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Horrific Video Portrays Legal Nightmare For Transgender People In Europe: WATCH

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Transgender Europe has launched a new video showing the nightmare that transgender people still face in Europe today.

34 European countries force transgender people to undergo sterilization, divorce or diagnosis of mental illness before they can change their name or gender.

Available with subtitles in 24 languages, watch the disturbing video AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Horrific Video Portrays Legal Nightmare For Transgender People In Europe: WATCH" »


Macedonian Parliament Votes To Ban Same-Sex Marriage And Civil Unions

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The European Parliament Intergroup on LGBT Rights is reporting that the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) has voted to constitutionally ban same-sex marriage.

Politicians began the process in July of last year when they agreed to consider constitutional amendments put forward by the conservative government.

The country’s parliament voted by 72-4 yesterday to legally define marriage as between one man and one woman. The move will also make future legislation for civil unions extremely difficult.

An earlier version of the amendment explicitly banning same-sex civil unions and registered cohabitations was criticized by a Council of Europe advisory body.

However, Tanja Fajon MEP, Vice-President of the Intergroup on LGBTI Rights, said that “instead of taking the [criticism] seriously, and guaranteeing equal rights for all couples, the government, supported by parliament, decided to create a constitutional obstacle to even create possible legislation on this issue in the future."

Sophie in ‘t Veld MEP, Vice-President of the Intergroup, added:

“LGBTI people in Macedonia face severe stigma and are all too often faced with hate crime, to which authorities fail to react.

“The Macedonian government should realise diversity is the source of prosperity and social stability, not an obstacle for it. Inversely, homophobia has never created a single job or indeed solved any other problem. Macedonia would be better served by following the trend of an increasing number of countries in Europe and the Americas where same-sex couples are legally recognised and protected.”

The amendment still needs final confirmation through an additional parliamentary vote and presidential approval.


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...

Continue reading "Ireland Launches Nationwide 'Stop LGBT Hate Crime' Campaign - LISTEN" »


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...

Continue reading "Thousands Register To Vote Ahead Of Irish Referendum On Same-Sex Marriage - VIDEO" »


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" »


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