Gay Irish PM Leo Varadkar has raised gay rights with Mike Pence

Gay Irish PM Leo Varadkar has raised gay rights with Mike Pence

YouTube The Irish leader raised the issue, despite the meeting being held behind closed doors.

Leo Varadkar has confirmed that he raised gay rights with the Vice-President of the United States, Mike Pence, when they met for the annual St. Patrick’s Day meeting. However, when Varadkar spoke to media, he did not reveal what Pence’s response to him was.

“I did privately manage to speak to them about equality and my support for equal rights for women and the LGBT community here in America and also in Ireland,” he said.

He then continued, saying: “They were very well briefed.

“They knew about my personal story, they knew that my partner was living in Chicago, and they said that both Matt and I would both be welcome to visit their home in future, so I thought that was a very nice gesture.

“There are so many ifs and maybes, first of all I have to survive another year in my current office and secondly, Matt is not terribly keen to attend official functions but you never know.”Many LGBTQ rights groups feared that the media ban was put in place to avoid Varadkar publicly calling Pence out on his anti-LGBTQ stance. The fears were furthered […]

An Indian Education Minister has claimed that there are no lesbians in his schools

An Indian Education Minister has claimed that there are no lesbians in his schools

Partha Chattejee made the comments after a school in West Bengal forced ten female students to sign a letter confirming that they are lesbians.

The girls had to write the letter after Sikha Sarkar, the headmistress of the school in Kolkata, received “complaints” from other students. The girls then had to give the letters to their parents as punishment.

Sarkar said: “We called those students and they admitted it.

“Considering the sensitive nature of the issue, I asked them to admit it in writing. I have got written admissions from all 10 students.

“Today we called the guardians to apprise them of the issue. Our aim was to discuss the matter with them so that we can bring these girls on the right course through efforts both at home and in school.”

At the time, many were quick to condemn the punishment. Malobiko, the co-founder of Sappho for Equality – The Activist Forum For Lesbian, Bisexual Woman and Transman Rights told the Indian Express that the punishment was “abhorrent.”“Not only were they singled out on the basis of a few complaints, which could very well have been pranks, I don’t understand what purpose did the whole exercise serve? Are students in co-ed schools […]

Gotham’s Cory Michael Smith has come out as queer

Gotham’s Cory Michael Smith has come out as queer

Instagram The actor, most known for playing The Riddler in Gotham, revealed his sexuality as he talked about his latest film, 1985.

Smith was speaking to The Daily Beast about starring in the new AIDs drama, 1985, when he revealed his sexuality.

Speaking about playing the lead character, Adrian, Smith said: “There’s something special about telling a story that feels closer to home. I’m not exactly like The Riddler in real life.”

Although Smith’s family accepted his sexuality, and handled it with “a lot of love,” Smith said that it also took them a “lot of time.”

He continued, saying: “This story, a story about AIDS and stripping away politics, stripping away activism, stripping away the medical drama of it, what you’re left with is something so personal about family and connecting with family and keeping secrets with family. It just overwhelmed me.”

Smith also revealed that during filming, he kept a book of pictures of men who were dying of the disease during the crisis.“I don’t ever want to insinuate or push that the queer experience is hindered with shame or darkness and depression.“It’s not about connecting gay people with the idea of disease. But I do think it is important to […]

Olly Alexander On Why He Chose To Ignore Career Advice And Speak Out About His Sexuality

Olly Alexander On Why He Chose To Ignore Career Advice And Speak Out About His Sexuality

Olly Alexander has revealed he was advised against speaking about his sexuality early in his music career.

In recent years, the Years & Years frontman has become one of the most prominent young LGBT+ stars in Britain, and has repeatedly spoken out publicly about issues facing the community.

However, during a speech at the Stonewall Equality Dinner on Friday night, (16 March) he disclosed that had he followed advice given to him when he first started out, he wouldn’t have addressed his sexuality at all. Olly Alexander at the Stonewall equality dinner Explaining his decision to ignore the advice about staying silent, Olly told those in attendance: “When a journalist did ask me about my sexuality, I said ‘yes, I’m gay and this song is about a man’.

“I needed to say that for my 15-year old self. I decided I would keep speaking out. It felt like I was healing and I saw first-hand how being open and honest helped.”

On the subject of how important it is to continue fighting for equality for the LGBT+ community, Olly continued: “We don’t get equality until we all have equality. That is why I continue to speak out. We have to listen and learn […]

Amanda Lepore’s life in travel: ‘I’ve lived in the same hotel since the early 90s’

Amanda Lepore's life in travel: 'I've lived in the same hotel since the early 90s'

Amanda Lepore | Photo: By Josef Jasso courtesy of Amanda Lepore The phone rings. A shy, breathy voice speaks down the line: a cross between Marilyn Monroe and a classic character from Disney’s Golden Age.

It’s 2pm, and Amanda Lepore has just woken up.

She’s in her ‘boudoir’-style hotel room – in a negligee, I imagine, and a full face of make up – in New York City’s Hotel 17, on the Lower East Side.

Born in Cedar Grove, New Jersey, the cultural icon has lived in the hotel since the early 90s. I think of Greta Garbo, who lived in LA’s Culver Hotel, or more latterly of Lindsay Lohan, who lived at the Chateau Marmont. Photo: Instagram/amandalepore ‘I have cheap rent!’ explains Amanda of her unconventional living arrangement. ‘I actually had a boyfriend that was the manager here. We fell in love and I moved in with him. After a while we were going to get married, but then we started fighting. To shut us up they gave me a room really cheap. And then I just never left…’

And the best part of living in a hotel?

‘You don’t have to cook!’ she laughs. ‘I’m not very domestic. You can just order. […]

Off-piste at the Paras #8: Scott Meenagh

Off-piste at the Paras #8: Scott Meenagh

Could you cover 60km on difficult terrain using just your arms?

British Nordic sit-skier Scott Meenagh has been working towards it this week in the Biathlon and Cross-Country events in Pyeongchang.

The former soldier is the first competitor ParalympicsGB has had in Nordic Skiing for 20 years.

Meenagh lost both legs after an explosion in Afghanistan.

Beth Rose talks to 5 live presenter JJ Chalmers, also a former soldier, about his time in rehab with the skier and about the time Scott tested out his new prosthetics on a log-flume.

A transcript will be available shortly.Email the team in Pyeongchang on with any questions you have and they will try to answer them. Also tweet @bbcouch and find us on Facebook and Instagram too. 8h ago

Trump lawyers seek $20m in damages from porn star Stormy Daniels

Trump lawyers seek $20m in damages from porn star Stormy Daniels

This is the first time President Trump has been directly involved in the case Lawyers for US President Donald Trump are seeking $20 million (£14m) in damages from a porn actress he says broke a non-disclosure deal signed before the 2016 elections.

They argue Stormy Daniels breached the agreement at least 20 times.

The actress claims she had an affair with Mr Trump that began in 2006 and lasted several months.

The president’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, has said he paid her $130,000 of his own money to remain silent.

This is the first time President Trump has become directly involved in the case. He "vehemently denies" the alleged affair.

The lawyer acting for Stormy Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, this month filed a lawsuit aiming to scrap the non-disclosure agreement.Michael Avenatti said the filing by the law firm representing the president were "unprecedented" and "yet another bullying tactic" against her.The filing also sought a change of venue from state to federal court. The president and the porn star: The story explained The porn star scandal Trump can’t shake How can President Donald Trump seek $20 million in damages against my client based on an agreement that he and Mr. Cohen […]

‘Mini Beast From The East’ Looms As Snow Falls Overnight In The UK

'Mini Beast From The East' Looms As Snow Falls Overnight In The UK

More snow has fallen across parts of the UK overnight as a cold snap dubbed the “mini beast from the east” sweeps in.

Forecasters said much of eastern England and Scotland had seen a smattering of the white stuff during the night, with the snowfall moving westwards towards the Midlands and Wales.

Most places are likely to see some wintry showers by the end of the day, with gusty winds bringing bitterly cold temperatures.

An amber weather warning for snow and ice is in place across north-west England, Yorkshire and the Midlands, as well as in London, the South East, and east of England, from 4pm on Saturday until 9am on Sunday. The Met Office’s forecast for Saturday And a yellow warning for snow and ice in force for the entire day covers nearly the whole of Britain.

Met Office meteorologist Alex Burkhill said: “It will be bitterly cold with some snow for many places over the weekend.

“There are some very strong winds, meaning it could feel as low as minus 7 or minus 8 for some people.”Sunday is also likely to see further snow, especially for parts of the South West, where as much as 25cm could fall on higher ground.“Even at […]

‘Mini Beast from the East’ brings snow and ice to parts of UK

'Mini Beast from the East' brings snow and ice to parts of UK

Enable it in your browser or download Flash Player here .Sorry, you need Flash to play this. Ben Rich presents the latest BBC weather forecast

Media captionBen Rich presents the latest BBC weather forecast Snow and ice has fallen in parts of the UK as a cold snap dubbed the "mini beast from the east" sweeps in.

Parts of eastern England and Scotland have already seen showers, with more expected in the Midlands and Wales.

About 70 flights to and from Heathrow Airport have been cancelled and drivers are warned to take care on the roads.

Amber warnings of a possible risk to life affect north-west England, Yorkshire, the Midlands, London and south-east England from the afternoon.

Met Office yellow "be aware" warnings are also in place across much of the UK until Sunday.Some 1-3cm of snow is expected across large parts of the UK on Saturday, while 5-10cm could fall in the areas with amber warnings and up to 15cm on hills.Temperatures are likely to drop to around freezing and gusts of up to 70mph are expected in northern England and parts of Wales. How to drive in the snow What’s behind the freezing weather? The Met Office said: "Travel […]

‘Am I OK with my son oinking in Swedish?’

'Am I OK with my son oinking in Swedish?'

Keith Moore is bringing up his Swedish-born son to be bilingual – but the language barrier in the farmyard is one he wasn’t prepared for.

In times of triumph and tragedy it’s always a good idea to turn to your oldest friends.

It was only right, then, that a couple of weeks after my first child was born I introduced him to someone who taught me a lot.

I’m talking about that jovial farmer who still resides in the back of my brain, Old MacDonald.

You know: "Old MacDonald had a farm, E-I-E-I-O." That Old MacDonald.

My son was born in Sweden. My wife is Swedish. I’m English. We want him to speak both languages. Keith Moore with his wife Emmelie and their son More than half of Europeans speak more than one language, and 90% of Swedes do – with English by far the most popular second language .I’m still surprised sometimes when I switch on the TV at the range of British programmes broadcast here with subtitles, from Broadchurch and The Great British Bake Off to Emmerdale and the Antiques Roadshow.Emmelie, my wife, is particularly keen for my son to speak English with an English accent – ideally like Oliver Twist transported […]