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National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Embarks On Inclusion-Focused Rebranding

TaskforceIn an effort to strengthen its position as one of the country’s leading organizations fighting for queer equality, The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force has rebranded itself the National LGBTQ Task Force. Though the Task Force remains dedicated to its original mission of advancing the rights for lesbian and gay individuals, its new name is meant to reflect an evolution of the group’s focus.

Rea Carey, the Task Force’s Executive Director, explained that recent advances in the fight for marriage equality were a foundational part of the modern gay rights movement, but there was still more work to be done.

“There is a deep desire for more change, to look beyond marriage equality,” she explained in a statement. “With millions of us still facing formidable barriers in every aspect of our lives: at school, in housing, employment, in health care, in our faith congregations, in retirement and in basic human rights.”

The Task Force’s inclusion of bisexual, transgender, and queer identities is the latest in the organization’s effort to foster the development of a socio-politically inclusive group of sexual minorities. The rebranding is joined by the new “Be You” tagline, encouraging all  people marginalized for their gender expression or sexuality to feel welcome within the Task Force’s cause.

“Now more than ever we have the power to define the future we want — a world where every LGBTQ person can be themselves without any barriers,” said Carey “We have worked hard for decades to create this momentum. Let’s seize this opportunity, let’s be ourselves fully, and let’s make a future together that’s worthy of our struggle.”

Watch the National LGBTQ Task Force's latest video introducing its Be You campaign AFTER THE JUMP...

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South Africa LGBT-Friendly Mosque May Close Down Barely A Week After Opening - VIDEO

Open Mosque South Africa to close down

South Africa’s first gay-friendly mosque could be shut down barely a week after it opened because it has violated municipal by-laws by not having any parking spaces, reports AFK Insider.

According to Taj Hargey, the director of the “forward thinking” organization Muslim Educational Centre of Oxford and Imam of the university’s Islamic Congregation, the Open Mosque in Wynberg, a Cape Town suburb - which opened last Friday - welcomes all genders, religions and sexual orientations. The mosque also allows women to lead prayers.

Taj hargeyHargey said that he has received many positive responses to the mosque but confirmed that he has also received “a lot of death threats.”

The Muslim Judicial Council, an umbrella organization of the South African Islamic clergy, condemned the mosque, stating that Hargey’s establishment cannot be considered a true mosque given that it does not adhere to both the Qur'aan and the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad.

However, Hargey told the BBC that although his “autonomous and independent” mosque has been targeted by the City Council using “ridiculous bylaws,” he “will not be threatened by them or anyone else.”

Protesting outside the mosque, Imam Bilal Ghorieb said that his argument against the mosque is personal and "not part of the religion['s] understanding, my understanding, a selfish understanding."

Elsabeth Muirhead said that, as a Unitarian, she went to the opening to support the mosque's message of "tolerance, interfaith dialog and equality with women."

Watch a report on the opening of the Open mosque, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Philippine Province Among First In Country To Ban LGBT Discrimination

Agusan del norteAgusan del Norte has become one of the few areas in the Philippines to pass an anti-discrimination ordinance (ADO) that protects people irrespective of their sexual orientation and gender identity and expression, reports Outrage.

Provincial Ordinance No. 358-2014 also prohibits discrimination in the province on the basis of age, disability, ethnicity, health status, physical appearance, political affiliation, religion, and social status.

The ordinance “recognizes as a value the dignity of every human person and guarantee full respect of human rights to promote equality and to effectively eliminate all forms of discrimination that violate and offend the guarantee of equal protection of human rights.”

The ADO prohibits denial of services; refusing admission/dismissal from educational institutions; denial of access to use private and public establishments, facilities and utilities; employment rejection; publication and/or use of derogatory/humiliating images and/or statements against persons; and uploading/posting of images and/or videos online to debase and humiliate a person.

BacasmasYsang Semacio Bacasmas [pictured right], executive officer of LGBT rights group Ladlad Caraga Inc., said:

“I feel very happy and at least we now have this that can help our brothers and sisters in the LGBTQIA community. To our fellow LGBTs, hopefully we continue the fight for us to have a peaceful and good lives.”

According to, Philippine LGBT Hate Crime Watch reported that a total of 103 killings from 1996 to 2011 in the Philippines have occurred on account of sexual orientation.

Vlogger RJ Aguiar Answers Questions About Being A 'Bi Guy': VIDEO


In honor of Bisexual Awareness Day, bisexual vlogger RJ Aguiar took questions from Twitter users about his own experience as a bisexual guy. Reacting to the oft recited statement, "I don't believe in bisexuality" Aguiar remarks, 

“I mean, just because people don’t believe in something doesn’t make it not real. There are people out there who don’t believe in climate change or evolution — that doesn’t mean those things don’t exist. Same goes for my sexuality. I’m not the f***ing tooth fairy.”

Asked if he has a preference for one gender over the other, Aguiar responded that it's the person not the gender that gets him going, and right now that person would be his fiance Will Sheperd, who proposed to Aguiar last fall.

Watch Aguiar break down some common misconceptions about bisexuality, AFTER THE JUMP...

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One Year On: The United Nations LGBT Advocacy Campaign 'Free And Equal' - VIDEO

The welcome UN Human Rights LGBT campaign

On July 26th, 2013, the United Nations Human Rights office launched "Free and Equal," an unprecedented global public education campaign aiming to combat violence and discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people around the world.

Free&equalThe campaign has included a Bollywood gay marriage video The Welcome and the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia.

What's happened since the campaign's launch?

Watch the video to find out, AFTER THE JUMP...

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LGBT People Two To Three Times More Likely To Suffer From Psychological Problems - VIDEO

DepressionA University of Cambridge study shows that LGBT people are two to three times more likely to suffer from chronic psychological problems such as depression and are twice as likely to not trust their GP, reports Varsity.

The study was based on a survey of two million people, 27,000 of whom identified as a sexual minority.

According to the survey, while only five percent of straight men reported psychological problems, 11 percent of gay men and 15 percent of bisexual men reported such problems.

While 12 percent of lesbians and 19 percent of bisexual women reported long-term psychological conditions, only six percent of heterosexual women reported similar problems.

The survey also found that general health was of a lower quality amongst LGBT people, with 22 percent of gay men and 26 percent of bisexual men reporting poor general health, alongside 25 percent of lesbians and 31 percent of bisexual women. Only 20 percent of straight men and 21 percent of straight women classified their health as poor.

The study also suggests that some LGBT people had faced a hostile health-related environment in which sexual minorities were stigmatised.

Professor Martin Roland, director of the Cambridge Centre for Health Services Research, said:

"The survey shows that sexual minorities suffer both poorer health and have worse experiences when they see their GP. We need to ensure both that doctors recognise the needs of sexual minorities, and also that sexual minorities have the same experience of care as other patients."

Watch ASAP Science's depression explainer, AFTER THE JUMP...

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