Tag Archives: Gay rights

Megan Rapinoe Has An Important Message About Fighting For What Is Right

Since coming out publicly five years ago, soccer player Megan Rapinoe hasn’t shied away from engaging in political conversations and advancing equality.

She’s been has advocated for gay rights, she was one of five players whose names were on the lawsuit filed against US Soccer alleging wage discrimination early last year, and last year knelt during the National Anthem to show solidarity with Colin Kaepernick.

In a lengthy conversation with The Guardian, she talked about all of these things and whether she believes her outspoken attitude has hurt her chances of being selected to represent the United States (it seems she doesn’t).

I can sleep at night knowing that I genuinely tried to have a really important conversation, or at least tried to open it up. I think I came to it with an open mind, an open heart and tried to get as many people to talk about it as I could.”

She also spoke about intersectionality and how her conversations about gender, race and sexuality are all intertwined.

Rapinoe says

The more I’ve been able to learn about gay rights and equal pay and gender equity and racial inequality, the more that it all intersects. You can’t really pick it apart. It’s all intertwined. God forbid you be a gay woman and a person of color in this country, because you’d be really fucked.

As I got more into gay rights, I got more into equal pay and you just see that it’s all connected. You can’t really speak out on one thing and not another without it not being the full picture. We need to talk about a larger conversation in this country about equality in general and respect – especially with the recent election and subsequent narrative that’s coming from the White House right now.”

Always thoughtful, Rapinoe hits a lot of marks in the interview, which you can check out here.

Politician Who Fought Against Gay Equality In Florida Now Claims She’s Actually An LGBT Ally

Following the Orlando massacre – which saw 49 people killed and 53 injured in a shooting at the Pulse gay bar in Orlando – Florida’s Republican Attorney General Pam Bondi (who wasted a vast amount of taxpayer money trying to block same-sex weddings) has claimed she is actually an LGBT ally.

However, Bondi who was a fierce opponent of same-sex marriage until the very end last year, got called out for trying to claim that her past actions were somehow pro-gay by CNN anchor Anderson Cooper.


He asked her:

A lot of gay people in Florida said they thought you were being a hypocrite, you for years have basically gone after gay people, and said in court that we’re trying to do harm to the people of Florida… do you really think you’re a champion of the gay community?”

She her reply

When I was sworn in as attorney general, I put my hand on the Bible and was sworn to uphold the constitution of the state of Florida. That’s not a law.

That [ban on same-sex marriage] was voted in to our state constitution by the voters of Florida. That’s what I was defending. I’ve never said I don’t like gay people, that’s ridiculous.”

When Cooper cited her very specific arguments recorded in legal briefs which claim gay people cause “public harm”, she insisted it was simply a “legal argument” – even though most other Attorney Generals managed to refrain from such inflammatory rhetoric.

The AG also claimed in a legal brief that “disrupting Florida’s existing marriage laws would impose significant public harm”, and would cause “significant financial and logistical problems”.

She also fought bitterly against same-sex marriage until the very week that marriages began, filing desperate taxpayer-funded attempts in successive court battles to stall on the issue on behalf of the state, and didn’t even give up once equality became law, filing a dispute to avoid shelling out the hundreds of thousands of dollars that the case had racked up in legal fees.

Incredibly, she claimed that her actions trying to block gay marriages actually helped gay people to get married, claiming:

Well Anderson, we rushed to get it to the Supreme Court. You know what today is about? Human beings. Today’s about victims.”

Talking about the victims, Cooper responded:

You’ve been talking about a hotline that allows family members and spouses of the dead to get information, which is incredibly important.

Had there been no same-sex marriage, you do realise that spouses, there would be no spouses, that boyfriends and girlfriends of the dead would not be able to get information and would not be able probably even to visit in the hospital here. Isn’t there a sick irony in that?”

She insisted:

I was defending the constitution of what over 69 percent of the voters put in the constitution.”

Obama Credits Ellen DeGeneres For Gay Rights Progress (Video)

President Barack Obama was on The Ellen DeGeneres Show the end of last week, where she thanked him for his efforts to advance gay rights in the U.S.

However, while he accepted DeGeneres’ praise, Obama said that it was really she who deserved recognition for changing attitudes.

As much as we’ve done with laws and ending Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, etc. — changing hearts and minds — I don’t think anybody’s been more influential than you on that. Your courage — and you’re just really likable. You being willing to claim who you were then suddenly empowers other people.”

DeGeneres’ openness about her own sexuality, especially on a highly viewed daytime television program, allowed a wide audience to relate to, and empathize with, gay people who have been historically marginalized and discriminated against.

Obama added,

And then attitudes shift, and the laws followed. But it started with folks like you.”

DeGeneres’ came out nearly 20 years ago 1997 in real life and on her successful TV show Ellen. Since then DeGeneres has helped shift mainstream attitudes about the gay community in a way that bolstered Obama’s efforts on Capitol Hill.

DeGeneres appeared visibly moved by the president’s compliment. Then, after a short silence joked

I’m not really gay. I just thought it would work and I’ve had to stick with it because people responded well.”

The pair laughed together in what was arguably one of the more memorable moments of the show’s history.

Father Charged in Hate Crime Murder of Houston Lesbian Couple

The father of one of the victims has finally been charged in the murder of a Houston lesbian couple committed last year.

On Tuesday, James Cosby was indicted on capital murder charges in the deaths of his daughter, Britney Cosby, and her girlfriend, who were both 24.


James Cosby has been in jail on a charge of tampering with evidence since shortly after the murders.

The bodies of Cosby and Jackson were found near a dumpster outside a convenience store in Galveston County in March 2014.

Autopsy results showed Cosby died from blunt force trauma to the head, and Jackson — who had a 5-year-old daughter — died from a gunshot wound.

From KHOU-TV‘s report on James Cosby’s indictment:

Investigators later found a lot of blood at Cosby’s Houston home.

According to court documents, they searched Cosby s bedroom and found large areas of blood on surfaces throughout.

A criminal complaint filed in court says detectives also noticed a missing window shutter on Cosby s home. They found a shutter matching the missing one covered in blood near where the victim s bodies were found. Detectives say Cosby’s thumbprint was on the shutter.

Following James Cosby’s arrest, Britney Cosby’s mother told KHOU

… [he] didn’t like the idea of her being gay.”

Cosby’s mother also told the The Houston Chronicle:

He would throw it in her face.”

Adding that her daughter quoted James Cosby as saying, “Don’t throw that gay (expletive) around in this house.”

In addition, Houston civil rights activist Quanell X, who was advising the family in the wake of the murder, told Fox 26 he “found writings about homosexuality on Cosby’s Koran indicating he may have had an issue with his daughter’s sexual orientation.”

James Cosby had been released from prison in October 2013, where he served time for failing to register as a sex offender after being convicted two decades before of sexually assaulting a 22-year-old woman.

Did You Know You Can Still Be Fired for BeingGay in 29 States in the USA?


“Love is love”. It’s a common tagline used when it comes to the LGBTQ rights movement that aims to suggest that no matter who you are or who you love, that is ok and you should not be held back because of it. Excusing the fact that “love is love” is not trans* inclusive (trans* men and women can be heterosexual after all), it also fails to acknowledge other, deep-rooted problems that LGBTQ people face today.

Love is love is generally used as an argument for marriage equality, which, whilst being an important part of the LGBTQ movement, is not the be all and end all of it. Many people would argue that issues such as homeless LGBTQ youth or the health, safety and general wellbeing of LGBTQ people is a much more pressing concern.

But the people arguing that marriage equality should play second fiddle to other problems that LGBTQ people face will have a massive struggle on their hands moving forward. Looking at the United States’ politics; while some states bring marriage equality bills into law, a good many do not have any protections for LGBTQ employees in the workplace.

And, by a good many I mean ‘most of them’. There are 50 states in the United States of America and a whopping 29 of them have lacking anti-discrimination laws that allow LGBTQ to be fired solely based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Including Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and all the other usual suspects, even New York is listed as a state that fails in protecting its workers as it doesn’t protect against gender identity discrimination. And, somewhat ironically, Utah, Oklahoma, Virginia and Indiana are all places that have made marriage equality legal this year but being gay in these states can get you fired.

As if this didn’t add fuel to the argument that marriage equality should not be billed as the most important part of the LGBTQ rights movement, a recent poll by The Huffington Post and YouGov suggested that a massive 69% of Americans think that firing someone for being gay is illegal, despite that clearly not being the case.

So who is doing something about it? It has actually been a talking point for over a decade. Since 1994, Congress has been pushing a bill called ENDA (Employment Non-Discrimination Act) that aims to make discrimination in the workplace illegal across the country, but although it has been put on the table many times, it has never succeeded. This is due in part to opposition to LGBTQ rights and because the bill has been amended to add in protections based on gender identity and not just for sexual orientation.

There continues to be hope for the bill but as of yesterday, ENDA seems even more unlikely to get through than before. Many Democratic politicians have spoken in favour of ENDA while many Republicans have spoken against it. Republicans now control the House and the Senate making ENDA’s passing before the next presidential election (in 2016) some sort of miracle.

Nonetheless we’ll cross our fingers and keep you posted.


John McCain’s Daughter Celebrates Marriage Equality in Arizona

This week a judge struck down the Arizona’s same-sex marriage ban, and the state’s attorney general declined to appeal – allowing marriages to begin immediately.

The daughter of former Republican presidential candidate, Meghan McCain was jubilant at the news and has celebrated equal marriage arriving in the family’s home state of Arizona.

Meghan McCain is a longtime supporter of marriage equality, and joined Young Conservatives for the Freedom to Marry leadership in November 2012. She is rights activist who sits on the board of rights charity GLAAD despite her father’s opposition to equal marriage.

Senator John McCain continues to oppose equal marriage, despite both his wife and daughter supporting it.

He said last year:

“I have changed my position on other issues in my life, but on this one, I had not contemplated changing my position.”

United States Supreme Court Set to Make Monumental Gay Rights Decision

While many countries create laws with the idea of them being nationwide, the good ol’ US of A likes to be different and leaves many of its biggest laws and rulings up to each of its 50 individual states.

Unfortunately, sometimes this means that basic human rights get left out in the cold, with the majority of American states not allowing for same gender marriage even though a handful of states such as New York, California and Washington have all deemed them legal. However, as per his triumphant support of LGBTQ rights (he helped repeal the Defense of Marriage Act along with the exclusionary army policy, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell) President Barack Obama has told the US Supreme Court not to uphold same gender marriage bans and now, with many same gender marriage cases being put forward, the Supreme Court has an incredible weight on its shoulders.

At their upcoming September 29th conference, the Supreme Court will meet and decide to hear any number of same gender marriage bans. In Utah, Oklahoma, Virginia, Indiana and Wisconsin, same gender couples have all appealed to have their states’ same gender marriage bans ruled unconstitutional, looking to force same gender marriage into legality. While it’s certainly a different way of doing things, as opposed to the usual protesting, pleading and arguing that same gender couples deserve their basic humans rights, they are well within in their rights to do so and could even help move the the process of marriage equality along a bit quicker.

The Supreme Court will use their conference to decide which (if any) cases to hear and make a ruling on whether or not they should be upheld or overturned. The marriage bans being overturned is the outcome that we want – on a state level – but on a national level the impact could be greater. Theoretically, the decisions they make at the conference could determine whether or not it’s even constitutional for states to rule individually on the topic of same gender marriage. Should they deem it unconstitutional, same gender marriages could (again, this is theoretical) take place all over the United States, regardless of marriage bans previously brought into law.

Should we get a decision on same gender marriage at state level, we could get that answer as early as June, 2015 which is pretty flipping huge. We’ll keep you posted on the latest.

Gay Rights Will Be Obama’s Greatest Legacy Says Former Clinton Adviser

Richard Socarides, who was a senior adviser to Bill Clinton from 1993 to 1999, has spoken up and claimed that gay rights will be Obama’s biggest legacy.

“Barack Obama has accomplished more progressive social change on gay rights than anything else… The reason why he has that record now is because, publicly and privately, we really held his feet to the fire.”

Richard Socarides

He added that the President – who did not back same-sex marriage during his first term in office – was prompted to take a bolder tone as a result of pro-gay activists.

The President recently appointed out Google executive Megan Smith as the White House’s new chief technical officer. The Obama administration announced the appointment of the Google engineer to the role this month, making her the most senior lesbian in the administration.

Obama last month gave a surprise opening address at the 9th annual gay games in Cleveland Ohio.

“I know some of you have come from place where it requires courage — even defiance — to come out, sometimes at great personal risk. You should know that the Untied States stands with you and for your human rights, just as our athletes stand with you on the fields at these games. After all, the very idea of America is that no matter who you are, what you look like, where you come from or who you love, you can make it if you try.”

President Barack Obama

UK Government Announces That Civil Partnerships WILL Convert to Marriages from 10 December

The Government has yesterday announced that couples currently in civil partnerships will be able to convert to marriage from 10 December 2014.

‘For me, freedom has always been about the right to be who you are and love who you love.  That’s why I was proud to walk through the “aye” lobby at the House of Commons in support of equal marriage. And that’s why I’m pleased to announce that, from 10 December, couples in England and Wales who have entered a Civil Partnership over the past decade will be free to convert it into a marriage.’

Minister for Equalities Sajid Javid

The announcement comes after Stonewall called for the Government to give couples a date so they can begin to plan their celebrations with their family and friends.

Commenting on the announcement Stonewall’s Director of Campaigns, Sam Dick said:

‘We’re pleased that the government has finally named the date allowing those in civil partnerships to convert to marriage. We know that thousands of couples will now be able to plan celebrations with their friends and family. We hope that the process being set out by the government is straight forward, inexpensive and allows those couples to finally get the marriage certificate they’ve waited patiently for.’

Sam Dick, Stonewall’s Director of Campaigns

This announcement comes only days away from London Pride, and as thousands of people look descend on capital for the annual Pride parade. This year the organisers are asking everyone to share what Pride means to them under the banner of #FreedomTo.

Incendiary Proposition 8 Documentary Out in June

On June 6th HBO will release a new documentary about the bitter struggle to overturn Proposition 8, the law that until last year prohibited gay marriage in California. Directed by Ryan White and Ben Cotner, The Case Against 8 goes behind the scenes of the historic battle between the legal team led by liberal David Boies and that led by conservative Ted Olson.

The president of HBO Documentary Films, Sheila Nevins, is quoted as saying, ‘We feel it’s important to bring the story of the men and women behind this roller-coaster battle to screens across the country, and we’re extremely proud to bring attention to a fundamental civil rights issue that faces the country today.’

The Case Against 8 will have a limited cinematic release in Los Angeles, New York and other American cities in early June before being shown on the HBO channel. The documentary has already won two awards at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival: the Directing Award and SXSW Audience Award.

Proposition 8 was introduced in 2008 when 52.24% of the Californian electorate voted to “Eliminate the Rights of Same-Sex Couple to Marry.” Opponents of gay marriage had previously persuaded the state to adopt the similarly-worded Proposition 22. LGBT people all over the US were overjoyed when Proposition 8 was repealed on 26th June 2013. Since then over 50 suits have been brought against similar legislation in other US states. There have been recent calls by LGBT lawyers to legalise same-sex unions across the country.

Boies and Olson, the two main lawyers in the Proposition 8 case, previously opposed each other in the Bush v. Gore case which took place during the controversial 2000 US Presidential Election.

Major Victory for Lebanon’s LGBTQ Community

LGBTQ rights supporters rejoiced last Thursday with news that homosexuality is no longer illegal in Lebanon.  A court ruling abolished a case against an unnamed trans-woman (accused of having a “same sex relationship with a man”) stating that homosexuality can no longer be considered a crime because it is “not unnatural.” Lebanese law only prohibits sexual acts “contradicting the laws of nature.”

A Jdeide Court Judge – Naji El Dahdah, threw out the case, in which the Lebanese state accused a transgender woman of having a same-sex relationship with a man. The verdict relied on a December 2009 ruling by Judge Mounir Suleiman that consensual homosexual relations were not “against nature” and could therefore not be prosecuted under article 534 of Lebanon’s penal code, which prohibits sexual relations that are “contradicting the laws of nature,” and makes them punishable by up to a year in prison.

“Man is part of nature and is one of its elements, so it cannot be said that any one of his practices or any one of his behaviours goes against nature, even if it is criminal behaviour, because it is nature’s ruling,”

Judge Mounir Suleiman

Suleiman’s 2009 ruling was a result of a legal campaign led by LGBT organisation, Helem (an Arabic acronym for “Lebanese Protection of Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Transgenders“) of which annulling article 534 was a primary goal.

“The more we have decisions like this, the more article 534 becomes irrelevant. Any legal change takes a lot of time but at least this article might stop being used to persecute gay and transgender people in Lebanon,”

Georges Azzi – Helem co-founder and prominent LGBT rights activist

According to Pew Research, as of 2013, an overwhelming 80% of the Lebanese public believes homosexuality should not be accepted by society, while 18% believes it should be accepted by society. But still, the country’s LGBT rights victories are mounting, slowly but surely. Last year, the Lebanese Psychiatric Society ruled that homosexuality is not a mental disorder and does not need to be treated. They even said that “conversion therapy” seeking to “convert” gays has no scientific backing — hear that, PFOX?

With the dedication of activists like Helem — which is the first organisation in the Arab world to set up a gay and lesbian community centre, and has been praised for consistently breaking “new ground in a country that criminalises homosexuality and where violence and abuse are persistent problems — the momentum to liberate gay, lesbian, transgender and bisexual people from persecution is not just alive in the U.S., but in even some of the most religiously orthodox corners of the world.

Something to Read – The Dictionary of Homophobia


“Tin’s Dictionary of Homophobia is so sweeping in its scope that one can dip into it again and again and learn something, or confront an idea in which even the most well-read queer will find fresh intellectual nourishment and historical illumination.”

Gay City News


The Dictionary of Homophobia: A Global History of Gay & Lesbian Experience by Marek Redburn and Louis-Georges Tin can be found on the Kobo website

Based on the work of seventy researchers in fifteen countries, The Dictionary of Homophobia is a mammoth, encyclopedic book that documents the history of homosexuality, and various cultural responses to it, in all regions of the world: a masterful, engaged, and wholly relevant study that traces the political and social emancipation of a culture.

The book is the first English translation of Dictionnaire de L’Homophobie, published in France in 2003 to worldwide acclaim; its editor, Louis-Georges Tin, launched the first International Day Against Homophobia in 2005, now celebrated in more than fifty countries around the world. The Dictionary of Homophobia includes over 175 essays on various aspects of gay rights and homophobia as experienced in all regions in Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe, and the South Pacific, from the earliest epochs to present day.

Subjects include religious and ideological forces such as the Bible, Communism, Judaism, Hinduism, and Islam; historical subjects, events, and personalities such as AIDS, Stonewall, J. Edgar Hoover, Matthew Shepard, Oscar Wilde, Pat Buchanan, Joseph McCarthy, Pope John Paul II, and Anita Bryant; and other topics such as coming out, adoption, deportation, ex-gays, lesbiphobia, and bi-phobia. In a world where gay marriage remains a hot-button political issue, and where adults and even teens are still being executed by authorities for the “crime” of homosexuality, The Dictionary of Homophobia is a both a revealing and necessary history lesson for us all.

Dalai Lama says gay marriage is ‘OK’

In a rare interview, the Dalai Lama has said that he thinks same-sex marriage is “OK”, and voiced his disapproval at the bullying of LGBT people. Speaking to Larry King, in an interview which will air on 10 March, the Tibetan spiritual leader said he thought that it was “OK” for same-sex couples to marry, but went on to say that it was “an individual’s business”.

On whether same-sex marriage should be universally accepted, he said: ”That’s up to the country’s law,” he told King.

“I think [it’s] OK! I think that’s an individual’s business. If two people… really feel that way, it’s more practical, satisfaction, and both sides fully agree, then OK!”

Dalai Lama


Standing up for LGBT rights – Iran pop star’s gay video sparks uproar

Googoosh is one Iran most prominent female singers and this week she has released a music video in support of the country’s LGBT community. As you can imagine it has sparked much backlash,especially in a country where being gay is a criminal office; punishable by death..

The music video is set in first person perspective, and is about a couple day-to-day life. However there is a twist, and it is only at the end of the video you release you are viewing the world of a lesbian couple.

Googoosh has always spoken out against homophobia in the conservative country, but here she takes things to a whole new level. We support her bravery.