Thursday, November 27, 2014 / Labels: , , , , , ,

Study: National Trends in Public Opinion on LGBT Rights in the United States

November 27, 2014 /LGBT News/ Public support for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender ( LGBT ) people in the United States has increased significantly over the last three decades, according to a new study released by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law. 

Over 325 national surveys dating back to June 1977 were analyzed that ask the public their opinions on five issues including: general attitudes toward LGBT people, legality of same-sex relations, legal recognition of marriages for same-sex couples, extension of adoption rights to same-sex couples, inclusion of sexual orientation and gender identity in non-discrimination policies, and support for open military service. In addition, the report explores whether attitude change is primarily driven by inter-generational cohort change or other factors.

Key findings in the report include:

  • Public support for lesbians and gay men has doubled in the past three decades, more so than public support for any other group surveyed about over the same time period.
  • While support for marriage equality was static from the 1980s to the early 2000s, it has more than doubled since then. It is most likely that people are changing their minds on the issue of marriage equality as opposed to generational change.
  • A majority of the public supports adoption rights for same-sex couples and support has more than doubled since 1992. Support currently stands around 63 percent.
  • Although a national non-discrimination law has yet to be passed and twenty-nine states do not have non-discrimination laws that include sexual orientation and gender identity, 72 percent of the public support laws protecting lesbians and gay men from job discrimination and 75 percent support laws protecting transgender people from job discrimination.
  • About 48,500 LGB people are actively serving in the military and reserve. Public support for open military service for lesbians, gay men, and bisexuals has increased from about 50% in 1993 to about 70% in 2012.

Public opinion data on all five issues was not always available for transgender people and bisexual people. The few surveys that do ask about support for transgender and bisexual people indicate that support has increased over time, but not at the same rate as for lesbians and gay men.

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Tuesday, September 16, 2014 / Labels: , , , , , ,

The Comedy Minute With Jason T. Gaffney Season One

September 16, 2015 /LGBT News/ Award winning writer-producer and out gay actor Jason T. Gaffney again teams up with small or LARGE Productions to present his new web series, The Comedy Minute With Jason T. Gaffney.

Written and produced by Gaffney, season one of the sketch comedy series has just been released. The TCM cast regulars feature Gaffney, along with two other out gay actors as well as two bisexual actors.  
Conscious of the need for more diversity in improv and sketch comedy, Gaffney created The Comedy Minute after being inspired by the Upright Citizen’s Brigades policies to diversify the comedy world.
Screen Shot Romantic Night At Home
“I wanted to create a series where gay men could show off their comic chops,” Gaffney said.
Jason T. Gaffney
Jason T. Gaffney is one of the writers, producers, and leading actors in small or LARGE Productions’ hit LGBTQ film, The Perfect Wedding.  
“I came out when I was fifteen and my family was completely supportive,” Gaffney said.  “And while I appreciate conflicted and angsty coming out stories and closet comedies, I honestly don’t relate.  I’m very lucky, I know that, but I also know that there are more and more young gay men like me.  And we naturally want to find our reflection in the movies that we watch -- we want to see ourselves represented.”  
So Gaffney pushed his co-producers and movie-writing partners to write a boy-meets-boy romantic comedy in which the gay main characters have loving families.  The result was The Perfect Wedding, an award-winning comedy that found distribution with Wolfe Releasing, and has gone on to garner over 50,000 reviews on Netflix.
Screenshot of Sexy Neat Freak
The Comedy Minute with Jason T. Gaffney is now available on YouTube with eleven episodes. Sexy Neat Freak is the featured gay sketch in season one.

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Tuesday, September 9, 2014 / Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

Free online course: Representations of HIV/AIDS

September 9, 2014 /LGBT News/ Explore how HIV/AIDS has been portrayed in diverse genres through the perspectives of the scientist and the literary critic.

Starts on October 6, 2014
Duration: 7 weeks
Estimated effort: 4 to 6 hours/week

About this Course:

This class engages students in a transdisciplinary conversation about representations of HIV/AIDS: in science writing, journalism, visual art, literature, drama, and popular culture. We believe that scientists and cultural critics can learn valuable lessons from one another, even as they create their own responses to HIV/AIDS. Today, over 30 years since the first scientific reports of HIV/AIDS, the pandemic remains a major health concern throughout the world. But, rays of hope have led to speculation that an AIDS-free generation may be possible. In such a timely moment, it is essential for us to connect across the "two cultures" as we consider the social and scientific implications of HIV/AIDS.

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Monday, September 8, 2014 / Labels: , , , , , ,

African/German Lesbian Web Series Pitches Online to Raise Funds Independently

September 8, 2014 /LGBT News/ A web series based around a Namibian lesbian running a resource center for African women in the German capital of Berlin, has launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise $30,000 to make its second episode.  'The Centre' is written by Naomi Beukes-Meyer, herself a Namibian native who has been living in Berlin for over 20 years.  

Though there is a large African diaspora throughout Europe, Beukes-Meyer felt that there was a distinct lack of film and television dramas highlighting first and second generation African female and, in particular, lesbian experience on the continent and it was this that spurred her on to write the first episode of ‘The Centre’ two years ago.

Entitled ‘I’m Still Down Here’, that episode which, like each of The Centre series’ episodes, can also be viewed as a stand-alone short film,  focused on the tender love story of two teenage girls and their struggle to deal with family, religious and cultural values.   Though the film received no funding and was primarily bankrolled by Beukes-Meyer herself, its unconventional storyline and the fact that it appeared as a webisode on various video sharing platforms across the Internet, including One More Lesbian, has resulted in it being viewed a remarkable 150,000+ times since it first aired online last autumn.  

The second episode, ‘What to do with the Silence’, concentrates on the personal journey of the central character Leoni, and the tragic circumstances that bring her from a settled life in Namibia to helping other African immigrant women in Berlin.  While the first film was shot entirely in Berlin, this time Beukes-Meyer and her team are planning to film in both Berlin and Windhoek, Namibia. The $30,000 raised through the crowdfunding campaign will help with cast and crew fees in both countries, post-production costs as well as equipment rental in the Namibian capital city.

“We began looking at the Crowdfunding model which has been used so successfully to fund film productions in the US and Canada and felt that this was a positive option for us,” Beukes-Meyer said.  

“We really liked the whole notion of peer-to-peer funding and it seemed to fit well with our own ethos, not just because this is not a big budget production but because the nature of both the Berlin and the women’s film scene has always been friends and friends-of-friends helping each other out to get a film made.”

“My dream,” she added, “Is to film one episode of ‘The Centre’ a year.   If crowdfunding enables us to do that and to bring these stories to a larger community of film lovers, then we can help to give a voice to many lesbians who may not have had a voice, or a reason to believe their voice was important, before.” 

A note on crowdfunding: Crowdfunding enables people with a great creative idea to ask the general public for the funding they need to get the film made. The team behind the idea sets a target for the money it wants to raise and explains how it will use the cash. People can then make pledges for small amounts of money in return for a reward if the target is reached.

What To Do with the Silence’ goes live on Indigogo on Tuesday 9th September 2014 at

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Saturday, August 23, 2014 / Labels: , , , , , ,

Homosexuality in the 6th century BC: Tomb of the Bulls

August 23, 2014 /LGBT News/ Monterozzi is an Etruscan necropolis on a hill east of Tarquinia in Lazio, Italy. The necropolis has about 6,000 graves, the oldest of which dates to the 7th century BCE. Monterozzi is also the site of the Tomb of the Bulls, a tomb constructed c. 540–530 BC. The walls of the tomb are illustrated with frescos that evidence a strong influence from Greek art. 

The panel on the left depicts a heterosexual scene
involving three persons
In the Tomb of the Bulls in Tarquinia, there are two sets of figures and 'obscene' scenes. The main scene depicts naked Troilus, Priam’s young, beautiful son, en route to a fountain below Troy where Achilles awaits in ambush. The nudity of Troilus may be used to portray him as young and beautiful, or vulnerable. It could also be used for magic apotropaic reasons (having the power to prevent evil). Troilus’ nudity may also represent a sexual appeal; ancient sources and illustrations attest to Achilles’ love for Troilus, a tradition that may explain the surrounding sexual scenes. On the left side of the illustrated panel, a man penetrates a woman who is supported on the back of a man bent on all fours. Moving to the right in the depicted scene towards two men having sexual intercourse, the ithyphallic bull has clearly defined and distinct horns; in ancient (and modern) Italy, the single horn is also a potent weapon to spear the Evil Eye.

Two standing men have sexual intercourse while bull with the head of an old man (Achelous?) and an erection trots toward them in the form of a bull with an erection.

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Saturday, August 16, 2014 / Labels: , , , , , , ,

World War II love letter to a fellow soldier: Sleep well my love

August 16, 2014 /LGBT News/ The following love letter was written by American World War II veteran Brian Keith to Dave, a fellow soldier he fell in love with in 1943 while stationed in North Africa. The letter was reprinted in September of 1961 by pro-gay ONE Magazine. The original letter is reportedly held in the Library of Congress.

Dear Dave,

This is in memory of an anniversary — the anniversary of October 27th, 1943, when I first heard you singing in North Africa. That song brings memories of the happiest times I’ve ever known. Memories of a GI show troop — curtains made from barrage balloons — spotlights made from cocoa cans — rehearsals that ran late into the evenings — and a handsome boy with a wonderful tenor voice. Opening night at a theatre in Canastel — perhaps a bit too much muscatel, and someone who understood. Exciting days playing in the beautiful and stately Municipal Opera House in Oran — a misunderstanding — an understanding in the wings just before opening chorus.

Drinks at ‘Coq d’or’ — dinner at the ‘Auberge’ — a ring and promise given. The show 1st Armoured — muscatel, scotch, wine — someone who had to be carried from the truck and put to bed in his tent. A night of pouring rain and two very soaked GIs beneath a solitary tree on an African plain. A borrowed French convertible — a warm sulphur spring, the cool Mediterranean, and a picnic of ‘rations’ and hot cokes. Two lieutenants who were smart enough to know the score, but not smart enough to realize that we wanted to be alone. A screwball piano player — competition — miserable days and lonely nights. The cold, windy night we crawled through the window of a GI theatre and fell asleep on a cot backstage, locked in each other’s arms — the shock when we awoke and realized that miraculously we hadn’t been discovered. A fast drive to a cliff above the sea — pictures taken, and a stop amid the purple grapes and cool leaves of a vineyard.
The happiness when told we were going home — and the misery when we learned that we would not be going together. Fond goodbyes on a secluded beach beneath the star-studded velvet of an African night, and the tears that would not be stopped as I stood atop the sea-wall and watched your convoy disappear over the horizon.

We vowed we’d be together again ‘back home,’ but fate knew better — you never got there. And so, Dave, I hope that where ever you are these memories are as precious to you as they are to me.

Goodnight, sleep well my love.

Brian Keith

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Saturday, July 12, 2014 / Labels: , , , ,

Watch: Paragraph 175 - A documentary about the persecution of homosexuals in Nazi Germany and the Holocaust

July 12, 2014 /LGBT News/ Paragraph 175 is a 2000 documentary film that chronicles the lives of several gay men and one lesbian who were persecuted by the Nazis. The gay men were arrested by the Nazis for the crime of homosexuality under Paragraph 175, the sodomy provision of the German penal code, dating back to 1871.

Between 1933 and 1945, 100,000 men were arrested under Paragraph 175. Some were imprisoned, others were sent to concentration camps. Only about 4,000 survived; see Paragraph 175 for full details.

In 2000, fewer than ten of these men were known to be living. Five come forward in the documentary to tell their stories for the first time, considered to be among the last untold stories of the Third Reich.

Paragraph 175 tells of a gap in the historical record and reveals the lasting consequences, as told through personal stories of gay men and women who lived through it, including: Karl Gorath; Gad Beck, the half-Jewish resistance fighter who spent the war helping refugees escape Berlin; Annette Eick, the Jewish lesbian who escaped to England with the help of a woman she loved; Albrecht Becker, German Christian photographer, who was arrested and imprisoned for homosexuality, then joined the army on his release because he "wanted to be with men"; Pierre Seel, the French Alsatian teenager, who watched as his lover was eaten alive by dogs in the camps.

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Thursday, July 10, 2014 / Labels: , , , , , , ,

More than 5,000 same-sex marriages in Illinois

Equality Illinois survey finds new same-sex marriages and civil union conversions in every corner of the state

July 10, 2014 /LGBT News/ In a news release, Equality Illinois reports that a survey of all 102 Illinois counties revealed that at least 3,274 marriage licenses have been issued and another 1,694 civil unions were converted to marriages.

The group also announced that couples married out-of-state had their marriages recognised in the state.

“It is heartwarming to see that thousands of couples have been able to get married who were denied that right just months ago. Love and commitment are what make a marriage, and our state now recognizes that reality. And thousands of loving couples and their children are protected by the new marriage equality law,” said Bernard Cherkasov, CEO of Equality Illinois, the state’s oldest and largest organization advocating for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Illinoisans.

Read the Equality Illinois survey here.

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Tuesday, June 10, 2014 / Labels: , , , , ,

Video: Gay man beaten at Detroit Pride festival

June 10, 2014 /LGBT News/ Christin Howard, 20, said he was attacked after an angry group of men began hurling anti-gay slurs at him during the Motor City Pride festival on Sunday. 

A bystander recorded the brutal beatdown. Video shows the men kicking and punching Howard until he falls to the ground.

The Detroit Police Department planned to investigate the attack as a possible hate crime. WXYZ reported that the case was the first incident of violence in the Pride event’s 40-year history.

No arrests had been made as of Tuesday.

Watch the video below from WXYZ, broadcast June 10, 2014.

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Monday, June 9, 2014 / Labels: , , , , , ,

10 wonderful children's books on marriage equality

June 9, 2014 /LGBT News

1.  And Tango Makes Three

And Tango Makes Three is a 2005 children's book written by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson and illustrated by Henry Cole. This tale about the meaning of family is based on a true story about a charming penguin family living in New York City's Central Park Zoo. Roy and Silo, two male penguins, are "a little bit different." The book follows the six years of their life when they formed a couple and were given an egg to raise. Done in soft watercolors, the illustrations set the tone for this uplifting story, and readers will find it hard to resist the penguins' expressions. An author's note provides more information about Roy, Silo, Tango, and other chinstrap penguins.

2. Mommy, Mama, and Me

Rhythmic text and illustrations with universal appeal show a toddler spending the day with its mommies. From hide-and-seek to dress-up, then bath time and a kiss goodnight, there's no limit to what a loving family can do together. Shares the loving bond between same-sex parents and their children. Written by Lesléa Newman  and illustrated by Carol Thompson.

3. A Tale of Two Mommies 

A Tale of Two Mommies is a beach conversation among three children. One boy asks another boy about having two mommies. A young girl listening in asks some questions too. True to a child’s curiosity, practical questions follow. “Which mom is there when you want to go fishing? / Which mom helps out when Kitty goes missing?” To which he answers: “Mommy helps when I want to go fishing. / Both Mommies help when Kitty goes missing. Written by Vanita Oelschlager and illustrated by Mike Blanc, A Tale of Two Mommies is intended for 4-8 year olds.

4. The Family Book 

Written by Todd Parr, The Family Book celebrates the love we feel for our families and all the different varieties they come in. Whether you have two moms or two dads, a big family or a small family, a clean family or a messy one, Parr assures readers that no matter what kind of family you have, every family is special in its own unique way. Perfect for young children just beginning to read, The Family Book is designed to encourage early literacy, enhance emotional development, celebrate multiculturalism, promote character growth, and strengthen family relationships. 

5. Oh The Things Mommies Do!: What Could Be Better Than Having Two?

A playful celebration of Lesbian Mothers and their children! Oh The Things Mommies Do! is a bouncy, and playful look at the joys of a two Mom family. With its catchy rhymes and vibrant illustrations, it is a pleasure for children and parents alike. Written by Crystal Tompkins and illustrated by Lindsey Evans.
6. The Different Dragon

Written by Jennifer Bryan and illustrated by Danamarle Hosler, this bedtime story about bedtime stories shows how the wonderful care and curiosity of a little boy, with some help from his willing moms, can lead to magical and unexpected places. Join Noah and his cat, Diva, on this nighttime adventure and you too will leave with an unforgettable new dragon friend.

7. In Our Mothers' House

Marmee, Meema, and the kids are just like any other family on the block. In their beautiful and filled with love house, they cook dinner together, they laugh together, and they dance together. And they also teach their children that different doesn't mean wrong. Written and illustrated by Patricia Polacco.

8. Daddy, Papa, and Me

Rhythmic text and illustrations with universal appeal show a toddler spending the day with its daddies. From hide-and-seek to dress-up, then bath time and a kiss goodnight, there's no limit to what a loving family can do together. Share the loving bond between same-sex parents and their children. Written by Lesléa Newman  and illustrated by Carol Thompson.

9. King and King

When a grouchy queen tells her layabout son that it's time for him to marry, he sighs, "Very well, Mother.... I must say, though, I've never cared much for princesses." This is a way of explaining homosexuality to your children so you can raise an accepting, wonderful human being. Written by Linda de Haan and Stern Nijland.

10. My Uncle's Wedding

There’s so much to do now that Uncle Mike and Steve are getting married. Follow Andy on this enjoyable journey as he talks about his uncle's wedding, how it affects him, and the things he gets to do in preparation for the ceremony. You’ll laugh and smile as you read this adorable story about marriage and family. Written by Eric Ross and illustrated by r), Tracy K Greene.

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Wednesday, June 4, 2014 / Labels: , , , , , ,

How to make rainbow roses: a step-by-step guide

June 4, 2014 /LGBT News/ Staining roses with dyes is a common practice to obtain flower colors that are not available in nature, as in the case of blue roses, the most common and first color to be used. However Rainbow Roses are most unusual because the petals of the same flower display various colors. The technique for producing Rainbow Roses was developed by Peter van de Werken from River Roses, a flower company located in Holland. 

Here is how you can also make a rainbow rose:

1. Start off with a white rose with 8-9 inches stem. 
2. Choose some water soluble colors. They should be much different from each other with high contrast value. 
3. Collect cups/glasses filled with water for each color. Add color to the water and steer well. Add drops of color until the water becomes totally opaque.
4. Split the stem into several equal channels.  Use a knife or sharp blade to cut lengthwise up to 6 inches.
5. Dip each channel in a different dye.
6. Wait for 24 hours and see the magic. The colors will move upwards through the xylem to the petals, and resultant rose will have all the colors in it. 
7. Take the rose out and bind the split ends using adhesive tapes.

The same method can be applied to other flowers especially to Chrysanthemum and Hydrangea. 


Do not choose a red or pink rose to color.
Colors should be water soluble.
Colors should be blended very well with the water. Mix it well.
The process of splitting should be done carefully. 
Do not keep it in direct sunlight. The rose will dry.

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Wednesday, May 14, 2014 / Labels: , , , , , ,

Anglican Church in New Zealand offers apology to LGBT community, takes step towards blessing same-sex couples

May 14, 2014 /LGBT News/ The Anglican Church's ruling body for New Zealand and Polynesia will now look at ways that the blessing of same-sex relationships could be part of church life. The decision was made at the church's two-yearly General Synod in Waitangi.

A spokesperson says the church held a wide range of views, but unanimously supported looking at how same-sex relationships could be part of the church life.

The church has also apologized unreservedly for the times actions of the Church have contributed to that pain.

“Over many years,” the preamble to the resolution reads, “our church has become increasingly aware of the pain of the LGBT community. All too often our church has been complicit in homophobic thinking and actions of society, and has failed to speak out against hatred and violence against those with same-gender attraction.

“We apologise unreservedly and commit ourselves to reconciliation and prophetic witness.”

A working party will be appointed to recommend processes and structures that allow people to choose whether they lead, or not lead, same gender blessings. That choice will be dependent on whether each person believes such blessings are contrary to, or in agreement with scripture, doctrine, tikanga or civil law. The working party would also propose a liturgy to bless right ordered same gender relationships.

The working party will report to the next General Synod in 2016.  However, any recommended changes approved by the Church would not be implemented until 2020 at the earliest.

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