Alcona County votes to oppose Whitmer order on LGBT protections

HARRISVILLE — The Alcona County Board of Commissioners has unanimously passed a resolution opposing one of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s recent executive orders.

Earlier this month, Whitmer signed an executive order designed to prohibit discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals in state services or by state contractors or grant recipients. Her executive order replaces a narrower order that former Gov. Rick Snyder issued days before he left office last month.

The Alcona County board’s resolution asserts that, in signing the executive order, the governor “circumvented the legislative process” and that her actions undermined legislators in the state House of Representatives and state Senate, who work to represent the people.

The resolution also says that the Legislature has not expanded the state’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act to include the “re-definition of sex.” Elliott-Larsen, a 1976 state law, prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, religion, age or gender. Democrats and others have for years pushed to have the law expanded to explicitly include protections for LGBT individuals, but those efforts have failed.

Last year, however, the Michigan Civil Rights Commission, the state agency which investigates complaints of discrimination, issued a new interpretation of the law, saying the word “sex” in the law means not only gender but also sexual orientation and gender identity.

Whitmer’s order, like the one signed by Snyder, says state contracts, grants and loans must include a requirement that the contractor or recipients not discriminate against workers or job applicants based on “sex.” Unlike Snyder’s order, Whitmer’s order does not include an exemption for religious organizations that receive state money.

The Alcona County board requested Whitmer rescind her order, so the issue can be “allowed to go through the legislative process which is accountable to the people.”

Alcona County board Chairman Craig Johnston spoke about the uproar that was caused when former President Barack Obama signed a similar executive order, banning discrimination in the workplace against employees who identify as LGBT and work in the federal government or as federal contractors.

“What it seems to be is the governor has an executive order that seems to follow along the same avenue,” he said.

Copies of the resolution will be sent to state Rep. Sue Allor, R-Wolverine, state Sen. Jim Stamas, R-Midland, Whitmer, and the other 82 counties in the state.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. Crystal Nelson can be reached at 989-358-5687 or

In other business

The Alcona County Board of Commissioners on Wednesday also:

∫ decided to adjust its 2019 meeting schedule to have a workshop session from 9 to 9:45 a.m. before its regularly scheduled meetings. The board meets at 10 a.m. on the first and third Wednesdays of each month in the boardroom at the county building, 106 N. 5th St. in Harrisville. Local News

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An LGBT Nonprofit Sent Karen Pence’s Homophobic New School An Important But Savage Gift 👏

Photo by Roy Rochlin/Getty Images | YouTube (Last Week Tonight) Karen Pence, the second lady of the United States, has recently taken a job as an art teacher at a virulently anti-LGBTQ school in Virginia. She had previously held this position but took a sabbatical after her husband was elected Vice President. As a congratulations gift, an LGBTQ nonprofit sent her 100 copies of John Oliver’s children’s book about a gay bunny .

However, this book isn’t about any old gay bunny. It’s about Marlon Bundo, the Pence family’s pet rabbit. The bunny was immortalized in a children’s book written by the second daughter and illustrated by Karen Pence herself. At the same time, John Oliver released a parody of the book titled A Day In The Life of Marlon Bundo . In Oliver’s version, the rabbit marries another boy rabbit.

This past Thursday, the Trevor Project announced that it had sent Pence 100 copies of Oliver’s book to the Immanuel Christian School, where Karen Pence teaches, with a letter stating that they hope it will be worked into the anti-LGBTQ school’s curriculum.

The letter read…

“Policies and rhetoric that exclude or reject LGBTQ youth can lead to increased risk for suicide and depression, and it’s our organization’s mission to end suicide among LGBTQ young people. With your help, we hope you will change your school’s student and employee policies to accept LGBTQ students and employees.”

According to Vice …

“Per Immanuel’s ‘ parent agreement ,’ the school refuses to admit and would possibly expel students if they or their families are found to be ‘participating in, supporting, or condoning sexual immorality, homosexual activity, or bi-sexual activity,’ citing a passage from the Bible that calls homosexuality an ‘abomination.’ Immanuel’s application for faculty contains similar language, prohibiting any prospective employee from ‘homosexual or lesbian sexual activity, polygamy,’ or having a ‘transgender identity.’”

Of course, the right-wing engaged in their usual cognitive dissonance.

The Pence family’s long history of LGBTQ discrimination was elucidated.

People were done with the Pence family’s hypocrisy.

Maybe the Pence family will read the book and learn something about acceptance. Then again, probably not.

Public Advocates Hopefuls Address LGBT Center Crowd

Anti-trans violence, homeless youth among evening’s leading topics

BY NATHAN RILEY As the campaign for New York City public advocate races toward a February 26 special election to replace Letitia James, who took office as state attorney general on New Year’s Day, roughly 200 people turned out to hear from eight of the candidates at the LGBT Community Center on Wednesday evening.

The vacancy has brought Melissa Mark-Viverito, the City Council speaker during Mayor Bill de Blasio’s first term, back into city politics after a stint with the Latino Victory Fund. She was the first candidate of the evening, and she filled the room in the resonant tones of a person skilled at introducing herself.

“I was raised by strong women who wanted equality and justice,” the former speaker said. “They wanted respect and I will fight for that respect for all groups.”

Then moving quickly into the heart her vision of progressive politics, Mark-Viverito said, “It is through community dialogue that we make government nimble.” She promised to work to protect transgender women from an epidemic of violence as well as a wave of arrests by the NYPD on charges of loitering for prostitution. And she warned that enormous challenges face the poorest New Yorkers with “this administration” in Washington threatening to take over the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), a prospect she termed “scary.”

Out gay Upper West Side Assemblymember Daniel O’Donnell, who was the lead sponsor of the 2011 Marriage Equality Act, prefaced his remarks by saying, “New York saved my life,” recalling his opportunity to attend CUNY Law School and become a public defender. He proudly announced that when de Blasio circulated a letter inviting Amazon to come to the city that contained no details about what the state and city were offering the company, he refused to sign despite personal entreaties from the mayor. He called for a millionaire’s tax to fund the MTA and talked about his efforts to obtain funding for LGBTQ youth at the Ali Forney Center.

O’Donnell also said that he spurred an investigation into fellow Democratic Assemblymember Vito Lopez’s sexual harassment of women. That investigation of the former Brooklyn Democratic leader led to “the first time a sitting member” of the Assembly was forced to give up their seat over such conduct, he noted.

Jumaane Williams, the Brooklyn city councilmember who ran for lieutenant governor with Cynthia Nixon in last year’s Democratic primary and startled the political world by winning in Manhattan and Brooklyn, summed up his career saying, “I’ve helped people lift up their voice to be heard.” He acknowledged that he had changed his mind about issues like marriage equality and women’s right to choose but asserted that for years he has been supportive on both counts. He promised to work to close Rikers Island and to save the MTA and NYCHA.

Councilmember Rafael Espinal, Jr., from Bushwick, stressed the need to improve outer borough neighborhoods, saying he was dismayed as a teenager when the Daily News called his high school the worst in New York City. He is considered the “nightlife candidate” for his role in creating the position of deputy mayor for nightlife, and when asked if he would support clubs with back rooms for sex, he said if it were regulated and safe he would be open to it.

Assemblymember Michael Blake from the Bronx spoke out against the violence facing transgender youth, but was quizzed about his relationship with the anti-LGBTQ legislators like Councilmember Reuben Diaz, Sr. He said that he asked Diaz to return contributions he had made to him.

Attorney Ifeoma Ike is a first-generation immigrant, activist, screenwriter, a board member of the Women’s Prison Association, and an adjunct professor at Lehman College in the Bronx. Her campaign manager, Michael Carter, was a deputy campaign manager in Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s successful primary challenge last year to longtime Queens Congressmember Joe Crowley.

Ike, who formerly led the Young Men’s Initiative in the Office of the Mayor, stressed the importance of good demographic data in making sound government decisions, saying, “LGBT programs are underfunded.” Where other candidates stressed that the public advocate should push government in the right direction, she insisted the job was about marshalling the facts and making the best arguments. She talked about the need to rescue trans women from the male units at Rikers Island and to create “safe havens” for trans youth.

Dawn L. Smalls, an attorney with the prestigious law firm of Boies, Schiller and Flexner, came to New York City after working as the chief regulatory officer for the US Department of Health and Human Services, the third largest rulemaking agency in the federal government. She called for revising the City Charter to give the public advocate subpoena power, an idea repeated throughout the evening. She voiced pride in her role in a $65.5 million settlement giving thousands of au pairs who were paid $4.35 an hour back pay to meet the federal minimum wage of $7.25. She pledged to help the homeless, but when asked about LGBTQ youth needing shelter, she paused and said “the majority” of the homeless are children under six and these families had the biggest need. Benjamin Yee, active in the Young Democrats, said he supports community empowerment but did not go into detail, saying the audience could read about it on his website, . Asked by out gay Bronx Councilmember Richie Torres — one of the evening’s two moderators, who noted that he had graduated from Bronx Science High School — whether he supported changing the high school admission test to give black and brown students more opportunities to attend the city’s academically strongest schools, Yee said the system has worked well for over 100 years and that the solution is to create other special high schools. The question of opening up more opportunities for black and Latinx students has created a divide with some Asian-American leaders, whose community has historically done well in testing for top high schools.

Torres was joined in moderating the forum by former Manhattan Councilmember Ronnie Eldridge, who now hosts a weekly public affairs program on CUNY TV.

The event was convened by by Rod Townsend, president of the Stonewall Democratic Club, Allen Roskoff, president of the Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club, Jared Arader, vice president of the Lambda Independent Democrats of Brooklyn, and Michael Mallon, president of the Lesbian & Gay Democratic Club of Queens.

The L Word turns 15 and cast and fans shared sweet anniversary messages

The original cast of Showtime series The L Word. | Photo: The L Word/Showtime Showtime series The L Word premiered on 18 January 2004, fifteen years ago.

The show focused on the everyday life of a group of bisexual and lesbian women in Los Angeles. Flashdance actress Jennifer Beals starred alongside Katherine Moennig, Mia Kirshner, and Leisha Haley.

Despite its occasional transphobia and biphobia, the 71-episode show is still one of the best examples of television by and for queer women. The show was created by lesbian executive producer Ilene Chaiken, who would go on to executive produce hit series Empire. Is the sequel happening?

A sequel to the original series, which ended abruptly in 2009, is in the works. According to IMDb, the new series is a follow-up ‘to the Showtime drama ‘The L Word’ looking at how the character’s relationships and lives have changed’.

Jennifer Beals, Katherine Moennig, and Leisha Hailey will executive-produce as well as appear on the series. Other characters from the original series may also guest star and will be paired with a whole new cast.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly in May 2017, Chaiken said they were considering a sequel.

‘We talk about it all the time. When we went off the air in 2009, I think a lot of people thought, Okay, the baton is passed now, and there will be lots of shows that portray lesbian life. There’s really nothing. It feels like maybe it should come back,’ she said. Happy birthday, The L Word

Some of the original cast members have shared cute messages to mark the anniversary.

Beals, who played Bette on the show, was shocked at the passing of time and called for a sequel. FIFTEEN years ago??
Time to take that show back on the road. #TLW — Jennifer Beals (@jenniferbeals) January 18, 2019 ‘FIFTEEN years ago?? Time to take that show back on the road. #TLW’

Kate Moennig aka womanizer Shane also tweeted about the show. 15 years have come and gone already? — kate moennig (@katemoennig) January 18, 2019 ’15 years have come and gone already?’ she wrote. Fans are tweeting about it

Fans of the show also shared the reasons why The L Word had been such a game changer for queer female representation. My gf showed introduced me to it, and oh my how I fell in love with it! TLW was and still is one of my favourite shows of all time — Livi (@L1v17) January 19, 2019 ‘My gf showed introduced me to it, and oh my how I fell in love with it! TLW was and still is one of my favourite shows of all time,’ one said. 15 years since the L Word started, and with the exception of Lip Service, there have been no other lesbian focused shows on mainstream TV in the UK that I’m aware of. Why? Are they not being written, not being commissioned or something else? — Sarah (@stweets13) January 19, 2019 ’15 years since the L Word started, and with the exception of Lip Service, there have been no other lesbian-focused shows on mainstream TV in the UK that I’m aware of,’ one fan tweeted.

‘Why? Are they not being written, not being commissioned or something else?’ they also wrote. it has really been 15 years since the l word aired and no show has come to close to resemble it in terms of lesbian representation huh — len (@vanessakrby) January 18, 2019 ‘it has really been 15 years since the l word aired and no show has come to close to resemble it in terms of lesbian representation huh,’ another also added. 1.
The L Word is the first real lesbian show I’ve ever seen, even 15 years later it’s still good, relevant and probably the only long running show for lesbian ever made.
I still want to be Bette when I grow up.
Goes upstairs, takes the dvd’s and starts watching — Jessica J. Ostyn (@ostyn_jessica) January 19, 2019 ‘The L Word is the first real lesbian show I’ve ever seen, even 15 years later it’s still good, relevant and probably the only long-running show for lesbian ever made,’ another weighed in on the conversation.

‘I still want to be Bette when I grow up,’ she furthermore added.

Some fans are thrilled at the idea of a revival. I’m really down for a revival of The L Word. It was such an important show and has so many ways it could be made better and more diverse — Lizzip (@LizzipFish) January 18, 2019 ‘I’m really down for a revival of The L Word. It was such an important show and has so many ways it could be made better and more diverse,’ one Twitter user said. I would die if a reboot of #theLword was made! The show that I binged at age 16/17 on my own, in my room, and in the closet. The L word helped me come out and accept who I am. #Lesbian #LGBT ‘I would die if a reboot of #theLword was made! The show that I binged at age 16/17 on my own, in my room, and in the closet. The L word helped me come out and accept who I am.’ Read also:

Former Obama-era LGBTI liaison announced as new PFLAG chief

Brian Bond, the new executive director of PFLAG | Photo: The former White House liaison to the LGBTI community is to become the new executive director to LGBTI rights group, PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) National.

Brian Bond, who was the first White House LGBTI liaison under US President Barak Obama, will begin the role on 1 February.

‘I know what it is to be the scared kid growing up in a rural community feeling different and alone, struggling with accepting who I was and living in fear because I knew I was different,’ Bond said in a statement .

‘As the Executive Director of PFLAG National—arm in arm with the hundreds of thousands of exceptional people who are the backbone of PFLAG—it is my goal to intensify all our efforts serving our diverse families and communities.’

‘For communities of color, we can make this stronger through continued cultural inclusion work and expanded outreach, listening, and tools. We can build on PFLAG’s long and noteworthy trans-inclusive history to expand our programs for transgender and gender-expansive youth and their families,’ Bond added.

‘There is no question we also will find the best way forward for faith-based and more conservative families torn between loving their kids and loving their faith.’ ‘I know Brian is the leader PFLAG needs’

Kathy Goodwin, the board president of PFLAG, expressed her delight at Bond’s appointment.

‘He has a proven record of success unifying people across communities, building strong alliances and partnerships and working in challenging environments and moments to effect change,’ Godwin said.

‘His personal story — as a young gay man raised in rural America — will resonate with so many people, including our supporters and members. I know Brian is the leader PFLAG needs to continue our work, and greatly expand our reach.’

Valerie Jarrette, a former senior advisor to President Obama, also praised Bond and his appointment.

‘Brian’s skill set, collaborative leadership style, creative thought process, and ability to build bridges across diverse communities and life experiences will serve PFLAG well. I am thrilled that Brian Bond has been selected as PFLAG National’s next Executive Director during this pivotal and critical moment in time.’ A lifetime of service to the LGBTI community

Bond has been involved in politics and LGBTI activism for much of his adult life.

A native of rural Missouri, Bond is a former executive director of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, and has also worked as an advocate for HIV education after learning he was HIV positive in his early-thirties.

He served as the deputy director of the White House Office of Public Liaison, where he consulted on LGBTI issues from 2009 to 2011.

After departing the White House, Bond worked as the Director of Constituency Outreach for the Democratic National Committee, and then as the CEO for public engagement for the Democratic National Convention.

Bond will take on the role after PFLAG has gone nearly a year without an executive director.

The previous executive director, Jaime Grant, left the position in March 2018 after only six months on the job.

Grant’s departure puzzled many LGBTI rights activists, as no official reason was given for his sudden resignation.

Michigan Governor Furthers LGBT Protections in State Contracts and Bans State Agencies From Asking For Salary History

National Law Review Legal Publishing Hitting the ground running, Michigan’s new governor, Gretchen Whitmer, has imposed new requirements in the employment arena—but only for executive branch state employees and some contractors and grant and loan recipients. This could be a sign of things to come for employers everywhere in Michigan or at least a sign of building momentum within the state government.

In her first 10 days in office, Governor Whitmer signed 10 executive directives. Executive directives are limited in their power and apply only to the executive branch of the state government, meaning the governor’s directives only control internal policy of executive branch departments; they do not apply directly to private businesses.

As a follow up to former governor Rick Snyder’s Executive Directive 2018-07 , which requires certain state contracts, grants, and loans to prohibit sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination as a term of the agreement, Governor Whitmer increased protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals. She has also issued an executive directive instituting a state government “don’t ask” policy with respect to applicants’ compensation histories, in order to reduce pay inequality. Executive Directive 2019-09

With Executive Directive 2019-09 , Governor Whitmer has extended the protections of Executive Directive 2018-07 by eliminating the exception that existed for 501(c)(3) religious organizations. Similar to the prior directive, effective immediately, all contracts, grants, and loans administered by a board, department, agency, or commission within the executive branch must include a requirement that the person or entity, any subcontractor under the contract, or sub-recipient under the grant or loan “not discriminate against an employee or an applicant for employment in hiring, any terms and conditions of employment, or matters related to employment because of religion, race, color, national origin, age, sex, height, weight, marital status, partisan considerations, or a disability or genetic information that is unrelated to the person’s ability to perform the duties of a particular job or position.” Within the definition of “sex,” the terms “gender identity or expression” and “sexual orientation” are included. By eliminating the nonprofit religious organization exception, this new executive directive expands the coverage of the prior, displaced directive.

As with the prior directive, the real effect of this directive will be seen in the contractual language that is included in the various agreements it covers. Only private employers party to, or subcontracting pursuant to, these contracts will be affected. However, the directive offers a glimpse at the governor’s views on—and perhaps even builds momentum toward—including gender identity and sexual orientation as protected characteristics in anti-discrimination laws as these laws continue to develop across the country. Executive Directive 2019-10

With Executive Directive 2019-10, another employment-related executive directive, Governor Whitmer has prohibited executive branch officials from inquiring into an applicant’s compensation history until the department or agency makes a conditional offer of employment, complete with an explanation of proposed compensation. It is the governor’s view that “[a]sking job applicants about their salary histories can inappropriately perpetuate the gender wage gap by enabling prospective employers to offer lower salaries to women than they otherwise would.” The directive also prevents the hiring agency from gathering an applicant’s salary history information elsewhere, but it does not prevent an applicant from voluntarily disclosing that information.

This directive is consistent with a nationwide trend. Various state and local governments have already passed laws prohibiting prospective employers from asking about applicants’ salary histories. Due to potential differences between state and local laws, this has resulted in a patchwork of laws that employers must navigate.

To avoid such a patchwork of laws in Michigan, the Michigan Legislature passed Michigan Compiled Laws Section 123.1384, effective June 24, 2018, which prohibits a local government from adopting an ordinance regulating information requested “on an application for employment or during the interview process.” As it stands, there is no state law prohibiting all employers from inquiring as to an applicant’s compensation history. This latest directive, with its limited application to certain state agencies, is the only official action toward prohibiting such an inquiry in any respect.

It remains to be seen whether the underlying protections provided by these directives will ever make it outside of the executive branch of the state government. We will continue to monitor developments in this area, as they could lead to laws that would govern all employers in the state.

Mike Pence defends wife’s job at anti-gay school, calls criticism ‘offensive’

Vice President Mike Pence (Photo: Official White House Photo by D. Myles Cullen | Public Domain) Vice President Mike Pence has spoken out in response to the backlash his wife has received over her new teaching job .

Earlier this week it was revealed Second Lady Karen Pence was taking up a contract to teach art. She will teach twice a week at Immanuel Christian School in northern Virginia.

The school bans LGBT teachers. It also prohibits students from LGBT-supportive families. Karen Pence previously taught at the school for 12 years while her husband was a Congressman. Their daughter, Charlotte, also attended the institution.

Parents of students wanting to enrol in the school must sign an agreement they don’t participate in or condone ‘homosexual or bi-sexual activities.’

Parents must ‘embrace biblical family values such as a healthy marriage between one man and one woman.’

Prospective teachers must also sign a contract acknowledge the ‘unique roles of male and female’. Teachers must also promise not to partake in ‘homosexual behavior, lesbian sexual activity and transgender identity.’

It’s not uncommon for Christian schools and colleges in the US to have such contracts. ‘Deeply offensive to us’

Many LGBT advocacy groups have criticized the wife of the Vice President for taking up a job at a school that excludes LGBT pupils and staff.

Chad Griffin, of Human Rights Campaign (HRC), said: ‘Why not serve at a school that welcomes everyone? Not a week passes without some reminder that the Pences view LGBTQ people as second class citizens.’

In an interview with the Catholic news network EWTN yesterday, Vice President Pence said the US has a rich tradition of religious education: ‘To see major news organizations attacking Christian education is deeply offensive to us.’ Dr Jill Biden

Some think it not coincidental that the former Vice President’s wife tweeted her support for LGBTI rights yesterday. Dr Jill Biden, wife of Joe Biden, who served as Vice President to Barack Obama, yesterday congratulated a leading LGBTI advocate on his new position. Congratulations, Brian! Proud to work with you at the White House; grateful for all that you have done for the LGBTQ community, we are fortunate for your continued leadership. — Dr. Jill Biden (@DrBiden) January 17, 2019 Reacting to the news that Brian Bond had been appointed Executive Director of LGBTQ advocacy group PFLAG, Biden tweeted: ‘Congratulations, Brian! Proud to work with you at the White House; grateful for all that you have done for the LGBTQ community, we are fortunate for your continued leadership.’

The tweet did not go unnoticed by another US advocacy group, GLAAD. It responded: ‘Remember what it was like to have a Second Lady who stood up for LGBTQ equality and acceptance?’ Remember what it was like to have a Second Lady who stood up for LGBTQ equality and acceptance? — GLAAD (@glaad) January 17, 2019 See also

Partnerships, politics, and Japan’s own Stonewall Riot

Japanese LGBT activist and politician Taiga Ishikawa (Photo: Provided) In July last year, a lawmaker from Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), Mio Sugita , said LGBTI people were ‘unproductive’.

It caused a big problem. Around 5,000 people protested outside the party headquarters in Tokyo.

The protests by mainly young LGBTI Japanese were widely covered by national media.

I was proud to see the community publicly denounce homophobia. They were unafraid to show their faces and give their names.

Some called this Japan’s Stonewall Riot .

The 50th anniversary of New York’s Stonewall Riots gives a chance to reflect on the situation for LGBTI Japanese.

In 2000, when I began LGBTI activism, you could count Japan’s LGBTI groups on two hands. There were only a few people who would reveal their names and faces to the media.

We all knew one another. What’s more, activists ran the groups as separate gay or lesbian or transgender organizations.

Today, we have many groups nationwide. There are LGBTI groups belonging to universities, for example. Recently, LGBTI communities have been working together as a group.

LGBTI advocates and supporters take to the streets in Sapporo, northern Japan. (Photo: Twitter) Japan’s achievements

In 2003, Japan passed a law allowing transgender citizens to change sex under certain conditions. After years of aggressive lobbying, the transgender community celebrated the win.

In 2015, Tokyo’s Shibuya and Setagaya wards were the first in Japan to issue official documents to couples of the same sex. It became big news and a lot of people paid a lot of attention to the issue.

This documentation system is different from the country’s marriage system. That’s because of the municipal administration issue the document, not the regional or national government.

Therefore, same-sex couples cannot obtain the rights granted by marriage. These include inheritance, spousal benefits, and custody rights. Small benefits

There are a few, small benefits these certificates give. For example, couples are able to move into public housing of a municipality.
Hospitals may recognize same-sex couples and grant visitation rights.

The certificates also allow family discounts for services such as mobile phones, insurance, and airline mileage.

Between 2015 to 2018, this system of issuing local certificates spread to nine administrations.

Activists have submitted petitions to the local congresses, trying to create such a system for the municipality in which they live. The often achieve results.

Thanks to these efforts, more than 10 towns are considering to introduce a partnership system and several towns plan to introduce the system from this April.

However, there are about 1,700 municipal administrations in Japan. Only seven percent of the population of Japan lives in a municipality with such a system.

Japanese politician Mio Sugita discussing LGBTI education on a right-wing TV show Japan’s milestone year

In Japanese politics, the ruling LDP led by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is very conservative. It will be extremely difficult to implement gay marriage as long as LDP is running the country.

LDP lawmakers are known for making problematic comments about LGBTI citizens.

‘Homosexuality is a hobby’, ’same-sex marriage will lead to a decline in birthrates’ and that LGBTI people would cause the ‘nation to collapse’.

In the Japanese parliament, opposition Constitutional Democratic Party (CDP) has submitted a bill outlawing LGBTI discrimination. It is planning an equal marriage bill.

As Japan goes to vote on Upper House lawmakers in July, LGBTI issues have become a major theme.

In the near future, we can hope for regional governments to introduce same-sex partnerships.

According to opinion polls, there are now more Japanese that approve of same-sex marriage than oppose it.

What’s more, for the first time, a Japanese citizen is challenging the government on equal marriage.

This also gives me hope. For LGBTI Japanese, 2019 looks set to be a milestone year.

Taiga Ishikawa was one of Japan’s first openly gay male politicians. He has fought for LGBTI rights through activism and politics for nearly 20 years. Last year, regional HIV and LGBT advocacy organization, APCOM, presented Taiga Ishikawa with the Shivananda Khan Award for Extraordinary Achievement at the HERO Awards gala in Bangkok. Stonewall 50 Voices

Gay Star News is marking this 50th anniversary year of the Stonewall Riots. Our Stonewall 50 Voices series will bring you 50 guest writers from all around the world, with a focus on the diversity of our global LGBTI community. They will be discussing the past, present, and future of our struggle for love and liberation. See also:

Stonewall 50: I have been at clubs in Beirut during police raids and I know what it means to fear for your life

Stormy Daniels has come out as bisexual: ‘I like to f**k men and women’

Stormy Daniels. | Photo: @thestormydaniels/Instagram Porn star and stripper Stormy Daniels has just come out as bisexual in a fiery Twitter argument.

The actress rose to international fame when she revealed she had an affair with US President Donald Trump. The relationship is detailed in her memoir Full Disclosure, published in 2018. Take that how you will, says Stormy

Prompted by a Twitter user, Daniels gave insight into her sexual orientation on 16 January. I’d enjoy using my fists on her…take that how you will. *wink wink* Besides she won’t be able to spew her nonsense with her mouth full. — Stormy Daniels (@StormyDaniels) January 16, 2019 Nope…I like to fuck men and women. It’s called bisexual. — Stormy Daniels (@StormyDaniels) January 16, 2019 ‘I’d pay good money to see @StormyDaniels beat the shit out of @TomiLahren,’ a Twitter user said, referring to Conservative pundit Tomi Lahren.

The porn actress replied with a cheeky tweet.

‘I’d enjoy using my fists on her…take that how you will. *wink wink* Besides she won’t be able to spew her nonsense with her mouth full.’

‘So now your lesbian? Besides she’d never. You’re out of her league girl,’ another Twitter user commented.

Daniels then clarified her sexuality in a further comment.

‘Nope…I like to fuck men and women. It’s called bisexual.’ ‘Thank you for promoting bi-visibility’

While some criticized her, many Twitter users approved the choice of coming out publicly. Thank you for promoting bi-visibility! It is needed and appreciated. — Anni Bruno (@Anni_Bruno) January 18, 2019 Full Disclosure

The actress is currently in a legal dispute with US President Donald Trump.

Daniels sued Trump and his former attorney Michale Cohen to void a nondisclosure agreement regarding an alleged affair she had with the president while his wife Melania was pregnant in 2006.

The actress detailed the encounters in her memoir Full Disclosure. Trump, however, denies ever sleeping with her. Read also:

Is Cosmoknights the queer, feminist sci-fi comic we’ve been waiting for?

The cover of Cosmoknights. | Photo: American publisher IDW is about to launch new LGBTI feminist comic – and it’s going to be available for free.

‘For this ragtag band of space gays, liberation means beating the patriarchy at its own game,’ reads the tagline for Cosmoknights .

It will debut on 9 March as a serialized webcomic. The latest project of Top Shelf Productions, an imprint of IDW, will then be available for purchase as a full-color graphic novel this fall.

Expect lesbian romance and fighting the patriarchy with mechsuits and punching. All in a medieval yet futuristic setting, mixing Japanese manga influences with feminist resistance. Challenging the gender norms in a futuristic setting

The plot kicks off with the most classic, anti-feminist intro of all times. Mechanic Pan finds herself involved in the feud between two off-world gladiators fighting over the hand of a princess – Tara, who happens to be Pan’s best friend. But there’s a twist.

Illustrator and creator Hannah Temple, who identifies as queer, explained the project in a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter.

‘I first came up with Cosmoknights back in 2016 while wrestling with issues in my own life around gender, sexuality, marriage and the culture I was raised in,’ she said.

She furthermore added: ‘I wanted to explore that tension with the neo-medieval setting of Cosmoknights, where technology is advanced but gender roles are bound by these archaic rituals of jousting and costumes and prizes of “winning” someone’s “hand” in marriage.’ The comic is about lesbian romance

If you’re thinking The Handmaid’s Tale with robots, however, you might want to think twice.

Temple assured she wanted to ‘steer clear of doom and gloom’. Her project is ‘a fun sci-fi comic about friendship, romance and kicking ass,’ she said.

Specifically, LGBTI romance. Cosmoknights is ‘a story about queer women fighting tooth-and-nail for their independence,’ the author explained.

Preview images of the comic are already available online and people’s reactions have been incredibly positive.

‘One thing that is especially important to me is positive representation of butch lesbians, something that can be difficult to find,’ Temple also said.

‘In that sense, my characters have really resonated with people, even just as designs. I can’t wait to see the reaction when they start talking and doing things.’

Temple is also the illustrator of the 80s inspired comic Jam and the Holograms. She is also currently working on a comic adaptation of Netflix’s show GLOW. Read also: