Tag Archives: LGBT Community

How Social Media is Changing the Way We Come Out

Is it easier to come out via social media, or is it just more instant?

What a time to be alive – social media makes it possible for us to express our thoughts simultaneously to all of our friends and family, as long as they’re on our social media accounts.

Despite the fact that it discourages any true social interaction, many claim that the social media revolution has made it easier for them to stay in touch with people – which, essentially, is one of the primary purposes of your social life anyway, right?

True, we’re getting that interaction from the other side of a screen, instead of face-to-face, but in some situations, that might be preferred.

For example, in the “real world”, your friends probably won’t know all of your work details, or remember your birthday. It makes sense, of course, because it can be a lot to remember. In the “real world”, you can’t instantly tell everyone about the new job – it would require several phone calls or visits in order to get the word out to everyone.

One of the biggest ways that social media is influencing our social interaction may be how people choose to come out to their friends and family.

In the “old days”, someone would have to work up the courage to tell their family members that they were attracted to the same sex – while these days you can simply change a little box on your profile and everyone will know. Or, you could post a single status update, and bam – everyone will know.

On the other side of the coin, for as long as it’s been an option, there have been people who would break into your account and “come out” for you – through one of these methods.

Often they’re in jest, such as a straight guy posting on his friend’s page that the friend is gay – which is instantly delivered to all of his Facebook friends. Sometimes it’s done more maliciously, as someone who’s not ready to come out can have their account compromised by a jaded ex-lover. (Of course these are just examples, but they are possibilities to consider.)

Do these “involuntary” coming out stories affect the integrity of those who have made the difficult choice in coming out through their social media?

Well, yes, in a way. I still encourage my coming-out friends to come out to the people who matter most, in a face-to-face setting. Sure, it takes a world of courage, but the trade-off is that they are free to share their questions and concerns with you without being in the public eye. They are less likely to feel that it has been thrown in their face (although definitely some will still feel this way, and we can’t change that.)

If you come out strictly through your social media accounts, people may assume it’s a joke. This is especially true if you are in one of the “invisible” categories, such as masculine gay men, feminine lesbians, or bisexuals in any position. It can be seen as a cry for attention, even if that’s not your true intention.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m all for being “out” on your social networking sites – but you’ve got to make sure that you’re making the right decision for you.

For those who really don’t want to be out to their family, coming out on social media can be an accident waiting to happen. You forget that you’ve listed your sexuality in the open, and then a conservative family member finds your page – and instantly sees everything that you’ve ever posted that backs up your homosexuality, all collected into a tiny box.

Personally, I came out to most of my family before I came out to most of my friends, but I understand that I’m in the minority here.

Your friends and family deserve your honesty – but that doesn’t mean that everything is their business. No one should force you to come out, and if you aren’t ready to come out, leaving those portions of your social media profiles “private” or “hidden” may be a good way to safeguard yourself. I’d love to say that we’re past that point in our society where we need to hide our sexuality – but sometimes that’s simply not the case.

For those who don’t necessarily want to “hide”, but don’t have the courage to come out completely in the open, social media can actually be a helpful tool. The pseudo-anonymity of the online world can allow us to be whoever we want to be – even if that person is just someone we’re afraid to admit we really are.

In these cases, your social media account could be a helpful first step to you. Come out there first, quietly – maybe just change your “Who I’m Interested In” section and go from there. Don’t make a big deal out of it, because most people won’t see it as a big deal – but those who do will find it as a segue to open the conversation.

If you’re scared to bring it up, allowing someone else to start the conversation can be a lifesaver.

They might not react how you want them to – and you can’t force them to. If you were to expect that they accept you as you are, essentially you’re not accepting them as they are – which is just as bad. Sure, you might think that they’re wrong, and there’s nothing wrong with being hurt by their reaction. But you can’t force them to react as you want.

All in all, I think that the claims against social networking are bitter. It might be taking away from our face-to-face communication, but in many ways it can help us to be more open people. Without social networking and the internet, we wouldn’t be able to voice our opinions to millions of people every day – and that really is a special feeling for most of us.

Don’t let social media be the only social life you have, and don’t use it as a crutch to stay in the closet. Facebook works best when you use it as a tool for communication rather than a substitute for it. Just make sure that you’re being true to yourself and honoring your personal needs first.

Thousands Reflect On Anniversary Of Pulse Nightclub Shooting in Orlando

Today marks the first anniversary of the Orlando massacre, a mass shooting in which members of our LGBTQ community lost their lives inside Pulse Nightclub.

A giant rainbow flag will be flown over the Orange County government building for the day, while flags across Florida will be flown at half-mast.

A closed service for survivors, local officials and club employees was held overnight to mark the exact time of the attack, which took place around 2 AM on the morning of June 12.


Orlando Mayor Bobby Dyer said:

June 12 was the darkest day in our City’s history and a day that will forever be reserved to honour the memory of the 49 innocent lives taken from us too soon. This tragedy has deeply impacted our LGBTQ+, Latinx, other communities of colour and our entire City.

Since the morning of June 12, 2016, we have come together to honor the victims, support their families and the survivors and thank our first responders in so many ways.

Following the Pulse tragedy, we showed the world that Orlando would not be defined by the act of a hate-filled killer, but instead defined by our response of love, compassion and unity. I am so proud that we are Orlando United.”

Florida Governor Rick Scott said:

The horrific terror attack at Pulse attempted to rip at the seams of our society, strike fear in our hearts and divide us. Yet, in the face of extreme adversity and loss, Floridians showed resiliency, bravery and love. Over the past year, our state, the city of Orlando and the many Floridians affected by this tragedy have shown incredible resolve as we continue to mourn the loved and lost.

As we pause to honour the 49 victims of this tragic attack this Monday, my wife and I will say a prayer for each of them and their families.

We will also be reminded of all the people who helped others in need. The law enforcement officers, first responders, medical personnel, faith and spiritual leaders and Central Florida families defined what Florida is all about. We care about each other and we came together when it was needed the most.

This was an attack on Orlando, our state, the Hispanic community and on the LGBTQ community. It left a solemn impact on our state that we will carry with us for the rest of our lives.”

A number of events are being held throughout the city Monday, including two remembrance ceremonies for the general public at the club at 1912 S. Orange Ave.

Guests scheduled for the 11 a.m. event include the Orlando Gay Chorus, Mayor Buddy Dyer, Mayor Teresa Jacobs, the Rev. Terri Prayer, some of the first responders and live music.

The evening service at 10 p.m. at Pulse will feature songs, prayers, inspirational dance, reflection and music.

An event called Orlando Love: Remembering Our Angels is also set for the Lake Eola Park Amphitheater at 7 p.m. and will feature musical performances and remarks by community leaders.

The expanded One Orlando Collection and Digital Gallery will be open at The Orange County History Center from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday. Admission is free.

‘Just Like Us’ Photo Project Highlights Ghana’s LGBT Community

It’s impossible to be both African and queer.

That’s what many conservative African parents tell their children. Being gay is a sinful choice. It’s just not possible. It is, as the Limit(less) project explored, “un-African.”

Through the Limit(less) project, photographer Mikael Owunna set out to talk to queer African expats living abroad in countries like the U.K. and Norway, who were struggling to reconcile being queer with being African in a foreign country.

Through the “Just Like Us” project, photographer Eric Gyamfi stays closer to home. He focuses on Ghanaians living in Ghana, where same-sex activity is still illegal.

The driving idea behind Gyamfi’s photo project is normativity. He wants to prove that queer people aren’t defective. They’re normal. They eat breakfast. They go to school. They shop for groceries. They tell bad jokes. They do all of the painfully boring and awkwardly wonderful things that straight people do.

He says,

People who do not understand queerness have a singular notion of what queer people are supposed to be or supposed to look like. So what I came in to do was to show people that queer people are people first and that they cut across all categories of humanness.”

He aims to truly get to know every subject before photographing him, her or them. Before ever snapping a single photo, he spends days or even weeks living with each person. The aim of his project is to capture queer people in everyday life, and the only way to get truly honest photos is to form honest relationships.

Crucially, despite homosexuality being illegal in Ghana, Gyamfi doesn’t focus on that. There are enough photos of sad Africans in the world. He wants to celebrate the fact that queer Ghanaians are living life and loving it. And loving each other.

Western queer activists may have reservations with the project. Normalization, or homonormativity, isn’t the point of being queer – not every queer person wants to be just like every straight person. Many queer radical activists dedicate themselves to fighting against heterosexual standards, and dedicate themselves to breaking down ideas of what sex and gender should be.

But before radical queerness became acceptable in the U.S., queerness had to become acceptable. We must acknowledge that homonormativity played a role in that. Before radical LGBT webseries and marriage equality, there were “safe” shows like Modern Family and Will and Grace. These “safe” images that showed the straight world that queer people weren’t monsters.

And that’s where Gyamfi comes in. In a society where some queer people are considered depraved, it’s radical just to prove that they’re not. For the “Just Like Us” project, normalcy is power.

Check out the project here.

China Introduces LGBT Issues To Sex Education

When people think of “liberal, progressive” societies, they rarely think of China first. After all, the country is known for communism. Closeted Chinese women and men sometimes use apps to hide their queer sexuality through arranged marriages.

But some of China’s scandalous new textbooks are causing a stir.

In many primary schools – second through sixth grade – illustrated textbooks are teaching children about gender identities, career gender equality, sexually transmitted diseases, pregnancy and even homosexuality.

Not everyone in China is happy. One mother wrote on China’s Facebook-equivalent, “Is it reasonable for a textbook to be compiled like this? I myself blush just looking at it.”

However, some Chinese parents were pleased – even proud and relieved. One said, “Giving our children more knowledge about sex will help them better protect themselves in the future,” while another gushed, “Finally, sex education in China has caught up with the rest of the world!”

Releasing these textbooks was no easy decision. The publisher, The Beijing Normal University Publishing Group, assures the press that the content underwent strict scrutiny and editing in order to be appropriate.

Ignoring sexuality was no longer an option. China’s sizable gay population, particularly the gay men, has had a sharp incline in STDs since more people feel comfortable coming out of the closet and exploring their sexuality. This exploration, coupled with a lack of knowledge, can be deadly. In 2015, a report revealed that male-to-male HIV cases among Chinese youth had increased more than 20 points, from 58.5 percent to 81.6 percent.

Of course, sexual education in China has a long way to go – just as it does in the US and other parts of the world. But the introduction of these textbooks is a major leap forward and will go a long way toward helping students accept themselves.

If more LGBT youth in the US had access to these resources in school, suicide might not be a leading cause of death among them.

Read more here.

7 Ways to Be a Better Ally

Queer women are awesome.

That’s why you’re on this site, right? Maybe you’re an amazing queer lady who loves to connect with other amazing queer ladies. Or maybe you’re just a rad ally who wants to be an asset to the queer community.

Here’s the thing. Sometimes allies make things worse. They don’t do it on purpose – but because they just don’t know what it’s like to be LGBTQ, they can accidentally do more harm than good. So how can you be the best ally you can possibly be?

Cisgender queer women, you’re not off the hook. How can you be an amazing ally to the transgender community too?

  1. Don’t assume someone’s sexuality based on their appearance.

Maybe that girl wearing flannel is a lesbian, or maybe she’s just a lumberjack. Maybe that girl with a buzz cut is a lesbian, or maybe she just got gum stuck in her hair. Maybe that girl with the carabiners is a lesbian, or…no, she’s definitely a lesbian.

  1. Don’t assume someone’s gender based on their appearance.

It might feel awkward, but always ask for preferred gender pronouns (PGP). You might be surprised by the sheer amount of wrong assumptions you’ve been making.

  1. Don’t assume asexual people don’t have sex.

Some asexual people never have sex. Some have a lot of sex but feel no romantic attachment. Some have strong romantic attachments but don’t really care about sex. There is more than one way to be asexual. Here are ten ways to get you started.

  1. Don’t assume all queer people want to have sex with you.

You’re just not my type.

  1. Don’t say “dyke,” “fag,” or “tranny” unless you belong to that group.

If you’re a queer woman, you might call yourself a dyke as a way to reclaim that word and empower yourself. The queer community did for, well, the word “queer.” But if you’re not from that community, using that word isn’t empowerment, it’s a slur.

And these privileges aren’t one-size-fits-all: Cisgender ladies, just because you’re LGBTQ doesn’t mean you can use the word “tranny.”

  1. Don’t assume bisexual or pansexual people are promiscuous.

Some bisexual people are sexually promiscuous. Guess what? So are some heterosexual people. And so are some homosexual people. And so are some rabbits. Whether you have a lot of sex doesn’t depend on your sexuality, it depends on how good you are at Tinder.

  1. Understand that the “A” in LGBTQIA doesn’t stand for “ally.”

Straight people, I get it. You support queer people and you would love to be included in the acronym, even if it’s just at the end. But the A isn’t for you. It’s for asexuals, aromantics and a-mazing lesbians.

Learn more ways to be an incredible ally at the Post.

Why LGBTQ Entrepreneurs Are Working Together

Apparently, many young LGBT members are often too scared to start up a new business idea in case they fail because of their sexuality. To help reduce career barriers for LGBTQ entrepreneurs and promote innovation around issues affecting the LGBTQ community, Venture for America and Out in Tech have joined forces.

Together, they are committed to building networks of LGBTQ entrepreneurs, promoting diversity in start-up communities, and enabling more LGBTQ people to see entrepreneurship and tech as viable career paths.

Venture for America and Out in Tech say the main reasons for setting up this new venture is for a few reasons which we have listed below.

There are Inequality Gaps for LGBTQ People in Entrepreneurship.

According to a study carried out in 2016 by Startout, 37% of LGBTQ start-up founders didn’t come out to investors for fear of prejudice and these companies raised 11% less capital than their heterosexual counterparts. Also, many LGBTQ start-up companies will move to cities that are more ‘gay friendly’ which can also put LGBTQ people off from setting up a new company. This inequality can be overcome through the promotion of diversity.

Strong Networks Allow for Better Resources and Investment

Starting out on your own can be quite isolating and even more so for LGBTQ people as they are in the minority in start-ups. This initiative means that people can find support amongst their peers in an environment where they can discuss and support each other for problems that they are facing.

Companies who Support LGBTQ Community Members See Positive Outcomes for Employees

A 2013 study from the Williams Institute discovered that LGBTQ employees at supportive companies experience less discrimination, better health, and higher job satisfaction and commitment. Startups, however, often lack the scale at which intra-company LGBTQ groups can be formed. Early-stage companies may only have a few employees, of which one or two might identify as LGBTQ. LGBTQ entrepreneurs can build formal networks to mimic the sense of community.

LGBTQ Innovations Helps Companies Solve Problems and Reach Out to New Markets

Diversity in company leadership drives innovation. Research published in the Harvard Business Review found that firms with a diverse set of leaders are 45% more likely to report market share growth and 70% more likely to have secured a new market altogether. Many start-up companies with diverse leaders come up with innovative ideas due to the fact they can identify gaps in their own specialized market.

Future Generations of LGBTQ People Should See Entrepreneurship as A Path to Success

The initiative hopes to promote the fact that LGBTQ companies can thrive and encourage younger generations to consider the idea of venturing into a start-up and not hold back because of a fear of prejudice or lack of support. Diversity needs to be seen as a positive thing and no-one should feel they can’t explore their ideas and the more support and acceptance the younger generation see the more likely they are to feel empowered to branch out with a start-up idea.

Are You Ableist Without Realizing It?

Queer spaces are supposed to be safe spaces. Sadly, more often than not, queer spaces exclude certain groups of people, such as people of color or nonbinary people.

One group that is not just overlooked, but also made invisible, is disabled queer people.

If you asked most queer people if they discriminate, they would probably say, “Of course not! I welcome all people all the time.”

…But then no disabled people show up at their events.

It’s not because disabled queer people don’t exist – they definitely do – but it’s because these spaces, and the people in them, do not welcome them.

Many queer spaces just aren’t accessible.

Your building has an elevator for people in a wheelchair. Great! But that’s just the beginning. Making a space truly accessible for all people requires a lot of work, so roll up your flannel sleeves.

Are the bathrooms handicap accessible? Are signs written in braille? Does anyone at the meeting know American Sign Language? Are there several options for foods – not just vegetarian, but also gluten-free for people with Celiac disease, or sugar-free for people with diabetes?

The extra effort goes a long way. It makes the difference between someone feeling welcome and someone being unable to participate.

Many able-bodied people are ableist without knowing it.

If you’re queer, you probably bristle when you hear a homophobic or biphobic comment, even if the comment wasn’t meant to be offensive. It’s the same way with ableism: you might be offending someone or promoting ableist viewpoints without realizing it.

Watch your language to make sure you’re not using slurs, such as “retarded” or “crippled” (and even words like “dumb,” “lame” or “stupid” have their roots in ableism). And avoid making light of mental illness, such as saying that you are “so OCD” if you don’t actually have Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, or saying that the weather is schizophrenic just because it changes a lot.

At the same time, be mindful of microaggressions. Don’t make a disabled person feel like they’re missing out or imply that you pity them. Don’t speak over them or for them. Don’t ask intrusive questions. And don’t assume what they can and cannot do.

Many able-bodied people fetishize disabled people – or write them off completely.

When you think about hot queer women, you probably think Samira Wiley, Ruby Rose, Kristen Stewart or Kate McKinnon. You probably think about the hot girl who sits behind you in Swahili class or the really attractive barista at your favorite bar. Chances are, you picture someone able-bodied.

Disabled queer writer Nik Moreno says, “Being a wheelchair user, I tend to stick out a lot. Folks rarely find me romantically desirable, usually because they see the chair before me… We’re either seen as disgusting or not attractive, and people try to pass it off as a preference.”

What’s the solution? Don’t try to date someone just because they’re disabled, because that fetishizes their disability. But don’t write someone off just because they have a disability. Realize that your “preferences” just mask your bigotry.

For more about the intersection of queerness and disability, check out this three part series.

They Key to Defeating Donald Trump? Lesbian Theatre

In the two months since Trump was elected President, America has become even more dangerous for the LGBT community.

In response, queer women have protested and marched. They’ve run for office. They’ve gotten magical powers.

And now they’re hosting radical theatre pop-up shows.

The experimental theatre project Sanctuary is a reality-disrupting venture that puts LGBT people and other minority artists at the center of art creation.

Sanctuary is a home for queer, feminist, POC, and other marginalized voices to respond through art and action to the incoming administration and the onslaught of attacks against progress, decency, and the safety of our community. We are creating Sanctuary to bring together artists and individuals in a coordinated series of programming to process, grieve, organize, learn, and ultimately unite for a brighter future.

This ongoing festival kicked off with an Inaugural Ball that lined up with the less awesome ball in Washington D.C. during inauguration weekend.

How does it work? Over the next two months, Sanctuary will showcase plays written by queer and minority artists. Selections include:

Pussy Sludge: A lesbian achieves value in society by menstruating crude oil.

Holding – A Queer Black Love Story: If society doesn’t want you because you’re black, female and gay, what does it mean for you to love yourself and find love in someone else?

Revolution: In a dystopian future that looks chillingingly like everyday life, cops, activists, clergymen and soldiers struggle with oppressive systems.

Next Nation: A series of narratives prove that young gay men need to stand up for the rights of all.

La Sirene: Freedom was born in Cuba.

That’s just the beginning of the festival. Other works include “A History of Nasty Women,” “Black Girl Magic Show,” and many more.

Sanctuary’s creators hope to spark dialogue among groups of people, Republican and Democrat, privileged and oppressed. However, their main goal is to create a space of community for queer people during Trump’s presidency.

Says the show’s creator,

If they’re feeling lost, if they’re feeling scared,” Salberg says, “they know that almost any night of the week there will be a community of people who are waiting there with open arms.”

Why Don’t Queer People Of Color Feel Safe In Most Queer Spaces?

In an ideal world, queer spaces would be all-inclusive.

In an ideal world, queer spaces would welcome people of all colors, nationalities, physical abilities, socioeconomic statuses and gender identities.

Unfortunately, that’s rarely true. Many queer spaces center to cisgender, white gay men, especially as lesbian bars close at an alarming rate.

Cicely Belle-Blain, a queer black artist from Vancouver, recently wrote about her experiences as a queer person of color in a liberal city. She raised an excellent point: Many queer spaces appropriate other cultures but don’t actually engage with the social and political struggles of that culture.

As the saying goes, everybody wants to “be” black, but nobody wants to be black.

At gay bars, blackness is exotic and cool. Non-black queer people want the aesthetic – the music, the dancing, the slang, the street cred – but they don’t want to critically engage with Black Lives Matter, for example. When the music stops, non-black people stop thinking about color.

Belle-Blain says:

For white people, these parties are not only fun, but also a chance to momentarily experience the coolness of being black without any of the systemic oppression that we face every other day of the year. For people of colour and especially black queer folks, these experiences are violent, harmful and erasing.”

This extends to drag shows as well. Very rarely do drag queens and their audience acknowledge the fact that drag culture started with low-income black and Latinx people.

Even when they’re not consciously appropriating cultures, many gay bars destroy communities of color by participating in gentrification. In Vancouver, white organizers open bars in Chinatown because the housing is so cheap – over time, of course, their presence will push out the current residents.

In New York City, gay bars populate the very-gentrified area of Williamsburg. Now that Williamsburg has been gentrified and housing is expensive, these bars and parties are moving outward to swallow other neighborhoods. For example, Bushwick, once a heavily Latinx area, is now awash with mostly-white gay bars and queer spaces.

So what’s the solution? Don’t get me wrong: Having more gay-friendly spaces, like bars and parties, is important. But all queer should respect the communities and cultures they come in contact with; we should all acknowledge that, as Cicely Belle-Blain says, “queerness doesn’t negate racism or anti-blackness.”

Read an in-depth analysis of racism and the queer community here.

Australia’s Queer Indigenous Community Is Speaking Out

The indigenous queer community is loud, powerful and strong.

Rather, communities. Just as there is more than one way to be queer, there are many ways to be indigenous.

For example, in North America, queer indigenous people are rapping and making art. But their experiences are different from queer people in South America and queer people in the Pacific.

Twenty-two queer indigenous people from Australia have released a new book called Colouring the Rainbow – Blak Queer and Trans Perspectives: Life Stories and Essays by First Nations People of Australia. But this book isn’t just for queer indigenous people or even for Australians – everyone can learn about queer identities, queer histories and the legacy of colonialism from their stories.

The editor, Dino Hodge, created the book in order to combat the painfully homogenous, painfully white queer narratives being told in Australia.

It’s hard to deny that in the United States and abroad, certain queer voices have more value than others. Gay, cisgender white males are the face of the LGBT movement. That’s why Will and Grace featured an upper-class white male and not, say, a queer disabled indigenous woman or a two-spirit person of low socioeconomic status. Those members of the LGBT community are pushed to the back.

In Australia, the story is similar. Indigenous people are struggling to gain acceptance in the country despite the fact that they’ve lived there for centuries, and they have had their queer histories erased. They are not allowed to be the face of the gay rights movement despite the fact that their cultures practiced homosexuality centuries before the Western world decided it was acceptable.

For centuries, many First Nation Australian communities saw homosexuality as natural. When western colonists arrived to Christianize the continent, they wiped out all traces of these practices and told the First Nations people that homosexuality was a sin. Ironically, today the descendants of these colonists call the First Nations people backward for having conservative views on homosexuality.

This book works to decolonize readers’ minds and reveal the richness of Australia’s queer indigenous community. Finally, they have a voice. The book’s writers discuss homophobia and transphobia that they have faced, racism that they have struggled against and decolonization that they have to practice daily.

Pick up your copy here.

Stories Of Lesbians And Bi Women During Nazism

Among the people hunted by the Nazi regime in Germany were, obviously, LGBT people who were deemed “anti-social” or “crazy”. Most of us have heard about the pink triangle and what it meant as a symbol of recognition for gay men in concentration camps. But what about gay and bisexual women and their fates during Hitler’s regime in Germany?

The sources of knowledge we have concerning lesbians and bi women and what they went through are limited, but we do know about some women leaving the country and seeking shelter in England and America. Lesbians have been named as the “forgotten victims” of Hitler’s attempt to “ethnically cleanse” Germany, by the German feminist magazine EMMA.

There are gender-related differences when it comes to the reasons, justification and forms of oppression that gay men and women faced in Nazi Germany.

Lesbians weren’t directly referred to by the 1872 law, Paragraph 175 that banned sexual acts between men and sexual acts on animals. That coincides with the general cultural assumption of the era that sex between women is not “real sex”, so lesbians were technically not illegal in Germany, unlike Austria where sexual acts between women were criminalized in the 19th century.

However, there was a justification for the ostracization of queer women that was based on different priorities of the Nazi regime: women were supposed to bear children and be mothers and housewives to German husbands; they were not seen as sexual beings, or as able to have any considerable influence in public and social life.

So the actual issue with lesbian women was that they refused to conform to the Nazi norms of being a German mother and wife. And yet, as Stefanie Gerdes states in her article

What Happened to Gay Women During the Holocaust”, the thought that lesbians could actually be “fixed” and still become pregnant and bear children, was what saved some of them from detention in concentration camps. Homosexual people, in the opinion of Heinrich Himmler, the leader of SS, would “deprive Germany of the children they owe her.

As part of the Nazi cruelty in the concentration camps, homosexual women had to wear a badge, either green as “career” criminals, or black as “asocials” (like Romani and homeless people were deemed). That classification took place because lesbianism was not criminalized. They were also forced into prostitution – unless they were Jewish – and forced to serve SS men as well as homosexual men in order to “heal them”.

The lives of women who didn’t go to the camps were difficult and dangerous, as they either had to pretend they were straight by marrying, flee the country, or live in poverty as they had no husbands and were paid really low wages – while constantly fearing for their lives and the possibility of being arrested.

The research that’s been made has brought up some stories of women who passed through Ravensbrück, the women’s concentration camp 90km north of Berlin. Today we share their stories as a tribute to their memories. (Based on this article).

Henny Schermann was one of those women. She was born in Frankfurt in 1912 and worked as a saleswoman when she was arrested. Official documents stated that she moved only in lesbian bars and she is thought to have been arrested in one of those. According to official Nazi paperwork she was also a “Stateless Jewess” and was selected by one of the Nazis’ death doctors, Friedrich Mennecke who claimed her “unworthy of life” in 1942. She was sent to the gas chamber on the 30th of May that year.

Elli Smula, born in 1914, was another woman who worked at the Berlin trams and was arrested on 1940 after being reported by her employer, Berlin Public Transport, accused of not reporting at work because she stayed up late at nights in parties, having sex with female colleagues. She was logged as a “political” prisoner and the word “lesbian” was also added in her documents. Her mother wrote that she died quite suddenly’ in Ravensbrück on 8 July 1943.

Inge Scheuer was born in 1924 and conscripted into military service as a “Marine Assistant” in 1943. She was found to have a relationship with a female comrade so she was discharged and sent to the Psychiatric Hospital Brandenburg-Görden in 1944. Fortunately, she was released early and survived the war.

Mary Pünjer was born in 1904 and worked in the clothes shop her parents owned in Hamburg. She was arrested in 1940 and admitted to the Ravensbrück. Her documents stated that she was imprisoned because of “political” differences and because she was a “lesbian”. She died in gas chambers in the killing wing of the ‘Convalescent and Nursing Home’ at Bernburg, presumably in 1942.

Another homosexual woman, who was actually sentenced to prison for violating paragraph 129 of the Austrian Penal Code (the paragraph that made homosexual behaviour punishable) in 1939, was Marie Glawitsch, born in 1920 in Graz, Austria. She was also accused of theft and was committed to Ravensbrück as a “career criminal” in 1942.

Rosa Jochmann was born in Vienna in 1901 and became a union representative in a factory that made glass covers for glass lamps. She rose up the movement and joined the Social Democratic Labour Party. That was the reason she was arrested several times. On August of 1939 she was arrested again and in March of 1930 she was sent to Ravensbrück, where she continued to advocate for the rights of others and became a mediator between the camp authorities and the prisoners.

She risked a lot but miraculously survived. The camp was liberated by Soviet troops in 1945, but Rosa stayed back to care for the sick. She became a honorary citizen of Vienna and was awarded a grave of honor in the city when she died in 1994. Her sexuality was not something talked about but she was actually identified as a homosexual woman in a 2005 exhibition about her life and about the persecution of gays and lesbians.

Finally, Stefanie Gerdes writes in her article about the story of Annette Eick, who was born to Jewish parents in Berlin and one of the lesbians who managed to flee the country. Her story is an extremely inspiring one that brought tears to my eyes, as did the other stories of the harsh realities faced by LGBT people during the Nazi regime. She spoke about her experiences during the Third Reich in 2005, together with 5 gay men, as part of the documentary “Paragraph 175”.

Eick had actually realized her identity from a very young age. When she was only ten she wrote an essay in school about dreaming of living her late life with her girlfriend, surrounded by animals and writing. She talked about growing up in Germany before the Nazi regime, when Berlin was still one of the best places in the world for an LGBT person to live, due to the small subculture that existed. She met a Jewish girl from Berlin and they became too close. “I saw a woman who looked a little bit like Marlene Dietrich,” she said. “She is the one I saw occasionally later, the one who saved my life because she was the one who sent me this permit [that saved me].”

During the Night of Broken Glass in 1938 the Germans ambushed the farm where she was staying, preparing to leave with other Jewish children and teen for Palestine.

A police officer’s wife left the cell door of everyone caught unlocked in purpose and all the prisoners escaped. Eick was lucky enough to retrieve her passport from the destroyed farm in the middle of the chaos. She was planning to go to Berlin but a letter arrived for her, from the aforementioned former love affair. The woman who looked like Marlene Dietrich with whom she was in love had mailed to her an entry permit to England. That saved her while her family was sent to Auschwitz.

She lived the rest of her life in Devon, found love in the 1960s, published a collection of poems and died a littler after her 100th birthday, in 2010.

For the last three years a group of feminists and lesbian women from Germany and Austria have led a movement to commemorate the horrible experiences of lesbian and bi women at Ravensbrück. Feminist historians and lesbian groups have been doing extensive research about the issue since the 1980s.

On the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the women’s concentration camp at Ravensbrück last year, a memorial stone was laid for the queer women who were persecuted and murdered in Ravensbrück. LGBT people and feminists are applying for a “commemorative orb” to those women to remain at the camp, in order to pay a tribute to them and engrave a hidden reminiscence of history that should not be concealed and forgotten anymore.

Sexuality Poses No Risk To Mental Health, According To Major New Study

According to researchs from the Australian National University; people are not at an increased risk by simply being gay or bisexual – but could be affected by other factors.

The eight year study challenged the common perception that LGBT people are at a higher risk of mental health issues and suicide.

Speaking in the Guardian, Dr Richard Burns – who led the researcher – said mental health issues were not down to sexuality itself, but driven by other factors such as negative social interactions, the absence of support, childhood adversity, or even smoking.

Dr Burns, also said that a heterosexual person in a stressful or traumatic situation “would be at just as much risk as a homosexual who is reporting negative social support.

“It’s these other risk factors that are driving people’s risks, not their sexual orientation. “

Gay and bisexual people were found to experience more of these risk factors, which could be the result of their orientation, but “positive and supportive social networks” minimised the risk significantly.

Bisexual people were more at risk than gay people, but this was also mitigated by positive social networks.

Trump Claims That His Immigration Ban Helps Lesbians. He Is Very, Very Wrong.

It’s difficult to be queer. It’s even more difficult to be queer and Muslim, especially if you’re a person of color. Yet Trump claims that his blanket ban on travelers from Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan, Iraq, Libya and Iran does queer people a favor.

Trump cited LGBT rights as one of his reasons for the ban. He claimed that people from those seven countries “would oppress members of [marginalized] gender or sexual orientation.”

The assumption is, of course, that all people coming from these countries are Muslim, and that all Muslims are intolerant of LGBT people. He is completely erasing the growing population of Muslims who openly identify as transgender or queer.

The Advocate puts it well:

What happens now to the lesbian asylum seeker in search of a semblance of safety in the U.S.? What happens to the bisexual student who came here on a visa and now does not know if they can return? What happens to the parents of a transgender child, who can no longer come to the U.S. even to visit?”

In short, Donald Trump is not doing us any favors. He’s hurting members of the LGBT community hoping to find freedom in the United States, and he’s tearing apart the families of queer Muslims by barring them from entry.

Trump acts as if all non-Americans are heathens swarming on the United States in order to steal our resources, bomb our cities and impose their beliefs. He ignores the reason why so many people from these countries are traveling to the U.S. – the United States has destroyed many parts of their countries.

The U.N. recently confirmed that in Yemen, U.S. drone strikes have killed more innocent civilians than al Queda has. And the U.S. has been dragging the Iraq War out for nine long years, which makes it the third-longest war in U.S. history after Vietnam and Afghanistan.

What happens when you go to war with a country for a decade? You leave that country in ruins and force the citizens to become refugees – refugees that the U.S. is now denying entry.

So what can you do? Find a protest near you and fight back!

Trump Administration Delete LGBT, Climate Change Issues From New White House Website

Day 1 and it begins!!!

Back in December, Trump reportedly gave “assurances” that he will take action to undermine laws that are seen as protecting the rights of gay people in the US.

Sadly almost all of Trump’s cabinet, including his Vice President Mike Pence, share anti-LGBT views.

Under Obamas leadership marriage equality became a reality in all 50 States, the US army set out to lift the ban on transgender service personnel, and in 2014 he issued an executive order banning LGBT discrimination by Federal contractors across the board.

Unfortunately, that looks like it could be set to change.

As the old administration departs the White House, change is underway.

Trump’s new staff have begun to take over offices, Twitter accounts and the White House’s official website.

It’s on this website that a certain page has been deleted.

The whitehouse.gov site, which previously featured a page on Obama and his relationship with the progress of the LGBT community, now shows up with a “page not found” message under whitehouse.gov/lgbt.

This is a worrying sign for America’s LGBT community, and the change hasn’t gone unnoticed.


The Department of Labor’s page also no longer includes a page on Advancing LGBT Workplace Rights. Pages for civil rights, climate change, and National HIV/AIDS Strategy, and the White House Counsel on Women and Girls have also been removed

LGBT America In Numbers

The most recent Gallup research showed that Americans are more likely to say that they are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender than they used to. In total, almost 3.5% of American adults (or 8.3 million people) identified with one of these categories in 2012, a number which has in 2016 increased to 4.1% that translates to 10.052 million people.

The analysis has been based on research that has lasted over five years and was performed on more than 1.6 million adults in the United States of America. It is more likely that the numbers don’t necessarily indicate an increase in the actual number of LGBT people living in the US, rather than an increase in the people who feel comfortable opening up about their sexuality or gender identity.

Among interviewed adults in the research, younger generations are more likely to identify as LGBT. Gallup shows that 7.3% of millennials (born 1980-1998) identified as LGBT in 2016, while in 2012 the percentage was 5.8. As for Generation X (born 1965-1979) the percentage has stayed the same (3.2), and for Baby boomers (born 1946-1964) and Traditionalists (1913-1945) the number has decreased from 2012 (2.7 to 2.4 for Baby boomers and 1.8 to 1.4 for Traditionalists).

When it comes to other identity intersections, the results are as following: people are just as likely to identify as LGBT whatever their gender, racial group, income group or educational level may be. The social groups that weren’t as likely to identify as LGBT were the moderately and highly religious Americans.

In some sense, this poll may indicate some sort of progress, since more young people are comfortable enough to claim an identity of the LGBT umbrella for themselves. The fact that younger people are more likely to identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender, makes sense in terms of them being the generation who supports LGBT rights the most.

When it comes to same sex marriage, here are some more numbers that indicate what public opinion in America could be shaped like: according to Gallup, it seems like the majority of American adults supports same sex marriage: a 60% of the interviewed population in 2015 that has increased from a 27% in 1996.

The higher level of support is also expressed by the younger generations. People of ages 18-29 who support same-sex marriage have doubled from 1996 to 2014 (from 40% to about 80%) and so have ages 30-49 (from 30% to 55%). The increase in older generations seems even bigger, considering that a considerably smaller percentage of people 50+ (15% and lower) supported same-sex marriage in 1996, numbers that have now exceeded 40%.

An analysis carried out in April 2015 from the Williams Institute, a think tank that focuses on LGBTQ issues, showed that support for same-sex marriage was rising in all the states of America, but more rapidly in states that had legalized same-sex marriage, which shows that laws supporting fundamental human rights that are enforced without society even being seemingly in their favour may actually influence it in positive ways.

On another research, Vox and Morning Consult worked together to figure out the general position of American adults towards trans people, their rights and the laws that concern them, through a series of questions, that were asked to 2.000 registered voters.

The results were mixed and unfortunately not promising. There still seems to be a lot of discrimination against trans identities in the US. The plurality of US adults seem to be supportive of laws against discrimination faced by trans people but the population is still divided on whether trans people should use freely bathrooms that align with their gender identity.

People who answered were divided almost in halves, with 42% said that public facilities should be required to allow students to use the bathroom for their “self-described gender,” while 39% were opposed to that choice. Democrats and younger generations were more likely to support trans people’s rights.

It still remains difficult to know exactly what these numbers are representing, since about 1 in 10 to 1 in 5 voters answered the research questions with “don’t know” or “no opinion”. According to Gallup editor in chief Frank Newport:

I think that at this point, I would be most likely to say that the American public has not formed firm opinions on the new issue of policies or laws surrounding transgender individuals’ use of bathroom facilities and that the public is — to a degree — open to argument on either side. Plus, the available evidence does not consistently support the conclusion that Americans favor laws or policies allowing open access to bathrooms based on an individual’s claimed gender identity.”

The 25th Anniversary Of The Lesbian Avengers

One of the most prominent issues that lesbian and bisexual women activists have had to face across history, has been the avoidance to include the specificity of the issues they face due  to intersecting oppressions, and the focus that has been given mostly to the demands of gay men.

One of the strongest movie scenes I can remember troubling me, ισ one from the 2014 Pride movie which I generally loved: Stella and Zoe, two of the three lesbians of the Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners group, are sitting on a table in the Miners club with Mark and Mike, demanding the creation of a Women’s group that will address specifically women’s issues in a safe environment. Mike asks Stella what is unsafe about the existing environment and Stella replies “I’m a woman, Mike. Okay? I’m also a Lesbian. And a Feminist – ”… But then she is cut in the middle of her sentence by an old lady who leans over and says: “Listen, love. I don’t care if you’re Arthur Scargill. Don’t talk during the Bingo.” Everyone laughs while Stella “silently fumes”.

Coming from an otherwise excellent movie, this scene angered me. Not necessarily because it was poorly written, no. But because women demanding space was the punch line once again, because it was somehow realistic, you know? Being in the activist field myself, I have witnessed incidents of misogyny coming from within the LGBT community, even in 2016. That’s why I think we need more feminism in queer politics, and we need it immediately and constantly.

It was 25 years ago, on the 28th of June, 1992, more specifically, when sex lesbian activists (Ana Maria Simo, Sarah Schulman, Maxine Wolfe, Anne-Christine D’Adesky, Marie Honan and Anne Maguire)  involved in several LGBT groups (including Medusa’s Revenge – the ACT-UP  Lesbian Theatre and ILGO – the Irish Lesbian and Gay Organization) started recruiting people at New York’s Pride Parade, shouting at “LESBIANS! DYKES! GAY WOMEN!” that they were “…wasting our lives being careful. Imagine what your life could be. Aren’t you ready to make it happen?”

Lesbian Avenger Ann Northrop said:

We’re not going to be invisible anymore … We are going to be prominent and have power and be part of all decision making.”

Gay and bisexual women were tired of solely working on issues like AIDS and abortion rights while at the same time having the problems caused by misogyny and homophobia and concerning directly them, outright ignored, as Eloise Salholz wrote for Newskweek, covering the 1993 March on Washington for Lesbian, Gay and Bi Equal Rights and Liberation.

They demanded visibility and focused on issues of “lesbian survival”. They soon became a worldwide phenomenon, launching chapters in more than sixty different regions, and soon including issues concerning the intersections of gender, race and class. Already by 1994, 20.000 dykes marched on Washington and more dyke marches started all over the world.

Most of their actions were shocking for the social and time context, intriguing, challenging: the Lesbian Avengers didn’t do calm and careful and waiting: they avoided traditional ways of advocacy such as sit-ins and petitions.

Their first action on the 9th of September, 1992, was against right-wing attempts to suppress a multicultural “Children of the Rainbow” curriculum for schools. Thus, the Avengers attempted not only to shock, but also to break down homophobic and racist stereotypes and to raise visibility for their lives, rights and voices.

They met in Queens School District 24, the one that had the strongest conservative voice, and paraded through the neighborhood to a local elementary school, handing out lavender balloons to children and parents saying “Ask About Lesbian Lives”, wearing t-shirts that read “I was a lesbian child”.

Fire-eating also became a signature for them: The New York Times explains:

It grew out of tragedy. Last year, a lesbian and a gay man, Hattie Mae Cohens and Brian Mock, burned to death in Salem, Ore., after a Molotov cocktail was tossed into the apartment they shared. A month later, on Halloween, at a memorial to the victims in New York City, the Avengers (then newly organized) gave their response to the deaths. They ate fire, chanting, as they still do: “The fire will not consume us. We take it and make it our own.””

The Avengers then marched down 5th Avenue carrying torches and burnt signs reading names of homophobic propositions that most probably led to violence. At the Washington Dyke March that took place in 1993, they ate fire in front of the White House.

This was thought to be the first Dyke March. After that, many followed, usually held a couple of days before the Pride Parade. The second New York City International Dyke March coincided with the anniversary of Stonewall Riots, Gay Games IV and international human rights conferences. Today marches are held even in Mexico City.

The British chapter of the Avengers was formed in 1994 by members of OutRage!.

The New York chapter has developed a Lesbian Avenger Civil Rights Organizing Project, actively placing themselves against homophobic referendums and propositions.

2017 will be the 25th anniversary of their founding, so the historic group’s history is being summed in a mobile exhibit that will travel and stay in several different places in order to sensitize and move more people. They are currently running an Indiegogo campaign in order to fund the 25th anniversary exhibit.

Kelly Cogswell, a member and author of Eating Fire: My Life As A Lesbian Avenger, told The Huffington Post:

The Lesbian Avengers 25 exhibit proves that it’s possible to fight back. We have to. We’ve done it before, and we’ll do it again. It’s not magic. But sustained activism does make a difference.”


Lauren Lubin and ‘We Exist’: A Documentary on the Life of Non-Binary People

Existing is a sum of many things: of being recognized, represented, talked about but also in an affirming way and not simply being referred at in psychiatric textbooks. Existing means being part of a language and incorporated into its habits, having your specific needs identified and catered to, your problems and demands heard and the differences that make you into the unique individual that you are accepted and validated. Existing is not just about living and breathing and going to work.

If you have faced several forms of sexism, racism, ableism, homo-bi-ace/phobia, transphobia or intersex-phobia before, you may already have the experience of what it is like to be a living human being but to have your identity denied, erased, concealed, abused or stripped of its individual existence.

In activism there is no point in making competitions out of people’s suffering and oppression. Someone will always have it better than you, and someone will always have it worse than you because of endless mingling webs of intersecting paths and reasons. That doesn’t mean that we can’t – or that we’re not supposed to – focus on the specific characteristics that distinguish the different forms of oppression each complex identity is facing.

When it comes to people whose gender does not fall strictly into the man-woman binary system that society is imposing on us, one of the main forms of oppression they are faced with, is the denying of their existence. Worst of all (as happens with other LGBTQ+ identities as well), the erasure non-binary people might have to deal with, doesn’t only come from outside the queer community, but also stems vastly from within it.

Non-binary experiences are still being stubbornly ignored even within the LGBTQ+ community, not only from non-straight, but also from binary trans people, resulting to a harmful lack of safe spaces for non-binary individuals.

Society insists on being disrespectful towards non-binary people, starting from the distant, seemingly theoretical debates on grammar and on whether we should accept people’s pronouns, to the insistence on segregating everything by gender, sports, restrooms, hair salons, and practically almost everything else we deal with, participate into or are part of in our everyday lives.

This can only be extremely harmful for both the physical and mental health of non-binary individuals, who rarely ever have their voices properly heard and their needs taken into consideration.

Lauren Lubin is the creator and executive producer of the upcoming documentary We Exist, which explores the lives of people who experience their gender in a way different than those who identify as either men or women. The production of this documentary started four years ago and it is one of the biggest initiatives worldwide that have to do with the specific experiences of non-binary people, narrated by them as they interact with all aspects of flawed, binary societies.


The documentary is an intimate work that reaches up to the most personal issues that a gender-non-conforming trans person might face and can function as a crucial point of reference, relation and inclusion for non-binary people from all over the world.

Lauren Lubin says, in their After Ellen interview with Kim Hoffman, concerning their hopes about the release of We Exist:

I have always seen this film as the first step toward tackling and changing the many oppressing social issues people like myself face. And already, I’ve seen how We Exist has begun to make such changes, particularly among my followers in the We Exist community. My hope for this undertaking has always been to create a film that people like myself can share with their loved ones and say, “Hey, this is me. This is how I feel. I’m not the only one.”

And indeed, We Exist has already grown into a worldwide movement, a phenomenon with visible positive effects when it comes to the representation that non-binary people are deprived of. The platform already extends to 67 different countries and it represents experiences of individuals from around the globe, crossing boundaries set by age, race and culture and offering a multi-dimensional picture of non-binary experience.  People are finally seeing themselves reflected on a project, amongst thousands of other projects that insisted on focusing specifically on either men or women:

I discovered Lauren earlier this week and it’s an incredibly important discovery for me because I now know that I exist. I am gender neutral and hopefully I am at just the beginning… to finally live as me.” –S.


I am so happy to see this that this brought tears to my eyes… After 26 years I am happy ro finally have a place in this world. I am happy that gender identity is becoming more talked about and educated on… I want to thank everyone involved for the work you are doing. This will save lives and encourage people. THANK YOU!!!” –E. (from the We Exist Media Kit found on the We Exist Official Website).

Lubin believes that

it is absolutely within society’s reach, to expand upon the current gender binary system. It’s clear now, and the science backs it up: Gender—like sexuality—does exist on a spectrum. There are pockets of change already occurring all over the world: from Nepal recognizing a third gender, to individual establishments and schools implementing gender neutral bathrooms, to Facebook enabling their users to define their gender on their own terms. But in order to institutionalize and integrate a broader gender system across all of society—academia, medicine, legislation, government identification, and so forth—it’s imperative for change and accountability to occur at the top. Until then, it’s up to us individuals to educate, advocate and lobby against the status quo until that happens.”

They also refer to the discrimination and the erasure a non-binary person has to deal with in most parts of their everyday life:

My current reality as a non-binary person living in a binary world is that once I leave my home, there are very few public spaces where I can fully exist. What’s more, legally I do not fully exist as my true self, which not only dehumanizes my person but also make my life extremely difficult and unsafe. The ideal, perfect day for me would be just like anyone else’s: to step out into the world without question or fear, knowing that I do and can exist as I am, wherever I am, and to be recognized, respected and protected exactly as I am.”

Non-binary identities are often shut down as “Tumblr SJW made-up identities”, downright refusing to respect people’s existence as well as their rightful, valid experiences. In all honesty, no one should demand proof for the way a person experiences their gender and sexuality, given that people’s identities don’t harm other people or their respectful identities in any way.

However, even science backs up the idea that sexuality and gender fall onto a spectrum. One recent research led by the Medical University of Vienna and presented in Huffington Post last year, shows that the human brain holds a wide range of gender differences varying from person to person, independently by their biological sex characteristics. In a society where trans experiences are more often than not pathologized, and their identities objectified, sexualized and heavily misrepresented.

According to the We Exist Media Kit, the documentary circles around Lauren’s life, showing  everyday reality for a person identifying as gender neutral and leaving a positive, empowering note. The trailer looks amazing, both sentimentally and aesthetically, and gives us glimpses of Lauren’s childhood, athletic dedication and transition, promising us a multi-dimensional depiction that can raise awareness about people whose gender doesn’t fall within the binary. Lauren Lubin is actually a multi-talented person, having earned a full scholarship for basketball at the University of Colorado, today spreading awareness about gender issues through their documentary. They have published two books: The Rainforest Awakenings and The Thoughtless Revolution.

Their voice has been heard on ABC Good Morning, Curve Magazine, Out Magazine, TIME, The Huffington Post, on the Everyone Is Gay Tumblr Blog with Kristin Russo (co-founder of The Parents Project, a digital resource for parents of LGBTQ+ children) where they explained what the gender binary means and how gender is a spectrum and spoke about their journey of discovery. They have given an interview with Rebecca Ruiz on Mashable, where they addressed the issue of assuming people’s gender in everyday life without giving much thought into it. Lauren Lubin have also given speeches at several schools, universities and youth organizations such as the Columbia University, the Trinity College, the University of Colorado, Lurie’s Children Hospital Safe Space Day, SpeakingOUT Organization, and many more.

The documentary is directed and edited by Andrew Seger, a Brooklyn-based editor and producer who has worked together with Starbucks, VOGUE and other projects.

There might be a rise in the conversation about LGBTQ+ issues, but equality has not been achieved, especially for the least represented, understood and discussed identities. This is why initiatives such as We Exist are deemed absolutely vital to raise awareness for non-binary and gender-non-conforming issues.



Radar.TV: Your New Favorite Thing?

A little over a month ago, I was personally approached by the people behind Radar.tv – a new social media service aimed at the LGBT+ community. I’ve taken some time to look around the app and check it out for myself, and I must say – I’m not sure it’s for me. I’m not a video person; my comfort zone is with words and still pictures.

That being said, the app holds a number of promises for the LGBT+ community that I think aren’t being well served by other platforms.

Curious? Here’s what else you should know.


It’s live streaming, at its core.

I remember back in the day, “cam site” was synonymous with “live porn.” That’s not what Radar is about. Rather, Radar is a little more like a live version of YouTube, but specifically for the queer community. Creators have fan bases, and those fan bases can earn virtual gifts, which can be exchanged for real money (and, similarly, must be bought with real money).

Celebrity influencers are already using the app.

Although my meeting with the team didn’t reveal all of the celebrity endorsers of the app, some of RuPaul’s Drag Race contestants have their own profiles, as does one big celesbian influencer – although I wasn’t told exactly which celesbian this might be. You’ll have to log into the app and figure that one out for yourself!

They stand up for the issues that matter.

When spectators watch the streams available on the app and choose to give one of the digital gifts to the streamer, the streamer receives 60% of the sale price of that particular gift. Another percentage goes to charities that support LGBT+ issues, such as the Los Angeles AIDS Walk and other groups that support HIV education and testing. Additionally, streamers can set up their own customized gifts and designate a portion of those gift sales to a charity of their choosing.

They believe everyone deserves a safe space.

One of the things that the team was most passionate to tell me about was their stance on anti-bullying issues. In addition to any specific charities that the digital gifts may support, they also seek to provide a supportive community of like-minded members so that someone is always there for you. While it might not prevent instances of bullying, directly, we all need someone sometimes – and internet friends can help a lot with that, especially in highly conservative regions.

They know what they’re doing.

Radar isn’t the group’s first project – they’ve done this before, with LiveStar – a streaming app for everyone. And, Joey Hernandez – the man who reached out to me – has been a part of the marketing team for Grindr and other LGBT-focused apps in the past. This combination gives them some extra leverage, even when they start to get copied. (Because, as of today, they are the only all-LGBT+ live streaming app in existence – and you know what they say about imitation and flattery, after all.)

They’re available for your phone.

As of October 20th, they have both an iPhone and Android app – and I was happy to be one of the first to download the Android version on its release date. Of course, as I mentioned it’s not really my thing, but I can only imagine how powerful this is going to be for people who do enjoy livestreaming.

Whatever you’re into, there’s probably a stream for that.

And, if not, create one! The streamers actually get paid for their content, whenever a commenter sends them a gift. If you’re outgoing and want to make a little money on the side, or just have some fun watching some of your favorite queer icons live, you should definitely check it out – what do you have to lose?

What Are the Responsibilities Of A Lesbian Artist?

Let’s be honest: Most cisgender, heterosexual men write about anything they want. They write about cisgender, heterosexual men. They write about elderly women.

They write about lesbians and transgender men and people in foreign countries.

They consider themselves the experts on all human life.

As a lesbian artist or writer, you might want to focus on cisgender, heterosexual men, but the LGBT community is looking to you to tell their stories.

Is it your responsibility to create art about LGBT people?

No. Artists shouldn’t pigeonhole themselves into one thing.

After all, when your artistic identity comes first, then you’re not “that lesbian artist,” you’re an artist who happens to be a lesbian. As an artist, you can’t grow if you keep creating the same stories over and over. Expand your talents – and your audience.

Yes. If lesbians don’t tell their own stories, who will?

Cisgender, heterosexual men will continue to tell lesbian stories – badly. Many will base their ideas of lesbians on porn, two episodes of Ellen, and that one androgynous gym teacher they had in middle school.

They will use lesbians as a tool: Sexy Lesbians will sell more movie tickets. Butch Lesbians will provide comic relief. Pretty Lesbians will fall in love with the male protagonist. Tragic Lesbians will earn the writer an Oscar for telling heartbreaking stories.

It’s impossible to stop bad representation completely, and for every Transparent, there will always be a Crying Game. But telling our own stories is an important step in the right section. Let’s elbow those cisgender straight men out of the way.

No. Lesbians shouldn’t have to preach.

If a lesbian writes a lesbian story because she thinks it’s her lesbian duty, then the result will be a mess. The story will often be flat, uninspired and preachy. It will read less like a novel and more like a Public Service Announcement. People can tell when lessons are being forced down their throats, and that turns them off even more.

It’s better to create no lesbian art than bad lesbian art.

Yes. LGBT identities are a natural part of life.

If a lesbian artist refuses to include LGBT characters or themes in her art, then she is effectively erasing non-heterosexual, non-cisgender identities from the world.

For hundreds of millions people, being LGBT is a core part of their selfhood. An artist who doesn’t include any LGBT characters isn’t just saying that LGBT stories aren’t worth telling – they’re saying that LGBT identities aren’t worth existing.

In conclusion: It depends.

As an artist, your responsibility is to tell the truth. Not facts, but your philosophical, cultural and moral truth.

You should create art that feels true to your experiences, whatever that may be.

Make the art that you’re passionate about. Maybe today you’re passionate about LGBT rights, but in the future you won’t want to address that anymore. That’s okay. Maybe today being a lesbian isn’t a large part of your identity, but in the future you’ll feel called to write about it. That’s okay.

Create what you want to create. Let your art grow with you.

360 Degree Video Challenges Homophobia In All Directions

A lesbian vlogger, Arielle Scarcella, has teamed up with a group of other well-known youtubers to put together an inspiring film clip utilizing a 360-degree camera. The camera technique allows them all to get their message across in a very unique way, and everyone who has taken part tell their stories about coming out and finding love.

Youtubers Bria and Chrissy, known as BriaAndChrissy on youtube, both took part in the video and Bria describes her experience when she came out to her mum.

I remember she said to me, ‘when am I going to look at you and not see gay?’ I knew exactly what she meant because I couldn’t look at myself and not see gay.”

Chrissy, the other half of the duo recalls:

When I first came out I was really afraid of being judged by my conservative small-town community, and I was. It was really difficult to have people look at me in the face and not see me as the person that I was.”

But during the video both girls give out a positive vibe as well as they explain once they became involved in the LGBT community they slowly learned to accept themselves.  The participants talk about the need for accepting who you are and explain that universal love is a positive and good thing. Many of them found their self-acceptance through the LGBT community, even though the process was slow for some.

Another youtuber in the video, Stephanie Frosch, sums up the experience of self- acceptance and coming out by saying:

I think the important thing to remember is, no matter what the struggle you’re going through, it’s almost like a thunderstorm. You may not see happiness at the end of it, but just like thunder clouds go away, the sun is always there the whole time.”

The video is a brilliant piece of film with a positive and strong message to all so let’s hope it gets as much recognition as possible.


Film Maker Nneka Onuorah Talks Stereotyping Within The LGBT Community

Nneka Onuorah, an out film maker, has released her debut film, The Same Difference. The documentary depicting a series of lesbian couples fighting against the gender stereotypes within the lesbian community and has been screened in 50 U.S. cities and one in Australia.

The film got lots of attention and Nneka decided to use it as a campaign to highlight these issues in the Lesbian and Bisexual community. She told Cosmopolitan that she thinks this issue is even more prominent amongst women of colour as well.

Cosmopolitan asked Nneka to explain a little about The Same Difference and she said:

The Same Difference is a film about lesbians who discriminate against other lesbians based on the heteronormative policing of gender roles. Oftentimes in the lesbian community, especially in the African-American lesbian community, there are rules and roles that come with your lifestyle. For example, if you present, dress, and take on the role of a “masculine” lesbian, or what used to be known as “butch,” you are expected to uphold that.”

Lesbians stereotyping each other is definitely something that needs addressing, especially as these stereotypes have come from the heterosexual perspectives of a lesbian couple in the first place. Nneka went on to say:

This means some women are taking on a role that society has given men like taking out the garbage, not showing emotion, not wearing clothes that are too tight. Looking, acting, dressing, thinking in a very similar way to what society says men should do. Which can be quite stifling and hinder us in a community full of women.”


Nneka also talks about how she got the idea for the documentary and what triggered it in the first place. She also speaks about her own opinion of the LGBT community.

Based on me having a conversation with one of my friends, I kind of talked about how I never spent time in the community, in the LGBT community, because it was so negative when I grew up in it. My friend was like, “Well, why don’t you make a movie on it or something?” It really stuck with me. I was like, “Instead of me stepping away from the community, why don’t I revitalize it, build it, and uplift it?”

Nneka, who is obviously very passionate about her documentary and combating these stereotypes in the lesbian community is also determined to do something about changing these attitudes and opinions. She went on to say:

 I want some changes to happen. There’s a lot of issues that happen in the lesbian community. We have a higher murder rate. Our domestic violence issues don’t get taken seriously. When you go to the doctor, the doctors aren’t checking us for certain STDs because they’re not educated on same-sex or lesbian sex. Let’s make it into a campaign so we did. It’s called the We Are All Women campaign, and on Sept. 4, I’m having celebrity speakers, activists, allies come speak and provide voices on our injustices.”

Good on you Nneka. The lesbian community should all work together and fight injustice and we should all understand it’s not good to stereotype our sisters. Let’s hope this documentary and the campaign goes from strength to strength and gets the recognition it deserves.

“Dear World, We’re Not Afraid” – Orlando Survivors Speak-Out (Video)

Survivors of the Orlando massacre have released a video telling the world they are not afraid.

In light of the Orlando Shooting, we think it’s important, more than ever, to stand tall and show love and give hope to the LGBT community.

Put together by youtuber, Arielle Scarcella, the video tells a story about LGBT people struggling with coming out and the world’s reaction.

My all the things that closet has seen. Inside it was dark small and lonely, but so much life has happened outside of that closet. For the LGBT community, that life often comes with judgement. At their core, judgement and hate are simply fear.”

The video also features survivors who send a message a powerful message about love following the attack.

Our LGBT community is resilient. Out of great sadness, love is born. We thrive, not because we are not afraid of hate but because we are not afraid of love.”



Pulse Owner Vows To Reopen Nightclub: ‘We Will Not Let Hate Win’

The owner of the Pulse gay nightclub, Barbara Poma, is speaking out for the first time since the mass shooting that took the lives of 49 people at the club.

Poma – who opened the club as a tribute to her gay brother who died of AIDS related illness – says she always saw the place as a “safe haven”.

In an emotional interview with NBC, she shared she ‘can’t stop imagining what it was like.’

She also described the moment she found out about the shootings.

When my manager called me, he just kept yelling into the phone ‘We have a shooter. We have a shooter.’”

Poma also highlights how family was an important part of the club – which has been running since 13 years.


Since the club opened, the owner says she wanted to create a platform that reached out to the gay community in Orlando.

During her interview, she said the families of the people who were now a part of the club’s family too, stressing the importance of keeping the “heartbeat and spirit alive”.

The future of the club is uncertain, but Poma says she wants to remember all the wonderful things that happened there.

She did not speak about the gunman because “it’s important to never let hate win.”


The club was in honour of one soul that was lost and now there are 49 others that have lost their lives.

It has to do with your heartbeat. Your life. You have to keep the heartbeat alive.”


Anderson Cooper Pays Emotional Tribute To Victims Of The Orlando Massacre

Last night, less than 48 hours after the deadliest terror attack on American soil since 9/11, Anderson Cooper began his prime time program with a tribute to the 49 lives lost in the Orlando, Florida, nightclub shooting.


Noting that his broadcast would neither display photos nor mention the name of the dead gunman, the CNN anchor emotionally listed the names of those killed in the attack at Pulse nightclub as their names scrolled on the ticker at the bottom of the screen.

In the next two hours, we want to try to keep the focus where we think it belongs, on the people whose lives were cut short.”

The tribute lasted nearly seven minutes, and paired facts and faces to those victims who were still being identified as late as Monday night.

They are more than a list of names. They are people who loved and who were loved,”

As of this morning (June 14), the city of Orlando had released the following names of victims on its website.

Ruby Rose Pays Tribute To The Victims Of The Orlando Nightclub Shooting Just A Week After She Performed There

Ruby Rose has shared an emotional social media post after the horrific Orlando mass shooting, revealing she performed at the club where 50 people were slain only last week.

Woke up in tears to hear the news about Orlando. Devastated, heartbroken, sick. I played there last Friday and last night I performed after Pride in LA. From the DJ booth you see laughter, love, dancing freedom and beautiful people living their lives not harming anyone. It’s one of the beautiful things to see from stage.

This horrific tragedy has me on my knees at the mercy of a greater power to ask the simple question of ‘When will this end’ … I’m praying for Orlando, I’m crying for Orlando and I am there with you in spirit sending my love and strength.”





Obama Nails Why America Shouldn’t Ignore The Fact The Orlando Shooting Was At An LGBTQ Club

The mass shooting at the Pulse gay nightclub in Orlando Sunday morning, which killed at least 50 people, wasn’t just the deadliest mass shooting in American history — it’s the also the deadliest act of anti-LGBTQ violence.


On Sunday afternoon, President Obama addressed not only America, but also the world and highlighted what made this most recent act of terror unique.
This attack happened during LGBT Pride Month, a celebration that arose from violence, particularly police brutality, against LGBTQ people.

This is an especially heartbreaking day for all our friends — our fellow Americans — who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. The shooter targeted a nightclub where people came together to be with friends, to dance and to sing, and to live.

The place where they were attacked is more than a nightclub — it is a place of solidarity and empowerment where people have come together to raise awareness, to speak their minds, and to advocate for their civil rights.”

The president is right. Our LGBT nightclubs and bars have been much more than just spaces to have fun on a Friday night. These venues are where people have organized, protested, pushed for progress, and found safe spaces amid a hostile outside world.

This wasn’t just an attack on Americans writ large — it was an attack on the freedoms that LGBTQ people have rallied for decades.

The president also used his speech to highlight the continued need to act against gun violence.

Sunday morning’s tragedy — the deadliest shooting in American history — is yet another example of why rampant gun violence in the U.S. is a uniquely American phenomenon.

This massacre is therefore a further reminder of how easy it is for someone to get their hands on a weapon that lets them shoot people in a school, or in a house of worship, or a movie theater, or in a nightclub. And we have to decide if that’s the kind of country we want to be. And to actively do nothing is a decision as well.”

Hillary Clinton also shared a similar message. While reaffirming her support to toughen up gun control efforts, Clinton condemned the Orlando nightclub shooting as an act of “terror” and “hate” in a statement Sunday.

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I join Americans in praying for the victims of the attack in Orlando, their families and the first responders who did everything they could to save lives. This is a time to stand together and resolve to do everything we can to defend our communities and country.”

She also identified herself as an ally of LGBT Americans in the statement. The mass shooting—the deadliest in American history—occurred at a gay nightclub.

We will keep fighting for your right to live freely, openly and without fear,” she said. “Hate has absolutely no place in America.”

Ellen DeGeneres, Madonna, Lady Gaga And More React To Pulse Nightclub Massacre

Dozens of high-profile artists, politicians and prominent members of the queer community have taken to social media to voice their horror at this weekend’s massacre, which left 50 patrons dead at Pulse, a prominent gay nightclub in Orlando.

While some celebrities simply offered their condolences and emphasized their support of the victims and their families, many others demanded the reform of U.S. gun laws, a move they insist could prevent future violent deaths.

Death Toll Rises In Orlando Mass Shooting As Shooter Identified

More than a hundred people have been confirmed dead or injured after the mass shooting in Orlando’s Pulse nightclub.

The rising number makes the atrocity the worst shooting in American history.

Omar Mateen was named as the shooter in the incident, which killed at least 50.


The US citizen’s parents are from Afghanistan, and FBI agent Ron Hopper spoke to reporters to say that he may have leanings towards Islamic extremism.

The shooter, a resident of Port St Lucie, Florida, was killed after a “gun battle” with police officers in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Mateen’s father has apologised for the incident, saying he did not think his son was religiously motivated.

He also said that his son, 29, got angry a few months ago after he saw two men kiss in Orlando.

The shooter, a resident of Port St Lucie, Florida, was killed after a “gun battle” with police officers in the early hours of Sunday morning.

His identity was revealed by CBS News, the Washington Post, and NBC News. The BBC suggests that although he was not on a terrorist watch-list, he may have been being investigated for a previous crime.

As well as a White House statement condemning the attack, which authorities described as a “terrorist incident”,  an appeal was put out for O Negative, O Positive and AB Plasma blood donors.

The White House statement read:

The President was briefed this morning by Lisa Monaco, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, on the tragic shooting in Orlando, Florida. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and loved ones of the victims. The President asked to receive regular updates as the FBI, and other federal officials, work with the Orlando Police to gather more information, and directed that the federal government provide any assistance necessary to pursue the investigation and support the community.”

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer described the crime as “horrific” at a press conference this morning.

An Orange County Sherriff described the incident as a “domestic terrorist incident”, which was confirmed by the FBI, a spokesman said: “Domestic or international, it’s terrorism”.

It was confirmed that an officer attended the Pulse club and engaged with a “gun battle” with a shooter who was using an assault rifle and a pistol.

This turned into a hostage situation. Multiple officers from various agencies responded.

The shooter was organised and well prepared. He is not from this area”

Multiple officers from local, state and federal agencies responded to the incident at the club, where approximately 320 people were in attendance.


At approx 05:00 this morning the decision was made to rescue hostages after people phoned police from the toilets in the nightclub. The police drove a truck through the wall in order to distract the gunman.

The nightclub posted on its Facebook page as the shooting unfolded: “Everyone get out of pulse and keep running”.

Updates about the Pulse nightclub shooting are being added to the Associated Press website on the link below.

Orlando Nightclub Shooting: At Least 50 Dead And 53 Injured After Gunman Opens Fire In Gay Club

Police have confirmed that 50 people have been killed and some 53 injured in a shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida.

Orlando Police at the scene in Pulse nightclub have confirmed the shooter is now dead. The attacker reportedly entered the nightclub at around 2am on Saturday night and began “non-stop firing”. There were more than 100 people in the venue at the time.

Police have called it an act of terrorism, but said they did not yet know if it was domestic or international.

Relatives have been gathering at local hospitals desperate for news.

Many had received calls and texts from loved ones inside the club as the siege began, and some have heard nothing since.

Pulse clubber Christopher Hanson described the scene to CNN:

It was like, bang, bang, bang, bang. I didn’t see any of the actual shooters. I just saw bodies going down.

I fell down. I crawled out. People were trying to escape out the back. I just know that when I hit the ground, I was crawling and I hit my elbows and my knees. When I got across the street, there were people with blood everywhere.”

Orlando recently wrapped up its annual weeklong Gay Days festival on June 6 in which up to 150,000 in the LGBT community attend area theme parks, gay nightclubs and special events. It was the 25th anniversary of Gay Days. It is one of the largest gay pride events in the world.


The gunman’s motive was not clear but police said it was not connected to the murder of Christina Grimmie, a singer on the TV show “The Voice” who was shot dead when she was signing autographs after a concert in Orlando on Friday night.

Updates about the Pulse nightclub shooting are being added to the Associated Press website on the link below.

Obama Urges LGBT Community To Continue The Fight For Equality

President Barack Obama believes America has made important strides in providing the LGBT community with equality and justice, but more work is needed.

Talking at a White House reception in recognition of LGBT pride month, the President said there is more work to do. Especially when gay and bisexual men make up two-thirds of new HIV cases, and when transgender persons are attacked, even killed, just for being who they are.

He also said that the nation’s laws are catching up with the views of younger Americans regarding lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

And that he believes “upcoming generation” instinctively knows that…

people are people and families are families, and discrimination is so last century. It doesn’t make sense to them.”