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Chilean Senate Votes In Support of LGBT Civil Unions

ChileAfter hours of heated debate the Chilean Senate voted in favor of legalizing same sex unions throughout the entire country. Though the approved bill does not, technically, make same-sex marriage possible, provisions within the law seek to put gay unions at parity with their heterosexual counterparts. Two previous versions of the bill were blocked by AVP, a conservative organization working to limit cohabitation benefits like inheritance and power of attorney, for both gay and straight couples.

“Marriage is between a man and a woman,” said Sen. José Ossandón, who opposed the bill “I recognize that homosexuals have rights…I recognize that is not the AVP.”

Michelle_BacheletMoving forward the bill will be presented to the Chilean House of Deputies where it will be further reviewed, put up for approval, and passed along to Chile’s recently elected President Michelle Bachelet. In the past Bachelet has been vocal about her support of marriage equality and an expansion of rights for Chile’s trans community. Many Chileans, however, feel that she is not doing enough to improve upon her predecessor’s relationship to Chile’s queer population

In 2012 Chile’s former president Sebastián Piñera introduced an updated version of Chile’s anti-hate crimes law in response to the murder of Daniel Samudio, a 24-year old gay man. He was also responsible for introducing a much earlier version of the LGBT civil union law in 2011. Though Piñera was partially supporting of LGBT citizens, his government also made headlines for arguing against a re-definition of marriage that would have allowed for same sex couples to wed.

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...

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


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