Latino LGBT artists draw attention with heartfelt works

Latino LGBT artists draw attention with heartfelt works

For a group of Latino LGBT artists, it was time to reclaim the Spanish pejorative "maricón" in much the same way the term "queer" has been re-appropriated by American gays and lesbians.

"We took away its offensive connotation in order to give a platform and a voice to a community that has some things to say through art," said Alejandro Treviño, board member of Arttitude and program director of MaricónX, an art show focusing on, for the first time in Dallas, the work of Latino LGBT people.

The Dallas Morning News reports through pieces of art and photography, they are seeking to promote understanding of their community. "We thought about doing a show all over Texas, particularly in South Texas, where there’s a budding gay movement," Treviño said.

"We made a call in social media, and all these artists showed up with their work. We opened our doors without prejudice. Whatever they choose to call themselves — gay, bisexual, transgender — this space is for them." Breaking News

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The show, which opened May 4 at the Oak Cliff Cultural Center, hit the road to Austin, San Antonio, Houston and McAllen, a city having its first Gay Pride Month this June.

The show recently returned to Dallas at the Latino Cultural Center, featuring the works of 29 artists. It will remain open through July 27.

Treviño thinks Latino artists are "underrepresented," especially when it comes to being "a person of color and a homosexual. We want to be a vehicle to keep celebrating diversity."

Four of the artists talked with The Dallas Morning News about their views on identity, culture, religion, media and politics, as well as sexual and gender identity.

— For Marco Saucedo, painting is therapy.

The 30-year-old DACA recipient said he grew up with the "shame" of being homosexual, immigrant and undocumented, and, while he used to be shy and quiet, drawing since he was 4 years old led him to choose a life in art.

"I like to paint something that creates an emotion, either of sadness or joy, things you can have a conversation about," said Saucedo, who was born in the state of Zacatecas, Mexico, and whose art is being exhibited for the first time in Dallas.

In his paintings, Saucedo captures scenes from his own childhood and his life as an immigrant.

In one of them, he depicts himself with his brother holding a U.S. flag, a sight evoking a day when a snake crawled into their house.

"It’s a representation of the culture and racism: of what this country has given me and how it has hurt me at the same time."

In another piece, called "No Eres de Aquí (You’re Not From Here)," Saucedo recalls his first days in school, when children singled him out for not speaking English.

In yet another one he appears handcuffed — a reference to one of his two arrests for being an unauthorized immigrant.

And the one epitomizing the most painful moment of his life: a crying child clinging to his dad — it is Saucedo himself as a 7-year-old facing the deportation of his father, who later died in an unsuccessful attempt to sneak back into the U.S.

"Few times have I seen a snapshot of what I represent in other galleries. I don’t think there are many spaces, let alone in Dallas, where we can feel totally open to be who we are," he said.

— In 2009, Olivia Peregrino went to Monterrey to spend some time with her female friends. She realized most of them were living as couples and forming families with children.

Fortuitously, she started taking pictures of them. She ended up with a series of portraits illustrating the experience of being a lesbian mother in Mexico, a setting where same-sex marriage is still an open-ended struggle.

"I wanted to give visibility to these families. It’s an issue people don’t talk about much back in Monterrey, as same-sex marriage is only legal in Mexico City and Coahuila state," said the 47-year-old artist, who’s been a photographer for 10 years, two of them in the U.S.

Her portrayals show the spontaneity of love between mothers and daughters and sons, a window into gay parenting.

Peregrino has taken part in a number of shows in Mexico, but this is the first time she is exhibiting her work in the U.S., after she met curator Treviño in Washington, D.C.

She said she believes she has more opportunities to grow as an artist here than in her own country. "I think spaces for the gay community are still lacking. But people have been gaining freedoms. It is important we keep fostering art amid discrimination in Texas and nationwide," she said.

In a second photo sequence — still a work in progress — two naked men look intently at the camera lens.

They’re more intimate pictures, personal representations of body identity free of shame.

"My purpose is showing who we are under our clothes," Peregrino said.

"Exploring our relationship with our own body — how we look at ourselves, how we would like to look, how other people look at us and how they want us to look. At the end of the day, it’s a work about acceptance," she said.

— An androgynous figure combs a long, black mane surrounding them. The phrases scribbled around their hair attest to loving one’s self in every possible way.

Armando Sebastian drew his inspiration from Frida Kahlo’s "Autorretrato con Pelo Corto (Self-Portrait with Cropped Hair)," which the renowned Mexican artist painted shortly after divorcing her cheating husband, Diego Rivera.

In her original painting, Kahlo appears wearing a man’s shirt, shoes and an oversized suit. Hovering are the lyrics of a Mexican popular song: "I loved you because of your hair. Now that you cropped your hair, I don’t love you anymore."

"I never let my hair grow until a couple of years ago. I always had it close-cropped," said Sebastian, a Monterrey native and a Dallas resident since 2004.

"I thought about doing a painting of myself where I did the opposite to Frida — saying I love my long hair and now I love myself more. It’s a small tribute to Frida and myself," said Sebastian, who besides Kahlo, has being inspired by the work of Remedios Varo, Marc Chagall and Salvador Dalí.

Sebastian’s pieces are an unusual mix of religious images, bright colors inspired in Mexican folk art, Japanese manga and 18th-century art.

He says he conveys biographical moments and memories from his childhood and teenage years, as well as drawing from icons of literature and music.

His works have also been shown in Los Angeles and Tyler.

He’ll have an exhibit in New York next July.

"The ‘m-word’ is too strong for me because its meaning, as I grew up in Mexico, is the opposite of what we want to do here, which is making the community aware of us and celebrate who we are," Sebastian said.

— A naked woman’s torso, which was shown on MaricónX’s page, was censored in Facebook as organizers were advertising the event.

The black-and-white photograph by artist Debra Gloria, which is part of the Sensualidad series, showing the naturalness of the female body, had to be replaced with another, more "universally accepted" image.

"It’s incredible how a woman’s nipple gets immediately censored, but a shirtless man is accepted as a natural thing," said Gloria, 56, who taking photos for 28 years after she fell in love with it while attending an after-school class at San Antonio University.In Sensualidad, Gloria wants to celebrate love among women, the vulnerability of the female gender but also its passions, women’s ways of loving and the meaning of unconditional love."Ever since I have shown my work publicly, I have been censored," she said. "Sometimes I’m afraid people won’t view women as I see them, which is a celebration of their beauty."___Information from: The Dallas Morning News, http://www.dallasnews.comThis is an AP Member Exchange shared by The Dallas Morning News

Can this platform keep frustrated LGBT workers from quitting?

Can this platform keep frustrated LGBT workers from quitting?

As soon as Gabriela Ross landed a new job in another state, she could tell things were going to be different. Originally from New York City, Ross, who identifies as queer, found herself grappling with “a lot of culture shock” in the Deep South, where she moved to work at a mid-size startup. Ross (whose name has been changed here for privacy) loved the work, but a conversation with one of her more conservative colleagues during a routine client visit left her shaken. On the car ride over, Ross says her coworker “got on this tangent, saying that she doesn’t want to hear about anyone’s ‘bedroom preference’.” Ross, who wasn’t out to her coworker, says, “I tried to not cry right there,” she says.

Ross was aware when she took the job that her new state’s cultural and political climate might prove challenging for her, so she chose to conceal her sexuality to everyone in her office. “There’s no anti-discrimination law against sexual orientation,” Ross notes, pointing out that the state is one of 28 where employers can legally fire people for being gay or transgender. While the other barrier to coming out was the way her coworkers talked about traditional, heterosexual marriage, Ross says that the incident in the car was “a breaking point” for her. “They don’t want to know who I am,” she concluded, “and if I did come out they wouldn’t be comfortable.”

According to a survey that Blind conducted for Fast Company of nearly 2,500 staffers at top-tier tech companies, the overwhelming majority (92%) of employees feel their companies do a good job of supporting LGBTQ workers. But queer employees tend to have more complicated workplace experiences than even many of their straight coworkers might suspect. When job platform Dice asked nearly 4,000 workers in the U.S. and U.K., 62% of those who identify as LGBTQ said they’re comfortable discussing their sexual orientation, versus 90% of their straight colleagues; 40% of the LGBTQ cohort reported feeling discriminated against, compared with only 15% of heterosexuals. And when Fast Company partnered with WNYC’s Nancy podcast last fall on a survey of some 3,000 queer employees , frustrations, anxieties, and compromises like Ross’s were commonplace .

Some of Ross’s friends had questioned her decision to move, and when they heard about her workplace experiences a few urged her to quit and come back. The only other openly gay colleague Ross knew of recommended Bravely , a platform that connects workers with professional coaches outside their organizations, and she decided to give it a shot. Talking through her predicament, Ross felt like “a weight had been lifted.” It was reassuring to hear an objective point of view, and Ross says she was able to go back to work and interact constructively with the coworker who’d offended her. The Bravely Team is getting settled in our new HQ! #workbravely . . . . . #startup #startups #startuplife #tech #entrepreneurship #worklife #office That’s part of Bravely’s purpose, according to cofounders Toby Hervey and Sarah Sheehan, who launched the platform last year to help employees (particularly but not exclusively LGBTQ workers) cope with discrimination and harassment on the job. Hervey says he’d noticed how when something goes wrong at work, the common instinct is to go to someone outside the company (like a friend or spouse) to vent. But beyond that, the options are limited: put up with the problem or quit. Hervey says that Sheehan was often that go-to person for dispensing advice among her own friends, who seemed to need a “Sarah as a Service” platform.

Instead, the two built a tech platform based around an algorithm to match workers with the best-suited professional coach to help them through issues like the one Ross dealt with. Bravely’s coaches are typically former or current HR executives or people who’ve managed large teams. Hervey believes “the healthiest workplaces are those where people can have productive conversations around things that are hard to talk about.” That includes microaggressions as well as performance issues, conflicts, and career paths–all conversations Hervey notes can be “really uncomfortable” yet crucial. Indeed, building a diverse workforce is only half the challenge for employers committed to doing that; the other is building inclusive workplaces that make people want to stick around. And as some researchers have found , the more diverse a workforce becomes, the harder it can be to create a sense of cohesion. Bravely doesn’t yet have data on retention rates from the employers that have offered the platform to their own employees, a pool that includes Evernote, Fandom, Hireology, Prosperworks, and Homepolish. But Hervey says early feedback suggests that 70% of employees who did coaching sessions through Bravely felt it improved their situations, while only 5% said they’d have gone to HR without it. And since nearly a third of the coaches say that the Bravely users they’ve spoken to initially sounded likely to quit, Hervey maintains that the platform could help solve many retention problems that HR departments struggle to tackle on their own.

Bravely enters a crowded space of hybrid AI and human services aimed at solving problems that conventional human resources departments seem to keep fumbling . For example, Spot, a chatbot , fields highly charged reports ranging from sexual misconduct to pregnancy and religious discrimination by generating anonymous documentation and delivering it to an employee’s HR department on their behalf. The STOPit app similarly lets employees anonymously report harassment, intimidation, bullying, biases, and workers’ comp fraud. Intel has built its own “WarmLine” for confidentially reporting problems, and in the year and a half of its existence, the company says the tool has fielded 10,000 cases and contributes to Intel’s 90% retention rate .

Of course, tools like these place some of the onus for solving workplace issues largely on those suffering from them. One of the more common complaints LGBTQ employees voiced in the Fast Company / Nancy survey was having to take their own initiative to educate others about queer issues and culture, and the potential risks that entails. Still, companies like Bravely operate on the premise that employers can’t address problems they aren’t aware of (even if it’s technically their job to be) and that everyone benefits when those problems get solved.

As for Ross, she’s not only decided to stick around but insists she can’t imagine working anywhere else, and has learned a lot about people whose ideas and values differ from her own. “The counselor and I spoke about ways I could improve the company culture,” says Ross, including building awareness of queer culture.

Ultimately, though, Ross chose not to take that on because she wasn’t comfortable outing hersef to her colleagues. “My professional self supersedes my being out at work,” she says. “It is not a huge part of who I am at work.”

Emotional video about why Pride is still important to air on national television

Emotional video about why Pride is still important to air on national television

All people featured in the video are LGBT+ (Pride In London) An emotional short film about why Pride still matters in 2018 is set to air on national television.

Ahead of this year’s Pride in London , the group released a new short film that is set to air on Channel 4 at 6.45pm on June 21.

The “Pride Matters” film features a group of LGBT+ people who face difficulties due to their sexuality or gender coming together to sing a chilling version of Somewhere Over the Rainbow. The video begins with several painful incidents, including someone being beaten and another person who is told that “it’s just a phase” when they attempt to come out to their mother.

The film also shows a young person trying on makeup in their bedroom before being interrupted by a parent, along with a woman who faces transphobic harassment on the street. The video begins quite painfully (Pride In London / YouTube) However, the short film then takes a more positive turn as the people turn to their loved ones and their community for support.

We see people coming out to their families, partners holding hands in the street and others proudly wearing rainbows and flags.

The video ends with a hopeful and important message, stating: “We’ve come a long way, but there’s still a way to go.”

The video exclusively features LGBT+ people, including Jake Graf and Hannah Winterbourne, two transgender campaigners who married earlier this year . Jake Graf and Hannah Winterbourne (Pride in London / YouTube) Releasing the video, Pride in London said: “We want to reflect on why Pride is still important in 2018 – whether as a protest, celebration, symbol of freedom or platform for diversity.

“Most importantly we wanted our theme to be an inclusive part of the Pride experience – and so we encourage everyone to ask themselves ‘What does Pride mean to you?’” The video has a hopeful message (Pride in London / YouTube) The video and campaign was accompanied by a report from Pride in London about the state of LGBT rights and hate crime.

Data published in Pride in London’s Pride Matters report found that 1 in 3 LGBT people have been verbally abused for being LGBT, and over 75 percent of LGBT people feel uncomfortable showing affection to a partner in public.

The report also revealed that while 84 percent of LGBT+ respondents said it is harder for them to be their true selves compared to straight cisgender people, just 40 percent of straight cisgender people agreed.

Elsewhere, data showed that many LGBT people are still in the closet.

The report also found that straight cisgender people care more about animal rights than equality for LGBT people . Shiro, a Siberian Husky, plays with a rainbow flag as the LGBT community celebrates Pride in London (Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty) The survey, carried out in partnership with YouGov by Pride’s Community Interest Company, asked participants to pick three issues from a list “[that] most concern you about the future.”

Just three percent of straight and cisgender people picked ‘tolerance for individuals of different sexualities/gender identities’ as one of the most important, behind ‘animal rights’ on 7 percent.

Meanwhile, just two percent of straight cisgender people picked ‘gender equality’ as a top issue.

A parallel survey of LGBT respondents generated significantly different results. Among LGBT people, 44 percent said that LGBT equality remains a top concern, and 22 percent said gender equality.

Politicians and LGBT+ campaigners gather at the Scottish Parliament for the PinkNews summer reception in Edinburgh

Politicians and LGBT+ campaigners gather at the Scottish Parliament for the PinkNews summer reception in Edinburgh

Ruth Davidson (Ashley Coombes) A host of politicians from across the ideological spectrum gathered alongside LGBT+ activists on Wednesday (June 20) at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh.

Scottish Conservatives leader Ruth Davidson , Secretary for Equalities Angela Constance and a host of other prominent politicians spoke on current LGBT+ issues, celebrated the achievements of Scotland’s LGBT+ community and highlighted what is still to be done at the PinkNews summer reception in Edinburgh, supported by Virgin Money and DLA Piper . Ruth Davidson speaks with fellow politicians (Ashley Coombes) Davidson told the audience: “In my lifetime, people could be prosecuted for being in a loving same-sex relationship… we’ve seen these same couples who could have been prosecuted now able to marry their partner. Ruth Davidson (Ashley Coombes) “And if we look at societal change, it’s even greater than that – I’m standing here leader of political party, a pregnant lesbian, my office is full of bibs and babygros and baby products,” she added, to applause from the audience.

“I still get hate mail, everyone does,” she added, “but it’s vastly outweighed by the kindness and support that we see all around the country.” Ruth Davidson (Ashley Coombes) A cross-party group of Scottish politicians gathered at the second of many regional receptions held by PinkNews to debate LGBT+ topics from education to same-sex marriage. PinkNews summer reception in Edinburgh (Ashley Coombes) Secretary for Equalities Angela Constance vowed to “tackle the underlying attitudes and inequalities that continue to exist in society” at the Edinburgh event.

The Scottish National Party cabinet minister paid tribute to the “tireless work” performed by activists, but said “there remains more to do.” Angela Constance, Ruth Davidson and Annie Wells at the PinkNews summer reception in Edinburgh (Ashley Coombes) Constance, 47, told the attendees that despite having taken great strides towards equality – for instance by allowing men convicted under historical anti-gay laws to receive a pardon – there was still “work to do” for her country.

“I am clear that no-one should ever experience discrimination of prejudice in relation to their sexual orientation or their gender identity, and I am also clear that we have some distance yet to travel to ensure that the lived experience of LGBTI people matches the progress that we have made in law,” she said. Constance and Davidson (Ashley Coombes) Constance, who has been Secretary for Equalities since 2016, added: “We very strongly believe that until we live in a society where no one experiences hate, fear or discrimination because of their sexual orientation or their gender identity, there remains much, much more to do.

“And that means that we tackle the underlying attitudes and inequalities that continue to exist in our society so that everyone is empowered to fulfil their potential.” Angela Constance (Ashley Coombes) The leader of the Scottish Labour Party, Richard Leonard, called for a renewed effort from LGBT+ allies in challenging discrimination and demanding equality at the reception. (Ashley Coombes) (Ashley Coombes) Leonard said: “Tomorrow marks the 18th anniversary of the repeal of Section 28, which in turn reminds us that every generation has to fight some of same battles, so we all need to be vigilant and keep demanding equality.

“Just as women’s equality should not be fought by women alone, neither should LGBT rights: it’s for all of us to do that.” Richard Leonard speaking in Edinburgh (Ashley Coombes) (Ashley Coombes) Leonard went on to comment on the current challenges, violence and discrimination facing LGBT+ people in Russia, currently playing host to the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

“The World Cup is currently taking place in Russia at the moment,” he said. PinkNews summer reception in Edinburgh (Ashley Coombes) (Ashley Coombes) “And many people see that as a game of skill, entertainment and so on. But Russia is also a place where LGBT rights are under attack.

“So-called ‘gay propaganda’ has been outlawed, leading to a fourfold increase in the number of assaults. We can’t take things for granted: we need to keep making the case for equality and tolerance.” (Ashley Coombes) Richard Leonard (Ashley Coombes) Leonard also used his speech to call for everyone – LGBT+ people and allies alike- to support LGBT+ charities, saying: “We need to support organisations like TIE, the Rock Trust and Stonewall: organisations that provide practical help for people at the time they need it.”

He concluded his speech by saying: “It’s not enough to be accepted, it’s not enough to be tolerated, it’s about everybody being properly included,” a statement that received a loud round of applause from the crowd. Patrick Harvie and LGBT+ activists PinkNews summer reception in Edinburgh (Ashley Coombes) (Ashley Coombes) Scottish Green Party co-convener Patrick Harvie told the attendees that “it’s not enough to say we’ve come a long way.

“I’m impatient to stand here in awe of what the next generation do.” Patrick Harvie speaking at the PinkNews summer reception in Edinburgh (Ashley Coombes) (Ashley Coombes) As well as hearing from leading politicians and campaigners, nominees for the community group of the year award at this year’s PinkNews Awards were announced.

The award, sponsored by JustGiving , recognises the contributions of organisations which campaign for LGBT+ rights at home and abroad. (Ashley Coombes) The nominees for the third sector equality award were also revealed last night at the Scottish Parliament.

The award, sponsored by Amazon, recognises the contributions of third sector organisations which campaign for LGBT+ rights at home and abroad. (Ashley Coombes) Earlier this month a host of politicians from across the political spectrum gathered alongside LGBT+ activists at the Welsh Assembly in Cardiff , in the first of the PinkNews summer receptions.

The First Minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones, championed inclusive sex and relationship education (SRE). “The world has moved on,” he said ahead of taking to the stage. Mr Jones then told the audience: “Too often we just assume the LGBT community know politicians are on their side.” (Ashley Coombes) Nominees for the PinkNews Award for public sector equality were also announced at the event at the Welsh Assembly.

Love Island’s only LGBT contestant has died

Love Island’s only LGBT contestant has died

Her death was announced on Thursday (Sophie Hannah Gradon / Facebook) Sophie Gradon, the only LGBT person known to have appeared on the reality show Love Island , has died aged 32.

Gradon, who appeared on the 2016 version of the show and who was openly bisexual, was confirmed to have died on Thursday.

The news was announced by her boyfriend Aaron Armstrong who wrote on Facebook:”I will never forget that smile I love you so so much baby your my world forever ever and always.”

Northumbria Police confirmed that a 32-year-old woman was found dead in a property near Newcastle, but that they were not treating the death as suspicious

A statement from the police said: “There are not believed to be any suspicious circumstances surrounding her death. A report will now be prepared for the coroner.”

More to come.

New York remembers equal marriage hero with Edie Windsor Day

New York remembers equal marriage hero with Edie Windsor Day

Plaintiff of the US v. Windsor case, Edie Windsor, outside the Supreme Court in 2013 (JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty) Edie Windsor, the activist who fought for equal marriage before the Supreme Court, will be remembered in New York with ‘Edie Windsor Day’.

New York state Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a proclamation honouring the June 20 birthday of Windsor, who passed away in September 2017 , as an annual day in her honour.

Windsor, a lifelong New Yorker, was integral to striking down parts of the US-wide Defence of Marriage Act (DOMA) that banned federal recognition of same-sex marriages until 2013.

The case that carries her name, United States v. Windsor , is considered one of the biggest landmarks on the path to LGBT equality, laying the groundwork for a subsequent Supreme Court ruling in 2015 case Obergefell v. Hodges that brought equal marriage in all 50 states. Edith Windsor attends the New York City Gay Pride 2017 march for the final time on June 25, 2017 in New York City. (Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty) Governor Cuomo said: “Edie was an iconic New Yorker who shaped history and taught us that love always wins.

“Proclaiming her birthday as Edie Windsor Day is a fitting way to salute a true New York hero whose strength, perseverance, and conviction in the face of adversity continues to inspire all of us.”

The proclamation says: “All New Yorkers are proud to join in honouring the life and legacy of Edie Windsor, a pioneer and icon in the LGBTQ movement who inspired New Yorkers and people around the world through her courage, leadership, and tireless commitment to ensuring equality and justice; and

“Throughout her extraordinary life, Edie broke down barriers – in her professional career working with early mainframe computers, having achieved the highest technical position of Senior Systems Programmer at IBM and, through her personal drive as a powerful and fearless voice for the LGBTQ community in New York and across the nation.

“Her landmark victory in United States v. Windsor marked a watershed in the movement to secure marriage rights for same-sex couples and paved the way for nationwide marriage equality.

“Edie’s strength, perseverance, and conviction in the face of adversity has made her a hero to all New Yorkers and an invaluable inspiration to countless others in the fight for equality.

“June 20, 2018 marks what would have been Edie’s 89th birthday, and all New Yorkers are proud to join in honouring and remembering Edie’s extraordinary life, her legacy of groundbreaking leadership, and her lasting contributions to equality everywhere.” Edith Windsor speaks onstage during The Trevor Project TrevorLIVE NYC 2017 at Marriott Marquis Times Square on June 19, 2017 in New York City. (Jamie McCarthy/Getty for The Trevor Project) The activist spent more than 40 years with her partner Thea Spyer, waiting most of their lives for legal recognition.

In 2007, after Ms Spyer was diagnosed with a terminal illness, the pair travelled to Canada to marry.

However, even after Thea’s tragic death, the US government refused to recognise that their marriage even existed.

After being handed a massive tax bill for her wife’s estate – which a straight widower would be exempt from – the grieving Windsor filed a lawsuit challenging the Defence of Marriage Act, which banned federal recognition of same-sex unions. Edith Windsor acknowledges her supporters as she leaves the Supreme Court March 27, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty ) The case rumbled through the courts, and in 2013 made it before the Supreme Court of the United States.

With the support of the Obama administration the court struck down DOMA, setting precedent which would lead it to bring marriage equality to all 50 states just two years later.

Windsor died aged 88 in September 2017. Former President Barack Obama paid tribute to her incredible work , having met her on a number of occasions at LGBT events.

He said: “America’s long journey towards equality has been guided by countless small acts of persistence, and fuelled by the stubborn willingness of quiet heroes to speak out for what’s right.

“Few were as small in stature as Edie Windsor — and few made as big a difference to America.”

Justin Trudeau raises LGBT flag on Canada’s Parliament Hill to celebrate Pride

Justin Trudeau raises LGBT flag on Canada’s Parliament Hill to celebrate Pride

For the third year in a row, the rainbow flag has been raised on Parliament Hill in Ottawa to celebrate Pride Month.

On Wednesday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau raised the rainbow flag above Parliament Hill, in order to mark Canada’s commitment to greater LGBT inclusivity and equality.

Trudeau was joined at the ceremony alongside his LGBTQ2 Special Advisor, Randy Boissonnault.

Boissonnault tweeted about this important event, saying: “Raised the Pride flag on the hill today for the third year in a row!”

The LGBTQ2 advisor to the prime minister also tweeted a picture of himself, with the Canadian Prime Minister and student Ryan Brown.

Boissonnault was asked by the PM to become his advisor on LGBT+ issues in 2016. (Randy Boissonnault/Twitter) Part of his responsibilities included preparing Trudeau for last year’s formal apology for the historic treatment of LGBT+ people in Canada.

In April 2016, Boissonnault and his team fought against others in the political sphere to raise the rainbow flag on Parliament Hill for the first time.

On Wednesday, he continued the tradition, even wearing a rainbow tie for the occasion.

Ryan Brown , a young LGBT activist from Ontario, also joined the Canadian PM and his advisor during the flag raising ceremony. He was invited to take part by Trudeau. Randy Boissonnault at the ceremony (R_Boissonnault/Twitter) He later took to Twitter to thank the Canadian PM and Boissonnault for being given the opportunity to be a part of Canada’s history.

Brown also tweeted about his local city, Owen Sound, in Ontario, which will be having their first Pride parade this year.

Wednesday’s flag ceremony is the first since Trudeau’s apology to Canadian LGBT+ people last Autumn.

From the 1950s to the early 1990s, the Canadian government lead a campaign known as ‘The Purge,’ which saw LGBT+ employees being fired or intimidated into resignation .

During the apology, Trudeau said that the “unjust” treatment of LGBT+ people in Canada was “our collective shame” Trudeau on Parliament Hill (SeamusORegan/Twitter) Canada has demonstrated its commitment to put the past behind them by investing $2.9 million of funding into projects for the Canada’s LGBT+ population.

These projects have included awareness campaigns, advocacy initiatives and other interventions to prevent homophobia, biphobia and transphobia in the Canadian education system.

Wednesday’s ceremony comes just days before the 38th annual Pride Toronto , which will take place on Sunday.

Love Island’s Katie Salmon pays tribute to ex Sophie Gradon

Love Island’s Katie Salmon pays tribute to ex Sophie Gradon

Katie Salmon and Sophie Gradon (ITV2) Love Island’s Katie Salmon has paid tribute to her ex Sophie Gradon who passed away on Wednesday.

Salmon, who dated Gradon on the 2016 series of the popular dating programme, was distraught to discover that Gradon had died in her home in Newcastle.

In a post paying tribute to the 32-year-old, Salmon said she was heartbroken that “someone so stunning, so smiley and appeared so happy,” has passed away. The pair dated on the programme (ITV2) “Isn’t it crazy how someone so stunning, so smiley and appeared so happy can feel [like there is] no way out,” the former Love Island contestant wrote in a post on Twitter. The post on Twitter (Katie Salmon/Twitter) “The world has failed you beautiful.

“I’m heartbroken for you Soph to have felt this pain. I wish there was more help out there.

“Your smile will be remembered forever. My thoughts are with your family, friends and loved ones at this horrendous time.

“Too young, too sweet, too kind. Am sending all my love I truly am to everyone who had the pleasure of ever being in her company!”

The former contestant also asked her fans to reach out to their loved ones to speak to people in person, not on social media.

“The world we live in behind social media.

“I urge everyone to be kind to every person they meet and speak with on social media and in person a simple smile, a simple nice comment can make a difference. Sophie Gradon (ITV2) “You really don’t know the battles they go through every single day.”

Although the post alludes to Gradon suffering from some mental health struggles prior to her death – bi people feel less happy and suffer from higher levels of anxiety than other sexualities .”>which disproportionately affect bisexual people – it is not yet known how Gradon died. The Love Island 2016 cast (ITV 2) A Northumbria Police spokesperson said: “At about 8.27pm yesterday (June 20) police attended a property in Medburn, Ponteland, where sadly a 32-year-old woman was found deceased.

“There are not believed to be any suspicious circumstances surrounding her death. A report will now be prepared for the coroner.”

To date, Gradon and Salmon are the only queer couple who have dated on the programme .

Tan France’s mother thought Queer Eye was a ‘gay conversion’ show

Tan France’s mother thought Queer Eye was a ‘gay conversion’ show

Queer Eye host Tan France (Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for Netflix) Queer Eye ‘s resident fashion expert Tan France has opened up about his family and how the show has helped change his relationship with his mother.

The Netflix makeover show recently dropped its second season – and has sashayed into our hearts once again with a new host of heartwarming episodes.

France, best known for his love of clean tailoring and patterned shirts, recently appeared on fellow Fab 5 member Jonathan Van Ness’ “ Getting Curious ” podcast. Tan France and Jonathan Van Ness (Don Arnold/Getty Images for Netflix Australia) On the podcast, France opened up about his family and their relationship with the show, telling Van Ness that his mother and siblings had originally refused to watch Queer Eye .

“They thought it was a gay conversion program,” he said. “They thought I was going around the country and encouraging people to be homosexual.

“But when they finally watched the show , they said ‘Oh my gosh it’s so much better than we ever expected. You made us so proud. You’re just who you are.’”

“I think their worry was that I was going to be someone else or different in my personal life.”

He added: “They saw me doing what I do, but also as the exact same person they’ve known their entire lives.” The cast of Queer Eye with AJ Brown and David Collins (Frazer Harrison/Getty Images) France then revealed that prior to December of last year, he had not been able to talk to his family about his husband of ten years Robin France.

The fashion expert said that at times, his family did not even want to know Robin’s name and did not attend their wedding.

He then said: “Only when the show was about to come out, I told my family, ‘you’re going to see what my life is’

“‘I’m not going to stop doing this, this is the life that I’ve chosen, and you either accept this or I’m not a part of your lives.’” Jonathan Van Ness, Antoni Porowski, Tan France, Bobby Berk, and Karamo Brown from Queer Eye (Austin Hargrave/Netflix) However, France said he has now become much closer with his mother and siblings since Queer Eye aired.

“Our relationship has changed so much,” he said.

“Every time we Skype now, they ask about Robin. For 10 years, they’ve literally never said his name. It’s a very strange process.” Robin and Tan France (Photo: robfranceillustration / Instagram) The reboot of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy has branched out – featuring women and LGBT men in need of help as well as the eponymous ‘straight guys.’ Episode five of the second season featured transgender man Skyler , who lives in Atlanta, Georgia.

The episode was praised as a learning experience by France – and many members of the audience, who flooded to social media afterwards to praise the episode.

In a heart to heart chat with Skyler, France admitted that he did not know much about trans identity, having previously said he’d never knowingly met a trans person. The Queer Eye cast (Noam Galai/Getty Images for Shorty Awards) France said: “Quite honestly, I hate to admit it, but I’m not immersed in the gay community, and therefore I’m ignorant. I don’t know the correct pronouns.

“I feel f**king stupid, quite honestly. I feel stupid because I always looked at trans people and thought, ‘it costs so much and it can be really painful, why are you putting yourself through that?’

“It just seems such a traumatic experience, and truly didn’t understand what that meant to actually have the surgery done and feel that change.” Tan France talks to Skyler (Photo courtesy Netflix) He added: “When I saw that video of you when you woke up [from surgery]… that just shows how f**king raw that was, when you open your eyes and look down and go to reach for your chest. That changed it for me, and I thought, ‘oh, f**k, this is what it means!’

“I’m annoyed at myself, thinking, why didn’t you get more involved in the gay community? You then would have maybe understood the trans community.

“There are so many people out there like me who are ignorant and don’t understand.”

Hong Kong’s public libraries remove ten LGBT+ kids books from shelves after ‘hate group’ pressure

Hong Kong’s public libraries remove ten LGBT+ kids books from shelves after ‘hate group’ pressure

Some of the books banned from public display in Hong Kong library The Hong Kong government has been accused of “appeasing hate groups” after it gave way to pressure to remove ten LGBT+ children’s books from its public libraries.

The books, including Molly’s Family , Introducing Teddy, Daddy and Papa and Me , Mommy, Mama and Me , The Family Book , The Boy in the Dress and Milly, Molly and Different Dads have been removed from the country’s public library shelves. One of the books banned from the library Afer anti-gay focus group the Sexual Orientation Ordinance Concern Group made a complaint on Friday about the books promoting homosexuality, the Home Affairs Bureau ordered the books to be removed from public display.

“Over the past few months, we have conveyed to Home Affairs Bureau, through correspondence and public action, pour concern about the possession of homosexual and cross-gender children’s books in public libraries,” the anti-gay group wrote on Facebook. David Walliams’ book The Boy In The Dress was adapted by the BBC (BBC) Hong Kong’s Secretary for Home Affairs defended the decision, saying that although the books have been removed from public display, they will be available upon request.

“The decision was made to ensure young people are “properly guided when consuming these reading materials”, said the Secretary for Home Affairs Lau Kong-wa in a quoted response email to the Concern Group,” wrote Hong Kong’s Young Post .

“The Development Conference considers that these books are neutral and do not render or promote homosexual and same-sex marriages.

“Based on the library’s commitment to uphold the principle of freedom of information, it will not use collections to promote specific beliefs or views and the ‘Collections Development Conference’ decided to continue to maintain these seven books as library collections. The Hong Kong skyline (Getty) “However, in order to ensure that children are properly guided by reading, the books are stored in closed shelves, and all branches have just completed the arrangements for holding closed shelves, that is, individual readers will be required to visit their staff.

“When parents choose suitable reading and reading for their children, they are free to choose whether they can read books and give proper guidance or interpretation to children.” Daddy, Papa and Me is one of the books that has been removed from shelves But Brian Leung from the LGBT rights group, the Big Love Alliance, told the Hong Kong Standard that the move is totally “unacceptable and appalling.”

“They emphasised that they moved the books to the closed stacks and the decision is based on concerns expressed by various readers. But we all know so well that it’s not expressed by just regular readers of the library, it’s by a very notorious Hong Kong anti-gay hate group ,” he said.