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

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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

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Finding your love…

The Tenth Great Thing is a moving  video out of Vietnam about the love between two young men, decidedly more romantic than the assertive Mackelmore and Lewis’ “Same Love.” I have to wonder whether its release might have had some role in persuading the  government of Vietnam to at least take the first step toward recognizing same-sex love by decriminalizing same-sex marriages this past November.

As this short video makes clear, our movement always finds its force in one simple fact: We Will Love…Regardless

Here’s a LGBT platform worth bookmarking

BeingLGBTToday, surfing around the international cyber-LGBT world, I came across a truly impressive social media effort in Asia that’s being funded by the UN Development Program (UNDP) and the USAID program. It’s called “Being LGBT in Asia” and while it has the usual accounts you would expect on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram (as well as  key Chinese social networks QQ, Weibo and Douban) here’s is what is really impressive: Being LGBT in Asia also has a page on Crowdmap where anyone can report violence or verbal harassment in locations all across Asia using a smartphone, email, a tweet or a web form.

Not only can folks file reports about discrimination, violence, or harassment but they can also tell stories about positive developments — personal stories of support from their families, pride rallies, and legislation making a difference.  And they can file in their own language. The site even has an alert system so that you’ll know if anyone files a report within 20 kilometers of your own location — a good way to keep up with what’s going on in your own city.

State of the LGBT World on this Lunar New Year

As we launch into a new lunar year, the Huffington Post today carries an overview of gains and setbacks LGBT citizens are both celebrating and suffering around the world:

While gay-rights activists celebrate gains in much of the world, their setbacks have been equally far-flung, and often sweeping in scope.

Russia’s anti-gay speech law is noted, of course, as are the new laws in Nigeria sending citizens to prison if they organize or promote a LGBT organization and in Uganda imposing life in prison for gay sex. These laws are all being advanced with the argument that “traditional cultural values” trump universal human rights values when it comes to LGBT citizens. The Article 19 organization (named after the freedom of speech article in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights) recently analyzed these violations of the UDHR. Read the Article 19 report: Anti-LGBTLaws

Asia, the Huffington Post article points out, “is a mixed bag when it comes to gay issues, due to vast differences in culture, religion and history.”  No Asian nation allows gay marriage, but Thailand’s

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Banning coerced conversions of LGBT citizens

From DiversityInc.com
From DiversityInc.com

 While a great deal of international effort still has to go into removing explicitly anti-LGBT laws — think sodomy laws such as the various Section 377s in Asian countries, or Russia’s anti-gay speech law — it’s also important to press positive legislation that promotes LGBT visibility and inclusion.  Equal marriage is  one such type of legislation. Another, which hasn’t gained as much attention but is building, would be  laws that put an end to coerced therapies designed to “convert” LGBT citizens to “more acceptable” forms of heterosexuality.

California was the first state in the U.S. to pass a law banning so-called “gay cure” therapy — which immediately set off a controversy over whether that was an interference with freedom of speech if such therapies and therapists  use only counseling techniques. Could the state put an end to a therapist’s speech aimed at converting  LGBT individuals?

(The previous barbaric tactics of electro-shock and lobotomies have usually receded in most civil societies. You can read an excerpt from Gay Seattle about Washington state’s most famous case involving the actress Frances Farmer by clicking here.)

The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals delivered its decision last August. Yes, by all means, it said, governments have a right to regulate therapists and therapies. If approaches are considered harmful, useless or forms of consumer fraud — as conversion therapy is by scientific and medical groups — then the government can ban them.

In the U.S., New Jersey became the second state to pass legislation ending such “cure” therapy. Now Washington state is considering it too. (Click here for today’s Seattle Times story.)

For anyone young or suffering from social or religious pressure to become more gender- or sexual-conforming, these laws are an absolutely critical and much needed advance in how we all live together civilly.

 

Click here for more from Truth Wins Out on the “ex-gay lie.”

Advocating LGBT justice and equality