Tory MP aims to make homophobic chanting at football matches illegal

Tory MP aims to make homophobic chanting at football matches illegal

A conservative MP has launched a bid to make homophobic chanting at football matches illegal.

Damian Collins chairs parliament’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee wants to broaden the 1991 Football Offences Act in order to protect LGBT players and fans. A Tory MP is aiming to make homophobic chanting at football matches illegal He will be joined by gay former Welsh rugby player, Gareth Thomas, on Monday to present a draft in parliament.

Ahead of the draft Mr Collins said: “Whilst, if enacted, the bill would protect LGBT+ fans and players in the UK, recent events, including at the World Cup, have once again demonstrated that homophobic abuse takes place at football matches the world over.

“Fifa and other sports governing bodies should take the necessary steps to ensure that homophobic abuse will never be tolerated and that action will be taken against people that engage in activities like these, no matter where the game is played.

“We hope that the bill will soon become law and will contribute to making football a sport that is truly open to everyone.”

The Football Offences Act made indecent or racist chanting, throwing objects inside premises and going onto the pitch without permission illegal, and is currently punishable with a fine of up to £1,000.

The Tory MP wants to amend the act to make “chanting or gesturing of an indecent nature with reference to either sexual orientation or gender identity” against the law. Damian Collins hopes to broaden the Football Offences Act to protect LGBT fans and players (Photo by Tom Dulat/Getty Images) This comes days after Mexico has been handed a fine by FIFA for homophobic chanting at the World Cup in Russia.

The footballing body has vowed to take a tough tolerance stance to anti-LGBT discrimination at the tournament, despite the World Cup being held in a host country with an anti-gay ‘propaganda’ law and where homophobic sentiment is rife.

It had launched a probe after the homophobic chant “puto” – an anti-gay epithet equivalent to “faggot” or “male prostitute” – was used by Mexico fans at the team’s match against Germany on Sunday (June 17).

In a statement, FIFA confirmed that it had issued a fine over the conduct.

“The FIFA Disciplinary Committee has sanctioned the Mexican Football Federation with a fine of CHF 10,000 ($10,030 USD) for the misconduct of a group of Mexican fans in relation to discriminatory and insulting chants during the first half of the 2018 FIFA World Cup match played between Germany and Mexico.” This comes days after Mexico has been handed a fine by FIFA for homophobic chanting at the World Cup in Russia. (KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images) It cited article 67 of the FIFA Disciplinary Code, which states that the team can be found “liable for improper conduct among spectators.”

Mexico striker Javier Hernandez has urged the team’s fans to stop chanting at further matches, after FIFA threatened further action if the issue continues.

He said: “To all Mexican fans in the stadiums, don’t shout ‘pu–. Let’s not risk another sanction.”

Dead Love Island star Sophie Gradon’s ‘deeply heartbroken’ ex-girlfriend pays emotional tribute to her

Dead Love Island star Sophie Gradon’s ‘deeply heartbroken’ ex-girlfriend pays emotional tribute to her

Sophie Gradon’s ex-girlfriend has revealed she’s “deeply heartbroken” as she paid a touching tribute to the late Love Island star.

Natalie Phillips, 28, dated Gradon , 32, for eight months before she found fame on the ITV2 show, and on Thursday shared pictures of the pair together and said, “I loved you with all my heart.” Late Love Island star Sophie Gradon’s ex-girlfriend Natalie Phillips shared a touching tribute (Instagram / Natalie Phillips) In a moving Instagram post, Phillips wrote: “Where do I even begin. You have said for as long as I can remember that you come to me because I always know the right things to say. All you ever wanted me to do was tell you everything was going to be ok and that was enough. Now I need to hear that from you. I am heartbroken. Deeply heartbroken. I knew you in ways that some people couldn’t even fathom. The good, the bad and the ugly. No matter what I always had your back and you were always on mine

“Meeting you and not only spending time with you as a partner but also as one of your closest friends was both an honour and a privilege. We had our fair share of ups and downs, trials and tribulations but believe me when I say, I loved you with all my heart. Always have and always will. That smile, that terrible tribal tattoo and those pixie ears of yours will remain in my heart forever.

“Night night God bless Miss Gradon ” Heartbroken Phillips wrote: ‘I loved you with all my heart. Always have and always will.’ (Instagram / Natalie Phillips) Gradon spoke lovingly about Phillips while on the show.

She told Tom Powell, who she was coupled up with: “I was quite serious with the last girl I was with.

“We broke up and still saw each other on and off. It wasn’t right, I love her to bits. It would be nice for you to meet her, you’d probably get on.”

The former Miss Great Britain was found dead at her parents home in Medburn, Portland, at around 8.30pm on Wednesday. Sophie’s body was discovered at her parents’ home on Wednesday night (Sophie Hannah Gradon / Facebook) Police have confirmed that no suspicious circumstances surround her death and a coroner’s report is currently being prepared to ascertain how and why she passed.

Sophie captured TV audiences hearts when she appeared on Love Island in 2016 and was refreshingly honest about her sexuality.

At the start of the series she was in a relationship with Powell, but later in the series she and Katie Salmon became the first, and only bisexual couple on the show.

Over the past two years Gradon was open about her mental health struggles and in March revealed in a radio interview the toll that online trolls took on her.

If you are having suicidal thoughts, suffering from anxiety or depression or just want to talk, call The Samaritans on 116 123.

BMW joins Airbus in Brexit warning

BMW joins Airbus in Brexit warning

The car giant BMW has followed plane maker Airbus in warning of the adverse consequences of Brexit.

BMW UK boss Ian Robertson told the BBC it needed clarity by the end of the summer. It makes the Mini and Rolls Royce in the UK.

Earlier, Airbus warned it could leave the UK if it exits the European Union single market and customs union without a transition deal.

The UK government says it is confident of getting a good deal for industry.

The customs union brings together the EU’s 28 members in a duty-free area, in which they pay the same rate of duty on non-EU goods. Brexit: All you need to know

Prime Minister Theresa May has ruled out staying in the customs union. The UK is due to leave the EU on 29 March 2019.

Mr Robertson said he needed to know what the government’s preferred position is on customs and trade within months or his company – and the UK’s – competitive position could be harmed.

"If we don’t get clarity in the next couple of months we have to start making those contingency plans – which means investing money in systems that we might not need… which means making the UK less competitive than it is in a very competitive world right now," he said.

He said it was a decisive issue that ultimately could damage his industry.

Airbus, in its Brexit "risk assessment" published on Thursday , said if the UK left the EU next year without a deal – meaning it left both the single market and customs union immediately and without any agreed transition – it would "lead to severe disruption and interruption of UK production". Your guide to Brexit jargon

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Immortal LGBT characters is not the solution to ‘Bury Your Gays’

Immortal LGBT characters is not the solution to 'Bury Your Gays'

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Last summer, Atomic Blonde was easily my most anticipated movie. The moment I first saw a trailer for it , I slipped it to the top of my list, and my excitement became a punchline for some of my friends.

Having seen it now and having had some time to process it, I view it as a rare example of a movie that delivered exactly what I expected from the trailer and marketing campaign and left me completely satisfied.

On the one hand, Atomic Blonde gave me the kind of kickass spy thriller I grew up watching, but with a tough-as-hell woman like Charlize Theron in the lead of Lorraine Broughton. The movie goes a step further though by adding the extra layer of making her a queer woman, and giving her a “Bond girl” of her own. I was amazed sitting in the theater that the romance subplot between Lorraine and Sofia Boutella’s Delphine wasn’t just eye candy, but actually had a few moments of tenderness, of at least faux-vulnerability on the part of Lorraine, a rarity across the entire film or the spy genre as a whole.

Some of that, of course, is darkened by the fact that Delphine is murdered in the third act. Almost immediately following the release of the film, and even when some sneak previews were happening, I began to see some voices on Twitter piping up to mark it down on your list as yet another example of "Bury Your Gays." For those not in the know, the trope in question refers to the disproportionate amount of LGBTQ characters, especially queer women, killed off in TV shows and movies, often as a cheap-seeming plot device. It’s a legit trope, and the lesbian and bisexual mothership outlet Autostraddle has catalogued every queer female death on television , only to see their numbers grow from double to triple digits after the piece was initially published.

We’ve certainly poked some fun at the trope here at SYFY FANGRRLS as well, myself included .

Now, before I go any further: full disclosure that I’m a survivor of a targeted anti-LGBTQ hate crime, and have dealt with my own degree of PTSD as a result of that for several years now. So, I get it. If a scene like Delphine’s fairly graphic murder scene in Atomic Blonde is flat out traumatizing for you, or painful given your own experiences, I totally think that’s valid and am not judging you in any way for your distaste for it being sprung on you in an escapist spy film.

What I am talking about here today is the trope itself, and the way we address it when it occurs in pop culture. All too often, the conversation ends up coming down to one simple point: whether or not every single LGBTQ character in a story lives or dies. Atomic Blonde is just one example. Another can be found in Game of Thrones , in which a few popular queer women were either captured or killed following an extended fight sequence.

But as a queer woman who loves herself some nerdy stuff, I feel more and more like the discussion around this trope has moved far too much towards the insistence that we simply never, ever kill off any queer character—especially queer, female characters—in film or television. While I do think "Bury Your Gays" is a problem, this solution is impractical at best, unsustainable and reductive at worst.

Let’s start with that worst. To be blunt, queer ladies deserve to be in cool stuff, and sometimes in cool stuff, characters we like die. Even in the Autostraddle list, there were examples of characters whose deaths were some of the most impactful moments of an entire series, an aspect the site acknowledged as well. Cataloging deaths serves plainly as a way of showing how common it is, not an indictment on the characterizations of every single lesbian or bisexual female character.

I’m talking about women who matter, who have an impact. The Autostraddle list was very important, but as the criticism moves forward, consistently reducing our stories into binary tallies of whether we live or die does a complete disservice to the potential for three dimensional, nuanced characters within genre storytelling that we yearn to see more of ourselves in. To bring this back to Delphine in Atomic Blonde , perhaps this was just my experience within this particular genre of filmmaking talking, but I knew she wasn’t going to survive the film even from the trailer. The movie all but telegraphs her eventual demise by having her be read by Lorraine as tailing her the moment she arrives in Berlin, and her clear role as the out-of-her-depth spy representing a fourth player too many on the board. And yet, as mentioned above, she is the only character who can draw some humanity out of our hero. More importantly, she serves up the key piece of evidence that brings Lorraine’s entire mission together, even after her death. Despite her inexperience, her death is in the line of duty as an effective spy, and is afforded a much higher degree of power and importance than any of the male characters who die in the film, save for James McAvoy’s double agent David Percival.

In any previous version of this movie with a male lead, Delphine’s plot would have played out exactly the same way, and would have avoided the "Bury Your Gays" trope by being a heterosexual story diversion. There was no lesbian subplot in the film’s graphic novel source material, so the filmmakers could have simply left her out or they could have swapped her gender, making Lorraine a seasoned spy seducing an inexperienced novice male. This certainly would have been a twist on the traditional spy film narrative, but all also would have missed out on the very earned queer subplot in a mainstream summer action film: a loss the film would have suffered greatly for.

In the case of Atomic Blonde , trying to avoid "Bury Your Gays" would have meant erasing the LGBTQ voice from the film entirely, which would have been far worse than the trope itself. The solution to "Bury Your Gays" isn’t bulletproof vests and unused graves for every gay character we ever encounter, it’s pushing for more queer characters across a broader spectrum of storylines. The reason members of our community feel so impacted when one of our characters is killed off is that there’s so few to begin with that it legit feels like we’ve lost a significant portion of our representation.

Instead of turning our pitchforks towards the few filmmakers and production teams that are actually making an effort to include queer characters in genre works, we should look outward. We should tell slow-moving stalwarts like Marvel that it’s time to include LGBTQ superheroes in their blockbuster films, where even when someone does die they show up revived on an ABC series less than a year later, or are re-inserted into the time stream by sending a man back in time to save the future. We should be demanding that Disney include real LGBTQ characters in their films beyond nods, winks, and villain coding . We’ve seen what this can be like. Black Mirror received Emmy nominations for the blissfully romantic "San Junipero" episode in Season 3. (Okay, yes, technically both characters did die but, shush, heaven is a place on earth!) Star Trek: Discovery is boldly going where the franchise has never gone before, and SYFY’s own Battlestar Galactica was groundbreaking in treating sexuality as a complete non-issue within Colonial society.

Hopefully soon, we’ll be in a world where the whole of representation sits not on a few unstable shoulders—one where we don’t judge queer characters on simply whether they live or die, but with what they do with their time while they have it.

Bollywood needs more LGBT stories, says Indian movie star

Bollywood needs more LGBT stories, says Indian movie star

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – LGBT characters should be given more screen time in Bollywood movies to help bring about a shift in cultural thinking, Indian actor Manoj Bajpayee said on the sidelines of a film festival in London aimed at championing diversity. Bollywood actor Manoj Bajpayee sits for an interview on the sidelines of the Bagri Foundation London Indian Film Festival in London, Britain. June 21, 2018. Thomson Reuters Foundation/Claudio Accheri

Bajpayee, who played a gay professor in 2016 drama “Aligarh”, said public debate about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) issues was key to tackle taboos in India, where gay sex is still illegal.

“There is not enough portrayal or enough films on LGBT rights or LGBT issues in our industry,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in an interview.

However he said LGBT roles had become a more common sight in recent years.

“Earlier these topics were ignored or shoved under the carpet,” he added.

India’s top court reinstated a ban on gay sex in 2013, four years after an earlier ruling that effectively decriminalized it. It is set to reconsider the decision in July after a slew of petitions opposing the ban as unconstitutional.

Although the law is rarely enforced, activists say it is used to intimidate, harass and blackmail gay people.

“(It) is a sign of a healthy society if each and every citizen of our country is given the rights to live and live in the manner they want to live,” Bajpayee said, adding he was hopeful the court would produce a “positive” ruling.

Bajpayee was in the British capital for the Bagri Foundation London Indian Film Festival (LIFF), which this year featured a selection of movies by female directors and three titles on LGBT issues – “Venus”, “My Son is Gay” and “Bird Of Dusk”. Bollywood actor Manoj Bajpayee sits for an interview on the sidelines of the Bagri Foundation London Indian Film Festival in London, Britain. June 21, 2018. Thomson Reuters Foundation/Claudio Accheri

“We want to show films that are original stories,” said the festival’s director Cary Sawhney. “Some of the greatest stories come from the margins not from the center.”

Laks Mann, the co-founder of Gaysians, a gay rights group, said it was important for members of the LGBT community in South Asia to see themselves represented in cinema.

“(People) can related to those stories and it helps bring down barriers, it helps stop some subjects being taboo, it opens up discussion,” Mann said.

LIFF opened on Thursday with the world premiere of “Love Sonia”, a gritty picture about the real-life story of a young Indian girl who gets trapped in the global sex trade.

Bajpayee, who starred in the movie alongside Demi Moore and “Slumdog Millionaire”‘s Freida Pinto, described the film as “disturbing” and said he hoped it would raise awareness about the scourge of human trafficking.

“This is the most heinous crime which is taking place,” he said. “All the world powers should really stick together and think about it seriously, it’s high time.”

Bajpayee also stars in psychological thriller “In the Shadows” that has its British premiere on Friday.

More than 40 million people globally are trapped in forced labor, forced marriages and sexual exploitation, the United Nations estimates, earning criminal networks illegal profits of $150 billion a year.

At least 18 million slaves are in India – trafficked into brothels, forced to work as manual laborers, or even born into servitude, the Walk Free Foundation, an Australian-based rights group, estimated in 2016.

Reporting by Umberto Bacchi @UmbertoBacchi, Editing by Claire Cozens. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women’s rights, trafficking, property rights, climate change and resilience. Visit

RuPaul erupts as Asia O’Hara defends The Vixen for storming off RPDR reunion stage

RuPaul erupts as Asia O'Hara defends The Vixen for storming off RPDR reunion stage

Can you guess what is the best Pride destination in the world? Why Pride matters to me (and why it should to you, too) Seattle Pride celebrates the LGBTI community with a year-long festival ‘Look at me, goddamnit!’

RuPaul on the new episode of Drag Race | Photo: RPDR [Contains spoilers]

RuPaul didn’t mince his words when RPDR contestant The Vixen walked off the stage in the latest episode of the show.

The new instalment dropped last night and sees all the Se10 queens reunited for a group chat, ahead of next week’s final.

When RuPaul questioned whether The Vixen had instigated fights on the show – such as between Aquaria and Miz Cracker – the Chicagoan decided to walk off the set. ‘Y’all can have a good night’

Said The Vixen: ‘Okay, so I came here to thank my fans for the love and support that they gave me, for all the wonderful people who relate to me, understand me, appreciate me, and now that I’ve done that, y’all can have a good night.’

When Ru and some of the queens convince her to stay, The Vixen says: ‘I’m done, I’m done.’

Later, when Asia O’Hara tried to defend The Vixen (‘her leaving was her separating herself from a situation’), and said the group should have done more to help her, Ru slowly lost composure.

‘As a community, we do have a responsibility to each other,’ he said ‘But each of us, we’re all adults. At one point, you gotta say, there is nothing else I can do.

‘Each of us have had people in our lives who you realize “I can’t do anything for this person, unless they want to meet me halfway.”‘

Asia then said: ‘The Vixen seems like someone who is crying out for help’.

Ru continued: ‘I love the girl, I invited her on because I felt her voice needed to be heard. But at one point, and you’ve seen this with your friends back home, sometimes you’ve gotta let people go, whether it’s anger or whatever the issue is, because it’s not a two-way street. It’s one-sided and that’s where we are. It’s a one-sided conversation.’

‘She decided she’s gonna get the last word and walk out, so there, it’s done.’

‘It’s just ridiculous,’ Asia then interrupts, beginning to cry. ‘It’s ridiculous that our thought process about people is so self-centered that if it’s hard to help somebody, well, just let them struggle. We’re not just drag queens, we’re people. And now we’ve got one of our people outside.

‘Here we are filming during Pride season, and we let one of our sisters walk out the fucking room ‘cause nobody wants to fucking help her. And we’re the first people to say people aren’t treating us right.’

‘There was nothing anyone could do to stop her,’ RuPaul then said. ‘We saw you have a lovely discussion with her, where we actually got to see the sweetness in him, and I saw the fear, and I saw all of that. And I understood why that wall was put up, because I have that wall.

‘You have it, you have it, we all have it. And it’s coming from a hurt place. It is. But I can’t teach her that. I can teach her through my own example…’

‘Of course you can…’ replies Asia.

‘Can you explain to someone who cannot be spoken to?’ Ru then says.

Asia then said: ‘No, I don’t expect you to do that…’ ‘I come from the same goddamn place she comes from!’

To this, RuPaul begins to shout, ‘But look at me, look at me, goddamnit! I come from the same goddamn place she comes from! And here I am! You see me walkin’ out? No, I’m not walking out. I fucking learned how to act around people and how to deal with shit. I’m not fucking walking out and saying, “Fuck all y’all!” That’s disrespectful. To each of you.’

He furthermore continues: ‘Let me tell you something: I have been discriminated against by white people for being black, by black people for being gay, by gay people for being too femme. Did I let that stop me from getting to this chair? No, I had to separate what I feel or what my impression of the situation is to put my focus on the goal. You can’t just make excuses for bad behavior or for inconsiderate behavior.

‘I invited each of you back here into my house, into my home, and if I’m invited to someone’s home, I’m not going to disrespect their home. I’m not going to just disrespect the invitation. You know, the world is hard. It’s hard to live on this planet. But we all have to learn how to deal with it, but you gotta ask for help first.

‘Listen, at the end of the day, we are all a drag family and as you can see here tonight, it doesn’t always come easy. I want you to take a look at this.’

At this point, the show cuts to a segment about the contestants dealing with judgement from religious family members.

The Vixen has had confrontations with Eureka and Aquaria, among other queens, on this season of the show. ‘I relate to that moment The Vixen walked out’

Fans on social media has diverse reactions to the scenes. Actress Anna Kendrick, for example, tweeted: ‘I could be completely projecting but I relate to that moment The Vixen walked out. When ur either gonna cry or scream… because someone called you “sweetie” one too many times (k that part is actually just specific to me) so you remove yourself instead. Ugh. I see you.’

Former RDR contestant Courtney Act, meanwhile, tweeted: ‘Yes @AsiaOharaLand! Thank you for your humanity and compassion!!! #dragrace #teamasia’

Can you guess what is the best Pride destination in the world?

Can you guess what is the best Pride destination in the world?

Why Pride matters to me (and why it should to you, too) Seattle Pride celebrates the LGBTI community with a year-long festival Pride Month is here and HomeToGo, one of the world’s largest search engines for holiday rentals, has revealed the 50 best Pride destination around the globe.

The search engine did so by examining search volume and occupancy rates during Pride festivals on a year-on-year basis, identifying the destinations which have recorded the biggest annual growth. LGBTI travelers can connect to locals thanks to Pride

‘Pride celebrations contribute to greater awareness and understanding of LGBTI people within their communities and also allow LGBTI travelers to connect with locals in a positive way,’ said International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA) president John Tanzella.

After evaluating hundreds of locations around the world, the final shortlist comprises 50 cities that perform strongly in the following four categories: a strong year-on-year growth of Pride festivities

an impressive offering of LGBTI events throughout the year

a vibrant LGBTI nightlife

a decent amount of affordable LGBTI-friendly accommodations

DC named the best Pride destination in the world

Washington, D.C turned out to be the absolute queen of Pride celebrations, followed by Sydney and Miami.

Five cities in the top ten are in the US. Apart from the capital and Miami, Philadelphia, Atlanta, and Dallas also made the list.

Results also showed that more recently-established celebrations outside of the largest metropolitan centers are the fastest-growing. This is the case with Provincetown, Massachusetts. Despite being a popular LGBTI hub, the city, ranked 32nd, only hosted its first Pride earlier this month. London snubbed: Manchester is the first UK city

Manchester Pride Parade will be on 25 August this year | Photo: Wiki

Manchester is hosting the annual parade on Saturday 25 August. One of the four British destinations in the ranking – alongside Brighton, Birmingham, and Bristol – the city ranked 9th. London, on the other hand, is not on the list. Neither are other European capitals, such as Berlin, Madrid or Paris.

24 cities among those shortlisted are in North America, while 24 are in Europe and only four in Latin America. Taipei is the only entry in Asia. Unusual Pride destinations

‘Each year, people from all over the world travel to celebrate Pride. Often, the biggest celebrations in New York or London come to mind first, yet there are so many amazing Pride destinations offering visitors a unique and unforgettable experience,’ said Joanna Booth, head of inbound marketing at HomeToGo.

‘We’d like to make a special mention of Caribbean Pride in Punta Cana given that the entire region is often written off as homophobic and places working to change that perception deserve support,’ added IGLTA John Tanzella.

Find the whole ranking here . Read more about Prides :

Forget the big cities: Check out the prides in Alaska, the Midwest and more!

LGBTI elders give advice to their 18-year-old selves in moving video

LGBTI elders give advice to their 18-year-old selves in moving video

Can you guess what is the best Pride destination in the world? Why Pride matters to me (and why it should to you, too) A group of LGBT elders read out letters they have written to their 18-year-old selves in a sweet, inspring new video.

YouTube star Davey Wavey made the short film in collaboration with the LGBT Community Center of the Desert in Palm Springs, California. Many of the seniors included offer words of comfort to their younger selves.

‘You will see the ugly side of people and the world. And just when you’ve lost all hope, ask for help,’ says one.

‘Find your community and flourish,’ advises another.

One man even has some exciting news for his 18-year-old self.

‘In three years from now, on a dancefloor in a gay bar, you’re going to bump into one of the hottest jocks from school, and he’s going to tell you that every time he saw you walking down the hallway he got a hard-on!’

One of the elders included in the video (Photo: YouTube) LGBT elders often underrepresented and invisible

Talking about the video, Davey Wavey says,’While today’s world is far from perfect, there’s no doubt the LGBT community has enjoyed considerable progress over the last half century.

‘That progress, in many ways, was only made possible through the sacrifices, sweat, blood and tears of our community’s elders. And yet, our LGBT elders are underrepresented and often invisible and the very community they helped to create.

‘The reality is, our elders deserve to be seen, respected, celebrated and heard. And when we listen, they have a great deal of wisdom and advice to offer us.’

He says he hopes the film will help transfer some of that, ‘wisdom from one generation to the next.’ See also

Whoopi Goldberg, Andy Cohen, Lance Bass and Sarah Paulson are among those encouraging young and old LGBTI people to come together to share a meal

When AIDS first appeared in the 1980s, couples in which one person was HIV positive and one was HIV negative struggled to cope with the situation

High Court strikes down non-gendered campaigner’s bid for ‘X’ on passport

High Court strikes down non-gendered campaigner's bid for 'X' on passport

Can you guess what is the best Pride destination in the world? Why Pride matters to me (and why it should to you, too) Christie Elan-Cane is challenging the UK government to introduce ‘X’ passports. | Photo: CreativeCommons | Supplied A non-gendered campaigner in the UK just lost a fight to have a passport listed with ‘X’ instead of male or female.

Christie Elan-Cane doesn’t identify with any gender and uses the pronoun ‘per.’ Elan-Cane and her legal team are now considering an appeal.

It’s a fight Elan-Cane has been pursuing for the past 25 years.

At a hearing delivered at Nottingham Crown Court today (22 June), Mr Justice Jeremy Baker ruled that HM Government’s refusal to issue non gender-specific ‘X’ Passports to citizens who define as neither male nor female is not unlawful.

The judge observed the Claimant’s rights under ECHR Article 8 [Right to respect for private and family life] were triggered in this case.

He said: ‘I am satisfied that the claimant’s Article 8 rights are engaged in this case so that the claimant’s right to respect for private life will include a right to respect for the claimant’s identification as non-gendered.’

Christie Elan-Cane has been fighting for non-gender specific people’s rights for 25 years | Photo: Gay Star News

Elan-Cane said in a statement: ‘I am bitterly disappointed that my case for the judicial review of the UK Government’s discriminatory passport policy was not upheld.

‘Not just for myself but for everyone,’ per said.

The UK government is currently reviewing the policy. As some consolation, Justice Baker said Elan-Cane will be able to ‘scrutinise’ the review.

Elan-Cane responded: ‘I trust there will be no repeat of the false assurances that led to a sham passport policy review just a few years ago.

‘I have justifiable reason to doubt the sincerity and the motivation behind this Government proposal,’ per said. ‘X passports are a crucial step’

Clifford Chance – the law firm representing Christie’s case pro-bono – considers the case to be of ‘significant public interest.’

‘Gender identity is a fundamental part of an individual’s intimate, personal identity and X-passports are a crucial step in the protection of the human rights of this group of individuals,’ Clifford Chance Partner Narind Singh tells Gay Star News. ‘We are considering with Christie the possibility of seeking leave to appeal’

Responding to today’s judgement, a Clifford Chance spokesperson said, ‘We are disappointed with the outcome in today’s judgment which leaves the UK, unlike many other countries, denying non-gendered citizens a passport that reflects their true identity.’

Last fall, Canada joined Australia, Denmark, Germany, Malta, New Zealand and Pakistan in offering an ‘X’ option on passports. India and Nepal also offer a variation on a third-option to ‘M’ and ‘F’.

‘However,’ the spokesperson went on to say, ‘we welcome the fact that the Court has ruled that the Government’s current review of gender markers in official documents and gender recognition will be required to be undertaken without any undue delay.

‘The Court has recognised that the Government must take into account shifts in attitudes towards diversity, inclusion, and equality.’

‘We are considering with Christie the possibility of seeking leave to appeal today’s judgment. We will continue to assist Christie in this fight. We welcome the Court’s ruling that Christie will be entitled to scrutinise the outcome of the review that the Government is undertaking, and we will continue to assist Christie to hold the Government to account.’ Blue passports will cost 240 times more than adding an ‘X’ option would cost

Earlier this year, the UK Home Office announced they will be changing the color on UK passports from burgundy to navy blue.

And the cost of the new contract announced earlier in the year will £480m ($670m, €565m).

Upon the news of the blue passports, Elan-Cane cried hypocrisy after the UK Home Office told per a £2million figure was the ‘prohibitively expensive’ reason they could not implement the call for ‘X’ non-gendered passports.

Spending money on a new passport contract, without including the X option – feels like just another lost opportunity in a 25-year history of setbacks:

‘The Government perceives the blue passport as symbolic to the national identity. What about the personal identity – and the integrity – of the passport holder?

‘I’m very angry that this ongoing battle with governing authorities has dominated my life. I just want to achieve legitimate identity that most other people can take for granted.’

These powerful portraits by LGBTI artists will blow you away

These powerful portraits by LGBTI artists will blow you away

Can you guess what is the best Pride destination in the world? Why Pride matters to me (and why it should to you, too) Seattle Pride celebrates the LGBTI community with a year-long festival A new art exhibit is bringing together LGBTI artists all over the world for Pride month.

Pride Art is put together by leading international law firm Clifford Chance. The exhibition is organized by Arcus, the firm’s LGBTI and allies community.

This year the firm is running events in eleven offices, the largest number of offices to participate.

It will take place in Amsterdam, Hong Kong, London, New York, Paris, Perth, Sydney, Singapore and Washington D.C. Moreover, for the very first time, Tokyo will have its own exhibit too. Art that showcases diversity in the workplace

London’s exhibit is curated by Michael Petry. He has brought together five UK-based portrait artists: David Haines, Paul Kindersley, Ope Lori, Sarah Jane Moon, and Matthew Stradling.

‘These talented artists work in many different media and on different scales but they all look long and hard at their sitters and then make art out of that contemplation,’ Clifford Chance senior partner Malcolm Sweeting tells Gay Star News.

Global Managing Partner Matthew Layton says:

‘Pride Art exhibition is the highlight of the Arcus calendar. It is one of the biggest corporate-supported exhibitions of work by LGBTI artists in the world. We are immensely proud of the work of the network and the ways in which these exhibitions help foster the diverse and inclusive workplace that we are a part of.’ Pride Art is also online

The firm has also launched an online gallery, highlighting many of the works presented across the globe. You can take a sneak peek at the exhibition here .

Earlier this year, Clifford Chance announced it was proud to be an early adopter of the United Nations’ (UN) Standards of Conduct for Business to promote equality for lesbian, gay, bi, trans and intersex people in the workplace and beyond. The firm secured the 11th place in 2018’s Stonewall Workplace Equality Index in the UK.

Take a look at the other artworks below.

Clifford Chance are sponsors of Gay Star Students. Read more from Gay Star Students: