Tunisia’s president wants to decriminalise homosexuality

Tunisia’s president wants to decriminalise homosexuality

A Tunisian commission has called for the decriminalisation of homosexuality in the North African country.

The 230-page proposal, which was published on Wednesday , detailed the current lack of equal rights for many groups in the country.

Groups that were highlighted in the proposal included women, gay men and the wider LGBT community.

Led by the President of Tunisia, Beji Caid Essebsi, the commission called for the removal of the death penalty in Tunisia, equal rights for women, and the decriminalisation of homosexuality. Tunisian flag and LGBT flag Tunisia has a particularly poor human rights record with regards to the LGBT community.

Homosexuality is illegal in Tunisia and punishable by a custodial sentence – and even the death penalty.

One of the main areas of concerns for gay and bisexual men in Tunisia is the ongoing practice of so-called ‘anal testing.’

Last year, the Human Rights Watch reported that Tunisia’s health authorities had issued warnings to doctors to stop carrying out this practice. Warning to people living in Tunisia that they are able to refuse so-called “anal testing” The internal warning came after several international organisations, including the United Nations , spoke out about non-consensual anal examinations being carried out on members of the LGBT community.

The practice has been used to collect ‘proof’ of somebody’s sexuality, subsequently resulting in men who are suspected of having anal sex with another man being prosecuted.

Without any medical evidence to underpin this practice, as well as serious ethical concerns, international human rights organisation All Out began a campaign earlier this year to ban anal testing in Tunisia . Bochra Belhaj Hmida has been advocating for the rights of LGBT Tunisians (Mosaique FM) Speaking with Le Point Afrique , Tunisian politician and lawyer, Bochra Belhaj Hmida said that the new presidential commission proposal was an opportunity to remove the country’s homophobic Article 230.

“We are asking for the banning of anal testing, so that it can no longer used as proof,” she said.

The politician said that there were two options when it came to the future of the current anti-gay law: Either the complete decriminalisation of homosexuality, or that those convicted of same-sex sexual activity should face a fine of 500 Tunisian dinar (or around £150).

Speaking with French newspaper, Liberation , Belhaj Hmida said she is “convinced” that there would be a new proposed law ready to be voted in by parliament this August.

Despite these proposals, societal attitudes in Tunisia still makes it an extremely hostile environment for members of the LGBT community.

Demi Lovato sets the internet on fire by touching tongues with backup dancer

Demi Lovato sets the internet on fire by touching tongues with backup dancer

The post has since been deleted (ddlovato/instagram) Demi Lovato has set her fandom on fire with a picture of her licking her backup dancer’s tongue.

The photo, posted on Instagram with the caption “Happy Pride!!!! ,” showed the 25-year-old singer smiling and embracing dancer Dani Vitale during her ongoing Tell Me You Love Me World Tour.

Demi, who came out last year , deleted the post just hours later, but her fans, known as Lovatics, had already taken screenshots. Demi and Dani (ddlovato/instagram) The picture, which went up on Tuesday while the pair were in Amsterdam, was just the latest to set tongues wagging in her fandom. A post shared by Dani Vitale (@danivitale) on Jun 14, 2018 at 6:09pm PDT Another Instagram photo posted by Vitale last week showed her and Demi smiling and pressing their faces together, with the caption: “My 9-5 job > yours.”

And on New Year’s Day, another of Demi’s dancers, Jojo Gomez, posted a photo of her and Demi kissing, writing underneath: “Happy New Year @ddlovato . First kiss of 2018! ” Demi, who is a longtime LGBT advocate, revealed last year that she was open to dating women, saying: “That’s how I’ve always felt.”

In March, Demi explained more about her sexuality , saying: “I’m very fluid, and I think love is love. You can find it in any gender.

“I like the freedom of being able to flirt with whoever I want.”

The “Sorry Not Sorry” singer followed this up by kissing Kehlani – who came out as queer in April – on stage. Demi mounts Kehlani (ddlovato/Twitter) Demi also cuddled Kehlani, who features on lesbian superstar Hayley Kiyoko’s new album Expectations , and mounted her before proceeding to grind away on top of her.

She later said that “it was perfect. It was awesome.” Demi and dancer (Gustavo Caballero/Getty) Before last year, Lovato had previously resisted attempts to label her sexual orientation.

Demi has also been reluctant to open up about the lyrics to her song Cool for the Summer, which many say has Sapphic undertones, and certainly contains bisexual lighting . source: imgur.com The song’s lyrics include: “Got a taste for the cherry / I just need to take a bite,” and “I’m a little curious, too / tell me if it’s wrong, if it’s right / I don’t care / I can keep a secret, can you?”

When Alan Carr asked whether the song was about same-sex relationships , Lovato said: “I’m not confirming, and I’m definitely not denying.”

Demi has long been an LGBT activist though, as seen when she chose Danica Roem, the first transgender person to be elected to the Virginia House of Representatives , to be her date to the American Music Awards. (Getty) The 25-year-old star said: “We connected because I heard her story – and when I heard [it] I was just completely inspired by it.”

The singer also helped gay couple Rayvon Owen and Shane Bitney to get engaged during one of her concerts in March.

Neville Southall backs the trans community in powerful Twitter #transtakeover

Neville Southall backs the trans community in powerful Twitter #transtakeover

Neville back in his footballing heyday (Getty) Neville Southall is known for his proud support of the LGBT+ community .

And since he arguably became the best sports star on Twitter, he has shared his platform with lesser-heard communities hoping to get a helping hand.

That’s why he let trans activists @Andra_me_uk and @Stubborndogs do some myth-busting about what trans people want, need and desire from a majority-cisgendered society on Wednesday night. The man, the legend: Neville Southall (Gary M Prior /Allsport) Using the hashtag #transtakeover, the pair answered queries from Twitter users and asked other people to join in.

Addressing the myth that trans people are encouraging other people to be trans, the pair tweeted: :”No-one would encourage someone else on a whim to be transgender.

“Many of us actively work with & support gender identity questioning ppl to help them.

“The only person who knows their identity is that person them-self [sic] #Transtakeover.”

The pair also asked people to think of “a rainbow” when they think of trans identities.

“It’s an umbrella term, think of a rainbow, any colour in that has some many variations / shades & some colours perhaps not even visible to us,” they wrote.

Also addressing why some trans people decide to not have surgery, the pair wrote: “Some trans people are comfortable with their bodies and it is not important for them to change them. Outside of countries that fund some operations they may not be able to afford it. It’s a major operation and carries some risks.” Writing about his own experience transitioning, @stubborn dogs said that he simply “didn’t feel like the girl I was told I was.” “I always knew I was different & didn’t feel like the ‘girl’ I was told I was. As a kid I was just one of the local lads – had short hair, an Action Man, played footie, war & fought with boys. Was labelled a ‘tomboy’ but secretly hoped one day my willy would grow…” he wrote. Others have said that they hope that sessions like Southall’s will encourage more positive media coverage of trans people.

“Are you listening?” @mimmymum asked The Times, the Daily Mail and The Guardian. Neville Southall is a firm advocate for trans rights. Back in April, he bashed the “ smurfs or turfs or whatever they are called ” who attack trans people with “lots of shit to put up with.”

“This is just to annoy any smurfs or turfs or whatever they are called. Some of the best people I have met on here are trans people. They have lots of shit to put up with but show lots of dignity doing it,” he wrote.

First ever trans Juliet actor will donate fee from production to protest BP sponsorship

First ever trans Juliet actor will donate fee from production to protest BP sponsorship

James Le Lacheur is protesting against the RSC being sponsored by BP (Roberta Bellekom) A transgender actor will be donating all of their fee from their next play to protest BP’s sponsorship of the Royal Shakespeare Company.

James Le Lacheur is believed to be the RSC’s first transgender Juliet and will take on the role in a production of Redefining Juliet on Friday.

But on Wednesday, they took to Twitter to speak out against the fact that the prestigious theatre company allows BP to sponsor their scheme which enables 16-25 year olds to buy £5 tickets. Trans actor James Le Lacheur will be donating their fee for playing Juliet to protest BP’s sponsorship of the RSC (James Le Lacheur/Twitter) In a video post, James declared that the good caused by the scheme “outweighs the damage being wrought by the RSC being associated with BP, a corporation with an appalling and continuing track record of environmental negligence and human rights abuses.”

They have pledged to donate their fee to the Fossil Free £5 Ticket scheme, which has been set up to provide an alternative source of affordable tickets for RSC productions.

James said: “Now, you may be aware that the RSC is one of the very few arts institutions in the country to still accept sponsorship from BP, which it uses to fund its £5 ticket scheme for those aged 16 to 25.

“I don’t believe the good this does outweighs the damage being wrought by the RSC being associated with BP, a corporation with an appalling and continuing track record of environmental negligence and human rights abuses.

“As a statement against this I am donating my fee from this production in its entirety to the Fossil free £5 Ticket Scheme, which is an initiative which has been set up with a view to providing an alternative source of £5 tickets for RSC productions and eventually persuade the RSC to fully divest itself of oil sponsorship and therefore prevent a mass exodus of artists and audiences alike.” BP currently funds the scheme which allows 16-25-year-olds to buy tickets for £5 (James Le Lacheur/Twitter) The initiative is supported by the cream of British stars including Mark Rylance, Emma Thompson, Vivienne Westwood, Vanessa Redgrave and Carol Churchill.

Thompson said: “The need to transition away from fossil fuels couldn’t be more urgent. That’s why I’m so pleased to support this initiative, which is showing that there are positive alternatives to oil sponsorship.”

BP has a long record of legal, ethical and human rights violations. Fossil Free £5 tickets is raising money to offer the RSC an alternative to being sponsored by the controversial oil company (Clare Harding) It was responsible for the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 that killed 11 workers, poisoned countless marine animals and birds, and impacts on the health and livelihoods of communities along the coast.

The company also has a close partnership with some of the world’s most repressive regimes, including Azerbaijan, Indonesia and Egypt.

Last year, the Tate and the Edinburgh International Festival ended their decades-long relationships with the company and hundreds of artists pledged not to take oil money for their work.

Mexico fined by FIFA after fans chant homophobic slur at World Cup game

Mexico fined by FIFA after fans chant homophobic slur at World Cup game

Mexico’s football federation has been fined after fans were heard chanting discriminatory language during one of their World Cup games last weekend.

FIFA have ordered the organisation to pay $10,000 after Mexican supporters shouted out the word ‘puto’ during their match against Germany, where they won 1-0.

‘Puto’ is a slur used to refer to a male sex worker, and has long been shouted by football fans at Mexican matches towards players on the opposing team.

Gay rights activists have long argued that the term is homophobic, and that it being chanted at games is a form of anti-gay discrimination.

FIFA warned Mexican fans at the World Cup in Russia that their team could face “additional sanctions” if there are “repeated infringements”.

Mexican striker Javier Hernandex appealed to fans to adhere to the warning, urging them to stop chanting the homophobic slur during their future matches.

“To all Mexican fans in the stadiums, don’t shout ‘Puto’,” he wrote on Instagram. “Let’s not risk another sanction.” It’s not the first time the Mexican Football Federation has been fined on these grounds.

They were sanctioned 12 times for homophobic chants during the World Cup qualifying campaign, resulting in being fined for 10 of the incidents.

Homophobic attitudes within football have been at the forefront of this World Cup – mainly because of host nation Russia’s anti-gay laws.

Russia has some of the, if not the, worst LGBTQ rights in the developed world. During the country’s recent Presidential election, an advert ran which warned people that they would have to live with a gay person if they didn’t vote .

What’s more, a recent poll found that 83% of Russians consider gay sex to be “reprehensible.”

In 2013, Vladimir Putin signed into effect a gay propaganda rule, which banned the promotion of “non-traditional” sexual orientations to minors.

Under the law, a Calvin Klein advert was banned, there were calls to ban the game FIFA 17 , and the Warwick Rowers naked calendar was banned .

Related: Looking for a new football this World Cup season? Get one that helps LGBTQ charities

Mum’s airing cupboard death ‘devastated family’

Mum's airing cupboard death 'devastated family'

Mary Isherwood’s son Craig and her ex-husband Clive said they are still shocked at how the former policewoman died The family of a woman who died after getting trapped in an airing cupboard have said sitting through her inquest brought back painful memories.

Elizabeth Isherwood, 60, was found dead at Plas Talgarth Country Club near Pennal, Gwynedd, a week after arriving.

The ex-policewoman’s naked body was found when workers noticed a hole in a plasterboard wall she had tried to break through.

A coroner recorded a conclusion of misadventure at a hearing this week.

Mrs Isherwood’s son Craig believes his mother got stuck when taking a wrong turn after using the en-suite bathroom at night.

He said: "She hadn’t even unpacked as when they found her body a week later her clothes and case were still in the room untouched.

"We are all absolutely devastated to find out what happened. Mum was so sporty, fit, healthy, and loved playing golf.

"If anyone could have got out of that cupboard it would have been Mum.

"The inquest has brought it all back to us. It’s been a tough nine months and losing her has left a huge hole in our lives." On 23 September 2017, Mrs Isherwood went alone to the holiday complex in which she had a timeshare with ex-husband Clive. The couple, who met while in the police force, split almost 30 years ago when Ms Isherwood came out as gay, but remained on good terms.

Mr Isherwood said the couple had recently sold the time share but his ex-wife had been given vouchers for "a final stay".

"She would’ve usually gone with friends but nobody could make it during that week so she went alone," he said.

"We think she arrived there early on the Saturday, had gone for a swim and then gone back to the room after she’d checked in." Mrs Isherwood quit the police force after coming out as gay and moved to London where she began working for the Post Office Investigation Service. Her family believe she woke in the middle of the night to use the en-suite bathroom.

It is thought Mrs Isherwood, of Wolverhampton, mistook the door to an airing cupboard for a bedroom door and entered without realising.

When the door closed behind her, it is thought she tried to leave the cupboard but the handle fell off, trapping her inside. Ms Isherwood and her family had visited the resort for a number of years After breaking a pipe she was sprayed with water – leaving her drenched before hypothermia set in.

The inquest was told that banging was heard at the complex, but other guests thought it was maintenance work.

She was later found by workers who noticed a hole in the plasterboard leading to the bedroom where she had tried to break through the wall.

Greg Hands quits as minister over Heathrow expansion

Greg Hands quits as minister over Heathrow expansion

Junior trade minister Greg Hands has resigned from the government to oppose expansion of Heathrow Airport.

The vote on whether to build a third runway at the airport west of London is due to be held on Monday.

Mr Hands, who represents the Chelsea and Fulham constituency in London, said he had pledged to oppose the new runway at the 2017 election.

It had been thought that ministers with constituencies directly affected could have been allowed to miss the vote.


The highest profile opponent of Heathrow expansion in the cabinet is Boris Johnson, the foreign secretary, who once pledged to lie down in front of bulldozers to stop it happening.

But Mr Johnson is scheduled to be out of the UK on Monday so will not be attending the vote in the House of Commons.

Labour is also divided on the controversial issue, with members of the party’s leadership, such as shadow chancellor John McDonnell, opposed to it, but high profile trade union backers in favour. The party’s MPs are being allowed to vote however they want to on the issue.

The SNP are in favour of Heathrow expansion, with the Lib Dems opposed and with the government deciding to whip (order) Conservative MPs to vote in favour, it is widely expected that the expansion plan will get Commons backing. The debate on expanding Heathrow has been going on for nearly 20 years. The last Labour government backed the idea, and won a vote on it in 2009, but that plan was scrapped – and the idea of expansion put on hold for five years – by the Conservative-Lib Dem coalition formed after the 2010 election.

But the idea of expansion was resurrected and has been subsequently backed by the Conservatives.

Ministers approved a draft national airports policy statement in October but Parliament has to give its approval for detailed planning to begin.

‘So expensive’: Why are critics opposed? Campaigners argue that a new runway will breach the UK’s legal limits on air pollution and increase noise pollution with an extra 700 planes a day.

It will result in huge disruption to residents of nearby villages, such as Longford, Harmondsworth and Sipson, with hundreds of homes likely to be knocked down.

Robert Barnstone, from the No 3rd Runway Coalition, told the BBC the government was "failing people and failing the environment as well".

Former Transport Secretary Justine Greening, who backs expanding Gatwick instead, suggested the idea of Heathrow as a national hub airport was outdated and the focus should be on improving regional capacity.

And Tory MP Zac Goldsmith, who resigned his Richmond Park seat in 2016 over the issue and subsequently lost a by-election, said for many people "this doesn’t just look like a blank cheque being given by this government to a foreign-owned multinational, it looks like a whole book of cheques signed by our constituents".

‘Right for UK PLC’ Chair of Airports Commission, Sir Howard Davies told Today that Heathrow Airport’s expansion will succeed Heathrow’s owners, which include Spanish infrastructure firm Ferrovial, say the airport is virtually full and a new runway would increase its capacity from 85.5 million to 130 million passengers.

The expansion is estimated to create about 60,000 new jobs and generate about £70bn in total economic benefits by the 2050s.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said it would provide a "vital legacy" for the British economy.

Residents whose houses are knocked down will get compensation worth 125% of their value – as well as legal fees and stamp duty costs paid for – while £700m would be available to fund noise insulation measures for those who decide to stay.

He said a ban on night flights was an "absolute requirement" and non-negotiable while he said landing charges paid by airlines must stay at current levels.

"This runway cannot be built if it does not meet air quality rules," he added.

Sir Howard Davies, whose 2015 review recommended a new runway as long as environmental and community impacts were addressed, said "significant" concessions had been made on reducing early morning flights and minimising the impact on residents on the proposed flight path.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid accuses EU on plans for UK expats

Home Secretary Sajid Javid accuses EU on plans for UK expats

The home secretary has accused the EU of failing to match the UK’s progress on plans for expats after Brexit.

Sajid Javid, who will reveal more details on the UK scheme for EU citizens later, said more information was needed from EU member states.

He said he was "concerned" he had not seen other EU countries’ plans on how British nationals would be supported.

There are 3.8 million EU citizens in the UK, and about 900,000 UK citizens in the EU, according to ONS figures.

Mr Javid said: "Publishing details of how we will administer our settled status scheme shows we are honouring the commitments made towards EU citizens living in the UK.

"But I am concerned that I have not seen any similar plans on how EU member states are going to support British nationals in their countries.

"This is not good enough and I hope both the European Parliament and commission will exert more pressure for them to do this as soon as possible."

A government statement said the home secretary this week met the European Parliament’s chief Brexit negotiator Guy Verhofstadt, who acknowledged that the member states had not done enough on the issue.

The UK is due to leave the European Union on 29 March 2019. What now for EU citizens in the UK?

Brexit: All you need to know

May to fight post-Brexit residency move

The government is expected to present a "statement of intent" and draft immigration rules to Parliament later, and the scheme will open in a "phased way" from later this year.

The documents will state who is eligible, how people will be able to apply, and what it will cost. What we know so far

The Home Office has already detailed some features of its planned approach.

EU citizens who have been in the country for five years by the end of 2020 will be able to apply for "settled status", which means they can work and live in the UK.

Those who have arrived by 31 December 2020 – when the Brexit transition period is due to end – but do not have five years’ residence, will be able to apply to stay until they have reached the threshold, at which point they can seek settled status.

The government has agreed that EU citizens and their families who arrive between 30 March 2019 – after the UK leaves the EU – and 31 December 2020 will stay on the same terms, but will have to register if they choose to stay longer than three months.

UK government ministers have said there will be an online system – similar to one used to renew driving licences – that will take minutes to complete, with a fee similar to getting a passport, which costs from £75.50.

An ID document and recent photograph will have to be provided by applicants and any criminal convictions declared.

The scheme will be open until the end of June 2021.

From Pride To Fabulous – LGBT Financial Priorities

From Pride To Fabulous - LGBT Financial Priorities

LGBT Money Survey in honor of Pride Month. Photo by: Dennis Van Tine/STAR MAX/IPx 2017 6/25/17 The Gay Pride Parade in New York CIty. I get asked all the time if there is still a need for LGBTQ specific financial advice now that marriage equality is law of the land . It is a bit of a heteronormative attitude to think financial planning is the same regardless of sexual orientation. Members of the LGBTQ community have different thoughts and attitudes about money compared to the heterosexual community.

While there are a variety of opinions when it comes to money and finances, homophobia, equal rights and taxes all play a central role in the LGBTQ+ communities attitudes about finances. Some of these are highlighted in this survey. Our priorities and life goals vary such as where we choose to live and how we want to spend our money. Spending habits and financial challenges are unique within the community and they likely vary between the L-G-B-T-Q and everyone else in between.

We are not all born fabulously wealthy . While many in the community do extremely well for themselves, a large number struggle for basic things like housing and food. We do have many advantages as a community but we also suffer many additional challenges. Wherever you stand personally, it is important to be proactive and take steps to make smarter financial decisions.

LGBTQ Finances Survey from Experian Conducted in May 2018

It should come as no surprise that the LGBT community puts more emphasis on discretionary spending versus savings according to the survey. Paying credit card debt also ranked higher than saving. This kind of makes sense when you think about many of the stereotypes of the LGBT community and its large spending power. We make discretionary spending a priority.

Entertainment, dining out and travel are a staple for many in the LGBTQ community. The discrepancy is more pronounced when you specifically break out the gay men. This group prioritized travel 11% more than the general population. Surprisingly, we prioritize spending on clothing 8% less than the general population. With all that travel, I would have expected more money being spent for clothing.

62% of the LGBTQ Community Have Experienced Financial Challenges Based on Sexual Orientation
While this statistic is upsetting, I’m surprised that the number is this low. Other frustrating statistics revealed in the survey include 13% of respondents reported harassment in the workplace and 12% reported being less likely to get a specific job or promotion. In addition to survey results, marriage inequality has cost some couples financially. Higher taxes and not taking the typical steps a legally married couple would normally take to achieve financial security are two big reasons.

Fear of discrimination pushed many in the community to live in specific parts of the country or even specific parts of a city. This can greatly increase the average cost of living. The survey didn’t address those kicked out of their childhood homes or whose parents contributed less to college than they might have a straight child. These factors can indirectly hurt career opportunities for LGBTQ students while and add to the burden of student loan debt. Members of the LGBT community are also less likely to seek out professional Financial Planning advice.

LGBTQ Credit Card Usage

It appears our community loves credit cards. There always seems to be a conversation about which credit card everyone is using and why when the time comes to split the brunch or dinner bill. Fifty-five percent of respondents reported using a credit card to build up rewards or miles. For the most part, the younger the respondent, the more likely he or she would be using a credit card to establish credit worthiness. This also falls in line with the desire to increase credit limits. Credit card usage and motivation doesn’t diverge much between the LGBTQ and heterosexual communities.

Savers versus Spenders

This came as a bit of a surprise to me. Fifty-two percent of respondents would describe themselves as savers. Conversely, 29% identified as spenders. A deeper dive revealed negative financial attitudes are more prevalent in the LGBTQ community when compared to the heterosexual community. We are less likely to care about our credit scores (78% vs 73%), we feel less in control of our finances (62% vs 58%) and there are less of us who are contributing to our retirement accounts (45% vs 43%).

Additionally, LGBTQ people are more likely to report bad spending habits (34% vs 28%). We are also more likely to struggle to maintain good saving habits (44% vs 38%). However, there is some good news. As we age, many in our community improve in these areas. As previously mentioned, LGBTQ respondents reported feeling less in control of their finances. That number was 44% for LGBTQ respondents age 25-34. However, 75% of respondents who were 65+ felt they had control of their financial situation.

As a group, LGBTQ people are more likely to struggle earlier in their adult lives. We’ve seen large numbers of LGBTQ youth thrown out of their homes or become estranged from their families. Situations such as these can increase the challenges of keeping your finances together in your earlier years. While they can also lead to problems later in life, they are more likely to be pronounced earlier in life.
(Photo by Michael Candelori/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images) LGBTQ Biggest Financial Concerns

As a gay financial planner I am happy to say that the biggest financial concern for the LGBTQ community, across all ages, is saving for retirement . The youngest group, ages 25-34, is most concerned with paying off debt while the oldest group, 65 and older, is most concerned with having money left over at month-end, after paying bills.

While overspending is never a good thing, at least the respondents are aware of the areas they are likely overspending. These include dining out, traveling, etc. I’m all for enjoying life but it’s important to find a balance and stick to a budget. Go out and enjoy life but make sure save for retirement and other financial goals before booking that European vacation.

How are you feeling about your finances? Are in control and on track for your various goals? Whatever your age, it is never to late to improve your financial outlook. That being said, the sooner you get started the easier it will be to reach your most important financial goals.

Live for Today, Plan for a Richer Tomorrow. Don’t forget Gay Money Matters .

Russian authorities close LGBTI safe space at World Cup, force it to move

Russian authorities close LGBTI safe space at World Cup, force it to move

This emotional Pride in London video is coming to UK national TV The Moscow Diversity House. | Photo: Fare Network The organizers of Diversity House, a safe space for LGBTI fans during the World Cup, say a ‘political attack’ forced the closure of its location in St Petersburg.

Just days before the House’s opening, the building’s landlords refused to hand over the keys. They had withdrawn permission for it to operate there.

The Fare Network – which fights discrimination in soccer – planned to open two locations during Russia’s World Cup. The other House is now open in Moscow.

‘The way in which the Diversity House was closed down is familiar to organisations in St. Petersburg, they recognise it as the method through which the city authorities shut down activities which do not conform to their political outlook,’ said Fare’s executive director, Piara Powar.

‘It is difficult to obtain anything but anecdotal evidence to support the assertion but it seems to be clear that the project in St. Petersburg has been subject to a political attack of the kind that shows how debates about human rights are curtailed by powerful conservative political forces in Russia.’

Powar said Fatma Samoura, the Secretary General of FIFA, ‘made represenations’ on behalf of Fare to no avail. FIFA is soccer’s international governing body. The new safe space

The network had to quickly find another location to setup its Diversity House.

The new House is now operating at Berghold space and is run by Fare and the Cup for People project.

‘Local groups and activists did an amazing job by finding a new venue and spending two days moving and making preparations to re-open. We salute their spirit and dedication to the cause of diversity and anti-discrimination,’ Powar.

Fare opened the Diversity Houses to provide a space for LGBTI people this month’s World Cup in Russia. The space is needed because Russian fans have threatened kill LGBTI fans, while a soccer insider believed authorities would likely cover up any murders of LGBTI people during the tournament.

Over the weekend thugs violently attacked a gay couple in St Petersburg. One of them suffered a serious brain injury in the attack.