“My transition, for me, was about moving out of denial” – Laverne Cox opens up about ‘reparation therapy’ experience

“My transition, for me, was about moving out of denial” – Laverne Cox opens up about ‘reparation therapy’ experience

Laverne Cox is the human embodiment of trailblazer.

After launching to international acclaim with the success of Netflix’s Orange Is The New Black, she has since used her platform to raise awareness and fight for trans rights around the world. Her incredible #TransIsBeautiful hashtag has become an internet sensation, celebrating the everyday beauty of trans people – especially those that exist outside of the cisheteronomative ideals that persist throughout society.

But her journey to self-acceptance has been arduous, she has revealed to Gay Times .

“We have to make places safer for trans individuals, non-conforming people, for people of colour as racism is still… in America it’s a thing, globally a thing, but in the American south, it’s really bad.”

Laverne grew up in Alabama, and after displaying her difference from other children was sent into ‘reparative therapy’ by her third-grade teacher and mother. Jacqueline Harriet for Gay Times “That was awful, horrible and shaming, and that was a moment that really instilled in me that I shouldn’t be as feminine as I was and should try to act differently. I did, kind of, but couldn’t really help myself and who I was.”

There is still no National ban on conversion therapy in the USA, and the process that victims endures can lead to long-term struggles with mental health.

“After that therapy experience, I had so much shame about knowing I was a girl. I always knew I was a girl and it was something my therapist knew. I internalised so much shame because of my therapist, my mother and my teacher, and everyone trying to ‘fix’ me.”

As we know, Laverne endured this experience and has used her own struggles to empower her global network of trans fans – just as she was empowered by trans women during her transition.

“It wasn’t until I moved to New York and met real trans women that I was able to accept I was a girl – to let me stop running from it. My transition, for me, was about moving out of denial and moving into acceptance about who I am.” Jacqueline Harriet for Gay Times Speaking with former Gay Times cover star Peppermint, Laverne goes on to dissect the layers of racism in America, privilege, and addresses the violence that trans women of colour face every day in the USA.

Read the full conversation in the latest issue of Gay Times, available now . MAY TIMES. Get inside the latest Gay Times to discover exclusive interviews with Antoni Porowski, Dexter Mayfield, Daniel Newman, Casey Spooner and many more!. BUY NOW .

Two-thirds of Americans support same-sex marriage, study finds

Two-thirds of Americans support same-sex marriage, study finds

Support for gay marriage is the highest it’s ever been. The poll – conducted by Gallup – was released on Wednesday, and revealed that 67% of U.S. adults are now in favour of gay marriage.

It’s an overwhelming increase since the first poll in 1996, when only 26% of Americans said same-sex couples deserve legal recognition.

Gallup reported that there’s been an increase of three-percentage points in the past three years, showing that support for same-sex weddings is still on the rise.

In 2012, only 53% of Americans supported gay marriage, and it rose to 60% in 2015 when the Supreme Court make it legal nationwide.

Gallup said the increase “may be due to greater numbers of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) adults getting married in the U.S.”

The study also found that Democrats remain the most likely party to favour same-sex marriage at 83%, opposed to only 44% of Republicans.

“The latest figure for Republicans’ views on gay marriage is similar to the 47% recorded in 2017,” stated Gallup. “The GOP has seen growth in the percentage of Republicans who favor legally recognized gay marriage over the years, but has yet to reach majority support.”

1,024 adults took part in Gallup’s survey as part of the company’s annual Values and Morals poll from 1-10 May.

The overall increase in support comes just a day after a study found that two-thirds of Northern Ireland support gay marriage, where 63% of respondents said they were in favour.

Related: Pope Francis tells gay man: “God made you like this and loves you like this” MAY TIMES. Get inside the latest Gay Times to discover exclusive interviews with Antoni Porowski, Dexter Mayfield, Daniel Newman, Casey Spooner and many more!. BUY NOW .

Sex, lies and payday loans: The parachute murder plot

Sex, lies and payday loans: The parachute murder plot

A soldier has been found guilty of trying to murder his wife by sabotaging her parachute. This is the story of how Emile Cilliers’ lifetime of deceit ultimately led to his unveiling as a would-be killer.

As Sgt Emile Cilliers drove home on the afternoon of 30 March 2015, he knew his plan to kill his wife Victoria by causing a gas leak had not worked. So he pulled out his new iPhone – bought with his wife’s money – and sent her a text. The wheels were once again set in motion. Surely nobody could survive what he’d planned for his wife next?

He wasn’t to know that as Victoria Cilliers plummeted to earth after a catastrophic parachute failure, his own life would steadily unravel. Cilliers had hoped to kill his wife in their own home. He’d done all the preparation: opening the gas valve in the kitchen before heading off to his ex-wife and current lover Carly’s house, safe in the knowledge his toddler, newborn baby and exhausted wife were tucked up in bed.

Once his tryst with Carly was over, he sent a saucy text or two to his girlfriend Stefanie, checked an adult website "for thrills" and drove the 45 minutes to his barracks in Aldershot.

The following morning, Victoria Cilliers woke and went to the kitchen to fetch some milk for one of her children.

She smelled gas.

She texted her husband, asking if he’d altered the valve in the kitchen as there was blood around it.

"Are you trying to bump me off?" she joked.

And of course he was. The cupboard next to the cooker is where Emile Cilliers opened a gas valve Things weren’t rosy in the Cilliers marriage, but Victoria was unaware of most of what was going on behind her back.

She was a woman in love. But although Victoria was suspicious of Emile’s fidelity, she would never have suspected he’d attempt to take her life not once, but twice.

But Emile Cilliers was a man used to getting his own way.

When he wanted money, he borrowed large sums from his wife, colleagues and payday loan companies.

When he wanted sex, he used prostitutes, had casual flings, and had affairs with his ex-wife and a girlfriend who lived abroad.

When he wanted to go on holiday with that girlfriend, he told his wife it was a work trip.

And when he wanted Victoria out of his life, he tried to kill her. Emile Cilliers had a relationship with Stefanie Goller (left) and continued to sleep with his ex-wife Carly Cilliers A sergeant in the Royal Army Physical Training Corps, Cilliers frequently volunteered for residential training camps abroad – even when Victoria was heavily pregnant.

He also started to stay overnight at his barracks in Aldershot, complaining about the 45-minute commute from his home in Amesbury, Wiltshire.

Victoria was worried he was becoming cold towards her and she was terrified of him walking out on her and the children. Husband guilty of parachute murder attempt

Emile Cilliers ‘better off with wife alive’

Jurors shown sabotage possible in five minutes

As Cilliers, a father of six, grew ever more distant, Victoria clung all the tighter. She sent texts and emails to her husband when he was away from home, saying she loved and missed him.

She voiced fears that he had fallen out of love with her, or that he was seeing someone else.

"I feel like a failure as a wife," she said to him in one tragic text message. She had psychological scars from the infidelity of her first husband, a vulnerability Cilliers was quick to exploit. He blamed her suspicions about his behaviour on her previous experience, describing her as "emotional".

At the same time, he told her he needed time to think.

"I need to decide whether I want to be in this marriage," he said, while in Austria skiing with the Army. "I think we may have got married too soon."

Victoria, who was shortly due to give birth to their second child, cried so hard she "thought it might harm the baby".

She had no idea Cilliers was already planning a life with a new woman. He also had debts that were spiralling out of control.

Over the seven years they had been together, Victoria had subbed him more than £19,000 with the idea he would pay her back with a regular standing order.

Sometimes he did; more often he did not. As Victoria was worried that she and her husband were growing apart, she was gratified to receive a text from him suggesting they jump together over the Easter weekend.

After all, he had not even bothered to text her over the new year when he was abroad. Victoria thought it was a work trip. Her husband was actually enjoying himself in Berlin with Stefanie.

At home, Victoria was dealing with the ramifications of his rampant spending and borrowing.

A bailiff from a payday loan company had been to their home. Alone, pregnant and looking after a toddler, she felt intimidated and afraid.

She sent her husband a text about it.

He replied: "Why are you worried? They can’t do anything."

He had taken out several high-interest loans with payday loan companies. He asked friends for money, promising to pay it back. He transferred three lots of £2,000 from Victoria’s savings account to his own, without her knowledge.

When she noticed the transactions, Cilliers told her that her account had been hacked. When the bank investigated this apparent fraud, it found that the internet provider address was the family’s home computer.

But, on that day just before Easter 2015, when Emile suggested the jump, Victoria was delighted he seemed to want to not only do something fun, but do it together. The sabotaged parachute was kept overnight in a locker used by the couple They went to Netheravon airfield on the Saturday, but bad weather prevented them from jumping. Cilliers had collected a parachute rig from the kit store for Victoria.

Before heading home, rather than return Victoria’s rig to the store, Cilliers put it in their locker. He said it was so Victoria could save time the following morning.

She felt uneasy. She would not ordinarily put kit that did not belong to her in their locker, but she acquiesced. It was preferable to squabbling over something minor, especially when they’d been getting on so well.

In reality, her husband had taken the equipment into the toilet and sabotaged both chutes. He twisted the lines on the main one and then removed parts of the reserve. He had to keep her kit separate or someone else would be his victim. Emile Cilliers sabotaged his wife’s parachute in the men’s toilet at Netheravon airfield Victoria returned to the airfield on Easter Sunday. She texted her husband to say she was tempted to go home and "eat her choc egg" as the weather was poor again, but he encouraged her to stay until jumping conditions improved.

All of a sudden he was putting her first. He was looking after their children while she enjoyed a hobby she said was "her life" before she married and had children.

So she put on the parachute rig and went up in the plane to the cloud layer – about 4,000ft (1,200m).

Witnesses told the court she was happy and excited to be jumping again. She fist-bumped other skydivers in the aircraft with her.

She was the last to jump.

She stepped out of the aircraft, free fell for about three seconds and then pulled the cord.

Immediately, she knew there was something wrong.

"It just didn’t feel right. The lines were twisted. I was spinning." Victoria Cilliers’ parachute was shown to the jury Victoria had completed more than 2,500 jumps. She knew what to do, so cut away the main chute and deployed the reserve. It did not work.That was the last thing she remembered.Airfield ground staff watched in horror as she spiralled to the ground. She looked "like a rag doll", being flung about underneath a malformed canopy.They were so certain she had died they took a body bag to collect her.Her survival was described by experts as "a miracle" and was put down to her small size and the fact she landed on a soft, recently-ploughed field.She suffered a broken spine, a smashed pelvis, fractured ribs and internal injuries. Emile Cilliers arriving at court It is unusual for a main parachute to fail, and almost unheard of for the reserve to do so as well. In fact, no equipment anywhere in the world had ever failed in this particular way, experts told the trial.The British Parachute Association inspected the chutes and concluded they had been deliberately sabotaged.Apparently, someone wanted Victoria dead.The investigation was passed to the police.It was perhaps poetic justice that it was Emile’s infidelity that unravelled the case.Phone and computer records were seized and texts sent by Emile to his girlfriend Stefanie Goller were found. He had told her he wanted to marry her. They had planned holidays together, browsed the internet for houses, and he had promised her the world.The police had something to go on.Details of his financial affairs also emerged, his reliance on payday loan after payday loan.He believed that getting rid of Victoria would solve both problems.Described by the prosecution at his trial as a "pathological liar who is completely devoid of empathy", Cilliers had hoped to receive a substantial payout from Victoria’s life insurance.But, aware of what she described as her husband’s "financial incontinence", she had changed her will to ensure her assets went to her children. Cilliers is a keen rock-climber After the parachute jump, Victoria, now aged 41, was in intensive care when her husband turned up at her bedside. Rather than offer his support or sympathy, he produced critical injury insurance forms to be signed by a doctor."He didn’t even say he loved me," Victoria told the police."He was there counting up my fractures. You get £1,000 for each break and he was there totting them up."He was also texting Stefanie while next to his wife’s hospital bed.In his first interview with the police, Cilliers cried about the situation with "love of his life" Stefanie, worrying they would break up.In his second, she was "just an affair".By the third interview, when police asked him about his earlier tears, he said it was because he had been worried about Victoria. The officer pointed out it was the other woman he had been crying about.By the time the case came to trial, he said he had been "stringing Stef along". Emile Cilliers with mother Zaan and father Stoltz Emile Cilliers had grown up in South Africa with his parents and a younger brother and sister.He worked his way up his father’s construction company to the position of foreman. When he moved to the UK in 2000 he left behind two young children, a boy and a girl, with their South African mother, Nicolene.He was working in […]

Theresa May’s LGBT Action Plan is not enough to tackle hate crime, says Dawn Butler MP

Theresa May's LGBT Action Plan is not enough to tackle hate crime, says Dawn Butler MP

By Thea de Gallier – @theadegallier Theresa May has announced a plan to improve the lives of LGBT people after large-scale survey.

Last year, 100,000 LGBT people in the UK were surveyed in the largest study of its kind, and the results are soon to be announced.

Labour MP Dawn Butler, the Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities, said that “making announcements” was not enough, and that the PM should hold a consultation on the Gender Recognition Act 2004 (GRA) and make hate crimes against LGBT people an aggravated offense.

“The LGBT+ community has seen an increase in hate crime,” she said. “The way to stop that is to be up front, tackle it and deal with it, rather than making announcements.”

She added: “We need to start the consultation on the Gender Recognition Act and make sure it’s in line with the rights of trans people to self-declare [their gender].

“Attacks on the LGBT community should be made an aggravated offense in sentencing so you get a stiffer penalty if you attack someone who’s LGBT+.”

The Prime Minister wrote a letter to Gay Times magazine outlining her intention to publish an LGBT Action Plan this summer.

“It will set out concrete steps the Government will take to improve lives for LGBT people in this country and address some of the injustices the community has faced,” May wrote.

“We’ve also engaged with experts to understand better the limitations of the current system of gender recognition and will soon publish a public consultation on how we best reform the process.”

One of the most debated issues in the advancement of LGBT rights is the GRA.

At present, transgender people must have medical assessments in order to have their gender legally recognised, but the proposed reforms would mean they can self-identify without the medical and psychiatric involvement.

There has not yet been a formal consultation on the Act, but May has repeatedly promised one since last year.

Critics of the proposed reforms say they could be abused by men to gain access to facilities intended for women.

In the letter, May hinted that there would be a part of the Action Plan dedicated to transgender rights, writing: ““Trans people still face indignities and prejudice when they deserve understanding and respect. There’s lots to do – but the UK can be proud that we are a world leader in advancing LGBT rights.”

What was Section 28? The history of the homophobic legislation 30 years on

What was Section 28? The history of the homophobic legislation 30 years on

LGBT rights activist Sue Sanders speaks to PinkNews about the legacy of the controversial Section 28. (PinkNews) It’s 30 years to the day since the Thatcher government introduced the intensely contentious Section 28.

Three decades on, the history of the homophobic legislation and its “very long shadow” still looms over schools and local authorities in the UK today.

From its very beginnings, Section 28 proved highly controversial. The clause, an amendment to the Local Government Act 1988, banned local authorities and schools from “promoting” homosexuality.

In effect, this meant that councils were prohibited from funding of books, plays, leaflets, films, or other materials showing same-sex relationships, while teachers weren’t allowed to teach about gay relationships in schools.

This clause – the first anti-gay legislation to be introduced in the UK for 100 years – was the Conservative government’s vitriolic and traditionalist response to calls for equality from lesbian and gay rights activists in the late 1980s.

Thatcher captured these venomous anti-gay views in her infamous speech 1987 Conservative Party conference, which was met with rapturous applause.

“Children who need to be taught to respect traditional moral values are being taught that they have an inalienable right to be gay, ” she said. “All of those children are being cheated of a sound start in life. Yes, cheated.” Thatcher at the Conservative Party conference And, from its incarnation, queer campaigners loathed Section 28.

On the day the clause was passed in the House of Lords, a group of lesbians abseiled into the House of Lords in protest, making national news broadcasts.

The legislation – so loathed, so reviled by supporters of LGBTQ+ equality – caused 20,000 Mancunians to take to their city’s streets to march against it. Ian McKellen at Pride in London (John Phillips/Getty) Actor Ian McKellan opposed the clause so much that he came out as gay in order to fight it.

And, although the clause was finally repealed in Scotland on June 21, 2000, then for the rest of the UK on November 18, 2003, the implications of Section 28 are visible even today. The background to section 28 and the Earl of Halsbury’s Bill

The origins of Section 28 are rooted in the late 1980s amid a complex environment of both an increased drive to end discrimination against LGBTQ+ people in some parts of society and, conversely, the rising anti-gay rhetoric among other areas.

Spurred on by the partial decriminalisation of male homosexuality in 1967, gay rights activists continued to fight for LGBTQ+ equality.

This, in turn, led to the Greater London Council funding some LGBTQ+ groups, and some local authorities in the capital – like Ealing, Islington, and Camden – as well as in Manchester, actually employing officers to counter homophobia.

There were also alliances between LGBTQ+ groups and Labour unions, notably between the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners , which the film Pride is based on.

And, in 1985, Manchester City Council made Margaret Roff the city’s mayor – making her the first openly lesbian woman to hold such a post in the UK.

But, on the one hand, the outbreak of AIDS/HIV led to the mainstream media demonising gay and bisexual men. A News of the World headline on AIDS The Conservative Party, meanwhile, issued homophobic posters in the run-up to the 1987 general election claiming that the Labour Party wanted LGBTQ-friendly books – like Young, Gay and Proud and The Milkman’s on His Way – to be read in schools.

By 1987, according to the British Social Attitudes Survey, three-quarters of the population believed homosexual activity was “always or mostly wrong.” Just 11 percent thought it was “never wrong.”

Just before the general election of 1987, the Earl of Halsbury introduced the Local Government Act 1986 (Amendment) Bill , also known as An act to refrain local authorities from promoting homosexuality. The Daily Record on Section 28 This bill was successfully passed through the House of Lords, and even passed the first stage on the way to becoming law in the Commons, but it went no further.

Sue Sanders, the chair of Schools OUT UK and founder of LGBT+ History Month , taught under, and protested against, Section 28.

She explained that the Earl of Halsbury’s bill was not dissimilar to what became Section 28.

The bill essentially put in place the foundations for Section 28 being introduced after the Conservatives remained in power following the general election. LGBT rights activist Sue Sanders speaks to PinkNews “It was horrendous, and it’s very difficult I think to get a sense of just how dark and awful it was,” Sanders explained.

“I think one of the difficulties for people who haven’t lived through Section 28, is that you haven’t got a concept of what it was like to have no mobile phones, no internet, no 24-hour news.

“All you got news-wise was through the papers and through television, which was absolutely viciously against us.” the passing of section 28

Soon after the Tories were re-elected, Tory MP David Wilshire put forward an amendment to the new Local Government Bill – known first as Clause 27, and later as the notorious Clause 28 – based on the Earl of Halsbury’s Bill, which was subsequently passed through Parliament.

The night before Section 28 became law, a group of lesbians famously stormed the BBC’s Six O’Clock News in protest.

Sanders, who founded the UK’s first LGBT History Month in 2004, describes the event as “beautiful,” adding: “I mean, just done with such panache, done with such vigour, done with such humour.” A bus is spray-painted pink in protest against Section 28 (Sered/Flickr) The effects of Section 28 soon became apparent, with some schools and councils shutting down LGBTQ+ youth support groups – and many teachers too afraid to teach about same-sex relationships.

Sanders, who taught under the legislation, told PinkNews: “We talk about fake news now, what we were seeing then was downright lies.

“If you were found to be lesbian or gay and a teacher, the chances were you’d be sacked.”

Sanders said that, although there was never actually a court case over Section 28 in England and Wales, this meant that “self-censorship” among schools and local authorities was “powerful.”

“Teachers who may have wanted to do something, didn’t feel confident enough to do it,” explains Sanders. “Teachers who didn’t want anything to do with it used it as an excuse.

“For those of us who were out and proud, and were trying to work with the issues, I found it quite difficult.” Protests against Section 28 section 28 in today’s society

Even though Section 28 was repealed nearly 15 years ago – with the then Conservative Party leader David Cameron apologising for the clause in 2009 – the detrimental consequences of this legislation continues to be felt, particularly among schools, where LGBTQ+ relationships often remain a taboo subject. Sue Sanders “The shadow of Section 28 is very long,” explains Sanders. “It is extraordinary to think that it has been dead for 15 years.

“You can go into schools now and there will be teachers who are still afraid to talk about lesbian and gay issues. Their assumption that it’s not appropriate, that it’s not acceptable, that it’s not legal, is still there.”

Exclusive: I was a lesbian teacher under Section 28 and it was absolutely frightening

Exclusive: I was a lesbian teacher under Section 28 and it was absolutely frightening

Today marks 30 years since the homophobic legislation Section 28 was enacted, which censored schools from “promoting” homosexuality.

Section 28 resulted in the silencing of LGBT people across the UK, “vicious” homophobic headlines in the press, and much self-censorship as teachers feared being fired just for being LGBT.

The legislation was intensely protested – perhaps most prominently by a group of lesbians who abseiled down the House of Lords and invaded BBC News live on air.

Alongside many other protesters, Sue Sanders, the founder of LGBT History Month and chair of Schools OUT UK , campaigned against it.

Sanders also worked as a teacher under Section 28.

“It was absolutely frightening – the right-wing press were vicious against homosexuals,” she told PinkNews. LGBT rights activist Sue Sanders speaks to PinkNews “There was no support at all – if you were found to be lesbian or gay and a teacher, the chances were you’d be sacked.

“Because I’m white and I’m middle class, I used my privilege to be out.

“I have always been out in the classroom. Sometimes it would be yelled at me that I’m a lesbian and I would turn around and say, ‘Well, that’s not news, why do you feel the need to shout it out?’”

While teaching, Sanders had a formal complaint made against her for being out at school.

“About a year later, I walk into the classroom and written on the blackboard is ‘Sue Sanders is a lesbian.’ “I rubbed it off and said, ‘This is the work you need to do,’ and they said, ‘Well, we want to talk about it.’

“So I said maybe if you finish your work we’ll have five minutes at the end of the lesson – we had a brief chat and the usual questions were asked.

“The following day I go into school and the head says there’s been a complaint.”

Sanders was accused by a parent of one of her students of “flagrantly thumbing your nose at society.”

She was then told by the headteacher she would be unable to ever teach the pupil again.

“Other teachers will tell you that if they were out, they went very quietly back in the closet,” she said.

“The shadow of Section 28 is very long – it is extraordinary to think that it has been dead for 15 years. Protesters in 1978. (Hulton Archive/Getty Images) “You can go into schools now and there will be teachers now who are still afraid to talk about lesbian and gay issues.

“Their assumption that it’s not appropriate, that it’s not acceptable, that it’s not legal, is still there.”

Transgender woman shot dead in vicious attack becomes 11th killed this year

Transgender woman shot dead in vicious attack becomes 11th killed this year

(KATU) A transgender woman has been shot dead in public after an altercation in Portland, Oregon.

Gigi Pierce, 28, became the 11th trans person to be killed in the US this year when she died on May 21.

That number may yet rise when police determine the cause of death of 39-year-old Nicole Hall , whose body was found in White Rock Creek in Dallas, Texas earlier this month.

Sophia Grace Adler, 33, was arrested at the scene in downtown Portland and later charged with murder. Sophia Adler (Multnomah County Jail) She pleaded not guilty in court on Tuesday.

Pierce, from Boise in Idaho, was found lying wounded on the side of the street by emergency staff, but died within minutes of them getting to her, according to local TV channel KATU .

Those who knew her on the street have said that Pierce made it her mission to protect other homeless women.

Amber, a friend of Pierce, said she was present when the shooting happened.

“She died in my arms,” she said. Amber is comforted (KATU) “I heard Gigi say: ‘Don’t touch me,’” added Amber. “And the woman came up and hit Gigi in the face with her purse.

“That kinda set Gigi off. Gigi went to hit her, pulled back to hit her, and the next thing I know my ear’s ringing.

“There had been a gunshot. It all happened so fast.

“It always does. It all happened so fast.”

Sergeant Chris Burley of the Portland City Police backed up this account.

He said: “We do believe that prior to the shooting there had been some type of disagreement or disturbance that was going on that led up to the shooting.” (HECTOR MATA/AFP/Getty Images) Josie Deleon-Summa, who got to know both Pierce and her suspected killer, paid tribute to the victim.

“Gigi was the kind of person that was just full of life, always trying to help somebody,” said Deleon-Summa.

She added that if Adler did shoot her, it was out of character.

“Something happened last night to make her snap,” she said. “But she’s a good kid. Just misunderstood. I don’t know exactly what happened between the two.”

A total of 28 trans people were killed in the US in 2017 , the highest number on record.

The current rate of trans killings in 2018 is the same as last year.

Nino Fortson , 36, died after being shot multiple times following an argument in Atlanta, Georgia during the early hours of May 13. (Nino Starr/Facebook) Carla Patricia Flores-Pavon , 18, was choked to death in Dallas, Texas, earlier this month. (Carla Patricia Flores-Pavon/Facebook) Sasha Wall , 29, was shot dead in Chesterfield County, South Carolina, in April, dying after suffering multiple gunshots in her car. (Facebook/sasha wall) Amia Tyrae Berryman , a 28-year-old from Los Angeles, was the seventh trans person to be killed this year. Amia Tyrae Berryman She was found shot to death in a motel room in March.

In February, the body of Zakaria Fry , 28, was found on a road just outside of Santa Fe, Albuquerque. (Photo by Zakaria Fry/Facebook) Phylicia Mitchell was shot dead in Cleveland, Ohio. The 45-year-old was found in her living room on February 23 with bullet wounds in her chest. (Photo by Phylicia Mitchell/Facebook) Celine Walker, 36, was found shot to death in a motel room in Jacksonville, Florida in February. (Photo by Naomi Michaels/Facebook) Also in February, Tonya Harvey, 35, was shot dead on Shepard Street in Buffalo, New York. (Facebook/tonya harvey) Harvey’s murder followed the killings of Christa Leigh Steele-Knudslien , who founded the Miss Trans America pageant, and Viccky Gutierrez , who was burned to death in Los Angeles. Viccky Gutierrez, the second trans woman murdered in 2018 (Photo from GoFundMe) Steele-Knudslien was found stabbed to death in her home.

Most of the victims have been trans women of colour.

These LGBT+ people have shown heartwarming acts of solidarity in repeal the 8th countdown

These LGBT+ people have shown heartwarming acts of solidarity in repeal the 8th countdown

(Getty) The LGBT+ community has joined in solidarity with campaigners in the final rundown to repeal the 8th amendment.

The campaign to repeal the 8th amendment hopes to remove the law restricting women accessing abortions in the Republic of Ireland .

While some members of the queer community have travelled across the world to ensure that they can vote in the referendum, other LGBT+ student groups have donated funds so that women can return to Ireland to cast their decision. A picture shows a poster urging a ‘yes’ vote in the referendum to repeal the eighth amendment of the Irish constitution (Photo by Artur Widak / AFP) Twitter has been set alight by the #hometovote hashtag, which has detailed the LGBT+ community’s dedication to voting in the decision. A man who benefited from the same-sex marriage referendum in 2015 said that he would be casting his vote to “return the favour.” And for one lesbian campaigner has said that repealing the 8th will not only help other women, but it will stop her confusing “international lesbian mutuals.” “Next Friday every citizen 18 and over will have a once in a lifetime opportunity to make Ireland a more caring and compassionate country,” co-chair of Labour LGBT Aoife Leahy told The Hot Press .

“Just three years ago we made history by making Ireland a more equal country for LGBT people. Now we need to come out for all those who find themselves in a crisis pregnancy so they can be cared for here, instead of continuing to export our problems elsewhere.” In a GCN survey , 565 LGBT young people aged 13-24 were asked how they would vote. 85 percent said they would vote to repeal the 8th.

In an act of “solidarity,” LGBTQ campaigners in Ireland are covering up graphic anti-abortion images with rainbow flags , as the country prepares to vote on whether to repeal its abortion ban. Women walk past a poster by the Irish socialist feminist and pro-choice activist group ROSA (Photo by Artur Widak / AFP) However, Irish citizens have to be at least 18 years old to vote, so campaigners are urging the community to remember that every vote counts.

The Eighth Amendment came into being after a 1983 referendum.

This restricted the rights for Irish women to access an abortion to only when carrying the child put the pregnant woman’s life at risk. A man walks in front of a pro-choice mural in Dun Laoghaire, Ireland (Photo by Artur Widak / AFP) The referendum on whether the country should remove the ban will take place on Friday May 25.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar is also campaigning to repeal the 8th. BERLIN, GERMANY – MARCH 20: Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images) Varadkar is the first openly gay man to take the Prime Ministerial role in the nation.

“It’s not a vote on me, not a vote on the government. It’s a vote as to whether we trust the women of Ireland to make decisions about their own lives for themselves,” he said while canvassing in Dublin, reported the Financial Times .

Kellie Maloney says she has undergone gender confirmation surgery

Kellie Maloney says she has undergone gender confirmation surgery

Kellie Maloney said she struggled with having to conceal her identity (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images) Kellie Maloney has said she has undergone gender confirmation surgery.

The 64-year-old boxing manager, who began her transition in 2014, has had a number of surgeries.

Speaking to Kent Online , Maloney said, “I’m a fully-fledged female now. I had it cut off and replaced.”

Maloney said had been forced to live a double life when she was known as Frank Maloney, a boxing promoter who managed heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis.

At the time, she said she was living as a woman in Worthing, West Sussex.

“When I went there, Frank would be locked away in a cupboard and I would be Kellie because no one knew me and I felt safe,” Maloney said. Kellie Maloney on Celebrity Big Brother (Channel 5) “Only I knew the two people existed. People who saw Frank never saw Kellie.

“It was there from a young age, but I didn’t understand it.”

Maloney said she went to “great lengths to manufacture a masculine image” but struggled as a result of having to hide her identity, which led to three suicide attempts.

She added she was now “very relaxed, happy and open about my life.” Maloney has been outspoken about trans rights and recently called for the removal of the term transgender from the LGBT+ acronym.

She said it was “confusing” to members of the public who did not understand the difference between sexuality and gender.

“The LGB is about your sexuality and the T’s about your gender and I think it’s very confusing to the general public out there to understand it,” Maloney told Robert Peston on ITV. Kellie Maloney (ITV) She also criticised the complex and often invasive process trans people go through to change gender legally.

She voiced her support for an update of the Gender Recognition Act, which allows trans people to legally change their gender without medical checks.

Last year, Maloney challenged broadcaster Dame Jenni Murray’s comments in a Sunday Times Magazine article that trans women were not “real women.”

In response, Maloney told the Press Association: “We have lived in a male-privileged world, but not by our choice. Nobody has lived in a more male-dominated world than me, but I was fighting with me, I was battling with me. This wasn’t how I wanted to live.

“You can’t choose but you can correct it if you’re wrong. That’s what a trans male or female does. I see myself as a woman and I believe I’m a woman.

“I may not have gone through everything a woman has, like childbirth, but I’ve gone through other anxiety. I would have given anything to be born a woman.”

Same-sex couples tie the knot in Cambodia in a stunning public ceremony

Same-sex couples tie the knot in Cambodia in a stunning public ceremony

Couples in Cambodia entered in a civil partnership to raise awareness about LGBTI rights. | Photo: Facebook/RoCK Same-sex couples in Cambodia declared their commitment to each other in a colorful public ceremony. They wanted to help raise awareness about LGBTI rights.

The couples entered into Cambodia’s version of civil partnership known as the Declaration of Family Relationship (DoFR), which is gaining popularity across the country.

Leading LGBTI organization, Rainbow Community Kampuchea-rock (RoCK) created the DoFR. In 2014, RoCK became Cambodia’s first registered LGBTI non-government organization.

RoCK has helped introduce the DoFR 50 communes in 15 provinces around Cambodia.

‘The Declaration of Family Relationship is a civil contract that two person who are willing to be together and share responsibility taking care of family, children and distribute the joint asset, as a legal spouse do,’ RoCK’s Raksmey Tuy and Cheyleaphy Heng told Gay Star News. Three couples signed a Declaration of Family Relationship at a public ceremony in Cambodia. | Photo: Facebook/RoCK As part of its introduction to communities, RoCK has traveled across Cambodia to hold workshops with local authorities.

‘So far, there are 21 couples who signed on the forms,’ Raksmey and Cheyleaphy said. Going public with their love

‘Three couples signed their form to symbolize their relationship and desire for legal protection as a family in the occasion of Pride Week and IDAHOTB celebration,’ they said.

‘During the event, the family of one couple urged the support from government to support their LGBT family members.’ Cambodia is more accepting of LGBTI people than other countries. | Photo: Facebook/RoCk Raksmey was one of the people to sign the forms during last week’s public ceremony.

She said it felt good to show the world her relationship with pride.

‘I have been with my partners for 4 years now and, although the family of both sides accept us, we
still feel that we need legal acceptance and protection to strengthen our love relationship,’ she said.

RoCK’s Pride Week coincided with this year’s IDHOBT (International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia). This year marked the 10th anniversary of RoCK’s first Pride Week in Cambodia.

The group kept busy during the week raising awareness about LGBTI issues. It held cultural public events, but also met with high level government officials. What’s needed for LGBTI people in Cambodia

Even though Cambodia is one of the more tolerant countries in Asia there are still several legal barriers to conquer to achieve equality.

According to RoCK, the priorities are:

> Making adoption legal for LGBT couple

Legalizing marriage equality

Making it easier for trans people to update their gender on legal documents such as national ID cards, passports and birth certificates.

‘The government is also an important key player to promote non-discrimination to the public and public servants,’ Raksmey and Cheyleaphy said.

‘When the LGBT community is accepted for who they are and feel confident of their identity, they got better chance of access to education, employment and other settings.’

The group also called for better medical support for trans people in Cambodia.