G.B.T. activists break away from Western agenda,” arguing that because of China’s unique climate, the path to progress should be less driven by political activism than in the West.

But longstanding Confucian traditions and values — an emphasis on having a respectable marriage, giving birth to sons, saving face and filial piety — remain deeply embedded in the fabric of Chinese society. This dynamic also means that family is the place where rejection and discrimination occur most frequently, particularly among the older generation. These paradoxes are clearly visible in the figure of Jin Xing, the nationally beloved talk-show host sometimes called China’s Oprah: She is a transgender woman, and the reluctant face of trans China, but she also often espouses conservative gender norms, like the importance of a woman’s domestic role in childbearing and good housekeeping.

China’s one-child policy further increased pressure on some gay Chinese to stay in the closet and enter heterosexual relationships, because parents pinned all their hopes on one child to provide genetic, legally recognized grandchildren to continue the family line. This emphasis on upholding traditional family and marital institutions has driven many Chinese to participate in xinghun — “cooperative marriages,” often between a gay man and a lesbian, to keep up the appearance of heterosexual life. The internet has facilitated these arrangements, with websites like claiming to have arranged hundreds of thousands of marriages over the last decade.

By 2008, the number of internet users in China had grown a hundredfold since Geng founded Danlan. To meet rapidly growing demand, he recruited five other team members, running the website out of a rented apartment and working through the night. Eventually, he expanded to Beijing, keeping up this double life — shuttling between roles as straight Qinhuangdao cop, happily married and respected by his colleagues, and gay Beijing entrepreneur — until 2012. A friend of Geng’s asked if he could shoot a documentary about Danlan for Sohu, a Chinese social media site. Geng agreed, assuming the video would have a relatively small audience. It didn’t. Shortly after its release, Geng received a call from his police bureau, demanding he return to his post. His bosses gave him an ultimatum: Shut down the website or quit his job and leave. He handed in his resignation that day, along with the uniform that he had worn since he was 16. He was disgraced — spurned by his colleagues, disapproved of by his parents — and his marriage dissolved. But he had finally come out.

Private enterprises in China must navigate government officialdom without being directly confrontational, operating by a set of rules that are as opaque as they are capriciously applied. Crucial to Blued’s success was its ability to align its agenda with the interests of authority. When Geng arrived in Beijing, he saw that government interventions were failing in China’s growing H.I.V. epidemic. (An estimated 780,000 Chinese would contract H.I.V. by the end of 2011, with homosexual transmission accounting for almost a fifth of infections.) Geng contacted the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention to offer Danlan’s services in public-health outreach, securing the company’s first government partnership in 2009.

Today Blued runs H.I.V.-testing offices with the C.D.C. in Beijing and an online databank that connects users with other testing centers nationwide. This alliance with the government gave the company legitimacy in the eyes of the public and prospective investors. In November 2012, the C.D.C. invited Danlan to take part in a conference on World AIDS Day led by a high-ranking official, Li Keqiang, now second in command to President Xi Jinping. “Greetings, Premier, I run a gay website,” Geng Le said to Li as he shook his hand. The handshake — captured as a photograph, shared widely in the media and later hung at the entrance of Blue City headquarters — changed the company’s fate. It was the party’s stamp of approval, and that seemed to lay the foundations for the company’s rapid growth.

Danlan introduced the Blued app in 2012, a few years before the government introduced a nationwide policy to boost its tech economy. The company, once kept alive by 50-to-500-yuan donations, received its first angel investment of roughly $480,000 in 2013. It then raised a Series A round investment of $1.6 million led by the venture-capital firm Crystal Stream and in 2014 raised an additional $30 million from another venture-capital firm, DCM. “We knew that social networking sites were going to be verticalized, and there were going to be niches,” David Chao, a DCM founder and general partner, says. “In China, even niches would be massive.” In the last few years, having monopolized the gay-dating app market in China, Blued has expanded to Mexico, Brazil and India. Bloomberg News has cited insiders’ predictions that should the company go public, which in 2019 it was reported to be considering, it could be valued at as much as $1 billion.

There is a saying in China that “serving the renmin” (the people) has taken a back seat to “serving the renminbi” (the yuan). Geng’s business model is apparently founded on the belief that to serve the renminbi is to serve the people. Proving gay China’s worth in the marketplace first, the argument goes, will shift public perception and pave the way for greater acceptance and freedoms. But according to Wang Shuaishuai, a lecturer at the University of Amsterdam researching digital gay-dating communities in China, this strategy might prove limited. Although social networking apps like Blued have allowed communities to form, they are closed, not public forums where Chinese people can build movements for their political rights. “The problem with being gay in China is that as long as you keep your sexual orientation private, you are fine,” Wang says. “But you cannot receive public respect and recognition.” If there were an L.G.B.T.Q. website whose major purpose was to discuss L.G.B.T.Q. activism, it would be gone within a week, according to Dan Zhou, an openly gay Chinese lawyer who specializes in gay rights. “Every day, somebody could shut down your website without prior notice,” Zhou says.

Blued has a content-moderation team that works around the clock, making sure all content is by the book. “On the Chinese app, the rules are very simple. If you show a bit of skin, you’re gone,” says Charles Fournier, a past product manager for Blued. The company’s censorship guidelines, updated constantly, recently banned images depicting shorts cropped above the knees.

Duan Shuai came out to his parents two years ago, at 30. It was Chinese New Year, and his mother was asking, once again, when he would bring a wife home. When he told her the truth, she cried, asking him to leave and never come back. He felt both sad and free — devastated to have disappointed his family but relieved to have finally spoken the words. “For many Chinese, coming out is long and drawn out,” Duan says. “Most people don’t just stride out of the closet like in American movies and announce that they are gay in this sudden, dramatic way. They’ll often agonize over it for years, gather a lot of information and place it by their parents’ bedside table, hoping that one day they’ll begin to understand.” 

Last May, in the bustling center of Beijing, Duan was standing by the keg station, wearing a rainbow-printed T-shirt, at the “Gaymazing Race,” a party co-hosted by the Beijing L.G.B.T. Center and the local craft-beer brewery Great Leap Brewing. “Right now, we’re going through a bit of a winter,” Duan explained to me. New laws governing NGOs have limited the ability for L.G.B.T.Q. groups to register and raise funds. In the past, organizers of events like the center’s annual L.G.B.T.Q. gala have frequently been asked to remove their posts or change locations last minute. In 2019, Duan, who volunteers for the organization, erred on the side of caution, keeping the event size small and promoting it only through word of mouth.

But Duan and essentially everyone I have spoken to involved in China’s L.G.B.T.Q. life — straight and gay, closeted and out, NGO volunteers and venture capitalists — seem to echo the same sentiment, that the freeze will pass. In contrast to other minority groups, the L.G.B.T.Q. community poses no explicit threat to party rule and is too low-priority to be on the government’s radar. When Weibo users filled the site with the protest hashtag #IAmGayNotAPervert in 2018, prompting the company to reverse an earlier policy to “clean up” gay content, the government kept quiet. In May, when Taiwan legalized gay marriage, my social newsfeeds lit up with celebratory rainbows, including a post from the state-owned People’s Daily. “There is restraint, bounding and cutting down, but censorship in practice is never an outright ban,” Darius Longarino says. “Authori­ties are not trying to fight but manage a wave, which they know is ultimately unstoppable.” After all, China’s gay population cuts across all sectors of society — from Shanxi to Shanghai, from the political margins to within the party itself.

In December, in response to a groundswell of suggestions for the updated draft of China’s civil code, China’s Legislature publicly acknowledged that when the government solicited public opinions last fall, it received a wave of requests for the legalization of same-sex marriage. The National Party Congress announced that it would review the code this month (although the meeting has been postponed because of the coronavirus). While same-sex marriage in China remains a distant reality, this was a clear indication that the government was acknowledging the status of an increasingly visible community. “Blued and other L.G.B.T. social media have connected the community in ways not possible before, laying the groundwork for a broad social movement,” Longarino says. But, he added, to push for greater change, they need a critical mass of Chinese to come to their side.

In January, Duan went home to celebrate Chinese New Year in Shanxi. Like hundreds of thousands of young Chinese who traveled back for the holidays, he has been cooped up at home since, waiting out the coronavirus. Duan has been able to spend more time with his family. A lot has changed since he came out to his mother two years ago. She’s not totally comfortable with his sexuality, he says, but can now talk openly with him about his work at the L.G.B.T. Center and even his new boyfriend.

Duan told me that young people ask him, in his work at the center, whether they should come out. He warns them that the challenges they face will be immense, but he remains optimistic about the internet’s power to change minds. “I was accepted,” he tells them, “more quickly than I could’ve imagined.” 

June 18, 2019

Millennial's and Other Young People Are The Key To Combating Homophobia

The Union Cup is Europe's biggest LGBT+ inclusive rugby tournament
The Union Cup is Europe's biggest LGBT+ inclusive rugby tournament AFP

Dublin (AFP)

Educating young people about the evils of homophobia was a key message from Europe's largest LGBT+ inclusive rugby tournament, the biennial Union Cup, held in Dublin last weekend, organizers said.

Richie Fagan, chairman of the organizers and president of the Irish LGBT inclusive rugby club Emerald Warriors, invited his 12-year-old nephew's school team to play against Blackrock College. 

The young boys took to the pitch amidst a cacophony of noise with families comprising a mix of same-sex parents and heterosexual parents in the crowd.

Many said the atmosphere reflected how far the formerly conservative and Catholic Church-dominated Ireland had progressed since the same-sex marriage referendum in 2015.

Ireland's probably most famed product, Guinness, even painted their gates in the rainbow colors.

However, Fagan -- who has seen the Warriors grow from 40 to 160 members in five years and has secured a historic three-year sponsorship contract with Bank of Ireland -- said away from the revelry there is a serious message.

"I have a beautiful relationship with my nephew and I want him to understand LGBT and rugby," he told AFP.

"I want him to be the kind of kid who would stand up in school and say bullying someone because of their sexuality is not acceptable.

"He has a phenomenal bunch of friends and the way forward is I want them to see I am educating them.

"It is really important to educate the young and this is a way for them to come down and see what this is about."

Emerald Warriors stalwart David Revins -- a convert from football who has played in almost every position in the team -- says being heterosexual had not deterred him from joining the club.

"I had no qualms. They are my friends and family," the 32-year-old told AFP.

"When you go on to the pitch you are fighting for the man next to you, it does not matter what sex, color or religious belief they hold.

"Rugby is more inclusive compared to football."

-'More power to you all' -

Whilst spectators came to watch a record 1,500 players -- both men and women -- from 15 European countries, there are still high-profile people who remain deeply opposed to homosexuality.

Highly-charged comments by Australian rugby star Israel Folau and veteran British politician Ann Widdecombe, recently elected as an MEP for the Brexit Party, are the latest examples.

Folau, who has had his contract terminated by the Australian Rugby Union, said homosexuals belonged in hell, while Widdecombe said science may provide a "cure" for homosexuality.

However, Katherine Zappone, who along with her late wife Ann Louise Gilligan led the campaign for the same-sex referendum after their marriage in Canada was not accepted in Ireland, said those comments were passed.

"It (Widdecombe's view) is from the last century and has become a minority voice, but still can be very hurtful especially for young people," Zappone, who is Irish Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, told AFP.

Irish rugby international Lindsay Peat, whose wife Claire was present with their three-year-old son Barra, grew up idolizing Martina Navratilova.

But she says it is a shame that, other than Welsh rugby referee Nigel Owens and former Wales international Gareth Thomas, there are not as many homosexual sportsmen as there are lesbians.

"It just has not been that progressive on that front to be openly gay and be a role model," the 38-year-old told AFP.

"Rugby is a very masculine sport but you cannot define someone's machoness if they are gay or straight."

Peat was ecstatic to be receiving the trophy named in honor of Gilligan from Zappone, who was especially moved as the tournament came just days before the second anniversary of her wife's death.

"She (Gilligan) was a woman of hope and imagination and also great exuberance and fun," said Zappone.

"If she saw what was going on today she would be looking down and saying 'More power to you all'."

 2019 AFP

April 2, 2019

Pope Francis Declares Homosexual Tendencies Are "Not a Sin”

                            Image result for pope francis and gays 

In Rome}} Pope Francis has said that homosexual tendencies “are not a sin,” while encouraging parents who begin “seeing rare things” in their children to “please, consult, and go to a professional,” because “it could be that he [or she] is not homosexual.”
Asked about his famous soundbite “Who am I to judge?”, the pope said, “Tendencies are not sin. If you have a tendency to anger, it’s not a sin. Now, if you are angry and hurt people, the sin is there.”
“Sin is acting, of thought, word and deed, with freedom,” Francis said.
Asked by Spanish journalist Jordi Evole if he thinks it’s a “rarity” for parents to have a homosexual child, the pope answered that “in theory, no.”
“But I’m talking about a person who is developing, and parents start to see strange things … Please consult, and go to a professional, and there you will see what it is and may not be homosexual, that is due to something else,” he said.
Francis also said that in his opinion, it’s usually challenging for a family to have a homosexual child, as they can be “scandalized by something they don’t understand, something out of the ordinary … I’m not making a judgement of value, I’m doing a phenomenological analysis,” he said.
The pope’s words came in response to a question about comments he made last summer, when he said parents who detect their children have homosexual behaviors should take them to a psychiatrist. 
In a new interview that aired Sunday with the Spanish news outlet La Sexta, the pope said he was “explaining that you never throw a homosexual person out of the house, but I made a distinction that when the person is very young and begins to show strange symptoms, it’s useful to go … I said to a psychiatrist, at that moment you say the word that comes out and, on top of that, in a language that is not yours.”
From his comments, Francis said, the media took away “‘the pope sends homosexuals to the psychiatrist,’ and they didn’t see the rest, and this is ill-intentioned.”
During the interview, the journalist alternates between the terms “homosexual” and “gay,” but the pope always uses the word “homosexual.” During his trip back from Brazil, in 2013, speaking with journalists, Francis famously became the first pope to use the word “gay.”
Once a homosexual identity is “set,” Francis said, a homosexual man or woman “has the right to a family, and that father and mother have the right to a son [or daughter], come as it may, and no son or daughter can be thrown out of the home.” 
On abuse, it’s a process
The pope was also asked about his Feb. 21-24 summit on clerical sexual abuse, and he said that he understood some victims aren’t satisfied with the results.
“I understand them because one sometimes looks for results that are concrete facts of that moment,” he said. “For example, if I had hung 100 abusive priests in St. Peter Square, it’s a concrete fact, I would have occupied space.”
“But my interest is not to occupy spaces, but to start healing processes,” he said.
The concrete result of the summit, he argued, was to “start processes, and this takes time,” he said, but it’s the only way “for the cure to be irreversible.”
Francis compared the abuse crisis to the conquest of America by the Spanish, saying history has to be understood with the hermeneutics of the time. Prior to the explosion of the Boston scandals in 2002, he said, the “hermeneutics was it’s better to hide it, avoid future evils.”
But “when you hide, it propagates, once the culture of uncovering begins, things don’t propagate,” the pope said, encouraging survivors to come forth.

October 23, 2018

Two Men Arrested for Creating a Facebook Page for Gays in Indonesia

Indonesia has arrested two people in Java island for running a Facebook page for gays, accusing them of publishing pornography, the media reported today.
In 2015, the couple had set up a Facebook page "Gay Bandung Indonesia", with more than 4,000 members.
West Java police spokesperson Trunoyudo Wisnu Andiko told Efe news that the two were arrested on Thursday and those investigations by the public prosecutor's office were underway.
Once they are formally charged under the Law on Electronic Information and Transactions (EIT), the two could face a maximum of six years in prison and a fine of up to one billion rupiahs ($66,000) if convicted.
According to Andreas Harsono of Human Rights Watch Indonesia, this was the first time that the EIT law was being used against the LGBT community.
It was earlier used to crack down on pornography, he added.
Aceh, in Sumatra island, is the only province in Indonesia where homosexuality is illegal.
The arrests are being seen as yet another assault on the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) community in the country.

In February, the country's Information Ministry had blocked more than 200 mobile applications and websites with content related to homosexuality.

Indo-Asian News Service 

May 25, 2018

On New Gallup Poll Self Identified LGBT Has Risen 4.5%

                 Not More Gay Babies Born Gay But More LGBT Are Identifying as Such

  • The rise in LGBT identification mostly among millennials
  • LGBT identification is lower among older generations
  • 5.1% of women identify as LGBT, compared with 3.9% of men
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The percentage of American adults identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) increased to 4.5% in 2017, up from 4.1% in 2016 and 3.5% in 2012 when Gallup began tracking the measure. The latest estimate is based on over 340,000 interviews conducted as part of Gallup's daily tracking in 2017. Gallup's LGBT estimates are based on those respondents who say "yes" when asked, "Do you, personally, identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender?" Extrapolation to the latest census estimate of adults 18 and older in the U.S. suggests that more than 11 million adults identify as LGBT in the country today.

U.S. Adults Identifying as LGBT, 2012-2017
Do you, personally, identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender?

% LGBT3.

The expansion in the number of Americans who identify as LGBT is driven primarily by the cohort of millennials, defined as those born between 1980 and 1999. The percentage of millennials who identify as LGBT expanded from 7.3% to 8.1% from 2016 to 2017, and is up from 5.8% in 2012. By contrast, the LGBT percentage in Generation X (those born from 1965 to 1979) was up only .2% from 2016 to 2017. There was no change last year in LGBT percentage among baby boomers (born 1946 through 1964) and traditionalists (born prior to 1946).
LGBT identification is lower as age increases, although there is a particularly large jump between millennials and those in the next oldest generation, defined as Generation X. 

The roughly one-percentage-point increase (0.8 points) in LGBT identification among millennials from 2016 to 2017 is the biggest year-to-year increase among any age group since tracking began in 2012. In contrast, the percentage of traditionalists and baby boomers who identify as LGBT has declined slightly since 2012, while the LGBT percentage among Generation X is up slightly. Gender Gap in LGBT Identification Expands
Women continue to be more likely to identify as LGBT than men, and this gender gap expanded last year.
Overall, 5.1% of women in 2017 identified as LGBT, compared with 3.9% of men. The change among men over time has been minimal, with the LGBT percentage edging up from 3.4% in 2012 to 3.7% both last year and this year. On the other hand, the percentage of women identifying as LGBT has risen from 3.5% in 2012 to 5.1% today, with the largest jump occurring between 2016 and 2017.

Percentage of U.S. Adults Identifying as LGBT by Gender and Race/Ethnicity, 2012-2017

White, non-Hispanic3.
Black, non-Hispanic4.
Asian, non-Hispanic3.

The LGBT percentage has risen among all race and ethnic groups since 2012, although not on an equal basis. Hispanics and Asians have seen the greatest increase, thus contributing the most on a relative basis to the uptick in LGBT identification nationwide. Whites and blacks have seen the least change.
The relative rank order of the LGBT percentages among these four race and ethnic groups has remained roughly the same over the last several years. At 6.1%, Hispanics continue to be the single race or ethnic group most likely to identify as LGBT, while the 4.0 % of whites who identify as LGBT remains the lowest. LGBT identification among blacks and Asians, 4.9% and 5.0%, respectively, is essentially midway between the estimates for Hispanics and whites.
LBGT Identification Highest Among Lower Income Groups
LGBT identification is more common among those with lower incomes, as has been the case consistently since 2012. The income gap is larger this year than it has been, with 6.2% of those making less than $36,000 a year in household income identifying as LGBT, compared with 3.9% of those making $90,000 or more. There are no major differences in LGBT identification by educational attainment, although the percentage of postgraduates who self-reported as LGBT is slightly lower than those with less formal education.

Percentage of U.S. Adults Identifying as LGBT by Annual Household Income and Educational Attainment, 2012-2017

Less than $36,0004.
$36,000 to <$90,0003.
$90,000 or more3.
High school or less3.
Some college3.
College graduate2.

Bottom Line
This 2017 update on LGBT identification underscores two significant conclusions. First, the percentage of adults in the U.S. who identify as LGBT has been increasing and is now at its highest point across the six years of Gallup's tracking of this measure. Second, the increase has been driven almost totally by millennials, whose self-reports of being LGBT have risen from 5.2% six years ago to 8.1% today. Baby boomers and traditionalists have actually become slightly less likely to identify as LGBT since 2012, while the LGBT percentage among Gen Xers has risen only marginally.
As LGBT demographic expert Dr. Gary Gates noted in his report on Gallup data last year: "A variety of factors can affect the willingness of adults to identify as LGBT. These can include how comfortable and confident survey respondents feel about the confidentiality and privacy of data collected." Thus, it is possible that those in the younger generation who are LGBT are feeling increasingly comfortable over time with their sexual orientation, and thus are more likely to identify as such. Self-reported LGBT identification among older Americans is much more stable.
Self-identification as LGBT is only one of a number of ways of measuring sexual and gender orientation. The general grouping of these four orientations (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) into one question involves significant simplification and other measurement techniques which ask about each of these categories individually yield different estimates. Additionally, self-identification of sexual orientation can be distinct from other measures which tap into sexual behavior or attraction.
The value of the Gallup data is the use of a constant question wording over time and the largest yearly sample sizes of any effort to measure sexual and gender orientation in the U.S. (the Census does not regularly include such questions in its population updates). Therefore, the upward trajectory in these estimates of the LGBT adult population provides an important social indicator relating to this key aspect of contemporary American society.

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These 2017 results are based on telephone interviews with a random sample of 340,604 U.S. adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, collected from Jan. 2 to Dec. 30, 2017, as part of the Gallup Daily tracking survey and the Gallup-Sharecare Well-Being Index survey. Estimates for years 2013-2016 are based on similar sample sizes, with the estimate for 2012 about half as large. The margin of error for each year of data collection is ±0.1 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. Margins of error for population subgroups are larger depending on sample size. All reported margins of sampling error include computed design effects for weighting.
The 2017 sample of national adults includes a minimum quota of 70% cellphone respondents and 30% landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas by time zone within a region. Landline and cellular telephone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods.
Learn more about how Gallup Daily tracking works.

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