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Argentina Grants Asylum To Russian Man Subjected To Harassment Based On Sexual Orientation

ArgentinaFor the first time, a person has been granted asylum by the Argentinian government after suffering harassment based on sexual orientation. 'Gene,' the gay Russian man who fled to the South American country, has been given the "condition of refugee" according to the Argentine Federation of Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Transsexuals (FALGBT), who 'Gene' contacted for help two years ago. 

NVO News reports:

Argentina’s National Refugee Commission accepted the petition after acknowledging in a report the harassment suffered by the 28-year-old man and the lack of government protection for sexual minorities in Russia...

We hope that starting with this first case, Argentina will be positioned as a refugee destination,” FALGBT president Esteban Paulon, who took Gene’s case to the government commission, told EFE.

We are sending our well wishes to 'Gene' and our thanks to Argentina and FALGBT.


Activists Plan 'Big Consensual Kiss-In' At UK Supermarket Following Harassment Of Kissing Lesbian Couple

Sainsburys_lewes_road1_sAnnabelle Paige, a university student in Brighton, UK, was told to stop kissing her girlfriend by a security guard at a Sainsbury's supermarket recently. Though the supermarket has since issued an apology, activists are incensed about the threatening "stop-or-leave" words of the guard. They are now planning a "Big Consensual Kiss-In" to support the couple, to be held this Wednesday at 6pm.

Pink News reports:

University of Sussex student Annabelle Paige said she gave her girlfriend a light kiss while in a Brighton branch of the superstore recently when a security guard approached and told them to either stop kissing or leave.

A Sainsbury’s spokesperson has since apologised, saying: “This should never have happened – it is clear that Miss Paige and her partner were not behaving inappropriately and we are very sorry that they were treated in this way.”

Sainsbury's is also donating £100 to charity, but the kiss-in planners think this a meager sum given the store's earnings and a less-than-great history with LGBT issues. In April the store was criticized for covering up Attitude and GT magazines while leaving the bared skin on the cover of FHM exposed. The kiss-in Facebook event notes:

“Their profits for the year to March 15 were £898m. Doesn’t sound like they are serious about tackling homophobia, does it?

"[We want ]to show Sainsbury’s we won’t accept homophobia in our society, and that we demand they do more!”

“If you have nobody to kiss we’ll find you someone or something,” the group notes.

Sounds fun (and for a good cause); best of luck to the 1,200 confirmed Brighton kissers on a successful and fruitful kiss-in!


Gay North Carolina Couple Weds After First Being Denied Based On Magistrate's Religious Beliefs

NCMarriage

On Monday, Randy Jackson and Eddie Locklear of Elizabeth City, North Carolina attempted to make their partnership official after thirty-one years. The state's same-sex marriage ban, Amendment One, had been struck down and their request should have been respected. However, once at the courthouse they were turned away by a magistrate who claimed he could (or would) not marry them based on his religious beliefs. It was a disheartening turn of events, to be sure, and one that will likely have to be negotiated a great deal in certain states. Jackson and Locklear's story, at least, has a happy ending.

The Virginian Pilot reports:

Today, the couple finally tied the knot at the Pasquotank County courthouse.

A different magistrate, Lee Custis, presided over their civil wedding today, saying he was religious, but he had to follow the law.

He improvised slightly when he asked them if they would take each other's hand in marriage.

"Do you take this man to be your partner?" Custis asked.

After the short ceremony, both men were left emotional and amazed.

“It’s been a long time coming,” Jackson said. “It’s hard to put it in words. I didn’t think I’d live to see this.”

Congratulations to Randy and Eddie!

In related news, Joe Jervis over at Joe. My. God. has called out the Virginian Pilot on a shoddy poll asking, "Should magistrates be allowed to refuse to perform same-sex marriages based on religious grounds?" The poll, according to Joe, was up, then deleted, then back again with the "no" votes erased; the current standings are 94% yes, 6% no, and the paper tweeted at Joe saying that "All votes were deleted" when the poll malfunctioned. Poorly designed polling system, or a purposeful skew of data? What do you think?

Photo credit: Jeff Hampton of The Virginian Pilot.


Gay Murder-Mystery, 'Kiss Me, Kill Me,' Starring 'Queer As Folk' Hunk Gale Harold Seeks Crowd Funding: VIDEO

KissMeKillMe1

Ever confronted your cheating boyfriend, blacked out, and realized he's been murdered? No? Good, let's leave that to the movies. Luckily, director Casper Andreas (below left) and writer David Michael Barrett (below right) are in the process of bringing "Kiss Me, Kill Me," an Agatha Christie-Alfred Hitchcock-inspired thriller to the silver screen.

Starring "Queer as Folk" stud Gale Harold and "As the World Turns'" Van Hansis, the film, set in West Hollywood, will explore the investigation of a murder, with themes of infidelity in the mix for good fun. Who did it? Will the perpetrator be caught? We may never know, if the project doesn't meet its funding goal.

KissMeKillMe2From the "Kiss Me, Kill Me" Kickstarter page:

This movie is a passion project. Every single person both before and behind the camera is involved because we believe in it. We are a small group, with a small film, and we want to make this movie for a small amount of money.

Our risks and challenges will be enormous. Even though that is true of every film production, at every budget, the smaller the budget the greater the challenges. Actors can drop out, locations can become unavailable. Pretty much anything that can go wrong in life can go wrong while making a small movie. But our team has a lot of experience in film production and overcoming the various obstacles that will inevitably arise.

In the Kickstarter promo video, Andreas makes the good point that Hollywood studios are not interested in backing this sort of LGBTQ project, therefore the cast and crew are relying on gay cinephiles around the world for support. Check out the crowd-funding page and the rest of the sure-to-be-fun cast, including "Rupaul's Drag Race" alum Willam!

And watch the promo video, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Gay Murder-Mystery, 'Kiss Me, Kill Me,' Starring 'Queer As Folk' Hunk Gale Harold Seeks Crowd Funding: VIDEO" »


Take A Look Inside 'Wonderkid,' A Short Film Aimed At Tackling Homophobia In Sport: VIDEO

Wonderkid1

"Wonderkid," a short film in the works from director Rhys Chapman and co-writers Chapman and Terence Corless aims to tackle a substantial and pressing global issue: homophobia in professional sports. The focus of their film is football (as in soccer) and one unnamed player struggling with his sexual identity and other issues, on and off the field. Chapman has already received a great deal of support in the U.K., and Ian McKellen even did the voice-over work for the film's Kickstarter campaign video, but they need more help in order to produce a worthwhile film product.

Their Kickstarter page reads:

We want to challenge the way people think about homophobia, not only in football, but in their everyday lives. Director Rhys Chapman co-wrote the script with writer Terence Corless, producing a story tackling a subject matter that has sorely lacked widespread attention. WONDERKID provides an insight into the trauma caused by homophobia, and challenges preconceptions about what it is to be ‘masculine’. 

At the heart of this project is the desire to change people’s minds about what is and what is not acceptable behaviour towards fellow human beings. It is about the basic human right for everyone to love and pursue a relationship, regardless of gender, race, creed or anything else. Most importantly, it is a story about wanting to be happy with who you are, which is something we can all relate to.

Wonderkid2

In his director's video, Chapman expresses an interest in tackling the issue of homophobia through film: "I feel that film is the ultimate artistic expression. You can create an entire reality that, for all intents and purposes, is real to anyone watching." Although film does offer this advantage, anyone would be hard-pressed to deny the reality of homophobia as a rampant issue in sports. Chapman is dealing with that reality by partnering with Galop, an anti-violence and hate crime charity, to spread the word on the film and its importance.

Football is an institution in British society, and as such as it is imperative to challenge the anti-LGBT attitudes prevalent in this sport and its fanbase. Together, Galop and WONDERKID will work towards stamping out homophobia in football.” Galop Press Release

This is a film with great aspirations and, working with Galop, we intend to use it as an educational tool; holding screenings of the film to start the conversation with young people who have, or may come to, experience the issues dealt with in WONDERKID.

Chapman, Corless, and crew are seeking £25,000 in funding to cover equipment, production, editing, and distribution costs, and many more details can be found at their Kickstarter campaign page. This is an important project that has the potential to impact people in a big way. Congratulations to the whole team for the support they have received, and good luck in taking the film even further!

Watch the "Wonderkid" promo video, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Take A Look Inside 'Wonderkid,' A Short Film Aimed At Tackling Homophobia In Sport: VIDEO" »


U.S. Embassy Condemns Kyrgyzstan's 'Gay Propaganda' Law, Says It Harms Democracy

KyrgyzstanBack in March, an anti-gay "propaganda" law in the same vein as Russia's was introduced into Kyrgyzstan's parliament, infuriating Human Rights Watch and other pro-gay organizations. The U.S. government made no immediate moves to speak out against the bill, which would penalize those who aid in "'forming a positive attitude to untraditional sexual relations' among minors or in mass media" with jail sentences of up to a year. Now, the U.S. embassy in Kyrgyzstan has condemned the proposed legislation.

Yahoo! News reports:

"No one should be silenced or imprisoned because of who they are or whom they love. Laws that discriminate against one group of people threaten the fundamental rights of all people," the U.S. embassy in Kyrgyzstan said in a statement.

"Sweeping limits on civil society harm democracy."

There are strict processes in place for passing legislation in Kyrgyzstan: the bill must go through three readings and votes, and then be signed by the sitting president. Kyrgyz leaders maintain that the outcome is unclear while western press is more sure it will pass.

"It is unclear how this bill will move in (Kyrgzstan's) parliament. The draft law is still at a very early stage, and so far no one is ready to comment on it," said Kyrgyz presidential spokesman Kadyr Toktogulov.

However, both pro-government and opposition factions in the legislature have already mostly spoken in favor of the proposed law, with some deputies calling for making it even tougher.

Whatever the outcome in Kyrgyzstan, let's hope that no more anti-gay propaganda laws become a reality. The ill-effects on the LGBTQ community in Russia have been more than evident.


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