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Evolving for the future and for our Members

The Consortium team are excited to share details of our fresh new look that will come into effect later this month.  We want to recognise the diversity of our communities Our communities are diverse and evolving. Consortium wants to reflect these developments and ensure we are more inclusive in the way we talk about our… Read the original article Author:

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Could Bangladesh be set to get its first transgender MP?

Bangladesh may be set to get its first transgender MP after national elections at the end of last year. The ruling Awami League (AL) is considering a transgender candidate for one of the parliament’s 50 seats reserved for women, local media said. These are allocated to political parties based on their proportion of seats won in the election. AL will, therefore, choose 43 women from the political party. The Dhaka Tribune this week reported eight transgender women had filed their nominations with the party. Despite recognition in 2013, Bangladesh’s estimated 10,000 trans people still face extremely high levels of discrimination and violence. Many identify as a third gender, Hijra. Hijra may have been assigned male at birth and live as women. Some also identify as trans or intersex or just as Hijra. What’s more, homosexuality is illegal in Bangladesh under a colonial-era law. In 2016, a suspect Islamists murdered prominent LGBTI activist and editor Xulhaz Mannan. ‘No representation’ ‘We are citizens of Bangladesh but we have no representation in the parliament’ one of the AL’s candidates, Falguni, told the Dhaka Tribune. ‘There is no one from our community who can understand and raise our concerns. That is why we are running for the seats’. President of a transgender welfare organization, Arifa Yasmin Moyuri, is another of the AL candidates, according to the Dhaka Tribune. Moyuri led a transgender delegation in September 2018 to meet Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Bangladesh in September announced its first transgender official at Bangladesh’s Human Rights ...

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Court dismisses case of lesbian couple denied place at retirement home

A US District Judge dismissed a lawsuit by a lesbian couple in St. Louis, Missouri on Wednesday (16 January). Mary Walsh, 72, and Bev Nance, 68 sued the Friendship Village senior living community in July last year. The pair have been together for nearly four decades and married in 2009. They alleged the Friendship Village discriminated against them based on their same-sex relationship. Marriage is ‘the union of one man and one woman, as marriage is understood in the Bible’, according to the Village. They, therefore, launched a case, alleging discrimination based on sex under the federal Fair Housing Act (FHA). Not protected But, on Wednesday, Judge Jean Hamilton, wrote that the FHA only prohibits discrimination on the basis of ‘race, color, religion, sex, familial status, or national origin’, according to the St Louis Post. ‘Under (the) circumstances, the Court finds the claims boil down to those of discrimination based on sexual orientation rather than sex alone,’ Hamilton’s decision read. ‘The Eighth Circuit has squarely held that “Title VII does not prohibit discrimination against homosexuals.”‘ But, previous district courts have ruled that sexual orientation discrimination comes under sex discrimination. Another fight on the horizon. U.S. District Judge Jean C. Hamilton said the Fair Housing Act offers no anti-discrimination protections based on sexual orientation. https://t.co/IfxnCr3446 — Gay & Lesbian Alliance of North TX (@galanorthtx) January 17, 2019 ‘Very hurtful’ Walsh and Nance first applied to Friendship Village senior living community in July 2016. What’s more, the couple have friends who live in ...

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‘Islamic defenders’ raid HIV support center in Indonesia

Vigilante group the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) led a raid on an HIV organization in Indonesia on Tuesday (15 January). Police, military, and local residents joined the raid on Indonesian Social Change Organization (OPSI), according to Coconuts. OPSI provides HIV support to LGBTI people and sex workers. Indonesia’s crackdown on its LGBTI population is intensifying in the run-up to elections in April. Homosexuality and being transgender is legal in most of Indonesia. But, rising Islamic fundamentalism has led to a crackdown on the community. Since 2016, authorities have been using blasphemy, pornography and public nuisance laws to arrest LGBTI Indonesians What’s more, local administrations have also been introducing their own legislation to target the population. Leading LGBTI activist Dede Oetomo told Gay Star News the Pekanbaru raid was a ‘bad obstacle’ for people seeking prevention services. Prevalence of HIV among men who have sex with men in Indonesia is around 25 percent, he said. ‘It is worrying because people who could be availing of HIV-related services would feel reluctant to come to them’. ‘This would then mean less control of the epidemic’ he also said. ‘Unusual activity’ and condoms Authorities in Pekanbaru, Sumatra, justified Tuesday’s raid by claiming ‘unusual activity’ had taken place at the house. A resident told The Republika he had seen men wearing short skirts leaving the building. Footage of the raid appears to show FPI officers presenting condoms as evidence. They also shared images of a pink room with Hello Kitty curtains. OPSI is a national network working with ...

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First ever transgender march on Washington DC is coming in April

Ahead of this weekend’s third annual National Women’s March, the first annual National Trans Visibility March (NTVM) has been announced. According to the event’s press release, this will be the first ever official transgender and gender non-conforming march on the United States capital, Washington DC. The march is part of a two-day event, beginning Sunday, 31 March and concluding with the march on Monday, 1 April. ‘Members of the transgender and gender non-conforming communities will take a major stand against hate and discrimination when they rally in the nation’s capital for the first ever National Trans Visibility March (NTVM),’ the press release states. Similar to the Women’s March, the aim of the NTVM is to have coordinated marches across the country. Both trans and gender non-conforming people will be marching with their allies and ‘calling for equal rights, physical safety and demanding the transgender communities be officially and federally recognized across every state department within this great nation’. A weekend of activism 31 March will kick off the event with the Torch Awards, honoring trans individuals. A Trans Visibility Ball will immediately follow that Sunday evening. As stated before, the march will take place the following day. NTVM Director of Ambassadors Aryah Lester said that previously trans existence ‘was not counted’ and the community was ‘suppressed’. These demonstrations are a way to combat that. See also Women’s March leader addresses accusations of anti-Semitism Democratic presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren reverses trans opinion German woman becomes the first transgender MP in the country Read ...

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Grindr shuts down its LGBTI news site

Gay dating app Grindr shut down its online magazine, Into, on Tuesday (15 January). After Into’s 17-month run, US-based Grindr said it would be focussing on video. What’s more it terminated contracts with all its editorial staff. ‘After a thoughtful and collaborative process, Grindr’s leadership decided to modify Into’s content mix to rely more heavily on video’ a statement said. ‘As with any growing business, we have to continually evaluate what is best for Grindr’. It confirmed staff members would be leaving. But, Into staffers and LGBTI advocates in the US bemoaned the loss to LGBTI media. Into caused controversy in November last year with a report into apparently anti-LGBTI comments by Grindr CEO, Scott Chen. ‘We feel that Into’s closure is a tremendous loss for LGBTQ media, journalism, and the world’ read a statement signed by the Into team. Into ‘proved what queer people have shown for decades: there is an audience, a desire, and a hunger for LGBTQ stories told by LGBTQ people’ the statement said. Former associate editor Mary Emily O’Hara said she was ‘deeply saddened’. Hi everyone. I’m deeply saddened to confirm that this news is true. I want to thank my incredibly talented @into colleagues, the fantastic writers who patiently resolved my edits, and everyone who has read our work. Also, I’m looking for a job. https://t.co/pK3Bk5fWQV — Mary Emily O’Hara (@MaryEmilyOHara) January 15, 2019 Courageous and controversial Into launched in August 2017. It ‘shared the hopes and joys of the LGBTQ community, our successes and setbacks, ...

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New Spider-Man movie is first Marvel film to cast out trans actors

Marvel Studios is releasing their follow-up solo Spider-Man film to 2017’s Spider-Man: Homecoming. Thanks to eagle-eyed fans, it looks like the sequel, sub-titled Far From Home, also features the first openly transgender actors in a Marvel film. The Advocate first reported the newest members of the Marvel family. According to their story, the two actors are Zach Barack and Tyler Luke Cunningham. Barack will be playing a friend of Peter Parker (Tom Holland), while Cunningham has been cast as a featured extra. Fans began speculating about this casting when behind-the-scenes photos from the movie’s filming came out. not only that, but we have two trans actors playing students as well, one of which is a black man. ffh is going to be a diverse masterpiece https://t.co/4vSayiODb3 — juliah will never recover (@spideystights) September 30, 2018 While relatively small in scope, this is a major move for Marvel. Past missteps With recent films, Marvel Studios has made a number of decisions upsetting LGBTI fans. Scenes of LGBTI characters were cut from both Thor: Ragnarok and Black Panther. Furthermore, both of these scenes would have depicted LGBTI characters of color. On the comic side of things, X-Man Bobby Drake recently went back into the closet after a widely celebrated coming out scene. There has always been support for representation in the Spider-Man world. In Homecoming, Zendaya became the first ever black Mary-Jane Watston, while another actor from Homecoming said there should be a trans superhero. Marvel execs have handed out platitudes before regarding ...

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Jeremy Hunt joins calls to end ‘disturbing’ LGBTI violence in Chechnya

UK Foreign Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, called on Russian authorities to end a violent crackdown on LGBTI people in Chechnya. Hunt joins calls for action worldwide to halt violence after reports of the anti-gay purge in the region intensifying. Two men have died from extreme torture and about 40 more people were detained on suspicion of being gay since December, according to the Russian LGBT Network. ‘If this is true, it is totally unacceptable & Russian authorities must not only stop this from happening but hold those responsible to account’ Hunt wrote on Twitter. Despite global outrage since news broke of Chechen authorities detaining gay and bisexual men in concentration camps in April 2017, Russia has so far avoided accountability. Spine-chilling Leading rights groups Amnesty International (AI) said it was ‘horrified’ about the ’spine-chilling’ news. ‘With lives in jeopardy, there is an urgent need for an international response to protect gay and lesbian people in Chechnya’ said Marie Struthers of AI. What’s more, Pride in London said it was ‘extremely concerned and saddened’. As one of the UK’s largest LGBTI events, it encouraged Twitter users to ‘remind the world to stand up for #loveislove’. Stonewall UK called on the government to offer LGBTI torture survivors sanctuary in the UK. ‘We are calling for the Russian authorities to end this persecution immediately and bring the perpetrators to justice’ the statement also said. Prominent Canadian politician Jagmeet Singh also tweeted his concern. This is horrific. The state-sanctioned targeting & killing of members of the LGBT ...

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Police hunt two men after sexual assault on man near G-A-Y Late in London

London police are searching for two men in connection with a sexual assault on a man in his 20s near G-A-Y Late in October last year. Two men assaulted a man on Flitcroft Street, Camden at 2.45am on 24 October 2018 (a Wednesday), according to a Metropolitan Police statement. The two men then left on foot. ‘This was a sexual assault on a man in a public street and we appeal for anyone who thinks they can help us with the investigation to come forward’ Detective Constable Robin East said. The victim’s friend, who had been with him shortly before the incident, came to his aid and called the police. The incident occurred just around the corner from popular LGBTI nightclub G-A-Y Late. ‘Don’t delay’ London Police said the victim described both suspects as being white and of Eastern European origin. One man was between aged 35 and 40, short, stocky and had big ears. The other, meanwhile, was slightly younger, skinny, clean-shaven, with light brown hair. He was wearing a blue Superdry jacket. ‘We are interested in speaking to the two men in these images, so if you recognise them, please don’t delay in calling police’ East also said. Importantly, police have received no further reports of similar assaults. They are, therefore, treating it as an isolated incident. ‘The victim in this case continues to receive support from specially trained officers’, East said. Anyone with information is asked to contact CN Safeguarding on 101 quoting 2330062/18, or Crimestoppers anonymously ...

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Ex-Lib Dem politician Mark Oaten is now ‘comfortable’ being gay

Former Liberal Democrat MP Mark Oaten has finally admitted to himself that he is gay. ‘I’m clear about my sexuality’ Oaten told BBC Radio 5. In 2006, Oaten crashed out of politics after the News of the World published details of his six-month affair with a male sex worker. At the time, he was married. He and Belinda had two daughters together. But, Oaten said, he is now in a relationship with a man. The pair live together. ‘I can be who I am now. I just wish I’d done it earlier.’ ‘It’s something which is difficult for me to say’ Oaten said on the radio show. ‘I clearly had sexual doubts earlier on in my life, but I was very, very happily married and really, really enjoyed being a dad and married as well’. Oaten said his family, including his daughters, had been supportive. ‘And for people listening to this, if they are in that situation I would say, address it sooner rather than later if you can, because I’m so much happier now’. ‘Seedy, bullying men’s club’ Before the scandal, Oaten was a rising star in the Liberal Democrats. He was poised to take over as leader from Charles Kennedy. In the Radio 5 interview, Oaten blamed the Westminster working environment for driving him to seek out relations with sex workers. He said the Houses of Parliament had ‘a horrid culture, and I believe it’s still the same’. ‘I would almost describe Westminster as this seedy, bullying men’s ...

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