Twitter ‘bans women against trans ideology’, say feminists

Twitter 'bans women against trans ideology', say feminists

An open letter to Martha Lane Fox urges her to "speak out against this new wave of misogyny" Twitter is banning women who "speak out against the dangerous dogma of trans ideology," a feminist group has said.

In a letter to Twitter director Martha Lane Fox, Fair Play for Women says the company is allowing "a concerted attack on women’s free speech".

But trans activist Ashleigh Talbot said the group’s letter seeks to "whip up" hatred against trans people.

Twitter said its rules are enforced equally for every user, regardless of the commentary they engage in.

Fair Play for Women describes itself as a group of "ordinary women" who argue that "in the rush to reform transgender laws" women’s voices will not be listened to.

It says Twitter users have been banned for stating "basic, incontrovertible biological facts" such as saying men are not women.

Their letter links to comments, that it says has led to people being banned from the site:

Report Report Writer Miranda Yardley said she was banned from Twitter for stating that a Green Party spokesperson is a man – despite Aimee Challenor describing herself as a transwoman.

Writing on her blog she said: "According to the rules of Twitter it is now hateful conduct to call someone who is a man, a man.

"The implication of this is that the concept of proscribed speech, things we are now not allowed to say, now extends to the truth. This is fundamentally illiberal."

Fair Play for Women also said women receive abuse for talking "about their biology" – including being threatened with violence and referred to as Terfs (trans-exclusionary radical feminists).

The group has called on Martha Lane Fox – who is also a member of the House of Lords – to use her position in Twitter to "stop allowing bullying men to police our language, threaten us and abuse us".

But trans activist Ashleigh Talbot said the letter "seeks to do nothing but whip up further hatred against trans and non-binary people by calling us dangerous". Trans activist Ashleigh Talbot disagrees with the arguments made in the letter sent to Martha Lane Fox She said many of those who say their free speech is being curtailed "are often doing so from a regular column in a national newspaper or from a national radio programme".

"Every week for the last few months there have been anti-trans attack pieces in the Mail, Times, Telegraph, Sun and so on," she said.

She added that trans people represent a "small, vulnerable community" who are subject to "bile day in and day out in the media".

Twitter did not want to comment on the letter but said it does not suspend accounts for being feminist, and that it would only ever suspend accounts for violating their rules.

It said the rules are enforced equally for every user regardless of the commentary they engage in. Gender recognition

Currently, if someone wishes to have their gender identity legally recognised they have to apply for a Gender Recognition Certificate – a process LGBT campaigning group Stonewall describes as "long, demeaning and bureaucratic".

Stonewall is calling for a system of gender recognition based on self-identification, and wants to remove the requirement for a medical diagnosis before a transgender person can change their legally recognised gender.

The organisation says changing the law would make life easier for trans people and "barely affect" non-trans people – also known as "cis" people.

In July 2017 then Equalities Minister Justine Greening said the Gender Recognition Act needed to be updated and that a consultation would begin in the autumn.

The Scottish government is currently consulting on gender recognition.

The campaigning group Man Friday argues allowing people to self-identify as a particular gender "removes any gatekeeping to women’s identity and protected spaces".

To protest against any change to the law, the group choose Fridays to identify as men and take part in activities such as using male changing rooms.

On Friday a group of women attempted to access the men’s only bathing pond in Hampstead Heath as part of a protest against self-identification.


Evangelical TV host claims the antichrist will be a ‘homosexual Jew’

Evangelical TV host claims the antichrist will be a ‘homosexual Jew’

Rick Wiles A religious TV host has claimed that the antichrist will be Jewish and gay.

The claim comes from fundamentalist broadcaster Rick Wiles, a host for religious broadcast network TruNews, which is often home to extreme opinions and conspiracy theories.

Speaking on his show on May 15, Wiles claimed that the Satanic figure who heralds the Apocalypse would soon emerge – and apparently they’re gay. He told viewers: “I personally believe that the Man of Perdition, the one that you call Antichrist, I personally believe he will be a homosexual Jew.

“That is my personal view, I just said it on national television. Watch out for global Zionism taking over this planet through artificial intelligence.

“There are two things that you cannot publicly criticise now… you cannot criticise the homosexual agenda and you cannot criticise Zionism.

“Those two are together and they’re driven by the same spirit.

“What is coming is a global entity that is going to be Zionism and homosexuality, and it’s going to be operated through artificial intelligence and it’s going to be policed through the most high-tech surveillance society that you can imagine. It will be a nightmare.

“If you criticise homosexuality or Zionism, you’re going to be persecuted and they’re going to come after you.” He added: “Israel embraces homosexuality. They need to be told, ‘You’re sinners, you’re going to go to Hell, you need to repent, you need to call upon the name of Jesus!’”

Check out the tape via Right Wing Watch : Wiles is no stranger to bizarre and extreme public predictions, previously claiming that nuclear war will break out over transgender people using the women’s bathrooms.

In October 2017 he blamed a “gay Nazi” conspiracy for the Las Vegas massacre. Wiles cited the appearance of Mandalay Bay security guard Jesus Campos, who wounded the shooter, on the Ellen DeGeneres Show. In the tape, picked up by Right Wing Watch, he said: “America has become a Nazi state. The deep state is a Nazi state.

“That is why Campos appeared on a daytime talk show hosted by a fast-talking, dancing comedienne, and a lesbian, because this Nazi regime is a gay/lesbian Nazi regime, just like Nazis in Hitler’s day.”

“Hitler was a bisexual, the top Nazi leaders of the Nazi party were homosexuals. The Nazi takeover of Germany was a militant homosexual fascist takeover; that is what is taking place in America today.”

Wiles is most famous for threatening to pee on the floor of his local Target because they let transgender people use the women’s bathrooms.

The radio host made the threat in 2016 while ranting about Target’s transgender bathroom policy – which allows people to use the bathroom of their preferred gender.

Wiles said: “How about I just urinate on your floor? How about that Molly? Because you’re defecating on this nation.”

He warned: “It’s either shut down Target or their type is going to shut down this nation, because there’s no end to their insanity and their immorality and their wickedness.

‘Women in England should be allowed to have abortions at home’

'Women in England should be allowed to have abortions at home'

Campaigners are calling for women in England to be allowed to have medical abortions at home.

Currently, women have to take two separate trips to a clinic to receive abortion pills in order to take them in front of medical staff.

The charity British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) says it can cause women a huge amount of anxiety and is entirely avoidable.

After taking the pill, symptoms of miscarriage can start quite quickly.

Women are often on public transport or in public places when they begin bleeding and suffering cramps.

After the Republic of Ireland’s vote to legalise abortion , campaigners want to address the way terminations are handled in England.

Pressure is also building in Northern Ireland , where abortion is only permitted if a woman’s life is at risk or there is a permanent or serious risk to her mental or physical health. ‘It was very unpleasant’

Beth, who’s 25 and from Merseyside, had just started university in Essex when she found out she was pregnant.

After deciding she wanted a termination, the doctor told her that the nearest abortion clinic was 45 minutes away in London.

She says the doctor explained that she wasn’t allowed to go on her own or use public transport.

Beth didn’t have anyone she could ask for help so ended up paying a friend on her course £20 to drive her to and from the clinic. Beth had to pay a university friend to take her to a clinic for an abortion "The first day was fine," she told Newsbeat.

The second day though, was much worse.

After taking misoprostol, her symptoms started straight away which she says included "really heavy bleeding, pain, very intense cramps, vomiting and really bad nausea".

"It all happened whilst being in a stranger’s car – it was very, very unpleasant and the journey was 45 minutes long.

"As soon as the car pulled up to our halls, I basically got out the car and crawled to my room." What is a medical abortion?

Pills used to perform medical abortions Official government figures show that each year around 180,000 abortions are carried out in England, with medical abortions the most common way of ending an unwanted pregnancy.

Medical abortion involves taking two types of tablet.

The first, mifepristone, stops the hormone that allows the pregnancy to continue working.

The second, misoprostol, is normally taken 24 to 48 hours later and encourages the womb to contract to pass the pregnancy. What happens inside an abortion clinic

After four to six hours, the lining of the womb breaks down, causing bleeding and loss of the pregnancy.

In England, the tablets have to be taken at a hospital or clinic, but in Scotland women can take misoprotol at home.

Wales are planning to introduce the measures too. ‘I started to feel an intense gripping pain’

"I just can’t think of any good justification, other than punishing women for being in the unfortunate position of needing to seek abortion," Alex tells Newsbeat.

"There’s no good reason not to follow Wales and Scotland’s lead in it."

Alex travelled home in a taxi on her own after having a medical abortion.

She says about 15 to 20 minutes into the journey she began to feel "an intense gripping pain" in her abdomen.

"I also started to feel very, very sick and very faint – the blood had drained from my face and I had a cold sweat.

"I managed to communicate to the driver that I wasn’t feeling very well and he pulled over.

"I opened the car door and projectile vomited onto the sidewalk."

Alex says she felt much better when she got home and was in "a relaxed environment".

"If that had been that environment for the whole procedure, I think it would have probably been a less traumatic experience for me." ‘Political reasons’

A woman walks in front of a pro-choice mural relating to the laws over abortion in Dublin Being able to take misoprostol at home is "safe, effective and preferred by women", argues Clare Murphy from BPAS.

"The Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, has the power to extend this dignity to women in England.

"The only reason to deny women the option of home use is political, not clinical, as this is a safe, evidence-based measure that would improve women’s experience immeasurably at a difficult time.

"Wherever we stand on abortion we should be able to agree that women deserve the highest standards of compassionate clinical care when the decision has been made to end a pregnancy."

The Department of Health has told Newsbeat it’s their priority to ensure that care is safe and of a high quality and that it will continue to monitor the evidence surrounding abortions at home.

For more help and information about abortion, search the Radio 1 Advice pages .

Follow Newsbeat on Instagram , Facebook and Twitter .

Listen to Newsbeat live at 12:45 and 17:45 every weekday on BBC Radio 1 and 1Xtra – if you miss us you can listen back here .

Lebanon LGBT scene empowered despite crackdown

Lebanon LGBT scene empowered despite crackdown

BEIRUT — It took him more than two months to prepare, coming up with the concept, assembling his outfit and rehearsing. Then on the big night, a five-hour session putting on makeup. The very last step, he slid on the red lace gloves with 4-inch red fingernails that he had specially ordered from the United States.

Elias was transformed into Melanie Coxxx. She was ready for her most important show: The largest drag ball in Lebanon. Elias is getting ready to perform as Melanie Coxxx. It can take him up to three hours to create Melanies face with make-up. He likes to describe Melanie as a fearless, fun and sexy queen (link in bio). A post shared by Ida Guldbæk Arentsen (@ida_guldbaek) on Apr 10, 2018 at 4:32am PDT Because this is Lebanon, where homosexuality and dressing as the opposite gender are against the law, he sat in the back of his mother’s car with darkened windows, a scarf over his head, for the drive from his home just outside Beirut to the club.

That didn’t unnerve Coxxx. Elias says his character, inspired by transgender actress and activist Laverne Cox, is “fearless.”

“She is the person that makes me more alive, more powerful,” Elias said. “When I put everything on… I take the courage (from her). (She is) guiding me to go out and just perform.” Actress Laverne Cox, star of the Netflix series “Orange is the New Black.” Photo by Reuters Elias has come a long way. His journey was full of rejection, protest and finally limited acceptance. His larger family still shuns him, and he has lost a few friends. But his mother and father came to accept him, and Elias has been openly gay for six years. Last year, he had his first drag show. Still, he asked that his last name not be published out of concern for his safety.

Lebanon’s LGBT community has had a similar journey. For over a decade, it has focused on activism to combat discrimination and abuse, making startling gains and even opening some space in the mainstream. The community is the most vibrant and open in the Arab world.

But there is a constant dance between authorities and the community over lines and limits. Last week, it appeared to be a step too far when Pride celebrations were held in Beirut. The widely advertised events came just before the start of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. After a few events were held, including the drag ball, authorities reacted.

Organizer Hadi Damien was briefly detained. Authorities forced him to sign a pledge not to convene the remaining events or face prosecution for promoting debauchery and violating public morality. As a result, some public parties and events were cancelled. Other more low-key events went on, including workshops and readings, though under a cloud of fear of police raids.

Still, “we are moving forward not backward,” said Georges Azzi, a founding member of Lebanon’s Helem, the region’s first LGBT advocacy group. #AllVoices : We reached out to the executive director of the Arab Foundation for Freedoms and Equality, Georges Azzi, to comment on why #BeirutPride was cancelled yesterday. Here is what he told us. Send us your thoughts and voice your opinion. #TheCube — euronews (@euronews) May 17, 2018 “There is a feeling that we are getting stronger, and there is a backlash from the conservative organizations,” he said.

The crackdown reignited long-running debates within Lebanon’s LGBT community between those who want to celebrate Pride and those who say the focus is still needed on activism and protest to force change.

Since 2005, activists have commemorated the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia on May 17, mostly with protests, readings, workshops and cultural events. But the exuberant, highly public approach of the Pride celebrations seems to have drawn authorities’ ire, said Azzi. Last year, there was an attempt to hold a Pride Week, the first ever in an Arab city, but authorities forced some of its events to be called off, including a street parade.

After his release, Damien argued that “Beirut Pride is changing the discourse, taking things to another level.” The approach, he said, expanded the circle beyond LGBT activists to include politicians, investors and even security officials and away from “attacking people in power.” The Beirut Pride Facebook page lists politicians friendly to gay rights.

But Damien got some heat from activists who said signing the pledge set a precedent, and amounted to cooperating with authorities. Critics also said Damien is ignoring their years of hard work.

“We can’t thank the system,” said Joseph Aoun, a member of Helem. He said the focus has to always be on the security and safety of the LGBT community, particularly the most vulnerable. Portrait of Andrea at Lebanon’s first Mini Ball in November. Before the ball Andrea had never been out in public in full drag (link in bio). A post shared by Ida Guldbæk Arentsen (@ida_guldbaek) on Apr 10, 2018 at 11:33am PDT Since first raising a rainbow flag in a 2003 protest, activists and civil society have steadily raised the bar.

Law 534, which criminalizes homosexuality as an “act against nature” remains on the books despite efforts to abolish it. At least 76 people were arrested under it in 2016. But more and more often prosecutors release those arrested rather than sending them to court. Four times in past years, courts have refused to apply Law 534, giving defense lawyers a basis to have cases thrown out.

Police stations and doctors have barred the use of anal exams for arrested gays after a public uproar following a mass arrest in 2012.

After lobbying by activists, five lawmakers in the newly elected 128-member parliament have vowed to support LGBT rights and called for decriminalizing homosexuality, Azzi said. The debate over LGBT rights has become part of the mainstream, featuring in TV shows and media reports.

Since Helem’s founding in 2005, there are now at least a half dozen other active LGBT advocacy groups. Lebanon boasts openly gay bars and clubs. Its activists are proud to have introduced, in collaboration with Palestinians, a new, positive Arabic word for homosexual, “mithli,” to replace the more common, derogatory term, “shazz,” or “deviant.” Lebanon also created an Arabic equivalent for the acronym LGBT: “The Meem Movement,” from the letter ‘M’ in Arabic, which begins the words for homosexual, transgender, bisexual and questioning.

Lebanon’s relative tolerance emerges in part from its sectarian and ethnic diversity. Despite tensions, no one group is strong enough to impose its will, and people are forced to recognize others to a degree. That has made for greater freedom of press, expression and activism than elsewhere in the region.

It is a dramatic contrast to other Arab nations, where even discussing LGBT rights is beyond the pale and media relentlessly demonize the community. Last year, Egyptian police arrested dozens after fans unfurled a rainbow flag at a concert in Cairo by a Lebanese band whose lead singer is openly gay.

Lebanese police have avoided such heavy-handed mass sweeps since 2012. Pressure has forced authorities to stay within “mainstream red lines,” said Sahar Mandour, Amnesty International’s Lebanon researcher.

But the security forces find other ways. Forcing Damien to sign the pledge was a new method, for example, aimed at making the cancellations seem voluntary. Elias driving through Beirut. The weeks before the Christmas Ball he has a lot to do preparing his second performance as Melanie Coxxx. "I want Melanie to be known. I want everybody to talk about her," he says (link in bio). A post shared by Ida Guldbæk Arentsen (@ida_guldbaek) on Apr 12, 2018 at 8:43am PDT And there are signs police are tightening the reins in other ways. Recently two night clubs were temporarily shut down — one because dancers performed partially nude, the other because a dance song featured a Quranic verse. Two popular TV talk show hosts were charged with insulting the judiciary and the president because of material on their shows.

Elias was dismissive of the divisions in the LGBT community. More straight people are accepting now, he said, and it’s the authorities who are “just afraid that it will boom more.”

“I don’t feel that anything scares me,” he said. “To be accepted is simply freedom.”

Elias came out to his mother, Valerie, when he was 18. A relative was taunting him, and suddenly Elias burst out at her: “You know I’m gay. If you have a problem with that, don’t look at me.”

Valerie said she was shocked. At first, she couldn’t look at her son. She and Elias’ father sent him to stay with his grandparents in the mountains, took away his phone and laptop and cut him off from friends they blamed for his sexuality.

It took her two years to come to terms. What finally tipped her was her family’s treatment of Elias. They said he was sick and needed treatment, or was possessed by demons and needed an exorcism.

“They made me sick. They didn’t help me,” she said. She also feared for Elias’ safety. She keeps close to him.

“He didn’t choose to come to this world. He didn’t choose his religion. He didn’t choose his gender. He didn’t choose his society or home,” she said. “Should I also deprive him of the right to choose how to live his life?”

Valerie’s larger family has not yet accepted Elias. At the launch of Pride week, she joined him at an event bringing parents who support their LGBT children to meet society and the media.

As Elias prepared for the ball, Valerie was there, helping him dress. She wore a “Proud Mama Coxxx” T-shirt to the show. Melanie Coxxx performing at the Christmas Ball in Beirut. During the fall journalist Thomas Aagaard and I worked on story about the blossoming of the drag scene in Beirut, where homosexuality is still technically illegal. Today the story is published on BBC with words by @aagaardthomas (link in bio). In the following days I will be sharing a series of pictures of some of all the lovely queens we met on the way. A post shared by Ida Guldbæk Arentsen (@ida_guldbaek) on Apr 9, 2018 at 1:44pm PDT He says his drag show is as political as it is artistic.

“It is a big in-your-face to society that you can be whoever you want,” he said.

One of the ball’s four judges was Vivacious, a drag performer from RuPaul’s Drag Race. Coxxx mesmerized the audience in full splendor with a red furry coat and red cap. To cheers, she pulled off her cap for her big reveal: dark painted veins running over her skull, painted with help from a professional makeup artist. She strutted up and down the runway in her high heels and displayed her long, brilliant red nails. Coxxx won second prize in the “Club Kid” category.

Then with a change out of the Coxxx persona, Elias was back on […]

Baker decision won’t be justices’ last word on LGBT rights

Baker decision won't be justices' last word on LGBT rights

WASHINGTON (AP) – A flood of lawsuits over LGBT rights is making its way through courts and will continue, no matter the outcome in the Supreme Court’s highly anticipated decision in the case of a Colorado baker who would not create a wedding cake for a same-sex couple.

Courts are engaged in two broad types of cases on this issue, weighing whether sex discrimination laws apply to LGBT people and also whether businesses can assert religious objections to avoid complying with anti-discrimination measures in serving customers, hiring and firing employees, providing health care and placing children with foster or adoptive parents.

The outcome of baker Jack Phillips’ fight at the Supreme Court could indicate how willing the justices are to carve out exceptions to anti-discrimination laws; that’s something the court has refused to do in the areas of race and sex. FILE – In this Oct. 10, 2017, file photo, the Supreme Court in Washington is seen at sunset. A flood of lawsuits over LGBT rights is making its way through the courts and will continue, no matter the outcome in the Supreme Court’s highly anticipated decision in the case of a Colorado baker who would not create a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File) FILE – In this Oct. 10, 2017, file photo, the Supreme Court in Washington is seen at sunset. A flood of lawsuits over LGBT rights is making its way through the courts and will continue, no matter the outcome in the Supreme Court’s highly anticipated decision in the case of a Colorado baker who would not create a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

The result was hard to predict based on arguments in December. But however the justices rule, it won’t be their last word on the topic.

Religious conservatives have gotten a big boost from the Trump administration, which has taken a more restrictive view of LGBT rights and intervened on their side in several cases, including Phillips’.

"There is a constellation of hugely significant cases that are likely to be heard by the court in the near future and those are going to significantly shape the legal landscape going forward," said Shannon Minter, legal director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights.

Several legal disputes are pending over wedding services, similar to the Phillips case. Video producers, graphic artists and florists are among business owners who say they oppose same-sex marriage on religious grounds and don’t want to participate in same-sex weddings. They live in the 21 states that have anti-discrimination laws that specifically include gay and lesbian people.

In California and Texas, courts are dealing with lawsuits over the refusal of hospitals, citing religious beliefs, to perform hysterectomies on people transitioning from female to male. In Michigan, the American Civil Liberties Union filed suit against the state’s practice of allowing faith-based child placement agencies to reject same-sex couples.

Advocates of both sides see the essence of these cases in starkly different terms.

"What the religious right is asking for is a new rule specific to same-sex couples that would not only affect same-sex couples but also carve a hole in nondiscrimination laws that could affect all communities," said Camilla Taylor, director of constitutional litigation at Lambda Legal, which supports civil rights for LGBT people.

Jim Campbell of the Christian public interest law firm Alliance Defending Freedom said the cases will determine whether "people like Jack Phillips who believe marriage is the union of a man and a woman, that they too have a legitimate place in public life. Or does he have to hide or ignore those beliefs when he’s participating in the public square?" ADF represents Phillips at the Supreme Court.

The other category of cases concerns protections for LGBT people under civil rights law. One case expected to reach the court this summer involves a Michigan funeral home that fired an employee who disclosed that she was transitioning from male to female and dressed as a woman.

The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the firing constituted sex discrimination under federal civil rights law. That court is one of several that have applied anti-sex discrimination provisions to transgender people, but the Supreme Court has yet to take up a case.

The funeral home argues in part that Congress was not thinking about transgender people when it included sex discrimination in Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. A trial judge had ruled for the funeral home, saying it was entitled to a religious exemption from the civil rights law.

"Congress has not weighed in to say sex includes gender identity. We should certainly make sure that’s a conscious choice of Congress and not just the overexpansion of the law by courts," Campbell said. ADF also represents the funeral home.

In just the past week, two federal courts ruled in favor of transgender students who want to use school facilities that correspond to their sexual identity. Those cases turn on whether the prohibition on sex discrimination in education applies to transgender people. Appeals in both cases are possible.

In the past 13 months, federal appeals courts in Chicago and New York also have ruled that gay and lesbian employees are entitled to protection from discrimination under Title VII. Those courts overruled earlier decisions. Title VII does not specifically mention sexual orientation, but the courts said it was covered under the ban on sex bias.

The Obama administration had supported treating LGBT discrimination claims as sex discrimination, but the Trump administration has changed course. In the New York case, for instance, the Trump administration filed a legal brief arguing that Title VII was not intended to provide protections to gay workers. It also withdrew Obama-era guidance to educators to treat claims of transgender students as sex discrimination.

There is no appeal pending or expected on the sexual orientation issue, and there is no guarantee that the court will take up the funeral home’s appeal over transgender discrimination.

The trend in the lower courts has been in favor of extending civil rights protections to LGBT employees and students. Their prospects at the Supreme Court may be harder to discern, not least because it’s unclear whether the court’s composition will change soon.

Justice Anthony Kennedy, 81, has been the subject of retirement speculation, though he has not indicated he is planning to retire. When Justice Stephen Breyer turns 80 in August, he will join Kennedy and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 85, as octogenarians on the bench.

If President Donald Trump were to replace any of those justices, the court probably would be much less receptive to LGBT rights. Even the landmark gay marriage ruling in 2015 that Kennedy wrote was a 5-4 decision.

"We’re very concerned about the composition of the federal bench. Under the Trump administration, we’ve seen a number of federal nominees who have been ideologues, who have taken positions about the very right to exist of LGBT people that is simply inconsistent with fitness to serve as a federal judge," Taylor of Lambda Legal said.

The ADF’s Campbell said even with the current justices, he holds out some hope that the court would not extend anti-discrimination protections. "Justice Kennedy has undoubtedly been the person who has decided the major LGBT cases, but to my knowledge he hasn’t weighed in some of these other issues," he said.

LGBT community comes together for pride picnic in Oxford

LGBT community comes together for pride picnic in Oxford

PARENTS from the LGBTQIA+ community came together in a garden cafe for picnic.

Sunday’s event was hosted by Restore and organised by Oxford Pride to celebrate the city’s diverse community.

It was aimed specifically at parents within and those who have responsibility for minors.

Tom Hayes is the head of external relations at Restore, which held the event in the garden of its building in Cowley Road.

The city councillor, who is gay, said: “ Tucked away from the busy Cowley Road, Restore’s Garden Cafe is a fantastic and tranquil place where people can relax and be themselves.

“It was wonderful to see local LGBTQI+ parents making new friends and enjoying picnic treats on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

“Everyone’s family is different in some way and the picnic was all about celebrating this difference.”

Oxford Pride, which got under way over the weekend, will be running events up until Sunday.

For more information on what events are taking place and how to get involved go to

Restore will host the annual pride comedy night tomorrow from 6.30pm to 9pm at its base on Cowley Road featuring the Oxford Imps and Dragprov Revue.

Tickets are £5 on the door with profits going to Oxford Pride and Restore.

LGBTQIA+ stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning, intersex, and asexual or allied.

Gay student banned from giving graduation speech at Catholic school gives it outside instead

Gay student banned from giving graduation speech at Catholic school gives it outside instead

(Creative Commons) An openly gay student who was banned from giving a graduation speech by the local diocese defied them by giving it on the lawn outside of the school instead.

Christian Bales finished the school year at Holy Cross High School in Kentucky as valedictorian and was due to give a speech on Friday at the private Roman Catholic school.

However Bales, along with student council president Katherine Frantz, discovered the morning of the graduation ceremony that the speeches had been deemed inappropriate by the local Catholic diocese following an emergency meeting. (Flickr/Scott Beale) Principal Mike Holtz explained in a phone call to Bales and Frantz’s families that the diocese had stated that they found the speeches “aggressive, angry and confrontational,” according to WCPO .

On Friday, Bales left the graduation ceremony and instead gave his speech through a megaphone to the group of fellow graduates assembled on the lawn outside of the school.

Related: This trans 14-year-old wrote a coming out letter to her entire school

In his speech, Bales focused on the potential young people have to make social change, drawing on the actions of survivors of the Parkland school shooting . Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student Emma Gonzalez (Getty) As seen in a video obtained by WCPO, Bales said: “‘The young people will win’ is a mantra that I’m sure many of you have heard if you’ve been attentive to the media recently. “It’s a phrase adopted by the prolific Stoneman Douglas teenagers who are advocating for an agenda — our rights to feel secure as humans.

“As we enter into the real world, we must remember that we have a voice.”

He added: “We are dynamic. We are intelligent. We have a voice, and we’re capable of using it in all communities.” Diocese of Covington spokesperson Tim Fitzgerald stated that the speeches were “found to contain elements that were political and inconsistent with the teachings of the Catholic Church.”

Fitzgerald also said that the students had missed the deadline to submit the speeches to faculty for approval. (Carl Court/Getty Images) Bales’ mother told WCPO that prior to the cancellation of the speech, the school principal had contacted her in order to check that Bales, who is gender non-conforming, would not be wearing make-up and would be dressed in men’s clothing.

We must take what we’ve learned in this community and apply it to the world we are about to encounter.

Bales said in closing his speech. “We are the young people, and we will continue to win.”

Grandson captures the moment 84-year-old grandma gives pro-gay speech

Grandson captures the moment 84-year-old grandma gives pro-gay speech

Steven, his boyfriend and his grandmother Sheila A grandson has captured the moment his nan gave a pro-gay speech on camera.

Sheila, 84, who grew up in London, had been telling her grandson Steven how she was friends with a lesbian couple at work when she was in her 20s.

When it emerged her friends were in a relationship, they were shunned by everyone except Sheila – and around 60 years later, they still remain close.

“Don’t let those bastards upset you like that, I said, because they’re not worth a penny,” she can be heard saying in the clip, posted on Instagram by Steven, who is gay.

“If they can’t accept you for who you are, that’s it.” Speaking to PinkNews , Steven explained his grandmother had recently received a letter from her friend Pam.

“She was telling me about when they worked together as traffic wardens in Shoreditch,” he said.

Although everyone at her work got on well, things changed when her friend moved in with her girlfriend.

“The rest of her work team found out her friend was a lesbian and advised her to stop talking to her or she would be accused of being a lesbian and also ousted from the group.

“She was telling me how she always stuck by her friend and couldn’t care less what the rest of her work colleagues thought.” Sheila at Steven’s brother’s wedding with Steven’s boyfriend He added the pair had stayed “good friends despite falling out with the rest of her work colleagues.”

Steven said he liked to record conversations with Sheila as she had been diagnosed with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease this year.

“She’s always supported both me and my gay brother and has never had any issue with either of us being gay,” he said.

“She’s never afraid to let you know of her opinions! I thought it was great to see someone in their 80s be so accepting and open.”

It wasn’t until the Sexual Offences Act 1967 came into effect – which decriminalised homosexual acts between consenting men over the age of 21 – that societal attitudes towards same-sex couples began to change.

By the early 1970s, more than 2,000 gay men and women marched in the first Pride parade in London .

Progress towards achieving equality stalled in the 1980s, however, with the introduction of Section 28 by the Thatcher government.

The clause, an amendment to the Local Government Act 1988, banned local authorities and schools from “promoting” homosexuality, which meant councils were prevented from funding books, leaflets, films or any other materials showing same-sex relationships.

It also meant teachers were prohibited from teaching about gay relationships in schools.

South Korea held its first ever drag queen parade – and it was incredible

South Korea held its first ever drag queen parade – and it was incredible

(ED JONES/AFP/Getty) The first ever drag parade in South Korea has been hailed as “a huge milestone” by activists.

Dozens attended the march through the nation’s capital on May 26, spreading awareness and making a public stand.

Last year’s pride in the same city attracted a record turnout of around 85,000 , but for those taking part on Saturday, this was just as important. (ED JONES/AFP/Getty) LGBT rights are still a work in progress in South Korea, as they are in many Asian nations. Homosexuality is legal, but same-sex marriage and adoption remains banned, while protections against discrimination are limited.

Last year, voters in the eleventh-richest nation on earth elected Moon Jae-in , a former human rights lawyer who said during his campaign that he opposed homosexuality .

Yang Heezy, one of the organisers of the Seoul Drag Parade, said: “When it comes to South Korea, human rights guarantees for sexual minorities are insufficient,” according to AFP . (ED JONES/AFP/Getty) The drag queen, who was wearing a bright red wig and floral dress, said that events like this one would reduce ignorance in the country.

“Today’s drag parade and more queer culture festivals should take place to bring attention to sexual minorities and help those who are not from those minorities learn more,” said Heezy.

Another member of the parade, whose drag name was Lola Bank, said their presence on the streets of Seoul was a moment to cherish. (ED JONES/AFP/Getty) “The fact that we are able to be in public in drag is a huge milestone to queer acceptance in Korea,” Lola said.

“I’ve always struggled with my masculinity and my femininity. And when I get in drag I’m saying kind of like a ‘f**k you’ to society’s expectations of how I should behave as a male.” Unlike during the city’s pride parades, there was no evangelical counter-protest with signs like “Homosexuality is Sin! Return to Jesus!” (ED JONES/AFP/Getty) Lee Hyang-soon, a local street vendor, smiled and waved at marchers, calling the parade “really cool.”

She added: “Seeing all the foreigners join in, it feels like Korea is becoming world famous

“I’m happy. It’s fabulous.” (ED JONES/AFP/Getty) Last year, judges in the country rejected a lawsuit filed by a prominent gay film director and his partner seeking legal status for their same-sex marriage.

In April 2017, General Jang Jun-kyu, the army chief of staff, launched a “track-down process” to find and out suspected gay people in the military, according to the Military Human Rights Centre for Korea. The campaign group said this included setting up fake profiles on dating apps to track down soldiers and expose them.

The process is thought to have identified 50 soldiers.

Gay couple stabbed repeatedly for holding hands in Denver

Gay couple stabbed repeatedly for holding hands in Denver

A Denver gay couple was stabbed multiple times because they were holding hands.

Gabriel Roman and his boyfriend Christopher Huizar were enjoying a night out with friends when they were approached by a man yelling homophobic slurs at them just after midnight on Sunday, they claim.

In a matter of seconds, the man repeatedly stabbed both men as they tried to to run to safety. They were left with serious injuries. Huizar thinks the attack was triggered by the fact he and Roman were holding hands.

“There was blood everywhere, like so much blood,” he said.

According to Fox31, the pair were only a few blocks from home when a man addressed them with homophobic slurs, before running after them with his weapon.

“I remember him pulling me back and I think that’s when I got stabbed in my back,” recalled Roman.

Roman suffered deep stab wounds in his back and hand, while Huizar was stabbed in the throat.

“We’re running and I didn’t realise how bad it was until he’s like, ‘My hand!’ and that’s when I took my shirt off and I wrapped it around and there was blood everywhere, like so much blood,” said Huizar.

In the moment, the pair feared for both their lives.

“I’m thinking like, my boyfriend is going to die,” Huizar added. (ALEX EDELMAN/AFP/Getty) The two finally managed to escape and collapsed in a 7/11 parking lot. Bystanders attended to their wounds and contacted 911. Their attacker was eventually caught by the Denver police. Although he was arrested, they are still investigating the charges.

For Roman and Huizar, the wound runs deeper than the scars. Being attacked in their neighbourhood forced them to look at their community in a new, scary light.

“It’s way deeper than just the physical damage,” said Roman. “Of course we’re relieved this guy is caught or whatever, but there’s still that fright […] who else is out there like that?”

“It’s not going to stop me from being who I am or showing affection to my significant other but I will definitely be more cautious,” Roman added.

“We are not letting his define us. We love each other and wouldn’t want this to happen to anyone [else]. I’m just thankful we’re alive,” Huizar told the Gay Star News.

Roman and Huizar believe the ordeal will make them stronger as a couple. A visitor places flowers at a makeshift memorial during a vigil for victims of a shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida the previous day, in front of the United States embassy on June 13, 2016 in Berlin, Germany. (Adam Berry/Getty) Hate crimes like this one are on the rise in the US. A 2016 FBI report on hate crime statistics showed that while 6,121 hate crimes were reported that year, 1,076 were based on sexual orientation bias. This showed an increase of 2 percent from the 2015 numbers.

124 were based on gender identity bia s, targeting trans or non binary individuals, a 9 percent increase from the 2015 numbers.

However, the report noted that these numbers only represented d a portion of the hate crimes that happened that year, as reporting them to the FBI is not compulsory.