LGB individuals living in anti-gay communities die earlier

Prejudice kills lesbians, gay men, and bisexuals …. not just quickly and violently as sometimes happens in bullying incidents and hate crimes but also, as it turns out, slowly and steadily.

In what appears to be the first study to look at the consequences of anti-LGBT prejudice for mortality, researchers have found that lesbian, gay, and bisexual  individuals who lived in communities with high levels of anti-gay prejudice have a shorter life expectancy of 12 years on average compared with their peers in the least prejudiced communities.

“The results of this study suggest a broadening of the consequences of prejudice to include premature death,” noted the study’s lead author, Mark Hatzenbuehler, PhD, assistant professor of Sociomedical Sciences at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. Read more at Science Daily News.

The importance of local PFLAGS

Here’s an item that emphasizes the importance of beginning PFLAG chapters in different countries to ensure that families with LGBT children have a way to express their support.

GrandmotherVideoA 90-year-old grandmother  became an Internet hit in China after her video calling for equal rights for her gay grandson went viral. During the video she holds up a sign which says in Chinese, ‘we urge the legalization of same-sex marriages.’ The video was part of a PFLAG China project (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays), emphasizing the important role that families have in supporting equality for LGBT citizens. View the video.

“It’s not safe to be in Uganda anymore”

Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni has decided to sign an Anti-Homosexuality Bill that will carry life imprisonment sentences.  His decision comes a day after it became apparent that Museveni was going to stop homosexuals from being allowed bail, alongside those accused of rape.

Pepe Julian Onziema, a LGBTI rights activist in Uganda, told Gay Star News: “I am shocked and I am worried.” He added that “there’s been significant people leaving the country, people going underground.”

‘We need the world to keep helping us, we will continue calling for global action. LGBT people need shelter and secure travel. For them, it’s not safe to be in Uganda anymore.” 



Build a better mousetrap…. Business First? Or Laws First?

Two items landed in my news feeds this week, reminding me of that old business slogan, “Build a better mousetrap …. and the people will come.”

n-CHOBANI-GAY-PRIDE-large570The first was from the Huffington Post about Chobani yogurt, an official sponsor of Team USA at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. As it happens,  thousands of cups of Chobani yogurt are waiting to be shipped to Sochi to feed American athletes, but the Russians have been refusing to allow the shipment because of an ongoing dairy products spat with the United States.

Even so, that didn’t stop Chobani from taking a powerful stand last week against Russia’s anti-LGBT laws, joining AT&T in its equally powerful public opposition. 

Last week Chobani tweeted an image of rainbow-colored yogurt cups with the tagline “Naturally Powering Everyone.” And Chobani’s CEO, Hamdi Ulukaya,told the Associated Press on Feb. 5 that “We

Continue reading Build a better mousetrap…. Business First? Or Laws First?

Pressing for LGBT rights in Cambodia

សម្រាប់ការបកប្រែជាភាសាខ្មែរនៃប្រកាសនេះសូមចុច: Cambodia LGBT Rights (Khmer)

LGBT activists in Cambodia, assisted by the United Nations and civil society organizations, are urging the government to pass legislation banning hate crimes and discrimination. What was billed as the first regional community dialogue dedicated to LGBT concerns was held in Phnom Penh January 20-21 and included more than 50 LGBT citizens discussing discriminations they have experienced. Read the story from the Phnom Penh Post.

Rainbow Community Kampuchea (RoCK) Scott Howe, Phnom Penh Post
Rainbow Community Kampuchea (RoCK) Scott Howe, Phnom Penh Post

“We are ordinary people too,” Nay Sitha, from  the Rainbow Community Kampuchea (RoCK), said. “Ordinary people that need access to jobs, education and healthcare; why should we be discriminated against for how we dress or who we love?”

Unfortunately, the routes to such positive legislation to secure equality for LGBTs can sometimes be labyrinthine. In Seattle, for example, the press for such laws began in the 1970s with quick successes in the city council, where laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in housing, public accommodations Continue reading Pressing for LGBT rights in Cambodia

Nigeria’s vicious LGBT “sanitizing”

Now Illegal Speech, From Nigerian Eye
Now Illegal Speech, From Nigerian Eye

Nigeria’s government has launched what may be one of the most vicious campaigns against its LGBT citizens since Nazi Germany’s Holocaust. Mobs demand deaths by stoning; judges pride themselves for compassion by “mere” whippings and imprisonments.  As the New York Times reports, a new Nigerian law  does not just  ban same-sex marriage but “goes significantly further, prescribing 10 Continue reading Nigeria’s vicious LGBT “sanitizing”

Taking LGBT love public

Many countries have laws insuring that any affection between LGBT folks can be punished as “gross indecency” or as a violation of traditional values that somehow endanger children. But here’s another  video promoting LGBT equality that shows just how wrong those laws are  — another piece of “rock com” for social change as one of my colleagues terms it.

It’s nothing fancy, like the Grammy Awards with a cast that included marrying couples and Madonna. Just simple love and romance between two men brought to the public eye.

David thought it was just a surprise birthday party. So did the friends who had been invited to surprise him. But David’s boyfriend Lucas had a surprise for everyone.  Be sure to watch until the end. View the video. 

Singapore promotes LGBT-friendly health resource

Some really important and positive news out of Singapore that apparently happened last November but is now just being noticed by the media — mostly because LGBT opponents are trying to overturn it:

The Singapore Health Promotion Board, which is the island nation’s leading government health organization, has declared that LGBT citizens are NOT mentally ill and are NOT suffering from any disease. They are instead — surprise — normal.

And, to emphasize that, the Health Promotion Board has posted what is, for Singapore, an extraordinarily LGBT-positive online “FAQs on Sexuality.” Click to read it. 

The resource was apparently posted last November. Now, opponents are petitioning to have it removed. Gay Star News reports that about 1,500 have signed the anti-LGBT petition.   Apparently

Continue reading Singapore promotes LGBT-friendly health resource

Can LGBT citizens be excluded from juries?

Amid all the focus on LGBT marriages in the United States, last week came a blast from what seems like the dark ages of American civil rights movements. It was a reminder that even when grand strides seem to have been made to secure LGBT equal protection, there are literally hundreds of legal discriminations still needing to be very specifically overturned by positive laws or positive judicial rulings.

Jurors: Which can be excluded on the basis of race, age, gender? From the Yale Collection of American Literature
Jurors: Which can be excluded on the basis of race, age, gender? From the Yale Collection of American Literature

Did you think that long ago LGBT citizens in the U.S. had secured the right to serve on juries?  Guess again. We MIGHT have gotten that right just about 10 days ago … but only in the Western states.

The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, with jurisdiction over most of the Western states, has just ruled that sexual orientation is NOT a basis for peremptory exclusions from a jury.

What, you say? Was someone really excluding LGBT folks from juries JUST because they were LGBT? It appears so. The test case involved

Continue reading Can LGBT citizens be excluded from juries?