Wednesday, February 11, 2015 / Labels: , , , , , ,

Intersex Human Rights Fund - Call for applications

February, 11, 2015 /LGBT News/ The Intersex Human Rights Fund was launched by the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice to honor the resilience, creativity and growth of intersex activism and ensure the human rights of intersex people. 

People with intersex variations face invisibility, stigma, discrimination and violence. Intersex babies and children are widely subjected to “normalizing,” non-consensual, harmful surgeries and other medical interventions, with life-long consequences, including sterilization and genital mutilation. There are few legal frameworks to protect intersex people from multiple forms of discrimination and institutional violence. While intersex activism has been growing around the world, intersex issues and communities remain starkly under-funded, receiving less than a fraction of 1% of global foundation funding for LGBTQI people and/or women and girls. 

The Intersex Human Rights Fund supports organizations, projects and timely campaigns led by intersex activists working to ensure the human rights, bodily autonomy, physical integrity and self-determination of intersex people. This Fund is made possible through the generous support of seed donors Kobi Conaway and Andrew Owen, and a leadership contribution from the Arcus Foundation. Given the dearth of funding to intersex issues globally, intersex groups/projects based anywhere in the world are eligible to apply. 

Astraea particularly seeks proposals from intersex activists who have never applied for a grant or received foundation funding. Groups with small or no budgets, staff or structures are eligible and encouraged to apply. 

Grants will range from $2,500 – $10,000. 

Proposal Deadline:  20 February 2015


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Wednesday, January 21, 2015 / Labels: , , , , , ,

Kyrgyzstan’s New Anti-Gay Law Is Even Worse than Russia’s

anti LGBT map Kyrgyzstan, Kyrgyzstan’s New Anti-Gay Law Is Even Worse than Russia’s, LGBT news

January 21, 2014 /LGBT News/ In a few months, writing these words might get me thrown in prison.

I live in Kyrgyzstan, where soon any public mention of homosexuality will likely be forbidden by law.

That’s because in October, the Kyrgyz version of the notorious Russian law against “gay propaganda” passed its first reading by a vote of 79 to 7. Following one more reading, the bill will reach President Almazbek Atambayev’s desk, where it is almost certain to pass into law. Legislators even proposed that the minimum sentence for making reference to homosexuality be increased from one year to three.

Kyrgyzstan’s close affiliation with Russia inspired the law, and the Kyrgyz version is even tougher. To protect “traditional Kyrgyz values and families,” the law states, any “positive image of nontraditional sexual relations” will be prohibited. Anyone caught distributing a photo, writing an article, or posting on Facebook about homosexuality will face up to a year imprisonment.

The law will effectively make it illegal to advocate for, provide information about, or even organize a peaceful assembly in support of LGBT rights. Human rights organizations like my own will cease to exist as our current activities will be deemed unlawful.

This violates Kyrgyzstan’s commitments under both international law and its own constitution, which protects the right to peaceful assembly, free access to information, and freedom from any form of discrimination. In a society as homophobic as Kyrgyzstan’s, the law will only encourage more anti-gay crimes. In fact, one form of speech that’s not criminalized under the new law is homophobic hate speech.

Being LGBT in Kyrgyzstan today means being exposed to blatant violence. In the past, cases of violence were sporadic, but today they are systematic, premeditated, and executed by groups. Since 2008, human rights organizations in Kyrgyzstan have documented over 200 cases of homophobic attacks, ranging from beatings on the street to raids of the offices of LGBT rights organizations.

The crimes begin in our own families, which disown us and force us out of our homes. Many among us have suffered horrific sexual violence, including so-called corrective rape. If you dare to report these crimes to the police, the abuse continues.

Severe and prolonged beatings, threats of rape, and denial of food and water are some of the testimonies from victims whose only crime is being gay or bisexual. A report by Human Rights Watch released earlier this year suggests that these abuses by the police have on occasion risen to the “level of torture.”

The space for the LGBT community in Kyrgyzstan is shrinking. If passed, this discriminatory law will serve as an instrument for even more repression. It’s not just about LGBT rights. It’s about the broader, long-term implications for our country. Outlawing any public expression of identity threatens the fundamental rights and freedoms of Kyrgyz society as a whole.

Written by Syinat Sultanalieva for the Open Society Foundation

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Thursday, January 8, 2015 / Labels: , , , , ,

Nepal to issue passports with third gender for sexual minorities



January 8, 2015 /LGBT News/ The Nepalese government is to issue passports with a third gender option for citizens who do not identify as male or female.

'We have changed the passport regulations and will add a third category of gender for those people who do not want to be identified as male or female,' Lok Bahadur Thapa, chief of the government’s passport department, told Reuters.

The decision comes after a 2007 Supreme Court ruling in the country ordered authorities to amend legislation to include a third gender.

Nepal joins a handful of countries that recognize a third gender: citizens of Australia and New Zealand can choose from three genders for their passports - male female or indeterminate, marked by an "x" in the passport. 

South Asia nations appear to be ahead of the curve regarding the right to identify as third gender on official documents. Court decisions in Pakistan in 2009 and India in 2014 both cleared the way for people who identify as being of indeterminate gender to do so formally.

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Monday, January 5, 2015 / Labels: , , , ,

Leelah Alcorn's suicide note: 'My death needs to mean something. Fix society. Please.'


January 5, 2015 /LGBT News/ Leelah Alcorn’s suicide has been grabbing headlines since the transgender teen took her own life on December 28. 

Born Joshua Alcorn, the Cincinnati-area 17-year-old walked in front of a tractor-trailer in Warren County.

A suicide note posted on Leelah's Tumblr page - through scheduled publishing just a few hours after her death - blamed her parents for isolating her from support systems. (Leelah's Tumblr post was later deleted by her parents.)

Leelah writes that although she was born a boy, she began identifying as a girl at the age of four.

'When I was 14, I learned what transgender meant and cried of happiness. After 10 years of confusion I finally understood who I was. 

'I immediately told my mom, and she reacted extremely negatively, telling me that it was a phase, that I would never truly be a girl, that God doesn’t make mistakes, that I am wrong.'

She was taken out of school and barred from using social media, thus isolating her from friends and a support network. She was taken to see therapists but, Alcorn noted, only to 'Christian therapists, (who were all very biased) so I never actually got the therapy I needed to cure me of my depression. I only got more christians telling me that I was selfish and wrong and that I should look to God for help'.

She ended her suicide note with a plea for action: 'The only way I will rest in peace is if one day transgender people aren’t treated the way I was, they’re treated like humans, with valid feelings and human rights. Gender needs to be taught about in schools, the earlier the better. My death needs to mean something. My death needs to be counted in the number of transgender people who commit suicide this year. I want someone to look at that number and say “that’s fucked up” and fix it. Fix society. Please.'

In the aftermath of their child’s death, Leelah’s parents have continued to express their disapproval of her gender identity.

'We don’t support that, religiously,' Carla Alcorn told CNN, adding: 'But we told him that we loved him unconditionally. We loved him no matter what. I loved my son. People need to know that I loved him. He was a good kid, a good boy.'

For those who want to read Leelah's final words, here they are, in full:

If you are reading this, it means that I have committed suicide and obviously failed to delete this post from my queue.

Please don’t be sad, it’s for the better. The life I would’ve lived isn’t worth living in … because I’m transgender. I could go into detail explaining why I feel that way, but this note is probably going to be lengthy enough as it is. To put it simply, I feel like a girl trapped in a boy’s body, and I’ve felt that way ever since I was 4. I never knew there was a word for that feeling, nor was it possible for a boy to become a girl, so I never told anyone and I just continued to do traditionally “boyish” things to try to fit in.

When I was 14, I learned what transgender meant and cried of happiness. After 10 years of confusion I finally understood who I was. I immediately told my mom, and she reacted extremely negatively, telling me that it was a phase, that I would never truly be a girl, that God doesn’t make mistakes, that I am wrong. If you are reading this, parents, please don’t tell this to your kids. Even if you are Christian or are against transgender people don’t ever say that to someone, especially your kid. That won’t do anything but make them hate them self. That’s exactly what it did to me.

My mom started taking me to a therapist, but would only take me to Christian therapists, (who were all very biased) so I never actually got the therapy I needed to cure me of my depression. I only got more Christians telling me that I was selfish and wrong and that I should look to God for help.

When I was 16 I realized that my parents would never come around, and that I would have to wait until I was 18 to start any sort of transitioning treatment, which absolutely broke my heart. The longer you wait, the harder it is to transition. I felt hopeless, that I was just going to look like a man in drag for the rest of my life. On my 16th birthday, when I didn’t receive consent from my parents to start transitioning, I cried myself to sleep.

I formed a sort of a “fuck you” attitude towards my parents and came out as gay at school, thinking that maybe if I eased into coming out as trans it would be less of a shock. Although the reaction from my friends was positive, my parents were pissed. They felt like I was attacking their image, and that I was an embarrassment to them. They wanted me to be their perfect little straight Christian boy, and that’s obviously not what I wanted.

So they took me out of public school, took away my laptop and phone, and forbid me of getting on any sort of social media, completely isolating me from my friends. This was probably the part of my life when I was the most depressed, and I’m surprised I didn’t kill myself. I was completely alone for 5 months. No friends, no support, no love. Just my parent’s disappointment and the cruelty of loneliness.

At the end of the school year, my parents finally came around and gave me my phone and let me back on social media. I was excited, I finally had my friends back. They were extremely excited to see me and talk to me, but only at first. Eventually they realized they didn’t actually give a shit about me, and I felt even lonelier than I did before. The only friends I thought I had only liked me because they saw me five times a week.

After a summer of having almost no friends plus the weight of having to think about college, save money for moving out, keep my grades up, go to church each week and feel like shit because everyone there is against everything I live for, I have decided I’ve had enough. I’m never going to transition successfully, even when I move out. I’m never going to be happy with the way I look or sound. I’m never going to have enough friends to satisfy me. I’m never going to have enough love to satisfy me. I’m never going to find a man who loves me. I’m never going to be happy. Either I live the rest of my life as a lonely man who wishes he were a woman or I live my life as a lonelier woman who hates herself. There’s no winning. There’s no way out. I’m sad enough already, I don’t need my life to get any worse. People say “it gets better” but that isn’t true in my case. It gets worse. Each day I get worse.

That’s the gist of it, that’s why I feel like killing myself. Sorry if that’s not a good enough reason for you, it’s good enough for me. As for my will, I want 100% of the things that I legally own to be sold and the money (plus my money in the bank) to be given to trans civil rights movements and support groups, I don’t give a shit which one. The only way I will rest in peace is if one day transgender people aren’t treated the way I was, they’re treated like humans, with valid feelings and human rights. Gender needs to be taught about in schools, the earlier the better. My death needs to mean something. My death needs to be counted in the number of transgender people who commit suicide this year. I want someone to look at that number and say “that’s fucked up” and fix it. Fix society. Please.

Goodbye,
(Leelah) Josh Alcorn


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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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