Pink Dot celebrates a decade of promoting diversity and LGBT rights in Singapore with short films

Pink Dot celebrates a decade of promoting diversity and LGBT rights in Singapore with short films

Pink Dot Singapore has launched three campaign videos to commemorate its 10th anniversary of advocating for diversity and LGBT rights in Singapore.

The not-for-profit organisation also announced, at the launch of the 2018 event at TheatreWorks on Tuesday (22 May), that all its celebrity ambassadors for the past nine years will reunite to be its ambassadors this year and will appear at its annual rally on 21 July. Past @PinkDotSG ambassadors recount the past nine years, as the event celebrate its 10th year at its launch event today. #diversity #freedomtolove pic.twitter.com/sdO2oeEX9R

— Shawn Lim (@mediumshawn) May 22, 2018 The theme for this year is ‘We Are Ready’, which the three videos will seek to portray.

The first video, titled ‘Woke in Progress’, tells the story of how a group of teenagers started a petition to reduce the rating of the movie ‘Love, Simon’ from R21 to M18 in Singapore. The second video, titled ‘Building Bridges’ is a story of a mother-daughter Pink Dot volunteer, who are explain why they keep coming back and their search for a relative who was ostracised many years ago for being a lesbian. The third story tells the story of how a Malay-Muslim female struggled with her sexual identity, before deciding to focus on her mortality after suffering a stroke. The video is titled ‘Home Truths’.

All three videos are filmed by different directors under the guidance of Boo Junfeng, whose debut feature film ‘Sandcastle’, was the first Singaporean film to be invited to the International Critics’ Week at Cannes Film Festival in 2010.

“For the past nine editions, Pink Dot has worked hard to win the hearts and minds of Singaporeans, to help bring the message of inclusion and diversity to everyone on this Little Red Dot,” said Pink Dot SG spokesperson, Paerin Choa.

“Hence, as we celebrate this important milestone, we want to call on every Singaporean who seeks a more open-minded and inclusive Singapore to stand with us, to say We Are Ready. We Are Ready to embrace diversity. We Are Ready to stand with our LGBTQ friends and family members. We are ready to engage in meaningful conversations on this issue that matters dearly to us. We Are Ready for a Singapore that truly celebrates equality and inclusion.”

There will also be festivities and activities leading up to the event, like PinkFest, which will see close to a dozen businesses, groups and individuals, LGBTQ and straight allies, organising an assortment of privately-run activities and events geared towards greater engagement with Singaporeans. More than 60 sponsors have come onboard since fundraising campaign started in April. Organisers say more are needed. pic.twitter.com/RHpS0H6JAQ — Shawn Lim (@mediumshawn) May 22, 2018 As foreign sponsorship of the event is still banned by the Singapore government , the organisers announced that they have managed to secure more than 60 local sponsors, with the help of Darius Cheung, founder of property search engine company, 99.co.

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Dems aim to amend religious freedom act to protect LGBT

Dems aim to amend religious freedom act to protect LGBT

Rich Pedroncelli/Associated Press Senators Kamala Harris, left, and Dianne Feinstein are co-sponsors of a bill to amend the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. By Julie Zauzmer | The Washington Post

WASHINGTON — Prominent Senate Democrats introduced a bill Tuesday that would amend the 25-year-old Religious Freedom Restoration Act to prevent the law from being used to justify discrimination against people, including gay, lesbian and transgender citizens.

Though it is unlikely to pass in the Republican-controlled Congress, the Democrats’ bill, called the Do No Harm Act, shows the party’s stance toward a thorny question in the hands of the Supreme Court — how to choose when both LGBT people and conservative Christians feel their civil rights are at risk. Start your day with the news you need from the Bay Area and beyond.
Sign up for our new Morning Report weekday newsletter . The Religious Freedom Restoration Act, commonly referred to as RFRA, was popular among lawmakers in both parties when it was enacted in 1993. Initially, it was usually referenced in cases involving practitioners of minority religions, such as Sikhs and Muslims seeking the right to wear their religious headgear in their driver’s license photos. But in recent years, it has become a favorite law among conservative Christians, who say that it protects their rights to abstain from cultural practices they disavow.

Hobby Lobby, the craft chain owned by an evangelical Christian family, successfully argued before the Supreme Court that the government could not compel it to provide contraception coverage for its employees, since the family’s religious beliefs condemn certain types of contraception. The Court is considering the case of a Christian cake baker, who says he should have the religious freedom to refuse to make a cake for a gay wedding. (Florists, photographers and an Indiana pizza shop have made similar claims.)

The Democrats’ bill would amend RFRA to say that it does not protect the religious liberty of one person when the civil rights of another would be impinged. “While our country was founded on the value of religious liberty, that freedom cannot come at the expense of others’ civil rights,” Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, said in a statement.

The sponsors of the Senate bill include Hirono and Sens. Tammy Baldwin (Wis.), Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), Kamala D. Harris (Calif.), Patrick J. Leahy (Vt.), Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.), Edward J. Markey (Mass.), Jeff Merkley (Ore.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.) and Ron Wyden (Ore.).

The bill would add text to the 1993 law specifying that RFRA cannot counteract civil rights laws, employment law, protections against child abuse or access to health care.

Charles Haynes, a scholar on religious freedom at the Newseum, said that RFRA, as it is written, has not typically been applied by the courts to allow discriminating against LGBT customers, as it is. “RFRA is not a blank check to protect free exercise of religion. It simply requires the government to take claims of consciousness seriously,” he said.

The Court’s decision in favor of Hobby Lobby concerned some liberals, but Haynes noted that the Court argued that the women denied contraception coverage by their employer were not actually harmed, since they could take advantage of an alternate means to get the same coverage that was already available to employees of religious nonprofits. “The outcome in Hobby Lobby does not necessarily signal that RFRA can be used to trump civil rights protections. That’s a very high bar, traditionally, in our country. There’s not much that trumps civil rights law,” Haynes said. “Having said that, I understand that people are alarmed.”

The senators seemed concerned about such an application of the law, which the Court could choose to hand down in the baker’s case. “[RFRA] has been contorted in recent years to defend discriminatory practices against LGBTQ individuals and women seeking access to reproductive health services. The Do No Harm Act would help put an end to misuse of the act and ensure that long-standing anti-discrimination protections in the law are not eroded,” Leahy said in a statement.

Richard Garnett, who runs Notre Dame Law School’s Program on Church, State, and Society, argued that amending RFRA could swing the pendulum too far away from protecting religious freedom. “The law as it stands already requires courts to balance the burdens on the religious claimant, on the one hand, and the government’s interest, on the other. It seems to me that the Do No Harm Act is unnecessary,” he said. “To the extent an accommodation would undermine an important public interest, it is already not required by the act. In my view, the Do No Harm Act reflects a mistaken view that religious freedom should only be granted when it is costless. The reality is sometimes the public has an interest in providing exemptions to religious claimants, even if it is a bit inconvenient.”

Since the bill is highly unlikely to pass, without Republican support, its purpose is in large part simply to announce Democrats’ priorities to voters before the midterm elections in the fall, Haynes said. “One of the reasons for introducing it is to signal to people in the country — and according to polls, the majority of people want protections for LGBT people — this is where we stand, and this is what we would do if we have the opportunity,” Haynes said. “Motivating one’s base is the name of the game here, and getting people to the polls.”

Of course, conservative voters may well be motivated to vote against these Democrats, by fear of a bill like this, which to many conservative Christians will come across as heedless of Christians’ religious rights. “The whole ‘third party harm’ on the one side sounds like a protection,” Haynes said, “and on the other sounds like a direct attack on religious freedom.”

Laverne Cox and Bette Midler star in new trailer for queer film Freak Show

Laverne Cox and Bette Midler star in new trailer for queer film Freak Show

Billy Bloom played by Alex Lawther in Freak Show. (BFI) A new trailer for the movie Freak Show has revealed more about the roles played by LGBTQ+ icons Laverne Cox and Bette Midler.

The film, released in UK cinemas next month, is about teenager Billy Bloom, played by Alex Lawther, who loves to wear glittery and flamboyant clothing. However, his life is upended when he is forced to go and live with his traditionalist father. Read PinkNews’s review of Freak Show here.

The movie, based on James St. James’s novel of the same name, follows Bloom’s experiences at his new ultra-conservative high school, where he is bullied for his non-gender conforming fashion sense.

Freak Show is Trudie Styler ‘s directorial debut.

In the new trailer, Cox, who plays news reporter Felicia, asks Bloom: “How do you wanna be identified? Gay, straight, transgender?”

Bloom, who idolises Boy George and regularly quotes Oscar Wilde, coolly responds that he is a “gender-obliviator.” Laverne Cox attends the 49th NAACP Image Awards at Pasadena Civic Auditorium on January 15, 2018 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty) Midler stars as Bloom’s glamorous mum Muv.

Her character is depicted in the trailer as a cigarette-smoking parent, who loves to drink and supports her son’s fashion sense. The trailer shows Bloom overcoming his bullies by announcing that he intends to stand as a candidate for homecoming queen. Bette Midler poses in the press room during the 2017 Tony Awards at 3 West Club on June 11, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty) PinkNews’s Jess Glass, who gave the film a four-star review, described Freak Show as “full of warmth and laughter, while also sending out a clear message to anyone who has ever felt different.”

Freak Show premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival in February last year, and was released in the US in January 2018.

The movie also stars Abigail Breslin, AnnaSophia Robb, Ian Nelson and Celia Weston.

Freak Show is set to be released in UK cinemas and on demand on June 22. Since rising to fame for her role as Sophia Burset in Orange is the New Black , Cox has been outspoken on transgender issues, especially those affecting transgender people of colour.

In February, the star opened up about how difficult it was to break into the entertainment industry as a black, trans woman.

And, in January, she made history after becoming the first transgender woman to make the cover of Cosmopolitan .

Ask the Aunties: Help! How do I know if I am truly bisexual?

Ask the Aunties: Help! How do I know if I am truly bisexual?

PinkNews brings you a new series, Ask the Aunties, where our fabulous aunties answer your dilemmas.

From dating to telling your pals your pronouns, no dilemma is left unanswered.

Lee Gray, Karnage Kills and Rhys Hollis are the queer agony aunts you always wanted.

In the first episode of the series, a 16-year-old boy from Argentina – who wished to remain anonymous – has written in with a query about questioning his sexuality.

He asks: “How do I know if I am truly bisexual? I’m male, 16-years-old from Argentina, and I have a really strong attraction to women. “That’s why I thought I was straight for the most part of my life, but lately I’ve been feeling attraction to the idea of being with a man.

“But as soon as I think about actually doing it, that desire wears off really quickly. Then it comes again, just to fade out once more.

“This feeling is not really as strong as the attraction I have to women, so that’s why I am really confused.

“I’ve identified as a straight man for my whole life before this.”

Watch the video below to see what advice our aunties give him. “You don’t have to define your sexuality – it’s your business, you shouldn’t feel any pressure from anyone else to define yourself,” Karnage advised.

“Just to be clear, it’s going to be okay – give yourself the opportunity, honey, to explore,” Lee added.

“Sexuality is a spectrum and you can place anywhere on it, I don’t think it’s as simple as gay, straight or bisexual.

“You don’t have to be caught up on whether I am attracted to men or attracted to women,” Rhys said.

Lee Gray is a YouTuber and part-time podcaster with Karnage Kills – together they produce a podcast about black queer men’s experiences living and dating in London, called Wolves in the City . Karnage is a rapper and grime artist from north London, regularly performing on the queer scene. You can also listen to his tracks on Soundcloud .

Rhys Hollis is a drag and cabaret performer , including at The Glory in Dalston, London. You catch him performing at Queefy Cabaret in London on June 8, 2018. Subscribe to PinkNews on YouTube to catch new weekly episodes of Ask the Aunties. More:

Two-thirds of people in Northern Ireland want same-sex marriage, says new report

Two-thirds of people in Northern Ireland want same-sex marriage, says new report

Gay rights campaigners take part in a march through Belfast on July 1, 2017 to protest against the ban on same-sex marriage. (PAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images) A new report has revealed that nearly two-thirds of people in Northern Ireland are in favour of same-sex marriage being introduced.

The research, published by Queen’s University Belfast , involved interviewing 1,012 people from across Northern Ireland about their attitudes to various issues affecting the country, including gay marriage and the Brexit vote.

Some 63 percent of people surveyed supported same-sex marriage becoming enshrined in law in Northern Ireland.

Researchers also noted that half of Protestants interviewed supported gay marriage – compared to three quarters of Catholics.

The new data suggests that the clamour of support for gay marriage in Northern Ireland is growing, with comedian John Bishop voicing his support for the same-sex union this month .

Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK that continues to ban same-sex marriage, as the ultra-conservative Democratic Unionist Party has blocked progress on the issue despite public support for equality. (Justin Sullivan/Getty) Polling shows that an overwhelming majority of people in Northern Ireland support equal marriage, and campaigners fear that unless action is taken in Westminster it could be many years before the impasse is solved following the failure of power-sharing in the region.

In April, a poll by Sky Data found that fewer than one in five people in Northern Ireland are opposed to equal marriage. But attempts to take action over the issue in Westminster have been so far been halted.

Earlier this month, a Conservative MP shot down a cross-party push to bring equal marriage to Northern Ireland.

Labour’s Conor McGinn had brought a bill to the UK Parliament seeking to extend same-sex marriage to Northern Ireland following the collapse of the devolved Northern Irish government.

However, despite support from MPs across the major parties, McGinn’s bill was denied a second reading in the House of Commons, following an objection from a backbench Conservative MP who moved to block the bill coming to the floor. Thousands of people take part in a Belfast march and rally calling for legislation for same-sex marriage (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty) Private members’ bills rarely become actual legislation, but the decision to prevent progress on the bill led to anger from LGBT rights campaigners.

The next opportunity to promote the bill in the Commons will be in October.

McGinn said: “Hundreds of thousands of people in Northern Ireland who support the right of same-sex couples to marry will be outraged that one English Tory MP has been able to prevent the progress of my Equal Marriage Bill in the House of Commons today.

“While it is welcome that the Government did not formally object to the 2nd Reading of the Bill, they need to clarify how they intend to ensure that the right to equal marriage in Northern Ireland – which has the support of the Assembly, Parliament and the public – becomes law.

“The Government can’t continue to talk out of both sides of its mouth on this issue. It can and should legislate to extend equal marriage to Northern Ireland.” More:

Gavin Grimm wins landmark victory in transgender bathroom case

Gavin Grimm wins landmark victory in transgender bathroom case

(Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty) A federal judge has ruled that a school district violated a transgender student’s rights when it prevented him from using the bathroom which matched his gender identity.

Teenager Gavin Grimm was told by the Gloucester County School Board in Virginia to use the restroom which corresponded with his “biological gender” in 2014, despite having used a boys’ toilet for two months without incident.

The district asked Judge Arenda L. Wright-Allen at the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia to dismiss the case, but she refused. (Jason Kempin/Getty) Instead, the judge ruled that both Title IX – a federal law which bars sex discrimination in education – and the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution had been broken in blocking Grimm.

She also slammed the school board, telling the court: “The location of the bathrooms, coupled with the stigmatisation and physical and mental anguish inflicted upon Mr. Grimm, caused harm.”

Lawyers for Grimm, who is receiving assistance from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and the school district were ordered to arrange a settlement conference within 30 days. (Jemal Countess/Getty) The ruling was the latest twist in a long-running saga.

A different district judge ruled in favour of the school board in 2015, but this was overturned in 2016 by the Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

This decision was made on the basis of legislation put in place by President Barack Obama which protected trans students from discrimination.

Last year, the Supreme Court sent the case back to the district courts after President Donald Trump’s administration removed these key protections. (Brad Barket/Getty) Grimm, who has since graduated, was delighted with the landmark ruling. “I feel an incredible sense of relief,” he said in a statement issued through the ACLU.

“After fighting this policy since I was 15 years old, I finally have a court decision saying that what the Gloucester County School Board did to me was wrong and it was against the law.

“I was determined not to give up because I didn’t want any other student to have to suffer the same experience that I had to go through.” (Ben Gabbe/Getty) Joshua Block, an ACLU senior staff attorney, said: “The district court’s ruling vindicates what Gavin has been saying from the beginning.

“Federal law protects Gavin and other students who are transgender from being stigmatised and excluded from using the same common restrooms that other boys and girls use,” he added.

“These sorts of discriminatory policies do nothing to protect privacy and only serve to harm and humiliate transgender students.” (Dia Dipasupil/Getty) The Human Rights Campaign also welcomed the decision, with legal director Sarah Warbelow saying: “No student should feel unsafe at school, regardless of gender identity.

“Transgender students are covered by Title IX and are entitled to the same rights and protections as every other student.

“With the Trump-Pence administration’s barrage of attacks on LGBTQ people in this country, including children, we are pleased that yet another federal court has reaffirmed legal rights and dignity of transgender people.” More:

Caitlyn Jenner considered coming out as transgender in death

Caitlyn Jenner considered coming out as transgender in death

Caityn Jenner, who publicly transitioned in 2015, has revealed she considered coming out as trans in death.

Talking to Broadly , Jenner discussed her first attempts at transitioning back in the 1980s.

Jenner said she postponed her transition upon falling in love with ex-wife Kris Jenner, the Keeping Up with the Kardashians matriarch.

The former Olympian said that before making the life-changing decision to transition, she thought “a lot” about being buried in women’s clothes.

“I thought about that a lot over the years,” Jenner said, “and it would shock everybody. Screw ‘em.” Vanity Fair cover with Caitlyn Jenner (Vanity Fair) Jenner came out as trans in 2015 and documented her transition through the E! reality show, I Am Cait . But accepting herself as a trans woman was something she struggled with for years.

After building her career as a successful Olympian, Jenner said she found it difficult to detach from the masculine personality she had created for herself.

In the ’80s, Jenner decided she would transition before turning 40. She underwent plastic surgery on her nose, began taking cross-sex hormones and had a hair removal procedure for her beard.

She said she had a “small B-cup” when she met Kris Jenner. After their marriage and birth of Kendall Jenner, their first child together, Jenner underwent a surgery to get rid of her breasts.

“I can’t even go swimming with my kid,” Jenner said she felt at the time. Caitlyn Jenner speaks at the AOL 2016 MAKERS conference at Terranea Resort on February 2, 2016 in Rancho Palos Verdes, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty) In 2015, Jenner left her former identity as Bruce behind and finally embraced Caitlyn and appeared on the cover of Vanity Fair ’s best-selling issue of the year and received Glamour’s Woman of the Year award.

But missteps after her very public transition earned her the ire of the LGBT community .

Jenner upset the LGBT audience with her remarks on marriage equality. Appearing on Ellen DeGeneres ’ talk show, she said: “I’m older than most people in the audience. I kind of like tradition, and it’s always been a man and a woman. I’m thinking, ‘I don’t quite get it.’”

Furthermore, her status as a celeb and white rich woman didn’t sit well with trans activists, who thought Jenner was in no position to understand the struggles of poor trans people of colour, who suffer more abuse and experience more discrimination than others.

Jenner is aware of that disconnect: “Along the way, did I make mistakes? Absolutely,” Jenner told Broadly.

“But I never did it maliciously. I just didn’t know, you know? And I really didn’t realise how critical the community was going to be.”

Members of the LGBT community also took an issue with Jenner’s controversial political endorsements . In 2016, Jenner, a Republican, supported Ted Cruz and eventually voted for Donald Trump in the presidential election.

“Trump seems to be very much for women. He seems very much behind the LGBT community because of what happened in North Carolina with the bathroom issue,” she told Stat at the time.

In the run-up to the election in 2016, Trump criticised North Carolina’s bathroom bill, which stated that people should use public bathroom according to their “biological gender,” thus discriminating against trans and nonbinary individuals. The then-candidate said people should use any bathrooms “they feel [are] appropriate.” He then backtracked his statement.

“He backed the LGBT community. But in Trump’s case, there’s a lot more unknowns,” she added. Donald Trump holds an LGBT rainbow flag during a campaign rally at the Bank of Colorado Arena on the campus of University of Northern Colorado October 30, 2016 in Greeley, Colorado. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty) Jenner has since changed her tune and now says Trump “has been, for all LGBT issues, the worst president we have ever had,” and says she could not support him for re-election.

“I want him to know politically I am disappointed, obviously. I don’t want our community to go backwards,” she said, “just leave us alone, that’s all we want. Then maybe later down the line, we can get somebody a little better.”

The Republican party is not known to be a beacon of support for LGBTQ rights. Several Republican states have passed or attempted to pass discriminatory laws, such as exclusionary bathroom bills.

Jenner said she would rather work to change the party’s stand on LGBT issues from within.

“The Republicans need the most work when it comes to our issues, I get that. I would rather work from the inside,” she said.

“I’m not the type of person who is going to stand on a street corner with a sign and jump up and down. No, I’m going to go have dinner with these people.”

Jenner flew to Washington for Trump”s inauguration and met with Vice President Mike Pence, whom she calls the “real enemy.” She recalled telling him she was a Christian and a Conservative, but also a trans woman.

When asked if she would ever vote Democrat, Jenner said she would have to look into it.

“I don’t vote parties, I vote the person,” Jenner said.

This Hispanic sheriff could be the first lesbian Governor of Texas

This Hispanic sheriff could be the first lesbian Governor of Texas

(lupe valdez/facebook) Lupe Valdez has become the first openly lesbian candidate to win a nomination for Texas Governor.

The four-term sheriff will take on anti-gay Republican incumbent Greg Abbott after beating Andrew White by five percentage points in the Democratic run-off on May 22.

In a rousing victory speech, she paid tribute to her partner – who she called “my darling sweetheart Lindsay” – before promising to “fight for change. (SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty) “We’re going to make it happen. A stronger and fair Texas. A tolerant and diverse Texas. A Texas where the everyday person has a voice and a shot just as I did.”

Valdez then pleaded with Texans to let her help them, saying: “Let me find a path for you.

“Let me find a path for your health care. Let me find a path for your living wage.” (lupe valdez/facebook) She continued: “Texas is changing. Look around you. This is what Texas looks like. Like all of us.”

The nominee told her fans: “We have the grassroots. We have the people. We have the momentum. We are the ones who truly represent Texas.”

And Valdez, 70, dismissed fears that she can’t win against her heavily backed opponent in the November election. (lupe valdez/facebook) “Please tell me when I didn’t have an uphill battle… I am getting darn good at uphill battles, and I’m not done yet,” she said to rapturous applause.

And Valdez wasn’t the only LGBT candidate making history in Texas yesterday, as lesbian veteran Gina Ortiz Jones won the right to contest the 23rd Congressional District in November.

If she wins, the 37-year-old former Air Force intelligence officer – who has been endorsed by Vice President Joe Biden – will become the first openly lesbian woman and first Filipina-American elected to Congress from Texas. Gina Ortiz Jones (Gina Ortiz Jones for Congress/facebook) Before she came out, Valdez was in the Women’s Army Corps, at a time when her friends who were gay – or even seen at gay bars – were dishonourably discharged.

When she first ran for sheriff in 2004, she was expected to lose heavily. Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa recalled: “She ran for sheriff in a county that did not have a single countywide official that was a Democrat and hadn’t for 20 years. (lupe valdez/facebook) “She ran against an incumbent sheriff. She did not have any experience running for office.

“Few people, if any, gave her any chance of winning,” he added.

She won, by 51 percent to 49 percent, and steadily increased her margin of victory in subsequent votes. Last year, she won her third election by 59 percent to 37 percent.

Valdez said that turning out minority votes was key to this widening gap between her and her Republican challengers. (lupe valdez/facebook) Last November saw a wave of LGBT candidate break new ground by winning elections.

This included Danica Roem’s momentous victory over anti-trans incumbent Bob Marshall to become the first transgender member of the Virginia House of Delegates. (Comedy Central/YouTube) And anti-LGBT politicians have been warned that voters will be coming for them this November.

Watch Valdez accept the nomination here:

Dustin Lance says we should ‘celebrate our beautiful differences’ at Schools Diversity Week launch

Dustin Lance says we should ‘celebrate our beautiful differences’ at Schools Diversity Week launch

(Just Like Us) Dustin Lance Black has asked schools to celebrate “our beautiful differences” in a week-long bid to tackle homophobia in schools.

The screenwriter made a rallying cry to make “a more beautiful world for all” at the launch of an initiative to raise awareness around LGBT+ issues in educational establishments thirty years after the anniversary of Section 28 .

“We’re here today to continue to share those stories of hope throughout this country,” said the screenwriter.

“That’s the power of personal story and the power of what you’re doing with this organisation… [sharing] stories of hope and collaboration – the spirit that says in our difference we are great and in our combined differences we are unbeatable… Continue to lead with that hope that says locked arm and arm with our beautiful differences, we can succeed, we can thrive and we can make this a more beautiful nation, a more beautiful world for all, not despite our differences, but thank God for them.” Section 28, which was introduced in the Local Government Act of 1988 by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, forbade schools “promoting the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship.”

Now three decades on, Schools Diversity Week will take place across the country during the first week of July “to end homophobia, biphobia and transphobia” across UK schools.

“Growing up, I never heard a teacher say anything positive about LGBT issues – it made school a lonely and frightening time. This year, thirty years after Section 28 banned
homosexuality in the classroom, we want even more schools to join School Diversity Week and take action to end homophobia, biphobia and transphobia,” said Just Like Us CEO Tim Ramsey at the event’s launch on May 22. The event is much-needed in UK schools. LGBT+ pupils and teachers alike still face significant troubles in being openly queer in their environment.

A third of LGBT+ teachers also stay in the closet at school . (Creative Commons) Stonewall Cymru said that 54 per cent of young LGBT people face bullying in schools .

That figure rose to a massive 73 per cent for trans children , while 41 per cent of young trans people in Wales have tried to take their own life.

The act was in force until 2003, apart from in Kent, where it remained until 2004.

Prime Minister Theresa May has also voiced her support for the project in a video for the charity. “Having visible role models who have been there before and know how it feels can help give a young person the confidence to embrace who they are. And they can encourage everyone in the school to be positive and accepting. That’s why I want to congratulate Just Like Us for running School Diversity Week,” the Prime Minister says.

“Thanks to the tireless work of campaigners like you, attitudes in this country have come a long way … the truth is that we all do better and our whole country is enriched when we are free to be ourselves.”

The initiative has ran for the past three years.

It began in 2016 with 38,000 pupils taking part.

The week will take place 2-6 July 2018.

Gay man denied a marriage licence by Kim Davis loses opportunity to unseat her

Gay man denied a marriage licence by Kim Davis loses opportunity to unseat her

(Getty / @DErmold – Twitter) The gay man who launched an election campaign against anti-gay county clerk Kim Davis after she denied him a marriage licence has lost his bid to unseat her.

Rowan County clerk Kim Davis famously refused to issues marriage licenses to same-sex couples in 2015 , after the US Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage was legal in all 50 states.

Despite a significant backlash, Davis insisted that she would re-run for the position of county clerk for Rowan County in the 2018 election.

One of the men she denied a marriage licence to was David Ermold, who began an election bid for the role of county clerk as a Democratic hopeful in 2017. (@DErmold / Twitter) Ermold reportedly raised over $200,000 in campaign funds, with many donations made from out of state since announcing his intention to run last November.

Despite this swell of support, Ermold was defeated in Tuesday’s Democratic primary by fellow registered Democrat Elwood Caudill Jr.

In a statement posted to his Twitter account after the results of the primary, Ermold thanked his supporters and stated his commitment to keeping Rowan County inclusive.

“Today, I stand amazed by the outpouring of support for our campaign by both those in Rowan County and by those across the country. Our primary was a truly competitive race, and I am so proud of our accomplishments.

“We knew from the beginning that we had a difficult task, and while our campaign is coming to a close, our work to reaffirm Rowan County as a diverse and welcoming community has only just begun.” (David Ermold for County Clerk) Ermold continued: “While it is easy to share and grow in our commonalities, we must also work to bridge our differences to find understanding.

“As a community, we may not always agree on every issue, but our community should be one based on fairness and respect.

“Our clerk’s office touches the lives of every person in the community, and we must have leadership dedicated to our needs. Our leadership must be willing to serve ALL our people, and it must value the unique needs of every citizen.” (@DErmold / Twitter) Following Davis’ refusal to provide marriage licences to gay couples, four couples (two same-sex and two heterosexual) sued Davis over her actions, with help from the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union).

The Apostolic Christian has said that she refused to issue the licenses because same-sex marriage goes against her beliefs.

After she was sent to jail for five days for refusing a federal order to issue same-sex marriage certificates, Davis became a staunch anti-gay marriage campaigner. (Ty Wright/Getty Images) Sadly, Davis hasn’t just contained her homophobic vitriol to the confines of her constituency since the marriage license controversy.

Alongside the Liberty Counsel, Davis met Romanian campaigners against same-sex marriage in 2017 to discuss the country’s referendum on legalising same-sex unions.