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Ireland Launches Nationwide 'Stop LGBT Hate Crime' Campaign - LISTEN

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Ireland’s Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (GLEN) has launched the “Stop LGBT Hate Crime” campaign which encourages people to report LGBT hate crimes and incidents directly to police and to log incidents they witness or experience at the campaign website.

The ‘Stop LGBT Hate Crime’ campaign also highlights support services available for LGBT people who experience harassment or violence, reports Breaking News.

It is estimated that one third of Irish LGBT people have been physically or sexually attacked while half have been harassed in the last five years. However, only 17 homophobic incidents were registered with the police in 2013.

At the launch of the campaign, Minister of State for New Communities, Culture and Equality Aodhan Ó Ríordáin TD said:

Nathalie"No one should ever feel threatened or at risk because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. If someone does feel that they are a victim of LGBT hate crime, or indeed any hate crime, then it is imperative that they report this matter to the Gardaí [police].

"It is only when we record these incidents and have an accurate data map of when, how and where they happen that we can effectively tackle this issue.”

Nathalie Weadick, co-chair of GLEN, said:

“There has been great progress in Ireland for LGBT people over the last decade. However, despite this progress, LGBT people are still experience alarming levels of violence and harassment, simply because of who they are.

“Fear, self-censorship and excessive caution should not be part of the daily reality for many LGBT people. Whether at school, at home or in public, LGBT people should be able go about their daily lives with the same sense of security that others enjoy.

“Our aim is for an Ireland where a lesbian or gay couple can walk, hand-in-hand, without fear, down the main street of any town in Ireland, like any other couple. This campaign is a further step towards that goal."

Ireland is expected to hold a referendum on same-sex marriage in April or May of next year. Irish voters have been encouraged to register to vote prior to the referendum by public figures including Colin Farrell and Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny.

Listen to an interview with Craig Dwyer, GLEN Policy and Projects Officer, AFTER THE JUMP...

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European Union Rules Asylum Seeker Tests For Homosexuality Unlawful

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The European Court of Justice (ECJ) today ruled that gay asylum seekers do not need to undergo a test to prove they are homosexual, reports Big News Network.

The ECJ had ruled last year that persecuted gay people from Africa have grounds for asylum.

Due to severe anti-gay laws in a number of African countries there has been an increase in the number of asylum seekers in the European Union (EU).

The decision came after three men failed in their attempts to seek asylum in the Netherlands after the Dutch court ruled they had not proved their sexuality.

The ECJ said determination of a refugee's sexuality must be in accord with EU law and cannot infringe on rights to privacy and dignity. The court added authorities can discuss sexual matters with asylum seekers but cannot ask about personal sexual practices or demand "medical tests" or recordings of sexual acts.

However, the court also found that although “the starting point in the process of assessment,” a mere declaration of homosexuality, is insufficient grounds for asylum.

In September, Egypt’s Forensic Medicine Authority found that nine men are “not homosexuals” after they had appeared in a recording of a “gay marriage”.


Thousands Register To Vote Ahead Of Irish Referendum On Same-Sex Marriage - VIDEO

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Following a drive supported by Colin Farrell, comedian and television presenter Dara Ó Briain and Irish Taoiseach (prime minister) Enda Kenny, thousands of people have registered to vote in Ireland ahead of the country’s expected referendum on same-sex marriage, reports Pink News.

Yes Equality, a joint effort by various groups, was set up to encourage young and disenfranchised people to register to vote amid fears that voter apathy and vocal religious groups could combine to see the referendum - expected in early 2015 - rejected.

A campaign by the Union of Students in Ireland estimated that an extra 20,000 students have since registered to vote.

Although the deadline for registration passed on Tuesday, there will be another chance to register for the referendum nearer the time.

Tiernan Brady of Yes Equality said:

Brady“The response from people right across the country has been amazing. Tens of thousands have registered to vote and thousands more have joined Yes Equality. The positive reaction bodes well for turnout at the upcoming referendum on civil marriage equality in 2015.

“But registering to vote is only the first step. Next year will be a once-in-a-generation moment. The critical decisions about our futures are made by those who not only are registered, but who make their voices heard on polling day.

“There will be a further opportunity to register to vote once the date of the referendum is called.

“Between now and then, it is up to the tens of thousands of people energised by our voter initiative to begin the conversation with friends, families and loved ones as to why making their voices heard on polling day is so important.”

Watch BeLonG To's "It's In Your Hands" voter registration ad, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Challenge To Northern Ireland's Same-Sex Marriage Ban Launched - VIDEO

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Gay rights campaigners in Northern Ireland are preparing a challenge to the legitimacy of the province’s ban on same-sex marriage, reports Buzzfeed.

Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK where gay marriage remains illegal. Politicians at the Northern Irish Assembly have rejected motions calling for same-sex marriage on three occasions, most recently in April. This has been due in part to the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) invoking a “petition of concern” to effectively veto any vote on the issue. Petitions of concern were designed to ensure no laws were passed exclusively by politicians representing either the nationalist or unionist communities. 

According to Gavin Boyd of activist group the Rainbow Project, preparations are underway for a test case challenging the status of same-sex couples who marry elsewhere in the UK but are not considered to be married when they travel to Northern Ireland.

“The legal challenge as it is planned involves two people who were lawfully married in England returning home to Northern Ireland, where they are no longer considered to be married. We consider that to be unlawful, unjust, and unjustifiable.”

Watch a report on last April's vote, AFTER THE JUMP...

The Republic of Ireland, meanwhile, is due to hold a referendum on same-sex marriage early next year.

Continue reading "Challenge To Northern Ireland's Same-Sex Marriage Ban Launched - VIDEO" »


Study Finds Global Acceptance Of Homosexuality And Gay Rights Is Rising

A new study conducted by the NORC of the University of Chicago and the Wiliams Institute at the UCLA School of Law shows global acceptance of homosexuality increased over the last two decades in a release posted on the Williams Institute website. The results were released Nov. 7 in Washington D.C. during a meeting regarding LGBT rights, global stigma and economic growth.

WI-LOGO-NEW-330x170Around 90 percent of residents in the countries that were surveyed became more accepting of homosexuality over the span of 20 years. The study reviewed responses to 2000 survey questions asked in hundreds of surveys about general attitudes toward gays and lesbians between 1981 and the present. The Director of International Programs at the Williams Institute, Andrew Park, commented on the study.

Said Park:

"Available research on global public acceptance of lesbians and gay men is limited. This study shows a clear trend toward increasing acceptance across the globe."


Norc-330x80Findings show that women are generally more accepting than men of gays and lesbians, and younger people below the age of 30 are more accepting of homosexuality than those that are 65 and older, and tend to remain supportive as they age.

The highest rate of acceptance is in the Northwestern countries of Europe with an acceptance rate of 91 percent and the lowest rate of acceptance is in the African country of Ghana with a measely 2 percent. Surprisingly, the study listed the U.S., the majority of African and Muslim countries as some of the most accepting countries of homosexuality however, most African countries that were surveyed ranked in the bottom third of all the other countries in the world in regards to their level of acceptance of lesbian and gay people.

With new, even harsher anti-gay laws proposed in Uganda, and transphobic attacks still occurring in the U.S. with limited hate crime law protections, serves as a reminder that attitudes may be changing, but the fight for civil rights and protections is far from over.

The complete report on the study is available on the Williams Institute website.


Northern Ireland Health Minister Blocks LGBT, Womens' Rights Groups On Twitter

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Northern Ireland’s new Health Minister, Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) member Jim Wells, has taken to blocking critics on Twitter, reports Pink News.

Appointed to the post on Tuesday, Wells replaces Edwin Poots (DUP) who has opposed same-sex marriage and refused to lift the country’s ban on gay men donating blood. Blocked from twitter by Jim Wells

Wells has previously said that he finds Pride “repugnant” and has refused to take part in gay rights debates.

In 2011, he told Belfast Pride:

“I find the behaviour of those who take part in this march repugnant. I do not wish to be associated in any way with this event. My position on this will not change in the future and I would politely suggest that any further requests of this nature will be a total waste of your time.”

According to Pink News, although their official Twitter account has been blocked, Wells has yet to give them a reason for doing so.

A hashtag #BlockedByWells has sprung up among users targeted by the Minister, including women’s rights activists groups, gay rights advocates and gay Christian group @FaithAndPride.

Yesterday, Wells took to Twitter to praise Edwin Poots' time in office as Health Minister.


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