Showing posts with label Pride. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Pride. Show all posts

September 5, 2018

In Poland a Group of Right Wing Nationalists Destroy LGBTQ Display Street for Pride


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A group of men believed to be right-wing nationalists descended on an LGBTQ street fair in Poland, ripping up rainbow colored umbrellas and frightening those in attendance. 
The event was organized by Lambda Szczecin, a local LGBTQ organization, on Sunday, less than two weeks before Szczecin is set to hold its first ever Pride. A video posted to the Facebook page for a documentary called Artykuł Osiemnasty (Article 18), about the lack of marriage equality in Poland, shows three men, who are described in the caption as “National Patriots,” destroying property and getting into a verbal altercation with a man who confronted them for their actions. 
The video asks anyone who recognizes the homophobic bigots to come forward with information. Lambda Warsaw shared a picture from the event after the hooligans began their destructive and chaotic action, calling on everyone to attend the Pride event on September 15.
“We will be there with our huge rainbow flag,” the post reads. 
“We will also help to ensure the safety of LGBT people in Szczecin,” it goes on. “At the end of September, we will conduct training for violence victims from West Pomeranian and surrounding areas. It will increase the number of places where LGBT people can safely report violence.”
In addition to not being able to marry, same-sex couples in the country also cannot adopt, and there are no protections against discrimination in housing. Violence against the LGBTQ community has reached such a level in Poland that Amnesty International has urged the country to take hate crimes there seriously.

August 20, 2018

In Brazil, Coca-Cola Turned An Anti Gay Expression Into A Symbol of Pride

Just like in English, Spanish-speaking countries have different homophobic expressions for gay men. In Argentina, we’re “sword swallowers.” Spain calls us “pillow biters.” And in Brazil, the Portuguese expression is “Essa Coca é Fanta,” which literally translates to “That Coke is a Fanta.” But earlier this year Coca-Cola took that homophobic expression and turned it into a super cool, empowering campaign by filling cans of Coke with orange Fanta.
Being told “That Coke is a Fanta” might sound like a harmless idiom, until you realize the expression pops up everywhere in Brazilian culture: in memesYouTube videos and social media. It’s used repeatedly to mock anyone deemed too expressive, flamboyant or not macho enough. Over time, it can wear you down.
Aware of the expression, Coca-Cola decided to produce cans of Coke with orange Fanta inside.
These special cans came in the customary Coca-Cola red, but printed in Brazilian Portuguese on the side they read “Essa Coca-Cola é Fanta — e dai?” (“This Coca-Cola is a Fanta — so what?”)
That Coke is a Fanta 02
They released the can during Pride season in Brazil, and it was an immediate hit. LGBTQ Coca-Cola fans started discussing the drink in social media videos, making shirts with the slogan on it and even a very popular drag queen singer named Pabllo Vittar (she’s basically the Brazilian Britney Spears) made a video showing his delight.
Hundreds of millions of people saw and shared the campaign online, and Google searches for “That Coke is a Fanta” gradually changed from being grouped with other homophobic slurs to being grouped with “So what?,” “Pride” and other more empowering queries.
In short, Coca-Cola took a homophobic expression and turned it into a symbol of Pride.

Here is an ad showing the “That Coke is a Fanta” campaign: 

Coca-Cola is the most popular soft drink in Brazil by far. And considering the largely queer-friendly country has an ongoing problem of violence against LGBTQ people, it’s great that Coca-Cola got people to reconsider their attitudes about queer people and show it’s pretty cool when that Coke is a Fanta.

June 26, 2018

Celebrating Gay Pride When Being Gay is Illegal in Jamaica

Life as an LGBTQ person in Jamaica can be fraught. Homophobic and transphobic violence persists in the country, and sex between men is still illegal (anti-sodomy laws date back to 1864, a cruel vestige of British colonial rule). The mob killing of LGBTQ teen Dwayne Jones in 2013 was particularly vicious; last year, the designer and stylist Dexter Pottinger, a former face of Jamaican Pride, was murdered in his home.
Suelle Anglin, an associate director at Jamaica’s foremost LGBTQ advocacy organization, J-Flag, wants you to know that these headlines don’t tell the full story. “One of the main narratives is that we are one of the most homophobic places on earth,” she says. “That [reputation] came from back in the ‘90s, when things were really bad for LGBTQ people. Not that everything is now peaches and cream. But over 20 years, so much has changed.”
In July, J-Flag is throwing its fourth annual Pride event, a week-long celebration of LGBTQ lives fueled by soca music and free-flowing rum. It’s a testament to the pockets of solidarity and strength within the country, and the networks that, once underground, are edging into the light. Here, in her own words, is Anglin on J-Flag and Pride in Jamaica.

Pride in Jamaica is one of the best experiences you can think of. It’s a week of diverse events, so no matter where in the community you fall, it caters specifically to what you need. We have a sports day, a family fun day, health care, a religious service, and a beach picnic and cooler fête. And we also have a breakfast party, which starts from about five in the morning. We don’t have a parade that’s similar to what they do in America—we have never heard that people here have wanted to do a march.
In Jamaica, dancing and fashion is a very big part of who we are. At the beach party, people really come out dressed to the nines: rainbow umbrellas, rainbow bags, rainbow towels. Last year, I saw a lesbian couple with their dog, and the dog was dyed in rainbow colors. We have a lot of music: soca, hip-hop, pop, reggae, dancehall. It’s about enjoying our Jamaican culture in a Pride-inclusive space. Big Freedia performed, and it was really amazing. She said that if she had known this was the vibe of Jamaica Pride, she would have been here every single year. I’m a lesbian—out and proud. When I came out in 2011, the scene wasn’t as open. A lot of the events took place underground, and it was more like, "I tell you, and you tell your friends, and then you show up." The first Pride in Jamaica in 2015 was the first Pride I attended, ever. I really felt, "Oh, my God, are we really going to be able to do this in Jamaica?" There was a flash mob in New Kingston, in Emancipation Park, and Ellen Page was here filming for Vice. It was a very surreal feeling for people to be that open and that visible, on such a big scale.
I think now, things are pretty open—there’s been a tremendous growth regarding visibility. Businesses are saying that they are welcoming to the community, and there is an active LGBTQ party promoter scene. If you ask older people in the community, they’ll tell you that back in the day when they had parties, it was in very far, secluded venues—no hanging about—as opposed to now, where people are having events in very open, visible spaces.
The theme for this year’s Pride is "centering LGBTQ people in Jamaica’s future." That’s important because LGBTQ people in Jamaica are Jamaicans. They should be able to enjoy our music and culture, to go to different health facilities to get health care, and to get the best education, without harassment and bullying in schools.
I think that a lot of the reasons why a lot of LGBTQ people left back in the ’90s, and even consider leaving now, is because they feel as if Jamaica here is not their Jamaica. They feel as if they can’t enjoy the spaces that they should be able to enjoy. And when we send people away, we force them to adapt to a different culture: a different food, a different music, a different everything. We want to ensure that we are creating spaces here in Jamaica so that LGBTQ people can live their best lives. They can have their family, they can work, they can party, and they can enjoy everything that makes us Jamaican.
Occasionally, we get homophobic comments when we post things online. But in the three years that I’ve been with J-Flag, we haven’t had threats at any of our events. We provide security, and we have a good relationship with the police, so we have officers at our big Pride events. I’ve never felt scared at Pride in Jamaica, but I have felt anxious. Last year, we had between 1,000 and 1,500 people at our beach party and cooler fête. I’d never been in a space with so many people from the community, in such an open place. I was like, "I can’t believe I am in Jamaica, and I am in a space like this.”


July 2, 2017

No Pride at The W.H. But Plenty from Out Olympian Gus Kenworthy on His Undies

Trump broke with another tradition at the White House besides having not having honor for the heritage of the place and refused to honor Pride or even mention the word. I remember President Obama with his Vice President Joe Biden walking down the outside of the Oval Office in the White House with two humongous Pride flags. We won't see this again may be forever unless LGBTQ people understand our political system together with the millennials and know that voting for someone you don't love (you are not supposed to love politicians anyways) keeps you from getting the one the ass crazy dude loves.

Olympic freeskier Gus Kenworthy one of the celebrities who is “celebrating him selves” by stripping down for an inclusive Pride month effort.

Online underwear retailer MeUndies unveiled their new rainbow polka dot designs May 23 with a colorful spread featuring Kenworthy and Kiyoko for its “Celebrate Yourself” campaign. But the photo series ― which also features musician Big Freedia and YouTube personalities B. Scott, Stevie Boebi and Ally Hills ― isn’t just an excuse to spot the stars in their skivvies. For every pair of underwear sold, MeUndies will donate $1 to the Los Angeles LGBT Center to help expand its youth center. 

Los Angeles LGBT Center’s Chief Marketing Officer Jim Key told HuffPost that underwear was “a very appropriate choice” for their new campaign, which was launched to coincide with Pride month in June. “We lift, support and comfort people of all types and ages,” he quipped, noting that much like MeUndies’ polka dot designs, “we’re bold and courageous.”

Given the current political climate, Key said, funding for homeless LGBTQ youth services is more at risk than ever, which is one of the many reasons he’s grateful for the MeUndies campaign. It’s a particularly pertinent issue in Los Angeles, where about 40 percent of the homeless youth population in the city identify as LGBTQ, he said. 

June 26, 2017

Unlike Recent Years Pride Has Been More Resistance Than Celebration


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

June 12, 2017

Pride and Anger on LGBT Pride Marches Today on The U.S.

Supporters of LGBT rights marched and rallied in the nation's capital and dozens of other U.S. cities on Sunday, celebrating gains but angry over threats posed by the administration of President Donald Trump.
The centerpiece event, the Equality March in Washington, was endorsed by virtually every major national advocacy group working on behalf of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans.
Activists have been embittered 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.
They also complain that Trump, who campaigned as a potential ally of gays and lesbians, has stocked his administration with foes of LGBT rights, including Vice President Mike Pence, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price.
Throngs of marchers, many thousands strong, paraded past the White House and toward the Capitol, trailing behind a giant rainbow flag near the head of the procession.
"We're here, we're queer, get that Cheeto out of here," was among the chants directed at Trump.
For the LGBT community nationwide, it's an emotional time. Monday is the anniversary of the mass shooting a year ago in Orlando, Florida, that killed 49 people — mostly Latinos — at Pulse, a gay nightclub.
Among the marchers in Washington was Gil Mendez, a Puerto Rican native who traveled with his partner all the way from San Francisco to join the parade. He carried a sign that included the names of all the Pulse victims.
"The attack on Pulse really struck me hard," he said. "It made the connection between the physical violence of guns and the political attacks on our community."
Also marching, and singing freedom songs and patriotic songs along the way, were scores of members of gay choruses from various cities.
"It's an opportunity to tell everyone we're still here, and we're not going away at all," said Gregory Elfers of Teaneck, New Jersey, who was with a contingent from the New York City Gay Men's Chorus.
"We have to be heard — we have to be sure we're not trampled on," said L. Owen Taggart of Washington's Gay Men's Chorus.
The roughly 100 marches and rallies across the U.S. included the first-ever gay pride parade in Grosse Pointe, a prosperous Detroit suburb. It began at Grosse Pointe South High School to emphasize support for teens who are gay or transgender.
Two 15-year-old marchers, Jessica Dodge and Shekinah Aho, held hands and wore shirts that said, "Make America Gay Again."
The Los Angeles pride parade was renamed the ResistMarch, and tens of thousands turned out in Hollywood, some carrying rainbow flags or signs reading "Love Trumps Hate." Speakers included Mayor Eric Garcetti, U.S. Reps. Adam Schiff, Maxine Waters and Nancy Pelosi, and RuPaul, the host of "RuPaul's Drag Race."
Waters led the crowd in a chant of "Impeach 45."
"We're going to take our country back from him," she said. "I know that you have the strength. I know that you have the courage. And I know that each of you understands you have the power."
Back in Washington, the activist leaders on hand included Sarah Kate Ellis, president of GLAAD, which monitors media coverage of the LGBT community.
She noted that Trump, breaking from the practice of Barack Obama, has declined to issue a proclamation in honor of Pride Month and that the Trump administration has deleted questions about sexual orientation from planned federal surveys.
"If you look at their prioritization, we're really low on it," she said. "There absolutely is a resistance aspect to this march."
David Crary reported from New York. Associated Press writer Amy Taxin in Los Angeles contributed to this report.

June 6, 2014

George Takei on His Coming Out and the Beginnings of gay pride in Japan

  George Takei said he needed courage and anger to come out as gay and to join the equal rights movement for sexual minorities in the U.S., and he hopes his Japanese counterparts will do the same to make their society more equal.
Takei said he has noticed a movement beginning in Japan, though the country of his ancestry has a long way to go. He said Japanese people need to fight for their own rights and they need to be a bit angry, too.
The "Star Trek" actor also known for his gay and civil rights activism, said he was encouraged to have met with Japanese activists for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights, and even some of their parents fighting for their children.
"They have to have courage to come out and share their lives honestly," Takei said. Once they get a ball rolling, more movement would follow, like "a ripple effect" that spreads, he added. "So I'm optimistic. I do think that Japan will be one of the nations that have equality and that too will serve as an example for other Asian nations."
In a country where conformity is highly required, many sexual minorities still fear discrimination at work and bullying at schools, and many don't come out. Around the Asia-Pacific region, only New Zealand has legalized same-sex marriage.
Takei, 77, is in Japan to attend embassy-organized events marking LGBT Pride Month in the U.S. He later toasted gay rights at a reception hosted by Ambassador Caroline Kennedy attended by about 160 people, including Japan's first lady Akie Abe.
Delighted by a miniature of Starship Enterprise from Kennedy before the reception, Takei said it was perfect for the occasion: "That is our Utopian future. This Enterprise (starship in Star Trek) is a metaphor of Starship Earth with all of its diversity — not only the diversity of race and culture and history but also the unseen diversity of orientation, all coming together working in concert for a better future. And that is what we are doing here tonight. "
At a U.S. Embassy-sponsored talk, Takei said he was silent for decades due to fear of hurting his acting career. But he came out in 2005 when then-California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger rejected a bill legalizing same-sex marriage. A strong believer of civil liberty coming from his upbringing as a Japanese-American who spent part of his childhood in an internment camp with his family during World War II, Takei said he had to speak up.
He and his longtime partner, Brad Altman, were married in 2008. Takei said they chose to marry in a public ceremony for the sake of diversity and democracy.
The U.S. has come a long way with more states recognizing same-sex marriages and banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, but further effort is needed to cover all 50 states, Kennedy said.
"African-Americans, women, people with disabilities, and gay men and lesbian have reminded all Americans that we are each entitled to the same rights, liberties, responsibilities and opportunities," Kennedy said in an opening speech. "Those struggle to transform our society, here tonight we celebrate the countless acts of courage and commitment and reaffirm that LGBT rights are human rights."
Akie Abe, who became the first Japanese first lady this year to participate in a LGBT march, said she did that as she supports the cause of creating a society that tolerates more diversity. She said she became a supporter of LGBT rights through her work against AIDS.
"There is no difference to importance of love from sexual orientation. There should not be any discrimination because who you love," she said. "I am going to raise my voice. If my raised voice could contribute to the pride of LGBT people, there is no greater joy.”
By MARI YAMAGUCHI Associated Press

June 3, 2013

Defense Sec.Paneta Thanks Gay/Lesbian Soldiers as Pentagon Celebrates Pride

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta thanked gay and lesbian service members in a video address on Friday, as the Pentagon celebrates gay pride month for the first time.
Roughly nine months after the "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" policy was repealed, this recognition will be added to a list of racial and ethnic celebrations at the Department of Defense. In his address, Panetta said that diversity was one of the strengths of the Armed Forces.
"As we recognize Pride month, I want to personally thank all of our gay and lesbian service members, LGBT civilians, and their families for their dedicated service to our country,” he said. “Before the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” you faithfully served your country with professionalism and courage. And just like your fellow service members, you put your country before yourself.”
He concludes, “Diversity is one of our greatest strengths. During Pride month -- and every month -- let us celebrate our rich diversity and renew our enduring commitment to equality for all.”
Panetta also thanked the families of gay and lesbian service members.
Congress repealed the "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" policy in December of 2010, but it remained in place until September of 2011.

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