These gay GIFs were shared a billion times in Pride Month

These gay GIFs were shared a billion times in Pride Month

These gay GIFs were shared more than a billion times during Pride Month. (Phil Corbett) A collection of LGBT+ GIFs – including cuddly bears in leather harnesses and lesbian heroines – were shared more than one billion times during Pride Month in June.

The animated gay GIFs, which also include a muscle-flexing unicorn and a “horny” rhino daddy, went viral on social media last month . View all the GIFs here. The artist’s Pride GIFs have gone viral. (Phil Corbett) Instagram and Facebook users across the world shared the GIFs, created by UK artist Phil Corbett, millions of times on their stories.

The GIFs include six bears, each wearing a harness coloured with a stripe from the Pride; a dancing dinosaur; a transforming animal; a rainbow-themed boombox; a pair of flamingos; and a flying cat with a rainbow-detailed tail and tongue.

Corbett, who is based in Brighton, was asked to draw-up the animated images by GIPHY, an online database and search engine for GIFs. The gifs are both hilarious and adorable. (Phil Corbett) “It was an honour being asked by GIPHY, the gigantic online database and search engine for animated GIFs, to provide their official Pride Month GIF collection,” said Corbett. “GIPHY are an amazing company and really embrace weird. It was good to let my imagination go crazy.”

Corbett’s GIFs continue to be hugely popular this month and, with Pride in London’s parade on Saturday, they’re set to be shared a lot over the weekend. Bears form a big focus of Corbett’s GIFs… (Phil Corbett) “Their reach is immense,” added Corbett. “It always gives me a buzz to see them pop up on a celebrity’s feed – and that just feeds the machine even more. It’s incredible.”

Corbett has previously worked for Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, Sony, Nintendo and Cadbury’s. The GIFs showcase queer love. (Phil Corbett) He also contributed artwork to the gay dating and virtual pet app, Mini Gay Boyfriend.

Pride in London’s iconic parade will be held on Saturday, with up to a million people expected to attend. If you’re planning to go along, here’s all you need to know.

Transport for London (TfL) has painted underground roundels and benches with the Pride-colours – using the trans flag for the first time – in the run-up to the event.

Meanwhile, Eurostar has painted a rainbow on its platform at St Pancras International to welcome revellers to Pride in London.

To view more of Phil Corbett’s art, visit:

England’s goalie Jordan Pickford is a Lucy Spraggan fan – and his tweet about her is adorable

England’s goalie Jordan Pickford is a Lucy Spraggan fan – and his tweet about her is adorable

England’s goalkeeper Jordan Pickford saves a penalty kicked by Colombia’s forward Carlos Bacca during the penalty shootouts in the last 16 of the World Cup at the Spartak Stadium in Moscow on July 3, 2018. (Mladen ANTONOV / AFP) England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford is a fan of Lucy Spraggan, and he thinks her “#lyricsarequality.”

Pickford has been hailed as a national hero since his incredible save on Tuesday night, paving the way for England’s first ever penalty shootout win against Columbia in the World Cup.

The victory sent England through to the quarter-finals of the tournament, meaning Pickford’s team will face Sweden on Saturday.

Now, it’s been revealed that Pickford is not only a sterling goalkeeper – but that he also has a superb taste in music.

Posting on Twitter back in 2012, the footballer proclaimed his love for openly gay singer-songwriter Lucy Spraggan and her single “Tea and Toast.”

“Lucy spraggan tea and toast is a decent song like #lyricsarequality,” he wrote.

An article in NME also revealed that Pickford is a fan of John Legend, who he described as “top draw,” as well as Bastille, Ed Sheeran, and Passenger. Pickford thinks Spraggan’s lyrics are “quality.” (JPickford1/Twitter) Pickford’s tweet also cryptically channels LGBT+ vibes because it could easily be misread as saying Spraggan’s “lyrics are equality.” His tweet dates to September 2012, coinciding with Spraggan’s rise to fame on The X Factor.

Spraggan made it through to the live shows on the singing contest, but quit in November due to illness, finishing in ninth place.

The musician has a big LGBT+ fanbase, and has played at Pride events across the UK. She will play at Manchester Pride this summer. Lucy Spraggan and her wife Georgina Spraggan. (@lspraggan) Her song “Tea and Toast” is about a couple falling in love and growing old together.

Queer football fans have been frustrated by the timing of England’s match against Sweden, which clashes with Pride in London.

Earlier this week, PinkNews revealed that countries with better laws protecting LGBT+ rights have so far done overwhelmingly better in the 2018 World Cup than their intolerant counterparts.

Pride in London’s iconic parade will be held on Saturday, with up to a million people expected to attend. If you’re planning to go along, here’s all you need to know.

Transport for London (TfL) has painted underground roundels and benches with the Pride-colours – using the trans flag for the first time – in the run-up to the event.

Meanwhile, Eurostar has painted a rainbow on its platform at St Pancras International to welcome revellers to Pride in London.

The UK is set to gets its first permanent LGBT homeless shelter

The UK is set to gets its first permanent LGBT homeless shelter

The UK is set to get its first homeless shelter for LGBT+ people in London. (BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images) The UK is set to get its first homeless shelter for LGBT+ people in east London, funded by the mayor Sadiq Khan.

The news follows on from the successful pilot of a temporary LGBT+ shelter, inside a renovated tour bus, last winter.

The project – a collaboration between Stonewall Housing and The Outside Project – will create a community centre and night shelter in Tower Hamlets for homeless people in the LGBT+ community.

According to the organisers, the shelter will be “housed in a building, with a community centre at its heart, in order to reach those LGBTIQ+ people most at risk of rough sleeping.”

The centre will act as a “cultural and artistic hub.” It will also house a cafe, alongside LGBT+ services, and co-working space for those in the queer community.

Statistics show that LGBT+ people are disproportionately affected by homelessness.

Figures from homelessness charity Albert Kennedy Trust show that some 24 percent of young people facing homelessness in the UK identify as LGBT+. The Outside Project’s temporary homeless shelter was in a renovated tour bus, previously used by Status Quo and Metallica. (The Outside Project) Bob Green, chief executive of Stonewall Housing, said: “LGBT+ people are more at risk of sleeping on the street and often avoid mainstream services.”

Green added that the initiative would “support more LGBT+ people to find safe housing and to access a range of services and social networks, through the community space where they can celebrate their identity and achieve their full potential.”

Stonewall Housing will also provide housing and employment support at the shelter.

The project is being funded by the mayor of London Sadiq Khan’s “Rough Sleeping Innovation Fund.” The interior of The Outside Project’s temporary LGBT+ homeless shelter in a repurposed tour bus, which was piloted over the winter period. (The Outside Project) Tam Vilbert, community centre director, said: “At the centre of our community are the most vulnerable members, we owe all of our current LGBTIQ+ rights to the homeless, transgender and marginalised queers who stood up for us 49 years ago in the Stonewall riots.”

The permanent shelter is the result of the successful pilot of a temporary version in the form of a repurposed tour bus, which was previously used by bands like Status Quo and Metallica.

Carla Ecola, founder of The Outside Project said: “We welcome the support of the Mayor’s office following a year-long campaign driven by London’s LGBTIQ+ activist, artist and homeless community.”

The temporary homeless shelter was tested for four months over the winter period, and was the result of a fundraiser spearheaded by The Outside Project.

According to the Independent, the shelter could be opened in autumn this year.

Parents object to school LGBT event, prompting climbdown

Parents object to school LGBT event, prompting climbdown

Headteacher Susan Papas claimed the work was a key part of promoting fundamental ‘British values’ (file photo). A primary school in London has toned down its LGBT celebration event after parents expressed their concerns.

Heavers Farm Primary, in Croydon, was planning an LGBT event featuring a parade at the school watched by families.

But many parents objected, with one saying her son – who is under ten years old – is too young to be taught about homosexuality and transsexualism. No consent

Headteacher Susan Papas responded by saying that because the teaching was not officially part of Sex and Relationship Education, “we do not need to seek consent from the parents”. I want to be able to educate my child on these things She also claimed the work was a key part of promoting fundamental ‘British values’ and suggested those with concerns were guilty of “spreading hateful messages”.

Local MP Steve Reed attended the stripped-back event – which included an assembly and a more low-key outdoor gathering – tweeting he was “very proud” of those children who attended.

According to a newspaper report, 110 children did not attend school on the day. ‘Too young’

An anonymous parent spoke out ahead of the event, explaining that her Year 4 son was “just far too young to be learning about all of this”.

“He came home the other day talking about lesbians and transgender people and I was so shocked.”

She added: “‘I know there will be Muslim families who would find the idea of taking part in such an event a very difficult thing to do”. Educate my child

Another parent said “dozens” of concerned people wanted a meeting with the school.

“I want to be able to educate my child on these things, it’s not just a matter of religion or our religious beliefs”, they added.

Headteacher Susan Papas said she was “really sad at the backlash”. Mumsnet abuse

Earlier this year, a Mumsnet user who asked fellow parents about withdrawing her seven-year-old son from an LGBT day at school suffered a barrage of abuse.

“Yasminluv” wrote on the internet forum asking how she could talk to her son’s teacher about the issue, before adding: “I would prefer to explain it to him myself”.

But over the course of nearly 300 replies, she was repeatedly labelled “homophobic” and sworn at. Just a handful of people stood up for her position.

Man covers street in flyers claiming lesbian sex causes cancer

Man covers street in flyers claiming lesbian sex causes cancer

A man has distributed flyers around a city in California, claiming that lesbian sex causes cancer. (Netflix/screen grab) A man has been seen covering a Californian street with flyers claiming that lesbian sex causes cancer.

The flyers distributed by a man around a street in West Sacramento argue that lesbians have an increased risk of developing cancer, when compared with straight women.

The single sheets of paper – with writing on the front and back – spread false information linking lesbian sex to cancer.

According to FOX40 , the flyers state: “Lesbians’ lifestyle is the same as everybody else except for their lovemaking activity that is exclusive to them, therefore it must be that activity which results in a higher incidence of cancer.”

The leaflets are titled: “The key to the mystery of estrogen and cancer.”

Syrena Ponce, a local resident, questioned a man that delivered a flyer to her door. The flyers were distributed around a street in West Sacramento. (FOX40) She told FOX40: “He wouldn’t respond to any of the questions we had. He kind of put his head down and was ignoring the situation.”

Ponce added: “I was concerned mostly because there are children home from school during the summer and stuff and they could be picking this information up.”

Another resident told the channel: “It definitely had a homophobic tone to it.”

FOX40 reported that it spoke to four residents in West Sacramento, who had received leaflets in the last month.

According to the broadcaster, some people in the area think that the flyers could have been distributed by a Christian religious group because they include a bible verse. The man has been seen going from door-to-door with the flyers. (FOX40) Elsewhere in California, the vice mayor of Dixon Ted Hickman is facing calls to step down after he penned an article declaring July as “Straight Pride American Month.”

His piece prompted recall efforts – a procedure when elected officials can be removed from office following a vote – with the creation of a “ Recall Ted Hickman ” Facebook page, which currently has more than 700 ‘likes’.

Hickman wrote in his article: “Now before anyone gets their pantyhose in a knot, this is not really legally anti anything; instead it’s pro-family; and proud to be a straight American, and me expressing a private opinion… So there!”

The Californian official added: “Now hundreds of millions of the rest of us can celebrate our month, peaking on July 4, as healthy, heterosexual, fairly monogamous, keep our kinky stuff to ourselves, Americans… We do it with our parades in every state and county in this country with families celebrating together.”

He also described Pride month as “LGBTQF-WTF month,” adding that it was an event that saw “tens of thousands of folks dancing and prancing all over American celebrating the fact they are different than most of the rest of us and showing their ‘pride’ in being so.”

China and Russia hit back at Trump tariffs

China and Russia hit back at Trump tariffs

US lobsters are among goods subject to Chinese retaliatory tariffs China and Russia have hit back after US tariffs on Chinese goods came into effect and President Donald Trump threatened to impose more.

China’s commerce ministry said it had lodged a new complaint with the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Meanwhile, Russia said it would introduce extra duties on a range of products imported from the US.

Beijing has accused the US of starting the "largest trade war in economic history". Charting the US-China trade battle

How a US-China trade war could hurt us all

Trade row: What has happened so far?

What tariffs are now in effect?

US tariffs on $34bn (£25.7bn) of Chinese goods came into effect on Friday.

China retaliated by imposing a similar 25% tariff on 545 US products – including cars, soya beans and lobsters – also worth a total of $34bn.

Russia is introducing extra duties on a range of products imported from the US that can be replaced by locally made equivalents.

They include road-building equipment, products for the oil and gas industry, and tools used in mining. Why the US-China trade war will hit most of our pockets Mr Trump has already imposed tariffs on imported washing machines and solar panels, and started charging levies on the imports of steel and aluminium from the European Union, Mexico and Canada.

The US tariffs imposed so far would affect the equivalent of 0.6% of global trade and account for 0.1% of global GDP, according to Morgan Stanley. What is President Trump threatening?

The US president said America might target Chinese goods worth $500bn – the total value of Chinese imports in 2017.

The White House had previously said it would consult on tariffs on another $16bn of products, which Mr Trump has suggested could come into effect later this month.

Mr Trump said: "You have another 16 [billion dollars] in two weeks, and then, as you know, we have $200bn in abeyance and then after the $200bn, we have $300bn in abeyance. OK? So we have 50 plus 200 plus almost 300." Donald Trump says US tariffs will protect US jobs The American tariffs are the result of Mr Trump’s attempt to protect US jobs and stop what he calls "unfair transfers of American technology and intellectual property to China". A conflicted administration

By Tara McKelvey, White House reporter

Behind the trade war, there is conflict within the Trump administration. Hardliners such as Peter Navarro, a trade policy adviser, says the US is defending itself against an "aggressive" China. Meanwhile, some of the officials who previously worked for the Obama administration – known as "holdovers" – are hoping to tamp down the US-China conflict.

The tension between these factions is occasionally on display in the West Wing. I’ve seen two hardliners struggle over a podium, vying for a chance to broadcast Trump’s harsh message on economic issues, while the holdovers sit quietly at the side of the room.

This reflects a larger division in the White House: Trump and his closest aides are trying to bring about radical change, while those who support a more cautious approach find themselves sitting in silence. What do China and Russia say?

"Trade war is never a solution," said Chinese Premier Li Keqiang. "China would never start a trade war, but if any party resorts to an increase of tariffs then China will take measures in response to protect development interests."

The government-run English language China Daily newspaper said: "The Trump administration is behaving like a gang of hoodlums with its shakedown of other countries, particularly China."

Russia says US tariffs on steel and aluminium, introduced in March, will cost its companies more than half a billion dollars. Will there be a full-scale trade war?

Analysts at Bank of America Merrill Lynch forecast only a modest escalation in the US-China battle, adding: "However, we can’t rule out a full-blown, recession-inducing ‘trade war’."

Rob Carnell, chief Asia economist at ING, said: "This is not economic Armageddon. We will not have to hunt our food with pointy sticks.

"But it is applying the brakes to a global economy that has less durable momentum than appears to be the case."

Carmaker BMW said it could not absorb all of the 25% tariff on the cars it exports to China from a plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina and would have to raise prices. The new tariffs had little impact on Asian stock markets. The Shanghai Composite closed 0.5% higher, but ended the week 3.5% lower – its seventh consecutive week of losses.

Tokyo closed 1.1% higher and European markets were up more than 1% in morning trading before turning negative on Friday afternoon. Timeline

US-China trade war

16 February, 2018

US Commerce Department recommends a 24% tariff on all steel imports and 7.7% on aluminium. It’s seen as a policy directed at China, which is the world’s largest maker of steel. 22 March, 2018

China says it will impose tariffs on US goods worth $3bn. Share this timeline

Brexit: Cabinet agrees ‘collective’ stance on future EU deal

Brexit: Cabinet agrees 'collective' stance on future EU deal

Theresa May speaks after meeting her cabinet at Chequers

Theresa May speaks after 12-hour cabinet meeting The cabinet has reached a "collective" agreement on the basis of the UK’s future relationship with the EU after Brexit, Theresa May has said.

Ministers have signed up to a plan to create a free trade area for industrial and agricultural goods with the bloc, based on a "common rule book".

They also backed a customs model No 10 said would be "business friendly".

The BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg said the plan, agreed after a 12-hour meeting, would "anger many Tory Brexiteers".

Our political editor said No 10 hoped the new commitments would unlock the next phase of talks with the rest of the EU but it was not year clear how many, or what kind, of objections were raised. The deal is done

No 10 bids to see off post-Chequers splits

Barnier: ‘Realistic’ Brexit plan needed

Brexit: All you need to know

Downing Street said the proposals marked a "substantial evolution" in the UK’s position and would resolve outstanding concerns about the future of the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

"This is a proposal that I believe will be good for the UK and good for the EU, and I look forward to it being received positively," Mrs May told the BBC. The marathon cabinet meeting at Chequers lasted nearly 12 hours The UK said it now wanted to accelerate the negotiations in an effort to secure an agreement by October, but also warned it will step up preparations for leaving on 29 March 2019 without a deal.

The EU’s negotiator Michel Barnier has suggested the EU would be willing to shift its position if the UK relaxed some of its "red lines", but has warned anything that "damaged" the single market would not be acceptable.

The prime minister had gathered her 26 cabinet ministers together at her country residence to try and resolve differences over the shape of the UK’s relations with the EU and break the current deadlock with the EU.

The main details of the "Chequers statement" are as follows: The UK would accept continuing "harmonisation" with EU rules on the trade in goods, covering only those necessary to ensure frictionless trade

Parliament would have the final say over how these rules are incorporated into UK law, retaining the right to refuse to do so

There will be different arrangements for trade in services, including financial products, with greater "regulatory flexibility" and "strong reciprocal arrangements"

Freedom of movement as it stands will come to an end but a "mobility framework" will ensure UK and EU citizens can continue to travel to each other’s territories and apply for study and work

A new customs arrangement will be phased in, with the goal of "a combined customs territory"

The UK will be able to control its own tariffs and develop an independent trade policy

The jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice will end but the UK will pay regard to its decisions in areas where common rules were in force.

Mrs May said this was an "important step" in the process of negotiating the UK’s smooth exit from the EU.

"Of course we still have work to do with the EU in ensuring that we get to that end point in October. But this is good we have come today, following our detailed discussions, to a positive future for the UK," she said.

She said the proposals, to be formally published in a white paper next week, would give the UK the freedom to strike trade deals with other countries while maintaining regulatory, environmental and consumer standards. There is no mention in the document of either the single market or the customs union , which the UK has committed to leave after the end of a transition period in December 2020.

Under plans for a free trade zone, the UK would be committed legally to following EU law for a large part of the economy, including manufacturing and farming.

While Parliament would retain the right to diverge from EU regulations in these areas, the document makes clear that "choosing not to pass the relevant legislation would have consequences for market access, security co-operation or the frictionless border".

The document also commits the government to step up preparedness for a no-deal scenario, as one of a range of possible outcomes, "given the short period remaining before the necessary conclusion of negotiations".

Japanese Universities Make Efforts to Be More LGBT Friendly

Japanese Universities Make Efforts to Be More LGBT Friendly

Participants pose before the Tokyo Rainbow Pride parade celebrating the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community in Tokyo’s Shibuya district, Sunday, May 7, 2017. Schools in Japan are taking steps to support equal access to education for LGBT students.

On Monday, Ochanomizu Women’s University in Tokyo made national headlines with plans to open its doors to transgender students who identify as women. Until recently, enrollment for Women’s University was limited to female students who could prove their gender from their family register — an unchangeable document confirming one’s sex after birth.

Last month, a university internal working group was launched to discuss specific countermeasures and a commencement date for the intake of transgender students which is anticipated for April 2020. But the university is remaining tight-lipped on the details until an on campus press conference next week.

As Japan’s oldest women’s university, the move is a bold statement in a country that lags behind other developed nations in legally recognizing and protecting LGBT rights. While Japan doesn’t have any laws protecting gender and sexual minorities, the major hurdle remains how to pragmatically standardize incoming transgender students who identify as women but don’t have certification or haven’t had gender reassignment surgery.

In 2015 the Ministry of Education urged local school boards to do more to help transgender students integrate into all aspects of school life while an anti bullying prevention policy was revised adding LGBT specifications in 2017. Since the Education Ministry’s first LGBT overhaul three years ago, Ochanomizu University is considered the first national tertiary institution to execute the landmark move, proving attitudes are slowly shifting in a country with a one-size-fits-all approach to learning.

East of Osaka, similar measures are being considered by Nara Women’s University. Vice President Hidemi Ogawa says they will also take the lead in preparing an environment for transgender students but will need to carefully build consensus on an intake and on the preparations needed for new incoming students. Ogawa vowed to take on the challenge of bringing about “positive and forward facing consideration.”

The Tokyo municipal government launched an “LGBT friendly Tokyo” campaign this year to stamp out hate speech and gender discrimination as it prepares to host the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Tokyo Mayor Yuriko Koike pledged an anti LGBT discrimination ordinance, but with no foundation to start from, the campaign is starting from square one explaining the pros and cons of the ordinance to quell public anxiety and garner public support.

Meanwhile, municipal governments are gearing up to accommodate the needs of LGBT residents ahead of any existing laws taking it upon themselves to grant certificates of recognition to same sex couples. In 2015 the inner city Shibuya ward in Tokyo was the first local government in Japan to recognize same sex partnerships, making it easier for couples to secure housing bias free and emergency medical and hospital rights. This month, Osaka joined the list of big cities to issue same sex certification starting from July, while Nagasaki city announced plans in June for a LGBT recognition system.

The wave of growing acceptance has also extended to secondary schools which have introduced LGBT inclusive uniform options. On the outskirts of Tokyo, a high school in Chiba adopted gender neutral uniforms allowing all students to wear trousers which were traditionally designated only for male students. The decision is being commended by the Human Rights Council as a way to protect LGBT youth and kick starting a conversation on education and LGBT rights as well.

Britain cannot stay silent as LGBT rights are rolled back across the world

Britain cannot stay silent as LGBT rights are rolled back across the world

When I was starting out as a barrister in the 1980s, Lord Denning was the most famous judge in the land, and the supposed role model for every lawyer. But not for me.

Not when I was busy defending men already living in fear of HIV and gay-bashing, forced to conduct their sex lives in secret and then victimised for so-called “gross indecency” when caught doing so, in a culture of intimidation created by the likes of Denning.

In 1986, he was one of 13 peers who rose to spout horrific homophobic abuse in support of Lord Halsbury’s bill to stop local councils “promoting homosexuality”, a proposal that led directly to the infamous section 28 .

Denning boasted of jailing men for “the abominable offence of buggery”, and warned that “we must not allow this cult of homosexuality, making it equal with heterosexuality, to develop in our land.” Pride has changed the world for LGBT+ people. Long may it continue | Peter Tatchell

Read more It took LGBT activists 15 years to defeat section 28 , but this is not a movement that’s afraid of the long struggle. They know all progress is hard-fought, that discrimination against any individual anywhere is discrimination against all, and that the campaign for true, global equality must therefore be won one issue, case and country at a time. And I hope Lord Denning is spinning in his grave today. Not just because it is Pride weekend , but because, across the world, it is now judges like him in the vanguard of that fight for LGBT equality. Indeed, when it comes to promoting and protecting LGBT rights worldwide, I believe no battle matters more right now than the demand for judicial independence and the rule of law.

As a barrister, I heard and uttered those terms without knowing what they truly meant, until I experienced countries where the rule of law does not exist, and the judiciary lacks the power or inclination to protect their own citizens equally. It is no surprise that wherever LGBT rights have moved backwards in the past year – places such as Egypt, Turkey, Hungary and Indonesia – it has gone hand-in-hand with the erosion of the rule of law. Because when the LGBT community cannot look to the courts for protection, repressive governments will soon look to target them.

By contrast, from India to Trinidad, it has not been governments or parliaments acting to repeal Denning-era laws against “buggery”, but independent judiciaries ruling in favour of LGBT activists. In Bermuda , it took the supreme court to overturn a government ban on same-sex marriage, rather than Boris Johnson, who shamefully failed to block it .

In Latin America, a landmark opinion from the Inter-American court of human rights in January is now enabling individuals across the region to use the courts in their own countries to assert their right to marriage equality, and challenge discrimination based on their sexuality. And in those countries where governments are trying to roll back LGBT rights, it is the judges standing in their way, not least in Poland, where the supreme court has been attacked by the justice minister for serving “the ideology of homosexual activists”. It’s time to make Northern Ireland allow same-sex marriage | Conor McGinn

Read more The response of the Polish government is to try to rig the court. And this is the pattern across today’s world: when governments want to attack the rights of the LGBT community, first they come for the judges.

That is one of the many reasons why it is so alarming that Donald Trump has the chance to alter for a generation the balance of the US supreme court, in replacing Justice Anthony Kennedy . While Kennedy’s record on LGBT rights is far from perfect, he did play a crucial role in landmark decisions to strike down laws banning gay sex, and same-sex marriage.

If Trump replaces him with a candidate hand-picked by America’s religious right, those decisions and the rights of LGBT couples in many US states will be under severe threat.

It will take us a huge step backwards from the world we want to live in, where – regardless of where you live or travel – your sexuality should not dictate your rights.

So right now, our best chance of creating that world is to keep fighting for judicial independence in every country, and insist that every government – whether friend or foe – should respect the rule of law.

• Emily Thornberry is Labour MP for Islington South and Finsbury and shadow foreign secretary

Songwriter Teddy Geiger opens up about coming out as trans

Songwriter Teddy Geiger opens up about coming out as trans

The songwriter and producer Teddy Geiger has opened up about her experience of coming out as trans in a candid interview.

The artist, best known for her work with her friend and collaborator Shawn Mendes, revealed that she did not know that transgender people existed for most of her life.

The star also said that she hopes her coming out – in an Instagram comment to a fan – while help inspire young trans people.

She told the New York Times : “I can remember back to being 5 and looking in the mirror, feeling like a girl and wanting that.

“But growing up in Rochester, there were limited resources. I’d never met a trans person before.”

The increased visibility of trans people in the media, including the models Hari Nef and Teddy Quinlivan, were crucial to helping her to understand her identity she said.

She added: “I just feel more open. Because I’m willing to talk about everything now, people are then more open with me.” (Creative Commons) “There’s no longer this piece of me back there saying, ‘Don’t go there’”.

The star came out publicly in October 2017 , responding to a fan’s questioning on Instagram. (@TeddyGeiger / Instagram) Writing on the social media site, Geiger responded to a fan who questioned why they looked different.

The singer replied: “Okay… because u asked nicely… I am transitioning.”

Geiger added: “I started talking about it with a couple of my close friends and family about a month ago and it’s given me the courage to start the process.

She is a long-term co-writer with Shawn Mendes, and has credits for ‘Stitches’, ‘Mercy’ and ‘Treat You Better.’

Shawn Mendes has given full support to Geiger , previously telling Billboard: “I’m so grateful to be going through this process with her because I’m learning so much from it.”

LGBT people are underrepresented in the mainstream media, according to a study by GLAAD, a US media monitoring organisation.

Of 125 major film releases in 2016, less than 20% featured a character who was LGBT, a report by the group found.