A new study shows detailed anti-bullying laws can help decrease the suicide rate among LGBTI teenagers.
Suicide prevention organization The Trevor Project stated LGBTI teens are nearly five times more likely than their straight counterparts to have attempted suicide.
The Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law has found a connection between LGBTI-inclusive state bullying laws and lower rates of teen suicide attempts.
The report analyzed 2015 data on the leading causes of death among teens ages 14 to 18 in the US.
At the moment, all 50 states have anti-bullying laws. However, just 20 and the District of Columbia have laws explicitly protecting LGBTI kids. These states reported a lower rate of attempted suicides and sexual assaults.
The study also highlights that approximately 55% of LGBTI youth live in states that do not have laws that explicitly protect them from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
‘Anti-bullying laws that explicitly protect youth based on sexual orientation are associated with fewer suicide attempts among all youth, regardless of sexual orientation,” the report highlights.
‘Enumeration of sexual orientation in state anti-bullying laws is a first step,’ Ilan Meyer said. Meyer is the lead author of the report and a senior public policy scholar at the Williams Institute.
A Canadian tech company has come under fire for allegedly providing filtering software censoring LGBTI content to anti-LGBTI governments.
LGBTI advocacy group All Out has teamed up with Mexican organization R3D, which defends human rights in the digital world, to shed a light on the issue.
The two have joined forces to urge Canadian company Netsweeper to stop providing LGBTI censorship filters to homophobic governments. Moreover, the LGBTI group wants to ensure that tech companies don’t use such technologies to violate human rights.
Activists started an online petition to put an end to this LGBTI-related content censorship. They addressed Perry J. Roach, Founder and Chief Executive Officer at Netsweeper Inc.
They also reached out to the Canadian government, which agreed to review their recommendations.
‘Helping countries like the UAE censor LGBTI content online, including life-saving information on HIV prevention, is a gross violation of international human rights guidelines,’ Senior Campaigns Manager at All Out Yuri Guaiana told Gay Star News.
‘We are glad the Canadian government agreed to review our recommendation that any additional financial support to Netsweeper will be made conditional on their commitment to human rights.’
Guaiana furthermore said that more than 27,000 people have signed the petition so far. They are asking Netsweeper to stop providing these filters censoring content identified as ‘Alternative Lifestyles’.
‘We’ll keep demanding that,’ Guaiana also added.
This is not the first time Netsweeper has faced criticism.
Last year, Citizen Lab, a security and human rights research group run out of the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto, published a report on the use of Netsweeper in 10 countries cited for systematic human rights problems. They analyzed activities in countries such as Afghanistan, Bahrain, India, Kuwait, Pakistan, Qatar, Somalia, Sudan, UAE, and Yemen.
‘Netsweeper’s services can easily be abused to help facilitate draconian controls on the public sphere by stifling access to information and freedom of expression,’ said Ronald Deibert, who runs Citizen Lab.
The report also explains how the technology provided by Netsweeper works.
The software blocks Google searches for LGBTI-related keywords and non-pornographic websites by mischaracterizing them as sexually explicit.
With Christmas less than a week away, it might be the perfect time to help others in need.
Micro Rainbow International Foundation is opening a new safe home for LGBTI asylum seekers in London and is calling for donations.
The charity is urging everyone to donate whatever they can on social media. They have set up an Amazon wishlist where whoever wishes to help can buy anything from bedsheets to microwaves.
MRI is crucial in helping asylum seekers
MRI was born in 2012. It provides shelter to lesbian, bisexual, gay, trans and intersex people who are homeless because they have been shunned by their families or persecuted by their government.
After programmes in Cambodia and Brazil, they opened the first safe house for LGBTI asylum seekers in the UK in 2017.
They have inaugurated other two safe houses in London ever since.
For one of their new houses in the UK capital, MRI is asking people to help via Amazon.
‘Many LGBTI people around the world are victims of persecution and violence because of their sexual or gender identity or intersex status. They face imprisonment or the death penalty just because of who they are and who they love. Those who can, leave their countries behind and come to the UK to seek safety,’ they wrote on their website.
‘However, when they come to the UK they are not safe and they face several challenges. One of these challenges is homelessness.’
They furthermore added: ‘In our experience the abuse that LGBTI asylum seekers face in accommodation pushes many to become homeless at a critical point in life: when they try to save their lives and to secure their right to stay in the UK. This is why Micro Rainbow’s safe housing project is so vital. Micro Rainbow decided to create safe homes where LGBTI asylum seekers can be safe whilst they go through the grueling asylum process.’
This is what you can do to help
‘Running the safe houses and providing the extra support that LGBTI asylum seekers need is expensive,’ they also explained.
‘However, together we can make sure that each person receives adequate bedding, food and clothing.’
There are different ways to help this Christmas. You can either make a monthly donation, donate an Amazon gift card or buy an actual item off the wishlist for as little as £5.
Pharmaceutical company Gilead is ‘intentionally withholding’ a safer drug used for HIV treatments, a lawsuit claims.
The company holds the patent on Tenofovir Disoproxil Fumarate (TDF), an antiretroviral drug for people living with HIV. If routinely taken, this can regulate the viral load.
However, a lawsuit filed in US federal court on 17 November alleges that the company is withholding a new version of the drug with fewer side-effects to exploit patent laws.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) greenlit the new drug in November 2016.
According to the lawsuit, the company plans to sell a safer version of the drug called Tenofovir Alafenamide Fumarate (TAF). However, this will only happen when the patent on TDF expires in 2021.
Patent expiration means that cheaper, generic versions of the drug can be produced by other companies. If Gilead is timing the rollout for TAF to the patent expiration on TDF, they could continue to charge premium rates for the new drug.
The lawsuit claims that the company is ‘intentionally withholding [TAF] …from hundreds of thousands of patients in order to extend the profitability of the patent’. It says this has particularly impacted LGBTI individuals and ethnic minorities.
‘We are filing lawsuits on behalf of people with HIV who took one or more of Gilead’s TDF drugs—Truvada, Viread, Atripla, Complera, and Stribild—and then allegedly suffered kidney disease and/or bone density loss,’ the law firms announced on their website.
‘Gilead is accused of knowing that these drugs could cause serious side effects, but allegedly withheld a safer version of the medication (TAF drugs). Our law firms—Morgan & Morgan, Ben Crump Law, and Hilliard Martinez Gonzales—aim to hold Gilead accountable and recover money for people who claim they were harmed by these drugs.’
Midterm elections are taking place today (6 November) in the US and many are thrilled with the several LGBTI candidates running for office.
However, not everyone is happy with this ‘rainbow wave’ that could change the political scenario.
Some of these crucial candidates’ opponents and their supporters have whipped up prejudice against them with anti-LGBTI flyers.
A Republican on his gay opponent ‘and the man he calls his “husband”‘
The mailer targeting Smith Jr. (right) and his husband (center).
As the Pittsburgh Current reported in early November, Republican Daryl Metcalfe currently serving Butler County, Pennsylvania, highlighted in a series of flyers that his Democratic opponent, Daniel Smith Jr. is gay.
Smith Jr. is indeed an out gay man. Looking at the mailers sent to voters seems that Smith Jr.’s sexual orientation is the only argument Metcalfe’s supporters have.
‘Smith Jr. endorsed by liberal gay activist groups and unions,’ the flyer reads in bold.
Moreover, Metcalfe belittled Smith Jr.’s marriage.
A picture of Smith Jr. with his husband and Pennsylvania governor Tom Wolf at Pittsburgh PrideFest is on another mailer, as reported by The Daily Beast.
The caption reads: ‘Smith Jr. and the man he calls his “husband.”‘
Metcalfe, endorsed by the National Rifle Association (NRA), has a track record of opposing LGBTI equality.
He was against Philadelphia’s program to market the city to LGBTI tourists.
Furthermore, after the Supreme Court in 2013 ruled the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional, openly gay state representative Brian Sims tried to make a speech in the Pennsylvania House supporting the decision. Metcalfe was one of several representatives who blocked Sims from speaking. He labeled Sims’s speech as ‘open rebellion against what the word of God has said’.
Several other episodes of LGBTI discrimination
This is only the latest incident targeting an LGBTI candidate.
The Conservative Republicans of Harris County sent out some mailers in Houston. They asked voters to ‘remember when the Democrats wanted to allow men to enter into women’s public bathrooms’.
The line is a reference to the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO), an LGBTI nondiscrimination measure that has been repealed.
The mailer also features a picture of a drag queen next to a crying baby captioned ‘Help me!’ It warned that ‘Democrats Support A Drag Queen Story Hour (For Kids)’.
Houston Public Library hosts a monthly Drag Queen Storytime event. According to the organizers, ‘these vibrant Queens will help to instill a sense of love and acceptance in our children while encouraging them to be true to themselves’.
Trans candidates are constantly misgendered
Rodney Garcia’s mailer targeting his trans opponent Amelia Marquez.
Trans candidates have to deal with the frustration of being misgendered by their opponents.
Amelia Marquez might become the first transgender person elected into Montana’s House of Representatives.
In an interview with the Missoulian Independent, her opponent Rodney Garcia repeatedly referred to Marquez by her birth name.
When the reporters reminded him of her legal name, he said he deadnamed her out of ‘respect and courtesy’.
He then added: ‘I just got a door hanger on my door and it says [Amelia] too, but I go by her given name.’
A pro-Garcia mailer also accused Marquez of supporting the statement ‘Men should be allowed to use the women’s restrooms.’
‘Get ready to win’
Trans Democratic representative for Virginia Danica Roem reminded trans candidates in the midterm elections of her journey.
‘2017: The Republican Party of Virginia paid for two transphobic mailers against me. I then won by 8%,’ she wrote.
‘2018: RPV launched another transphobic web attack against me. And then we expanded Medicaid,’ she continued.
She then said: ‘To candidate putting up with this garbage: get ready to win.’
Revelers at Greater Palm Springs Pride in 2015. | Photo: Greater Palm Springs Pride
30 October 2018 12:46 GMT
Californian LGBTI heaven Palm Springs is ready to host one of the latest and much-anticipated Prides of the year.
Greater Palm Springs Pride returns for its 32nd year from 1-4 November.
After a hot Pride summer in the US, Pridegoers had to wait for more reasonable temperatures in this little gem in the Coachella Valley.
Palm Springs, in fact, reaches more than 45°C in July. Definitely not the right weather to celebrate Pride if you want that rainbow makeup to stay in place.
Temperatures are cooler in fall, with Palm Springs reaching highs of 26°C and making it the perfect Pride weather. And the 140,000+ revelers expected for the three-day festival know it. For comparison, Palm Springs only has a population of 48,142, but tourists – mainly gay men – really make the difference.
The parade and festival
Greater Palm Springs Pride 2017. | Photo: @instchrisw/Instagram
Kicking off at 10am on Sunday 4 November, the parade steps off in the Uptown Design District at Tachevah and Palm Canyon Dr. and then travels south through downtown. It ends at the entrance to the Pride Festival at Museum Way.
There are several fun-loving events over the previous three days, including the two-day Pride festival, taking place over the weekend.
On Saturday, there is the Official Palm Springs Pride Saturday Pool Party. 12 hours of sunbathing, diving and sipping cocktails by the pool.
Girls can head to the Dyke March Picnic, taking place from 12pm to 4pm. The Transgender Pride and March will take to the streets on Sunday, between 10am and 11:30am, before the general parade.
Moreover, those who want to tie the knot in Palm Springs during Pride can do so at various pop-up locations across town.
LA electro artist Madame Gandhi. | Photo: @madamegandhi/Instagram
The acts performing at Greater Palm Springs Pride are so many you are guaranteed to find at least one artist you’re eager to see on stage.
Here are some of the artists playing this year’s Pride:
LA-based electronic music artist and activist Madame Gandhi
Petter Wallenberg is fundraising for Uganda’s first LGBTI space. | Photo: Rainbow Riots/Facebook
10 October 2018
A minister condemned Uganda‘s LGBTI community for planning to build a safe space in the capital Kampala.
This would be East Africa’s first center for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
Providing the community with such a space would be a milestone for the African nation.
Gay sex, in fact, is still illegal in Uganda under colonial laws. Therefore, even organizing a Pride march might be dangerous for those involved. In 2016, police officers raided Uganda Pride and held hostage participants.
The minister said: ‘They can’t open a centre of LGBT activity here’
After months of planning and a fundraising campaign, however, authorities have told Rainbow Riots activists their project is illegal.
Simon Lokodo, the country’s minister for ethics and integrity, said opening the community center would be a criminal act. It would violate the law that currently criminalizes homosexuality.
‘They will have to take it somewhere else. They can’t open a centre of LGBT activity here,’ he said.
‘Homosexuality is not allowed and completely unacceptable in Uganda.’
He furthermore added: ‘We don’t and can’t allow it. LGBT activities are already banned and criminalised in this country. So popularising it is only committing a crime.’
‘His condemnation cannot stop us’
Nonetheless, LGBTI activists are continuing their fight and going ahead with their project.
Despite opening the center in Kampala might put their freedom at stake, they are hoping to open the center in 2019.
They have already raised the equivalent of $4,000.
‘I feel saddened by it, but not surprised,’ founding director of Rainbow Riots Petter Wallenberg told GSN.
‘As a gay man who has lived through modern day gay liberation, I have seen homophobia in many shapes and forms before. I have been in dangerous situations in Uganda and other places and it doesn’t deter me from fighting. We tend to forget that these kinds of homophobic attitudes were normal in Europe and the US not long ago. But they changed because we fought back,’ he also said.
Trans activist Alicia Houston also expressed her outrage at the minister’s statement.
‘Our country is facing a lot of serious challenges like corruption and killings, and LGBTI people are doing no harm by only wanting to exist. He should accept that LGBTI people do exist,’ she told GSN.
‘Of course LGBTI people feel so bad because the idea with this centre is to help us develop our talents and skills and give us something to be proud of. His condemnation cannot stop us. This centre is not a criminal act.’