Showing posts with label LGBT Equality. Show all posts
Showing posts with label LGBT Equality. Show all posts

February 26, 2019

Friendly Homes At Dumfries Church For LGBT Will Bring Gay People To Live At The Town Centre

 It is one of Dumfries' most prominent buildings.
Greyfriars Church - now St Bride's - has stood proudly at one end of the High Street for more than 150 years.
It could now be set to find a role few would have imagined when it was completed back in the 1860s.
A funding package has been put in place to explore the creation of LGBT-friendly housing on the site - particularly aimed at older members of the community.
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Church doors
Image captionThe church hopes the plan could help the building "pay for itself"
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The rationale? It might tackle three key issues in one.
Dumfries and Galloway Council is keen to encourage town centre living, the church is struggling to meet its running costs and it could help what is seen as a vulnerable group.
Leading the project team is Dr Belle Doyle who said the scheme was at a very early stage.
"It is more or less an investigation of whether we can do it," she said.
"The St Bride's Anglican Church - who I have been working for - have been looking at the future of the church.
"One of the problems is it is a massive church and there are not many people using it now." The trustees have been looking at ways to make the "really iconic" building pay for itself.
The church would continue to operate, possibly with a smaller footprint, with the property to rent built at the back.
"The idea was to build something at the back that would pay a bit of ground rent or something to keep the church going," explained Dr Doyle.
However, as a category A listed building, there are quite a few hurdles to be cleared.
"From the front of the building, if you were standing at Burns Statue, you shouldn't be able to see any development that was happening at the back of the building," she said.
"That vista would not be disturbed at all."
Side of church
Image captionDumfries and Galloway Council has provided financial support to exploring the plans
Dr Doyle said that they wanted the housing project to be something a little bit different.
"We wanted to make it kind of special, in a way, that we could invite a group to think about how they could live in the town centre and what would be a vulnerable group we could approach that would actually find that useful," she explained.
"I've been involved with the LGBT group in Dumfries and Galloway even before it was called LGBT.
"I know a lot of people who, even though they love living in the area, people are getting older, they are getting slightly more isolated."
She said she believed the attractions of town centre living might appeal to them.
"Here is a vulnerable group that would definitely seize the chance of living a more urban lifestyle," she said.
Dyfrig HywelImage copyrightDYFRIG HYWEL
Image captionDyfrig Hywel said the homes might allow people to "finally be themselves"
They are working with a housing association on the plans which they believe could become a template for developing redundant churches or ones struggling with their upkeep.
The idea would be to create something "cutting edge" at the back of a historic sandstone structure.
"The most important thing for us is people are very positive about the housing and the fact they are in the middle of Dumfries," said Dr Doyle.
"Obviously you would want people to be open and friendly to their neighbours regardless of who their neighbours were.
"There is not much of a social life which is why LGBT people have always gravitated to cities because there is a kind of 'critical mass' almost.
"If there is a large enough group you become the majority, you are taken seriously at that point.
"It is not just one or two people and they are isolated and you can bully or intimidate them."

'Really vulnerable'

Ian Barber and Dyfrig Hywel, who are members of the project board, said they believed there was a need for the housing.
"One type of people that might be living there is the elderly - people having to go back into the closet when they go into care," said Mr Hywel.
"We have got other people who come out of the closet in their 60s when their parents die.
"Despite the huge progress in society they are still really, really vulnerable people."
"There is also a huge issue with older LGBT people and care," added Mr Barber.
"People coming into their homes to deliver personal care not realising they are LGBT, not realising the other person there is actually their partner.
"Having to move into a care home or nursing home - there are still all sorts of issues. The development at the church is trying to, in some way, answer those needs."
Dumfries town centreImage copyrightBILLY MCCRORIE
Image captionDumfries and Galloway Council is keen to see people live in the town centre
Mr Hywel said peer support was becoming "more and more important" although he accepted the project might not appeal to everyone.
"It is a bit of a Marmite one - some people will like it, some people won't," he said.
"There is no doubt there is a need, however the people that need it are not going to be public about it necessarily because some of them will be vulnerable and isolated."
"It is good for the town because it is bringing more people to live in the town," said Mr Barber.
"There is all this discussion about the future of Dumfries now and we need to bring more people to live in the town centre."

'Long-term future'

"Inter-generational projects are very important - older people have a lot to give to younger ones and vice-versa," added Mr Hywel. "This could be life-changing for some individuals - they could finally be themselves."
The local authority, for its part, said it took great pride in being an "inclusive council".
"We are also keen to get people back living in Dumfries town centre," a spokesman said.
"Rethinking how the church is used may provide it with a long-term sustainable future.
"The trustees are fully aware of the iconic status this listed building has within the town and would like to see a future use that benefits the local LGBT community and supports the regeneration of Dumfries town centre."
The council recently committed a little more than £45,000 to help take the project forward.
If it is delivered, the people behind it hope it might become a template used in other parts of the country.

February 2, 2019

New LGBT Report: There is Public Support in General but Also State Opposition on Equality Acts



As the LGBT community continues to pursue equal rights, it can point to substantial gains at the state level, broad public support and increased momentum toward a federal Equality Act.
On the other hand, a majority of states still lack laws banning discrimination, and those pesky bills that would curtail gay rights keep popping up.
The latest State Equality Index, a yearly report of statewide laws and policies that impact LGBT people produced by the Human Rights Campaign and the Equality Federation Institute and released Thursday, revealed a record 17 states (and the District of Columbia) earning a top rating. That’s an increase of four states over last year and more than double the total of eight from 2014, the first year the SEI was published.
Of course, that still leaves 33 states in the other three rankings, with a whopping 28 of them in the lowest category, dubbed, “High Priority to Achieve Basic Equality.’’
“It’s incredibly important that these states have taken action to make sure LGBTQ people are afforded equal rights under the law in their states, but certainly, it’s concerning that there are still 33 states that are not there,’’ said Cathryn Oakley, the HRC’s state legislative director, and senior counsel.
Just as troubling to the HRC, the nation’s largest gay rights organization, is the spate of legislative initiatives that have sprouted since the 2015 Supreme Court decision that guaranteed same-sex couples the right marry.

The SEI details more than 100 bills it considers anti-LGBT that were introduced across 29 states in 2018. Only two passed.
Oakley also cited measures like Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 2015 and North Carolina’s so-called bathroom bill of 2016 – both seen as infringing on LGBT rights – as either responses or anticipatory moves related to the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling.
On Thursday, the Arkansas state Supreme Court rejected an attempt by the city of Fayetteville to continue enforcing its ordinance banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, saying the measure violates a state law aimed at preventing local protections for LGBT people.
That was viewed as a jurisdictional ruling more than anything else, but Arkansas is one of 30 states that doesn’t provide civil rights protection based on sexual orientation or gender identity. 
The HRC is one of the advocacy groups pushing for an Equality Act, which would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include protection from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in areas including employment, housing, public accommodations, etc.
“LGBTQ people still face the sobering reality that their rights are determined by which side of a state or city line they call home,’’ HRC president Chad Griffin said in a statement. “As this year’s State Equality Index makes clear, the time has come for us to do away with this patchwork of state laws and to protect all LGBTQ people by passing the federal Equality Act.’’
Previous attempts at such a law have died in committee, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has committed to making the bill a priority. The California Democrat has public support on her side, with a survey published in August by the Public Religion Research Institute revealing that 71 percent of Americans favor safeguards for the LGBT community.
In addition, the HRC said more than 130 major companies throughout the country have joined its effort to push for the bill.
Then again, there’s no certainty the Republican-controlled Senate would approve it, and even less that President Donald Trump – who wants to ban transgender people from serving openly in the military – would sign it.
Oakley said the HRC is optimistic about the bill’s prospects this year while recognizing it will be a huge undertaking to get it passed.
“It’s absolutely a big lift, but it should be a big lift,’’ she said. “It’s a major piece of civil rights legislation and it only makes sense it would take work to pass it. That said, it’s had bipartisan support in the past, and we know we have tremendous support from the American public, and we have a lot of support from the business community.’’

August 23, 2018

A Time in China- A Time For Change

by Jo Dee |
China Gay力: A Time for Change

Like many foreigners who have been in China for a few years, I have become acutely aware of the cycles, the coming and going of different people and the subsequent changes in the community. It is around this time, with the start of the new school year, that this transition happens. This year, I was hit hard by a feeling of sadness, having yet again a new wave of people leave the city. 

Over the past few weeks, however, I’ve met many newbies, hungry to discover all that this grand city has to offer. Meeting these people has led to some wonderful experiences, their hunger and my inability to say no has led to us organizing queer bar crawls, dancing in rainbow Morphsuits just because we feel like it, ‘queer takeovers’ of spaces, and of course, parading down the streets of Beijing in the Rainbow Ride, a hot-pink and rainbow-covered sanlunche. 


These experiences in the past weeks with the Rainbow Ride, with 10 people crammed on and a couple more pushing, the laughter and the stories told on it, has reminded me about all the times this has happened before, albeit with a different set of bodies. It has been with me from the very beginning of my queer life here, has experienced the cycles and the changes in the community over the past few years. It has witnessed the nurturing of a community and just how magical and life-changing this can be. There is no denying that there is something beautiful and consistent that exists here in our international queer community. No matter where we come from, there is something special here that will touch and change us.

Adapting to a new place is hard, but for those of you who are new, be not afraid to step out of your comfort zone and seek out the queer community. It is vibrant and welcoming, and you will become a part of this magic in no time at all.

So it is with anticipation that I look forward to meeting the new faces of our community, and wonder what adventures are in store for us next. 

Aug 22-26: 14 Years of Destination
To celebrate their 14th anniversary, Destination puts on a variety of special events throughout the week and into the weekend. Wednesday is their weekly drag show, Thursday from 8 pm is a free musical sing-along of The Sound of Music, whereas Friday and Saturday is their party night featuring the regular go-go boys and queens. The weekend will climax with a foam and city slides paradise party in their outdoor courtyard (1-7pm, see poster above). Multiple dates, times, and prices. Destination and DesLink

Aug 25: THVNDR Presents False Witness
False Witness is an audio-visual identity designed by sound artist and producer Marco Gomez, who explores electronic music through a queer lens. Resident DJ of New York City’s GHE20G0TH1K club night since 2014, he is also one of the original founding members of the queer art collective #KUNQ. DJs Joy Ginger, Luxixi, and DJ青 provide support. RMB 80. 10pm. Dada

Drag Night @ Des Link
Destination’s focus on fashioning itself as an inclusive destination for the entire LGBTQ+ community shows best during its Wednesday night fiestas. Dress to be, be to impress, and don't miss the Queens of Beijing's spectacular free show from 11pm onwards. Free. 8pm. Des Link 

The Closet
Alternatively, Nali Patio's La Social continues its growing gay-friendly night The Closet on Thursdays (pictured at top), featuring some of the most ludicrously-named cocktails that have ever been, case in point: Urethra Franklin and Cum Burglar. Best yet, if you're willing to put beef aside, you can get half-price on any drink by kissing your enemy before 10pm (or your BFF, but where's the fun in that?). With those games, things are bound to get rowdy. Free. 8pm. La Social

Especially for the ladies
Huoli Ladies Bar
Tucked away under the Sanlitun Soho complex, Huoli is an intimate ladies bar with special ‘singles activities’ on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays designed for, ahem, getting to know each other better. Great for a first date if you, like me, believe that furry handcuffs, naughty drinking games and a rickety staircase leading to a cozy cushion balcony are perfect conversation starters. Intimate and fun, it’s a good place to meet new people. There is a minimum order, and the menu is a little confusing given that it contains a large array of different combination sets of beers, weak cocktails, shots, and snacks. Free. Daily 7pm-3am. Huoli Ladies Bar


AMO Club
The biggest club for ladies, the Beijing branch is quite literally an underground club you could just about live in. Open from 8pm onwards every night, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights are the busiest, with live DJs and T&P performances. For special events, they have performances with opportunities to get involved with the games on stage and win prizes. Some drinks can be bought on their own, but most prefer some of their combos of beers or hard liquor with snacks. Here, ice cream in vodka could be a thing. For more information, follow their WeChat account. Free. Daily 8pm-5am. AMO Club

Watch this space for more queer events that roll in in the future. If you have an event or venue you would like featured, get in touch at

Images: Jo Dee, courtesy of the organizers

June 16, 2018

The Canadian Supreme Court Rules LGBT Rights Trump Religious Rights

                                                                                Me quiero ir al Canada.             

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OTTAWA,  (LifeSiteNews) – The Supreme Court of Canada ruled today that LGBT sexual equality rights trump religious rights in an unprecedented blow against religious freedom in Canada.
In a pair of 7-2 rulings (here and here), the court ruled that it was "proportionate and reasonable" for the law societies of British Columbia and Ontario to refuse accreditation to future Trinity Western University students because the proposed Christian law school’s "community covenant" would discriminate against LGBTQ people.
"In our respectful view, the [law societies] decision not to accredit Trinity Western University's proposed law school represents a proportionate balance between the limitation on the Charter right at issue and the statutory objectives the [law societies] sought to pursue," the ruling stated.
The ruling means that future grads from Trinity Western University's law school will not be able to practice law in Ontario and B.C.
TWU, a private Christian college associated with the Evangelical Free Church, requires students to sign a commitment to refrain from any sexual activity “that violates the sacredness of marriage between a man and a woman.”
A majority of five judges, Rosalie Abella, Michael Moldaver, Andromache Karakatsanis, Richard Wagner and Clement Gascon ruled the law societies’ decisions were reasonable. 
Then-Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin and Justice Malcolm Rowe agreed but for different reasons, set out in separate opinions. 
“Freedom of religion protects the rights of religious adherents to hold and express beliefs through both individual and communal practices. Where a religious practice impacts others, however, this can be taken into account at the balancing stage. In this case, the effect of the mandatory Covenant is to restrict the conduct of others,” McLachlin wrote in her opinion on the appeal by the Law Society of British Columbia.
“The LSBC’s decision prevents the risk of significant harm to LGBTQ people who feel they have no choice but to attend TWU’s proposed law school. These individuals would have to deny who they are for three years to receive a legal education. Being required by someone else’s religious beliefs to behave contrary to one’s sexual identity is degrading and disrespectful.”
Justices Brown and Côté dissented, writing that the majority “betrays the promise of our Constitution that rights limitations must be demonstrably justified.”
"Under the LSBC’s governing statute, the only proper purpose of a law faculty approval decision is to ensure the fitness of individual graduates to become members of the legal profession. The LSBC’s decision denying approval to TWU’s proposed law school has a profound impact on the s. 2 (a) rights of the TWU community,” they wrote.
“Even if the LSBC’s statutory ‘public interest’ mandate were to be interpreted such that it had the authority to take considerations other than fitness into account, approving the proposed law school is not contrary to the public interest objectives of maintaining equal access and diversity in the legal profession. Nor does it condone discrimination against LGBTQ persons. In our view, then, the only decision reflecting a proportionate balancing between Charter rights and the LSBC’s statutory objectives would be to approve TWU’s proposed law school.”
Observers predicted the top court’s highly anticipated Trinity Western University decision would have far-reaching implications for faith-based institutions and their participation in society.
The seven justices who concurred in the majority decision are: McLachlin, Richard Wagner, Rosalie Abella, Michael Moldaver, Andromache Karakatsanis, Clement Gascon, and Malcolm Rowe.
The Supreme Court heard two appeals, one brought by TWU and the other by the Law Society of British Columbia, as well as arguments from a staggering 32 interveners, represented by 56 lawyers, last November 30 and December 1.
Then-Chief Justice Beverly McLachlin made an unprecedented decision in August to allow all 26 LGBTQ interveners, overruling a previous decision by Justice Richard Wagner to pare the number down to fit a traditional one-day hearing.
Underscoring the political nature of the case, McLachlin did so after LGBTQ activists took to Twitter to complain. The Court subsequently took the rare step of issuing a press release explaining the decision.
Friday’s rulings end a legal odyssey that began when TWU applied in 2012 to open a law school, but was preemptively challenged by the law societies in British Columbia, Ontario, and Nova Scotia.
They refused to grant accreditation to TWU graduates on the grounds that the Covenant violated Charter equality provisions by discriminating against homosexual, bisexual, and transgendered persons, as well as those with a different sexual moral code.
In the case of BC, the decision was based on a binding referendum the law society held in 2014 after members demanded it rescind a decision to accept TWU graduates.
TWU fought the ruling in all provinces, arguing the Charter protects its freedom of religion.
It won in Nova Scotia and B.C., but lost in Ontario, when Ontario Court of Appeal ruled in June 2016 TWU’s covenant “is deeply discriminatory to the LGBTQ community.”
Both TWU and B.C.’s law society appealed to the top court.
Interveners in the case included Ontario’s Liberal government, which compared Trinity’s covenant to treating LGBTQ persons as Ontario treated Jews 200 years ago by banning non-Christians from the legal profession.
Other groups intervening against TWU included West Coast LEAF; Start Proud; Egale Canada Human Rights Trust; British Columbia Humanist Association; Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Trans People of the University of Toronto; and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association.
Among groups intervening for TWU were the Catholic Civil Rights League, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, Association for Reformed Political Action, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver, and the National Coalition of Catholic Trustees Association.
TWU fought and won a similar legal battle in 2001, when the Supreme Court of Canada ruled the B.C. College of Teachers could not deny accreditation to TWU education graduates because of the community covenant.
Lianne LaurenceFollow Lianne

April 21, 2018

Gay Gooners and Supporters’ Helping Change LGBT Attitudes in the UK

Joe White

Football was an escape for Joe White until he stopped feeling welcome at matches. But the campaigning group Pride In Football has helped change attitudes, transforming his experience of the beautiful game

As the UEFA Champions League nears its conclusion, we are celebrating “what football has done for me”, how the beautiful game has broken down barriers and changed people’s and communities’ lives for the better. Here is Joe White’s story...
“When I started realising I was gay and started closing myself off to a lot of the social situations in life, football was an opportunity to have an escape. Whether it was watching Final Score, live football on the TV or going to Shrewsbury Town, it was always a release.
Joe White Pride in Football
Changing attitudes: Pride in Football campaigns on issues of inclusivity for LGBT fans
“I'm an Arsenal fan since birth, I don’t think I’d have been allowed to be a fan of any other team. We’re an Arsenal family but I grew up near Shrewsbury Town, so I’ve a soft spot for them. I used to go to Shrewsbury with my dad – it was one of the few times we had proper father-son bonding.
“I remember not feeling welcome at football and I stopped going. When I came out at 15 years old the response wasn’t fully supportive from friends – and they were the ones I went to football with.
“I’m the head of campaigns for Pride In Football (PIF) and on the committee of Gay Gooners, the Arsenal LGBT supporters’ group. Pride In Football is the umbrella LGBT organisation for fans’ groups across the UK. PIF campaigns on issues of inclusivity for LGBT fans so we have meetings with the Football Association, FIFA, UEFA, clubs that want to start a fan group, the Premier League and the Football League. It’s about ensuring football is a place where LGBT fans feel welcome.
Joe White and Arsenal fans
Red and white army: Joe and fellow Gooners before the 2017 FA Cup semi-final
“Arsenal’s media department is brilliant. As an official supporters’ group we were picked for VIP treatment at the Everton game. After the game we went pitchside and had a picture with Shkodran Mustafi. It was a game Rihanna was at so there were all these gay football fans in their element!
“For a lot of LGBT fans, when we start realising our sexuality we have an internal process of thinking and worrying about everything, so many will go away from the game because we fear we’ll not be welcomed. There is that stigma that, “you’re gay, so you can’t like football”. You can’t be camp and like football – it’s almost, “how dare you!”.
Joe White
Fighting fear: Joe wants to make football more welcoming and inclusive
“You look at the women’s game. There are so many brilliant role models just being openly LGBT and it’s wonderful. The men’s game could learn a lot.
“My first game was when I was eight or nine. I went with my dad, my friend from primary school and his dad, who was the most quiet, polite man... until you took him to football and it was Jekyll and Hyde. It was hilarious, I just remember my dad being absolutely shocked. He was the local postman, quiet but when you got him to Shrewsbury Town he’d be loud, swearing. I thought it was brilliant!
Pride in football at Arsenal
Spreading the word: Joe and fellow Pride in Football campaigners at The Emirates Stadium
“When I came out in 2008, there were no LGBT fans’ groups. There was no visibility at all. In 2012 I met a friend of a friend in London who also happened to be a massive Gooner. He said, if you’re ever down again, I’ll try to get a ticket to Arsenal for you. So I went back to the game, and through that I met people from the Gay Gooners and then I found out about PIF.
“From the age of 16 I’ve been an LGBT campaigner. I set up Shropshire’s only LGBT youth group, I used to advise West Mercia police on LGBT issues, at university I was the LGBT rep for a year.
Joe White and friend at Pride
Growing movement: until recently there were few LGBT fans’ groups
“LGBT people have to think about things on a day-to-day basis that other people don’t. Take the Russia and Qatar World Cups – are we safe to go? Will we face abuse from other fans, or from our own fans? Will we hear homophobic chanting? All we want is for our presence to become obsolete as a social group.
“Crystal Palace ran a brilliant campaign this season called Proud and Palace. They got a wide range of fans’ groups to sign up to a pledge saying, “there are 99 reasons to hate Brighton but homophobia ain’t one”, because of their massive rivalry with them.
“Arsenal are one of the best clubs for all issues of equality and diversity. I equally must say that Spurs are very good – which is difficult for me to say!
“The approach of general fans is changing. Gay Gooners started in 2013 and in that five-year period we’ve come so far. Matt Lucas is our patron. The general football community is realising that we wouldn’t accept racism in the stands so we shouldn’t accept homophobia. We had people in Gay Gooners who stopped going in the 1980s because of homophobia but have started going again.
Greg Clarke
Understanding the issues: FA chairman Greg Clarke realises there needs to be change CREDIT: GETTY
“One person I’ll give a huge amount of credit to is [FA chairman] Greg Clarke . He says what he thinks and that can get him into trouble but he acknowledges that there needs to be a different approach to inclusivity to make sure fans feel welcome. The FA meet with us every couple of months – having that support is a huge shift in approach.
“Football has given me a lot of confidence – I’d never have thought I’d have done live TV but I went on to Sky talking about Qatar. It’s opened doors that I’d have never even considered before, it’s given me lifelong friendships. There are absolutely wonderful people who I wouldn’t have met had I not come back to the game. For me, football is only as beautiful a game as the people who watch it.
Priceless experiences with Mastercard
Mastercard is a long-standing sponsor of the UEFA Champions League, the most prestigious club football competition in the world.
The Telegraph and Mastercard are celebrating how something priceless can start with a football for individuals, families and communities.
Does your child want to be a mascot at a UEFA Champions League match? Enter the competition at
Player escort spots are courtesy of Mastercard, official sponsor of the UEFA Champions League.
The Telegraph

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