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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.


Serbian Christian Orthodox Church Denounces Belgrade Pride - VIDEO

Serbia pride

Patriarch Irinej, the head of Serbia's Christian Orthodox church, yesterday denounced a Gay Pride march planned for this weekend, reports ABC News.

In a statement, Irinej said that the "shameless" event casts a moral shadow on Serbia.

OrthOfficials have suggested they could allow the event to go ahead despite fears of a repeat of the violence in 2010 when right-wing groups attacked a pride march, triggering clashes with police that left more than 100 people injured.

Following the attacks, authorities banned LGBT rights marches for the following three years, citing security reasons.

Holding the march is seen as a test of the country's pledge to respect human rights as it seeks membership in the European Union.

However, Irinej said that the pride organizers "and their mentors from Europe" haven't learned the lesson from the past marches.

Several far-right groups have announced anti-gay marches in Belgrade next Saturday.

On Tuesday, police announced they have filed charges against eight people who had made threats against LGBT people on social media.

Milorad Todorovic, the police officer in charge of cyber crime in Serbia, has vowed to “secure the safety of all citizens” and is hopeful that the Pride event will go ahead. "I hope the pride event will be held on Sunday."

Watch police combating extremist protesters at Serbia's 2010 Gay Pride, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Serbian Christian Orthodox Church Denounces Belgrade Pride - VIDEO" »


Anti-gay Activists Disrupt St. Petersburg QueerFest, Attack Festival Goers With Gas: VIDEO

Queerfest2

The International Queer Culture Festival's kick off in St. Petersburg on Thursday was disrupted by anti-gay activists - including lawmaker Vitaly Milonov [pictured below] and others associated with the Russian Orthodox faith.

MilonovReported Polina Andrianova, one of the QueerFest organizers:

About 20 hooligans sprayed guests with green substance and some sort of putrid gas. At one point, two foreign guests were being pulled into the venue by the security while being pulled out by their feet by the perpetrators.

The police, who carried themselves professionally, were taking numerous statements by the victims, while St. Petersburg ombudsman urged more people to document violations.

Andrianova also reported on the on-going struggle to secure a location for the festival - as venues continue to cave to anti-gay pressure and cancel on organizers.

Molinov, you may recall, was a leading sponsor of Russia's bill banning homosexual 'propaganda.' Molinov also called for a boycott of the Eurovision Song Contest earlier this year - or as he called it the "Sodom show" because of drag performer Conchita Wurst's participation. 

Check out a video of the festival - including a brief apparance by Molinov, AFTER THE JUMP...(note: Russian language)

Continue reading "Anti-gay Activists Disrupt St. Petersburg QueerFest, Attack Festival Goers With Gas: VIDEO" »


Catholic Choir Director Fired For Same-Sex Engagement Meets With Cardinal, Receives Support Rally

Collette

Colin Collette (above center in white jacket) was fired from his position as music director at Holy Family Catholic Community church in Inverness, IL this July after photos of his same-sex marriage proposal emerged. Ever since he has received an intense outpouring of support from the church's parishioners, though the archdiocese of Chicago have remained tight-lipped. When Collette reached out to Cardinal Francis George for a meeting regarding the incident, however, the response was immediate and affirmative; the two met on Tuesday, praying together and, if all went to Collette's plan, discussing his job. 

Collette1The Chicago Tribune reports:

“I was incredibly grateful to the cardinal for meeting with me. This is an incredibly difficult time for him. ... I was moved beyond words that he would meet with me,” Collette said of George, who is battling cancer. “We prayed together. He was wonderful. He was very pastoral.”

Collette declined to elaborate on the nature of the discussion Tuesday. He said he had sought the meeting in hopes of getting his job back. While there was no indication that would happen, Collette said the cardinal urged him to speak to his pastor.

“My head is sort of spinning, but as I said over and over, my whole life has been the church. It's my love. It's my passion, and I pray for the opportunity to do that,” he said.

Check out a Chicago NBC 5 report on Collette's meeting with the Cardinal, AFTER THE JUMP...

Though Collette has been the recipient of a great deal of community support--including a rally held Sunday to indicate that support to church leaders--he is well aware that his sexual orientation and relationship are not to everyone's liking.

“I'm not that naive to know that there are some people who believe that who I am basically is wrong. I'm not that naive, but the love and support I have received is truly humbling and is beyond words,” Collette said.

We will continue to report on Collette's story, but for now we are happy to see the level of affirmation he is receiving from church members, and a willingness on the part of some church officials to discuss the matter. Collette said that he and the Cardinal would meet again soon.

Check out video coverage of the press conference at the Chicago Tribune.

Continue reading "Catholic Choir Director Fired For Same-Sex Engagement Meets With Cardinal, Receives Support Rally" »


Massachusetts Could Make History This Fall Electing First Out Gay Attorney General, Lt. Governor

Massachusetts

On Tuesday night, two openly gay candidates secured their party's nominations in the Massachusetts primary, paving the way for a history-making election night on November 4th.

Maura Healey (top left) beat out former state senator Warren Tolman to become the Democratic nominee for attorney general. Steve Kerrigan (top right), became the Democratic lieutenant governor nominee alongside gubernatorial candidate Martha Coakley. If Healey and Kerrigan are elected this fall, they would be the first LGBT people to hold their respective positions in the United States.

Buzzfeed reports:

“As an advocate, as a prosecutor, and as a civil rights attorney, you have got to make your case and you have it give it all of your heart,” Healey said in her victory speech. “We have made our case tonight.”

As an assistant attorney general in the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office, Healey played a key role in the state’s fight against the Defense of Marriage Act, arguing against DOMA’s constitutionally at the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals in 2012.

Martha Coakley, Kerrigan's gubernatorial running mate, coincidentally filed the very same DOMA suit in 2009 while serving as attorney general. 

Kara S. Coredini of MassEquality was thrilled with the primary's outcome:

“Tonight was a tremendous night for LGBTQ justice and equality. Voters saw Steve Kerrigan and Maura Healey for what they offer and not solely who they are — and both won by resounding margins. For the young LGBTQ people growing up anywhere in Massachusetts and anywhere in the country, the people of Massachusetts have said to them tonight, it’s what you do that matters, and we celebrate who you are...

Massachusetts is poised to shatter several glass ceilings after tonight. Our first elected female Governor of Massachusetts, our first openly gay Lieutenant Governor and state Attorney General in Massachusetts and the country, and the second female treasurer in the Commonwealth’s history, which is a great accomplishment given the glass ceiling that has existed for women in politics, both statewide and nationally. They will bring to the job the wisdom and insight of the lives they’ve led, and they will give hope to all that follow.”

Congratulations to Healey, Kerrigan, and Coakley!


Toronto School Board Member Shuts Down When Asked To Defend Homophobic, Transphobic Views - VIDEO

Sam Sotiropolous

Sam Sotiropolous, a member of the Toronto District School Board, has refused in an interview to answer questions about homophobic opinions expressed on Twitter, reports Pink News.

An August 30th tweet read “Until I see scientific proof that transgenderism exists and is not simply a mental illness, I reserve the right not to believe in it.” An earlier tweet on July 4th called Toronto Pride a “freak show.”

However, in a Global News interview, Sotiropolous - who is clearly uncomfortable -  refuses to answer questions about his views, claiming that although he has not formed an opinion on transgender people, he “has the right to reserve the right to have an opinion.”

Despite the fact that the tweet hasn’t been deleted, Sotiropolous denies calling Toronto Pride a “freak show”.  When confronted with another tweet claiming that the “disseminators” of “homosexism” are “maliciously rabid,” he walks away from the camera and appears speechless. At that point, his only comeback is he was under the impression that the interview would concern his comments on transgender people only. However, he does appear to back up his homophobic opinions, stating that “the words stand for themselves.”

At this point, he refuses to answer any more questions. The interview ends with a bizarre staring competition - which the Global News reporter wins.

Trans-rights activist Susan Gapka said that outrage at Sotiropoulos’s comments points to how far society has come in recent years.

“The terrific thing is that there are non-trans people, allies and supporters, leaping to the defense, there was a flurry on twitter, and social media, the news has covered it, that shows you how far we’ve come in the last five or ten years.”

Sotiropolous has since taken to Twitter again to defend his opinions, claiming that the school district is targeting "the rarest" types of bullying - transphobic and homophobic - while ignoring bullying based on appearance, school performance and ethnicity.

Watch the bizarre interview, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Toronto School Board Member Shuts Down When Asked To Defend Homophobic, Transphobic Views - VIDEO" »


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