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Philippine Province Among First In Country To Ban LGBT Discrimination

Agusan del norteAgusan del Norte has become one of the few areas in the Philippines to pass an anti-discrimination ordinance (ADO) that protects people irrespective of their sexual orientation and gender identity and expression, reports Outrage.

Provincial Ordinance No. 358-2014 also prohibits discrimination in the province on the basis of age, disability, ethnicity, health status, physical appearance, political affiliation, religion, and social status.

The ordinance “recognizes as a policy...to value the dignity of every human person and guarantee full respect of human rights to promote equality and to effectively eliminate all forms of discrimination that violate and offend the guarantee of equal protection of human rights.”

The ADO prohibits denial of services; refusing admission/dismissal from educational institutions; denial of access to use private and public establishments, facilities and utilities; employment rejection; publication and/or use of derogatory/humiliating images and/or statements against persons; and uploading/posting of images and/or videos online to debase and humiliate a person.

BacasmasYsang Semacio Bacasmas [pictured right], executive officer of LGBT rights group Ladlad Caraga Inc., said:

“I feel very happy and at least we now have this that can help our brothers and sisters in the LGBTQIA community. To our fellow LGBTs, hopefully we continue the fight for us to have a peaceful and good lives.”

According to HapiHumanist.org, Philippine LGBT Hate Crime Watch reported that a total of 103 killings from 1996 to 2011 in the Philippines have occurred on account of sexual orientation.


Gay Asylum Seekers In Australia Could Be Resettled In Anti-Gay Papua New Guinea: READ

Manus island PNG

Several gay asylum seekers in Australia who fled persecution in their home countries could be resettled in Papua New Guinea (PNG), where homosexuality is punishable by up to 14 years in prison, reports Time.

The asylum seekers are currently being held by Australian immigration on Manus Island in PNG, where they could eventually live permanently.

The Guardian claims to have seen six letters written in Farsi by four gay Iranian men in the detention center which appear to detail persecution in their home country and the fear of being resettled in PNG. The authenticity of the letters has not yet been confirmed.

In a suicide note to his mother, one of the men wrote:

Camp“I couldn’t return to Iran and be executed by the Iranian government. Hence living in PNG was not any better, because being gay is considered a crime in PNG as well, and the punishment for such crime is 14 years imprisonment.

“I am so sorry that I was born gay. I never meant to hurt you, mum.

“I wish our boat had sunk in the ocean and stopped me living the most painful year in my life.

“I thought Australia and its people would be my protector, but they taught me otherwise.”

The Guardian also obtained a copy of a Salvation Army orientation presentation shown to asylum seekers on Manus which shows a picture of two men kissing with a large red cross through it. The presentation warns:

“Homosexuality is illegal in Papua New Guinea. People have been imprisoned or killed for performing homosexual acts.”

According to Graeme McGregor, Amnesty Australia’s refugee-camp coordinator, the human rights group has “consistently raised the issue of gay men on Manus” with Australian immigration but “never had a clear response."

Ben Pynt, director of Humanitarian Research Partners, says there are around 36 gay men detained at Manus and several others who are too afraid to reveal their sexual orientation.

Australian Immigration Minister Scott Morrison said in December he was unaware of any claims of homosexuality among Manus inmates.

Morrison has also denied allegations in a December report by Amnesty International that detainees at the facility have been told that anyone found engaging in homosexual acts will be reported to the PNG police.

Earlier this year the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees raised concerns about the living conditions for asylum seekers being held at the Manus Island detention center.

Read two of the asylum seekers' letters, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Gay Asylum Seekers In Australia Could Be Resettled In Anti-Gay Papua New Guinea: READ" »


Southern Baptists Kick Out LGBT-Friendly California Church - VIDEO

Danny Cortez

The Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) has kicked out a pro-LGBT California church, claiming that minister Danny Cortez and the church are not in “cooperation” with the SBC’s stance on LGBT issues, reports Think Progress.

In August, New Heart Community Church in La Mirada, California voted to welcome the LGBT community after Cortez gave a sermon announcing that his son Drew had come out as gay - and that he himself no longer agreed with the SBC’s teachings on homosexuality.

Speaking about his son’s decision to come out, Cortez said:

“My heart skipped a beat and I turned towards [my son] and we gave one another the biggest and longest hug as we cried. And all I could tell him was that I loved him so much and that I accepted him just as he is … If it wasn’t for this 15 year journey and my change in theology, I may have destroyed my son through reparative therapy.”

After Cortez’s sermon, members of the church had the option to remove him from the pulpit but voted to keep him as pastor and adopt a live-and-let-live approach “in the same way that our church holds different positions on the issue of divorce and remarriage.” 6a00d8341c730253ef01a73dd6d034970d-500wi

On Tuesday, the SBC voted unanimously to “disfellowship” New Heart because it “does not presently meet the definition of a cooperating church” as its constitution outlaws congregations that “act to affirm, approve or endorse homosexual behavior.”

Forgetting that “compassion” is a two-way street, Ronnie Floyd, SBC President and pastor of Cross Church in northwest Arkansas, said:

“[New Heart has] walked away from us as Southern Baptists. We have not walked away from them. So it is with compassion that I would appeal to them to reconsider their decision, mostly their position related to the Word of God on homosexuality.”

However, New Heart has stood firm in its decision to embrace diversity. In a letter to the SBC committee, church Deacons explained that their congregation holds a multiplicity of positions, but also acknowledges their pastor’s firmly pro-LGBT stance:

“Some ‘members in our church’ believe that same-sex marriage can be blessed by God, while other members in our church believe that marriage is reserved for one man and one woman. While ‘our church’ remains without an official stance on same-sex marriage, our preaching pastor has officiated a same-sex marriage.”

Watch Cortez's sermon "Why I Changed My Mind on Sexuality," as well as his son's coming out video, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Southern Baptists Kick Out LGBT-Friendly California Church - VIDEO" »


Studies Show Domestic Abuse More Prevalent In Same-Sex Relationships

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Two recent studies demonstrate the extent of domestic abuse in same-sex relationships and refute the myths that only heterosexual women are victims of domestic abuse, that men are never victims and that women are never the perpetrators, reports The Advocate.

The National Violence Against Women survey found that 21.5 percent of men and 35.4 percent of women living with a same-sex partner experienced physical violence in their lifetimes. This is compared with 7.1 percent and 20.4 percent respectively for men and women in opposite-sex relationships.

The Centers For Disease Control's National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, updated in 2013, reports that the lifetime prevalence of rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner was 43.8 percent for lesbians, 61.1 percent for bisexual women, and 35 percent for heterosexual women, while it was 26 percent for gay men, 37.3 percent for bisexual men, and 29 percent for heterosexual men.

According to Beth Leventhal, executive director of The Network/La Red in Boston, thanks to the combination of reports like these and the Obama administration being active on LGBT issues, there has been increased funding for services to address domestic abuse in same-sex relationships.

Last year, Congress passed an LGBT-inclusive Violence Against Women Act.


Thousands March For Marriage Equality In Dublin, Urge Ireland To Replace 'Tolerance' With 'Citizenship' - VIDEO

Ireland2

An estimated 8,000 people took part in the fifth annual March for Marriage in Dublin, Ireland, last Saturday, reports The Irish Times.

Some dressed in sashes and tiaras after the news that the newly crowned Rose of Tralee, Maria Walsh had revealed she is gay.

NoiseThe organisers of the march said that hoped this would be the biggest - and last - gathering for same-sex marriage equality prior to a referendum on the issue to be held early next year.

Comedian and writer Tara Flynn, who last week starred in an LGBT Noise video spoofing the “Armagayddon” that sadly some believe will come about if marriage equality becomes law, introduced speakers at the end of the march.

Watch an Independent report, AFTER THE JUMP...

Warning against complacency among supporters of equal rights, Marriage Equality’s Gráinne Healy asked the crowd to check the electoral register to make sure they and their friends and family are registered to vote.

Representatives from LGBT youth organisation BelongTo, INTO LGBT Teachers’ Group, the Union of Students in Ireland, trans rights organisation TENI, and LGBT Pavee representing the traveller community also spoke.

Irish Times journalist Fintan O’Toole called for Irish society to replace “tolerance” of LGBT people with “citizenship”. He told the crowd:

"What we’re asking for is a recognition of a change that has already happened... The slogan I would suggest is ‘if you want a Republic, put a ring on it.’”

Continue reading "Thousands March For Marriage Equality In Dublin, Urge Ireland To Replace 'Tolerance' With 'Citizenship' - VIDEO" »


'Ex-Gay' Activist Yvette Cantu Schneider Comes Out In Support Of LGBT Rights

Yvette Cantu Schneider, one of the most vocal and best known representatives of the ex-gay movement, has announced that no longer wishes to identify with anti-gay groups, reports GLAAD.

225050_10150202052319238_2061929_nSchneider is known for her high-profile start at hate group the Family Research Council and her work with California's Proposition 8 campaign.  She is still one of the key people who anti-gay voices cite in order to prove that "change" works. The American Family Association continues to sell a video, It's Not Gay, in which Yvette appears as a talking head. Her "personal testimony" still appears on Ex-gaytruth.com.

However, Schneider has said that she is sorry for the pain she has caused to LGBTI people, is questioning of the idea of "ex-gay" itself and is now fully supportive of LGBT people and their families.

In her recently published book Never Not Broken: A Journey of Unbridled Transformation, Schneider "struggles to heal from difficult events from her childhood, the abuses and hypocrisies of religious leaders, and the effects of her own denial of the feminine divine" and ultimately "discovers her true self."

Writing for GLAAD yesterday, Schneider explained how, following the stress brought on by her five-year-old daughter’s diagnosis with leukemia, she sought the help of psychologist Dr. Diana Wright who taught her mindfulness meditation and guided imagery meditation.

She goes on to explain:

“I had neglected the feminine and the feminine divine when I embraced patriarchal dogma that regarded women as secondary to men...It was only when I embraced this true self that I regained my life. It meant shedding many of the beliefs I had espoused for decades—beliefs about what it means to be gay, and what it means to treat people with dignity and respect.

“This change has cost me friendships and the respect of certain people. But that’s okay. I don’t expect everyone to understand my journey. One thing is for sure: Never again will I deny my authentic self in order to gain the approval and acceptance of others. It isn’t worth it.”

A Q&A with Schneider will be published by GLAAD today.

Schneider's defection is another recent blow for the ex-gay movement after Pennsylvania pastor Duane Youngblood was arrested last week on suspicion of sexually assaulting a teenager.


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