Eastern Caribbean: LGBT People Face Bias, Violence

Eastern Caribbean: LGBT People Face Bias, Violence

Expand Jason (pseudonym), a 40-year-old gay man from Barbados. © 2017 Amy Braunschweiger for Human Rights Watch (Bridgetown, Barbados, March 21, 2018) – Discriminatory laws in Eastern Caribbean countries make lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people targets for discrimination, violence and abuse, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today.

The 107-page report “‘ I Have to Leave to Be Me’: Discriminatory Laws against LGBT People in the Eastern Caribbean ” covers seven countries: Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. All seven countries have versions of buggery and gross indecency laws, relics of British colonialism, that prohibit same-sex conduct between consenting persons. The laws have broad latitude, are vaguely worded, and serve to legitimize discrimination and hostility toward LGBT people. “While people are rarely prosecuted for these crimes, the laws single out a vulnerable social group,” said Boris Dittrich , LGBT advocacy director at Human Rights Watch. “The laws give social and legal sanction for discrimination, violence, stigma, and prejudice against LGBT people.”

The report is based on interviews with people from all seven countries during February 2017 with a total of 41 self-identifying LGBT people between […]

LGBT festival Palm Beach Pride returns to Lake Worth

LGBT festival Palm Beach Pride returns to Lake Worth

2017’s Palm Beach Pride at Lake Worth’s Bryant Park. The LGBTQ festival is produced by Compass Community Center. (James Stafford Photography / Courtesy) Despite being a festival celebrating the LGBTQ community in Palm Beach County, politics is very much a part of this year’s Palm Beach Pride. “Rainbow Resistance” is the theme for the celebration to be staged March 24-25 in Lake Worth.

“We are in Trump’s back yard,” says Julia Murphy, chief development officer for Compass Community Center, which produces the event. “To be able to stand tall and proud is very important. The political climate has changed, and it’s not very good for our community. It’s not supportive.”

Yet Murphy is quick to add that Lake Worth “has been extremely open and supportive of not only Compass, but Pride.” Compass is the community center for Palm Beach County’s LGBTQ population and their allies. Palm Beach Pride, formerly known as Pridefest, moved from West Palm Beach to Lake Worth in 2000.

“We started as a picnic in 1992 with a few hundred people,” Murphy recalls. “Now, we have 25,000. And allies and people come from all over the state. Who wants to be anywhere else in the month of March. We’re […]

UK government claims ban on gay cure therapy could have ‘unintended consequences’

UK government claims ban on gay cure therapy could have ‘unintended consequences’

(Photo by Simon Dawson – WPA Pool/Getty Images) The government has issued its third contradictory response on gay cure therapy in just five months – after being slammed in Parliament for its “inadequate” responses to calls for a ban.

It is currently legal for unregulated quacks and faith groups to attempt to ‘cure’ people of homosexuality in the UK, though the practise is banned on the NHS under a voluntary ‘Memorandum of Understanding’.

The government has been repeatedly pressed over its failure to listen to campaigners on the issue – and the Department for Health and Social Care has now issued no less than three contradictory responses in just a few months. In the first response in November last year, Health Minister Jackie Doyle-Price claimed the government had “already taken the necessary steps to prevent the practice of gay conversion therapy in the UK”, and that it “does not believe creating a criminal offence is the right way forward”.

The minister also claimed to be “unaware” of high-profile reports of gay ‘cure’ practises, despite this being raised in Parliament.

The response was deemed inadequate by Parliament’s Petitions Committee, and Health Minister Jackie Doyle-Price was told to try again.

In her second response in January […]

Trump’s Education Secretary Betsy DeVos will not lift a finger to help transgender kids

Trump’s Education Secretary Betsy DeVos will not lift a finger to help transgender kids

(Photo by Chris Kleponis-Pool/Getty Images) Donald Trump’s Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has taken a resolute stance against transgender children.

DeVos has rolled back Obama-era protections for transgender children, and earlier this year directed the Department of Education to stop investigating allegations of discrimination against transgender kids who have been banned from restrooms and locker rooms that align with their gender.

The Trump cabinet member was challenged over her policy during a House Appropriations subcommittee this week, where she was challenged by Rep. Mark Pocan.

In her response, DeVos confirmed that the department will limit any action against discrimination to a literal reading of discrimination law, which states that “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be subjected to discrimination under any education program”. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images) While the Obama administration had taken a proactive interpretation of this to also tackle homophobic and transphobic discrimination, DeVos stated she would not do so unless directed to by Congress.

She said: “We have continued to protect the rights of students as defined under Title IX, we have continued to do so, and consider those matters brought through the Office for Civil Rights.

“We will continue to […]

Eurovision’s Saara Aalto comes out as lesbian ahead of ‘sassy and fun’ album and new single Monster

Eurovision’s Saara Aalto comes out as lesbian ahead of ‘sassy and fun’ album and new single Monster

Saara Aalto PinkNews Exclusive
The X Factor UK made Saara Aalto the most Googled person in Finland in 2017. She was already one of the country’s biggest homegrown stars, but prior to her stint in the UK the “sassy, fun and colourful” Saara didn’t feel like she fitted in back home.

“In Finland I was too theatrical, too flamboyant,” she tells PinkNews over a bowl of noodles in Camden. “In Finland they like neighbourhood girl artists – I wasn’t like that.”

A year on from X Factor and Saara has come on leaps and strides. She is now openly, proudly identifying as a lesbian (with a policy to never say never to men).

“I am very proud to be lesbian and I feel very much like I am lesbian, totally,” she tells us. The flamboyant singer has a new, strong message of empowerment tied into the release of her forthcoming as-yet-untitled fifth album, which drops ahead of her Eurovision stint where she represents Finland this May.

New single Monsters , which Saara will perform at Eurovision, is about “living life as you want, finding your strength, being brave as who you are and not being afraid to show it.”
Saara knew she […]

Cambridge Analytica discussed using gay rumours as election ploy

Cambridge Analytica discussed using gay rumours as election ploy

(Getty) A Cambridge Analytica top boss has been caught on tape boasting that the organisation could spread rumours that electoral candidates are gay to discredit them, Channel 4 footage has shown.

A secret recording carried out by Channel 4 has shown the managing director of the data analysis company’s political division Mark Turnbull saying that they could use gay rumours as an election ploy to discredit candidates.

The information, which has come to light after whistleblower and former Cambridge Analytica worker Christopher Wylie revealed that the company harvested the data of millions of Facebook profiles to influence the US elections

Then the reporter volunteered the notion that “if minister is homosexual” it could potentially lead to a resignation, a recording and transcript between the reporter and Mark Turnbull, the managing director of Cambridge Analytica’s political division. “These are things that, I mean, it sounds a dreadful thing to say, but these are things that don’t necessarily need to be true, as long as they’re believed,” Nix says to the reporter.

In the report, Turnbull says that the organisation analyses people’s “hopes and fears” in order to mould the political targeting. “The two drivers are hopes and fears, and many of them are […]

Caroline, or Change, review: Remarkably bright storytelling for such a downtrodden story ★★★★★

Caroline, or Change, review: Remarkably bright storytelling for such a downtrodden story ★★★★★

Expect a West End transfer: Caroline, or Change is going nowhere.

Giant US playwright Tony Kushner, who also penned Angels In America, has a bed of successful productions of this miraculous musical already on his CV.

The show breathes new life into the sad familiarity of the narrative surrounding the civil rights movement, using ingenious storytelling. One past incarnation of Caroline, Or Change won the Olivier for Best New Musical, while another triumphed from New York’s Public Theatre to a successful run on Broadway. This production will turn heads in equal measure.

The premise feels in familiar territory, before it’s blown out of the water. It’s 1963 and underground civil rights movements are gaining pace in America’s cities.

In the small town of Lake Charles, Louisiana, though, Caroline is “under water” rather than underground, washing a white family’s clothes for $30 a week. Her growing children and friends rally around to help her sculpt a better life, but Caroline is unalterable: by religion, and financial and social obligation.

The musical imaginatively combines visual storytelling with narrative and deft musical performance in a way that feels crushingly absorbing. Hampstead Theatre’s 400-cap space is a glove fit for the show’s delightfully hand-made feel. Fly Davis’ set […]

Gay men seeking HIV-preventing PrEP drugs are being ‘turned away’ from sexual health clinics over trial capacity

Gay men seeking HIV-preventing PrEP drugs are being ‘turned away’ from sexual health clinics over trial capacity

PrEP More than two dozen sexual health clinics in England are now turning away gay men who are seeking to take HIV-preventing drugs, PinkNews has found.

Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) drug Truvada, which can drastically reduce people’s chances of being infected with HIV, was made available for free on the NHS last year as part of a large-scale three-year trial.

As part of the trial, 10,000 places were made available via participating sexual health clinics across England – with most of the places reserved for men who have sex with men.

However, PinkNews has found that many of the major clinics involved in the trial have already been forced to close recruitment to gay and bisexual men, after their capacity for trial places was quickly filled due to high demand.

Clinics that fill their quota are left with no option other than to tell them to go elsewhere.

26 locations involved in the trial have closed recruitment so far, according to data made public by the IMPACT trial. Some of the most popular sexual health clinics with the LGBT community, such as London’s Dean Street, filled their trial quota in just weeks.While there are still 85 sites at which the PrEP trial is available, these […]

Department of Health and Human Services removes words lesbian and bisexual from website

Department of Health and Human Services removes words lesbian and bisexual from website

The United States Department of Health and Human Services has removed all mention of lesbian and bisexual women from its website.

The website, named WomensHealth.gov, saw that references to lesbian and bi health were removed over the course of a month in September and October 2017, according to a joint report by the Sunlight Foundation’s Web Integrity Project and shared with POLITICO .

The website is one of the most visited health department websites for women in the country.

Its traffic showed that it received 700,000 visits over the past month. (Christopher Furlong/Getty Images) “We’ve seen nothing this targeted at one HHS site,” Bergman said. “The removal of lesbian and bisexual health materials in particular, without advance notice and in a targeted way, raise concerns that they’ve targeted information for vulnerable populations.”

In defence of the move, the HSS has said that the removals are down to a “routine update”.

“The outdated lesbian and bisexual health pages were removed and the health content was integrated into the relevant health topics pages across the website,” an HHS spokesperson said to Politico.None of the material has been revised since this time.The heading ‘bisexual and lesbian health’ has been removed from the website, and not a single […]