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Tag Archives: GS

Gay Star News is closing: You deserve the full story, all our thanks and love

We are devastated to have to confirm the reports that Gay Star News has to close, effective immediately. The site is no longer being updated. We don’t know how long it will remain online for but we will try to preserve it for as long as possible. Some of you will already have heard this news. It started to break late last night via Twitter. Of course, we would have wished to tell the story first ourselves. However, our priority was to do what we can for our amazing team and the others directly affected by what is happening. Why is GSN closing? Firstly, we feel you deserve to know why we have to close. Since we started almost eight years ago, Gay Star News has been able to serve our community and grow. It was clear from the outset that you, our readers and supporters around the world, wanted to hear about and engage with the stories we were telling. However, it has always been a tough business. This year, it got unexpectedly much tougher. We entered 2019 with every reason to be confident we were going to have a strong year. But as the year progressed, decisions have been delayed and projects people had committed to do with us have fallen flat. There are a number of reasons, of course. But the biggest change was the level of confidence brands and businesses in the UK have, due to the uncertainty over Brexit. It won’t surprise anyone to hear ...

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What I learnt from doing Pride in San Francisco, the queerest city in the US

At the beginning of 2019, I dreamt this would finally be the year where I dipped my feet into the sparkling ocean and soaked up the Californian sun in San Francisco. But then life punched me in the guts – harder than it ever did before – when my dad unexpectedly passed away in February. I spent months barely making it out of bed. I would show up to work, hang out with friends, go on boring, mediocre dates. Wash, rinse, repeat. I worked hard to project the usual image of myself. Except there wasn’t anything usual about my life. Everything was new and painful; it still is. I go through horrible days where this paralyzing grief hits me like a wave and better days where I feel I can eat the world and should make the most of my time. On one of those brighter days, I got on a plane to San Francisco to cover Pride. The northern Californian bay city with its cool, chill, queer vibe was going to be the perfect door to the States. Where everything is bigger but not necessarily better. The destination I dreamt about when things still made sense.  And Maanvi was there. A quest for self-love in San Francisco Maanvi lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.  She is one of the most brilliant, interesting, coffee-addicted people I know. Whenever you’re down, she presents you with this hip coffee blend potion to cheer you up. And it usually works. Just like ...

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‘Terrifying’: adopted kids removed from their gay dads in Russia

A trip to the emergency room soon turned into a nightmare for two dads, who have had their adopted children taken away from them. Lawyers for the men have described their situation as ‘terrifying’ as Russian authorities try to seperate them from their children. On 19 June, two men brought one of their sons to a Moscow hospital to treat a suspected case of appendicitis. The men remain unnamed for their own safety. But the doctor found out the boy had two dads and immediately reported them to the Investigative Committee of Russia. The Committee went on to sue the social workers who approved the children’s adoption for ‘negligence’. It also ordered authorities remove the boys from their family home. In July, things got worse. Authorities from the Committee tried multiple times to search the dads’ apartment and those of their immediate family. Eventually, investigators broke down the doors of the men and one of their brothers. They also interrogated one of their fathers for more than three hours. Gay propaganda The Committee decided the adoption contravened Russia’s controversial ‘gay propaganda’ law. Introduced in the 2013, the law forbids the positive representation of LGBTI people in media. The government argued the law stopped the ‘promotion of nontraditional sexual relations to minors’. LGBTI groups Stimul in Moscow and Coming Out in St. Petersburg joined forces to support the men and provide them legal assistance. Polina, an activist for Coming Out told Gay Star News this was the first time authorities had used ...

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Transgender activists in Thailand propose law to protect their rights

Transgender activists in Thailand last week proposed a new law to guarantee their rights. They presented a proposal to the parliament speaker. The activists, who plan to get 10,000 signatures in support of the law, want to recognized as the correct gender following gender affirmation surgery. The proposed law covers their name and title, marriage rights, military conscription and being treated as their gender in correctional facilities. The Transsexual Association of Thailand and The Life Inspired for Transsexuals Foundation led the campaign, according to The Nation. ‘Let the world see that Thailand is among the leaders when it comes to the rights and freedom for LGBTQI people,’ Yollada Suannok, president of the Transsexual Association of Thailand, said. Well-known singer and LGBTI icon Jern Jern Boonsoongnern backed the petition. Trans rights in Thailand People often consider Thailand a haven for transgender individuals. Transgender women are a visible part of society. But, they are often marginalized. Local law does not guarantee their rights. In March, the country elected its first transgender member of the House of Representatives. Filmmaker Tanwarin Sukkhapisit won a seat for the Future Forward Party (FFP). Tanwarin Sukkhapisit decided to run for office with FFP after a five-year legal battle over a film Sukkhapisit made. In the end, Thai censors removed a nude scene. Meanwhile, trans woman Pauline Ngarmpring made history in these elections by running for Prime Minister. Thailand also looks like it might become the second country in Asia to recognize same-sex partnerships. But, activists have slammed a civil ...

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Two transgender women tortured and killed in Pakistan

Police in Pakistan this weekend found the bodies of two transgender women who were tortured and beaten to death. Officials found the two women in a locked house in the Sahiwal district of the eastern Punjab province on Saturday (27 July), Senior officer Mohammad Ali Zia told the Associated Press. He said it was unclear what motivated the killer. But, he told AP, they died on Wednesday. One of the women was aged between 25 and 30 and the other about 31, according to Trans Action Pakistan. In a Facebook post, the local trans group also reports the police were gathering evidence. Violence getting worse in Pakistan At least 62 transgender Pakistanis were killed in 2018. In August last year, Pakistan’s trans community took to the streets to protest violence against the community. They demanded better police protection. Pakistan passed a landmark legislation to protect transgender people in May. But, the community still faces widespread violence and discrimination on the ground. Activists want a government body to implement anti-discrimination laws. Trans Pakistanis face mistreatment at the hands of police, government officials, and healthcare professionals. Families and communities often reject transgender Pakistanis. They suffer high levels of mental health problems as a result. President of the group, Farzana Jana, recently told Gay Star News that ‘violence against the transgender community is getting worse’. ‘The transgender community is much more likely to be violently attacked than any other marginalized group in Khyber Pakhtukhwa’ Farzana Jana said. ‘Laws alone are not sufficient, there ...

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Over 1,000 take to the streets of Warsaw in support of LGBTI rights

Over 1,000 people took to the streets in the Polish capital of Warsaw in a show of support for LGBTI rights on Saturday (27 July). The march comes a week after a Pride event in the north-eastern city of Białystok was marred by violence. The first Pride event to take place in Białystok was met with counter-protests by Christian and far-right groups on 20 July. Videos showed counter-protestors attacking and throwing rocks and bottles at the Pride march participants. LGBTI rights are a deeply polarising issue in the majority Catholic country. Divisions over LGBTI issues have been exacerbated in the lead up to Poland’s general election. March in Warsaw to support the LGBT community, after the first pride march in the city of Baiłystok was met with violence. PiS and opposition called out for not doing enough to condemn the attacks. pic.twitter.com/Eq7uP5xTxT — Jack Ramsay (@JJrram) July 27, 2019 ‘The tension is growing and is tied to the politics of the ruling party’ Those who took to the streets on Saturday’s march carried rainbow-colored flags and banners with pro-LGBTI messages. ‘I am here because of what happened in Białystok and because of the “LGBT-free zone” stickers,’ said 15-year-old student, Amelia Rae. ‘If something is going to change than the government needs to change.’ Analysts say that Poland’s ruling party, PiS, has attempted to energize their voter base by pushing back against ‘western liberalism’. This includes disapproving of LGBTI events such as Pride marches, which many politicians argue are a public ...

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New Hampshire bill to allow ‘X’ gender marker on licenses becomes law

A bill proposing the option for an ‘X’ gender marker on New Hampshire licenses and ID cards has been passed into law. Tell me more Governor Chris Sununu allowed House Bill 669 to become law earlier this month without his signature. It says that New Hampshire driver’s licenses and non-driver ID cards can have either ‘M,’ ‘F,’ or ‘X’ as gender markers. New Hampshire joins 12 other states and Washington DC in allowing non-binary residents to choose a third gender option on state-issued ID cards. ‘This victory is life-changing for the many Granite Staters who identify as non-binary. And is another step toward decreasing stigmatization, promoting equality, and ensuring that state identification documents are accurate and affirming,’ said Devon Chaffee, executive director of the ACLU of New Hampshire. ‘Last year, we worked to put comprehensive discrimination protections for transgender people into law. And this year, we’re building on that incredible success,’ Linda Jakows, former campaign manager for Freedom NH, said. ‘The last two years demonstrate the incredible momentum and support in New Hampshire for the trans and gender non-binary community.’ Why it matters The new law will go into effect on 1 January 2020. Alex McEntee of Concord, New Hampshire plans to be one of the first people to get their gender marker changed when the law goes into effect. ‘I have long thought the “F” that is currently on my license stands for “fraudulent”. Because it is simply not correct,’ McEntee told the New Hampshire Union Leader. ‘I applaud ...

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UK government put ‘extreme pressure’ on school to halt LGBTI-inclusivity lessons

The UK government school officials under ‘extreme pressure’ to hold LGBTI-inclusivity lessons due to protests against the classes, a chief executive has said. Hazel Pulley said the Department for Education (DfE) ‘really wanted the protests to stop’ taking place outside Parkfield Community School in Birmingham. She said that DfE officials made  ‘frantic phone calls’ urging the school to suspend the classes. Pulley also called on new prime minister Boris Johnson to take a lead in supporting schools facing such issues. Parkfield Community School teaches the No Outsiders program, which teaches students about same-sex relationships and gender identity. Protests against the classes began early in 2019. After several months of protests, the school temporarily stopped teaching No Outsiders several months later. A number of local parents opposed the lessons on the grounds that primary school children are too young to learn about LGBTI issues. Some have falsely claimed that the classes teach sex education. Some of the protestors – who are mostly, but not exclusively, Muslim – have also said that the lessons go against the teachings of Islam. ‘I don’t think this had ever happened in schools in our country before’ At its peak, the school saw hundreds of protestors assembling outside the school gates to protest the classes. The protests spread to other schools in Birmingham which taught similar LGBTI-inclusivity classes. Speaking to BBC News, Pulley said she felt ‘extreme isolation’ while dealing with the protests. It was ‘totally on my own to deal with something that was coming at ...

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US Border Control says HIV status is ‘justification’ to separate immigrant families

In a meeting on Capitol Hill, the chief of US Border Control told members of Congress HIV status is enough to separate immigrant families. Chief of law enforcement at the Border Patrol Brian Hastings made the comments on Thursday (25 July) in a hearing with the House Judiciary Committee. Hastings had a tense exchange with Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) about immigrants communicable diseases. It happens around the 4:25 mark. False claims about HIV Raskin asked Hastings about guidelines for separating children from their parents or guardians at the border. ‘If a mother or father has HIV positive status, is that alone enough to justify separation from their child?’ Raskin asked Hastings. Hastings responded in the positive, describing HIV as a ‘communicable disease under the guidance’. At this point, Raskin pushes back saying there are reports of immigrant family members being separated for this reason and pointing out HIV is not communicable ‘by ordinary contact’. ‘That’s the guidance that we follow,’ Hastings simply replied. Hastings also could not say where this guidance came from and when Raskin said the flu is also communicable, Hastings said they would not separate family members on that basis. Why is this harmful? People with ‘communicable disease of public health significance’ are inadmissable from entering the US. HIV was removed from the list of communicable diseases in 2010. July 2008 legislation reauthorizing the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) removed the language which declared HIV as a communicable disease. ‘It is no longer applicable based ...

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Russian blogger fears for life after death threats

Russian LGBTI rights blogger Zhenya Svetski has detailed how he fears for his following the murder of a fellow activist Elana Grigorieva. Both LGBTI rights advocates appear on now-shut down website that encouraged people to ‘hunt’ LGBTI people, activists, and journalists. Inspired by the horror franchise Saw it published the personal information of LGBTI people. ‘I am in the list of 10 Saw victims’ Svetski wrote on Twitter. The list also featured Grigorieva, who was stabbed seven times before dying in St Petersburg on Sunday. ‘How much more of our blood will be shed in Russia?’ He asked. While homosexuality is not illegal in Russia, the country introduced a ‘gay propaganda‘ law in 2013. It prevents the positive representation of LGBTI issue on any kind of media platform. The Russian government argued it stopped the ‘promotion of nontraditional sexual relations to minors’. Reports of a group operating and encouraging the ‘hunting’ of gay people first appeared last spring. Grigorieva’s killer ‘still among us’ In a separate Instagram post, Svetski detailed how people gave him a 20 July deadline to leave Russia. He said he first started receiving death threats in February. ’Now everything is much more serious—the first murder’ he said according to an online translation, presumably referring to Grigorieva. Svetski warned that Grigorieva’s killer was ‘still among us.’   View this post on Instagram   «ПИЛА» угрожает мне убийством. В первый раз мне передали угрозы 24 февраля. ⠀ ⠀ 19 Июня мне поставили новое условие – покинуть Россию и ...

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