Tag Archives: LGBT people

Charity Reports Rise In The Number Of LGBT People Seeking Help After Homophobic Hate Crimes

Galop, the anti-violence charity based in London, has reported that the number of people seeking help from them after homophobic hate crimes has more than doubled.

The charity says 106 people sought help from them between June and August, compared to just 52 between March and May.

Nik Noone, Chief Executive of Galop, told Pink News:

We’ve seen the number of people getting in touch with our hate crime advocacy service more than double in recent months.

Though one person facing hate crime is one too many, we see this rise in people getting in touch as a cause for optimism and are proud of our part in helping empower people to speak up about their experiences and access assistance.”

The National LGBT Hate Crime Partnership is made up of 35 organisations around the UK, including Galop, and reports that other LGBT hate crime groups are also receiving an increased amount of reports.

Paul Roberts, Chief Executive of the LGBT Consortium who lead the partnership, said:

From what our members are telling us, it seems that this picture is being mirrored across other parts of the UK.

The message is getting out that LGBT people don’t have to put up with being targeted. We know, however, that service provision is patchy across the

UK and so not everyone can access the help they need, particularly in rural communities.

It’s important that these crimes are reported so that the police have a clear picture and can tackle the issue. There are a number of ways in which

people can do that anonymously, if they don’t feel able to approach the police directly, for whatever reason.”

Ugandan LGBT Rights Activist Awarded The ‘Alternative Nobel Prize’

Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera, the founder and executive director of an LGBT rights charity Freedom & Roam Uganda, was announced the winner of an Right Livelihood Award for her “courage and persistence, despite violence and intimidation, in working for the right of LGBTI people to a life free from prejudice and persecution.”


The international Right Livelihood Award is known as the Alternative Nobel Prize for honouring people who would not gain conventional recognition – honouring and supporting those offering practical and exemplary answers to the most urgent challenges facing us today.

Kasha has risked jail and violence to fight for LGBT rights for decades, in spite of the country’s anti-gay laws.

Both male and female homosexuality is punishable by up to 7 years’ imprisonment in Uganda under the country’s anti-sodomy laws.

statement says:

Fighting for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people in Uganda, Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera is one of the most courageous and outspoken human rights activists in Africa.

Operating within a hostile and repressive environment, Nabagesera has shed light on human rights violations, and has successfully used the judicial system to advance LGBTI rights.

She has overcome threats to campaign against repressive laws and uses a range of creative and innovative tools to continue breaking myths and stereotypes surrounding LGBTI people in Uganda and elsewhere.”

It also notes:

Nabagesera is one of the few activists in Uganda who has engaged in the judicial process to advance the rights of the LGBTI community.

When a Ugandan tabloid published the names and photos of (alleged) gay and lesbian people, she was one of three individuals who took the newspaper to court and won.

When in 2012 the Minister of Ethics shut down a workshop involving several LGBTI organisations claiming that such a gathering was illegal, Nabagesera was among those who sued the minister for violating their freedom of assembly.

These court actions are slowly helping to shift public opinion in Uganda towards the notion that LGBTI people have constitutionally guaranteed rights.”


London Lesbian and Gay Switchboard is Re-Branding to be More Inclusive

The London Lesbian and Gay Switchboard is re-branding – to adopt a name that is more inclusive of all LGBT people.

London Lesbian and Gay Switchboard

The organisation is one of the oldest gay charities in the UK and provides confidential phone, e-mail and instant messaging services to support people who want to talk about sexuality and gender identity.

London Lesbian and Gay Switchboard 01

The charity has announced that it will drop most of its historic name, to emphasise that it also caters for transgender, bisexual, and other-identifying people, as well as callers outside London.

The change will be officially confirmed today at a special Gala at the Waldorf Hilton Hotel in London, with the charity re-branded as “Switchboard, the LGBT+ helpline”.

Dave Maher, Switchboard’s Co-Chair, said:

So much is changing for our LGBT+ communities and so is our name to make it clear that we’re here for everyone, wherever they live, and in whichever way they choose to define their sexuality or gender identity.

Even in our increasingly interconnected age, it’s not always easy to find the support we need at crucial times in our lives and Switchboard’s volunteers will continue to be here with calm words when those are needed most.”

Celebrities including Olympic diver Tom Daley, Radio 1 presenter Scott Mills and pop star Carly Rae Jepsen have posted a #SwitchboardSelfie to raise awareness of the charity.

Nuala O’Sullivan, Switchboard’s Co-Chair says:

This is an incredibly exciting time for Switchboard. We have so much to celebrate and a new chapter to look forward to.

Our new name will help us to spread the message that we continue to provide a safe and confidential space where people’s concerns can be listened to and talked through.”


House and Senate Democrats Write Letter To Obama Asking For Executive Action Protecting LGBT People Overseas

Sixty-one House and Senate Democrats have asked President Obama to work to make sure federal funds aren’t being used to fund LGBT discrimination abroad.


The letter, led by Sen. Edward Markey (D-MA) and Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), reads.

We encourage you to continue efforts to ensure the human rights of all persons regardless of sex, gender identity, or sexual identity. We write to encourage you to take additional steps to ensure U.S. funds are not used to subsidize LGBT discrimination at home or abroad.”

They applauded Obama for his Executive Order last year, which protected LGBT government workers against discrimination, but asked him to do more.

The Executive Order does not apply to contractors hiring and doing business abroad. It does not apply to grantees. Moreover, the Executive Order does not prohibit those receiving U.S. funds from engaging in marketplace discrimination (e.g., refusal of goods and services) against LGBT customers or suppliers.”

The letter notes that LGBT people are often in “dire need” of the services that foreign aid provides.

We encourage you to make this an urgent, Administration-wide priority and coordinate across agencies to ensure a broad non-discrimination policy is implemented before the end of your Administration’s tenure. In doing so, this would ensure LGBT people have access to the full range of services offered by U.S.-funded programs and would guarantee our foreign aid dollars are aligned with the values of promoting the human rights of marginalized people globally.

To promote our fundamental values of equality, equity, and diversity, we cannot go half way at home and we certainly cannot halt the extension of these values at our border. Our nation has what I see as a major role in defending the innate rights of all human beings across the globe—including the LGBT community—to live, love, and prosper.

The Washington Blade reports that no Republican penned their names to the missive, nor did Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.), who’s gay, and Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), who’s bisexual, didn’t sign the letter.

Uganda LGBT Activist and Out Lesbian is the New Cover for Time Magazine

Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera, an out lesbian and co-founder / editor of Uganda’s first LGBT publication, Bombastic, is on the cover of Time Magazine‘s European edition.


She told Advocate Magazine she hopes the cover will not only bring awareness to the plight of LGBT Ugandans, but also help people around the world realise that LGBT people are their friends, neighbours, and family members.

It’s a great honour for me to be on the cover because it brings attention to the global LGBT struggle. Now many people will know about the struggles LGBT people go through in Africa and the world over. They will realize that the people they hate most are actually the people they love most when they get to read the article. They could be hating on their beloved family and friend without knowing they are LGBT.”

The move to feature what’s being celebrated as a monumental moment of visibility for Uganda’s harassed LGBT community.

More than ever, the world shouldn’t neglect the human rights of LGBT people, because we are here to stay — and part and parcel of the development of this world. All we need is respect, and protection from violence, and our basic inalienable human rights. Speaking out and bringing attention to the plight of LGBT people is life. I will not be silenced by anyone.”

Nabagesera became engaged in the very “controversial” issue of gay rights in Uganda when she was just 21, and has since played a leading role in the Ugandan LGBT rights movement. After being expelled from several schools, Kasha decided to study the law in Uganda.

Time magazine has history of featuring LGBT heros; here are some of the best covers

an_ugandan_lesbian_activist_debuts_on_the_cover_of_time_magazine_1924263487.jpg_resized_552 Time-Magazine-LGBT-01 Time-Magazine-LGBT-02 Time-Magazine-LGBT-04 Time-Magazine-LGBT-05

Stonewall Says They’re “Looking Forward” to Working With the Tories

Ruth Hunt, the chief executive of Stonewall, has said she looks forward to working with the newly-elected Conservative government, but that the charity will hold MPs to account when it comes to their manifesto promises.

Ruth Hunt 01

In the wake of last week’s election, she said that Parliament is “richer and stronger for the diversity of voices within in” – but also expressed disappointment for the lack of representation for the trans community.

Also read:

We’re encouraged that people took to the pols and voted – and that more than 25 openly lesbian, gay or bisexual MPs have been elected, making this the largest group of openly LGBT MPs to date.

Looking ahead, our MPs can’t forget the manifesto commitments they made to the LGBT community. We must see those words translated into tangible actions.

The Conservatives, alongside the Liberal Democrats, have had an impressive track record at Westminster over the last five years and we look forward to working closely with the new government towards achieving equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people here and abroad.”


Stonewall Strengthens Board of Trustees with New Hires

Stonewall has announced the appointment of three new Trustees.  Katie Cornhill, Phyll Opoku-Gyimah and Tim Toulmin will join Stonewall’s established Board, led by Chair Jan Gooding, with immediate effect.

On the appointment, Jan said:

We are thrilled to welcome Katie, Phyll and Tim to the Stonewall Board. Their range of experience will help us to ensure that we reflect the needs of the diverse LGBT community.  A great deal of progress has been made towards legislative equality, but there is still a lot more to do, and many more communities to reach, until we can say that equality has been achieved for LGBT people. Our new Board members will work closely with the Stonewall leadership team as we continue on this journey.”

Katie is a Manager at the Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service, where she has worked for 17 years, and is seconded as the Functional Lead for Prevention, Protection and Safety at the Fire Service College. Her extensive knowledge of the public sector will support Stonewall’s work in this area. In addition, as a trans woman, Katie will help to guide the organisation as it undergoes the process of becoming fully trans inclusive and engaging further with trans communities.

Phyll is co-founder and Executive Director of UK Black Pride. She is also the Head of Campaigns for the largest civil service trade union, PCS. Phyll brings with her an unwavering commitment to workplace equality and social justice, which has secured her a seat on the TUC LGBT Committee. She also sits on the Board for Justice for Gay Africans which focuses on Human Rights, Equal Rights, challenging racism and discrimination. Phyll will play a vital role as Stonewall broadens its reach and goes deeper into communities in Britain and abroad.

Tim is the founder and Managing Director of Alder Media, a London-based communications agency. He is a director of travel PR firm MyTravelPressOffice and a Specialist Partner of Pagefield Communications. He is also a Trustee of the charity ‘Parents and Abducted Children Together’. His vast communications experience will be central to Stonewall as it continues to engage new audiences and work towards achieving equality for LGBT people in all aspects of their lives.


Watch | Alabama Couple Fight Back Against Discrimination

Tori Sisson and her partner, Shanté Wolfe, became the first same-sex couple to get married in Montgomery, Alabama, on February 9.

Same-sex marriage may soon become the law of the land in after the US supreme court hears oral arguments next week, but the fight for equal rights for gay people promises to be long and bitter.

Like many states in the US, Alabama has no legal protections for LGBT people facing discrimination in employment, housing or education. ‘In the south, gay couples don’t really show affection’, Tori says

Shanté Wolf-Sisson and Tori Wolfe-Sisson 01 Shanté Wolf-Sisson and Tori Wolfe-Sisson 02

Canada’s First Lesbian Premier, Kathleen Wynne, Speaks Up About Discrimination

In politics, the topic of LGBT rights is a contentious issue as legislators decide whether to appease conservatives and deny those rights or to support LGBT rights in the name of creating a fairer, more equal society. Off the back of that, the topic of LGBT politicians is also a thorny subject as while LGBT people want to be represented in government, others accused LGBT politicians of having an agenda.

It was a pleasant surprise back in 2013 when Kathleen Wynne was sworn in as the Premier of Ontario, Canada. Not only is the she the first female premier of Ontario but she is also the first openly gay head of government in the English-speaking world. At the time, Wynne came under for saying that she’s “not a gay activist” as that’s not how she got into politics, but she explained that it would be a “wonderful, wonderful thing” if she could help gay people “be less frightened”.

Two years on and Wynne has again spoken about her duties as a premier but also as a lesbian. She gave a speech to students at the Agincourt Collegiate Institute, in commemoration of the ‘Day of Pink’, which came about when two teenage boys from Nova Scotia brought pink shirts to wear to school after they saw a classmate being bullied for doing the same.

Wynne told the Agincourt students that:

People come up to me all the time and they say ‘I am so glad you are there because my daughter can see that she can be anything, she can do anything’ (and) there are people who come up to me often and say ‘you have made a difference in my son’s life or my daughter’s life — they’re gay — and they see your presence there as an important signal that our society is changing,’ and that we are a safer and more inclusive place”

She also explained that she feels that it’s her responsibility to “make our society safer and more inclusive” and that the Day of Pink “is a day to stand up against homophobia, it’s a day to stand up against transphobia and all those forms of discrimination”. Wynne also defended the government’s controversial new education curriculum, which plans to teach children about same-sex relationships, gender expression, the dangers of sexting and online bullying, saying that it “is about giving kids the information that they need in order to be able to be safe.”

Shocking Truth – At Least 594 LGBT People Were Murdered in The Americas Between 2013-14

One of the biggest challenges facing LGBT people in the world today is the stigma that surrounds queer identities. The idea that LGBT people are less than is widely circulated and can result in some serious outcomes when left unchallenged.

That stigma is one thing that holds LGBT people back from their rights, with those in charge of the decision (whether that be voters or legislators) thinking they don’t deserve them. In other more serious cases, the belief that LGBT people are less than can lead to them being attacked or even murdered.

It’s that last statistic that the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in charge of figuring out: just how many LGBT people in The Americas are harmed because of their identities? Having now released the latest batch of figures, their results are more jarring than ever.

According to their report, 594 people who were believed to have been LGBT were murdered (with a further 176 people having survived “serious attacks”) in The Americas from the beginning of 2013 to March, 2014. The Americas includes every country from Canada and the United States to Brazil, Peru and every other country in the southern continent.

The IACHR further broke those figures down, explaining that transgender women and gay men were more likely to be attacked, young people especially. And, of those transgender women, a massive 80% of them were under 35.

And it’s not just ordinary citizens who are responsible for these heinous hate crimes either but government officials are just as guilty too. IACHR revealed that “trans women and other gender non-conforming persons are often targeted by law enforcement agents, who tend to act upon prejudice and assume they are criminals.”

So what can be done? Harsher punishments for hate crimes and a larger focus on changing prejudices and opinions would be two massive stepping stones but an overhaul in reporting is also needed. The IACHR explained in their report that much of their statistics are compiled from media reports and data from activist organisations as many countries in The Americas do not report this type of crime as a hate crime (and rather, it gets reported as a standard murder). This isn’t a failure on the IACHR’s part as they can only report on what they know, but it is unfortunate that governments don’t find it necessary to report on the discrimination that their populations face.

LGBT People Being Forced Out of Gay Neighbourhoods, Statistics Show

There are plenty of things to be frustrated at the heteronormative society for: decades of stifling hardship and oppression against LGBT folk. The lack of rights for non-heterosexual and non-cisgendered or non-binary people and an almost non-existent level of LGBT representation in the media are just some examples, but now, as those things get going out the door on account of being unwelcome in the first place.

We can add another unfortunate reality to the list. Yes, according to a new study led by sociologist Amin Ghaziani of the University of British Columbia, neighbourhoods with plenty of LGBT progression, support and prominence (particularly involving those who identify as gay), such as Chelsea in New York or the Castro in San Francisco, straight families and households are now muscling their way in and messing up the ebb and flow of queer culture as they do so.

According to Ghaziani’s research, across gay neighbourhoods there has been an 8 percent decrease in gay men while the amount of lesbians has decreased by 13%. One actually quite positive reason for this, Ghaziani explains, is that the rising tolerance of LGBT families and households across the United States means that LGBT folk are no longer subtly segregated to places with a majority (or a strong) LGBT population as most heterosexual people are at a point now where they’re going to welcome whoever. Which in some ways, is admirable. Too, LGBT families having children means that just like straight people, when their little ones grow out of nappies and wheelchairs, they move to “select school districts” to do what’s best for their child’s education.

Conversely though, the shift in gay neighbourhoods to distinctly less queer ones is also down to gentrification. Gentrification is what happens when an urban community changes and becomes more frequented and lived in by wealthier residents which results in expensive businesses and rising property values.

What that effectively means for these gay neighbourhoods then, is that it’s going to become steadily more impossible for LGBT folk to live in them because households just aren’t going to be able to afford it – ironically because of systematic oppression from straight people that means that it’s harder for LGBT people to make a living wage and get hired for well-paying jobs in the first place, two requisites if all of the prices in your previously affordably, accepting queer neighbourhood are about to skyrocket through the roof.

Ghaziani also adds the following, which perhaps explains why gay neighbourhoods are so appealing to straight people in the first place,

“Gay neighborhoods have been crucial to the struggle for freedom, and have produced globally important contributions, from politics, to poetry, to music, and fashion. The growing acceptance of same-sex couples underlying these findings is extremely positive, but it is important that we continue to find meaningful ways to preserve these culturally important spaces.”

This makes sense – anyone, gay straight, binary or not – would want to live in a place that’s welcoming and with lots of culture and a strong support for left-leaning politics (if that’s your political stance, that is) but the more LGBT people are forced out, the greater the need will be to find other spaces to move into and make queer and progressive, but as is the case with decades of struggles just to have LGBT human rights considered, that’s not going to be easy.


How Tolerant are Those Who Aren’t Tolerated?

In almost every culture throughout history LGBTs have suffered discrimination, bullying and worse. As a result, the gay community today likes to think it is tolerant of all kinds of people. But is that really true? Are there not instances of casual racism within the LGBT world just as there is in the straight world?

By casual racism we mean a number of issues: anti-homophobia campaigns that fail to include LGBT people of colour, the fetishisation of black men by homosexual white men and the ways in which Asian men are stigmatised by gay men who belong to other ethnicities, to name but three.

We present some tips on how to keep LGBT places as open and tolerant as possible.

Two wrongs don’t make a right : Some LGBTs feel that, given the amount of discrimination they have suffered, they are somehow immune to acting in an intolerant way towards other groups. By taking that position it’s easy to devalue the experience of both gay people and people of colour.

Stay aware of the subtle differences : Just because you are LGBT and white it doesn’t mean you automatically understand what it’s like to be, say, LGBT and Latino or LGBT and Asian. We must all be aware that gay people who belong to ethnic minorities can suffer double discrimination.

Know casual racism when you spot it : There’s a difference between the full-scale racial hatred of a Hitler or a KKK member and the kind of subtle ignorance that we define as casual racism. LGBTs can be just as guilty as anyone else of exoticising “other” ethnicities, thinking that Asians work hard and believing in all kinds of other nonsensical stereotypes. Another form of casual racism is ‘trophy hunting’ in which white LGBTs deliberately try to date people from other cultures or creeds just to be able to say that they’ve done it. This, obviously, is deeply patronising.

‘Now is the Time to Raise Trans Rights’ – Trans Manifesto Unveiled

Trans equality is high on the news agenda following the launch of the Trans Manifesto by a number of major trans groups including Gendered Intelligence, Scottish Transgender Alliance, the Gender Trust and the National Trans Police Association.

As the General Election year approaches, the Manifesto is demanding that all political parties in the UK adopt two specific policies that will improve the rights of trans people. Supporters of the Manifesto want greater respect for trans people’s public image, autonomy and expertise. There are also calls to review the Gender Recognition Act of 2004 with regard to liberalising certain medical requirements and the abolition of the spousal veto.

Director of Trans Media Watch, Helen Belcher, was one of the main supporters of the Manifesto. She said, ‘the huge level of support for this within the trans communities, and society’s growing understanding of the issues that face trans people, mean that we should expect continuing improvements in the way that trans people are treated. My discussions with MPs and peers from all parties indicate there is support for this innovative approach’.

Paul Roberts, CEO of the LGBT Consortium, another of the initiatives behind the Trans Manifesto, argued that ‘now is the time to raise trans rights as a cross-party political issue which needs government support. LGBT Consortium has been really pleased to be able to facilitate this unprecedented step’. The LGBT Consortium supports various voluntary community sector organisations representing LGBT people all over the United Kingdom.

In recent years trans equality has benefited from a number of new laws and national initiatives such as the government’s Transgender Action Plan, the Marriage (Same-Sex Couples) Act and the 2010 Equality Act.

See more – http://www.lgbtconsortium.org.uk/transmanifesto

Words That Hurt Us

Whereas society generally now agrees that racial slurs are unacceptable, there is less condemnation of homophobic insults. A group of students from Duke University in the USA have prepared a report on how language can be used to hurt and humiliate women and LGBT people. The emphasis of the You Don’t Say campaign is to highlight and critique sexist and anti-LGBT words.

The campaign’s slogans include:

  • “I don’t say ‘gay’ because the words ‘gay’ and ‘stupid’ are not interchangeable.”
  • “I don’t say ‘man up’ because being tough doesn’t make me less of a woman.”
  • “I don’t say ‘tranny’ because it’s insulting to transgender and gender queer communities and people who don’t fit traditional labels.”
  • “I don’t say ‘don’t be a pussy’ because I don’t believe that any gender is inferior.’

You Don’t Say campaign 04

You Don’t Say aims to open up a debate about how language relates to power relations in society. In many contexts such epithets as “faggot”, “gay” and “tranny” are not just harmless expressions – they are used as weapons to oppress people who are vulnerable, lack a voice of their own and who belong to marginalised minority groups.

The old adage “sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me” would appear to be untrue given the negative experiences of millions of LGBT people around the globe. The Duke University students behind the You Don’t Say initiative believe that society’s failure to act against homophobic and misogynistic language might put LGBTs and women in danger of not only verbal abuse but physical violence.

‘You Don’t Say is not an effort to diminish the freedom of speech that we are born with,’ says the campaign’s Facebook page. ‘Instead we seek to educate individuals on why certain words and phrases, particularly those related to the LGBTQ community and gender identities, diminish and invalidate many individuals.’

You Don’t Say campaign 03