NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) – Filmmakers, poets and artists of all kinds are bringing big crowds to the Argenta Arts District this week, Aug. 13-17, for the fourth annual Kaleidoscope LGBT Film and Culture Festival.
The event kicked off last week and has events every day through this weekend. Wednesday’s open mic poetry night is one of the festival’s most popular events, and organizers say it’s all about opening minds and sharing perspectives.
"Kaleidoscope is celebrating the diversity of filmmakers in the LGBT community, and the power that the filmmakers can have of changing minds of people in and outside the community," Mindy VanKeuren said. “Art, and particularly filmmaking…it just really shows people that there are emotions and feelings that all of us have, no matter our gender, race, or sexual preference.”
There are several film screenings at the Argenta Community Theater this week.
Click here for information on times and tickets.
Nur Ilyani had angered activists after criticising LGBT patients. Health Minister Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad. KUALA LUMPUR: The health ministry today denied that a doctor whose remarks against LGBT patients had several activists up in arms had been barred from her duties at a government hospital in Kota Bharu.
Health Minister Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad denied the claim that Dr Nur Ilyani Mohamed Nawawi had been given a 24-hour transfer notice to Putrajaya.
“It’s not true. The ministry will issue a statement,” he told reporters at the Parliament lobby today.
Nur Ilyani in a Facebook post had questioned activist Marina Mahathir, who is the patron of the Malaysian AIDS Foundation (MAF), for championing the rights of the LGBT community.
She said if the community had rights, then she too had a right to live peacefully, free from their “deviant lifestyles”.
In her post, Nur Ilyani also said as a doctor, she would give LGBT patients the best treatment despite her reservations about them.
Following strong reactions to her post and calls to punish her, Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman defended Ilyani’s right to free speech.
“If there is any disciplinary action taken against the medical officer, I will personally speak out against it as she is entitled to give her personal views,” he said.
Ten companies from across the industry have been shortlisted for this year’s LGBT-friendly travel company of the year in the TTG Travel Awards. The category, which is again sponsored by the Malta Tourism Authority, celebrates businesses within the sector that have made efforts to improve their LGBT offering for both employees and customers, specifically in the past 12 months.
The winner will be revealed at the TTG Travel Awards on September 17.
The companies that have been shortlisted are: James Villa Holidays
Royal Caribbean International
Perfect Weddings Abroad
ANA (All Nippon Airways)
Limited tickets are still available for the TTG Travel Awards ceremony.
Book your tickets today
While homophobia has seen a drastic decrease in Germany over the years, Islamophobia has remained stubbornly stagnant. A new Playboy poll has found that most Germans are opposed to mosques, hijab, and refugee homes. Symbolbild – Islamfeindlichkeit (picture-alliance/Ralph Goldmann) A new poll published on Thursday by Playboy Germany shows that while national hostility to minority sexualities may have taken a nosedive over the years, hostility to Islam remains depressingly stagnant.
According to the survey, which polled over 1,000 men and women, the vast majority of Germans (70 percent) wouldn’t care if their child was homosexual, and the same amount said they would support a law requiring insurance companies to pay for sexual reassignment surgery for transgender individuals.
Sharp decline in homophobia
Indeed, decades of research in Germany have shown a staggering increase in tolerance for non-hetero sexual orientations. A wide-ranging comparison compiled by the Bundestag in 2016, including research going back to the 1940s, illustrates a country that has become more open each decade.
For example, in 1949, 53 percent of married men in Germany said that they saw homosexuality as an illness. By 1976, that number had dropped to 25 percent.
Another survey found that in western Germany in 1991, 36 percent of respondents said they would not want homosexuals as neighbors. 17 years later, the number was just 13 percent. The results for eastern Germany were about the same. The Playboy study also reported that most Germans have a very relaxed view on nudity and sexuality in the media, and don’t think it needs to be regulated.
However, while homophobia appears to be on the decline, Islamophobia has persisted at about the same levels since the 1990s.
Most Germans averse to mosques, hijab
One of the more concerning statistics found by research institute Mafo.de for the Playboy poll regards mosques. About 16.6 percent of Germans said they would not want a Christian church in their neighborhood. As for Jewish synagogues and Buddhist temples, that would bother about 25 percent of people.
But as for a mosque, 55.7 percent of Germans said they wouldn’t want one near their home. Most respondents (more than 70 percent) also said it was a good idea to ban teachers and public servants from wearing hijab.
Despite the migrant crisis largely having passed, the poll also found that more Germans were opposed to refugee homes than two years ago: The Bundestag study shows, however, that Islamophobia is not a phenomenon tied to the refugee crisis. While widespread immigration of Muslims began as far back as the 1950s, when many Turks began arriving to fill much-needed postwar infrastructure work, Germans have remained stubbornly opposed to the presence of Islam in their communities.
The same study that saw homophobia plummet paints a much bleaker picture towards Muslims. In western Germany in 1991, 25 percent of people said they wouldn’t want a Muslim as a neighbor, and by 2008 that number had increased to 26. In eastern Germany, it was a change of 29 to 33 percent.
This is hardly surprisingly in light of numerous recent events in Germany, like soccer superstar Mesut Özil stepping away from Germany’s national team over anti-Muslim treatment and the resultant #MeTwo movement casting a light on everyday racism
Why the difference?
Dr. Melanie Steffens, a social psychology professor at the University of Koblenz, has some insight into why Germans may be willing to accept their LGBT neighbors, but not their Muslim ones.
"Some of the many factors playing a role here are of course that coming out is voluntary, that the LGBT community has somewhat more control over how much of their identity people see… and also that laws create norms — so for example, when you legalize gay marriage, that goes a long way for creating acceptance," Steffens told DW.
She added that "there is the perception for some that Islam threatens the liberal social order," and that people may feel "they hold ‘more different’ values to German culture than the LGBT community does."
"It’s also important to remember what societal milieu we’re talking about. People who agree to participate in studies tend to be more educated and cosmopolitan." DW recommends
Photo: Portraits of Nisha Ayub (L) and Pang Khee Teik (R) that were removed / Mooreyameen Mohamad The Malaysian government ordered the removal of two LGBT activists’ portraits from a photography exhibition because they promote LGBT, which “is against the society norms”, reported BBC on 9 August 2018.
Portraits of transgender activist Nisha Ayub and LGBT activist Pang Khee Teik were part of photographer Mooreyameen Mohamad’s Stripes and Strokes series that shows Malaysians posing with the country’s flag. Pang holds a rainbow pride flag in his portrait, with the Malaysian flag draped over his shoulders.
The exhibition opened at the George Town Festival on 4 August and within days the festival director was asked to take down the two portraits, in line with the country’s policy of not promoting LGBT culture.
“The society cannot accept LGBT being promoted because that is against the society norms and culture, even religion,” Islamic affairs minister Mujahid Yusof Rawa told reporters, as seen in this video by The Star Online.
“I think that is not in line with what we have consistently repeated in the parliament and accepted as a policy of this new government. If I don’t do anything about it then it is seen as something that challenges the policy that we ourselves have mentioned many, many times,” he said.
Photographer Mooreyameen Mohamad said other people featured in the exhibition have asked to have their portraits removed, in protest, and he has had offers from private galleries to host the exhibition in its entirety. He has decided to keep his exhibition at the George Town Festival.
“Lest it be misunderstood, the directive to remove the portraits of Pang and Nisha breaches our rights as Malaysians to artistic expression,” he said in a statement to Freemuse. “I will continue to assert our rights.”
“This incident has sparked some important conversations about our nationhood and who we are as the people of Malaysia. Clearly, there is a lot to discuss still, because there is a lot of disagreement. But I believe in engaging with one another, in conversations, and even with those who do not share our views on human rights,” he said.
(Stock image) Schools in an Oklahoma school district have reopened, after threats to take a “good sharp knife” to a transgender 12-year-old girl sparked a security alert.
Police shut down schools in Achille, Oklahoma on Monday and Tuesday after threats emerged to a transgender student named as Maddie.
Messages had come to light in a Facebook group for parents of students, who had vented about Maddie being allowed to use the female bathroom.
They referred to the 12-year-old girl as “it,” “this thing,” “half baked maggot” and “the transgender,” and threatened to use a “good sharp knife” to slice her genitals. Another suggested: “Just tell the kids to kick [her] ass in the bathroom and it won’t want to come back!” Achille Elementary School was closed Bryan County Sheriff’s Office shut down the school district while the issue was investigated, but the schools were permitted to re-open on Wednesday.
The Sheriff’s Office say it may still press charges over the violent remarks. Maddie’s mother Brandy Rose said the girl and her siblings had been sent to stay with relatives for a few days because of the fears of violence.
She said: “Even when Maddie returned home she was too scared to sleep alone, she slept with us.
“To see her be afraid really broke my heart because Maddie’s not afraid of stuff, she lets things roll off her shoulders.
“There’s a lot more love than hate and that seems to help her to be less fearful now, she’s excited to be back at school.” A sign on the school’s website LGBT activists have laid the blame for the incident at the door of Republican leaders who have stoked fears about transgender people in bathrooms.
Ellen Kahn, Director of the HRC Foundation’s Children, Youth and Families Programs, said: “The hateful and violent rhetoric of these adults is despicable, disgusting and completely dehumanizing.
“No student should face threats of violence or harassment from anyone in their school community, let alone from their peers’ parents.
“In the aftermath of the last election, LGBTQ students reported an increase in bullying, and the incident in Oklahoma reinforces the unconscionable fact that the bullying can sometimes come from adults in their community.
“Words and actions have consequences, and the rhetoric and polices coming from the Trump-Pence administration and too many state politicians have only emboldened the kind of prejudice that leads to these threats.”
Fox & Friends Fox News is under fire after referring to history-making transgender politician Christine Hallquist as “that transgender.”
Hallquist t his week won the Democratic nomination in the race to become the Governor of Vermont , marking the first time a major party has chosen a transgender candidate in a gubernatorial race.
However her landslide victory over three opponents in the Democratic primary was reduced to a gag on Fox News. The news channel’s Fox & Friends show incorrectly inferred that the race was a two-way battle between Hallquist and a 14-year-old novelty candidate, who actually came fourth with 6 percent of a vote.
During a primaries roundup, Griff Jenkins had said: “In Vermont it was all about Bernie Sanders, and they nominated the first transgender candidate for Governor.”
Ainsley Earhardt added: “That transgender beat a 14 year old! They didn’t have an age limit, so the 14 year old said, I’m going to run! Ran in the primary, didn’t win.”
The conservative anchor referring to Hallquist as “that transgender” led to anger online, with Democrats accusing Fox of “dehumanising” her and trying to turn her victory into a joke.
Chelsea Clinton tweeted Fox News: “Her name is Christine Hallquist.” Hallquist responded with her own dig at Fox, writing: “Thanks @ChelseaClinton – we’re so excited by the letters of support we’re receiving from across the country everyday! Together, we’ll realign America’s moral compass.
“Christine. Pronouns: she, her, hers.” Fox News was also condemned by the dictionary. Dictionary.com wrote: “Transgender is an adjective, not a noun.”
It shared the definition of transgender, that states: “1. Noting or relating to a person whose gender identity does not correspond to that person’s biological sex assigned at birth.
“2. Noting or relating to a person who does not conform to societal gender norms or roles.” Earhardt has attempted to apologise for her comments. She told The Wrap : “I was responding to the reporter’s comments when I moved too quickly and couldn’t recall Christine Hallquist’s name.
“As a person of faith, I sincerely promise I never ever meant anything derogatory and I am sorry it may have come off that way.”
Although Hallquist’s primary victory is a historic first, her gender identity was barely a factor in her campaign, which focused largely on local issues.
She has the backing of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders in November. Christine Hallquist (Christine for Vermont) Accepting the nomination, she said: “I must say I’m incredibly honoured, incredibly honoured to have all your support. Tonight we made history.”
Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez said: “The DNC is proud to congratulate Christine Hallquist, Vermont’s Democratic nominee for governor and the country’s first-ever openly transgender nominee for governor, along with all of [the] Democratic nominees in the Green Mountain State.
“Christine’s historic victory is an inspiration to LGBTQ people everywhere, and we are excited to stand behind her and the entire slate of fantastic Democratic nominees in Vermont.
“There’s no doubt that Christine and her fellow nominees will join a strong ticket this November that will fight for our values and serve as dedicated advocates for Vermont’s working families. “Vermont voters know that Democrats have their backs and share their values, and they’re ready to organize to turn more seats blue this November.”
Annise Parker of the LGBTQ Victory Fund said: “Christine’s victory is a defining moment in the movement for trans equality and is especially remarkable given how few out trans elected officials there are at any level of government.
“Many thought it unthinkable a viable trans gubernatorial candidate like Christine would emerge so soon.
“Yet Vermont voters chose Christine not because of her gender identity, but because she is an open and authentic candidate with a long history of service to the state, and who speaks to the issues most important to voters.” Christine Hallquist (Christine for Vermont) She added: “Christine’s business experience and progressive vision for Vermont means she’s perfectly-positioned to take on Governor Scott – whose approval numbers continue to plunge because of his inability to manage the state government and his failed attempts to hide his conservative policy positions.
“When voters head to the polls this November, we are confident Vermonters will make her the first openly trans governor in the nation and just the second openly LGBTQ person elected governor in American history.
“Christine often attributes Vermonters’ accepting her gender identity to the hard work and bravery of LGBTQ pioneers who came before her – those at Stonewall, the Harvey Milks, and other courageous activists.
“Now, Christine is a pioneer deserving of that appreciation. Her authenticity, poise and presence on the campaign trail will undoubtedly inspire more trans people to pursue their dreams of a career in elected office, and that will inevitably change America and the world.”
The gubernatorial election will take place on November 6, 2018.
Yaisah Val a transgender woman get her makeup done at her home in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on July 12, 2018. Val recently came out publicly as a transgender woman on YouTube, a potentially risky move in a country like Haiti where LGBT residents face pervasive hostility in most spheres of public life. (AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery) The Associated Press
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Yaisah Val recently came out publicly as a transgender woman on YouTube, a potentially risky move in a country like Haiti where LGBT residents face pervasive hostility in most spheres of public life.
Two proposed anti-LGBT laws are pending in Parliament. The major churches are firm in their condemnation of homosexuality. Gay Haitians are frequent targets of attacks and harassment, and police are often unsympathetic to victims of anti-gay violence.
"We told my family beforehand," Val told The Associated Press of her decision to come out. "And they said, ‘You’re going to be stoned.’"
Instead, Val says she’s developed a supportive fan base — many of them straight people and mothers who gratefully view her as a role model for their transgender daughters. Val says she’s occasionally recognized on the streets by people who want to be photographed with her. And she recently attended a meeting in Washington, D.C., as part of a delegation trying to strengthen LGBT rights in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Her situation is indicative of the struggle for LGBT rights in Caribbean nations like Haiti, where incremental progress toward acceptance is seen as a major step in the face of deep-rooted cultural opposition to gays. Val and other activists have been pushing for greater equality and access to education, and have been welcomed into some broader civil-society initiatives, including events supported by Haiti’s first lady.
They also realize it’s an uphill fight in a country with a strong anti-gay stigma — contributing to an HIV prevalence rate among gay men that’s nine times higher than for the adult population as a whole.
The SEROvie Foundation, a 20-year-old organization providing free HIV treatment and prevention services for LGBT Haitians, says many gay and bisexual men avoid seeking care because they fear mistreatment or disclosure of personal details. Executive director Reginald Dupont said several men had committed suicide in the city of Jeremie after their HIV status was publicly revealed.
As a precaution against harassment, there’s no exterior sign identifying the foundation’s main clinic in Port-au-Prince — a two-story building in a neighborhood housing several international organizations.
The complex includes an emergency shelter in the rear courtyard where victims of anti-gay violence and harassment can stay for up to two weeks. It was busy last year, staffers said, when debate in the Senate over anti-gay laws triggered a spate of attacks.
According to the latest figures from UNAIDS — the United Nations agency that fights HIV and AIDS — about 2.1 percent of all Haitian adults are living with HIV, while prevalence rate among gay and bisexual men is 18.2 percent.
The overall HIV prevalence rate, though still among the highest in the Western Hemisphere, is down sharply from a decade ago. UNAIDS says new HIV infections and AIDS-related deaths have both decreased by about 25 percent since 2010.
However, further progress will be difficult without addressing the persistently high infection rate among gays and bisexuals, said Dr. Jean William Pape, who founded Haiti’s largest HIV/AIDs organization in 1982 and also teaches at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City.
Anti-gay bias is prevalent even among health care providers, said Pape, who recounted how one of his senior staff members complained about the flamboyant appearance of some gay men.
"I told him, ‘They can look the way they want. Our job is to provide care,’" Pape said.
The head of the UNAIDS operation in Haiti, Yafflo Outarra, says he and officials of other humanitarian organizations have been prodding the government to be more active in countering anti-LGBT prejudice. But he acknowledges the task is daunting, given the results of a survey last year commissioned by Haiti’s Health Ministry with support from UNAIDS and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Among the 1,089 respondents in the nationwide survey, 90 percent rejected the idea of equal rights for LGBT people and 75 percent said Haiti should ban gays and lesbians from entering the country.
"The results were not encouraging," Outarra said.
Given that background, it’s striking that Haiti’s most prominent LGBT activist, while dismayed at the hostility, is hopeful about the future.
"More and more young people, bringing their skills, are getting engaged in our fight," said Charlot Jeudy, president of Kouraj, Haiti’s leading LGBT-rights group. Jeudy founded the group in 2011, seeking to counter anti-gay sentiment that intensified after the previous year’s devastating earthquake.
Prior to Kouraj’s founding, Haiti’s LGBT community remained largely underground because of social stigma, even though there are no laws criminalizing homosexual relations as there are in several English-speaking Caribbean nations. Two years ago, an LGBT cultural festival in Port-au-Prince was canceled after organizers received threats and a local official, calling it a violation of moral values, sought to ban it.
Last year, Haiti’s Senate passed two bills targeting LGBT Haitians. One would formalize a ban on same-sex marriage, and prohibit public demonstrations in favor of LGBT rights. The other would include gays among categories of people who could be denied a "certificate of good standing" — a document required as part of many job applications.
Kouraj and other advocacy groups, as well as some foreign diplomats and international organizations, voiced opposition to both bills, which have not advanced in Parliament’s lower house.
Jeudy attributes much of the anti-LGBT animosity to the influence of Haiti’s Catholic and Protestant churches. The main exception, Jeudy said, is the Voodoo religion, which is more welcoming to LGBT people in keeping with its tradition as a spiritual home for marginalized communities.
Yaisah Val’s husband, Richecarde, experienced religious disapproval firsthand. When he told his father, a Protestant pastor, that he planned to marry a transgender woman, his father replied, "You know that’s the devil."
Richecarde subsequently left the church, is estranged from his father, and devotes himself to the cause of transgender rights.
Yaisah Val, who is now 46, started her gender transition at age 29 in Haiti and completed it five years later with sex-reassignment surgery in Philadelphia.
She and her husband are now seeking to raise funds to open a first-of-its-kind shelter for transgender Haitians that would help them pursue an education and get appropriate health care.
"Most people want to be activists behind the scenes," she said. "If you really want to make change, you need to be out and about in public."
The procedure was done in May 2017 by 11 surgeons at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio Katie Stubblefield was only 18 when she was severely injured by a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Her life was saved in hospital, but the young woman had life-changing injuries and had lost most of her face.
Now 22, the youngest US recipient of a face transplant has shared the results of several years of exhaustive reconstructive surgery with National Geographic magazine .
The publication was given unprecedented access by an Ohio clinic which operated on Katie when she was just 21.
A journalist and photographers followed her preparation and the results from the invasive 31-hour procedure. The Story of a Face is on the cover of the magazine’s September issue, and Katie’s story is also told in a documentary online.
There have only been 40 recipients of a face transplant throughout the world. The first full-face procedure was successfully carried out by Spanish doctors in 2010 .
But because surgery is still considered experimental, it is not covered by US insurance providers.
Katie’s surgery was eventually funded by the Armed Forces Institute of Regenerative Medicine, which wants to improve treatment of military personnel who are injured at war.
Katie, now 22, was deemed a good candidate because of her age and the nature of the injuries she had sustained. First double face transplant ‘well’
Transplant patient ‘overwhelmed’ by result
What’s it like living with a face transplant?
The transplanted face came from 31-year-old Adrea Schneider, who died from a fatal drug overdose in 2017.
She was already an organ donor, but the decision to donate her face came from her grandmother, Sandra Bennington, who has since met Katie following the surgery. Adrea’s grandmother said she recognised some features of her granddaughter (left) in Katie now Katie says she cannot remember much about the period before her suicide attempt, but family say she had been struggling emotionally with moving around, a failed relationship and chronic gastrointestinal health problems throughout her teens.
The bullet wound destroyed much of her face – including her nose, some of her forehead and jawbone. She also had brain injuries and significant damage to her eyes.
After being initially treated in Mississippi, she was transferred to Tennessee before ending up at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio – a facility already performing pioneering transplant procedures.
Before the transplant, Ms Stubblefield had already undergone 22 reconstructive surgeries, including using her thigh and 3D printing to help reconstruct her jaw.
She and her family say they did not even know what the procedure entailed when they were notified she could be eligible.
"I had no clue what a face transplant was," Ms Stubblefield said. "When my parents helped explain everything to me, I was very excited to get a face again and to have function again."
After a year on the transplant list and having two donors fall through, she eventually underwent the procedure in May 2017. Her mother Alesia (right) said her daughter wanted the surgery to not be stared at in public Initially it was supposed to be a more partial procedure, but the decision was taken to use more of the donor’s face to improve the match.
Since the operation, she has had three revision surgeries. More operations are likely in order to improve appearance and functionality of the face.
Ms Stubblefield still has difficulty speaking because of the damage done to her mouth. She will have to take medication for the rest of her life to reduce the risk of transplant rejection. ‘Second chance’
The young woman told National Geographic she hopes to go to college and eventually go into counselling.
She has also expressed an interest in speaking to teenagers about suicide and the value of life.
"So many people have helped me; now I want to help other people," she said.
Dr Brian Gastman, a plastic surgeon at the Cleveland Clinic, said Ms Stubblefield had received the "ultimate second chance" through the procedure, CNN reports.
"My first wish for Katie is to be happy," Mr Gastman said. "That’s number one, but beyond that, I’d like her to have some level of normalcy.
"Then, she can do all that and become a spokeswoman for so many aspects – for how to be strong in the face of adversity and not to make a singular decision dictate who you are." If you are in need of help
From Canada or US: If you’re in an emergency, please call 911
You can contact the US National Suicide Prevention Lifeline on 1-800-273-8255 or the Crisis Test Line by texting HOME to 741741
Young people in need of help can call Kids Help Phone on 1-800-668-6868
If you are in the UK, you can call the Samaritans on 116123
For support and more information on emotional distress, click here.
ClexaCon, the feminist, inspiring fan convention for LBT women comes to London Pegasus and his Madonna mural | Photos: Supplied You could say 34-year-old Chris, from Chicago, is a bit of a Madonna fan.
‘She’s has been my number one idol and inspiration since the age of five,’ says the street artist, who is week unveiling a mural of star in London.
The work, which took five-and-a-half-hours to complete, has been revealed just in time for Madonna’s 60th birthday tomorrow.
Chris, who identifies as a gay man and is also known by his artist name Pegasus, furthermore added of the Material Girl: ‘She has consistently remained a trend setter and image of success and inspiration to many while always staying relevant.’
Chris’s latest work is located outside LGBTI and drag hotspot The Glory, on Kingsland Road in London’s East End.
The piece will also feature in Chris’s upcoming London show, Neon Nights, from 20 October 2008. ‘It is very important for me to honour this woman’
Chris furthermore tells us: ‘I am of a generation that grew up watching Madonna succeed. She is one of the most influential, powerful and iconic women who paved the way for many young performers.’
He also said: ‘It is very important for me to honour this woman. She has defied all the people who swore she would never stand the test of time. At a time where most of the great icons of the 80s have now passed, I have paid tribute the best way I could with this image.’
To follow Chris on Instagram, click here . To follow him on Twitter, click here .