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European Human Rights Court Rules in Favor of Georgian Gay Rights Activists

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Georgian gay rights activists won a small victory after the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg ruled on May 12 that Georgian authorities must compensate gay-rights activists after they failed to protect them from assaults at a gay-pride event in May 2012 reports RFERL.org

The 2012 incident involved activists attempting to host the nation's first gay pride march in Tbilisi to celebrate the U.N.'s International Day Against Homophobia. However, orthodox clerics and activists attempted to block the peaceful LGBT activists; many of the LGBT activists suffered physical and verbal assaults at the hands of the orthodox activists. 

LGBT Tbilisi-based group Identoba and dozens of other activists are expect to receive between 1,500 and 4,000 euros ($1,675-$4,465) in compensation from the government. The ECHR also ruled that a violation of Article 3 occurred that prohibits individuals from enduring inhuman or degrading treatment in conjunction with a violation of Article 14 that bans outright discrimination.

Since 2012's event Georgian LGBT activists have experienced escalating violence at demonstrations and rallies from Georgian Orthodox Church clerics and proponents.


Ariana Grande to Headline NYC Pride's Dance on the Pier

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Ariana Grande will headline NYC Pride's 29th annual Dance on the Pier, organizers announced today, joining a host of famous female alumni that have taken the main-stage at NYC Pride.

Said Chris Frederick, Managing Director of NYC Pride: "With the rich history of this event involving artists such as the late Whitney Houston, Janet Jackson, Jennifer Lopez, Jennifer Hudson, Cher, Demi Lovato and more, we think Ariana will be the perfect fit [for NYC Pride 2015]."

Grande, whose brother Frankie is gay, has been an outspoken advocate and ally for the LGBT community, notoriously destroying an Instagram troll who made hateful remarks against her brother during his tenure on Big Brother

Also joining Grande at NYC Pride this year will be Tituss Burgess (aka Titus Adromedon of The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt fame), Parade Grand Marshalls Sir Ian McKellen, Sir Derek Jacobi, J. Christopher Neal, and Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera, out country singer Steve Grand, Adore Delano of RuPaul's Drag Race and Wade Davis, former NFL player and current Executive Director of the You Can Play Project, among others. 


Priests Bless Gay Couples in Symbolic Wedding as 1000+ LGBT People March Through Havana: VIDEO

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More than 1,000 LGBT people marched through the streets of Havana, Cuba on Saturday in a procession organized by President Raul Castro's daughter Mariela, a longtime activist for equality.

RELATED: Want to Go to Cuba? 6 Tours Specifically for LGBT Travelers

The march included a symbolic gay wedding, The Guardian reports:

The couples held hands or embraced as American and Canadian protestant clergy members blessed them. It was part of official ceremonies leading up to the Global Day against Homophobia on 17 May...

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“Our family accepts us but society doesn’t,” said Raúl Orta, who “married” his partner of 13 years, Yaimel Medina. “If one us is no longer here tomorrow, the other one loses everything. That’s not right.”

The parade, with the beat of conga drums and the waving of rainbow-colored banners, gave gay Cubans and their supporters a rare opportunity to celebrate without fear.

Watch the BBC's report, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Priests Bless Gay Couples in Symbolic Wedding as 1000+ LGBT People March Through Havana: VIDEO" »


Pennsylvania Students Suspended After Calling Out Homophobes for Wearing Chick-fil-A T-Shirts During School GSA Event

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Two Allentown, Pennsylvania students attending Bangor Area High School decided to wear t-shirts bearing the Chick-fil-A logo as a means of protesting their Gay-Straight Alliance’s pro-LGBT demonstration. The GSA’s week-long event encouraged students to show their support for a wide spectrum of minorities by donning differently colored shirts. It’s thought that the Chick-fil-A wearing students were using their shirts to echo the social views of the company’s conservative CEO Dan Cathy.

While the pride week appears to have been a general success, some students, interpreting the Chick-fil-A shirts as a slight, took to Twitter, calling out their classmates for their perceived homophobia. While the students-cum-watchdogs intentions may have been pure, their actions were not well received by school administrators. Fifteen of the students have since been suspended with even more receiving detention. The students were told they were being punished for tweeting during school hours, as well as due to the fact that some of their tweets contained obscenities and were seen as threatening.

"Shout-out to the [expletive] in the Chick-fil-A shirts," read one suspended student's tweet after seeing the two students on his homeroom's television last Friday morning.

"I wouldn't be upset if they did it on a different day, but it was a day to not discriminate against LGBT students, and that's what they were trying to do," Jeff Vanderpool, a Bangor Area student, explained to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

According to the two Chick-fil-A supporters, the online barrage lasted well into the weekend. Neither of the two boys wearing the shirts were reprimanded. The ACUL of Pennsylvania is investigating the situation and called the suspensions a "pretty harsh punishment."


Anti-LGBT Activist Who Once Tried To Burn Koran Sues Fort Worth Over Treatment At Gay Pride: VIDEO

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David Grisham, leader of the hate group Repent Amarillo, has filed a federal lawsuit against the city of Fort Worth alleging police violated his civil rights at last year's gay Pride festival, where he and his family were distributing anti-LGBT leaflets.  

Repent Amarillo, a militant evangelical group that describes itself as “the Special Forces of spiritual warfare," once called for a boycott of Houston over out lesbian Mayor Annise Parker's election, and has staged controversial protests outside a swingers club, liberal churches and gay bars.  

IsomBut Grisham is perhaps best known for his unsuccessful attempt to publicly burn a Koran in 2010, on the anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks. The stunt was foiled by a skateboarder (right) who snatched the Muslim holy book away and told Grisham, "Dude, you have no Koran" — which later became the subject of a hilarious autotune video remix.

Grisham later ran for mayor, garnering 1 percent of the vote, and lost his job as a security guard at a nuclear power plant over the Koran-burning attempt. Since then, he's apparently been traveling the country to protest at gay Pride events. Last year at gay Pride in Pittsburgh, a police officer assaulted an apparently drunken woman who tried to attack Grisham. 

Grisham was undoubtedly hoping to cause a similar disturbance at Fort Worth's gay Pride in October, but police wisely wouldn't let him close to festival-goers. Now, Grisham — who's represented by the Center for Religious Expression — is claiming his free speech rights were violated. 

The Star-Telegram reports: 

The lawsuit alleges that two Fort Worth officers approached Grisham’s wife and daughter as they handed out Gospel tracts at General Worth Square, where the festival was taking place.

The officers ordered the mother and daughter to leave under threat of arrest, stating that the gay pride association had a permit for the festival and controlled activity in the area, according to the lawsuit. The officers then escorted the mother and daughter to a sidewalk on the other side of 8th Street, the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit alleges that Sgt. Rachel DeHoyos later approached Grisham’s wife to warn her to stay away from the area. Witnessing the interaction, Grisham said he went over to join in the conversation, telling DeHoyos that he took issue with the ban.

DeHoyos told Grisham he could stand only in a designated free speech zone, and when he insisted on going to the opposite side of the street, the sergeant found a festival organizer to issue a trespassing warning against him: 

[Tony] Coronado, a board member with gay pride association, said Grisham and his supporters had worn rainbow-colored T-shirt to apparently blend in at the festival and were handing out anti-LGBT literature.

He said the location where Grisham wanted to stand was covered as part of the group’s event area by the city-issued permit.

“He was not denied his public speech,” Coronado said. “He could have just as well stood in the next block, on that corner. Nobody prevented him from handing out those pamphlets.”

Fort Worth police — infamous for their raid of the Rainbow Lounge gay bar in 2009 — have cracked down on protesters at Pride in recent years, including making numerous arrests

Watch a 2010 interview with Grisham, as well as the autotune remix of the Koran-burning attempt, AFTER THE JUMP ...

Continue reading "Anti-LGBT Activist Who Once Tried To Burn Koran Sues Fort Worth Over Treatment At Gay Pride: VIDEO" »


Ireland's Oldest Gay Bar Closes Within Weeks Of Crucial Vote On Marriage Referendum

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With the vote for Irish marriage equality just weeks away, Cork residents found themselves shocked when the proprietor of the historic gay bar Loafers announced that it's closing its doors reports Evening Echo. Loafers is considered a major part of the Irish gay rights movement when it was the first gay bar established within the country in 1983, 10 years before the country officially decriminalized homosexual acts. 

Proprietor Ted O'Connell said that economic factors severely affected the bar in the last few years; an Irish bank now wants to have vacant possession of the bar. O’Connell explained the bar’s situation and expressed sadness that the iconic bar is closing within weeks of the marriage referendum vote:

"It's very, very sad but today is the last day. We had hoped to be able to host a referendum celebration party later this month as we fight for a Yes Vote but it will have to be somewhere else.

"We have just had one of our busiest weekends with the Women's Fun Weekend but overall I would say we are down 35 to 40 percent from when I first took over six years ago. It’s the same for gay bars everywhere, in London, New York, everywhere. I suppose in a way it is a positive thing that gay people do not feel ghettoised (sic) to drink in certain premises."

O'Connell didn’t clarify if Loafers would move to a new location except that Loafers on Douglas Street would officially close Monday night. However, O'Connell believes a yes vote on Ireland's marriage referendum is a perfect way to pay tribute to Loafer's legacy.


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