ANALYSIS-German election seen paving way for trans rights

The victory of Germany’s Social Democrats and the election of the country’s first openly transgender lawmakers has buoyed LGBT+ activists’ hopes for gains on trans rights after scant progress during Angela Merkel’s 16 years as chancellor.

Two Greens party candidates, Tessa Ganserer and Nyke Slawik, made history by winning Bundestag seats in Sunday’s election as provisional results showed the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) had narrowly won over Merkel’s conservatives. Continue Reading »

Japan: PM race may lead to same-sex marriages

(Reuters) – LGBTQ rights activists are hoping that Japan may finally allow same-sex marriage if Taro Kono, who has publicly supported gay marriage, becomes the country’s next prime minister, but change will not come easily.

Kono is seen as the leading contender to win the ruling party’s leadership vote on Wednesday and become premier.

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Gay War Veteran Calls for Equal Rights in Ukraine’s Military

Viktor Pylypenko, a Ukrainian war veteran who fought in the country’s east against pro-Russian separatists, poses for a picture with his military uniform in Kyiv, Ukraine September 1, 2021. Pylypenko came out publicly as gay in 2018 and co-founded a non-governmental organisation that supports LGBT+ people in the country’s military and promotes tolerance and equal rights in the army. Picture taken September 1, 2021. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko

Ukraine’s Western-backed government has increased support for LGBT+ rights in recent years. Parliament outlawed workplace discrimination in 2015, though homophobic attitudes remain fairly widespread

Viktor Pylypenko has become a role model for dozens of LGBT+ Ukrainian war veterans and their supporters since he organised their participation two years ago in Kyiv’s largest ever gay pride march.

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Cuba Publishes Draft Family Code That Hints at Marriage Equality

A rainbow flag beside a Cuban flag at the Health Ministry building in Havana, Cuba, May 17, 2021 – Image: REUTERS/Alexandre Meneghini

Cuba published a long-awaited draft of a new family code on Wednesday that would open the door to gay marriage if approved, in a move that LGBT rights activists applauded cautiously as they remained wary of whether it would actually be implemented.

The new code defines marriage as the “voluntary union of two people” without specifying gender, as opposed to the current definition as the “union of a man and woman.”

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PSNI Charge Two Over Murder of Journalist Lyra McKee

The Police Service of Northern Ireland announced on Thursday that they had charged two men with the 2019 murder of journalist Lyra McKee in Derry, whose death sparked outrage in the British-run province, as well as throughout the LGBT community in Ireland and Britain.

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EU: Polish regions at risk of lost funding over ‘LGBT-free’ zones

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

The European Commission has written to five Polish regional councils urging them to abandon declarations that they are “LGBT-free” in order to receive funding, one of the councils affected confirmed last week.

The European Union executive is currently at loggerheads with Poland and Hungary over issues ranging from LGBT rights to press freedoms. In July it launched legal action against both countries over measures it says discriminate against the gay community.

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OPINION: Invest in the LGBT+ movement and change will come

LGBTQ activists and supporters outside the US Supreme Court in Washington, October 8, 2019 – Image: REUTERS/Jonathan

LGBT+ activists on the ground are the most important tool for creating change for the community around the world, writes Jessica Stern

By the time I have my last day at the end of this week, I will have served as executive director of OutRight Action International for nine years and 358 days. My friend tells me that’s a decade. Almost. But I’ve always prized precision in the global fight for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer rights. I’m in awe of the global transformations I’ve witnessed, so I’m assessing what I’ve learned over years of activism.

The LGBT+ movement perpetually debates the most effective ways to create lasting change. We ask because we are motivated to invest precious time, money, programs, and relationships strategically. Some have alleged that international organizations are superfluous, but international organizations create precedents that have shaped some of the most significant legal cases advancing the rights of LGBT+ people of the past 10 years.

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USA: Sex Education Becomes Battlefield in Culture War over LGBT+ rights

The parental opt-out law passed in Tennessee may embolden more conservative states to follow in the run-up to 2022 midterms, LGBT+ activists say

Sex education is emerging as the next battleground in a U.S. culture war over LGBT+ rights, as some conservative state legislators seek to keep discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity out of the nation’s classrooms.

Lawmakers in three Republican-led states backed legislation this year to let parents take children out of classes covering LGBT+ identity – a step critics said will deprive gay and transgender youth of vital information and fuel discrimination.

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NI: Permanent rainbow crossing in Derry

“Our vision for a permanent rainbow crossing at a prominent position in Derry city centre has been realised. Contractors completed the work [on] Monday evening, Sep 6th, shortly before midnight”, said Jim Doherty, Chairperson of Foyle Pride Committee 2020.

“We would like to thank the Foyle Pride Committee 2020 for initiating this project, and Derry City and Strabane District Council and in particular former Mayor Brian Tierney for making it happen”.

The crossing, located at the dual carriageway between the Guildhall and the Peace Bridge, reflects a confident, diverse, and progressive city at peace with itself.

“It is the first crossing of its kind anywhere on the island and we are delighted to be sharing it with you”.

Shá Gillespie, founder of the first Pride Parade in 2010 said, “What a beautiful sight, I felt very emotional walking across it, 10 years after we had our first Pride parade in the city. Visibility like this can save lives of young LGBTQ+ people in our community. I am very proud to have been involved in making this happen alongside Jim, Catherine and Brian”.

“I am proud to call this city my home”, said Catherine Hemelryk.

“When I first moved here knowing no-one, I found the LGBTQ+ community instantly welcoming. This is such a special place, a place where you can make ideas a reality! Last year I was a member of the Foyle Pride committee, and in June 2020 I remember tentatively asking if everyone thought we could make a rainbow crossing happen in the heart of our city. Since then, I worked with Shá and Jim to make it happen! We couldn’t have done this without the dedicated support of Cllr Brian Tierney, the 2020/21 Mayor who supported our campaign from the start, and not only took the motion through DCSDC but also funded the Crossing as a way to mark ten years of the parade”

“Our city is for everybody and this crossing tells the world that everyone from any background is welcome!”

Jim Doherty
Catherine Hemelryk
Shá Gillespie

NI: Iconic Europa Hotel celebrates 50th anniversary

Julie Hastings, Marketing Director of Hastings Hotels is joined by Kyle Greer, Europa Hotel’s Executive Head Chef and Martin Mulholland, Head Concierge – who started working at the hotel in September 1983 – PressEye, Belfast

One of Ireland’s most famous hotels is celebrating its 50th anniversary – and how it withstood the Troubles to emerge as an iconic beacon of hope for Belfast.

Whilst often referred to as ‘the world’s most bombed hotel’ – having been targeted 33 times due to its visibility as a landmark building – The Europa Hotel has been transformed into a powerful symbol of the city’s survival. Continue Reading »